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Slowcooker stew
Jan20

The last thing you want to do on any vacation is spend a ton of time cooking and cleaning. That’s why slowcookers are so perfect. They are an easy set-it-and-leave-it meal that only dirties a single pot. Plus, they can feed plenty of guests if you are hosting a family event.

For winter vacations, like a Christmas get-together or group ski trip, you are going to want most of your meals to be steaming hot. There’s nothing better than a warm bowl of stew on a beautiful snowy winter day. Here are a few easy slowcooker recipes that can bring with you on your snowy wonderland travels.

  1. Loaded Sweet Potato by the Lean Green Bean

For this recipe, cut the potatoes in half and lay it on a piece of tinfoil. Then, load it with your favorite vegetable, grain, and meat toppings. Add cumin and grated cheese. Cook on low for 4-6 hours. When finished, you can add refrigerated toppings like tomatoes, avocado, salsa, lettuce, sour cream, et cetera, as desired.

Check out the full recipe here: Loaded Sweet Potato.

  1. Slowcooker Steel-Cut Oats by AllRecpies

To make quick and easy steel-cut oats in a slowcooker, just add 2 cups of water, 1 cup of milk, and 1 cup of steel-cut oats. Then, add fruit, butter, or spices as you see fit. This recipe suggests apples, brown sugar, cinnamon, butter, and a bit of salt. Cook it for 8 hours (so you will want to start it the evening before) and then you have a ready-to-go warm breakfast.

Check out the full recipe here: Slowcooker Steel-Cut Oats.

  1. Slowcooker Chicken Breast with Gravy by Dinner at the Zoo

Place 6 raw (not frozen) chicken breasts into the slowcooker. The broth is made with olive oil, chicken broth, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, and garlic. You then have the option to cook the meal on low for 4-5 hours or high to 2-3 hours. Once done, you can set the chicken aside and boil the broth with cornstarch and 1/4 cup of cold water for about a minute to make the gravy.

Check out the full recipe here: Slowcooker Chicken Breast.

  1. Hearty Pork Bean Soup by Taste of Home

This full recipe makes about 12 servings so you can half it if you are feeding less people. Soak the beans overnight and rinse them the next day. Then, layer the beans, vegetables, and pork into the slowcooker. Add seasonings, broth, and pale ale. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. Shred the pork, add the tomatoes, spinach, and salt, and then cook for another 20 minutes.

Check out the full recipe here: Hearty Pork Bean Soup.

Those are a few simple, fun, and delicious slowcooker recipes for you and your loved ones to enjoy this holiday season. They are perfect for any occasion and sure to bring some holiday cheer.

Winter Activities, Snowboard, phones, goggles
Jan13

Top 5 Okanagan Winter Activities for the Cool-Weather Traveler

The appeal of the Okanagan Valley in the summertime is undeniable: sunny days on the beach, a walk through the public parks, ice cream from local vendors. But did you know that this semi-arid desert vacation spot is just as charming in the winter? Plus, you won’t have to compete with sun-chasing tourists for parking spots, dinner reservations, and accommodations.

Here are 5 Winter activities you can do near La Casa Cottage Resort during the cooler months:

  1. Big White Ski Resort

You’ll find Big White Ski Resort about an hour outside of Kelowna. An express bus will even take you from the city to the resort for a small fee. Enjoy 119 designated trails with the longest being a full 7.2 km (4.5 miles) from the top of the T-Bar to Bottom of Gem Lake. Once you’re done shredding powder, the Big White area has 20 on-mountain restaurants, cafes, delis, pubs and nightclubs for you to enjoy.

  1. Snowshoeing Around Vernon

Check out the Vernon Visitor Centre for the various snowshoe trails in the area. Sovereign Lake Nordic Centre offers 14 km (8.7 mi) of trails with different levels of intensity from beginner to expert. Silver Star has another 16 km (10 mi) of single-track trails through forests and hills for nature lovers to relish. Anyone craving a challenge should try the BX Creek & Falls Trail or the Longacre Trail snowshoe hike.

  1. Stargazing in Heated Pools

Enjoy the crisp, refreshing night air in a heated pool or hot tub. Download a star-gazing app like Star Chart for an augmented reality experience while you take in the night sky. It will help you spot constellations using your smartphone. Wintertime is great for star-gazing because it stays dark for much longer. Even if you don’t spot a falling star, heated pools can do wonders for stress and relaxation.

  1. Stuart Park Skating Rink

In the heart of downtown Kelowna, you’ll find the Stuart Park skating rink. This attraction is a local favorite during the chilly winter months. Visitors can rent skates on-site via the Bladez Skate Truck and using the rink itself is free otherwise. Open from 6 AM to 11 PM, the Stuart Park rink is only available from around December to February annually so catch it before it closes.

  1. Holiday-Themed Events

During December, the various neighborhoods of Kelowna and Vernon host a variety of holiday-themed events, markets, and light-ups. Okanagan Christmas Fest, for example, is only $5 to get in and presents festive shopping and snacking opportunities as well as a Christmas Tree Walk in support of the Central Okanagan Food Bank. Or, try the Holiday Light-Up in downtown Vernon.

Whatever you decide to do, know that the Okanagan is so much more than blistering hot days and summer music festivals. There is a quiet, charming beauty to the Okanagan area in the winter. We hope you will come and discover it for yourself.

Looking to book a Winter Getaway? La Casa Mirador sleeps up to 26 guests and includes a roof top hot-tub, private movie theatre & games room! Come make the most of winter in the Okanagan!

