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. 

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Thursday


 
I shared in a prior post that my husband and son took an impromptu trip to Des Moines, Iowa, to go see Grandma this past week. It was the last half of Spring Break. I stayed home to be with the puppies and we had a great four days together.  I almost always have my iPhone with me and I am tempted to take photos of the beautiful Southern Colorado scenery, even when the lighting in the canyon is not optimal.  It's a canyon; it's shady.
 
This is trail at Tunnel Drive. It's just a few miles from our house and it's spectacular year 'round.  I never get tired of it and I am so lucky it's so nearby.  The trail dead ends at the two mile mark.  At the end of the trail, if you look to the right, you see this really old, hand built rock wall.  Suspended above it is the remains of a water irrigation system that follows the path of the Arkansas River through the Royal Gorge. It never occurred to me to pass under the big pipe and hike up into the canyon until this past Thursday.  The doggies and I enjoyed checking it out. 


 

Above:  See all the cacti growing above the wall?


 
Above: The canyon was wet. We had a crazy, heavy wet snow the day before (Wednesday).

 
Above:  I found another hiker's cairn. I love finding these! 
 

Above: Boy, oh boy! The doggies loved jumping up the rocks; lots of great things to sniff!
 
 
 
So fortunate to live in such a beautiful place!  And we had the trail mostly to ourselves...

 
Above: Another great cactus-growing-on-old-hand-built-wall photo.
 
 
Above:  I just had to include a photo of the Arkansas River. Those are train tracks below running alongside the river.  I love he color of the water in this photo.
 
 
I wore my pedometer on the hike. I am shooting for 10,000 steps per day. If I get in 8,500 steps before 9:30 am, that's a great start!
 
I was so busy the four days the guys were gone, I am going to post a bit more about it over the next few days.  I went on some great hikes and even saw some wild life.  Stay tuned!

Leftover Grilled Chicken Tacos

 
Grilled Chicken Tacos
 
 
This officially my new FAVORITE thing to eat!
 
 
This past week, my husband had a grilling session.  He lit up the Weber Charcoal Grill and grilled chicken breasts (*), brats, and hamburger patties. It was Spring Break and my husband decided it was a good idea to grill once and just reheat leftovers.  Grilling with charcoal tastes great, but let's face it; it's lot of work, it's a bit messy, and we like to use up all the cooking time we can squeeze out of that charcoal to get our money's worth.  Just a few days after all of that grilling, on the spur of the moment, my husband and son decided to take off to Des Moines, Iowa, to go see Grandma.  This left me with grilled chicken breasts. What's girl to do!?
 
I looked in the fridge and found white corn tortillas, plain Greek yogurt, pickled jalapeno slices, and grated extra sharp cheddar cheese.  I just put a small amount (maybe 1/2 teaspoon) of margarine in a large non-stick skillet and heated it over medium heat.  Once melted, I added the corn tortillas to the skillet to coat them with the melted margarine on just once side. Then I sprinkled in the chopped grilled chicken, some grated cheese, and as many jalapeno slices as would fit (these are "tame" jalapeno slices... flavorful, slightly crunchy, but not too hot).  I kept the heat under the skillet rather low so the cheese would melt and the chicken would warm up a bit.  I just kept an eye on the bottom of the tortillas and, when they had nicely browned toasted patches, it was time to plate up.  I added a few tiny dollops of plain Greek yogurt.
 
Delish!
 
(*) We always grill using McCormick's Montreal Steak Seasoning. This stuff is great!  I put it on chicken breasts, hamburger patties, and roasted potatoes.