Monthly Archives: September 2013

Protein-Packed Butternut Squash and Leek Soup

It’s the last day of September and I think it’s past time to start in on copious amounts of deliciously warming autumn recipes. This soup is from an adaptation I made three years ago on the blog, but this time I added red lentils for a punch of protein – a perfectly rounded out vegan dish.
AM

Protein-Packed Butternut Squash and Leek Soup

Serves 4-6
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 1 hour
Total time 1 hour, 15 minutes
Dietary Vegan, Vegetarian
Meal type Main Dish, Soup
Misc Serve Hot
This soup is SPICY, slightly sweet and full of veggies and protein thanks to the lentils! If you need to clear out your sinuses, this is the soup to make! Not only are you getting massive amount of Vitamin A from the butternut squash and a huge dose of protein from the lentils, but you also hike up your metabolism with the cayenne.

Ingredients

  • 1 Large butternut squash (halved and seeded)
  • 4 Large leeks
  • 1 head garlic
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup red lentils (rinsed)
  • 2.5 cups water
  • 1.5 teaspoons ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon cayanne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper

Directions

Step 1
Place the butternut squash halves, cut side up, on a cookie sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. At the same time, remove the papery skins from the garlic, then wrap the entire head of garlic in foil.
Step 2
Bake squash and garlic at 350 degrees for 60-75 minutes, or until fork easily pierces through the thickest point of the squash.
Step 3
Allow the squash and garlic to cool while you prepare the lentils: Place the rinsed lentils in a pot with the 2.5 cups of water, bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer for about 35 minutes, stirring often.
Step 4
Trim, wash and thinly slice the leeks.
Step 5
Saute the leeks in 1 tbsp of olive oil over medium heat for 15-20 minutes while the lentils cook.
Step 6
Squeeze the roasted garlic out of the casing and into the pan with the leeks and saute for another 5-10 minutes.
Step 7
Add the cubed butternut squash and saute for 10 minutes.
Step 8
Add the vegetable broth, cooked lentils, ground nutmeg, cayenne and ground pepper. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer for 20 minutes.
Step 9
Take an immersion blender and puree the soup into a creamy consistency. If you don’t have an immersion blender, ladle the soup into a blender and blend until smooth, then pour back into the pot.
Step 10
Slowly stir in salt, pinches at a time, until you reach the desired taste.

Butternut Soup I garnished this with my spicy-sweet roasted squash seeds, also from an old blog recipe, and paired it with one of my favorite pumpkin beers – Elysian Night Owl.
AM4 And now, I’m off to enjoy this gorgeous day with a mountain bike ride! Happy trails!
manana

