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Archive for the ‘welcome spring!’ Category

Paula and I were up early around 5 am and had water boiling in no time. It was still pretty cloudy out/we were in the clouds; it usually takes a couple of hours for the sun to burn them off. After a quick breakfast and packing everything up, we slid our packs on and started for Lake Tear of the Clouds.

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The trails were still wet and it was slow moving at first to get use to once again carrying all that weight, but before I knew it, we were seeing water. Did you know that Lake Tear of the Clouds is said to be the location where Teddy Roosevelt heard that President McKinley took a turn for the worse? He had just hiked Mount Marcy and then proceeded to hike the ten miles out, to then travel to Buffalo where he was sworn in. I’m not a big history buff but I always enjoy learning bits and pieces about these mountains and the people who have hiked them prior to me.

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From here, we saw the heard path leading up to Gray Peak; an unmarked trail but an official 46er. We hiked in a short distance, dropped our packs, took the essentials (camera/iphone and water) and started upward. It was a steep trail that required a lot of actual rock or boulder climbing with water flowing over everything. This might not be so tricky going up but always requires extra attention going down to prevent slipping and being hurled forward. With speed due to no packs, we were soon at the peak. This was Paula’s 23rd peak and we did a little dance, took photographs and high-fived each other. There wasn’t a view and that was perfect because the clouds were still heavy. Down we went.

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By the time we got down Gray, the kids that were camping near us caught up and were taking a break; they were heading straight for Marcy. We kept on the trail to Skylight and I had a little pep in my step: I miscalculated and thought at the time, that this would be my 23rd peak. Once we got to the trailhead, we once again dropped our packs and basically sprinted up. All I kept thinking was, “this is it! Halfway there!” We got there, in the clouds once again, and I searched for the marker. Faster than Paula could whip out her camera, I was on the ground kissing the plaque; I hadn’t been that happy in a while. Little did I know… Marcy would actually my halfway point- ha!

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We didn’t stay for long on top of Skylight because of the cool breeze and I think we both wanted a snack…that was conveniently down the mountain in our packs. Once we got down there, I realized my water bottle had unhooked from my pack and was no where to be found. Luckily those kids had caught back up to us and had seen it along the way and picked it up. I made sure to thank them a ton before heading toward Marcy.

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To be completely honest, I don’t remember much of this trail until the tree line broke; looking up at the bare rocks that we had to climb was overwhelming and exciting all at once. The sun was starting to shine, the clouds were starting to disappear and those kids were right on our tails. As a group we were all staggered climbing the last quarter mile or so and it was encouraging to hear them all motivate each other. They were a high school group completing a final project together and based on the teamwork I saw for that short while (and for returning my bottle) I would have given them an A.

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The last section of the mountain was so steep I’d take about twenty steps, pause for 20 seconds then take another 20 steps. The clouds were opening up and showing blue, the breeze kept the bugs away and my attitude got lighter; I was climbing the tallest peak in New York!

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I got up there! We took some photographs, ate a quick snack and then started down the other side because we had about ten miles to hike until we reached the car. Within fifteen minutes of working our way down, the sky became cloudless and it was crystal clear out. I *quickly* debated on whether or not to turn around and go back up, but decided on not returning due to the weight of the pack.

The last leg of the trip was tough for me mentally because after getting brief cell service on top of Marcy (the first time in three days), all I could think about was getting home to the beau. Of course I missed him prior to that two-text interaction, but knowing he was cooking me a big pan of pad thai really made me wish I could speed things up. It was an easy trail, long but easy, and just as I started to complain, there was Marcy Dam; only three more miles to go!

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The water was significantly lower than it had been the previous day and the slides were all shining in the sun. The sights sure did lift my spirits. And as Paula and I were signing out for the weekend at the parking lot, out trotted two of my friends from Troy! They had just hiked their first 46ers, Algonquin and Wright. I didn’t stay and chat for long; I raced over to the car to take off my boots and replace them with my Birkenstocks. Next time I’m packing those puppies along for the hike!

To read the first two posts, go here and here.

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In this week’s bag:

  • head lettuce
  • spinach
  • markristo misto salad
  • strawberries
  • carrots
  • jerusalem artichokes
  • sugar snap peas

Great selection this week! The strawberries are even more red and sweeter than they have been the last two weeks and are the most delicious snack at my desk at work. The beau has been on a big shake kick now that he has a vitamix and I’m pretty sure the spinach will become a tasty breakfast blend. The last time we had jerusalem artichokes, they were ah-mazing! in our breakfast hash… we’ll have to make a run to Trader Joe’s for some firm tofu to create a Sunday brunch hash and scramble (my favorite).

