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!


New Life for an Old Prom Dress

More randomness and catching up:

We had our 18th wedding anniversary on the 24th of June, and we were in Hot Springs, we visited the Arts in the Park Festival, and while we did not purchase any art, we had corn dogs and I had a Sno Cone, which made my day. Quote from that day: “I bet I could eat five corn dogs if I tried.” Ken: “Let’s not.”

As we were getting ready for the trip – Ken, in a voice of disbelief “All these bags have to go?”

Of course, these pictures are at the end of the week, when I had acquired EVEN MORE stuff, because the pageant producer was going to toss all these bridal veils (just simple homemade ones, for a Lady Gaga production number) and I said – I have 6 nieces, please let me have those. Ken just rolled his eyes when he saw me marching out of the dressing room with THOSE. So those are ready to be sent off to enhance the dress-up trunks of the nieces someday.

My brother had my two oldest nieces and nephew up at Mom and Dad’s ranch, so they came down to Hot Springs to see the Miss South Dakota’s Outstanding Teen Pageant on Friday night, and we had dinner with them before the show. It was the typical dinner with three kids, kind of loud, eldest niece S. showed me a picture of her infected toe during the meal (I guess at least she didn’t show me the toe, I should be grateful….). I think they had a good time at the pageant, they were lucky, the a/c was working that night. I think my niece T. might be interested in competing at some time. S. and T. both are pretty and talented enough to do it, but it is not something everyone is interested in. Plus, I don’t know if my sister in law L. could take it if they were both competing in pageants. She gets migraines as it is.

I had the chance to run up to the ranch and see them again on the Saturday of the pageant. I dug into my closet and got out my Scarlett O’Hara prom gown from 1986 and gave it to the girls for their theatrical performances. (They know “Wicked” by heart and like to act it out.) I think my mom was kind of dismayed, but I was pretty sure I was never going to wear it again, and it wasn’t doing anyone any good hanging in the back of the closet. I did have to replace the elastic in the lace around the shoulders, but I made quick work of that.

S. in the dress.

Me helping T. with the dress. It has several pieces. We didn’t have the hoop skirt to go under it, but we had a small crinoline.

T. in the dress, S. in a vintage western shirt. She thought it needed fancying up, with some Sharpies and some color, I said, “No way!”

Here I am in the dress, ahem, SEVERAL years ago.

Note how I am posed with the deer horns coming out of my head, oh so lovely.

Leo Gets His Summer Haircut

Last summer we got Leo a summer haircut, partially to be cool and partially because he had some mats in his fur we couldn’t brush out. So we did it again this summer. He seems moderately less humiliated. His sister is still hissing and growling at him, however.



Please note his sister sniffing his tail. She hissed at him right after that. The groomer said “My, he is a big boy, isn’t he.”

After the cat grooming van, then the piano tuner came. (It was a REALLY bad day for cats.) Apparently I should get the piano tuned more often than every 7 years. He had to do a “double tune,” running through all the keys twice. Now I just need to be organized and remember to have it tuned every six months, so it doesn’t get so bad. I have been in the mood to play lately and it is depressing to play when it is out of tune.

I did some shopping in preparation for pageant (WAAAAY back in June) so here are some pictures.

Accessories at Charming Charlie. I didn’t get the chance to wear/use all of these yet. The turquoise coral-looking bracelet broke the first time I tried to wear it, oh well. I am saving the pieces for some future craft project.

I think I only wore one of those flowers in my hair during the week, and I didn’t get anything put in the purse yet, too busy. But they sure are cute.

Summer shoe shopping:

These are Merrills, I thought they were the answer to my lack of sandals, but they rubbed my high arches funny and they went back to the store.

These Skechers are actually really comfortable, but I think I forgot to even take them to Hot Springs, hmmm, perhaps I have too many shoes?

I thought these were the answer to my desire for lower-heel, patent leather, pointy toed pumps, but nooooooo, these made so much noise when I walked they also went back to the store. It sounded like I was walking on the sticky side of Contact paper, for all the plastic-y noise they made. I eventually found a pair of sling-backs that worked, apparently point-toed pumps are out now, so sad. Pictures of the second round of shoe-shopping sometime this week.

