Monthly Archives: January 2014

Butterflies and Beers

We’ve had an interesting weather pattern here in Colorado lately.
amamaEvery other day has been gorgeous – high 50s and sunny, and the next day it snows. When it snows, I start cooking.
am26My daily breakfast – a hot boiled egg, my recently baked (on a snowy day) Whole Wheat Sugarless Banana Cake Bread (subbed dates for raisins) and copious amounts of coffee.
am22I also made some raw oat date bars from this recipe but added chocolate chips and dried cherries to the mix. MASSIVE pain in the ass to make, but definitely delicious and probably worth it. Note: do NOT try to make this in your Vitamix! I burned out the engine and ended up needing to chisel all of the oat/date cement out of the bottom to transfer into a food processor. Luckily, the Vitamix lived. Le phew!

Yesterday turned out to be a nice day, so my bestie Michelle and I met up in Westminster at the Butterfly Pavilion!
am8I’ve actually been here once before about sixteen (holy crap, I’m old) years ago. It was one of the designated field trip locations for all of the local schools, and still is. We were surrounded by little halflings who were running around and shrieking at everything they saw.
am3We wandered into the big bug room first, glancing into all the cages and letting out our own little gasps of, “Ewwwww!” and “Look how big that one is!” and “EWWWW!”. We resort to ten year old status when we’re together. I love that about her.
am5Then we did what we haven’t done in sixteen years – WE HELD ROSIE!!!
am4We even got the traditional “I Held Rosie” sticker and wore them proudly for the rest of the day.
am6More squeals and gasps from us.
am7“It moved when I touched it!”
am9We went through the double doors into the butterfly section where it was a balmy 80 degrees and humid.
am10And now commences too many pictures of butterflies, flowers and other animals.
am11 am15 am14 am13 am12They have a glassed off section where all of the chrysalises hang protected.
am16am18Then it was time for the daily release of newly emerged butterflies. We joined the gaggle of kids to learn a little more about the flutterbys and watch them fly away.
am27Ah, Alex. So majestic.
am19After the release we headed through the gift shop where picked up necessities – cheap plastic friendship butterfly rings, honey sticks and glittery tattoos. I’m proudly sporting one on my wrist as I type.
am28Then we I pretended to be a spider. Just because. Oh, and that thing on my wrist?
am23That’s my early birthday present to myself! A FitBit Force. As I type this, I’ve walked 5,274 steps, burned 953 calories, climbed 4 flights of stairs and walked 2.37 miles.
am30When we finally emerged through the doors to the outside, it had started to get a little chilly, so we headed across the way to Tuk Tuk Thai (an old spot I used to go to when I was in middle school after seeing movies with my friends) for some hot Tom Kha Gai.
am32Then it was time for beer! Big Choice Brewing is located in Broomfield, my old hometown.
am21We brought in some Beef ‘n Cheddar sammiches from Arby’s cuz we’re healthy like that, and spent the rest of the afternoon sampling all ten brews, reminiscing on old times and laughing about our crazy current lives.
am20I ended up going home with a growler of their #42 Poblano Stout – rich and roasty with all of the smoky flavor of a Poblano chile without the spice. I tried this for the first time back at the Gnarly Barley Festival and absolutely adored it. AND I got to carry it home in this awesome Christmas present from Michelley!
get-attachment-1.aspxShe knows me so well! We parted ways and I almost made it home before the chilly rain turned into snow and coated our ground yet again.

Have you ever tried out any fitness toys like the FitBit? It might not be accurate, but it’s still fun!


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We enjoyed a busy weekend over at the brewery! I’ve begun an educational training for the team to get everyone to the Certified Beer Server level of the Cicerone program!ciceroney1I brought in a huge selection of different study guides for everyone to look through and we went over a few basics – how to pour a beer, the three tier system and just grazed draught system maintenance. Everyone seemed really into the idea of learning even more about the craft. It’s so nice to be surrounded by beer enthusiasts who want to dive even deeper!
ciceroneyHopefully they don’t get overwhelmed the way I did once I began studying for the actual Certified Cicerone level…
AM2MY HOUSE! Remember how it was just a freaking cement foundation last Thursday? They had all of this up by Saturday.
AM3I enjoyed the view out of my kitchen window. Oh, if only they decided to keep those other lots free – my view would be phenomenal!
AM4Hello, kitchen! Hello, moving mural! (The trains change daily – new graffiti all the time!)
AM6I was beyond excited after seeing that, and decided to take my mumsie out to celebrate. We hit up Mainline in Old Town Fort Collins for lunch. I grabbed a roasty Telluride Facedown Brown and gazed at the extensive menu for about a minute before settling on the best decision of my life.
AM5Maybe not the best decision of my life, but a really, really good one. Fried chicken and waffles with roasted apples, candied walnuts and rum-butter syrup. Completely blissed out. Complete food coma.
AM7I worked Sunday night and was greeted on my way out of the neighborhood with high winds and ominous skies. The warm brewery was very welcoming.
AM1We have magazines for customers to look through when they stop by. This is the latest. Oh, Colorado.
AM10We woke up this morning to a good two inches of powdery white stuff covering the ground. If you follow me on Instagram you’ll know that I already shoveled twice, and since it’s still coming down in blankets, I’ll be shoveling at least twice more before the day is over.
AM9Until then, I’m doing my best to stay warm and cozy, which of course includes baking my Whole Wheat Sugarless Banana Cake Bread (subbing in dates for raisins) and throwing pork tenderloin, garlic, honey and balsamic vinegar into a crockpot for a hot dinner.
AM8My first time being close to a full Medjool date. These things are ridiculously sticky! I’m looking for a good date/oat/nut bar recipe to make. Any suggestions?
AM11The only way to grow herbs year round in Colorado. I’m digging this AeroGarden! I can’t wait to have fresh basil and sage in a few weeks!
AMI hope you’re all having a lovely start to the week! End it right with a craft beer and watch the Avs game with me!

