The Hoppy Okapi

Occasional posts about hiking and other stuff

101 Things In 1001 Days: One Year Later August 9, 2009

It’s been just over a year since I created my 101 Things list, so it seems like a good time to review my progress and update my list – switch out  some of the running goals to reflect this year’s focus on biking, for example, and recognize that the writing section is probably a bit too ambitious, but there are several more cooking projects that I want to try.  Start and end dates remain the same. Check out the revised list below (new goals are green):

Start Date: 8/4/2008

End Date: 5/2/2011

Goals in progress are in blue text.

25% complete as of 8/09/2009

Update 10/18/2009: 29% complete!

Update 01/03/2010: 31% complete!

Running, Sports & Fitness:
1    Run a 5K in under 30 min (best time to date: 34:56, March 2008  )
2   Participate in a bike riding event (Bike The Bay, Aug 2009)
3    Participate in a bike club group ride
4    Try a spinning class (1/21/2009)
5    Ride a Century (100 miles)
6    Do pilates 2x per week for a month
7    Go Kayaking
8    Take rock climbing lessons
9    Swim Laps at My Gym
10    Get A Massage
11    Go horseback riding
12    Go mini-golfing
13    Play tennis 6 times
14    Play table tennis 10 times (8/10/08, 8/17/08, 8/25/08, 11/30/08  )
15    Do 25 consecutive push-ups
Cooking:
16    Make one recipe from every cookbook I own (63 as of 8/4/2008 ) (25 complete as of 1/3/10 )
17    Decorate a Cake
18    Successfully make an Italian Meringue
19    Make homemade marshmallows
20    Make a sourdough starter from scratch (1/3/2010)
21    Create a signature beer drink (8/7/2008 )
22    Create a signature sangria (2/15/2009)
23    Create a signature muddled drink
24    Enter a recipe in a competition
25    Complete four Iron Chef dinners (all dishes featuring a “secret ingredient”)
26    Make my own infused sea salt
27    Make an infused vodka
28    Host a brunch party
29    Make pickles
30    Organize Cooks’ Illustrated Recipes (1/18/2009)
31    Make homemade truffles
32    Grow an herb plant
33    Grow a vegetable plant
34    Make something on our grill (instead of making Chuck cook it!) (10/21/2008)
35    Make chicken noodle soup from scratch
36    Make homemade bagels
37    Make tamales
Blogging & Writing & Reading:
38    Complete a cook-through (or drink-through) blog project
39    Post an entry on BlogHer
40    Write a short story
41    Write a travel essay
42    Write 5 poems
43    Read books so that my “to-read” shelf has <= 10 books
44    Write a mini-cookbook (at least 10 recipes, with pictures)
45    Comment on blogs I read: at least one comment per week for two months(done as of 2/1/2009)
46    Read a mystery novel
47    Put together photo albums for my vacations
48    Make a journal of writing ideas & inspirations
49    Send a secret to PostSecret

Traveling:

