I have been on a baking binge. I love to cook, but I especially love to bake. I'm not sure if it's just more bang for the buck or what. I especially love the flavors that we usually bake with in the fall. Plus you can give things you bake away as gifts as opposed to most other things you may cook. Well of course there is candy. And I did make fruit jellies this year. They are pretty good. I made Cranapple and Blueberry almond so far. The only draw back with them is that they need to be refrigerated. There is another recipe that they don't have to be, but it was a little more complicated.
I made these cookies called Magic in the Middles. They are chocolate cookes with peanut butter centers. They are pretty darn good. And then I made my first attemp at Linzer cookies. They tast "fine", but they are really stunning to look at. I think I may have to continue to try some different things with them and perfect my technique.
I made a couple of new pies this year. The one I am really crazy about is Cranberry Fudge Pie. It is in a graham cracker crust. It has a bottom layer of chocolate and nuts that you allow to set up. Then you cook cranberry juice, dried cranberries and fresh cranberries together and pour over the top. It tastes like chocolate covered craisins. In other words, I love that tart and sweet flavor together.
I have also been baking a new recipe for Banana Nut Bread that my co workers have really loved. Me too. It is actually from Cooking Light and has yogurt and flaxseed in it. Supposedly it has less fat and more fiber and therefore is better for you. What really makes it for all of us is that it is very moist and has lots of good banana flavor.
I've made a few savory things..I love my Cajun Dirty Rice. I had some of that. And of course I made Thanksgiving dinner.
Obviously it's time to get back on my diet. I have just a few more recipes I want to make before I go back on......
I have been on vacation this week. I tried to plan some really active things that were inexpensive yet fun. This was the third and final hike. Cindy and I went up to the Grand Canyon and did a nice hike along part of the rim trail. I hadn't been to the Canyon in years, but I really love it. I could just stare at it for hours. And I had never done this trail before. It was COLD. I am glad I had my "Minnesota" coat to wear. It kept me quite toasty. It was in the low 30's all day. There was a pretty light dusting of snow, mostly in the shady areas. Here we are starting out at Mather point. It was coldest then.
Of course the Canyon is beautiful and immense.
This is our trail. There were patches on snow and ice. Had to be careful not to slip and fall. Sometimes we were really close to the edge.
Some people left sweet messages in the snow.
Cindy was nervous getting this close to the edge. I wanted to show how close we were. She is still within the trail.
There were some neat mineral specimans along the way, showing some of the types of rock in the canyon. This one was especially cool. See the folded layer running through it? Can you imagine what must have happened to make it look like that?
Doesn't Cindy look especially youthful in this photo?
I wanted to show off my new gila monster shirt. I got it in Tucson the day before at the Arizona Sonoran Desert Museum. I think it's awesome!
One more especially nice one of Cindy.
We had lunch in the Bright Angel Lodge. It was nice.
View back towars El Tovar. The "Studio" is the brown building right on the edge of the canyon. The Bright Angel Trail starts right there. We looked at a really nice art exhibit of Canyon paintings there.
You can see the Colorado River in this one.
Here we are at Hermit's Rest at the end of the day. We made it. We hiked just over 4 miles. Not tons, but we had a really nice time. We took the shuttle some of the way. Fresh air, beautiful views, uncrowded, nice food, good company. Great day!
I am on vacation, but not going away really. Today Cynthia and I went on a day trip down to the Arizonan Sonora Desert Museum and Saguaro National Park. Cindy had never been to either. I love the museum. I just hadn't been in years. It is a combination Museum, garden and zoo. It's cool. We got to see a lot of animals. Here is one of the rattlesnakes. Can you see I got him with his tongue out?
And then they have this whole big fake cave they built. They actually have quite a few different displays in it. Including being able to see what you would look like if your ears were the same scale as a bat ears. I think Cindy looks great. We also got to crawl around through a fake spelunker trail.
Another part of the underground exhibit was a cool mineral display.
Sleepy mountain lion.
White Tailed Deer
Mexican Gray Wolf
Desert Big Horn Sheep
They have a cool walk in aviary with all kinds of hummingbirds. I took several pics but this one was the best one. If we had spent longer there, I might have gotten some better ones. They are quick buggers.
There is another aviary with all kinds of birds. This is a blue grosbeak. I don't know the difference between a grosbeak and a blue bird. I know the blue birds have a more peaked head, I think.
Then we went hiking in the park. Here I am at the beginning. Before we went continuously up, up, up for a solid hour. I found out that I am Left footed going up hill and Right footed going down hill. I don't have a clue how that works or why.
Lots of expansive views on the trail.
I thought this guy looked like he was trying to hand us something.
And this one looked like he was trying to give up.
Cindy near the top of the trail. It was a fun day. And tomorrow we go to the Grand Canyon!
Today I walked from South Mountain to North Mountain down Central. Some people think I am nuts. And they may be right. This is the second time I have done this. The first time was in January. It's 15.5 miles. It's flat and easy, mostly sidewalk and bridle path. I was the slowest of our group of four. I have heard several people completely puzzled by this. Why do something like that? It's not hard, but very long. At the end of the day, my body was very sore, but no blisters or other injuries. Some of the others didn't fare as well. Some of the reasons are: bragging rights to say I walked from one end of the valley to the other. It's interesting sight seeing along the way, seeing everything you always drive past. But the biggest reason for me, I think, is because I can. I have lost a LOT of weight over the last couple of years. I didn't used to be able to do a lot of physical things. I couldn't walk very far or stand very long without my legs going numb and breaking out in a sweat. All the weight put a lot of pressure on the nerves in my lower back. I was incapable of doing much in the form of exercise. Certainly nothing close to this. As I lost weight, my desire to do things increased and my energy level did too. I am still not Miss Athlete. I don't walk super fast and I get tired and worn out. But I enjoy what I do and am still amazed and so grateful that I CAN. So there you go.
One of my good friends just started a blog and I didn't really get it. I have kept a journal for years and was not sure that a more "public" journal was something that held any interest for me. I have found, however, that I have enjoyed reading her posts and commenting on them. I have started reading other blogs and am finally coming "up to speed" and seeing some value in the process of sharing thoughts in a way that is unique from both conversation and journaling but somehow a combination of both. Welcome to my blog!