I may whip up some sort of raw carrot salad this weekend using my spiraler and sesame seeds– maybe with a peanut or tahini sauce? They are of course great roasted or in a stir fry but with the weather starting to warm up (happy summer solstice!) I’d prefer to eat as much raw food as possible. Last night and this morning for breakfast I crunched on the sugar snap peas- my first tasting of this vegetable since last year! So good! Tossed in a salad with some dried cranberries and nuts, simple but a well balanced and refreshing lunch.

Our Flower Scout bouquet came all purple, but I had a couple remaining white flowers from last week that were still perky that I added. I might say this every week, but I sure do love fresh flowers in the apartment. I am not the neatest person but having that constant bouquet on my night stand (log) really perks me up. This is an expense that I refuse to give up because it truly makes me happy.

June is the month of celebration for the beau and I, and this weekend I have four more birthdays to celebrate. Four! On top of that, it’s the Farmer’s Market, I’d like to run six miles, hike nineteen and reach three new summits. Food will surely be fueling these activities and hopefully they’ll all be clean and healthy. Cheers to being happy, active and loved by many!

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With our bags packed (heavy) and the bear canister in hand, we hit the trails around eight a.m.. Our plan was to only carry the bear canister the few miles in, set up camp, hike and then return for dinner… but because the forecast was still predicting storms, we figured we’d hike just over three miles to the nearest lean-to and wander for the day.

Within five minutes of being on the trail, it began to pour. Not sprinkle. Not shower. Pour. We had to stop, put our rain coats on, manage to get the packs back on, and hike in the pouring rain. My paints were completely soaked through and sticking to my legs. At one point, Paula stopped and turned to ask me if we were making a safe decision- I of course said, “yes!” and into the woods we traveled.

marcy left

marcy dam right

By the time we got to Marcy Dam, the rain had stopped and we stopped to check out the scenery; we had a glimpse into what the dam looked like pre-Irene! Because of all the rain the previous night (and the melting snow from the freak storm the week before), the “lake” looked full once again! The spots that Paula and I had walked out on the day before was now completely under water.

We didn’t stop for long (the packs were heavy!) so onward we went. By 10 o’clock we reached the lean-to and I flung my pack off and grabbed a snack. I wanted to take my wet clothes off but within minutes Paula got the craziest idea to keep hiking. Not going to lie, I was not up for this. Carrying that overnight pack was not what either of us had expected and by us hiking in with the packs further only meant we were going to be carrying them all the way out (instead of dropping the load to hike for the day and return). But with the whole day ahead of us, I agreed, and we set off an additional three miles of so to the Feldspar lean-to.

peanut butter and jelly

beast mode

I didn’t take many photographs during this part of the journey because, well, it sucked. My shoulders were aching, the trail was wet (and by wet I mean a small stream) and toward the end, there was a ton of blow-down. I had to keep reminding myself to stay positive because in just a few weeks I would be hiking even longer miles with the same pack. My phone stayed tucked into my rain coat… until we reached this bog.

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Now let me remind you that it had poured enough to fill the dam the night before and it was currently raining at this point of the trip. By this time, I was use to being wet and didn’t mind. “What’s a little bog action?” I thought to myself. Well, this little “bog” was so full of water, that it was deeper than I am tall! And those logs in the water, were floating! Paula took one step onto the closest log, and it began to spin. She turned and asked if we should go back. My response (not aware of how sharp it was) was HELL NO! I was NOT turning around and hiking all the way back with that pack on me. Paula turned to give it a second try. See, she hikes with polls and somehow maneuvered across those looking somewhat graceful. Me on the other hand, panicked. I hadn’t watched her every step and when my body started to move forward, there was no stopping it. By the middle of this bog, I had so much momentum that I couldn’t slow down and I almost fell into the water! I honestly don’t know how I caught my balance and made it over to the other side, but I was shaking and almost in tears. We were joking that if I fell in, I’d drown! My pack was so heavy it would have sunk me. I am thankful that neither of us went swimming that afternoon.

ready for bed!

