Monthly Archives: July 2014

Gray’s Peak and Torrey’s Peak

Last week I took the initiation into becoming a true Coloradoan.
am8 Topping a 14er – Gray’s Peak! (Spoiler alert – I summited). My bestie Michelle told me she was hiking Gray’s and Torrey’s and I figured that, since I have plenty of time on my hands lately, I should join. I drove down to her place last Sunday and we binged on sushi to fuel up for the ascent. Our alarms were set for 3:45am so we headed for bed around 10pm, me trying to ignore the gentle throbbing in my temples.
am2 We left the house at 4:15am and headed into the mountains to hit the base before 6am and avoid the afternoon thunderstorms. We drove up the windy, rocky road past the winter parking lot, heading for the summer lot at the start of the trail. The road got rougher as we got higher until our car took a nosedive into a deep trough. The tires spun and the aroma of burning rubber filled the car. I jumped out as Michelle reversed out of the trench, trying to see if there was a way around it. To the right, we’d ram into the rocks. To the left, the undercarriage of the car would be shredded. We reversed down, a line of cars slowly backing down behind us, before pulling a 3 point turn and parking in the middle lot. A handful of other lower clearance cars decided to join us after watching our little adventure and realizing they probably wouldn’t be able to get around the trench either. We pulled our packs on and started the 2 mile hike up to the start of the actual hike. The throbbing in my temples the night before was starting to knock a little louder.

That hike up. Was. Painful. We finally reached the ditch we’d gotten stuck in when a large white pickup began to navigate through the same spot. An older gentleman got out to help guide the driver and asked if we wanted a ride.
am20 YES! We gleefully jumped in the back of the truck and enjoyed the chilly, bumpy ride to the top parking lot, ready to start the 8.5 mile round trip.
am3 It was absolutely gorgeous! The sun started cresting over the horizon as the trail immediately became a steady incline.
am4 The first mile consisted of large, rocky steps before evolving into a crescendo of rocks that pointed directly upward.
am5 We huffed and puffed along, taking 30 second breaks to gasp for air before passing a handful of red-faced groups snacking on Cheez-Its on the side of the trail. It wasn’t a race, but man, we were so winning!
am6 As we continued on, we were passed by Superman. This guy was powering up behind us at inhuman speed. “Hiking for time?” I asked him. Turns out Superman (aka Patrick) just wanted some exercise and this was his normal speed for all of the many, many 14ers he’s topped. He ended up reaching the top of Gray’s in an hour and a half!
am7 The top! The glorious top! It took us 2 hours and 15 minutes to get from the start of the trail to the summit. My head was pounding full force now and the winds were whipping like crazy.
am8 We pulled on our gloves and  headed down the steep saddle across to Torrey’s Peak. We dropped down at least 1,000 feet before starting an even steeper ascent.
am9 An hour later, we were standing on the top of Torrey’s, gazing in awe at the views all around us, scarfing down sammiches and chugging water.
am10 I debated going in to my pack to grab the ibuprofen for my head, but we were ready to start the descent and avoid the clouds that were rolling in in the distance.
am12 After a few more obligatory pictures, we started down. Superman joined us. He told us that while he was a powerhouse on the uphill, he preferred to take his time down to avoid injury. With the blisters forming across my feet, my aching knees and bruised soles, I decided that was a good way to go.
am13 We had to cut across a snow bridge to avoid topping Gray’s again. I took the lead and began slowly sliding across. About halfway through, the snow turned to ice and my foot slipped. I threw myself facedown in a full arrest on the bank, driving my fingers into the snow while I attempted to regain my footing. Visions of my bloody, battered body resting on the rocks below flashed through my head. I jammed my foot into the snow, stood up again and kept inching across, my ragged breath shaking out of my lungs even after I stepped onto solid ground. Needless to say, I wasn’t a fan…
am14 The ground finally started to even out, but each step still sent knives of pain through my knees, feet and skull. Patrick (Superman) told us he was going to stretch his legs out and speed up a little and took off towards the base as we gimped along.
am15 As we continued, the memory of our lucky pickup ride up to the base jumped into our minds. And then we remembered that we would have to hike the extra two miles back down to the car. Lovely.
am16 We finally reached the base of the trail or, for us, the beginning of our final two miles. We hit the outhouse and started to cross the parking lot before we saw… SUPERMAN!!!! Patrick had waited for us after hearing our tale of the exciting drive up and gave us a lift down the mountain to where our car was parked. Patrick. Superman. Angel.

We thanked Patrick profusely, took off our packs and chucked them in the back seat, took off our heavy shoes and peeled off our socks. I’d just summited TWO 14ers! I threw a handful of ibuprofen down my throat in an attempt to silence the pounding in my head and we drove home.