50    Hike to the top of Half Dome in Yosemite (in this case, almost counts! 9/16/2008 )
51    Hike a 14’er
52    Take a Beer Tour of Belgium (Sept 2009)
53    Hike the Inca Trail <or> Climb Kilimanjaro
54    Visit the Salton Sea (3/8/2009)
55    Visit a National Park I haven’t been to before
56    Take a backpacking trip, at least two nights (5/24/2009)
57    Visit a US city I’ve never been to before (Austin, 11/16/2008 )
58    Visit a US state I’ve never been to before
59    Visit Anza-Borrego State Park (11/1/2008 )
60    Visit a California Mission I haven’t been to before
61    Visit Catalina Island
62    Visit Pizza Port San Clemente (9/7/2008 )
63    Visit Griffith Observatory (June 2009)
64    See an okapi in a zoo I haven’t been to before
65    Visit a brewery I haven’t been to before (The Bruery! 9/5/2008 )
66    Go to Canada(5/1/2009)
67    Spend a weekend at BigBear (or other ski resort area)
Community:
68    Volunteer for a political campaign (phone-banked for Obama, 11/3/08 )
69    Volunteer on a community project (9/28/2008 )
70    Volunteer at a running (or other sport) event
71    Volunteer on a trail maintenance project
72    Donate $25 to charity/community organizations at least 10 times (KPBS, SDCats)
Music:
73    Finish all the lessons in my piano workbook
74    Learn 5 songs from my ragtime book
75    Take a guitar lesson (UCSD extension, July/Aug 2009)
76    Learn to play 2 songs on the guitar
77    Write a song
78    Join a community choir / singing group
79    Take accordion lessons
Festivals / Events:
80    Go to a film festival (Bicycle Film Festival, Sept 2009)
81    Go to a book signing / author event (done! Ann Patchett on Aug 6, 2008 )
82    Go to the National Sandcastle Competition (July 2009)
83    Go to a food festival (strawberries in Ojai, tamales in Palm Springs, Garlic in Gilroy???)
84    Go to a wine festival
85    Go to a music festival
86    Go to a play (Man From Nebraska, 10/17/09)
87    Go to a musical or opera
88    Go to a parade
Other/Local:
89    See a mainstream movie in a theater (do I really need to make this a goal? Well, yes…13 months and counting since the last time…)
90    See an indie movie in a theater (Race Across the Sky, Oct 2009)
91    Visit a San Diego Museum (6/6/2009)
92    Go to the beach! (Maui, Dec 2009)
93    Visit Chula Vista
94    Visit the San Diego County Fair
95    Go to the Lakeside Rodeo(4/24/2009)
96    Go to 10 new San Diego restaurants (Urban Solace, Toronado, Osteria Romantica, Gulf Coast Grill, Tioli’s Crazee Burger, Cefalu’s, Liar’s Club, Vincenzo Ristorante, Blind Lady Ale House, Pho La Jolla)
Learning:
97    Learn to use photo editing software (counting Picassa for this one, it does what I want)
98    Complete all three levels of “Learn Spanish in Your Car”
99    Take a drawing (or other art) lesson
100    Write an app in a programming language I haven’t used before
101    Learn to snap my fingers

Dropped from the list:

1    Run a 10K
2    Complete a race longer than 10K
3    Take a Cooking Class
4    Go to a conference (professional, BlogHer, ??)
5    Watch three Audrey Hepburn movies I haven’t seen before
6   Take a writing class
7   Write a fantasy story OR create a fantasy universe outline
8   Write 2 book review posts
9   Post a monthly self-portrait (pictures of me that someone else takes are ok)

 

Yee-Haw! The Lakeside Rodeo May 5, 2009

The Lakeside Rodeo usually sneaks up on me and passes by before I know it, but this year I put it on my 101 Things list and added the ticket sale date to my Google calendar so I wouldn’t miss it. And so on April 24th, I pulled on my cowboy boots and headed to the rodeo! My camera wasn’t quite up to the fast action and low light, so the pictures are a bit blurry, but watching the rodeo was fun!

View of the Chutes (and giant inflatable Budweiser)

View of the Chutes (and giant inflatable Budweiser)

Bull Riding

Bull Riding (1st of two rounds)

Another Bull Rider

Another Bull Rider

Calf Roping - the calf has been conquered!

Calf Roping - the calf has been conquered!

Calf Roping - heading back to the horse

Calf Roping - heading back to the horse

Freeing the calf - harder than roping it!

Freeing the calf - harder than roping it!

Chasing the calf out of the arena

Chasing the calf out of the arena

Bareback Riding

Bareback Riding

Stick-Horse Racing

Getting ready for the Stick-Horse Race

Rainbow Riders Drill Team

Rainbow Riders Drill Team

In addition to these events, we also got to watch team roping, saddle bronc riding, and barrel racing. I think the bareback and saddle bronc riding was even more fun than the bull riding – the horses really took off across the arena! The action was fast, and the interaction between the people and animals was really impressive – it seems like it would be fun to have a really good camera and be a professional rodeo photographer.

