Celery and Potato Soup


I hate having leftover celery in our fridge. We almost always end up throwing some of it away. So, when I had most of a celery bunch left after making jambalaya last week, I went looking for recipes that had celery as their main ingredients. The one I settled on was a delicious looking celery soup from the blog Rachel Eats. If you have celery, potatoes, and onions you’re set! This is definitely going to be my go-to recipe for comfort food this fall. It is so smooth and full of flavor – and honestly much, much better than I thought it would be. Next time I’ll make a larger batch so that that I can save some for later.

I made a few changes to the recipe, and in the end I thought it would be fair to call it a celery and potato soup, since I used equal amounts of both. But if you have more celery lying around, feel free to add another stalk! The soup would still be absolutely delicious.

IMG_3012

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 6 stalks of celery, chopped – about 2 cups
  • 1/2 cup sweet onion, chopped – I love vidalia onions, so I added a little extra
  • 3 small to medium red potatoes, chopped – about 2 cups
  • 4 and 1/2 chicken stock or chicken bullion – I used the powdered kind
  • Salt and pepper
  • Heavy cream

Let the celery and sweet onion cook covered in a skilled with the olive oil and butter for 10 minutes. Add the potatoes and stir to mix. If you are using powder bullion, like I did, boil the water and mix in the spice in a separate pot after adding the potatoes. Add the vegetables to the pot and bring it to a boil before you turn it down to simmer, covered, for 20-30 minutes, until the potatoes are done and the celery is very tender. Then use an immersion blender to puree the vegetables, and add salt and pepper to taste. The powdered chicken bullion is quite salty already so I didn’t add any extra spices.

IMG_3081

Adding a dash of heavy cream to your soup to make it creamier is optional. You should try it both ways and see which you prefer. I ended up liking it better with cream, while Andy liked it best straight from the pot! Either way it is one of the best soups I have had.

Celery and Potato Soup

What is your favorite type of soup?

Day 12 – Arriving in Los Angeles


After a couple of days in Vegas we were headed to Los Angeles! We had planned on driving through Death Valley on our way there, even though it added a few hours of driving, but we decided that it was just too hot. In July the average temperature during the day is 116 degrees, with the record high being 134! After our extremely hot hike into Grand Canyon, that just didn’t sound like a whole lot of fun. So, even though we were excited to see the mystery of the sailing rocks at he Racetrack Playa, it would just have to wait until next time.

Andy’s uncle and aunt lives in LA and were nice enough to offer us a place to stay for the weekend, which was awesome. We got into town in the afternoon, and after a late lunch downtown we were ready to see the Hollywood sign! I’ve only been to LA once before, for a friend’s wedding, and we spent so much time on Hollywood Boulevard that it was too dark to see the sign. But I wasn’t going to miss it twice in a row.

We had no idea how to get there though. My first instinct was to type “Hollywood sign” into google maps on my phone, and it worked! You really should try it yourself, just to see the crazy layout of streets to the south. Not a single one of them is straight. You are driving uphill through a maze of houses and roads that turns sharply every 200 feet. It was actually a lot of fun, and our mind was blown when a firetruck with its lights on blazed through the narrow streets much faster than we though possible. You can’t actually drive up to the sign, but we had gotten really close when we came across a lookout spot with an amazing view of both the sign and the city. I think everyone but us had found an easier way up there, but we were happy to have gotten a good look at the neighborhood. After all, those were houses that most of us can only dream of owning. Especially in LA!

IMG_0496
{We took this while we were driving around, before getting to the viewpoint}

IMG_0509
{Can you imagine living this close to a major tourist attraction?}

IMG_0520

IMG_0525

IMG_0547

We spent the night catching up with Andy’s uncle and aunt over a cold beer.

Day 10 and 11 – Las Vegas


After spending a day resting in Grand Canyon we got up and drove to Las Vegas! I unfortunately didn’t take a lot of pictures while we were there. We’d been to Vegas before and had plenty of pictures, so I didn’t really want to carry my camera around. And after our exhausting hike into the canyon we just wanted to relax, have fun, and …uh… drink and gamble. It’s not like we hadn’t deserved it at this point, right?

