Bacon and Cheese Custards

Needed something for breakfast, so i went with this recipe from CL

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Original recipe called for red peppers, swiss cheese and 2% milk…  I had a hatch chili, added a serrano for some heat, had almond milk in the fridge, and used mozzarella cheese.

Verdict: weird to have custard texture with savory flavors. Kind of exotic and tasty, but not a do again!

Bacon and Cheese Custards

Ingredients:

4 slices center-cut bacon
1 hatch chili finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 ounces (about 1/3 cup) shredded mozarella
Cooking spray
2 cups almond milk (any will do)
1 ounce (about 1/4 cup) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
3 large eggs
2 large egg whites

Preparation:

1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. Cook bacon in a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan; crumble. Reserve 1 tablespoon drippings in pan; increase heat to medium-high. Add pepper and garlic; sauté 4 minutes.  Remove from heat; stir in crumbled bacon and Mozarella cheese. Divide the bacon mixture evenly among 6 (6-ounce) ramekins or custard cups coated with cooking spray. (spread the mixture across the bottom)

3. Heat 2 cups milk in a saucepan over medium heat to 180° or until tiny bubbles form around the edge (do not boil). Place Parmigiano-Reggiano and the remaining ingredients in a large bowl; stir with a whisk. Gradually add the hot milk to egg mixture, stirring constantly with a whisk. Divide egg mixture evenly among ramekins. Place the ramekins in a roasting pan, and add hot water to pan to a depth of 1 inch. Bake at 350° for 32 minutes or until the center barely moves when the ramekin is touched. Remove ramekins from pan; let stand 10 minutes. Serve warm.

Below is what they looked like just as i put them in the oven

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Here is what they looked like, all cooked

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Spicy Butternut Squash, Lentil and Feta Salad

So, i thought I had made this recipe, but after i started to write down what exactly i had created, i figured out, i had started with this recipe as an “idea” and pretty much swapped out all the pieces to still create something yummy!

Spicy Butternut Squash, Lentil and Feta Salad

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup green lentils
  • cups 1-inch pieces peeled seeded butternut squash 
  • tablespoons chipotle olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon blood orange olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 4 cups baby spinach
  • 1 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1 tablespoon dry mint leaves
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

Directions

  • Place lentils in small bowl. Cover with cold water and soak 10 minutes; drain.
  • Cook lentils in boiling salted water until tender but firm, about 30 minutes. Drain lentils. Rinse under cold water, then drain.
  • Preheat oven to 375°F. Place squash in large bowl; toss with 2 tablespoons chipotle oil, cumin, paprika, and sea salt. Arrange squash  in single layer on baking sheet; roast 20 minutes. Turn squash over. Roast until tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Cool.
  • Combine lentils, squash, and oil from baking sheet, mint, vinegar, and 1 tablespoon blood orange oil. Season with salt and pepper. When ready to eat, place spinach in a bowl, top with the lentil mixture, top with cheese to taste. Stir to combine oil with spinach.

Salted Caramel-Chocolate Dump Cake

Not sure what rabbit hole i went down to find this recipe, but it was great find!

It was our “annual” gals night, drag queen movie time! This seemed the best desert for the night!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 small (3.9 ounce) package instant chocolate pudding
  • 1 1/2 cups cold milk
  • 1 box Betty Crocker SuperMoist Devil’s Food cake mix
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped caramels
  • coarse sea salt for sprinkling
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • whipped cream, for serving (optional)

Preparation:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 13-by-9-inch pan and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together chocolate pudding and milk for one minute to combine.
  • Add cake mix ONLY and stir until thoroughly combined.
  • Spread batter evenly into bottom of prepared pan (batter will be thick). Sprinkle with chopped caramels. Sprinkle with sea salt to taste (remember: A little bit goes a long way).
  • Bake cake 30-40 minutes or until edges pull away from sides and a toothpick inserted in the cake portion comes out clean.
  • Remove cake from oven and let cool on a cooling rack.
  • Pour chocolate chips into a medium microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for 2-3 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds, until chocolate is fully melted. Using a spoon, drizzle chocolate over cooled cake.
  • Serve cake with a dollop of whipped cream, if desired.

Verdict:

Woah – delicious! I think next time i wouldn’t cook the cake the full time, let is be a little more moist!