Now I just need to convince Chuck to buy cowboy boots to wear to the rodeo next year…

 

Sangria Drink-Through #4: Limonada Espana December 22, 2008

Lemons and Peaches

Lemons and Peaches

I’m trying to make the sangrias for my drink-through when the required fruits are in season, but sometimes it doesn’t quite work out. I wanted to make a sangria for my Christmas cookie baking party, but the seasonal sangrias that I hadn’t already tried (grapefruit sparkling, pomegranite/persimmon/tangerine) seemed a little too risky to make for the first time for a party. (Well, the grapefruit sangria seemed to risky, and I just didn’t feel like messing around with pomegranite seeds that weekend!) So instead I chose a semi-seasonal sangria instead – Limonada Espana.

Limonada Espana recipe

Limonada Espana recipe

I stocked up on fresh lemons – the recipe takes two lemons plus a half-cup of lemon juice! – but I had to settle for canned peaches from Trader Joe’s instead of fresh.

Sangria Ingredients

Sangria Ingredients

Since the peaches were preserved in white grape juice, I cut down a little bit on the added sugar. The featured liquor in this sangria is Liquor 43 (Cuarenta Y Tres), a Spanish vanilla flavored liquor with 43 ingredients in its top secret recipe.

Lemons, Peaches, sugar, Liquor 42, lemon juice

Lemons, Peaches, sugar, Liquor 43, lemon juice

Adding wine to the fruit

Adding wine to the fruit

Since we did our grocery shopping on the same morning as the party, this sangria had only about six hours for the flavors to meld before serving. it turned out well, but I think the lemon flavor overwhelmed the peaches, and I probably should have added the full amount of sugar because it was still pretty tart – I think Chuck added extra sugar to his.

The finished sangria

The finished sangria

Eating the wine-soaked peaches was fun, but I suspect that  fresh peaches would have lent more peachy flavor to the finished product. Overall, there are other red wine sangrias that I prefer over this one, but I’d be interested in trying this fruit combination with a citrusy white wine sometime in the summer.

 

Sangria Drink-Through #3: Sparkling Apple Cider Sangria December 6, 2008

Filed under: 101Things,sangria,wine — Amanda @ 19:11
Tags: , , , , ,

This fall-flavored sangria was originally intended to go with our Thanksgiving dinner, but we were cooking so much that day and refrigerator space was at a premium, so we waited until the Sunday after to make sangria. We were still eating Thanksgiving leftovers for dinner anyway, so it all worked out in the end.

Sparkling Apple Cider Sangria recipe

Sparkling Apple Cider Sangria recipe

This sangria features several layers of apple flavor: raw apple slices, apple brandy, and sparkling cider. We jumped on this oppurtunity to try an apple brandy, and purchaed one made by Clear Creek Distillery in Portland, OR. Trying the apple brandy was fun, and Clear Creek makes a lot of interesting “pure fruit spirits” that I want to try – especially the eau de vie of Douglas Fir!

ingredients

I sliced the apple the easy way, and tried to make my inelegant orange and lemon peels look pretty:

applezest

Adding the cinnamon to the non-wine ingredients made me feel like I was making an apple pie.

pre_wine

combined ingredients, pre-wine

I added the wine…

Drunken Apples

Drunken Apples

And then waited for a while! Just before dinner I added the apple cider and poured the sangria into our butterfly glasses:

Ready to Drink!

Ready to Drink!

I think the wine I used here was a little bit darker than what the book called for (or else the glasses in their pictures were just narrower and on a lighter background!), but the flavor of the sangria was good nonetheless. I think the darker wine stood up well to the sweetness added by the sparkling cider, and there was just a hint of cinamon in the finish. It’s the closest to a classic sangria that I’ve done so far in the drink through – classic with an apply twist. For warmer weather, I might lighten it up by chosing tarter apples and using half cider and half sparkling water, but this is a good treat for fall.

 

Sangria Drink-Through #2: Three-Berry Basil Rose November 11, 2008

Last Sunday was my Birthday-Observed, the weekend day when Chuck made a wonderful homemade birthday dinner (with cake!) for me and we opened presents and cards from each other. What could be better than a festive sangria to help celebrate the occasion?

