Visiting Beaver Creek

Noah and I were in Beaver Creek this week on a ski vacation with my family! Beaver Creek is in Colorado, about two hours from Denver.

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We stayed at a condo in the Kiva, and the whole family loved the accommodations! The condo was a three bedroom with king beds and a bath for each room – this is nice because usually my baby brother (who is not so baby anymore) ends up having to sleep on a pullout or small bed, so the extra space here was really nice for everyone.

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There was also a spacious living room with a huge TV (which wasn’t really utilized much by our group…) as well as a kitchen with a big island. Bonus: there were two porches! It was pretty cold though, so I can’t say we spent much time on them:

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Throughout the week, the whole group did a combination of skiing and relaxation. Noah and I went cross-country skiing two days and downhill once. The first day of cross-country skiing was on the primary Beaver Creek ski mountain. We took a chairlift to the cross-country area and then were able to take the same chair back down. The skiing was much more challenging than the cross-country I’m used to. I think the difficulty was a combination of poor conditions (hard/icy snow) and simply the fact we were on a mountain (!) – as opposed to some of the open field areas I’m used to doing cross-country. Regardless, the views were absolutely gorgeous and we had some good laughs:

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After a few too many falls, Samuel decided he would be best served by walking:

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We all persevered though and eventually made it home. 🙂

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For the next cross-country ski trip, we drove over to Vail (about 20 minutes from Beaver Creek) to seek better conditions at the Vail Nordic Center. The extra drive definitely paid off! This was some of the best cross-country skiing I’ve ever done. The trails were doable but still challenging in areas (it was on a golf course), and the landscape was beautiful. I felt like I really hit my stride a few times and left feeling totally exhausted. For this second ski trip I went with my Papa and Noah. Noah is an expect skier compared to us, so it was fun to watch him do his thing…

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…while we tried our best:

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Overall, a fabulous and fun ski outing. 🙂

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While the skiing was nice, it was also a real treat to have time to just sit around, relax, read, catch up on personal projects, and all that stuff that seems to fall by the wayside during busy semester schedules.

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Noah attempted to keep us warm by keeping the fireplace going (a difficult task because all the wood was outside on the wet, snowy porch!):

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And, of course, no ski vacation is complete without PIZZA:

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Happy winter. 🙂

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A Guide to Spring (in Minnesota)

It’s definitely supposed to be spring right now. Yet, as I write this, snow falls. So, here is a guide to enjoying the season of rejuvenation in Minnesota.

1. Don’t fear the white stuff! If it’s snowy, then you might as well take advantage of it. Noah and I recently went skiing at Theodore Wirth Park. The park in north Minneapolis has 20 miles of cross country skiing trails, tubing, and snowboarding areas.

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We enjoyed a little over an hour of skiing, and we got a great workout. The trails were beautiful!

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2. Celebrate indoors! Luckily for me, the holiday of Purim provided a perfect opportunity to have fun inside. I invited friends over to make the traditional triangular-shaped Purim cookie, hamantashen.

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Another Purim tradition is costumes, so it seemed like the perfect opportunity to dress like a taco:

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And a person wearing footie pajamas (read: not really a costume):

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3. Try new food! One of the best indoor activities I know is eating, so I’ve enjoyed spending more time in the kitchen as well as trying some new restaurants.

We tried Victor’s 1959 Cafe, a Cuban restaurant in south Minneapolis.

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The restaurant featured lots of unique Cuban dishes, and I was excited to try a vegetarian dish with yuca and plantains. Noah had a salmon dish with beans, rice, and plantains.

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We also tried a Cuban beer and a Cafe Cubano (espresso sweetened with sugar and a tiny bit of milk):

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Highlights from my kitchen have been chicken with caramelized onion and cardamom rice from the Jerusalem cookbook:

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Salmon with thyme, broccoli, and rice:

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Peanut butter granola from CarrotsnCake:

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And cilantro burgers:

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The cilantro burgers were incredibly easy to make. Recipe as follows:

– 1 lb. ground beef
– 1 bunch chopped cilantro
– 1/4 cup chopped onion
– 2 eggs, beaten
– 1/2 cup flour

Mix everything together and then broil for 8 minutes on one side and 5-7 minutes on the other side (depending how pink you like it).

