Saturday, September 29, 2012

Pacific Beach WA-Ah Houston We Have A Problem

The last time we were in the area of Copalis Beach we drove up to Pacific Beach to check out the State Park.  We saw it was side by side camping and for the first time we didn't care because of the view !  Once we got home to Seattle we booked a week end at Pacific Beach State Park to see what it was like. The fog had rolled in a little when we arrived , but by the time we had set up camp the sun was shining and the beach went on forever.
I went and checked out the restrooms-I laugh at how my priorities have changed-hot showers-wahoo-token operated, 2 tokens for a 3 minute shower.  And the rest rooms were very clean, always a plus.  I walked back to the campsite and Jim mentioned "we have a little leak from the holding tank".  Dun Dun Dun Dun.  He kept assuring it me it was just minor, but Holy Crap Batman it was the holding tank.  I had visions of the EPA and 20 other Federal and State agencies showing up and $$$ signs were running  through my mind  and I was trying to add up how many fines we would be paying.  Jim kept saying it's just a leak,it's not bad-I can laugh now because Jim is not one to minimize problems and he was doing just that for my benefit. When I looked under the van it looked like a lake. All I can say is thank goodness that the tank was empty except for some fresh water we had poured into to activate the enzymes we add to keep it clean-and those were non toxic,earth friendly natural kind of things-whew--not you know what ,leaking out from the toilet. Still I was bummed out,ha ha. Seriously, I'm usually the one who takes things with a grain of salt,laughs them off and makes the best of it-but I was convinced someone was calling the EPA as we were trying to clean up from under the van ! Thankfully there were only about 3 gallons of water that had emptied and leaked out and  the ocean air and sun helped dry up our site.  It's a little hard when you are side by side with other campers to conduct a clandestine clean up .  But we did. We called Roadtrek, spoke with one of their technicians-Steve, who by the way was extremely helpful.  He explained the gate valve probably got jarred by a rock and would need replaced or tightened (we are keeping fingers crossed for tightened vs replace)  After we got off the phone with him we promptly called Poulsbo RV and made an appointment.  Whew-the crisis had concluded and we could get on with camping.
The fog had lifted and it turned into a beautiful sunny day-we broke out the lawn chairs and a cold beer.  You can see the tray we put under the van just in case !

 After the stress of the crisis had passed neither one of us was really hungry so we opted for some delicious Washington Bartlett Pears with Havarti cheese and crackers.  A little white wine and it was a perfect lunch.

Then it was off to explore the beach. Hailey gives this beach 5 stars !  Miles to run, sand dunes to play in, and when the tide comes in there is about 300 yards of shallow water she can splash her little heart out in .


As we came back to our campsite from the beach we stumbled upon typical activities around the campground.  This gentleman's picture should appear next to the word relaxation in the dictionary !

I have no idea why Jim is doing his Jack Nicholson impersonation of "Here's Johnny"

We thought this woman was selling windsocks,but she wasn't.  These were just a small display of her collection-she was still bringing them out and setting them out for the next hour.  And they apparently bring them in every night-that's way too much work for me-but a very pretty collection and perfect for the windy Washington coast.

This is Abbie the little cutie pie across the way from us.

I decided on this trip I finally had to conquer Ruby's oven. It's a combination microwave,convection and conventional oven all in one.  And since I needed to make doughnut muffins for my other blog:, I figured this was the perfect opportunity to try out the oven.

The recipe I used this time was from the King Arthur Website-it was pretty good but my favorite recipe so far for doughnut muffins is here.  I wasn't sure if I should bake this using the convection feature or the feature that is called half time; half time is convection and microwave combined.  Since I was making a dozen and had to bake them in batches of 6, I decided to try both oven methods.

Yield: 12 muffins.

