Garden of the Gods

Happy Cyber Monday. Hope you’re online shopping instead of working this fine morning. ūüôā

I purchased my first gift about 20 minutes ago. The holiday season has officially begun. But before we get all Christmas-y let’s finish up Thanksgiving.

After stuffing ourselves with delicious food on Thursday, Michael and I got up super early on Friday for another run around Colorado Springs. We ended up at Starbucks where we met Michael’s brothers Andy and David. We then leisurely strolled home with Andy while he told us the history of Colorado Springs.

After our walk we got ready to meet Michael’s dad and his wife for lunch at the Tavern in the Broadmoor Hotel. The Broadmoor is a beautiful old hotel with stunning views of the mountains. We took a little stroll afterward for some pictures.

The rest of Friday was a blur but we did take a lovely long nap in the afternoon. Love holiday weekends.

On Saturday morning we got up and went to the Garden of the Gods which is a collection of huge sandstone rock formations. I’ve been to Colorado Springs a few times now but had never made it there before. It was unbelievably pretty and only about 15 minutes from Jim and Linda’s place.

We got there on the earlier side to avoid the crowds but the sun was already shining and hot!

Hello hotness!

This formation is called Kissing Camels because of the two rocks at the top.

Beautiful view looking north over the garden.

An awkward self portrait. Love the camera shadow.

Posing.

View from the top of the garden looking toward Colorado Springs. It was so peaceful and there were a bunch of hiking trails around the formations. I wish we could have spent all day hiking and exploring.

After Garden of the Gods we went into the little town of Manitou. We walked around for a bit and stumbled on the penny arcade, where we proceeded to play 6 rounds of Skeeball. So much fun, especially since I won every single game! My years of practice at Chuck E. Cheese’s finally paid off.

Soon it was time to head back to the airport.

We had such a wonderful time in Colorado. Thank you to all of Michael’s family for such a fun holiday. We’ll be back soon.

 

A Colorado Thanksgiving

This was my first official Thanksgiving away from California. It was a little sad not to be going home but Michael’s family welcomed me with open arms and lots of love.

We got in on Wednesday and were greeted by bright blue Colorado skies and 70 degree weather (why do we live in Boston again?)

We made the drive from Denver to Colorado Springs and spent the day visiting with Michael’s family.

Michael’s brother David and the family dog Charlie with their matching hair dos!

Michael’s cousin JP’s daughter Liv (pretty much the world’s cutest little girl)

Thanksgiving morning we were up early, thank you time difference, so we decided to run a Turkey Trot put on by the Briargate YMCA. It was such a fun morning. Everyone had great energy and the YMCA did an amazing job with the race. It was really well-organized and all the volunteers were so friendly and helpful.

The race went really well considering we were 6500 feet above sea level. Our race results are below. There were 2800 people in the race so we were really happy with where we both placed!

Sweaty, tired post race pic.

After the race we headed back to the house where we played and watched some football.

Charlie found a nice comfortable spot between Jim and me on the couch.

There was also lots of food prep and socializing going on.

Michael and Jim making mashed potatoes.

Liv and Candy discussing something very serious.

The ladies before dinner. (I tried to fix the red-eye but for some reason iphoto wasn’t having it.)

Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to get even one picture of Linda working in the kitchen, fail!

Soon enough, dinner was ready.

Beautiful table.

Even more beautiful table.

Vegetarian Thanksgiving plate.

Winning sweet potato dish…Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Lime Dressing.

David after “housing” his dinner.

Michael giving someone the stink eye.

Unfortunately I didn’t do a great job with documenting the day, sorry to Andy, Henley, JP and Linda for not having better pictures of you all.

This post is getting rather long so I’ll recap Friday and Saturday tomorrow.¬†I hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving and long weekend. Off to run, watch some football and teach. 5:30 at CrossFit Back Bay, come join me!

Thanksgiving Sweet Potato Challenge: Recipe #2

If you missed why I’m making three days of sweet potato dishes check it out here.

As for everyone else, let’s get right into recipe two.

I’ll admit, yesterday’s recipe wasn’t a huge departure from how I usually make sweet potatoes as Michael kindly pointed out last night. He was looking for a more traditional sweet potato recipe that was, well, more sweet. So today I’m branching out of my roasting comfort zone and trying a sweet potato casserole.

