Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Goldmeyer Hot Springs 2 Day Hike; Dinner Menu: Sour Cream Cheese Puffs, Spicy Shrimp and Spaghetti and a Heath Bar Pound Cake

7 of us started hiking towards Goldmeyer Hot spring in Washington state this past Saturday for a 2 day hike. 1 of the hikers was only hiking part way for the day hike only. Our plan for the hike started out as 5 miles in, set up camp, soak in the natural hot springs, make dinner, play cards and talk, wake up the next morning, re-soak in the hot springs, pack up camp and hike back 5 miles to the vehicles.

Funny how life and nature have a way of their own!A 5 mile section of the road was closed due to road wash-outs just before the hiking trail began. We did not know this since the closure was not posted. Second, if following the closed road all the way to the Goldmeyer Hot springs site, the hike would have been an additional 5 miles. Well, this is a hike and we felt the road would not be as scenic as the trail. Come to find out, again not posted, the trail was about 10 miles long (alone) and washed out by previous ragging rivers from floods in the past! What was suppose to be a leisurely 5 hour hike turned into a 8 hour hike Saturday. The weather WAS perfect for hiking and our scenery provided by nature could not have been any more gorgeous but many of us were carrying a 40 to 45 pound backpack for the first time along with conquering boulders, fallen old growth trees and slippery rivers that had washed through the path. Some of us carried hiking poles; I did not and now know better!We all stayed in good humor and worked to keep each other's focus positive and happy. Our bodies were beyond fatigued but what we saw in our surroundings was awe-inspiring and memories I will keep with me forever! Some of the downed timbers we had to either climb over, under or around were gigantic monuments to nature. Even though we were all grumbling towards the end for each new tree we had to maneuver because of aching muscles, we never lost track of the beauty we were surrounded by.
Some of our bridges were chipped out of these old, amazing trees.When we finally "did" arrive towards the end of our 1st day of hiking (amazing how we all gained our third or fourth wind at this point) we had to scale 3 logs. Where each log ended, the next one began for us to balance on while crossing a river bed.By now, it is evening. We started driving towards our hike at 6:45 in the morning, arrived at a carpool junction by 7:45, started out as a combined group in several cars and arrived at our hiking destination by 9:30 and actually started hiking by 10 a.m. When we arrived at the hot springs, we were look at around 6:15 p.m. All of us pitched together and set up camp first. Then, after checking in, made the last 1/4 mile hike up a steep hillside to get to the hot springs. Without our backpacks, we must have flew up the hill because I honestly do not remember struggling to get to our destination: Sitting in pools of hot water to soak our sorry muscles. The pools were a little smaller then I thought they were going to be but all 3 pools were etched in the rock with one pool actually in a cave setting.The pools are hard to see here but I was getting to tired to take pictures, sorry. Below is the changing area.Next to where we were soaking, there was a steep river/waterfall with huge boulders along the river path and loud, rushing water. This picture is way at the top and to the side of the river. Back at camp on Sunday, we had endured rain overnight and all our belongings were wet. Carrying everything back meant another heavy load because of being soaked. We may have done this hike a little to early in the year.We were not allowed to have a campfire and the only way to cook was by propane heat. Needless to say, Sunday, all of us were pretty cold until we started out hike home. I would also like to add that none of the group had any problem hiking the road back to our vehicles. We still had a 5 hour hike in the pouring rain with our sore muscles lugging heavy backpacks but we knew we were headed HOME! The adventure was amazing and even though we learned what endurance truly was for each of us personally, I still believe we were all happy that we made this trip.
Dinner menus are what help me stay organized in the kitchen. I try to make my menus out the week ahead but leave myself open to try something else if the mood strikes. The mood strikes quite often, which is okay because I just keep my meals in the list and make them as I get to them.
~ Sour Cream Cheese Puffs
Main Course
~ Spicy Shrimp and Spaghetti tossed in minced Garlic and Sweet,Fruity Olive Oil
Tomato and Onion Salad
French Garlic Bread
~ Heath Bar Pound Cake
Sour Cream Cheese Puffs

