Wednesday, December 10, 2014

.ribbit.ribbit.

I have a sweet girlfriend that I work with who not too long ago was going through some relationship turmoil.  She's young, beautiful and is dating in a new-to-her town.  She has met some boys she liked, some she thought she liked, and some she most certainly didn't like.  Every few mornings she'd be at my desk with an update looking for some advice and help off the dating ledge.  One morning after dishing out my advice she sighs a big sigh of relief, exclaims how much better she felt after our chat and then said "How do you always know what to say?!"  I smiled, took a little pause and the only thing I could come up with is:

I've had to kiss a few frogs.

While it's such a corny and overused phrase, referring to kissing a few frogs to find your prince, it's so true.  After my girlfriend walked away from my desk that morning I couldn't help but thinking of those  boyfriend frogs that I once had.

---
The boyfriend who was receiving Match.com notifications and emails while we were together.
The boyfriend who would never go on a coffee date with me because, and I quote: "I just smoke weed every morning to wake up instead of drink coffee."
The boyfriend who only expressed his emotions in songs.
The boyfriend who lived in Iraq/Japan/HI while I lived in ND.
The boyfriend who lived in WA while I lived in CO.
The boyfriend who lived in NM while I lived in CO.
{ what can I say, I was a serial long-distance-dater there for a good 5 years }
The boyfriend who during our breakup alluded to having used the mindset that we had "just been friends" for the past 3 months.  Oh, great.  What a fun 3 months that had to have been for him.
The boyfriend who had a secret folder of 100+ photos on his computer that 8 years later I still wish I could un-see.  Yes.  Those kind of photos.
The boyfriend who would have rather smoked weed with his lesbian roommate than hang out with me.
The boyfriend who was a little too close with his mom.
The boyfriend who was a little too mean to his sister.
The boyfriend who wanted to eat Fast Food morning, noon and night.
The boyfriend who cried more than I did.
The boyfriend whose glass of vodka I mistakenly took for a glass of water and took a big swig.
…consequently; The boyfriend who drank way too much.
The boyfriend who would get so caught up in playing video games in his dark apartment all.day.long. and would forget your 6pm dinner date.  ON A TUESDAY.
…consequently; The boyfriend who didn't have a job.
The boyfriend who talked in baby talk to his sister.
The boyfriend who had a crush on my roommate at the time and would never set foot in our apartment.
---

At the time that many of the above happened, it truly felt like the end of the world.  In hindsight, none of them were that big of a deal { except for the computer folder with massive amounts of porn on it.  That one really was a big deal. } rather they all just helped my journey along.  They helped me gain confidence and perspective in the really ridiculous world of dating.  They helped shined light on this handsome man who walked up to me at a Broncos tailgate some 3+ years ago.  They helped me realize that Hunter was so very different than any man I had ever dated.  They help me appreciate every dinner Hunter cooks for me, every surprise he plans and every way, big or small, that he proves how much he really knows me.  They help me cherish every thing he says that sends laughter piercing through my body.  They help me relish our many moments of adventure that we share.

So this one is to you, ex-boyfriend frogs.  Thank you all for being painfully wrong men so I could find my painfully right man!




It should be noted that each isn't example isn't different person - it's all really just 3'ish men total.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

the weekend.

It doesn't surprise me in the slightest that I have only 3 photos I have to show from the weekend.  It was one of those weekends that was over in a BLINK of the eye while cramming in tons of work + play.

After I got off work on Friday, Hunter and I geared up and had an after hours cross country ski up Emerald Mountain!  There were 1,000 reasons it was the most fun but the top ones being: The entire trail was illuminated perfectly by the full moon which was more romantic than you ever want to hear about, we passed at least a dozen other after dark adventurers and knowing that I live in a city where multiple people want to exercise in the snow + cold + dark on a Friday night makes me stupid happy, I got to mentally check off side trails and markers along the main trail where we had spent mountain biking all summer long and finally: we knew there was beer at the end of the tunnel as we met up with Hunter's dad for brews and dinner when we were done.  The Boat needs fresh snow something fierce, so it really was more like ice skating than cross country skiing but it was so crazy fun and I can't wait for a good dump of snow to head back up again!  



