Category Archives: Ramblings

Day trip to Fort Collins

For a while the hubby and I have been talking about a day trip up to Fort Collins, see some sights, drinks some beer, and relax in a different part of the state.

Ok, so it’s only an hour away, but it’s just far enough…

As we all know, road side america is a big thing for me, and I love seeing fun and stupid and weird thing all around!

To start our adventure, it was the Swetsville Zoo – i mean, seriously, a zoo of all metal animals, how could we not!

Bonus – it’s right off the highway and outside of town, so you can stop on the way in or the way out of town!

Next stop was one of the Mini Statue Of Liberties! We found these ladies on a previous trip east for christmas. I love these little ladies and it’s now a “thing” for me to see as many as i can in different locations!

This was a park in the middle of fort collins! There some other interesting things to see – like concrete frogs and plastic dinosaurs, we had a nice walk around the lake and enjoyed some fresh air!

We also meandered the city for other random sites! Good thing john is a good sport!

And then finally it was time for beer!

We stopped at a couple breweries downtown between the raindrops and then ended up at Coppersmith! We had been here ages ago and decided to see what we remembered! The food was good, the staff was good, and we also ended our stay with a Rootbeer and Cream Soda Float! Delicious and highly recommended.

The final stop and whole reason for coming up to Fort Collins was a Yelp event at New Belgium

We got a special tour, and then a special couple hours of free beer just for us – hello – i did indeed feel special! My favorite was the beer-rita – who knew it could be so good!

The tour itself was amazing, seeing all the vats and how it all works – and of course the slide at the end

All in all it was fabulous day and so glad we got to spend the day in a place we have been trying to enjoy for a bit!

 

Fun with Kim

When hubby travels for work, Kim comes to play!

Kim and i were trying to find a weekend to get together, and I saw on the calendar that Hubby was out of town for a conference, so I decided to have kim come play for the weekend. Not that she doesn’t like the hubby, but i don’t like to share, so i get more time with her, just for me! And we get to do stupid things we like that doesn’t include boys! Squee!

The day started with a thunderstorm, sigh. I was very hopeful her flight would not be diverted and it wasn’t, whew!

I were both starving so i brought her to My Brother’s Bar for some historic and delicious burgers! SLurp! We had the “new owner” as our waitress – Paula! We have known her son forever and it was a treat to meet her and to know that the restaurant was staying as a local owned establishment and that things would remain the same!

After we stuffed ourselves, we headed up the road for some some spice shopping – oh how i love Savory Spice Shop! I always get my spices there now, and they are super friendly, offer up suggestions and help me find exactly what i  need. Kim had fun and got to tickle her cooking fancy! Next up the street was Denver Beer Co – not my favorite, but she’s into beyond hoppy beers, so it was a treat for her! We chatted, stayed out of the rain and eased into our fun weekend!

Next up was home, seeing the boys, and relaxing! Eventually we were feeling a little hungry so we popped over to 10 Barrel to have the Pimento Cheese and Bacon Jam dip (because, why not, and it’s amazing – if you go, just start with an extra set of crisps). 10 Barrel used to be my favorite brewery, we would always hit them up when i was in Boise for business. Alas they have succumbed to the we are in colorado so we must only make hoppy beer and have discontinued my most favorite brew – Swill – a light, wheaty radler…  There is a sour – Cucumber sour that is light and drinkable, but if i go to a brewery, i don’t want there to be only 1 thing i like and they pour it from a can…  sigh. I digress, Kim has a number of options and we pleased with their hoppiness!

Saturday the weather was still not cooperating, so we decided to head up north to my favorite Thrift Boutique – Queen Esters (all profits go to providing water wells in 3rd world countries).

After that we had a lunch of cheese, dips and some meet from my “meat box” from the Carnivore Club – it is so much fun to get a box of meat in the mail… just saying.

The weather broke, so we decided to pop over to the botanical gardens for a walk and more chatting! It’s now a standing joke that Kim has yet to see the gardens in bloom…  Every time she visits and we take her, they are mostly dead. This time there was a bit more and we popped into the Rain Forest (saw a blue poisonous tree frog – he so didn’t look real, but then he moved) and Orchid area to see some of those things as well!

 

Next up was more relaxing on the couch, and then off to one of my favorite places to eat – Cho 77, and then down the street to Adrift Tiki Bar for mai thai’s – cause why not on a cold rainy saturday! We got Suman to come along for the evening fun too!

Cho 77 – how we found this place is a funny story – hubby and i were in the area a couple years ago for a music festival that lasts 4 days. We were looking for a bite and this place seemed interesting. We nearly died when we tasted the Pork Belly, Bok Choy Noodle dish. First time, we shared it – i ate the bok choy, he the noodles and we shared the pork belly. Since then, we have not branched out! He orders his with no bok choy, i order my with no noodles and extra bok choy and we slurp this dish up like nobodies business! That weekend we ate every dinner at this place and were beyond happy! It was a treat to share it with Kim and Suman.

