Thursday, July 29, 2010

Winding Up Week One In Denver

Wild flowers up on Buffalo Pass.

What a week!  I had been wondering what I would do cooped up in a hotel room day after day in 90+ degree weather in Denver.  Well, it turned out to be quite busy and not nearly as claustrophobic as I thought it might be!

In the last post I described in detail what we did the first two days and you could see we were pretty busy.  Looking back, this week was filled with making arrangements for things to do for the rest of our time here.  Here are some of the things we have done and planned.

I got online and got tickets to some Rockies games and one pre-season Broncos game!  We can walk to the Broncos game it is that close.  The free shuttle will take us to the Rockies games.  The shuttle guy also said they will make an exception and take JJ, Carla, Cathi, Becki and us to the candy factory for a cool tour and free candy!  We have also been making our list of what to do downtown.

Bob and I have made some new friends.  I met a lady and her husband out at the pool and they come several times a week for exercise.  We have done a lot of visiting and she is interested in doing the candy tour with us, too!  Then we have become friends with the man who has his radiation treatment after Bob.  He and his wife have invited us to breakfast tomorrow morning.  His last treatment is Monday so we won't be seeing him on a regular basis after that.  The radiation team (Blue Mesa Beauties) are a kick in the butt!  Bob has orders to bring down a package of side pork, info on the pastured poultry as well as on sides of beef from Danny's! They have all kinds of snacks in the Gentlemen's Club (waiting room) including  juices, breakfast bars, snack crackers, coffee, tea and CHOCOLATE! I notice that most men gather up a snacky breakfast as they leave after their treatments.  It's a tight knit group!

Well, I think that's my story for the day. Tomorrow we will head for home after having breakfast with our new friends.  Then week 2 will begin on Monday afternoon!  Time is slipping by quite quickly.

This boy was doing aerial sommersaults
into the pool!  There was a no diving sign but he didn't speak English and also I guess it wasn't really diving!  I tried to catch him in mid-air but wasn't coordinated enough to do it.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Day 1 for Bob's Treatments

Bob is heading into the Urology Center of Colorado for his first radiation treatment
The first day for Bob was actually yesterday but it was a "dry run" for everybody to make sure all was ready for the first treatment.  It took about 20 minutes and Bob's reaction to the machine and process was that he felt like he was an alien in outer space!  The radiation crew says it's like Disneyland!  Bob says the machine is HUGE.  I will get to see the whole thing in a week or two after they get done with their quality control.  Hopefully they will let me take pictures.

After we left the Urology center, we drove through the neighborhood looking for a grocery store and to see what they had to offer.  It is an old neighborhood with small old houses interspersed with a few new office or apartment buildings.  I think it is mainly a Hispanic area due to all the little cafes and shops that are Mexican.  There is a very well stocked Safeway about 6 blocks away with a deli that has an olive bar and lots of homemade soups and sandwiches.

Other things we saw were a nice park with picnic tables about 2 blocks away, a sewing machine repairman that I want to check out to fix my-out-of time machine, a great Mexican restaurant (according to the staff at the radiologists), a little coffee place like Starbucks but not, a murder mystery dinner theatre (I really need to check this out!), a kind of Mexican variety store, a produce stand right by Invesco field with Hatch New Mexico Chilies,  a gas station with the cheapest gas we've seen around, and many small Mexican eateries.  Oh, and of course there's Burger King, Dennys, Kentucky Fried Chicken, and Dairy Queen.  Us country folk are in "Hog Heaven!" 

We came back to the hotel and had some soup and sandwich in our room.  I donned my swimming suit and headed for the pool.  I had met a lady there on Sunday and she had said she would be seeing me off and on the whole time we will be here.  She has a friend that works here and she comes to the pool a lot!  So we visited and I swam some laps in the 90+ heat.  It was quite nice under the umbrella and I got caught up on my Martha Stuart Living magazine.  Still have more to read so no problem for the next few days!  

The catering coordinator comped us 2 meals for dinner so we went back up to the Skybox restaurant.  Watched the people walking and biking in the park and also the rides at Elitches.  A very pleasant day.

