Sunday, December 4, 2011

Vegan once-a-month slow cooking: Part II

People have been asking me how the once-a-month cooking worked out and my answer has been "Great!" I loved dumping a bag of frozen "stuff" into the slow cooker in the morning and coming home to a delicious hot cooked meal. It really did give me more time in the evenings. We went for walks, ran errands and just hung out and all for 45 minutes of work on Sunday evening!

Each gallon freezer bag made enough for two dinners and at least one lunch, except the "beef stew" which we ate all at once. I immediately put any leftovers back into the same freezer bag that I had emptied and rinsed in the morning and put it into the freezer. I once read that you can freeze something one time before it's cooked and one time after it's been cooked. I suppose you could just put the leftovers in the refrigerator and eat them again the next night, but neither of us like eating the same thing two nights in a row.

Of the four meals I made last time, my very favorite was the Curried Chickpeas. They smelled soooo good I completely skipped making the rice as I had planned and ate them on some Indian chapati bread I had lying around in the refrigerator! It was probably some of the best Indian food I've ever tasted (and I love Indian food).

So, now that we have only one bag of lentil soup left, I've done this again, but I did some things differently that I think made a difference in the process - mainly intention and planning! Last time, I made the meals on a whim after having learned of the concept. This time, I planned the menu (10 items), made a grocery list to ensure I had everything on hand and actually bought the things I needed beforehand. I also cleared my kitchen counters of any extraneous junk, like the toaster oven and the blender. Not that these things are junk per se, but I won't be using them, so they are temporarily considered to be junking up the counter :)

Once the counters were clean, I did just a little prep work last night, like putting out the cutting boards and knives and any staple foods onto the counters. That way, I was ready to go this morning. I started at 8am after a hot Silknog chocolate. it took me an HOUR to peel, dice and cook all the onions even using the food processor. Actually, I think using the food processor made things worse. There were times I couldn't even open my eyes even though I peeled the onions under cold water and soaked them for a few minutes as well. Eventually though, I was able to get through it and they turned out all brown and yummy.
This is 10 onions chopped AKA "Blinders"

Here are the onions nicely browned and ready to go into the freezer meal bags.

The ~40 cloves of garlic I used in today's cooking!

As the onions were nearing completion, I put together the rest of the ingredients for the spaghetti sauce. After that, the rest of the dishes were fairly easy to put together. I worked on each one individually so I wouldn't get confused or feel as rushed as I did last time. The other factor is that I didn't have DC to help me this time as he was sleeping in. He was definitely a help last time and I think I want to enlist him next time. Not only did doubling up on the prep make it actualy go faster, but he's pretty good company, too :)

Here's the list of meals I made today:

1) Spaghetti Sauce
2) Greek "chicken" stew (eggplant, garlic, onions, tomatoes, veggie chicken, olives, red pepper, greek herbs and spices)
3) Peruvian Locro Stew (winter squash, peppers, potatoes, peas, corn - no cream or cheese, please)
4)Yellow Split Pea Dal from the Caribbean Vegan cookbook.
5) White beans with Chipolte chilies from the Complete Vegan
6) Creamy French lentils w/ celery root and garlic (from the Complete Vegan listed above)
7) Creamy potato peanut stew from the Viva Vegan cookbook
8) Middle Eastern Chickpeas from the Moosewood Restaurant Low Fat Favorites Cookbook
9) Slow-cooked Tofu with pineapple peach barbeque sauce from my favorite website, Fat Free Vegan Cooking (I'll be subbing in peaches for the pineapple as DC is allergic to pineapples)
10) Hot and Sour Soup from that good ole' Complete Vegan cookbook.

The spaghetti sauce cooked in the slow cooker all day. We ate some with pasta for dinner and the rest went into the freezer for another time. I made the hot & sour soup in the pot that I used to cook the onions. It helped to get the stuck on onions off the bottom of the pan and allowed me to dirty only 2 pans for ALL the cooking I did today. I used this pot and one large frying pan to cook the tofu before using it in the soup. By noon, I was finished cooking and cleaning up with the exception of the spaghetti sauce.

Here's the vast majority of food/spices I used today. I realized as I went along that I missed one or two items for the picture, but you get the idea...