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Scotland

After two days in Amsterdam we boarded yet another plane –  this time to London Heathrow followed by one more to Edinburgh, Scotland.
am There, we rented a car with the steering wheel on the right side, pulled out of the parking lot, screamed quite a bit at the oncoming traffic until we swerved back over to the left side of the road, and relaxed just in time to arrive at our bed and breakfast for the night.
am16 All of that city driving on the wrong side of the road was stressful. We needed to relax. We hailed a cab and were shuttled over to BrewDog.
am18 Every booth was full and the bar was lined with thirsty revelers.
am15 We grabbed a flight.
am17 Every beer they offered, plus a small sip of Dog B – an imperial stout that comes in at 15.1%ABV.
am19 Dinner was the charcuterie plate since they were unfortunately out of pizza dough. No brewery tours were taken, but we all loved the atmosphere of the tasting room, and the beer was blissful and powerful. We strolled back to the B&B through the chilly rain and fell asleep to the creaking sounds of the radiator.
am42 French press coffee for breakfast. Have you ever tried oatcakes? They’re like really thin horse treats. I don’t recommend them…
am14 After breakfast we screamed our way down the road to visit the Edinburgh Castle.
am20 The grand entrance full of people taking selfies.
am23 The house on the right is an actual residence. Nothing like waking up to tourists peering in your windows!
am21 The beautiful view looking out over the defense walls.
am24 The front of the grand hall. We got to see the actual crown jewels and Stone of Destiny. No pictures were allowed of those, unfortunately.
am25 Dead puppies, dead puppies, dead puppies aren’t much fun. (Pet cemetery).
am22 After a few hours and large soy mochas, we hopped back in the car to head over to our final destination: Oban.
am1 We passed by too many castles and fortresses to count.
am2 The roads in Scotland are narrow and windy with no shoulders and a speed limit of 60mph. The view was beautiful when I was able to tear my eyes away from the windshield.
am3 We pulled over for a breather and for lunch at a little standalone building on the side of the road.
am4 The Golden Larches.
am6 Quaint and cozy inside. It was wonderful to warm up and escape the rain that was yet again falling outside. Who would’ve thought: rain in Scotland.
am5 Toasties! After having one in Amsterdam, I had to get another.
am7 Tuna melt with crisps. Simple and delicious.
am8 Beautiful restaurant, friendly owners and delicious food. That’s all you need.
am9 We weaved through the canyons, past train bridges and dozens of lochs.
am26 We arrived at the adorable Dalrannoch Farm bed and breakfast run by the sweet Irene and her husband Fred. Not a bad view.
am27 We unpacked our things and drove up the road a few miles to the Creagan Inn for dinner.
am28 Baked goat cheese salad with walnuts and balsamic drizzle. No haggis or blood pudding was consumed on this trip.
am29 And some local brews.
am30 My shower at the B&B was a disco party. Awesome.
am10 We went to downtown Oban the next day.
Oban Distillery We visited the Oban Distillery and grabbed a few bottles to take home with us as gifts. Gifts for us AND gifts for others.
am11 For lunch we went to Ee-Usk – a seafoodery overlooking the harbor. Fyne Ales for lunchbeer – everything we tried on this trip was sessionable except for BrewDog. We were even warned by one of the waitresses that “this beer is quite strong. It’s about 5.4%”. Hehe, Europeans are so cute.
am12 And fish ‘n chips for foods. The pouring rain and icy winds continued, but with the wonderful brews and hot air, we didn’t mind.
am31 Eggs at the grocery store. Outside of the US and Canada, very few countries refrigerate their eggs. These were sitting in the aisle next to the bread.
Seal Colony We worked our way up the coast a little and arrived at the Dunollie Castle – ruins located right down the road from the town. The sun finally broke through.
am13 The son of the current clan chief still resides at the house built on the lands back in 1745.
Castle1 Inside the ruins.
Castle2 The stairs leading up to the third level were blocked off for safety reasons.
Castle View One of few walls remaining.
Castle View 2 Yet another beautiful view.
Castle View 3
Cross
Oban View The next day, we drove farther up the coast to visit Loch Ness and Nessie.
Loch Ness Breathtaking. Between the drive and the views, I was out of oxygen.
am40 A castle tower peeking through the eucalyptus trees.
am39 We had lunch at the Boathouse Restaurant.
am32 No sign of Nessie. Perhaps next time.
Island Castle On the way back to the farm, we were met with another stunning view of yet another castle. This one is on the island in the middle of the bay, and apparently you can walk to it during low tide.
am44 Our final dinner in Oban was spent at The Glue Pot – tough steak and onion rings accompanied by McEwan’s Export Scottish Ale and a glass of single malt Miltonduff. We drove back to Edinburgh the next morning to prepare for our flights home the following day.
am35 One final European hurrah – Cask and Barrel Southside in downtown Edinburgh. Eight casks and eight taps.
am33 So many beautiful beer engines!
am34 So pretty!
am37 I got a Deuchars IPA on cask. Silky smooth and cellar temperature.
am38 Followed by a Dark Munro.
am36 This was possibly my favorite beverage place of all. We curled up in the corner and spent the afternoon people watching while slowly savoring our beers.