Today Bob had his treatment.  He was in and out in 30 minutes.  He said no big deal.  Didn't feel a thing.  He hasn't slept well for 2 nights because of worry .  Now that it is over with for the first time, I'm hoping he will take a nap this PM and then get a good night's sleep tonight. He ate a big breakfast and doesn't seem to feel sick at all.  I guess I'll head down to the pool again this PM.  Tomorrow I plan to take the shuttle down to 16th street mall just to try it out and to do some window shopping!  Next week on Wednesday we have Rockies tickets for an afternoon game.  Can't wait!!!!

JJ, Kathy, Becki and Carla are coming down for the week of the 9th.  I've already got their room and have some plans for us to do as tourists.  I'm hoping we get to do the Hammonds Candies factory tour.  It's free and I even saw it in Martha 
Stewart Living Magazine so it must be a good one!  We can also do the Mint and maybe the Botanical Gardens, Art Museum (which I haven't seen since they built the new addition), an historic tour of the Brown Palace Hotel and then high tea afterwards.  There are always quilt shops, the Tattered Cover and the Denver Public Library and the beautiful old Methodist church with the semi precious stones in the windows and the historic pipe organ to visit, too. 

Lots of photo opportunities so there will be other blogs I'm sure!  Right now we are in the lobby waiting for our room to be cleaned so I can't put my latest photos up at the moment but will when we go back up. 

Invesco field from the Urology Center of Colorado

Invesco field from the hotel pool.

Viewing the pool from my lounge chair while sunning myself.
W got back to the hotel and had soup and sandwich in the room Us country folk are in "Hog Heaven!"
Bob relaxes in front of The Urology Center of Colorado
My dinner made in the room in the microwave.  We also have a refrigerator and an ice chest.

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Body--A True Story

Our "home away from home".  This is the view from our hotel room window.  Downtown Denver skyline, Elitches, and a park in the foreground. 

Facebook is so much fun!  Especially when a group of my former students let their imaginations go wild.  Yesterday they brought back memories of an incident that happened years ago in the late 60's or early 70's.  Here's how it went.

It was summer and haying season had begun.  Uncle Albert, Bob's bachelor uncle who owned a rather remote ranch (where we now have our "cabin" and live) had his usual hay crew of old men and weird misfits.  It was particularly rainy, and not just a quick afternoon shower type of hay season.  Finally Albert told his crew to take a few days off if they needed to until the weather dried up.  There was a big strapping eighteen year old boy who asked if he could go to Colorado Springs to take care of some business down there.  We figured we'd never see him again.

About that time it was all over the Denver news that a priest from Colorado Springs was missing and a search was in progress.  Meanwhile about a week later the rain stopped and everyone showed up including the young man to get to work.  The big guy had shown back up driving a car he had acquired down in the Springs.  After about 2 or 3 days the rains came back and most of Albert's crew took off for town all in one car.  When the crew came back the next day the young man was not with them and that was the last any of us saw of him. He never even came back for his car.

After about a week Uncle Albert's dogs kept sniffing and jumping around on the car.  Finally Keith, Uncle Albert's hired man, called the sheriff and asked him to come get the car.  They towed it into Walden and put it in the alley behind what is now Amy's Hoopla store.  It sat there for another week or so and then it began to stink really bad.  All the stray dogs in town were yapping around it.

Finally, the sheriff and the town marshal (my brother-in-law who filled us in on the grisly details) had to pry the trunk open.  The stench was unbearable.  There was the missing priest with his belt around his neck, strangled!

The sheriff came out to the ranch to question everyone and it was big excitement for the hay crew.  They finally picked up the young man down around Colorado Springs.  For awhile there was talk of a big trial right up here in the Jackson County courthouse, but I think the guy confessed and there was no jury trial anywhere.  I suppose he is still in prison. 

Bob says when he was county commissioner in the 80s there was a body found with multiple shots in it dumped off in the north end of the county.  As far as he knows they never found out who the body was.

My former students are right!  People have used this remote area to stash  bodies on occasion!

Click on the picture to make it bigger and hit the back button to return to the blog.

Near where the body was stashed.  At least the trunk of our car is open!  This is our "cabin" in fall.
Notice the "big country" behind us.  Pretty remote!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Getting ready for Denver and a very good main meal salad recipe

 Some pretty wildflowers that I forgot the name of.  Sorry, Al.  Notice the bee!

