Thursday, February 28, 2013

Snowmass/Aspen, Colorado in the Winter

We left Tallahassee last week for a trip over to the great state of Colorado.  We arrived in Charlotte, North Carolina with just enough time between flights for a quick lunch.  

Our next flight would take us to Denver with another flight on to Snowmass/Aspen, Colorado.  It was a three hour flight from Charlotte, NC to Denver, crossing two time zones.  

The connecting flight on to Snowmass/Aspen was only about a 40 minute flight.  They told us it would have taken us about 3 and 1/2 hours to drive on to Aspen.

If you are ever in the Charlotte, North Carolina airport, do yourself a favor and try some of the delicious Carolina Pit BBQ.  I had some BBQ pork with fried okra and coleslaw. 
It was a real Southern treat.

My husband would be attending a meeting held at The Weston Resort.  It was very convenient to the the meeting rooms adjoining the hotel.  They set up the meeting schedule so attendees could enjoy 5 hours of free time between early morning and late evening meetings.  We made the most of that free time.

This hotel is located in the center of Snowmass Village.  It is surrounded by majestic peaks that were covered with fresh snow.   For those who like to ski,  this hotel plus many others,  offers a ski-in/ski-out access to the Snowmass Mountain

 The ski lift is just outside the door of the hotel.

Snowmass Brush Valley was inhabited by a small number of ranches raising cattle and sheep.  One of the most prominent of these ranching families were immigrants from Sweden.  The family raised cattle, sheep, wheat and hay.  

Later on in the history of the area,  an Olympic skier and land developer began buying ranches in the valley with the idea of starting a ski area.  He hoped to mimic the success of the Aspen ski slopes.  The Snowmass-Aspen ski area was opened in 1967.  Today it is known as one of the best ski areas in the US.

I have heard of skateboarding, but not snowboarding!  Can you imagine being on one of those boards in the below photo,  flying down the mountain, and being able to keep your balance!  There were lots and lots of people doing just that and they were having the time of their lives.

 Right close to the lift was this very inviting nice warm was extremely cold out there.

Back inside the lobby of the hotel, off to the left,  was another nice warm cozy fire.

In the below photo is the ski/gondola lift.  We took the gondola up just to sight-see later on and it was so much fun.  We were able to see all of the beautiful mountains as we went up, up, and up.

The base elevation at Snowmass is 8,104 feet with the top elevation reaching up to 12,510 feet

In the below photo you can see the snow sled ambulance standing by on duty in case of any accidents on the slopes.

In the below photo is the shopping mall at Snowmass.  It is located right outside the door of the hotel.  We visited a few of the shops looking for some "long johns" because we signed up for snowmobiling, and knew we would need them.  

I loved one of the shops we visited there in the mall, but the prices were way over my head ... I saw a beautiful blouse with a price tag of $500.00   They told us that Joe Biden and entourage had been in the store the day before.  They also told us Michele Obama and daughters had been skiing over on the next mountain the day before.

Our shuttle driver from the airport to the hotel told us to be sure not to miss a visit to Krabloonik Restaurant and Dog Sledding.  He told us the restaurant served delicious wild game and fresh seafood.

 Krabloonik Restaurant

In the below photo the menu is not very sharp,  but it was just as the shuttle driver told us ...  They serve elk, pheasant, wild boar, buffalo ribeye and tenderloin, mountain trout and caribou.  Our dinner was delicious.

 Upstairs at the restaurant.

 It was dark when we arrived at the restaurant and we very much wanted to see the sled dogs so we went back the next day to see them in action. 

 The restaurant is in the below picture and the sled dog kennels are up the hill to the left.

 Overlooking the sled dog area.

Krabloonik has been in business for 39 years.  They are committed to preserving the Alaskan tradition by creating a home for dogs born and bread to run.  They provide an exciting 2 hour Dog Sled Trip through the Snowmass wilderness.

The sleds are pulled by 10 Alaskan sled dogs and guided by an experienced musher.  Included in the price of the ride is a very nice breakfast, lunch or twilight dinner in the Krabloonik restaurant.

 They did not seem to mind the cold and it was really very cold.

 Handcrafted Dog Sled

The dogs are called Husky dogs.  They are excellent pets, very even tempered and affectionate.  They are also intelligent, loving, sensitive, big-hearted and amazingly strong with stamina beyond compare.  They have a tremendous desire to please.

What a sweet face.  He looks like part wolf!

 All hooked up and ready to go.

There were about 6 sleds getting ready to go.

And, they are off!

 There goes the second set.   The dogs seemed thrilled to be going ...They had been jumping around all over and seemed so happy.

According to the brochure,  Krabloonik is the only large working sledding operation left in the world today.

