Category Archives: recipes



Sat morning we picked up Grace, dropped her at the play, had affogato at Ground up cafe and came home to chill. Bethany took Gwen and Hannah out for lunch and we had a quiet afternoon. We went to the Castle Rock starlighting, this time we caught the trolley to the event, which was nice.

We didn’t have long to wait before the lighting and fireworks began. I really liked the display this year, it went on forever and the types of fireworks coming out where different than normal.

Grace’s pic.

We ate at Taco Bell and then headed home to watch TV.

Sunday we went to church, then worked in the kids room, we had 12 kids (3-K), it was busy! I took notes and made a poem! True, I had to decipher my handwriting (it’s hard to write in splints) but I think it’s what I wrote.

Ephesians 5 1-2 Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that.

Say ‘Yes’ to God more than you say ‘No.’ I will – follow God. We aren’t to be just knock off imitations, we are to mimic God in such a way that people say – that must be what Jesus looks like. It means leaving your comfort zone, loving those that despise you and giving in a sacrificial way. It means doing good without thanks, helping when you are busy, being kind even if it’s taken for granted.

to follow hard
in the path of God
means walking

the ways of love that Jesus walked,

the ways of love that Jesus talked.

it’s love that covers the dirty hand,
feeds the belly of the poor,
cares for the lost
– at any cost.

it’s love for a wounded heart
– it’s a start.

it’s giving time and words and treasure,
to others without measure.

it’s sacrificial giving
– and living

it’s extravagant love,
and it’s hard to follow.

Grace beat me to sunset pics.

This week- NIA, teen movie night at DMNS, hike, skating, Thanksgiving, hike, watching too many episodes of Knight Rider, something on Sat., church.

Dinners this week – spaghetti, butternut squash and chicken posole, 15 bean soup, Thxgiving meal (smoked turkey, wild rice and cherries, coriander sweet potatoes, cornbread and sausage stuffing, pumpkin pie and salted caramel chocolate pecan pie), leftover turkey hash, beef hand pies.

Chicken Butternut Squash Posole

1 pound boneless chicken breasts, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 pound butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 (15 ounce) cans red beans, drained and rinsed
1 (28 ounce) can hominy
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 (16 ounce) jar salsa
1/2 (12 fluid ounce) can or bottle beer (can omit)
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream (optional)

Combine chicken, butternut squash, red beans, hominy, chicken broth, salsa, beer, and Mexican oregano in a slow cooker.
Cook on Low for 7 1/2 hours (or on High for 3 1/2 hours). Stir cream into soup and continue cooking for 30 minutes more.

Coriander Roasted Sweet Potatoes

1 tbsp. coriander seeds
2 1/2 lb. small sweet potatoes (about 5)
2 tbsp. olive oil
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 tbsp. plain yogurt
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1/2 red chile, thinly sliced
1/4 c. crumbled feta
Kosher salt and pepper

Heat oven to 425°F. Using a heavy pan, coarsely crush coriander seeds.
Peel potatoes, halve lengthwise, then cut into 1⁄2-inch-thick pieces. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet and toss with oil, coriander, cinnamon, 1⁄2 teaspoon salt, and 1⁄4 teaspoon pepper. Roast, turning once halfway through, until tender, 40 to 50 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter.
In a small bowl, whisk together yogurt and lemon juice until smooth. Drizzle over potatoes and sprinkle with chile and feta.

Salted Caramel Pecan and Chocolate Pie

12 graham crackers
1/2 c. unsweetened shredded coconut
6 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
1 c. bittersweet chocolate chips
3 c. Toasted pecans
1 c. granulated sugar
2 tbsp. light corn syrup
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
3/4 c. heavy cream
Coarse sea salt, for serving

In a food processor, pulse graham crackers and coconut to form fine crumbs. Add butter and pulse to combine. Transfer to a 9-inch pie dish and press evenly on the bottom and up the sides. Scatter chocolate chips over the crust, then pecans, and refrigerate until firm, at least 20 minutes.
Transfer pie to a large rimmed baking sheet. Heat oven to 350°F.
Place sugar, corn syrup, and1⁄4 cup water in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat, without stirring, until bubbles start to form at the edges, about 1 minute; give the pan a swirl. Bring to a simmer, then increase heat to high and boil, swirling the pan occasionally until the mixture is a rich caramel color. Immediately remove from the heat, add butter and salt, and swirl the pan to melt.
Return the pan to medium heat, add cream (it will bubble up), and whisk until smooth, slightly thickened, and a deep amber color, about 1 minute.
Pour caramel over pecans, transfer pie to the oven, and bake until mixture is gently bubbling, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt, if desired.

