Ever since my husband took me on our first date to Estes Park, this quaint mountain town nestled in the Rocky Mountains has had a special place in my heart. Once you add snow to the mix, this beautiful backdrop becomes a majestic destination we love to escape to for the day.
With our recent snowstorm, Estes Park was covered in a fresh layer of white fluffy snow. But before we hit Rocky Mountain National Park, we stopped at our favorite restaurant in town – Ed’s Cantina. If you haven’t eaten there, YOU HAVE TO TRY IT! In the winter, the Buffalo Stew is a must! But if it’s summertime that’s calling, I suggest the Chicken Lime Tacos or a burger piled high with tons of pickles – it’s the only way to have it!
Inside the park we headed to Bear Lake, which is one of our favorite spots at any time of year. With all the fresh snow, the lake was completely covered in a fresh blanket of powder. The silence that echoed throughout the area almost allowed you to hear the creaking of the tree bark as it struggled to hold the snow among its bounty. And even with the ice warnings clearly marked, people had braved the frozen cover and walked across this open canvas.
On the way home, we took an alternative route down the Big Thompson Canyon and were guided down by the moon.
Growing up, my mother often tried out new casserole and soup recipes that she would test on the family. (Actually, sometimes I think they were recipes, and other times they were leftovers from the fridge thrown into a pot.) Nonetheless, I grew up delighting my taste buds to recipes that wafted through the house as they simmered from the stove top.
It wasn’t until recently when I was combing through my recipe box that I came across mom’s Hamburger Soup recipe. It’s kind of a “throw everything in a pot” recipe, but it certainly warms my soul on a cool winter evening with its mixture of hamburger, veggies and potatoes. The hubby even gave it two thumbs up when I made it for him the first time.
2 pounds ground beef, browned
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup chopped potatoes
1 cup chopped cabbage
2 cans diced tomatoes
1 cup fresh sliced mushrooms
¼ cup rice
3 teaspoons salt
¼ cup vinegar
Combine all the ingredients into a crockpot. Add about 1 cup water to the mixture – more if you like it more broth-based. Cook for at least four hours on low.