Vegetarain chili even Brad likes! by Brad Schmidt

On cold winter nights Mom makes lots of soups and I wanted to share her and dad’s current favorite... vegetarian chili! Aka “You cannot believe it doesn’t have meat chili!” Mom says “this how we get dad (Brad) to eat all his vegetables”. Haha!!! I personally love carrots and Sierra still is into her pinecone fetish… I think Mom needs to make us carrot and cone soup, don’t you?!

Enjoy warmth from the Lodge kitchen into your home with a pot of easy to make chili this weekend. Cheers in the new year! Love, Millie

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VEGETARIAN CHILI - Makes about 1 3/4 quarts

This is a recipe from The Frog Commissary cookbook with a few MHL changes.  You will NOT believe there is no meat in this, nor that canned beans are used in this. There are alot of ingredients, but all are kitchen staples so it comes together easily. Note:  This is even better made a day ahead, but if you do so you will need to add another 1 to 2 c of tomato juice* as the wheat drinks up some of the liquid overnight.  


1/3 c olive oil

2 c finely chopped onion

3/4 c chopped celery                 

1 c chopped green peppers

1 c chopped carrots 

4 cloves minced garlic

2 c chopped mushrooms

1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (or more to taste) 

1 Tbsp ground cumin

3/4 tsp dried basil

2 Tbspchili powder

3/4 tsp dried oregano

2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

2 c tomato juice* 

3/4 c bulger wheat

2 c chopped tomatoes

2 -14.5oz cans  undrained kidney beans (When we make this at the Lodge we are doubling or tripling the recipe so we prefer to use a variety such as kidney and white cannellini, navy and/or  butter beans) 

1/2 tsp tabasco

2 Tbsp lemon juice

3 Tbsp tomato paste

1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce

1/2 c dry red or white wine

1 - 4oz can chopped canned green chilies 


* Have all ingredients ready.  

* Heat olive oil in a large skillet (or dutch oven). Over high heat add the onions, celery, green peppers, carrots, garlic mushrooms, spices, salt and pepper.  

* Cook, stirring for 5-8 minutes.  Add the remaining ingredients.  Bring to a boil, stirring.

* Reduce the heat and simmer 20-40 minutes, uncovered.

* If too thick, the chili can be thinned with additional tomato juice. 

Serve with sour cream, green onions and grated cheese.  


Nature's Christmas tree... by Brad Schmidt

This shot was taken last week of our gorgeous tamarack (larch) beaming in the sunshine. He is an amazing specimen. This species in the pine family is one of the few that actually changes color in the fall and will drop all his needles as winter settles in! Many ask is that tree dead when viewed with needles littered about the snow? Nope, he is deciduous and will produce beautifiul bright green needles and cones come spring. He makes an outstanding Christmas tree in the woods for all the forest animals to enjoy doesn’t he? Happiest of holidays - Love Millie Vanilli


a peaceful morning... by Brad Schmidt

Morning is breaking…

Morning is breaking…

Ahhh.. the beauty of an alpenglow sunrise! Sharing a shot from the lodge deck of a gorgeous dawn to remind you to take pause from the hectic holiday preparation to reflect on Nature and life.

Naturalist John Muir sums it up perfectly… “Climb the mountain and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow thier own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.”

Season's Greetings from the girls... by Brad Schmidt

I can fly!!

I can fly!!

Where has this year gone??? Pretty darn fast, but definitely one of the best as my rescue sister Sierra joined our family in late summer. We are the best of buds and of course I am teaching her the ropes. She is really smart and loves to run and play. I have shed a few pounds trying to keep up with this energetic kid! Thankfully she knows who is boss…. Cracker the cat!! Ha ha!! Just wanted to send you cheer and wish you the best of holidays and we will hope to see you on the mountain in the new year come spring!!

Oh my! by Brad Schmidt

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Last night’s visitors included 2 new bears to the mountain… mama and cub! Mild temps so they are not ready to settle down for a long winters sleep just quite yet.

Paradise Live! by Brad Schmidt


Awoke to fresh snow on the upper Cascades! Guests are thrilled to be basking in the warm sun enjoying a crisp morning and the beauty of Autumn! Oktoberfest and Marathon craziness in the village below while we all relax and enjoy the serenity of the mountain !!