Irish Beef Hand Pies

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/4 head green cabbage, shredded
1/2 pound red potatoes, scrubbed and diced
1 pound ground beef sirloin
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
Coarse salt and ground pepper
All-purpose flour, for rolling
2 piecrusts (9 inches each), homemade or store-bought

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a medium saucepan, heat oil over medium; add cabbage and potatoes. Cook until beginning to brown, 7 to 9 minutes. Add beef; cook, breaking up meat with a spoon, until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomato paste, Worcestershire, thyme, and 1 cup water. Cover, and cook until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Lightly mash mixture with a fork. Season with salt and pepper. Let cool completely.
2. On a lightly floured work surface, roll each crust into a 14-inch square; cut each into 4 equal squares. Place 1/2 cup filling on one half of each square, leaving a 1/2-inch border around the filling. Brush borders with water; fold dough over filling to enclose. Crimp edges with a fork to seal. With a paring knife or scissors, cut 3 small vents in each.
3. Transfer pies to 2 foil-lined rimmed baking sheets; bake until golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through.




We went to Home Depot to make flag cases for Vets for Veteran’s Day. The guy didn’t know what was going on, he thought corporate sent him two cases to make for a DIY, but really it was just that only 2 people signed up to make the flag cases (us.) So we made them and left them there, they will be donated to a Vet.

We chilled at home for a bit, B&W day 6.

We slept, watched TV, made dinner, watched some more TV and finally the very long, but very chill day was over.

Sunday, church, ‘I believe’ was the title of the sermon. Bottom line – faith grows when we say yes to God, even when we don’t understand. I believe, Lord help my unbelief!

James and I went to brunch at Cochino Tacos based on a friends recomendation. It’s a cute redo of an old gas station, nice patio with a view and lights, full bar, interesting tacos and sides.

James’ burrito was a bit cold in the middle, but the drinks, candied bacon and my stuffed tamale were the bomb. B&W day 7.

We had another chill afternoon, shopping, reading and grilling for dinner.

Dinners this week (starting today) – grilling stuff, grilled cheese and tomato soup, chicken marsala, turkey and sweet potato hash, ham/cheese quiche and tomato/mushroom/spinach quiche, (kids are gone Fri nite), shrimp and cheesy pasta.

Chicken Marsala

1/4 cup all-purpose flour for coating 
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves – pounded 1/4 inch thick
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup Marsala wine
1/4 cup cooking sherry

In a shallow dish or bowl, mix together the flour, salt, pepper and oregano. Coat chicken pieces in flour mixture.
In a large skillet, melt butter in oil over medium heat. Place chicken in the pan, and lightly brown. Turn over chicken pieces, and add mushrooms. Pour in wine and sherry. Cover skillet; simmer chicken 10 minutes, turning once, until no longer pink and juices run clear.


Our week – school, worship dance, St. John’s music at noon, library paint and sip, sewing co-op, youth groups, Bible study, TNO, Creativity club, Kindness Krewe (making cards for kids in the hospital), HS skate, b-day party, school play, CR star lighting, working at church.



We chilled today. Corissa and the girls played, everyone walked to Chick-Fil-A for lunch, later they walked to Starbucks. James and I took Maisy to the dog wash to tag team wash her. That worked out well because I like to take a pair of scissors with me to cut off mats while washing her. They don’t like you using scissors there, so with two of us it was harder to notice me using scissors.

I also found my hat today, it’s my favorite one and I thought I had lost it.