And so sums up my trip to Europe! Stay tuned for some new recipes coming up next week! Prost!

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The Heineken Experience

The Disneyland of Amsterdam. The Heineken Experience is basically a 90 minute marketing ploy, and they do it so well.
AM After we hopped off of the canal boat, we walked down the street and into two separate Heineken offices that were so fancy we thought they were the museum, until we finally found our way into the true location.
AM2 After you weave down the long hallway, past a digital bar with a digital bartender explaining a little of the history, you get to see some of the original artifacts from the beginnings of the brewery.
AM3 And then it gets weird. I heard a creaking sound and a booming voice and looked up. In the style of Disney, a video of and actor portraying Gerard Adriaan Heineken began playing, talking down on us as if we were in a fermentor.
AM4 The do-it-yourself tour continues through the museum with information boards about the history…
AM5 Old flip top bottles…
AM6 The original brewniforms…
AM8 The evolution of coasters…
AM9 And then you emerge into the former brewery where you can look into the mash tuns, lauter tuns and boil kettles and watch an informative video about what occurs in each one.
Screen shot 2013-09-24 at 7.10.44 AM They also give you samples of wort. Yup, tastes like sugar water. We skipped the section where they explain the ingredients of beer and continued upward.
AM10 I was wondering why the brewery smelled like a farm! The stables right outside house the Heineken branded Shire horses. Immediately after is the 3D ride where you “become the beer”. You stand on a platform, hold tight to the bar in front of you and are shaken as they mill, mash, boil, ferment, bottle and pasteurize you. Basically, the platform shakes, shifts and bounces while they alternate between squirting water on you, turn on heaters above and release “fermentation” bubbles. Not the most exciting “ride”, but entertaining nonetheless.
AM11 Then it was time to learn how to taste beer. According to the Heineken crew, the head of the beer is there solely for the purpose of  “protecting the beer”, and they cut the head with a “beer foam skimmer” to help retain it… Interesting theory…
AM12 We looked at the color, took a quick sniff, raised our glasses and sipped.
AM13 “How does it taste?” Asks crew member #15. “Sweet! Refreshing! Bitter!” Yells the crowd.
AM14 After the tasting session, we sat in a miniature movie theatre and watched some of the commercials they created for the different sports and movies Heineken has promoted. These were truly impressive and entertaining: each was like a mini-adventure movie that went on for three minutes.
AM15 More large playrooms awaited, full of flashy branding.
AM16 They had a DJ booth where you could spin your own mixes…
AM17 A “club room” to feature their new stainless steel bottles…
AM18 Regular lighting…
AM19 And black lights!
AM20 A screen that follows your movements in flashes and swirls of light…
AM21 A pouring game where you can test your skills…
AM22 Boom.
AM23 Creepy claymation from a movie they made on the history of the brewery…
AM24 And the bar! At the entrance they gave us wristbands with three tokens on them. Two for beer and one for a free bottle opener.
AM25 Since we’d begun the tour half an hour after they opened, we were able to snag a booth and avoid the massive crowds we saw piled up as we left.
am29 So yes, it’s a big marketing trip from a mass-production brewery, but I still had a wonderful time and enjoyed every aspect, especially being able to try the beer from the source. I’m a beer nerd, not a beer snob.

Except for that whole “beer foam solely protects the beer” thing where they didn’t mention the importance of the head holding the aroma. I’m a little snobby about that.

