I’m in denial that February is almost over. It seems like this year is flying by even faster than the last. Although for those of you in the northern U.S. and Canada who have had weeks upon weeks of tremendous snow, I’m sure Spring can’t arrive fast enough!
So what’s been happening here? Well, we’ve tried to get back into our wonderful hiking schedule every Saturday, but winter weather—even here in the deep south—can be daunting. We’ve managed a few nice, long hikes so far this year, but will probably have to wait until March or so to get back to our routine. Here are a few scenes from some those hikes and as you can see, even winter forest is quite lovely. Enjoy these moments of peace and solitude along with the myriad of textures and pattern that a winter forest reveals.
This hike is one of the top Atlanta area hikes, the Chattahoochee River National Recreational Area Gold Branch Trail, north of Atlanta. We hiked 4.5 miles of trail across some significant elevation changes. We’ll go back to hit the remaining 3 miles.
Another top Atlanta hike we’ve managed this year is this 7.12 mile hike into, and around Stone Mountain Park in Stone Mountain, GA, just east of Atlanta. We hiked along the Cherokee Trail which circles the base of Stone Mountain itself, which is an interesting quartz monzonite dome monadnock.
And then suddenly, it was Valentine’s Day! I’d intended to post before then, but it didn’t happen. I hope yours was lovely. We chose to stay in and explore a cookbook that my husband found on pairing cocktails with small plates, main dishes and desserts…and prepare our Valentine’s meal TOGETHER! Add a nice roaring fire and some music, and it made for a very special evening. This was a really fun way to explore recipes together in the kitchen, and I will definitely make some of these dishes again for us and for company. Here are some scenes of our cocktails, the dishes they paired with and the lovely roses my husband gave me. You can click on any image to see a slideshow if you like.
The cookbook with recipes for the cocktails and the two dishes we made from the book can be found here. I halved all of these food recipes. You can find the Arugula, Grape and Almond Salad with Saba Vinaigrette from Bon Appétit magazine that I chose to go with the sea scallops here. I used an aged balsamic vinegar in mine instead of the Saba and roasted some of my grapes…delicious. The Milk Chocolate Pots de Crème recipe from Food and Wine magazine is here and I added the zest of half an orange to my chocolate which gave it a delicate and superb flavor. The salad and dessert recipes are keepers…easy and adaptable. The Truffled Popcorn with Pecorino is to die for, but I’d recommend making it when you have several folks to share it and here’s why…it’s addictive, and not in the least bit good for you in any way, but so divine. The recipe said it was for two, but we couldn’t eat it all and I think it would make a nice appetizer for 4-6…in small bowls.
The cocktails were magnificent and wonderfully paired with their dishes…we’ve made the Rouge again, as well as the Fireside 75 from the same book, though we haven’t yet made the chicken and waffles it is paired with. I’d highly recommend any of the food and drink recipes we made for Valentine’s, but I might make my own version of chimmichurri sauce next time for the scallops as I felt it was a bit too strong in onion and pepper…especially because we couldn’t get jumbo sea scallops. And be forewarned, it make a TON of sauce, even in a halved recipe.
In addition to what I’ve already mentioned above, we’ve taken some time for a quick visit to see dear friends in Chattanooga, I’ve been making more clay pots and working a lot.
This week we’ve had some threats of snow and some very cold weather…and in my house that means soup time. With an excess of rich foods for Valentine’s Day, I decided it was high time to have a pure veggie infusion with my Veddy Veggie Soup—which turned out to be one of the best batches I’ve made thus far. You can link to that post through the title and as with most soups, this one gets better each day.
So now that we’re all caught up, I’ll give you a little preview of what’s coming next…
Mmmm! That’s all I’m going to say about that for now, but stay tuned for the next post.
What have you been up to? I’m making my way around to catch up and read about your adventures. I hope you’re all doing well and that you’ve had a great week and weekend.