Winter Highlights

My blogging has taken a hit in frequency this winter…it’s hard to keep up when completing grad school applications, applying for scholarships, and trying to pass a language placement exam. But, I miss it and want to try to keep it up! Plus, I don’t want to lose the habit for once I have more time and can post more regularly again!

Since there’s too much of a backlog to go over everything in detail, here are a few of my winter highlights…

Impromptu trip to New Orleans
Work reasons brought me to New Orleans on short notice, so we made a mini-vacation out of it and had a great time exploring the city, trying delicious food, and listening to jazz music. Highlights were the d.b.a. jazz club and beignets at Cafe du Monde:

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After New Orleans… family time in Wyoming/Colorado.
Highlights were going to two Denver Nuggets games and meeting the beautiful new baby of one of my best friends!

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The trip also included lots of great food at my favorite Denver restaurants. I love the vegetarian restaurant Watercourse…in particular because of their delicious vegan milkshakes!

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The other noteworthy Denver restaurant is breakfast joint Snooze, featuring creative pancakes:

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After food and fun in Denver, there was some great skiing in Breckenridge and Frisco:

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And, finally, last but not least, prince charming took me to a ball this weekend. 🙂

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More soon, but now I’m off to study Hebrew adjectives!

Final Vermont Moments

To recap, my trip to Vermont was full of wonderful food, skiing, maple syrup and cheese, and treacherous hiking adventures.

Here are a few other moments….

Exploring downtown Barre:

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Enjoying a hot chocolate and maple latte at Espresso Bueno:

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Visiting the Vermont Historical Society‘s Civil War Exhibit:

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Learning about Barre’s granite history:

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Taking silly pictures:

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Looking at wood sculptures:

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Cooking food:

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That’s my trip in a nutshell!

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FUN

                                              +

LOVE

LOVE

                             = a happy vacation

(and I ❤ Vermont)

Cross-Country Skiing in Vermont

Although it’s late March and the end of the skiing season, I was hoping to get in at least one cross-country skiing trip while in Vermont. Lucky for me, on my second day here we were able to go to Craftsbury for some skiing. The Craftsbury Nordic Center was very affordable – only $10 for a day pass and $15 for rentals! The snow wasn’t perfect (due to it being a warm day and so late in the season), but it didn’t slow us down too much and we had a great time skiing for about 2 hours.

Outside of being affordable and fun, the facility itself was great to use. There were maps and trail signs everywhere to clearly tell us where we were going:

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The views were spectacular:

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And the trails themselves were nice winding paths through the trees:

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What’s not to love about a great day skiing?

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Skiing always requires a great lunch to follow. I made a tuna salad to have with toast, spinach, carrots, and hummus. For the tuna salad, I used one small can of tuna packed in water, a few almonds, and a scoop of plain greek yogurt:

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All mixed up and on my sandwich:

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Noah stuck with the basics, pb & j with pretzels:

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Gotta love the classics! 🙂

City of Lakes Loppet

This past weekend was the City of Lakes Loppet – an annual cross-country ski festival featuring the beautiful Twin Cities! The Loppet is a full weekend affair, with a wide variety of events happening throughout Saturday and Sunday. The race’s finish is in the heart of Uptown at the Hennepin and Lake intersection, so anyone around the area was sure to have seen the effects of the event. My first impression was inconvenience:

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(that picture was not at all dangerous to take since my car hadn’t moved for approximately a million hours while I was stuck in traffic due to race-related road closures)

But after ditching the wheels and heading out on foot, the event was great! It’s always fun to see someone finish:

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medals!

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Calhoun plaza was also transformed by racers, supporters, and volunteers:

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Every great event needs a swag shop:

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In addition to the races and spectator excitement, the Loppet also had a snow sculpture contest! Some of the entries were really incredible. Here are two of my favorites:

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Overall, this was a really fun event and I’d love to be part of it as a skier in the future! I have my eye on the Luminary Loppet – a night-time ski lit by ice ice luminaries – for next year.