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Amsterdam

I’m back in the states and slowly overcoming jet lag with the help of trips to local breweries and Lord of the Rings marathons! I can’t wait to start living here once I’m out of the land of half-awake, but until then, I’ll keep recapping my trip and reliving the awesomeness.
am20 We left Germany bright and early and hopped on a plane to Oslo, Norway.
am22 No Final Destination issues on this plane either, thank goodness.
am21 We had a two hour layover at the airport, so I grabbed a “build it yourself” bowl from the salad bar and a local beer before jumping right back on another plane to head down to Amsterdam. Kind of a crazy detour, but it saved a ton of monies that we were able to put to good use on more food and brews. Very important in my book.
am23 After settling in at our below mediocre hotel in central Amsterdam, we walked next door to Dante for a few more local beers…
am24 And the best burger of my life. I’m omitting the picture I took on my cell phone because it looks like zombie carnage and is unsuitable for all viewers, but man, was it amazing.
am The next morning my travel buddy and I hopped onto a hop on hop off canal tour. Seriously, I’m obsessed with these! The first stop was the Anne Frank house.
am3 We got there half an hour before they opened and beat the massive crowds that soon began forming a line around the building.
am1 They don’t allow pictures of anything inside, but you really don’t need a camera to remember every room. The building winds around the back through mazes of steep, creaky staircases until you come to the bookshelf that hid the families in hiding. After stepping through there are a handful of rooms, completely empty after the Nazis had arrested those in hiding and stripped the house of all the furniture. We walked through the dark bedrooms, bedroom/kitchen, staircases, bathroom and the room Anne Frank lived in that still has the posters plastered on the wall that she’d taken from magazines and decorated with. The final stop is the room with the ladder leading up to the attic – the one place she could see the outside world during her two years in hiding. They don’t allow anyone to climb up, but there’s a mirror placed at an angle at the top so you can see out the small window and get a glimpse of that same view she had.
am2 This is the entrance to the original house. The museum entrance next door winds through the side, keeping the original entry staircase preserved in time.
am4 If you’re in Amsterdam, this should be on the top of your list to see.
am5 We hopped onto the canal boat to continue the tour of the city.
am6 Try to catch all of the tours and boats as early as you can. We enjoyed a nice quiet ride until around 1pm when the lines started getting a little crazy.
am7
am8
am9 The Seven Bridges of Reguliersgracht.
Screen shot 2013-09-22 at 7.28.36 AM Unfortunately we didn’t get to see these lit up at night, but it’s still a beautiful sight.
am10 Bridge crossing.
am11 Koninklijk Theater.
am12 Amstel Hotel.
am13 We hopped off for the Heineken Experience for about an hour and a half. That recap will come in the next blog. Far too many pictures to post here!
am17 Afterwards we needed some absorption foods. We found it at a small cafe right off the canal.
am16 Old and creaky and full of locals, just the way I like it!
am18 I got the Hawaiian Toasty – Ham, cheese and pineapple pressed between two slices of bread and toasted until crispy and warm. Similar to a panini without all the butter, so it’s healthy? Yeah, let’s go with that.
am19 We headed back to the canal to wait for our ride home and enjoyed some people watching of a wedding – heart shaped wreath included.
am14 The De Gooyer Windmill – one of the last remaining in Amsterdam. It’s now a private residence and sits above the Brouwerij ‘t IJ. We hopped off to check it out, but unfortunately it was closed. We found a restaurant right next door that happened to serve their brews!
am28 This was one of my favorite food places around. Cozy and warm inside with a new age soundtrack softly playing, friendly bartender, candlelight dancing around inside as the rain streamed down the windows and good food.
am27 …and a nice beer list.
am29 I got the Brouwerij ‘t IJ India Pale Ale – wonderfully hoppy American style IPA coming in at 7%ABV.
am30 And split the Brouwerij ‘t IJ Wit with travel buddy.
am26 Travel buddy also enjoyed a beautiful soy latte, topped with cookies. When the rain turned from a deluge back into a downpour, we raced through to wait for our next hop-on back to the hotel.
Amsterdam Church Up next – the Heineken Experience!