The only produce I had leftover was a lemon and one of the green peppers.  Here's the entire tick-list:

10 onions
42 cloves garlic
1 celery root
1 green pepper
4 red peppers
3 pounds potatoes
1/2 bunch cilantro
2 lbs. mushrooms
2 carrots
1 zucchini
1 eggplant
6 green onions
1 bunch spinach
2 limes
4" gingerroot
1 butternut squash
1/2 kabocha squash
1/2 c. pumpkin
chilies: 2 jalapeno, 2 yellow hot, 2 chipoltes
2 large cans tomoatoes
3 cans tomato paste
beans: french lentils, yellow split peas, great northern beans, chickpeas
1 package Quorn chik'n tenders
1 can peaches
6 Medjool dates
1 jar artichokes
tofu: 1 firm, 2 extra firm
vegetable bouillon

This doesn't include the various herbs and spices which would proably make this post too long :) Suffice to say, I had them all on hand and there wasn't anything too weird. Then again, I'm a spice monger LOL!

Anyway, I feel as though I was more adventurous this time. There's more of the Latin food DC and I love. There's also Indian, Thai, Chinese, and Middle Eastern food represented. I've never eaten celery root before, so that will be an adventure as well.

A very overexposed image of what I got for my 4 hours of work!

All in all, I figure I've put together at least 20 days worth of dinners - enough to carry us through the hectic holiday season! DC chose the White beans with chipolte for dinner tomorrow. Mmmm can't wait!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Vegan Slow Cooker Meals or Cooking

Picture this scene...
It's been a long day at work, you're tired and a little grumpy. It's cold outside and you have a ton of things to get done before you can go to bed tonight. Maybe the kids are whining as you make you're way from the car to the house, but once you open the front door, you are greeted by warm, spicy aromas that instantly make you forget everything that's been worrying you. You realize you're famished, but wait...dinner's already done! All you have to do is get a bowl and eat it!
That's what happened to me tonight (minus the whiny-a$$ kids!)
Last week I stumbled upon the idea of once-a-month cooking and the idea pretty much blew me away although I'm not sure why since I hail from a family of canners and freezers, but this idea is completely different than “putting food by” for the winter. For once-a-month cooking, you basically set aside one day a month and cook like a fiend. Then you wrap it all up in meal sized containers and live off of it for the next 30 days. It sounded like a great way to steal some time for my hectic week nights, but man, my weekends are short enough without having to spend one entire day cooking even once a month.
Then I saw this article from Once-a-Month Mom: Slow Cooker Meals. In a nutshell, you skip the cooking part and just put together freezer bags for the slow cooker. Then in the morning, you take out a bag, dump it & some water in your slow cooker and come home to a hot, delicious meal. What could be easier than that?
I wanted to do this on Sunday evening right after we got home from Greer (seriously? What was I thinking???) I knew we wouldn't be able to put together a month's worth of meals, but I was so excited by the idea that I had to give it a try. Of course I have to make it more of a challenge as well! I needed to find slow cooker meals that are not only vegan, but very low in fat as well. It took a bit of thought and some thumbing through the cookbooks, but David and I came up with a few meals we could make with ingredients we had on hand. The only thing I had to run to the store for was a package of veggie ham which I couldn't find, so I substituted veggie bacon instead.
Here are the meals that David and I prepared with just 45 minutes of prep time:
Potato soup (onions, celery, diced potatoes, veggie bacon (diced), parsley, veggie bouillon powder, salt, white pepper, black salt (used to simulate the hard-boiled egg flavor), bay leaf.
Chickpea curry (onions, celery, carrots, dried chickpeas, 2 T. curry powder, 1-1/2 t. cumin, 1-1/2 t. tomato paste, 1-1/2 t. yellow mustard (French's), ½ t. hot pepper sauce, 1 t. salt, 1 t. turmeric, ½ t. black pepper, ½ paprika, ¼ t. garam marsala, 3-4 cloves of garlic (whole)) This recipe was adapted from Taymer Mason's Caribbean Vegan.
Vegan green beans and “ham” (onions, celery, lots of green beans, cubed potatoes, ½ package veggie bacon (diced), veggie bouillon powder, 1 t. oregano, salt, bay leaf, 1 t. liquid smoke)
Vegan “beef” stew (onions, celery, 1 package Gardein homestyle beefless tips, cubed potatoes, green peas, green beans, carrots, bay leaf, black pepper, salt, veggie bouillon powder)
Black bean soup (onions, celery, bay leaf, dry black beans, carrots, 2 t. cumin, 3 cloves garlic, red bell pepper, veggie bouillon powder, 1 t. liquid smoke, salt, black pepper). This recipe os adapted from Terry Hope Romero's Viva Vegan cookbook.
GUILTY ADMISSION: OK, so I put together the black bean soup last week, but I wanted to include it here. It was sooo good!
You'll notice that each one has onions and celery. Those are the only ingredients that I cooked. I learned a long time ago that sauteing the onions and celery almost to the point of being burned adds a wonderful rich flavor to slow cooker meals. I simply chopped up all the onions and celery and put them in the pan at one time with just a light spray of aerosol olive oil. Then I divided them between all the bags. The Chickpea Curry hadn't called for celery, but got some just the same. :)
Everything else went into the bags raw, including the herbs and spices. I've found that it's not necessary or even desirable to add water to the freezer bag. That's simple enough to add in the morning and I can better judge how much is going in. So all I have to do in the morning is grab a bag, any bag, dump it in the slow cooker, add a little water and turn it on. When I come home, dinner's waiting. After dinner, clean up is pretty easy – some bowls, spoons, and the slow cooker AND my meals are vegan, low-fat and tasty! We've also had enough left-overs that I've been able to freeze a bag of leftovers to be eaten next week or take for lunches. All this for 45 minutes of prep time Sunday night. I've even had time to write TWO blog posts this week and it's only Tuesday!
How about you? Do you cook in bulk? What are your favorite crock pot meals (vegan or non-vegan)?

