Friday, November 25, 2016

A Little Southern Hospitality

Hubby with Buddy Jeff Gebott

I have never been a food blogger, but I am today. 

When you have one of the best meals of your life, somehow you magically become one. My apologies to my mother, my mother-in-law, my grandmother and my husband's grandmother (God rest their lovely souls), but I just had THE best Thanksgiving meal I have ever eaten. 

Hands down.

My husband's high school buddy Jeff (whom he hadn't seen in 24 years) joined us high in the snowy Colorado mountains for Thanksgiving this year. Oh... And did I mention that he just so happens to be a famous award-winning chef? 

That's right. Chef Jeff.

It's nice to have friends in high places. Literally. So, when Jeff arrived at our mountain getaway and politely asked if he could take over our kitchen, we gladly handed it over to him. We sat like sponges and absorbed everything as he worked his magic.

If you haven't heard of him yet, I'm sure you will soon. 

Allow me introduce Chef Jeff Gebott, who recently competed in the 2016 World Food Championships.

And now--without further ado--here's a look at our Thanksgiving feast:

The Bombers:  Galaxy, Christmas Ale, Friek, and False Summit

Funkwerks Galaxy:
A Single Hopped Saison with passion fruit juice

St. Bernardus Christmas Ale:
Traditionally made by Trappist Monks in France and Belgium, this is a dark seasonal with a spicy, mint-like flavor profile exuding the tastes of warming alcohol, fermented molasses, apricots, licorice and marzipan that are highlighted by the perfect balance of brewing sugars

Odell Brewing Company Friek:
An ale fermented with wild yeast, tart cherries,
and raspberries, and aged in oak barrels

Elevation False Summit (My personal fave):
A seasonal quadrupel ale aged in Breckenridge bourbon barrels with aromas of dark fruits, vanilla, bourbon, caramel, oak and dark Belgian candi sugar

The Wine: 2013 Helfrich Vin D'Alsace Gewurztraminer

Golden yellow, floral and spicy, with delicate hints of rose petal and lychee fruit. Rich, full-bodied and well-structured, it reveals aromas of flowers, spices and exotic fruits, such as mango and passion fruit and develops with rich tangy notes that bring out the freshness of the wine.

The Turkey

THE most tender turkey I have ever eaten. Dry rub seasoned and smoked slow and low with cherry and hickory wood. Oh, but the gravy. The gravy stole the show. Brown sugar, mustard, garlic, and turkey drippings--think golden barbecue sauce--but still think gravy. Just trust me when I say this...

The Ham

Dry rub-seasoned, glazed, and smoked to spiraled perfection. Enough said.

The Dressing
Buttery and fluffy. We put beer in it. It was divinity.
Chef Jeff also made a pomegranate and persimmon compote and fresh cranberry-orange sauce with macerated oranges to go with. Delish.

Roasted Potatoes Ready for the Smash

A variety of Colorado potatoes including russets, yellows,
reds, and fingerlings. Roasted and smashed like a boss.

Bourbon-Soaked Green Beens

Bourbon, bacon, onions, and garlic cooked into a jam for these green beans.

Pecan Pie

To die for. Secret recipe--all I know is it has bourbon in it.
I was told he'd have to kill me if he told me any more info.

Now, please excuse me while I enter a turkey-induced coma.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 21, 2016

What You Can Learn on a Mountain

"There is no place so awake and alive as the edge of becoming." 
~Sue Monk Kidd, The Dance of the Dissident Daughter

You can learn a lot about yourself on a mountain.

Just ask Moses. Or Elijah. Or Abraham. When you get a view from the top, you can't come down unchanged. Very often, you are forced to leave your comfort zone. Very often, life and death are on the line. Very often, your faith is tested and you have to remove your sandals because the place where you are standing is holy ground.

God tends to reveal Himself on the mountaintop.

Sometimes it's a burning bush. Sometimes it's a sacrificial ram. Sometimes it's fire falling from the sky. Or sometimes, God provides you with a scathing glimpse of exactly who you really are.

The first time my husband took me skiing, I realized what a complete and total wuss I was. I absolutely spazzed out and hyperventilated at the top. I had to be dragged down the slope on my rear end.

True story.

In hindsight (pun intended), I see that I approached that mountain exactly how I approach life. As far back as I can remember, I have been timid, shy, and fearful. Afraid of dogs. Afraid of heights. Afraid of roller coasters. Afraid of airplanes. Afraid of failure. Afraid of confrontation. These things I have avoided at all cost.

That is, until now.

Recently, God has been calling me back up the mountain. I can feel Him gently leading me by the fingertips to the edge of a mighty precipice--to the steep rock face of a cliff. He is asking me to trust Him. He is asking me to take risks.

Some of you are right here with me.

I look to my right and to my left and I see you--wide-eyed and mystified with wonder--the wind in your face with your toes hanging over the edge just like mine. Not knowing what we will be asked to sacrifice but entirely confident that the God of Abraham will provide. Knowing full-well that the God who spoke to Moses from a burning bush and defeated the prophets of Baal with fire from heaven is the same God on this mountain with us now.

This is the place to be. This is where I want to stay.

Right on the edge of becoming. There is no place so awake and alive. God is not yet finished with me. He is not yet finished with you. And the One who began a good work in us will be faithful to complete it.

We cannot walk away unchanged.

I'm not exactly sure when it happened, but somewhere along my way back up this mountain, I unearthed a part of myself I never thought existed. I broke through hardened soil and tunneled down deep with picks, shovels, and trowels. I exposed long-lost artifacts and excavated treasures untold. I brushed away the dust and dirt and uncovered the rarest find of them all:


Monday, November 7, 2016

Rapunzel Syndrome

Once upon a time in a land not so far away, there was a beautiful girl trapped in a tower. The only way in or out was through a lonely little window. She would often fling her long, flowing hair out of the window and watch as her golden waves cascaded down in the sunlight like spun gold and were tossled about by the wind. 

But that's when things start to get ugly. That's when things get tangled. 

Because inside the tower walls, her captive heart grew colder and colder day after day as she daydreamed about a handsome young prince coming to rescue her--even though, all the while, she possessed the power to free herself.

Whenever she pleased, she could grab the pair of sheers on her bedside table, give herself a cute little pixie cut, rappel down the tower wall on a braided rope of her own hair, and make her getaway scot-free. But instead, she chose to pass the time by pointing fingers and placing blame. She became hardened by unforgiveness. Everything she did was tainted with the stench of resentment.

I used to be this girl. The damsel in distress. 

Waiting on my prince to come to the rescue--not because I couldn't save myself--but because I believed I shouldn't have to. I had Rapunzel Syndrome... and it was poisoning my fairy tale.

Sometimes I feel sorry for the poor prince. 

He had no idea of Rapunzel's lofty expectations. He didn't even realize he was letting her down (in all the wrong ways). The long-awaited hero was already defeated by no fault of his own even before the Once upon a time

He didn't have a fighting chance.

Once I had a spa day with Rapunzel (just go with it). We reclined in shampoo chairs. We had our hair lathered and rinsed and conditioned and detangled. We heard the latest salon gossip. We debated how many inches she should cut off and then I watched her eyes widen as those beautiful blonde tresses fell silently on the hardwood floor. I heard her exclaim to the stylist, "I don't know why I didn't think of this before."

Rapunzel always held the key to her own happiness. 

It was never dependent upon a handsome prince. 

I still believe in fairy tales, but I've never seen her since.