We leave tomorrow for Bob's first week of radiation treatment.  It is such a beautiful day out today I hate to be spending it inside cleaning and doing laundry, packing and getting food ready to go!  I have to get a lot more humming bird feeders going too!  They will need 5 days worth of drink or else have to depend on the wild flowers which are still real abundant up here.  I have gathered up a lot of unread magazines, my knitting (a pair of really cool socks that have a real tricky pattern so it takes a lot of time to do a round), my Kindle with a lot of unread books on it, my swimming suit, my computer and my walking shoes.  I'm hoping that will be enough stuff to keep me entertained for the week!

Of course I'll have to check out the hotel's free shuttle service at least once to get downtown to the 17th street mall!  I'll be spending some time lining up other free entertainment and maybe even a Rockies game or two for both of us to do if Bob feels OK during the 7 weeks we will be there.  This first week will be the trial run for us and then we will know a lot better what we can or can't do!  I expect I will be spending most of my time this week by the pool.  I hope the hot spell of 90+ degree weather will end before tomorrow.  But then, I do like hot weather and I sure can use some exercise in the pool!

Today's recipe is a really easy but excellent tasting one that I got off of  It is called Grilled Steak Over Salad and is delicious on a hot summer evening.  I have had to adjust it a little due to the unavailability of some ingredients.  I will give the true recipe and just tell you what I did differently.  Although it is an Atkins recipe, it is really good for everyone!



 4 rib eye steaks (about 8-10 ounces each)  I used what I had and not that much each for us.  I think I used 1 big T-bone.
3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
 2 Tbsp. lemon zest (2 lemons)
1 tsp. garlic, chopped
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper


3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil 
2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice (1 lemon)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
5 cups mesclun salad mix ( made my own with what I had or you could get what ever mix you like best)
*3/4 Cup fennel root, thinly sliced (I have never found this at any store I've shopped at, but I want to try it sometime!)

*Fennel has a mild licorice flavor.  It is crisp and refreshing when raw, and mild and sweet when cooked.  If you cannot find fennel substitute thinly sliced celery if you wish (or not--I don't).


1.  In a small bowl, combine oil, zest, garlic, salt and pepper.  Rub over steaks and marinate for as long as possible 12-24 hours ( I've done it for maybe 4 hours at times and it is still good)
2.  Prepare grill or heat broiler to high.  Grill steaks for 8-10 minutes for rare, 12-14 minutes for medium doneness turning once.
3.  While steaks are grilling, combine mustard and lemon juice in a large bowl.  Whisk in oil and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Add greens and fennel and toss to coat.
4.  Slice steaks across grain.  Divide salad onto 4 plates and top with steak slices.

Enjoy with homemade cheese biscuits (well, from Bisquick box) or Crispy Breadsticks (see my recipe below).

Crispy Breadsticks

1 Cup Bisquick or other baking mix
1/4 cup cornmeal or all purpose flour (I like the cornmeal)
1/4 tsp. salt 
About 1/4 Cup milk or water ( I had to add about 1 more Tablespoon to the dough because it was too crumbly)
Sesame or poppy seeds if desired


1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Lightly grease a baking sheet.
2.  In a medium bowl combine baking mix, cornmeal or flour, and salt.  Add milk or water to form a dough.  Knead about 12 times, until dough is smooth.
3.  Divide dough into 6 balls. Shape into pencil-like strands about 1/2 inch diameter and about 8-10 inches long.  Roll in sesame or poppy seeds if desired.  I think brushing with garlic butter would be good too.  
4.  Bake about 20 minutes until brown and crisp.  For extra crispness turn off oven and leave breadsticks in oven 5-10 minutes longer.  Makes 6 breadsticks.  I would double that recipe because I LOVE them!

 Fresh out of the oven.  I made them while I was writing this!

I am not giving illustrated steps for these recipes because they are way easy and take less time to make than to do the pictures!  Besides I ran out of steaks so can't make the salad tonight!  So instead I'll put up some pictures I took one day when I went up to the Luck Penny headgate.

Click on the picture to make it bigger.  Hit the back button to come back to the blog.

 The headgate.  I love how the trees are reflected in the pool of water!

 Painted cup

The 4 wheeler up at the headgate. (Right behind the back tire.)

Rambling roses just a little past their prime.

Beaver Creek coming down from the falls just before it comes to the headgate.

 Another nice reflection in the quiet water before the headgate.


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

My Tradional "Birthday Cake"

For my girls, elephant head peticolaris!

