Holiday

Traditional Holiday Treats
Dec15

Christmas is chock full of traditions, from tree decorating to gift giving, carol singing and of course, eating. Every family has their own version of a traditional Christmas dinner. Today we are looking at some long-standing Christmas desserts! These sweet creations have been around for ages (literally), so we thought it would be fun to take a slightly closer look at these time-honoured treats.

  1. Christmas Puddings

    Perhaps one of the most iconic Christmas desserts (alongside the fruit cake), this sweet treat has been around since at least the 15th century. While it has certainly changed since then (this pudding started out more savoury than sweet), and the ingredients and way we make it has shifted over time, it still remains a top pick at Christmas dinners, especially amongst the British! Check out some great recipes here.

  2. Fruit Cakes

    Though it receives more than its fair share of mockery, the fruit cake has a long and esteemed history. With roots going as far back as the Ancient Romans, this holiday dessert has the depth and strength to withstand a few jokes! There are a lot of recipes and variations out there, including the Italian panforte & Germany’s stollen. Take a look at Alton Brown’s famous version, and let us know if you have a favourite go-to recipe!

  3. Mince Pies

    Like the first 2 desserts on our list, mince pies have been around for centuries, though they have undergone some major adaptations along the way. Also like the first 2 desserts, this treat gained some notoriety during Oliver Cromwell’s time in power, when these tasty treats (among other Christmasy traditions) were made illegal. Today, recipes abound for these tasty pies, and they have become ubiquitous on Christmas tables, especially across the UK.

  4. Trifle

    This decadent yet simple layered dessert is another one with a long standing history. Soaking left over breads, cake, and fruit in alcohol was a way to preserve them. It also made sure that no ingredients went to waste. This was meant to be a simple, throw together dessert, and even the name ‘trifle’ seems to reflect that! From classic to creamy, chocolate or berries, there is no lack in mouth watering trifle recipes to try!

  5. Pumpkin Pie

    Pumpkin pie may be seen as a traditional Thanksgiving dessert in Canada and the USA, but it is also one of the most popular Christmas desserts. Originally from central America, pumpkins were first brought to Europe in the 1500’s. These gourds easily made their way into traditional British pie cooking culture; however, it still took a few centuries to become the dessert that North Americans savour today. Fun fact – pumpkins were originally called ‘pumpions’, from the french ‘pompon’, owing to their adorable pompom resemblance! Take a look at one of my all-time favourite pumpkin pie recipes!

We are officially in holiday mode over here, and would love to hear about some of your favourite Christmas treats! Leave us a comment if you would like to share! If you are a serious Christmas planner and are already thinking about next year don’t forget to check out La Casa Mirador for a larger gathering! The full professional kitchen and stunning lake views are a great addition to any holiday tradition! Get in touch if you have any questions.

Valentine's Day Cocktails
Feb12

Ahh, Valentine’s day—love is in the air! And it can also be in your best martini glasses with these 5 Valentine’s Day cocktails!   

What is a Valentine’s Day cocktail exactly? Well…anything that feels romantic. We know that’s broad, but Valentine’s Day drinks are a “you’ll know it when you see it” kind of deal. Typically, they will be sweet, maybe pink or red in color, and will have a feminine flourish.   

Here are our picks:  

The Pink Rose  

  • 50ml French dry vermouth  
  • 25ml Kirschwasser (cherry brandy)  
  • 1 tsp Natural raspberry syrup  
  • Garnish: Brandied cherry  

Roses are a common theme around Valentine’s Day. They are given as gifts and adorn hallmark cards celebrating the season. This drink plays on that theme with its pinky-red hue. Raspberry syrup and a brandied cherry will make it as sweet as your S.O.   

See how to make it at Taste Cocktails 

Seductive Strawberry Cocktail  

  • 2 Strawberries  
  • 1/2 ounce fresh-squeezed lemon juice  
  • 1-1/2 ounces Kentucky straight bourbon  
  • 1/2 ounce Bénédictine liqueur  
  • 1 barspoon simple syrup to taste  
  • Strawberry for garnish  

Made with strawberries and champagne, this cocktail screams Valentine’s Day! The luscious red colour pairs well with the season. Plus, you’ll have strawberries left over for chocolate fondue. The bourbon gives it quite a kick and makes it something that everyone will enjoy.   

See how to make it at All Parenting.   

Sparkling Frosé  

  • ½ Bottle of Sparkling Ice Cherry Limeade  
  • 8 Rosé Ice Cubes  
  • 1oz lemon juice  
  • Mint, for garnish  

Rosé slush is just a great idea all around. This rich, sultry cocktail can be easily adjusted for potency by adding or removing the number of rosé cubes before you blend it together. The Sparkling Ice Cherry Limeade can be substituted for your favourite sparkling fruit beverage if you don’t have any on hand.  