The rest of the weekend consisted of working both Sat + Sun, a fun girls night in on Saturday, few hours skiing up the big mountain Sunday morning and ending our weekend with my company holiday party.  I was wiped out come Monday morning { noon and night }, but feel a little more back in the groove today.  Bring it, week!

p.s. 16 days until Christmas.  Ahhhhh freakout!
p.p.s. I finally got on Twitter!  Got a Twitter account?  Am doing Twitter now?  I don't even know the cool kid lingo much less how the heck to navigate my way through the darn thing, but come say hi if you are a tweettweet regular!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

i made this :: roasted beets + squash lentil soup

The other night Hunter asked me "How much time would you say you spend thinking about food on a daily basis?"  I'm embarrassed to admit that wasn't the first time someone has asked me that question, and I'm sure won't be the last time.

Between planning our Bountiful Basket pickup, Door to Door Organics delivery and the meals to fill our week, plus juggling Hunter's and I always changing schedules, I have to admit...I think about buying, preparing and eating food a lot.  The main reason for this thinking and over thinking can be attributed to reallllly trying to minimize eating out, picking up lunch a few times a week, grabbing a morning juice etc. and is all in an effort to prepare most of our meals at home.  I'm currently reading Julie and Julia while simultaneously listening to the audiobook  Cooked by Michael Pollan.  Safe to say I have home cooked and home prepared food on the brain.  I just finished a really interesting { to me! } section in Cooked talking about the decline of home cooked foods + meals, and he discussed how we give up time at night to cook a meal and instead use that time for watching tv, spending the night on our computers + phones while eating take out food.  He made such a great point on how even when we do carve out time to "cook" at home, so much of the time we are simply heating up already cooked and packaged pasta to pair it with already prepared jarred sauce.  Michael gave the challenge to cook once a week/month something you'd typically buy.  Examples being granola bars, bread, pasta, pickles, beer etc.  So!  It's given me the extra kick in the pants to make the effort of cooking more meals at home instead of picking something up out of laziness and convenience.

Needless to say, I've been thinking about food quite a bit on a daily basis.  Ha!

Last Wednesday night, I was on my 3rd day of a nasty cold, Hunter was out of town and I had given in to the thought of veggie broth + toast for dinner again.  That was until I saw Katie post her Spiced Lentil Soup with Roasted Beets & Delicata Squash, and did a quick mental round up of ingredients at home to realize all I was missing for this soup was the beets.  I knew my evening dinner was set!  I ran by the store lickity split for 2 beets and within seconds of walking in the door I had ingredients on and in the stove.  



Ya'll.  I can't even express how delightful this soup was.  I never say ya'll!  That's how good it is.  The roasted squash + beets were the perfect addition to the intense harmony of spices in the soup.  I loved the flavors and the addition of coconut milk gave it a really creamy and satisfying comfort while the lentils were enough to make sure you were full after one bowl.  Sadly, the entire pot of soup was gone in 24 hours { Hunter did return from out of town and had some, so I didn't eat the entire pot!  Though I could, would and wished I had. }

This one without question will be put into heavy rotation at the Madfield Casa { along with her thai coconut curry soup that I can't get enough of.  This girl knows her soups! }.  Man oh man.  I wish like crazy I still had some of this in the fridge/freezer at home.  I'll need to whip up a batch when we get back from Thanksgiving for sure!

I love soup.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

First Annual Friendsgiving!