I looked everywhere for it, found it in a bag in the bathroom. I guess it fell off the hat rack and plopped into the bag. James and I went to The Chart House for dinner, it was old school fancy. We chose the salad bar and I put something from it on my plate and told James, ‘I don’t know what this is, but I put it on my plate.’ He said it was a sardine, I didn’t eat it. We had an appetizer – shrimp and wild rice on grilled bread, it was good. Our drinks were tasty, a chocolate martini and a chocolate mole margarita. I had the sword fish with brown butter spaetzle for dinner, James had steak and shrimp and for dessert we had a decadent chocolate creme brulee. The view out the window was nice, even if it was dark, the cold air made the city lights twinkle. So, nice place, great food and drinks, pretty views, open bar seating (otherwise make a reservation) and on an evening that isn’t chilly, the patio has a nice fire pit and views of the city.

Tomorrow is busy, so –

Dinners for the week – Korean BBQ pork, pineapple chicken wraps with quinoa, citrus fish with brussel sprouts, tamale pie, sausage with fried cabbage over egg noodles, (leftovers), beef stew with rosemary bread, meatballs and rigatoni with rose vodka tomato sauce.

Pineapple cream cheese chicken wraps

Chicken (breast or thighs)
1 can pineapple tidbits
pineapple cream cheese (or regular)
(whatever toppings you want)

Cook chicken in skillet. Set aside. Warm tortillas, spread the cream cheese on it, top with chicken, pineapple, and other toppings.

Rosemary bread

1/4 cup water
1 package yeast
2 1/2 cups bread flour
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon dried rosemary

1 Add 1 package yeast + 1/4 c. warm water, wait 10 min. 2. Add flour, salt, sugar, oil knead like heck. 3. Add the herbs & pepper and knead some more. 4. Let rise an hour or so in an oiled, covered bowl in a warm place. 5. Punch down, let rise another hour. 6. Bake at 375 until browned. 7. Remove from oven, brush with olive oil and sprinkle with coarse salt.)Serve with olive oil and fresh cracked pepper.

Going on – Worship dance, NIA, Grace is making Halloween cupcakes for Bethany’s work and for park day, Halloween park day, Halloween outing with friends, 500th anniversary of the Reformation, salt sponge crystal growing, Fox theater DOTD show, SAME cafe’, Totem pole co-op, Bible study, youth groups, Zoo day, cereal and Harry Potter at the library, school.




Was kind of lazy. We slept in, I made a grocery list, we went shopping at a different King Soopers, the girls watched TV with their friend, Bethany drove them to Chick-Fil-A for lunch, they walked back, I got to read, I took Grace and Gwen to the MCA teen nite and they had a lot of fun making potions, bracelets, telling stories and looking at art.

Gorgeous Fall weather this week for what we’re up to: Church and Fall fest, Worship dance (observation day), Baskerville a Sherlock Holmes mystery at the CSFAC, Kindness Krewe (knitting hats for NICU babies), hike in Waterton canyon, youth groups, Bible study, HS skate, concert at our church (going away concert for our worship leader), NIA, school, LM’s pumpkin fest/contest, Reformation hymn-fest and Oktoberfest.

Dinners next 2 weeks – Sun (TNO – I get Whole Foods, they get Mod Pizza), tacos, pork roast and plantains, chicken and hominy soup, baked ziti, shepherd’s pie, mushroom beef roast, garlic chicken, fried fish and okra, spaghetti, sausage and barley soup, shake and bake pork chops, citrus baked fish.

Sausage Barley Soup

1 pound Italian sausage
1/2 cup diced onion
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 (48 fluid ounce) can chicken broth
1 large carrot, sliced
1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach
1/4 cup uncooked pearl barley

In a skillet over medium heat, cook the sausage, onion, and garlic until the sausage is evenly brown. Season with Italian seasoning. Remove from heat, and drain.

In a slow cooker, mix the sausage mixture, chicken broth, carrot, spinach, and barley.

Cover, and cook 4 hours on High or 6 to 8 hours on Low.


