Weekend drives

Saturday we drove to Garden of the gods and then found the What Would Cheesus Do? Food truck.


Sunday I watched church on-line, then we drove to Pueblo to eat Bingo Burger and hike around.

From church –
-To be rich toward God acknowledges that everything we have comes from God.
-Using those riches means making an effort to use what God has given us for the good of others and for the glory of God.
-Jesus shows us where our priorities should lie –
His mission was to bring the good news to the least of these, our mission is the same.

Dinners for the week – bday dinner, sweet potato shepherd’s pie, pizza take out (are you supporting local food businesses that are closed to dining?), chicken parmesan with farfalle, green chile beef posole stew, grilled sausage with mac and cheese, beef stroganoff with peas.

Sweet potato shepherd’s pie

For the potatoes:
1-1/2 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled, diced
3 cloves garlic
1/2 cup 1% milk
1/4 cup fat free chicken broth*
2 tbsp reduced fat sour cream
salt and pepper to taste

For the filling:
1 lb 93% lean ground turkey (or beef, lamb, etc)
1 tsp olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 parsnip, diced (you can leave this out if you want)
2 cloves garlic, diced
8 oz mushrooms, diced
10 oz frozen mixed vegetables (or just peas or just carrots)
2 tbsp flour, leave out to make gluten-free
1 cup fat-free low-sodium chicken broth*
2 tsp tomato paste
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp freshly chopped rosemary
salt and pepper

Boil sweet potatoes and garlic in a pot of salted water until cooked and soft. Drain and mash with chicken broth, sour cream, salt and pepper.
Preheat oven to 400°F.
In a large saute pan brown turkey; season with salt and pepper. When cooked, set aside on a plate.
Add olive oil to the pan, then add the onion and sauté one minute. Add the parsnip, salt and pepper to taste; cook about 12 minutes, until celery is soft. Add garlic and mushrooms; sauté another 3-4 minutes. Add flour, salt and pepper and mix well. Add frozen vegetables, chicken broth, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, rosemary, cooked turkey, and mix well.
Simmer on low about 5-10 minutes.
In casserole dish spread the meat mixture on the bottom and top each with mashed sweet potatoes. Use a fork to scrape the top of the potatoes to make ridges; sprinkle with paprika.
Bake 20 minutes or until potatoes turn golden. Remove from oven and let it cool 10 minutes before serving.

Little Shop, glasses, first Friday, weekend

I don’t know why it took me until this year to check out local schools for theater. Most schools have theater shows and more than I thought have free student matinees. When I saw that Little Shop of Horrors was playing I knew the girls would want to check it out. It was amazing, really, I suspect that the lead actors were not high schoolers they were that good (no, they are high schoolers.) The leads were channeling the actors from the movie, Seymour was just like Rick Moranis, the dentist was just like Steve Martin, I’m pretty sure they made the kids watch the movie. I didn’t realize that the play and movie have different endings, so that was a surprise (especially to the kids in the front row, I swear we heard crying at the end.) The girls said this show was better than Grease and was on level with Les Miserables, so you know it was good.

Thursday I went to the eye doc to get my glasses. The doc had said at my appointment when I want to see better to come in – so there, I want to see better. Grace got a new pair of frames that will look very different from the frames she’s had forever. A bag that was stuck up in our tree finally flew out and Jack attacked it.

A walk by Bear creek.

Grace, Jack and I went to the first Friday art walk and my fav food truck was there!

Saturday I spent the day at WOTR at a teacher workshop. I have to attend one per year to keep my envoy status with Wings and this was the first workshop I’d seen that looked interesting. Once Wings gets the PCR machine I’ll be able to check it out and use it with our homeschool group.

We used a PCR machine (polymerase chain reaction) to replicate DNA, then used an electric gel machine to see the sequences, using an enzyme to ‘cut’ the pathogenic DNA (which represented e.coli.) We ended up having a double experiment going on as 4 of us had gel that had (by accident) extra buffer added to it and 1 person had the correct buffer. Turns out extra buffer make it take A LOT longer for the DNA to run through the gel. We’ll just call that a learning experience.

Sunday I watched church on my phone because I was having some really bad med side effects. The sermon was about who God wants to save (hint-everyone) and who He will welcome back when they have wandered away (hint-everyone.) Lost sheep and Prodigal son, there’s a reason those stories are in the Bible, to let you know God is looking for you and He rejoices when He sees your face. In the afternoon I felt a bit better so Grace, James, Jack and I went to CR to walk around the Emporium, then we took Jack to the dog park to play (and he found a ton of balls.)