Monday, November 14, 2011

Dipper Adventure

This weekend, DC and I went looking for a bird that's been elusive for me and one I've wanted to see since I was very young. It's a plain gray bird with an extraordinary ability.  It's named Cinclus mexicanus  or commonly, American Dipper and it's the only member of it's family in the U.S.

As I stated above, it's a plain gray bird, about the size and shape of a robin with a bobbed tail. Not really much to look at really. The real allure of this bird is its ability to walk under rushing mountain streams. It literally submerges its entire body under the water to look for bugs and larvae beneath the stones and gravel. Sometimes, it used its wings to "fly" under the water and, as I saw on Friday, sometimes, it also gets "blown" downstream!

The research I had done named several likely spots for viewing the bird. Almost all of the good leads I got were from the banks of the Little Colorado River north of here, so we started out early Friday morning as we had a three-day holiday weekend. We had clear skies as we drove north past Oracle, Globe and beyond - all the way through Showlow, Pinetop and into Greer.  Snow covered the ground above Pinetop, but the roads were clear and we did bring our very warmest clothes, including a new fleece/ raincoat combination for DC.  We pulled into the gravel at the end of the road in Greer and donned hats, gloves, warmer stockings and all that and set off on a trail that runs very near the banks of the Little Colorado. We weren't far from civilization - only maybe 500 feet from the nearest cabin, but that wasn't supposed to matter since the bird doesn't seem to be bothered too much by humans.

We walked about 500 - 600 yards away from the cabins always searching upstream with the binoculars. I felt excitement and trepidation at the same time as I slowly made my way upstream. I'd never seen this bird before. It's one I remember looking at in my dog-eared copy of Peterson's Guide to Birds. I remember thinking I would probably never see such a cool bird as that - all I ever saw were Starlings and House Sparrows. Well, within an hour, my trepidation gave way to elation when I lifted my bins to see a Dipper preening away right in the middle of the field of view!

Eventually, we were able to get closer and take some video of the bird. We watched it for about an hour and I realized the name is just right. The bird is constantly "dipping" its body kind of like the lizards who do push-ups in the sand - up, down, up, down, dip, dip , dip.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Chili Rellanos - vegan style

Chili Rellano casserole
Whew! I know we don't really have much to brag about given that my friends and family on the east coast had both earthquake and hurricane this week, but nevertheless, it's still been hot here in Tucson. We've matched high records a couple of times this week and today was no different. While my friends are hunkered down braving wind, rain, and overdoses of Jim Cantore (or so I imagine), I was up at 4:45 am so I could get a bike ride in before it got too damned hot :)

In the dry heat conditions we have here - today's humidity is a whopping 23% today and that IS whopping - one of the best ways to stay cool is to warm up to a sweat. Unlike the sweltering tropical conditions back east, sweating feels good here because it evaporates and cools you down as it's meant to. So, I've been thinking hot food lately - Indian and Thai mostly, but the need for Mexican surfaces every few days which is one of the main reasons I <3 Tucson.

