Saturday, August 27, 2011

USA ProCycling Challenge - Stage 5 Steamboat to Breckenridge


Ellie is back on the USA ProCycling Challenge tour with the Wilkeys again. This time they joined the huge crowds up in Breckenridge. I am sure it must have been a ton of fun for them.

The riders raced from Steamboat Springs to Breckenridge.


Levi Leipheimer and Cadel Evan high fived Ellie, Davis and Skyler as they rode by. I am pretty sure that is one of the absolute highlights of this entire adventure. They are huge in the world of road bike racing.

Back on the home front, I did a bit of shopping and purchased a La Crueset Oval French Oven. Sur La Table had them on sale from half off the usual price. I am excited to use it soon.

For now I am cooking food for the week and for the post race BBQ we will host this evening. In between cooking duties I am working on course work for school.

Here is the recipe I am adapting this evening. I thought it sounded like a nice twist from the usual zucchini bread.

Zucchini Pumpkin Bread
adapted from Allrecipes.com

3 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 cup butter, melted
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups All-Purpose flour
1 1/2 cups Whole Wheat flour
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
2 cup shredded zucchini
1 cup chopped walnuts


Directions
1. In a mixing bowl, combine eggs and sugar. Add pumpkin, butter and vanilla. Combine dry ingredients; gradually add to pumpkin mixture and mix well. Stir in zucchini and nuts. Pour into two greased and floured 9-in. x 5-in. x 3-in. loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees F for 45-50 minutes or until breads test done. Cool in pans 10 minutes. Remove to a wire rack.
(I made 18 muffins and 1 miniloaf from the recipe above.)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Monday, August 22, 2011

My First Day with Students and the USA ProCycling Challenge Prologue Time Trial

The school year has begun in earnest. School is so much more fun when the kids are there, but the first day is always a bit awkward since you can't really get started much do to schedule changes and such.



On an entirely different front- Ellie is spending most of the week with friends going around and watching the various stages of the USA ProCycling Challenge. It is hoped that this will become like a Tour de France that takes place in Colorado.

She saw a number of her biking friends in the audience. One of the riders, Danny Summerhill, is a local young man who has been racing in Europe and is in the ranks of this event. He has been a coach at camp for both of my kids. Very cool!

Today they were in Colorado Springs doing a five mile time trial to determine ranking order for starting positions.It was exciting! Ellie and her friends each got a water bottle from one of the riders. She thought that was pretty cool. I included the video to give you a sense of what the ride was like.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Take Me Out to the Ball Game and to See Long Lost Friends



Bart was one of our best friends from high school. Larr was Bart's best man when they got married. Soon after that they had their first daughter, Betsy, who is now about 23 or 24 years old. It has been MANY years since we have seen them. They came to town on Friday and we all went to a Rockies baseball game. Bart had not really changed much. He said the same was true of Larr.


We have not been to a game. Ellie loved it. I thought it was interesting. Great sights to see.


We all had nuts, sunflower or peanut, that we enjoyed. It felt strange to spit the shells out onto the floor, but it is the norm.


A storm had been brewing so we had a cool night. The rain showed up during the 7th inning. We left our seats and watched from the first floor where we could be dry and still see the game.



It was a lot of fun.

On Saturday Ellie and I worked an aid station for the "Tour De Cure" bicycling benefit for Diabetes research. Our spot was up near Carter lake at Highway 56 and country road 23. We had about 1200 riders come through. It was great to be part of such and important cause.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Pike's Peak - Clouds, Rock and Silliness


Yesterday was my last day of summer break. We went to the top of Pike's Peak.




We spent the day on a family outing. Larr had wanted to go up the mountain for a while. We had a great time together.





We had thought about taking the Cog railway, but it was a bit pricey. Besides, we had the option to stop when and where we liked.



The clouds were amazing!



At one of the gift shops there was a fun guy with his donkey, Honkey.




The rock fields were beautiful.


The kids were in a silly mood and having fun together. I felt rather like a zombie as the altitude was effecting me.


Monday, August 15, 2011

Making Pasta with My Boy




I recently purchased a hand-crank pasta machine for Ethan's birthday. We have one that helps us make flat noodles. The new one makes all kinds of fun noodles like Macaroni (two sides); fat, ribbed Rigatoni; thin, tubular Bucatini (like a spaghetti tube); Maccherincini and delicate, twisty Fusilli.



