Wednesday, October 10, 2012


This was mostly written on a flight back from the east coast, North Carolina to be exact. We spent three days in the Chapel Hill area with a brief visit to the beach!

I shivered while waiting for the airport shuttle on Thursday morning because I was wearing open-toed shoes and the temperature had dropped abruptly the night before. The next day I found myself on the beach in Fort Fisher, North Carolina.  As we frolicked in the water and walked on the beach, it was 33 degrees and snowing in Denver…



We had a lovely time watching the butterflies flutter along the coast and finding burrowing creatures in the sand and taking in the salty air. I even braved the sea monsters and got in the ocean. It was somewhat nostalgic for Seth as he fondly recalled beach vacations with the family in his younger days. In fact, while going through the closet in the bedroom in which he grew up, we found some photos of him at the beach:


While in the area we visited the North Carolina Aquarium, which was cute but not super impressive. We did get a photo with the jaws of a megalodon – some kind of big, scary prehistoric creature.


The remaining two days were filled with strolling. We strolled around the Durham farmer’s market and craft market eating empanadas, fresh donuts and cinnamon buns, drinking coffee.



There was yet more strolling around the Duke University campus where we found huge tree fungus growing at the foot of a tree as opposed to on the tree higher up where you normally find it:


We strolled around Chapel Hill’s Franklin Street eating cupcakes and drinking yet more coffee. There were also cocktails at The Crunkleton and dinner at Mint, an amazingly tasty Indian restaurant.


We had brunch and dinner with friends and hung out with Seth’s parents and observed the masses of college students that were everywhere. I even got to eat at Sunrise Biscuit Kitchen! It has no website and is a drive thru only biscuit place that was Seth’s inspiration from what I understand. Of course, Seth’s biscuits are *way* better…

All in all, it was a good introduction to North Carolina and I imagine we’ll head that way again sometime in the future.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Mushrooms in a box

At the end of July I bought a box that touted 1-1.5 pounds of mushrooms that you could grow yourself! Of course, I love mushrooms and the thought of getting to watch them grow fascinated me. So I promptly bought a box. I followed the simple instructions on the box and set it on the counter in an appropriate place and waited. It was supposed to be 10 days to results…This is what it looked like to start, just a big rectangle of dirt and coffee grounds and spores and whatnot:

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10 days came and went and I diligently watered the dirt morning and evening, but nothing. Sensing my deep disappointment, Seth did an amazing thing – he called the number on the box. They supplied him with an email address for a woman at the company named Jasmine, her email signature read “Community Happiness Guru.” By the time I contacted her 22 days had gone by and still nothing.

She recommended resoaking the dirt but this time for 24 hours as opposed to 12 and making sure I sprayed them with LOTS of water twice a day. I followed her instructions and voila! Action!

It started small – just a wee clump of fungus:

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Everyday more and more growth occurred:

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Then it started to happen – real mushroom action:

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I ultimately think I got some sort of defective box because my mushrooms never got bigger than this and they certainly didn’t look like the mushrooms on the website. Nevertheless, I was ecstatic that the fungus finally bore fruit.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

September 2012 recap

September was all about food – mostly pasta but some baking.

One day near the end of August, Seth came home with a little metal pasta maker and we were inspired to make spaghetti and linguini. It’s surprisingly easy. The pasta maker comes with a basic pasta dough recipe. After the dough is, well, in dough form, you run it through the machine to flatten it to a somewhat thin, oblong sheet of floury eggy goodness.  Then you put it in the cutter side and make either spaghetti or linguini.

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Et voila! Add some olive oil with garlic and shallots, some grape tomatoes, chicken and parmesan cheese and you have an amazingly tasty homemade pasta dish!

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I bought a ravioli maker to add to our pasta making options. It’s really a ravioli cutter because it’s not as automated as an attachment to the machine but it works just fine.

We filled the little pasta pockets with minced shrimp, garlic, oil, and cheese and they were soooo tasty.

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I highly recommend making your own pasta, it’s better than any dried pasta you can buy. You can also make a bunch of fresh pasta in advance and freeze it. We actually thawed some frozen fresh pasta on Sunday and it was just as good as the night we made it.

In addition to pasta, I’ve been trying to make a good lemon-ginger cookie. I tried two recipes this month. One was too lemony (drowned out the ginger), the other had a good lemon-ginger flavor but was a little too buttery…I still ate too many of them, but took no photos.

A friend bought me some new autumn-themed cookie cutters – little bite-sized pumpkins, leaves, acorns and turkeys. So cute! The same day I purchased candy eyes. I couldn’t resist the temptation to make little sugar cookies with eyes.

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The spicy pumpkin muffins that I made the same day also became adorned with eyes – at least the mini-muffins.

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Fall is the best time of year for food – pumpkin and mushrooms and apples and yum!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Follow the creek

Over the years I’ve learned to avoid hikes that indicate that there is “some wayfinding” or “bushwacking” because it may as well say “you will get lost.” This extends to some “non-standard” 14er routes. I love the non-standard routes because you don’t see the usual crowds that 14ers get, but you have more of the outdoors to yourself. However, I no longer take them due to getting lost more than one time. So, I typically stick to hikes on which I can find information in a book or a website indicating length, elevation gain/loss, general route, etc.

That being said, we hiked James Creek this weekend. This is a hike that Seth found out about from a friend and that isn’t marked. We didn’t get lost per se, but I don’t think we were on the intended trail…there were so many trails leading off in various directions.  Our only instructions were to follow the creek. We ended up on a road between two gaging stations, but we did see some beautiful fall Colorado scenery.

For the last day in September, we got to see a good amount of golden aspens:

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We did find encouraging signs along the way, like this one:

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I take this as a sign from the universe that I should stay on my path and that I’m doing ok. Let’s hope there are more encouraging signs in the future.