Colorado Mountains and Dump Ranch

A few weekends ago, we flew to Denver so that I could co-host a celebratory weekend for my sister, who is getting married in May. I left my baby and my husband with my parents and my sister’s fianc√© in Denver, and I drove with my sister and four of her good friends into the mountains to stay at Mt. Princeton Hot Springs Resort for the night. It was beautiful, and my sister’s friends were so generous. I’d rented a cabin with a kitchen, and I’d asked them to bring food for dinner and breakfast rather than planning to eat at the resort’s restaurant. (Since I was flying in late the night before, I didn’t have the time or availability to pick up groceries.) They contributed beautiful charcuterie, a lovely salad (with edible flowers!), adult beverages, tasty fruit and yogurt and granola. It was amazing. One of the women was doing a Whole30, and her enthusiasm for a few recipes AND her InstantPot stuck with me past the weekend, and I made most of her suggestions (several in the InstantPot!) the following week back at home.

Mt. Princeton Hot Springs was lovely. We stayed in a cabin with two bedrooms plus an upstairs loft with two queen beds. It had a mostly stocked kitchen, but no oven. The temperature got down into the twentys overnight, and was maybe 30-50 throughout the day.

We arrived around 3pm, had some snacks and drinks, and made our way to the hot springs. There are several pools and also creekside areas that are heated from below by the hot spring water. We tried some of the smaller pools and the creek (which was nicer in idea than in practice). It was super crowded, which was a bit unfortunate, but we still had plenty of room to enjoy ourselves.

After that, we ate dinner and played games in the cabin.

The next morning, after breakfast and packing up, we spent several hours at the pools again before heading departing. I got a sunburn wearing a bathing suit sitting by a hot spring pool in 35 degree weather! Colorado is so weird.

Before heading home, we drove a few miles in the wrong direction to Buena Vista, CO for lunch. I hadn’t been to Buena Vista in probably 15 years or more (since high school), and there was a totally new area called South Main with cute homes and shops and restaurants down by the river. We ate at Eddyline Restaurant, sitting outside on the porch, and it was¬†delicious. The right side of my body got more sunburned. I had the pork posole and brewery burger on lettuce instead of a bun (it actually came wrapped in some kind of green leaf that way). Green chile and grilled prosciutto might sound a little strange together, but it was so good.

The first recipe I made that my sister’s friend recommended was the Dump Ranch. Apparently this is a Whole30 thing that I was previously unfamiliar with. I’d made homemade ranch dressing, I think from Cassy Joy’s Fed&Fit book before, but I’d never heard the term ‘dump ranch.’ I think there’s a lot of recipes out there for it, but my sister’s friend recommended this one from 40 Aprons. I maaaaaay have used this as an excuse to by a larger measuring cup that I could use my immersion blender in. It worked great, and the ranch was delicious.

I was skeptical before trying the stuff my sister’s friend made, because she’d told me the oil is avocado oil. I find Whole30 compliant mayo hard, because I *hate* the taste of avocado oil, apparently. I’ve been able to handle Primal Kitchen’s avocado oil mayonnaise in the past, but I don’t love it. However, I couldn’t taste the flavor that I hate in this dressing. My sister’s friend showed me which oil she used (Primal Kitchen’s avocado oil), and my sister confirmed that there are two types of avocado oil: light and dark. I think Primal Kitchen makes both. The light stuff (which I used, which was the right choice) is in a square shaped bottle. The darker stuff is in a circular bottle, and is extra virgin. It’s probably better for you… but the flavor is too strong! Anyway, it was fine! No bad flavor. Just delicious ranch dressing.

The recipe at 40 Aprons says to use it within one week. I have not. I still have some in my fridge, which at this point I should throw out. Going to do that now…

 

 

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Hello. And #BACleanse

Hi. This is my first post.¬†I don’t want to belabor that too much, so I’ll just jump right in. My first several posts will be about eats and other things over the past year, just to start with a little content, the first of which will be jumping back alllll the way to Januarys gone by and the Bon Appetit Food Lover’s Cleanse.

Yum. I have done (with varying levels of commitment) the BA Food Lover’s Cleanse for the past three or four years, and¬†I can’t wait to do it again in January 2016. Because, although it is really¬†a lot of work (and dishes – oh, the dishes), it is delicious and fun and makes you feel good.

So, as I enter the holiday season (dun dun dun) and all the treats it has in store (Thanksgiving is this coming week!), let me take a moment to remember – and share with you – some of my favorite dishes from previous years of the BA¬†cleanse, many of which I have¬†continued to make. Many of these are from the 2014 Cleanse, which I really did¬†completely. Last year I was not as committed…

  1. Spinach, Tofu, and Shaved Carrot Salad with Sesame Dressing and Spiced Pepita and Cashew Crunch

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I am not a photographer of any sort, and certainly not a food photographer, so we’ll all just have to deal. I recommend going to the link above to see BA’s photo of this dish, which is much nicer than mine, but I think posting their image here would break a law. Anyway. This is such a delicious salad, made especially delicious by the Sesame Miso Vinaigrette¬†and the Spiced Pepita and Cashew Crunch.¬†Swoon. This salad made me realize that I¬†do actually like carrots in salads, but only if they’re shaved. More work, sure, but a vastly improved experience all around.

2. Roasted Butternut Squash, Green Lentil and Brown Basmati Pilaf, and Kale with the Greenest Tahini Sauce

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You’ll notice if you go to BA’s photo that their portions do not all run into each other and look much more dainty and refined than my mishmash here. They either downsized for the photo or used bigger plates, or I am a piggy (no comments, please). Anyway, I have continued to make butternut squash this way since. It’s nothing revolutionary, but always nice to have a recipe to check, and the Aleppo pepper is tasty. This red pepper walnut relish¬†was used throughout the cleanse on various dishes (omelette, roasted tofu – another favorite dish, photo below) and is¬†so good. And the green tahini sauce could be consumed in massive quantities, so be careful.

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3. Orange Date Muesli with Coconut and Cacao Nibs¬†– I haven’t made this in quite a while, and that’s really too bad. I don’t toast the coconut. Just make it as easy as possible.

4. Beet and Arugula Salad with Quinoa, Avocado, and Sunflower Seeds

5. Black Rice with Hazelnuts – because, hazelnuts.

And…. so many more. I’ll stop there. Enjoy. Now I’m really looking forward to January…!