Top of the mountain
Can you spot the Queen City Skyline in the distance?
After lunch we met our friends to drive down to Crowder’s Mountain. Matt and I hiked there twice before – once by ourselves – two years ago!! – and once with my parents. [My how the blog times have changed!!]
Today was just as fun and just as hard!
We started out swiftly
Happy little leaves
Matt found a VINE and TOUCHED IT! Thankfully it was a Tarzan vine and not a hairy one
The first 2.8 miles looked like this:
And then we began our ascent
It was straight up for a good 10 minutes to the top
We were quite sweaty when we arrived because it was quite hot out today as well!
Diana made these amazing Ina Garten granola bars for the summit. Packed in a tea box!
I was starving and devoured mine. It was THE BEST homemade granola bar ever!! Tasted like a vanilla buttery cookie. Diana says she made a few healthy swaps (chia seeds anyone!?) and HERE is the RECIPE!
On our decent, the terrain got rocky!
We went up to go down
And finally we were back. About 6 miles later!
My legs are VERY tired and I couldn’t wait to fill them up with chili!
While we were gone, we cooked a bag of dried kidney beans in the crock pot. We had soaked them overnight and then set them on low around noon today to soften. When we got home, I had a message from Angela L. reminding me that kidney beans can’t be cooked from dry in a slow cooker because they have a toxin called phytohaemagglutinin that becomes even more toxic at 175*. You must BOIL kidney beans (don’t worry, canned are safe). SO, our slow-cooked beans got dumped into a dutch oven and boiled for 10 minutes. I worried they would overcook and be ruined, but this soup turned out amazingly delicious!!!
We didn’t know what to make and I suggested Eat, Drink & Be Vegan’s Cocoa Coconut Chili, which I made last year and LOVED. Turns out we had most of the ingredients on hand! [I highly recommend this cookbook as one of very few that I actually consult for recipes]
It was JUST as good this year!! I still proclaim it the best chili ever!! SOOO CHOCOLATY!! Yet still savory. This year I used the Scharffen Berger cocoa powder I got at BlogHer Food. Amazing. I have been nothing but totally impressed by everything chocolatey this company makes.
Plus lots of spices and frozen corn. And Food Should Taste Good Lime chips! I think we almost ate the whole bag…
Somehow the rest of this giant beer made it onto my placemat!!! I probably had 4 oz or so. It was good!
So it wasn’t a crock pot meal, but the dinner still turned out awesome. If anyone has any amazing top 10 crock pot recipes, please share them below! Must be a top 10 favorite though!
I’m going to veg out because starting tomorrow I’m working hard all week to try to write my due research papers. If I can finish them both by Friday, I’ll be home free until finals