Author: La Casa

Ham Dinner
Apr06

The Perfect (and Easy!) Ham Dinner Recipe for Easter

Who doesn’t love an excuse to bake a delicious ham for friends and family? Making a ham can seem quite intimidating. After all, that’s a whole lot of meat! But a good ham dinner doesn’t need to be a huge ordeal. Try this 4-ingredient recipe and a few easy sides for the perfect holiday meal.

Baked Orange Honey Ham
From: Honey and Birch

Citrus flavor and sweet honey are a magnificent, tangy combination. To get started, you only need a 10-pound spiral-cut, precooked ham, some honey, some orange juice, and some orange zest. Because the ham is already cooked and cut, you will save a ton of time in the kitchen. That way, you can spend it entertaining your guests and catching up with family.

Heat the oven to 320°F (120°C). Place the ham in a deep dish, cover with foil, and bake for 1 hour. Heat the orange juice, honey, and orange zest in a pot over low heat. After 1 hour, remove the ham and uncover (discard the foil after this). Cover the ham in half of the glaze and then return to the oven for another 15-minutes. Pour the remainder of the glaze over the ham immediately before serving.

Need Some Easy Side Dish Options? Try these.

With ham at the center of the meal, you’ll want to fill the empty table with plenty of fresh vegetables and hearty carbs to compliment it. Here are just a few ideas.

Green Bean Casserole
From: AllRecipes

Use fresh green beans rather than canned for even more crunch and flavor to this side dish. The casserole base comes from butter, flour, salt, sugar, onion, sour cream, cracker crumbs, and shredded cheese. Mix together, bake, and enjoy.

Sour Cream Mashed Potatoes
From: Good Housekeeping

Sour cream, whole milk, unsalted butter, and sharp cheddar cheese give these mashed potatoes a tangy twist. Boil some red-skin potatoes and simmer on low heat for 15-18 minutes, checking every so often to see how tender they are. Drain, mix in the rest of the ingredients, and add salt and pepper to taste.

Roasted Cauliflower with Parmesan-Panko Crumble
From: Epicurious

This recipe is easy to make in advance and store, taking one thing off your busy plate if you are hosting a big dinner night. Panko (Japanese breadcrumbs) and parmesan make this a unique and savory dish that will impress anyone bored of the same-old-same-old.

Baked Pineapple
From: The Spruce Eats

Baked pineapple is a traditional ham-main side dish. The citrus of the ham glaze and the citrus of the pineapple will pair well together here. Bake pineapple with lemon juice, eggs, flour and sugar and then top the whole shebang with a cheesy pecan streusel crust.

Bon Appétit!

Now you have a whole ham dinner, including mains and sides. Not feeling up to an elaborate side dish? Green salad with vinaigrette or roasted mixed veggies works in a pinch. Serve your favorite Okanagan red or white wine and voila, a delicious ham meal for you and yours.

BONUS: Need some dessert? Try these family-friendly baking ideas.

Indoor Activities
Mar30

5 Family Friendly Indoor Activities for Your Weekend Away

If you are taking a trip during cooler weather or you are unlucky enough to get stuck with a rainstorm, you might need to rely on some family friend indoor activities. Sometimes it’s just not practical or desirable, for whatever reason, to spend your whole time away outdoors. Luckily, there are plenty of fun things a family can do inside.

  1. Play a Board Game or Card Game

Playing a board game or card game is something that anyone can get behind because there are so many options to choose from. Every vacationer (or staycationer) knows to throw a deck of cards in your duffle bag, just in case. If you want a board game but didn’t pack one (many of the boxes are quite large), you can look for “board game rental” stores or boardgame cafes and just use what they have available. Or, you can check out a local thrift store and see if they have a board game section (they usually do!).

  1. Go to an Indoor Swimming Center

A swimming center is the perfect indoor activity with elements of the outdoors baked in. For a typically low entry fee, you usually get access to a whole host of facilities. Call or check the website of nearby swimming venues to see what they have to offer. Some may have a wave pool, a kiddie pool, a hot tub, a steam room, diving boards and slides, and pool toys. They often sell snacks or have a vending machine so that you can grab a treat on your way out. Swimming – or simply relaxing in the hot tub – is a great activity that everyone in the family can enjoy.

  1. Have a Movie Night

You can take your family to a local movie theater or host a makeshift movie night at your accommodation. If you decide to stay in, you can pack some movies in hardcopy or on a flash drive or sometimes even rent them from the TV service you have at your lodging. Call your accommodation venue ahead of time and ask what they recommend for movie watching so that you know how to pack or prepare. Make some microwave popcorn and serve juice or soda pop. It’s the perfect lazy day in together.