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 to 1 1/4 teaspoons ground nutmeg, to taste
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 2/3 cups all purpose flour
1 cup milk
Cinnamon Sugar Topping
8 oz. (16 Tbs.) unsalted butter; more as needed
2 cups sugar
2 Tbs. ground cinnamon

Alternate Glaze Topping
3 tablespoons butter; melted
1 cup confectioners’ sugar; sifted
3/4 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons hot water

To make the muffins

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Lightly grease a standard muffin tin. Or line with 12 paper or silicone muffin cups, and grease the cups with non-stick vegetable oil spray; this will ensure that they peel off the muffins nicely.
In a medium-sized mixing bowl, cream together the butter, vegetable oil, and sugars till smooth.
Add the eggs, beating to combine.
Stir in the baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, salt, and vanilla.
Stir the flour into the butter mixture alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour and making sure everything is thoroughly combined.
Spoon the batter evenly into the prepared pan, filling the cups nearly full. A #16 ice-cream scoop gives you the perfect amount
Bake the muffins for 15 to 17 minutes, or until they're a pale golden brown and a cake tester inserted into the middle of one of the center muffins comes out clean.
Remove them from the oven, and let them cool for a couple of minutes, or until you can handle them.

To finish with Cinnamon Sugar Dipping Mixture:
While they're cooling, melt the butter for the topping (this is easily done in the microwave).
Use a pastry brush to paint the top of each muffin with the butter, then sprinkle with the cinnamon-sugar. Or simply dip the tops of muffins into the melted butter, then roll in the cinnamon-sugar.
Serve warm, or cool on a rack and wrap airtight. Store for a day or so at room temperature.
To finish with the Glaze:
In a medium bowl, prepare the glaze by mixing together the melted butter, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla and water. Whisk until smooth. When muffins have cooled slightly, dip the muffin crown into the glaze and allow the glaze to harden. If you like you can glaze them twice for a sweeter topping.

I made the glazed version using the half time-convection and microwave combined.  They were delicious-a nice light moist crumb.

I used the convection feature for the cinnamon topped ones-they were a little dry,the crumb a little compact. Not bad with a cup of coffee but the half time feature won out and that's how I will be baking my cakes in Ruby in the future.

After the baking was done we took off for the beach again.  The sun was shining so brightly over the water-it was sparkly and gorgeous.

Scenes from the beach:


After two days at the beach we didn't want to leave- but we knew we had to.  We started our last day at the beach with what has become our favorite breakfast : Marge's original granola,topped with Greek Gods Honey Yogurt and all of that topped with my roasted strawberries.  It is so good,it's like having dessert for breakfast.  I usually make up the strawberries at home and put them in a Ziploc and into the refrigerator.  They are exceptional when they are warm but they are just as good cold too !

As we left the campground we decided to trust the Tom Tom GPS to get us back home-usually it's giving us crazy directions ,like turn left 200 ft ahead and then turn right when all that's ahead are curves in the road.  I'm a Garmin girl but the Tom Tom came with Ruby so we are making the best of it.  Well it directed us to go straight out of Pacific Beach instead of right onto Pacific Highway.  I knew there was a back way to Copalis Beach and I figured that's where we were heading-we weren't , we actually ended up on the back way into Hoquiam on a road called Ocean Beach Road.  We had never traveled that one before and it turned out to be quite nice.  As we were driving Jim said "did you see that "? It was a little oasis back there-I hadn't seen it and he being the wonderful man that he is,turned around and took me back to it.  While he parked along the side of the road I walked about 50 feet up the road and found it.  I don't know how he spotted it going down the road 55 mph-but there it was tucked into the forest a beautiful quiet little stream filled with grasses and sunlight coming through the trees.  Good job Tom Tom ! And thank you to my dear sweet husband for spotting it and sharing it with me.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Fawn Lake, Lone Butte, British Columbia

Fawn Lake Resort is  run by Heidi & Freddy Hess. A sweet little spot to camp off the Fishing Highway in BC. It has electric & water hook up and a sani-dump. Fabulous rest rooms with good old country music playing as soon as you open the doors;hot showers and a laundry.  Steve from the Lost Fork Fly Shop recommended this place-thank you so much Steve ! We were a little worried about "the resort aspect".  We like to dry camp and prefer quieter areas for camping when we need electric or water hookup.  I had a vision of campers lined up in a parking lot,looking more like Walmart than a relaxing getaway spot.  You can't imagine my relief when we pulled into this place-it was absolutely perfect.  We both wanted #1 a lake so that Jim could fish; #2 a sunny beach where I could relax and read and play with Hailey and #3 a campsite as beautiful as the one we left behind on Lopez Island. High expectations right ?  And we were not disappointed, we felt so blessed and grateful to find this place.  After coming off of that horrible July I had, in and out of the hospital with Lyme Disease, this vacation was exactly what I needed to mentally recover and get my spirit back.  And Jim certainly needed it after the stress he went through until the doctors figured out what was wrong with me.

