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Backyard Adventures: Langley

Well, here we are, nine months into this pandemic, and it doesn’t look like we’re going to be able to travel anywhere soon. Any adventures you may have will be limited to your back yard.

Langley is just under an hour’s drive from my house, and it has a surprising amount of fun things to do, see and eat, so let me outline a few of my adventures I’ve had in the past few months in the valley.

Fort Langley

Fort Langley Historical Site: Built in the late 1800s, Fort Langley was a trading outpost. Here trappers and indigenous people would trade for goods provided by the Hudson’s Bay Company. It’s a fun trip back in time to visit the Fort and see how things were a century ago. The last time I was there, none of the actual buildings were open, so there wasn’t much you could do that was interactive, other than walk around and look at things. I think they are open in a more normal capacity now.

Fort Langley: When you leave the Fort, don’t leave the town, there’s loads of great stuff there. Wander around the charming streets and up the block to take a gander at the town hall, and try to remember all the movies and TV shows you’ve seen that have used it as a location. They are shooting there pretty much all the time.

blacksmith bakery

What to eat: I love Blacksmith Bakery for coffee or light snack/lunch. The food is beautiful, homemade, and so, so good. If you’re a bit more hungry, hit up Little Donkey for a big ol’ burrito. They have loads of vegan/vegetarian options. Fort Langley is also home to Veggie Bob’s kitchen, where the serve up plant-based comfort foods. And because I am a girl who cannot resist a good book store, I love to drop by Wendel’s Books. They have a great cafe as well.

Farms and Pies, Oh My!

It’s always so amazing to me that just a short drive from the big city takes you to the most wonderful farmland. There are loads of farms in the Fraser Valley, obviously, but Langley is home to a couple great ones.

Driediger’s Farm: in season, you can U-pick berries here; if you’re lazy, like me, you can just buy them from the farmstand. They also have a little farm market here, with locally-grown and produced goods.

Krause Berry Farm: a much bigger operation than Driedger’s, Krause includes not just a farm stand, but a winery and a drive-in waffle stand. Yeah, that’s right, I said waffles. By the way, they sell the most epic, legendary pies here. The winery is one of the most original I’ve been to; the tasting bar seats are made of saddles.

Aldor Acres

Aldor Acres: a fun spot to come with the kiddos, they have a petting zoo, pumpkins during pumpkin season, and Christmas trees later in the year. They also have a “Farmacy” where the sell local goods.

Wine Down Time

You don’t have to go to the Okanagan to visit a winery! There are quite a few in Langley. My favourite is Backyard Wines. They have an indoor tasting room, but also an outdoor picnic area where you can buy a glass or a bottle of wine, and a little charcuterie and hang out.

backyard wines

There’s also Township 7, Chamberton Estate Winery, and Vista D’Oro, where they make and sell the most delicious port, as well as preserves.

Vegan Tastiness

Vegan Poutine

I just recently discovered Down 2 Earth Plant Parlour. This entirely plant-based cafe  (which is super cute by the way) focuses on vegan comfort food. Try the poutine. Seriously.

Live your Top Chef Dream

You wanna be a gourmet? You gotta hit up Well Seasoned before you leave town. They not only have everything you need to make the perfect risotto, but they have loads of frozen gourmet treats you could bring home, defrost, cook and then proceed to take credit for. They also offer cooking classes in the back. The owner, Angie Quaale, literally wrote the book on where to eat in the Fraser Valley.

backyard winery

Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies

Valentine’s Day is coming, and I have a post for you later this week that rounds up all my favourite chocolate recipes.

But this. This is the ultimate Valentine’s Day treat to make for your (non-vegetarian) sweetie.

bacon chocolate chip cookies

First of all, bacon belongs in the same magical category as unicorns and sriracha (in fact, there’s a fun blog called Bacon Sriracha Unicorn Diaries. Read it). I have often said I could happily give up meat and be a true vegetarian…. if it weren’t for bacon.

This past year for me, has been a love affair with all things that combine sweet and savoury. When I was in Edmonton a couple months back, I discovered a restaurant that sold chocolate covered bacon. I totes ordered that. And it was gooood.

bacon chocolate collage

So. While bacon and chocolate might seem like strange bedfellows, I’m guessing a few people have said the same about you and your sweetie. So why not bake up a batch of these opposites-attract-in-the-most-delicious-way cookies?

I got this recipe from Angie Quaale, BBQ master and owner of Well Seasoned in Langley. I attended a pork cooking class at Well Seasoned before Christmas, and Angie graciously shared her recipe with us.

These cookies, by the way, made the list of Vancouver Magazine’s 101 things to eat before you die, and if you don’t want to make them yourself, you can order them already constructed from Well Seasoned. Bake them up in the oven, and your sweetie will never know you didn’t do the heavy lifting.

The key to making the recipe is to make sure your bacon is crispy. You want the bacon to add both a salty and a textural element to the otherwise soft cookies. You could also candy your bacon, you know, just to take it up a notch.

My gal Emily (@the_fat_pigs) and Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies: a match made in heaven.

My gal Emily (@the_fat_pigs) and Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies: a match made in heaven.

Angie Quaale’s World Famous Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients: 

  • 3⁄4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1⁄4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1⁄2 tsp salt
  • 8 oz chocolate chips

6 slices thick cut Johnston’s bacon – cooked crisp and roughly chopped OR candied (see below. If you are going to candy your bacon, you’ll also need 2/3 cup maple syrup)

Method:

To candy the bacon: Heat the oven to 400 degrees, and bake the bacon for about 15 minutes, until brown and crispy. Remove from the oven and drain well on paper towels. Reduce the oven heat to 350 degrees, and place back on the pan. Pour over the maple syrup, and turn the bacon to coat well. Bake for 15 minutes, turn, and then bake another 15 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on parchment paper. Bacon will crisp up as it cools.

For the cookies: 

  1. Cream together butter and sugars until smooth.
  2. Add egg and vanilla and blend in. Stir in flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt. Finally, stir in chocolate chunks and bacon.
  3. Drop by tablespoons onto a greased baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes, until golden brown around the edges.

Angie Quaale will be doing a cooking demo at The Wellness Show on Friday, February 13, at 6 pm. She’ll be making Blackened BC Pork Tenderloin Medallions, Artichoke, Mushroom & Garlic Sauce for Pasta. She’ll also be giving away a couple of seats to one of her cooking classes to those who attend. I’ll be there–hope to see you! 

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