I just love the smell of rosemary. It always fills me with memories of my family home on Thanksgiving day. I’ll find any excuse to cook with it. Speaking of family, my mom has a recipe for “Rosemary, chicken and dumpling soup”. It’s a great fall/winter recipe, very delicious and prefect for the cold evenings. I do not eat chicken, so I attempted to modify it and it was a success! Now it’s a “Rosemary and Potato Stew” (Meat-free and dairy-free) and it’s a favorite in our house, especially during those cold months. There’s nothing like healthy comfort food to warm your belly and your soul.
Rosemary & Potato Stew
- 1 lb of Idaho potatoes – cubed
- 4-6 carrots – cut into 1 inch slices
- 2 celery stalks – slices
- 1 large sweet onion – chopped and diced
- 4 cups of vegetable broth
- 3 tsp. of fresh crushed rosemary
- frozen peas
- salt & pepper to taste
- 1 cup of flour
- 1 tsp of crushed dry rosemary
- 2 1/2 tsp of baking powder
- 1 tsp of salt
- 1 tsp of apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup of nut milk
- In a large crockpot (5 quarts at least) add all the ingredients for the stew (EXCEPT the frozen peas). Cook for 6 – 7 hours on low.
- Once the stew is cooked through, sir in the peas.
- To make the dumplings, combine the flour, crushed rosemary, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl. Make a well in the center, then stir in the apple cider vinegar and nut milk.
- After the ingredients are combined, drop large spoonful’s of the batter on top of the stew.
- Cover and cook on high for 25 -30 minutes. Insert a toothpick in the dumplings to insure they’re done cooking, the toothpick should come out clean.
- Serve and enjoy!
A Smokey Holiday
My last post I shared about my July adventure to Glacier National Park. Well We went back to Glacier this weekend for our last trip before winter. Sadly, there is currently a large fire inside of the park and a huge one a couple hours away from the park.
We could see the smoke hours away from the park. Normally on our drive in we can see mountain peaks in the horizon, but on our way in this time it was nothing but smog. Our first site of the actual fire was when we arrived at Lake McDonald; it nearly brought tears to my eyes. Lake McDonald with those giant snow peaks in the backdrop is one of my favorite views in the world and there it was burning away.
The fire and smoke were doing nothing to scare visitors away. We arrived at one of Glaciers first come first serve campgrounds (Apgar) and nabbed up the last spot. I could not believe how quiet it was that night. Honestly, not a single sound. My parents took me camping every year as a child and I can remember being scared to death at every pitter patter of a paw or twig snap off in the distance. Maybe it was because our camp site was a tad smoky and the animals were staying away, but the only sound I heard all evening was the breeze blowing through the top of the trees. It was odd to feel such peace in the forest knowing that just a few miles away there was a fiery battle burning and terrorizing this beautiful place I’ve come to love.
The next morning we woke up early and walked the few yards down the shore of Lake McDonald. It wasn’t planned but we arrived to the shore just as the sun had started to rise above the mountains.
It was so peaceful with barely a sound to be heard and the water so still it looked like glass.
Later on in the day we ventured off to hike one of my dream hiking spots, Hidden Lake. I have hiked Logan’s Pass up to the hidden lake overlook a half a dozen times, but I have never been able to hike all the way down to the lake before. You could tell it had been a warm dry summer because Logan’s pass usually has a fair but of snow to trek through, creating more hazardous conditions. There was not a single snow drop on our trip; making the 1.5 mile hike up pretty easy. The 1.5 mile hike down to Hidden Lake is another story. I cannot imagine how difficult it would be to trek through that when it is covered in snow and ice. It is basically straight down and there is very little path that is not covered in large rocks. One miss step and you’ll be rolling down the mountain.
But boy oh boy is it worth it! When David and I reached the shore of Hidden lake, I threw my arms around him and squealed, “We made it!” One of my dreams come true!
I spent a long time sitting on the shore in awe of what I was present to. Even with the smoke invading the view, it’s still arguably one of the most beautiful places in the world.
To no surprise of mine or anyone who knows him, I looked over to find my fearless hubby stripping down to just his shorts, to dive into the freezing cold waters (It’s a lake high up in the mountains after all). He smiled and said “I just wanted to be able to say that I swam in Hidden Lake. How cool is that?”
I quite agreed with him, so I took off my socks and shoes and dipped my feet in. I am not always as adventurous as he is, not to mention I weigh about 100lbs less. It was freezing, but yes, now I can say I dipped my feet in Hidden Lake.
Fun fact: Not a lot of people have the opportunity to learn that like Lake McDonald, Hidden Lake also has rainbow pebbles. The pictures of these rocks are stunning, but it is something you need to see for yourself! Just mesmerizing!
We stayed at the lake for as long as could before we started losing daylight. The trek back up the mountain was exhausting! 1.5 miles straight up. There were a lot breaks, which meant a lot of opportunities to enjoy the view.
On our way down the mountain and through Logan’s pass. We came across two men in bits of fireman uniform and covered in soot. They were leaning against a slope enjoy the view. I stopped to ask if they had just come from the fire (obviously, Stephanie), they said yes (of course) and with tears swelling up in my eyes I shook their hands and said thank you. I thought about those firemen a lot the next couple of day and all those battling with the fires inside and outside the park as well.
To our surprise we weren’t as sore as we thought we’d be when we woke up the next morning. So we went back to our favorite breakfast spot in the area, Montana Coffee Traders (SO many options for vegans, LOVE!) for a good healthy start to our day. There we decided we were definitely up for another hike. Mother Nature however had other plans.
We were on our way back to the park entrance when we noticed a police officer stopping cars. When he got to our vehicle, he informed us that they were evacuating the west side of the park because the smoke was creating hazardous conditions. They let us through to collect our things from our campsite. There went our plans. It sound like the east side of the park wasn’t as bad, so we headed the 2 hour drive that way in hopes to at least find lodging for the night. The smoke insisted on following us there. Is was incredibly thick and starting to affect our throats. The fun part of the trip was over; we gave up and started heading home.
Anyone who knew me before I moved to Montana knows what a rollercoaster life has been for me the last 5 years. All I knew was life in the Upstate New York city that I grew up in. It’s an understatement that moving to the rural plains of Montana has been an adjustment for me. My first couple years were especially difficult. I will be forever in the debt of a wonderful friend I made my 2nd year living here. She leant an ear and encouraged me to go see the western side of Montana where she grew up. She knew what it would do for me, but knew I had to see it for myself to believe it. She was so right! After Living two years on the plains; everyday staring out my window at the vast nothingness. I remember just standing on that mountain top and being overcome with its beauty. The experience was nothing short of spiritual and hasn’t dulled one bit, no matter how often I return. Glacier Park is my new home away from home, the mountains call to me. So to see it on fire this past weekend really stirred a true sadness inside of me. It has been my refuge the last 4 years and here it was with its tremendous mountains, completely vulnerable to a fiery hell.
Once we got a few hours away from the smoke we decided to stay the night in the small town of Shelby Montana; less rural than where we live, but still pretty rural. It was a Sunday night on a holiday weekend so nothing was open. We couldn’t let that stop us from having a good time, so I got fixings to make bean and quinoa burritos right in our hotel room, and the boys got beer. Everything is better with burritos, even being stuck in a hotel room.
Make the most with what you can, you won’t regret it.