Craft Brewers Conference 2014

At last – here’s my recap from the CBC 2014 down in Denver! After attending in 2012, I knew I couldn’t miss one that was being held in my home state! Many pictures, few words. Life has been ridiculously hectic with the closing, the move, and the everything else that’s stealing time from me.
AM2 Tuesday of CBC week was absolutely gorgeous! It was 75 degrees in downtown Denver and all of the craft beer folk were slowly starting to filter into town from all over the world. There were 9,000 attendees this year!
AM I walked the four miles (very slight exaggeration) through the convention center, checked in for my media pass and buckled in for the crazy ride to come.
AM1 Symposium brew – Centennial State Pale!
AM3 I headed over to the German hops hospitality suite while I waited for my people to arrive and was treated to a variety of beer samples hopped with a bunch of new varieties.
AM7 Lotsa green! German green, not Colorado green.
AM6 The Hallertau Hop Queen of the year was there to give a very long, yet oh-so-adorable speech about the new hops.
AM5 Charlie Papazian spotting! Similar to my creeper Jim Koch spotting of CBC12.
AM4 I made my way through masses of body odor and crop dusting until I stumbled into my saving graces who were literally a breath of fresh air in the crowds.
AM8 Kaitlyn Canfield, the Hallertau Hop Queen, and Karie Scuiller. Kaitlyn and Karie work for Caliber Creative branding out of Dallas, Texas, and kindly took me into their small circle of delicious amber aroma and general sweetness and creative talent.
AM28 I also ran into some old friends in that same room – Organic Dan of Bison Brewing was there!
AM27 Along with his head honcho, Ashley Routson aka The Beer Wench!
AM29 We all insta-bonded and headed out to the welcome reception that was held at Mile High Stadium! It took us a few blocks of walking and a desperate jog to a taxi, but we eventually made it there!
AM30 The reception was held inside the first floor of the stadium, and ON the field! The evening was spent wandering around, having a few samples of the brews that were stationed across the entire facility, and reconnecting with old friends like my beautiful birthday twin Acacia Coast of the Brewers Association and Rob and Laina of Wolf Creek Brewery (my old job)!
AM10 The next day was spent mainly on the exhibition floor. IDD from Moorpark, California!
AM11 American Beer Equipment out of Lincoln, Nebraska! ‘Murika!
AM9 They provided free lunch to all attendees. Chicken ‘n swiss sammich! I was very grateful for the free absorbency.
AM12 There were plenty of beer samples on the floor to keep up with. I met up with some friends and we perused all the booths and sipped all the beer.
AM13 I also ran into this keg and did a double take – Council Brewing! My friends Liz and Curtis had their first brew day a few days ago, and it was awesome to see their kegs on display at such a big exhibition!
AM14 Big Ass Fans. Just because.
AM31 As the afternoon wound down, I stuck with Organic Dan and the Wench and wandered over to Falling Rock for some networking and good beers.
AM32 And I mean goooooood beers! We ended up sitting with Dr. Bill Sysak from Stone Brewing and were treated to glasses of Prairie Eliza5beth farmhouse ale. That’s a 3L bottle right there…
AM33 Firestone PNC tequila barrel-aged imperial buckwheat stout. One of my favorites of the night.
ab And my all time favorite of the evening – Stone’s Saison aged in white wine barrels. Mind bogglingly delicious and not at all what I expected to come out of Stone. Want. More.
AM15 The next day was full of seminar after seminar.
AM16 So much learning and note-taking. I was in beer nerd heaven.
AM17 I sat in on the Brewpub Panel which featured the wonderful Cyrena Nouzille of Ladyface Alehouse! Ahh, I miss my Ladies at Ladyface so much!
AM34 I also attended the annual Pink Boots Society CBC meeting where I met Franny from both The Full Pint and all things Golden Road/Mohawk Bend/Tony’s Darts Away! Franny flattered my brains out when she complimented the beer pairing dinner I designed and hosted at Tuning Fork in Studio City and said it was the best that Golden Road has ever had and possibly the best pairing in the universe. That last part might not have been said out loud…
AM35 The next day started off as all mornings should – with coffee beer. Oh, and learning. We were there to learn, too.
AM19 The day passed by in a blur of seminars and long chats about distribution. I made it up to the exhibition hall one last time to take this very sad, lonely picture. It’s just not fun to see everything taken apart and packed up to head back home. But now, it was time for the World Beer Cup.
AM20 We headed to the Hyatt to wait for the doors to open and enjoyed the gorgeous view overlooking Denver and the mountains.
AM36 And then, chaos. There was a long line to reach the beer pouring station where they were serving the remains of all the bottles sent in for the WBC competition. Buffet stations lined the outskirts and I managed to grab some brisket and short ribs, most of which rolled off onto my shirt. Thank goodness for the color black. Conceals all.
AM21 We arrived early and were able to snag seats in the second row.
AM24 The Hallertau Hop Queen made her appearance yet again!
AM22 And VERBOTEN! They got a bronze for their Bourbon Barrel Aged Mountain Man
AM26 And blew my mind again with a SILVER for their Pure Imagination oatmeal stout! I don’t think I’ve ever cheered louder. Except maybe for the Colorado Avalanche games… But this was a close second.
AM25 And then Brazil won a bunch of awards and spent the night dancing and chanting “Brah-ceel!”. That was entertaining as well.
aba We celebrated the World Beer Cup with another visit to Falling Rock and wandered around congratulating everyone. I ran into Steve from Kinetic Brewing as well as AJ from Figueroa Mountain Brewing (I love seeing my California friends), and ended the night at the Brown Palace with Organic Dan, Ashley and the awesome Brian Lenzo -  owner of Blue Palms Brewhouse.
Screen shot 2014-04-22 at 7.12.47 AM We got a personal tour of the haunted rooms thanks to our awesome bartender, and then spent the rest of the evening taking ridiculous pictures in front of the upside down grillwork panels we spent half an hour trying to find.
AM38 Waaaaay too happy about finding those panels.
abab Bacon, fruit and green tea signaled the end of the Craft Brewers Conference of 2014. Looking forward to next year in Portland, Oregon!