Other than dealing with the cat groomer and the piano tuner, I worked on a pieced quilt, started the crochet baby afghan, went to the pharmacy and bank, went to JoAnn fabric to get setting fabric for the bunny quilt and left when it was obvious it was going to require waiting in line a half hour to get my fabric cut, and took a nap, which was awesome. I will probably regret it tonight when I am trying to go to sleep. And now, Monday night, I am working on cleaning out my closet, because I have a good friend who is losing weight and she gave me a bunch of her clothes that are too big for her now. Wheeee! Hand-me-downs! It was like having a personal shopper, everything fit! So I need to get rid of some of my old stuff that I don’t wear any more, and make room for the new!

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!

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.

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.

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: http://gimmesomeoven.com/idaho-sunrise-baked-eggs-and-bacon-in-potato-bowls/.

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…..

Luminous Koi and Water Lily Quilt

I am more done at this point than I think I ever have been for this class. That may all change when my instructor sees this and suggests any changes. I knew I had to be quick on this one, though, because I had about a week and a half to get it done, so I couldn’t afford to dilly-dally and mess around with weird ideas. So this one is maybe not as wild or creative as some of my other ones, but I like it quite a bit and it is going to go up on the wall as soon as I get home from class.

Ken thinks I should have quilted water lines on top of the fish since they are UNDER the water and the lily pads are on top of the water. We will see what my class says.

You can see my quilted scales, and then I did some painting with an iridescent white Shiva oil paint stick to make the fish shiny.

Fish #2 has even more paint. He and the first fish are in quiet poses, trying to convey a restful or peaceful mood.

Fish #3 has a little more motion. Ken also implied that if they were on top of the water they were “floating.” Hmmmmph.

I didn’t quilt the interior of the water lilies, which I think makes them look more like they are on top of the water. We will see what the class things.

Water lily bud.

I did most of the stitching on the fish before I put the back on, because quilting that heavy makes that part of the quilt really stiff. I should have done the same with this flower.The colors I picked (blue, orange, yellow-green, red-violet) actually form a tetrad – I have a feeling she is going to be quizzing us about the colors we pick, making sure they are picked for a reason.  This is actually the same tetrad as the landscape quilt, but used in a very different manner.

MaryAnne being unladylike again.

She is not the only one.

It was cooler here this weekend, so I didn’t have a problem staying inside and quilting rather than working out in the yard. I need to get back to that this week. I did work on the seed starts on Sunday night, that is another project that has gotten totally out of hand. More on that tomorrow….

IKEA and Bagel Deli – K & S’s Visit

We did NOT get up at the crack of dawn. Well, except for me, the unlucky person who cannot sleep past 7:00 regardless of how late we stayed up talking (and we stayed up REALLY LATE for us.) MaryAnne obliged by being polite and showing off for K. and S., fetching her ball and letting S. pet her. Leo hid under the bed or inside the box spring the entire time they were here. S. got to see a brief glance at him when he was out on the bed, for about 20 seconds.

I had tried a new recipe for breakfast casserole in the slow cooker. I do not recommend it – very bland and being in the slow cooker so long cooks it all together like mush, it creates a weird texture. I may try the leftovers in a soft taco shell with some hot sauce and bacon this week, we will see.

It looks pretty good:

Maybe next time I will try one of the ones with bread rather than potatoes. I will report back if I find success.

We hit the road for Starbucks for our caffeine needs, and then headed to IKEA. S. was looking for some things for the wedding, and Ken and I were thinking about one of their couches for our downstairs living room. It is a long, narrow room, and you have to come downstairs and around the corner, so we can’t fit anything traditional larger than a loveseat down the stairs. We think we want the Ecktorp sofa with two sides, and would put that in the corner and along the wall where the entertainment center is now, and would then need to get a flatscreen TV that would mount on the opposite wall. This is several months of saving away….. We still managed to spend money without buying the couch on a magnetic knife rack, chair cushions for my mom, a multi-hanger for my scarves, etc. in the closet, and a set of plastic containers to replace some of ours that have seen better days. I stayed away from the chocolate bars, which I now regret. S. found several things but some of them are for the wedding SO MY LIPS ARE SEALED! :  )

S. is originally from Boston and has been lonely for Jewish deli food, so I knew right where to take her. Bagel Deli (my previous post on their wonderful food)! If I lived closer, I would probably eat here once a week. S. had to do a little happy dance, she was so glad to be there. I ordered three different things so I could get a taste of some foods I hadn’t had before. Well, the matzo ball soup wasn’t new, but I am not going to go there without getting some. I showed some restraint and just got a cup this time, not a bowl. It was fabulous as always. S. had a cup of this too.