Living in a more secluded small mountain town makes you realize how much was taken for granted while living in a bigger city.  The list of importance changes weekly, but these are the ones that stick out to me lately:  Accessibility to craft stores, accessibility to a BWW,  accessibility to a plethora of pho restaurants and accessibility to DIA.  My parents and I had much back and forth regarding holiday travel for this year.  It is about a 4+ hour drive from Steamboat to DIA in Denver which feels like a lifetime compared to the 20 minute drive I was used to for 6 years.  There is also the unknown factor of traveling during the winter months with questionable and rather unpredictable roads.  When it came down to it, we decided it was best I only go home for one holiday this year and that holiday would be Christmas.  Yes, I am 29 years old, yes this is my first Thanksgiving away from home and yes I am sad about it.  My parents are the ultimate hosts and I wasn't only disappointed in missing Thanksgiving { and the over the top ridiculously good food, and if I'm being honest the wineries }, but I've just been missing them fiercely so knowing I had to tack on an additional month until I got to see them was hard for me to come to terms with.

::some favorite memories from Thanksgiving spent in CA::

But!  There are some good things that are coming from me staying put for Thanksgiving.  I'll get to spend it up at Snowy with Hunter and his family { I'm tearing up right meow at the thought of seeing his niece and nephew again.  I miss those little wiggle worms like crazy. } and this will be my first ski season in the 4 ski seasons that I've known Hunter that I'll get to be at Snowy for opening weekend, which I'm so excited about!  There are also the pluses of forgoing crazy holiday traveling, fighting crowds, days spent at the airport + travel etcetcetc.  Once the decision was made that I wouldn't be going to CA, it made it our personal mission to start new traditions here in Steamboat.  We were out hiking one Sunday and I asked Hunter to start brainstorming ideas of ways we could make this Thanksgiving season special.  Without much thought, we both pretty much decided on hosting a Friendsgiving right off the bat.  It's easy to throw around "Yeah!  Yeah.  We'll host a Friendsgiving!" but when the weeks started magically ticking down and we had to make some decisions on the date + guest list + menu, it hits you square in the face just what we signed on for.  

Hunter has a handful of his high school best friends who have also moved back to the Steamboat area { yay! }.  They all have delightful wives/fiancés that I feel so lucky to have really hit it off with.  So!  We invited a few of the men + their spouses and a few other Steamboat friends I've gotten to know over the past few months. 90% of the guest list all went to High School together and Hunter actually works with { oh, this is going to be confusing: } his good friend Tony's wife Camilla's sister Hestia { did ya keep up with that?! }.  I've gotten to know Hestia, Camilla and our friend Emily { who also went to high school with everyone } well over the past few months because we all did a 10 week kickboxing class together!  Ok, this is getting confusing - let's keep movin' along with the story telling.  A normal person would have just said "We had some really great Steamboat friend's over for dinner!" but of course I have to take it a step further and talk to you about Hunter's coworkers.  NE WAY...

I'm so sad that I took no { literally, zero } photos of the finished food/table presentation.  I did get all the recipes online, so I'll share the menu that way!

For light appetizers, I served my go-to veggie dip again with carrots + celery + peppers + cubed homemade bread!  We also had some pickles + black olives + stuffed green olives of both jalapeño and garlic that went like hotcakes.  I really wanted to make this jalapeño dip, but didn't want people to fill up too much on the appetizers.  Next time!  For the meat, I doubled this recipe of stuffed turkey tenderloin w/cranberries + butternut squash + kale + pecans and we { aka Hunter } grilled up a marinated pork loin.  I also made these accordion potatoes which is a delicious and easy peasy potato recipe I've made, and will continue to make, time and time now.  { I omit the lemon because I think I'm one of the few people who really don't care for cooked lemon/lime in majority of my dishes. }  For stuffing, I used this bacon and bourbon stuffing recipe and while it was good, I'm not sure I would make it again.  If it did, I would cut the amount of liquid used and ask a professional { aka a carnivore } to fry up the bacon because I don't think I did a very good job.  Ha!  We also had brussels sprouts with melted shaved parmesan cheese and a creamy rice + broccoli dish that some of our guests brought!  It was all served with freshly homemade buns { yes, freshly made that morning } { toot toot! } { <----- horn = tooted } and plenty of wine + beer and holiday punch to keep us all warm and happy.  Emily brought a few pies and deeelicious carmel bars which ended the night on a sweet note.  I felt really good about the menu + amount of food as we weren't hit with a fridge full of leftovers.  All we have left is maybe 1 or 2 servings of stuffing and that's it!