So we had an unhealthy couple of days of eating In-N-Out burgers, refilling frozen drinks at Fat Tuesdays, and trying our luck at the craps tables. We didn’t lose anything we hadn’t already won, and Andy even joined a small poker tournament; for a little over an hour.

IMG_0470

Oh, and did I mention we slept in a regular bed? And had our own bathroom with a shower?! There was even a tv! You won’t believe how great that felt after sleeping in a tent for the past week. It’s a lot of fun, and I love being outdoors, but it makes me appreciate the small pleasures of having your own room even more.

IMG_0481

Las Vegas really is hard to describe. It’s like a different world that’s never asleep. It’s probably the most eccentric place I’ve ever been, with street drinking, half naked people, and bright lights everywhere. I would hate living there and yet I love coming to visit! There’s so much to do that I never have a dull moment. It might just be that I’m attracted to anything strange, different, or exciting, but I’m already looking forward to the next time I’ll be able to walk the strip with a frozen drink in hand, staring at everything going on around me. It might be silly, but me and Andy watched “What Happens in Vegas” on our first date six years ago, and that has definitely contributed to my love of this city – especially when we’re there together.

And the shows! They’re not cheap, but it’s still worth it. You can never go wrong Cirque Du Soleil. The first show I ever saw was Kà when I was in Vegas at a conference in undergrad. When me and Andy were there for part of our honeymoon we went to three shows, one of which was Zumanity. This time we decided on seeing Kà, partly because we had a coupon and partly because it was so amazing that I really wanted Andy to see it. And it didn’t disappoint! I fully believe that is one of the most mind-blowing performances I will ever see.

Just check out this trailer. Isn’t it bizarre?

I did remember to take a few phone pictures in between all the drinks and fast food. Notice Andy’s luck on the slot machine!

trinemarie-las-vegas-2014

On a random note, did you know that they sell hard liquor at Walmart in Vegas? We went there to stock up on fruit and granola bars for breakfast and lunch, and ended up leaving with a fifth of vodka and a bottle of orange juice.

My 2014 Fall Must-Haves


Here are my 8 favorite items of clothes this fall. They are so versatile that I could easily wear them every day. I would also love to know what has made your list, so please leave a comment below – and if you’ve written a similar post feel free to add the link!

TrineMarie's Fall 2014 Must-Haves


1. A plaid shirt. This goes with just about everything! Wear it as-is over a pair of jeans, or layer it under a cardigan and jacket. It also looks great under a sweater with the sleeves, collar, and bottom of the shirt sticking out.
2. Boyfriend jeans. These are not only the most comfortable jeans you’ll ever own, they also look great when styled appropriately (and they go perfect with a plaid shirt). Just make sure you don’t buy a pair that completely drown you. Boyfriend jeans are supposed to be a bit baggy, but they should fit you well at the waist. I love them with rolled up legs and with a pair of classy pumps that balances out the tomboyish look.
3. A warm knitted sweater. This is a must for every fall and winter. My personal favorite is the cable knit sweater; it will keep you warm and cozy, and the knitted pattern gives a great texture to your outfit.
4. Lots and lots of scarves. A colorful scarf does a lot to spice up an outfit. I love them all, decorative, knitted, infinity scarves. During fall and winter I wear them instead of jewelry, because they really can be very fun and decorative. And, of course, warm.
5. A bright and colorful item. A lot of fall colors are dark – black, gray, and brown – and adding a little color to your outfits will make them much more cheerful. It will also stop you from blending in with the masses on cold and rainy fall days. It could be anything, but my favorites are skirts, scarves, or a loose fitting top – which is perfect for layering.
6. A dark red or purple nail polish. This has always been my go-to fall color. It is such a warm shade that goes with everything, especially the typical fall colors. It makes me think of changing leaves, fireplaces, and hot chocolate.
7. A wide brimmed floppy hat. I have yet to but one of these, but I love the way they look. With one of these you’ll never have a bad hair day again. Check out the endless ways to wear one here.
8. Riding boots. These are incredibly popular right now, and I bet you will see them a lot this fall paired with tights and long socks or leg warmers. They are the perfect addition to just about all everyday outfits.

