Author: Carmen Broder

zero waste food tips
Sep17

These zero waste food tips are designed to highlight environmental stewardship, reduce personal waste, and combat thoughtless consumerism. 

It’s U-Pick and Fall Farmers’ Market season and you’re probably looking forward to all the fresh B.C. produce you will be able to pick up. As you probably know already, we’re quite keen on sustainability and environmentalism here in B.C. The government boats a “Greening Your Home” campaign and our Green Economy is growing every day. 

Here are a few things that YOU can do to reduce, reuse, and recycle. 

Bring Your Own Bags & Buckets

You might be tempted to just wing it when you are visiting the farmers’ market or u-pick farms in your area but a little planning can go a long way. By bringing your own reusable produce bags, fabric totes, and buckets, you can save plastic and paper waste that usually comes from packaging. 

Shop for items that come in compostable packaging or no packaging at all. Paper or cardboard packaging that isn’t waxed can be torn up and composted for smaller items like berries that require a container. 

Plant Your Own Herbs 

Herbs are often difficult to package, as they are small and may fall apart during the shipping process. This means that you usually find them in glass or plastic containers. Avoid this by growing your own herbs! A small window planter is all you need to get started. Some of the easiest herbs to grow are chives, mint, parsley, basil, and cilantro.

You can also grow different flowers and flavors that can be dried and used for tea. Try English or Roman chamomile, lemon balm (part of the mint family), or peppermint. 

Use Every Part of Your Produce

We often peel, rind, and chop without taking the time to consider whether or not the “waste” we are creating can be repurposed for good. Prepackaged goods have spoiled us into thinking that it’s okay to pluck out the “best” and ignore the “rest” when it comes to our fruits, veggies, and meats. 

In reality, many food parts that get thrown away can (and should) be used up. Roasted pumpkin seeds, apple peel chips, watermelon rind chutney, sauteed greens stems, and fruit peel jelly are just a few of your endless options!

Collect Pieces for Soup Broth 

Some leftovers can’t be “eaten” per se but they can certainly be saved, frozen, and later boiled into a delicious vegetable or meat-based broth. You can save items like garlic skins, pepper cores, meat bones, onion tops, herb stems, and tomato ends. There are plenty of different recipes for homemade broth so no matter what you have leftover, you can probably come up with something delicious. 

Note that not ALL food bits make for a good-tasting broth. Leave out (or use in small portions) bitter greens, vegetable tops with too many leaves, overpowering herbs, certain seeds, and anything that doesn’t add much flavor (like corn).

Re-Grow Items Where You Can 

Many fruit and veggies can serve double-duty by being replanted after partial consumption and allowed to grow anew. An example of this is green onion, whereby you can chop off the tips and add them to your dish and then pace the bulbs and remaining spouts in a jar of water to let them regrow. You can also replant garlic that has sprouted in order to collect more fresh bulbs later on. 

Try this with celery, Romain lettuce, carrots, leeks, and even pineapple. Each item will have slightly different instructions for how to regrow it.

Compost, Compost, Compost! 

If there is something you really can’t reuse, then collect it to be composted. Items like eggshells actually have a lot of nutrients that gardens will love! If you have space for your own garden, you can create your own mulch with a bit of effort. If not, see if your city offers compost collection or drop-off so that it can be processed and used elsewhere.

Make sure you don’t contaminate your compost with plastic, waxed cardboard, or other unsavory items! This can make the whole batch go to waste. 

Takeaway

We love sharing our community and everything that entails here at La Casa Cottage Resort. We also believe in giving back, protecting nature, and living mindfully. So pack up your tote bags, mark the markets on your maps, and come visit us in the beautiful, sunny Okanagan Valley! 

You might also like Travel Green: 9 Tips and Tricks for Eco-Friendly Trips

B.C. Wine and Snack Pairings
Sep10

Keep reading to get our recommendations for the best B.C. wine and snack pairings this season.

If you’re visiting B.C., you’ve probably already heard that we are the wine country of Canada. British Columbia hosts around 929 vineyards currently as well as over 350 licensed wineries. There are 4,130 hectares of wine grapes growing across B.C. in any given year. 

Now that it’s fall, you’ll want to shirk the light, floral flavours of spring. Here are some great B.C. wine and snack pairings with an autumn twist! 

Pumpkin + Viognier 

Pumpkin is a staple of fall and often shows up luxuriously spiced in baked goods like pie, cookies, and tarts. The rich, sweetness of pumpkin will pair well with a nice viognier. Luckily, B.C. wineries like Volcanic Hills have many options for you to pick from. 

Try: Pumpkin Pie Bites from Tasty + Viognier from Volcanic Hills Winery (West Kelowna)

Apples + Gewürztraminer

Gewürztraminer is the third most popular wine grape grown in B.C., right after the uber-popular Pinot Gris and Chardonnay. It used to be known for being super sweet but has been trending towards dryer flavours, making it a great option for fall. Gewürztraminer’s fruity profile pairs well with apples, which can be plucked right from the tree at one of the Okanagan’s U-Picks!

