Hello Hello Hello
…when I first started blogging I would use strikethroughs and different sized fonts, maybe even switch up font color to add to my posts. Now I just want a reason to come back here and write, as push button publishing doesn't quite intrigue me anymore…
and don't be sorry.
Lately my mind has been seeking out words in books, words that guide, words that open up new worlds and ways of thinking. I seem to be in a in-search-of phase, but what exactly I am seeking is not quite defined. In these moments that string along into phases of inward focus, I'm not quite able to be out with my own words and discoveries. I sense a strong push back from the humdrum noise of many of my usual outlets that I often felt like were my home.
I'm a sponge taking on water, bubbles of soap fill some of my crevices, and a few toast crumbs are just sticking to me. I sense the cusp of my words being ready to be wrung out over the sink, splashing up on the sides, and maybe even leaving a wet stain on that nice new t-shirt.
Happy St Patrick's Day! Today, I'm heading straight to the best part of the celebration with a batch of Milk Stout Cupcakes, which uses a locally brewed stout. They turned out moist and delicious!
Milk Stout Cupcakes
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa, plus more for dusting finished cupcakes
2 cups sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch fine salt
1 bottle Left Hand Milk Stout
1 stick butter(melted)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 large eggs
3/4 cup sour cream
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese (softened at room temperature)
1 (1-pound) box confectioners' sugar
Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the cocoa, sugar, flour, baking soda, and salt.In another medium mixing bowl, combine the stout, melted butter, and vanilla. Beat in eggs, 1 at time. Mix in sour cream until thoroughly combined and smooth. Gradually mix the dry ingredients into the wet mixture.Lightly grease 24 muffin tins. Divide the batter equally between muffin tins, filling each 3/4 full. Bake for about 12 minutes and then rotate the pans. Bake another 12 to 13 minutes until risen, nicely domed, and set in the middle but still soft and tender. Cool before turning out. To make the icing: Beat the cream cheese on medium speed until light and fluffy. On low speed, slowly mix in the confectioners' sugar until incorporated and smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use. Icing can be made several hours ahead and kept covered and chilled. Top each cupcake with a heap of frosting and dust with cocoa.
--------------------------------- Disclosure: I am a Whole Foods Brand Ambassador, they have sponsored this post.
Yesterday it reached the sweetest and most perfect sunshine filled 70 degrees. With a drop in temperature and snow in the forecast, I spent the entire evening after work outside. The warmth was still lingering this morning when I stepped outside, which drove my motivation to head out for a hike. As I approached the very first intersection onto the main trail, my eyes gazed west at the heavy clouds that had rolled in, hiding the tips of the mountains. Before I knew it, the wind started to pick up. My hands were instantly drawn to the comfort of my fleece lined pockets. I realized this storm was blowing in faster than I anticipated. A mere 30 minutes ago, my choice of a down jacket seemed excessive, which made me snidely chuckle as my hood went up over my wool hat.
The change in weather didn't bring me down. Living in Colorado you have to take it as it comes. I continued along the rutted out trail when a large boulder up on the hillside caught my eye. I'm not sure why, but I went off trail, stepping over downed trees, drawn in to the rock. I found one that particularly suited me and I raised my knee to my waist and pushed my leg straight to pull my body to the top of the boulder. My right leg planted down deep into the moss covered rock that had at some point been released from the depths of the mountains just to my west, as my left knee lifted as my foot planted into my inner thigh. Small little snow balls fell from the sky, the wind blew, and my arms raised to the sky as I completed Vrksasana (tree pose). My heart deeply and rhythmically beat, I worked to slow my breath. I found myself moving through other asanas, easily, it felt natural.
It was innate to stop moving, tune in to the birds chirping, how the branches creaked as the wind blew them to their maximum bending limits. My senses were on, absorbing everything around me, reminding me of why I've called the Rocky Mountains my home for 20 years.
Sometimes at night when the house is so quiet and still, I can't bring myself to go to bed. At the moment there are little patters and thuds of snow hitting the roof. I'm just sitting here all curled up in a wool blanket with a cup of Lady Grey tea, intrigued by the storm. I know it's odd that I relish in the fact that snow falling is the loudest noise in my household, but the silence is so sweet.