Sweet and Savory Fried Plantains

1 large yellow plantain, peeled
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/2 teaspoon reduced-fat margarine (such as Smart Balance®) 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon agave nectar
1/3 teaspoon light brown sugar
1 pinch ground cinnamon, or more to taste (optional)

Cut plantain into three sections. Quarter each section so you have twelve pieces. Season plantain pieces with garlic powder.
Heat oil and margarine together in a small skillet over medium heat. Cook plantains in hot oil until lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes per side; season with black pepper and continue to cook until slightly darker in color, 2 to 3 minutes more. Remove skillet from heat and drizzle agave syrup over the plantain pieces. Sprinkle brown sugar and cinnamon over the plantains.


Shepherd’s Pie VI

4 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon finely chopped onion
1/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
salt and pepper to taste
5 carrots, chopped
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
1 pound lean ground beef
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon ketchup
3/4 cup beef broth
1/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add potatoes and cook until tender but still firm, about 15 minutes. Drain and mash. Mix in butter, finely chopped onion and 1/4 cup shredded cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste; set aside.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add carrots and cook until tender but still firm, about 15 minutes. Drain, mash and set aside. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C.)

Heat oil in a large frying pan. Add onion and cook until clear. Add ground beef and cook until well browned. Pour off excess fat, then stir in flour and cook 1 minute. Add ketchup and beef broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

Spread the ground beef in an even layer on the bottom of a 2 quart casserole dish. Next, spread a layer of mashed carrots. Top with the mashed potato mixture and sprinkle with remaining shredded cheese.

Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until golden brown.


Spicy Chicken and Hominy Mexican Soup

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 small onion, chopped
2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, seeded and diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pinch garlic salt, or to taste
1 (32 ounce) can enchilada sauce
2 (16 ounce) cans hominy
1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 pinch cayenne pepper
salt and ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add chicken, onion, chipotle peppers, garlic, and garlic salt; cook and stir until lightly browned, 5 to 8 minutes.

Stir enchilada sauce, hominy, tomatoes, black beans, and water into the pot. Season with chili powder, cumin, oregano, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper. Bring to a gentle boil. Cover and simmer until flavors combine, about 40 minutes. Garnish with cilantro.


Citrus Baked Fish

cooking spray
4 (3 ounce) fillets salmon fillets
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup lime juice
2 teaspoons melted butter
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon ground paprika
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a baking dish lightly with cooking spray.

Place salmon fillets in the baking dish.

Mix lemon juice, orange juice, lime juice, butter, parsley, paprika, salt, and pepper together until well blended. Drizzle over salmon in the baking dish.

Bake salmon in the preheated oven until easily flaked with a fork, 10 to 15 minutes. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read 145 degrees F (63 degrees C).



Saturday we went to Cracker Barrel for breakfast, then headed to Rock Ledge for the Fall fest. CB had Christmas stuff out.

There were a bazillion people there, we got the last pieces of pie and the very last cider. The girls decided to turn in their tickets for soda as the candy scramble and hay maze were a bit juvenile.

We had a lazy day back at home, made pizzas for dinner and the girls went to see the new My Little Pony movie while James and I watched Father Brown.

Sunday we went to church where Phil gave a great message on being included. A dirty sinner, saved by Grace, changed and wanting to be part of a family, included, wanting to be part of the body of Christ and wanting others to join in.

Word, Life, Light.
The beginning of all things,
to this, His family.
Where He longs to be
a part of your life.
part of a community
but, more than that –
He wants family.
So bring your messy life
your hurt and strife
your questions too,
we are here for you.
There are no lost causes
no pain too great
we long to invest –
it is never too late
to come to the family,
come meet with Jesus.
His arms wait to hold,
to comfort and change,
for the lonely, to heal
to belong to a family
included –
and do life for real.


Then we worked in the little’s room and we had dot markers for our craft, we don’t always have dot markers….because…mess.