Oh yeah…
then this …this brew day at New Belgium thingy happened yesterday, but that’s another story for another time…

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Growing Pains

Good news/bad news.
am The Craft Brewers Conference of 2014 was absolutely amazing!
am1 I can’t wait to recap it for you…
am5 …sometime next week. I’m in the middle of all the final walk-throughs, inspections and closing (!!!!) on my house! I’m growing up, turning into an adult and going to be a homeowner!
am7 My days have been filled with nothing but visiting thrift stores (I found these almost brand-new brew-style stools for $12.95!) and ordering mattresses and kegerators. Well, not the kegerator part. I guess a place to sleep is slightly more important than a kegerator. Priorities, people.
am3 With all the stress, it’s been nice to have a few seconds of down time here and there. I stopped at the brand new 1933 Brewing in Fort Collins to enjoy a short afternoon and taster flight with a friend before work.
am4 I also found a night to sneak out to Mayor of Old Town in Fort Collins for the most amazing cream cheese-stuffed jalapeno pretzel with raspberry jam in the entire universe! Geez, I can’t wait to be living in Fort Collins so I can eat these every day! (or just stare longingly at the menu and sniff at the air since I have a mortgage to pay and won’t be able to afford to buy universally-delicious pretzels…)
am6 I received some sanity-preserving gifts in the mail yesterday! My favorite chimichurri sauce in the whole world! I already have visions of relaxing outside of my new house, sipping a brew and grilling with these wonderful spreads and jams!
am8 But first, I had to try some of that chimichurri sauce to make sure it tasted just as I remember. It does. Oh, Lordy, it does!

So bad news is that you guys will have to wait until next week for the CBC recap, but the good news is…
Screen shot 2014-04-06 at 10.46.40 PM You also have some more time to enter for free Bhakti Chai!!! Head back to this post and leave a comment for your chance to win and I’ll choose the winner sometime next week after all the insanity has slightly waned!

Have you ever found anything good at a thrift shop? I will never doubt again!

