Aaaaahhh Victoria!

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It has been way too long since we have seen our Victoria kids.

My youngest son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter are loving life on this beautiful island. The clouds and drizzle that has followed us since we crossed the California border and into Oregon and Washington is very comfortable in this glorious place. We are so happy to see the kids, and we make plans – the aquarium in Sidney Harbor, the Butterfly Gardens that we have visited every time we come to Victoria, and the cinnamon rolls that I have promised to make, from scratch, with granddaughter Romi. Also, we have all been invited to go to a neighboring island for the day with the friend of the kids who has a home there.

We spent one day on all the side trips we had planned, and then we got up very early the next day and went to the ferry for the ride to Galiano Island. One of the Gulf Islands that are strung out like jewels in the Puget Sound, Galiano was a wonderful surprise. I hadn’t realized that all these tiny islands that dot the Sound are inhabited — some with summer folks, and some with permanent residents. These hearty souls love the independence of living on a tiny island in the middle of a lot of water.

Getting on the ferry, we met the kid’s friend, Bev, and were blown away when we arrived at her beautiful home that was perched on a bluff overlooking her own private beach. The views are breathtaking. You could see eagles soaring in the sky and sea birds fishing. Her beach was rocky – no sand here, and there were piles of driftwood that had washed ashore from storms.

I loved Bev’s philosophy regarding the house. She said, “I have a condo in Victoria, but when this place came up for sale, how could I not buy it?” It was quite a hike down to the beach from her magical home, but sitting there on an old log that could have floated in from China for all I knew, and listening to the waves slapping against the beach, I felt totally relaxed and at peace. Bev is right when she said that her cottage is a healing place. It is a magical spot.

Bev is a Stockbroker who sculpts gorgeous figures in clay in her spare time. A yin-yang personality, she is truly amazing with her huge talent and her graciousness. She fixed a gigantic lunch for us and was so welcoming and hospitable that we felt immediately at home. Romi was in heaven when Bev showed her how to work a clay horse sculpture, complete with cowboy, saddle and reins. We are always surprised when we see how talented this 7-year-old ball of fire is, and how much she has accomplished in her young life. We have three amazing grandkids – all beautiful, talented and bright, and Romi is the youngest. The other two are living on the East Coast. I realize grandmothers everywhere feel this way, but it is still amazing when you realize they are yours!

I am going to actually give you some recipes this time — I got the wine smoothie out of my system. One is a fabulous pie that my daughter-in-law Lea made for us, with a recipe that came from a friend of theirs that uses all raw ingredients and is a cinch to make. And the other is the legendary cinnamon rolls that Romi and I made.

Trina’s Apple Pie

Trina is an exceptional young woman who just happens to be a patient of my son’s. In Victoria, it seems like everyone adopts everybody, and Trina, like Bev, is part of their family in a way. Victoria is very much like a small town in this respect. Trina has been experimenting with recipes for raw or uncooked foods, looking for ways to eat in a healthier way. This recipe she came up with is just plain yummy.

Crust:

1 cup walnuts

1 cup pecans

pinch of salt

1 cup raisins

Blend in a food processor until smooth and press into a pie plate

Topping:

3 apples, chopped, with skin on

1/2 lime juiced

1/2 cup chopped dates

1 pinch cinnamon

1 tsp coconut oil

1/2 cup raisins

Mix together and press into pan. Chill and serve.

Romi’s Cinnamon Rolls

(recipe courtesy of the FoodNetwork)

1 package dry yeast

1 cup warm water

1/4 cup sugar

1 tsp salt

2 TBL melted butter

1 egg

3 1/4 to 3 1/2 cups flour

1/3 cup butter

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 TBL corn syrup

2/3 to 1 cup pecan halves

1/2 cup sugar

2 tsp cinnamon

Dissolve yeast in warm water. Stir in 1/4 cup sugar, salt, 2 TBL butter, egg and 2 cups of flour. Beat until smooth. With spoon or hands, work in enough flour until the dough is easy to handle. Place in a greased bowl. Cover tightly and refrigerate overnight (or up to for to five days).

Combine melted butter, brown sugar, corn syrup and pecan halves. Pour into a greased 9 x 13″ pan. Set aside. Combine cinnamon and 1/2 cup sugar. On a floured board, roll out the dough into a roughly 9 x 15″ shape. Spread the cinnamon and sugar mixture over the dough and roll tightly. Seal the edges. Cut into 1-inch slices and place in prepared pan. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size (about 1 – 1 1/2 hours). Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and immediately turn upside down on a platter. Serve and enjoy!

Next column: Was the trip worth the trouble? Stay tuned and find out!