Ever used Medjool dates before? Do you have any recipes to share?

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House Arrest

I’ve been sporadically on and off the blog radar for the past few weeks, but I promise I have good reasons!
amHmm? Oh, that’s just me, standing on the foundation of my NEW HOUSE!
AM8After months of searching and weeks of filling out loan applications and credit reports, they’ve broken ground (and then some) at the site of my new home! I’ve been spending my days playing around with budgets (I probably should’ve titled this Budget Arrest), the idea of not being able to afford to feed myself, and Pinterest.
Screen shot 2014-01-23 at 11.10.37 AMI love the idea of having as many things as possible being made by me in my house. Since I won’t be able to afford furniture and the like…
Screen shot 2014-01-23 at 11.11.16 AMI’ve also been going over color ideas to distract me from the panic attacks that threaten to overcome me when I re-do my budget over and over and it just keeps getting smaller and smaller.
am2Shopping for said furniture I can’t afford can still be fun, though…
am3I went out with the parental unit for a little fun/relaxing/celebration time after all those long documents were signed. I’ve gotta soak up as much spoiling as I possibly can before things get even crazier!
am1Side note – one of the best dishes I’ve ever had in my entire life. No joke. Butternut squash ravioli draped in a creamy sage sauce, cranberries and roasted pistachios with a side of hot garlic bread at Next Door in Loveland. Oh, it is heavenly!
AM6I’ve also been (still) hitting the archery range and shooting out some of that anxiety. There’s something so calming and confidence-inspiring about drawing back 30lbs and letting the arrows fly.
AM4My current bunkmate. I’ll miss fighting him for pillow space on my bed.
AM7I’m certain I’ll be stealing him for a few nights here and there to keep my bed warm when I can’t afford to turn on the heat.
AM5So yes, it’s been crazy and my days have been filled with stress and excitement, but I promise to keep you filled in as things go. And any recommendations for homemade/reclaimed furniture ideas would be greatly appreciated! I already have my wine rack ready to go!
am13And now I’m off to curl up next to the fire and read one of my new books.
am14Happy Thursday!

Have you ever built your own furniture? I’d love tips and recommendations!


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Nunneries, Cemeteries and Brews

I set out on the road to find an abandoned town yesterday and kinda failed, but did stumble across some pretty cool places!
am3As I was driving north towards Wyoming, looking for Virginia Dale and all of the creepy shuttered glory I was hoping for, I saw a sign that said “ABBEY” that pointed left.
am2The Abbey of St. Walburga is a convent located just south of the border of Wyoming. The nuns there spend their days in prayer and meditation.
amThey also raise cattle. There was a box on the front bench with some of the fresh mozzarella and a donation box. Unfortunately, since I wasn’t planning on stumbling across an Abbey that sold fresh meat and cheese, my car was void of a chill box, but I definitely plan on going back up soon to try some!
am1The bells, surrounded by snow covered mountains.
am4This place is truly a hidden gem. The sisters walking through the halls offered to let us join in on the daily prayers as they passed into the church.
The Abbey 2We kindly declined and perused the grounds before hopping back in the car and heading south.
Virginia DaleThe Virginia Dale exit was directly across the way from the Abbey, but I was unable to find the bullet-ridden signs and abandoned homesteads that the websites promised.
Virginia Dale PostI did, however, find the old post office that has been shuttered for years. No trespassing this time since there was a house directly behind. Sniff.
am7A little ways down the road we came across a small white church and pulled off for more pictures.
am8The doors were unlocked, so I let myself in to explore the small room.
am10The original church burned down in 2003, but they’ve rebuilt since and still have regular services on Sundays.
am9Some old relics from the original church.
Virginia Dale CrossThe church, like the town and the Abbey, are surrounded by mountains with no sight of any other housing, or people, in sight.
am17A small cemetery sits right next to the church.
am13Some of the graves are a bit more well-kept than others.
am12There are a handful of headstones that simply have names that are just barely etched in and fading with time and weather.
am11It was getting later in the day and we had yet to feed ourselves, so we jumped back on the road and drove south to Fort Collins to check out Gravity 1020, Fort Collin’s Brewery’s attached restaurant.
am20I warmed up with the porter on nitro and paired it with their East Coast Rep – prime rib, caramelized onions, cheddar and horseradish aioli with a side of pastrami mac ‘n cheese. Holy. Drool.
am22We shouldn’t have. We really, really shouldn’t have, but how can you say no to at least trying one of these desserts?
am21The Cake and Shake. The pumpkin spice cake wasn’t as soft and delicate as I was hoping, but the flavor was still warm and spicy. The shake had Red Banshee in it and was a little odd with the bitterness, but rounded out well with the butter pecans.
am23It was an exhausting and unexpected day, but the perfect way to break up the week.

