The Colorado adventure

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.

Cute.

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.

Ratatouille

2 eggplants
6 roma tomatoes
2 yellow squashes
2 zucchinis

SAUCE
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

HERB SEASONING
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.

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Weekend

Saturday we hung around the house until it was time to go to the Grease show. We had lunch there, root beer floats and hot dogs. The show was really good, the school did a great job on the sets, costumes and music and the lead kids were really into character. My favorites were Rizzo and Kenickie, they were just like the movie actors.

Sunday was church and then James, Jack and I went to LM’s and the dog park.

Hannah’s rats.

Our week – NIA, school, Field trip Cirque Blizzard, Police Explorers, braces, youth group, TNO, working at church, HS skate, rescheduled Valentines dance, petite Mardi Gras parade, church work, jazz date night, church – walks and hikes sprinkled around.

Dinners – coconut pork curry over saffron rice, lime chicken with chili squash, chicken sausage with roasted peppers and stuffed mushrooms, sauerbraten and fried cabbage, out (MCA), dumplings and date night, pan fried chicken and cilantro mint brown rice chutney.

Sauerbraten

2 large yellow onions, chopped
2 large carrots, chopped
1 large leek, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 sprigs thyme
2 sprigs rosemary
2 bay leaves
8 juniper berries
6 whole cloves
10 whole black peppercorns, cracked
2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon sugar
2 cups red wine
1 1/2 cups red wine vinegar
1 cup beef broth
1/2 cup golden raisins (optional)
3-4 pounds beef chuck roast or rump roast
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
10 gingersnap cookies, crushed

In a large dutch oven, combine all of the marinade ingredients and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Boil for 10 minutes, then cool completely. Nestle the meat down into the cooled marinade, then cover and refrigerate for at least 48 hours and up to 2 weeks. Turn the roast each day to make sure all of the meat gets a chance to marinade thoroughly.

Remove roast from the marinade and pat completely dry using paper towels. DO NOT DISCARD THE MARINADE. Transfer the marinade to a bowl. Wipe out the dutch oven and heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in it over high heat. When the oil is hot, sear the roast on all sides until browned (about 2 minutes per side), then return the marinade to the dutch oven with the meat.

Bring the liquids to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, until meat is tender. Remove meat from the cooking liquids and set it aside on a cutting board to rest for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, strain the marinade, discarding the solids and reserving the liquid. Return the liquid to the dutch oven.
Add the crushed gingersnap cookies to the reserved liquid. Cook and stir over medium-low heat for 10 minutes until thickened into a nice gravy. Taste and adjust salt and pepper as needed. Slice the sauerbraten into thin slices and serve with the hot gravy poured over the top.

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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.

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Snow

Did school, went to mall, went to Enchanted Grounds on Monday. On Tuesday it didn’t snow as much as they said it would, so Police explorers was on and I had a very chilly walk with Jack before going home.

Wednesday I took James to work and Jack and I went for a quick walk before going home.

After school I took Jack on another quick walk.

Now it’s TV and relaxing time.

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Weekend

The sunset Saturday was gorgeous, I wish I had stopped the car because by the time I got home from dropping the girls at the mall I was left with this.

Sunday, morning walk, church and then we drove to the Springs to eat at The Lazy Dog, the one by us is still the best because it has a covered patio.

 

After eating we drove to a new hiking spot and walked around the lake.

It was almost 70 degrees, tomorrow it’s going to snow and be in the 30’s. I chose to go grocery shopping during the football game (which we didn’t watch.) It was so empty in the store, yay me!

