Tenderfoot Trail

Last year I hiked a total of 31 times, which was impressive considering our wedding and other craziness we dealt with.  This year, I set my goal to 40, which seems like a lot but we’ve already been on 7 hikes just this year!  🙂

On Friday Chris had a half day, and it was 70 degrees, so we took a little trip up Flagstaff to check out Tenderfoot Trail.  We may have done this trail once before, but we couldn’t remember.  If we did- it certainly wasn’t as pretty as it was Friday!  Clear skies, sunny.  AH- my favorite.  We do a lot of hikes that are pretty open, but my favorite hikes are (at least) partially in the woods.

This hike (the head at Realization Point)  starts pretty wooded but within a 1/4 mile, this is your view popping out between the trees. I’ll take it.

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It doesn’t matter how many times I’ve seen this view, I’m always taken aback.  How can this just be a short 20 minute drive from our apartment??

After getting out of the “woods”, this is your view. Sometimes I can’t even deal with living here. How I don’t trip and fall down the mountains while hiking is beyond me.  I mean, there has been a couple close calls…but can you blame me for not watching where I’m walking?

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Admittedly we didn’t do the entire loop.  We just hiked to the Divide Overlook and back, which I’m guessing was a total of (roughly) 2 miles.  It seemed pretty flat, so we weren’t expecting the incline on the way back.  It wasn’t too tough though, don’t let Beta fool you.  She may seem distressed, but she loves it.

One of my favorite Beta pictures!

One of my favorite Beta pictures!

I do recommend this trail to everyone; It’s fairly easy, and gorgeous.  Just make sure if you go on the weekend you get there earlier or in the afternoon due to parking on Flagstaff.  I can’t wait to get back out there and try the whole loop!

Sriracha Shrimp and Zucchini Lo Mein

Valentines Day for us doesn’t mean flowers or chocolates or gifts- it means we have an excuse to buy shrimp. Woo!  I always feel like it’s better quality around the holidays.  It’s so hard for us to buy shrimp out here since we are spoiled New Englanders; it’s just not as good as fresh off the Maine Coast shrimp.

This Valentines Day, we found a Spicy Sriracha Shrimp and Zucchini Lo Mein Recipe (see full recipe here).  A few years ago there was no way I would have been able to eat this, but lately I’ve been really into spicy foods because it helps me sloooow down and not eat so much.  And it helps me get in my daily water intake!!  Win all around!

We did alter the recipe just a tiny tiny bit, and I thought I would give a shot at recipe writing.

Ingredients

  • 8 oz lo mein noodles (we used pad thai- ready to serve )
  • olive oil
  • 1 tbspn butter
  • 1/2 lb of peeled shrimp (we get pre cooked shrimp from the seafood section)
  • 2 sm/med zucchini, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 8 stalks of thin asparagus, cut into 1.5 inch pieces
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 2 lightly beaten eggs
  • 1 tbspn light brown sugar
  • 21/2 tbspn soy sauce
  • 2 tbspn of sriracha
  • 1 tsp sesame oil

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, combine ingredients to make spicy sauce: brown sugar, soy sauce,srircha, and sesame oil.
  2. In a wok or pan, heat up the butter and red pepper.  Then add the eggs and scramble.  When cooked thoroughly, remove and put on small plate.
  3. Heat up olive oil, and throw in asparagus and zucchini until cooked through. Then add in eggs, shrimp, sauce, and noodles.
  4. Mix well and then remove from heat and ENJOY! 🙂
I love a colorful meal!

I love a colorful meal!

Final Presentation!

Final Presentation!

It was very good and very spicy!  I drank about 3 glasses of water and probably only consumed (not even) a cup of food. Also, whenever I eat spicy foods my eyelids sweat, which everyone thinks is weird. Does anyone else’s body react like that?

I'm not lyin'!  That's my mascara melted off after dinner.

I’m not lyin’! That’s my mascara melted off after dinner.

Brussel Sprout Pizza & (Cauli)Tots

Happy Hump Day!

I am SO excited to share these two recipes with you!!