I also used caramel balls, not chopped caramels and it worked pretty well, but i think i might have liked how the squared melted better…

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Salted Double Chocolate Ice cream

I saw this recipe when i was down some crazy rabbit hole…  And i finally got all the pieces together and was able to make it! I couldn’t get the coconut milk to behave, so i just plopped the top stuff in the can into the blender.

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SALTED DOUBLE CHOCOLATE ICE CREAM

Ice cream base
4 ounces good quality dark chocolate, broken into pieces
2 cups Califia Farms vanilla almondmilk
1 can full fat coconut milk, refrigerated overnight
4-6 medjool dates, pitted

Mix ins
1 ounce good quality dark chocolate, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons cacao nibs, optional
1/4 teaspoon flaky sea salt

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the chocolate and almond milk. Cook until chocolate is completely melted then add the dates and cook for one additional minute. Transfer mixture to the base of a high speed bender, such as a Vitamix, then scoop the thick, white layer of coconut milk fat off the top of the can of refrigerated coconut milk and add that to the base; blend on high speed for 15-30 seconds. Transfer to a large bowl, cover with plastic, and refrigerate for at least four hours, or until thickened and chilled. Once ready, transfer the mixture the the bowl of your ice cream maker and mix according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Once the ice cream starts to really thicken, add the mix ins and let the ice cream machine do it’s thing for another 5 minutes. Serve ice cream immediately  or transfer to a freezer safe container. Thaw for 15-20 minutes before serving.

 

Sausage and Polenta Breakfast Casserole

I woke up wanting something interesting for breakfast. I went to “my recipes”  on CL and my folder to try – breakfast and this was the first item! I had 2 buffalo sausage and some spanish chorrizo in the fridge, no green onion, but i never so, but i did have some chopped red onion in the freezer.
I skipped the thyme as other suggested it was too overpowering, added a jalapeño, used a bigger pan as other suggested, and didn’t do the overnight thing – straight from 15 minute rest to the oven. It worked out pretty well. To me there was very little heat unless you got a bite of the sausage. Maybe next time i’d use the Mexican chorrizo so there would be more crumble to polenta bite! All in all a good choice and i think having it ready in 30 min after you get up could be very nice! Wonder if you could prep, freeze, then defrost… hmmm

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Ingredients:

  • 6 ounce diced sausage (something tasty)
  • 2 ounces diced spanish chorizo
  • 1 cup chopped red onion
  • 1 jalapeño diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 1/2 cups fat-free milk
  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked quick-cooking polenta
  • 4 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded (about 1 cup)
  • 1.75 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated (about 1/3 cup)
  • 2 teaspoons hot pepper sauce $
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten $
  • Cooking spray

Preparation

  1. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add sausage; sauté 3 minutes or until browned. Add onions, jalapeño, and garlic; sauté 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
  2. Bring milk to a simmer in a large saucepan. Reduce heat to medium-low. Stir in polenta and salt; simmer 7 minutes, stirring frequently with a whisk. Remove from heat. Add cheeses; stir until cheeses melt. Place the polenta mixture in a large bowl; let stand 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in pepper sauce and eggs. Add sausage mixture; stir well to combine. Spread polenta mixture into a 4-quart glass or ceramic broiler-safe baking dish coated with cooking spray. Cool to room temperature. Cover surface with plastic wrap; refrigerate overnight.
  3. Preheat oven to 425°.
  4. Uncover dish. Bake at 425° for 25 minutes or just until set.
  5. Preheat broiler to high; remove dish while broiler preheats. Broil 2 minutes or until top is lightly browned. Let stand 5 minutes.

Another option:

I didn’t let it sit overnight, i just put it straight into the oven and it was great!

 

 

Devil’s Head Fire Lookout

 

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Length: We ended up at 3.34 with some of the zin offshoot

Difficulty: It’s definitely up and you’ll be sweating, but it’s only 1.5 to the top, you can do it!.

Time: we did it in about and hour and a half with some stops to check out the top, snacks at the zinn off shoot and other lovely places on the way up and down

Rating: Nice hike! Definitely gets crowded! We were at the trail head by 9am and were the 3rd car there, by the time we left the top there was no parking left, cars were in the woods, and the trail was very crowded on the way back down!

I’ve had this hike on my to-do for a bit, especially since it is rated as a, if you live in the front range you should definitely hike this. I got a lovely group of gals to join me on the jaunt up and was especially excited about the 143 stairs at the top!

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The views along the way were so amazing! Lots of land and buttes and trees and mountains as far as the eye can see!

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The mid way point has a sign, but i swear it seemed alot further from there than to there!

