After the events of this summer Tom and I were both needing some time to hit the reset button. Originally we were planning a trip somewhere in the States later in the fall but both of us were burnt out by August and one day I came home and pitched a week in Clear Lake. We hadn’t had any lake time this summer and I felt like we needed some extended downtime rather than a wild and busy vacay. I had worked at Clear Lake for two summers while in University and it’s always been a happy place for me but Tom had never been. He quickly jumped on board and there was a week coming up that my brother could come and dog sit (thanks Luke!) so we quickly put together a plan.
It was so nice to sleep in a bit and leave on our own time. We had nowhere to be and no one waiting for us, which was pretty fun. The world was our oyster! We ended up taking a roundabout way into the park and doing some sightseeing on our way in. We happened upon the Bison Enclosure and saw this guy. That photo isn’t zoomed in either; we were that close to him! He was super chill.
We stayed at Lakehouse which I had known as McTavish’s when I worked at Clear Lake. It had recently been bought, renovated and rebranded and it looked like the most charming place to stay. Spoiler: it was! The place is so warm and cozy; definitely honeymoon worthy.
I loved the pumpkins piled everywhere.
Our home for the week.
Handmade soap and lip balm in our room.
I forgot to pick up one of these adorable coffee cups and I’m still sad about it.
Lakehouse offers continental breakfast on weekday mornings in the fall so we started out each day by heading down to the lounge for a leisurely bite. Every day was something new; fruit and yogurt parfaits, warm danishes or fresh muffins. They also have a coffee shop in the hotel so we usually got one before we headed out for the day. We really liked their Caramel Macchiato and the hot chocolate.
I love how the hotel decorates with vintage Clear Lake photos and posters.
Our first few days were pretty cold but we still did quite a bit of sightseeing. We stopped by the Wishing Well for some photos (and to make a wish, of course). It’s a beautiful spot.
We loved relaxing by the fireplace in the lounge with coffee in the morning and drinks in the evening.
My favorite drink was the “Lakehouse”, naturally. It had gin, club soda, strawberries and mint. Delish, and definitely something I’ll try to recreate at home.
Every day we explored the different trails and lakes in the area. On the really cold days we’d drive around until we found something interesting and then we’d stop off and hang out for a bit. I loved that solitary yellow tree hanging out with all the green ones.
We were freezing cold and beat after rainy sightseeing one day and so we had pizza in bed. Mano’s makes an incredible pie and the owners were so friendly. We liked them (and their pizza) so much we went back for another on our last night.
This is a closer look at the ice cream shop in Lakehouse, which had a lot of unique creations.
The best thing I tried was the Raspberry Sundae (raspberry white chocolate ice cream, raspberry sauce, pecans and an oatmeal cookie). I mean, seriously.
Close second place goes to the Double Chocolate Salted Caramel ice cream sandwich.
In addition to coffee and ice cream, Lakehouse has a smoothie bar on site. My favourite was the “Green Peach”(peaches, spinach, ginger, honey and basil). It was super refreshing on one of our warmer days on the deck.
The Martese only had one cruise while we were at Clear Lake so I was really excited that we got to go. It was really relaxing and peaceful out on the water.
We had supper at T.R. McKoy’s after our cruise. We loved the atmosphere and the service was great.
I had the Roasted Red Pepper and Goat Cheese Lasagna. It was incredible and I understand why it’s a favourite there. Tom had the Chicken Parmesan, which was also lovely.
We often ended our nights in the outdoor hot tub on our deck.
For our last meal on our way out, we stopped by the White House for lunch. It’s not surprising that this is the #1 place to eat at Clear Lake (according to Trip Advisor, anyway), because our meals were perfection.
Tom had the Chicken Griller and caesar salad, which he loved. I had the Chicken Avocado Bacon Panini on their housemade focaccia and the best sweet potato fries I’ve ever had in my life. It was a great end to our trip.
We had SUCH a relaxing getaway together. I’ve only seen Clear Lake in its peak season but to be there in the fall was so peaceful and low key. It was exactly what we needed and Tom is definitely a Clear Lake fan now so I know we’ll be back soon!