You can see from the map that it's a small lake in comparison to it's neighbors, but it couldn't have been more perfect.  Spring fed;clear water:ducks greeting us in the morning with their quacking; muskrats swimming along the shore at sunset and deer wandering around the lake in the evening. We heard tales of a black bear breaking into one of the cabins late last fall but we didn't spot any signs of bear while we were camping at Fawn Lake.

Fall has arrived and the Aspen are gorgeous

Fawn Lake front porch-you can pick up WiFi here if you are so inclined.

Heidi and Freddy do a wonderful job of keeping the resort looking beautiful

 View from one of the cabins around the lake

A nice place to soak up the afternoon sun

The view we went to sleep with and woke up to. We saw a million stars out of those windows at night

We were down on the "Point" (site #6A) where the hardcore fishermen were ! Not that we were hardcore,just happened to be the last water site available.  The sites at the west end of the lake are more private and have more shade to protect you from the hot sun. We camped here from September 19 -September 22 and hated to leave .

 The Point

We met some great people here,our next door neighbor was Wayne-he has been coming here for 20 years.  He gave us the lay of the land and some advice on getting a surge guard for our electric hook up.  He was a pretty funny guy and told us many tales of his 3 wives and how he got the camper he had today.  He kept us laughing around the campfire.  We also met Sandra and Marty from Surrey.  When we compared our health care system with Canada's we wanted them to adopt us !  Marty gave Jim a California Blond Fly to help him catch some trout on this gorgeous lake.  Really nice people and we enjoyed lots of laughs around the campfire with them.

Hand made chaise lounges all around the lake

Putting on his fins to head out to the middle of the lake

Jim was in fish heaven during this stay 

Beginning of a perfect day with a perfect view and oh so quiet

The duckies loved Hailey ,they would gather and watch her closely as she jumped in after her sticks

I loved the weather and the sunshine all day long,finally got a little color !
Dark chocolate and cherry Brownies-my first attempt at dessert on the charcoal grill !

Here is the recipe for the brownies that I attempted on the charcoal grill-they were very good !

Dark Chocolate and Cherry Brownies
adapted from
Cooking spray
3.4 ounces all-purpose flour (about 3/4 cup)
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cherry preserves
1/3 cup water
5 tablespoons butter
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 large egg white
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Powdered sugar (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°.(see my notes below for cooking on a charcoal grill)
Line a 9-inch square baking pan with parchment paper; coat with cooking spray.

Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, 1 cup sugar, unsweetened cocoa, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl; stir with a whisk. Combine cherry preserves, 1/3 cup water, and butter in a small saucepan; bring to a boil. Add preserves mixture to flour mixture; stir well. Add egg and egg white; stir until smooth. Stir in semisweet chocolate chips. Scrape batter into prepared pan. Bake at 350° for 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out with a few moist crumbs. Cool in pan on wire rack. Garnish with powdered sugar, if desired.
Note: Lining the pan with parchment paper helps prevent the moist brownies from sticking.
I didn't bake these in the oven. I used our Cobb Grill for my first attempt at baking on a charcoal grill. I had 10 coals in the fire basket and they were that really nice grey color and fairly hot.  I used the frying pan accessory to act as a little bit of buffer between the cake pan and the hot coals. ( I have since learned that a nice layer of sand inside the frying pan would diffuse the heat beautifully and keep the brownies from scorching on the bottom.) These baked for about an hour and they did burn slightly one the bottom-easily remedied by cutting off the burnt bottoms.  They were delicious-I can't wait to experiment with more desserts on this grill-love, love,love it !

Nice touch,a viewing area where you can bird watch and it has a fabulous view of the lake

Ran across these two woodland spirits while hiking around the lake

The west end of the campground where the trees are much thicker and provide nice shade coverage

Moon rise on Fawn Lake

It's very peaceful here, we definitely plan on returning next year

Our last night and moon rise

Our last morning view of the lake