 

Meatballs Stroganoff – crockpot

Found this in “everyday low-carb slow cooker cookbook” – right – who knew such a thing existed – yeah for public libraries!

IT is listed as an appetizer but i went with calling it dinner – made about 6 servings with a bag of the no yolk egg noodles.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 cubes beef bouillon
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tbl dried minced onions
  • 1 can mushrooms (original called for 10 ounces fresh chopped)
  • 2 pounds meat balls – frozen
  • 1 1/2 cups sour cream, room temp (i used lite and it was fine)
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce (original called for 1/4tsp – really, why bother with that little!)

Preparation:

  1. Add first 6 ingredients (pepper through mushrooms) to the crock pot, mix will. (turned the crock pot on and let the mixture make the bouillon cubes melt and moosh) Add the meatballs stir (since they are frozen, stirring it does no damage)
  2. Cover and cook on low for 4 hours. Stir to coat meatballs 1 or 2 times during cooking.
  3. Just before serving, add sour cream and hot sauce.

Verdict: So much better than expected! Tasty, flavorful, very filling with a bag of no yolk egg noodles. (that part also makes no long no carb…) This bad boy will definitely make the rotation – bag o meatballs from costco, makes it super easy! I would probably do 1.5 lb or less so there is more sauce to meatball ratio, but i’m also only feeding 2 people, this could easily feed a big family! Or do as originally suggested and make it an appetizer and skip the noodles!

Mt Flora

I’ve had this hike on my to-do list for years! The main worry was about it being too hot with very little shade. Finally I convinced some friends that this would be a great hike!

Length: My GPS said 7, book says 6.3

Difficulty: Heck it’s hard! All up, you start at 10k feet and are climbing steadily till 13,900 feet.

Time: we did it in under 3 hours!! There were storms threatening on the way up, and then lightening on the way down, so we were cruising in both directions!

Rating: Tough, but a really pretty hike. Lots to see, cooler than Denver, so even a 90 degree day in Denver is only 60-70 up there! Bring layers, you will get hot, then cold, then hot, then cold!

To start the hike, park in the Berthed Pass Parking lot – use the rest room at the far end, start the hike on the other end by the service gate. There will be no marker. But you will see signs for the continental divide trail. You will cruise up some windy switchbacks, on a wide service road. Eventually you will come to a sign!

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Keep on climbing and climbing and climbing. There will be some amazing views to left/west, and down to route 40, to right/east and the mountain ranges around you! Just keep on trucking up…

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When we finally go to the top, it was kinda hard to tell you were there. First because we ended up “in” the clouds

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Second was because it’s a pretty flat summit. There will be a circular rock thingy on your left, but you will probably only notice the pile of rocks ahead to your right, but just turn around and it will be more obvious Inside that round area is the bottle with the signature paper for the summit list! Woot!

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Definitely not a hike for the feint of heart, but enjoyable, doable and beautiful!

 

 

Fresh Salsa

I’ve always thought fresh made salsa was silly – what’s wrong with pace….

Then we finally had a year when we had too many tomatoes to eat before they went bad!!

I started here, and i think the secret ingredient is cumin!

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Ingredients:

  • 5-6 fresh tomatoes
  • 2 slices of red onion
  • 1 jalapeno
  • 1-2 tsp dried cilantro  (fresh if you have it…  i never do)
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 lime juiced
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper

Preparation:

  • Place all ingredients in a food processor
  • Pulse till consistency desired 5-8 times
  • Let sit overnight in fridge to allow flavors to blend

 

 

 

easy crockpot sriracha honey meatballs

So, the hubby sent me this recipe, for wings… Hubby doesn’t like chicken on the bone (although i love them), so i figured, hey, let’s try this with meatballs!

Pretty tasty!

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Easy Crockpot Sriracha Honey Meatballs

Ingredients:

  • 3 pounds frozen meatballs
  • 1/2 cup sriracha sauce (Huy Fong Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce, the one with the rooster on the package)
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • juice of one lime (about 1/4 cup)

Directions:

In a 4 quart slow cooker on low add sriracha sauce, butter, honey and lime juice.  Stir to combine.  Add meatballs.  Stir until wings are well coated. 

Cook on low 3-4 hours then on high for 1-2 hours.

Verdict:

Tasty! Definitely a nice kick. Don’t let them cook too long or they get the strange over saturated kind of thing going on.

We also cut them into quarters and fried them up to add to our mac n cheese while camping! MMMMM!