Back Again! Cats and New Recipe!

The cats started out the weekend keeping us entertained on Friday night with their new box. I had ordered some very small item on the internet and of course it came in a box that was quite large for the item, but just the right size for the cats. Well, the small-sized cat at least. MaryAnne plopped herself down into the box, even though Leo had been doing his best to claim it by rubbing his whiskers all over the flaps. A rousing game of poke-through-the flaps then ensued. And the Leo jumped INTO the box ON TOP of MaryAnne. Keep in mind this box was just barely big enough for MaryAnne, let alone her 20-pound brother on top of her. Needless to say, mayhem ensued. And neither one of them has been back in the box since. Too traumatic, apparently.

It was a good weekend for trying out new recipes. I just discovered a new food blog through Pinterest, Plain Chicken, and saw several things I wanted to try, including these Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas. These were good.

I did have to take the stick blender to the sauce when I discovered I had purchased a chunky salsa, Ken is not wild about chunks of tomato. I personally would like more sauce – I would cover the enchiladas with mild enchilada sauce and then put the remainder of the chicken/sauce on top. Maybe I will try that next time.

These are definitely on the “keep” list.

I don’t have any pictures of the Box Invasion incident, but how about a few pictures of the little darlings being themselves?

 

Ken fed the little darlings soft food for a treat last night, and one of them (LEO) barfed it off of the end of the bed where I then stepped in it this morning, so that is on the NO  list now, at least for the big Leoski. MaryAnne seems to have a stomach of iron.

 

 

 

 

Panera Bread New Breakfast Souffle and Las Potrancas

Before I tried the new pasta at Panera Bread, I tried the new breakfast souffle. This souffle is part of the new fall menu, and so it does have information and nutritional data available online.

Panera’s description: Sausage & Gouda NEW! Savory egg mixture, sausage, and smoked Gouda, baked in our sweet croissant dough.

Well, how can that not be good? And it is good, in terms of delicious. Nutritional information: Sausage & Gouda 1 souffle 560 calories, 36 grams of fat. Yowza. Not an everyday breakfast item if you are trying to lose weight.

The gouda cheese is very rich.

Looking at the nutritional information, it is unusual that the lowest calorie (480) baked souffle is the Four-Cheese Baked Egg Souffle. It seems like the spinach and artichoke one would be the best, but it is only the second-best.

I had another breakfast that I was waiting to try – the Good Morning Arvada Skillet at Las Potrancas. The first time I tried to go there, it was on a Sunday, and they were just barely open. It appeared that the appointed cook for the day had not come in. The staffer who was there was telling a customer it was going to be about a 40-minute wait for his multiple (quite a few – like 24 or 30) breakfast burritos he had ordered in advance. So I decided not to hang around that day.

I finally got back on a weekday. The Good Morning Arvada Skillet is described as: “Two (2) egg omelet with onions, tomatoes, bell peppers. green chile and your choice of sausage, ham, bacon or chorizo.” But it is pictured on the menu having two eggs over easy on top, and that is what I wanted.

Here is what mine looked like, sorry for the bad lighting.

This was the greasiest thing I have been presented with in a long time. There was no way to finish. I was not sure how they got it so greasy, unless they fried those hash browns and veggies in a pool of lard. This was an excellent concept, not so much in the execution. I may have to try homemade.

I had a better version at the Ralston Cafe in Arvada last week – sorry, forgot the pictures. Here is their menu. Their version is the Huevos Garcia – sauteed onions and bell peppers topped with two eggs, smothered with green chili and cheddar cheese. This was much better. Still, I think a homemade version could be in the works. The problem is the green chile (or chili) – I have only really had one kind of green chile that I really, really like, and that is Santiago’s. So I would need to buy some of that, and keep from eating it long enough to put it on the hash browns, hmmm, maybe that is an idea. Needless to see, the spicy-averse husband will not be indulging in this breakfast dish.