Flash forward to a week later and the headache is FINALLY gone. A solid week of aspirin, ibuprofen and gallons of water finally conquered the altitude headache.
am Quality control also seems to help a bit. A little extra vitamin B and protein to aid in the healing!
am18 And braids. Just cuz feeling purdy also makes one feel better.
am19 Either way, I’d take a week-long headache over having the day that this guy had…

Have you ever hiked a 14er? I’ve been inspired by all of my Colorado transplant bloggers 🙂

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Sweet ‘n Smoky Short Ribs with Cauliflower Mash

Colorado has been getting some crazy weather lately!
am6 See those specks? That’s cottonwood, embarking on an allergy-infested journey from the trees into people’s sinuses.
am7 Crazy gushers have been rampant, followed by plenty of hail and booming thunder.
am5 And then God apologizes and sends us sunsets like this. Love it. Love all the craziness, hail included.
am For all those moments when we were stuck inside, avoiding the drenching, piercing rains, this box came to the rescue.
am1 So pretty!
am2 They’re always saying you should add some color to your diet.
am3 My favorites from the box were the Chico King pale and Double Latte stout. Luckily, I have plenty of craft beer nerd friends who were willing to split some bottles with me. These are all pretty hefty beers and they definitely needed to be shared.
am8 For those of you who follow me on Instagram, you may have seen that I got a pressure cooker as a housewarming gift! All those beers in a box + people who want to share said beers + a new pressure cooker = vegan split pea COOKOFF and beer tasting!
am11 (Spoiler alert – mine was too thick, Janna’s was too thin so we ended up blending them together and the ending result was AWESOME!) We spent the evening sipping, stirring, laughing and playing with puppies.
am9 My handsome fella joined us for the cook-off and a sleepover. Augh, that face! I love my rescue puppy!

Anyway back to the pressure cooker…
am10 It’s led to crazy things like me making more artichokes. Despite the first debacle, I’ve become obsessed with artichokes. Unhealthily obsessed.
am The ridiculous amount of chokes and vegan things I was creating in my pressure cooker left me craving something a wee bit more substantial. I was sitting on my couch with the pup and got an insane, desperate need to make short ribs. And there definitely needed to be beer in that recipe.
am1 Stout, to be specific.
am5 I seared off three pounds of these babies, threw a bunch of beer, vinegars, sugars and spices into the pressure cooker, shut the lid and prayed.
am3 To add a little health factor, I rested the short ribs on a smoky cauliflower mash. All the carnivores in the house adored this recipe. J’adore.

Sweet ‘n Smoky Short Ribs with Cauliflower Mash

Serves 4-6
Prep time 20 minutes
Cook time 40 minutes
Total time 1 hour
Meal type Main Dish
Juicy pressure cooker short ribs smothered in a sweet and smoky stout-based gravy, served over cauliflower puree.

Ingredients

  • 3lb short ribs
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 Large onion (chopped)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 12oz Snowbank Brewing Pawnee Porter (or other rich porter or stout)
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar (tightly packed)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle chile pepper
  • 1/2 Large head cauliflower (roughly chopped)
  • 1/8 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1-2 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika

Directions

Step 1
Heat the olive oil in the pressure cooker over medium heat.
Step 2
On large plate mix together the flour, 1/2tsp salt, 1/4tsp pepper and 1/2tsp paprika.
Step 3
Roll the short ribs in the flour mixture and brown each side for 2-3 minutes. Remove the browned ribs and set aside.
Step 4
Add the chopped onion and garlic to the pressure cooker and saute until tender, about four minutes.
Step 5
Add the apple cider vinegar and porter to the pressure cooker, scraping all of the browned bits off the bottom with a wooden spoon.
Step 6
Add the brown sugar, tomato paste and chipotle chile pepper to the pot and stir to combine.
Step 7
Return the short ribs to the pressure cooker, seal and cook for 30 minutes once the pot has reached pressure.
Step 8
Allow the pressure cooker to naturally de-pressurize, remove the cooked short ribs to a plate and cover with foil.
Step 9
Bring the liquid up to a boil, then reduce to a simmer until slightly thickened.
For the cauliflower mash
Step 10
In a medium sized pot, boil cauliflower for 10 minutes, or until tender. Drain.
Step 11
Mash the cauliflower and stir in butter, almond milk, salt, pepper and paprika to taste.
Step 12
Layer cauliflower mash with a short rib and drizzle generously with gravy.

am4 I also highly recommend pairing it with the same stout you include in the recipe. Oh pressure cooker, you’ve changed my life!

What’s your favorite kitchen appliance/tool? I thought nothing could beat the slow cooker, but I think I may have just been proven wrong.