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Bhakti Chai Brewery Tour {GIVEAWAY}

I was invited to visit the Bhakti Chai brewery in Longmont last week and jumped at the chance!
am30 I discovered Bhakti Chai a little over a year ago when my bro forced me to have a sip at Cranknstein when I was visiting from California. I instantly fell in the love with the intensely spicy, gingery cup of warm deliciousness.
am6 Ever since then, I’ve been touting my love for the local company and their wonderful drink. I even moved back to Colorado just so I could have more access to it! Well, not really, but it’s been an added bonus.
am31 Since my bro is the one who initiated me into the Bhakti love club, I had to bring him and my sis-in-law along! Ignore the pained looks on our faces – we were actually thrilled to be there, but dang, that sun was bright!
am We arrived at the brewery in the morning and were greeted by the warm scents of mulled spices before we even entered the building. This adorable, colorful table was laid out with a handful of the Bhakti products, most of which I’ve never had the chance to try before!
am1 Our tour guide/marketing genius Allison gave us each one of the bottles to sip while we chatted about the history of the company.
am2 See that coffee blend? That is going to be the very first thing that I run to after Lent is over. Coffee and chai? I can’t wait!
am3 I grabbed the new almond blend. I love that they’re using almond milk now – I’ve never been a huge fan of soy, so this one called to me.
am29 Brook Eddy is the mastermind behind Bhakti Chai. She began making her own blend of spicy chai in her kitchen years ago, and stored it in mason jars to keep in her fridge.
am4 Brook’s creation became incredibly popular with her friends who started snagging these jars from her fridge and leaving a few bucks  in their place. Soon, a local cafe caught on and ordered three gallons of the blend to sell in-house, and Brook’s company was officially open!
am5 Bhakti means devotion through social action, and this company is committed to the empowerment of women and girls.
am6 Their walls are lined with examples of all the different organizations that they support. I love how deeply involved and committed they are with these causes. Allison was thrilled to share all of the work they’ve done.
am7 Then, it was time for the tour! We grabbed our bottles, put on some sexy hairnets and entered the brewery.
am8 This baby is basically a giant Vitamix. They grind all of their ginger into a pulp to feed into the vice.
am9 Nate hard at work. Grindin’ ginger. Sportin’ a beard-net.
am10 All of the pressed ginger is scooped into this vice which squeezes all of the spicy goodness into large buckets for brewing.
am11 Allison informed us that this number has more than doubled. They actually press around 3,500 pounds of fresh, organic ginger every week.
am12 The chai brewery is similar to a beer brewery.
am13 In fact, these tanks used to be the brew system for the now-defunct Oasis Brewing out of Boulder!
am14 Gallons and gallons of ginger juice and organic sugar being prepped to hop into the boil kettle!
am15 I also love their use of organic EVERYTHING!
am16 I forced brewer Jared to take a break and pose for me.
am24 Yes. Yes, they do.
am17 Up until six months ago, Bhakti was hand filling all of their bottles.
am18 Considering how far spread out Bhakti is, this handy bottling line was quite necessary to keep up with demand.
am23 They’re spread out across the states with more accounts being gained every month.
am20 Just a sample of the amount of ginger juice stored up in the walk-in!
am21 They receive their soy and almond milk in these gigantic vats so they can make their ready-to-drink bottles.
am22 And fresh ginger. So. Much. Ginger!
am25 Bhakti Chai is also a certified B Corp – one of about only 1,000 businesses around the world who meet the standards of social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency.
am26 Happy magnets! I was able to get one of these to go on my new fridge!
am27 They recently introduced a new, dry Bhakti Chai! Now you can take Bhakti with you when you travel! Since the ginger pulp still has plenty of flavor left in it after going through the press, they decided to dry and pelletize the pulp to put into the new dry tea bags, reducing waste of perfectly good ingredients.
am28 I still have to find some of this ice cream to try! If they start making some almond milk ice cream, I will be their most devoted customer – even more so than I am now!
am19 It was one of the most wonderful smelling and interesting brew tours I’ve been on. A huge thanks to Allison and the entire Bhakti crew for inviting us in!
am32 Since I walked home with some special presents that they spoiled us with, I felt inspired to create a recipe. In the food blogger world, almond milk is in, Bhakti Chai is in, and chia seeds are IN.
am33 Combine the seeds, almond milk and Bhakti Chai…
am34 And WHISK your heart out!
am26 Refrigerate overnight and ta-da!
(Note: If you haven’t had chia pudding, the texture takes some getting used to, but it is deeeee-lish!)

