| VailDaily.com

Green bean casserole made from scratch

Even though Thanksgiving is later than usual this year, it’s never too early to start planning your menu. Whether you are hosting at home or assigned to bring something to a friend or family member’s house, the green bean casserole is a classic dish for the occasion.

We asked Ally Stephens, chef and owner of Season to Taste Catering, to come up with a healthier version of this traditional side and Stephens went back to the basics. “Everything in this dish is made from scratch and you can pronounce all of the ingredients,” Stephens said. “We’ll skip the preservatives that can be found in the canned cream of mushroom soup, canned green beans or crispy onions.”

The crispy onions are one of the reasons this is such a popular item and has been since the 1950s. Stephens is able to mimic that taste and texture by using ground almonds (or panko if there is a tree nut allergy) to maintain that crunch factor. Instead of getting the can of cream of mushroom soup, which is a staple in many casseroles, a mushroom sauce is made from a base of almond milk (again, swap if there is an allergy) and fresh sliced mushrooms.

This healthy version of the green bean casserole will still pair well with the rest of the meal and vegetables will balance the heaviness of the other items on the table.

It will also be a crowd-pleaser because of the nostalgia of the dish.

“Traditions hold a special meaning for a lot of us,” Stephens said. “Preparing and sharing dishes that our parents and grandparents made every year makes us feel like we are home, wherever we are.”

Stephens suggests other ways to cut calories on this big feasting day:

  • Bring a salad and put it onto your plate first so you get some nutrients before filling up on other high-calorie foods.
  • Roast sweet potatoes instead of the candied and marshmallow version.
  • Grill some veggies in order to provide more side dishes to the meal.
  • Serve shrimp cocktail as an appetizer rather than cheeses, heavy dips, etc.
  • Eat your dessert the night before or for breakfast.

Wait, dessert for breakfast? “Our family sometimes eats Thanksgiving dessert the night before or in the morning we’ll have a piece of pumpkin pie,” Stephens said. “It may not be cutting calories for the day, but you’re more likely to not force your body to overeat after a few glasses of wine and trips to the buffet table because you feel you have to have dessert. You’ve already had it.”

Here’s the recipe for the green bean casserole below, or you can leave the cooking to Season to Taste. Stephens is taking orders for everything from the turkey and sides to appetizers and desserts. The deadline for orders is Nov. 21 at 4 p.m. Delivery will be on Nov. 27. Contact Stephens for more details at www.seasontotasteco.com.

Healthy green bean casserole recipe

Ingredients:

2 pounds green beans, cleaned and trimmed

Onion topping:

1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon olive oil

½ cup ground almonds (or panko if nut allergy)

¼ cup Parmesan cheese, grated (or nutritional yeast)

¼ teaspoon salt

Mushroom sauce:

1 tablespoon olive oil

10-12 mushrooms, thinly sliced (baby bella, cremini, etc.)

4 cloves garlic, minced

3 tablespoon flour (or any other flour to keep it gluten-free)

½ cup chicken broth (or vegetable broth)

1 cup unsweetened almond milk (or any other milk if nut allergy)

1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated (or nutritional yeast)

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and grease a large casserole dish with olive oil and set aside. Blanch the green beans. To make the crispy onion topping, heat olive oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add the thinly sliced onions and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5-8 minutes or until they are tender and starting to brown. Remove the onions and place into a medium bowl. In the same pan you used to cook the onions, add the ground almonds. Cook, stirring frequently, for 3-5 minutes, being careful not to burn. Transfer the toasted ground almonds to the bowl with the onions. Stir in the 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese and salt. Set aside

In the same pan, heat a little more olive oil until hot and add the mushrooms and cook for 4-5 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook for an additional minute, stirring frequently. Sprinkle the flour over the mushrooms, and stir to combine

Slowly add the chicken broth, whisking to combine until smooth, then whisk in the almond milk, and bring the mixture to a simmer. Let cook for 2-3 minutes, or until thickened.

Stir in the remaining 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper until the cheese is melted then add the blanched green beans and toss to combine

Pour the green bean mixture into the prepared baking dish and then top with the crispy onion topping. Bake, uncovered, for 25-30 minutes or until the top is golden brown.

More ski resorts opening, holiday craft fairs, art walks and more: Tricia’s weekend picks 11/8/19

More ski resorts open

Although the calendar still says autumn, winter is here in the minds of many skiers and snowboarders who are enjoying lift-accessed skiing and riding in Colorado. Arapahoe Basin and Keystone have been open since mid-October with Loveland, Eldora, Monarch and Wolf Creek opening their slopes a few weeks later. This Friday marks the opening day for two more Colorado resorts: Breckenridge and Copper Mountain. A snowy and cool October brought a lot of natural snow to the resorts and snowmaking crews have combined forces with Mother Nature to allow more than one run to be open this early in the season.

Breckenridge Ski Resort will offer nearly 200 acres of terrain on Peak 8 for opening day. Skiers and riders will have access to a variety of groomed trails on lower Peak 8 accessed by the Colorado SuperChair, Rocky Mountain SuperChair, 5-Chair and Rip’s Ride. The resort will offer skiing and riding for all ability levels on trails including Springmeier, 4 O’Clock, Columbine, Northstar, Duke’s, Claimjumper and Trygve’s.

Lifts are set to open at 9 a.m. while the BreckConnect Gondola will open at 8 a.m. to provide access from Town and the Gondola lots to the base of Peak 8. The official first chair celebration and banner-breaking will take place on the Colorado SuperChair. Before the rope drops, guests can enjoy complimentary waffles and DJ music on the snow.

Take note of some of the new conveniences at Peak 8 such as escalators, skier drop-off parking, skier services facilities, rental and retail space, public restrooms and more. You can buy a day pass or Epic Passes are still available through Nov. 24. For information on the resort, go to www.breckenridge.com. For information on Epic Passes, visit www.epicpass.com.

Copper Mountain will also open on Friday with more than 90 acres of terrain featuring skiing and riding for all ability levels. The American Eagle lift will begin turning at 9 a.m. and shortly thereafter the Easy Rider and Excelerator lifts will spin.

Trails that are expected to open Friday include Ptarmigan, Rhapsody, Main Vein, Fairplay and Easy Rider. Additionally, Lower Bouncer is expected to feature a Woodward Pop-Up park consisting of one jump and about a dozen features. Skiers and riders can look for more natural terrain to open as conditions allow.

Throughout the weekend, guests can enjoy free live music, giveaways and a variety of dining and après ski options throughout Center Village.

Copper Mountain season passes are on sale for $589 for adults and $289 for children until November 18 when prices increase $40 and $20 respectively. The last chance to purchase Copper Mountain Four Packs for $279 in-person and online is now through November 18. For more information on opening day and passes, visit www.coppercolorado.com.

To show Copper’s appreciation for military veterans, the resort will offer $60 lift tickets on Veteran’s Day, Monday, Nov. 11. The $60 discounted lift tickets are available for one day only to all skiers and riders and must be purchased online before midnight Monday.

Vail Nordic Ski Swap

We just had the big Vail Ski & Snowboard Club swap where you could get everything you needed for alpine skiing and snowboarding a few weeks ago. This weekend, the Vail Nordic Center hosts the 35th annual Nordic Ski Swap at the Vail Nordic and Golf Clubhouse in Vail.

Winters are long in Colorado, so switch things up by switching out your activities. Taking a day off from alpine skiing or snowboarding and heading out to do some cross country skiing or skate skiing lets you experience the outdoors in a different way. Telemark gear and alpine touring gear can get you up to that next hut trip or allow you to avoid the crowds by skiing in the backcountry. Or skin up the mountain before work to get some cardio in before you start your day. Whatever your mode of transportation, it all provides a great workout (remember, the holidays are coming and you need to fit into those ski pants).

Getting into a new sport can be expensive. By going to a swap, you are able to find the gear that will allow you to try out the sport and see if it is right for you without paying retail.

Buy or sell skate skis, touring and track skis as well as telemark, backcountry and snowshoe equipment. Winter clothing will be on sale as well. Drop off Nordic gear you want to sell between 2 to 6 p.m. on Friday. The Nordic Ski Swap takes place from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday with discounts starting after 12 p.m. A portion of the proceeds benefit the Homestake Peak School Nordic program. Please note that it is cash or check only for purchases. Visit www.vailrec.com or call 970-479-2279 for more information.

2nd Friday Artwalks on Broadway

Eagle Arts presents 2nd Friday Artwalks this Friday, but this time it’s extra special because the art community in Eagle is celebrating its first anniversary. What started out as an idea artist Tara Novak of Artspace workshop+gallery hatched with the Vail Valley Art Guild and Red Canyon Cafe to host the first Eagle Art Walk last November has grown into an event that encompasses more than art.

Broadway Street in Eagle will turn into a holiday market with galleries, shops and restaurants offering art exhibitions, live music, interactive activities, sales and specials.

Presented by Eagle Arts and the Broadway Business Community, join family and friends from 5 to 8 p.m. for a fun evening out. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/eagleartscolorado. Here are a few of the participating businesses and what they will be featuring:

  • Alpaca Yarn Shop
    – Live alpacas, bring your knitting projects for a Knit Night
  • Artspace workshop+gallery
    – Art exhibit and live music
    – Eagle Arts raffle and food drive – bring a canned food item, get a ticket
    – 3 Holiday gift making mini-workshops
  • Bonfire Brewing
    – Happy hour and live music
  • Old Town Hall Gallery – Vail Valley Art Guild
    – New gallery location and exhibition
    – Live music with Jen Mack
  • Owashi Sushi & Kitchen
    – Art exhibit and dinner special
  • Katch of the Day Wine Bar
    – Fundraiser for Zehr Goat Ranch with goats
  • Brush Creek Saloon
    – Dinner specials
  • Everyday Outfitters
    – Live Music, refreshments and art
  • Fusion Hair Salon
    – Art and pottery exhibition
  • Petals of Provence
    – Holiday gift making mini-workshop

Craftsman’s Christmas Market

What’s been known as the Chicken Noodle Soup & Bazaar for years is now the Craftsman’s Christmas Market. Hosted at the Brush Creek Elementary in Eagle, the holiday market and crafts fair will feature hand-made items that are unique to this region. Shoppers will still be able to find their favorite western and vintage items as well as visit the man in the big red suit. Santa will make an appearance in Eagle County, so bring the kids along to this event.

Along with the crafts, the famous home-made chicken noodle soup and pies will be available for purchase to enjoy with friends while you shop or you can even take it home and enjoy it later.  

This holiday fair has been going on for over 40 years and is the main fundraiser for the United Methodist Women of Eagle Valley. The proceeds from this event go directly to helping women and children in our community and throughout the world. Stop by Brush Creek Elementary School from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Saturday.

Veteran’s Day Ceremony

Leading up to Veteran’s Day, which is Monday, the veterans from the Mount of the Holy Cross VFW Post 10721 out of Minturn were busy visiting 19 schools and being part of receptions, assemblies and classroom talks. Kids from all grade levels were able to learn more about what it was like to be on a tour of duty or to serve during a time of peace.

Many of the veterans wore their uniforms or fatigues and brought other items like canteens, technical backpacks and fireproof flight suits to share in the classrooms so the kids could see the gear and learn about what it was like in the jungles of Vietnam during that war or flying a B-52 bomber.

According to Military.com, Veteran’s Day honors veterans who are living or deceased who served honorably in the military during wartime or peacetime. It is sometimes confused with Memorial Day, which honors service members who died during service to their country or as a result of injuries incurred during battle. Veteran’s Day is observed on Nov. 11, which was also known as Armistice Day.

A public Veterans Day ceremony will be held at Freedom Park in Edwards at 4 p.m. on Monday. The guest speaker will be retired US Navy Chaplain Rabbi Joel Newman. The VFW has enlisted the talents of community members to perform on Monday. Nicole Gustafson will sing the “National Anthem”. Gustafson is a former student of Vail Performing Arts Academy, who is currently attending Colorado Mountain College working towards a nursing degree. The 5th-grade classes from Edwards and Avon Elementary Schools will be singing also.

Freedom Park hosts many military-related ceremonies throughout the year. Along the west end of the pond, you will find the Freedom Park Memorial, a 600-pound piece of limestone from the Pentagon’s west wall. The memorial not only commemorates 9/11 but also honors fallen veterans, police and emergency personnel from Eagle County.

Walking Mountains Film Series starts Wednesday

Walking Mountains Science Center will host its eighth annual Sustainable Film Series on a new night and at a new venue. The Riverwalk Theater in Edwards will host films each month on Wednesday nights from now until April. Walking Mountains had been showing the same film upvalley and downvalley each month. With a centralized location, the series will now host one movie per month in an actual theater.

“When we were looking for a new venue, we reached out to Grant Smith from the Riverwalk Theater, and he was interested, said Melissa Kirr, senior programs director of sustainability for Walking Mountains. We decided that by moving to a centrally located spot in the valley, we could combine the two film nights into one. We are very excited to be able to have everyone in one place.”

Smith is excited to host. “This aligns with our mission to really have the Riverwalk Theater be involved with the community. We are happy to host locals and visitors and bring some great films to the big screen,” Smith said.

Kirr sources the films from all over the globe, reviewing flicks that are out on the festival circuit and checking in with film publishers and promoters.

“I try to find a variety of sustainability topics so that everyone can find an interest. I always take recommendations from community members, too,” Kirr said.

The topics center around energy, waste, natural resources, climate change, sustainable food, sustainable tourism and sustainable communities and lifestyles.

On Wednesday, Walking Mountains will kick off the series with “Paris to Pittsburgh.”

“This film focuses on how Americans are demanding and creating real solutions around climate change. This hits home as the community continues to meet goals created by the local climate action plan,” Kirr said.

She is also looking forward to “The Wild” film in March.

“This is the third film that we have shown since we started the film series on the Pebble Mine and Bristol Bay in Alaska. I had the chance to see this film at a festival recently, and it is really impactful,” Kirr said. “We always partner with Kaleb’s Katch to share these films, and he always ends up bringing some tasty salmon appetizers.”

Speaking of food, the Riverwalk Theater can take care of dinner for you right at the theater. They serve more than just popcorn. Try the pizzas from Village Bagel or gourmet hot dogs from Colorado Meat Co. Come early and enjoy happy hour specials on beer and wines by the glass from 3-6 p.m. (Yes, when Smith took over the Riverwalk Theater, he also brought in the adult beverages.)

In addition to a new night and new venue, Walking Mountains will also bring in a few directors from the films and outdoor apparel company Fjallraven will be giving away an item at each event. 

Walking Mountain’s goal for this series is to provoke thought and create action, so take part in the opportunity to learn at this free monthly film series. For dates and more on each film visit walkingmountains.org.

Halloween parties, ski movies, live music and more: Tricia’s weekend picks 11/01/19

Underground Sound concert series

It’s hard to believe that we are already halfway through the Underground Sound concert series at the Vilar Performing Arts Center in Beaver Creek. Friday night’s installment will get you moving with a lively show by Las Cafeteras at 7:30 p.m.

Las Cafeteras is comprised of six bandmates from East Lost Angeles who grew up with many different influences of music including Mexican music and especially Afro-Mexican music. Las Cafeteras uses traditional Son Jarocho instruments like the jarana, requinto, quijada (donkey jawbone) and tarima (a wooden platform). It may sound traditional but don’t be surprised if they infuse their performance with a little rock, punk, hip-hop, beat music and cumbia.

Since forming Las Cafeteras in 2005, the band has shared the stage with Ozomatli, Edwards Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes, Columbian superstar Juanes, Mexican icons Caifanes and many more.

This show also coincides with Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), a Mexican holiday that celebrates and honors loved ones who have passed away. “We speak in five different languages: English, Spanish, Spanglish, justice, and love,” said Las Cafeteras founder, Hector Flores in a press release. “I think everybody understands at least one of those languages.”

Tickets for Friday’s show are $32 or use your Underground Sound pass. For more information, go to www.vilarpac.org.

Halloween parties continue

Speaking of dancing and great music, the Halloween theme didn’t stop on Thursday night. There are a few more opportunities to wear your costumes at these area fetes:

Scary-oke Karaoke – Loaded Joe’s

  • Karaoke all night
  • Costumes are encouraged
  • Free entry
  • Prize giveaways
  • Friday, 9:30 p.m. until close
  • www.loadedjoes.com

Boo Bash – Frost Bar at the Sebastian Vail

  • $20 tickets – includes two free drink tickets for wine and beer, also a cash bar
  • Music by DJ Krusher Jones
  • Costume contest with a chance to win $350 cash, a $100 Sebastian gift card plus other prizes
  • Halloween games
  • Friday, 8 p.m. until midnight
  • For tickets visit www.alwaysmountaintime.com
  • The Sebastian is offering an overnight package on Friday night: pay $175 for a one-night stay and get two tickets to the Boo Bash, waived resort fee and waived parking fee. Call the Sebastian to book your stay.  

Kids Night Out

Parents, treat yourself to a date night while your kids are having fun and being active at Mountain Recreation in Edwards and Gypsum. On select Friday nights throughout the year, parents can drop the kids off at either location at 5:30 p.m. and pick them up at 8 p.m. Please note; there is no Kids Night Out at the Edwards location this Friday. Check the website for dates at both locations. During that time, the kids will have plenty of things to do including use of the trampolines in the anti-gravity center, the rock climbing wall, swimming pool (Gypsum only) along with themed activities, games and crafts.

Mountain Recreation brings the fun activities, your kids just need to bring a costume if they wish (themes change weekly, so call ahead for more information) closed-toe shoes, activewear and a swimsuit and towel (Gypsum only).

Kids Night Out is for kids ages 5-12. The registration fee is $20 per child and that includes dinner. To learn more and register, go to www.mountainrecreation.com.

Ski Movie Night at the Riverwalk Theater

Nothing gets you quite into the winter snowsports season like an adrenaline-packed film filled with powder, big air and amazing scenery. You’ll find all that and more in “The Book of Pow”, a film by local freeskier John Spriggs and filmmaker Edward Clem.

Clem and Spriggs live in Frisco and filmed the movie all last winter on their days off from work, so all of their scenes are in the heart of the Colorado Rockies. Last year’s snowstorms created some amazing pillow lines and champagne powder shots that rival runs anywhere else in the world. The film debuted in Annecy, France in early October at the High Five Film Festival and received rave reviews.

Joining Spriggs on the slopes was U.S. Ski Team member, Taylor Seaton, who competes in ski halfpipe. Seaton and Spriggs are both Battle Mountain High School graduates. Clem, Spriggs and Seaton are traveling around to show their movie at various film festivals.

“The Book of Pow” also has another local tie-in. Local backcountry snowboarder Bindu Sky Pomeroy died while performing an inverted maneuver off a set of cliffs in East Vail. In an article written by John LaConte earlier this week, Spriggs said that this film is dedicated “in honor of Bindu and everyone else we’ve lost doing this.”

The Riverwalk Theater will host “The Book of Pow” followed by “In the Meantime,” the third installment in the Tanner Hall short-film trilogy. Along with the films, there will be autograph signings with Spriggs and Seaton, a raffle and plenty of swag giveaways.

The Riverwalk Theater will also have traditional movie theater snacks along with pizza from Village Bagel and hot dogs from Colorado Meat Company. The theater also serves a large selection of microbrews, wines and canned cocktails, so come early and grab a bite to eat and drink before the event starts at 9 p.m. Tickets are available at the Riverwalk Theater box office. For more information about the Riverwalk Theater, go to www.riverwalktheater.com.

America Recycles Day

Take advantage of these weekends before Vail and Beaver Creek open up their ski slopes for the season and clean up things around the house. In honor of America Recycles Day on Friday, the town of Vail is offering a free collection for residents and employees in Vail of the following items:

  • Electronic waste
  • Paper for shredding
  • Old vinyl banners
  • Used bike tubes

If you aren’t quite sure what type of items can be recycled, get the Eagle County Waste Wizard app. Download it to your phone and you can easily look items up and dispose of them in the proper way.  Bring the items you wish to recycle to the oversize vehicle lot at the Lionshead Parking Structure between 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Friday. Charges may apply for excessive volumes of things you are trying to get rid of. No commercial collection accepted at this event. To learn more go to www.lovevail.org.

National Candy Corn Day: Here’s a map showing which states love and hate the Halloween treat

Today, Oct. 30, is National Candy Corn Day, and the sugary-sweet candy has once again divided the nation between candy corn lovers and haters.

The Daring Kitchen, an online blog that shares recipes and creates maps for food trends each month, started collecting geo-tagged Twitter data starting Oct. 1 to make this year’s “States that Love or Hate Candy Corn” map. Phrases such as “I love candy corn” or “I hate candy corn” tripped sensors, and overall, the map reflects data from more than 50,000 tweets.

This map reflects data collected from more than 50,000 geotagged Tweets.
Special to the Daily

Most of New England – minus Massachusetts – and the Midwest firmly sat in the “hate it” camp, while candy corn lovers stretched across Western, Southern and Mid-Atlantic states. Colorado fell into the “love it” camp.

For the lovers, is there a right way to eat candy corn? And for the haters, this recipe for Candy Corn Cobs – yes, they look exactly like corn on the cob – will probably make you want to throw up immediately.

Nut butter owls help break up the sugar binge on Halloween

Kids are pounding the candy and, according to www.verywellfit.com, are eating more than 3,500 calories on Halloween. Adults are gobbling up tons of calories too. How many times are we grabbing a “mini” sweet treat displayed at the office or a spiked hot cocoa to get in the spirit? On average, each mini candy has about 70 calories per piece. Add ten pieces to the mix…you can do the math.

If you’re trying to keep the sweets in check, consider making a healthy plan for the day and sticking with it. Don’t eat mindlessly. In an attempt to weasel in something kind of healthy, I made a malleable peanut or almond butter ball. By adding some googly candy eyes and an almond for a beak, I made little owls for Halloween.  They’re full of protein and oats, fun to play with and tasty.

Having something healthy besides all the sweets can create a balance that may help keep calories in check this holiday. Consider portioning out what candy you will eat for the day, put it in a cute plastic pumpkin for carrying.

Slow sucking lollipops or gum can keep you in the spirit while giving you a sugary blast. A tootsie pop has 60 calories, challenge yourself and be the first human to count the licks to the middle – this may even burn calories. According to Tootsie Roll’s website, (www.tootsie.com) a Purdue licking machine created by engineering students calculated 364 licks. Finding a slow sucking candy is a good way to consume less and still get that sugar fix. Enjoy the festivities and be good to your body.

Nut butter Halloween owls

1 cup almond or peanut butter

1 ripe banana

1 ¼ cup oats

¼ cup chocolate chips

½ cup colored sugar (orange)

In a small saucepan, melt butter and mash in banana. Stir in oats and let cool for 20 minutes. Mix in chocolate chips. Form one-inch balls and flatten them out a bit. Roll in the orange sugar. Press candy eyes (you can find this in the baking aisle at the grocery store) into the ball and use an almond for the nose. Place in refrigerator to cool and harden slightly before serving.

If you need other ideas for healthier snacks, learn how to make Miller’s Halloween Carrot Toast or Skeleton Skins and Fry Fingers

Tracy Miller is a personal chef and caterer. She can be reached at Tracy@colorfulcooking.com.

Alpine Arts Center hosts Pinots and Pumpkins

This past weekend was sure to get you into the Halloween spirit with Fright at the Museum, Spooktacular in Beaver Creek and Maya’s Day of the Dead party. But if you didn’t go to those events, you still have time to get in on some Halloween fun before the holiday on Thursday.

Alpine Arts Center had a busy weekend with Halloweens crafts and a pumpkin carving party last Friday but will host one more Halloween-themed event on Wednesday. Pinots and Pumpkins allows adults to release their creative side and paint a pumpkin while sipping on a Pinot Noir or other wine of their choice.

Pinots and Pumpkins is a twist on Alpine Arts Center’s regular Cocktails and Canvas series, where the group goes through a guided painting session. This time, instead of painting on a canvas, you are painting on a pumpkin.

Lauren Merrill, owner of the Alpine Arts Center, and her team of talented staff members will have patterns and all the paint and brushes you will need. You just bring any size and shape pumpkin you can find. Dress comfortably and Alpine Arts will have aprons to protect your clothing. The best part is, you can come here instead of getting your own house messy.

If you want to get a little messy, they will have one table available for pumpkin carving during their regularly scheduled drop-in sessions. Call the Alpine Arts Center for details. 

Halloween is the perfect time to revitalize your creativity.  Whether it’s in the form of a homemade costume or decorating a pumpkin, you are never too old to release your artistic side. The cost for the Pinots and Pumpkins class is $45 per person. Bring your own pumpkin and your first drink is free. There will also be wine and beer available for purchase for $6 per glass. Snacks and other non-alcoholic beverages are available, also. For more information, visit www.alpineartscenter.org. Advanced registration is required.

Discover handcrafted mixers with Lost Identity Beverage Co.

Discover your next drink adventure with Lost Identity Beverage Company.

Lost Identity Beverage Co. was created on the principles of making products with whole, all-natural ingredients in small batch quantities. Founders and business partners Ryan Souto and Nate Michlitsch came up with this idea in 2015 when they were working at separate restaurants. Michlitsch was at Restaurant Kelly Liken and Souto was at the Wolcott Yacht Club.

“We were both really involved with the bar programs at our respective restaurants where we developed some of the initial versions of our now flagship products,” Souto said. After seeing how popular the concoctions were with the guests they decided in early 2016 to explore the possibilities of developing their recipes into a craft beverage brand.

Lost Identity Beverage Co. had three flagship products: Ginger-Lime “Mule” shrub, Citrus Tonic, and Floral Tonic. The main focus is to introduce those products to a larger market.

Souto says the best part of starting Lost Identity nearly four years ago has been the response.

“One of the first events we ever participated in was Telluride Bluegrass back in June of 2016. We provided kegs of our product to the in-venue bar and our product sold out before the event came to an end,” Souto said.

Every year since, they have brought more product each year and it still sells out before the weekend is over. “It seems that once we get the products in front of the consumer they can’t get enough,” Souto said.

Lost Identity Beverage Co. is nearing the completion of its new production facility in Gypsum where the focus will be on canning products in a ready-to-drink carbonated format. “We are partnering with local spirits distillery 39 North in Eagle to launch a line of premium canned cocktail products,” Souto said.

Look for those products to hit the shelves by the end of the year. In the meantime, try their tonics and shrubs, which are sold from Aspen to the Front Range. To learn more, visit www.lostidentitybeverage.com.

Grand Ave. Grill in Eagle still going strong 17 years after opening

EAGLE — If Grand Ave. Grill had been a human child instead of a business baby, it would be time to start planning for a graduation party.

For 17 years now, the Eagle eatery has been a dependable presence along the most-traveled roadway in town. Owners Chris Ryan and Mike Ryan have weathered high times and economic downturns and approached their restaurant as a work that is always in progress.

But while they have shifted hours and changed menus, they have kept a steadfast commitment to quality for nearly two decades.

“We really care about what we are doing after all this time,” said Chris Ryan. “Running a restaurant means there is a lot of work, and we care a lot about all of it.”

Fresh American cuisine

The year Grand Ave. Grill opened, George W. Bush was president and Matt Damon as Jason Bourne was a hit at the box office. It was 2002 and business partners Chris Ryan and Mike Ryan decided they wanted to open an Eagle restaurant offering fresh American cuisine. They found their spot in a converted residence located along U.S. Highway 6 and named it after the street moniker Eagle had for the roadway — Grand Avenue.

“We had no idea what we were getting into,” said Chris Ryan, with a rueful shake of her head.

Chef Mike Ryan went to work in the kitchen and Chris Ryan tackled the front of the house. Fifteen years ago, Uriel Escobar began cooking at Grand Ave. Grill. Chris Ryan said the restaurant’s ability to maintain quality is largely thanks to Mike Ryan and Escobar and a number of staff members who have worked at the local hot spot for years.

Like businesses throughout the nation, Grand Ave. Grill faced some hard times when the Great Recession hit. As the restaurant has climbed out from those tough times, Chris Ryan noted is has been an ongoing challenge to find the right balance between ingredient costs and menu pricing.

“Honestly, our meals should probably cost more, but people don’t want that, nor do they want to pay that,” she said.

