Monday, July 23, 2012

Tahoe Traditions
We have many great Tahoe traditions that we repeat year after year, like french fried zucchini on the Sunnyside deck, rafting down the Truckee River, midnight bear sightings, boat trips to Sugar Pine State Park to play and picnic for the day...and a personal favorite, Mai Tai and Spinach dip in the late afternoon on the lawn at the edge of the lake.  It's funny, I never think of serving Mai Tai at home, but we always have it at Tahoe.  The sweetness of the Mai Tai with the spicy spinach dip and salty chips is a perfect combo on a warm afternoon.    

So easy to make:  equal parts pineapple juice, mai tai mixer, gold rum

Spicy Spinach Dip:
1 box frozen chopped spinach
4 Tablespoons butter
1 medium onion chopped
2 Tablespoons flour
1/2 cup milk
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp worchester sauce
3/4 tsp celery salt
3/4 garlic salt
6 oz hot pepper jack cheese

Cook spinach, drain (reserve juice to add at end)
Add ingredients one at a time and cook until thick; add back spinach juice to desired consistency.

Serve warm with tortilla chips.

This year at Tahoe, the bears have become quite aggressive; breaking into more homes and cars than ever.  There was one spotted a few days ago on the dock at 10pm!  The mix of bears and people is not good, but they are such beautiful animals.  I felt inspired to paint a Tahoe bear...
TAHOE BEAR  8"x10" acrylic on canvas board

Tahoe has amazing pinecones.  They are about 300% larger than the little ones I find in the Southern California mountains.  We are on private property, so I always take home a bag and use them in the fall and winter.  I have also done some fun crafty things with them (OK- these are better than average pinecones, but any pinecones, found or purchased, will do):

Idea #1:  great project with kids is making a bird feeder.  We tied the top with a piece of twine to hang it, then smeared peanut butter on it, and rolled it in bird seed.  

Idea #2:  dip pinecones in scented wax, sprinkle with glitter and give as a fragrant gift, that also works well as a fire starter in a traditional fireplace.  

Idea #3:  Lastly, I have spray painted them a shiny pewter; beautiful winter decor.

A Few Favorite Photos:

If I only had a huge old stump in my yard, I could have a cute wildflower planter it.

The afternoon pinks and purple reflections on the lake are made all the more dramatic by the coming thunderstorm. 

My dad, son, and nephew on the swim deck of the boat.

And a good time was had by all...

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