Well, it's that time of year again, MY BIRTHDAY!  In a lot of ways, a mid-summer birthday is not the best.  School is not on so in my earlier days, I never got to have cupcakes or cookies at school for my birthday.  A lot of people were on vacation so no big party, although the neighbor kids were usually around for a fun time. When I got married there was no time for a celebration, since I was cooking for a hay crew!

On the plus side, I always got the best birthday cake!  We got to choose what we wanted and I always chose Strawberry Schaum Torte!  I still love it and make it on occasion but not usually for my birthday any more.  When my foods classes studied eggs I usually had some group make it.  Most of us loved it, although I remember up in Owyhee someone telling me "this is NOT an Indian thing!"

I have some great memories of a few of my birthdays.  On my fifth birthday I received my first ring.  It was a ruby (not sure if it was real but I loved it!)  That year a few neighbor kids and my siblings got to go swimming in a nearby lake for my big day.  (I think it was at Whitnall Park, but not sure).  Nothing would do but I had to wear my ring while swimming and, you guessed it, I lost it in the water!  I cried but we never did find it and Mom and Dad decided I was too young for a ring so I didn't get a replacement.  Well, not until after I got married and Bob got me one at Stern & Co. when we were in Rio De Janiero.  It is beautiful, but it has come loose where one side of the ring connects to the setting.  I need to get it fixed but people have warned me to know the jeweler well or they might  switch rings on me! 

On my 18th birthday I celebrated in Berlin, Germany, when I was an exchange student.  I was living with a family in the French sector of Berlin (this was before the wall!).  My family consisted of a single mother and her two daughters.  The father had been a soldier in WWII and had been killed on the Russian Front.  The family did not have a lot of money but they had a lovely party for me with a typical German cake and, of course, mit sahne(sp?) -- with cream (whipped).  I remember a neighbor girl who had been an exchange student and whose father was a champagne salesman, brought over some champagne to help with the celebration!  I think I gained 10 pounds that summer from all the great food!

Another birthday I celebrated in China!  Bob and I were on a People to People trip with a group of farmers and ranchers. We were in Canton and had a very wonderful meal with a lot of my most favorite foods.  I had bought a beautiful bottle of some kind of Chinese liquor ( I got it for the bottle) and we decided to have it to celebrate.  We drank a toast and that was it! The wine -- or whatever it was -- tasted awful!!!!  Some of the people on the trip then tried to trick me by putting some of it in a small dish and telling me it was a great dipping sauce for our egg rolls.  Way to ruin my favorite thing!  They got a great laugh out of it, though!

One last memory was of a birthday when I woke up to our clock radio on a Sunday morning about 6 AM.  I was dozing since I didn't have to get up too early.  I realized that the usual Sunday programs were not on and the announcer was talking excitedly about something.  I finally learned it was a terrible disaster in the Big Thompson Canyon.  A huge flash flood had come down the canyon at night and had washed away campgrounds, families in cars, state patrolmen who had driven up the canyon trying to warn campers, and many summer homes!  A lot of people lost their lives that day and it is still talked about even after thirty years!

Here's the recipe for Schaum Torte the way I like it!

Strawberry Schaum Torte

4 egg whites
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. vanilla
Dash of salt
1 cup sugar

3 cups sliced strawberries (I had to use frozen ones but they were still good).
Ice cream
Whipping Cream (optional)

1.  Place egg whites in a large mixing bowl at room temperature for 30 minutes.  Beat egg whites, cream of tartar, vanilla and salt on medium speed until soft peaks form.  Gradually beat in sugar about 2 TBSP. at a time, on high until stiff glossy peaks form and sugar is dissolved about 7 minutes.  Peaks should stand up straight without bending over.

*2.  My way is this:
Spray 2 or 3 cookie sheets with Pam or other cooking spray or use parchment paper to line them.  If you use paper, you can draw 8  4 1/2-inch circles on the paper.(I traced around an inverted custard cup)  Either use a pastry bag to pipe meringue onto the circles building up the sides to form shells or use the back of a spoon to spread meringue over the circles building up the sides.  If you don't draw circles just use your judgment to get kind of uniform sized meringue shells.  I sometimes make more meringue and make an equal number of small peaked blobs to use to put on top of the whole treat! (I actually made 8 4 1/2-inch meringues and 5 small blobs with this recipe)

Bake in a 300 degree F. oven for 35 minutes.  Mine were done in 25 and because I spread some pretty thin they got too done(burnt!) so check on them.  Turn off the oven.  Let shells dry in the oven with door closed for at least an hour. Mine were plenty dry right out of the oven but if you live where it is humid you might have to let them dry in the oven.   At this point you can store these in an airtight container for about 5-7 days. (at least in this dry climate -- maybe only 3 days if it is humid!)
3.  To fill:  Take a shell, put a scoop of ice cream in it, and top with a generous amount of strawberries.  Then you can put the peaked blob you baked on top or if you didn't make a topper you can top with whipped cream or with nothing!
Makes 8 Schaum Tortes.

