It was like the universe knew fall was coming this weekend because it was 90 degrees and sunny on Thursday and boom, the Autumn Equinox hit and then it was 55 degrees and cloudy on Saturday. Just like that. And not only did the weather provide all the fall vibes you could handle, I also had the most, best, fall inspired weekend possible.
Jaye and I decided to take a gas tank road trip up to Trail Ridge Road on Saturday. Chris was invited (of course), but his answer included something like..."but, football is on..." So he stayed home. Jaye packed a hearty lunch and car full of snacks, the play list was set, and we headed up the mountain for a day trip.
I was feeling super ambitious and started off with a sweaty yoga session, then I went to meet Jaye to start our day. She made me breakfast (swoon!) and we headed up I-70 west towards Grand Lake. The leaves were golden every where you turned!! I missed seasons so much when I was in California so my head was nearly out the window staring at gorgeous colors. We stopped at Grand Lake to stretch our legs and gaze at the big ol' lake and grab a pumpkin spiced bevie - because - fall.
After that we headed up, up, up to nearly 12,000 feet to our much anticipated view for the day. Trail Ridge Road is the highest paved road in the country and it is about 50 miles long. It was a lovely drive until we entered the clouds and it all changed! Nothing but wind, icy rain/snow stuff, and coldness. Such a difference from Grand Lake. We walked around for a few brief moments and decided to have our car picnic lunch of turkey sammies and head to Estes for the Autumn Gold Festival.
The ride down was a little nerve racking since there was about zero visibility and no guard rail, but Jaye did a great job not killing us. We survived and made it to Estes where the rainy conditions ensued. We got to peek at a few Elk on the way too - they were ginormous! The fest in Estes was a bit of a bust, but we walked around the little downtown and grabbed another hot beverage before hitting the road home. All and all - it was such a great day. I can't wait to go back up Trail Ridge to try and see the view - hopefully before it closes for the season.
When I got home that night, it was pouring rain outside and all I wanted was comfort food. I had little to nothing in the fridge, but my pantry had a few cans of diced tomatoes and some chicken broth. When my eyes locked on those cans (no pun intended), I knew I wanted a grilled cheese and tomato soup. I found some bread in my freezer and came up with this easy, warm, comforting meal that all came together in about 30 minutes. Below is the recipe for the soup and crunchy croutons. I think most people know how to do a grilled cheese, so I left that recipe out for this one - maybe next time if I get fancy with one.
So let's put some flannel pants and fuzzy socks on and welcome fall - cause I'm all in.
- 1/2 small yellow onion, diced
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 2, 14.5 ounce cans fire roasted diced tomatoes
- 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1-2 cups crusty bread, coarsely chopped or pulled apart
- to coat olive oil
- to coat salt, red pepper flakes and garlic