Panera 2012 Fall Menu – Another New Pasta Dish

Panera still seems to be testing pasta dishes only in certain markets, so I feel it is my duty to the internet to report on the new ones as they arrive on the scene. I was dutifully keeping my receipt to help with this blog entry, and then I got caught up in a flurry of desk cleaning, so…..the newest pasta, which seems to have come out in conjunction with the Fall Seasonal Menu, is Spicy Sausace Rigatoni. Or something approximating that. I am sure the name was on the receipt, which I threw away.  I was hungry and ordered the large – once again, you get this WITH something, a soup or a salad. If you don’t want the soup or salad, you receive a discount of about .49 so it is not worth it.

The pasta was very good. The sausage was quite spicy with fennel seeds. I don’t know about the peas. Are peas really necessary in this dish? The pasta somewhat al dente, not like “homemade in a very good Italian restaurant al dente” but good al dente for a chain restaurant. The peas were not mush. There was quite a high sausage to pasta ratio.The large portion of this is probably way more than anyone needs to eat for lunch. I got the baked potato soup and bread with it, and I saved them for dinner.

The bolognese is still my favorite, but I think this one is now second place. Oh yes, there is cheese on top of it, too. That never hurts.  The fact that they still seem to be testing these means there is no nutritional information out there that I can find, and I am a queen of Googling. Perhaps it is best we not know in this situation.

I had the baked potato soup for dinner.

It was also very tasty, I think I would call this my favorite Panera Bread soup right now.

All I can say about these cookies is that they should be illegal. They are shortbread rather than a sugar cookie. They are amazingly delicious. There is a slight lemony taste to frosting, which helps keep it from being overpoweringly sweet. I could eat several of these, and that would be a bad, bad thing.

There IS nutritional information available on these, no wonder they are so good…..

Nutritional Info – Panera Bread Pumpkin Cookie (95g)
Calories – 450 (from Fat – 190)
Fat – 21g (Saturated Fat – 12g)
Sodium – 160mg
Carbs – 63g (Sugar – 35g)
Protein – 4g

So, again, Panera scores a hit with the pasta, I hope it is well received enough in the trial locations for them to roll it out around the country.

 

Octoberfest at Red Robin

I should write about Octoberfest at Red Robin before October is over! I am planning a return trip so I can have the pretzels again, need to make sure we do that before the end of October.

When I saw pretzel bites on the Red Robin Octoberfest menu, I knew we would have to try it. So on a Friday night in September, we were there. As a matter of fact, looking at them again has made me so hungry for them I do believe we might go there tonight.
Now, we didn’t go crazy and order the Sam Adams milkshake (I did have the Screaming Red Zombie, which was excellent) or the Pretzel burger, which does look good. I knew I wouldn’t have room for that if I got my fair share (or more) of pretzel bites.

Ken had a beer, I am sure.

Oh, the delicious pretzel bites.

Oh, the delicious cheesy dipping sauce. It had a lovely bite to it, from the beer. The mustard sauce was also delicious, but apparently not photo-worthy in my mind.

 

I had the chicken tortilla soup. It was fine, not my favorite but not my least favorite. I wanted something small, so I would have room for dessert.

Now, this is not a tall, fluffy cake, and it is not supposed to be. I have checked out the recipes on line, and it is a flat cake. The caramel and ice cream were amazing. The apples, not so much, they appeared to have been dried out and re-hydrated, or they had been out of the cooking liquid too long, or something. They were edible, but not as juicy/syrupy as they should have been.

All in all, a delicious, filling meal. And now we are going to go there tonight so I can have the pretzel bites again……

Adventure to SD, Saigon Restaurant and School of Mines Museum, Rapid City, SD – Part II

While I took a day for shopping and visiting old stomping grounds in Rapid City, I did want to try a new restaurant, and I tried Saigon.  Rapid City does have more diverse restaurant choices than it did (cough, cough) years ago when I was in high school.

