Comfort Cooking for Warmth

Again, going backwards through the weekend, Saturday was even colder and rainier than Sunday. I brought all my little baby plants in Friday night, and I was glad I did when the low got down to 36 degrees. Of course, some of them needed water, so I watered them (perked the dead-looking ones right up! SUCH a green thumb!). Of course a little got on the floor but I thought it was only a drop or two, but MaryAnne was sure interested in it.

Saturday morning I made breakfast, and Ken came upstairs to have some, and apparently it was more of a puddle than a drop, because he did not appreciate stepping in it. He should know with his wife it is just one adventure after another.

Since it was so cold and rainy, I made Tuna Tater Chowder for lunch. Not everyone thinks this recipe sounds good, but it is surprisingly good. Even Ken will eat it! Our go-to recipe for cold days. And it is tradition to make crescent rolls and then dip them in the soup. Recipe here. I usually don’t bother with the onion, I just throw in some dried minced and call it good. That way, I can cook the bacon in a different pan at the same time I am starting the rest of the soup. If you have a bacon-snitcher in the house, you may need to cook extra.

For dinner, I put a roast in the crock pot early in the morning. This recipe must have come from an expired website – I can find no trace of it on the internet. So I scanned it in for your enjoyment. This was also really good. I wondered about the red pepper flakes, but Ken was OK with them, and I strained them out before I made the gravy. Made mashed potatoes. Half of the butter I was using shot out of the mixer and onto the floor. I decided these mashed potatoes were meant to be “light.” And asked Ken to sweep the floor the next morning.

I had come across the roast recipe while I was doing something with my recipe “file” earlier in the week, and remembered it, and was actually able to find it again to make it, and then, doubling the miracle, was able to find the other recipe I had also made a note of in my head. Usually I would use my Aunt Connie’s Scalloped Corn recipe, but I couldn’t resist a recipe called “Bertha’s Corn Pudding.” It WAS good, and made a large batch. We will be eating those leftovers for a while. I didn’t have crackers so I used dry bread crumbs, seemed to work fine.

Leo thinks maybe he will get some attention if he lays on the shelf by the computer.

MaryAnne KNOWS how to get attention.

Tomorrow: Knitting camp!

A Monday of Epic Proportions

I think I will just work my way backwards through this weekend, including Monday, since it was SUCH a Monday that I didn’t even post.  Monday got a head start on Sunday night with a headache that wouldn’t go away (hence no post written in advance Sunday night for Monday morning posting.) It continued with a disturbing dream about being back in my very first apartment after college with scruffy mice and weird cats, and started out bright and early with me remembering that I hadn’t sent out some slides for a conference call that morning at 9:00 that I was supposed to have sent out on Friday. So I got up several minutes before I usually do, and logged onto my work computer, and sent those out. I don’t remember what else went wrong between then and leaving the house, except that MaryAnne was annoying and wanted to run into the closet and not leave. Then I got to my car, which wouldn’t start, wouldn’t even turn over. I looked up at the dome light, which I sometimes turn on when it is dark, and the switch was on. So the battery was dead. Back into the house I go, to wake Ken, who is still sleeping. He gets dressed, come outside, pushes my car out of the garage, pulls his car up next to it, and gets the jumper cables, which are fortunately nice and handy on the garage wall. After I manage to put the negative cable on a piece of metal which does NOT work as a ground, apparently, because the car won’t start, he hooks things up correctly and Mimi the Matrix does indeed start. So off I go to work, only 15 minutes late.

They day continued to be a Monday: misunderstandings, miscommunications, no cupcakes, etc.

Looking back on Sunday, it was a better day. Still grey and cloudy, but quite a bit warmer than Saturday. We had a picnic to go to at 1:00 with some of Ken’s former co-workers, and I had made the famous Coughlin dip (recipe below) and cole slaw (which I won’t post the recipe to, because I am looking for “The One” in coleslaw recipes, and I don’t think this one was it. Plus, I am mad at it, for reasons you will hear shortly.) I made them both the day before, because they are both better if they sit overnight. Also: I don’t make coleslaw very often and I was not aware that it doesn’t require as much dressing as you would think, so I didn’t add the 2nd bag of shredded cabbage, and I should have. That has been duly noted for next time.

We had fun at the picnic, even though it was a little cool. Watched other people’s children run around and kick their soccer balls into the (cold, cold) lake. Ate good food, visited and caught up with some old friends and met some new ones.

We came home and I discovered the lid wasn’t QUITE closed on the cole slaw and cole slaw juice had leaked out and filled the bottom of the reusable bag I was using as well as dripped in a trail behind me all through the house. There may have been muttering and cursing. That bag went straight into the trash.