Not even 8 hours after the grand opening of Trader Joe's in Boulder, the photo below captures the scene. This may have been their grocery managers first opening, if so I will give them some leeway for the grossly underestimated demand of granola. Hint, this is BOULDER. Pallets of granola should've been on hand. For the record, I didn't see one person buying that cookie butter stuff (once again, Boulder).
Folks on Twitter, loved this photo. It's so Boulder.
Millions of beautiful roses will be given as a display of love this Friday, Valentine's Day. Fresh flowers are always a welcome addition to my home. It brings me great pleasure to split up a simple bouquet into smaller vases, so I can enjoy the blooms in multiple rooms of my home.
Have you ever thought about where your roses come from? My favorite flowers have come from my garden, but considering it's covered in snow, that's not really an option these days. Colorado does have green house growers, but many flowers this time of year come from out of the United States.
Whole Foods Market created a program called, Whole Trade® Flowers. Their guarantee seal means a single purchase brings more than joy to the recipient of the bouquet. Spread the love this Friday!
❤ Meet quality standards. ❤ Provides more money to producers. ❤ Ensures better wages and working conditions. ❤ Cares for the environment. ❤ Donates 1% of sales to Whole Planet Foundation® If you'd like more information, please watch this Making A Difference video:
--------------- Disclaimer, this post was written as part of my commitment to being a Whole Foods Market Ambassador. I was compensated. I apologize, I took a break from a giveaway this month, but it will be back next month! ❤
Welcoming in the New Year, time sheet doodle style! The snowman doodle in the bottom right corner had a glimpse into some of the words Eskimos' use for snow. That snowman was noticed by the first grade teachers and used as a talking point in their classroom!
I think I'm finally starting to get into a groove.
America, our day has arrived. You don't have to get off your couch to shop at MalWart. As a savvy shopper and influencer, I have been offered a sneak peek at this new service and FREE DELIVERY! Wow! A company that made $15.7 BILLION in profits in 2012 has offered me free delivery, I really can't contain my excitement. Oh and I can share with my social networks, for free. Sounds like an amazing opportunity. The problem is the last time I shopped at MalWart for groceries, was never. I'm going to keep my streak alive.
It was hard to turn down this generous offer, but indeed I had to pass all in the name of integrity.
Arriving just a few moments early, the theater had yet to go dark, I glanced up and felt relieved by the sight of a nice group of empty seats in the very top row center. By the time the lights went down and the previews began, the theater had completely filled up. I nonchalantly imagined there would be a handful of us at the 2:30 pm showing of Dallas Buyers Club, but I was wrong. Before I knew it drones of grannies were flanking me (maybe they were there for Jared, too). When the movie opened with Matthew McConaughey having sex under the bleachers at the rodeo, I adjusted a bit in my seat feeling like I was in the company of my elders watching porn. There weren't many other moments where I became distracted by those around me. I was so absorbed by the story, the characters, the depth of how easily I was transported into the life of a man living out his death sentence.
When the movie ended and everyone started to shuffle out of the theater, I sat back for a few minutes digesting the spectrum of emotions I just experienced, from devastation to triumph. Surprisingly there was an element of the movie that struck a chord, that just kept playing over and over in my mind. That element was the corporate control of the FDA and how historically this governmental flaw runs so deep. The FDA was found lurking around many turns through out the story, always waiting to seize the last breath of Ron Woodroof. I was floored by the FDA's ability to control the release of toxic drugs and suppress an American citizen's ability to acquire a combination of supplements that helped extend life, all in the name of corporate greed. One of the greatest divisors of our country is the push button term, right to life. BUT… when we delve deeper and contemplate all the ways our government allows human life to be pushed aside and even lost, my heart grows heavy and inward. Life should never be diminished by a corporate bottom line.
Ron Woodroof's story and his courageous fight for other AIDS patients, just brings light to the struggles we are facing today. Unfortunately there aren't many beacons of light like Ron to guide us, swells of movements are like little pin holes across our great divide. Every single day I think about how our government should put citizens first, our laws should protect us, but instead our laws protect corporations. On my snowy drive home, I decided if Ron had the courage, so do I. And if I have the courage, maybe a collective can have the courage, if we have courage, maybe the government will start to hear our battle cries. In 2014 the issues we face are much different than they were in 1985, but I don't doubt for a moment fighting for what is right is simply the American way.
