It's Fall! = Pumpkins

I love fall, I love pumpkin (as long as it is nowhere near my lattes). Last year I froze a bunch of homemade pumpkin puree in 1 cup increments and then pulled them out as needed which was fabulous. As a result I ended up with a ton! of tasty pumpkin recipes. But this challah I made recently is certainly at the top of the list. The loaves rose so much into beautiful spirals and the brown sugar lightly laced into the slices was divine! I wanted to make French toast with it but we ended up eating it all to fast.
Bring on the pumpkin!
Some of my other favorite pumpkin recipes:
Creamy pumpkin pasta          
Pumpkin Challah:
inspired by this recipe
(Also I know this takes a lot of egg yolks so make a meringue to use up your egg whites instead of throwing them away, they're a simple recipe that's very uninvolved.)
2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
1 cup warm water11 egg yolks, +  1 egg for brushing
1 tbs salt
2 tbs olive oil
1/4 cup agave or honey
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp allspice
8 cups flour
1 cup brown sugar
pumpkin seeds & black sesame seeds for topping
2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast, (1 1/2 packages)
1   sprinkle the yeast over 1/2 cup of warm (not hot) water, stir lightly, let sit 7-10 minutes, mixture will become foamy
2   in a large bowl combine egg yolks, 1/2 cup warm water and beat 2-4 minutes
3   in a medium bowl combine salt, oil, agave, pumpkin, cinnamon, ginger, and allspice. Stir
4   using the dough hook, mix the pumpkin mixture slowly into the egg mixture, then mix in the yeast mixture
5   add the flour 1 cup at a time, on slow, until all the flour is incorporated. Knead dough with hook (5-7 minutes) or by hand (10 min). Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise 1 hour in a warm dry space
6   split dough in half and transfer one ball to a floured surface. Roll the dough into approximately a 9"x13" rectangle. Lightly dust 1/2 cup brown sugar over the surface and spread evenly leaving a 1" free space at one of the long ends (feel free to add more if you'd like). Then lightly brush the 1" you left free with a beaten egg. Roll the dough, ending with the end you put the egg on. Lighly pinch the dough together to help aid the egg in sealing the seam. Then spiral the dough tucking the ends under the dough. Repeat with the other ball of dough.
7   cover both rolls with a towel and let rise another hour.
8   preheat oven to 350 degrees F, brush the egg on the top and sides of both loaf rolls and sprinkle with pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds. Bake for 45-50 minutes, it should be golden brown.


Glacier : 17 miles

After we woke up way to early (above photo is of the sunrise!) cleaned up camp and said adios to my parents we drove a ways to Two Medicine to do a 17 mile day hike. Obviously this was Joshua's idea! Dawson Pass is a trail that goes up 4,000 ft in 4 miles and then stays up high along the ridge until you then get to use your super tired legs and feet to hike back down 4,000 ft. The hike was beautiful and we actually had a great time wearing ourselves out.

There were quite a few beautiful lakes we looked down on, hopped over a few snow patches on steep slopes, heard a bear roar (I'm not sure that's their sound term but oh well) and had some pretty great panoramic views. I almost ran when I finally saw the car but then I realized I couldn't move that fast and that my feet were waging war against my shoes and the trail.

We hoped in the car drove a few hours to the other side of Glacier and lo and behold the campsite was having its last BBQ of the season that night!!! We grabbed a beer, sat down next to some friendly Ohioans we found, and at a rack of freshly grilled bbq ribs, corn and a baked potato! What else is there but a rack of bbq ribs after a 17 mile hike! Magical!


Glacier : Moose & Sunsets

We drove the infamous Going-to-the-Sun Road one day and on our drive back through it to our campsite we got to watch entire sky perform for us. The sunset was a performance of color, drama, movement and perfectly silhouetted mountains. Everyone kept yelling stop because each view trumped the last, magical!

On our last day in Glacier together we went to a lake where we were told moose go in the morning. Now usually people tell you such things, you show up, wait, wait, nothing happens. BUT we saw a mama and baby moose at the end of the lake. The even cuddled a bit for us. Yet then more people noticed them and the mama started checking us out and walking toward us, lots of backing up ensued. Finally they went off into the woods and we hiked out only to find them again in the middle of our trail, but this time with a bull moose too. Lucky us the walked across a creek in a clearing for a good ol photo shoot :) It was quite amusing to watch the bull try to walk through the trees tilting his head to avoid branches.

We also did a little Hidden Lake hike that day which was colorful, had fun snowy patches, and good sitting rocks. We decided the lake was better viewed from above and snacked and hung out for awhile before going back.