I’m Ready For Fall


I am slowly starting to dress as though it’s fall, hoping that if I ignore these sunny days I will suddenly wake up to a crisp fall morning. Summer has always been my favorite season, but this year I am longing for boots and knitted sweaters instead. Too bad Minnesota doesn’t seem to agree with me, because it is still warm enough in the afternoon to wear sundresses and shorts.

So for today’s math department picnic I put on boots for the first time since winter. I’m in love with this simple pair that I got at Forever 21 the other day. Black, sleek, and comfortable. They will be worn a lot in the coming months.

trinemarie-purple-pants-outfit3
IMG_0028
Black boots from Forever 21
trinemarie-purple-pants-outfit

We had a fun day, and I got to know Andy’s coworkers and students a little better. The whole department is a very tight-knit group, and they seem to be welcoming us with open arms. Our two years here are looking better every day!

Video Of Our Grand Canyon Hike


After taking my first pole class in about 6 months this Wednesday, and then going to the second one on Thursday, I am now acutely aware of every single muscle in my body. Brushing my teeth takes a large amount of willpower and getting out of bed is excruciating. I’m still thrilled to be practicing again, though. I just hope my body adjusts to this new workout fast!

Since I had a lot of extra time on my hands yesterday and today – while sitting as still as possible so that I wouldn’t be in pain – I decided to put together a slideshow/video of our Grand Canyon hike. I took so many pictures that I would love to share, but yesterday’s post was already way too long. So I hope you enjoy this video instead!

Double-click on the video to make it full screen.

{The song is Sky Full Of Stars by Coldplay}

Let me know what you think! I’m starting to get used to Windows Movie Maker and I could definitely put together a couple of videos of some of the other places we visited on our road trip.

Day 8 and 9 – Hiking The Grand Canyon


This was, without a doubt, the most exhausting day of my life. And even though I’m not sure I’ll ever be willing to do it again, I still wouldn’t trade the memories I made for anything. Some parts of the day was absolutely, mind-blowingly fantastic, but it wasn’t an entirely positive experience. I can still clearly recall the times I just wanted to lay down and give up. The times I was so tired that I didn’t understand why I was doing this in the first place. (“Seriously, who thought it was a good idea to walk into a gigantic hole in the ground?”) However, looking back, even the worst memories of the hike makes me smile. I’m incredibly proud of our accomplishment, and I don’t regret it for a second.

First I want to make sure you know that we did a lot of research about this hike before we decided to go. It is highly discouraged to hike in an out of the Grand Canyon in a day, and even though we did it in 26 hours it can be extremely dangerous. Keep in mind that over 250 people are rescued from the canyon every year, and some die of heat strokes during the summer months. And, still, it is possible if you do your research, prepare properly, and never hike during the hottest part of the day (10am to 4pm). Or better yet, just go in the spring or fall when the sun won’t completely bake your brain. It is considered one of the most dangerous hikes in the US for a reason!

trinemarie-grand-canyon-hike-sunrise

There are two main trails into the canyon from the South Rim; where we were staying. The South Kaibab Trail and the Bright Angel Trail. Bright Angel is the most popular – especially for shorter day hikes – even though it is longer and doesn’t have as good of a view. South Kaibab is much steeper, but the view is spectacular! We decided to take one trail down and the other one back up, and since South Kaibab is shorter and doesn’t have any water stations, that is the one we picked for going down. I think this is the best choice both for safety (you need more water on the way up, and Bright Angel has several water stations) and for the view (since you get to see the sunrise on the trail with the best view).