I had the egg rolls and the regular meatball pho. This was too much, I should have only ordered one egg roll, as they come a la carte (which I didn’t really realize until I saw the bill, usually there are two to an order, but that was fine – I think they were $1.99 each). The pho was different in that it didn’t come with a big plate of assorted herbs and vegetables on the side, which was fine with me, because I don’t usually use all of that stuff, except for the jalapenos, and I had plenty of sriracha sauce, so I was happy. If you are in Rapid City and are either having a pho fit from being away from home, or have never had it and would like to try something new, I give them two thumbs up. The pho had lots of thin sliced onions, which I definitely like.

Then I visited the SD School of Mines Museum of Geology. Our little country school used to go here for field trips all the time, but it had probably been since grade school that I had been here last. It hasn’t changed too much, and I remembered several things from childhood. One very cool part is the phosphorescent minerals – sorry, no picture, difficult to take pictures of glow in the dark rocks.

Very bitey looking.

Dad used to bring home fossils like these when he was doing dirt work, building dams and such. I am sure there is a box around somewhere filled with them. Kind of like the jar of rattlesnake rattles. But apparently not interesting/valuable enough to be on display in the house. Whereas the rattlesnake rattles apparently ARE valuable and interesting.

More bitey sea monster.

We also would find gypsum “out north” on our ranch. One of my uncles convinced one my cousins that these were rare and valuable crystals, which led him to pack his suitcase full of as many rocks as possible before he flew home. Of course, this was discovered at the airport.

Oh, I WISH we had a collection of Fairburn Agates like this. Beautiful.

Other items of note from the trip: I had been complaining to my mom that it was impossible to buy ring bologna in Denver – we have kielbasa and smoked sausage, but no ring bologna. So she bought me a few and froze them for me. I may have bought a few more. Unfortunately, I think I prefer kielbasa and smoked sausage now, maybe the ring bologna will go in soup!

I also stopped in Hot Springs on the way home and stocked up on Prairie Berry wine – we don’t have anywhere in Denver that sells it, and I like to keep a good supply. Someday I am going to make it up to Hill City and do a tasting. I bought Red Ass Rhubarb, Blue Suede Shoes, Lawrence Elk and Chokecherry Medley. I haven’t cracked one open yet, maybe tonight!

Adventure to SD, Saigon Restaurant and School of Mines Museum, Rapid City, SD

I made a trip to the parents’ ranch near Hermosa over Labor Day. My Dad and I had planned to tackle painting the ceiling in the main part of their house. The ceiling/roof developed a leak a while ago, and there was some damage to the paint, and it had been at least 16 years since we painted it, so it was time.

It has become tradition on my Labor Day break for me to bring tomatoes for my former 4-H leader and neighbor, because she likes home-canned tomatoes in the winter. Her daughter (my friend L.) used to live down here near Denver and we would go home to SD together, stopping first at the roadside farm stand and buying tomatoes and other veggies to take home to her Mom and other relatives. When she moved away, I continued the tradition, and then word spread to some of my Mom’s church friends, so this time I was hauling 3 bushels of tomatoes, a box of green beans, a box of peaches, and some other sundry vegetables I can’t remember. I don’t mind, because then there is a little more justification for my usage of gas to drive that far. I stopped at Palombo Gardens near Brighton for the vegetables, and then I stopped at Lauer Krauts in Brighton to have a breakfast runza sandwich. I kid you not, this “sandwich” was about the size of my head. Plus they had German chocolate brownies, again, just about as big as my head. I thought I took pictures but apparently not. The sandwich could have used some hot sauce, but since I was driving, couldn’t do that.

I stopped to see my friend Cyndi in Hot Springs. I stopped in at Black Hills Books and Treasures in Hot Springs to pick up a copy of Dave Strain’s book, “Hay Camp.” A few weeks before they had discovered a book about the early days of the Black Hills called “Black Hills, White Sky,” and then heard from another friend that they should have “Hay Camp” to complete the collection, so I stopped in there and they had a copy, the updated edition even. And then I stopped off in Hermosa to drop off some of the tomatoes.