Bhakti Chai Chia Pudding

Serves 2
Prep time 8 hours, 5 minutes
Dietary Vegan
Meal type Dessert, Snack
Misc Serve Cold
Spicy ginger and sweet mango make this healthy, omega-2 packed chia pudding a delicious and satisfying snack.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup Bhakti Chai concentrate
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds

Optional

  • 1 small mango (pitted and diced for garnish)

Directions

Step 1
In a bowl, combine the chai, almond milk and chia seeds and whisk well.
Step 2
Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Step 3
After refrigerating overnight, stir in the diced mango and enjoy!

Aaaaaaand now for yet another giveaway!!! Bhakti Chai has kindly offered up two quarts of their amazing drink for one winner! All you need to do is leave a comment below telling me what your beverage of choice is. It’s that easy! I’ll pick a winner on April 14th! Open to U.S. residents only.
Screen shot 2014-04-06 at 10.46.40 PM Note: Bhakti Chai provided me with product samples for tasting and a brewery tour, and is also furnishing two quarts of chai to the contest winner, but I received no other compensation for this review, nor was I pressured to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.

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Lately {+ Giveaway Winner}

Happy Sunday Tuesday, everyone! I’ve been enjoying my midweek weekend quite a bit – recaps of a special brewery tour will be coming later this week. Here’s what’s been going on in my life lately:
am This magazine. It’s absolutely awesome.
am2 My brother designed and built in the in-house brew system for Craft Beer and Brewing. I’m so very proud!
am3 Monstas in the sunshine! Green for days!
am5 Meatless Monday – organic kale and quinoa burger, fresh avocado sprinkled with lime juice and paprika and a pickle.
am6 More monstas!
am4 One of the top five business cards I’ve ever received.
am7 Walked into a thrift shop while rocking out to Thrift Shop. Succeeded in embarrassing my mumsie quite a bit.
am8 New Belgium’s Mint Mild at Cranknstein.
am9 Bathroom floors are in at my house!
am12 Lights are in at my house!
am13 I am way too excited about a toilet in MY HOUSE!
am14 Bhakti is gone :(
am15 Bhakti is back :)
am17 Grilled cheese with Schnapps-candied bacon and a saison.
am18 An absolutely amazing sour gifted to me from Aaron.
am16 I won a giveaway! BlogHer Visa card to pay for my new mattress!

Thanks to everyone who entered the Magic Bullet giveaway! The winner is….
Screen shot 2014-04-01 at 4.19.58 PM Gwen Y! Check your e-mail, Gwen, and thanks for playing!

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{Giveaway} Believe In Better

