Author Archives: nwilker

Denver Energy Challenge – suggested qualified contractor list

Got the following list from Denver Energy

We were looking for insulation and air sealing

Spent Grain – Coconut and Pecan Cookies

Still have a ton of spent grain in the fridge and the clock is ticking on it’s viability. Use it, toast it or freeze it. Since i didn’t have 4 hours to toast, i decided to find something that used wet grains!

I found this wonderful recipe on Brooklyn Brew Shop

I can’t wait to do the options of add ins!


  • 5 tablespoons butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup of Spent Grain Flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 cups wet spent grain
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped (used mini chop bowl from food processor)
  • 1 cup coconut flakes


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar. Add the egg and vanilla and beat to combine.

3. In a small bowl, combine flours, baking soda, salt, and spices. Add flour mixture to butter mixture and beat until combined. Remove bowl from mixer and fold in wet spent grain, pecans, and coconut flakes.

4. Scoop cookies onto a lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the cookies are crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. Let cool. Enjoy.


I only cooked it for 15 min. I  did the first batch and flattened them, i think i like that version best. Also best to let them sit for 2 min, they pop off the silpat like a snap! I didn’t have allspice, so i skipped it.

Spent Grain – White Chocolate Chip Cranberry Cookies

My neighbor has started brewing his own beer, which means – spent grain for me!

It’s definitely a learning process, like how to get the grain dried. Which at this point i’ve kind of left to the side and am trying to find recipes that use it wet!

This one is a combo of it all – dry the grains, process to flour, and then wet grains as well

I found it on Deschutes Brewery web site and it was definitely a keeper


  • 2/3 C butter, softened
  • 2/3 C brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 ½ C spent grain
  • 1 ½ C flour
  • 1 Tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 C dried cranberries
  • 2/3 C white chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar together in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add eggs, mixing well, Combine grain, flour, baking soda and salt in a separate medium mixing bowl. Add this dry mixture to to wet mixture in several additions, mixing well after each addition. Stir in dried cranberries and white chocolate chips. Drop spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets and bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on wire rack. Makes approximately 2 ½ dozen cookies.

I used the med scooper and go 3 and 1/2 dozen


OMG! Amazing!

Cauliflower pizza crust

Saw this recipe in the latest version of CL! Had to make it! We even had a head of cauliflower that i needed to use before heading off to work in another state on monday! This was perfect!



For Crust:

  • 1 cauliflower head, roughly chopped (about 3 poundsCooking spray
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced fresh basil, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2.5 ounces shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese (about 2/3 cup), divided
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 0.5 ounces grated Parmesan cheese

For “home made pizza sauce”

  • 1/2-3/4 cup tomato sauce (in the bottle) – usually i can’t eat red sauce, this stuff i can, woot me!
  • oregano
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion Power
  • Pepper


Pepperoni, pickled jalapenos, onions and tomatoes, bacon


1. Preheat oven to 375°.

2. Place half of cauliflower in a food processor; pulse 10 to 15 times or until finely chopped (like rice). Transfer cauliflower to a baking sheet lined with silpat parchment paper. Repeat procedure with remaining cauliflower. Coat cauliflower with cooking spray. Bake at 375° for 25 minutes, stirring once. Cool.

3. Increase oven temp to 450°.

4. Place cauliflower in a clean kitchen towel. Squeeze until very dry. Combine cauliflower, remaining 1 teaspoon oil, 1/4 cup basil, 1/8 teaspoon black pepper, salt, garlic, 2 ounces mozzarella cheese, egg whites, and Parmesan cheese in a bowl. Press cauliflower mixture into 2 (8-inch) circles on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Coat crusts with cooking spray.

5. Make “pizza sauce” – combine ingredients, adding more or less of the ingredients to taste (sorry, i know i hate when people do that, but it’s really not a set type of thing…)

6. Bake crusts at 450° for 22 minutes or until browned.(Take care ours were brown and starting to char at 15) Remove pan from oven; top crusts evenly with sauce, remaining mozzarella cheese and whatever toppings you wish. Bake an additional 7 minutes or until cheese melts or it’s done to your liking

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I was concerned that cooking on a silpat would make the bottom get weird like it did with the cauliflower tortillas, but i didn’t!

Can also use pesto in place of red sauce, or none, if you aren’t in the mood!

I’ll try making them thinner next time!


Nutrition for the crust alone:

  • Calories: 225.9
  • Total fat 10.3g
  • Sat fat: 5.8g
  • Poly .3g
  • Mono: .7
  • Cholesterol 24.3
  • Sodium 531.5mg
  • Potassium 941.8
  • Total Carbs: 16.8
  • Fiber :7.3
  • Protein: 21.2


Making Indian Food

I got to spend a day making delicious indian food with a friend’s mom.