Life is best with a pal! by Brad Schmidt

Guess what?!!  I have a new pal and this time it's a dog sister!!! I am thrilled and so is everybody else... well, except our sister Cracker the cat is not too keen on the addition.  Ritz is cool with her, but you know Cracker... she has her own sense of superiority as the senior animal in our pack!  Bossy, hissy .. you know the routine!  Thankfully my new sister Sierra is clueless as to what a cat even is so we are good!  I am busy working on teaching her the ropes to being a lodge dog... no jumping, barking or being a pest and how to lead our guests on fun adventures into the forest.  So far she is doing great... her one issue is to stop chewing on mom's wood planters!  I am trying to share with her the fun of crunching on pinecones, but she apparently is partial to cedar over pine!  Come on over and play won't you?!! Love, Millie (Official Concierge!) 


Summer!! by Brad Schmidt

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Yikes!!  It's August already!  Where has this summer gone... speeding by I am afraid.  Hurry on over to enjoy the relaxation of our slice of paradise.  Hiking in the morning, lounging poolside in the afternoon and gazing at the stars in the evening... life is nice!  Come over and play with me, Love Millie

Let your spirit soar free like a hummingbird! by Brad Schmidt

Dad's new camera is having fun capturing the beauty at Mountain Home Lodge.  Mom is making a new batch of nectar every few days to keep up with the demand of returning hummers.  The lilacs will bloom any day now and then the birds can enjoy sweet flower nectar.  Come join us to welcome Spring!  - Millie 

Ruby and his family are back on the mountain! 

Ruby and his family are back on the mountain! 

Spring hiking! by Brad Schmidt

Overlook ridge 

Overlook ridge 

The ridge was wonderful this weekend with stellar skies, snow capped Cascades and wildflowers. My new friend Cody and I had a blast!  Arrowleafed balsam root is everywhere on the mountain and lupine and Indian paintbrush not far behind.  

Great wildlife viewing now too... the elk herd are in the neighborhood as well as almost nightly visits from the bear teenagers from summer 2016. Lots of deer and wonderful bird viewing from songbirds, hummingbirds and the silly wild turkey flock.  Never a dull moment for me to keep me busy "on patrol".  

 An added bonus for the adventuresome is amazing white water rafting as well as morel mushroom hunting.  Hope you can find the time to come on over and play here in May and June! 

Love Millie Vanilli, MHL Concierge

Hitchhiker! by Brad Schmidt



I decided it was a grand idea to escort two departing guests on their snowshoe trek back to town today!  Dad (Brad) didn't think that was such a keen idea as he "caught" me in action as he drove by us in the snowcat this afternoon with the other departing guests and all the luggage.  Busted!  Dad called Brecklyn to retrieve me from the road and scolded me to head home.  I was walking home alone when my sister Brecklyn showed up on her sled with this goofy collar thing?!  She hooked me up and then wanted me to run alongside the sled home?!  No way!  I was perfectly content to jump into her lap and head home driving the snowmobile!  She captured our selfie as we pulled into the lodge!  I look forward to welcoming you to my mountain home this year!  Its looking like 2018 is going to be a mighty fine year!  Happy New Year with love from Millie Vanilli

The fresh snow is making for a marvelous weekend! by Brad Schmidt


With 14" of fresh snow the mountain is a winter wonderland!  Guests broke trail this morning on snowshoes and the afternoon found many flying down the 1,700' sledding hill!  Brecklyn even sweetened the deal towing up the sledders after they walked up the hill at least once!    Guests kindly re-vamped our 2018 snowman with fresh carrot nose and tator eyes after "Sebastian" the squirrel ate the last guys face clean off him the other day!  Let's see how long this guy lasts?  Meet Bozley LaFlake... 

Christmas fun! by Brad Schmidt

Christmas snowshoe
jump for joy... it snowed!

Awoke to more fresh snow and a perfect day to play in the woods on the mountain!  Our guests Kelcey and her mom Karen were up bright and early to welcome in the day!  Hope your day was full of love and fun too!  

Our mountain paradise awaits... by Brad Schmidt

"Truly it may be said that the outside of a mountain is good for the inside of a man."  ~ George Wherry, Alpine Notes and the Climbing Foot, 1896

Renew your spirt.  Seek the beauty of nature.  Surround your being in calm stillness.    Join us at MHL this winter.    Wishing you peace this Christmas season and joy in the new year.  Brad & Kathy Schmidt 

Renew your spirt.  Seek the beauty of nature.  Surround your being in calm stillness.  

Join us at MHL this winter.  

Wishing you peace this Christmas season and joy in the new year.  Brad & Kathy Schmidt