After doing a little research, we decided to try using bread flour instead of all-purpose flour. I am not sure that we noticed a difference, but we did have a lot of fun.

The kneading was tough, so we simply cranked it through the machine twice. Interestingly, it heated up as it came out. We kneaded it a bit more and made pasta for dinner.



We promptly cooked up most of it and had it with Alfredo sauce mixed with Italian sausage and black olives. I think there was a wee bit of Canadian Bacon, too.

I love cooking with my boy.

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I've also cooked up a bunch of stuff including two batches of Kevin's Awesome Cookies and Big Sky Chicken Salad.

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Handmade Pasta Dough
from About.com

7/8 pound (400 g, or 3 1/3 cups) fine white flour (grade 00 if you wish to use Italian flour, or American bread flour, which has slightly more gluten and is thus better because it will make for somewhat firmer pasta)
4 eggs (you can also increase the number of yolks while decreasing the volume of whites proportionally to make richer pasta)
A healthy pinch of salt

Make mound with the flour on your work surface and scoop out a well in the middle. Pour the eggs into the hole, add the salt, and work the eggs and the flour together till you have a smooth dough, adding just a drop of water if necessary, and no more. Knead the dough for ten to fifteen minutes, until it is smooth, firm, and quite elastic. Don't skimp on the kneading or the dough will tear while you're rolling it out.

You are now ready for the hard part: separate the dough into two pieces. Flour your work surface (the marble counter tops in Italian kitchens are ideal for this, though wood or Formica work as well -- a pastry cloth gets in the way) and start to roll out the dough, rolling from the middle, flipping it occasionally, and flouring it as necessary to keep it from sticking. To keep the sheet from breaking, once it has reached a certain size, roll it up around the rolling pin and then invert the rolling pin; you can, as you are unrolling the sheet, gently stretch it by holding the unrolled part firm and pulling gently away with the rolling pin. Keep on flipping and rolling till you have a sheet that's almost transparent -- as thin as a dime, or thinner, if you can manage it (the pasta will almost double in thickness while cooking). The Emilians, acknowledged masters of home-made pasta, say your backside should work up a sweat as you're rolling out the sheet.

Once you've rolled out the sheet, either use it to make stuffed pasta such as ravioli or tortellini, for lasagna, or cut it into strips. If you choose the latter course the easiest thing to do is roll the sheet of dough up into a tube, then slice the tube into rounds of the desired width and shake the skeet out with your hands to free the strands; set them to dry on a rack or between two chair backs, supported by a towel (you often see this in the country). Roll out the second piece and cut it as you did the first.

Cook the pasta in salted, boiling water. Since it's fresh, it will cook in three to five minutes. Do not let it overcook! Soft wheat flour has much less gluten than the durum wheat used in commercially prepared dry pastas, and will consequently become flabby if it overcooks.

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Kathy's Baked Beans

3 cans (16 oz) Baked Beans, drained (we use VandeCamp brand)
1 med. Onion chopped finely (or 1 envelope of Lipton Onion Soup Mix)
1/2 cup Ketchup
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
1/2 cup Dark Corn Syrup
1 tea. Paprika
1 tea. Basil
1# Bacon, cut into pieces

Place everything in a crock pot. Stir to mix. Cook on low for 6-8 hours (or overnight). If you are in a rush you can do the crock pot on high for 3-4 hours.

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Big Sky Chicken-Salad Sanwiches

from Taste of South magazine, June/July 2009 issue

1/2 c slivered almonds
1/2 c chopped pecans
1/2 c pineapple tidbits, drained
1/2 c cranberries
1/2 c mandarin orange segments, drained
1/2 c mayonnaise
1/2 c honey mustard
1/4 c apricot preserves
2 c chopped cooked chicken

Combine nuts and fruit in a large bowl and set aside. In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, mustard, and preserves, whisking until combined. Add sauce mixture to fruit mixture, along with chopped chicken, tossing gently until combined. Spread mixture onto bread slices to make sandwiches. Serves 6.

Friday, August 12, 2011

IKEA in Denver


I never thought that we would get an IKEA store in Denver. Afterall, part of what makes it affordable it that the original stores were next to the boat docks, thus cutting out the need for a middle man. However, one opened in Centennial in late July. Ellie and I were excited to check it out. We've heard about the great deals, and wanted to see them for ourselves.

