Sunday, May 22, 2011

Weekend Love

Saturday we spent a few hours in bed - which is sort of a tradition of ours. We wake, make coffee, grab lists or books or a laptop and start the day slow. I like to blog, Geof likes to play games on my ipod touch, and the pooch lounges sleepily at our feet. It's quite nice :)

After formulating our game plan with mapquest and a Denver Parks map I had on hand, we headed down south to Bear Creek Park and Bear Creek Trail. This is different from Bear Creek Lake Park, which we also enjoy in the summer, as they have a beach! Since this was the first day with warm temps and sunshine lately, I was in a total summer picnic and hike mood! Stopping by Whole Foods for picnic supplies is such a FUN experience for me! I can get into a lot of trouble there, so we have to be careful not to spend $100 on lunch! Geoffrey is a bread/pasta/cheese/meat guy and I'm head over heels for the salads and deli items.

Our picnic lunch included:
Mixed green, mozzarella, and tomato salad with balsamic
Cheese tortollini with roasted tomato sauce
Roasted chicken and fresh veggie spring rolls with peanut sauce
Humbolt Fog goats cheese
French baguette
Herb crusted Boars Head Salami
Mixed olives
34 degree crackers

We found a great little spot right on Bear Creek and enjoyed the spread and the pretty weather! We then took a nice long walk/jog along the creek. Water is the ultimate way to get grounded again for Geof and I. We are always trying to find water to enjoy here, as we both miss our big blue Atlantic Ocean. 

On the weekends I love to cook and take my time doing so. It's hard during the week to take your time and I wish I had more time to play in the kitchen and with food photography. On our way home we stopped by Colorado Ski and Golf for Geoffrey and then Sunflower Market to pick up a few dinner supplies as well as a local Colorado Rose and some Negra Modelo Especial with lime. After a few hours doing yard work we were ready for dinner on the grill in the spirit of SUMMER time! Here are a few pics, and I'll post recipes to my food blog: The Tin Lunch Box - Happy weekend, lovelies!

So fresh, summer time is coming!

Italian chicken breasts {for later}, chicken kabobs with BBQ sauce, and veggie kabobs!

Caprese Salad!

Grilled baguette, roasted garlic, caprese salad with balsamic reduction = love!

We grill enough for leftovers in this casa!

Oh hello summery goodness!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Friday - Fun Times!

- machete logo -

Not that we need an excuse to go out, but Friday is the perfect time to blow off responsible things, like the gym, and head out in Denver to see what's new. There's ALWAYS something new to check out. This Friday we ventured from our usual Highlands and LoHi happy hour and dinner spots and headed to Cherry Creek. We parked in front of Sushi Tazu, a favorite of ours when we lived closer in Capital Hill, and went in for a bite. We had the yellowtail sashimi, the Volcano Roll, the Rainbow Roll, and some Garlic-Veggie Gyoza. For a happy hour special they served us 2-for-1 hot sake. The yellowtail was the best, so fresh and amazing! As we left I took note of the entirely full restaurant and the laid back family style vibe - it was a nice departure from the typical crowd at most sushi restaurants in Denver. Try it out, I think you'll like it! {they even have fancy toilets that had all kinds of buttons for drying and washing and such - I'm not into that in a public bathroom but hey, some people might be} Sushi Tazu

Instead of going to a movie {since we couldn't decide on one and we're waiting on the Hangover 2 to come out next week} we took a stroll down the block where Geof saw some "Tequilla Umbrellas" which is never a bad thing, right? Turned out to be a great find! As we approached Machete Tequila & Taco Bar, some Slightly Stupid was playing at a fun volume and the chatter inside poured out of the full restaurant. Wally, the owner, quickly approached and asked us if we were alright with a small wait, as this was the 5th day they were open and it was a full house! We had jackets on so decided to belly up to the outdoor bar that looked into the restaurant - much like Lola's. Wally was stoked on this so he said he'd give us a shot for being cool. Who could say no to that? It's Colorado, so a slightly chilly and overcast day on a patio is really pretty standard for us! He served up three shots in thick glass shotglasses with blue rims on top, the exact style {of wine goblets} we brought back from our honeymooon in Mexico.  I like this place already!

- eats -
- drinks -
Geof ordered a Ginger Margarita and I the Skinny Margarita
I'm all about supporting new places with good people, good ideas, good food and drinks, and a great vibe and I encourage you to as well! At Machete the menu is simple street taco style and creative combinations of tequila based drinks - I see this being a great spot to post up on a sunny Sunday, for hours of pura vida!