Well it is fun remembering all those sweet dogs.  We were told they work all winter and then they have the whole summer off to enjoy themselves.  When the guests return from their sleigh ride, they will have a nice warm meal waiting for them in the restaurant.

Stop back by and go with us as next time we sight-see around Aspen and then travel into the extreme wilderness on snowmobiles.  

Hope all is well there with you wherever you may be!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Springtime Azaleas

We have lived in Tallahassee many years and I don't remember a year when the azaleas have bloomed this early.  Driving around town today I could not help but notice a breathtaking array of blooming azaleas every where.   

We will be leaving to go out of town for about a week and even though we are looking forward to the trip I really am disappointed the flowers are blooming so early and we will miss that.   Hopefully when we get back they will still be beautiful and I can still try to capture some of them around town with my camera.

I thought I would share some photos taken in the past of some of the azaleas blooming around our home.

The above and below photos are of the "Formosa" azalea.
Notice the pine pollen on the leaves.  The pollen is always very heavy in the early Spring.

 The below photo is of the "Pink Ruffle" azalea

 Do not know the name of this pretty purple azalea.

Below you will see the azaleas as we drive out of the driveway.  And this is what a lot of Tallahassee looked like around town today as I was going around delivering Valentines to the grandchildren and running errands.  The only difference with these photos, taken earlier, is that the trees have not turned this green yet.

Hopefully when we get back home the azaleas all around town will still be blooming, and I can capture some of their stunning beauty with my camera to share with you. 

Thank you for stopping by.  I hope the flowers are blooming for you to enjoy wherever you may be.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day

  Happy Valentine’s Day

There is nothing like a rose, especially if it is given to you by your sweetheart!

We will be traveling out of town the day after Valentine's Day, so my sweet valentine sent these roses early in the week so we could enjoy them all week long, before we had to leave on our trip.

 I tried to get a good picture of them so I could keep them always.

It is hard to imagine anything prettier or more perfect than a rose.

  Happy Valentine’s Day

Where There Is Love
Helen Steiner Rice

Where there is love the heart is light,
Where there is love the day is bright,
Where there is love there is a song
To help when things are going wrong,
Where there is love there is a smile
To make all things seem more worthwhile,
Where there is love there's a quiet peace,
A tranquil place where turmoils cease...
Love changes darkness into light
And makes the heart take "wingless flight"--
Oh, blest are they who walk in love...
They also walk with God above,
And when man walks with God again
There shall be Peace on earth for Men.
  Wishing you a wonderful Valentine’s Day
wherever you may be.
new valentine clipart image: clip art illustration of red heart with silhouettes

A Valentine Luncheon - Including Recipes

Every year the Tallahassee Garden Club has a Valentine Luncheon hosted by the Magnolia Circle.  It is always a beautiful event with door prizes, delicious food and charming Valentine decorations.  I always look forward to attending this delightful event, and this year the ladies did a wonderful job as always.

Of all things, I forgot to take my camera when I left the house.  My sweet husband brought it to me, but by the time it arrived, we already had lunch.  I was not able to take good pictures of the  tables before the lunch, when they were so beautifully decorated.  I did manage to get a few photos to give you an idea of how pretty everything was at the garden center.

The Tallahassee Garden Center Rutgers House was built in 1840 and has an interesting history.  All of the ladies of the Garden Club are proud to have this home for meetings and other community events.  It is also available for rentals for weddings, receptions, meetings and community events. 

If you would like to  know more about the Tallahassee Garden Club and the history of the Rutgers house you can click on the below link.

I love the old house next door to the Garden Center.  It is used now as an attorney's office, but I bet it has some interesting history as well.   As you can see the azaleas are beginning to bloom nicely downtown.

Please do come in and join us.  

The room we see below is just across the hall from the ballroom where the luncheon was held.  This room is called "The Parlor" and is used for different events.  Often times it is used for the Garden Circle meetings and fundraiser auctions.  There was a punch bowl sitting there on that table surrounded by the beautiful camellias, but they took it away just before my camera arrived.

I especially like the carpet in this room and the soft yellow walls.

The below photo is the brightly sunlit front door entrance.  The table sitting in the middle of the foyer is full of raffle items.  The winners were thrilled and the Magnolia Circle raised over $200 dollars on the raffle alone.  They will donate the proceeds back to the Garden Club for needed items. 

In the below photo we see a pretty Valentine tree decorating the table in the foyer.

Red tulips decorating another table in the foyer.

Getting ready to read the winning numbers for the door prizes.  Several ladies 
at our table won a door prize.

This is the mantel in the ballroom all decorated for Valentines Day.

There were fresh camellias all around.

This was a table runner for one of the long tables set up for the luncheon.

Even though everyone had already eaten, you can still get a good idea of how festive the tables were. 

