Back in the Mountains of Utah in Time for Fall

We concluded our summer trip with our visit with Tom’s daughter and granddaughter in southern California, arriving back home in Utah the second week in September – just in time for fall. Though the temperatures have been mostly in the 70s where we live in the foothills, it was most certainly autumn in all respects up in the mountains. Our second day back I headed up to the higher areas around 10,000 feet and was greeted with fresh, crisp mountain air and aspens alight in yellow, some even deepening into orange. Walking here I was instantly flooded all over again with feelings of gratitude for being able to spend my days in such an amazing place. I have hiked hundreds of miles in the Cedar Mountains in the past year and a half and they truly feel like home to me now; ablaze in fall colors as they are now I can’t imagine a single place on earth I’d rather be.

2016-09-22-yosemite_hancockpk_iphone-462

2016-09-22-yosemite_hancockpk_iphone-464

img_8050

img_8047

2016-09-22-yosemite_hancockpk_iphone-468

img_8055

2016-09-22-yosemite_hancockpk_iphone-471

2016-09-22-yosemite_hancockpk_iphone-477

img_8060

The end of the harvest season (and all the goodies my friend Terry generously gives me from his garden) also gives me an excuse to over-indulge a second love of mine: playing in the kitchen. Because I’m no longer trying to throw a meal together after a day at the office, I have regained my love for cooking and baking during the past couple years – beginning with perfecting fresh marinara on my campstove two summers ago. Anyway, Tom and I both refer to it as “playing” because I am just perfectly relaxed and happy making and creating in “my” kitchen. I’m told I’m usually smiling. Sometimes I listen to podcasts, or sing and dance along with music while drinking a beer in the evenings, but mostly I enjoy chopping and mixing in silence, unhurried and in thought. It’s become both a meditation and a way to indulge my creativity.

The past couple weeks I’ve been making up new recipes for muffins and breads, tempeh stuffed peppers, and salsa verde rice and beans as well as roasting garden tomatoes, pickling cucumbers and jalapenos, and whipping up favorites such as roasted veggies with pasta and pumpkin bread. Between puttering in the kitchen and hiking amidst the changing colors in the mountains, the hours of my days have been just about perfect.

Roasting garden fresh tomatoes from my friend Terry

Roasting garden fresh tomatoes from my friend Terry

Almond butter apple cookies and apple cinnamon muffins with maple pecan icing

Almond butter apple cookies and apple cinnamon muffins with maple pecan icing

Stuffed garden peppers with tempeh, roasted tomatoes, and kale

Stuffed garden peppers with tempeh, roasted tomatoes, and kale

Advertisements