Exploring

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Hello, and happy snowy Friday to you! What a beautiful morning it was. We woke early, got our sweat on in the basement, shoveled the walk, and got our girl out before she went mad with anticipation.

She is a sled dogging snow plow in such weather, straining for swiftness and to inhale every scent nestled in the snow: the dead rabbit near the church, every pee laden message at her favorite pine shrub, every footprint and tire track. As ever, it is a joy to witness.

How are you holding up? Since Greg’s been working from home for more than five years, and we are fairly solitary creatures, our routine isn’t much changed. My heart aches for first responders, medical workers, letter carriers and delivery drivers, and grocery store employees and those who crave gatherings and boisterousness and noise, and especially those whose incomes depend upon it. Thankfully, there seems to be quite the upswell in creative ways for touching from a distance to quote a line from a favorite Joy Division song. Parades instead of birthday parties, Zoom meetings of every sort, bathroom concerts streamed live on Facebook. Necessity really is the mother of invention.

I hope you are finding a way to what makes your heart sing. I hope you are staying healthy and safe, too.

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After
Bobcat
Raccoon
Squirrel

Yesterday’s perfect snow globe morning…

I finally felted my acorns! Aren’t they adorable?

Hummus Bling Bling

Oh, the food I’ve made, as of late. Thank goodness we have a dog to walk and a daily workout routine, or we’d be in serious trouble. We’re currently jamming on Jericho’s Morning Meltdown 100. I’m feeling stronger and stronger.

Back to the eats! I am a massive fan of the library, and especially the cookbook section, checking out some little lovely nearly every visit. I don’t always cook from them, often just wanting to ogle food photos and take an armchair vacation to some beautiful locale.

The Hummus Bling Bling is from Eat. Cook. L.A., seriously the best hummus I’ve ever had. For a loooong time, I couldn’t eat hummus, or any dried bean concoction for that matter, suffering massive intestinal distress. But then I read The Plant Paradox and learned that pressure cooking (for at least 7.5 minutes) destroys the lectins that made me wanna die. So I can eat hummus again, and the Anasazi beans I bought in New Mexico (pictured below). Celebrate good times….

My first time making mole. Boy howdy, what was I waiting for?! It is the stuff of magic. We slathered it on chicken and whisked giant dollops into hot chocolate. Oh, yeah!!

Homemade chile con queso, queso, queso. How do I love thee. With chicharones and Siete (ocho, nueve, diez…) cassava chips, for when I’m not feeling corny.

Spoon bread with a mushroom, sour cream, and parmesan concoction. Also from Eat. Cook. L.A. Mighty-mighty.

I’ve dabbled in bread baking for a long time, mostly turning out the no-knead or some boule variety. They were consistently delicious, but I frequently tired of the massive air bubble directly where I wanted to make a sandwich. So I tried the Italian from America’s Test Kitchen Bread Illistrated. Wow! It’s everything I want in something sandwich and toast-able. Yes, ma’am.

The Italian bread calls for 8 oz of beer. Since I am not much of a beer drinker, and especially not at eight in the a.m., I decided to use the remaining 4 oz to make beer bread as an accompaniment to the Brazilian Coconut Shrimp Soup I was planning for lunch. Delicious!

Here’s the recipe for the soup. So easy! Double or triple, if you like.

1 14 oz can coconut milk

1/2 pound cleaned shrimp

1 tablespoon lime juice

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 jalapeno, diced

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

salt, to taste

Put everything in a saucepan and cook until the shrimp is cooked through, basically to your liking. Take a little taste, add salt until it’s right. Seriously, that’s it. Add a cilantro garnish, if you have it, but it’s lovely without it.

Just cuz I love her…

Palmer Park

Views from a couple Palmer Park walks. We’ve lived here for nearly four years, and I have only become more enamored with the park and our close proximity to it. I do a lot of counting of my lucky stars, I tell you!

And yesterday’s bedroom view. The windows were open wide to the 70 degree day! We sipped cool drinks in the sun and watered trees with snow melt. Juniper romped and rolled herself into filth. Luckily it was bath day, so she is silky and shining again. Good girl.

And now, in perfect winter fashion, it is 40 degrees cooler, and snow is falling. I love this place!

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Back when we lived in Portland, on some random channel I could never remember, I would watch Burns & Allen. I do remember that it was always in the hush of late evening, and that Gracie Allen was simply THE BEST of the whole darn show. She dazzled! This past weekend, I had the pleasure of seeing a rare and wonderful incarnation of her. Greg and I, after nearly four years in Colorado Springs, finally made it to the Millibo Art Theater, to see Yule Be Naughty. It’s a fun mix of silliness, cabaret, amazing aerials and acrobatics (seriously, wow!), and some pretty stellar Gracie Allen style story telling. If you are local and in need of an adult activity this weekend, go and be glad!

Before that, on Thursday, to be exact (thank you flexible work at home hours!!), we headed to our local castle, Glen Eyrie, for their Yule Tea. Greg made friends with a knight before the pair of us enjoyed every bite and sip.

The Big Horned Sheep was part of a herd grazing and relaxing on the lawn. Pretty cool!

dreaming of snow….

I am one of those people for whom it isn’t a complete holiday season without certain foods or events. On the event side, we must listen to Alice’s Restaurant, preferably on Thanksgiving, but, as was the case this year, the following day, despite talking about it and even queuing it up prior to dinner. The tamales, apparently, were just too exciting. We also must read Truman Capote’s A Christmas Memory, laughing and crying and delightedly sighing. That we did on Sunday, and loved it as much as ever.

As for the food and beverage side of the equation, I must have, in no particular order: stuffing with cranberries and celery, perfectly sliced canned cranberry sauce, egg nog (preferably with brandy, but whisky or rum will do), biscochitos (only my recipe will do – snob), fudge, and peppermint ice cream.

This summer, I learned the most amazing and delicious basic ice cream recipe. 8 oz heavy cream whipped to soft peaks & one can sweetened condensed milk – mixed gently together & frozen in a loaf pan. I made it with the addition of vanilla, a few tablespoons of my homemade peach & strawberry jam, chunky peanut butter & their delightful cups. Each was shockingly good considering the ease with which they were made. Seriously top shelf. And no churning or worrying! So, when it came time for the annual stroll down peppermint lane, the choice to make it myself was obvious. I added a half teaspoon of vanilla and five hammered to bits starlight mints. Divine.

Another lovely snow. It came in the smallest possible flakes, that fell and fell and fell. Champagne powder and Juniper’s dream come true!

We spent a wonderful, laughter-filled evening with the cousins Wednesday, at the super fun downtown Holiday Stroll. We love our time together!

We also love Colorado Springs! It’s a little weird, but it’s beautiful and full of heart. There were stands with free hot chocolate and cookies, while Santa (no photo, sadly), carolers, and a brass quartet strolled along with us.

We even got lucky a second time at Jack Quinn’s, scoring one of the special booths for a delicious dinner beforehand. I got my favorite Blarney Stone, and Greg is showing his goofball side with dessert. I love him so much!

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