After lunch James and I went on our Jack Kerouac walk with Walk to Connect. It was a great way to see the city and to connect the Beat movement and writings with Denver. Want to do one of your own? Start here –

We started at Union Station,

and walked to Commons park and started with a brief overview of Jack and Neal. I like it when there are quotes sprinkled throughout the walk. Everything is changing downtown, 3 restaurants that we like closed, one opened as something new, we found a bunch of new restaurants and lots of lofts going up.

Quote​ ​#1​ ​-​ In a letter to a student in 1961, Kerouac wrote: “Dean and I were
embarked on a journey through post-Whitman America to FIND that America and
to FIND the inherent goodness in American man. It was really a story about 2
Catholic buddies roaming the country in search of God. And we found him.”

Quote​ ​#2​ ​-​ ​“Now I could see Denver looming ahead of me like the Promised Land,
way out there beneath the stars, across the prairie of Iowa and the plains of

Quote​ ​#3​ ​-​ ​“And there in the blue air I saw for the first time, in hints and might
visitation, far off, the great snowy-tops of the Rocky Mountains. I took a deep
breath. I had to get to Denver, at once.”

From there we walked over the train tracks, past the Denargo market (which is now apartments.)

Quote​ ​#​ ​4​ ​-​ ​“….I had a long warm conversation about our respective schemes in
life and before I knew it we were going over to the Denargo fruitmarkets outside
Denver, there was smoke, smokestacks, railyards, red brick buildings and the
distant downtown graystone buildings and here I was in Denver.”

We are hopeful that they are saving this old firehouse on 20th.

Walking past Coors field we stopped to talk about the statue out front.

This guy hired jackie Robinson and started the inclusion of blacks into baseball. We walked on to an old skid row area onto Larimer street. We stopped in at Biker Jim’s for a whiskey and soda. If you don’t know about the history of the saving of Larimer street – Dana Crawford was instrumental back in the 60’s getting investors to save the buildings rather than tear them down.

Quote​ ​#5​ ​-”He let me off at Larimer Street. I stumbled along with the most wicked
grin* of joy in the world among the old bums and beat cowboys of Larimer Street.
It was also the biggest city I’d seen since Chicago and the big city buzz made me

Quote​ ​#6​ ​- Za Za’s was “run with an uncommon dignity uncommon to any Skid
Row.” “While Dad worked on his infrequent morning customers or sat in the
battered barber chair to rest his feet, I absorbed what I could of Liberty magazine
or the Rocky Mountain News.”

Quote​ ​#​ ​7​ – “the renaissance began on a sizzling summer day in 1963, when a
group of winos came to Crawford’s rescue after her puke-green Ford convertible
died on Larimer Street. “Vapor lock,” one of them rasped from the doorway of a
building on Denver’s skid row.

We walked on to Champa and 26th and saw the location of Neal’s home (now lofts), his Dad’s barbershop where they lived before his Mom and Dad separated (it’s actually the tiny brick structure between the big house and the garage looking building on the right), the place where his brother lived  (empty lot now) next to the Puritan Pie Company (now a storage place.)

Quote​ ​#​ ​8​ – “Finally, in last month of this hectic year, Neal got a two-chair shop
near the corner of 26th and Champa streets. In this sad little shop so filled with
contention, Neal and Maude shared the last year of their pitiful marriage ​…
Although food was short, at least there was always dessert, for in the middle of
the next block was the Puritan Pie Company, and on many a Sunday the shop
shades were drawn as Neal cut an employee’s hair in exchange for a pie or two.”

Now we were headed to Five Points, an area where African Americans flourished with jazz, barber shops, hotels, and independent business. The Beatnik generation was looking for something, Jack and Neal loved to sit in on jazz in Five Points, even though they might be the only whites there. They experimented with drugs, sex and looked at other religions (both were Catholic.) They were cruising America from the East coast to the West looking at America in a different way, trying to see if it was possible to experience life and not be attached to the materialistic mode of the up and coming suburban lifestyle.

From there we were just a block away from the Blair-Caldwell library and the baseball field where pick up games have been played since the 40’s. Not too far from this point was the elementary school that Neal went to.

