Category Archives: food

Sundays: The Melissa Experience

Every Sunday (more or less) for the past couple of years, has been spent downtown at one of two coffee shops: Little Rico’s or Pikes Perk.

This summer I’ve found myself more and more at Little Rico’s drinking their delicious herbal iced teas (summer is alll about the iced tea for me. I’m from Oklahoma, what can I say?). It doesn’t hurt that Little Rico’s is connected to the cutest toy store, an amazing used bookstore, and a delicious restaurant (they even serve gluten-free pizza and yummy veggie burgers). I love interacting with the baristas and the local crowd–great fun. For example, last month I chatted with a local radio DJ for hours. We talked about food, tattoos, Colorado College, and music. Little Rico’s is a quirky fun place that I highly, highly, recommend if you need to get away or get that quick caffeine fix.

Last weekend, however, I found myself at Pikes Perk. What I didn’t know was that there was a Bike Fest! Crowds and crowds of people in leather, showing off their motorcycles, going to different booths, and eating street food. I felt a little out of place walking through the crowds to get to Pikes Perk, but it was great fun.  As soon as I ordered my iced yerba mate, I went up to the patio at Pikes Perk and had to take pictures.

My Sunday ritual takes me out of the ‘CC Bubble’ and allows me the opportunity to pretend to be a quirky local. (I’ve also noticed that coffee shops, particularly Pikes Perk, are one of the most common places for that awkward first date. *this is a hint, future CC students!) I may be doing research or doing homework, but not being on campus really brings light to the dimension of space.  It reminds me that so many other things happen in Colorado Springs. It’s like exploring the infinite abyss that is neither infinite nor an abyss.

Summer in the Springs

This is my second summer in the Springs, and I can’t wait! This weekend I explored Territory Days in Old Colorado City (picked up some VERY early Christmas presents, new loose leaf tea from Organica Tea, and a sunburn) and next weekend there’s another festival in Manitou Springs! In between I’m enjoying the beautiful, non-humid  weather (I’m from the Midwest), surrounding parks and paths, and researching other activities for the summer. I’m going to see Third Eye Blind in Fort Collins ( this coming weekend (for $5!!) and Jerry Seinfeld in July at the Pikes Peak Center.

I also love to explore downtown Colorado Springs. Some of my favorites are Josh and Johns – a great ice cream place owned by CC grads, Poor Richards/Little Richards – an awesome bookstore/coffee shop/toy store/pizza shop also owned by a CC grad, and Nosh – a tapas restaurant that is great for special occasions or a fun night out ( My friends and I also just discovered a place that makes great bubble tea, a perfect addition to the summer. Also, around the Springs we are always looking for restaurants with patios (Colorado summers are perfect for outdoor dining).  People joke that Colorado Springs has more restaurants per capita than other cities, but for a moderately sized city, there really is a wide range of great dining adventures!

some things just require [pie]

“A great many things can be solved with kindness
Even more with laughter
But there are some things that just require cake.”

Pie 1

Or pie.
I realize all I ever talk about now is food. Perhaps my greatest love – and I feel no shame in sharing it. This pie is AWESOME. We picked up the peaches from the farmers’ market in Old Colorado City and they made for absolutely mouth-watering unforgettable deliciousness.
Bonus lesson: pies make friends.

Pie 2

Try it yourself:
Peach Pie the Old Fashioned Two Crust Way

– 1 (15 ounce) package pastry for a 9 inch double crust pie
– 1 egg, beaten
– 5 cups sliced peeled peaches
– 2 tablespoons lemon juice
– 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
– 1 cup white sugar
– 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
– 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
– 1/4 teaspoon salt
– 2 tablespoons butter

1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F (220 degrees C).
2. Line the bottom and sides of a 9 inch pie plate with one of the pie crusts. Brush with some of the beaten egg to keep the dough from becoming soggy later.
3. Place the sliced peaches in a large bowl, and sprinkle with lemon juice. Mix gently. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Pour over the peaches, and mix gently. Pour into the pie crust, and dot with butter. Cover with the other pie crust, and fold the edges under. Flute the edges to seal or press the edges with the tines of a fork dipped in egg. Brush the remaining egg over the top crust. Cut several slits in the top crust to vent steam.
4. Bake for 10 minutes in the preheated oven, then reduce the heat to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) and bake for an additional 30 to 35 minutes, until the crust is brown and the juice begins to bubble through the vents. If the edges brown to fast, cover them with strips of aluminum foil about halfway through baking. Cool before serving. This tastes better warm than hot.