Week – school, TDO card making, St. John’s music at noon, Sherry’s soda shop grand opening, hike, youth group, Jack’s b-day, SpongeBob musical, balloon science co-op, undecided for Saturday (FDGD in Ned or The Unsinkable Molly Brown or Arvada St. Patty’s fest), church, TNO

Dinners – teriyaki chicken and slaw (moved from last week), potato leek soup with rustic bread, chicken stuffed poblanos, sausage with peppers and broccoli over quinoa, green chile cheese enchilada casserole, spaghetti, grilling stuff, crockpot roast beef and potatoes

Stuffed poblanos

4 large poblano chiles
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1/2 medium white onion, chopped
1 large clove garlic, chopped
1 tsp. dried oregano, crumbled
1 tsp. ground cumin
Generous pinch ground cinnamon
Kosher salt
1 Tbs. olive oil
2 cups shredded cooked chicken, preferably dark meat
1-1/2 cups cooked brown or white rice
2 cups grated sharp or extra-sharp white Cheddar
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 Tbs. lime juice

Position an oven rack about 4 inches from the broiler and heat the broiler on high. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil. Slit the chiles from stem to tip and set on the baking sheet. Broil, turning every few minutes, until blackened all over, 5 to 8 minutes. Let cool slightly, peel off the skins, and cut out the seed cores, leaving the stems on. Turn the chiles inside out, flick out any remaining seeds, and turn right side out. Return the poblanos to the baking sheet.

Purée the tomatoes, onion, garlic, oregano, cumin, cinnamon, and 1/2 tsp. salt in a food processor. Heat the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the purée and cook, stirring frequently, until the liquid has evaporated and the mixture looks thick and pulpy, 8 to 11 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the chicken and rice, and then 1 cup of the cheese, the cilantro, and the lime juice. Season to taste with salt. Divide the filling among the peppers, wrapping the sides of the peppers up and around the filling, some of which will still be exposed.

Broil the peppers until the cheese is melting and the top is beginning to brown, about 4 minutes. Top with the remaining 1 cup cheese and broil until the cheese is completely melted, about 2 minutes.

A whole week

Tuesday we went to the Newman center to see Cirque Fabric Flip, it was great. I don’t know how I’ve missed out on the fact that the Newman center has school matinee shows for $5pp, but it’s on my radar now! The show had acrobats, jugglers, live music, it was funny and had a great story.

Wednesday it snowed a nice snow, Hannah got her top braces on, I got some snowflake pictures and the girls went to youth group.

I put this PSA on my FB page because when I turn red, gasp or wince everyone asks if I’m ok. If you see me turning red, it’s just a new side effect. If you hear me gasp or see me wince, that is my heart or lung or kidney or knees hurting. Advice from my cardiologist and hematologist- don’t go running to the ER for every pain, wait it out. Which isn’t the best advice because I did wait out what turned out to be my first PE, then went in and there were 2. Also, if you see Jack and not me, ask him to find mommy because when we are out he’s attached to me, so if he’s alone I’m lying in a ditch somewhere.


Chemistry dull experiment.

Friday fun – Jack at the dog park. You know who wins in a race to a ball? Jack.

Grace is good for another year and her hours earned her a free state park pass and a set of bamboo utensils.

The rescheduled Valentines dance was a hit, Hannah and Grace got to sing and dance to Summer Loving, Grace made some new friends that like anime and art, Hannah danced, they were super hyped when it was over.

Saturday they went to lunch with a mentor and James, Jack and I went to the Petite Mardi Gras parade.

We went walking by the Platte before heading home.

In the evening the girls watched Jack and James and I went to Golden Moon Speakeasy for a jazz date night. We went by Jack in the Box afterward for tiny tacos and jalapeno poppers.

Sunday Hannah worked at the church coffee shop, we made tacos for lunch, we watched Father Brown, Hannah asked to go to the antique shop, Grace finished her first try at a stuffed fish and worked at church and dinner was yummy.

To do this week – school, knee doc, Fat Tuesday, EG Mardi Gras, Ash Wednesday, Cinderella musical, youth group, Water sampling, Tea and book swap co-op, Grand Junction trip, random walking around.

Dinners this week (starting tomorrow night) – sweet potato lasagna (make your lasagna, just sub thinly sliced sweet potatoes for the noodles, same cooking time), chicken and shrimp jambalaya over dirty rice, chicken pesto with garlic couscous and broccoli, ratatouille, Grand Junction two nights, thai basil shrimp over linguine.


2 eggplants
6 roma tomatoes
2 yellow squashes
2 zucchinis

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste
28 oz can of crushed tomatoes
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil, from 8-10 leaves

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil, from 8-10 leaves
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
2 tablespoons Chopped fresh parsley
2 teaspoons fresh thyme
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste
4 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat the oven for 375˚F..

Slice the eggplant, tomatoes, squash, and zucchini into approximately ¹⁄₁₆-inch rounds, then set aside.
Make the sauce: Heat the olive oil in a 12-inch oven-safe pan over medium-high heat. Sauté the onion, garlic, and bell peppers until soft, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, then add the crushed tomatoes. Stir until the ingredients are fully incorporated. Remove from heat, then add the basil. Stir once more, then smooth the surface of the sauce with a spatula.

