What to do when life gets hectic and you can’t think through the noisy haze of daily life? Grab a board and hit the waves? Only if you’re one of many crazy west coasters who think 7°C (45°F) is somehow tolerable. No, I’ll just sit on the beach with a glass of prosecco or white wine and watch, thank you. Which is exactly what we did this weekend.
Grabbing the only available date in March for a three bedroom villa in Tofino, BC, we headed off to the real rough west coast of Vancouver Island (where Scarlett Johansson and Ryan Reynold’s fateful marriage took place) with our in-laws and the kids and settled in for a blissful weekend of wave watching, wine drinking, crab eating and beach combing.
There are no words to describe this utterly amazing place. It is absolutely breathtaking in every sense of the word. There is a constant noise of waves crashing, even with not even a slight tickle of a breeze. The sandy beaches stretch out for miles and the air is as crisp and clean as if it had been freshly created just then by the constantly churning sea.
Tofino itself, a tiny village of about 1700 people, has many little shops, restaurants and parks to visit if you feel like leaving the expansive beaches and luxury accommodations located on the shoreline. Mostly, we just decided to stay on our resort property and explore the reaches of the beach, shore and surrounding woods.
About two years ago, my sister was married on this beach. It was gorgeous, and every time I visit now I am reminded of that day. The one thing I remember most about being here over the years is the amazing sunsets. Gorgeous expanses of pink and gold that lay out over the crashing breakers as the sun settles in the west.
This time it wasn’t as pink, but it still took every ounce of discipline I had not to fill my memory card with 500 pictures of one sunset.
But really, what I take away from this weekend was a recharge of my batteries. I needed that moment of peace, quiet, sea air, wine drenched, utter bliss. And if nothing, I know the kids had just as much fun as we did.
Even a little rain won’t stop me and my camera. A plastic bag and an elastic can do wonders for severe conditions…
**For even more photos from my trip to Tofino, please visit my photography blog, Garnett Wren Photography.
And now for the food. Although we made some amazing meals while we were in Tofino, the light in the villa we stayed at was not very accommodating, so there is no proof. Instead, I thought I would return to the land of the civilized and give you a St.Patrick’s Day recipe to celebrate your love of all things green, and I made it gluten free just for fun!
Being part Irish, I take pride in the occasion of celebrating my ancestral home. We used to have some kind of stew, some Keeper’s Stout and hit the town. These days we stay home and quietly acknowledge our lineage.
I thought I would offer a different recipe than most, as I know I have had my fair share of stews, cabbage, potatoes and corned beef. So I offer the simple oat pancake. What is more Irish than oatmeal, I say?
These pancakes are simple, fast and unbelievably tasty. I made a large batch and froze the rest for quick breakfasts on weekdays. But they are mighty tasty fresh off the griddle soaked in a little maple syrup and butter.
So I lift my glass to the homeland and say “slainte!”
One Year Ago: Pan Fried Pork Chops with Apple Compote and Apple, Cheddar and Rosemary Biscuits
Gluten Free Cinnamon Oat Pancakes
Yield: 10 medium sized pancakes
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 minutes
1 cup certified Gluten Free oats
1/2 cup sweet rice flour
1/2 cup gluten free all purpose flour (such as Bob’s Red Mill)1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
3 tbsp brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 cups buttermilk2 tbsp butter, melted and slightly cooled
1 tsp vanilla extract
1. In a small bowl, combine the oats, flours, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Stir to combine.
2. In a separate bowl combine the buttermilk, vanilla and the butter. Stir to combine.
3. Preheat a non-stick frying pan, cast iron pan or griddle to medium low.
4. Pour the mixed wet ingredients into the dry and stir, but not too much….lumps are okay!
5. Portion out the batter into the pan, wait for bubbles to form on the sides and top. Flip the pancake and continue to cook until cooked through.
6. Remove and serve with butter, syrup, etc.
Other fabulously Irish recipes from other delicious food blogs:
Irish Mum’s Brown Bread on 101 Cookbooks
Irish Cottage Pie on Gluten Free Goddess
Bubble and Squeak on My Cooking Hut
Mini Beef and Mushroom Pies on The Good Mood Food Blog
Corned Beef and Cabbage on Simply Recipes