* you can play with this recipe and make them larger or smaller or make a large one in a springform pan as well.  If you make one large one you need to bake it for 45 minutes.  Fill it and then cut into individual servings.

That's my favorite birthday cake!  I hope you try it and enjoy it as much as I do.

PS:  I really had planned on making a Darn Good (Raspberry Filled) Chocolate Cake for my birthday and had even bought the ingredients but now I just might have to put that off and have my usual!

Let egg whites come to room temperature for 30 minutes.

Add vanilla, salt, and cream of tartar.

Beat to soft peaks.

Add sugar slowly as you continue to beat on high.

 Beat for 7 minutes!  Yes this is right!

Meanwhile draw circles on parchment paper using a custard cup for the pattern. Or not if you don't have the paper.  Some people suggest using brown paper bags but they are hard to find anymore!

Beat until stiff and glossy.  Don't get in a hurry!  PEAKS SHOULD STAND UP STRAIGHT.

Spread the mixture out in a circle building up the edges, don't make the bottoms too thin or they may burn like some of mine did!

Meringues are ready for the oven.
Bake for 35 minutes.  Mine only took 25 minutes so be watchful.

The finished toppers.

Out of the oven and ready to fill.

MMMMMM! Bob reports that it was delishI couldn't have any due to my pulled tooth!

One last look.  It is so yummy even though I didn't have vanilla or strawberry ice cream and had to use mint chocolate chip!

Have fun with this great summer treat and enjoy it!

Friday, July 16, 2010

The Promised Pizza Burgers

A nice lunch on the porch.

Whenever members of my family or friends are coming up for the weekend I decide to have pizza burgers for that first dinner on Friday night.  They are quick and easy to make and can be frozen ahead of time or kept in the refrigerator until time to pop in the oven for the final broil.  Hmmmmm that just gave me a thought.  I wonder if I could pop them on the grill on a hot (for here) day..... I think I have to give that a try!

This is my mom's (Pug's) recipe and she had definite ideas about certain spices, what barbecuing and picnics were, and about the quickest most efficient way to get things done.  No surprise to all the relatives who have been recruited by her to help with her many entertaining projects!  It was always about "my way or get out of the way!"

I can remember one time when she was recovering from her first heart attack and was supposed to be resting on the sofa.  ( By the way, she always insisted it was NOT a heart attack, just indigestion brought on by too much oregano in the pizza she had for dinner!  Never mind what the Doctor's said.) She had volunteered to do the food for a cousin's wedding and we were supposed to get started fixing it while she supervised from the sofa!  Well, that lasted about as long as it took for us to get our hands washed and get the tools ready!  I was to make the relish plate and before I could even begin, she was standing beside me, pushing me aside with her elbow and hip and grabbing the paring knife from my hand to show me EXACTLY what I was to do!  That's how it always went with her.  She was the expert and a professional and she expected everything to be perfect!  I did learn a lot from her and I'm afraid I may become that way as I am growing older, too!

My niece Gaby has permanent scars from that same episode!  She was in charge of the Chicken Salad and was sick with the stomach flu.  Mom's theory always was that we could think our way out of sickness so the show must go on and Gaby had to make that salad!  To this day Gaby does not prepare or eat any type of poultry!  There are many more Pug stories out there and I have a few more to tell at a later date! 

Back to the pizza burgers.  Mom also made these whenever she was expecting a crowd and not knowing exactly when they would arrive.  She modified them a little after her "heart attack" and cut out most of the oregano.  I  put it back in so it tastes more like pizza again!  Make lots of these especially if you have teen aged boys planning on eating them.  They go quickly!