Here's another glimpse into my time sheet doodles from the Fall! The unicorn was the very first one I started to try to get more creative with, which is also a pitiful representation of a unicorn. I also took photos of the books from around the floods, interesting to see how I tried to lift spirits those two weeks (not pictured)!
When I sprinkle some cinnamon on my morning coffee, it certainly is to reap the rewards of the health benefits. But, mainly I choose to participate in the ritual because it brings me closer to a friend I don't get to see often enough. Apparently, cinnamon is believed to improve cognitive function and memory, but I believe it triggers moments of happiness in my brain. The sight of the jar and aroma brings me back to her kitchen, a cup of hot freshly brewed coffee in my hands, her lifting the jar of cinnamon and sprinkling in just the right amount. The conversation just carries on.
A few health benefits of sprinkling some cinnamon in your morning coffee:
It can lower your LDL or bad cholesterol.
Cinnamon has anti-fungal properties.
Cinnamon stabilizes blood sugar.
Helps eliminate headaches and provides migraine relief.
Brings back good memories (okay, that's a benefit for me).
In our home, fish gets into the dinner rotation about two to three times a month. I love pretty much the entire gamut of seafood, but our girls are a bit more particular. We tend to cook white, mild, buttery fish for them. I noticed a fish called Paiche at the seafood counter during my last trip to Whole Foods. Paiche comes from South America and fit our criteria, so we decided to branch out and give it a try! We (and by we, I mean Josh) "breaded" the Paiche in egg and crushed almonds and pan fried it lightly, which gave the white flesh of the Paiche a lovely crunchy texture. We served it with a roasted sweet potato and sautéed shaved brussels sprouts. If you'd like to learn more about Whole Foods Seafood and their sustainability efforts, please check out their wealth of information here.
I have a $25 Whole Foods Market Gift Card to giveaway!
1. A comment equals one entry, comment as much as you wish. Please leave a valid email address if you comment as anonymous. 2. Contest will close on Thursday January 30, 2014 at 10pm MST. 3. 1 winner will be chosen from comments by Random. Org and notified via email. 4. Address must be provided within 24 hours or a new winner will be selected, the gift card will be shipped directly by the supplier of the giveaway. 5. Open to US residents only. ----------- Disclaimer, I was compensated by Whole Foods Market as a WFM Ambassador for this post and giveaway! Content is purely at my discretion. WINNER: Comment #7 Kelli D from FB! I will be emailing you for your address!
Casual dining restaurants have been shuttering for years now in Boulder. This weekend the Olive Garden has joined the ranks of many of it's competitors, citing Boulderites loyalty to their favorite locally owned eating establishments (oh and we hate crappy chain restaurant food). Every time I drove by the Olive Garden on Pearl Street, I thought oh yeah, Boulder still has an Olive Garden and then my thoughts immediately went to, how in the world is that place still bringing in customers?
The Olive Garden is not alone, here's my best attempt at recalling our disdain for America's most beloved restaurant chains. A McDonald's on Table Mesa was shuttered over a decade ago and now houses a locally owned drive-thru coffee shop, Que's. A Chili's on 28th Street was replaced by the Baker Street Pub which has also shuttered, I mean how can a place like that compete in Boulder's deeply rooted brew pub scene? The Applebee's was completely razed for a brand spanking new building that will house our very first Trader Joe's, slated to open on Valentine's Day. The TGIFriday's or Friday's or whatever the heck it's branded itself to be now closed and was replaced by locally owned Turley's. A Wendy's restaurant was also leveled to create parking for Hazel's Beverage World which is locally owned. Now that I am on a roll, I recall on Canyon Blvd there was a Black Eyed Pea, which shuttered to make way for The Original Pancake House, which is now the new home to The Buff Restaurant one of Boulder's beloved breakfast spots. Red Robin shut down so a HomeGoods store could take over the plaza, but opened a place close by called Burger Works, it doesn't look like it will last much longer. Boulder was also home to Dunkin Donuts, which was a local coffee shop for years, and now is home to a herbal medicine dispensary. Dunkin Donuts is setting up shop again in North Boulder where a KFC/A&W closed this past summer.
I do love that Boulder has continually embraced locally owned restaurants, I can't say I miss any of the restaurants that have moved along to more bustling generic suburban locales, they do love their chains just east of us (I know, I lived there for 8 years). I think we should add to the Boulder City Limits sign, 5,430 ft elevation, Home Of Real Food.