Quote​ ​#10​ ​- “Down at 23rd and Welton a softball game was going on under the
floodlights which also illuminated the gas tank. A great eager crowd roared at
every play. The strange young heroes of all kinds, white, colored, Mexican, pure
Indian, were on the field, performing with heart-breaking seriousness…..Near me
sat an old Negro who apparently watch the games every night. Next to him was
an old white bum, then a Mexican family, then some girls, some boys – all
humanity, the lot. Oh, the sadness of the lights that night!” Kerouac, On the Road

Quote​ ​#11​ ​- “The school cafeteria in the basement was not used by the student
body since most of the children went to their nearby homes for lunch….But there
were a couple-dozen of us who did eat there; the city had appropriated a small
fund to supply the needy children, whose parents applied for it (Father put off
doing this for weeks); a noonday snack of milk and graham crackers.” Cassady,
The First Third

Neal was an altar boy at this church, don’t know if he ever came back to his faith during his wayward years, but he’s definitely an example of ‘saved by grace through faith, not from what I’ve done.’

We ended the walk at Sakura Square instead of My Brother’s Bar (which was closed.) Jack and Neal were all for inclusion, so this area (and Five Points) held a lot of Japanese Americans during and after WWII. It also represented the Eastern religious searching that the guys did while trekking around.

We ended our walk (5.5 miles) and headed to Pig and Sprout (one place we saw on our walk.)

They had interesting drinks and really big small plates. We ended up just getting 4 small plates instead of an entree. Everything looked and tasted really good, nice decorations inside and lots of seating. They are pretty new, so I bet they eventually fill up and get to a reservation point. Back at home we watched a Father Brown and headed to bed.

This week – snow!, worship dance, NIA, St. John’s music at noon, marshmallow roast park day, Creativity club, women’s movie night, Ft. Vasquez tour, hike, youth group, DMNS teen night, MCA teen night, Fall fest, TNO.

Dinners – Chicken tikka, pork roast hash, BBQ chicken and corn on the cob, chicken soup and grilled cheese, (Fri night kids are eating at the museum), not sure about Sat yet…maybe chili or tacos. I have a lot of chicken this week.

Chicken Tikka Masala

1 cup yogurt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons fresh ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces 4 long skewers
1 tablespoon butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

In a large bowl, combine yogurt, lemon juice, 2 teaspoons cumin, cinnamon, cayenne, black pepper, ginger, and salt. Stir in chicken, cover, and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Preheat a grill for high heat.
Lightly oil the grill grate. Thread chicken onto skewers, and discard marinade. Grill until juices run clear, about 5 minutes on each side.
Melt butter in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Saute garlic and jalapeno for 1 minute. Season with 2 teaspoons cumin, paprika, and 3 teaspoons salt. Stir in tomato sauce and cream. Simmer on low heat until sauce thickens, about 20 minutes. Add grilled chicken, and simmer for 10 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter, and garnish with fresh cilantro.

(You can toss the whole thing into a crockpot on low for 4-6 hours or cook it on the stove, no need to grill the chicken, jut adjust the cooking time to make sure the chicken is cooked thoroughly in the pan.)

The Great Pumpkin and the weekend


Grace had 5 hours of volunteering with her youth group Sat. morning. They were dropping flyers for the Fall festival. I soothed Maisy to sleep with some Over the Rainbow on ukulele.

Bethany and Alex took off for a date, so we took Grace with us to the Giant pumpkin weigh off at Jared’s nursery. We had to stop on the way to get her to let this Katydid off the car.

We got there late, but after looking at all of the pumpkins we got to see the pumpkin drop (we didn’t stay long enough last year.) So, we enjoyed some shave ice and watched as the 300 lb, 700 lb and 1200 lb winning pumpkins were dropped from a crane.

The winner this year was 1,281.5 lbs – that’s a big pumpkin!


700 lb

1200 lb

We dropped Grace back at home and James and I went on our date night.

First stop – El Five. It’s tapas and small plates and it has the best view in Denver. One side has downtown views, the other has mountain views.

You can’t go wrong with either side. We ordered goat cheese croquettes, diablo prunes (blue cheese stuffed and wrapped in bacon) and smoked baba ganoush.