Jan06

The start of a new year is the perfect time for reflection and promises of future self-care. If 2019 was hectic, busy, and bustling for you – as it was for many – then it may be time to consider your 2020 resolution and refocus yourself on relaxation and recuperation as we begin the new year.

While 80% of “typical” New Year’s Resolutions tend to fail (dieting, exercise, picking up a new skill or hobby), there are still ways to develop a goal that sticks. The important thing is to start small and focus on goals that feel good to achieve. Like booking a mini vacation at La Casa Cottage Resort.

“Take more vacations” is a resolution that anyone can get behind. But it’s more than just a desire for R&R that makes this a great suggestion. Vacationing has proven to improve mental health, help generate creative ideas for work problems, and boost your energy reserves.

Not only that but La Casa Cottage Resort has 2 pools and 3 hot tubs available for guest use. Hot tubs can decrease insomnia, ease bodily aches and pains, and the sweating can even help you shed a few pounds. Rest and relaxation have benefits beyond just “getting away from it all.” A good vacation can revitalize your body, mind, and spirit so that you can return to your daily routine energized and motivated.

Other benefits of visiting La Casa Cottage Resort include: visiting the beautiful Okanagan Valley, spending time near the crystal-clear lake, and enjoying leisurely activities like boating, horseback riding, and golfing.

For some bonus New Year’s Resolution points, try:

  • Turning off your smartphone and other electronic devices for the weekend. Be present in the moment and take a break from screen time.
  • Spend quality time with family and/or loved ones. Ask questions, be an active listener, and take some special time to learn something new about them.
  • Genuinely let go of your cares, stresses, and burdens and allow yourself to be peaceful while you sip fresh Okanagan wines on the terrace.

Resolutions needn’t be difficult, grueling, or painful. In fact, taking some dedicated “you time” will make you a better employee, friend, parent, and partner. Focusing on your inner self, rather than the outer self (on which many resolutions center) is a surefire way to improve your well-being for the New Year and beyond.

And did we mention that a visit to La Casa Cottages can align with more “traditional” resolutions, as well? If you’re looking to get in shape, take a hike through one of the many Kelowna area trails. If you are looking to reconnect with loved ones, invite them to one of the many multi-room properties we offer. There are plenty of fun ways to ring in the New Year with La Casa.

No matter your goal – be it activity or straight relaxation – there’s something ready for you here at La Casa Cottages in the beautiful Okanagan.

tree kelowna
Nov25

Downtown Kelowna Light Up

Winter has come! If you want to celebrate holiday season in Kelowna with your family, tree lighting is one of the must-see events. There is a giant tree light up event in Kelowna called “Winter street market” which is a free community event. As you can see from the name, this is more than tree lighting! There are tons of vendors, foods, live entertainment, and of course Santa! 2019 marks the 31st year of this festival. This year the festival will be held on December 7th. The heart of this event is located at Stuart Park (between the skating rink and the Kelowna Yacht Club), but there are lots of additional things happening in the surrounding area. 

Here are some fun things you could do at the event:

  • Indulge some festive sweets and treats
  • Munch on some delicious street food
  • Take a photo with Santa at Stuart Park
  • Make a craft at the Kelowna Art Gallery
  • Go for a skate on the rink at Stuart Park
  • Browse the Downtown shops
  • Take in the live music and performances 
  • Warm up with some hot chocolate and marshmallow around the fire
  • Last but not least, tree light up!

To access this event, drive, walk, run, bike or bus. If you choose to use a bus, check out the transit schedule here. If you choose to drive, you’ll be happy to know that City of Kelowna is offering free parking on all Saturdays in December! Check out more parking information here.

Join this event and spend some quality time with your family this winter!

kelowna light up

Looking for a vacation rental for next year? Please check out our homepage.  We have a great selection of cottages near Okanagan Lake, with some beautiful views!

(P.S. A stay at La Casa Cottages makes the perfect gift for your loved ones!)

 

Written by Natsumi Matsumoto

snowboard and ski
Nov18

Ski and Snowboard in the Okanagan

Ready to book your next British Columbia ski vacation? Looking for an alternative to Whistler? The Okanagan valley is home to a number of mountains that have varied terrain and budget-friendly pricing.  Here are three ski resorts within easy driving distance from La Casa.

Crystal Mountain Ski Resort – West Kelowna

Exciting news! The Crystal Mountain ski area has been closed for a number of years—but the area is under development and is set to reopen under a new name and new management this winter! Fingers crossed everything goes to plan: we can’t wait to see what happens here. It’s the only ski area in West Kelowna after all, meaning it’s less than a 1 hour drive from La Casa to Crystal Mountain. 

Silver Star Ski Resort – Vernon

Cozy would be the correct word to describe Silver Star.  The mountain village offers a range of ski-in, ski-out accommodation options that minimise your time from sleep to slopes. The resort is very popular with locals and has a friendly vibe, often less busy than the larger mountains…but still with an impressive amount of terrain.  Silver Star is around a 1 hour 30 minute drive from La Casa.

Big White Ski Resort – Kelowna

Big White is a Mecca for winter sports enthusiasts with an average annual snowfall of 750 cm, 16 lifts, 119 designated trails, 25km of cross country trails and more! New additions for the 2019/20 season include: an extra magic carpet for beginners, more gondola cabins on Lara’s gondola, and a new trail that allows skiers and snowboards to access Westridge earlier on in the season. Sounds good to us—and just under a 1 hour 30 minute drive from La Casa too.

skiing
Organising a group ski vacation? The La Casa Mirador Guest House can sleep up to 26 people and is perfect for large groups of family or friends. Spend some quality time together this winter (and discover a ski resort, or two).