See how to make it at Moscato Mom 

Blushing Geisha  

  • 4 ounces Ty Ku Liqueur  
  • 2 ounces pomegranate juice  
  • 4 ounces rose nectar  
  • Garnish: lime wedge  

This drink is as beautiful as it is tasty. The main ingredient, Ty Ku Liqueur is made with pomegranate, honeydew, yuzu, and Asian pear and is considered an aphrodisiac. Replace the rose nectar with rose simple syrup if you can’t find any (hint: your best chance is probably a natural food store).  

See how to make it on The Spruce Eats 

Chocolate Cherry Delight  

  • 6 ounces chocolate almond milk   
  • 4 ounces cherry juice  
  • 3 ounces vodka  
  • honey for garnish  
  • dark chocolate sprinkles for garnish  

Chocolates are a traditional romantic gift so why not have a cocktail to match? This rich, scrumptious drink is perfect for Valentine’s Day. Use honey or simple syrup on the rim of your martini glasses to make the chocolate sprinkles stick.  

See how to make it at One Country 

Give these Valentine’s Day cocktails a try and let us know what you think!

Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be the only time you celebrate your love. If you’re thinking about a spring or summer getaway, maybe an anniversary or birthday, book with La Casa Cottage Resort. We have luxury vacation rentals that will make any trip special.   

Staycation Ideas banner
Feb05

COVID-19 has changed how we think about travel. Vacationers are sticking close to home and putting a pin in international travel for now. That’s why a “staycation” is such a great idea—it lets you enjoy some time to yourself without the hassle of crossing farther distances.  

But what exactly does a 2021 staycation look like and how can you make the best of it this year? First, let’s cover some basics.  

What is the difference between vacation and staycation?  

Vacation means you are traveling abroad, maybe taking a cruise or staying at a resort. A staycation means you are closer to home, maybe exploring attractions in your own city or taking a quick road trip to a neighbouring community for a long weekend.  

Why is #Staycation popular this year? 

Thanks to the Coronavirus, people are wary about unnecessary travel this year. That’s why staycations are becoming more popular. Not to mention they are often cheaper, less of a time commitment, and much easier to plan.  

How can I spend my staycation in B.C.? 

Considering a staycation this month? Here are some fun staycation ideas that you can try.  

Staycation at Home 

You don’t even need to leave your house for some of the best staycations. Here are a few things you can try:  

  1. Do a spa night with a face mask, long bath, nail treatment, and anything else you can think of 
  2. Enjoy some summer-themed cocktails with a partner and order takeout  
  3. Buy a cheap projector and watch films set in your dream destinations around the world  
  4. Treat yourself to a home-visit masseuse, if there are any ones in your area  
  5. Give yourself a whole “day off” to just lounge at home with no responsibilities  

Staycation in Town 

A staycation can also mean exploring your own backyard in ways you hadn’t thought to do before. Here are some ways you can do so: 

  1. Go out for a fancy dinner somewhere you have never tried before 
  2. Take a day trip to an outdoor market and sample new, local foods  
  3. Check out a tourist “hotspot” in your city that you’ve never visited before  
  4. Go for a walk in a park or hiking trail that you’ve never been to before 
  5. Stay overnight in an Airbnb just to get away from home life for a night  

Staycation Quick Trip  

Sometimes a staycation means taking “stay” lightly. Traveling to a neighbouring town or city can be a safe faux-vacation idea this year: 

  1. Book a cabin or yurt somewhere a few hours away from home for some new scenery  
  2. Visit a friend or family member in another city within the province 
  3. Go skiing, snowboarding, or snowshoeing for a long weekend  
  4. Stay overnight in an Airbnb the next town over to get away from it all  
  5. Plan a road trip somewhere scenic, stay the night somewhere fun, and then try a new route back home 

Thinking about booking something this spring or summer? See what we have to offer in the Okanagan area at La Casa Cottage Resort. And if you’re already a local, might we suggest a #staycation?  

Plan a Group Trip banner
Jan08

A group trip with friends seems like the ideal way to spend a long weekend or week away. Who doesn’t love seeing new sites with a close-knit pack of friends and family? Together, you can book group activities, split costs, and—most importantly—share memories.   

However, group trips can be daunting if not done right. Try these 5 tips to plan the perfect, hassle-free group trip.   

1. Pick a Leader and an “Accountant”   

You’ll want one person sending out all the group emails, making spreadsheets, researching activities, and planning carpools. Another person (or the same person) should be responsible for dividing costs and collecting payments from everyone in the group. Collecting money can be a bit of a drag—that’s why we suggest taking it off your Leader’s plate and having a dedicated team “accountant.”  

