Idaho Blizzard Day!

The local ski resorts have opening days coming up so Mother Nature got on the ball and sent some powder. Did she ever! We are being very blessed with lots of moist beautiful snow. The wind that is accompanying it is not quite as welcome, but who’s to complain when it gives one the excuse to stay home and serve up hot drinks and comforting soups while bundling up under blankets with a good book or movie?

On today’s menu:

Eggnog Latte

With the approaching holidays, eggnog is readily available again!

2/3 cup milk
1/3 cup eggnog
1 shot of espresso
Whipping Cream, whipped
Ground nutmeg

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Heat milk and eggnog with frothing wand or in microwave. Add espresso. Stir.ย  Top with whipped cream and a sprinkling of nutmeg.

Being in Idaho, the perfect hearty winter soup is this delicious Creamy Potato Cheese Soup. It’s deceptively simpleโ€ฆ

1 onion, diced
2-3 T butter
6 cups diced potatoes
4 cups vegetable broth
1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/4 t cayenne pepper
1/4 t white or black pepper
8 oz cream cheese, cut into pieces, room temperature is best.
Turkey kielbasa (optional) sliced and heated in skillet

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Saute onion in butter in a stock pot until softened. Add potatoes, broth, salt, and peppers. Cook over medium heat until the potatoes are soft. Reduce heat and add cream cheese. Stir until cheese has melted. Add optional kielbasa. Enjoy with grilled cheese toast.

Even if you don’t have the good fortune to be surrounded by banks of glorious snow, you can’t go wrong with a latte and soup. Just make the blankets optional. ๐Ÿ™‚

Begrudge No Longer

I once thought of myself as the type of person who never held a grudge. Growing up as a people-pleaser, I seemed to be very quick to forgive my friends and siblings for any perceived slights if they would just please play a game with me today. I would accept poor treatment as my due and so, when it came time to experiment with love, my boyfriends were forgiven just as easily and my proverbial cheek was turned again and again.

Thankfully, I have grown to be a much more healthy person since those days, but I am eternally thankful for the lessons that life keeps assigning to me, and don’t begrudge my experiences.

Looking back, my initial steps in healing this personality trait was to become a lot more protective and loving towards myself and to not allow others to treat me any differently than how I would treat them. Sort of the Golden Rule reversed. That was an excellent beginning and one that sustained and fulfilled me for many years. However, it was also very simplistic and not nearly comprehensive enough. For example, the next step was realizing that not everyone wants to be treated the same way I do. Imagine that, right? Context is everywhere! Amazingly, this lesson took me a few years to really “get” and because of my stubbornness, I missed out on developing some important relationships. It also brought home the fact that I can and do hold grudges.

Grudges get really heavy with time, and they tend to bleed into other areas of your life and relationships. I must have loved some aspect of being a victim in those stories of mine. Once I dropped the burdens and saw them for what they truly were, I realized deep down that they were MY life lessons and had nothing to do with THEM at all. I only wish I was a quicker study…

I have had to learn many layers of this particular life lesson to have gotten where I am today, and I’m not convinced that I have mastered it yet. I’m sure the universe will test me again and perhaps I will pass the exam without having to analyze and adjust my reactions. One can hope. ๐Ÿ™‚

Bozeman Daytripping

We were in Bozeman, MT yesterday because a local company offered a tour of their facility to Bob’s class. We arrived early so we could eat lunch at The Naked Noodle, a restaurant we had wanted to try during our first visit, but it lost to Over the Tapas. For a small city, they have some excellent restaurants! I highly recommend both of the above spots if you find yourself in the area. After lunch, we strolled down Main street in an attempt to walk off some of our lunch, but didn’t make it further than the first independent book store we came to where we browsed until it was time to drop Bob off to meet up the rest of his class.

Michael and I headed over to the American Computer Museum where I was able to show him my first computer in one of the displays – a Timex Sinclair 1000. Oh, thank goodness for progress! The museum isn’t very large, but it has a lot packed into their small office space. Admission is free, but they do ask for donations. A worthy place to visit. ๐Ÿ™‚

Since we were scoping the town out for livability factors, our next stop was to the library. Completed in 2006, the Bozeman Public Library was designed and built according to the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating system. (Yay for Green Buildings!) They even have solar panels on the roof. It is a beautiful and incredibly comfortable and inviting space. Plus they have a coffee shop attached, and yes, coffee is allowed in the library! ๐Ÿ™‚

Right next door to the library is a nice-sized park with jogging trails. I sat on a bench with my Kindle in the amazingly warm sun (for November) and Michael took Jake for a little jog. This town has walking/biking/jogging trails everywhere it seems. They are tucked into neighborhoods where the ground swells into small hills, and snake through the landscaped parks scattered throughout the town. Very nice.

We met back with Bob at Homepage, a cozy coffee shop on Main Street. The owners lived in Africa for many years and have a lot of photos and memorabilia on display. (They also own a lovely Bed and Breakfast on S. Wilson, where we stayed on our last trip.) I again read a little and played the observer to Bob and Michael’s chess game while sipping on my latte before we headed back home.

The work in Bozeman sounds fascinating to Bob and the lifestyle snapshot was certainly promising. Michael is thrilled that Bridger Bowl is just 16 miles down the road and Big Sky is less than an hour away. Something for everyone? We shall see… ๐Ÿ™‚

The Pomegranate Way

There are many paths to any goal. The way I am going towards achieving my soul purpose and finding joy is completely different from anyone else’s, and just because I am happy with my progress and the view of the world from my path, doesn’t make it the only way, or even the best way to get to the proverbial prize.

I have been learning the “many ways” lesson in other facets of my life, and am finding that some of these lessons can be rather subtle. Obvious ways are in terms of religion, politics, and lifestyles. Some of the more subtle aspects come out to play when someone in your household or life doesn’t act, say, or do something in the way that you feel is best. Kids can be the best teachers of this lesson. ๐Ÿ™‚

However, with all of that being said, I can say that there is a single best way to harvest seeds from a pomegranate – under water. I de-seeded one for the first time ever this last week and made a fantastic apple and pomegranate crisp out of it. My way to serve it was with real whipped cream with a dusting of fresh nutmeg over top. Another Heavenly Moment! This is going to be another fall favorite of mine. ๐Ÿ™‚ The recipe below is the original. Since it only called for 1/2 pomegranate, I doubled the recipe. It isn’t lasting long, so that was a good call.

Brenda’s Apple and Pomegranate Crisp (found on allrecipes.com)

Ingredients:

4 medium apples – peeled, cored, and sliced.
1/2 pomegranate, skin and light-colored membrane removed
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 T ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg (fresh is best!)

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1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup all-purpose flour (I used whole wheat)
1/2 cup white sugar (I used turbinado sugar)
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted (mine had salt)

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Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375* F (190*C). Butter a 9×13 inch baking dish (Even though I doubled it, I was able to fit the whole thing into the same size dish.)

In a large bowl, toss together the apples, pomegranate seeds, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Spread evenly into the prepared pan.

In the same bowl, stir together oats, flour, and sugar. Rub in the butter between your fingers until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle over the top of the fruit. (I just stirred it well with a spoon and then spread it over the top.)

Bake for 45 minutes in the preheated oven, until the apples are soft. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature. (Again, my way is warm with whipped cream (add a bit of powdered sugar before you whip) and dusting of nutmeg.)

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