Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Denver Botanic Gardens






 
We took a quick trip to Denver this past weekend. It felt as if we were gone for days since we packed in so many things. 


I will share a bit about our trip in no particular order. We visited the Denver Botanic Gardens for the first time. It's quite nice. Last year, at the Botanic Gardens, they had a Chihuly Art Glass exhibit and I heard it was spectacular (you can see photos of that exhibit by clicking HERE).  Above is a photo of a Chihuly piece which is now a permanent exhibit at the Botanic Gardens. 




By the time we got to the Botanic Gardens, our feet were pretty tired. I snapped a just few photos indoors in the Boettcher Memorial Tropical Conservatory. 














The photo above looked like a plant from a Dr. Seuss book!






Friday, May 15, 2015

Backyard Flowers




We added some flowers to the pergola in the backyard there's a tomato plant out there too. Our lawn is looking lovely. We've had a rainy spring. 

Friday, April 24, 2015

Corn Waffles Smothered with Chili and Cheese


Corn Waffles Smothered with Chili and Cheese

Here's a yummy idea!

I got a waffle iron the other day from my friend, Belinda.  Thanks, Belinda (she was decluttering her kitchen). I have given the little iron a work out since I acquired it. The freezer is well stocked with blueberry and chocolate chip waffles  now. 


Yesterday I made corn waffles using two boxes of Jiffy Muffin mix. You just have to add eggs, milk, and a little melted butter. 


For lunch yesterday and today, I toasted up a waffle, warmed up some homemade chili, and topped it all with some cheese. Sour cream and onions would be good additions as well.  The waffles don't stay crisp but the flavor combination is good. 



Sunday, April 5, 2015

Sweet Potatoes in the Crock Pot


Not too long ago, somewhere on the Internet, I saw that you can make baked sweet potatoes in the crock pot. I gave it a try recently. 

I just scrubbed the taters. 
Wrapped them in aluminum foil.
Placed them in the crock pot and covered them with the lid.  After cooking on low for 4 hours, they were perfectly cooked. 

I must have been busy when I unplugged the crock pot because I let the potatoes just sit and sit and sit in the hot crock pot; I did not give it much thought until I finally went to get the taters out of the crock pot and I realized they were oozing a bit of liquid. Duh!  They kept on cooking while they sat.

Next time I do this, I will take the taters out right away so they can be eaten.  But, given that I often cook ahead for the week (which is what I was doing this weekend), I will take the taters out, remove the aluminum foil wrapping, and allow the taters to cool a bit before refrigerating.  My taters were very moist since I let them sit so long. They must have really gotten a nice steam bath in that foil. The tater skins nearly slipped right off and the flesh was super soft.  They would have been the perfect consistency for Sweet Potato Pie.  Which reminds me... I've always wanted to make Sweet Potato Pie. 

I imagine this technique would also work well for russet potatoes but I have not yet tried it.  I did read a number of articles on the Internet before trying this "taters in the crock pot" technique.  Some recommended wrapping the taters in aluminum foil; some did not.  Some recommended cooking the taters for 8 hours on low.  For me, 4 hours on low was perfect in my crock pot.  All of the recipes (or directions) I saw specified NO LIQUID needed to be added to the crock pot.

A restaurant called "The Texas Roadhouse" serves baked sweet potatoes just like baked russet potatoes.  If you get the sweet potato fully loaded, it comes with cinnamon, butter, and brown sugar.

Want to know what I am putting in my baked sweet potatoes? 

Crock Pot Root Beer Pulled Pork with BBQ Sauce

I'll post that recipe sometime soon. Stay tuned!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Sunday


 
Back at the Trail at Tunnel Drive
 
Post 4 of 4 about my great hikes last week while they guys were out of town...
 
The doggies and I went back to the trail at Tunnel Drive... I'll never grow tired of this place.  It was another beautiful morning.  We could hear and see lots of Canadian Geese on our hike. It's amazing how sound travels up slope so well.  We often hear the geese down in the river but we can't see them.  I love when we see them flying through the canyon, honking away, and I especially enjoy seeing them land in the water.