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Nonsolovino, München

Our final night in München, we revisited a spot we’d found on our happy hour tour a few nights prior.
AM9 Nonsolovino is a quaint little restaurant on a side street, full of happy locals who are regulars there, and run by Carmelo Bongiovanni, a friendly Italian who is on a first name basis with all of his customers and came to have a jovial discussion with us our first night in. We enjoyed the fine wines and conversation so much, we had to return for the food.
AM6 The inside is cozy and softly lit, with an extensive wine menu and a simple food menu.
AM5 I don’t know wines and will be the first to admit it. I asked our waiter’s recommendation from the list of reds.
AM8 This was a winner. Rich and oaky, full of dry tannins and a hint of what I thought to be bourbon. I was a happy girl.
AM10 I perused the menu and was prepared to order the gnocchi before they brought in the specials board. Farfalle mit Lads u.Rucola… or something like that. It means farfalle pasta with salmon and deliciousness… or something like that.
AM7 We relaxed, sipped wine and enjoyed the idle chatter of the patrons around us while we patiently awaited our meals. Germany is made for long, relaxed meals. All of Europe is made for long, relaxed meals. If you leave before two hours, you’re rushing. Sit back, relax, take another sip of wine and breathe. And please, phones and technology must be left at home.
AM11 My dish – droolworthy. Al dente pasta with fresh arugula, juicy burst tomatoes and delicate pieces of salmon, enveloped in a warm coat of fragrantly herbed olive oil.
AM12 Travel buddy #1 – Tender filet of beef with a red wine sauce studded with mushrooms on top of scalloped potatoes.
AM13 Travel buddy #2 – Pasta with fresh veggies and rabbit. I’d never had rabbit before, but it seems to me like a slightly chewier combination of chicken and pork. All of the plates were scraped clean.

We lounged for another hour chatting with Carmelo and enjoying the ambiance of the place and topped it off with a glass of limoncello courtesy of our gracious host.
AM14 If I’m ever lucky enough to return to München, I will be back here for my first meal in the country. A huge thanks to the entire crew at Nonsolovino for their kindness, delicious foods and brilliant wine selection!


Nonsolovino
Metzstraße 15, 81667 Munich, Germany

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Hop-On Hop-Off

With my ankle being a bit of a bummer thanks to a running injury, my travel buddy and I decided that our new favorite thing to do is hop-on hop-off bus tours. Picture heavy post, comin’ at ya!

München, Germany
AM2 The most important sights first – Löwenbräu Brewery, which I just found out is owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev. Wah. Ah well, I still enjoy it (although my favorite beer we’ve had here so far has been Andechs by miles!).
AM3 Boil kettles and mash tuns across the street.
AM4 Nymphemburg Palace. We decided to stay on the bus here since we’d snagged the front seats at the top, plus my ankle was still acting up.
AM5 And glad we did! It started raining immediately. We stayed inside the warm, cozy bus while the throngs of people who had just hopped-off started running towards the palace.
AM6 Olympiapark in Munich.
AM7 BMW Museum (closed on Mondays for anyone interested in going).
AM9 At this point of the ride, some of the descriptions of the sights were lost in translation.
AM10 We hopped off here to grab some lunch.
AM14 The Glockenspiel Cafe is located on the 7th floor in the building directly across from the clock.
AM15 First things first, lunchbeer! Hofbräu Original Helles.
AM17 Balsamic lentils with some kind of amazing creme foam.
AM18 Gnocchi with sundried tomato and pumpkin seed pesto, garlic and fresh parmesan for me. Painfully delicious.
AM16 The gorgeous view of the Glockenspiel. We were lucky enough to grab seats at the window after one couple left.
AM19 Just a port-a-potty swinging over the streets.
AM1 We jumped back on and passed through the Viktualienmarkt – a HUGE farmers market with over 300 types of cheese, crates of fresh fruits and vegetables, wines, truffles and biergartens everywhere.
Palace One last look at the Nymphemburg Palace.
Munchen ‘Twas an amazing day!