Then we decided to go to Kohl’s because we had a 30 percent off coupon, I was looking for clothes and so was Ken. We bought: socks, a rug, and shoes for me, so we didn’t quite meet those objectives, but we saved money.

Then we came home and I made enchilada casserole for dinner (recipe here). Always a favorite and makes good leftovers.

Some of the baby plants spent the day in the house, since it was still pretty cool in the sun room. Some of them got a little wilty on Saturday morning when I put them out there, so they got to spend the day in the bathtub. Monday night I did finally plant the sweet peas outside, they were getting a little crazy and attempting to strangle some of the other babies, so they were the first to go outside.

And I just knocked over a picture of my niece, which fortunately didn’t break, while answering the phone, so the MONDAY continues.

Coughlin Dip (named after my sister-in-law, we were introduced to this dip at their wedding rehearsal dinner)

1 pint mayo
12 oz cottage cheese
12 oz sour cream
1 pkg ranch dressing

Blend well and refrigerate overnight. Serve with potato chips and vegetables.

This dip sounds kind of gross but it is delicious. I don’t even like cottage cheese and I like it. It makes a huge batch so I only make it if we are going to a picnic or a pot luck.

MaryAnne being unladylike again.


Leo would like you to know he would never do such a thing.

He does, however, say: Don’t hate me because I am so beautiful.

Wicked and the Corner Office

Lucky enough to have a date night last night with my husband. I got out of work a little early and drove to downtown Denver, and we enjoyed Happy Hour at The Corner Office close to the theatre, and then went to Wicked. At The Corner Office, I had the Sonoron dog (bacon wrapped hot dog with baked beans, guacamole, salsa, crema, cojita) (the baked beans kind of overpowered everything else, but it was good) and Ken had a burger, and we shared the poutine (I don’t think I have had poutine before, it was excellent.)

I had to have a Dark and Stormy, in honor of my friend who always has one when they are on the menu, even though they were not on the happy hour specials. Tasty. Gingery.

Then we walked down to Crave, a dessert bar. Ken had a cookie from there that afternoon. Well, they had macarons! Not macaroons, those have coconut, and they are easier to find, but French Macarons, which are meringue based, difficult to make, and difficult to find. So I did a happy dance and ordered one of each flavor.

I was so excited about the macarons I left my phone there and we walked all the way to the theatre and then had to go back and get it.

Wicked was wonderful. However, I was not going into the evening expecting a show that would remind me so much of my college room mate and best friend, who was killed in a winter/ice car accident our senior year. We didn’t originally start out as room mates, but hers moved out and I wanted to get away from mine. Our dorm director was a little reluctant to do this, because I think he thought we were going to be trouble, and he was sooooo right. We were a force to be reckoned with when we were together, mostly be being crazy and nutty and off the wall. So when Glinda and Elphaba became friends, and then they were saying goodbye and singing “Changed for Good,” I lost it. Especially since I had been at a funeral that afternoon for someone else who had died too young. Oh, it wasn’t good. I can’t watch the movie Beaches, and I don’t know if I can ever see Wicked again. Maybe now that I know what is coming I will be ok, but it could also be worse. Which is too bad, because it is an amazing show and an wonderful, innovative story. It was totally a Rebecca and Glenderella show.

Spring at the Ranch

Well, I lost out on a trip to the homeplace when my Dad decided that he needed to get branding done last weekend because the calves were getting pretty big. So I didn’t get enough notice to go up there and help my Mom with feeding the cowboys (and if you are one of my relatives and you didn’t hear about it either, please don’t be offended if you didn’t get word, it was kind of a last minute thing, and then they didn’t know if the weather was going to work out or not.) And they had enough calf wrestlers, etc., I just wish I could have been there to keep my mom off her feet a little more, but I appreciate all the neighbors who popped into the house and helped her stir up lemonade, make sloppy joes from scratch, etc. (Thanks to MM in particular for giving my mom directions on how SHE makes sloppy joes without the seasoning packet).

Sloppy joes, manwiches, taverns, bbqs, what do you call ‘loose meat sandwiches’ in YOUR neck of the woods?

Anyway, I am lonely for the ranch and now I probably won’t get to go up there until June, so I was looking at pictures from last May when I was there. And since I am going to be out late Wednesday night going to the musical “Wicked,” I thought this would be a good blog to get written up in advance so I don’t have to do it at 11:00 at night when we get home from the show. Hopefully I will have a good review of the show and maybe a write up on a good meal as well. We will see!

