Monthly Archives: June 2011

Weekend Biking Trip

Our bike trip this weekend was wonderful. Despite a very sore bum and a bit of snow in one of the passes, our bike trip was a success – except for poor Mr. Bean who found out the hard way that his bike was too small for him and was only able to ride the first day.

Seriously, if you ever have a chance to go up the Icefields Parkway between Lake Louise and Jasper, do it! It is so amazingly scenic and breathtaking. You climb over two passes – Bow Summit (2070 m) and Sunwapta Pass (2030m), go through river valleys, by lakes, by huge cliffs, see some amazing vistas and there are some crazy climbs (about 500 m in ~15km up to Sunwapta Pass). It was hard work, but totally worth it!

Mr. Bean and I at Bow Lake

Since Mr. Bean was unable to bike on the second day, I gave him my camera to play around with while he waited for us and so he could play paparazzi. He took quite a few beautiful photos, which you will see below. I’m really happy that he did that so I could focus on biking and taking in the scenery instead of stopping to take photos every few minutes. My only regret is that I saw a bear but didn’t have a camera to take its photo. On hindsight, it’s probably for the best as getting too close to animals, especially bears,  is NOT a good idea!

The North Saskatchewan River

I wouldn’t say that we had beautiful weather as we did have some snow at one of the summits and it was cold and windy for a lot of the time, but we did have some periods of sun during a few of our breaks and when we finally made it to the Columbia Icefields.  I guess one bonus about cooler weather is that it encourages you to bike faster so you can stay warm!

One thing I love about being in the mountains is the colour of the water. There’s nothing quite like the blue-green from glacier silt, especially compared to brown water (ick.)

I had some fun making animated gifs of us biking, using the instructions Elena gave for this week’s Selfie Saturday tutorial. They’re not self portraits, but they are a great way to show movement!

Here I come up the biggest hill. I’m about 2/3 – 3/4 of the way up. In the later slides you can see my brother – he stopped and then ran to meet us and give us high fives. I told him that he could probably walk up the hill faster than I could bike, but I was determined to do the entire thing on my bike. For part of the hill, the wind was behind us, but once we turned the corner, there was a HUGE headwind that made it so much harder. Only my brother, the champion, was able to make it up the hill in gears higher than 1, 1. (The easiest setting on the bike.)

Snow Covered Parker's Ridge

Here we are almost at Sunwapta Pass. Right before this, there was a small stretch of downhill, where I thought to myself: “Downhill? What is this strange phenomenon?”

Columbia Icefields

When we finally made it to the Columbia Icefields, I was so happy! Not only had we all biked 125 km, it was sunny and I didn’t have to sit on a bike anymore! We all were especially impressed that it was sunny (with no wind!) as usually it’s at least 10C colder than the rest of the parkway with a howling wind. Funny how that works!

I definitely enjoyed myself and I am looking forward to the next bike trip that comes my way (hopefully soon!) Now it’s time to find Mr. Bean a new bike so that he will be as excited as I am about future biking trips!

Have you ever gone on a bike trip?

All the photos (except the GIFs) are SOOCs – not quite sunrise themed for this week’s Good to Wow: Shoot and Edit, but pretty nonetheless!



Filed under Life, Photography

Happy Friday!

Happy Friday everyone! Today is a beautiful day – it’s officially summer (yay!), the sun is shining (for the moment), it’s not raining(for the moment), Mr. Bean and I are going on a bike trip tomorrow in the mountains with my family, I’m finally done all my tutoring (yay!), and I have a bunch of photos to share with you!

First of all are the edits from my Father’s Day photos. You can see all the other edits over on Ashley’s blog.

I also thought that I would share a few photos from a photo walk I took last week

Lichen on a Brick for Macro Friday

Yellow for Crazy Days of Summer

Broken for Foto Friday

What are your plans for this weekend?


Filed under Photography

Vegan Gluten Free Rhubarb Apple Galette

Ever heard of a galette before? I hadn’t – I guess that isn’t terribly surprising as french food has never been very prominent in my family – that is until a week or so ago my sister wrote about her apple galette making experience. Since I had some pie dough left over from my previous pie making and a ton of rhubarb from a friend to use up (unfortunately the rhubarb in the pot on my front step isn’t growing enough to make enough for baking), I wanted a way to use them up that wasn’t quite your traditional pie.  I was also feeling lazy and didn’t want to make more dough so that I could make the usual double crusted rhubarb pie – besides, I’ve already made one like that before!

I was actually fairly surprised with how easy the galette is put together because there is no transferring the dough into the pie pan and having to piece it back together. I do recommend using a sturdier pie dough that can stand rolling and bending as both are key parts of making the galette.

I have mentioned a while ago how I had been cutting back the amount of sugar that I eat as I’ve come to realize that I’m not immune to the vicious cycle of the more sugar I eat, the more I crave it. The last few weeks I haven’t been very good and watching this and now I’m dealing with the consequences – I’ve been struggling more emotionally and gained a bit of weight because of all the less great food I have been eating. Thus, I have renewed my desire to reduce the amount of sugar I eat. Understandably, this poses a bit of a problem when using rhubarb as it is incredibly sour and requires some kind of sweetener. (I will occasionally eat cranberries straight, which causes Mr. Bean to laugh at all the faces I make, but I draw the line at eating unsweetened rhubarb.) I know I could use some sugar substitute, but I happily don’t own any, so I needed to come up with a different solution. The answer? I decided to add an apple to help add sweetness and just used a bare minimum of agave nectar to counteract the tang from the rhubarb. It worked quite well, but if you want it to be sweeter, don’t hesitate to add more agave nectar.