The entire evening was a huge success.  We played a few quick rounds of Catch Phrase and spent too much time looking things up on Urban Dictionary.  While we had good intentions of playing Cards Against Humanity + a few other games but the conversation kept flowing and I got to hear dozens of stories and memories from Hunter's childhood.  I'll take that over an insulting card game any day!  { but I do love me some CAH }

The Thursday before we hosted Hunter text saying "A coworker needs help with a shift on Saturday.  I'm working 7am-3pm."  My first response was AHHHHH FREAKOUT! with the realization that I would then prepare an entire Thanksgiving meal for 8 people by myself.  I quickly snapped myself out of the freakout by reminding myself that, like it or not, I'm really bossy and territorial in the kitchen especially while preparing food for an event/gathering.  I started early and gave myself enough time to feel good about what food I was working on + time spent cleaning the house.  At the end of the night after everyone had left and we were laying in bed, I was looking out the window at the lightly lit backyard with the massive snowflakes falling and had this wave of appreciation fall over me.  I felt so thankful for the food on the table, the full house of friends old + new, the memories made and the ability to put it all together and take it all down.  I am also thrilled I can cross off both Host a Friendsgiving and Cook with Cranberries from my Fall To-Do List!



We leave on Wednesday for Snowy for actual Thanksgiving and is it bad to say I'm a little relieved the meal isn't falling on us this time?  I'm looking forward to being able to kick back with a warm beverage, zoning out to a football game and helping out in the kitchen when my help is necessary.


So very much to be #thankful for this year!

Monday, November 24, 2014

the weekend.

Haaaappy Monday, friends!  This weekend was good for the heart and soul { and stomach! }  It was one of those cozy winter weekends where I left the house a total of 3 times: Once on Saturday to pick up fresh rosemary and placemats from Hunter's dad's house.  Second time on Sunday to buy a new massive snow shovel { hello 12+ inches of snowfall over the weekend! } + a new French Press and the third time Sunday night for a night date at the gym.  Saturday we hosted our first Friendsgiving and it was a beautiful and delicious success.  It consisted of constant prep from 7:45am until 4:45pm when the first guest arrived, but it was well worth it.  Sunday was our lazy day where we watched football { and I crocheted! } for hours and hours on end.  I am thrilled for the 3 day work week and secretly love the crazy snowfall outside.  



Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Ladies night!

Last Wednesday I hosted our first soiree in our new house - a quaint girls get together with some women I work with!  Anyone who was within 50 feet of me the past 2.5 years know the main thing I missed from storage was my wine glasses + white dishes.  I talked about those sum bitches time and time again.  I could not wait to plan a little party and get to use them all.

Growing up, my mom hosted every event for Thanksgiving + Christmas usually Easter and most family birthdays.  I have been immersed in food/party prep for as long as I can remember.  While I hated it most Christmas mornings as it always meant we had to open our gifts crazy early and clean up our gifts crazy early to start cleaning and preparing for family to come over I am crazy thankful for those habits and memories now.  

I made everything from scratch that I could, including juicing apples for hot apple cider and cooking up dried black beans for a few of the dishes { <--- a recent thrifty obsession I'm sure to bore you with....I mean blog about soon }.  Everything turned out so great!  It was a chilly willy nilly night out so cuddling up in front of the fire with warm { spiced! } apple cider while filling our new home with laughter and memories was beyond perfect.




Here are the recipes that I served which were pulled from my party planning Eat, drink and be merry Pinterest board.

//Taco bites  These were crazy easy and came together in a snap.  I cooked up the turkey and prepped the toppings the night before.  All I had to do was get my wontons + muffin tin ready { I used 2 small wonton wrappers per bite } and pop them in the oven for 8'ish minutes.  I will, without question, make these again for another party.  

//Black bean egg rolls Another easy peasy go to!  I've made these once before and will continue to make them again.  They are a little more time consuming as you have to roll each one, but given enough time the rolling is so therapeutic and satisfying!  { omg who am I - that sounds like a crazy person talking }.  These were the biggest hit of the party.  The recipe is so easily adaptable for what you'd have in your fridge/is in season.  Deeeelicious!

//Bruschetta While delicious and one of my girlfriends said "I'd eat this entire platter if you would let me!" I'm not sure I'd serve it at a party again.  The bread got soggy from the topping and who the heck likes soggy bread?  Maybe I would serve toasted bread with the topping on the side.  

//Sandwich on a stick These were fun to make and I loved the way they looked on the table.  I simply used spinach, deli turkey and deli cheese with a side of honey mustard.  If I could have found cherry tomatoes at a good price, I would have added those, too.  Next time I would use arugula like the link calls for, but I wasn't sure of everyone's preferences and we had a big thing of spinach at home to use up.

//Funfetti dip or as my guests warmly named it Crack Dip.  It's one of those you love to hate to eat
{ andeatandeatandeat. }. I brought the rest to work the next day and I was thanked and cursed for bringing it and introducing it to people.

I also made our favorite Knorr's veggie dip which is so easy because you can mix it all together the day before and the flavors are so much more pronounced by the time it comes to serving.  



It was such a beautiful evening and I am so thankful for each and every one of these ladies who joined. I always feel like a house is never a home until it's been broken in with a night filled with laughter and warm memories.  These ladies did just that and I la-la-la-love them for it.  A few of them even asked if I'd taken the entire day off from work to prepare the evening's nibbles + dranks and considering all I did was leave at 4p to make sure everything was on the table when the girlz got over - I'd consider that a huge success.  I think my party planning extraordinaire mother would be so proud. ;)



We are hosing Friendsgiving on Saturday { ahhhhhhhhhhfreakout! } and I just hope and pray it comes together as well as this party did!

Monday, November 17, 2014

the weekend.

This weekend was pretty good for being pretty bad.  Jaime and Ryan had been planning a Steamboat { #dreamboat } weekend for about a month now but leave it to { that bitch } Mother Nature to go and ruin it all.  It's happened once before with My Mary, so it only makes sense that she had to strike twice. The weather report was calling for, and I quote, "Hazardous and nearly impossible travel." so while I do know it was wise to cancel the trip, I couldn't help but bum all weekend long about it.



We managed to sneak in quite a bit with the cold + snowy + freezing weather and canceled plans.  Saturday we woke up to snow, snow and more snow.  Hunter and I tag teamed breakfast.  He cooked one of his mom's famous meals, and I cooked the potatoes I can't stop making { and eating }.  We snuggled in on the couch for a few Food Network episodes before venturing out to run some errands.  Hunter knew I had a crappy day on Friday, so he helped make it better by surprising me with buying some Christmas lights! We hung a few outside, I broke down and finally bought good winter boots and while I'm still coming to terms with the fact that I own a pair of boots with fur on them, I can't deny they are warm and waterproof as shiiiz.  We put them to use and went for a snowy hike up Spring Creek which got us all sorts of twitter-pated and excited for winter activities.  We've begun planning our ski trips and enjoyed visions of weekend cross country/snow shoe adventures.  Heart eyes for days!  The rest of the weekend consisted of a Stranahan's event at a local taproom, The BARley, late night walks in the snow, cursing at the TV screen { Broncos, I shake my fist at you! } and a loooooong evening soak at the Hot Springs followed by cooking up some homemade pizza.

I swear at any point this weekend I had a warm beverage in my hand, cycling through warm cider, hot chocolate, hot tea and of course coffee.  This weekend was a really wonderful introduction to the winter season. Now! to plan Jaime and Ryan's next visit...