If you don't know about the skinnygirl margarita - get with it already! It's a to-die-for recipe by Bethany Frankel, for a 100'ish calorie "skinny" margarita and a new FAV of mine! You can purchase in the bottle at liquor stores or make your own, which is what I always do. Want the recipe? You know you do! Any time I go out to a place that is known for margaritas, I try their version of a "skinny" marg. Most places have some version of it because it is made of tequilla and lime juice primarily, bolstered with agave or triple sec and a salt rim on the rocks. Perfection!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Artist Love - Bill Zindel

Poking around the internet and into the MASSIVE blogging world is such a fun way to spend time. If you don't do it, I highly suggest it. Find a blog you love, check it often, check the blog links on that blog, and before you know it you've found a treasure trove of anything you can imagine. Restaurants, art, photography, parenting, religion, design, finance, fashion, crafting, cooking, travel, and of course, celebrity blogs! { Everyone has one - really } Technically, I'm working here but heeeey - we all know we steal a few minutes each day for ourselves and to pour over the internet like it is the newest great-magazine-made-just-for-me to hit the shelves. Oh the joy! Today I was inspired to search for Typography in Fashion and ended up on Kate Spade's website, Play - which has so much EYE CANDY including "A Blog About Color", you have to see for yourself! 

Click: Things we Love.  
{ Ohhh ahhh fuuun }
Click: Things We Love Spring 2011
{ Nice, check that out - an old floppy disc turned mixed media art. I like }

 So what started on a typewriter key ring on Etsy led me within just a few minutes to an artist and graphic designer that I might just be in love with...  Yep, I said it: LoVe!

Turns out he has designed for Chipotle, Visa, Cisco, and many others.
Check it out. Get Inspired! 
See photostream here:

Monday, May 16, 2011

10 Things to do in Colorado before you die

1) CLIMB A FOURTEENER { no, sadly I haven't }
At 14,060 feet, Mount Bierstadt is one of the easiest to ascend, with a wide trail that winds its way through swamps, high-mountain meadows and boulder fields. The journey begins at Guanella Pass, just south of Georgetown. If you worry about having never climbed that high before, put your fears aside. There are so many people - from young whippersnappers to truly elderly - hiking on weekends, it looks like a trip to the mall, but they'll offer assistance if you need it. Long's Peak by moonlight just might be the ultimate adventure. If that's not for you, climb one of the state's thirteeners, which are just as majestic but don't get the same attention. You're likely to see one of the state's Rocky Mountain goats staring down at you from a rocky crag, an eagle flying high above, or ubiquitous marmots on the ascent. If your health or other situations won't allow you to climb, then take the Cog Railway to the summit of Pikes Peak. Or drive to the top of Mount Evans. No
matter how you get there, you really will be "on top" of the world, and there's no feeling like it.
Related: Quiz: How many of Colorado's 54 14ers can you name

Red Rocks Movie Nights

2) ATTEND A CONCERT AT RED ROCKS {yes, and a few movie nights }
Pack a picnic dinner, get there early and hope it's a full-moon night. While your immediate goal is to sway the night away to good music, the side shows all add up to an experience like no other: the moon over the stage, lights of Denver in the background, sitting on rock-hewn seats, the smell of concert-goers' drug of choice. Or go to a sunrise Easter service, no matter your faith. 

3) EXPLORE MESA VERDE { no - but want to }
Sometimes we tend to downplay what's in our own backyard, but as with other ancient ruins around the world, the cliff dwellings at this national park near Cortez should be visited over and over again. Look and marvel on your own or take a ranger-guided tour for more insight into the people who once inhabited the more than 600 dwellings. Only a small percentage of the archaeological sites have been unearthed, but there are enough open to the public to leave you with a sense of awe. Alternatively, take a full-day tour of the Ute Mountain Tribal Park, where a Ute tribal member will guide you through the park's cliff dwellings and explain Ute history and the many examples of wall paintings and petroglyphs. Tours begin at Tribal Park headquarters 20 miles south of Cortez. Special tours, including those on horseback, are available throughout the year. While there, stop at the Pottery Factory, where tribal members continue to paint traditional patterns and more modern ones on functional, museum-quality pots. 

Let's be honest. One of the attractions of this place - besides the natural setting near Steamboat Springs - is that you can go au naturel after dark. Masonry walls create pools of different temperatures, so you can always find one that's "just right." Spend the night in one of the rustic cabins, or better yet, choose the train caboose, because how many chances will you get to spend the night in a caboose with a fireplace? Other hot springs bubble from the ground in many areas of the state, including the great kahoona - Glenwood Springs. Try some of the smaller ones for a more intimate setting: Hot Sulphur Springs near Granby has several private pools and caves; Mount Princeton Hot Springs near Buena Vista allows visitors to sit in makeshift rock pools in the Arkansas River. How cool (hot?) is that?