Lately some of my favorite meals are traditionally unhealthy dishes that I’ve found a healthier version for.  Chris does not like to be surprised (scarred by a young Chocolate Zucchini Bread incident), so I’m not allowed to call Cauliflower Tots, Tater Tots, because “that’s not what they are”. 🙂 As long as I’m honest upfront, he’s game for (almost) anything.

So, speaking of Cauli Tots, you’ll find the link to the recipe here.  I am addicted.  I have no idea how she made them look perfect, though.

Just a few tips & tricks- I steamed a head of cauliflower for about 15 minutes in this steamer my mom gave me that has to be at least 10 years old.  It gets the job done 🙂

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This amount makes about 2.5 batches.  I only pulsed the blender about 6 times and the cauliflower blended nicely into a rice consistency. The only cheese we had was Mexican blend, and I’m not sure it really mattered that much- there was cheddar in there, somewhere 🙂 I also didn’t use parsley because a couple years ago we grew too much, and I tend to leave it out of recipes now because I’m still not over it…

But anyways, these are WAY better than tater tots, no doubt. They do take a little while to prepare and are a little messy, but completely worth it.

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To go with the cauli tots, I found this Brussel Sprout Pizza on a blog I follow. The blog is called A Beautiful Mess– it’s a really awesome blog of crafts, home improvements, fashion, food, etc. It’s awesome & you should follow it too! Anyway… we’ve made this multiple times in the last couple months.  Maybe once a week…I’m not even ashamed, because I LOVE brussel sprouts. And pizza. And BBQ sauce.  Sooooo, it’s basically perfect.

We follow the instructions completely on this recipe.  It’s the best pizza dough I’ve ever made, and I always freeze half for the following week.  We don’t use a whole lot of cheese as you can see below, because I’m all about the veggies.  I don’t usually just like a couple toppings on my pizza- I love variety.  Give me veggie lovers over pepperoni any day. But this, with only a couple ingredients, is amazing as is.

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Anyone else out there have a serious addiction to brussel sprouts? I don’t know why they were labeled the “gross” vegetable for children. I wish I had discovered them before I was 27!

New Workouts!

So this weekend I had a dose of hangover that lasted my entire Sunday. Ugh.  I am coming to the conclusion that red wine and I are no longer friends.  How I crave my 22 year old tolerance….

With that being said, I am proud that I did not vomit during my first bar class at The Bar Method in Boulder (just a little dizzy) on Sunday morning.  It was a sorry sight I’m sure, but I forgot how much I love classes.  I’m not much a gym goer- I prefer to run/hike outside, and workout DVD’s but I do enjoy a good high energy class now and again.  For a beginner class though, it sure was tough!  The workout focuses a lot on alignment and strength.  You’ll hold a lot of positions, but pulse the whole time, which helps keep you distracted from the pain of your legs wanting to fall off.  I felt muscles I haven’t used in a while! But it was really fun and there was an assistant who went around and she and the instructor came around and corrected our form, which was SO helpful.  I can see why it was so popular- I can’t wait to go back and try again without the spins and nausea!

I also started the new 21 Day Fix Extreme today!  I wanted to start yesterday but I could barely get off the couch.  I started with the Plyo Fix Extreme, which I thought was fantastic.  Most of the exercises were in 30 second increments which was great because they were tough and I’m not sure I could do them for 60 seconds- most I could get halfway through before having to shake my legs out.  I wanted to share my favorite exercise, but I loved too many to remember one specific one. When the half hour was over I was shaking!  And gross, but I still had energy 🙂 I hope I love the other dvd’s as much.

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After a quick shower Beta and I went up to Coot Lake and the Reservoir for a 2.5 mile walk.  It’s becoming my new favorite place to walk- and I still can’t believe this is less than two miles from our apartment. There are miles of open space to walk and the view is phenomenal so 2.5 miles only feels like 1 mile! We played a little in the water for the first time too (because all the big cool dogs were doing it) and now Beta is wiped.out. 🙂  Hope everyone had a great Monday!

