Mystic Morning

Tea at the lake under the clear morning sky.  “It can’t get better than this!”

Suddenly, this beauty arrived.

What an awesome surprise!  It is so rare to find moose on the east side of the park. Wait, what?

Now there is a male crossing the lake!

The love birds smooch, ignoring all the cameras pointed in their direction.

A tourist shouts, “Is that an elk or a moose?!”

They were very content to eat just a few yards away from us, an obvious sign that we live in a national park!

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Why I Love Colorado

Tasteful beverages flow from every nook and cranny of this state.  And we’re not talking Bud Light, here…

It’s delightful!  Graham and I visited a distillery for the first time.  The experience at Dancing Pines Distillery was complete with  a tour and the most fabulous cocktails we’ve ever enjoyed!
(The copper still was handcrafted in Spain)

After the tour, we got to sample each liquor and liqueur.  Our favorites, the Chai and Brulee liqueurs and Bourbon, were so smooth and delicious!  They could easily be enjoyed on the rocks. The entire selection was wonderful.  The white rum was the only one in the bunch with a bit of a bite.

Oh, I forgot… I loved the Espresso liqueur!  Which is big because I’m not a coffee drinker.  I explained to Graham that it tastes like the smell of coffee beans, which I love.

If you can get your hands on this stuff, I highly recommend it!  The guide was so awesome, he slipped us a complete list of their cocktail recipes.  Find the liquor and I’ll share!

A few blocks away, fine brews with fantastical names went down just fine at Grimm Brother’s Brewery.  Colorado is called the “Napa Valley of Beers” for a reason.  Well, for many reasons, which we continue to explore!

We didn’t get many pictures as we were too busy downing our samplers and touring the brewery.  Tasty juices make for happy weekends in the mountains!

In the fading light of the day on our voyage home, the biggest rainbow was shooting into the sky.  Unfortunately, unplanned pictures from a moving car don’t turn out well.  But believe me when I say, it’s the most incredible rainbow I’ve seen yet!  (They happen here a lot.  Yet another reason to love this place.)

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…in the words of Rachael Ray.  This recipe is pretty awesome and has become a weekly regular.  This week, I was able to use veggies from the Farmer’s Market and went for diced tomato instead of cherry tomatoes since they were available.

Stir-Fried Pasta Primavera
from Rachael Ray Magazine

3 cups broccoli florets
12 oz. fettuccine
2 T vegetable oil
1 red onion, halved and sliced 1/4 in. thick
4 carrots, sliced 1/4 in. thick
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
salt & pepper
3/4 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup grated parmesan
1/4 cup chopped basil

In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook broccoli until bright green, about 30 seconds.  Transfer to a colander, reserving the water in the pot.  Add the pasta to pot and cook until al dente; drain, reserving 1/4 cup of pasta cooking water.

Meanwhile, heat 14 in. flat bottomed wok over high heat until a bead of water vaporizes upon contact.  Swirl in 1 Tblspn. oil.  Add onion and using metal spatula, stir-fry until it is fragrant, about 1 minute.

Swirl in remaining 1 Tblspn. oil.  Add broccoli and carrots and stir fry until the carrots begin to wilt, about 2 minutes.  Add tomatoes, season with salt and pepper and stir-fry for 1 minute.  Swirl in cream, bring to a boil and remove from heat.  Stir in parmesan and basil.  Add pasta and water if needed.  Toss to coat.  Season with salt and pepper.

We don’t have a wok, so I use a large stainless steel frying pan, typically cooking over medium heat or a bit higher and for a little longer than the recommended times.

June has been great!  My weekly trip to the Farmer’s Market started out like this:

Now, I come home with almost more than I can carry:

Hiking has been particularly interesting since snowfall amounts were much higher this year than in the past 30 years  l slid around in the snow the other day in summer gear.

You may recognize this place or think I just post the same picture, sitting around pretending like I’m adventurous and out hiking all the time.  Dream Lake is a place I frequent 1) because of the beauty 2) because the trail is very accessible 3) because I can wander alone yet not fear being gobbled by bears or mountain lions.  The trail is heavily traveled by tourists.

The month of July will bring more warm temperatures, fading green as the area dries out, a high risk of forest fires, and less snow on the mountains.  However, it rarely rains other than an occasional afternoon thunderstorm.  I can dig it!

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