Monday, August 27, 2012

Of Bears, Broken Bikes and Booty

On Sunday Ellie did the King of the Rockies race, the final race in the Epic Singletrack series up at Winter Park. We could have driven up on Sunday morning, but I wanted to go camping at least one more time before the cold weather set in.
It was a perfect night. The skies were clear and the stars glimmered happily in the indigo sky. The moon at half fun glowed brightly. It was a perfect temperature with out any bothersome wind.

While there was still sunlight, the kids explore the woods and waded in the quiet stream that ran near the road. Ellie's bike, which had been perfectly fine a few days before, was experiencing trouble as there was something wrong with the rear derailer and the wheel could not turn freely. If we had been around any of the biking dads, or if it had been earlier in the day, I would have asked someone else to fix it. However, there was no help available and I was not sure anyone would be available to help the next morning before the race. Being the resourceful and stubborn person that I am, I was not going to be stymied. We had bothered to go camping and paid the race fee, so I set about fixing the bike. Thankfully I was able to devine the fact that the shifters were in unusual positions and that it was the source of the problem. I cleaned the gears and fixed the gear issue. After a light lubing, it was good to go. I was proud of myself for figuring it out.

After getting set up we had a dinner of beef fajitas. We followed that with a camp fire, roasted marshmallows and s'mores.

I imagine that Ellie might have been a bit nervous as she was not feeling all that well. She became ill about a week and a half ago, and was not feeling better. Her arm felt a bit numb and weird from the go kart fiasco. However, she prevailed. Her team was counting on her to win points to help them maintain their placement at the top junior team in the series. So she pluck up her gumption and raced without complaint.

She got her usual good start, but it was not a very good race for her. At nearly 26 miles, it was a grueling race.

She won anyway, but was not at all happy with her performance. She also won her overall category, Beginning Women under 15. She won a nice stein, a special custom jersey and two more first place medals.

We had a new team member with us this weekend who was racing for the very first time. It was very exciting to see how well Seth did in his race, coming in third. I think many others would have waited for an easier race to jump in.

Green Mountain Composite won the overall best junior team. The kids received medals and special hoodies.

We capped of the fun of the weekend by stopping by a crazy little sweet shop in Empire where the malts are huge and the local hippies gleefully sing their tunes and strum their guitars.

Friday, August 24, 2012

A Little Go Kart Action - Uncle Doug vs Ellie

Uncle Doug is in town. He is always fun. Today Ellie and Uncle Doug heated up the go kart race track.
Doug checks out the go karts.

It is a race between two racers.

Ellie cuts the corners sharp.

Doug tried to cut Ellie's kart off, but his wheels got a little crazy and...

He nearly flips it.

Two rounds and they are done.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Lots of Recipes for the Week - Fitness Focus

I really like soup and I find that it is an easy way to get my veggies. Plus, I tend to make low fat soups. Here's an adapted recipe I made for lunch this week:

Mediterranean Chicken Soup with Olives and Vegetables
6 to 8 servings

4 boneless chicken breasts, cubed

Ground black pepper

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped (I used 2 small red onions)

1 1/2 cup of baby carrots, diced

1 1/2 cup Broccoli florets cut into small pieces

3 medium cloves garlic, minced

1 1/2 teaspoons paprika (Next time I will use 1.5 tea.)

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1-½ teaspoons dried Herbes de Provence or dried basil, crushed; divided

4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth

1 can Artichoke Hearts, quarter (This was not part of the original recipe)

1 large bunch of Kale, leafy sections removed from the stem and torn into small pieces

Optional: 1 teaspoon saffron threads, crushed (omitted)

1 tablespoon finely chopped preserved lemon or chopped lemon zest

1 cup pitted olives, preferably a mixture of green and black, chopped

Salt to taste (omitted)

1. Saute the chicken n a 6-quart pot heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Brown well on all sides.(The browning gives the soup a rich color and flavor.)