Originally Ellie was going to go and camp out at the store for the opening with Ariana and Carrie. The first 38 people got a free couch. The next 100 people got a very nice sitting chair and the next 500 people got an envelope with at ticket for something, such as a 50% discount on a purchase, or free lunch, etc. There were reports of people driving up from New Mexico and down from Wyoming, camping out days before the opening. Online there were videos of people going crazy and hurting each other at other openings. I was glad when the plans were changed.



I thought it would have died down since that was several weeks ago, but it was still a mob scene. We arrived at just the right time, hoped on an elevator and went upstairs for lunch. The line was long and winding, but it went quickly. We were determined to give it a go and check out the store. The lunch was reasonable and good. I had Swedish Meatballs with mashed potatoes and gravy. Ethan had spinach and cheese crepes. Ellie had a buffalo chicken and veggie wrap.

After lunch we proceeded to do a bit of shopping. We left from the cafe and wondered into the store. It let out in the baby and little kid section. We quickly found that we were moving against the flow of traffic. Soon we spotted the arrows on the floor. I reasoned that just around each corner it would let up and we could wander, that was never the case. We went against the flow the entire time.

The store did have lots of cool stuff. I think my favorite area was the lighting section. I found a few nice frames for the pieces I created at Anderson Ranch. I also picked up some Swedish candy, a few drinks and a messenger bag which I will jazz up before using it on a regular basis.

It was worth my time to go, but I don't think I will be back anytime soon. I had big crowds and that placed is packed. I also don't care for the whole directional element of the store. Ellie wanted to go back and get a mushroom lamp, but there was no direct route. You had to go through the maze of departments to get anywhere. I will be interested to see how long is it so busy.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Glorious End to Road Season


When road racing season began back on March, I was unsure how it would end. The previous year had been rough on her.


Between sickness, injury and her emotional life being dumped on her head, she had developed a case of burn out. I knew it could go either way. I don't know what kept her going into this season. Was it tradition, a sense of duty or a desire to keep fit? Perhaps some mixture of those.

She placed a lot of limits. She would only do the BAR/BAT (Best All-Around Rider/Team award) races and she would not train. She would only ride at practice and when racing. Previously she had done almost every race for road and cross seasons. I trusted her instinct and did not push her. I respect her need for a more balanced life.

Over the course of the season her attitude changed. She went from riding her bike because she "had to", to liking to race, but not liking practice, to being excited to be on her bike again. The sparkle had returned. You could see it in her recent races. Others remarked on it, too.



She ended the road season on a high note. On Saturday she placed second in the JW 13-14 Look Out Mountain Hill Climb and on Sunday she placed second in the 2011 Colorado Criterium Championship at Bannock street.

Now she can't wait to shift her groupo onto her cross frame and begin doing the dirt trails.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Photoalbum - Ethan's Trip to Jamaica in 2009 + Jamaican Beef patty Recipe

It has been a wonderfully relaxing day. I slept in late, did a bit of digital scrapbooking, reading, playing with the kitties and having a low key day. It feels great to finally finish this project. I hope you like it.

Click here to view this photo book larger



This put me in the mood to make a nice Jamaican style dinner.

Jamaican Beef Patties
adapted from a base recipe found on Eatjamaican.com

PASTRY

2 cups Flour
1/4 teaspoon Salt (leave out if using salted butter)
1/2 tablespoon curry powder (I will double this next time)
1/4 cup Solid shortening
1/4 cup Butter
1/3 cup Cold water


Sift the flour, curry powder and salt into a large bowl. Cut in the shortening and butter until crumbly. (I do this quickly by placing this all in my food processor and pulsing it until it looks like sand.Then I add in the ice water and quickly incorporate it.) Add the cold water to make a stiff dough. Divide the dough into 5 equal parts. Lightly flour a wooden cutting board and roll out the dough until about 1/8-inch thick and roughly circle shaped. Place in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes to chill. Cover with wax paper or damp cloth until ready to use. You can place the dough in the refrigerator overnight.