Try: Easy Apple Crisp from Little Sweet Baker + 50th Parallel Gewürztraminer (Lake Country, BC).

Figs + Port

Port (AKA Vinho do Porto or just Porto) has relatively low acidity and tannin, making it a great pairing for both cooked or raw figs. Port also has a slightly higher alcohol percentage, ranging closer to 20% than the usual 10-13%. Figs are a ton of fun to work with in the kitchen and a quick search for “fig appetizer ideas” will open your mind to the world of the edible fruit of Ficus carica.

Try: Fig Appetizer With Brie And Spiced Honey from Just a Little Bit of Bacon + Vintage Okanagan Tawny Port from House of Rose (Kelowna, BC).

Sweet Potatoes + Zinfandel

Sweet potatoes, venison, and game meats are just a few hearty fall flavours that pair well with the dark fruit, spice, and oak of a good Zinfandel. Enjoy black cherry, blueberry, and hints of vanilla with your favourite easy sweet potato snack. 

Try: Baked Sweet Potato Chips from Minimalist Baker + Black Sage Zinfandel by Black Sage Vineyards (Okanagan Valley, BC).

Ready for a Visit to Beautiful B.C.?

What do you think about our choice of B.C. wine and snack pairings for fall? Let us know on our socials or let us know what other local topics you want us to cover. 

Let La Casa Cottage Resort help you book your stay. We have luxury vacation cottages and overnight rentals for all group sizes and budgets. Talk to one of our friendly travel experts to get started. 

You might also like: The Best B.C. Wine and Why We Love Them.

best day spas in Kelowna
Aug27

Vacations should be about rest and relaxation—and what says R&R better than a luxury visit to one of the best day spas in Kelowna? A trip to the spa can make any weekend special. They make for a perfect bachelorette activity or date night, or just a special gift to reward yourself for getting through a tough year! 

These are some of the best day spas in Kelowna and what we love about them. 

Kelowna, B.C. Day Spas

Namaste Day Spa

Namaste Day Spa is just off the highway on Gordon Drive, so even those just passing through can’t miss it! They offer a 3.25 hours “half-day” spa package: a classic customized organic facial including exfoliation and extractions, sixty-minute massage with flowing Shiatsu, and a pedicure including nail care and a sea salt scrub. 

Amora Day Spa

Amora Day Spa is located within downtown Kelowna, right near the waterfront as well as the bridge to West Kelowna (perfect for those choosing to stay on that side of town). Set aside 2 or 3 hours to visit them for a full body massage, relaxing facial, body wrap, or mani-pedi. Or all of the above! 

Beyond Wrapture Day Spa

Beyond Wrapture Day Spa is attached to the Coast Capri Hotel on Harvey Avenue. It’s right downtown Kelowna near Water Street and all the bars, eateries, shops, and parks that that comes with. They offer some of the most length and substantial packages on this list with treatments that last up to 6-7 hours. A truly luxury experience.

West Kelowna, B.C. Day Spas

Talking Tree Day Spa

Talking Tree Day Spa is located in central West Kelowna and handles everything from massages, body wrap, facials, manicures, pedicures, gel nails, waxing, tinting, and silk threading. They have many spa package options that combine different varieties of their service list. Their stand-out treatment is the “Head to Toe,” which, as you can probably guess, offers a complete body relaxation package. You’ll get a massage, feet treatment, facial, and manicure.

Okanagan Massage

Okanagan Massage is a massage-centric service provider that offers packages for relaxation, full-body, deep tissue, hot stone, and/or foot treatments. They also offer a couples massage package at a discount, making it perfect for romantic getaways, honeymoons, anniversaries, or Valentine’s Day. Note: the couples massage package can be used for anyone in pairs of two, romance not required!

 

What do you think about our list of best day spas in Kelowna? What other Kelowna travel activities do you want us to cover on our blog? Let us know!

Need help organizing your trip? Call or email us at La Casa Cottage Resort and we’ll find the perfect overnight venue for your local vacation plans.

You might also like: 10 Kelowna Attractions and Hotspots You Should Visit.

Best Cocktails In Kelowna
Aug20

Are you visiting one of our luxury cabins in Kelowna, B.C.? You might want a fresh, exciting night out while you’re in town! Take a night to yourself to discover the unique, sultry cocktail bars across the city. Here are a few of the best cocktails in Kelowna…and where you can find them. 

Rember: Cocktails change year-over-year and sometimes season-over-season. If you can’t find something we’ve suggested on the current menu, ask the bartender! They might be able to make it special for you or suggest an alternative cocktail. 

