Just a Dinner

I’ve spent the last 12 days enjoying Christmas break by spending time in Colorado. Snowmobiling, sledding, hiking, skiing, cooking and, most importantly, spending time with family has occupied much of my time.

Homemade pasta for Christmas Eve Dinner

Sunset as Thunder Mountain

 Yesterday morning my grandmother, aunt, uncle and two cousins departed leaving only my immediate family here. My oldest sister, Sara, and I decided that a gourmet home cooked meal was in order. After debate and planning, a menu was set.

Appetizer: Stuffed Mushrooms

Soup: Japanese Pumpkin, Vanilla, and Garlic Soup

Salad: Baby Spinach, goat cheese, pom seeds, pears and a citrus vinaigrette

Entrée: Cider brined pork tenderloin with rosemary roasted potatoes

Dessert: Chocolate mouse with espresso whip cream and raspberries

 Portobello mushrooms stuffed, baked and cut into triangles

based off of this recipe

The table was set and it was time for the real food to begin….

Japanese Pumpkin, Vanilla and Garlic Soup

Last Friday, we actually went out for a nice dinner to celebrate my sister Katherine’s graduation. The restaurant served this soup and luckily for you and me, they featured the recipe on their website. There was no kabocha squash at the grocery store here so I used acorn. The soup ended up being pretty thick so we thinned with some chicken broth during the final step (part of this might have been because I used an immersion blender to blend the squash so I didn’t add any water then). It was a delicious and flavorful soup!

Main dish

 Cider Brined Pork Tenderloin with Dijon Brown Sugar Glaze

Ina Garten’s Rosemary Roasted Potatoes

Salad with spinach, pom arils, goat cheese, pears and a random dressing of orange juice concentrate (leftover from pork brine), olive oil, red wine vinegar, drizzle of honey, rosemary, dry mustard, salt, pepper, etc….just threw stuff in until it tasted good!

The meal ended with a delicious chocolate mousse. Yum!

Although I’d recommend serving much smaller portions of it than we did….so rich!

 Overall, a delicious dinner!! I highly recommend all of these recipes. I seriously love planning, preparing, and eating fancy meals! I especially love plating the food and setting the table to make it look nice! I seriously can’t wait to be married and have other couples over for dinner parties. Is that weird?

I’m so normal. Weeeeee

The only thing I don’t like is doing dishes and cleaning up. I’ll cook, you do the dishes. Sound like a plan?

What’s your favorite thing to do when you have free time?

I love cooking nice meals. I also love playing games. Quelf, Catch Phrase, spades, Last Word, and Bananagrams are just a few of my favorites!

What’s the best thing you’ve eaten this holiday season?

The chocolate mouse above definitely ranks high on my list!

Monday Matters

1. My brief lack of blogging is because I spent the weekend (err Wednesday through Saturday) in Keystone. My dad has a conference there, the basic theme for the event was “making Colorado the healthiest state.” There were a few sessions about nutrition and my dad invited me to attend snuck me into one of them. I’ll be discussing it more in a future post.  Look forward to that soon!

2. We climbed our first fourteener on Saturday! The atlitude + rockiness + steep incline made this a tough hike, but we made it!

3. I totally lied to you the other day when I said something about 61 songs. It was an accident. The number is actually higher. STOP JUDGING ME.

4. I start school in 11 days. Nooooooooooo. Summer reading, College apps, SAT stuff, and service hour sheets will be occupying my week. It shall be lots of fun (what is this, opposite day??).

5. I’m going vegan for the week. Actually, 5 days. The thing that is making it most difficult is I’m refusing to use any substitutes. No margarine, tofu, or soy yogurt for me. I’m sure if I was a long-term vegan I would use those things on occasion (except for margarine, I would NEVER cheat on butter like that) but I figure I can go without them for 5 days. I will be making lots of Mama Pea recipes.

Peas and Thank You: Simple Meatless Meals the Whole Family Will Love

6. I head back to Texas a week from Wednesday. I’m going to die in the heat.

7. I have a super easy, tasty, healthy, breakfast to share with you.

Trail Tacos

Whole-wheat tortilla + natural pb + granola + honey + apple slices + cinnamon

Try ittttttttttt.