The recipe comes from one of my favorite vegan blogs Oh She Glows. Us vegetarians are already planning to make Angela’s lentil loaf, in place of turkey, for Thursday’s meal so I figured it would be perfect to pair with her sweet potato casserole. Both those recipes can be found in her holiday wrap post¬†here.

I cut the recipe in half since we’re leaving tomorrow morning and I still have the third recipe to make later today. I also used gluten-free flour instead of white to make it gf and substituted nutmeg for allspice since I didn’t have any.

Sweet Potato Casserole (gluten-free, vegan)

Filling:

2 large sweet potatoes

1 tablespoon earth balance (or butter if you prefer)

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 tablespoons maple syrup

1/4 teaspoon fine grain salt

1/2 teaspoon allspice

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Topping:

1/8 cup Earth Balance

1/4 cup brown sugar

2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons gluten-free flour

————

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a casserole dish.

Peel and cut your sweet potatoes into big even chunks.

Boil potatoes for 10 minutes or until soft.

In the meantime, mix topping ingredients together in a bowl until well combined.

Once potatoes are soft, drain and add earth balance, vanilla, maple syrup, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon.

Mash until smooth then place potatoes into casserole dish.

Add topping to the potatoes.

Bake for 40 minutes.

As someone who is usually not a fan of sweet sweet potato dishes, this recipe may change my mind. The potatoes had a slight sweetness but not too much. I’d just change one thing if I cook this again on Thanksgiving and make extra topping. The crunchy sweetness is great with the creamy potatoes.

2 for 2.

Enjoy!

 

Thanksgiving Sweet Potato Challenge

My sister and her boyfriend Will came to Boston this weekend. We had a wonderful time, ate a ton of food, explored the city and even went on a Duck Tour, I know, so touristy! Will is a great photographer (who also took my yoga photos)¬†and captured a ton of beautiful pictures of the weekend. Here’s one of my favorites of Michael and me by the river.

I’ll share the rest sometime soon. But I owe you a recipe.

The below recipe is part of my self-proclaimed Thanksgiving sweet potato challenge.

On Wednesday, we’re headed to Colorado Springs for Thanksgiving. Michael’s family is there and we’ll be celebrating the holiday with them. There will be three vegetarians, lots of omnivores, plus a lone gluten avoider. Michael’s mom, Linda, has her hands full. Yesterday she called to ask if I would make the sweet potatoes. Considering they are probably one of my favorite foods on the planet, I was happy to oblige.

Only one problem, the request was preferably for a sweet version. I don’t have a go-to sweet sweet potato recipe, so I’ve been scouring the internet since our conversation. Luckily it seems everyone and their mother has a must try recipe this time of year so I decided to try three recipes that sound good to me, pick the best then recreate that one for Thursday’s meal. Definitely needed to try them out beforehand, I don’t want to show up with a recipe flop on a day as big as Thanksgiving!

Below is the first of three recipes.

These sweet potatoes are paired with lime and a little sugar. I was skeptical of lime with potatoes but the flavors balance each other out really well and the lime adds a brightness that is sometimes missing from traditional Thanksgiving recipes.

The sauce is so tasty I will definitely be using it on salads in the near future. The recipe came from Epicurious, here’s the link.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Lime Dressing

3 large sweet potatoes

1 tablespoon olive oil

Salt

1/4 cup water

juice of half a lime

2 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon lime zest

————

Preheat oven to 425.

Peel and cut sweet potatoes into 1/2″ pieces.

Place on a cookie sheet. Mix with olive oil and salt.

Roast for 20 minutes turning once half way through, until golden brown.

While sweet potatoes are roasting, add water, lime juice and sugar to a saucepan. Bring to a boil, stir, then reduce to a simmer for 5 minutes. The sauce will reduce to a few tablespoons over the course of 5 minutes but the flavor will be super concentrated so you won’t need much.

Using a grater, zest one lime.

Once the sweet potatoes are done, place in a serving bowl and toss with lime dressing, top with lime zest.

The original recipe calls for chives which I would have used but didn’t have any. I think they would be a really nice addition.

One note: I wouldn’t recommend dressing the potatoes too far in advance. I dressed them, shot the pictures, wrote some emails and then ate and they ended up being a bit of soggy. Ideally I’d serve the dressing on the side with the zest so everyone can add right before eating.

1 for 1. It may ended up being harder than I thought to pick just one recipe.

Have a great rest of your Monday.

Enjoy!