Sunday, April 26, 2015

Brazilian Fish Stew

We are frequent watchers of the Food Network, and one of last week's shows asked its chefs to make Fish Stew... At first, it wasn't the most appetizing-sounding meal, but the part that impressed me most was that each chef came up with a different version of Fish Stew to present to the judges. So I did some research. I was able to find Fish Stew as an Italian dish, a New England dish, a French dish and a Brazilian dish. Each one has their own version of the broth and varieties of fish.

After playing around with some different ideas, we decided to try the Brazilian version of the dish, which is made with a coconut milk broth. Traditionally, it's made with a firm, white fish as the star ingredient. But when we were doing our monthly Costco run this morning, we found a wonderful looking package of mixed seafood that we went with instead.

The dish turned out very tasty. I used a good amount of lemon juice and cilantro, which probably wasn't the right choice for the hubs... But I will be more than happy to take on the left-overs myself! I'll admit that I probably over-cooked the calamari and an amazing piece of bread would have really topped it off great. But I was definitely wrong in thinking that it wouldn't be appetizing!

Our Fifth Wedding Anniversary!

In typical Colorado Erickson fashion, we went pretty low-key for our fifth wedding anniversary. These past five years went by so fast, it seemed odd to have a big celebration. Instead, we toasted each other with our Tiffany wedding mugs to keep up that tradition, and we went to find some stellar Mexican food in the area.

This year, we found ourselves in Longmont at one of the new restaurants by Oskar Blues. It is an amazing Mexican Cantina Restaurant, paired with a bicycle shop out front! Their menu boasts several unique kinds of tacos, so I tried four of the different meat combinations. Honestly, each one was even better than the last. I cannot explain how delicious the food was, but I can tell you that we will be heading back there very soon. CycleHops, you are one of my new favorite Colorado bars. Amazing!

2015 Sea Otter Classic

I headed out to Monterey, California for the 2015 Sea Otter Classic races this year with a great group of co-workers. It was a great chance to see some of the mountain and road racers in their race kits, something that I only get the chance to see on a local level, usually. We saw a lot of new ideas at the show and were able to use the trip as an opportunity to get to know each other better as a team. I really felt that we should have had a bigger brand presence at the show, which felt like a big miss for our mountain bike line... But maybe we'll put it on the agenda for next year?

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Early Season Crit Races

The hubs has finished two of the local crit races, one on the Colorado State University campus, and the other on the University of Colorado campus. Being the beginning of the season, there is still a sense of remembering how to race in a pack and how to handle the bike in sticky situations.

Unfortunately, the CSU Crit was another crash finish for him. He was lucky that he didn't crash as hard as some of the other racers, but he had some road rash and a new gash on his elbow.

Today's CU Stazio Crit had much better results. With a couple other teammates out there with him, he was able to show some strength and keep the strongest riders from getting away from the pack! He even started a lead-out for a team member in the second to last lap, which he was super happy to have accomplished. A crit without a crash is a very welcome result for me, and I hope the season keeps going this way from here on out!

Creme Brulee

After two weekends in a row of travel (and recover from travel), I was able to get back into my cooking routine. This weekend, I tried out a recipe for Creme Brulee. I was excited to learn how to use a kitchen torch more than anything else, but the challenge of making a custard dessert was also one reason I chose this dish this week.

I have to say that I was really pleased with how everything turned out! The custard set and had a wonderfully smooth, creamy texture. I did have to do some running around town to find a kitchen torch then the right kind of butane to light the damn thing... But everything came together so well, and I got the sugar crust nice and crunchy on top.

I think next time I'll use a little more sugar on top, to get that full layer of crunch that you can crack with a spoon. But this recipe is a keeper.

Back Yard Landscaping

We decided to start with the basics this Spring, when it came to landscaping our back yard. There were some rules that we had to comply with, in order to be in good standing with the HOA, so we covered the minimum as a starting point.

