Sunday, November 22, 2015

Family visit --my side of Thanksgiving, and links to our current favorite pies.

My sister and her family came up to see the snow. I think they came to see us a little too, but luckily we had some great snow in November for her boys to go snowboarding on. I was fighting off a cold, but rested up all week so I could bring my kids up to Park City to hang out at the condo they rented for the week. I packed up all of my snow gear --snowshoes, microspikes, gaiters, etc. so we could have some snowy fun too.
My sister's friend knew about a resort up at the top of Deer Valley that was beautiful, so she guided us up there. There were employees milling around, but their runs weren't open yet, so they told us to just have at it. That was nice. I hate getting yelled at!
 It was so sunny, and here at the top of the mountain, it was like we were right inside the bright blue sky. 

Pretty steep in places, but fun anyway.
 Back at the resort, we attended a caramel apple making class.
Right. Lots of academics going on here. The kids had fun though.

We watched a little movie together, and I limped myself home to prep for our Thanksgiving meal the next day.
 Really happy at how the table turned out this year. I was inspired by soap. My neighbor makes soap, and Jeff bought a bunch of bars for us. The one he got for himself was a pretty copper color, and he placed it on a blue willow saucer next to our sink. I loved those colors together, so did the table based on that. 

The food was amazing. My family always kicks in big time. 
 I always have a hard time catching dinner while it's being eaten, but at least I got people before they left the table. I feel like we all get along. I suppose that's rare in a big family, but it's heaven for me. I'm so grateful.

 I caught almost everyone still at the table.

 These cousins together were so dang cute. 

Got to tell you about the pies. Every year for I don't know how many years, I've tried to do new pies --something we haven't tried before. This time I thought --forget it. I'm doing our favorites. Here they are, in order of popularity (kind of ):
1. Chocolate covered pretzel pie: I was bugged when originally told to make this for one Thanksgiving, thinking with a pretzel crust, this was a tacky pie. But...oh my goodness this is good. Not worth being a snob about! 

2. Pumpkin cheesecake: never fails, is never tricky, this is a good quality recipe. Cheesecake is always popular, and you have to have pumpkin something, so this does the trick!

3. Sour cream apple pie. This recipe says four or five large apples, but I'd say four if they are large. I did five this year, and it didn't set up all the way, and the apple slices were a bit undercooked. Still a great pie for all of that. I've gotten some rave reviews of this one.

4. Nutmeg Maple Cream Pie. OK, I have to admit, this is just my favorite. A New York Times Cooking recipe, I think people like it, but I love it. It's a custard made with a reduced real maple syrup, and heavy cream. What's not to like? 

Snow lace.

 What a difference a week makes! After our hyper-pigmented autumn walk the week before, a storm blew through our city and took out the power for 3 hours. We knew we couldn't do much of anything else anyway, so I unhooked the garage door from the opener, and drove Kai and me up the canyon.  
 It was gorgeous. 
 I tried to look everywhere at once.
 Kai threw snowballs, made avalanches fall off of trees, and just pretended to be a real boy for the afternoon instead of the plugged in cyborg he often is.

 I thought of Narnia and the white witch, Russian fairy-tales, and childhood visits to grandma Hansen's house when every snowfall was a miracle to a San Diego born girl.

 We were a little nervous crossing the stream, but our microspikes got us safely across. I can't recommend them highly enough! They have changed winter for me.

 Maybe knowing that it wouldn't last made it more valuable for me. Snow in the trees is a fragile, brief thing for us around here. Snow lasts in ice on my driveway for weeks in winter, but this delicate tracery is ephemeral.
 Not many tracks, but someone got up here with cross country skis ahead of us. 

 Wedding lace.


Sunday, November 8, 2015

The year's last, loveliest smile.*

 I've been remiss in recording all of the beauty around me. I stopped the car in the middle of the street to take a picture of our neighborhood's best autumn tree. Mmmm. I love this tree.
 My yard has some treasures too.

 I take a small walking loop sometimes when I just need to get out of the house, and these are some of my favorite bright sights.

 But when Kai and I went on the Bonneville shoreline trail, we saw some of the best views ever. The light was wonderful.

 The shoreline trail follows the border of a huge prehistoric lake, and goes theoretically from the border of Idaho down to Nephi --100 miles to the south of us, but there is a man in Mapleton that owns a piece of it and wants to develop it. So much so that he's been in court with our city long as I lived here at least. When we got to the fence blocking his land off, we just climbed over it. Don't tell the cops.
 He's dug up some...weird thing in there.
 Old water tank?
 Kai was pretty sure it came from outer space.

 The colors on the hills (after we were out of the torn up stuff) were amazing.
 This was more of a walk than a hike, but we wanted to see something different. We've been hiking Maple canyon for a few weeks now.
 We were moving along, and Kai stopped and called me back to look at this rock. So many different kinds of lichen and moss. I was thrilled that he had connected with nature enough to be excited about a rock. It was a cool rock though.
 This was a find for me. I thought this sage looked frosted on the ends.
 There were a few of them in this field.
 I love my town.
 The kids are so happy here.

Sunset meant it was time to turn for home.

*William Cullen Bryant