On Saturday I was invited down to Denver by fairlife to meet with a group of bloggers at River Power Yoga for some yoga (durr) and a sampling of fairlife milk.
AM4 The weather was definitely not on my side. It rained/snowed the entire drive down and I opted to skirt my way around the freeway after it came to a complete stop. Some serious “ommmm” was needed.
AM5 We really had no idea what we were in for. I walked into the adorable yoga studio and was met by a group of friendly Denver bloggers and a blast of hot air. Hot yoga? Okey… I guess I have always wanted to try it…
AM6 Seeing that I’m not a yogi in any possible way, I was grateful that they had complimentary yoga mats for us to use and take home! And towels for all the beads of sweat that were already starting to build up upon my brow. Yum.
AM7 The class started off with a little introduction of the company: fairlife came from a husband and wife team with a vet background, who began dairy farming with the idea of “better”. Better farming, better treatment of the animals and the slogan #believeinbetter.
AM8 fairlife is a cold filtered milk with 50% more protein and calcium, and half the sugar of ordinary milk. I was overjoyed to hear that it’s lactose free since I’ve discovered I have an allergy (not that that stops me from loading up on fro-yo or a big pint of Ben and Jerry’s once in a while…oops) and try to avoid milk products as often as possible. After the intro, they let us know exactly what kind of yoga we would be doing that day.
AM9 Oh, crap. The entire session was an aerial inspired/partner yoga class. My heart dropped. Visions of my head striking the wood floor and other various forms of serious injury flashed before my eyes. They demonstrated, then split us into groups to give it a try.
AM10 Heidi (Run Around Aroo) and Lauren (Me and the Mountains) giving it a try!
AM11 Up next was the double plank.
Screen shot 2014-03-23 at 2.57.42 PM My partners mastered it!
AM12 Then we were back to scary aerial poses. I’m not that flexible…
AM13 Yeah. Never gonna happen…
AM14 I pushed all those gory visions of potential self-maiming from my brain and gave it a shot anyway!
AM15 “I’m flying, Jack! I’m flying!”
AM16 Okey, let’s try the other arm…
AM18 Nope. Bad idea. I might die.
AM19 Can I get down now? Thank you, Marissa (Barefoot Colorado), for not letting my head get cracked open on the ground!
AM After the yoga session, we all headed out to the lobby for some cool air and samples!
AM2 I was able to snag two bottles of the chocolate milk to take home with me. I haven’t had chocolate milk in years and this was like drinking wonderful melted chocolate ice cream. Can’t stop, won’t stop. Hmm, maybe I shouldn’t have grabbed two…
AM20 Smoothie samples were passed around and all the bloggers split off into small groups to chat while the icy rain poured down outside.
Screen shot 2014-03-23 at 10.47.08 PM A big group of the girls via Lauren’s Instagram!
AM21 I enjoyed the last few minutes of warmth before opening the door into the arctic, bustling to my car and fighting the wet highway back north.
AM22 Presents! fairlife spoiled us rotten with the yoga mat, milk samples (I’ve been having chocolate milk nightcaps every night), a sample of their Core Power energy shake, a coupon to go back to River Power Yoga for a free class and a MAGIC BULLET! What a wonderful, thoughtful housewarming gift!
Screen shot 2014-03-23 at 3.17.45 PM Here’s the part I think you guys might enjoy. They’ve offered to give away a Magic Bullet blender to one of my readers!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Note: fairlife provided me with product samples for tasting and a Magic Bullet blender, and is also furnishing a Magic Bullet blender to the contest winner, but I received no other compensation for this review, nor was I pressured to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.

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Ups, Downs and Bhakti

It’s been quite a week of ups and downs. Bonus – mostly ups, but those few days of down can really put a sour spin on everything if you let it, and unfortunately, I let it. Working every weekend has thrown my weeks off, so happy Friday to me! These next two days of “weekend” couldn’t be more welcome.
am My official week (last Tuesday) started off pretty well with two thick slabs of my vegan whole grain quinoa bread smothered with avocado, red pepper flakes, olive oil and goat cheese that was just starting to get past its prime.
am1 I got a closing date for my house! This means furniture shopping! And since I’m poor and about to be mortgage-poor, this meant a trip to the relatively affordable IKEA (Disneyland for adults!) where I got two ten dollar side tables of questionable quality and a ton of pretty soft paper lights to glow up the new house.
am2 We got caught in a snow flurry on the way back and pulled off for a hearty chicken ‘n cheddar potato lunch and a snake bite while watching the soft flakes plummet to the ground where they immediately melted.
am3 It had warmed up a bit by the next day and I took the monumental photo of my car passing 18,000 miles! I don’t think you understand what a huge deal this is… I bought my car January of last year and had put 14,000+ miles on it by the time I left at the end of August. I’m so happy not to be driving hundreds and hundreds of miles every week!
am4 The cabinets are in at my house! Well, they’re in the garage, but that’s pretty dang close!
am5 On the drive back I passed Odell Brewing and said out loud, “If the Waffle Lab is there, I have to stop.” And it was. So I did. The Waffle Lab is a food truck with an incredible sounding menu that everyone raves about and I hadn’t had the opportunity to try. Go big or go home? I got the Front Range Chicken and Waffle smothered with rosemary gravy. I could’ve died of happiness. The softest, most flavorful savory waffle I’ve ever had with warming spices from the rich gravy and perfectly tender and crispy fried chicken. I paired that with a refreshing Leprechaun Session Pale (I couldn’t just go in to a brewery for the waffle – that would’ve been rude) and relaxed while enjoying the the ambiance of the bustling taproom.
am6 I woke up to the most wonderful mail call anyone could ever hope for on Saturday morning. A huge box stuffed with a giant container of Bhakti Chai concentrate (I have been obsessed with this since I first discovered it at Crankstein last year), two gorgeous glasses, a cute hat and warm fuzzy sweatshirt greeted my day. I won part of this giveaway (the chai and glasses) on Lauren’s blog at the end of December and patiently waited for it to arrive. And waited. And waited. Finally last week, I sent Lauren a quick message asking if it might be on its way. Turns out they’d forgotten to send it over at Bhakti Chai, so they more than made up for it by including the adorable hat and sweatshirt! Thank you so much to both Lauren and the Bhakti Chai team!
am7 I had my first mug right then and there. Half of the container is already gone. I LOVE BHAKTI CHAI!!!
am8 Sunday was the St. Patrick’s Day celebration at the brewery. We opened at 10am to greet those people who needed an excuse to start drinking before noon and had a food truck/cart come in with corned beef and cabbage hash and fried eggs. Not the most visually appealing, but the perfect food to balance out a morning brew, I guess. I stuck with my mug of Bhakti.
am9 The elk are back!!! Spring is really peeking its head around the corner, despite the blustery snow that’s on its way down from Wyoming right now. Oh wait… Yup, it just arrived. Flakes are flying right outside now.
am10 I needed to blow off some angry steam I had after the last two days at work, so the archery range was in order. Apparently being pissed off really helps my aim.

