Happy Memorial Weekend!
It’s been a beautiful, gorgeous weekend. I hope you all had some fun things to do!
Zoe and I took some time to drive down with a bunch of friends to Zion’s National Park. We got to go see some pretty epic places! On Saturday, we were able to go hike “angel’s landing”. This involves a walking up a narrow, steep trail. It’s only a 2.4 mile hike up the mountain, but for those who are scared of heights – you can actually get up to 1500 feet elevation from the canyon ground.
Before I left, I had heard about this rather “difficult” hike. Not being a professional or experienced hiker, I was so so so worried. When we got to the trail head and I looked up to get a good view of the mountain, simply stated – I was in shock.
Being a city girl and having previously lived on 38th floor of a skyscraper, I thought heights was the last thing I would worry about! But boy this was high! I gulped. And took a huge breathe. Then we started.
Honestly, it was terrible. Or rather, a nightmare. My calves were killing me and I was completely breathless. I just took one step at a time, never letting myself look up to see how much more I had to go or even look down because we were really, really high up. 1,2,3…I just kept counting. Everyone around me was huffing and puffing…this was a real challenge!
But just like life, good things always come after bad ones. And let me tell you the view was absolutely worth it. It was stunning. The world below seemed boundless, limitless and expansive! The various greens, reds, browns of things I could barely make out seemed to form a unique swirling pattern. From above, I could see all the rivers swirling and intertwining in its shades of blues and greens.
The blazing midday sun was beating down on everyone and huge drops of sweat dripping down my neck. But it felt so good. I looked proudly down below. It was simply breathtaking.
The hot weather was unbearably so after a long hike we decided to find a small lake to swim in. At first glance, the land looked dried up but we had a good ole’ GPS on the iPhone that directed us to a waterfall that was 1 mile inwards. We were all exhausted from the morning hike, and last thing I wanted to do was walk an extra mile. But with the insistence of my friend we decided to go. After walking about 3/4 miles, and climbing over two ginormous rocks to the point where I was going to give up we finally arrived. Then I saw it.
There was a small lake filled with pristine water. Vast boulders and layers red rocks encased us, creating loud echoes from the gushing waterfall. The sun was still out and reflecting brightly on the surface of the clear lake. White, fine sand and rocks dotted the edge of the lake..and best of all there was no one there. All was serene and untouched. It was like we had found our own secret, private lake.
I gingerly dabbed the water with my bare feet. I was surprised to find it so cold. Despite my hesitations, I followed the counsel of my peers and courageously jumped into the lake. I could only describe it with two words – freezing and refreshing! We used the smooth edges of the moss covered rocks as our water slides and the large boulders as our tanning beds. It was like I had tuned the clock back to when I was 5 years old. When we were tired we just laid out on the rocks to dry and to bathe in the warmth of the sun.
It was a perfect way to end the long and tiring day.
I never have been a big fan out the outdoors. Anyone that knows us knows I am not the girl to do anything like this. I love cuddling in my bed and I love watching a good movie.
This trip was something I rarely ever did. And although it was out of my comfort zone, I have no regrets. I realized how much of the world I haven’t seen. I realize just how much beauty I have yet to appreciate. As I looked around to soak in the unbelievable scenery, I can was able to feel God’s presence and peace amongst his majestic and wonderful creations.
It was an incredible trip, but it was also good to be back home – clean and relaxed. Something about being away camping really makes you miss the comforts of home. So Zoe and I enjoyed this delicious “spiced” beef curry for Sunday night and it was delicious. With a bowl of warm curry in my hands, I sat the kitchen table enjoying the cool evening breeze as the reminiscences of my weekend vacation flashed through my mind. I closed my eyes to recapture – just for a brief moment- the feeling I had at the top of the mountain and the feeling of jumping into that clear lake. It was a once in a lifetime experience.
Pushing beyond my limits allowed me to see and understand more of myself. It takes courage and patience but it is so worth it. This weekend I think I was able to see more of a side of myself I had never known before.
I am grateful for these experiences and beautiful moments that allow me to rediscover myself. Sometimes, we need that.
I hope you all enjoy the rest of your memorial holiday and this delicious recipe! What have you done this weekend that was fun?
Adapted from Seasonsandsupper
Ingredients – serves 9
- 3 lbs, well-trimmed stewing, boneless stewing beef
- 3 cinnamon sticks (or 1.5 tsp ground cinnamon)
- 3 large cloves garlic, chopped
- 3 large onions, sliced
- 2 bay leaves
- 9 whole cloves (3/4 tsp ground cloves) –> I omitted this since I didn’t have any around!
- 1/4-1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- 3 – 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes, with juice (or drained and add 1.5 cups beef broth)
- 2 1/4 cup coconut milk (or use a mixture of coconut milk + dairy-free milk)
- 4 1/2 tbsp mango chutney
- 4 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tbsp curry powder
- 3 tbsp peeled, fresh ginger (little less than 1/2 tsp ground ginger)
- 3/4 tsp salt
How to Make:
- Cut beef into 1″ chunks. Pat dry. Season with salt and pepper.
- In a heavy, large pot over medium heat. Sear the meat on all sides, so you get a nice brown color. Make sure you do it in batches. This will take couple of minutes per batch. Set aside.
- Add onions and saute till tender.
- Add in the spices : bay leaves, garlic, cloves, dried red pepper to release the flavors for 1 minute. Mix in the beef.
- Next, pour in the coconut milk, canned tomatoes, chutney, curry powder, ginger and salt.
- Bring to boil, then reduce heat. Cover and simmer for about 2 hours or until beef is tender. Stir occasionally to make sure it doesn’t stick to the pot.
- Once meat is tender, uncover and turn up heat to medium-high to reduce the sauce.
- Taste and adjust seasoning. Add more curry powder, salt, pepper or other spices to taste.
- Serve hot/warm with rice or cauliflower rice and a extra sprinkle of coriander.
Slow Cooker: Alternatively, you could probably do this in a slow cooker! Just make sure you brown the meat first before you throw it into the crockpot with all the ingredients in. Remove the lid at the end to allow the sauce to simmer and thicken.
Mango Chutney: apricot jam, marmalade are great substitutes
Zoe & Mia
(This post is featured on What’s Cookin’ Wednesday, Allergy Free Thursdays, Gluten Free Fridays, Bloom Designs Online, Cooking and Crafting with J&J, Pinworthy Projects Party and artsyfartsymama, Homesteader Hop)