Vegan Gluten and Refined Sugar Free Rhubarb Apple Galette

1 GF pie crust dough (I used the leftover Namaste GF Pie Crust dough from my previous pie adventures)
3 c. rhubarb, cut into 1 cm (1/2″) pieces
1 sweet apple (I used gala), peeled, cored and cut into 1/2″ pieces
3 tbsp. tapioca starch
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. cardamom
3 tbsp. agave nectar (more if desired)

  1. Roll out the pie dough into a circle until the crust is slightly more than 1/4″ thick between a piece of plastic wrap (top) and parchment paper (bottom). Remove the plastic wrap and press the edges of the disk to smooth them out and make it more circular.
  2. In a medium sized bowl, mix together the rhubarb, apple, tapioca starch, cinnamon and cardamom until rhubarb and apple are evenly coated.
  3. Drizzle on the agave nectar and toss until evenly coated.
  4. Pile the rhubarb mixture onto the middle of the pie dough, leaving a 2″ border.
  5. Using the parchment paper, fold the edges of the dough over the filling mixture. Use your fingers to press the dough together to keep it folded.
  6. Transfer parchment paper onto a cookie sheet and bake in preheated oven at 350F for 25 minutes.
  7. Rotate the pan and cook for another 20 minutes or until filling is bubbly and pie crust is golden brown. Note: I did add about 1 tbsp. of water to the the filling when I rotated it.
  8. Remove from oven and let cool before serving.
  9. Enjoy!

Do you like rhubarb?

Shared at: Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays, Hearth and Soul Hop 53 and Gluten Free Wednesdays.


Filed under Baking

Father’s Day Fun

My Family is silly. I know every family has its moments, but it seems that almost every time we get together, some kind of ridiculousness happens. Yesterday, after we had shared a nice meal together in honour of Father’s Day, my sister phones to speak with my dad. Instead of being normal people and simply passing the phone off to him, we decide to have a bit of fun.

My brother is quite good at pretending to be someone else when he is on the phone with someone – once he had me convinced that he was the recorded message from the public library until he started laughing at the very end – and yesterday he was Mr. Ridiculous Secretary complete with British accent. He first asked her what the name of the person she would like to speak to was, to which she replied “Dr. M.” He then asked which Dr. M. she wanted to speak with (both my parents have PhDs), and announced that he was the first of three call centres that she would have to go through. Next, the phone was passed off to my mom, who pretended to be your usually clueless call centre person, who asked my sister which Dr. M. she wanted to speak with, eliciting the reply “I don’t know!” from my sister. My mom then said that some psycho-analysis was going to have to be done and would she be so kind as to go on hold? The phone was then passed to me.

I had the perfect idea of what personality I should be – no British accents and not a call centre/secretary person and someone who does some “psycho-analysis.” Picture your typical air-headed astrologer type person with the breathy voice and who tries to give the impression of being friendly but actually comes off as creepy.

Me: “Well, Hellllo.”
Sister: “Um. Hi.”
Me: “How can I help youuuu tooooday?”
Sister: “I would like to speak with Dr. M.
Me: “Which oooone?”
Sister: “I don’t know.”
Me: “Which dooo youuuu like better: apples or ooooranges?”
Sister: “Oranges.”
Me: “Dooo youuuu like strawberries or bananas better?”
Sister: “Bananas.”
Me: “Oooookay… Let me put these in my thoooought maaatrix… Oooh. Oooone more question: Why is the sky bluuue”
Sister: Talks about water droplets and sunlight refracting, etc.
Me: “Oooookay… I haaaave and aaaanswer. I will now paaaass youuuu off to the appppproopppriate Dr. M.”
Sister: “Thanks?”

After making some noise and beeps, I finally handed the phone to my dad who asked: “Is this the person to whom I am speaking?”

Yes, we are champions. Unsurprisingly, the entire time this whole ordeal was happening, everyone was cracking up with laughter. So, after I handed the phone to my dad, I took the above photo and I love how it shows how amused he is. I think it would be better if the phone wasn’t there, but I guess it helps tie it into the story. 🙂

…And just for fun, here are some photo of my dad and I from my wedding almost 3(!) years ago, taken by our lovely photographer, Kathleen Goertzen.

How did you celebrate Father’s Day?

This photo is my SOOC for this week’s Father’s Day themed Good to Wow: Shoot and Edit.


Filed under Life, Photography

Shoot and Edit: Slides and Swings Edits

I’m finding that I appreciate the sun and blue sky so much more after it rains for extended periods of time. So, I’m definitely glad that I the photos at the park when I did – we’ve had a lot of rain since. (For the record, yes, I am a pansy when it comes to rain. I can deal with cold because usually it’s beautifully sunny in Calgary and showers as I know they are going to stop, but not non-stop rain. It’s a good thing that I don’t live on the coast!)

Anyways, here are my edits of the photos – I kind of went a bit crazy and did a whole bunch of different things. Let’s say that I really like playing around with blending modes in photoshop! Be sure to check out all the other edits at Ashley’s Blog!

The above photo I tried to play around with the dodging and burning tutorial Ashley talked about. Not that it’s super noticeable because of all the other stuff I did to it, but it’s all good. 🙂

Do you like rain?


Filed under Photography