Today my husband and I created a new tradition.  In Colorado we can participate in the great American voting ritual at our leisure.  We can opt to mull over the issues in the privacy of our own home and use mail-in ballots, take advantage of short lines and pleasant volunteers at early voting centers two weeks prior to election day, or we can wait in lines with the other procrastinators on election day.  We have tried the latter options.  I am too paranoid to trust my ballot to our imperfect mail-in ballot process.  We live in Fort Collins in Larimer County.  I voted at our County Government Center in downtown Fort Collins on Friday.  But today, we drove to beautiful Estes Park (also in Larimer County), Scott voted and then we tramped up to Bierstadt Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park to celebrate our civic participation.  We worked over the weekend so that we could enjoy the solitude of RMNP on a Monday morning.  We didn’t see a single person during our four mile hike.  Our car was the only car in the Park and Ride Lot.

I am a registered Democrat. But walking in the woods at 10,000 feet, in the shadow of Long’s Peak, and the majesty of the Front Range, I can understand being a Republican – a Teddy Roosevelt Republican, that is. Thank goodness he had the political will and foresight to create the national park system and introduce love of natural beauty and conservation to our country. Sure, he did some things that don’t make a lot of sense one hundred years later.  But none of us are perfect.

For me, I can think of no better way to keep the big picture in the fore, remember why I love being an American, strive to be a better, giving citizen, protect our little planet and relish the one life I’m lucky enough to have than to vote in Estes Park, Colorado.


Colorado Elm Fall 2008

I love the colors of autumn.  This year our Elm tree is particularly spectacular.  It inspired me to create a yellow dish – Quinoa stuffed Acorn Squash.  Of course the squash, onions and yellow carrots I used are from Monroe Organic Farms.  

Here’s what you need:

1 Acorn Squash
Maple Syrup
Olive Oil
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1/4 cup chopped carrots
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1/2 tsp Tumeric
Salt and Pepper
Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash
1 cup Quinoa, rinsed
1 and 1/2 cups stock – vegetable or chicken (just don’t use water if you can help it!)
1/4 cup golden raisins

Here’s what you do:

Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash

Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash

Preheat oven to 450.  Split squash from stem to butt and remove seeds (this sounds like a surgery I don’t want to have).  Drizzle 1 Tbs of syrup over cut side of squash.  Sprinkle salt and pepper over it as well. Place squash on baking pan and cook in oven while you prepare the stuffing.  Heat 1Tbs of olive oil over medium heat.  Saute onions, carrots and garlic until very soft and slightly browned.  Add tumeric and pepper.  Add quinoa and stock.  Bring to boil and then cover and simmer until liquid is soaked up and evaporated.  Add raisins and check flavors.  Add salt and pepper if needed.

Take squash out of the oven and spoon stuffing into the squash cavities.  Drizzle a little more syrup over the top and put back in the oven for 1/2 hour or until squash is soft and cooked through.