Canada Day Festivities: We Didn’t Go Camping, but We Ate Some Great Food

[Our Canada Day Dinner. . . get a load of that patriotic Maple Leaf!]

Hope everyone who celebrated this past weekend had a great one! Now, I know that Canada Day/Independence Day weekend means one thing–and one thing only–to many of you: camping.  Me, not so much.  I was reminded of my singular camping experience (back in my 20s, when I was dating my first true love) by a twitter exchange with Shirley of Gluten Free Easily.  Here’s what went down:

Shirley tweeted this: And I replied with this:

To which she replied, with this:

At that point, I felt I needed to clarify. It wasn’t a lack of hotel amenitites, or the lack of alcoholic imbibements on a camping trip to which I objected–no, no–it was the actual act of camping itself. 

Never mind that, at my age, sleeping on the ground results in an immediate reversal to pre-Australopithecus ancestry and I can no longer walk upright the following day; never mind that my multiple candida symptoms require a medical bag of tricks more suited to Mary Poppins than a middle aged, middle class gal on vacation; never mind that my dietary restrictions would convert my meal in the great outdoors to an episode of Survivorman, with me chomping on what looks like a handful of scorched blades of grass while everyone else around the campfire chows down on S’mores, vodka-infused watermelon and burgers in (wheat) buns. Never mind all of that; that’s not why I don’t enjoy camping.

No, the main reason I don’t enjoy camping is. . . . . . the wildlife. 

And by “wildlife,” I mean any animal, insect, body of water or vegetation.   

Suffice it to say that the one camping experience back in my 20s was enough to turn me off camping for the rest of this lifetime (and maybe into two or three of the next). All I can tell you is that a bear, a thunderstorm, and a leaky pup tent were involved.

This past weekend, however, the HH and I did spend some time outdoors (albeit not camping), soaking up the sun on the patio or romping with The Girls, naturally increasing our stores of Vitamin D. All that, plus some truly great eats.

This morning, for instance, my cousin and her family dropped in for brunch.  We recently got back in touch after many years–in the interim, she had three children!  Rather than play musical chairs (here in the DDD household, we’re not quite used to seating 7 people at once), I decided on a buffet instead.  Here’s the spread that awaited them:

[Clockwise from upper left: industrial-sized mixed fruit salad, plate of strawberry scones and Cinnamon Crumb Coffee Cake; more Cinnamon Crumb Coffee Cake; Raw Kale and Avocado Salad; sweet potato and black bean salad; strawberry “cream cheese” spread.]

Since their family are all what I’d call “conventional” eaters (not quite the Standard American Diet, but they do consume meat, eggs, gluten, sugar, etc.), I aimed for some yummy baked goods and even offered up a basket of (glutenous) bread and English muffins (which, I was told, are the kids’ favorites).  The HH also cooked up omelets for those who so chose.  Which meant. . . everyone except my cousin and me.

Still, the two older kids tried some sweet potato-black bean salad (based on this one–simply sub black beans for chickpeas and sweet potato for squash) and everyone tried the scones and coffee cake. My cousin’s oldest daughter really enjoyed the strawberry “cream cheese” spread, too.  I was a bit sad that the children didn’t try the kale and avocado salad, though, which remains a huge favorite for the HH and me.

Apart from their eating habits, I was truly amazed at how polite and well-behaved the children were (ages 4, 9, and 13), considering that ours is not exactly what I’d call a Fisher-Price playground (no toys, no crayons, no candy, no swimming pool–basically, just two food-obsessed dogs who will perform tricks ad nauseum if it means they get a treat).  And really, I didn’t expect to change their established eating habits in one brunch!

So, it looks like the HH and I will be consuming a fair bit of leftovers over the next few days, and that’s just fine by me.  I’d say it’s a good thing I didn’t try to serve up what we ate for yesterday’s dinner (see photo at the top of this post)–about which I’ll tell you next time.

In other news: I’m thrilled to announce that I’ve been working with Holistic Health Counselor Andrea Nakayama developing Sweet Victory, a two-week sugar detox course which we’ll be offering online toward the end of July!  Andrea has established herself as the foremost nutritional counselor in the Portland area, and  I have great respect for her knowledge and approach as a holistic professional (I also think she’s pretty cool, in general!). Now, I’m also proud to call her a colleague as well. Stay tuned for more details!  😀

Mum, I resemble that remark.  I mean, what’s wrong with tricks for treats?  Humans do it all the time at Halloween.”

[Chaser enjoying her own form of celebration on Canada Day.]


[Disclaimer: this post may contain affiliate links. If you buy using these links, at no cost to you, I will earn a small commission from the sale.]



  1. Congratulations on the sugar detox course! There aren’t many people I’d trust in an endeavour like that, but I know you’ll be doing it with true knowledge, not faddishness, behind you 😀

    • Thanks so much, Hannah! I appreciate the vote of confidence. I’ve been admiring Andrea’s work for a while and can attest that she is the real deal–incredibly knowledgeable, professional, results oriented and a warm and approachable individual, all at the same time. I am so looking forward to the course (which I’m going to be following along with all the participants!). 😀

  2. Mm the raw avocado kale salad sounds amazing!

  3. Our travel bag has a lot of pills and potions 😉 but that is true no matter where we go.

    Next week Rita’s brother, Jorge (also known as #1 Son), is having a birthday celebration so we are gearing up for that. Family is what really makes a holiday and I’m glad that you were able to enjoy yours!

