hot air balloon rodeo

We went to Steamboat Springs in July and attended the 37th annual Hot Air Balloon Rodeo on an early Saturday morning. It was spectacular to see so many colorful balloons being inflated and then lifting off into the sky.

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reservoir ridge

We celebrated the Fourth of July by going for a hike at Reservoir Ridge Natural Area. These wild sunflowers made me smile as we climbed the long uphill trail.

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yogurt bark

Yogurt bark is a light, refreshing, and potentially healthy treat (depending on your toppings). I found this idea here, and there are so many ways you can tweak this simple idea for your mood or occasion.

I started with some plain soy yogurt, mixed in agave nectar to taste, and then spread the yogurt on a wax paper-lined baking sheet. Then I topped the yogurt with sliced strawberries, blueberries, and mini chocolate chips, and put the baking sheet in the freezer. After a few hours, the yogurt bark was frozen and ready to be eaten.

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The frozen soy yogurt is pretty hard, so you’ll need to allow it to thaw for a few minutes before trying to cut pieces for serving.

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medicine bow national forest

Over Memorial Day Weekend, we drove through the Medicine Bow National Forest on our way to Saratoga, Wyoming. There was still a lot of snow left at the higher elevations of the forest, which was really refreshing after the warm weather we left at home in Fort Collins.

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We stayed on the Saratoga border of the forest, at a small cabin at the Ten Mile Inn. We loved taking in the beautiful views around the cabin, and watching hummingbirds flitting around the inn.

saratoga, wyoming

Saratoga, Wyoming is a small town located in the Platte River valley between the Snowy Range and Sierra Madre Mountains. Downtown Saratoga is tiny but charming, reminiscent of a scene from a classic western movie.

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One of the highlights of Saratoga is the hot spring pool, which has no charge for admission and is always open! The pool was very hot while we were there (a quiet Sunday morning), and a sign warned that the water temperature may exceed 104ºF.

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There is also a smaller “Not So Hot Pool” next to the main pool, but that water felt similar in temperature to us. The hot spring pools are located by a small branch of the Platte River, which is nice for cooling off a bit between soaks in the hot spring pools.

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purple

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chocolate peanut butter coconut no-bake bars

It’s always a good time for no-bake cookies and bars, but summer is the season when I appreciate them the most.

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I mostly followed this quick and simple recipe, with a minor substitution of replacing the 1/2 cup honey with 1/4 cup agave. I made these bars in a 9″ by 9″ pan. I really enjoyed the little bit of crunch that came from the shredded coconut. One consideration if you’re serving these bars on a hot day: because of the significant coconut oil content, when these bars get warm, they can get goopy and melty.

the great stupa

The Great Stupa of Dharmakaya is a Buddhist monument to human kindness, located at the Shambhala Mountain Center in the northern Colorado Rockies. The journey there, and the Stupa itself, make for a beautiful day trip.

lemon ice cream

This lemon ice cream was so easy to make and delicious!

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  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 3 tablespoons agave
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • pinch of salt
  • lemon oil to taste

Blenderize the above ingredients, transfer the mixture to your ice cream maker, and serve with sprinkles if you’re feeling fancy!

my favorite smoothie

A chocolate peanut butter smoothie is one of those things that is so delicious, but so hard to look appetizing in a photo.

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I had gum graft surgery in November, so for two weeks I was on a mushy-food-only diet while my mouth healed. This smoothie was great for liquid nutrition for those two weeks, but I like it so much that I still have it for breakfast a few times a week. It’s super simple: a banana broken into a few pieces, enough nut milk to cover the banana in the blender, a big glob of peanut butter, and a spoonful of cacao powder. Bonus: if you use a frozen banana, this smoothie tastes like a chocolate peanut butter milkshake!