When we got back to our site we hammocked and hung out and ended our trip with hummus, fire roasted beans, a bag of olives and pita chips & s'mores. It was perfect and bittersweet. The whole trip was amazing and we were so blessed to get to go and spend time with my parents just existing and chatting and playing games. It was beyond awesome to get to goof of and hang out, not have to get to the point immediately because I have 15 minutes left on my lunch hour. So adult of us going on vacation with my parents ;)


Glacier : a real glacier

The Grindell Glacier hike is about 8 miles. We took a fun informative boat ride past the very beginning of the trail. I loved that we got information and got to feel like we were in between all the mountains looming around us before our hike above them began. Once across the 2 lakes we started the ascent to one of the most stunning hikes we've ever done. We saw goats stacked high up on slender rock faces, big horn sheep eating with the lakes below them, a few bears high up on the mountains rummaging, then on our way back down we ran down to get pretty darn close to a moose who'd come to the lake for a drink.

glacier glamour shots :)

The apex of the hike though was the glacier itself. The scenery up there was almost otherworldy. The turquoise water with thin layers of ice reaching across, the warm brown rock that expressed glacial grooves, and the snow expressing texture you'd have other wise missed. It was cold but hard to walk away from. You didn't just see it's beauty I could feel it as we got to run across the rocks and grooves.

Ah okay I'm done gushing about it, but we all had an amazing time and won't ever forget it!


Glacier : Fly Fishing

My dad loves fly fishing, he ties his own flies and everything. In Glacier you can fish without a license inside the park. Therefore he promised to take us fly fishing and Joshua and I were very excited. I hate fishing, so dang boring, but fly fishing you get to put on outfits (waders) walk in the water, play with pretty feathered fake bugs, and whip your line around to create fun shapes. I understand these are not the principles of fly fishing or the proper way to do any of it but I enjoyed myself and didn't complain about fishing so I think it's a win.

We went 3 times when we were in Glacier and it was a great way to break up hikes or  driving. Plus then you get to hang out in one beautiful spot for a period of time which I don't tend to do well so I appreciated that a lot. Madre & I hung on a hammock for a bit too.

We didn't catch any fish until we abandoned a hike mid-hike and then just started throwing our lines into a creek off the road. Two minutes later my dad had a fish! Then Joshua caught a fish. My mom and I eventually did too! It was very excited and almost every slipped on the rocks and fell into the water to proudly retrieve our fish.

Eventually my mom went to get the net in which case a bear we'd seen the park ranger trying to locate earlier had something like a bean bag shot at it and then it ran in the direction my mom was standing. As in right past her. Madre dove in the car, back hatch of van still open, hoping he'd move along. He did, don't worry, but now that she's not frazzled it's pretty cool and I'm a tinge jealous I didn't get to have the bear run past me too!

Very thankful my dad took the time to teach us how to do it and I was surprised to find I actually really enjoyed it. Did not enjoy that you're supposed to be quiet to not scare the fish away, haven't ever been very good at that. My mom and I also tend to scream whenever we catch a fish, effective :)

Also huckleberry pie. It's their thing & it was yummy. We got pie again later too.


Glacier : Iceberg Lake

Last week we drove out to Montana to meet up with my parents, who'd been in Yellowstone, to all hang out in Glacier National Park for a week. It felt very grown up to go on a vacation with my parents. The day before we got there it had snowed which left a stunning dusting on all the mountains exposing all their texture and layers in a beauty that we were so glad we got to experience. Yet for the Iceberg Lake hike it also meant slush. The first day we were there we did the Iceberg Lake hike up into our first real views of Glacier. The clouds were moody and dramatic and the dark pine trees all stuck up dark and straight from the snow. Stunning.


Along the way my dad spotted bear tracks in the snow and then a little while later the culprits were spotted up on the hill in the snow. It was a mama and two sizeable cubs flipping over rocks to look for food. When we all stood still we could hear them talking to one another and all squeal when one slide down the snow a bit at one point. Luckily my dad brought his binoculars so we could all check them out better.

The lake was beautiful, albeit mostly icebergless except for the one struggling to stay frozen. Part of the lake had a thin smooth matte icy layer that I loved. It was a great first day and great first hike. The snow highlighted everything and we were so glad we got to see it that way.

Then we headed back to our "home" and because we got kicked out of our campsite because of bears and kicked out of our hotel for fires we ended up finding a spectacular & cheap little cabin (with heat) to stay in for the first half of our trip. It was adorable & warm :) We had a Cincinnati dinner night with Skyline chili and Rhinegeist beer that my padres brought.

up next some fly fishing escapades...