I chose three-berry basil rose sangria to pair with our lamb chops and lemony cake, guessing that this would be light and a little tart, cutting through any heaviness in the meat, and playing well with the sour lemon flavors in the cake. I think it worked!

Three-Berry Basil Rose sangria recipe

Three-Berry Basil Rose sangria recipe

The exciting ingredient for this sangria was Drambuie, a liquor combining Scotch whisky, honey, and an ultra-secret combination of herbs and spices.  The recipe called for a half-cup each of raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries, which was conveniently accomplished by buying a bag of frozen mixed berries at Trader Joe’s. I think fresh berries would have been prettier, but the frozen ones worked well flavor-wise.

Ingredients

Ingredients

Like the  first sangria, the steps are pretty simple: combine fruit (and basil) in a pitcher, add liquors (Drambuie and Brandy), then add a bottle of wine (in this case, a dry Spanish rose); refrigerate for several hours, and add sparkling water just before serving.

fruit and basil mixture

fruit and basil mixture

fruit with Drambuie and brandy

fruit with Drambuie and brandy

fruit, liquors, and wine

fruit, liquors, and wine

I mixed up the sangria in the morning, and when I tasted it in the afternoon it was a little too tart, so I mixed up some honey-flavored simple syrup: one half-cup water, one half-cup minus 2 tablespoons sugar, and two tablespoons honey, brought to a boil and then simmered for about 5 minutes.

three-berry basil sangria

I felt like the basil flavor got a little lost in the sangria, but adding the sprig of basil as garnish really brought out the flavor. Adding about two teaspoons of the honey syrup also helped perk up the flavor. Overall, this was a nice, refreshing sangria – not as rich and luscious as the cherry-fig sanrgia, but something that would be welcome with a light meal any time of year – I think it would be an especially good brunch sangria.

 

Backpacking in Anza Borrego November 5, 2008

This weekend, we took a mini-backpacking trip to Anza Borrego State Park. Why mini? All told, we were away from home for less than 24 hours, and only hiked about 5 miles in the park.

Looking ahead to the canyon from the trailhead

Looking ahead to the canyon from the trailhead

After driving the long and windy road from Highway 8, through Julian and to Borrego Springs, we stopped for lunch at Carlee’s Bar and Grill, where the sandwiches were good and the homemade potato chips were brilliant. We then headed to the Park Visitors’ Center – it was big and well-appointed, with information exhibits on par with those at Grand Canyon – maybe not surprising considering that the park is California’s largest state park, covering 600,000 acres!

Palm Canyon Trail Description

Palm Canyon Trail Description

We started our backpacking adventure on the Palm Canyon Nature Trail, one of the most popular hikes in the park. It was mid-afternoon when we started out, and it felt like summer instead of the first day of November – it was about 92 degrees and very sunny when we started out along the desert trail.

Trailhead

Trailhead

There are trail markers at strategic spots along the trail, but we hadn’t picked up an interpretive brochure and so tried to guess at what we were supposed to be learning (rocks? plants? dust mites?) as we made our way to the first palm grove.

Clear skies over the valley

Clear skies over the valley

There are a number of trails branching off along the valley floor, and so we only saw about two-thirds of hte markers as we made our way into the canyon. After about a mile of very slow hiking (those backpacks are heavier than we remembered!), we got to the shadier part of the trail, protected from the sun by the canon walls.

Oasis Ahead!

Oasis Ahead!

The official trail ends on the other side of the palm grove,

End of the Trail

End of the Trail

but we continued on deeper into the canyon, scrambling over boulders and through thorny acacia shrubs.

Heading Upstream

Heading Upstream

As we got further up-canyon, the streams were running at slightly more than a trickle and the pools were more numerous, and most importantly, we saw a lot of frogs! They were fairly tiny and hard to get pictures of, but it seemed like there were at least two different species hopping around.

Have you seen my frog?

Have you seen my frog?