Arrange the sliced veggies in alternating patterns on top of the sauce from the outer edge to the middle of the pan. Season with salt and pepper. Make the herb seasoning: In a small bowl, mix together the basil, garlic, parsley, thyme, salt, pepper, and olive oil. Spoon the herb seasoning over the vegetables.

Cover the pan with foil and bake for 40 minutes. Uncover, then bake for another 20 minutes, until the vegetables are softened. Serve while hot.


We baked some cupcakes for the senior home and cookies for the librarians for Valentines day. I took some pics of Jack and then we headed out to hand out our treats and cards.

Then we headed to the Milk market for pizza, some pictures and roses.

Then it was over to Zoey’s pet shop for Jack treats.

We chilled at home for a bit, then the girls went to an Anti-Valentine’s party. James met us at the library and we walked around till the girls were done, then dropped Jack at home and went to dinner at Taco Bell. ‘

Catch up

A cold walk.

Then warming up at the library.

Lots of snow for Jack.

Field trip, canceled, the dancers couldn’t make it to the center. Dance….canceled due to snow. This was Hannah before she got that news.

Worked on some art.

Jack knows this thing gives out heat.

The sun came out.

We headed to Longmont to eat some Peruvian food and meet some of the kids and teachers going on the Peru trip next year (Hannah is going.) It was really good, especially the plantains.

Jack says, he went that-a-way.

James took Hannah out for dinner on Sunday night and Grace out on Monday night.

Week – school, puppy daycare, St. John’s music at noon, Creativity club, library school, youth group, hike, Kindness krewe (Valentines at senior center), Teen anti-Valentine party, Taco Bell, Grease! ,  church

Tuesday morning we went to St. John’s to hear the Denver East HS choir. We waited 2 years to hear them again and it was worth the wait. Here is one of their songs.

Then, lunch.

Then, off to Creativity club.

More snow to come tomorrow.

Breck snow sculpture



Chinese New Year, Year of the Rat.

Sunday James and I went to brunch at Death and Co. Very good food and drinks. They have 2 upstairs bars too, one is only open in the Summer, the other only Thursday-Sunday evenings.

Later we took Jack on a walk and then grilled hamburgers for dinner.

Doing this week – school, Breck snow sculptures, co-op sign-ups, Winter poe-tea, youth group, stand-by for Peter Pan, ice skating, yikes I haven’t done the Feb fests and events list yet, church

Dinners this week – Grilling stuff, green chile chicken bake, BBQ brisket stuffed potatoes, Cuban ropa vieja stew, grilled sandwiches/soup, chicken cordon bleu, teriyaki steak and fried rice.

Cuban ropa vieja stew

6 oz. bacon, roughly chopped
2 lb. flank steak, cut into 1 1/2 inch strips
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 green bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 tbsp. cumin
1 tbsp. dried thyme
1 tbsp. dried oregano
5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 bay leaf
6 oz. tomato paste
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
1 16-oz. can whole peeled tomatoes
1/2 cup halved, pitted green olives
1/3 cup sliced jarred pimento peppers
1 tbsp. white wine vinegar
1/4 cup roughly chopped cilantro

Heat a 6-quart or large Dutch oven (or other heavy-bottomed pot) on a burner over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook, about 5 minutes, until the fat has rendered and the bacon has cooked. Remove the bacon pieces with a slotted spoon and set aside on a plate.
Season the sliced steak with salt and pepper. Working in batches, add steak to the hot Dutch oven in a single layer and cook until browned on both sides, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a plate and repeat with the remaining steak pieces. Add the onion and peppers and cook about 4 minutes, until soft. Add the cumin, thyme, oregano, garlic, bay leaf, and tomato paste and cook for a further 3 minutes.
Pour in the wine and use a wooden spoon to scrape the bottom of the pot as it deglazes. Return the bacon and steak to the pot. Add the stock and tomatoes and continue to cook over medium-high heat until the contents come to a boil.
Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and let cook 2 hours or until steak is tender.
Stir in the olives, pimientos, and vinegar. Let cook uncovered a further 30 minutes, then taste and add salt as needed. Serve topped with fresh cilantro.

One of those weeks

Since Monday was a holiday, James was home and school didn’t start yet. It kind of threw off my week because every day felt like it should be the day before. Monday we drove to Fort Collins and found a place that had outdoor seating (for Jack.) They had some good poutine and sliders. It was right next to Insomnia cookies, so we had to try them. Those cookies were huge, warm and so good.

We went to a park and walked around the pond. I thought it was the same pond the girls and I had been to in the Summer, but this was Prospect ponds and the other was Riverbend ponds.