Today has one final day of work on the books followed by a relaxing evening reading in front of the fireplace, and it couldn’t come soon enough.
am11 Have I mentioned how much I love Bhakti Chai yet? Just checking.

Do you have any local food or drink companies that you’re obsessed with? Support local!

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Weekend Snapshots

Can you feel it? Spring is in the air! Here are a few snapshots from my weekend:
am2 I spent Thursday afternoon on the patio of Odell Brewing up in Fort Collins with my friend/coworker. It was 64 degrees and absolutely gorgeous out!
am1 Since I was in the area, it seemed like a good idea to check out my new house and jump around giddily after seeing that the drywall is in!
am3 Hello, kitchen area!
am4 Hello, beautiful view!!!
am5 The next day, it was snowing and pretty gloomy out. The slush almost immediately melted and I joined my entire family at Mad Greens in Fort Collins for an absolutely incredible salad – Salvador Dali: mixed baby greens, goat cheese, Olomomo Maple Garam Masala almonds (absolutely in love with this spicy curry/sweet combo!), pomegranate seeds and citrus grilled chicken tossed in a molasses dressing.
am6 LOVING. THIS. WEATHER. Odell Brewing’s Leprechaun Session Pale Ale on the patio on Sunday. This beer is wonderfully floral and full of sweet caramel maltiness. I want this beer forever.
am7 Which brings us to today. I woke up to a beautiful 50 degrees outside and celebrated with an insane workout followed by a gigantic peach green monsta. Spring is definitely in the air!
am8 I threw together a zucchini salad with white balsamic and goat cheese for a quick lunch before heading to work at the brewery.
am9 It was a quiet Monday, so I was able to clock out early and enjoy a relaxing, warm jaunt over to Crow Hop  to meet with my hockey buddy Paul and enjoy a half-pint of Rado’s Red after a handful of tasters. Have I mentioned yet how much I LOVE this weather?
am10 Both Paul and my phones went off at the same time reminding us that the puck was about to drop for the Avs game, so we headed back to Loveland Aleworks for a pint of For the Love of Pale and a (edited to update) AWESOME WINNING GAME!

Lots on the plate for tomorrey – a visit to Ikea, a visit to the house… which might be thrown off schedule by snow in the forecast. I’m keeping my spirits high though, since the following day will be back to the 60s! Happy Monday to all!

What’s on your plate for the week? Is Spring showing up early where you are?