As for Adrift Tiki BAr – it’s been on my list to try – we won a Drink Passport one year and this place was to be the end location, but work or something got in the way and the passport expired and I never got here. But it;s been in my head forever and when we were going to be down there, i decided it was an excellent gal’s place! And it was!

We stayed out pretty late for me, but still early enough for it not to be too crazy of a night!

Next up was our final day together – boo…

Sunday it was finally sunny and a nice temperature! Our day started with Rosenbergs for lox and bagel sandwich! Delish!

Next up was some random sight seeing!

First up – Mother Cabrini Shrine! I have seen the sign for this place for all the years we have driven to and from the mountains and always thought it might be interesting to stop. And Then i found out there were stairs to climb! Squee!

Kim being the good sport came along. There is a cute museum about the life of this nun, a place to get holy water from a spring she “found under a rock”, and then of course the 360 stairs to see the statue. What was funny, was i thought the statue would be of mother cabrini… nope, it’s a giant jesus… Well there you go, now i know what i’m looking at from the I-70!

Our next stop was the “buffalo” that live along the  I-70 in a preserve, but they were hiding… so it was a very quick drive by. We had a still a couple hours to spend before i had to return Kim to the airport, so i offered up a “chuck wagon” option for lunch. She was totally in! It was another – on my list to try eventually, so i was happy to get there! Definitely hearty portions, quick delivery, pretty sure most of the staff has been there forever, and know their craft! Definitely will be hitting this place up after hiking this summer!

Final stop was a little downtown that is just too far from downtown to get to very often. My main plan was to hit up The Chocolate Therapist – a shop i had found as a chocolate festival! I stocked up and then we returned to the house to relax on the deck chairs before the final trip to the airport.

All in all a fabulous weekend with kim and i’m so glad she could come out to play!

Making Indian Food

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

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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!

 

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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.

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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!

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We made a dry vegetable curry too!

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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…
Onions
Potatoes
Cauliflower
Peppers
Mushrooms
Tomatos

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!

Surprise Lake and Camping at Cow Creek

Last weekend – the last weekend prior to the 4th – which will now become an annual event, i got 2 fabulous campsites right on a reservoir and invited a bunch of different out doorsie people to join me/us!

Here is the campsite to the left

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To the right, and closer to the right, you can see the tree in both! Great place to be!

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We had found this camp site last year and decided to come again this year but get both the sites in what i call a “culdesac”

We had good times around the fire and enjoyed some serious relaxing and bonding time

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Saturday was a hike we had attempted last year and were thrwated by the mosquitos! this year we were prepared and so were the pups! We had deet they had puppy spray – lemongrass and catnip and they are on heart worm! Suprise lake! It’s a portion of a much longer hike (9.3) – we did the 2.6 each way one!

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It was the first time i had hiked with such a big crowd since girl scouts, but it was great!

Most of the time we were in the woods, mosquitos swarming, but not too too hot! Views were amazing and the columbines were gorgeous!

Hubby and another of the fellas say the hike was straight up hill… I thought it was ok!  ;)

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Definitely hope to do the whole 9.3 next year, or at least hike around Surprise Lake, it was so pretty!

Lessons learned:

  • The deflate portion of the air pump for the air mattress is amazing
  • We can put up our tent in super windy conditions
  • Being without cell signal can be an amazing thing

The boys turn 4

Has it really been that long? Are the boys really that old?

It seems like only yesterday that we brought them home with us!

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It’s been an eventful year, full of camping, hiking, and hanging around with mom and dad!

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Double Header Stair Climb for American Lung Association

This weekend I did a double header! 2 stair climbs – one in Seattle one in Portland (OR)! At first i was just going to do 40 flights in Seattle and 160 in Portland… But then I learned i could do 160 in both! So i said why not! We started the day in the fog!

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Woot!

The 40 floor building was actually the “smallest” building i had done, but agreeing to do it 4 times in row – that was big! Since I had 2 races, i decided to get an additional Wonder woman Shirt!

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I did do very well, i thought, very fast for me! 8 minutes! That is nearly 5 flights a minute! Oh my! IMG_6862

Obviously I got slower over each one!   They did a full split – so i got to see how i did each time!

 

We drove back down to portland saturday after the race and check out and was ready for the next race!

This race I had a wife of a friend of my husbands and her running ream join me – i’m pretty sure they hated me by the end!

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Once again i was up for the 160 flights – which was actually 164 since we climbed to the 41’st floor… oy This time it seemed a bit harder, my thighs were pretty chatty – perhaps the long climb the day prior or walking around seattle hills or… By the end of the second run i was considering bailing and calling it a day… But decided to just keep on truckin! And i did the full climb, 4 times! Yeah me!

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All in all i feel pretty proud of myself and am looking forward to see how i do in Denver at the end of February – 56 flights! (I’ve done this one for 4 years, but i always like to see if i can go faster!)

As a reward, we went for a great brunch on the 30th floor of that building. It was nice to relax a little and enjoy a fabulous meal!

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I ended the day with pedicures with my mother-in-law! Woot!!!