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Kitchen Sink Banana Bread

A quick recap of last week before we launch into this week’s latest recipe.
am6 Biking to beer is my latest favorite thing to do. This Sorachi saison from Funkwerks tasted so much better after I worked for it!
am7 My pops had a birthday last week! We visited Dancing Pines distillery in Loveland, shared a flight and ended up heading out with their brand new vodka (distilled from grapes!) and cherry liqueur. Goooood stuff!
am8 And we visited the gun store. Looking, no touching after that tasting.
am9 I got funky new pants from Marshall’s and watched my dog go camouflage. He’s kind of cool like that.
am10 I baked balsamic olive oil cookies for the housewarming party I threw on Friday night.
am11 It started pouring right after I snapped this picture. A rousing game of Hedbanz was played until we all hurt from laughing so hard. I left the cleaning for my roommate and was in bed around 12:30am because…
am12 Saturday morning brew! More details about all of this to come, but until then follow Snowbank Brewing on Twitter! I’m running the Twitterverse there during all of our brew days/tappings/random outings.
am13 Leftover cookies and caustic acid. Looking back, I probably should’ve removed the acid-covered nitrile gloves before consuming this…
am14 After a 22 hour brew day, we returned for yet another brew day yesterday. My body was screaming for greens so I whipped up a green monsta before heading back to the shiny tanks.
am1 Which brings me to this bread. I bake things for brew days. That’s just what I do. Pumpkin donuts and face cookies were my Enegren tradition, so I figured it would be a good thing to carry on with my new brewery.
am3 I had leftover pumpkin puree from last week’s pumpkin donuts, and half of an avocado from some guacamole I’d made earlier this week. I figured since they were about to go bad, along with the huge bunch of Costco bananas, I’d just throw them into the bread and see what happened.
am5 Delicious success! And way too much orange in these food styling pics… I think it’s time to go buy some new props…
am4 I threw in some chia seeds as well to make myself feel like this bread was even healthier. So there’s that.

Kitchen Sink Banana Bread

Serves 8
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 45 minutes
Total time 55 minutes
Meal type Bread, Breakfast, Dessert
Hearty oil-free banana bread full of random ingredients found around the kitchen. Everything but the kitchen sink.

Ingredients

  • 1 + 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Large bananas (mashed)
  • 1/2 Large avocado (mashed)
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar (tightly packed)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds

Directions

Step 1
Grease two mini bread loaf pans (or one standard size bread pan) and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Step 2
In a small bowl, mix together the flour, salt and baking soda.
Step 3
In a large bowl, combine the bananas, avocados, pumpkin puree, brown sugar, egg, chia seeds and vanilla and mix until smooth.
Step 4
Add the dry ingredients to the wet and fold in until just combined.
Step 5
Pour the batter in to the loaf pan(s), top with banana slices if desired, and bake for 35-55 minutes. The bread is done when an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
Step 6
Allow to cool. Or just devour it straight from the pan like I did.

am2 I’m off to another crazy busy week! Happy Monday!

What else do you bake with browning bananas? I have a ton more I need to use up!

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Chokes ‘n Mash

I learned some important things this past week.
am Like cooking artichokes requires a large pot. And wine.
AM1 Boil-over. My stove top and floor had needed a good scrubbing, to be fair.
am2 Floor-scrubbing stress gone.
AM3 And success! I am most definitely investing in a steamer basket to save myself from another traumatic incident such as this.
AM6 I’m thinking most of you may have guessed by now, but I left Loveland Aleworks a while back to pursue some other endeavors that will be elucidated upon soon enough. These babies are officially out of retirement!
AM4 Mash!
AM5 Mash Mash Mash!
AM12 Fermentors – my happy view. Bonus points: What’s the difference between fermentors and fermenters? Answer in the comments for a chance to win a copy of Craft Beer for the Homebrewer! I’ll choose a winner on July 21st.
AM7 Rehydration/celebration/caustic cleaning time.
AM8 I started off Independence Day in the most Murika’n way I could think – Chicken and waffles smothered in rosemary sausage gravy and maple syrup from The Waffle Lab. If you ever get out to Fort Collins, this food truck is a must-try!
AM9 Kara and I went to watch the downtown parade which was incredibly quaint and cute. I love the small town feeling I get here! The rest of the day was spent lazing about with power naps interjected here and there, and completed with a taste of my old life in my new life!
AM10 Ahh, good old Firestone! I remember when they created 805 to be exclusively sold in the 805 area! Apparently that didn’t last long. I enjoyed the fireworks from the comfort of my own front porch while listening to music and sipping brews before all my friends flocked to my house with more beer to watch the local fireworks displays going off all around the neighborhood.
AM11 Now it’s time to start another crazy week!

How did you celebrate Independence Day?

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Filed under Daily Life