Sunday, June 14, 2015

Saturday Drive


I keep meaning to post a bit more about our trip to Denver a few weeks back but I think the pretty weather we are having is keeping me from doing that.  We decided to take a drive yesterday (Saturday). It's been a rainy spring here so things here are VERY green. We drove from Canon City, Colorado, to Salida, Colorado.  We mostly took unpaved roads on the way to Salida, but on the way home back to Canon City, we stayed on Highway 50.  Both routes are beautiful.  Highway 50 between Salida and Canon City follows the Arkansas River though a canyon known as Big Horn Sheep Canyon.  No big horn sheep spottings for us on the drive, but I took a few photos of some beautiful alpine wildflowers and the pretty scenery along the way.






Doh! Photo bombed by a Labradoodle.




Above:  The aspens are still looking a little scrawny, but I liked the blue sky in this photo. 






Above:  Looking sort of west.

The snow-capped Collegiate Peaks are in the distance. I don't know which peak is which, but they are named Mt. Harvard, Mt. Yale, Mt. Princeton... you get the idea.




Above:  Looking sort of south (and playing with the filters on my iPhone).

Below:  Looking sort of north.









Sunday, May 31, 2015

The Oxford Hotel, Denver, Colorado




I mentioned in a prior post that my husband and I took a quick trip to Denver, Colorado, over Memorial Day Weekend.  My husband suggested we use www.hotwire.com to get a room at a good rate. I've been hearing Hotwire advertisements for years but did not understand how it worked.  You input where you want to stay, you can read the hotel reviews, but you don't actually know where you will be staying until you book it.  It also appears you can't cancel your reservations, nor can you get your money back, but the perk is that you get a really reduced rate on your hotel.  We made a reservation and were told we'd be staying in The Oxford Hotel.  The reviews were good and the place had a rating of 4 1/2 stars so I wasn't too worried.





Let me tell you... we lucked out! This place was fantastic! 



The Oxford Hotel was built in 1890, and is located right by the Union Station (old train station) in lower downtown Denver (also referred to "LoDo").  The area is within walking distance of Coor's Stadium where the Denver Rockies play (baseball).  There are great restaurants and brew pubs in LoDo. We were just one block from the 16th Street Mall area in Denver.  The 16th Street Mall area is a pedestrian-only area where folks can walk from shop to shop. There are lots of sidewalk cafes and it's great for people watching.  Comic Con was going on in Denver over Memorial Day Weekend, so the people watching was especially fun! 






I never imagined I would get such a kick out of an old historic hotel. Above, you can see the room key.  Yep, and old fashioned room key with a fancy tassel attached.




Above, you can see Charlie, the yellow canary in the hotel's lobby right by the front desk.  The hotel has always had a yellow canary in the front lobby, according to the hotel staff.  Years ago, miners took canaries into mines to alert miners about carbon monoxide in the mines.  The Oxford Hotel had a canary in the lobby of the hotel for the same concerns.  Now Charlie sits by the front desk to carry on the tradition.  The hotel staff also told me that when miners came to stay at the Oxford Hotel years ago, the miners' canaries and the hotel canary were allowed to socialize.  Sweet!

Below, you can see a photo of all the key rings with tassels.  This is the area right behind the lobby's front desk.  When you come and go from the hotel, you leave your key with the front desk staff. I have a few more fun things to share about the Oxford Hotel but I'll save that for another day. 



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!