Our main dish was a smoky rabbit and sausage paella. El Five has a Mediterranean feel, low and high tables, views, good service, great food and if the weather is right, outdoor seating.

From there we went to Phil’s (Englewood Grand) for Camp Grand. It was cute, Erika had canvas tents inside with a blanket and pillows on the floor, Phil was sitting under a tent outside roasting marshmallows for s’mores to go with the s’mores cocktail.

There was a cooler, camp chairs, pine cones and the staff were all wearing Camp Counselor shirts. Phil never disappoints with his drinks and decorations.

We got back home and just as we were pulling in, Bethany was taking Grace to McDonalds for fries.

Sunday I was not feeling well so I just curled up on the couch and stayed there almost all day. I read, James watched Father Brown with me, and we did eventually get out to get ice cream at Ice Cream Riot. They made a pretty awesome coffee shake and their big deal is pop-tart ice cream sandwiches, they make small batches so they have a limited menu – but I’d go back. Back at home we watched Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, had pizza, watched a Father Brown and called it a night.

This week – NIA, worship dance (and I get to see what song we’re dancing to), Teacher’s Day Out (first time for that and I think it might be something I do every month), walking and loving on shelter dogs at the library, Bible study and youth groups, park day by the river, Hudson gardens co-op (was rescheduled), Rock Ledge Ranch Fall fest, church, Walk to Connect’s Jack Kerouac and the Beats history walk – and school.

Dinners this week – applewood pork roast, chicken and onions (like liver and onions, but my kids wouldn’t touch liver with a 10 foot pole, so…chicken), sloppy Joe’s, quiche (ham, mushroom and swiss / bacon, tomato, spinach and swiss), zuppa Toscana.

Easy Quiche

2 cups milk (or half cream.half milk) 
4 eggs
3/4 cup biscuit baking mix
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup cubed cooked ham
8 ounces shredded Swiss cheese
(other, add mushrooms, bacon, tomato, garlic, onions, spinach, etc.)

(If using a pie shell, leave out the biscuit baking mix and reduce the milk to 3/4 C)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease a 10 inch quiche dish.
In a large bowl, beat together milk, eggs, baking mix, butter and parmesan cheese. Batter will be lumpy. Stir in ham and Swiss cheese (and any other ingredients.) Pour into prepared quiche dish.
Bake in preheated oven for 50 minutes, until eggs are set and top is golden brown.

Zuppa Toscana

1 pound bulk mild Italian sausage
1 1/4 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
4 slices bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 large onion, diced
1 tablespoon minced garlic
5 (13.75 ounce) cans chicken broth
6 potatoes, thinly sliced
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 bunch fresh spinach, tough stems removed

Cook the Italian sausage and red pepper flakes in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat until crumbly, browned, and no longer pink, 10 to 15 minutes. Drain and set aside.
Cook the bacon in the same Dutch oven over medium heat until crisp, about 10 minutes. Drain, leaving a few tablespoons of drippings with the bacon in the bottom of the Dutch oven. Stir in the onions and garlic; cook until onions are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.
Pour the chicken broth into the Dutch oven with the bacon and onion mixture; bring to a boil over high heat. Add the potatoes, and boil until fork tender, about 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and stir in the heavy cream and the cooked sausage; heat through. Mix the spinach into the soup just before serving.




The do nothing day, Fun Friday, lazy weekend


The girls watched Titanic and 3 Jaws movies on Thursday. Wish it was for something, but they just wanted to watch them and I let them. Grace didn’t want any of the Jaws (just Hannah.) Hannah practiced her ukulele, Grace went to youth group and James and I went to Perry’s for a drink and they had a very good piano player there.

Friday our Hudson co-op was canceled, so we did some school at home, tried to make an Archimedes’ death ray (which really didn’t work, but probably would have started to burn the boats if we had coated the boats in gasoline and been a bit more patient) and went to Cafe’ 180 to eat lunch.

They always have such good food there.