Pug's Pizza Burgers
2 lbs. ground beef (we, of course, use Open A Bar 2 natural grass fed beef raised on Danny's farm in Nebraska.  You may have to sacrifice and use whatever you can get!)
1 small bottle of catsup, I'm thinking about 8-10 oz. (1 -1 1/4 C.)
2 tsp. dried oregano leaves
2 Tbsp. dried sweet basil leaves
1/4-1/2 tsp. garlic powder* depends on how garlicy you want it
1/4-1/2 tsp onion powder*
16 hamburger bun halves
12 oz. mozzarella cheese, shredded. Can use more if you like it cheesy
*  my additions


Brown the ground beef and drain the grease.  Add the seasonings and the whole bottle of catsup.  At this point I put the bun halves on a cookie sheet and put them under a broiler until lightly browned.  ( I think it keeps the meat sauce from soaking into the bun too much) Mom just used the buns as is, speedier, I guess.  Cover each bun half on the cookie sheet with the meat sauce.  Sprinkle with the cheese and I press it down kind of so it doesn't get all over the cookie sheet and stays on the bun.  At this point you can cover the cookie sheet with foil or plastic wrap and freeze them or store in refrigerator for later cooking.  If frozen, thaw before baking (I don't and it seems to work out OK).  Bake at 400 degrees F.  until cheese is melted and bubbly about 10-15 minutes.  Enjoy!

I am going to try doing these on the grill.  If it works I'll let you know how I did it!

I usually make a big batch of au gratin potatoes to go with these for company. (That is the standard thing my mom did too)  I think potato salad or macaroni salad would be good too.  Also serve a tossed green salad with it. 

I have added Parmesan cheese on top of the mozzarella and also have used cheddar when I didn't have anything else!  I think you could put mushrooms, olives, onions, etc on the meat sauce before the cheese too.

I don't have any hamburger buns for pictures so I am going to use hot dog buns--which I have to do often, hehehe.

Brown the hamburger in a sauce pan or, if you are like Pug, spread the meat on a cookie sheet and brown it in a 400 degree oven.

My meat is browning nicely in my heavy-duty sauce pan.
Meanwhile assemble your seasonings.  I added a few.  Pizza seasoning and Italian seasoning work fine, too.  The catsup is a 24 oz. bottle so the amount in it is about right--1 1 1/4 cup.
I let the meat sauce simmer while I get the cheese ready and toast the buns.

Shred the cheese if you didn't get already shredded stuff!
I toasted these buns in the oven broiler.
Toasting these buns on the grill.  It worked fine.
Grill-toasted buns.
Spread the meat sauce on the toasted buns.
Ready to bake or freeze.
Baking on the grill they only took about 2-3 minutes.  My grill is old and only has 1 setting--HOT.
Made on the grill.  Note, watch carefully, I burnt the bottoms of the buns!
Bob's lunch out on the porch.  I scraped the burnt off the bottom of the buns!

The hummingbird has his lunch too.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Miscellaneous Cleaning, Cooking, Meal Planning and Baking Week

 The creek is low, but there are still some fish in it!

This past week has been kind of busy but really interesting too.  It all started with our return from Denver after Bob had his preliminary check up and preparation for his upcoming radiation treatments. (A whole other subject for a future blog) We will be staying in a hotel for 7 weeks and decided we could not afford to eat out every meal.  We are planning on eating most meals in the room using a microwave and refrigerator.  It will kind of be like living in a dorm during summer school all over again!!!  Anyway, with that in mind I have been preparing meals I think I can freeze in small amounts and and then reheat in our tiny hotel microwave.  So far I have some homemade enchiladas, spaghetti and meat sauce, chicken salad (leftover from the hot chicken salad in my last blog--not sure how that freezes up)  individually wrapped brownies, big cinnamon streusel muffins and caramel bars, sliced ham and I'm thinking probably sliced prime rib which I will be discussing.

 These enchiladas will be great!  I freeze them often and they still are really good.

 All ready frozen and ready to take to Denver.

 Muffins should work well for breakfast!  Brownies are ready to be a snack!

 An assortment of foods to use while in Denver!

Meanwhile, we are trying to save money by not going into town for anything except maybe once a week or less.  So, we ran out of bread and I decided to make bread one day.  I made my favorite English muffin bread (3 loaves) and then finally made a bread machine loaf of Ginger Lemon bread that I have been wanting to try but never had the right ingredients.  It needs crystallized ginger and candied lemon peel.  Since I had decided to devote my day to this bread baking event, I made my own candied lemon peel (Ozzie had bought a few lemons when they were here plus someone had left an orange here and I needed to get them all used up).  I found a recipe for candied orange and lemon peels on my old faithful  They turned out really good and I even have a bunch left that I saw where someone had dipped them in melted chocolate for a great Christmas treat!  Might just have to try it for a nice summer treat.