A better view of the mantel in the ballroom.

Now we are back in the parlor room.  Notice the painting over the fireplace of the Rutgers house.

I thought this was such a pretty way to display camellias.

More mantel decorations.

More pretty camellias on the side table in the parlor.

As we leave going out the back door even the planter had Valentine decorations.

The chairman of the Magnolia Circle was very sweet to share the recipes from the luncheon today.  Everything was delicious and now we can cook this wonderful meal ourselves.  She shared the menu for everything they made for the luncheon, even the delicious cake.  Below you will find all of the wonderful recipes:
  1. Chicken Tetrazzini, 
  2. Cranberry-Ginger Sauce (from Cypress, a local restaurant),
  3. Green Bean, Walnut and Feta Salad, 
  4. Sour Cream Butter Biscuits 
  5. Southern Lemon Cake with Lemon Glaze Icing.
Chicken Tetrazzini Ingredients
4 cups cooked diced chicken                                                    salt and pepper
8 oz. vermicelli spaghetti, cooked and drained                        6 tablespoons butter
8 oz. sliced mushrooms                                                             l/4 c. flour
1 c. ½ and ½                                                                              2 c. chicken broth
¼ c. sherry (optional)                                                                1/3 c. grated parmesan cheese
  • Heat over to 425.   
  • Butter 3 qt. baking dish.   
  • Cook spaghetti according to directions. 
  • Meanwhile, in skillet, melt 2 T. butter over medium heat.  
  •  Sauté sliced mushrooms until golden.   
  • In a saucepan, melt ¼ c. butter, stir in flour and salt.  
  •  Stir until smooth; add chicken broth and cream.  Cook, stirring, until sauce is thickened.   
  • Add chicken, cooked mushrooms; heat through.   
  • Place spaghetti in baking dish, pour on sauce.  Top with parmesan cheese.  
  •  Bake at 425 for 15 to 20 minutes.
Cranberry-Ginger  Sauce  
 Cypress Restaurant in Tallahassee
2 – 12 oz. packages fresh cranberries            One-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced                       3 cups sugar     
 Juice and zest of 1 medium orange                Pinch of salt
  • Combine all in saucepan.  
  • Cover and simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until cranberries burst.   (Can be made 3 or 4 days ahead).

Green Bean, Walnut and Feta Salad
1 ½ lbs. green beans                        1 c. diced red onion                        1 c. chopped walnuts, toasted
½ c. feta cheese crumbled             
½  c. olive oil,                     1 clove garlic, minced, 
1/3 white wine or tarragon vinegar                                                          ½ tsp salt and ¼ tsp pepper.  
  •  Boil green beans 4 min. until crisp tender.  
  •  Plunge into ice water to stop cooking.   
  •  Drain.   
  •  Lay onions in colander and when you drain beans, they will cook slightly.  
  •  Combine dressing ingredients in lidded jar and shake to blend.  
  •  Pour over beans, walnuts, onion and feta.  (Watch when you toast walnuts; because of their      high fat content, they burn easily.)
Sour Cream Butter Biscuits
                   2 c. self-rising flour            1 cup sour cream            1 c. butter, room temperature
  • 400 degree oven.   
  • Mix flour and butter together.   
  • Add sour cream and blend well.  
  • Place spoonfuls of batter in greased miniature muffin pans.   
  • Bake for 8 – 10 min. until golden brown. 
Southern Lemon Cake
                              2 c. sugar                  1 c. butter                            
3 eggs                       3 c. flour
1 t. baking powder       ¼ t. salt 
1 c. buttermilk        3 T lemon juice
4 t. lemon zest, grated                       
  • Cream together  butter and sugar.   
  • Beat in 3 eggs, one at a time.  Mixture will be light.   
  • Mix together flour, baking powder, salt and incorporate this with butter mixture, alternating between with buttermilk.   
  • Add lemon juice and zest.   
  • Bake in bundt pan at 300 degrees for 75 min. or until toothpick comes out clean. 
                                          ¼ c. butter,    1 ½ powdered sugar     3 T lemon juice
  • After cake is cooked,  pour glaze over cake. 
 This recipe comes from Under the Tuscan Sun, by Frances Maye.  
Well!  I hope you enjoyed your visit to the Tallahassee Garden Club and if you decide to make these recipes I hope you find them as delicious as everyone did who attended the  Valentine luncheon.

On another note ... My husband has a continuing education meeting to attend and we will be gone for a little over a week.  He has to attend the meeting, but I will be free to explore around and hopefully take some pretty pictures of the surroundings.  The meeting will be held in Aspen, Colorado and there should be snow on the ground which will be a special treat for us Floridians ... See you when we get back!   Blessings to you wherever you may be.