Bunny on the haybale pile. See him?

Checking on the cows out north. They haven’t always had that much green grass in the last 10 years.

More happy cows and green grass.

The ranch extends a bit over the Pennington County line. This is one of the county line markers.

Prickly pear cactus flowers. (I don’t have any yucca pictures here, but I did get some yucca to sprout in my seed sprouting adventure, hopefully to be planted in my new rock garden.)

Purple prairie flower.

White prairie flower.

Big dam, green grass, blue sky. Sigh.

A Slight Melt Down

Had a small “incident” Sunday while cooking dinner. Let’s just say I was scraping burned Velveeta cheese sauce of the burner and out of the burner pan. Actually I just threw the burner and the pan in the sink and let them soak for a while. NOT PLEASANT. And so we had veggies in “smoky cheese sauce.” Actually the cheese sauce was not too bad. Velveeta can take a lot of abuse. NO FIRE, just a boil-over. A fair quantity of horrible smelling smoke, though.

Had to eat at Roll Cafe again the other day, it was cool and rainy and a day that required soup. Tried the shoyu ramen rather than the spicy ramen, of course I prefer the spicy ramen. The shoyu was still good. Don’t know if I will eventually get the miso ramen, I like the spicy too much. It comes in a combo with four pieces of California roll, I added on a drink and that was about $12, so a little spendy for lunch but delicious.

When I was at Pacific Ocean Marketplace last week, I wandered up and down the ramen aisle, looking for new and interesting packages for breakfast/lunch. I tried one of them last week.

For the record, I do not like instant sweet potato threads. Too gummy.

I just read “sweet potato,” I didn’t know that the noodles were sweet potato. That is what I get for not reading directions. The broth was really tasty, I think there was quite a bit of chili oil in there, but those noodles, ugh.

We had fun at knitting Tuesday night. There were only four of us but we made about enough noise for eight. K., who hadn’t been there for a while, was an enabler and allowed all of us to go down the street to the old-fashioned ice cream and candy store and get ice cream. It was a great night for it, lots of people out walking around enjoying the weather. I discovered I had left my wrist warmers that I intended to work on at home, and then I was going to rip out the toes of my Mom’s socks and make them smaller, but I didn’t bring any small needles to work on those with, so I worked on my Chevron Scarf and we all visited and had a good time. Even to the point of staying 10 minutes past our usual time.

Finally Some Yarn Content

Are you all tired of pictures of food? Well, it is easy to take pictures of food, because I generally eat some every day. Sometimes it is not very exciting food, so I don’t take any pictures of that. Sometimes I just forget. I almost always do something with yarn about every day too, perhaps I need to take more pictures of yarn. Ta-da! Pictures of yarn today.

This yarn is from a party my friend Judy hosted at her house. Myra from Fancy Image Yarn was in town and Judy had an open house for her, and we all got to see her delicious, squishy, colorful yarn. She has a gift for putting great kits together! I purchased two kits for wrist warmers (scroll down to Cutest Girl Leg Warmers or Adult/Girl Wrist Warmer) which are for me, but then I might have to make some for the nieces, because they are so cute. I got the pink/black/white set (looks like Good N Plenty Candies) and the pink/wheat brown set (looks like Neopolitan ice cream) (yes, still with the food obsession, I know.) I am eating Good and Plentys as I type this, now all of you who are food-suggestible like I am are going to go buy some, aren’t you? At least the next time you are at the store.

I also got an “assorted” package of blues/purples in sock yarn, and I am thinking Chevron  Scarf from Last Minute Knitted Gifts.

And a pattern for a sweater that is very attractive in person.

However, I am not allowing myself to start anything new (except for the wrist warmers I already started) until I get my Mother’s socks fixed. I thought I was all done with them but when I blocked them they turned huge, and the cast on at the top of the leg is too tight. So I am going to have to do some ripping and readjusting. Plus I am working on a couple of gifts for my youngest niece, which involve the sewing machine and embroidery, I am not sure they are going to get there in time for the birthday party, but they will be done this month.

Also: I went to Bagel Deli this weekend when I was on my consignment store shop-hop. I have to go to that place if I am in close proximity, it can’t be helped.

Potato latke. This was fine, nothing spectacular. Nice side dish.

Matzo ball soup. Amazing as always.

Prake or stuffed cabbage – delicious! I forget that this is HUGE, I should not have ordered the latke with it. Mmmmmmm. Excellent.

It really cooled off here Monday night and Tuesday. I need to start hardening off my little seedlings, getting them ready to go outside, but I think that I will not subject them to 34° tonight, poor little things. I would like to get them planted this weekend but may need to wait another weekend, still supposed to be in the 40s at night on Saturday.

