Monday, September 26, 2016

Zucchini Bread

My husband has this saying and he's usually right.  "Don't change horses in the middle of the road" or "If it's not broken, don't fix it".  I recently tried to fix it using a different recipe for zucchini bread.  I'm sure the recipe probably worked but in my rush to bake this delicious bread, I grabbed the wrong measuring cup, thus using half the amount of flour for the bread.  So, as I watched the oven, needless to say after ample amount of baking time, the bread was still like mush.  All was not lost though.  I grabbed some frozen blueberries and proceeded to build a blueberry cobbler, of sorts.  It turned out okay, but lesson learned on measuring correctly.

I realized while glancing through my blog that I hadn't posted my zucchini  bread recipe which is fairly fool proof!  It's the perfect way to put a dent into a huge zucchini harvest!   Hopefully it works for you....

Zucchini Bread

3 eggs
1 cup oil
2 cups sugar
2 tsp vanilla

In a large bowl, beat until foamy.  Add 

2 cups shredded zucchini
1 c crushed pineapple

In another bowl blend (I use a whisk instead of sifting)

3 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 cinnamon
3/4 tsp nutmeg

Add the flour mixture into the egg/sugar mixture  folding until well blended.  Add the 

1 cup raisins
1 cup chopped nuts (I like pecans)

Pour into 2 greased loaf pans and bake at 350 degrees for about 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a knife inserted into the middle comes out clean.  Enjoy! 

Saturday, September 10, 2016

How I Spent My Summer Vacation #1

Summer vacations from the past have usually been few and far between consisting of a quick weekend here or there.  One year was spent in Half Moon Bay, CA, on the coast hiking, relaxing and enjoying fantastic seafood.  Another, was spent in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  These were relatively quick trips coinciding with my birthday or our anniversary in July.  I have to admit, I felt a tinge of jealousy as we somehow managed to be in Venice, Tuscany and France during hubby's October birthday.  I guess it "just happened" that way!

This Summer I jumped at the chance to go on a RV trip to Yellowstone and Jackson, Wyoming.  It was everything I envisioned and more.  It truly is "God's Country" with miles of pristine forests, rolling hills and meadows filled with wildflowers, bubbling cauldrons dotting the landscape and incredibly blue sky.  We were lucky to see elk, and buffalo/bison but fortunately no bears or mountain lion even though on one of our hikes, the Ranger suggested we take our bear spray from the holster and "be ready"!

Although the Yellowstone area swells in population during July you can still have moments of solitude if you get off the beaten path and away from the famous "Old Faithful".  We were able to experience this solitude when we drove up into Montana just north of West Yellowstone.  Sometimes if you're willing to "get lost" those beautiful and memorable adventures will follow.  On the northern end of Lake Hebgen a river runs through it.  One of my all time favorite movies was being played out as we approached the river's edge on our hike through knee high wildflowers.  Fly fisherman lined the shallow banks and if we would have had more time I would have loved to watch more of their graceful casting.

Continuing on this hike we somehow lost the trail.  Maybe the scenery was too gorgeous because between the four of us we found ourselves blazing a new trail through an evil (think Wizard of Oz, flying monkey forest) prickly overgrown forest.  With each step the stickers dug into my ankles and barbed their way into my skin.  Unfortunately, our friend's dog suffered the brunt of the stickers as they quickly burrowed into her fur and skin.  Poor Lulu!  It took a while but Lulu got a "new hairdo" that day as we took turns snipping, pulling and cutting away the thorns.

All the trauma aside this was one of the most gorgeous mountain areas I've been to in a long time.  Pictures NEVER do it justice.  You'll just have to take my word for it.  BREATHTAKINGLY BEAUTIFUL 

gorgeous wildflowers

Lulu on the trail

hubby admiring the view

Beautiful scenery = lost trail

Lake Hebgen, Montana
More to come!