MEAT FILLING

2 tablespoon oil
1 Small white onion, finely chopped
(1/4 teaspoon Chopped Scotch Bonnet pepper - I did not have this)
1/2 lb. Lean ground beef
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon Curry powder (I used Madras Curry)
1/2 teaspoon Dried thyme
(2 cups Frozen Peas)*
(1 - 1 1/2 cup Rice, cooked)*
1/4 cup Breadcrumbs
1/4 cup Beef or chicken stock
(1 Egg, beaten - I did not use this)
1/2 cup Cheddar Cheese, shredded

In a heavy skillet, sauté the onion and Scotch Bonnet Pepper in olive oil until they become limp. Add the ground beef and cook until the beef is done. Drain if needed. Next, salt, pepper, curry powder, peas, rice and thyme and mix well.

Add the breadcrumbs and stock and combine all the ingredients well. Cover the skillet and simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. When all the liquids have been absorbed, the filling is ready. It should be moist but not watery. Remove the skillet from the stove and preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Uncover the dough circles and place 4-5 tablespoons of filling on half of each. Top with the shredded cheese, if desired. Moisten the edges of the dough with water and fold the dough circle over the meat filling. Pinch the edges closed with a fork. Bake on a lightly greased baking sheet (or a cookie pan with a silpat liner) for 30 to 40 minutes or until the pastry are golden brown.

Serves: 5 Patties

Friday, August 05, 2011

Art Camp Days 3-4 & The Maroon Belles

Each day at Anderson Ranch gets more fun for Ellie, just as I had hoped it would.

If Brittany lived near Ellie, they would be fast friends. The kind who really understands you and with whom you can be totally silly. What a give that it. For now they will have to be content with time together in class. Perhaps we can arrange get togethers in the future.


The silly girls swapped shoes and gave eachother sailor style tatooes with Sharpie markers. When Ellie and I went into Apsen for dinner people looked at her. She looked kind of street tough with her stomach muscles showing through her neon pink tank top, the buff arm muscles and her fake tatooes. One guy at the restuarant even asked if they were real - that cracked me up.

They've printed lots of stuff. Each day they make more shirts and posters. Here are just a few of the designs she has come up with. Some of them are collaborative projects with Brittany.










I love art supplies.


I spent a rainy Wednesday at the famous Maroon Bells. Luckily I came prepared with rain gear and time to wait out the rain.



I caught the bus from the Aspen Highlands to the Maroon Bells visitor center. During the day the road is mostly closed.
Each day at Anderson Ranch gets more fun for Ellie. She has made friends with many of the kids in the workshop. She and Brittany are like a match set. Brittany lives in Aspen for part of the year and in Maryland during the other months.



There is a family of marmots that live in the rocks near the bathroom. It is a sweet spot for them. I imagine they are very safe there, most of the time.


The chipmunks had a similarly sweet gig near the bus stop. They flitted around, busy eating and playing with each other.



I fell in love with these peaks. I waited and waited for the sun to light them up, but it refused. Still, they are lovely, even when stormy.



I knew the peaks would be beautiful, but the wildflower meadow was a sweet surprise.


Here too, I tried to imagine what my husband would notice. It was nice to hike alone. It allowed me to stop and gaze whenever I wanted to. It allowed me to notice small bits of texture, color and beauty. These tassles danced gently in the wind.


I loved the way these looked when dappled with rain drops.


These were wonderous, large and magnificant.

Wednesday night was cold and rainy. We switched up Ellie's sleeping arrangements again and have found a nearly perfect solution by setting up a cot in the tent. We had to take out the middle seats and put them in the spare then. This makes a comfortable bed for Ellie. She only wishes it was warmer. A storm rolled in and stayed for a few hours throwing down tons of rain and sounding off lots of thunder. The noise in my tent was intense.

On Thursday I was pretty exhausted from the storm. My plan to photograph the beautiful houses in Apsen made way to hanging out in the Anderson Ranch library where I did some work, took a nap in a comfy chair and relaxed. In the afternoon I went up to Woody Creek to see an art show of a man that we met at breakfast.

His show was at the Wc3 (Woody Creek COmmunity Center) which was also a nice place for a quiet lunch of bombay curried beef. It was a bit of a drive showing a more pastoral side of Aspen. It is worth the effort to see the lovely houses, the fields of horses and a very friendly part of the Apsen culture. If you are there you might also peek your head into the Woody Creek Tavern, made famous by the likes of Hunter Thompson of Gonzo Journalism fame.