IMG_0114
{The Oh Ah Point at sunrise}

I think we got up round 3am to eat and pack up our wet tent. We were both tired and grumpy, but by the time we had parked our car at the Backcounrty Information Center and taken the shuttle to the trailhead we were starting to wake up and get excited. We started our hike at 4:45 and stopped after about a mile, at the “Oh Ah Point”, to see the sunrise. The path was steep, but it was too early in the day for us to really notice it. Three other people took the shuttle with us, to see the sunrise and walk part of the trail, but they all turned back after about three miles – which is recommended for a day-hike (remember that the hike up is twice as strenuous as the hike down).

Grand Canyon Hike
Grand Canyon Trail Switchbacks

The hike down on South Kaibab took us almost exactly 5 hours. We could have shaved an hour off that time if we hadn’t takes so many pictures, but we weren’t in a hurry. I’m very thankful that it was a little overcast for two to three hours after sunrise, because as soon as the sun appeared the temperature skyrocketed! The first three hours had been perfect. It was nice and cool, and everywhere you looked the breathtaking view made you forget how far you had walked. I had a permanent grin on my face and eyes as wide as saucers. At first, when the sun came from behind the clouds, I was excited. The canyon lit up and the colors became even more vibrant. We sat down, turned our faces up, and enjoyed the heat for a bit. Then we had to keep going and within minutes I was longing for shade. We took brakes more often and drank a lot of water, but my face still turned bright red and I had a horrible, throbbing headache by the time we reached the bottom. And that was only after a couple of hours in the sun. I don’t even want to think about how I would have felt if the sun had been out all morning – because there is hardly any shade on the trail.

Grand Canyon from North Kaibab Trail
A tired hiker
Lizard in Grand Canyon

When we were a mile away from the bottom we met a couple on their way up. The woman was running ahead while the man walked far behind, looking like he was close to having a heat stroke. He had less than half a bottle of water left, so we offered him one of ours and reminded him that there was nowhere to refill his bottle in the next 6 miles. He wouldn’t listen to our warnings or take our water, and just kept going. He was already overheated and confused, and it was only getting hotter (this was probably around 10am). I don’t see any way he could have made it to the top. So we made our way down and told the first ranger we found about what had happened. He promised to call it in, and I hope they sent someone to help him.

IMG_0378
Bridge over the Colorado river

The first thing I did after we crossed the bridge the Colorado river was to stick my entire head in the cold water. It felt heavenly! My headache would unfortunately not go away, even after taking several headache pills. The thermometer at the campground showed 110 degrees in the shade (43 degrees Celsius), with a sign next to it saying that it felt like 120! And even though it was very windy we still had to stay out of the sun as much as possible. So, to stay cool we spent a lot of time in a stream that runs past the campground and into the Colorado river. That was the only time I couldn’t feel my headache. We also drank and ate as much as possible, and took a walk up to Phantom Ranch where we bought Snickers and hung out inside for a while. But the only time we were really comfortable was while we were sitting in that river.

IMG_0403
{Flushed, sweaty, and exhausted? Check, check, and check! We were finally at the bottom.}

IMG_0410

Our original plan had been to spend the hottest part of the day sleeping so that we could head back up around 6pm. We had brought flashlights for walking in the dark. But even though we relaxed a lot, and I nodded off for about 30 minutes, we were just too warm to really fall asleep. So we started our hike right before 9pm instead, after a few extra hours of resting. It got dark pretty fast, but it was actually kind of fun to walk in the light of our headlamps. The first mile is almost flat, but it goes through the sand at the south side of the river, so it’s still a tiring walk. We had brought Buff’s (one of my best purchases for this trip) which we kept dipping in the stream running close to the trail. It kept us relatively cool, but by midnight we were still completely exhausted after a very long day. We had finally gotten high enough to feel a cold breeze, and it almost got chilly when you were standing still. So we decided we needed a break, laid down our sleeping bag on a flat spot off the trail, and slept until 3am. I fell asleep as soon as my head hit the hard ground, and when our alarm went off (we wanted to make sure we could finish the hike while it was still cool outside) my headache was finally gone! I was thrilled.