We hired an amazing landscaping company to come out and lay some sod, cover the remainder of the yard with river rock, and plant three small trees. It is maybe the lowest budget landscaping in the neighborhood, but we can take it from here. There are tons of ideas floating around in our heads, and big plans that we have for a garden and some flower beds. But now that we're "in compliance" with the community's stipulations, we can take our time and extend our budget a little better. I'm excited to get started, and I'm sure we'll have updates throughout the summer!

Monday, April 6, 2015

USAFA Road Race

We jumped in the car and headed down to Colorado Springs for the USAFA road race on Sunday. One of the highlights was getting the chance to see the US Air Force Academy Campus, and it did not disappoint. Among the beautiful mountain scenery stood their beautiful football stadium and this amazing B-52 greeted us upon our entry.

Cat 3 race was set off at 12:05pm, and ended up lasting just under 2 1/2 hours. The format of the race set off several groups, spaced 5-10 minutes apart. So as the groups started to catch each other and/or fall behind, it became more and more difficult to tell who was in which race.

I was able to find the hubs each time he came around though, and caught him tossing his water bottle at the beginning of the third lap. He crossed the finish line with the peloton with a smile on his face, happy to have stayed on his bike and proud to have finished a strong performance!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Adventure Day in Hong Kong

During our trip to Asia, we had a Sunday to ourselves to explore Hong Kong a little bit. There was a long list of activities we could have done, including a visit to the current Bruce Lee exhibit at a museum, or shopping at all of the fancy stores on Canton Street. For me, the most appealing adventure was finding a way to the Po Lin Monastery to see the Big Buddha Statue. So I was able to convince two of my co-workers to come with me, and we set off!

The first step of our adventure took us on the Star Ferry from the Kowloon area over to the Hong Kong Island.

When we arrived on Hong Kong, we found ourselves in a small local farmer's market. We walked around for a bit, and eventually bought a small bag of cherry tomatoes to snack on during our adventure. (This is one of my favorite things about finding myself at Pearl Izumi. The people are just so amazingly "my kind of people." Some other people might have thought me weird to buy a bag of tomatoes and eat them like chips as I walked around, but the other girls were right on board!)

 Next, we took a second ferry from the Central Station out to Lantau Island, where the monastery was located. I tried to capture the way that everyone seems to be in such a rush over in Asia...  I'm not sure if I caught it below, but as soon as the ferry was even within sight, the crowds start bunching up and people start pushing through to the front. Even on this Sunday, it was as if everyone was running behind schedule and just HAD to be the first on on the boat.

Finally, the last leg of our trip was a bus ride, which took us climbing up steep, windy, narrow roads at ridiculous speeds. I was kind of amazed at the fearlessness of the driver, barreling up the mountain with hardly any visibility around the turns. But we made it safely, and probably in record time. 

Now, I'm afraid that the pictures of the Big Buddha Statue will never do it justice. This first picture is the one that I snapped as I got off the bus, standing way out in the parking lot of the monastery area. Even from this far away, it is HUGE! It towers over everything in sight, and really creates a striking presence. I was genuinely in awe during the entire visit.

There are 268 stairs from the ground level up to the museum of the Big Buddha, which we happily climbed in the hot sun. Up close, the statue is breath-taking. I couldn't stop taking photos as we circled around the stairs of the monument.

Back on ground level, we then visited the buildings of the monastery, which were just as amazing. Above is the hall of 10,000 Buddhas. In each of the walls are engravings after engravings of Buddha. Add those to the statues sitting all around the room, and you come up with 10,000!

As we were leaving, we took time to participate in the tradition of lighting incense, offering up a prayer for each of our family and friends. I wished that we all would find peace, love and prosperity in our lives, and planted a stick for each of you.

Coming home was a reverse trip back, re-tracing our steps from the way we came. The sun had been hot all day, and the humidity was unfamiliar to us Denverites! We each bought a small souvenir, and I found a beautiful crystal lotus flower, which had been blessed by the monks of the monastery. It is now hanging in my office window, reminding me to continue working toward that peace, love and prosperity that I wished for all of us.