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Small Dog Meet Up

Well, we had quite a chaotic morning (TGIF?).  We ended up at the vet after a little blood in Beta’s urine…Seriously?  This poor girl has been under so much stress; being ripped from her home twice within the last couple months, I think it’s really doing a toll on her body.  We can’t wait until she starts getting more comfortable and less anxious so we can stop getting so many gray hairs!  Well, $300, and antibiotics and probiotic meds later we’re hoping this helps clear up her UTI.  Thank goodness for Pet Insurance.

After that fiasco, we attended our first Small Dog Meet Up at Foothills Community Park!  I was SO nervous.  First time off leash, and first time around all these pups.  We met a lot of really nice people though &  Beta made a couple friends (a couple that liked her a little too much, if you know what I mean). Just so many adorable pups!!   There was a lot of barking, and Beta got a little overwhelmed a couple times.  Maybe staying an hour was too long, BUT overall I’d say success!  She responded very well, and when I got her away to relax for a minute she even did a few tricks while she was distracted!  Proud Mommy moments. This meetup comes together multiple times a week, and we will definitely go back (as long as she keeps on behaving).

If any of you want to join let me know!  I’ve joined about 5 different meetups online this week (www.meetup.com), and I can’t wait to check out some of the others- it just validates how awesome this community is 🙂

Alright, time to rest before Dog Manners Class tonight!  We are both pooped after this morning!

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Granola Bars & PB2!

Do you do breakfast most days “on the go”?  Chris isn’t usually hungry in the mornings before work, so he’ll have a little oatmeal or toast if it’s available, but mostly he just grabs a granola bar for the car.  So today when I found this granola bar recipe (http://www.deliciousasitlooks.com/2014/02/pb2-quinoa-granola-bars.html?m=1) , I had to try it.  Of course to make a tasty treat AND because I have recently discovered PB2 and LOVE it. I’ll go into details in a minute 🙂

These are SO easy and I had everything to make them in the cupboards! I used semi sweet chocolate chips, but next time want to dry some dark chocolate instead.

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I gave them about an hour and a half to cool in the fridge.  As you can see below, I didn’t do a great job of keeping it even, but that’s ok because once you cut them you’ll be able to shape them into more even bars.  I had to try one before I let Chris have them (of course) and I could have eaten all 8! Go make them right now 🙂

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Alright, SO PB2.  I read about it online and now I use it all the time (it’s funny- all three of us have our own peanut butter in the cabinet!).  It’s a peanut butter powder with 85% less fat calories, and still tastes great!  I use it in my Shakeology, salad dressings, and am on the prowl for new recipes to try (like the granola bars)!  You can buy it at any grocery store; here in Boulder it’s about $3.50, so a little more than regular peanut butter, but worth the little splurge!

If you decide to go out & try, let me know what you think 🙂  And if you’re already on the bandwagon, please share any recipes you have!

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Pad See (Not at all) Ew

When Chris and I lived in Burlington I fell in love with Thai food (RIP Parima).  When we moved to Boulder we would go to Buddha Cafe, which I consider to be a hidden gem we could walk to in about 5 minutes.  I always get Pad Thai with tofu because I can’t break away from my favorite.  Chris most of the time gets Pad See Ew, and I always eat his leftovers.  Lately I’ve been trying to whip up my own *a little healthier* versions of Chinese takeout, and when I found this Pad See Ew recipe I knew it couldn’t be that hard.

You can find the link to the recipe here: http://www.recipetineats.com/thai-stir-fried-noodles-pad-see-ew/

Now, this is the first time I’ve ever cooked with Bok Choy.  What took me so long???  I love it!  My question is though, am I chopping it correctly? It doesn’t look quite right, but I can’t put my finger on it….

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For the dark soy, we just boiled 2 tbsp of dark brown sugar and 2 tbsp of soy sauce.  After the sugar dissolved we removed from the heat and mixed the rest of the sauce ingredients.

We used pad thai noodles instead of stick noodles because our selection is pretty limited at King Soopers, but I think it came out great!  it made a LOT, and am slightly embarrassed to admit how little is left.