It was fun to come accross the pools of water, but everytime we saw one, it meant there were more boulders to climb over as we made our way upstream – four days later, and my legs still have bruises and scratches!

the stream pooling along the trail

the stream pooling along the trail

After a while (making sure we went further than the other backpackers we knew about, since Chuck is all about competitive hiking…), we came across our chosen campsite. We could see another grove of palms another third of a mile ahead and around the bend, we had a nice little pool of water to relax near and soak our feet in, and there was a sandy stretch for us to set up the tent:

The view to the north of our campsite

The view to the north of our campsite

Our very own wading pool

Our very own wading pool

Our wading pool had some frogs and water bugs, but as we were getting out we noticed an ultra-scary mean looking bug on the rocks right below where we were sitting – it looked kind of like a rhinoceros beetle, except it was under water – ick! Normal water beetles and little black grubs were ok, but this guy was creepy!

Chuck set up out tent

Chuck set up out tent

Good color coordination!

Good color coordination!

The downstream view

The downstream view

Since it was still pretty warm in the evening, we left the rain fly off our tent and huddled in our sleeping bags and enjoyed the breeze coming through the tent…until one in the morning, when we were suddenly awoken by…raindrops! in the middle of the desert. The rain only lasted a minute or two, but Chuck threw the rain fly over the tent just in case there was more. We didn’t get swept away by a flash flood, but in the morning it was interesting to see how the stream had surged overnight, with the rocks and sand around our wading pool showing new high-water marks. After a night of tossing and turning (I still haven’t figured out how to sleep comfortably in the tent, even with my new packable feather pillow), we woke up early in the morning and headed out in the morning light.

Morning sun over the canyon

Morning sun over the canyon

A baby palm tree growing near the stream bed

A baby palm tree growing near the stream bed

img_1336

Ocotillo

Ocotillo

We didn’t spot any bighorn sheep on our hike, although they were rumored to be in the area, so that’s another reason we have to go back to Anza Borrego. We did come across the skeleton of a baby sheep, presumably killed by a mountain lion – it looked like it had been laying in the stream bed for quite a while. We also heard a scary growling noize once on our way out of the valley, and quickly movedaway from that spot to the other side of the stream bed in case we were being stalked by a mountain lion ourselves!

We got back to the car shortly after eight am, and stopped at Los Jilbertos in Borrego Springs for breakfast burritos before driving back to San Diego – it was the perfect post-backpacking breakfast!

Our trip to Anza Borrgo allows me to cross #59 off of my 101 Things list. Now that we’ve made the trip and know how much fun it is, we’ll definitely be going back!

 

101 Things in 1001 Days August 4, 2008

Filed under: 101Things,cooking,running,San Diego — Amanda @ 22:27
Tags: , ,

I learned about this project from Zandria’s blog, and since I love to-do lists and creating projects for myself, I decided to take the plunge. More about 101 in 1001 can be found here. (The real question is, can I think of 101 goals to set? Let’s give it a try…)

Start Date: 8/4/2008

End Date: 5/2/2011

Update 8/17/08: Goals in progress are in blue text.

Update 12/12/08: 11% done in 130 days – time to get moving!

Update 8/9/09: one year in – changing some goals, see the new post.