The green "Hatch" chili harvest is upon us and last week we got some "medium" green chilies from our local Sunflower Market which have been sitting around waiting for some inspiration.  My first thought: chili rellanos! Now, I haven't had chili rellanos since I went vegan in January, due in large part to the eggs, cheese and fat contained in them, but after last week's smashing success with Susan V's ( Eggplant Parmesan recipe, I knew just what to do. I used the "cheese sauce" as the base of the recipe and made up the rest. Here are the basic instructions:

What you will need:

6-8 green "Hatch" chilies  - mild, medium or hot as you like them
1 recipe Cheese sauce (see below)
1/2 c. prepared enchillada sauce
1 c. fresh or toasted breadcrumbs
1/4 c. Daiya cheddar vegan "cheese"

1. Prepare the chilies: Split and seed the chilies. Boil them in salted water until they are somewhat tender, drain and rinse to cool them.

2. Prepare the "Cheese sauce": While the chilies are cooking, mix the "cheese sauce" which I have copied verbatim from Susan's blog. I'm not messing with perfection! Don't worry about how this looks or tastes out of the blender. Trust me, it will be fine, no not fine...perfect!

Susan V's. "Cheese sauce":

1/2 cup extra-firm silken tofu
1/2 cup unsweetened soy milk
1/2 cup vegetable broth
2 tbsp. cashew butter or tahini
1 tsp. onion powder
1 1/2 tbsp. nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp. salt (optional)
1/8 tsp. white pepper
2 tsp. corn starch

Place all the "Cheese sauce" ingredients in a blender and blend until completely smooth. Blend again right before using to make sure that the ingredients haven’t separated.

3. Open the enchilada sauce: I used Rick Bayless's Frontera Oaxacan Red Chili Mole sauce, but you can use any prepared enchilada sauce (or better yet, make your own and send me the recipe!).

Assembling the casserole is easy. Simply layer the chilies (I ripped/cut mine in smaller pieces), pour the "cheese sauce" on top, and add the enchilada sauce on top of that. I had meant to put a layer of breadcrumbs between the chilies and the cheese sauce, but I forgot and it was fine without them, so put them on or not as you like. Finally, top with a little bit of Daiya cheddar vegan "cheese" and bake at 400 for 15 -20 mins or until its lightly brown and bubbly on top.

We enjoyed ours with a wink and a nod to those wet east-coasters by raising a bottle of Genessee Cream Ale that we also found at Sunflower the other week. The chilies were hot, hot hot (!) even though they were marked as medium. Be extra careful if you buy the ones marked "hot." We were coughing, sneezing, and watering while these were being cut. They seemed to calm down a little after cooking, but still held enough heat to make us sweat and grab for our beers. The red chili mole was a little sweet for my taste, but that didn't stop me from devouring half the pan. DC ate the other half :) Here's to the back end of Irene!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Brown Canyon hike with Susannah

Drove south east to Sierra Vista today to meet up with my friend Susannah. Haven't seen her in a while and besides missing her, I wanted to take a gander at her new house. There to greet me was her cutie pie puppy Chewbacca or Chewie. Isn't he just adorable?  He even posed for a few pictures which is apparently not his normal behavior.

After a quick stop at Starbucks, we headed over to Brown Canyon for a little hike. I found it difficult to juggle both optics (bins and camera), so I compromised and used the bins on the way up and the camera on the way down. :) I think we did 4-5 miles in all in about 3 hours. My heel seemed to do pretty well - so far so good since that Utah trip is coming up quickly!

Signage near the trailhead.

Susannah is glad we're headed back (and so am I)
An old rusted stove by the side of the trail.
Here's the foundation of the building I'm assuming the stove came from.
A squashed bright green bug
And two live bugs doing I don't know what...

Storm's abrewin!

As we got back toward the trailhead, dark clouds moved in.

These ladies were just starting their ride
Hope they brought rain jackets!

A last look at the flowers at the Brown Canyon trailhead.