My candied orange and lemon peel.  I think I'll dip it in chocolate for a nice treat!

 The crystallized ginger I got on our trip to San Antonio last winter.  I saw this big bag--maybe even a lb. of it for $2.29!  Way cheaper than those little bottles you get on the spice shelf!  I couldn't resist so I have this huge bagful in my cupboard now.  It worked great for the 1/2 cup I needed for the bread!

 Crystallized Ginger.  This is after 1/2 cup has been used, too!

  The loaf was huge and almost pushed the lid open on my bread machine!  It tastes great and there will be no leftovers to freeze by the time we leave for Denver in 1 1/2 weeks!

 Ginger lemon bread.  Very yummy for breakfast.

  There are 2 loaves of the other bread still in the freezer so we might have some of that bread left.  I have been having trouble lately with that recipe because the loaves don't seem to be raising as high as they used to.

The kind of small, but still tasty, bread loaves.

I thought it might be the yeast was getting old even though I keep it in the freezer but then my lemon loaf did a lot of raising and it was the same yeast!  I'll have to work on this problem some more I guess.

Ok, while I was doing all this cooking and baking my cousins who I hadn't seen since Marianne and Pat's wedding were coming to Steamboat for a family reunion and wanted to come see us.  First, Jonathon and a friend who are in the Marines and are stationed in San Diego came a day early and spent it up here fishing and hiking around.  They caught some fish and seemed to have a great time.  Jonathon was here when he was about 5 or so but doesn't remember anything.  That was the only time I ever saw him until this week!  We had a real enjoyable visit.  they went over Buffalo Pass to Steamboat for the reunion.  A few days later, Jonathon, his mom, Patti  and his brother Cory all came over to visit.   Patti, Bob and I had a nice visit while the boys fished and 4 wheeled.  I was hoping they would stay for dinner and had taken out a prime rib roast to thaw, but they were scheduled in for dinner in Steamboat so Bob and I ended up with 5 lbs. of perfectly delicious Prime Rib to eat!  I'm thinking some of it will make it down to Denver with us!  The brownies and spaghetti that are in the freezer came from the dinner I had for Jonathon and his friend.

The cleaning came when I thought maybe Patti and her family might be able to stay overnight.  I finally tackled the Red Room and got it kind of cleaned , vacuumed and beds made ready for guests.  Now I need someone to come stay and use all my cleaned up rooms! I also found a product that removes all the rust scum from my bathroom fixtures.  It's "The Works" shower cleaner and also "The Works" toilet cleaner.  Barkeeper's Friend also works but you need to use more elbow grease with it!

The Red Room after I straightened out the collected storage stuff,

Now I need to get someone to help me find a spot for all this stuff that needs storing!

The Honeymoon Suite (a story for another blog!).

Skyler's favorite bed in the Blue Room.

 The favorite bed (except for Skyler) in the Blue Room.  Old Nintendo game is still there, too.

During all this activity Bob and I went over to Steamboat for a CSU Alumni get together at the Town Pub (Marianne and Pat's favorite eatery over there).  They had Cam the Ram outside on the sidewalk and all kinds of people were stopping and getting their pictures taken with the ram but I had left my camera in the car so no pictures for us.  I still don't think to use the camera phone I now have!  They had THE BEST deep fried mushrooms.  Bob had a whole plateful of them and I had to go back and get one last one just as we were leaving!  It inspired me to try to make some for dinner one night with the sliced mushrooms we had from Sam's.  They were good, but not as crunchy as the coating on the ones at the Town Pump.  Maybe I'll try Panko crumbs next time but I don't think that is quite the answer.

One last thing before I end this.  Matt Shuler came out with a friend and his 4 year old daughter to do a little fishing last weekend.  They fished in the creek which is extremely shallow right now and caught 4 fish about 7 or 8 inches long!  I now need to go down and see what I can do!  I was going to put on a recipe for my old standby Pizza Burgers but this is too long already so maybe tomorrow......

Taken in the same area where it was flooding not so long ago!  You can walk across without getting your feet wet now!

We actually saw some fish jumping where the old dammed up pool was.

What's left of the beaver pond.  I think this is where the little girl caught her fishes