  1. Do Some Baking

Baking is a great family activity because everyone can get involved and do their part. Make it even more fun by choosing cookies or cupcakes that can be decorated afterward. That way, everyone can spend time icing them and decorating them as they like. Need some quick, kid-friendly baking ideas? Check out Baking with Kids: 5 Recipes that are Easy for the Whole Family . Pick a day near the start of your vacation to do some baking together. That way you have snacks for the rest of the trip.

  1. Go Souvenir Shopping

When you visit somewhere new you might want to take home something to remember it by. Or maybe you want to pick up a gift for a friend or loved one to bring them back to let them know you were thinking of them while away. Souvenir shopping is a great indoor activity because it is a cool way to get to know the area where you are staying. You will often see t-shirts and magnets sporting key components of the town. Looking to save money? You can just window shop! Souvenir shops are flashy and fun, meaning that even browsing is enjoyable.

We love the outdoors and recommend enjoying the sun and fresh air as often as possible. But sometimes weather or other barriers get in the way. Luckily, there are plenty of fun things to do as a family indoors. So being stuck inside shouldn’t put a damper on your night – in fact, it can be a lot of fun!

 

Baking with Kids
Mar23

Baking with the Kids: 5 Recipes that are Easy for the Whole Family

Whether you are vacationing together or just enjoying some downtime at home, baking is a great family activity. It’s easy, fun, and the end result is having a bunch of sweet treats to share. These recipes are so easy that all ages can participate, so it’s great family time fun.

  1. Microwave Fudge

All the tools you need for this one is an 8X8 glass pan, a microwave-safe bowl, and a microwave. Melt the chocolate chips into the condensed milk and butter in the microwave in a bowl. Cook them for 2-3 minutes, checking every minute and stirring as needed. Add vanilla and salt. Stir well. Then pour into the pan and chill for 2-3 hours. Bonus fun: The kids can lick the bowl clean because there are no raw eggs in this recipe!

Full recipe: Microwave fudge by SheKnows

  1. Eggo S’mores

For a fun twist on a classic, use mini Eggo waffles instead of graham crackers when making s’mores. If you can’t find mini waffles, you can get regular toaster waffles and cut them into 4 pieces. You can also try flavored waffles, like cinnamon sugar or blueberry, for some added flavor. Melt marshmallow and chocolate between two mini waffles and then brush the waffle tops with melted butter, cinnamon, and sugar.

Full recipe: Eggo S’mores by Delish

  1. Easy Cornflake Tart

For these, you can make your own tart shells or buy them pre-made. If you decide to make the pastry from scratch, you will need 320g of ready-rolled shortcrust pastry. Melt butter in a pan with syrup, sugar and a pinch of salt. Fold the Cornflakes into this mixture. Put jam in the tart shells and then fill with the Cornflakes mixture. Bake for 5 minutes. Let cool and serve with custard.

Full recipe: Easy Cornflakes Tarts by BBC Good Food

  1. Slow Cooker Gooey Brownie Cake

We recommend that all of our guests pack a slow cooker. A single kitchen item can be used for all sorts of meals  and even desserts. This slow cooker brownie cake is a perfect set-it-and-forget-it treat. Line the slow cooker with foil and butter the foil. Whisk together melted butter, sugar, cocoa powder, flour, eggs, vanilla, and salt. Fold in some chocolate chunks. Pour the mixture into the cooker and leave it on low for 3 hours.

Full recipe: Slow Cooker Gooey Brownie Cake by Food Network

  1. Easy Gluten-Free Shortcake

Here is an easy gluten-free baking idea for those who have food sensitives or anyone who might be health conscious. Preheat the oven to 450. Mix the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar together. Beat cream and eggs together in a different bowl. Then, mix the wet and dry bowls together. Make 1 1/2-ounce balls, place them on a baking sheet, and flatten each. Brush the raw cookies with cream and dust with some coarse white sparkling sugar. Bake the cookies for 10 to 12 minutes.

Full recipe: Easy Gluten-Free Shortcake by King Arthur Flour

Vacation baking is a perfect leisure family activity, especially when the recipes are this easy. Put aside a day of a long weekend just for baking and try out one or two of these tasty treats. Then you’ll have snacks to pack with you for the rest of your trip.

Looking for more tasty cottage cooking ideas? Check out our Slow Cooker recipes!

Spring Break
Mar16

Spring Break Activities in the Okanagan – Something for Everyone!

Spring Break is here! The exact dates vary from place to place, so be sure to check your local grade school or university’s annual holiday calendar before making concrete plans. Once you know when it’s safe to pack up and go, be sure to take advantage of these Okanagan-based activities for your family’s time off.

Outdoor Activities

Spring is in the air. It’s the perfect time to start venturing outside after a long winter season. Here are some activities to choose from if you want to have fun and get some early vitamin D.

  1. Spring Ski Trip

Pack your lighter gear and get ready for a goggle tan! All of Big White, Silver Star Mountain, and Apex Mountain offer Springtime skiing options. If you are going as a whole family, remember that kids 12 and under ski for free at Big White.