Then we went to the Hyperspace arcade. OMG, I haven’t seen some of these games since I was a kid! I played Qbert, Burgertime, Cheyenne, Galaga, and more. I got the girls to play Joust with me, they hated it. Marble Madness got Grace’s goat, Dragon’s Lair (which I have literally not seen since I was a kid and played it at my cousin’s house) made us all mad.

I am definitely going back (without the kids…)

Saturday we went to Four Friends Kitchen for brunch. I gambled that the new DU location would be less busy than the Stapleton one and I was right.

We are going back (with Bethany) because I need to try their shrimp and grits and chicken and waffles. Their fried green tomatoes and beignets were good, my coconut grits with bourbon kale, sweet potatoes, mushrooms and pecan sage pesto was so delicious. The grits were creamy and sweet, the kale (I hate kale) tasted like bacon, the sweet potatoes and the mushrooms blended with the pesto and it was just…so….good. There is a lot of seating, fun colors on the walls and chairs, though it can be a bit loud. On the way home we stopped by 3 ponds park to walk around, Fall leaves were changing and it was a nice little walk.

It’s a connector for the Highline canal trail coming from University, so James and I will have to go back and walk that section. Back at home we read and napped, I took Hannah to her ukulele class at the library – it was fun.

Back at home we put dinner plans on hold and went over to the Dolence’s for taco night (and we brought dump cake.)

Sunday we went to church where Mark Scott (a former preacher at our church that returned back to teaching at Ozark college) was giving the sermon of I am Cherished.

I am cherished
loved beyond compare
a heart can not fathom
the love that God does bear.

I am cherished
fondly held as dear
in His secure arms that
will protect against all fear.

I am cherished 
with God’s agape love
which crossed Heaven and Earth
blessed affection from above.

I am cherished 
by the God of the universe
HIs love seeks me daily
even when I do not love Him first.

I am cherished 
as God’s love rains down
from the storehouses of Heaven
to my heart, love is found.


Then we stayed for the next service and worked in the 3-K room. We only had 4 kids, we were talking about Joshua and the battle of Jericho. The kids all made Superkids masks to go along with the armor of God they’ve been collecting through the lessons. We had sandwiches at home for lunch and basically just sat around and read/played/napped all day until dinner. After dinner we took the girls to Freddy’s, then James and I went out to Perry’s again, sadly there was no piano player.

The week – water sampling/testing, worship dance, NIA, school at CU museum, Nederland drive, educators night at the museum, park day, book art co-op, youth groups, Women’s Bible study, educator training at History museum, Hannah off to camp, date night, school (in general.)

Dinners -TV dinners (I have an educator night), shake and bake pork chops with acorn squash, chicken pot pie, sherry apple pork chops with asparagus, lasagna, and I don’t know about Sat. night…James and I have a date night, Hannah will be at camp, so maybe Bethany will take Grace out for dinner.

Chicken pot pie

1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves – cubed 
1 cup sliced carrots
1 cup frozen green peas
1/2 cup sliced celery
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup chopped onion
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon celery seed
1 3/4 cups chicken broth
2/3 cup milk
2 (9 inch) unbaked pie crusts Add all ingredients to list

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F
In a saucepan, combine chicken, carrots, peas, and celery. Add water to cover and boil for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, drain and set aside.
In the saucepan over medium heat, cook onions in butter until soft and translucent. Stir in flour, salt, pepper, and celery seed. Slowly stir in chicken broth and milk. Simmer over medium-low heat until thick. Remove from heat and set aside.
Place the chicken mixture in bottom pie crust. Pour hot liquid mixture over. Cover with top crust, seal edges, and cut away excess dough. Make several small slits in the top to allow steam to escape.
Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until pastry is golden brown and filling is bubbly. Cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Sherry apple pork chops

6 pork chops
3 large apples – peeled, cored and sliced
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup dry sherry

In a large skillet, brown chops, about 2 minutes each side; reserve.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
Arrange apple slices in the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking dish. Sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon. Dot with butter or margarine. Top with browned pork chops and season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour sherry over all, cover and bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour or until tender and the internal temperature has reached 145 degrees F