reading in leanto

Just a short time after, we were at the lean-to around three o’clock. We unpacked everything to try and dry out, changed into warmer clothes (and my winter hat) and relaxed for a little bit; we didn’t want to eat dinner too early. We both sat and read the log journal, did a little writing and took a little snooze.

dinner time!

chana masala

Five o’clock came and it was dinner time! My favorite time of the day. I had been dreaming about my meal all day on the trail, so we started boiling some water. My channa masala and jasmine rice was just what I needed! So good, so quick and so much to fill me up! With my belly full, I cleaned my cookware, brushed my teeth, hid the bear canister and snuggled in for the night. It was much cooler but perfect sleeping weather. The sun wasn’t set yet and I could hear the campers on the site near the lean-to but that didn’t keep me up; I was tired and passed out before I knew it.

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In this week’s bag:

  • portobello mushrooms! 
  • strawberries
  • bok choy
  • collards
  • lettuce
  • hydroponic tomatoes

I love bok choy! The beau, not so much; it reminds him too much of cooked celery. I love it cooked simply in a little coconut oil, maybe with a red pepper or two, and in a wrap or over rice. Last night I whipped up a stir fry to empty out the fridge including bok choy, carrots, frozen corn, mushrooms and frozen green beans- all from Field Goods! It’s a fast solution when you are starving at the end of a long, gloomy day.

Speaking of gloom, I get into the cooking mood when it’s this miserable outside. Also on the menu this weekend: a hearty lentil soup (FG’s carrots, potatoes, and collards) and a strawberry rhubarb compote to serve warm over steel cut oats.

In other small kitchen news, the beau received a Vitamix for his birthday! Hot diggity vegan dog! You better believe that my Pinterest account is now filled with recipes that I can whip up in this machine; I’m hoping that it will change the way I live. A little dramatic? Not says everyone in my life who already owns one. I want to become the Vitamix soup queen! And nut butter queen! And nut milk queen! It must happen!

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Our bouquet was very Spring-y this week and I’m in love with the poppies; they almost look like they are made of paper. It’s the perfect bouquet to wake up next to, sitting so perfectly on my bedside log… especially with the news of a baby boy! The beau’s sister welcomed a healthy baby boy into their family early this morning- we are all beaming with excitement! I can’t wait to meet and hold this small bundle of joy. I officially have seven birthdays to celebrate during the month of June!

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend! I have a hiking series coming up, including my first experiences with an overnight, a new fuel that I can’t wait to use training this summer for my half marathon and what I ate on the trails being a vegan. Stay happy and healthy my friends!

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In this week’s bag:

  • braising greens
  • salad mix
  • bok choy
  • parsnips
  • potatoes
  • strawberries!
  • spinach

Strawberries! No apples (insert sad face). But strawberries! Despite having apples for the past couple of months now, I did enjoy eating one every day. These strawberries surely won’t last into the weekend… in fact, last night I attempted a strawberry rhubarb pie. Attempted is the key word and may I add that baking is not my thing? It’s not. The beau and I are both scooping the filling out as a breakfast as I type. Too bad I didn’t think ahead; this would have been great over steel-cut oats!

Last night I used up all of the braising greens for dinner- they were sauted and enjoyed with creamy polenta and a red sauce. I’m fairly new to polenta and am learning that it is kind of bland. I need to keep this in mind and stir in more flavor next time I give it a go. The bok choy will most likely end up in a stir fry- I love this green, especially with red peppers, tempeh and the typical fajita seasonings (onion and garlic powder, chili powder, cumin, paprika and tamari). Put into a wrap with shaved radishes and fresh avocado, so good!

No other food plans this weekend so far; we have two birthdays to celebrate and I’ll be heading home for some time to work on a very special gift for the beau’s niece. She’ll be turning two at the end of the month and is already quite the character; I can’t wait to see her reaction (if there is one) and to play along side of her. From what I can remember being with the kiddos, this stage is a magical one; full of imagination. I’ll for sure share this tutorial and the photographs for all you homemade gift givers out there! Just two more weeks until the celebration!

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Sorry for the lack of posting this week; with being out of town this past weekend I’ve had much to catch up on. My trip was wonderful and I have much to share, but not this post; I don’t have the time nor the desire when in a funk.

Without spilling my guts and dwelling on the negative, it has been a trying week for me at work. Change can sometimes be difficult but sometimes the lack of change can be even harder. I have to stop and remind myself that this position will not become my career, that I have been able to do my job thus far with the resources given to me and that I’ll be able to continue to do so until it’s time for me to move on to my next adventure. I have a job that supports my lifestyle and for that I am grateful.