Goings on this week – snow!, school, HS skate, Police explorers, youth group, TDO, church work, field trip Newman center, Valentine dance, Bethany in, Peru dinner (to meet the other students going on the Peru trip next Summer), church, ice skating, working at church

Dinners – Shepherd’s pie (made with real shepherds!), chicken en’chill’adas (because it’s going to be 0 that day.), beef stroganoff, chicken teriyaki, meatball subs, (Peru dinner)

Chicken Enchiladas

Cooking spray
1 (15-ounce) can enchilada sauce
1 (4-ounce) can diced green chiles (do not drain)
4 cups shredded, cooked chicken
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained
3 1/2 cups shredded mexican cheese blend, divided
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped and divided
8 (10-inch) large flour tortillas

Heat the oven and prepare the baking dish. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 400°F. Coat a 9×13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.

Stir the enchilada sauce and the green chiles and their liquid together in a small bowl. Transfer 1 cup of this sauce into the bottom of the baking dish; set aside.

Place the chicken, black beans, 2 cups of the shredded cheese, 1/2 cup of the enchilada sauce mixture, and 2 tablespoons of the cilantro in a medium bowl. Use tongs to toss the mixture and coat the chicken and cheese with the sauce.

Working with one tortilla at a time, arrange ¾ cup of the filling down the center of the tortilla. Wrap the tortilla tightly around the filling and move the tortilla seam side down to the baking dish, tucking the ends of the tortillas underneath to close the ends. As you continue to add filled tortillas to the pan push the filled tortillas together to create a tight casserole.

Top the filled enchiladas with the remaining enchilada sauce mixture (you’ll have about 3/4 cup). Sprinkle with the remaining 1 1/2 cups of cheese.

Bake for 20 minutes or until browned and bubbly. Bake until the enchilada sauce is bubbly and the cheese is melted and just beginning to brown, 20 to 25 minutes.

Cool for 5 minutes before serving. Cool the enchiladas for 5 minutes before sprinkling the remaining cilantro on top and serving.

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Rest of the week

Took James to work and took Jack walking in Golden. He usually gets spooked by the statues, but this time he walked by all of the animal ones just fine. The human statues still freaked him out though. He had fun looking at the chickens, he doesn’t bark at them, just sits there and tilts his head back and forth trying to figure them out.

After school I took him to Littleton to get some snacks and walk around. There are only a few days left in January and I need to beat my December walking total, even if it’s just by a bit.

Thursday morning walk.

We were supposed to go to the ballet, but our stand-by seats fell through. So, we dropped off Jack at daycare anyway and did school without the interruptions.

Friday we did school and went ice skating. Well, Grace skated, Jack and I walked around and got in an evening walk too.

James and I went to Edgewater public market for dinner/drinks with some of his co-workers. We didn’t realize that this food hall allows dogs, so we’ll be sure to come back with Jack.

The only bad thing about the market is that it is loud, everyone is eating in the same area and it was busy, so it was hard to carry on a conversation.

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Tuesday

Jack is always wary of hawks flying over.

Poe-tea, theme ‘Winter.’ We listened to Robert Frost read ‘Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening’, Red Greens’ Winter Poem and read ‘Those Winter Sundays’ by Robert Hayden

Sundays too my father got up early
and put his clothes on in the blueblack cold,
then with cracked hands that ached
from labor in the weekday weather made
banked fires blaze. No one ever thanked him.

I’d wake and hear the cold splintering, breaking.
When the rooms were warm, he’d call,
and slowly I would rise and dress,
fearing the chronic angers of that house,

Speaking indifferently to him,
who had driven out the cold
and polished my good shoes as well.
What did I know, what did I know
of love’s austere and lonely offices?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rebVUgCgSAU

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BkRok3k7lFU

Lemon Raspberry pound cake, tiny toast, melted snowman cookies and cucumber cream cheese sandwiches.

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Weekend

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.