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Weekday Weekends {plus Giveaway Winners}

I work almost every weekend, so it’s nice to be able to treat Tuesdays like my Saturday.
am After checking out the progress on my new house (the drywall is up!!!), I headed over to d’Vine Bistro in Old Town Fort Collins for a late lunch.
am1 It’s my Saturday. Don’t judge me.
am2 The restaurant is tucked away off of the main road on Mason Street. Quiet and spacious with lots of warm wood and a crackling fire for those snowy days.
am3 Seeing that it was Fat Tuesday, I thought it would be best to get something ridiculously rich and found that in the goat cheese and artichoke dip.
am6 Tangy, creamy and incredibly filling.
am5 Smoked trout pate with clarified butter for my lunch date! I had another plate coming to me, so I decided to have just a small taste of this one.
am4 Ahi tuna stacks were the incredible finale. Freshly seared ahi on top of a sweet strawberry and red onion salsa, topped with wasabi cream. That fruit salsa! I’ve been fixated on it ever since!
am7 Must. Recreate.
am8 Yesterday, I met up with my bestie Michelle for a tour at Celestial Seasonings in Boulder. The tour is completely free and consists of tons of free tea tastings, a walk around the factory, free hairnets and a stop in the famous Peppermint Room to sear your eyes and nostrils. Both of us have taken the tour before, but we realized that it’s been about twenty years since our last visit. TWENTY. We’re old.
am9 But young at heart.
am10 Very, very young at heart.
am11 Those twenty years ago, I lived in a set of condos right across the street from the factory. At Christmas time, the air always smelled like cinnamon and peppermint, and during summer there was a distinct aroma of lemons that wafted through the warm breeze.
am12 I brought back a box of Roastaroma and Sleepytime Extra. I gave up coffee for Lent, and this herbal infusion is a perfect caffeine free replacement for it! It’s made with roasted barley and chicory, and is like sipping a warm mug of wort pulled straight from the boil kettle. Blissful.

And now the winners for the rest of the Craft Beer for the Homebrewer books!
Screen shot 2014-03-06 at 8.55.11 AM Screen shot 2014-03-06 at 8.55.27 AM Screen shot 2014-03-06 at 8.56.53 AM Josh, Dan H. and Jason H., I’ve sent you emails with further instructions! Congratulations!

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The Dailies

Today is the last day to enter for the grande finale of the giveaway!
AM For serious. No more after this one! You guys have till 6pm MST! Check out this link and comment away!
am2 I gotta be honest… There hasn’t been anything too exciting over here this past weekend. The dailies – work… archery…
am Breakfast via Love and Olive Oil – avocado toast (THIS recipe for the bread) with goat cheese and red pepper flakes. I read this post and immediately went into the kitchen and made it minutes later. Absofrigginlutely delicious!
AM1 Pairing beer with housemade ranch popcorn. Delicious.
am3 German pancakes with blueberry compote for Sunday pancakes. Also delicious.
am4 Work, work, work.
am5 Feeling binge-y.
am6 Feeling regret-y.
am7 And yesterday’s work, work, work. Yup. Nothing too out there or enthralling.

But then…
Screen shot 2014-03-03 at 11.26.31 PM I got this awesome e-mail last night! I’ll be attending the Craft Brewers Conference this year in Denver as media! I went to the CBC in 2012 with Enegren Brewing Company and can’t wait to go this year in my {new} home state!

So yes, it’s been quiet on this front, but things are really starting to pick up and get crazy! Go and enter the giveaway for the Craft Beer for the Homebrewer before it’s too late, and I’ll be back with the winners and more thrilling things on Thursday!

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Lessons and Obsessions: 2 {GIVEAWAY}

The giveaway is at the end of the post. This is me hoping you’ll read through because you’re super interested in the minute details of my super exciting life… Yes? Right? Halloo??

Obsession:
am Chia Kombucha.
am6 I just “happen” to end up near a Whole Foods almost every day…
AM10 And I can’t stop buying these!!!
am23 I even purposely avoided Whole Foods today, but found more at a local grocery store that’s closer to my current house. Can someone please direct me towards a good Kombucha kit? Save my wallet? PLEASE??

Lesson:
AM11 Cars should be washed more than once every nine months. And when one decides to wash said car, one should make sure that it’s not supposed to snow the next day. Something like that might negate said car wash.