When I’m in a funk there are two things that pick me up: flowers and a date.

Our Flower Scout CSA delivery instantly lifted my spirits and I just can’t get over how gorgeous that simple purple peony is. And the roses! The other two have started to open up just perfectly; reminding me to slow down and smell them each time I pass the small kitchen table. The beau treated me to dinner at our favorite place, and two friends joined us for good conversation. I ate. I drank. I vented. I walked home and slept until the sun rose early this morning. It’s a new day and for that I am happy.

What cheers you up when in a funk? Sometimes I just need a day or three and things will clear out of my head and out of mind.

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In this week’s bag:

  • head lettuce
  • tuscan kale
  • arugula
  • hydroponic tomato!
  • baby turnips
  • red radishes
  • golden delicious apples

I didn’t get the opportunity to take a photograph of the sweet little bouquet that we got this week right after picking it up- but it has been on display to brighten our spirits. I of course can not wait to see the peonies bloom, and appreciate the iris, for it reminds me of my mom.

Both the beau and I were super excited to see all that lettuce waiting to be gobbled up! We had a big storm two nights ago that had a tornado warning and unfortunately wiped out some of our lettuce in our mini garden on the back porch. The winds were so so strong and blew over most of my violas and nastoriums; they are growing stronger in the sun each day. Our broccoli and kale were unharmed and are about a foot tall or so. When we get a free chance, our string of lights will be hung and the debris from the store will be swept up, it’ll be better than ever. I do love our little porch.

You better believe that that tomato is in my salad today! Along with some head lettuce, dried cranberries, crumbled raw pecans and a homemade honey lemon dressing- so good! I’ll be leaving very early Saturday morning and won’t be returning until Monday night, so it’ll be up to the beau to use up all this fresh deliciousness. Who knows what he’ll create when on his own. We did make a big batch of arugula pesto this past week for a pasta dish and I ended up using the last batch of turnips with a potato to make a morning bowl of “pancakes” with a tofu scramble… the consistency was a little… soupier than I anticipated… but it was still tasty. I’m a mixer of food anyway.

Despite it being my five year college reunion this weekend, I’m heading out of town to hike! Of course, right? Tomorrow is National Trails Day so Paula and I are volunteering to clean up after the winter melt. Sunday and Monday will hopefully be spent dodging the rain and reaching new summits. I am so close to the halfway mark! We both have a lot of new gear that we can’t wait to test out (sleeping bags, tents, stoves, a BEAR CANISTER!). This will be my first official overnight as a backpacker and it’s exciting to put all my research into action. Hiking gear is expensive and I did a lot of reading to ensure the products that I was purchasing would last me years. Once tested, I’ll share what I brought, what I’m planning on bringing during my big trip in July and how well everything worked out.

Oh! And I also can’t wait to share a post about hiking and eating VEGAN! There are so many options out there and I haven’t even started dehydrating my own meals! I think the number one question I get is: what do I eat when on the trails? And the answer is always: food! Yes, a day trip is different than an overnight but not by much; as long as you are eating calorie dense *and* nutrient loaded foods, you’ll feel full and strong. More on that definitely to come.

It’s going to be a warm weekend, I hope you all stay happy, active and hydrated my friends!

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This week’s bouquet includes a pink honeysuckle, bleeding heart, hosta leaf, bridal veil, wild aster, an iris, dame’s rocket, and tall coral bells. She also included a yet-to-bloom peony that is sitting next to my bed in a neat bottle. I’ll take a photograph of that when it blooms- something I’ll notice immediately when I wake for the day.

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In this week’s bag:

  • baby turnips
  • rhubarb
  • bok choy
  • head lettuce
  • golden delicious apples
  • keuka gold potatoes
  • spinach

The rain has surely changed my plans for this holiday weekend- I was originally going to be up and on the road at three thirty tomorrow morning to hike THREE peaks (and the biggest one at that) in the Adirondacks and although I don’t mind hiking in the rain, I’d love to have views for this particular hike. So, Paula and I have decided to hike/walk almost 18 miles of the Taconic Crest Trail after our normal Saturday routines (waking up, reading, eating breakfast, visiting the Farmer’s Market).

