Drunk posting!

We just got back from a super cold, super fun craft beer festival! We never really had a “12 in ’16” adventure in January, so we’ll have to make up for that at some point, but I’d say today qualifies as our February/anniversary/Valentine’s Day adventure. 

I can only assume this temp and wind chill were accurate but (fortunately!) it was bright and sunny the whole time we were out.

 

This party, thrown by Beveridge Beer (and soap) Company took place on 19 Mile Bay on Lake Winnipesaukee in Tuftonboro, NH, where the ice is thick and the wind is… well… thick. Did I mention that it’s cold up here today?

So anyway… drunk posting. Yes, I am a total lightweight. I had toast for breakfast, ran four miles, had a tofu salad sandwich for lunch, and then had maybe a total of two pints of beer in an hour and a half. Maybe not even that much. But apparently that wasn’t enough food to support that amount of beer because I am about as buzzed as I’ve ever been. How do people get any more drunk than this? I’m pretty happy and pretty confused but I don’t ever want to be any more ‘in my cups’ than this. And no, I did NOT drive home. I like beer but I’m not stupid. 

parking area, not beer fest area. but this is the lake! those cars are parked on ice, not dirt or pavement! and dig the mountain in the background!

Anyway… a lot of our favorite northern New England breweries were there, including Baxter, Sebago, Moat Mountain, and Great North, as well as a couple new to us/new favorites: North Country Cider and Hobbs Brewing. North Country featured a cinnamon-habanero “Fire Starter” cider while my Hobbs pick of the day was the ginger Hefeweizen. Kevin is currently at the local grocery store to see if he can find anything from either of these breweries. 
   

damn shadows. there was really nothing I could do, though. and yes, the abominable snowelf shadow to the right is me. in many layers of clothing. many of which are purple.

 

So with the Belknap mountain range in the background and a cute display put together by a local distributor this was an event well worth the time, money, and brain-numbing wind chill. I wish I’d gotten more pictures but my phone shut down after this one… much like it did two miles into my run this morning. It really doesn’t like the cold.  

I scored a really sweet Baxter Brewing hat, too.  

 
Ok, so it cost $10, but I’m happy to support my homies. And their Pamola Pale Ale is our go-to camping beer. Not that we’d ever actually take beer to a campground in Maine or Massachusetts because that’s illegal. 

In case you’re wondering how Circulation Compromised Girl spent 90 minutes standing around in subzero (wind chill) temps, here’s what I wore (most of these garments were mentioned in previous posts so I won’t link them again. plus I’m writing this on my phone so links are kind of a pain in the butt): lightweight base layer top; mid weight base layer top; mid weight hooded fleece top; puffy coat: midweight base layer tights; (new! exciting!) snow pants; fleece socks; insulated hiking boots with TWO toe warmers each; Buff headband around my ears; thick, warm knit hat; Buff neck warmer/face mask; glove-mittens; hand warmers. I was surprisingly comfortable for most of the time. I never felt dangerously cold… and I was close enough to the car that I could have run for cover if need be. Any longer could have been a little trickier but I think I was appropriately dressed for the occasion. And I pretty much want to wear my snow pants all the time. So warm! So cozy!

Disclaimer:  as I mentioned earlier I’m writing this entry on my phone, so I have no idea/apologize for how it may look on any other device. I’ll edit if necessary and add links when I get home to my laptop. 

PS: no North Country Cider or Hobb’s beer at the local grocery store. =( We’ll keep looking, though… they’re both worth the effort!

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Tiptoe-ing through the Tulips

Yesterday was That Guy’s (his newly chosen trail name/nickname to be used on this site, inspired by a song from this brilliant show) and my 16th anniversary. We’re usually more into experiences as gifts more than material goods but I found something that works as both:  ukuleles! That Guy is an incredibly talented pianist/guitar player/composer and I have always been musically inclined (though I haven’t done much with it in my adult life). He’s been trying to get me involved in his writing/playing for a while now. I bought a guitar a few years ago and learned a lot in a couple months but then Life happened and I ignored my guitar for far too long and forgot almost everything. I’ve picked it up again recently, though, and thought that the ukulele would be a good bridge instrument/project for us to take on together. I chose this model after hearing about it on one of my favorite podcasts thinking we can also take them camping and drive our neighbors crazy. In fact, hearing about them on the podcast is what planted the idea in my head in the first place.

