Sunday, September 29, 2013

Elk Bugling: Ethan's Weekend in Estes Park + Pumpkin Seed Trail mix Recipe

Ethan spent the weekend with friends. They rented a cabin in Estes Park so that they could watch the beginning of the Elk mating season. This is when the Elk bulls bugle to win the favors to the females. It is also the time when younger bulls try to take away some of the females to start their own herds.
They got up super early to do the drive and get there at sunrise.
Ethan said that there was a group of four coyotes that were hoping to find an elk alone, but the elk cows stood their ground, one even charged the coyotes and ran them off. He also said that they got to see the elk bulls fighting, or at least posturing to gain dominance.
Estes Park suffered greatly during the flooding recently. There were parts of the town that were under many feel of rushing water. This beautiful church was spared. Thankfully, someone had the clarity of thought to build it up on a bit of a hill. Other parts of town were not so lucky. Roads were washed out and many businesses are closing. Tourism is way down.
I'm glad that Ethan was able to have an adventure this weekend and I am hopeful that others will return to Estes Park soon and help the little town survive.


Here's a lovely recipe that Natalie gave to me. I made a double batch of it.

Pumpkin Seed Trail Mix
Via: Natalie

2 Cups Pumpkin Seeds

1 Cup Shelled Sunflower Seeds

1 Cup Sliced Almonds

1 Cup Coconut Flakes

1/4 Cup Ground Flax Seed

6 TBSP. Maple Syrup

1 Cup Dried Fruit (cherries, cranberries, apples)

Coarse Salt to Taste

-Preheat oven to 300 and line baking sheet with parchment paper or spray with non-stick spray.

-Mix all ingredients except dried fruit and salt.

-Spread evenly on baking sheet and cook for 20 minutes or until brown,

stirring several times.

-Let cool and add dried fruit and salt to taste.

-Store in air tight container at room temperature.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Celebrating Fall and More Pink Wig Silliness + Pioneer Woman's Pot Roast Recipe

The school year has settled in, and so I have, though I still find myself much more busy than I had been in the past. That is what comes from moving to a new school, teaching a grade I have not taught before and trying out new strategies.

We were excited for the start of Fall on Saturday. On Monday night the evening was perfect for sitting around the fire bowl and making s'mores. The summer evenings had simply been too warm to enjoy a camp fire. I glibly said, "What a nice night for a fire. Kohlton and Ellie, how about s'more?!" Then they set about making a fire. I had forgotten how much rain we had on Sunday night and did not realize that I was asking them to do an almost impossible task. Once I realized the error of my request, I apologised and told them that they did not have to keep trying. Ellie replied that it was their choice to keep at it. Playing music on the Ipad seemed to help keep them motivated. They persevered and were finally successful.Yeah for Ellie and Kohlton!

I pulled out the giant marshmallows, the graham crackers and the chocolate bars. Ellie found the roasting sticks and a good time was had by all.
Later on Britt, Kohlton's mother joined us. We also got out the pink foam wig I got for Halloween and had a bit of fun.

Here's what I have in the oven tonight. It will be dinner for another night.

Pioneer Woman’s Perfect Pot Roast

Salt and freshly ground black pepper
One 3 to 5-pound chuck roast
2 or 3 tablespoons olive oil
2 whole onions, peeled and halved
6 to 8 whole carrots, unpeeled, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 cup red wine, optional
3 cups beef broth
2 or 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
2 or 3 sprigs fresh thyme
Season the roast with salt & pepper.
Heat the olive oil in large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the halved onions to the pot, browning them on both sides. Remove the onions to a plate.
Add carrots to pot and cook until slightly browned. Remove the carrots and place with the onions.
Add more olive oil to the pot. Sear the meat for about a minute on all sides until it is nice and brown all over. Remove the roast and tent with foil.
Deglaze the pot with either red wine or beef broth (about 1 cup) scraping up the brown bits on the bottom. Place the roast and vegetables back into the pot and add enough beef stock to cover the meat halfway.
Add the fresh herbs.
Put the lid on, and cook on low-medium heat for 4-5 hours.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Costumes, Crepes and Coming of Fall

Fall is Ellie's favorite season;it ushered itself in on Saturday with a lovely day and a beautiful night. Ellie and I did a bit of shopping. I wanted to see all of the Halloween stuff that is popping up in the stores. Ellie and Kohlton had been to Target the day before.
They are such silly kids! Ellie convinced me to buy the pink wig she is wearing for my costume this year. I am going to look for a large, gawdy pink necklace, a pink bathroom with feather boa on the end, pink fuzzy slippers and some sort of fun PJs to wear with the costume. I am going to be silly and loud!I had hoped to work on Ellie's costume, but time did not make itself available.
On Sunday we got a new crate for Remi and had lunch with Natalie and Camille at Elephant Bar, one of my favorite restaurants.