Monday, August 29, 2016

Hiking Around Reno/Tahoe #8 Near Marlette Lake

Variety is the spice of life.  Just as this saying holds true, variety in hiking, for me, is the key to continue onward and upward.  I can't tell you how many times we have driven past this trailhead over the course of 40+ years.   There's so much interesting history in the hills and woods of Reno/Tahoe so I'm almost embarrassed to say it took so long to begin hiking these trails!

This special hike was in preparation for our RV trip to Yellowstone and the Tetons near Jackson Hole, Wyoming.  We knew we'd encounter high altitudes, mosquitoes and probably bear!  So, we armed ourselves with our bear spray and repellent for bugs.  Okay, so we didn't see any bear on this trail to Marlette Lake, but the bug spray sure came in handy.  In fact, the mosquitoes were so bad we didn't complete the trail to the Lake.  The mosquitoes even bit through clothing!

All in all  the trail was a steady climb once you made the turn off away from the creek.   There's a lot of dappled shade along the trail which made it pleasurable instead of strenuous even though we climbed in elevation and were drenched in sweat from the steamy morning.  I'd love to revisit this trail in the Fall when the trees turn colors, the mosquitoes die off and when the temperatures are in the mild 60's or 70's.  I'm not asking for much, huh?

Now for some pictures!  The one above is called Spencer's Cabin (keeper of the cattle on the ranch).

 The easy part of the trail before elevation and switchbacks.

The branding symbol for the cattle ranch.

 Beautiful hidden meadows filled with mosquitoes!

Spooner Lake

Thursday, August 4, 2016

#7 Hiking Around Reno/Tahoe

July 3rd

Because it was the July 4th Holidays,  the planned trip to the Mount Rose summit trail was once again postponed!  By the time we arrived at the summit parking lot (before 8am) it was jam packed. We opted to take the easy trail less traveled...The Tahoe Meadows Interpretive Loop Trail, a meandering 1.2 mile loop.  To increase the mileage we continued on the North end to the campsites and also veered off the trail in some spots (but you didn't hear that from me) where you could get a bit of heart pumping climbs.

The trail is filled with wild flowers.  It's beginning to sound like a broken record, but this year the flowers in the forest and meadows are especially abundant!  I would almost classify this as a WALK instead of a hike....a beautiful walk in the woods and so close to home.  This Tahoe trail is educational and one of the best starting points for a high altitude jaunt at over 8800ft.

We've hiked this trail many times however, with the change of the seasons and the ever changing snow pack amount totals from year to year, the scenery never disappoints.

Stay tunes for the next hike to Marlette Lake area and in a later post
our hiking adventures in Yellowstone and Jackson Hole, Wyoming!

Monday, July 25, 2016

#6 Hiking Around Reno/Tahoe

June 25th

Today's hike has to be labeled "most scenic".  It's the "Tunnel Creek loop" of the Tahoe Rim Trail on the Eastern ridge of Lake Tahoe.  The actual length is about 23 miles ending up at Spooner Summit, but we chose to only do a portion (6 miles total).  You start in the Tahoe Meadows off Hwy 431 for a walk in the woods.  Veer to the right and begin an ascent which is not really strenuous but will get your blood pumping until you reach the highest point on the ridge (around 8800 ft).  You are immediately rewarded with one of the prettiest views and for the hike along this ridge the views are king!

It might be worth mentioning that this trail is frequented by mountain bikes also, however they are limited to odd number days only.   Even though hikers have the right of way we normally pull to the side to let them pass especially if they are headed uphill!  It has to be hard to gain your momentum on a bike.

The trail skims the top of the mountaintop and winds around through the forest so there's always a chance of welcome shaded areas.   You even pass over a few creeks along the way!  The trail is littered with car size granite boulders, occasional wild flowers and spectacular views at every turn.  

I will do this again in it entirety perhaps in two days, splitting it up near the Tunnel Creek cafe.

It's hard to tell from the picture but these sure look like mountain lion prints!

 Views of the lake

Beautiful meadow