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Campfire – Fire starters – results

So we finally had a few minutes to try out one of the completed fire starters!

It worked GREAT!!

It was a pretty windy day and it still stayed lit with a nice flame!!

Can’t wait to get camping and try these out!!

This one lasted nearly 20 minutes! Woot!

If you missed the post on how to make theses – it is here

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Campfire – fire starters – DIY

I’ve known forever, that egg cartons, dryer lint and candle wax were the basic ingredients to creating ones own fire starters to take camping. I attempted once to melt the wax in the microwave inside the egg carton – note – don’t do that. After last summer of enjoying quite a bit of camping and using the walmart brand fire starters that turn your fingers colors and probably contain more chemicals than i want to know about I decided it was time to do our own thing.

So i started saving dryer lint, and candle remnants, and toilet paper rolls (not sure why except that are quite flammable and it’s kind of like recycling…) and egg cartons…

This Saturday it was snowing and i knew we weren’t going anywhere – so it was time – to create magic!

I looked on line and found a couple options of how to do it – the regular in the carton, the neat kind where you dip the whole thing in wax (too messy for me), one that was just toilet paper rolls, lint and paper and matches, and even one using used coffee grounds (that’s the next project!)

Step 1:

Prep the area. Setup an drip catcher for when you spill wax or your wax seeps through your egg carton, and for where you cut up your wax. In theory you should have 1 spot to cut up your wax to equivalent type chunks so they melt at the same speed.

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Note: Remove the front and back off the egg carton. And cut all the wax into similar sized pieces.  Also – just to be safe, wear some safety glasses or if you are lazy like me, slap on your own glasses, just gotta protect those eye balls!

Step 2:

Prep your egg carton

I decided to use my toilet paper rolls by cutting them in half and rolling them till they fit in the middle of each egg location, then stuffing the lint around and in them.

I”ve seen options of just doing a pine cone, just the lint, or the one on deck for next time is coffee grounds and some filter!

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Step 3:

Melt the wax. I didn’t realize was could be so deadly, and had bought a “disposable” pan at the goodwill during the summer for this experiment for $2! But as i read the others that had gone before me, i saw the error of my ways and obtained a glass jar to place in the middle of said disposable pan! I would probably go for the metal can instead of the glass (i also decided as it was bubbling and moving around the pan, safety glasses – a good plan!)

Having all the pieces of was the same size makes the melting go better. And once you think it is all melted, guaranteed, it isn’t, let it sit and melt longer!

And melting wax take a long time, well longer than i thought it would… here is my time lapse of the melt!

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Note: you might have to refill the water occasionally while the boiling is taking place!

P.S: really glad i cleaned my stove earlier so these pictures look ok!

Step 4:

Pour wax over the prepped egg carton!

Using your ove-glove pick up your bottle/can from the pan. (shut off the burner)

Carefully pour the amount of wax needed to cover the lint and cardboard and create a “hard” element that will be used as your fire starter later. As other have mentioned, the more wax your use, the more time it will take to burn…  Some of the lint and egg carton will be your “wick” to get the fire going in your starter!

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Step 5

Repeat the wax meting and pouring till all your egg carton cups are filled. Took me 3 melts. But i had a small bottle and small pan

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You can either store the whole thing or cut each cup from the main. Depends how many you like to or want to use to start your fire. They certainly look gross, but i’m very confident they will work fabulously! (We’ll try burning one soon and give you and update!)

Items of Note:

  • Ove-glove – was vital to being able to pour the molten wax
  • Safety glasses – just made me feel much safer
  • Wax – its takes alot, alot
  • Time – it took much longer than the hour i thought it would.
  • Location – make sure you have paper or something down to pick up the wax etc that might drip.

Tofurkey in the crockpot!

As a family unit, we don’t enjoy turkey, ham is ok, and snacking is what the gods made food for!

We had purchased a tofurkey for our “solo” thanksgiving which turned into a group thang of making Indian food – A-maz-ing! I’ll have to put the recipes up at some point – they still need tweaking tho…

So for Christmas, with our oven still out of commission…  we decided to go easy and yummy!

I re-created the southwest breakfast crockpot thang from craft day last year, with hotter options… Still not amazing, but makes a ton so great for brunch options for a crowd!

We had hummus from costco – the one with the mixins (mmm), a cheese menagerie from sprouts, summer sausage (ala walmart – so much cheaper than target), and the bell of the ball – the tofurkey. The first year we cooked one, we did an olive oil, balsamic basting option. This year we decided to mix i up.. So we doubled the normal temphe/tilapia marinade and hoped for the best. I made the marinade/basting mixture in the morning and let the ball “relax” in the stuff for most of the morning… We put it in the crockpot on low for 3 hours for “dinner” later in the afternoon.

Results:

Since it’s not a real meat we were able to obtain the “drippings” from the marinade to use as a gravy over the sliced ball for dinner. IT was yummy!

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The whole kit and kaboodle

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(Sliced tofu with asian marinade gravy on the right)

 

for some other more traditional options

  1. onion mix
  2. From the tofurkey peeps