At the bottom of Grand Canyon

We had rented trekking poles at the general store the day before, and they were lifesavers on this last part of the hike! During the first hour on our way into the canyon, until we got used to them, they were more of a hassle than a help. But afterwards we were more than happy to have them. And on the last leg of the hike I think they were holding me up more than my own legs were. I found a last reserve of energy once we passes the 3-mile marker. We were finally getting close! And then people starting passing us on their way down, shouting encouragements like “you’re almost there” and “way to go!” That helped keep my mood up, and we finished our 26 hour adventure in high spirits!

trinemarie-grand-canyon-hike-afterpic
{We’re done! Done, done, done… And exhausted.}

We spent the rest of the day napping and playing card games in our tent. We were tired and energized at the same time; so excited that we had actually gone through with it and still very relieved to be back in our campground.

Let me know of any hikes you’ve done yourself, or leave me the name of your favorite travel blogger. I love reading about other people’s adventures! Especially while I’m re-living my own trip from this summer.

How I start My Morning


I’m just stopping by to say good morning and share my delicious breakfast with you before heading out for another Norwegian class! My yogurt and granola is a strange mix of flavors, but it’s actually really delicious. And I have a much better morning if my breakfast is something to look forward to. Honestly though, I told Andy that something must be wrong with me to be in this good of a mood at 7 o’clock in the morning. If I keep this up I might actually become a morning person.

…no, that’s probably hoping for too much. But I’ll make the most of it while it lasts!

IMG_0129
{Strawberry and kiwi yogurt with my homemade granola and lots of blueberries. Yum!}

Today is also my first day in a new pole dancing class, and I’m very excited!

First Day of September


Today has been a different, yet awesome day. It’s the first time I’ve spent almost 8 hours at a school I don’t even go to. Concordia offers three different Norwegian classes, and as a teacher Andy is allowed to sit in on them for free. I managed to get myself an invitation too, and the teacher asked if I could help him out a bit since he actually speaks Swedish, not Norwegian. So I got up at 7 am – strangely awake and excited after only four hours of sleep – and we went to the first level class together. It’s for beginners and starts out with greetings and grammar, but it was still fun to do it together. It will make it easier for me and Andy to practice at home.

I had a couple of hours to kill before the second class, so I grabbed a coffee and started reading the book for the second level. It was a silly children’s book that actually made me chuckle a few times. I really have no idea how anyone but kids can have the imagination to write stories like this; it’s impressive. And it didn’t exactly help that the coffee for some reason made me feel horribly jittery; just like the way I felt after finishing my very first mocha six years ago. So, I was pretty nervous by the time I had to introduce myself to the next class, but it went well and we took turns discussing sections of the book.

It was a lot of fun to get out and meet new people. I don’t miss school, but I always loved the social aspect of it. So this is the perfect way to get that back without any huge commitment (and, hey! No homework). And in the third class I get to talk to people who have a pretty good grasp of Norwegian, and who can actually keep a conversation going. It kind of makes me feel closer to home, and it’s nice to be able to help out a bit too. Another nice side-effect is that I’ll be getting up early every morning. I’m hardly a morning person, but as soon as I’m actually awake I feel happy and motivated, and like I am getting more out of the day.

IMG_0121
IMG_0109
{By the way, did I mention that it’s always windy here?}

When my classes were over and Andy were done teaching I was in too good of a mood to just go back home. Fall is holding off just a little bit longer and the weather is gorgeous, so I talked Andy into going shopping. I should be all set for a new season by now! I am definitely looking forward to colder weather, warmer colors, and cozier outfits.

I hope your first day of September was as good as mine!