We got out before the storm hit and followed our stomachs to the SV Olive garden for lunch. After soup, salad and dessert (!) we decided to head back past Brown Canyon and up into Ramsey Canyon for a lazy look at some hummers. The storm had apparently raged for quite a while in that area as was evidenced by the now flowing stream. While nursing daydreams of buying the Ramsey Canyon Bed & Breakfast (how much IS that place going for???), we watched an aggressive male Magnificent hummingbird chase just about all the others away from the headers. I did get one or two good shots of the birds though, including the busy male himself.

Male Black-chinned hummer (and a honeybee)

Male Magnificent Hummer

Mag hummer feeding

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Thai Time!

So yeah, no hiking lately! What with DC finishing up his Master degree (he'll officially finish tonight! Woohoo!) and my stinkin' heel spur flaring up again, we just haven't made it out there. I'm not sure when we'll be able to go either since many of ou favorite spots are being closed (or destroyed) due to wildfire danger. :(  It looks to me like the Saguaro Park West trails are still open, so maybe soon we'll get there. I'm gonna give DC a weekend or two of sleeping in before I start getting him up in the dark on a weekend. He deserves it :) So, instead of a hiking update, here's a foodie post that I've haveon the burner for a few weeks...

Been on a Thai jag lately. I think it got started with this video a few weeks back from the soon-to-be-famous Vegan Black Metal Chef.



These fabulous Thai green curry tofu cakes from the FatFreeVegan site have also been on the menu more than once in the past few weeks. They are crunchy on the outside, smooth and creamy inside, and oh-so-yummy all over! I've made them both with fresh and frozen tofu and either way, they totally rock!

So I've been trying to come up with my own Thai-inspired dish. I want one that was low in fat and vegan, but still intense in flavor. That's not an easy order since I associate peanuts and peanut butter with Thai food and at around 16 grams of fat in one serving (2 Tblsp), peanut butter is off the menu until I can find a jar of Walden Farms calorie-free Peanut Spread. I'm interested to taste this stuff. The nutritional label looks like this(!!):



While I haven't had any luck finding that, I did have lots of success using coconut flavoring and soymilk to make a damned good substitute for coconut milk! Thanks again to the FatFreeVegan blog site. It was no easy thing finding coconut flavoring, extract or essence, but I eventually found it at Spices, Etc. Shipping cost as much as the actual bottle, but on the brighter side, they did send me a coupon for 15% off my next order and free Fleur de sel.

So looking around, I found a Heavenly Pineapple Fried Rice dish, but there were several things I needed to fix to make it a) suitable for my fat-free and vegan diet and b) tasty, more "Thai-ish". I just can't leave well enough alone! It goes something like this:



  • 1 small can pineapple chunks, drained
  • 3 c. cooked jasmine or long-grain brown rice, leftover or cooked and cooled
  • 3-4 T. vegetable stock for stir-frying
  • 1/2 onion, peeled and very thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-2 red or green chili, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 c. mashed soft tofu
  • 1/2 c. frozen peas
  • 1 small carrot, grated
  • 1/2 c. broccoli florets, cut in to very small pieces
  • 1/4 c. raisins or currants
  • 3 green onions, finely sliced including white & green parts
  • 1/3 c. fresh cilantro or culantro


  • 3 T. soy sauce
  • 2 t. curry powder
  • 1 t. peanut butter
  • 2 t. lime juice
  • 2 T. soymilk mixed with 1/8 t. coconut flavoring or extract OR use 2 T. coconut milk


  • Use your fingers to separate any chunks of rice into grains. Set aside.
  • Stir together the soy sauce together with the curry powder,  peanut butter, soy "coconut milk" and lime juice until smooth.
  • Drizzle 1-2 Tbsp. vegetable broth in a wok or large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add shallots, garlic, and chili, stir-steam until fragrant (1 minute). Whenever the wok/pan becomes dry, add a little stock (1/2 to 1 Tbsp. at a time to keep the pan sizzling).
  • Put the tofu into wok and stir quickly to cook.
  • Add the carrot and peas, and broccoli. Stir-fry 1 minute in the same way, adding more stock if needed.
  • Now add the rice, pineapple chunks, and currents. Drizzle the stir-fry sauce over and gently stir-fry to combine over medium-high to high heat until the rice "dances" (begins to make popping sounds) - about 3 minutes. Avoid adding any more stock from here on, or your rice will turn out soggy. The pan should be hot and dry.
  • Remove from heat. Do a taste-test for saltiness, adding a few shakes of salt or up to 2 Tbsp. more soy sauce, as needed.
  • To serve, scoop rice onto a serving platter. Top with green onions and cilantro. ENJOY!