I also had noodle kugel, which I had never had before. It was actually kind of sweet, with raisins and pineapple. I loved it. Would definitely have it again. Generally, I have felt that way about everything I have had to eat here.

Bagel Deli being so close to IKEA is keeping me from eating at IKEA. I also had an order of Kasha Varnishkas, which is bowtie pasta with buckwheat groats. That may sound weird but it is tasty.

The bowtie pasta in this is not meant to be al dente, and it is not. It is lovely, delightful, earthy comfort food. Mmmmmmm. I would eat some right now if I had some.

S. knew she could taste some of my dishes, so she ordered a corned beef sandwich with chopped liver on the side, and a potato latke. I had never had chopped liver, and she let me sample. It is good! Not that liver-y at all, it is seasoned well and tasty.  I could probably eat a bunch of that with some toasted crackers! The look on S.’s face when she tasted it would have been worth a 50 mile drive.

The corned beef was also excellent, and I got the leftovers to take home! Mmmmm.

I did not get a bite of the latke, I was busy with my own plate, so I will have to get one of those next time….

After the Bagel Deli, we visited Denver Fabrics, to look for some possible wrap fabric for the wedding (we found a possibility) and then took them on a drive through the Denver downtown area (we are trying to influence them to move down here if they ever move) and then we headed home to sit around and visit, and/or nap.

K & S Are Here – Adventures at Govnr’s Park Tavern and Sushi Den

My friend K. and his fiancée S. (also my friend) arrived on Friday night for a quick visit from Wyoming. They rode down with friends, and we were all going to meet at Sushi Den for dinner. Sushi Den was packed, and our reservation was for 8:30, so when they arrived a little early, we picked up K. and S. and their friends they rode down with went to check into their hotel. We went to find somewhere to have drinks, and ended up at Govnr’s Park Tavern, which was busy and hopping! I had a lovely beverage called a Snozzberry whicn I did have a picture of but I accidentally deleted (still getting used to new phone….big learning curve.)

We didn’t intend to eat but when we saw the table next to us get a plate with two giant soft pretzels, we had to have an order. They are described as “Homemade Pretzels – two giant soft homemade pretzels baked to order, with mustard and cheese sauce.” I am kind of a collector of places to eat soft pretzels, and these were excellent. They were $7.50 and they were EXCELLENT. Just the thing to tide us over until dinner.

Did I take pictures? Of course I took pictures.

I will be going back for these.

We made our way over to Sushi Den, still packed. We were seated about 8:45 for our 8:30 reservation. There were four couples total, we shared two orders of edamame, except for Ken who doesn’t know edamame are good. Each couple ordered an assortment of rolls, except for Ken, who had teriyaki chicken (sorry, picture of that didn’t turn out…..). I ordered the tofu roll (because I always have to try something I have never tried before), the Rocky Mountain Roll (smoked trout) and Anakyu (Sea Eel) roll. Well, plates of rolls kept coming to the table, and I got my plate of Tofu Rolls, and then never got my other rolls. And by that time I had had pretzel, edamame, Ken’s miso soup, and had partaken of rolls that others were sharing, and wasn’t really hungry for them, so when I told the waitress about them, we just cancelled them, she was very nice about it. Here is some of what we did eat:

This is my tofu sushi.

I don’t know all the rolls everyone ordered, but we were all very happy and very full at the end of the evening.

The new phone is a Samsung Galaxy and takes pretty good pictures, it seems, I am still figuring out how to do most other tasks on it, however.

Tomorrow: IKEA, Bagel Deli, Denver Fabrics.