Speaking of Farmer’s Market, last week I was going to buy some bok choy and am so thankful I didn’t because we got a whole big bunch in this week’s delivery! I would have been bok choy-ed out. I think I’m going to whip up a simple potato curry meal this evening that will incorporate the bok choy and spinach. I’d also love to make a simple dessert using the rhubarb, but we’ll see how much I want to be in the kitchen after this gloomy Friday.

Sunday I have my first BBQ to attend as a vegan to celebrate a close friend’s birthday- I may pack a few snacks in my backpack just in case. Gotta stay prepared! Sunday night the beau and I are going to drive up to Burlington- one of my most favorite places to visit! I know three people running in the Vermont City Marathon this year (yes, the race I attempted last year), including my partner in crime, Lindsey! I am beyond happy to see her and can’t wait to be on the side line, cheering her on. We are going to search out vegan restaurants and do some window shopping; nothing better than a relaxing, mini vacation away from Troy.

Stay dry my friends and remember to take a moment of silence internally to thank all of those men and women who died in active duty.

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spring roll salad

This recipe is super easy and fresh- only taking about fifteen minutes to whip up. All of my measurements are estimates and feel free to add your favorite spring roll ingredients.

Spring Roll Salad adapted from Joy the Baker

  • 1 package rice noodles
  • scallions
  • fresh cilantro
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 cup savoy cabbage (next time I’d actually use red)
  • 1/2 mango
  • 1 cup shaved carrots
  • 1/2 cup crushed peanuts
  • 1/4 cup extra firm tofu, diced into small pieces
  • 3 tbsp creamy peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • dash of apple cider vinegar
  • dash of rice vinegar
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 2-3 tbsp of tamari
  • garlic powder
  • crushed red pepper to taste

Boil a big pot of water for the noodles. As that’s coming to a boil, chop, dice and slice all of your fresh ingredients and tofu- combine in a bowl like above. Whisk together the PB, honey, ACV, rice vinegar, tamari, lime juice and spices to taste. The noodles only take about ten minutes to cook- drain and rinse under cold water to chill. Simply mix the noodles in with all the veggies and lightly toss in the peanut sauce. This serves four big bowlfuls… for two very hungry people or four not-as-hungry people. Enjoy!

Oh, and don’t skimp on the mango! It really added a sweetness that was needed; maybe try a fresh papaya if you aren’t a huge fan of mangoes? And of course, the avocados were my favorite part. This recipe is definitely a keeper in our kitchen.

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field goods greens!

In this week’s bag:

  • arugula
  • breakfast radishes
  • field greens
  • red delicious apples
  • rapini
  • braising mix

Gosh was I excited when I saw all those greens; just what the body craved! I had a few extra moments in between shifts last night so I whipped up a super simple, super quick meal for the beau and I: marinated and “grilled” portobello mushrooms with braising greens and farro.

sriracha mushrooms

First things first, get your mushrooms marinating. I used the dressing that I put on my salads throughout the week: a little squirt of sriracha, a little pour of balsamic vinegar, a little scoop of dijon mustard, a dash of EVOO and plenty of fresh black pepper. Whisk and pour over those puppies, I mean mushrooms.

Start the water for the farro- I prefer to use the quick 10 minute farro from Trader Joe’s- just pour it in, boil for 10-12 minutes and drain like you would pasta. Bam.

Saute the braising greens in a little EVOO, garlic and crushed red pepper. I used that whole bag above and it wilted down to two small servings; perfect for dinner.

I “grilled” our mushrooms on the George Foreman- only took like 5-6 minutes and the clean up was easy. While the mushrooms were cooking, I heated the leftover marinade on the stove at a low temperature to thicken it up a little- I later poured this over the mushrooms once on the plate.

Pile high and dig in! Can’t get any easier than that.

Today is a gorgeous day and I hit the Farmer’s Market early for all the freshest picks. I got a baguette from Mrs. London’s, sweet dill pickles from Puckers Gourmet, coconut tea from Wellington’s and thai chili mafaldine from Flour City Pasta. The plan for the rest of the day is to open the windows in the apartment, freshen things up and cook, cook, cook! On the menu:

  • carrot soup with a tahini sauce and crunchy chick peas
  • bomb diggity dip (for a graduation party tomorrow)
  • peanut butter and pickle sandwich with maple syrup on toasted baguette
  • an arugula pesto
  • and a “spring roll” cold rice noodle salad with a peanut dressing

I’ll share plenty of photographs and recipes if they come out as keepers. Stay happy, healthy and active my friends!

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