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Monet, St. John’s, ice skating, finals, b-day pics, random stuff

I dropped Jack at daycare, we put Marley in puppy jail at home and we headed down to the Art museum for the Monet exhibit. I was surprised at how close we could get to the art, you could stand 6 inches or so away from them. Of course, the art looked better from far away, the strokes and dots blended better. It was a long exhibit, two floors worth, plus a short film (that we just missed, they only had one showing.) Grace was surprised at how many Monet paintings there are that we’ve never seen. Bridge over the lily pond, yes, famous. Paintings of the sea, rocks, fog, boats, ships, never seen them. Grace said the exhibit made her heart happy and inspired her to go back and do some watercolor paintings. Hannah thought the exhibit was long and boring, I thought it was well done and other than needed a few more places to sit, it was great.

We wandered around the Light exhibit for a bit, then headed home. I dropped the girls off, went to a HS group meeting, picked up Jack and then took Jack and Marley for a walk. They weren’t walking in the same direction so I put Jack’s leash on Marley and then they had to go in the same direction.

Tuesday was St. John’s music at noon and ice skating. They changed the ice skates to an in-line skate version with straps and little padding – so they aren’t comfortable. Still, Grace skated for about an hour while Bethany and Hannah sat in Corner Bakery chatting and writing.

Since Jack had been at daycare for another day I plopped him (and Marley) in the bath at Petsmart. Neither one thought that was fun.

Wednesday was finals and youth group. Thursday Grace finished up her finals and Hannah went to Chuck E Cheese’s for her History final. After she was done we had pizza and played some games.

I ran some errands back at the house, then grabbed Bethany to have a mini-birthday photo shoot (since we didn’t do it on her actual birthday) and take her out for a drink. Later James and I went to TNO (and we weren’t the only ones there.)

Friday was HS skate, Marley got picked up, I took Jack for a walk, he ate some snow, then it was back home for a bit. Hannah had a super fast orthodontic appointment, I made stuffed bell peppers for dinner and we watched some TV before bed.

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Stock show, dog-sitting, weekend

One of Hannah’s rats looking cute.

Stock show time! I think I finally have the best parade spot picked out, I thought I had it today, but people started piling in front of me when it started. I think the best spot is near the end, behind the fence, in the middle of the street. This way no one can cut in front of you.

This is Marley, we’ll be dog-sitting for a week. He is a 12 y/o Shitzu.

I took them to the dog park and Marley sat in his stroller, then got out and just stood by me.

Jack’s new ball came in.

Saturday James and I took the dogs on a walk, Marley started out in the stroller, but we found he can actually walk, so he ended up walking a mile.

Later we went to jazz at the library, the quartet was pretty good.

Afterward I took James to Grow and Gather for a drink and to show him the place.

Sunday I stayed home from church so people wouldn’t get my cough. The dogs were trying to find a good spot to lie on me without touching each other.

James and I took the dogs to Cherry creek for a poetry walk. Some of the businesses have poems in the windows, it was a nice jaunt and both dogs walked the whole time.

Grace finished the painting on her jacket.

Goings on this week – trying to get over a cold, DAM Monet field trip, HS skate, St. John’s music at noon, ice skating, finals, youth group, TNO, ortho, HS skate (it lined up so there were 2 of them this week), MCA teen event, church, Bethany goes back to Mesa.

Dinners this week – mojito lime chicken bowls with street corn, Italian sausage with eggplant parmesan, Greek chicken pasta with salad, TNO (dumplings or TV dinners for girls), Chopped pantry (ie what’s in your basket? Use only pantry items to make a meal), out (girls are eating at MCA.)

Greek Chicken Pasta

1 (16 ounce) package linguine pasta (or your choice)
½ cup chopped red onion
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast meat – cut into bite-size pieces
1 (14 ounce) can marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1 large tomato, chopped
½ cup crumbled feta cheese
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook pasta in boiling water until tender yet firm to the bit, 8 to 10 minutes; drain.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; saute until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Stir in the chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until chicken is no longer pink in the center and the juices run clear, about 5 to 6 minutes.

Reduce heat to medium-low; add artichoke hearts, tomato, feta cheese, parsley, lemon juice, oregano, and cooked pasta. Cook and stir until heated through, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat, season with salt and pepper, and serve.

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