I am teaching Ellie to cook. Today she wanted to make crepes, one of her favorite breakfast items. Here is the recipe I use. It is from Julia and Jacques: Cooking at Home by Julia Child and Jacques Pepin.
Dessert or Breakfast Crepes

3/4 cup milk
3/4 cup cold water
1 egg yolk
2 eggs
2 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
5 tablespoons butter, melted
butter for the pan (I use a stick of butter)

To make the crepe batter: Place all ingredients in a blender. Cover and blend on high for one minute, or until all ingredients are thoroughly mixed. If the flour sticks to sides, scrape it down with a spatula, and blend again for three seconds more. Cover the mixture and refrigerate for two hours or up to overnight.

To make the crepes: Preheat a 6-1/2- to 7-inch nonstick or iron skillet over medium high heat. Before adding batter, check to make sure the pan is hot enough by flicking a little water inside the pan. If the water sizzles and evaporates quickly, then brush the pan lightly with stick of butter to help the crepe from sticking. Remove pan from the flame with the left hand and use the right hand to pour 1/4 cup of batter into the middle of the pan. Quickly tilt the pan down and around in a circle so the batter evenly coats the entire bottom of the pan. Return pan to flame and cook for 45 to 80 seconds, or until edges of crepe are golden brown and when the pan is jerked back and forth, the crepe shakes freely. Lift the edge of the crepe with a spatula and check for a crispy, lightly browned crust. Use the spatula to lift the crepe up and hold the edges of the crepe with your fingertips to gently ease it onto the other side. Cook on the other side for about 15 to 30 seconds more, just until it's barely spotted brown. Slide the cooked crepe onto a cooling rack and let cool before stacking them on a plate. Grease the skillet again, heat to smoking, and proceed with remaining batter.

Makes about 10 to 12 crepes.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Halloween is Coming! A Bit of PreHalloween Window Shopping Silliness

Ellie and I LOVE Halloween. She is thinking about decorating her room soon and we already received our Halloween Bag (decorations and fun stuff) from my mother.
I love to see what comes out each year. On one hand I eagerly await the displays, both hoping for and dreading that I will like a lot of it. It is mostly just window shopping. I buy something once in a while. Some years the looks are too garish or cartoony for my tastes. Other years there is a ton of stuff I want. I don't know how much I would actually buy if I had the money, space and chance to have whatever I wanted. I settle for simply looking at it all. What would you buy for Halloween, if you could?

Fun stuff from Target:

Pottery Barn:

Williams Sonoma:

Sur La Table:

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Remi Dog - How to Train a Human

We've had Remi for about a month now and things are coming right along. Remi is a smart dog. But my, has it been an education for all of us. And it has been costly, too. Still, he's learning to be a good dog and we are learning how to keep our home in a way that helps him be a good dog.

He adores Ellie and is happy to be with her, even when she is tired. Sometimes I think Remi thinks or wishes that he was a cat. He tries to play with our felines, but they are not having it, so far.
But it has not been all fun and games. Ellie wanted a dog who would be able to slide into the place in her heart that Reisha resided in. I think Ellie had romantic images of what life with a puppy would be like; romping around, playing nicely, snuggling watching movies, etc. I think Remi will get there, but Reisha was an old, calm dog. I think it has been a wake up call for how much responsibility own a dog is. For a while she was discouraged and even wondered if she could handle it.We are pretty sure Remi was a dog along in an empty back yard. He did not have many socializing with humans skills. However, as Remi has begun to understand what is expected of him, he is learning quickly as he is a very smart doggie.
Interestingly, he seems to understand what the camera is and for. When I get it out and look like I am going to take a photo, he stops, looks cute and looks directly at me - funny.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Chicken Soup and the Love of a Friend - a Great Way to Begin the Weekend

At the tail end of the last two whirl wind weeks, Ethan became ill. I followed suit and Larr came down with it, too. But, there were events to host and work to complete, so we forged on. My dear friend Natalie came to the rescue by making us a lovely pot of homemade Chicken Noodle Soup.
She made it into a fun gift of chamomile tea, a lemon, savory crackers, two packages of Miso soup mix, fun cookies and an interesting ginger lemon herbal water. The best part of the present is the love. It is so wonderful to have ready access to each other. We have not lived in the same town since college. Thanks for the love, Nat.