Personal note: I had to keep the pineapple out until the end b/c DC is allergic to it. I fried it up separately in a small pan and then added it to my plate.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Mount Lemmon Lookout Trail

Lemmon Lookout Trail
Santa Catalina Mountains
Length: 5 miles round trip
Change in elevation: 1800 ft.
Time it took us: 5 hours (including breaks)

After last week's adventure and this week's rising temperatures, I thought it would be nice to escape the heat for a bit and ascend Mount Lemmon. It was a little bit of a problem though finding a trail that looked easy enough for us to venture on and not be out all day. Last night I finally found this trail which is just under 5 miles. Cool!

We started a little later than usual. David "slept in" until 6:40 and we were out the door by 7 thanks to my super-organized packing and loading last night. We made a quick stop at Starbucks and then made the long trek up the mountain. We were slowed a bit by the Mount Lemmon bike time trials, but it was really cool to see all the bikers out there cranking it up the hill.

We reached the trailhead at 8:30. The car's temperature gauge read a chilly 54 degrees! It was a beautiful day - nice breeze, fresh pine air, & lots of sunshine.
Lemmon Trail trailhead
The journey begins...

I brought my binoculars this week, so was able to do a little birding. In the parking lot we were greeted by several Yellow-eyed juncos. Those guys always seem a little creepy to me - I think it's the eyes. Shortly after we started hiking, we saw (rather I saw since DC was fighting with his camera) a Hairy Woodpecker, Hermit Thrush, and American Robin. It's always nice to see those robins :)

About 0.4 miles into the hike, we turned onto the Lookout trail and started heading downhill. For those of you who haven't hiked Mount Lemmon, it seems almost all the hikes start by going downhill and end uphill. So we went down and down and down and down! And not at a gentle grade either, no way, this sucker goes tippy toe downhill. All I could think about was how hard it was gonna be to get back up! Yikes! As we descended it also got warmer, but never too warm to be really uncomfortable.
Sign at the head of Lemmon Rock Lookout trail
Some interesting dried flowers
We had beautiful views
Still lots of evidence of the Aspen fire 6 years ago

We met this little guy about halfway down the trail
One spot had lots of marble rock
Some of it inlayed
After 2 hours of going downhill, we reached a little pool of water. We crossed it and the trail continued on, but it continued on without us. We looked at each other and decided that since it might take us at least twice as long to get back up and since DC still had school work to do, we really should turn around and head back up even though we could see the terminus of the trail "just over there."
Here's the pool near the end of the trail.

So we sat by the stream and had our snacks (carrots, crackers, grapes, and a Lara bar for me & Nutter Butter cookies, grapes, and a Power bar for DC). We were visited by several Red-faced Warblers which is a great treat! It was hard to get good pictures. They kept moving around, but leave it to DC, he got one that looks great.

One of the many Red-faced Warblers we saw in the area

Then we started the long walk uphill. We climbed past this huge rock. I saw something large moving on it and for a second I thought it was a large mammal, maybe a big horn sheep or a mountain lion, but when I put my binoculars on it, it was a rock climber. He moved too quickly from our side of the rock to the other that we couldn't get pictures of him :(

As I said before, we thought it might take up to twice as long to go back uphill. Honestly, it was a slog and DC was feeling the altitude, but we did make it eventually and it only took us 2 hours! Back at the 0.4 mile mark, we took a tiny detour that leads to the Lemmon Rock Lookout and the one-room cabin occupied by the fire service lookout.

I'm still smiling

Stairs up to the lookout
Lookout cabin
Views from the top of Mount Lemmon!
Another view of the lookout cabin.

A small manmade pool. A bath tub? A horse waterer?
DC wants everyone to know that he is NOT smiling at the end of this hike! This was all the smile he could manage.
Back at the car, it was still a cool 66 degrees at 1:30pm. Ahhhhhh! Afterward, we took the obligatory cookie and pizza trip to the Cookie Cabin in Summerhaven and enjoyed the fresh air, cool breezes, and sunshine a little more. Then we made our way down the mountain where it was MUCH warmer.