When I got to the ranch, my dad already had a bunch of the ceiling taped, which was a real time saver. He was still working on the area that needed to be repaired, adding some plaster/fill and then letting it dry and sanding. Friday morning we got going early and tackled that painting. We made good progress, I was mostly using the trim brush and doing the edges. Their ceiling has these tiny little trim boards in a contrasting wood grain all across it, so we had to work around those. Next time I just vote to paint those white. The blue painters’ tape didn’t work for squat. Where it didn’t leak paint, it stuck to the wood. I was pulling that stuff off with tweezers for DAYS. We got done with all of the painting that day, I think, just needed to do some of the clean up. We also ran out of paint and needed some more. I also suggested that Dad get some texture to spray on the repaired area, because there were a few other areas that had some water damage, and the paint didn’t adhere really well in those spots. My dad is 77 years old and he pretty much puts me to shame in terms of endurance and working hard, so I just tried to catch up.

In the meantime, Mom was washing down some of her teapots and tins that she keeps up on top of the cupboard, since we had to take those down to paint around them. I got the small hand vacuum and went after the dust on top of the cupboards, so we got those good and clean before painting. I removed the jar of rattle snake rattles and suggested that THOSE be thrown away, but that was vetoed. I did suggest that we take one of the interesting jars on another shelf and put the rattlesnake rattles in there, so they wouldn’t get so dusty the NEXT time. I hope my brother is aware that HE is going to inherit the rattlesnake rattles. Or maybe his WIFE needs to be aware.

Saturday was spent cleaning up, putting things back, and getting things back in order. I grabbed the dust vac and went after the north window screens in the house, cleaning out some bugs and dust. Dad and I also brainstormed (at my instigation) how we could replace the screens in those windows without tearing the whole house apart. We put some materials for those on the list for town on Sunday.

Sunday we went to church, and then into Rapid City to go to Ace Hardware and get more paint, patching material, window screen, etc. We also met my Aunt E. and Uncle J. at Perkins for lunch and caught up.

By the time we got home, Dad wasn’t feeling well, and so we all took it easy that afternoon.

The next day, Dad and Mom took him to the Dr. (he is fine, had an infection), and I went into Rapid City to do some shopping and visiting of old haunts and a new restaurant.

Disappointingly, the antiques mall was NOT open. Since this is getting lengthy already, a report on what I did next will come tomorrow…..How about a few pictures from around the ranch?

Yes, I am sitting on the boot brush, what of it?

I am hiding in the blocks!

Whammo! I suddenly attack!

Bailey and Zippy wonder why I did not bring them any apples.

East Moon Asian Bistro, DiCicco’s, and IKEA

It may seem like I don’t do anything but eat, but hey, everybody eats three meals a day, and some of these meals are from WEEKS ago.

We had a board meeting at a hotel near DIA a few weeks ago, and the meeting went so late I stayed at the airport and went out to eat with a few of my favorite board members (the fact that I know some of them read this blog has no bearing on that statement!) (Grin.)

We ate at DiCiccos on Tower Road, and apparently there is a DiCiccos closer to my house, too. I think we tried it once and thought it was OK, but I think it is time to try it again.

We had the cheese sticks, and they were excellent, but I forgot to take a picture of them. What isn’t good about fried cheese? I also had the minestrone and forgot to take a picture there. But I am good about remembering to take pictures of main dishes. I have my board members so trained they will remind me if I forget.

I had the special, seafood risotto, which had scallops, mussels, and squid. It was excellent.

This is the combination dinner with spaghetti, lasagna and ravioli. The two diners who ordered this agreed it was very good.

This is the tortellone taranto – jumbo meat tortellini with pink cream sauce.
This was also deemed very good.

Mmmmm, now I am hungry for Italian food. I am very suggestible when it comes to food pictures.

I was returning from a work trip to Pueblo in the middle of the day last week, and I thought I would take the opportunity to stop and try the food at the IKEA cafeteria. I was all excited to have something with salmon, but they had no salmon entrees that day. They had meatballs, bbq ribs (why would I want to eat that at IKEA?), roasted chicken, and a breaded whitefish. So I went with the meatballs.

I was not impressed with the meatballs – they tasted like any meatball I could buy in a bag at the store. They needed the lingonberries to perk them up. The mashed potatoes, however, were excellent! I would gladly buy them. I was too full after this meal to even look at any food in the frozen section, so I didn’t, but I intend to in the future. Much better than powdered ones.

