June 17, 2012

I’m back #3

by Liz Gray (Craftyglutton)

We finally arrived at Grand Teton National Park and boy was I happy.  We have camped here once before at the Gros Ventre campground which borders an elk preserve in the southern part of the park.  To change it up and see more of the park we stayed at the Jenny Lake campground this time.

This campground is a bit wooded and situated between a meadow and the lake.  There are no lake views, but trust me that is good thing – otherwise it would be windy and cold.  The campground was full almost every night we were there which is not surprising since there is excellent access to Jenny Lake, other smaller lakes, hiking paths, and bike paths.  We biked around on a scenes loop that has pretty light vehicle traffic and on the dedicated bike path that can take you all the way into Jackson.  Weather can change pretty quickly here, so be prepared especially during the spring.  We had warmer and cooler days, thunderstorms and rain.

Wildlife is everywhere here – the obligatory moose sighting, elk, beavers, lots of birds, chipmunks, and even a bear mama and cubs were all spotted during our trip.  We even had a reoccurring visit in our campsite from an elk we decided to call Eddy.  Sometimes he stopped by for an afternoon snack, sometimes for breakfast.  It was fantastic.

Be sure you keep your food locked up in this park by the way – a mama and cubs may be cute from afar, but no one wants a bear in their campsite.

I think this is one of my most favorite places in the country.   Now a short, self-serving plea from me – please do not forget to support our National Parks!  These are truly unique natural treasures worth saving and preserving.  Take a vacation, take your kids, meet your friends and family there – without taking the time to visit and experience these places we tend to loose track of their importance.  I will stop here, get down from my soapbox now, and let you enjoy the slideshow in peace.

Grand Teton National Park:

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June 17, 2012

I’m back! #2

by Liz Gray (Craftyglutton)

After we saw some branding at the ranch, we said our goodbyes and headed off to go camping.

We headed to Bighorn National Forest and stayed at the Sitting Bull campsite in the park.  Bighorn is beautiful, and at least before Memorial Day is very quiet.  You have your choice of wooded, meadow, lake, stream, or mountainous areas inside the park.  The scenic drives are nice, but if you get a chance take the time to stay overnight and get into the park off of the byways.  There is great wildlife viewing, fishing, hiking, mountain biking, and boating among other things.  We are headed back in the next few weeks to spend more than a night, hike around, and explore more than a quick stopover allows.

After Bighorn we headed west to the Grand Tetons, which I will post about in #3, but along the way we grabbed some fun pictures and stopped to check out some touristy hot springs in Thermopolis, WY.

Bighorn National Forest and our road trip to the Tetons:

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June 17, 2012

i’m back! #1

by Liz Gray (Craftyglutton)

After a very long hiatus from blogging while I finished up my master’s degree in Urban Planning, I actually have some free time again to get back in the saddle and update this thing on a regular basis.

Since graduating in May, we have relocated to Wyoming for the summer and taken a much needed vacation.  I think I will share some of our fun in pictures from that trip.  We went to a ranch in Montana for a night and saw a cattle branding, went camping in Bighorn National Forest for a night (we will be doing that again soon), and spent 4-5 days camping in the Grand Teton’s – one of my favorite places in this country.

this will be the first of 3 posts on our vacation since I have a bunch of pictures to put in slideshows for ya.  If you are squeamish, skip the last photo in the “Life on the ranch” slideshow, if you are morally or ethically against it, just head to post number 2, nothing controversial there.

I apologize, I have not had time to post-process these images, they are straight out of our camera.

Life on the ranch:

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September 10, 2011

what we’ve been up to

by Liz Gray (Craftyglutton)

The end of our summer consisted of a two-week whirlwind trip – I covered 10 states in seven of those days.  Then school started up again and life is as busy as ever… I just keep thinking that next semester, my last semester, will be cake after this one (please keep your fingers crossed for me, hopefully I did not just jinx myself). 