Do i know how to do it again… probably not. But i definitely have 5 pounds of chipati flour, so i have already tried those again. Sadly – i can’t roll out my chapatis so they are round… but i’m getting the hang of it and this website has helped! I’m also saving this site for when i run out of chapati flour!

We made a dal – it was a mix of red and moong lentils, similar to ones i’ve made before.. but i gotta say, much better… Although i just looked up my version and they both look similar!

Not sure of what all went into this one, but here is the shopping list:

We could make a combination masoor (red) and moong dal. You could get 1 lb bags of each.Whole jeera 2 tsp, turmeric, red chilli powder, ginger root fresh, fresh tomatoes 2, cilantro, onion 1.

We also threw in a couple of the chilis for fun!




We also made Chicken Kurma or what the following recipe card says. As when following any other good cook, some don’t always follow the recipe… pretty sure she winged quite a bit of it from experience! She would show me how much salt she was using or some other spice and it was just a portion of her hand. I chuckled inside! This was most interesting having to grind the cashews into a paste… i’d use a blender next time..

Shopping list:

Chicken kurma (drumsticks are best )
Onions (3-4), 1/2 cup raw cashews to be ground, ginger, garlic, 1 c.plain yogurt, 1 c milk, garam masala  powder, bay leaves (3) green cardamoms 6-8. cilantro, oil. For 4 to 6 people 2 legs each.


We also make Kheema with ground turkey. Pretty yummy and interesting. Whole cinnamon sticks… Not exactly sure of it all – but here is my shopping list for it:

1 1/2 lbs gr.meat ( I prefer turkey or chicken)
     Onions (3), Tomatoes- sauce or strained/bottled variety, ginger, garlic. Turmeric, red chilli powder, coriander powder, jeera powder, cilantro. Oil.
Note to the uninitiated – jeera is cumin! 

IMG_9753Found this site and could be a good starting point for next time i make this!


For a win for the hubby i also made butter chicken and found this recipe. My “mom for the day” didn’t usually make this dish, so it was my job to find a recipe! She thought the fenugreek was weird and would have ground it. Also having used the bottle tomato sauce in her recipe for kheema, i would totally do that here… My sauce ended up less thick than i would have liked… But i did like the tikka marinade for the chicken and might do that on it’s own in the future!


We made a dry vegetable curry too!


Mixed vegetable dry curry.
         Potato, colored peppers, mushrooms, cauliflower, onion, fresh tomato.
         2 potatoes, 2 peppers, 4-6 oz mushrooms (optional), half a cauliflower, 1-2 small tomatoes, ginger, garlic chopped, onions 2.
         turmeric, red chilli powder, coriander powder, garam masala, cilantro.
It was a ton of veggies and it made my spoon smell funny… as in like curry… but it’s delish!
There was also an order… mushrooms last…  onions first…

We also made a riata with grated cucumber, a diced jalapenos some spices and yogurt. Yum! According to the indian recipe site i found there are a multitude of riatas you can make… i still have some yogurt… i might see some riatas in my future…

Shopping list: plain yogurt, cuke, jalapeno peppers 1-2, ginger grated pinch.

But i’m sure she threw in some other spices as well!!


Things i learned 

I do have a cover for every pot

I don’t have too many spoons

grating garlic is amazing

my coriander is no good. Buy the whole pod, grate/grind before use!

some things don’t need to be hard

Some times too much food really is too much food!

Boulder Lake Hike

Annual camping trip to cow creek south on green mountain reseviour! I needed a new hike for the group. I found this one – boulder lake hike. The info i had indicated a 800 foot elevation gain a 500 foot elevation loss. Sounds not too bad right? They lie. Even pro-trails was just so-so on the description.

Trail head (summer) definitely needed high clearance. Road is pretty rutted and large rocks abound! We finally made it, took us nearly an hour off the main road for that…

Trail head was right there, plenty of info.


Off went and the sights eere pretty fabulous!


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The boys did very well! Ended up being longers and harder and hotter than anticipated, but they were troopers!


The lake was beautiful! Definitely worth the treck up there! Alas once we turned around, i wasn’t so sure! Definitely a tough one!

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Ranch Dressing

So i started with beans. black beans. Black beans in the crockpot.

I meant to look up the recipe on 365 crockpot blog…  but i picked the wrong one from google and ended up on this 365 crockpot blog

It all worked out, cause this was a pretty good recipe, i liked the bullion, garlic and the tons of beans it made.

That lead to the other portion of the recipe that called for ranch lime cilantro sour cream.

