There were adventures in paradise today.  Since we had kind of a late night last night (Seba woke up from his “nap” around 10 and wanted dinner), we took it pretty easy breezy this morning.  I planned a little hiking trip for us, which I rarely do, but it was a gorgeous morning, and it was not to be wasted!  Off to Kuliouou Ridge Trail we went!

I packed lots of snacks:  Trail Mix, a.k.a. Cheerios, almonds, and Craisins; bananas; mandarins; cherries.  I didn’t have time to put together energy bars, so we munched on a little bit of black bean brownie on the way.  They were actually much better than I thought yesterday, and I love that they are flourless and sugarless!

The trail head was at the end of a neighborhood, so we had to find street parking, but it was no big deal.  Now, for the longest time, the man of the house has been on me to break in my hiking boots.  I bought a pair of Columbia boots over three years ago, and have used them for an actual hike only once.  *It was my first time wearing them, and we hiked up this pretty major mountain in Chile called Cerro Pochoco.  I’m not used to inclines like that for one, and secondly, several hours on a trail going straight up and then straight down was a terrible idea in new boots!  Well, I dusted off those boots this morning and set out ready and willing to get them a little muddy.

The trail was easy enough, though in some places it wasn’t very well maintained, and we had trouble deciding whether we were following an actual path or not.  We were hiking for a while, but we really weren’t making any progress as far as any steep climbs, and we just kept going through a thick, forested area, the ground littered with festering fruit.  Swarms of mosquitoes–more like one giant cloud–were everywhere.  Naturally, I forgot the repellent.  Awesome. Considering it was supposed to be a ridge trail, we were hoping we’d just eventually climb out of the brush and into the sun.  Finally, after Seba started complaining, we decided to turn back, and at that point, at least God was merciful enough to send a little rain our way, and the mosquitoes didn’t seem to be hovering quite as much.  Unfortunately, Seba got the worst of it; he pretty much looks like one big welt, poor guy.

Once we made it back, closer to the trail head, we saw a sign pointing toward the Ridge Trail. We had actually been following the Valley Trail.  When we entered, we were scrubbing our boots on the boot brush left by the park service, and the sign was just next to it, and we somehow completely missed it.  The Valley Trail was fairly easy, lush and green (read: humid), but it was difficult to enjoy because of the bugs.  One day, I’ll learn my lesson!  All in all, it was still a decent hike, finishing at 1.5 hours, and with a sweat factor of 4.  Here are just a few photos from today’s catastrophe family outing!


On the way home from the hike, my sister called with a recipe she thought I might enjoy.  Butternut squash and peanut butter soup.  I don’t remember much about the recipe, other than the inclusion of the above ingredients and cumin.  However, after my late afternoon laps in the pool, and after we were swarmed with dark clouds, and after we were sufficiently chilled to the bone, I was in the mood for some soup.

Now, I’ve had a container of butternut squash for a while just sitting in my freezer.  Like, probably since Thanksgiving.  Don’t judge.  I don’t like the stuff.  I hung on to it in the hopes that I could pawn it off on Seba, but even he, the kid who loves all foods, wouldn’t touch it.  But there it sits.  And then I remember my sister’s phone call.  Big Sister to the rescue!  Thank you, Big Sister!  Here’s what I did with her inspiration:

I’d say I had about 3 cups of cubed butternut squash, which I boiled down.  As it was boiling, I made my peanut butter.  I don’t have peanut butter on hand, because when I buy it, I go through the entire jar in T-minus 3 days.  sigh.  So, I make it as needed, with water and peanuts. If you plan on keeping the PB for a while, grind only the nuts themselves, without water, because water makes it ferment very fast, especially when you add salt.  Almonds are just as temperamental.  But if you have willpower and live in the 21st century, just buy the stuff.  I made about 3/4 cup of peanut butter, and blended that with the squash, a little sea salt, black pepper, one huge clove of garlic, a tiny sprinkle of red pepper flakes, and chili powder.  It was a big hit over here.  At least for the boys.  I haven’t quite forgiven butternut squash for the trauma it has caused me in this life.  But, we may become friends after tonight.


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