Showing posts from 2015

2015 Reading Challenge: A Year of Books

I have come to realize (but not yet accept) the fact that there just isn't enough time to read all the books I want to read.  My "To Read" list is constantly growing, and no matter how dedicated I am to exploring the stories, novels, biographies, etc., new books and authors continue to emerge and I just can't keep up.  Nonetheless, 2015 was another productive year of reading and I completed the "book a week" reading challenge by finishing 52 books in the year.  I love looking through my list for the year and remembering where I was when I read every book -- in the airport on my way to NYC, laying on the beach of Lake Michigan at my best friend's bachelorette party, relaxing on a lounge chair in the backyard of my new house, or curled up on the couch with a cat in my lap.

I discovered my love of Jo Nesbo and rediscovered my love of Stephen King.  I came across some young, up-and-coming female authors (Caroline Zancan and Naomi Jackson).  I explored som…

A Santa Fe Christmas

Christmas in Santa Fe is magical.  As the oldest capital city in the nation, Santa Fe has many unique traditions, especially around the holidays, that stem from its diverse cultural influences.  Christmas in Santa Fe is one that enlivens all the senses: the smell of fresh pinon burning in wood stoves, the sound of carolers on Canyon road, the taste of homemade biscochitos and hot posole, the sight of farolitos lining the traditional adobe buildings, and the feel of fresh mountain air and snowflakes falling on Christmas Eve; all of these make Santa Fe a special place to celebrate Christmas.  

Jaycob and I had the opportunity to host some of our friends and family this year in our new house.  On the day before Christmas Eve we strolled through the plaza gazing up at the Christmas lights, ate dinner at one of our favorite local spots, and visited the famous Christmas Shop on Palace Avenue.  The next day we had a cozy Christmas Eve dinner at the house followed by the farolito walk along Ca…

A Time for Centering

Happy Winter Solstice!  And we're just three days away from my favorite holiday of the year.  I would consider myself to be a bit of a Christmas fanatic: I decorate my entire house in red and green as soon as Thanksgiving is over, I bake dozens upon dozens of cookies and treats, I send out my Christmas cards every year, and I have been tuning into (one of my many) Pandora Christmas stations every evening.  

However, I will also be the first to admit that many of the activities of the holiday season are somehow missing the point.  It's hard to find peace when we all have road rage in an attempt to run all of our errands before Friday.  It's a challenge to experience joy when we feel overwhelmed.  And it's almost impossible to reflect inward and appreciate the present while our minds are stuck on "To Do" lists and future plans for the week.  Even when we limit the focus on gifts and consumerism, we are sometimes so consumed with baking, cleaning, planning, and g…

'Tis the Season for 5Ks

December and January can be some of the most difficult months for staying in shape.  There are temptations of holiday cookies, cocktails, and potlucks everywhere you look.  There are parties to attend and visitors to entertain, and the cold weather provides a convenient excuse for forgoing a workout.  I decided not to participate in the Holiday Running Streak this year (running every day between Thanksgiving and New Years Day), but I am training for a Half Marathon in January and I've managed to stay busy with a couple fun and festive 5K races!

On Thanksgiving Day we participated in the annual Turkey Trot at Atalaya Elementary.  This is one of my favorite events of the season and we always see a lot of our friends and running/biking buddies at the race.  It's far from a serious race (anything with the word "Turkey" in the name is obviously just for fun), but it's inspiring to see families come together for a healthy cause before we all stuff our faces.  I had abou…

Windsor Trail Snowshoeing

Earlier this week we got our first big snowfall of the season in Santa Fe.  The roads were a little icy, schools were canceled, and the ski basin got over 30 inches!  It has already been predicted to be a stellar winter for skiing.

The Santa Fe Ski Basin doesn't officially open until Thanksgiving Day, but I took Kua up to the mountain for our first snow hike of the season.  Snow is pretty much her third favorite thing in life (after doggie biscotti from Pooch Pantry...and sticks).  The Windsor Trail has an excellent snow base right now.  The trail ascends upward through a few switchbacks for the first 20 minutes, then starts a slow descent through my favorite stretch of trail, narrow section surrounded by ponderosa pines and aspen trees.  Later this season I hope to snowshoe this trail all the way to Nambe Lake.

The trail was so beautiful and the snow was peaceful.  Kua had a blast!

While the snow is gorgeous, we're looking forward to a warm getaway to Sedona for Thanksgiving wee…

Cheddar Bacon Ranch Potato Chicken Chowder

Fall is in the air, and winter is on its way!  We had our first snowfall of the season in Santa Fe this past week, and I had to dig out my winter gloves and scarf for mountain biking this morning.  It's the type of weather that calls for freshly baked bread, scented candles, curling up with a good book, and warm, hearty meals like this amazing chowder!  

The crock pot Cheddar Bacon Ranch Potato Chicken Chowder is the perfect hearty soup for a chilly fall afternoon.

Cheddar Bacon Ranch Potato Chicken Chowder in the Slow Cooker
Modified from


1 pound chicken breast
2 cups broccoli
1 large potato
3 large carrots
15 ounces canned (or frozen) sweet corn
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
6 cups chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon parsley flakes
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon thyme
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup flour
2 cups milk or half-and-half
1-2 cups freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese
8 strips bacon, cooke…

Fall Baking

I believe this season to be absolutely the best time of year for baking.  There are so many yummy flavors of fall -- apple, pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, graham crackers, caramel, candy corn, butternut squash, brown sugar... the list goes on!

Here are a few of my favorite recipes this season...

Candy Corn White Chocolate Cookies

Recipe from Candy Corn White Chocolate Cookies
INGREDIENTS: 1/2 cup unsalted butter, soften
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons cream or half-and-half
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons corn starch
1 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch salt, optional and to taste
1 1/2 cups candy corn
1 cup white chocolate chips DIRECTIONS:To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or large bowl and electric hand mixer), cream together the first 5 ingredients (through vanilla) on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.Stop, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add the…

October Updates

Hello loyal blog followers!  I've been out of touch this month because October has been an insanely busy time for the Ross family!  Here are a few updates about my life lately...

During the first weekend of October, the hubby and I traveled to Denver to watch the Vikings take on the Broncos!  We stopped in Buena Vista to do some mountain biking on our way to the Mile High City, and had a night out on the town with friends and family Saturday night before the big game!  We tailgated with a fun group of people Sunday morning before heading to the stadium.  It was so fun to attend an NFL game again and be amongst the entertainment, the noise, and the excitement of live sports, which I miss since moving to New Mexico.  The Vikes lost, unfortunately, but it was a good game and we had a blast.  For our 2nd anniversary (the "cotton" anniversary) we got each other jerseys!

A few days later we headed to New York City, where we had a few jam-packed days of exploring the city, visiti…

Sweater Weather Reading

I say it year after year, and here I am saying it again... I love fall!!  Everything about this time of year just screams coziness and comfort.  The morning air is cool and crisp, the aspen leaves are decorating the mountains with their yellow hues, green chile is out in full force at the Santa Fe farmers market, and I have officially traded out my bikinis and sundresses for boots and scarves.

I made it up to the mountains for the first time this season to witness the beginning of the changing leaves.  It was a gorgeous day for a trail run!

Fall is also a perfect time for reading!  Grab a blanket and some hot chocolate, and curl up with a spooky mystery or an old classic.  Here's my list of books to get me through this season (with a few left over from my summer reading list)...

13 Stories for Sweater Weather Reading: