Jan 3, 2011

Holidays at Boiling Springs State Park

The Woodward Countryside

It's January, and the holiday season is quickly fading into the recesses of our collective memories. Not a moment too soon for the scroogey types out there, but I personally feel a little sad once the Christmas tree is packed away, and the egg nog cartons are bled dry.

There's just something comforting about twinkling lights, crisp winter air, and Santa's image plastered across the landscape. I'm unapologetically in love with the aesthetic, but must admit to absolutely despising the non-stop consumerism that comes with it. Christmas should be about spending time with the one's you love, while taking the time to truly appreciate how privileged we are in our everyday lives.

For the last three years in a row Lacey and I have forgone shopping malls and obligatory gift giving and opted instead to get a little peace and quiet by ourselves at an Oklahoma State Park. This year we opted for Boiling Springs State Park near Woodward, a serene little park known for its natural springs and abundant wildlife.

The plan for our Christmas getaways couldn't be any more simple. Its a perfect combination of sleepily lounging, cooking our favorite comfort foods, and maybe some exploring depending on how energetic we feel. The cabins at Boiling Springs are perfect for this plan, providing an adorable kitchen, a cozy fireplace, and a lakeside view which can be easily enjoyed from the comfort of the couch.


Deer are a common sight at Boiling Springs

The springs themselves are really cool, but I must admit we spent more time relaxing than exploring the park...

So cozy!

Pancakes with real maple syrup for breakfast!

While we spent most of the trip getting some much needed quiet time in the cabin, we did make a point to explore the very cool wind farms just a little north of Woodward. Pictures don't really do a good job of conveying how massive the turbines are, but take it from me, they're huge!



The turbines look quite majestic, particularly set against the wide open skies of the Woodward prairie. The vast amounts of rolling land harken back to the area's frontier days, and anyone who sees it will certainly be taken back to a different time and place.



Lacey cooked up an amazing Christmas dinner on our last night there. Here are a few pics just to make you jealous!



The holidays may be over, but that doesn't mean you still can't enjoy a similar break away from everything. I know most people really don't think of the winter as a great time to explore State Parks, but honestly its a fantastic way to get a little peace and quiet... especially during the holidays.

-Austin

3 comments:

  1. You can check out more photos of our vacation meals at my own blog here: http://lelaine.com/2010/12/the-food-vacation/

    If you're really curious, I talked Austin into letting me write up a few recipes for both his spectacular meatloaf, and the sides I cooked up for our steak dinner!


    "The Boris" - Manly Meatloaf

    The loaf:
    1 lb 95/5 ground beef
    2 eggs
    1 diced onion
    1 chopped tomato
    3 garlic cloves, chopped
    3/4 sleeve of crumbled club crackers
    1 Tbs. goat cheese
    salt, pepper, dried basil, and ground red pepper to season

    The sauce:
    1 cup ketchup
    1/2 cup brown sugar
    2 Tbs maple syrup
    garlic powder, ground red pepper, and dried basil to season

    To make: Mix meatloaf ingredients together (your hands will do the best job) and form into a loaf. Top with the sauce. It's pretty hard to over-season a meatloaf, so use amounts that you feel are appropriate. I think Austin cooked the meatloaf at 400 degrees for around 35 minutes. Delicious!


    Boiled Fingerling Potatoes

    1 lb fingerling potatoes, cut in 1 inch chunks
    2 minced shallots
    2 Tbs butter
    salt, pepper, and dried rosemary and thyme

    Boil the potatoes until just tender and drain. Use the same pot over medium heat to melt your butter. Add the shallots, cook until translucent, then return the potatoes to the pot. Season these taters to your own taste and commence munching! Fresh rosemary would be awesome, but the dried herbs worked perfectly.



    Roasted Sprouts

    1 lb brussels sprouts, halved and outer leaves removed
    3 garlic cloves, sliced
    1 Tbs olive oil + 1 Tbs butter
    salt, pepper, and dried thyme

    Once you've got your sprouts prepared, warm the olive oil and butter in a pan until melted. I like to cook the garlic in the oil first so that it won't burn during roasting, and so that the oil absorbs flavor, so toss your garlic in and cook over medium until it's cooked through. You want to avoid browning it, so keep your garlic moving as it cooks. Coat your sprouts in the oil and season with about 3 heavy pinches of salt, generous pepper, and bit of thyme. Use a large roasting pan or cookie sheet to allow lots of room for the veggies while they cook in the oven. Roast at 400 degrees until some of the outer leaves begin to brown, or until your largest sprout is just loosing it's crispness in the middle.


    Our steaks were just pan cooked in a bit of butter, salt, and pepper. Simple and tasty; that's how we like it!

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  2. Gosh, great blog!
    I consider myself a pretty experienced Oklahoman, but there are definitely a few places on here I need to check out.

    Not to mention my mouth is watering with these pictures and recipes!

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  3. Thanks Kelsey! Don't feel bad, I work for the Tourism Department, and I'm constantly learning new things about Oklahoma... It's amazing what you can find in your own backyard!

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