Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Blueberries & Zucchini

Blueberries and zucchini seem to be my theme for the last two days.

Yesterday I tried some wild blueberry flavored coffee...Worst mistake I could have made. It was horrible.  Then I went out to dinner and had a blueberry martini...Best possible choice!  The martini was so scrumptious it was hard to stop at just one...But I did!

Today, I continued on with my blueberry theme by making some blueberry zucchini muffins.
They turned out really yummy.  Tomorrow they will be making their way to Ed's office for his team.

I grated a little too much zucchini for the muffins, so after I was done baking I wondered what to do with the extra zucchini sitting in my food processor.  That's when inspiration struck and I made zucchini pancakes.  OMG so good!

I tried them two ways.  First with just salt, then with some curry powder mixed in.  They were very good both ways.  They were so simple and I believe they would lend themselves nicely to a variety of spices.  I guess I'll have to get some more zucchini and experiment.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

I can't wait for September...

Ed and I will be going home to Michigan for a visit in September and I can't wait!  I haven't been home in two years, and for Ed it has been about seven.  There are so many people to see and places to go.  I can't wait to see all my little cousins and how they've grown in the last two years. And of course the rest of my family and friends.
Me in 2008 with my beautiful cousins
 Jaiden & Nevaeh
My cousin Laith -
Just born the last time I was home in August 2008

I've been working on getting all the details taken care of. We have our plane tickets.  I'm working on renting a house in White Lake for the week...It's easier than staying with relatives and better than a crummy hotel room.  It's really reasonably priced for the week and fairly centrally located to all the places we want to go.  One thing that's especially nice is that it's on the lake and there is a grill, etc. so we can host a get together while we're there.  That may be easier than trying to run all over the place and see everyone separately. 

Here is a link to pictures of the house we're renting.
Right now we're just waiting on the rental contract to make sure that everything is agreeable to us.

The only things I have left to do are: arrange a cat sitter for while we're gone, get the rental car, come up with some sort of itinerary for our trip and let everyone at home know so they can make plans.

Oh boy, oh boy, I can't wait!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Rocky Mountain National Park

This past weekend we went hiking at Rocky Mountain National Park.  I am continually amazed at the beauty that surrounds us here in Colorado! 
I'm an animal lover and the wildlife that we've seen is just fantastic. Yes, I get happy and excited just seeing a pretty little bird, but to actually see elk up close just hanging out...Well, that is just indescribable. The elk we saw this weekend were just so majestic! These pictures can't even come close to doing justice to their beauty.

Ed at 12,143 ft.
Of course, I can't forget to mention how good the hiking is here too.  Ed and I are still working on getting in shape and getting acclimatized to the altitude.  It just about killed us, but we did manage to hike at over 12,000 feet above sea level! 

And finally, I'd like to introduce you to my new hiking boots...

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Do-It-Yourself Therapy

When I'm feeling kind of blue, or when I'm really pissed off about something, I have one sure fire way to cheer myself up or calm myself down...My do-it-yourself therapy is to head into the kitchen and cook something.
I don't know, there is just something so zen about going into the kitchen and chopping vegetables, measuring spices, etc.  If I'm upset about something, I seem to calm right down within a few minutes of going into the kitchen and starting a recipe.  Also, if I'm feeling sad, I can go in the kitchen, start gathering my ingredients and soon I feel great.  Isn't it funny that some people are emotional eaters, but I am an emotional cooker!

Anyway, I recently made one of my favorite summer dessert recipes and thought I'd share it here. I made a beautiful blackberry granita.  Yes, it's loaded with sugar, but thanks to the scrumptious blackberries, it's also full of disease fighting antioxidants. And best of all, you only need a handful of ingredients to make this.

1 1/2 c granulated sugar
1 c fresh or frozen blackberries
1/4 c fresh lemon juice
3 c water

To begin, combine sugar and water in a non-reactive pan over medium heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved.  Once the sugar is dissolved, add the berries and bring to a boil. Cook for 5 minutes, then remove from heat and stir in the lemon juice. 

After allowing this to cool for a couple of minutes (hot liquid in a blender can be very dangerous if you're not careful), use a blender and puree the mixture.  After you puree, pour the mixture into a large, shallow metal baking pan and freeze until it becomes icy, about 4 hours.

Next you remove the icy mixture from the freezer and break it up by scraping with a fork. Refreeze for 2 more hours, break it up again, and refreeze. about 2 hours before serving, break it up one last time and then refreeze.