Day 6 and 7 – Grand Canyon


After our amazing day in Carlsbad Caverns we headed up to Grand Canyon National Park. This is a 10 hours drive and we wanted to get there and set up our tent before dark, so we spent all of day 6 driving. There is a small city called Tusayan right outside of the park, and since it’s in Kaibab National Forest you can camp there for free. We got there right as the sun started to set, and after we had put our tent up we drove to the store to stock up on groceries. We thought it would be cheaper there since national parks are known for their high prices, but we found out the next day that the prices were quite a bit better in the park – so keep that in mind.

trinemarie-gran-canyon-national-park-map
{Click on the map to see a larger version of it – picture source}

The next morning we got up early and checked in at Mather Campground right inside the park. We were too excited to sit still for long, but we parked our car and put the tent up before we got going. During our first trip to Grand Canyon – for our honeymoon two years earlier – we only saw a bit of the blue area in the map above. We had taken a tour bus from Las Vegas and only had a few hours to explore. We spent every second of it walking along the edge of the canyon, but there was a lot we didn’t get to see. So this time we started our trip by taking the red shuttle bus out toward Hermits Rest. The bus going out stops at every viewpoint while the one going back only stops at a few of them, so we made sure to stop at all the points we wanted to see on our way out. Oh, and remember to take a picture under the Hermits Rest bell – it’s supposed to be good luck. I think I might just believe that, because we had the best luck during the rest of our trip!

At first the weather was perfect, but soon clouds started coming in and there was rain and thunder in the distance. It never got all the way to us, but it made for some gray pictures. The shuttle buses also stopped taking people further out while there was a chance of a thunderstorm, so we followed the paths and walked for an hour or so until the shuttle started running again. Then we took it all the way to the end and bought ice cream while we were enjoying the view. It was windy and slightly chilly, but it didn’t matter to us. I know I said it last time too, but there is something so amazing and awe-inspiring about the Grand Canyon that simply takes your breath away. We were out there for hours and I don’t think we did much talking at all – we just stared. The pictures I took won’t do it justice, but this is definitely one of my favorite places in the world.

IMG_0010
trinemarie-grand-canyon-national-park2
Grand Canyon
{There are rails at the viewpoints, but everywhere else there is nothing keeping you from the edge}

trinemarie-grand-canyon-national-park

IMG_0009

We took the shuttle back to the village and walked over to the Backcountry Information Center. We were planning on hiking down to the very bottom of the canyon the next day and we wanted to ask the rangers for advice – which is something I would definitely recommend because they are incredibly helpful. And since we knew that a day-hike down and up again is highly discouraged during summer, we also wanted to ask if there were any last minute camping permits left. Without one you’re not allowed to stay the night in the canyon. Well, you are still allowed to hike at night, but you can’t set up camp and go to sleep. We weren’t planning on that but we wanted to have everything covered just in case. And we got one! During spring and fall it is almost impossible to get a permit if you’re not there when they open in the morning, but since it was the hottest month of the year and we needed one for a Monday instead of the weekend, we got lucky.

After a dinner back at our campground we had planned on taking the shuttle out to Yaki Point (the end of the green route in the map above) to see the sunset. We had read that it is one of the best places in the park to see it, and two rangers recommended it to us that same day. But on our way out we saw two huge elks eating right by the side of the road. We were were so mesmerized that we had to stop and watch for a while. I’ve never seen wild animals up close like that before. They clearly couldn’t care less about us, but we made sure to stay at a safe distance. That wasn’t the case for everyone else, though, and we left when some people started walking into the forest after them.

IMG_0186
IMG_0198

By that time it was too late to make it to Yaki Point, and we unfortunately never got the time to see it while we were there. We stopped by the viewpoint behind the visitor center, but you really couldn’t get a good view from there. It was probably for the best since we needed to pack and go to sleep early. We were getting up at 3 o’clock (I think) to catch an early shuttle in the morning. We had also talked to the campground host and gotten our reservation for the next night moved by one day, since we weren’t going to be out of the canyon until early the next morning. So we had to pack up out tent – in the dark – before getting on the bus.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...