2. Saute the onion until translucent stirring occasionally. Add carrot and garlic; continue cooking 4 minutes. Add paprika, cumin and 1 teaspoon of the herb, stirring 1 minute.

3. Stir broth or water, remaining vegatbles and crumbled saffron into the pot. Bring to the boil. Add chicken, stirring well. Cover, reduce the heat and simmer 20 minutes or until chicken is just cooked through.

4. Remove soup from heat. Add remaining ½ teaspoon dried herb, and olives. Simmer 5 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings with salt and pepper if needed.
Chicken Fried Rice
via: The Feed Zone Cookbook from Skratch Labs

This recipe is exactly as Allen presented it to his class in the third grade and exactly as he serves it to athletes at training camps, races, or impromptu dinners at his place in Boulder, Colorado. At the 2010 Tour de France, this was Lance Armstrong’s favorite post-race dish.

1 tablespoon minced garlic (about 2 cloves)
2–3 green onions, diced
or thinly sliced
3 eggs
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 cups cooked rice
1 cup boneless chicken thighs (2–3 pieces)
1 cup frozen peas and corn

Sriracha sauce
sesame oil

1 Bring a lightly oiled sauté pan to mediumhigh heat. Add the garlic and green onions
and sauté for about 1 minute.
2 In a small bowl, beat the eggs and soy sauce vigorously and pour into the hot pan. The pan should be hot enough to cause the eggs to fluff. Stir the eggs to cook them quickly.
3 Add the rice and cooked chicken thighs and fry the mixture for 5–6 minutes.
4 Add the peas and corn and cook until the vegetables heat through and are vibrant
in color. Season to taste with salt, Sriracha sauce, and additional soy sauce or sesame oil.

Melon Cucumber Smoothie
via:Dash of East blog

1 cup honeydew melon, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup garden cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 cup plain yogurt (I used coconut milk)
1 tablespoon agave
3-4 ice cubes

Blend all ingredients in a blender.
Pour into a glass and enjoy!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Bye, Bye Ariana & Honey Glazed Salmon with Brown Butter Lime Garlic Sauce

Today Ellie's friend, Ariana, moved to college. They've been friends since 2008.
Here's a peak at their friendship:


This summer.
Last night.

This evening we had Kohlton, Mark (his father) and Martine (Mark's girlfriend) over for dinner. We had a great time. This was a wonderful, easy meal.

Pan Seared Honey Glazed Salmon with Browned Butter Lime Sauce
Yields 4 servings
via: Cooking Classy Blog

4 (6 oz) salmon fillets, rested at room temperature 20 minutes
8 tsp flour, divided
2 Tbsp honey, divided
zest of 1 - 2 limes (I like it with a generous amount so in my opinion 2)
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 recipe Browned Butter Lime Sauce, recipe follows

Working in batches of two salmon fillets at a time (or using two skillets, because you don't want to overcrowd the salmon when cooking it on the stove-top so it cooks more evenly), place salmon fillets on a cutting board or plate and sprinkle 1 tsp flour over each side of the salmon fillets and spread flour to evenly coat. Evenly drizzle 3/4 tsp honey over each side of the flour coated salmon fillets.* Drizzle 1 Tbsp olive oil into a 10 inch non-stick skillet, swirl pan to evenly coat bottom and heat over medium heat. Once oil it hot, carefully place salmon ) in pan and cook over medium heat, 3-5 minutes per side until salmon has cooked through and bottom has nicely browned. Plate salmon immediately, drizzle each fillet with 1 1/2 - 2 Tbsp Browned Butter Lime Sauce and sprinkle with lime zest. Serve warm.

*note that once you remove the salmon from the plate some of the flour and honey coating will stick to the plate so I'd recommend just scraping it up with a spatula and adding it to the salmon once it's in the pan, alternately you could just coat one side with the flour and honey then after adding it to the pan you can coat the top side with flour and honey. Either way works I'd just say don't waste any of that delicious coating.

