Sunday, February 27, 2011

A Sunday in the Park, and then, Supper

Today started out rather questionably. Due to time constraints, my weekend run was moved from Saturday to Sunday (today). But I was feeling some discomfort in my left knee, so I eased up on the pace a bit. That got me through the first eight or so miles, but I was eventually forced to walk. And soon even walking was too much for me, so for the first time I had to call my wife to come pick me up. Fortunately I was only a couple of miles from the house.

I think some of the power intervals I've been doing on my bike had something to do with the knee problems. Tomorrow's cycling workout is going to be a lot more low-impact.

Still, I didn't let that spoil our other plans for the day. I recently got a one-year National Parks pass from my work, and I'd been anxious to put it to use. So we had been planning to go up to Rocky Mountain National Park to do some sledding at Hidden Valley. My kids had never been sledding before, so it would be a great adventure.

We had lunch at the Estes Park Brewery, which is quickly becoming our go-to eatery in EP. My sister and family introduced us to the place when they were staying at a near-by cabin. Despite its beer-centric nature, it is really quite family-friendly and has proven plenty low-key each time I've been. We didn't have any beer this time, but the food, while not gourmet, is good enough to stand on its own.

After lunch we hit the slopes for a little while. My 5-year-old daughter gets intimidated by new things that she perceives as dangerous. She recently rode a horse for the first time, and was terrified. But afterward she couldn't stop talking about how great it was. Sledding turned out to be the same way. Fortunately it was my wife, instead of me, who forced her onto the sled the first time.

It only took one run down the hill for her to be convinced that sledding was a lot of fun. She was less convinced, later, when I told her that every good sled outing should include at least one crash. Maybe that's just because the crashes were my fault, and her mother always got them down the hill safely. I'm not sure she trusts me.

My 15-month-old son did pretty well with the sledding also, though he was much more noncommittal in his response. Luckily I didn't crash with him.

It's hard for little ones to keep warm, no matter how much you bundle them up. So we kept the outing short. But we're looking forward to using that Parks pass as much as we can in the coming year.

After we got home, my wife had to run out to the grocery store while I got started making supper. I've been reducing my meat consumption lately, and I'd already had two servings of meat for the day (turkey meatloaf after my run, and a bison burger for lunch), so we planned to have a vegetarian supper. There were roasted root vegetables (beets, parsnips, turnips, potatoes, and onions); a tabbouleh-inspired quinoa dish; and sauteed beet greens.

It all turned out really well, if I do say so myself. There are too many really good cooking blogs out there for me to want to compete, but I was really surprised by how good the beet greens turned out, so I'm going to present the recipe here. The strategy was based on recent efforts of sauteeing chard and kale.


  • 1 or 2 tablespoons of canola or olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 or so cups of coarsely chopped beet greens, stalks removed
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Put the oil in a large pan on medium heat. Add onions and cook for a few minutes, until they become tender and translucent. Add mushrooms and garlic, and continue cooking for a couple of more minutes. Add vegetable broth and bring to a low boil. Stir in the greens, add a few sprinkles of salt & pepper, and cover. Reduce heat and simmer until the broth is mostly reduced - perhaps 20 minutes.

I'd never had beet greens before, but one taste was enough to convince me that it should become part of our regular menu. And it's packed with vitamins A and C with a good bit of calcium and iron. Even my wife, who doesn't usually go for cooked greens, wanted a second helping.

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