Friday Night Freak-Out

I don’t know if it was the upcoming full moon, or Cinco de Mayo, or Derby Day, but there were two accidents on my way home on Friday (thank goodness I had 2 hrs to commute to my haircut) and then on my way home from the haircut, the power was out for quite a section of town and then there was a big accident at an intersection that did have power. I decided that we weren’t going anywhere on Saturday night if we could help it.

I ate at Mimi’s Cafe, they really used to be one of my favorite places but either I have outgrown them or they have gone downhill. I had the $5 red wine flight, which I enjoyed (they were pretty sweet reds, I don’t really care for dry reds too much),

and the quatre fromaggio quiche with the French onion soup.It is hard to mess up French onion (although it is possible – imagine barely cooked onions in chicken broth with processed cheese melted on top – THAT restaurant has gone out of business) so that was pretty good.

The quiche was, I don’t know – gummy?

Parts of the crust were OK and parts were just meh, and the filling had maybe too much cheese, because it seemed to have collected at the bottom and was causing the gumminess. So, thumbs up on the wine and soup, thumbs down on the quiche.

Report on my quilt last week from class: Good job on the design, but not so much on showing luminosity. I didn’t show enough of the direction the light was coming from, and the background wasn’t helping because it was too mottled and had some light in it itself. I still like it.

I Am, as a Matter of Fact

Best thing that someone said to me today:  “I like you, you’re twisted,” by one of the other training participants. I love compliments like that.

Finished my 2nd day of a training seminar. Started out the day with another potato bomb from WSB Soup and Chili, this time I got the sausage gravy on the side instead of the green chile on the top. This was much easier to eat in the car. Although he very generously give me about 3 times as much gravy as I needed. And I remembered to take a picture:

And he remembered me from yesterday and called me Sunshine, what a hoot.

I will go there when I can but they were on the route to my seminar, not my route to work. So I might try this recipe suggested by a Facebook friend:

It was a long day in training but I learned a lot, tires the brain out to be doing something so different all day.

Ken watched something about Cinco De Mayo at work and then was hungry for Mexican food (apparently he is easily suggestible too) and that was fine with me. I said we had to eat somewhere different than we usually did so I had something to blog about. He remembered a restaurant he had covered an event at that was close to my location so we met there – Luna’s. They had shrimp soup but I have been disappointed in shrimp soup almost everywhere except at Gregorio’s, (no webpage), so I decided to try something else new. I had the sopes, which have a fried masa base and then are topped with refried beans, your choice of meat (I had the al pastor) and then lettuce, tomato, sour cream, and cojita cheese. T

*(*&^*%&^% WordPress just crashed and took 1/4 of my entry, doggone it.

Back to my original thought: They were good but very filling. I only ate one, and brought the rest home for breakfast.

Ken had the tacos, and said they were good.

And then I decided to have an easy night at home and let my brain recover, do some knitting, watch Antiques Roadshow…..

Have An Interesting Day

Before I left the house this a.m., I misplaced my briefcase, misplaced my keys, accidentally set off the car alarm, and Leo barfed on both the couch and in front of the bedroom door. I was on my way to a seminar/training all day, and I had been dreaming about being in a quilt class, being in the WRONG quilt class, and MaryAnne woke me up at 4:00 so she could snuggle with me. Ken said, “Have an interesting day,” and I said, “It already is.”

I stopped at White Soul Brothers Chili to have one of their “potato bombs” for breakfast. It is essentially a potato half, with some of the potato scooped out, and then baked with an egg and cheese on top of it. Getting it smothered in green chili did not make it easy to eat in the car, but it was delicious. I am going to get back there some day for lunch so I can have some of their soup. I had fun talking to the two gentlemen there, one who was preparing my food and one who was cleaning the blinds. The one cleaning the blinds asked if I would be offended if he asked me if he was cleaning them correctly. Heck no, of course not. They were right next to one of the tables and looked like they might have had pop spilled on them or something – and I told him there wasn’t really an easier way, you just have to wipe them all carefully down (metal mini-blinds) and that it was going to be a pain. Apparently I impressed them with my cheerfulness, because when I told them to have a good day, the blind-cleaning one said “I know you will, because you have the right attitude!”

We had Udi’s sandwiches for lunch at my workshop, and I had an excellent one with turkey, granny smith apple slices, and bleu cheese, on cranberry walnut bread, which was amazing.

My seminar was good, but it was exhausting, and I don’t talk about work on this blog so that is all I am going to say about that! :  ) But using a different part of your brain all day than you typically use is very exhausting.

