I spent the last week in West Kelowna, British Columbia, visiting my friend, Norene. She is the person with which I have the longest friendship; we’ve known each other since kindergarten. After university she moved away from Winnipeg, spending most of her years living in various cities in the United States and Canada. Although we rarely saw each other through the years, we always kept in touch.
I had a great time with her. I think you can tell a lot about the quality of a friendship by how comfortable you are with that person when living under the same roof for a chunk of time. We haven’t spent this much time together since our youth but we fit back together easily.
Norene was very accommodating with my new eating lifestyle. I told her what I ate and she had her fridge stocked for me. I ate my usual breakfast and lunch I have at home and she made me wonderful dinners that fit right into my eating plan. Some of the highlights were a pizza soup, tortillas baked into the shape of salad bowls which we filled with lettuce, onion, pepper, tomato, chili, and cheese, and another day she made wonderful single serving meatloaves. My absolute favourite was the pizza soup! I put her recipe at the bottom of this post.
Norene has a big dog and most days we went for walks that lasted at least an hour. She took me to different parks around Kelowna so I could see some of the sights. I also attended her osteofit exercise class one day. So I ate well and got some exercise!
One of Norene’s dreams for the future is to walk the Camino de Santiago. This is an 800 km walk that starts in San Jean Pied de Port, France and concludes in Santiago de Compostela, Spain (there are other routes). This is a pilgrimage route to the shrine of the apostle St. James the Great which is located in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. Although you don’t have to be religious to walk the route, many do as a form of spiritual growth or as a retreat. Norene has asked me to walk this with her and I think I might just do that! Most people do this walk in about 35 days. So while with Norene, I saw both the movie called “The Way” and a documentary based on this walk. We plan to go in a few years but have no firm date yet.
We spent lots of time chatting and catching up. We covered the past, the present and the future. We never seemed to run out of topics. And then when we kind of had enough of each other for the day, we did our own thing. I brought a craft project to work on and made an excellent start. It’s a gift for someone who reads this blog so can’t say what it is but I’m happy to report it will now be finished by Christmas!
We ended the week with a nice dinner out to a German restaurant, Gasthaus, located in Peachland, and today I’m headed back to Winnipeg. I’m actually writing this blog from the airport in Edmonton as I’ve got a long delay…..sigh.
I had such a great time, I’m planning to visit again in a few years.
Some of the highlights of the trip were as follows:
Norene has her Masters degree in music and vocal performance. She works as a vocal teacher and is also the musical director with a dinner theatre performing arts school called the Actors Studio. One day I accompanied her while she taught some classes and then to the studio where she was involved in casting for the musical West Side Story. I got to see some auditions and be present when the roles were announced.
On Friday evening, her youngest son, to whom I am the godmother, and his girlfriend of ten years, came over for dinner. He is her only child living in Kelowna. We had a really great evening chatting. But the neatest thing, was two days after I saw him, he proposed to his girlfriend! (She said yes.)
On Saturday, we traveled 2 ½ hours from Kelowna, to see an attraction called The Enchanted Forest, located between Sicamous and Revelstoke. This is a magical place where fairy tales come to life – the Three Little Pigs’ houses, the shoe where the old woman lived with so many children she didn’t know what to do, Snow White, Captain Hook and many more. They also have the tallest tree house in British Columbia that rises fifty feet into the forest canopy and a nature walk. It was a wonderful afternoon!
Note – you can adjust this recipe by adding anything you like.
1 – 28 oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
14 oz can diced tomatoes
2 rounded tablespoons powdered beef stock
1 or 2 14 oz cans mushroom, drained
1 large green pepper
1 large onion
2 medium zucchini
1 to 2 cups thinly sliced pepperoni or pepperoni salami
1 (or more) cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp oregano
1 cup (or more) shredded mozzarella cheese
Combine all ingredients (except cheese) in a large pot, adding water if prefer a thinner consistency, and bring to a boil. Turn down heat. Cover and simmer until the vegetables are soft. Ladle soup into bowls. Top with mozzarella cheese, if desired. Enjoy!