P.S. I took about a million landscape and nature photos during our exploring. I thought this post already had a ton of pictures so I plan to share the rest next week! Happy Friday!
See “The Girl on the Train” Movie
I hope it’s as good as the Gone Girl movie was.
Finalize My Fall Capsule Wardrobe
I’ve actually just finished this and started wearing it.
Chop My Hair Off
This item changes day to day. I’m having a love/hate relationship with it right now.
Complete Two Sewing Projects
At least! I can’t wait to get cozy in my sewing nook.
Legally Change my Name
I think I’ve slacked off as long as I can.
Actually Celebrate Halloween
I want to plan something for the weekend before AND I’ve already begged Tom’s parents to let me hand out candy at their house.
Host Thanksgiving Dinner at our Home
I’m already planning the menu, naturally.
Cross the Border for a Target Run
To buy fifty cases of LaCroix, mostly.
Find the Perfect Winter Coat
I’m due for a new one!
Limit Phone Time
I’ve been working on this a lot lately. I’m especially bad at the right-before-bed and first-thing-in-the-morning scrolling.
Make My Own Healthier Coffee Creamer
I’ve tried several recipes but I never love them. Hoping to finally find a good one.
Buy a Small Pumpkin to Decorate With
I’m not a crazy holiday decorator, but I like small touches. I’ll probably put this on my bar cart.
Last week Tom volunteered me to make the desserts for his work barbecue. I love deciding on the perfect dessert for any given situation and this was no different. After some discussion we agreed on a few tried and true favorites (Magnolia Bakery’s Banana Pudding, “Just Like Boxed” Brownies and Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars to be specific) but I wanted to make one more thing where I could experiment a bit.
I quickly decided on this creation that sort of reminds me of the Chips Ahoy cookies from my childhood. The graham crumbs give the cookie base that familiar, toasty flavor and a little crunch with rainbow sprinkles and white chocolate chunks adding color and richness. The container came home from the barbecue empty which is pretty good evidence that they went over well, I think. I’m glad I ran a few outside that morning for a sunrise photo shoot so I could share the recipe with you!
Makes about 2 dozen cookies
Put the butter in a large mixing bowl and melt in the microwave. Add sugars and stir until smooth and blended. Chill the mixture for a few minutes until cooled to room temperature. Add in the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla and stir well. Incorporate flour and baking soda. Stir in the graham crumbs, white chocolate chunks and sprinkles. Form dough balls (about 2 tbsp. each) and place onto a parchment lined cookie sheet. Chill for 30 minutes in the refrigerator. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Bake for 12 minutes or until just set. Cool and then store in an airtight container.
Don’t chill the dough without scooping the cookies first unless you have time for it to warm back up. It gets really hard and you’ll have trouble scooping out spoonful’s after it’s cooled.
Don’t flatten the dough balls out before you bake or the cookies may spread too much.
Adapted from my Caramel Corn Cookies
P.S. Is there anything more beautiful than a stack of cookies at sunrise?
I really enjoy recipe development but there’s something so freeing about not writing down every measurement and photographing your finished masterpiece from 15 different angles to blog it afterward. I cook so much at home that I often find great recipes and thought I would start recommending some of those to you. This roundup is super easy and no-bake to get us through the last hot days of summer.
This is what I’ve been using my basil for. I have to keep things tree nut free with Tom’s allergy and I like sneaking extra greens into my diet whenever I can and this is an easy way to do it. It’s super delicious, quick to throw together and freezes well. I also think you could omit the cheese for a dairy free version and it would still be awesome.
I discovered this recipe because I was spending a small fortune on Boom Chicka Pop and I decided that I could save some dough by making my own. This recipe is foolproof and I’ll be making it well into the colder months I’m sure. There’s something so comforting about making popcorn on the stovetop!
Tom loves granola bars but I hate all the junk that comes in store bought ones so I try to make them at home whenever I can. These have been on my must-try list for a while now and they are already a new favorite. A short, wholesome ingredient list, no baking and they taste awesome. I use peanut butter instead of almond butter for the allergy situation.
Give one of these a try and let me know what you think!