Obsession:
am9 This sauce. I first purchased it in California at the farmers’ market four years ago and made recurring purchases almost every month. (I tried to recreate it once after I decided it was “too expensive” and ended up massively regretting that decision.)
AM3 I found it at We Olive in Ventura (after scouring the same farmers’ market for Lourdes’s stand) this past visit to Cali and started slathering it on EVERYTHING.
am17 Last night, the jar ran out. I panicked and ran to Instagram to let everyone know how woeful and distraught I was, as normal people would.
Screen shot 2014-02-25 at 5.46.19 PM Luckily, just before I imploded from stress and depression, Lourdes Gourmet contacted me via Twitter and saved the day with a coupon! Ricardo (who runs the social media for Lourdes Gourmet) and I are besties now. Just so you know.

Lesson:
AM12 If you have an entire Saturday off (which hasn’t happened since I was hired, minus the vacation Saturday last week) and you’re hoping to be productive, don’t go visit friends on what you later find out that it’s “National Margarita Day”. Instead, go visit friends on “National Margarita Day” and plan on having an awesome time, laughing your ass off, playing “pimps and hoes” and not going to bed until 3am. Errands can always be pushed back one day. Even laundry. Perfume works wonders on dirty clothes. Sorry for that, coworkers…

Obsession:
am5 My new house!!! The shingles are on, the plumbing is in and the electrical is almost done!
am4 I enjoy my mountain view while I still can, before the house next door goes up.
AM9 You can’t tell here, but I’m doing a mirror selfie in my new bathroom. If I had a mirror, it’d look like this:
am2 Except there wouldn’t be a bowl of towels or weird yellow paint on the walls. And I wouldn’t be doing a selfie because it’s shameful and everyone hates them…
am3 But if I were doing a selfie (which I would never do, or admit), I’d be sure to show off this other obsession – my new Ladyface tank I got on my trip! I’ve worn it around way too much already.)

Lesson:
AM14 Sauteing grated butternut squash smells like sushi. Weird.
am16 If you’re making Jenna’s latest recipe for Butternut Squash and Goat Cheese Risotto and you’re really hungry and want to be fed in less than two and a half hours, don’t sub in short grained sprouted brown rice (no matter how healthy it is). If you can wait and want to be healthy ‘n stuff, definitely sub it in. A delicious pain in the ass dish.
am18 And no matter what you make, be sure to top it with crazy amounts of goat cheese. Because goat cheese is delicious.

Obsession:
am7 These. I found them while I was at the grocery store with my bro, convinced (haha, yeah, like he needed to be convinced) him to buy the pack and then proceeded to steal one. I guarantee you if I’d purchased the pack, I would’ve consumed them all within half an hour. No joke.

Lesson:
AM13 Kobe Sushi in Loveland makes their brown rice with black beans. That’s all.

Which brings me to my last obsession, and the giveaway!
am19 Books in the mail! Back to Butter is the creation of my friend Molly from Apricot Lane Farms and her mother. I’ve tried Molly’s food at the farm before. It is beyond epic. I’ll be in my kitchen until further notice.
am15 The copies finally arrived in the mail – thanks Dennis! I have three more of these babies to give away to my amazing readers!
am22 Gratuitous photography of my photography in said book. I’m still ridiculously proud.
am21 Here’s the deets: All of you who commented on the last giveaway are still entered to win one of the new copies! As a bonus and because I think you’re all amazing and love you so very much, you can be entered up to two more times (more means in addition to those other entries from the last giveaway, in case you were unsure)!!!

How to enter: Leave a comment on this blog post letting me know your favorite food and beer pairing. Be specific! Make sure you leave a valid e-mail so I can contact you if you win!

For a second entry: Follow me on Twitter! Leave a comment on this blog post telling me you followed! (If you already follow, leave a comment letting me know)

For a third entry: Tweet about the giveaway on Twitter and link this blog post (and @ me so I can add an entry for you)!

For a fourth entry: Follow me on Facebook and leave a comment on this blog post telling me so! (If you already follow, leave a comment letting me know)

For a fifth entry: Follow me on Instagram and leave a comment on this blog post letting me know! (If you already follow, leave a comment letting me know)

You get up to FIVE entries for this one! Open to U.S. residents only (so sorry, my other followers. Shipping be cray cray) . This giveaway will run through next Tuesday, March 4th at 6pm MST. I’ll randomly select two winners and contact you by e-mail!

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