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I SWEAR I’ll start putting more effort into my photography… someday

TG, of course, took his uke out of its box, tuned it, looked at a chord sheet, and started playing every song ever written within three minutes. I am a little slower. Trying to learn an instrument at 45 as opposed to 7 (when I started playing the piano) is challenging. I’m struggling to memorize chord fingerings. I’m bound and determined, though, to practice a little each day and become at least vaguely competent as soon as possible. I’m excited about writing and playing with TG but I also think it will be super fun to play for my future students. I think that music is a great way to learn language, math, and motor skills without necessarily realizing it!

 

Last night as I was drifting off to sleep I thought “ooohhhhhh… I have to learn Tiptoe through the Tulips if I really want to be legit…” Then I got this e-mail from my brother this morning:  “If you don’t learn Tiptoe Through the Tulips. I’m going to be very disappointed in you.” We’re not twins but I’m pretty sure we share a brain anyway.

 

If you can’t take the heat…

Some days you just know you shouldn’t be trying to experiment in the kitchen.

But you do it anyway. Because you have issues.

We’re having a snow day in greater Boston today so instead of working on my resume and applying for jobs I’m daydreaming and reading about hiking and backpacking and camping. I’ve been meaning for a while to work on some trailworthy hot chocolate and instant coffee mixes. Even though I knew I wasn’t really in the right frame of mind to be experimenting in the kitchen I headed in anyway. I figured I’d limit myself to hot cocoa mix… keep things low-key… minimize the risk of disaster.

Coffee fiends that we are, the boyfriend and I started off last year’s backpacking season carrying organic instant coffee (surprisingly drinkable! and I like the linked brand a lot better than Starbucks Via.), powdered soy milk, and turbinado sugar. This worked out OK, though the soy powder never really fully dissolves — it stays a touch gritty. After some trial and error we found that for whatever mysterious reasons this combination works better with cold water than with hot. If you have a water bottle that seals tightly you can shake the bejeezus out of it and it mixes as well as it’s ever going to. And it tastes better than when it’s made with hot water. Go figure.

When we ran out of powdered soy we switched to powdered coconut milk. BTW — if you’re dairy-free be very careful of powdered coconut milk — most brands contain casein to prevent clumping. Native Forest is the only vegan brand I have found. Powdered coconut milk is great because it has a pretty high fat — aka ENERGY — content, is just a little bit sweet, and, well, it tastes like coconut! I am a sucker for just about anything made of coconut. Being casein-free, the NF coconut powder is a bit lumpy and clumpy, so it really only works well in hot water. But it doesn’t stay gritty like the soy. So, pros and cons. I really prefer coconut to soy, though, for crazy conspiracy theory and flavor reasons.

So today I thought I’d make some hot cocoa mix with powdered coconut milk. What could possibly go wrong? I threw some in my Vitamix (aka Greased Lightning) along with cocoa powder, sugar, salt, cayenne, and cinnamon. I wanted a powder in which the ingredients were finely ground and fully incorporated so they’d dissolve well in water.

Fully aware of the fat (and moisture) content of the coconut powder, as well as the power of the Vitamix, I’m not sure why I expected to end up with a light, fluffy, powdery instant hot cocoa mix. Instead I got something that looked like it should be buried in a cathole. I mean a lovely, rich, thick hot chocolate paste/concentrate. Or a delightful toast topping (the boyfriend’s idea).IMG_2466 It turns out that when you put powdered coconut milk into a high-speed blender you get coconut butter. Valuable knowledge for the future but not what I was going for today. I’m not sharing a picture with you for what should be obvious reasons. But I am sharing a picture of the hot chocolate even though it looks like every cup of hot chocolate you’ve ever consumed. Don’t get me wrong — it’s really good hot chocolate. It’s just not going to be very convenient on the trail.

Next time I’ll try it with powdered soy. It shouldn’t turn to paste in the blender but should get ground finely enough to not be so gritty. Or maybe I’ll try the food processor instead of the blender. I’m also planning on trying a “cappuccino” mix — something we can just throw into some hot water instead of carrying coffee, sugar, and creamer as separate components. I’ll let you know how that all turns out.