Then I went to GB Fish and Chips because it was close by, and now I remember why I don’t get fish and chips very often, they are so greasy. And it was early for dinner for me, so I wasn’t very hungry, So I didn’t really do justice to the HUGE pile of squid strips and few oysters and chips.

Some of the squid strips were cooked just right and still had some tooth to them, but most of them were overdone and you couldn’t tell the difference between them and the breading. It was certainly a LARGE serving, and this was supposed to be a half order!

Then I went to my quilt class, I will write more about that tomorrow when I have more than half a brain cell. It was certainly exhausting going to another learning experience after having been in one all day!

Banh Mi #2 (Pacific Ocean Marketplace) and Knit Knight

I stopped at Pacific Ocean Marketplace (POM) on my way from work to knitting, because there are the ONLY place with banh mi sandwiches between work and knitting, and because I have just discovered banh mi and need to try them at every opportunity. There were a few reviews of their banh mi on Yelp so I decided to try one.

In comparison to the Banh Mi at D’Deli in Golden: Bread – both had excellent bread. Size: the one from POM was bigger, even for a small. It was about 8 inches long. Fillings: slight edge to D’Deli just because the filling was juicier. I don’t know what was juicy on the D’Deli one, perhaps there was more aioli, theirs also had a teriyaki taste to it. Value: POM wins  hands down, D’Deli was between $7 and $8 and POM’s was $3.50.

What separates Banh mi from other sandwiches is the excellent bread and the pickled vegetables, and the cilantro (POM wins on the cilantro front) – they just don’t taste like a typical sandwich from anywhere else. I am a big fan.

Plus, POM has green cake available.

Pandan cake is, according to wikipedia: a light, fluffy cake of Malay origins (Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia) flavoured with the juice of Pandanus amaryllifolius leaves. The cakes are light green in tone due to the chlorophyll in the leaf juice. It also sometimes contains green food colouring to further enhance its colour. The cakes are sometimes not made with the leaf juice but instead simply flavoured with Pandanus extract, in which case colouring is added if a green colour is desired.

It is quite tasty but would be good with frosting. They also had these long fried sticks of dough labeled “fried stick $1” which I was extremely tempted by, but you have to leave something for next time.

I also bought a large jug of soy sauce (I don’t fool around with those little bottles you can buy at Kroger, I have a recipe that uses up an entire one of those….). And I went through the ramen aisle and chose random packets of ramen, some of THOSE should give me something interesting to write about.

I didn’t exactly have a successful, or maybe I should say productive, evening at knitting. I tried to cast on my wrist warmers (scroll down to Cutest Girl Leg Warmers or Adult/Girl Wrist Warmer) from Fancy Image Yarn, and well, let’s just say I had casting-on issues, and then I had gauge issues (I knit loosely, so I need to go down a couple of sizes in needles), so that project didn’t get off to a great start, but I had fun playing with the yarn. And I just realized I didn’t post yet about the yarn party my friend Judy had at her house featuring Fancy Image yarn, so I will do that tomorrow, if I have my hard drive along with me that has those pictures on it…..(pictures of yarn, not pictures from the party, although that would have been a good idea too…). I think some of my younger nieces may need me to make some of the things on this page for them.

I tried the wrist warmers on two different sizes of needles and didn’t like the look of the fabric I was getting with either set, so I admired everyone’s projects they were making with their yarn from Fancy Image and worked on my “Christi Shawl” which I will show you pictures of later!

All of my knitting friends are very bad influences when it comes to enabling me to get new ideas for projects. Thanks to C.O., C.S, and J.P. (using their initials because I didn’t ask how they felt about me bandying their names about on the internet), now I have many more bookmarks on Ravelry, the website where knitters and crocheters meet and plot to take over the world. I saw the Color Affection shawl on Yarn Harlot earlier, and was tempted to bookmark it, but I am not that big on shawls, and then Cheryl came in wearing hers, and it was lovely, and I will have to make one. The asymmetrical way the sections join is just fascinating. Then J.P. was working on the Wingspan shawl (although I keep referring to it as “Wing It” in my head, hmmm, that might be a good quilt title) and that was also very cool. And C.O. has been knitting on the Yvonne sweater, and I have been admiring it, so I might as well add it to my queue, even though at one point when you are knitting it, it looks like a giant pair of underpants for a sumo wrestler. I have shown restraint by NOT buying yarn for any of these projects yet. Yet. Tomorrow is another day…..

I have over 60 projects on my Ravelry queue, I need to get to knitting faster.