Happy baking!

making caramel apples in July

Sometimes fall comes early. As a native Washingtonian and lover of all things fruit and candy, naturally making caramel apples seemed the ideal summer activity. I was recently informed by a friend’s mother (thank you Mary) that we are not actually in the prime of apple season, and the apple-making party would have been better suited for fall. I still maintain that the apples (especially those loaded with caramel, graham crackers and cinnamon sugar) were amazing and the day could not have been better spent. How could anyone ever say no to sugar.
So on a hot Saturday in July, we fast-forwarded to the apple harvesting of October, dipped, rolled and sprinkled our Granny Smiths, letting the sunburn sink in as we went.

Caramel apple

Sounds delectable, doesn’t it? Below is an incredibly simple recipe for the caramel. I would strongly encourage creativity with decoration – we considered Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, marshmallows, walnuts, pecans, peanuts, any nut, M&Ms, butterscotch chips and Oreos.
My tips and recommendations: 1) Let the caramel cool and thicken (perhaps more than you would expect) before dipping; 2) Wrapped caramels will generally come with traditional popsicle sticks – don’t worry about buying a separate pack; 3) Add a bit more caramel to the mix to allow for more deliciousness on apple; 4) Let apples set on wax paper (obviously, save the mess); 5) Let apples cool in fridge, and definitely not the sun.

Now for the deets, thanks to
– 6 Granny Smith apples
– 6 wooden sticks
– 1 (14 ounce) package individually wrapped caramels, unwrapped
– 2 tablespoons water
– 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Insert wooden sticks 3/4 of the way into the stem end of each apple. Place apples on a cookie sheet covered with lightly greased aluminum foil.
2. Combine caramels and water in a saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring often, until caramel melts and is smooth. Stir in vanilla extract. Dip each apple into the caramel and gently run apples around insides of saucepan to scrape off some of the caramel. Scrape excess caramel from the apple bottoms using the side of the saucepan. Place on the aluminum foil and chill until ready to serve.


Click here to view the recipe online

(And check out other awesome caramel apple recipes!)

the love of food

“There is no sincerer love than the love of food.”
-George Bernard Shaw


Summer is mostly about food. It’s a simple fact of life. So naturally, this past Saturday morning two housemates and I set out in search of a farmers’ market. Our hearts were set on Old Colorado City’s opening day. Live music, artists, and farmers – trucking along cartons of fresh produce. What more could you ask for from a Saturday morning? Unfortunately, Opening Day had been pushed back a week. Determined not to surrender to heartbreak, we continued chasing our morning plans and Colorado Springs Farmers’ Markets. Much to our surprise, we unveiled a hole-in-the-wall market, if you will… a hidden gem. Being the broke college students we are, with standards a little too high for our checking accounts, we found ourselves practically dodging all of the free food being thrown at us. We stopped by a bakery on the way back and headed home to set up breakfast.

The three of us sat on our front porch for the fair part of the afternoon, eating makeshift bruschettas with pesto and asiago bread, rosemary and garlic olive oil and perfectly ripe farm fresh tomatoes. Sweet peas and peaches on the side.



“Many’s the long night I’ve dreamed of cheese – toasted, mostly.”
– Robert Louis Stevenson


Eating Stuff in South Asia. And West Africa.

Unlike my illustrious colleague Sarah Berry, I don’t have a series of blogs that I follow daily, but there is one that I regularly check – my sister’s. Ever since graduating college in 2008 with a degree in political science, my sister Katie has spent her time interning in Washington D.C., working at farmers’ markets in Seattle, learning about organic farming and yoga in India, and monitoring elections in Sri Lanka.

Last farm lunch. Typical farm lunch.

This is her typical lunch at the farm in India.