Browned Butter Lime Sauce

6 Tbsp salted butter, diced
3 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Place butter in a small (light colored) saucepan. Cook over medium heat, swirling pan occasionally, until butter is fragrant and has turned a tan shade (for a step by step tutorial on how to brown butter see link here, although I would recommend not to stir constantly rather swirl pan occasionally). Remove from heat and add browned butter along with lime juice, garlic, salt and pepper to a blender. Blend on low speed for 30 seconds to 1 minute until well blended. Pour sauce into a small glass dish (note: whisk butter mixture with a fork before pouring onto salmon as it will separate, rewarm if needed).

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Breckenridge - Peak 8 Summit and Gondola Ride

At the Breckenridge Resort you can take the free gondola up the mountain to the Timber Lodge where there are many fun things to do. You can take another lift that deposits you onto Peak 8, allowing you access to hike to the summit.

A quick peak inside of the lift hut.

Ellie and Kohlton hung out doing their own thing.

I love how the high altitude lets me visit flowers that are way past their season in Denver. The poppies were glorious, too.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Boreas Pass, Breckenridge, CO

We spent a few days in the mountains. I am so thankful that we live in such a beautiful place.
Boreas Pass is an easy drive up the mountains near Breakenridge.

The road used to be an old railroad grade. This house would have been for the manager.
On the way up we stopped to take in the trees. I love the way the light filters down through the tall sentries, The way the light dances softly on the ground cover. I imagine what is it like on a windy day, swaying slowly, silently.

I also have a thing for moss and fungus.

And, oh, the young little trees, so full of hope and promise and possibility.

It was a curious sight to find these juvenile pinecones nestled happily in the various crooks of a fallen, rotted log. How had they gotten there? Was it the handy work of a studious, determined forest creature? Had the rain pushed them into the crooks on its hurried journey down the mountain in springtime?
The colors and textures of this pinecone beckoned me away from the cozy pinecone pile.

Upon a closer look on another log, there is yet more promise of quiet life making its way.

I was captivated by this hint of a tree that stretches to catch the light as it flits through the tall trees.

At the summit I was pleased to see a painter as we made our way to the parking lot. Larr went off to find more photographic magic. I ambled over an introduced myself to Janis Krendick. Her painting excites and intrigued me because it is so impressionistic, leaving the viewer to fill in the details. I find myself so interested because my own paintings are too tight. I was thankful that she was willing to discuss art with me.

We discussed paints and process and light. I was delighted that Janis was so willing to talk about it all. She does her paintings quickly. She used to work in pastels, another medium that I am interested in, but have not been brave enough to really try. I know that I would be prone to accidentily smear the colors with the side of my palm.

You can see more of Janis' work over on her website. Perhaps you will find inspiration, too. My thanks to Janis for providing a highlight and sparkle to my day.

Monday, August 06, 2012

Race Rendezvous & The Thrill of Seeing a Design from Digital to "Real Life"!

Last week Ellie was sick. Coach Kathy received the team kits that Ellie and I designed on Thursday. I was very hopeful that Ellie would feel well enough to race. I wanted to see the new team kits. Thankfully, though she was not 100% all better, she was good enough to race. So up we went. I was feeling excited, almost giddy.
They boys seemed to like the design and it was very visible from way across the course. Main goal of design - achieved!

Don't they look so cute?

This one is funny because she almost fell off of the log. There are many more kids on the team. This simply represents who was racing on Saturday.

Afterwards they hung out together waiting for awards.

Although Ellie's speed was slow, she still won her category.

I love to see her return with a smile on her face.
The races up at Winter Park are also beautiful.

Ellie is sporting a rather interesting look these days. Scott thinks these pants make her look like a pirate. Maris and Matthew like them. Ellie is certainly her own person.

On other fronts, my oven is broken. Between trying to cook Paleo meals, having a broken grill and broken oven, cooking is kind of a drag. I'm indulging in music instead. Here are some I've recently discovered:

And I rather like this for my boy:

Teaser // Mission Workshop presents Julien Colombier from Mission Workshop on Vimeo.