Cookout at the Cabin

Another wonderful thing about being in the mountains is that the food somehow tastes even better.  I have no idea how this works, but after a long hike or even day on the slopes in the winter, nothing sounds better than some homemade cooking.

When we were little, my grandpa would pick up doughnuts to accompany our large breakfasts and coffee for all the adults.  While we have done away with the doughnuts and large breakfasts, everyone seems to have their own food preferences, so pancakes, eggs, and bacon, no longer work, but the coffee remains a constant.   Yes, there are two Starbucks in town, but the best and really only place to purchase your coffee or really any beverage, is at Looney Bean.

Looney Bean is a local coffee company with locations in: Mammoth Lakes and Bishop, CA, as well as Bend, OR, Montrose, CO, and even Mazatlan, Mexico!  Who knows how they do it, but their vanilla lattes are to die for.  I tend to order the same drink everywhere I go (hot or iced nonfat/”Skinny” vanilla latte), yet at each location, I can notice the difference.  It’s amazing that just the use of a different coffee bean will cause yet a different creation.

It is a local and visitor favorite, so the line can often be out the door if you happen to stop by at rush hour (which in the mountains, fluctuates), but is well worth the visit.  I promise, you will not be disappointed!  If you aren’t in the mood for hot coffee or tea, they also serve a wide variety of frozen drinks: coffee, smoothies, and even milkshakes with some of the creamiest homemade ice cream flavors (blueberry cheesecake, cocoa-coffee, etc)!

Want a chance to laugh at my silly mistakes?  Here’s a change and a lesson to not act hastily.  I had finished my run and was ready to see what sort of snacks we had in the fridge.   By not reading the labels on various containers close enough, I fed myself a combination of sour cream/sunflower seed butter/jam on both rice cakes and celery.  This might sound normal for some odd palates, but the key here is that I mistook the sour cream for cream cheese.  I had thought the soupy consistency and flavor were off, but didn’t realize my mistake until dinner when the sour cream was brought out for the baked potatoes.  Oh well, at least it wasn’t expired!

Here’s a look at some of our meals, yes both dinners included meat, but I’d like to think it was some necessary fuel for all of our activities in the mountains and like I said, there is nowhere better to enjoy a steak, than in the mountains.

Dinner #1 (Steak, baked potatoes, the fixin’s, green beans, eggplant), Breakfast #1 (Looney Bean’s nonfat vanilla latte, yogurt, fruit, & bran cereal for some crunch), Dinner #2 (BBQ ribs, corn, eggplant, asparagus, & salad), Desserts: Jamma’s “Brian Head Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies” (named by my Uncle Rob as such)

Oh my goodness, I don’t know about most people, but I LOVE BBQ sauce.  Anything that is smothered in the sweet and tangy goodness is fine by me.  Honestly, I could even eat it with a spoon if I am that desperate.  I have to hand it to my mom who was the head chef of Saturday night’s dinner and was in charge of the best BBQ ribs.   We had picked up the necessary ingredients (pork ribs and BBQ sauce) from our local Trader Joe’s before driving up. Our family tends to select “TJ’s Bold & Smoky Kansas City Barbeque Sauce,” but if you are looking for one with more of a kick, select TJ’s “All Natural BBQ Sauce.”

Cooking Process to Achieve Ribs Heaven:
– Preheat oven to 350, cook the ribs meaty side up for 1hr 15 min, pour the BBQ sauce on (be liberal with it…even the entire bottle will do) and place back in the oven to cook 20-30 minutes.
– Tip: We learned back at the Sunset Celebration Weekend, that taking a knife and pulling the bottom layer of skin/fat off of the ribs will help them absorb even more flavor as they cook.
– Tip: This cooking process can be extra messy, so a great way to speed up the cleaning process is to use simple aluminum containers!

My grandparents had been in the mountains for at least a week before we arrived and had whipped up a batch of her famous oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, which due to the altitude, achieved a thinner and crispier consistency.  I wouldn’t mind if all of her cookies turned out that way as they were perfect on their own, with a glass of milk, or in an ice cream sandwich.   There’s nothing like watching the Olympics with a glass of milk and a cookie to end a beautiful day.

“The golden rule is that there are no golden rules”
– George Bernard Shaw


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