Have you been to summer camp before? Cool, then you already know exactly what an ashram is like. There is the same waking up early to a bell and singing songs together and then eating group meals in a rackety dining hall and doing some physical activity during which someone inevitably cries and then using your one free hour a day to run around your communal living area like a complete maniac and scream and yell and get up to crazy hijinks and all with no alcohol. Some of specifics are different. Instead of singing fight songs about wagon riding you are chanting Hindu stuff in Sanskrit while a bunch of hippies around you get extremely emotionally absorbed in drum beating and head nodding. (Tamara: Do you ever have moments here where you feel like you’re in a cult? Jo: You mean like last night when I looked down at my hands and saw I was banging a tambourine to Jaya Ganesha?) The food is less grilled cheese and bug juice and more Keralan classics reinterpreted to be “purely vegetarian” which means garlic/onion/spice-less to avoid any heating of the blood that could lead to impure behavior. And I don’t even know what people were crying about during yoga class although I’m pretty sure it wasn’t because they were afraid of being eaten by an orca whale (true story from my camp counselor days). But, the crazy time—that is pretty much the same as summer camp. Our last night there was a talent show (seriously) so we spent our free hour prepping our skit that was one you have definitely seen before and might have felt a little bit stale back in the States, but we totally killed it because that is a easy thing to do when your competition is Indian teenagers singing devotional songs. The winning was only in our impure hearts though, because I’m pretty sure Swami Sivanada doesn’t believe in that kind of competition. (That’s my bunk in that picture up there.)

 Here is her bed at the ashram, where she did yoga.

I decided just to leave that “spiritual name” portion blank.

This is some paperwork she had to fill out at the ashram – it asks for her spiritual name, which she decided to leave blank. Our parents didn’t provide either of us with spiritual names.

Anyway, if this doesn’t sound eclectic enough, Katie is now traveling through Senegal and is about to start working for Tostan, an NGO in the Gambia. Tostan’s mission is “to empower African communities to bring about sustainable development and positive social transformation based on respect for human rights.” She will be there for the next six months.

While this outfit may not be the most flattering, it was NO ACCIDENT that I wore sailor pants and nautical stripes the same day I took a ferry. Themed dressing—get with it, guys. Île de Gorée, Senegal

This is her in Senegal.

Since Katie is usually at least 2,000 miles away from where I am, her blog is essentially the only way for me to know what she’s doing. It’s called “Eating Stuff in South Asia. And West Africa.,” with its name arising from a somewhat humerous conversation that her first blog details: 

One time I was at a party with old people and one of them decided to corner me and ask me about my Plans For My Future (as old people love to do) which of course led us to me going abroad and then to how when he’s abroad he really likes bird watching. Just is super into it—lots of books, binoculars, the whole deal. Cool. That’s great for him. We should all be so lucky as to have something we’re that passionate about. But then the conversation took an awkward turn.

“And what kind of activities do you like doing when overseas?”

“Uhhh mostly just wander around and eat things.”

That being said, the blog documents her time in India, Sri Lanka, and now Africa. It’s mainly comprised of photos and short tidbits about what she’s up to – often with a focus on food, obviously.

I may have to write a Venture Grant to go visit her during winter break…


NYC Halloween Advertisment

Halloween is almost upon us in the city, and spirit (and decorations) abound. I took the F train to the land of Brooklyn a couple of days ago, just so I could wear my hipster apparel and use my trendy messenger bag, and when I stepped out at the Carrol Gardens stop, the world had changed. In place of Manhattan’s impressive buildings, wide bustling streets and frenetic horn-honking-people scurrying-cars swerving vibe, a human sized environment had emerged: narrow shady streets with families out for walks, couples with their hands in each-others pockets, dog walkers and stroller pushers galore. If I ever needed a family vibe to set me right, I should come here. Most of the brownstones (2-3 story connected houses built out of brown sandstone) had tons of decorations. No. I mean TONS. I couldn’t even see facade of one entire house it was so loaded with skulls and fake spiderwebs and scythes and pumpkins and plastic tombstones and whew, I could go on. This happens to be a post of run on sentences, but it fits my vibe right now, so hang tight.