One of my friend suggested a chocolate tart with a cherry on top, which IKEA also didn’t have that day. They had “triple chocolate threat” cake – which was good but it was too much. They also had a elderflower cupcake which looked good. The chocolate mousse filling in this cake was very, very tasty. I should have requested it in a to-go box, though.

The pink lingonberry soda was also delicious, no idea on the sugar or calorie counts but as long as I was eating the cake, I thought I might as well go all the way.

And just this week I dined at the East Moon Asian Bistro in Fort Collins, after setting out to have lunch at Firehouse Subs, and discovering they were not open yet. They have been under construction for months! So I had a wonton soup, and the sesame tofu. Worthy substitute for a BBQ sandwich with coleslaw on top, I guess.


And every now I need to sit back and be thankful not only for the food I have to eat (and photograph, and obsess over) but also for the amazing place I live. Enjoy a few Colorado sunset pictures!

 

Food and Other Randomness

As I was leaving on my trip to Iowa, I saw this painting covering some construction walls at DIA:

That is an octopus, if I am not mistaken, and of course that made my day.

So I have numerous restaurant meals to report on, since I have been remiss in my blogging. I returned to Golden Bowl Noodle House (see previous entry)  and had one of their Combos – small bowl of beef noodle soup (steak pho), 2 egg rolls, iced tea or soft drink, for $8.95, which is a pretty good price as far as I am concerned.

Here is there menu. EM, you and I need to go here together. SO MANY things on that menu I want to try. And I think that is the most reasonable price on spring rolls I have seen lately.

Here are the egg rolls, Instagram style:

Here is the pho, it was excellent, my almost-favorite, second only to the place where they know my order by heart.

I ate at OOKA Sushi in Broomfield, but I forgot to take pictures of my rolls, I just took pictures of my wonton soup. It was excellent wonton soup.

I think I had the veggie tempura as well. The soup, tempura and rolls were all good, just too much. My eyes are bigger than my stomach, as usual.

And now, finally, a menu from D’Deli, the restaurant in Golden with amazing Banh Mi. (see previous entry)

The Banano is also excellent.

And Mary Anne would like to say “Hi.”

More food pics tomorrow. Can’t do any more right now, making me hungry…….

 

Crafting/Sewing/Knitting Update

I am trying to get back on a one-a-day posting schedule and am already behind, but we will see how it goes. Life has settled down a little bit, with a little less work travel in the next few months, but I do have some personal travel coming up. More to blog about!

I finished the Octopus and Bubbles quilt for my Color Theory class. This quilt was supposed to use color to show transparency – so you are supposed to be able to see the octopus’ tentacles through the bubbles, and that is done but using a color that combines the color of the octopus and the bubble. It is not a terribly complex quilt but it was fun.

As I was working on my third Camp Loopy project on this Sunday, I ran out of green yarn.  I was pretty sure I had purchased enough green yarn, and so I tore around the house looking for the yarn. Now I am questioning my amounts – I bought two skeins of everything, but I had used green for the predominant color in two blocks, so it is possible I used up all of the green. Anyway, I decided to make my project into a long skinny wrap instead of a square blanket. Here are the three blocks I need to sew together by the end of the day today:

This pattern is called “Vortex” and I should have gone down one or two sizes of crochet hook, because it is blocking out quite large. I will turn it into a square blanket when I get some more green yarn.

I also have another color project due the day after I come back from a trip to SD over Labor Day, so I am trying to get some work done on that. It will not be complete, but I would like it to be together at least. We will see. This is a beach scene, the assignment is to show depth and distance through using color. This is the beach and the beginning of the ocean:

Yes, of course there is going to be an octopus.

And, we have a new TV! The TV in the kitchen died (of course the REALLY old one downstairs is still going strong) and so I said to Ken that if he got the new disposal in the sink installed (which also died a week or so ago, the new one had been sitting in the kitchen for a week), we would go buy a new one. So – ta da – after almost two hours of sweating and muttering, the disposal was in the sink and we went to Target for a new TV.
Here it is in in all its splendor:

Please note, that is not a real sandwich on the TV stand, that is a fabric coin purse that is designed to look like a peanut and butter and jelly sandwich.

