A Study on Utah, Moab More Specifically

Sometimes when life gets a little mundane Morgan and I love to take Mini Vacay’s to go hiking or to just get away. They almost always are unplanned, last minute, and change fifty times before we actually arrive at a destination; much like our trip to Utah.

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Utah offers a dizzying landscape that changes rather dramatically every few miles. The landscape is one that is kind of mind-boggling and exciting. When we were driving I kept imagining wild horses running along the rugged dirt trails and into the sun-beaten dessert searching for adventure. Utah is known for Salt Lake City up north and Moab down south. But this time of the year in southern Utah the switch from alpine evergreen forests sprinkled with aspen to a rugged and sun-drenched colorful sea of sandstone cliffs, domes, and canyons is one that is truly awe-inspiring.

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This time of year, fall’s hues of rich reds, warm oranges, and sunburnt yellows seem impossible to overlook, especially when at certain times of day shades of rich purples pour over the silhouettes of the mountains like something you would see in a painting.

It is truly amazing, yet impossible to comprehend, wild rivers and erosive forces had once carved this land to create stunning rock formations you see simply by driving through the southern part of this wild and untamed state.

“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity” ― John Muir

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As Morgan and I made our way through Arches National park, I thought to myself, waking up at five in the morning to go running through the canyons, hiking on mountains, climb over gigantic boulders and now stroll over a rock bridge that dropped about ninety feet down was enough for one day, especially because I am afraid of heights. Yet, being at the top of the rock bridge watching condors fly below us I was calm. My heart seemed to stop feeling exhilarated by the beauty and overwhelmed by the height, I felt accomplished. Morgan looked back calling me to continue walking over the rock bridge, as I continued to step carefully across I thought, this is Utah.

My Simple Apple Crisp Recipe

The days seem to be getting shorter, the air seemingly cooler, and leaves are settling onto the ground like confetti left after a party, autumn is here. Perhaps some of you are not facing such realities, and 90-degree weather is still burning its way on and the season is not yet turning near you. Either way, nothing puts me in the autumn mood like baking, specifically baking with apples.

Whether you are already pulling out wool socks or heading to the beach on the weekend there is nothing like a homemade apple crisp that will bring warmth to your home. Not only does it bring in fall scents, it also combines my favorite fall ingredients in an easy way that doesn’t take a master baker to create. My recipe is fairly easy to make, and might just make you feel like a baking queen or king in your home.


I N G R E D I E N T S


5 pounds McIntosh Apples (the reddish yellowish ones)

Grated zest of 1 whole orange

Grated zest of 1 whole lemon

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

For the topping:

1 1/2 cups flour

3/4 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup oatmeal

1/2 pound cold unsalted butter, diced


M E T H O D


 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Firstly you are going to butter a 9 by 14 by 2-inch oval baking dish, making sure all the sides of the dish are slathered in butter.

Next you are going to core-and-cut the apples into large wedges, you are more than welcome to peel the apple first, however, I like the extra crunch that the peel takes on after its baked.

Finally, you are going to combine the apples, zest and juice of the lemon and orange, sugar, and spices into the dish. I always rub the juice, zest, and spices on ever apple just to make sure they get coated well. Sometimes depending on how large the apples are and how much of them are covered I will add a little more spices to them as needed.

The topping is equally as easy to make, first, you simply combine the flour, sugars, salt, oatmeal, and cold butter in the bowl of an electric mixer. If you don’t have an electric mixer a fork, spoon, or even your hands will work fine. You’re going to want to mix at a low speed or by hand until the mixture is crumbly and the butter is about the size of a pea or dime.

Then you simply scatter the mixture over the tops of the apples until its coated. I usually make extra crumble if I need to because it’s the best part.

You’re going to let it bake for about an hour or until the top of the crust is brown and apples look bubbly. Then you can serve it warm with a side of vanilla bean ice cream and your good to go!

Road Trips: 5 Tips and Tricks

Maybe it’s the slight chill in the fall air, or strolling down the street in new Keds; but there is something magical about fall that makes Californian’s realize, they need to travel and take off for a week before the holidays hit. While plane trips are the easiest ways to travel and my personal preference, there is something to the finesse and nostalgia to a road trip that can’t be beaten.

A few weeks ago we decided to take a little road trip from the cool fog of San Francisco to the sun-kissed beaches of Los Angeles. However, after hasty preparation, we decided there are five essentials to make any road trip go smoothly.

1. Get your car checked out.

DO NOT skip this step, even if you don’t manage to take your car to a local express shop (Jiffy Lube), make sure to do a self-check to ensure everything is in great condition. Pop the hood and take a peek inside,

Engine Battery: The terminals on the cables for you batter tend to carry extensive corrosion, with a simple cleaning regularly, you will extend the life of your expensive battery, alternator, and starter.

Tires: Check how worn down your tires are, this is so important especially if you are driving long distance, but also should just be regular maintenance on your car. One way to do this is a penny test, just take a penny and with Lincoln’s head upside down, put it between the treat blocks of your tire. If you can see the top of Lincoln’s head, it’s definitely time to go tire shopping.

Window Washing Fluid and Oil: Levels should remain full, if possible take your car in to get a quick oil change if you are able to top off the oil and window washing fluid before you head out.

Most of the time you are aware of your car and when it seems like it’s driving funny or making weird sounds. I always trust my instincts and just double check if I’m ever unsure. You may find that something is amiss that you have been putting off. Always better to just check, there is nothing worse than driving in the middle of a town you are unfamiliar with in the middle of a rainstorm to find out your windshield wipers are useless.

2. Pump up the jams.

I am such a huge fan of Apple Music if you don’t have a subscription you definitely should. However, for the cool folks out there who have other smartphones, I recommend having a few music apps downloaded on your phone, a few playlists created, and some backup CD’s! Especially if you are taking a super long road trip, make sure to have a really good variety. Also remember, reception can be spotty which is why saving music directly to your phone, downloading podcasts ahead of time, or reliving the days of your youth with some CD mixes are a sure-fire way of ensuring you have access to music.

Here are a few of my top faves to get bring along to your next trip…

3. Gather all “the things.”

I love all “the things,” especially when I’m in a car for too long. For some reason whenever I’ve been on a road trip I turn into this weird person who must have hand sanitizer near them at all times and random things like exfoliant and nail files and what not.

However, if you are more normal, make sure to have a car charger for your phone, snacks, bottled water, jumper cables, AAA card, paper towels, hand sanitizer, flashlight, pocketknife (so handy at the most random times).

Also, impromptu wine and beer nights call for the corkscrew and bottle opener from that pocketknife. I also wanna say, depending on how casual you are about this road trip it can always be a good idea to bring some folding chairs and a tent, you can never be too prepared for those perfect spots along the beach or forest that are too picturesque to pass up!

4. Be positive.

There is nothing worse than starting a trip with people already annoyed with being on a road trip. Hours and hours of people sleep deprived in a car will toss you some of the worst shade ever. Attitude is everything, and there’s nothing better than people that work well together, and consider the feelings of others in each and every situation that will ensure a good trip.

Never be afraid to speak up if you want a song change or are too sleepy to drive.

5. Be open.

Maybe it’s being cramped in a car for so long, but there is something really special about being able to open up and talk that a road trip sorta brings. It could possibly be because the person listening can’t leave, but it also means you can really share your heart, dreams, and passions as well as learning more about each other. Sometimes car rides are the best times to just talk and enjoy delirious laughter and heartfeltconnections.

Bon Voyage, take tons of photos/videos, and cherish the new sights and memories!