5) VISIT GREAT SAND DUNES NATIONAL PARK { ALWAYS has been on our list - but no }
Hike to the top of one of the state's greatest natural phenomena, then snowboard down, or just walk as most people do. The park in the San Luis Valley is open 24 hours a day, so climb at sunrise or sunset or under a moonlit sky. Marvel at the beauty of Crestone Peaks, especially during the spring or late fall when the tips are coated in white. Then, in late spring or early summer, dip your toes in Medano Creek if it's flowing. Climb to the top of Star Dune, the highest at 750 feet, for spectacular views and photo opportunities. Visit during a meteor shower for an unhindered view - no lights, no obstructions - just sky and shooting stars

Once upon a time, Colorado was mired in water and mud, making it the perfect place to record the wanderings of dinosaurs small and large. You don't have to travel far to see footprints and bones from giants like the apatosaurus or those of fierce predators like the allosaurus. At Picketwire Canyonlands on the Comanche National Grasslands south of La Junta, walk an interpretive trail that includes more than 1,300 tracks. That's not the only place in the state where they left a big impression. Several museums and trails near Grand Junction allow you to view bones and tracks in situ. At Dinosaur Ridge in Morrison, tracks, bones and other fossils are etched in stone along the "dinosaur highway."

7) LISTEN TO ELK BUGLE { yes, camping in Rocky Mountain National Park }
Bring blankets, hot chocolate and other creature comforts, and plan to spend a few hours at dusk and into evening in Rocky Mountain National Park during the September-October rut, when males call out to and herd their "harems." Moraine Park is a favorite location for listeners, although it's now so overrun with cars and people that some of the magic has disappeared. Avoid the crowds by driving into the park along less-congested roadways, and you might get lucky and hear some stray calls. As an added bonus, the timing is perfect for aspen viewing, with the dancing leaves turning golden and red as night temperatures cool.

Not those teeny passes, but big, burly, white-knuckle-inducing roads like Independence Pass between Leadville and Aspen. At 12,095 feet, the top of the pass is well above tree line: This is what it means to be in tundra. This narrow road usually closes in September and opens in late May. Independence is the state's second-highest paved road. America's highest paved automobile road is the Mount Evans Scenic Byway. That drive, completed in 1927, is less scary than Independence but just as scenic. The parking lot is at 14,130 feet, then you can hike a quarter- mile up a winding trail to the top of the peak at 14,264 feet. (Another way to stand atop the world.) A third option is Trail Ridge Road. While behind the wheel or exploring the area, you can imagine that in winter, snow drifts can get as high as 25 feet tall at the highest elevation, 12,183 feet. Even in July, cold winds blow across the tundra, but ground-hugging plants and flowers blanket the areas between lichen- covered rocks.

{ No, but did you know they have beer, wine tastings, and dinners on the train? ON MY LIST }
The state's economy and towns once were made or broken by the presence of iron rails. Trains still hold a fascination for young and old. Step back in time and ride one of the state's refurbished rail lines, from the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad in Antonito to the Georgetown Loop narrow gauge line, to the Winter Park Ski Train. The Durango & Silverton runs daily excursions, even during the winter months. The coal-fired engines pull refurbished cars through canyons and wilderness along the same tracks once traveled by cowboys and miners - even train robbers.

{ no, but I've camped on the Arkansas and rafted the Poudre - does this count? }
Take a leisurely float trip, or if you live for those adrenaline highs, steel yourself for the bumpy ride only a Class 5 rapids provides. Whether you want a half-day or full-week excursion, steak lunches or a "classical music" cruise, you can find it through one of the area's many rafting companies. Shop around for deals, but remember the wildest water is in early May as the snow pack melts. Most companies run rafts through September, except of course, in drought years. No need to worry about that this year, if January is any indication.

Monday Love - Etsy

Happy Monday! Thought I'd share some love today with Etsy finds - every time I go on that site I find so many wonderful things...

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Blog merging

I've decided to merge my "regular" blog and my food blog to create the best of both and make it less work for me. Yes, blogging can be hard! :) I may still keep The Tin Lunch Box around to post recipes to - so don't cross it off of your list of blogs to check out from time to time!

Junk - Aspen, CO

Birds of a Feather...

I'm in love with birds. True, its a trend - but for me - I just love birds. On a dress, in print, in metal, in paint, and especially in my yard. So little and fat - I love them!

In Fashion