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Lost Lake via Hesse Trail

We had been trying to get up to Nederland and this trail all summer. Something always got in our way, timing, mosquitos, etc…

We finally had a fully free day, it was cooler, and sunday it was going to snow!

The drive was meandering when we chose to skip the toll road. But it was nice out, and the views were great and the time together was wonderful!

It was chilly and we got there early enough to get within 20 cars of the trail head. Everything was still frozen and snowey, so off we went. We missed the official trail head, but the river made it pretty obvious we needed a new plan!

The hike was pleasant, a good amount of uphill, and at the lake – ooofa – so windy!


  • Closer to 5, 5 and 1/2 miles in length
  • About 1000 foot elevation gain, not terrible
  • A nice adventure off season

Spicy indian chicken


Found this ditty in fitness magazine. I exchanged the rice for black rice, and i drained it before adding to the onions. Next time i would definitely leave some liquid


  • 1 1/2 cups black rice
  • 1 inch fresh gingerroot, peeled
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 3/4teaspoon salt
  • 1/4teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup light coconut milk
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, halved and sliced
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • Large handful green beans (6 ounces), sliced crosswise into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1/4cup chopped roasted cashews
  • 1/2cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 5 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons sliced fresh mint or cilantro (optional)


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the rice. Boil for 25 minutes; drain well.
  2. Meanwhile, finely grate the gingerroot and crush the garlic and place in a large bowl; combine with the salt, cumin, coriander, turmeric and cayenne pepper and 1/2 cup of the coconut milk. Add the chicken; cover and refrigerate until the rice is ready.
  3. Warm the olive oil in a medium Dutch oven over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until it begins to brown, 5 minutes. Add the cinnamon stick and continue to cook, stirring, until fragrant, 3 more minutes.
  4. Reduce the heat to low. Transfer half the onions to a plate, leaving the cinnamon stick and the rest of the onions in the pot. Over them, layer the partially cooked rice, green beans, half the cashews and then the chicken with its marinade. Pour the chicken broth and the remaining coconut milk over the top; sprinkle with the reserved onions.
  5. Cover and cook over low heat until the chicken and rice are cooked through and the liquid has been absorbed, about 20 minutes. Add the lemon juice and serve topped with the remaining cashews and, if desired, the sliced mint or cilantro.
Let the chicken marinate for longer.
The flavors were good, the black rice was a nice choice to add.

Nutrition Information

Servings Per Recipe: 6
PER SERVING: 376 cal., 12 g total fat (3 g sat. fat), 45 g carb. (3 g fiber), 23 g pro.

Cajun Pecans – Crockpot

Found this recipe for additional spicy nuts for the father-in-law for xmas, but with travel and work I didn’t get around to it till today! Yeah for snow storms! I upped the cayene and didn’t add the thyme since i like spice and was out. We’ll be going there at the end of the month, so we’ll bring some goodies to him then!



  • 1 pound pecan halves (2 cups)
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper


  • Place pecans in the bottom of a 4 quart crockpot. Turn on high.
  • Combine all the spices in a bowl on the side.
  • Melt the butter.
  • Dump the spice mixture over the pecans, pour the butter.
  • Stir with vigor until everything is covered with teh butter and spice combo.
  • Cover and cook on HIGH for 15 minutes. Turn to LOW and continue to cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally for 2 hours. Transfer nuts to a baking sheet and cool completely.
  • (Pack into glass jars and decorate with bows for holiday gifts)


Devil’s Backbone Trail

First hike of 2013! Woohoo!

Devil’s Backbone in Loveland


There is a foot traffic only path to the keyhole and some other areas in the park. A good amount of parking, but not sure what it is like mid season.

Cons:No shade, at all (it was overcast and 65 today, so it was perfect!)

Devil's Backbone

So, the map of our actual hike below isn’t really totally accurate, we went more like 4.5 miles. The loop hike listed in our book said it was about 4 miles for the keyhole loop and then a little further. We went to the beginning of the second loop and turned around. I think it we had an earlier start so there wasn’t fear of thunderstorms we could have done more, although it being the first hike of the season, the pups were a little tuckered out!


The hike starts out pretty easy, it is a total of only 400 feet elevation gain if you only do the first loop, 980 if you add on like we did!


This picture is of the keyhole, we couldn’t actually get up there cause it was raptor/raven breeding season.

Doh – guess i needed to check my research better! But at least we could see it from the trail!


The back bone! So cool looking – even cooler with the storm coming in! We only got caught in a little bit of it!


The obligatory – what i see when i hike photo!


Tired pups on the way home!


Chocolate Peanut Butter Bowl

I found this flipping thru RR magazine and knew i needed to make up a reason to make it!

Luckily this past easter sunday, i found a reason! A friend who had given up beer for lent was having a belated birthday celebration at a local brewery. Done and done!

The end product

Why yes, yes it is on my christmas platter, and you know why that is? Cause i have a small house and only need a platter a couple times a year and i love christmas, so there! I changed up the ingredient list a bit, cause it was what i had on hand, what i had someone buy for me and what i didn’t read correctly


* 4 tablespoons margarine
* 1 10 ounce bag  marshmallows
* 1 1/3 cups chunky peanut butter
* 3/4 teaspoon salt
* 5 cups crisped rice cereal
* Cooking spray
* 2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
* 1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar
* 2 cups heavy whipping cream
* 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
* 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