Bonus Tip: For payment splitting, try apps like Splitwise or Venmo.   

2. Use a Survey for Big Questions   

Getting everyone on the same page is tough. Where do you want to go? When do you want to leave? How much do you want to spend? What do you want to do while there? Planning a group trip relies on “majority rules”, otherwise we would never get anywhere. Try free survey apps like Google FormsSurveyMonkey, or Zoho Survey to gather feedback and share results as you go.   

Bonus Tip: Make sure you have an ongoing group chat to keep everyone up to date. Facebook Messenger and Google Hangouts are free!   

3. Pick a Budget (and Keep to It)  

Choosing a budget for a group trip is often one of the most difficult things to do. You’ll want to tailor the budget to those with both small and large amounts of disposable income. One way to do this is to travel off-season or keep an eye out for flight deals using apps like Hopper. You can also have “optional” activity days where those who want to buy tickets to this or that can while others enjoy a cheap/free day at a pool, beach, or park.   

4. Book By-Owner Rentals Instead of Hotels   

Hotels are high cost and low personability. Not only that but they tend to be less environmentally friendly than their rental-by-owner counterparts (think AirBNB or La Casa Cottage Resort vacation rentals). By-owner rentals have the same sense of professionalism and luxury but are more ingrained within the community in which they are established. They are also more likely to pair with local businesses for promotions and events like our Sip Happens X La Casa Cottage team-up!   

5. Pre-Plan an Activity or Two Per Day   

Group trips are the perfect opportunity to try new things abroad. You can book adventure activities like bungee jumping or scuba diving; you can focus on cheap activities like hiking or seeing local landmarks; or you can pick out some of the best food and drinks hangout spots to try. Daily activities are the key to getting the most out of your trip and your time together. However, for everyone’s sanity, make sure to leave room for free time, too!   

Conclusion   

Planning a group trip doesn’t have to be a burden. If done correctly, it can be a ton of fun for yourself and everyone else involved. If you need somewhere to stay in Kelowna, B.C, check out our rental options at La Casa Cottage Resort. For groups of 20+, try the La Casa Mirador Guest House 

 

Jan01

COVID-19 put a damper on travel and recreational plans around the globe. Our wanderlust has to be put on hold while the word began to heal. Near the end of 2020 summer, we saw travel restrictions begin to ease. As the pandemic ebbs and flows, we must play the role of a knowledgeable and conscious global citizen. Now, it’s a new year. What will the 2021 travel landscape look like?   

We want all you travelers to stay safe and stay healthy, so we’ve compiled some things you need to know.   

Solitary Travel is IN—Consider Touring a National Park, Camping, Hiking, or Bird Watching.  

If you are still feeling iffy about being in groups, never fear. There are ways to explore the world while allotting yourself some much needed (2-meter!) space. Camping or touring remote wilderness areas in small groups are just some of the ways that people are keeping travel plans safe. Research what National Parks are close to you to get some ideas. You might also want to try searching for the best hikes in your state or province and seeking them out!   

Keep Abreast of Travel Restrictions and Requirements—Go Above and Beyond in Following Them.   

Before you make any plans, be sure to know the ins and outs of any COVID restrictions in the area. Even if the restrictions are weaker where you’re from, it’s important to respect the community you are visiting and go above and beyond to adhere to their guidelines. Practice good travel hygiene by wearing a mask, carrying hand sanitizer, washing your hands frequently, and keeping a safe distance between your group and others. Better safe than sorry—especially when you are just a visitor in someone else’s home!   

Consider a Vacation Close to Home—Travel Within Your Country, State, or Province.   

If you don’t want to risk international travel right now, try something closer to home. Consider a weekend trip somewhere nearby, maybe a city or camping spot that you have always been meaning to try. There are plenty of places within your own “backyard” that you most likely have yet to visit. Try searching some must-see spots in your province or state and make a plan to check them out this year.   

Remember That Big Hotels May Not Be as Safe as COVID-Safe as Private Rentals.  

When filled to capacity, hotels can be quite a virus hotspot. Not to mention those big corporations tend to cut corners when it comes to cleaning and disinfecting shared spaces. That’s why we recommend private vacation rentals for any 2021 travel plans you may have. La Casa Cottages adheres to the strictest cleanliness standards—and we are available to chat at the venue anytime if you have issues. Find us on Airbnb or on the La Casa Cottage Resort website for a list of available vacation rentals.  

Conclusion   

We won’t know for sure what 2021 travel will look like. We might see travel restrictions ease and tighten as things change. Plan to be a respectful and conscious traveler this year. It’s going to take all of us working together to keep our towns and cities happy and healthy.