Sunday, March 18, 2012

Rocky Mountain High

Sorry I have been out of touch for the last week or so.  However, I am glad to hear from several friends that they have been tuning into the blog regularly and are finding several of the ideas helpful!  I also received comments that people loved the awesome smoothies that Sara and her family demonstrated so well for us!  Thanks, Sara!

As I mentioned in my last post, I was off on adventure in Colorado last week.  It was a melting pot of emotions- excitement, comfort, sadness, longing, regret, satisfaction, and much more- a rollercoaster of great fun, as well as tears.  As I expected, my trip back to the Centennial State was a tough one.  I immediately was back in my comfort zone.  Friends were there to meet me with welcoming arms, and I found myself driving around the Front Range on "automatic pilot".  I also realized just how beautiful that place really is. I quickly found myself wondering, "Why did we even decide to leave?"  As always, the classic saying rings true: "You don't know what you have until it is gone."

I had fun visiting my friends and the two new babies of our Colorado family.  Thanks again to Julie and Dan for hosting the perfect summertime feast of hamburgers and hot dogs while I got to visit with baby Meghan. And a shout-out to new mom and dad, Amy and Dave, for all of their hard work with their brand new addition, baby Sierra. Here is a picture of Amy, Dave, Sierra, and my best friend Laurie, while on a walk around Boyd Lake, in Loveland, CO.  Oh, and I can't forget furry friends, Ellie and Stella!

While in Colorado I ate out WAY too much, but welcomed the delicious fare and beloved microbrews with open arms.  Boy, did I miss you. I probably gained a few good pounds, but it was worth it. I managed to fit in a hike with friends and did I mention good beer? I should have taken more pictures, but have included some links of my favorite restaurants and breweries in the Front Range area- this trip was primarily focused on the areas of  Longmont, Loveland, and Fort Collins.

The above photo was taken a nice relaxing 70 degree day at Big Beaver Brewing in Loveland, Colorado.  With the garage-door open and reading The Hunger Games on the ipad, I was in heaven! I have been taking up more reading recently and kind of liking my new-found hobby!  Big Beaver Brewing has fantastic beers...and some mighty creative names, albeit a little bit dirty.  ;) 

Here is a tasty batch of Sunshine Wheat that I shared with my friend, Eric.  It is made by the ever-popular and delicious New Belgium Brewing in Fort Collins, Colorado. 

This is from a drive through Horsetooth Reservoir, just west of Fort Collins.  Not the best picture, but you can never seem to capture the beauty with a camera...especially while driving. 

I even stopped by my favorite tortilleria while I was there.  This is where you will find the best-ever tortillas on earth.  They are so fresh and soft- absolutely perfect!  I hate buying tortillas from the store now.  They are just not the same. I was sure to stop by and grab two bags to take home.  Each bag costs $2.25.  You get your choice of corn or flour and come with approximately 12 homemade tortillas.  They are delicious! Don't forget- cash only. 

Here are some of my other favorite places for dining and brewing in Colorado.  Definitely check them out! 
O'Dells Brewing- Fort Collins, CO
Fort Collins Brewery, Fort Collins, CO 
Oskar Blues Brewery and Restaurant, Longmont and Lyons, CO
Lefthand Brewery, Longmont, CO
Pumphouse and Redzone, Longmont, CO
Lucille's Creole Cafe, Longmont, Fort Collins, and Boulder, CO 
Basil Flats, Longmont, CO 
Santiago's, various locations across Colorado- awesome breakfast burritos! 

Although I was constantly struggling with a variety of emotions throughout the week, I also was quick to remind myself of all that I am learning to love about Iowa- the green trees and grass, the friendly demeanor of neighbors, and family so close at hand. My past may be in Colorado, but right now my future is in Iowa. And seasons- I love having four seasons again...wait, nevermind. I forgot that we skipped directly from fall to summer...but I am ok with this.  More than ok.  I LOVE warm weather, which will bring me to another summer-themed post soon!

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