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Lessons and Obsessions

If you follow me on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, you’ll see that I’ve developed a new obsession.
AM2Obsession: I love my new bow!
AM1I’ve been going to the range quite a bit before work lately. Nothing like getting a little stress out with sharp, pointy arrows!
AM5Lesson: I’ve also learned a lot about myself – I’m good at maiming animals (on paper), but probably couldn’t ever actually kill one. For multiple reasons.
AM4Luckily my pops was able to put this one out of its misery. I think I’ll stick to archery for the sport, and not for hunting.
AM6Obsession/Lesson: I’ve also learned that a nice chilly Schwarzbier is a good idea afterwards. Gotta settle the nerves after injuring that poor paper elk.
AM7Obsession: My Latin Lover. Tall, dark, hot and rich. This is a wonderful caffeinated creation I found at The Coffee Tree in Loveland made with espresso, chocolate, cinnamon, cayenne and almond milk. Perfect for these cold days while the snow is still resting on the ground.
AM8Lesson: We’ve been experimenting at work and discovered that there are 3,628,800 ways to blend all ten beers we have on tap. This is the Suicide –  a little bit of each. Extremely complex with barnyard aroma, coconut, molasses and fig flavors with a weird sour hop finish. I wouldn’t recommend it. We’ll keep trying to find the other 3,628,799 blends that work.
AM9Obsession: This book. I’ve heard about it all over the blogosphere, checked it out at the library, had to renew it twice before I actually opened it and now can’t put it down. I paired Gone Girl with a Lost Abbey Angel’s Share. Quite an exquisite pairing, if I do say so myself.
AM10Lesson: Apparently I’m someone who has to take all tests twice. My last 23 and Me test “didn’t have enough DNA” to get a result. Fingers crossed for try number 2!
AM7You may remember yet another of my obsessions – abandoned towns/buildings. I’ll be taking a road trip during my three day “weekend” to visit another beautifully creepy abandoned place this week!

What are your obsessions in life?

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An Avalanche of Awesomeness

We’re six days into the new year! How did you guys spend the big night?
am13I started off with the important things – we opened up my Firestone 16th Anniversary that’s been aging in my cellar for a good year.
am14A brilliant glass of this and writing out some resolutions! I’m on the small team of people out there who still enjoy writing down resolutions. They’re not the generic “get healthy” “lose weight” “stop drinking” (of course not that!), but some smaller goals/hopes/dreams I like to strive to. A handful of examples – hike a 14er, make an effort to give good friends actual phone calls (I’m not great at actually talking to people on the phone for some reason…), read at least one book every month, sit down for twenty minutes every morning with my bible for my SheReadsTruth bible study…
am12And one of my new resolutions – spend some quality time with my new bow! I finally got my Samick Sage, and can’t wait to spend more time at the range!
amI’ve been there three days so far since picking up my Sage.
am1Post archery range brews are nice too!
am2I spent Friday night with some friends at the Eagles game at the Budweiser Event Center in Loveland! We feasted on barbecue at Nordy’s before and enjoyed a fun win that was only marred by the excessive use of cowbells. I will never understand why anyone thought painfully loud and distracting bells were a good idea during a hockey game…
am11Since I hadn’t gotten enough of a hockey fix, Saturday was spent at the Pepsi Center watching the Colorado Avs play!
AM3We started off with a (slightly) cheaper beer and food at the attached restaurant and then headed into the rink.
AM7Our neighbors were kind enough to invite us along – they get amazing seats since their son plays youth hockey and the Avs are big on encouraging aspiring players.
am8THE AVS WON!!! I believe that’s the first time I’ve ever seen the Avs win in person, out of four games!
am9We went out to Wynkoop Brewery for celebration beers afterwards.
am10I started off with the Colorojo but found it to be a bit of a diacetyl bomb, and they kindly exchanged it for a B3K Black Lager. Muuuch better.
am17I’d say that this year has been many degrees of awesome so far. I’m loving 2014!

How’s your new year/new resolutions going?


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