Running, Sports & Fitness:
1    Run a 10K
2    Run a 5K in under 30 min (best time to date: 34:56, March 2008  )
3    Complete a race longer than 10K
4    Try a spinning class (1/21/2009)
5    Do pilates 2x per week for a month
6    Participate in a bike riding event
7    Go Kayaking
8    Take rock climbing lessons
9    Swim Laps at My Gym
10    Get A Massage
11    Go horseback riding
12    Go mini-golfing
13    Play tennis 6 times
14    Play table tennis 10 times (8/10/08, 8/17/08, 8/25/08, 11/30/08  )
15    Do 25 consecutive push-ups
Cooking:
16    Make one recipe from every cookbook I own (63 as of 8/4/2008 ) (21 complete as of 8/9/09 )
17    Decorate a Cake
18    Successfully make an Italian Meringue
19    Make homemade marshmallows
20    Make a sourdough starter from scratch
21    Create a signature beer drink (8/7/2008 )
22    Create a signature sangria (2/15/2009)
23    Create a signature muddled drink
24    Enter a recipe in a competition
25    Complete four Iron Chef dinners (all dishes featuring a “secret ingredient”)
26    Make my own infused sea salt
27    Make an infused vodka
28    Host a brunch party
29    Take a Cooking Class
30    Organize Cooks’ Illustrated Recipes (1/18/2009)
31    Make homemade truffles
32    Grow an herb plant
33    Grow a vegetable plant
34    Make something on our grill (instead of making Chuck cook it!) (10/21/2008)
Blogging & Writing & Reading:
35    Complete a cook-through (or drink-through) blog project
36    Post an entry on BlogHer
37    Take a writing class
38    Write a short story
39    Write a fantasy story OR create a fantasy universe outline
40    Write a travel essay
41    Write 5 poems
42    Read books so that my “to-read” shelf has <= 10 books
43    Write 2 book review posts
44    Write a mini-cookbook (at least 10 recipes, with pictures)
45    Post a monthly self-portrait (pictures of me that someone else takes are ok)
46    Comment on blogs I read: at least one comment per week for two months(done as of 2/1/2009)
47    Read a mystery novel
48    Put together photo albums for my vacations
49    Make a journal of writing ideas & inspirations
50    Send a secret to PostSecret
Traveling:
51    Hike to the top of Half Dome in Yosemite (in this case, almost counts! 9/16/2008 )
52    Take a Beer Tour of Belgium
53    Hike the Inca Trail <or> Climb Kilimanjaro
54    Visit the Salton Sea (3/8/2009)
55    Visit a National Park I haven’t been to before
56    Take a backpacking trip, at least two nights (5/24/2009)
57    Visit a US city I’ve never been to before (Austin, 11/16/2008 )
58    Visit a US state I’ve never been to before
59    Visit Anza-Borrego State Park (11/1/2008 )
60    Visit a California Mission I haven’t been to before
61    Visit Catalina Island
62    Visit Pizza Port San Clemente (9/7/2008 )
63    Visit Griffith Observatory
64    See an okapi in a zoo I haven’t been to before
65    Visit a brewery I haven’t been to before (The Bruery! 9/5/2008 )
66    Go to Canada(5/1/2009)
67    Spend a weekend at BigBear (or other ski resort area)
Community:
68    Volunteer for a political campaign (phone-banked for Obama, 11/3/08 )
69    Volunteer on a community project (9/28/2008 )
70    Volunteer at a running (or other sport) event
71    Volunteer on a trail maintenance project
72    Donate $25 to charity/community organizations at least 10 times (KPBS, SDCats)
Music:
73    Finish all the lessons in my piano workbook
74    Learn 5 songs from my ragtime book
75    Take a guitar lesson
76    Learn to play 2 songs on the guitar
77    Write a song
78    Join a community choir / singing group
Festivals / Events:
79    Go to a film festival
80    Go to a book signing / author event (done! Ann Patchett on Aug 6, 2008 )
81    Go to the National Sandcastle Competition
82    Go to a food festival (strawberries in Ojai, tamales in Palm Springs, Garlic in Gilroy???)
83    Go to a wine festival
84    Go to a play
85    Go to a musical or opera
86    Go to a parade
Other/Local:
87    See a mainstream movie in a theater (do I really need to make this a goal? Well, yes…13 months and counting since the last time…)
88    See an indie movie in a theater
89    Watch three Audrey Hepburn movies I haven’t seen before
90    Visit a San Diego Museum (6/6/2009)
91    Go to the beach!
92    Visit Chula Vista
93    Visit the San Diego County Fair
94    Go to the Lakeside Rodeo(4/24/2009)
95    Go to a conference (professional, BlogHer, ??)
96    Go to 10 new San Diego restaurants (Urban Solace, Toronado, Osteria Romantica, Gulf Coast Grill, Tioli’s Crazee Burger, Cefalu’s, Liar’s Club, Vincenzo Ristorante, Blind Lady Ale House, Pho La Jolla)
Learning:
97    Learn to use photo editing software
98    Complete all three levels of “Learn Spanish in Your Car”
99    Take a drawing (or other art) lesson
100    Write an app in a programming language I haven’t used before
101    Learn to snap my fingers

I already completed one thing tonight, will blog about it later this week!

 

 
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