Micro Bar Bites

Micro Bar Bites is an intimate dining experience located right downtown Kelowna on Water Street. They have bottled beer and homemade cocktails on the menu. The duck fat & rosemary popcorn really can’t be beat as a quick appetizer for the table. They are also dedicated to supporting local produce suppliers! 

Our favourite cocktail: Y’all Can’t Handle the Truth. This is a RauDZ Creative Concepts exclusive with TWT gin, Pimms, cucumber oleo-saccharum, lime, and Okanagan Spirits Taboo Absinthe rinse. See their whole menu here.

Jack’s 

Jack’s, AKA Jack’s on Bernard, is a Kelowna cocktail bar with a rock-and-roll vibe, as emphasized by their drink menu named after famous songs and 90’s nostalgia. They have an amazing menu of food including three different types of flatbread (yum!). Ask for their Featured Flatbread to get a seasonal surprise. 

Our favourite cocktail: Detroit Rocket City. Cucumber-infused Absolut Vodka, watermelon, lemon, and hibiscus foam. See their whole menu here.

Social 

Social 242, AKA Social Lounge & Grill, is located on Kelowna’s beautiful Lawrence Avenue and boasts a menu packed with daily deals, vegan menu options, and plenty of beer and wine to choose from. For dessert, or paired with your cocktail of choice, try their Amaretto Creme Brulee or Hazelnut Espresso Cheesecake. 

Our favourite cocktail (and don’t let the name fool you): The Mediocre Caesar. A classic Caesar with all the fixins’—topped with cheese, pickles, olives, and sausage. Did we mention CHEESE? Check out their full menu here.

Cantina del Centro

Cantina del Centro is a Latin American inspired cocktail bar and eatery with locations in both Kelowna and Nelson. The Kelowna venue, located on Bernard Avenue, is just a stone’s skip away from Okanagan Lake. Their specialty is Mexican street food and they offer an extensive tequila and mezcal list.

Our favourite cocktail: Sin Cara Mezcal Margarita. Sombra mezcal, Haskap, lavender, vanilla, and lime. 

Mid-Town Station

Mid-Town Station opened in November 2019 as a partner venue to the Train Station Pub, another local Kelowna staple. This Landmark District go-to gathering spot does everything from dinner, brunch, take-out, and even catering. They also have a loyalty reward program for frequent guests. 

Our favourite cocktail: Okanagan Sangria. Smirnoff green apple vodka, lillet blanc, maraschino liqueur, white wine, lime juice, white cranberry juice, float of Okanagan spirits cherry liqueur, and soda. 

What do you think about our list of the best cocktails in Kelowna? Ready to visit and find your new favourite cocktail bar and drink? Come stay at La Casa Cottage Resort—luxury vacation rentals for any budget.

6 Tips for Travel
Aug13

Ever suffer from travel anxiety? Everyone does from time to time! And there’s a good reason for it. When you are setting off to travel, there is a ton to think through: planning, scheduling, follow-through. It’s enough to overwhelm even the most level-headed and organized adventurers. 

The important part is this: breathe, stay calm. Great, now let’s talk about execution. These 6 tips for travel planning will help you stay on top of everything that needs to be done, stress free!

Set Up Deal Alerts 

First of all, we want to make sure you get the best deal possible. Last-minute plans can sometimes backfire and have you paying premium prices to snag travel or lodging. Use travel apps or even Google alerts to watch for the best possible prices before you confirm. For example, we sometimes have deals at PLACE—so be sure to sign up for our newsletter in case something pops up. 

Read Reviews for Insight 

Thanks to platforms like Yelp and Google Reviews you can get the inside scoop on everything from restaurants to airlines to hotels to local shops. Before you plan a big day, check out what people are saying…about everything! It’s much easier to pivot before you’ve made a reservation (or worse—shown up to the door).

Start Your Packing List Early

A last-minute packing list is bound to lead to someone forgetting something important. Start your packing list a few days or a week early. This way, you have plenty of time to remember missing items, cut back on clutter, and buy anything you don’t yet have. 

Delegate Your Tasks 

One person CAN plan a whole trip alone…but they shouldn’t have to. Travelling in a group? Have one person step in as the team leader. They can assign an even number (or effort-level) of tasks to everyone in the group. Someone can be in charge of packing the beer cooler and someone else can be the money collected to ensure everyone chips in. 

Take Out Cash

Credit and debit cards are all fine and dandy but some emergency cash is a must. Have bills as well as change. You never know whether you might need a payphone (remember those?), require public transport fare, or encounter a cash-only business. Obviously, carry the currency relevant to where you are going. 

Use Expert Advice 

Need help planning and getting the best deal? It’s okay to ask for help from an expert! Read travel blogs or books, reserve time with a tour guide, use a travel agent, or talk to the manager of whatever venue you are staying at. They have plenty of experience to guide you, answer questions, and make suggestions for must-do activities. (YES—you can call us for advice, too!)

Want more adventure advice, wanderlust stories, and tips for travel? Be sure to follow our blog