The first weekend after school started up, we headed to Idaho for the Grand Teton Brewery release party on Friday night, then camped in Grand Teton National Park (across Idaho’s border in Wyoming) on Saturday night. 

Idaho and Wyoming are beautiful, but we did not get to spend nearly enough time in either place… spring break camping trip perhaps?  We snapped a few pics of Grand Teton National Park from our campsite and a few shots of the Snake River on our way home (definitely scoped out some campgrounds for another camping weekend – so many trips, so little time).  I hope you enjoy my photos (just as an fyi, they play in reverse with the Snake River photos first)! Maybe some day soon I’ll post some projects or recipes again… promise.

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August 17, 2011

cold cantaloupe soup with prosciutto crisps

by Liz Gray (Craftyglutton)

I may or may not be part Italian and I may or may not have grown up eating cantaloupe wrapped in prosciutto at every sort of formal family occasion, which is where I may or may not have developed a love of all things salty and sweet.

To freshen and glam up the traditional dish, my best friend and I, as part of a five course meal we prepared ourselves – because we are out of control and love to cook together (even in a 2′ x 2′ kitchen) – pulled together this fresh and delicious cold soup.   It is perfect for a hot, humid summer day and looks pretty darn impressive if you ask me.

Cold Cantaloupe Soup with Prosciutto Crisps

This soup can serve anywhere from 4 to 16+ servings.  It makes about 4 big bowls or can be divided down into smaller portions – even into little shot glasses.  Just remember that you will need as many pieces of prosciutto as you have servings (unless you are a glutton like me and want more than one crisp per serving).

The soup can be made a day ahead of time and chilled overnight in the fridge.  The crisps should not be prepared too much before the time you intend to serve the soup to ensure they do not lose their crispness.

The total hands-on time for this soup is minimal and in reality it can probably be completed from start to finish in about 25 minutes if you have all of your ingredients ready to go.

  • 1 cantaloupe
  • 1/4-1/2 c plain greek yogurt
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • prosciutto slices
  • 1 avocado (optional)
  • Basil (or another herb like mint, parsley, chives, etc)
  • olive oil for garnish

Slice the cantaloupe in half and scrape out the seeds.

Scoop out or chop up the cantaloupe flesh and place in a blender or larger bowl if you are using an immersion blender.

Begin to puree the cantaloupe smooth and taste to see how sweet and ripe tasting your melon is.

If you have a large, juicy, very ripe and sweet cantaloupe, you may need the full 1/2 cup of greek yogurt to give it a more creamy texture and mellow out the sweetness slightly.  If your cantaloupe isn’t very ripe or juicy, you will probably only need a 1/4 cup of yogurt.  Start by adding the 1/4 cup of yogurt, blending, then tasting to see if it needs more.

Add salt and pepper to taste.  You don’t want the soup to be salty, but a little salt and pepper will enhance the melon’s sweetness and lend a hint of savoryness to the soup.

When the soup is completely blended and smooth, refrigerate the soup until ready to serve – this chilling time eliminates the frothy bubbles that formed during the blending process leaving you with a smoother soup.

While the soup is chilling, pre-heat the oven to 375.  Lay the slices of prosciutto out flat on an aluminum foil or parchment lined baking sheet – do not let the pieces overlap.

Bake the prosciutto for 5 minutes and then turn the slices over and rotate the pan and bake for another 5 minutes until the prosciutto is crispy, but not burned.  Set aside to cool.

Chop or slice the avocado and set aside.

Remove the chilled soup from the fridge (it can be served chilled, slightly cooled, or even at room temperature depending on your preference).

Divide most of the avocado among the serving dishes, setting some aside for garnish.

Ladle the soup on top of the avocado.

Garnish the soup with the remaining avocado, prosciutto slices, chopped basil, and a drizzle of olive oil. Serve immediately or else the crisp will get soggy, and no one likes a soggy crisp.



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