You can see how steep the canyon is. You are actually looking down at old telephone or power lines. 
 

So as we were ending our hike, I came across a nice couple. They said they had just seen a big male (ram) Big Horn Sheep.  I had seen them looking up just a little while before I spoke to them. When I got to that point in the trail, I looked up and initially did not see him.  Do you see him? It's hard. He blends in really well.  I am calling this the Colorado version of Where's Waldo!
 

In this picture, I zoomed in just a bit.  He is smack dab in the middle of the photo.  There is a green bush to the left of center. The ram, with huge curly horns, is slightly to the right and slightly below that green busy.  Wish it was a better photo to share.

Below (a Google Image):  This is what kind of creature you are looking for in the photo above in case you are not familiar with Big Horn Sheep.  They are so majestic.  The canyon up river from Tunnel Drive is called "Big Horn Sheep Canyon," but I have never seen Big Horn Sheep up at Tunnel Drive before.


Hoping the weather is getting nicer where you live and you are getting out and enjoying it like I have been!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Saturday

 
Back at Tunnel Drive
 
Post 3 of 4 showing our great hikes while my husband and son were away to see Grandma in Des Moines for a few days during Spring Break.  Can you tell from the long shadows that the doggies and I are early birds!?  I love long shadows in the fall and spring.
 
 
Above:  Looking through the first two tunnels on the Tunnel Drive trail. These tunnels are rather small compared to the tunnel #3.  Tunnel #3 is long and dark and the wind always blows when you are doing through that tunnel. The doggies love to get rowdy and wrestle in the dark tunnel. Something about the wind really makes those dogs rowdy.  Silly dogs!

 
So while the guys have been away, I have been tending to some cleaning projects. I got all the bed lines washed. I put away the winter comforter and made the bed with the summer-weight quilt.  I made the bed when I got up in the morning. I gave the dogs their baths after the hike and then I took a shower. When I got out of the shower, this is what the bed looked like!  Looks like there was some more wrestling going on after the dogs had their baths. Something about being cold and wet makes those dogs rowdy. Silly dogs!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Friday

 
Royal Gorge Trail
In the distance, there are snow capped mountains.  Gorgeous views from the Royal Gorge Trail!

My friend, Tracy, showed me a new hiking trail this past Friday.  This trail, which was built last summer by some sort of youth work corps, is a well kept secret. I saw a small article in the local paper about the trail last Fall when the trail was completed, but the trail is completely unmarked. Tracy said she's only every seen one person on the trail and she's up there quite frequently.  It's great to have a trail to yourself but, at the same time, it's sad they worked so hard to build the trail to have so few folks enjoying it.
 
 
This trail is spectacular! We walked a little over 8,000 steps if I recall correctly.  In the photo above, I am aiming my camera in the direction of the trail at Tunnel Drive, which is the trail I blogged about in yesterday's post. 

 
Above:  There are white snow capped peaks in the distance in the center of the photo. This is the Sangre de Cristo range (Sangre de Cristo translates to "blood of Christ" if I am not mistaken). 

 
Tracy was puppy sitting for a friend.  Luna, a Golden Retriever, Lancelot (Lance for short), a pug, and Odin, another pug, are Lynn's dogs.  Leila, a Boston Terrier, and Belle, another pug, are Tracy's dogs.  And of course, Brutus and Sandy, the Mighty Labradoodles, were with me.  Seven dogs; two crazy dog ladies. The dog's had fun getting rowdy in a patch of snow in a shady spot left over from Wednesday's freak snow shower.  
 
 
When I got home, I did some yarn clean up, picking up leaves and twigs and picking a few weeds.  I found this big 'ol spider AFTER I picked a bunch of leaves with my bare hands.  I wonder what spiders I did NOT see in the big 'ol pile of leaves. Eeeek!

 
The puppies and I enjoyed the day together. I did some painting indoors and also worked on washing all the linens.  In the photos above, Brutus and Sandy are both conducting a "quality assurance" check on this blanket.