Sunday, June 30, 2013

The Chaos Before Albuquerque


I was thinking to myself that three days between major trips is not nearly enough, but after a day of decent productivity, I recant my position.  Three days might be just about perfect.

Tomorrow morning Paul and I begin our journey west.  Hopefully by tomorrow evening, we will be soaking in the beauty of New Mexico, a place I have wanted to visit for years.  After New Mexico, we head up to Colorado for Denver, camping, and a night in Colorado Springs.  Maybe it sounds like a bit of an exaggeration, but this vacation is literally my Trip of a Lifetime.  Getting to see New Mexico and Colorado in person is a dream come true for me.  That I get to do it with my new favorite person, who happens to be a seasoned outdoorsman, an admirer of science, and a vegetarian—well, that part I never would have dared to dream.

I came up with the title for this post yesterday, when things felt decidedly more chaotic.  This evening, I’m actually feeling pretty calm about the trip, or more accurately, the length of my to-do list for the time between now and departure.  I’m mostly packed.  Letters and e-mails have been written.  Paul and I have conferred on who is bringing what (Rose-Anne, don’t forget the can opener!), and he’s made maps for our journey.  He even made an estimate of our gas consumption for this trip, which makes me feel like a terrible human being because the trip was my idea and I hate the size of the carbon footprint we are about to make.  But!  We will be eating at some pretty cool eco-conscious and vegetarian restaurants in Denver, so at least there’s that.

Amazingly, the kitchen isn’t even a complete disaster right now!  I’ve been busy shopping and baking to prep for our long drive tomorrow.  I am making or have made:

* Tahini-Free Hummus

* Small-batch Peanut Butter Cookies

* Coconut Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies

and a new twist on this granola recipe, which I’ll share with you below.  In addition, I bought tortillas, cheese, yogurt, two kinds of crackers, two cans of Amy’s Organics soup, carrots, and strawberries.  I’m also packing a huge bag of roasted almonds and some baby spinach.  We’ll be eating two meals on the road tomorrow; my rough meal sketch is soup with cheese and crackers for one meal, hummus with spinach and cheese in tortillas for the other meal.  It’s hard for me to gauge how much food we need for the road, but hopefully all the options will add up to enough for the two of us.

Last night I made some maple sesame pecan granola to take on the road with us.  The recipe started as a granola that I wanted to share with our vegan friends who live in Dallas, and when they commented on how great the pecans were, I decided to bump up the quantity.  Pecans always play well with maple syrup, plus they feel like a tribute to Texas since pecan trees grow here.  Sesame seeds add a lovely savory note to the maple-pecan-laced oats, and coconut sneaks into the mix in the form of some coconut flour and oil.  This is not a granola that knocks you over the head with flavor; rather it makes a satisfying backdrop for summer’s berries or maybe some sliced bananas.  If I’m feeling indulgent, I might consider bumping the maple syrup up  to half a cup, but it’s not necessary.  After a lot of indulgence over the past few weeks, I’m happy to eat simple, tasty food.  That’s the plan for tomorrow.

Maple Sesame Pecan Granola

See you in Albuquerque, friends.

Maple Sesame Pecan Granola for the Road

Adapted from this recipe

Makes about 5 1/2 cups

3 1/2 cups rolled oats

3/4 cup pecans

1/4 tsp. salt

2 tbsp. coconut flour

1/4 cup sesame seeds

6 tbsp. maple syrup

1/4 cup coconut oil

1)  Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.  Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.  I use my 10x15-inch pan for this.

2)  Mix together the dry ingredients (everything minus the maple syrup and coconut oil) in a big bowl.  Mix the wet ingredients into the dry until everything is thoroughly combined.

3)  Spoon the granola onto the prepared baking sheet.  Bake for 25 minutes, stirring everything around after 10 minutes of baking.  Allow the granola to cool on its baking sheet, then eat or store in an airtight container.


Chrissy (The New Me) said...

Have so much fun on your trip! I have been to Colorado and New Mexico once, each, and I loved both (even though both times were for librarian conferences, so I can only imagine how much better they'll be with a handsome companion!) You probably already have this on your list, but just in case: Watercourse Foods in Denver is maybe the greatest vegan restaurant in the world. Definitely in Colorado. Eat there and take a photo for me, okay?

Most of all, though, travel safe adn have fun! Can't wait to follow the adventure. :)

Shannon Grande said...

have a fabulous trip!! this granola does sound particularly good, although i'm not sure it can top your pb variety ;)

Rosiecat said...

Hi, Chrissy! Thanks for your sweet comment; it's always a pleasure to hear from you. Yes, Watercourse Foods is on our list for Denver. We're trying not to spend *too much* money on eating out, but I think we're going to eat dinner out to enjoy some of the interesting cuisine (and to take a break from the DIY approach to meals while on vacation). I'll sneak a photo while Paul isn't looking ;-)

Hey, Shannon! Thank you. In my mind, it's darn near impossible to go wrong with homemade granola--it had been way too long since I made any, so I was almost nostalgic when I made the first batch to take on the road earlier this year.

Happy day to both of you! xoxo!

Amber said...

Yay for a trip of a lifetime! I'm happy for you, and I hope it's beautiful.

Rosiecat said...

Amber, thank you, sweet friend! I can't wait to hear more about Colorado as you and Jeremy explore it. I shall live vicariously through you when you visit :-)