Travel: Hew and Draw Hotel, Corner Brook, Newfoundland

I know travel may not be top of mind right now because of Ontario’s current lockdown, closed borders, and, well, the pandemic, but that doesn’t mean we have to stop dreaming about future travel, right? I am keeping tabs on new hotels and places to visit, so that once the world reopens, I’ll be ready.

If summer travel means Canada-only destinations then I’ve already added Newfoundland to my travel bucket list. It wasn’t really on the list pre-pandemic, but if a long road trip is my only option, then I think I would enjoy seeing more of Canada’s east coast, including Corner Brook, Newfoundland.

And if I do end up in Corner Brook one day, I think I would enjoy a stay at the Hew and Draw hotel.

all photos via Hew and Draw

Food: Chicken Noodle Soup

I feel like I made a big move forward in the kitchen this month. I challenged myself to make (a) roast chicken, (b) homemade chicken stock, and (c) homemade chicken noodle soup. Guess what, everyone? None of these things were hard. And I’m going to do them all again! I’m excited about this progress, and even though there are thousands (and more!) recipes online, I’m going to share the recipes I used in case you want to give them a try and also so I have a record of it for the future. If you have suggestions, please add a comment!

Roast Chicken

When I spotted a whole chicken on sale at the grocery store, I bought it although I was intimidated to clean it and cook it. No time like the present though, right?

I did a bit of research and settled on Ina Garten’s perfect roast chicken recipe. I had all the ingredients already (except the fennel bulb), and the recipe looked easy. I followed the instructions exactly, and the chicken turned out beautifully. It was tasty and moist. The carrots were sweet and a colourful addition. I added green beans (boiled, drained, then tossed with olive oil and garlic), and my weeknight meal was complete. I was completely surprised by how easy this meal was. (Note: I got over the icky feeling of cleaning the chicken before and after cooking).

Chicken Stock

I saved all the leftovers from the roast chicken and veggie remnants in preparation for homemade chicken stock. I cleaned off most of the chicken pieces from the carcass, kept all the bones, and saved all the carrot/garlic/onion peels/ends from the roast chicken meal.

I used this chicken stock recipe by Foodie Crush (for the most part; I didn’t use leeks or bouillon cubes). I was also influenced by Bowl of Delicious’ chicken stock recipe. My ingredients were: chicken carcass/bones, garlic (cloves, peels), carrots (ends, peels), onions (ends, peels), celery (ends), bay leaves, parsley (frozen), thyme (dried), peppercorns (8), and salt. (Note: I washed all remnant pieces and peels before I used them.) While I was initially intimidated to make homemade chicken stock, after I read some recipes, I was no longer intimidated. Basically, I learned, that you can throw in any whole or remnant pieces of the above ingredients into a large pot with water and simmer it for 1.5-3 hours. I simmered mine for 2 hours. The smell was awesome. The colour of the stock turned a lovely amber. After 2 hours, I strained the stock. Done!

Chicken Noodle Soup

I stuck to Foodie Crush’s site when I saw her recipe for the best homemade chicken noodle soup. Since at this point, I had small pieces left over from the roast chicken and freshly made chicken stock, all I had to do was cut up pieces of carrots and celery and add some egg noodles. (Note: I didn’t use parsnips or chicken bouillon. I would add fewer noodles next time.) This couldn’t have been easier! And it was oh so tasty!

my homemade chicken soup

So, with one affordable chicken, I made two complete dinners of easily four to six servings each. You can believe that I’ll be making these items again in the near future.

Fashion: The Puffer Coat

Puffer coats have been around for years, but each year, new versions hit the market. Cropped. Accessorized. Hooded. Slim. There are plenty to choose from, but here are white/cream puffer coats for women that might be of interest (listed from lowest to highest price).

puffer jacket, $59.99CAD, Old Navy
puffer coat, $74.98CAD (on sale), Avec Les Filles at Sporting Life
puffer jacket, $96CAD, GAP
puffer coat, $131.40CAD, Vero Moda at Hudson’s Bay
puffer coat, $174.94CAD, Invicta at Sporting Life
puffer jacket, $250CAD, Aritzia
puffer coat, $538CAD, Parajumpers at Sporting Life
puffer jacket, $899.94CAD, Sportalm at Sporting Life

Personal: Memories of a Backpack

In preparation for an upcoming post, I came across this (non-white) backpack.

Why am I sharing it here if it isn’t white? Well, it’s because this is the exact backpack I used throughout my childhood, and it brought back happy memories. I had the red version, and my sister had the yellow one. They were from Italy and from an unknown brand to all of my Canadian friends. Invicta. That was a cool Italian brand back in the day (and now, too), and my backpack (the one you see here!) was The Best! The pockets were perfectly placed and functional, and the drawstring for the interior opening made sure all of my supplies stayed in place. Also, I loved (loooooved) the top flap’s plastic closures. I thought they were so unique. Our Invicta backpacks are still at my parents’ house, so I see them every time I open a closet. And now, this model – the exact model from the 80s – is available for purchase once again. How very cool.

Am I the only one with fond memories of a childhood backpack? I have similar memories of pencil cases, too. Who is with me on this?