Iowa State Fair Trip Report, Day #3

Writing this entry a week and a day later is not a good idea (and then it took me a few more days to get it posted….) Everything was starting to be blurry by this point anyway. Fair, fair, fair, sore feet, fair….

This was the day the kids were going to go on the midway rides, and I (crazy) was going to go with them. My brother was going to buy me the wristband. Well, somehow, he miscounted, and I didn’t get a wristband. Trust me, I was REAL torn up about this. And the kids found out their friend from the neighborhood was going, so they would have her to ride with. They are up there somewhere in this picture:

We all slept in for a bit, and S. had a Dr. appointment that was nearly forgotten, and after she got back from that, Wade had a conference call, so it was about 10:45 before we left the house, and maybe 11:30 by the time we made it to the fair. The kids commenced to riding on the rides, Wade grabbed some mini-cinnamon rolls again, and I headed for the Lamb Producers booth on the south side of the fairgrounds to get a lamb sandwich.

It was OK – could have used more barbecue sauce, but the sauce pump was being slow. Next time I will try the lamb walking taco or lamb kabob, this was just a bit dry.

As I walked back across the fairgrounds, there was no line at one of the crazy fried foods booth. By now I realized my limitations on how much fried stuff I could eat in one day. So I tried to pick something unique that I hadn’t had before and wouldn’t ordinarily encounter. So I chose the deep-fried pineapple.  Wade declined to have a bite. This was really pretty tasty.

We watched the kids go on rides for a while, and went to get some lunch before their friend got there. We started with cheese curds, which everyone shared. I think we went back up the hill to get D. macaroni and cheese again, and so I could go through the Cultural Arts building and get the prints I wanted.

At some point when the kids were riding rides, I got a sandwich at Crescenti – this is a fried bread sandwich with mozzarella cheese, ham, cappicola, hard salami. I think they then warm it up a bit to get the cheese melty. This was very good too, I would have this again. The fried bread is excellent.

We knew we had to wrap it up pretty early because I had to be dropped at the airport, and they had to get home for the kids’ school open houses that night.

We did all end up in the Varied Industries building together one time, because the kids wanted to get temporary tattoos, and Wade wanted to get the famous “Bucket of Chocolate Chip Cookies.” The cookies were not bad – I didn’t get any cold milk with them, and that really would have been the best way to have time. They are best warm, right at the fair. They lose some of their appeal at home at night.

All in all, it was a great trip. I think the ideal way to go would be to have a break day in between each of the days at the fair, because, man, your feet start to hurt. Things I wanted to do but didn’t get to: Iowa wine tent, craft beer tent, sit and watch more of the foods judging, watch the piano, accordion and harmonica contest, watch more of the Bill Riley Talent contest (looking at the results, one of the pairs we saw tap dance from the Sprouts division was selected one of the top three Sprouts acts). I didn’t eat nearly everything I hoped to eat, which is probably just for the best. I would love to get there to get a seat to watch the sheep shearing, and would love to watch some of the more crazy contests like husband calling and rubber chicken tossing.

There were many more shows and activities on the free stages, and a hymn sing, and demonstrations, that I would love to see. There is a “Old Mill Stream” ride that I didn’t go on, as well as a 2nd aerial tramway. So much to do, so little time. So many opportunities to people-watch.

I forgot to mention that S. Watched the crowning of the Iowa State Fair Queen instead of going to the concert on Saturday night, I wouldn’t have minded watching that either. She got her picture taken with both the 2011 and 2012 queens.

Wade now has a new favorite food, the hot beef sundae, over-ruling his previous default lunch of a pork tenderloin. I think that the hot beef sundae would be my top food of the week, too. Top five foods: hot beef sundae, Crescenti sandwich, deep fried pickle dawg, hot bologna on a stick, and dutch letter.