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The next time I make it I will add another egg and more bok choy.  Hopefully I’ll plan ahead too and try to find better noodles and peanut oil.  Regardless, we both loved it, and I feel better after eating it than I do when we go out! Win win!!

I hope everyone has a great Saturday night! I’ll be on the couch snuggling while watching Harry Potter with my two favorite hairy babes!! 🙂

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Three Hikes this Week!

It was so spring-like here in Boulder this week (not to rub it in..)!  Today was the coolest day at 50 degrees, and in Vermont I would have been out in my flip flops and a t-shirt, but instead we took a rest day from the trails.

I’m not sure who was more excited to be out hiking, me or Beta!  I’m pretty positive Monday was her first hike ever, and she did great!  We hiked up the Dakota Ridge Trail, which I’ve done about 20 times, but never the full thing during the day.  There were a few people hiking, but not too many which made it so much fun! 🙂

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I love Dakota Ridge because it’s a few miles round trip, not super strenuous, but the stairs get your heart beating!  The views are very impressive each way, and at the end you overlook Boulder *which is much prettier in the summer I think*. Such a great view of the flatirons. My heart melts every time.  We did this trail both Monday and Wednesday!

On Tuesday we hit up the Mesa Trail at NCAR for a few miles.  There was hardly anyone on that trail which was nice as well!  Still icy in parts (thank goodness for good hiking shoes) but I didn’t fall! I can’t wait to get out and do this more in the summer!  NCAR is one of the most beautiful places to hike in Boulder, in my opinion.

Getting out there on the trails made my heart a little bigger. I always love getting in winter hikes! My goal for the year is 40 hikes- only 37 more to go 😉

I hope everyone has a great Friday!

Maple-Sriracha Roasted Cauliflower

Happy Monday!

We had such a great weekend seeing friends, watching Harry Potter movies, and going for walks! Yesterday we did about 3.5 miles and it knocked Beta o.u.t. 🙂  There are SO many beautiful trails for dogs out here, and a few so close to our apartment! We’ll be hitting up here lots in the future!

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A few of you had asked about this cauliflower recipe I had made a while ago and I decided to share!  I found the link via pinterest (of course) and was intrigued because we have been doing a lot with sriracha lately.  It was easy and so hard to stop- I think I had more than half the plate (I do that to poor Chris too often).  It wasn’t overly spicy which is better for me, and I think the maple syrup gave it just the right sweetness.  I also love the consistency of baked cauliflower.

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The only problem I had was while roasting the vegetables it caused so much smoke. We had to take our fire alarm off the ceiling while we baked this because it went off every time we opened the oven.  It makes us so nervous when we roast things with maple syrup, which we do quite often because of our New England roots.  Does anyone have any experience with this or tips?  I’d LOVE to know!

Hope everyone has a marvelous day, and to my east coast friends- stay warm and enjoy the snow 🙂

Stir-fry; A Rolfs Staple

Happy Friday!!!

Although we’ve had quite the week adjusting to having Beta in the house, we have had great success with crate training- I was able to leave today for 6 minutes outside and she didn’t really bark or whine or PEE! Yay!  Knock on wood!

I have found out (on accident) some of her likes and dislikes this week.  For example:

Likes

  • Brussel Sprouts (my girl!)
  • Hummus
  • Cabbage

Dislikes

  • Kale
  • The Lumineers

It’s kind of weird, but it’s the truth.  She’s our little weirdo.

Last night was really the first night I really got to cook this week.  I’ve been craving Chinese food for a week now, so I whipped up what I had to make this Chicken and Broccoli Stir Fry.  I did alter it a little bit but it was SO delicious and definitely hit the spot so I had to share.  I did not have scallions or hoisin, and used only one chicken breast and lots of extra broccoli. I prefer more broccoli and little meat in my stir fry.  I also topped it with chow mein noodles because well, chow mein noodles.

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I made so much we have leftovers for tonight!  Which is good because we are off to our first Puppy Behaviors class tonight! Wish us luck!