Tuesday, September 4, 2012

TWD: Baking with Julia - Nectarine Chiffon Upside Down Cake

The recipe for today is named Nectarine Chiffon Upside Down Cake and it called for nectarines but it said you could really use any fruit you wanted to use.  So, I switched those up with peaches which are almost the same thing as nectarines to me, but they are what we had in the house.  I cut the recipe in half and had Mikey help me whip it all up.  The recipe called for a streusel in the middle of the cake, and I just decided to skip it altogether since I thought the cake would be enough.

The half recipe turned out very well, and I cooked it in a 9 inch square pan and it fit perfectly, although it did sink some in the middle before I flipped it.  We tried it as soon as I flipped it out and we both thought it was really good.  I think maybe peeling the fruit beforehand wouldn't have been a bad idea, but somehow the skin did not bother us much during our second and third and fourth bites!

I think I will definitely make the cake again, but I might skip the fruit and the streusel and just have some strawberries on the side.  I could replace the pound cake or the angel food cake with this chiffon cake, it was great!

You can check out the recipe on the hosts sites for this week The Little French Bakery or The Double Trouble Kitchen.

Here's our peach chiffon cake pictures... don't get too hungry!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Elk Prairie and Fern Grove

We figured we would try to finish up our posts about our trip to Washington, Oregon and California... yeah we are really behind.  But oh well!

Our last day of camping was spent in the southern part of the Redwood National Park.  There was a wonderful prairie with you guessed it, elk!

We heard from the very nice people who gave us a ride after our snake hike that we needed to head about twenty miles over to the ocean side of the Redwood Forest and check out the Fern Grove.

It turned out to be about a mile hike up through a canyon and then back around to the beginning.  It was worth the hour drive.

We also got to see the campground on the beach which looked really nice.  And we went for one last stroll on the beach before heading back to the campground.   Mikey even got to drive the car through two streams that crossed the road!

After the last night of camping we were off to Napa!  And a bed!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

US Pro Cycling Challenge

Last weekend was the final stages of the US Pro Cycling Challenge, which is essentially the Tour of Colorado bike race.  The riders rode from Durango up to Breckenridge, over to the Springs and up to Denver, with a few stops along the way, all over the course of a week. 

Julie and I decided we could hit the stage in Colorado Springs, and then our friend Brian talked us into going up to Boulder for the stage there the next day.  Turned out to be awesome! 

Unfortunately I was the only one who made it to the Colorado Springs stage on time.  The race got there about an hour earlier than the website said that they would.  This meant that Bill and Debbie, Julie and our friends Brian and Kim all missed the good parts.  It also meant that I didn't have time to get my camera ready, so all I have are some small cell phone pictures.  But I got to see them do their final couple laps in Colorado Springs, and I stood right next to the stage where they handed out the jerseys, it was awesome. 

The finish line with the TV camera

The race leader at the time, Tejay Van Garderen, getting his yellow jersey

The next day was Saturday, so that meant Julie and I were both off, so there would be no missing it this time!  We headed up to Boulder with a plan to get there for lunch, then find the cyclists in town when they came through.  Because the course that day had them riding through Boulder twice, we actually caught them in the morning right when we started lunch.  We heard them on the road right next to us, so we jumped out and caught the peloton right as they rode by.  It was so quick we didn't have time to get our cowbells or cameras out! 

After some debating, Julie talked me into going to the final climb of the day, called Flagstaff mountain.  We brought our bikes to Boulder to ride around on, which was a great choice, because we were able to make the 4 mile ride quite quickly, despite the fact that most of it was uphill.  At the bottom of the mountain, we actually ran into Brian and some of his friends, so we said hi and went to find a spot on the mountain.  We found one under a tree, with some shade, and waited for the riders to come back. 

Boy did they ever!  We chose a great spot because the riders rode right next to us, I could have reached out my hand and helped any of them change gears!  It was quite amazing!  The crowds only got better as the riders rode up the hill, making a wall of people and noise for about 3 miles.  Good job Colorado!  We had a blast, and we definitely plan on going again next year!

There were people streaming up for a few hours straight

Me helping Julie get her camera ready!

Jens Voigt screaming at his legs to get him up the hill!

Big George Hincapie leading the team BMC train up the hill

Tejay Van Garderen in yellow, he lost the lead on this stage

The hill got steep, some folks needed a push I guess

The slower cyclists had a chance to enjoy the crowd a bit