Calgary Parks Winter Wonderland

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My husband and I enjoying a walk in Nose hill with our “boys” Rocky & Julio.

 

Calgary can be freakin’ cold in the winter, but can also almost equally be unseasonally warm due to the Chinooks. For this reason, Calgarians come out to play…wayyyy more than you think, well I know this cause I see them walking the same summer parks…dressed for it and enjoying every step. I cannot explain how the light changes in Calgary in the winter…way less light for sure, but it is rich and golden…the atmosphere is thick with a glow. The sunrises and sunsets in the winter are so dramatic with rich, deep colours. The mountains being white in the distance and crystal clear in the cool air. Driving westward with glances of Mountain Peaks seemingly just a minute away…never gets old for me…never. I always remember how lucky I am to live right beside the glorious Canadian Rockies.

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My bro and I enjoying a break at Barrier Lake off the #40 after a great day skiing at Nakiska.

The highways through Calgary’s Mountain Parks are amazing! The highway through Kananaskis #40 from Morley to Longview in the south connecting to the famous, historic “Cowboy Trail” The mountain vistas are stunning and the mountains hug the highway, never mind driving alongside the Kananaskis Country Mountain Valley known as the “Grizzly Bear Highway” it is so lush with tress and waterfalls, tons of streams and rivers.  Followed by low sandy gulfs, rocky outcrops and foothills as you exit south. 3 hours of pure heaven…45 minutes from Calgary!

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Jasper Highway from Lake Louise a four hour spiritual wonder of mountain beauty like no where…no where…else…on…this… planet.

 

 

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Basically the mountains play a role in Calgary more so in winter than summer cause you can see the mountains more clearly. Heat of the summer sun in Calgary will almost always create a steamy effect and it shrouds a clear, sharp view of the mountains in the warmer months here. On a cool, brisk, blue bird winter day…the mountains just pop!  Glowing white, silvery peaks against the deep azure blue skies…and we get lots of those days during Calgary winters, lots of warm sunny days.   I will say to my daughter over and over…”Look Kate! The mountains seem like you can touch them!…to which she sighs…”yes mom…I see…”

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Anyway back to Calgary in the winter. Lots to do, especially winter sports like skating and skiing. COP is an amazing place to learn how to ski or take the kiddies to get their feet wet. Usually a never before skier can take only a weekend in lessons and have the skills to go ski green trails in the mountain resorts. Skating is everywhere!!! Park trails are cleaned and removed of snow and the parks are a lot less busy to enjoy the sights and sounds.

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Get your skates sharpened, skis waxed and get a great snow suit cause you are going to need it!

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Dining in the Office

 

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What could be better than hot and tasty pepper chicken, veg and curry chick peas…in January…when you can’t…won’t face driving winter roads at lunch time. A sandwich…when it’s cold out? Soup? Mmmm chemicals and I am still hungry! Perfect Prep makes incredible lunches for a budget! It may be cold outside, but a wonderful meal to look forward to during a hard day in the office, on site, anywhere… Perfect Prep makes healthy lunches and I freeze them by recipe in bags in my deep freezer, pick a different one out every night for the next day. Great way to count calories and try to trim the Christmas fat…or baking with butter as I call it! 5 different recipes and they are so good!!!

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Everyone envies me in the lunch room at the office and I keep telling them…order and freeze them cause they cost the same as if you made them yourself! No MSG, all organic, and hearty!. It is the only time I truly can dine at my desk…no dress code in effect!

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So when the weather turns warm…and you just have to have a salad…It’s off to the salad bar!  I just love getting extra tomatoes without asking…just a sprinkle of onions…no…no not too many…just enough for that tangy crunch every so often. I LOVE my salads the best! Other pre-made salads are my last resort and if I have to…Superstore rocks those out the best against every grocery store, but Co-Op is the DOMINATOR of Salad Bars! Safeway…the salad recipes are good…but usually stale`ish, small and pricey…however the Safeway Signature Sandwich Bar…my god!  I always pick one up for my ski day…and it tastes like heaven on the hill!  (I will save the sandwich rant for another day), back to salads…mostly…all pre-made salads are ok… but usually too heavy here…too light there…my way is always the right way.

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With the cost of produce in Alberta…the salad bar can often give you better value to get exclusively your favorite salad items, the way you like them…granted in smaller amounts, but no waste.  Two Large Salad Bar Salads usually gives hubby and I supper, (with some bread.) and lunch the next day.  It`s not just rabbit food for me either…oh no…load it up with chicken, eggs, nuts, cheese…oh yes cheese!…black olives are kinda like the onions. Depending on the time of year throw in some berries or melon…Melon and Poppy Seed dressing tastes like summer!  I love the Salad Bar…my favorite recipe is as follows:

 

Bed of greens…preferably spinach…romaine is the last choice.

Next Red Peppers…scattered all over the greens.

Just an ever so light and random sprinkle of finely cut Red Onion.

Tomatoes, preferably cut, not the grape style…can be bitter, but LOTS…since child birth…I have asked for…extra tomatoes please.

Mini Bocconcini Cheese about 6 balls all shoved in the NW corner

Sprinkle any shredded Cheese all over the salad as well please…

Sprinkle with Cooked Chicken like the Red Peppers

Hard Boiled Eggs, I like about 1 full Egg in the NE Corner

sprinkle with Walnuts or Sunflower Seeds

Sprinkle top with Bacon Bits

Chick Peas mixed equally with black beans in the SW Corner

Pickled Beets in the SE Corner…I treat those like dessert and eat them last.

Poppy Seed Dressing all over…Renee`s is best! YUM-MY!!!!

 

 

Over your head in Calgary…

One thing Calgary always does for me is show me amazing skies…it never ceases to amaze me the wonderous Chinook Arches, the firey sun rises and the tropical, pastel sunsets…the moon a giant white orb in the middle of a Blue Bird afternoon.  Fast moving storms, all types of clouds and even the odd tornado.

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The mountain effect in Calgary truly lives up to the local expression; “If you do not like the weather, wait 20 minutes.” Joke or not, can literally happen…often in Calgary.  The glorious Chinook winds delivery warm, pacific winds during cold winter months…even though Leonardo Dicaprio is convinced that it is a global warming…maybe, but Calgarians have been enjoying warm winter Chinooks, (mountain effect), since the first 500 arrived here…forever.  The sky entertains me more here than anywhere…so vast and beautiful…I can never ignore it, not for even one day.  My daughter always sighs when I say…”Look Kate, look at the sky…”

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About me…the author and why everyone should love Calgary!

Every morning I get up to go to work…and I think about how lucky I am to live here.  I think about my Great Grandmother who was one of the first 500 in Alberta, and how her parents struggled to get here; homestead, raise cattle, move to the “Fort Calgary” area, to see it become the City of Calgary in 1894.

Continue reading “About me…the author and why everyone should love Calgary!”