Peace and Solitude

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The peaceful solitude is perhaps what ultimately drives me to love Cross Country Skiing so much. That, and I’m borderline obsessed with winter! The fresh smell of crisp winter air, and the crunching of snow puts a smile on my face. Maybe its because I was born in the winter time?

We’ve been fortunate this winter to receive an abundance of snow fall to get out and enjoy the trails. The only downfall is that its been very cold so far! Temps have been flirting generally between zero and 15 degrees, but this past Friday and yesterday we were blessed with highs in the 30s and low 40s, so I took advantage!

Friday afternoon I secured my MN Ski pass for the season and headed out with my mom to some nearby trails. Going on a tight downhill we both took a small spill, but other than that we stayed sure footed, and went about 3 or so miles. The temps were in the high 30s so we had minimal layers on. It was so wonderful to catch up and spend time with my mom.

Saturday I woke up and headed to the local trails solo. Despite the gorgeous 38 degree weather, the trails were not very crowded (as indicated in the photo above). In the more open areas I worked on diagonal stride technique and double polling with a kick. I’m not ready for the Birkibener Classic anytime soon, but its a nice activity that gets me outside, out of the gym, and out of the house (most importantly). Once I got to the back wooded area I put on some of my favorite christian music and drank in all of Gods abundant beauty.

Being able to be in full peace and solitude in the woods was much needed especially this time of year.  Time away from the hustle and bustle of the season, the endless to do lists, and the re-organizing of the house. It was more than a great chance to clear my mind and become re-calibrated. I ended up going 5.5 miles and woke up today barely able to walk! (It “hurts” so good though!)

If it wasn’t for the sub zero temperatures today (20 below wind-chill) I probably would have been out there again today, but it looks like I probably won’t ski until next Saturday – especially since I go back to work on Thursday.

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(the next 5 hours)

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(the next 7 days)

Other than that – as you can tell I have a brand new blog! Its finally a collaboration between my 3 or 4 separate blogs all into one!

(Yay to me for finally getting E-organized. I was becoming an e-horder – eek)

Check under Categories on the right side menu to look up a certain topic. Enjoy!

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Oxtail Soup

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With Christmas coming to a close, and the constant getting together with family and friends, I thought now was as good of time as any to make soup. To me, there is nothing better on a cold winters night to eat than chili our soup and this soup is no exception. Hearty root vegetables are the real star of this dish along with the uncommon oxtail! This soup has been a family favorite for as long as I can remember. (small disclaimer – this soup takes all day to make, so don’t make any plans to do anything except chopping and peeling vegetables. I made this from 10am-5pm).

3-4 pounds of Stew Beef

1 Oxtail package

1 package of parsnips (peeled and chopped)

1 medium sized rutabaga (peeled and chopped)

2# of carrots (peeled and chopped)

6-8 potatoes (peeled and chopped)

1 medium onion (peeled and chopped)

1 head of cabbage (chopped)

Ketchup

Salt & Pepper to taste

Water

In an 8 or 12 quart stock pot fill with water 3” from the top.

Throw in the chopped onion, 2 bay leaves stew meat and oxtails and cook on medium to high heat covered.

Take out oxtails when stew is tender (approximately 3 hours later) and pick meat out of oxtails. Put back in stock pot.

Chop the head of cabbage, parsnips, rutabaga and carrots and add to stock pot. Cook for 25 minutes.

Chop potatoes and toss with salt then add to stock pot and cook an additional 25 minutes.

Add more pepper if needed to stock pot.

Add ketchup for color with vegetables.

Add salt & pepper to taste.

This will make about 5 gallons of soup, but its easily frozen and actually tastes better as time goes on.