    I need to try that kale and avocado salad!

    • Gretchen, I totally agree–it’s the people (and canines) with whom we spend our time that make the time worthwhile! Happy birthday to #1 Son . Mix up that salad–you will love it! 🙂

  4. Glad to hear your canada day was a success without any camping involved (we are not much of campers in GGG household). I’d prefer good food to tents any day and you sound like you did well to feed a conventional family – your strawberry scones sound lovely – and I think dogs are far better than any toys for entertaining kids – esp chaser and elsie

    • Thanks, Johanna! (And hey, I never noticed the triple-letter-rhyme of our two blog households! Whee!). 😉 I think we did all right in the food department–and Elsie and Chaser definitely had as much fun as (if not more than) the kids!

  5. You put out a beautiful spread – and I have found that kids can be entertained by dogs for hours! Who needs toys when you have endless supply of treats and a pair of hungry dogs.

    My niece and nephews are very used to kale salad and green smoothies and now all have a favourite bean (chickpeas, black beans, lentils etc). But it took time for those foods to move from strange to familiar. Now my nephew (who is four) can spot and name all the different kinds of greens at the farmers market. He knows how to make his auntie proud!

    I would be happy to send them over to help you polish off those delicious leftovers. 🙂

    • Lisa, that is so amazing! But I would have expected no less from you. 😉 Thanks for the encouragement–I’m hoping we’ll be in regular touch with them from now on, so I have some work to do!

  6. That sounds more like my kind of entertainment. I’m not much of a camper either … my poor husband.

    • It works out perfectly in our house, since the HH is even less of a camper than I am. (I guess he got “camped out” after all those trips up north with his buddies in his wayward youth). 😉

  7. Chaser looks like Kobe, my black lab. She’ll take a drink from the hose, a spray bottle, a water gun, the bathtub faucet … anywhere there is water coming out of a device. The brunch looks scrumptious! Hope you are having a great holiday.

  8. You should have invited me for brunch! I would have eaten everything and begged and pleaded for the left overs.
    Congrats on Sweet Victory. It seems it comes at a good time for me as I am trying to cut out refined sugar out of my diet (as you know). I am pretty obsessed with your blog as it is (your stories are as engrossing as your recipes) so I will be peaking even more, looking out for details on SV. Cannot wait.

    • Thanks so much, Rhona, and for saying such nice things about the blog. 🙂

      I’ve decided to go through the program along with all the participants as I’ve been feeling the need for a “refresher” myself! I can’t wait to start it. . . I’m not sure if I’m more excited to share it with all of you, or to be working with Andrea. I know that both will be pretty great. 😀

  9. Courtney says

    Hahaha–I love this Ricki! I have never been camping and I have absolutely NO desire to ever go. Don’t get me wrong–I love spending time outside as much as the next person and I am all for the outdoors, but camping? Not so much. I’ll stick with my indoor plumbing 🙂

    Congrats on the new course you are developing–that sounds exciting!


    • Thanks, Courtney! Glad to find a kindred spirit in the “I hate camping” camp! 😉 Yes, there is much to be said for indoor plumbing. And I am so excited for this course, yes!! 😀

  10. Oh, dear, all the camping “fear”! LOL What a hoot to come here and see our Twitter exchange, Ricki! For the record, the camping trip was wonderful and yes, I do have a few mosquito bites … totally worth it though. 😉

    I’d let your girls do tricks over and over for my entertainment and their treat satiation! We had our pooch and another with us camping and they were pretty amusing. 🙂

    Very intrigued by the sugar detox!


    • Yep, camping just ain’t my thang! 😉 But so glad you enjoyed yourself (mosquito bites or not). And I’d say the only regret about not being outdoorsy is that the Girls miss out on it! I think the detox will be amazing–Andrea is incredibly good at what she does and has helped hundreds of people improve their health already. Thrilled to be working with her!

  11. Your food looks incredible (as always), Ricki! The dessert especially! And I’ve been a tofu monster lately!

    • Aw, thanks! I think I need to get back to some regular tofu. . used to eat it about once a week, lately not even once a month. But this last recipe got me back in the tofu groove! 🙂

  12. what a spread!! i would’ve gobbled everything up 🙂

  13. What a gorgeous brunch spread! I’ve never done tent camping before – only in motorhomes. Well except one night where my friend and I slept on an air bed outside the motorhome. I remember when I was even younger and motorhoming with my grandparents. I hated going outside because of all the bugs but of course I would get shooed out there.

    • Ashley, you’ve just summed up my own feelings about it. Bugs, bugs, bugs!! They find me no matter what. And I hate the little. . . buggers. The brunch was really nice, though! 😀

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