Labor Day Weekend Adventures

The four-legged, furry daughters and I had the house to ourselves last weekend when Jaycob went on his annual Labor Day fishing trip to Lake of the Woods.

Lake of the Woods
I missed him while he was gone but had a busy and productive week of hiking, baking, and spending time with friends!  I made a pescatarian dinner for a couple of my friends while watching my favorite movie of the early 2000s...Zoolander!  "Just because we have chiseled abs and stunning features, it doesn't mean we too can't not die in a freak gasoline fight accident."  On Friday I went out with some friends to Marble, my favorite brewery/tasting room in Santa Fe.  That night my good friend Spencer proposed to his beautiful girlfriend, Emily, and that same night my best friend Shelly got engaged to her now fiance Marek!  Next year is going to be an exciting year for weddings.  We celebrated with a-few-too-many margaritas at Maria's on Saturday.

On Labor Day our friends all got together for dinner.  Here were my contributions:

Pineapple Tequila Cake (from The Boozy Baker)

"Bottoms Up" Pineapple Tequila Cake
I've been making this dessert a lot lately because everyone loves it, even my crazy non-cake-loving friends!  The cake is delicious and moist, with a hint of tequila and cinnamon, topped with a yummy mixture of butter and brown sugar and more tequila (of course).  I've learned over the past year or so that I've been making this dessert that the pan makes all the difference.  I recently got a few new pie pans and the cake is much more full and moist.  It's such a great summer treat!


Mango Coconut Cheesecake Bars


I got this recipe out of an issue of Better Homes and Gardens I found in the break room at work.  It was very delicious, and much lighter than most cheesecakes!  The bars have a graham cracker crust with coconut and orange zest, and the cake itself is made with orange juice and cream cheese, topped with mango and toasted coconut.  My only complaint is that the serving size is one bar.  It should be four.


I was also excited to test out another new recipe from my favorite blog, The Brown Eyed Baker...

Banana Zucchini Bread from the Brown Eyed Baker




This bread has a delicious blend of flavors, and the bananas and zucchini together keep it very moist (which is a challenge when baking at 7,000 ft elevation!).  Unlike my usual banana bread recipe, this bread is made with vegetable oil instead of butter, and I absolutely love the addition of cinnamon and pecans!  This is definitely a new favorite.

 
And somehow between baking and celebrating, I managed to squeeze in a few hikes.  Hiking highlights from the past 2 weeks:

Nambe Lake 
This is one of my favorite hikes in Santa Fe!  I love seeing it in the fall, but August is also a beautiful time to go when everything is green and lush and the wildflowers are in bloom.





Hyde Park Circle Trail
Most of my friends probably know that this is where Jaycob I and got engaged!  I hadn't been up there since the proposal and forgot how pretty the view is for such a short hike.


 

Aspen Vista
With afternoon storm season still upon us, I didn't make it to the top this time, but still had a fun trail run with Kua and her boyfriend, Sam.  It was fun to see some of the leaves changing already!



 
Picacho Peak
This has become my favorite route for a trail run.  Because of the proximity of the trail head to my apartment, I can drive to the parking lot, get to the top of the peak and back, and drive home in less than 2 hours.  Plus, the view at the top is very rewarding!


 

Between fun, friends, and food, I also got a lot accomplished on the wedding planning front lately!  6 weeks and counting! 

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