So, to increase revenues, Grand Ave. Grill has expanded options and tinkered with hours.

Ice cream, breakfast and more

During the past 17 years, Grand Ave. Grill has expanded its bar area, built patio seating and remodeled its dining area. Additionally, it introduced Grand Ave. Chill — an ice cream window that’s one of the most popular spots in town each summer.

The crew also came to the conclusion that eating out for dinner on weekdays just isn’t all that popular downvalley. A couple of years ago, Grand Ave. Grill changed up its dining room hours and began serving breakfast daily. Tuesday through Sunday, Grand Ave. Grill is open from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. On Friday nights, the restaurant is open until 9 p.m.

The latest new option for Grand Ave. Grill is breakfast burrito service from the Grand Ave. Chill window. The burritos are fresh and made to order as a grab-and-go option starting at 7 a.m. Tuesday through Friday. The options include everything from a traditional scramble of eggs, potatoes and bacon to a smoked salmon offering that includes eggs, potatoes, cream cheese, caramelized onions, capers and wilted fresh spinach.

Along with the burrito menu, customers can specify their own ingredients or they can opt for sandwiches made with Texas toast, biscuits, English muffins, bagels or croissants. And, if they want the quality of a freshly made breakfast sandwich but they don’t want to wait for it, Chris Ryan said the Grand Ave. Grill staff will take phone orders to have food ready for pickup.

“The burritos menu is great, and they really are delicious,” she said.

Keep coming back

After 17 years in business, the Grand Ave. Grill owners are grateful for their loyal customers.

“We have great food, and we want to have great people serving our customers,” Chris Ryan said. “We are always looking to get new people in who will then become repeat customers.”

People like Toné Martin from Texas, a commercial pilot who frequently flies into the Eagle County Regional Airport, for example.

“I drag everyone I fly with in here,” said Martin as he looked over the menu last week. “I have never been disappointed with anything I have ordered.”

According to customers, some of the most popular options at Grand Ave. Grill include the asiago crusted chicken club, blacked prime rib salad, country fried steak and eggs and fish tacos. Chris Ryan said people who are driving along Highway 6 and decide to give the little restaurant a try don’t leave disappointed.

She has served some famous diners over the years including country singer Randy Travis, NFL coach Joe Gibbs and “American Pickers” TV star Mike Wolfe. Wolfe didn’t just drop in though, he is Chris Ryan’s friend from high school.

After working the front of the house since 2002, Chris Ryan has lots of friends who drop by for lunch.

“I know that after 17 years, I cause the biggest dining room holdups at times. I know so many people, and I like to talk with them,” she said.

Through the hard times and the good times, Chris Ryan and Mike Ryan remain proud of the business they have built.

“Even when it’s been tough, the next day is a new day. We are proud to keep moving forward,” Chris Ryan said.

To learn more, visit grandavegrill.com.

Colorado’s favorite Halloween Candy: Here are the best and worst treats by state

If you want to be Trick O’ Treaters’ favorite house this Halloween, buy Twix bars.

According to CandyStore.com’s highly academic studies, Colorado’s favorite Halloween candy is Twix, followed by Hershey Kisses and Milky Way. CandyStore.com is an online bulk candy retailer, and after compiling 12 years of data, they mapped out the best candies by state. If you’re not from the Centennial State, check out the map to see what’s popular where you grew up.

Some surprising favorites this year came in Washington and Wyoming, which both said salt water taffy. The popular winner was Skittles, claiming titles in California, Florida, South Carolina, Minnesota, Arkansas, Delaware and Hawaii. Candy corn came second, with five states claiming them as the favorite: Nevada, New Mexico Idaho, Iowa and North Dakota. Starburst and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups tied with four wins each.

CandyStore.com also released the 10 worst candies in the country, with the top spot going to the ever-polarizing candy corn. As many states love them, they have an equal number of haters. Other least favorites include Good ‘N’ Plenty, Circus Peanuts and Necco Wafers. They also said that Tootsie Rolls are an easy pick for people who don’t want to spend a lot of money handing out candy to kids, but kids usually don’t like them much. No one wants to be the lame house – but none are lamer than the ones that hand out raisins.