That sounded tasty… i had sour cream… i did not have ranch dressing package… so i looked up that recipe. wow! great! I had all the ingredients, so let’s do this!

I didn’t really change any of the recipes, and i’m pretty darn excited about the results!

Tahini, Honey, and Almond Cookies

So i found these on a site that called them paleo cookies. Now i gotta say i can’t really envision cavemen running around eating cookies.. but they were tasty!

Obviously i don’t have all the weird special diet stuff in my house but i did have the tahini, so i made do!



  • ½ cup (125 g) tahini
  • ½ cup (170 g) honey
  • 1 large egg
  • 1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1½ teaspoons pure almond extract
  • 1½ cups (168 g) whole what flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F; line 2 large baking trays with parchment paper or silpat liners.
  2. Stir together Place the tahini, honey, egg, vanilla extract, and almond extract in a Kitchenaid, and mix until smooth, then stir in the almond meal, salt, and baking soda until well combined. (The batter will thicken as you stir, but it will still be a soft, sticky batter; don’t be tempted to add more almond meal.) Let the batter rest for 5 minutes.
  3. Use a 1 tablespoon-sized scoop Small cookie scooper to measure out the batter onto the cookie sheet, leaving about 1 inch between cookies. Sprinkle the sesame seeds on top.
  4. Bake until the cookies are golden on the bottom and set along the outside, but still look a touch doughy in the center, about 10 minutes, rotating the trays once.
  5. Cool the cookies completely on their trays before removing.
Note: the whole wheat flour made the cookie batter much stiffer, so you could actually place them much closer, they didn’t spread. I didn’t put the sesame seeds on top – no need and they add extra calories, for what?
All in all i gotta say the almond extract gave it a nice umph, just a nice sweetness from the honey to make it a treat and quite addicting!

Perfect Hard Boiled egg

Over the years i’ve attempted many different ways of hard boiling eggs…


This year, i think i found it!


  1. Place eggs in a large saucepan. Cover them with cool water by 1 inch. Slowly bring water to a boil over medium heat; when the water has reached a boil, cover and remove from turn off heat. Let sit 12-18 minutes.

  2. Transfer eggs to a colander; place under cool running water to stop the cooking. Eggs can be peeled and served immediately.

I also found the best way to peel an egg! It seems silly, but i love it.

All in all a great easter!



Crockpot – French Onion Soup


I’ve become the team leader for the Spark People cooking light group – so our newest thang is to try and make 1 or 2 recipes from the current issue. We ended up thinking of a couple – but I ended up with the Chocolate Coconut Macaroons (review/recipe coming soon) and Crock Pot French Onion soup.

Note: cutting onions, is the suck!

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As anyone who knows me or my cooking knows, i don’t follow recipes “exactly”. I’m always missing an ingredient, don’t like or someone else doesn’t like an ingredient… so almost every recipe gets a “change”. This one was no different. Another team member had made this dish first and suggested a splash of alcohol, which lead me to “research” french onion soup.

Which lead to:


Using 4 different kinds of onions, swapping out wine for some of the stock (learning the difference between stock and broth), finding a new kind of stock “goo” that you add hot water to.. learning about caramelizing onions in the crock pot and that you don’t need the sugar and in the end, all in all an ok soup.

French Onion Soup – Slow Cooker


  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 6 thyme sprigs
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 5 pounds large sweet onions, vertically sliced (about 16 cups)
    • 3 shallots
    • 2 red onions
    • 3 sweet onions
    • 2 yellow onions
    • Or whatever combo gets you to 5 pounds, this filled my 6 qt crockpot to the top
  • 1 tablespoon sugar (
  • 6 cups unsalted beef stock (such as Swanson)
  • 1 1/2 cups red wine
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 24 (1/2-ounce) slices whole-grain French bread baguette (use the CL recipe!)
  • 5 ounces Gruyère cheese, shredded (about 1 1/4 cups)


  1. Place butter, thyme, and bay leaf in the bottom of a 6-quart electric slow cooker. Add onions; sprinkle with sugar. Cover and cook on HIGH for 8 hours.
  2. Remove thyme and bay leaf; discard. Add stock, wine, vinegar, salt, and pepper; cook, covered, on HIGH for 30 minutes. 3 – 4 hours
  3. Preheat broiler to high.
  4. Arrange bread in a single layer on 2 baking sheets; broil 30 seconds on each side or until toasted. Place 1 cup soup in each of 12 (8-ounce) ramekins or ovenproof bowls, or follow freezing instructions. Top each serving with 2 bread slices and about 2 tablespoons cheese. Place 6 ramekins on a jelly-roll pan; broil 2 minutes or until cheese melts and begins to brown. Repeat procedure with remaining 6 ramekins, bread slices, and cheese


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