When you're ready to serve the granita, I recommend putting it in some pretty dessert glasses or a nice wine or margarita glass. Here, I've topped mine with a homemade mixture of whipped cream, vanilla yogurt, and confectioner's sugar.

Do-it-yourself therapy and a tasty summer dessert!

Friday, July 9, 2010


This past weekend Ed and I went hiking at Eldorado State Park. Wow! The beauty of the area was just stunning. Best of all, it was only a 20 minute drive from where we live!

We enjoy hiking, but of course, being in Colorado there are a lot of rock climbers too. I like to watch them, but man are they insane! These are just a couple of the many climbers that we saw.  These two don't seem too bright as they don't appear to have any safety gear. The majority of the climbers we saw actually had harnesses and safety gear. 

I was surprised that we were able to hike for as long as we did. I guess we're finally getting used to the altitude! Our plan is to try and go hiking every weekend. This will serve two purposes...It will help to get us in shape, and it is really cheap entertainment! Yay!

While Ed and I had a great time and managed not to fall off the side of the mountain or anything crazy like that, unfortunately, my hiking boots were not so lucky. After a wonderful day of hiking and sightseeing, as we were walking back to the car I kept feeling like someone was kicking the back of my foot.  When I turned around to see what the deal was, I looked down and saw that my poor boots did not quite make it back unscathed...

Thank goodness this happened when we were within sight of the car!  I'd like to take time now to say thank you to my old hiking boots.  You may be broken now, but you were there with me for some great times.  I can't believe that you made it to 12 years old before you gave out. You had your first hikes in Australia in 1998. You protected my feet and ankles from injury. You were good and I will miss you.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy Fourth of July!

Wow, I can't believe it's already the 4th of July. The year is half over!

On Friday Ed took the day off and we went to the Denver zoo. It was really fun and I was surprised that I enjoyed it so much. After all, living in San Diego for as long as we did, we were accustomed to the "World Famous San Diego Zoo". While it was certainly NOT the San Diego zoo, it was very nice. I once went to the San Francisco zoo and that has to be the worst zoo I have every visited.

We just bought a new camera and Ed is a picture taking fool. I'm going to spare you the 600+ pictures that he took at the zoo and just post a very few of my favorites. Now, I'm a cat person, so of course I have to post some of those...

One of my favorite things to do when we lived in San Diego, was go to San Diego Zoo's Wild Animal Park. They have one exhibit there that I love above all others, Lorikeet Landing. You go into an open air enclosure where there are dozens of lorikeets flying around. You can buy a little cup of nectar and then hold it up and you will usually be mobbed with hungry birds landing on your hand to eat the nectar. Well, at the Denver Zoo they have an exhibit called Lorikeet Adventure and I was pretty excited to go in. Unfortunately, it was pretty small compared to what I was expecting and they didn't have near the amount of birds as in San Diego. So, lots of people and not a lot of birds meant that the birds just weren't that hungry. I did get to feed them, but they wouldn't land on my hand. =( Oh well, I guess I can't always have everything I want and I still liked feeding them.

Yesterday we just worked around home trying to finish our organizing. We cleaned out a lot of old clothes to donate and just generally worked on getting things in order.

Today, the 4th, we went out to breakfast and did a little running around. I'm not sure if we'll go see fireworks tonight or not. Neither one of us really like dealing with the crowds and parking that comes along with holidays. I guess we're a couple of old grumps! =) In any case, it's been a good weekend.


Thursday, July 1, 2010

It's been a while!

Gee, I never meant to let so much time slip by between my posts! I guess I just haven't felt like there's been much interesting to write about. This past weekend was a good one though, so I guess I'll tell you a little bit about that.

We intended to go to Rocky Mountain National Park, but kind of got sidetracked. We ended up stopping in Estes Park, which is right near RMNP, and just spent the day there. They were having their Scandinavian Midsummer Festival, so we walked around there for a while and enjoyed looking at the various booths that were set up. After we were through there, we walked through the town and found and little pub to have lunch at. The food was nothing to write home about, just average pub fare, but we were hungry. After lunch we continued through the little town going in and out of all the little touristy shops that caught our eyes.

At the end of the main street in town where we crossed to make our way down the other side of the street, we came across a little river and couldn't resist going over and having a look.

I thought this was just the cutest statue!

After more meandering through town we stopped off at the festival for a couple of cold bottles of fresh root beer. Yum! Before we got in the car headed home though, we decided to try out our new camera on some of the scenery near where we had parked.

The area was just beautiful and we will most definitely be returning. We're hoping to actually make it into the National Park next time though!