  1. Kangaroo Creek Farm

If you’re Spring Break lands in March sometime, you may be able to visit Kangaroo Creek Farm, which opens for the season around that time. Here you can see kangaroos (duh) as well as sugar gliders, pot-bellied pigs, emus, parrots, peacocks, goats, chickens, capybaras, and Patagonian Cavies.

Indoor Activities 

Still a little too chilly outside for your liking? There are plenty of fun things to do between the comfort of four walls. Here are some of our favorites.

  1. Go to a Movie

There are plenty of theaters to choose from in the Kelowna area, including Landmark Cinemas (multiple locations) and Grand 10 Theater (near Orchard Park Mall). There is also a 2-dollar movie night on Thursdays at Encore Theatre in West Kelowna. Springtime is when movie releases start picking up for the warm weather season, so you’ll have plenty to choose from.

  1. Visit the H2O Adventure and Fitness Centre

The H2O Adventure and Fitness Centre offers a wave pool, hot tub, steam room, diving boards, and water slides. It’s the perfect indoor-activity-that-still-feels-outdoorsy. Children 2-years-old and under get in free. Children under 8 years of age must have a caregiver within arm-length reach at all times.

A Night Out

For some, Spring Break is synonymous with partying. Be smart, be safe – but enjoy yourself! Here are some fun nights out you can plan for yourself and a group of friends.

  1. Go Out Dancing

There are plenty of nightclubs downtown Kelowna where you can dance the night away. Each has a distant vibe and theme. Get dolled up and check out Level, Sapphire, or Flashbacks – they are all within walking distance of one another so you can bar-hop if you aren’t feeling it.

  1. Kelowna Comedy Club

Check out Kelowna Comedy Club’s weekly shows and pick something that looks interesting – or, go into an open mic completely blind, order a round, and hope for the best! They sometimes host wine tasting comedy shows so take a look at their events calendar to see if they have an one coming up!

Still looking for more inspiration? Check out last year’s Spring Break blog, or take a look at Tourism Kelowna’s Events Calendar!

Sip Happens
Mar09

An Okanagan Boat Tour with a Vineyard Twist!

Visiting the Okanagan is arguably best done in a group. Family reunions, weddings, bachelor/bachelorette parties; These are just a few of the group events that are celebrated here! Since La Casa Cottages can hold and host larger groups, we are a perfect destination for family events or other group trips. West Kelowna, Kelowna proper, and Vernon have much to offer visitors, but there are 2 stand-out options: Boat tours of Lake Okanagan, and wine tasting /vineyard tours.

Luckily for us, Sip Happens Wine Tours in partnership with Okanagan Boat Charters has come up with the perfect way to combine these 2 tour options into one amazing group experience! Get a private, captained boat for the day that will make 2 vineyard stops for wine tasting and lunch.

Why is it Perfect?

With the ability to seat 10 people this is a great option for group trips like family reunions, bachelorette parties, or other celebratory events. It’s all-ages-inclusive (though minors can’t partake in the wine tastings), making it the perfect group activity for the whole family. Even the young ones can enjoy cruising the lake and enjoying the sights at each stop.

Also, Okanagan Boat Charters gives you the option to be picked up from Fintry Provincial Park boat launch, which is a short 5 minute drive from the resort!

What is Involved?

You will be picked up by a luxury 22-foot pontoon boat from the shores just north of La Casa Cottages. Your friendly, certified captain will then welcome your group aboard. From there, you’ll sail past beautiful wine country scenery along Okanagan Lake on your way to a private vineyard dock; and from there, O’Rourke’s Peak Cellars vineyard.

At O’Rourke’s Peak Cellars you will enjoy a 2-hour lunch stop (though the cost of the lunch is extra) as well as complimentary wine tastings. O’Rourke’s is Lake Country’s newest winery and culinary destination. This 300-acre property also hosts the Garden Bistro, whose menu is supplied by a half-acre organic vegetable garden and two greenhouses onsite.

From there, you will re-board the boat and head to Intrigue Wines for a second wine tasting session. Established in 2008, Intrigue Wines is owned by two families who have been brewing award-winning wine together for over a decade. On the property, as well, is a boutique shop, so you will have a chance to browse and maybe pick up a souvenir.

Along the way, your private captain will pull the boat into private bays where you can relax and lounge. There is a cooler on board so you are free to pack all your favourite snacks and drinks. If it’s warm, go for a swim!

How to get Started?

Part one: Give us a call or email at La Casa Cottages to book your group into any number of our available cottages. Most cottages sleep 6 – 8 guests.

Part two: Reach out to Sip Happens Wine Tours and pick your wine tour dates. Or, contact us at La Casa and we will be happy to connect you