Seal with peanut butter (it help it stay closed!) and love.

Make ahead, store in the fridge, grab when you’re hungry.

Perfect thing to eat while climbing mountains, listening to teeny bopper music, or reading borrrring books.

Can you believe it’s August 1st???

Pains, Gains, and Automation

I don’t discuss that many serious topics on  my blog. I usually try to keep things light and fun and delicious. But, there are serious issues that can’t be ignored.

The 2010 obesity rate statistics just came out. The state I’m currently residing in has the lowest obesity rate, yet it still has an obesity rate of 19.8%. In 1995 a 19.8% obesity rate would have put it at the very top of the list. In the last 16 years (and even before that) our country has become increasingly unhealthy. It scares me. It makes me said. It makes me want to get out there and change the world. The problem is, I’m not sure how.

 

 Source

Fifty percent of American women have tried 5 or more diets in their lifetime. Practically everyone has some sort of body image issue, and eating disorder rates are quite high. Clearly, the way our country views healthy living is seriously skewed and has been for my entire lifetime.

Something has got to happen. Something big! Soon! I’m just not sure what. The way we live just isn’t natural. For centuries people have gotten along just fine without ever uttering the words workout or nutrient or exercise or vitamin, but we’ve decided to perform study after study trying to find the best way to exercise, the best way to lose weight, the healthiest way to eat. Yet, we’ve gotten nowhere. The only thing these studies have proven to me is that the human body knows what it needs and functions very well on its own.

Source

Honestly, in order to solve the obesity epidemic, I think the entire American lifestyle needs to change. People aren’t meant to obsess over food with unpronounceable names or spend hour after hour in facilities filled with heavy metal objects pushing themselves to the point of undeniable exhaustion just to maintain a healthy weight. Food is meant to be enjoyed. Movement and activity should be a way of life, not something we go out of our way to do.

Even if there was a feasible way to change the American lifestyle, skeptics would be abundant. People enjoy sitting on their couch  shoveling in piles of fried food for hours on end. People like being able to drive anywhere they want to go.

Source

Do not lose heart; I’m not discouraged. I’m not throwing in the towel and accepting the fact that this is just the way our country is. I’ve just got a lot more thinking to do.

I think if I could go back in time, I might “disinvent” the automobile, the television, and all soda. I don’t blame our unhealthyness on those objects, but they certainly do play a vital role in getting our country to the state it is in currently.

What are your thoughts on the obesity epidemic of the Western World? How do you think it could be solved?

If you could select on thing that contributes most to obesity and eliminate it, what would it be?

I’m sure I will post on this subject again in the near future. This post was really just putting my thoughts out there.

Natural Revelations

Sometimes it’s the little things that make me happy.

Like seeing a double rainbow form as you look down upon rushing water

Watching the water rush forcefully and realizing that no matter how big and strong I think I am, there are other things much bigger and more powerful.

Enjoying the beauty of nature and wonderings why humans insist on altering the world so much when God already made it so beautiful.

Looking out at the adorable little town of Ouray and wondering what is must have been like for the miners who lived their hundreds of years ago.

And, when your camera battery dies long before your adventures are over, taking time to take in your surroundings and ingrain them into your mind, not your memory card.

What little thing makes you happy? Do you take time to enjoy the beauty around you?

Hittin’ the Trails of CO

Greetings!

The retreat I mentioned last post went wonderfully. It is amazing to watch the retreatants as they truly open up and grow closer to God.  It’s neat to think, “Hey, I was a part of that.” But, at the end of the day, I know none of it was me. It was all Him.

I arrived “home” in Colorado on Monday night. Greeting me upon arrival was a box from Neman’s Own Organic with tons of goodies.

I couldn't believe the variety of products they sent!

 Tuesday evening my parents and I went hiking and saw some pretty scenary and cool wild life.

Nesting Eagles. Thank goodness for zoom.

See the bunny?

While out hiking we snacked on some of these pretzels….

The company definitely doesn’t require me to say nice things about them, but these pretzels are delicious.

What is your favorite trail/on-the-go snack?