* In a large saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Add the marshmallows; stir until melted, 5 minutes. Stir in 1/3 cup peanut butter and 1/2 tsp. salt. Remove from the heat; stir in the cereal.  (Next time i would do it ghetto style and do it in the microwave, no need for the pan drama)
* Cover the inside of a medium (3 qt.) bowl with plastic wrap, leaving a few inches of overhang. Coat the plastic and your fingers with cooking spray. Press the cereal mixture into the bowl. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.  (fyi – that stuff be HOT, damn HOT, burn your finger tips HOT, with or without cooking spray, make sure to evenly spread it, mine had big chunks on the bottom and some on one side!)
* In a double boiler, stir the chocolate over medium-high heat until melted, 5 minutes.  I went with the 2 minutes in the microwave! 1 cup at a time
* Pour the chocolate into the cereal bowl; spread with a rubber spatula to coat the inside. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
* In a bowl, whisk the remaining 1 cup peanut butter, the brown sugar and remaining 1/4 tsp. salt. Whisk in 1/2 cup cream. (there is where i neglected to actually read and dumped the whole cup into this mixture in my kitchen aid, it wasn’t fully clear till after i was mid process that it was 2 bowls…  I let is whisk for a good while and it all turned out ok!)
* Using an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the remaining 1 1/2 cups cream on medium speed until thick, about 1 minute. Slowly add the granulated sugar and vanilla; beat to soft peaks, 2 minutes. Fold into the peanut butter mixture in 3 additions.
* Pull up the plastic to transfer the cereal bowl to a platter; discard the plastic. Spoon in the peanut butter cream. Top with the peanuts. Have guests spoon cream onto plates and break off pieces of the bowl.

butter marshmallows IMG_4597 IMG_4599 IMG_4601 IMG_4603 IMG_4605

FYI – having guests break off pieces of the bowl make you have friends with chocolate on their hands…  ewww.  IT does work if you use hte plastic wrap to hold it and break it, or a butter knife is a good option too.

Definitely an awesome desert and with my lessons learned i can’t wait for the next event to make this for!

Gingerbread Biscuits – Dog Treats

Found this recipe on RR magazine/website

It was a bit hard to deal with the dough. Not sure i’d make it again.

Gingerbread Biscuits


  • 3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup molasses


  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees . Place a silpat on a cookie sheet. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, ginger and cinnamon. Mix in the oil, molasses and 1/2 cup water; let rest for 15 minutes.
  • On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough 1/4 inch thick. Using holiday-themed or bone-shaped cookie cutters, cut out cookies. Transfer to the prepared sheet. Bake until firm, about 30 minutes.

These were a little hard to work with. The dough was pretty tough and cutting out the shapes made my hands hurts.

The boys of course liked them very much!!

Favorite Crock Pot Recipes

Last year for Christmas, hubby got me the triple dipper! It took a bit to convince him that is was a completely necessary item – even though i had 2 plus other crock pots in the house!

I have my first one, a 4 quart with, warm, low and high setting only. That was one of my first when i moved out of the house my first year!

I have the 6 quart that has warm, high, low, and a timer! That was a wedding gift and i love it! It came with a mini crock pot that pretty much is just off and “frickin” hot!

When i saw the triple crock pot thingy at target and walmart i knew it was just a must have for me!

I was at a party on Saturday night and brought my fancy triple dipper and we all started talking about crockpot recipes, so i figured i’d put together a post with my favorite places to get my crock pot recipes and some of my favorite recipes so they would all be in 1 place!



Spicy Almonds – easy and keeps spice out of the air in your house!

Candies Walnuts – so much cheaper that at the store, and super quick and easy

Reuben Spread  – super yummy, not good for you but great on little toasted bread

Brie with apricots – one of my favorites! Delicious – great in the triple dipper!

The Rest

Sweet and Spicy Asian Pork Shoulder  Another favorite – so tasty, makes a ton! I leave the boc choi in there a ton.

Turkey Enchilada “Soup”  Kinda like chili – but slightly different flavor and the tortilla strips just add that extra mmm

Coconut Beef

Thai Chicken  just a couple ingredients, wonderful flavor

White Chili with Chicken – mmmm, good flavors, easy to make, up the spice to work for you

Cauliflower and Chickpea curry – interesting flavors, lots of veggies!


Make your own chicken broth


Liquor Cake – the best desert – so easy, and delicious!



Other random easy stuff:

Chipotle Raspberry Meatballs:

1/2 bag of costco frozen meatballs

1 bottle of raspberry chipotle sauce – from costco

Dump both in crock pot turn on low for 8 hours, high for less. Eat!


Easy Meatballs and Sauce:

1/2 a bag to a full back of frozen meatballs

1 bottle of pasta sauce

Plot meatballs in the crock pot, top with sauce, rinse bottle of sauce with red wine, dump into crock pot.

Sprinkle with garlic powder, oregano and onion powder. Stir.

Turn on low if you have all day, high if you don’t. Ready to eat in 4-8 hours.


When was the last time you cried?

When was the last time you cried – not in a sad way

A radio show i listen to in the morning came up with this question of “When was the last time you cried or got teary eyed?”

I found it interesting because i get choked up about weird stuff. I recall being a pre-teen and always making fun of my mom and sister and when they cried at Halmark movies. As i grew older i made it my mission to never ever cry.

But i would always get choked up at Parades. Yup. Parades. Seeing all the people marching by, twirling batons etc etc etc… Even when i marched in parades i’d get a little choked up as well.

Most recently we were downtown watching the Tuba Christmas (which is awesome by the way – find it in your city if you can) and i was getting choked up. Throat was tight, eyes were wet.. It’s just weird.

Never understood it, but hey, it’s a part of me!


Kim’s Wedding

October 29th was the day. The day one of my dearest and most precious friends tied the knot. The day I saw a smile on her face, a smile that was so big and so wide and just so wonderful!

The happy happy couple!

It was a wonderful evening, spent enjoying the new couple, old friends and oh my gawd – fabulous food!