Salzburg, Austria
Yesterday, we had plans to check out Salzburg, Austria. We took the bullet train southeast and an hour and 45 minutes later, pulled into the main station.
AM26 Mozart’s place of birth! Conveniently located above a chain grocery store.
AM27 Fish sammiches with the skin on. Eek.
AM25 St. Blaise Church at the end of the street. The street was packed, so we looked for a way to get some space and room to breathe.
AM20 We took the Mönchsberg Lift to the top of one of the mountains that houses the Museum der Moderne and were blessed with this view.
AM23 Breathtaking views of the Salzach River.
AM22 As well as the busy city.
AM24 After taking a ridiculous amount of pictures, we took the lift back down and head out to find the yellow hop-on hop-off bus of Salzburg.
AM28 My throbbing ankle was please beyond belief once we were picked up. Here’s a view of the Museum der Moderne we’d just retreated from.
AM29 The Horse Bath statue.
AM30 Driving into the tunnel leading to the outskirts of the city.
AM31 A view of the Hohensalzburg Fortress.
Fortress Hohensalzburg Fortress from the Museum der Moderne.
Salzburg And a farewell to the beautiful city.

We jumped back on the bullet train and enjoyed the rivulets of rain streaming down the windows as the gentle rocking lulled me to sleep.

Tomorrey we’re off to Amsterdam! There may be a hop-on hop-off canal tour planned. Any recommendations for places to go/avoid?

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Andechs Monastery

I’ve been sleeping through the nights and waking up at 7:15am (or earlier) every morning here! Even with this as the case, yesterday was rough for me and I ended up dozing on the train. Here’s a quick photo post so I can get out the door for our hop-on hop-off bus tour!
am11 First official day pre-breakfast-breakfast – double espresso macchiato (followed by three more…eek), with fruit and some kind of fried cheese thingy.
am15 We went to Cafe Am Marienplatz under the Rathaus-Glockenspiel for official breakfast.
AM12 Weisswurst and weissbier!
am17 Definitely in the top five breakfasts of my life, as unappetizing as that white sausage may look.
am14 They serve the weisswurst in a pot of hot water alongside a large pretzel and mustard. It’s up to the consumer to take the sausage out, peel off the casing and consume it greedily by hand. In the countryside, many people simply suck the meat straight out of the casing. How’s that for a pretty mental image? Yay, Germany!
am16 We caught the 10am clock striking which consisted of a huge crowd, lots of bells and music and rotating figurines.
AM18 After wandering Marienplatz for a few hours, we found Der Pschorr and decided to grab lunchbeer.
AM20 Fried goat cheese wrapped in puff pastry dough on top of arugula with balsamic reduction.
AM19 Hacker-Pschorr Edelhell pulled from a wooden barrel. We were surrounded by packed tables in the biergarten which was lovely, and also overwhelmed by cigarette smoke. Not so lovely. One of the casualties I’ll need to overlook.
AM21 Evenings have been spent at the hotel with free foods and Maisel’s Weisse, followed by a local Irish pub…
am9 Molly Malone’s. I was warned not to go to any Irish pubs here, but I actually quite like this one. Their veggie curry with chips has been a welcome finale to two evenings.
am10 Spaten Münchner Hell.
AM Yesterday we took a train over to Herrsching followed by a taxi up (I’m currently wearing an ankle stabilizing boot thanks to a running injury, and was unable to hike up the 3km) to the Andechs Monastery to check it out.
am2 I was a genius and brought my telephoto lens, so all my pictures had to be taken from far, far away.
am1 The clock tower.
am5 The inside of the church. Absolutely breathtaking.
am4 Replica of the monastery.
AM22 Das bier! We wanted to try a few, so between the three of us: two Doppelbock Dunkels, one Weissbier Hell and an Apfelweisse. I loved them all, but the Weissbier Hell was so wonderfully musty with the perfect banana aroma. Possibly the best Weissbier I’ve ever had. Happy sigh.
am7 We walked around a bit and enjoyed the view, but were unable to find the brewery among the throngs of people. Recommendation: Don’t go there on a weekend! While the crowds were fun in the biergarten and everyone was full of songs and joy, it was a bit overwhelming.
am8 We did end up walking (with me limping) down the 3km trail to get back to the train station and were rewarded with beautiful forests and charming little houses the entire way down.
COUNTRY Off to the bus tour! Happy Monday, all!