Tuesday we had to take Mousse to the vet for an abscess on his cheek. They cut it and drained it and gave us some meds. It’s really hard to give meds to a rat and clean his face. I also saw my cardiologist and she said my EF was up to 60% (75% is good/normal) and dropped 1 of my BP pills to 1 time a day (instead of 2.) This should help with the dizziness. She left the beta blocker and rest of the meds as is and said to check back in a year.

Hannah had her Police Explorer meeting, but they didn’t tell her it was at a different location, so we went to the Police station, then had to drive back to Parker arts. Wednesday I drove Grace to Vail to sit in on a lecture about Gore creek and the bugs/water quality. Turns out the guy giving the presentation is one of the people who checks River Watch bug samples. So, that was cool.

Wednesday was also One Night at youth group and the girls invited some friends to come. There was an ice cream bar, games, prizes and inflatables. Thursday I dropped James at work, took Jack to the dog park and then the vet. He’s been super itchy and after a skin test they don’t know why. They gave me a liquid to put on him that will kill anything (if there is anything to kill) and a medicated shampoo that should help with the itching. I think he’s going to be the cleanest dog on the block pretty soon.

We did some school then Grace and I met a friend and her kids at the river. They wanted to see what sampling looked like and see a test, so we grabbed water and did DO. The sky from up to downstream and right to left bank looks very different.

I took Jack to the dog park again, and then he got a bath.

Today we’re catching up on school and then heading to the MCA for tiny hibachi and mariachi.

Well, the grill (and food) was tiny.

The exhibit downstairs was really cool.

Friday and a slow weekend

Friday we went to the Thunderbirds show at the library. I can’t believe we haven’t seen this guy with his birds before now. We’ve seen his trick dogs and his trick hogs and now his trick birds. They weren’t always so good for him. One flew off into the audience, one flew on top of a speaker and one knocked over the perch as he landed on it (not really his fault though.) Cockatoo skating here, working a puzzle here, macaws flying here.

We went to The Feedery at Grow and Gather for lunch. It just opened, it has a cafe, coffee shop and small market. It was pretty good.

Saturday we went to try out Slim Chickens, something that we saw in TX, it won’t change your life but the fried mushrooms were the bomb. I liked that they have 4 dipping sauce and gravy and that you can flavor the wings or tenders with 10 sauces. They also had really good mason jar desserts.

Jack thought we were going to the store for sample Saturday, turns out he got a bath.

Sunday we went to church then got out for a walk along the Platte.

New week- school, newbie/co-op chat, Police explorers, RW site test, Bethany turns 21, stock show parade, dog-sitting, work at church, jazz at Bemis, church.

Dinners this week- bacon, potato, corn chowder with peasant bread, butter chicken with fry bread and sweet potatoes, crockpot Tex-Mex chicken stew, B-day dinner (hot pot), orange beef with fried rice and broccoli, shrimp scampi over angel-hair pasta, garlic beef with stuffed collard greens and sweet potato hash.

Sesame-Orange Beef and Veggie Stir-Fry

3 oranges
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup long-grain brown rice
1/4 cup low-sodium beef broth
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons chili-garlic sauce
2 tablespoons low-sugar marmalade
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cornstarch
cooking spray
3/4 pound beef shoulder tender, cut into bite-size strips
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 carrot, julienned into 2-inch pieces
6 green onions, bias-sliced into 2-inch pieces
1 large red bell pepper, cut into bite-size strips
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

-Remove 1 tablespoon zest and 1/4 cup juice from 1 orange. Peel and section remaining 2 oranges.
-Bring water and brown rice to a boil in a saucepan. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until rice is tender and liquid has been absorbed, 45 to 50 minutes.
-Stir together zest, orange juice, broth, soy sauce, chili-garlic sauce, marmalade, sesame oil, and salt in a small bowl. Whisk in cornstarch.
-Coat a wok or large nonstick skillet with cooking spray. Heat over medium-high heat. Stir-fry beef until browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. Add vegetable oil and carrot to the wok; stir-fry for 3 to 4 minutes. Add green onions and bell pepper; stir-fry for 2 to 3 minutes more. Add garlic and ginger; stir-fry for 30 seconds more.
-Return beef to the wok. Stir cornstarch mixture, then add to the wok. Cook, stirring, until thickened and bubbling. Add orange sections; cook, stirring, for 1 minute more.
-Divide rice among 4 plates; top with beef mixture and sprinkle with sesame seeds.


We finished up school in the morning, I went to NIA, dropped Jack at grooming and then the girls and I went to Capital Tea for Holiday high tea. I don’t know how we drank so much tea last year, I made it through 2 pots (Blueberry fizz and Apple cider.) We had soup, tarts, sandwiches, scones, mousse, cookies, chocolate and cake. It was all good.

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