1 pkg. (8 oz) cream cheese,softened
1 c sour cream
1/3 c finely chopped sweet red pepper
1/4 c finely chopped onion
2 tsp lemon juice
3/4 tsp dill weed
1/4 tsp pepper
2 tubes (12 oz.ea.) refrigerated buttermilk biscuits
1/4 c minced fresh cilantro
In a small bowl,beat cream cheese,sour cream,red pepper,onion,lemon juice,dill and pepper till blended.
Cut each biscuit in half horizontally;press into greased miniature muffin cups. Place rounded Tbs. of cream cheese mixture in each cup.
Bake at 375 for 14-16 mins. or till golden brown.Sprinkle with cilantro. Serve warm.
Spicy Shrimp and Spaghetti tossed in minced Garlic and Sweet, Fruit Olive Oil
Spicy Shrimp:
2 pounds jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 lemon, juiced
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley (a couple of handfuls)
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
4 cloves garlic, crushed and peeled
Coarse salt, about 1 teaspoon
2 tablespoons (a couple of generous drizzles) extra-virgin olive oil
Aglio Olio:
1/4 cup (4 turns around the pan in a light stream) extra-virgin olive oil
1 (2-ounce) tin anchovy fillets
6 to 8 large cloves garlic, crushed and minced
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 cup finely chopped flat leaf parsley, a couple of handfuls
Coarse salt
1 pound spaghetti, cooked to al dente
Combine shrimp with next 6 ingredients and toss to coat shrimp evenly.
Heat a large, nonstick skillet over medium high heat, then add half of the shrimp. Cook shrimp 3 minutes until pink and just firm. Remove shrimp to a warm platter and repeat process with remaining shrimp.
Return pan to heat and reduce heat to medium low. Add 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil. Add anchovies, garlic, and pepper flakes to oil. Break up anchovies with a wooden spoon until they melt away into the oil and garlic mixture.
Toss spaghetti in the pan with parsley and the garlic oil, then season with a little coarse salt, to your taste. Top servings of garlic and oil spaghetti with spicy shrimp and serve with Tomato and Onion Salad and Crusty Bread.
Cook's Notes: Prepare the shrimp while the pasta is cooking.
Prep your garlic and parsley for aglio olio and set them, as well as drained pasta and remaining ingredients all within arm's reach of your stove top.
The aroma will be intense! Cooked anchovies have a salted-nutty (rather than fishy) taste that compliments the garlic as it sweetens and softens.

Tomato and Onion Salad
5 medium plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise, gently seeded, and thinly sliced
1 small white skinned onion, peeled, halved lengthwise, and thinly sliced
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley (a couple of handfuls)
A generous drizzle extra-virgin olive oil, about 2 tablespoons
Coarse salt and black pepper
Toss the tomatoes and onions with the chopped parsley, oil, salt, and pepper. Let stand while you prepare dinner, about 20 minutes. Re-toss and serve salad with crusty bread for mopping up juices and oil.
Heath Bar Pound Cake
Note: This recipe is delicious but I forgot to take pictures and I feel just terrible about it. I will have to bake this again and come back to post the pictures =o)~!
1 stick butter
4 oz. cream cheese
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 T. vanilla extract
1 cup flour
1 heath bar-ground in food processor or blender
¼ cup light brown sugar
In a medium bowl, mix butter, cream cheese and sugar together until smooth. Add eggs and vanilla; stir together. Add flour; mix well. Combine ground heath bar with brown sugar. Grease glass loaf dish with butter; coat bottom and sides with sugar mixture. Pour batter into loaf dish; sprinkle with remaining sugar mixture. Bake in preheated 300 degree oven one hour to one hour and ten minutes until knife "just" comes out clean.

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