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Ich bin in München

Holy crap. Made it through two flights with zero sleep and just passed the 25.5 hours awake mark. I’m drunk on no sleep and jet lag. And I still have another 6 hours to stay awake which will involve a visit to the local Irish pub. Please forgive me for any nonsense in this post.
AM Last night I went to the Verboten Sisterhood meeting for about an hour before having to bail out to take Barleywhine to my bro and sis-in-law who are being very kind and taking care of the little guy for the next two weeks and a few days.
AM1 This morning (or yesterday morning now…) we boarded a flight from Denver to Washington Dulles and had to sprint through the airport to make our connection.
AM2 If you’re following me on Twitter or Facebook, you’ve been getting these updates which will have to cease for the most part until I’m back in the states thanks to pricey LTE charges. I’m updating from hotel Wi-Fi when I get the chance.
AM3 I’m a weirdo and always check the tray table latch to make sure it’s not in the vein of Final Destination. Although, if the latch was loose, I have no idea what I would actually do…
AM4 Surprisingly edible airplane food! Beef teriyaki with rice, salad, roll and a brownie. I ate everything but the rice. No need for filler here.
AM5 I had some red wine in the hopes that it would make me tired and able to sleep for the eight hour flight that we had to enjoy after our first three hour flight. Instead I watched two movies (Kings of Summer – wonderfully written and acted and one of my new favorite feel-good movies, and The East – also wonderfully written and acted and Brit Marling is a powerhouse of a do-it-yourself actress), as well as a few episodes of New Girl which were mindless and lovely.
AM6 The first stamp in my passport! Prior to today, I’ve never been anywhere overseas. Not even Hawaii. Mexico was visited when I was a kid to help build a hospital, but that’s the extent of my out-of-the-states experiences.

First order of business after brushing my teeth and changing clothes?
AM7 Look up local biergartens. I found Zum Augustiner and after getting lost twice, managed to find the place right in the middle of Karlsplatz.
AM8 My first sip of an actual Munich Dunkel! I might be asleep in this picture. This was exactly at our 24 hour mark.
AM9 I decided to pair the dunkel with potato salad – tart vinegar and creamy potatoes rounded out with a little roastiness from the beer and a crisp ending. Pairing is exactly what was going through my head at this point. Yeah, let’s go with that.

Now I’m completely drunk on lack of sleep and need to blast some loud music and find a way to stay awake until 21:00. I’m also trying to figure out how many stone I weigh using the scale in the bathroom and how many degrees it is outside attempting to convert Celsius to Fahrenheit.

Oh yes, I almost forgot. Good morning to you all!

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Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse

This morning I enjoyed an early drive through open fields and past crystal lakes with hot air balloons lazily rising through the sky in the distance. Small droplets of rain splattered across my windshield as the flatirons of Boulder slowly came into view and the sun streaked through the cracks in the clouds, casting a warm glow over the waking earth.
Screen shot 2013-09-04 at 2.40.28 PM My oldest friend, Michelle, and I met at Lucile’s in Boulder for french press coffee, cheesy jalapeno grits and catching up before moseying over to the Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse.
am The teahouse is tucked right next to Boulder Creek and was built between 1987-1990 in Tajikistan before being gifted from Dushanbe to Boulder to establish ties as “sister cities”.
am1 The interior is open and airy with a burbling fountain in the center, intricate decor on the walls…
am2 …and a beautiful ceiling, all tied together with carved wood designs and sheer fabrics on the windows to soften the glow of the sun.
am3 It was a sweltering day, so we ordered the Hibiscus Coolers – Hibiscus tea, club soda, mint and citrus.
am4 And since we were still pretty stuffed from our cheesy jalapeno grits from breakfast, we split the Tea Smoked Duck Bulgogi – butter lettuce wrapped around rich, smoky duck and topped with crunchy sprouts, bell pepper and sesame soba noodles.
am5 We proceeded to drench these in the spicy dipping sauce before shoving our faces. With these wraps, it’s not even worth pretending to be dainty and polite. Ask for extra napkins. You will need them.
am6 Dessert featured Warm Chocolate Cinnamon Cake served with avocado ice cream and a cinnamon chile caramel. The cake was light and airy and had the perfect amount of faint spice without being overwhelming and wasn’t overly sweet. The avocado ice cream was rich and heavenly and balanced the spice wonderfully. Plate demolished.

Since I need to finish packing for Europe (Aaaaaaaah!!! I can’t believe I’m actually going!!!) we both headed home with plans for future tea tastings, bee keeping workshops and plenty of other random activities that I can’t wait to embark upon. I got to enjoy another beautiful drive through the back roads and arrived home to a wonderful view.
Clouds It’s going to be a rainy night!
Clouds 2 I wish I had the words to describe how perfect everything is here. And tonight I’m off to another meeting with the Verboten Sisterhood before enjoying some quality family time featuring delicious Thai food. Utter bliss.

I’ll be blogging from Europe when I’m awake in the middle of the nights thanks to jet lag! Any recommendations for spots to visit in Munich, Amsterdam and Scotland are greatly appreciated!

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One Week In

Happy Labor Day to all! I’ve officially lived in Colorado for a week now, and holy geez, has it been busy! Here’s a quick recap of some highlights.
am My latest obsessions – iced Bhakti Chai almond milk latte and Ambidetrous #5 dopplesticke altbier (SO GOOD!) from Left Hand Brewing. We stopped at Cranknstein (soon to be one of my regular hangouts) in Fort Collins on our way to the Tour de Fat, and in order to comply with Tour de Fat tradition, both caffeine and beer were required. Cranknstein has both, therefore, I love them.
am1 We missed the parade but went to the Civic Center Park to enjoy some music and check out everyone in costume.
am2 Halloween 2.0.
am3 It was a rowdy bunch with plenty of hollering Chivers stumbling about and scantily clad college kids on bikes.
am4 The lines were ridiculously long for beers, so we headed over to Black Bottle Brewery a little out of town for lunch and There Goes the Neighborhood rye saison – earthy, perfectly barnyard funky with a wallop of spiciness from the rye. I need to get one of these mustache glasses!
am5 The rest of the week has been in the same vein. We headed to High Hops Brewery in Windsor and enjoyed a cloudy afternoon overlooking the hop farm and mountain range. Afterwards, my bro and sister-in-law kidnapped me and forced me to drink delicious homebrew, eat sushi and talk everything beer. Those two can be pushy…
am6 In between all the brews, I’ve attempted to keep my diet somewhat balanced. Chopped salads with sauteed zucchini, bell pepper, carrots and black bean dressing (recipe to come).
am7 Homemade indian food was also necessary. I chopped up eggplant, zucchini, onions and bell peppers, marinated them in olive oil, balsamic vinegar and a healthy dose of garam masala and curry before slowly grilling them to caramelized perfection. Slow cooker chicken tikka masala and garlic naan joined the plate.
am9 Every evening that hasn’t been dominated with new friends, steak and lobster dinners (which actually occurred last night) and beer tastings have been spent on the porch enjoying the sunsets and the warm end of summer.
am10 Lightning storms and downpours over the mountains are a bonus.
am11 Happy Labor Day, everyone! Go be lazy – you’ve earned it!

Sincerely, the Funemployed Becki.

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Filed under Daily Life