I kept wandering and found these things:

Forty-three carved pumpkins, numerous spider webs (hard to count for obvious reasons), 2 children who decided to dress up early (1 michael jackson and 1 sesame street bigbird, related?), 20 cozy coffee cafes, many hipsters, 1 Trader Joes, 1 3rd floor balcony with a giant ladder leading to the ground (break-in? bored tenants? fire!?) and 40 people on bikes.

Thousands of golden orange leaves dotted the asphalt, with most trees in that lazy stage of half-dress, where thousands of the leaves are gone but many still remain. So many people whizzed by on bicycles that I though I might be back in Colorado or even the NW. Here, though, people do the craziest things on bikes. They shoot through intersections, don’t wear helmets, wear helmets from the 1960’s (did they even have helmets back then?), and lock their bikes with the thickest chains I’ve ever seen. Crazy stuff. At least they ride their bikes and the subway, though. One of the ads on the F train states that NYC residents use 75% less energy than the majority of Americans, simply because they use public transportation. It’s one of the things only things I hate about Colorado- public transportation sucks. To get into the mountains takes more gas than I care to admit and though CC’s ski union does offer a ski-bus, it only goes to a couple resorts and fills up fast. That said, if you have a friend with a car, you’re set for 4 years of POWDDEEERRRR and great company. Long story short, I wish Amtrak was as reliable and widespread in the West as it is here in the Eastern Corridor.

To conclude this conglomeration of random thoughts, I shall orate on the celebration of this coming weekend. NYC has, no not the world’s largest ball of twine (1,475 miles long, Cawker City, Kansas), not the world’s largest rocking chair (Cuba, MO), nope, not even the world’s largest yogic circle (unknowable because yogis don’t care about such things). NYC does have the biggest baddest Halloween parade, fo sho. It’s in the west village, near where I live and it’s been an institution for 36 years. Needless to say:

I AM STOKED for this weekend.

More Halloween NYC news at–its-halloween_b_338233.html

POST SCRIPT:  If you don’t read the HUFFINGTON POST, you should. While it sounds like a bad dream from the 241th Harry Potter movie, the Huff is actually a very well respected news organization, second (in my book) only to the behemoth of the New York Times. The great thing about the former company, is that it is strictly online- and free. (Question of the day: how are newspapers like the NYTimes staying afloat?)



A Thanksgiving Dilemma…

It’s been a little while, but my life has been strangely calm. Usually by the second week of the block I’m already stressed out… Maybe it’s the inverted block and having just come back from a break. My Thanksgiving was just lovely, thanks. I, like many people I know, did not go home.

This year, my sister went to her fiancee’s house, my parents stayed home (as they were just out here for my show a few weeks ago) and I went up to Littleton to my friend’s house and spent it with her family and a few other friends. I made the pumpkin pie and hand whipped the whipped cream. (It was delicious, if I may say so myself.)

The ironic part of this break, is that my homework for class (‘Environmental Inquiry’) was to read Michael Pollan’s book “An Omnivore’s Dilemma” which follows four different meals providing detail on what goes into the food, (material, work, resources, etc.) It’s a really simple connection, but not many people really think about what such a large effect the foods we (as a modernized world) eat has on the environment. So, after consuming a weeks worth of food in under two hours, I sat down to read the first part of Pollan’s book which can be summed up in the following sentence: Everything we eat comes from corn. Because of this, corn is grown in ridiculous amounts, sells for more than its worth, while farmers get subsidies giving them more profit than they’ve worked for. I switched from feeling like I had gained 10 pounds in foodweight to feeling like I had gained 10 pounds solely in corn.

The latter is not a good feeling – physically or morally.

I would definitely recommend reading one of Michael Pollan’s books – if you’re interested in any aspect of food. For example: eating it. He’s an interesting writer and is very passionate about the topic. If you’re not one for buying books without a sample, here is a talk he gave last year, entitled The Omnivore’s Next Dilemma, in which he covers some of the points made in his book. He also writes for the New York Times Magazine every now and then. I found this article pretty interesting: Unhappy Meals. His books also make great gifts… You know, just something to think about.

I guess that’s it for me – time for sleep? I think yes.