21 July 2016

Summer at Our House

Too much entertaining lately, but the off-shoot is that I'm deep into cooking again. 

There were leftovers to work through after our big vegan meal. With oven-roasted sweet potatoes on-hand, I was inspired to make a big late-morning breakfast for CA and me. 

Also, utilized the leftover steak from a very recent dinner at Outback. With a correctly-prepared "medium" steak, you can briefly reheat in the microwave without over-cooking. 

We still had great amounts of leftover vegetables and the clock was ticking toward our trip to Colorado. CA and I worked together and prepped the peppers and Vidalias for fajitas (JE's family were due to arrive soon.)

After the peppers and onions cooled a bit, we divided them into Ziplock bags and put them in the freezer. We had pork tenderloin fajitas on Saturday night, and having the veggies pre-made was huge. 

One of our favorite "pantry" meals is a marinara with tarragon, garlic, and finely-diced red onion. We enjoyed this batch with some Dececco linguine, crunchy bacon pieces, and great dollops of creamy goat cheese. 

On Sunday, 7/10, it was our turn to host Small Group, and I'd decided on a peanut butter-chocolate cheesecake with hot fudge and whipped cream. But, I wasn't sure that everyone coming liked peanut butter, so I also made a simple lemon tart. Used a prepared (Pillsbury) pie crust for convenience and 2 jars of Dickenson's Lemon Curd, because it's very tart and very good. 

The first photo is just after I removed the pie weights. The tart crust still needed a few more minutes in the oven to be fully browned. 

I wanted a deep cheesecake, so I used 4 packages of Philadelphia Cream Cheese and a cup of peanut butter for a 9"x3" outcome. Actually, I used 5 packages of cream cheese and 1-1/4 cups of PB as I planned to additionally make 4 small 4" cheesecakes to deliver to our elderly parents. 

The crusts were NutterButter cookies and a bit of melted butter. I learned the hard way that pre-baking the crust, as you sometimes do with a graham cracker crust, is not a good idea. Must be the high sugar-fat content of those NutterButters. 

I also added about 1 cup of Ghiradelli semi-sweet chocolate chips to the filling mix. 

At serving, I warmed some Mrs. Richardson's Hot Fudge Sauce to drizzle over. And then, topped both the cheesecake slices and the lemon tart slices with freshly-whipped cream. 

On Tuesday we drove to Central Illinois for a quick visit with our parents. Not sure my almost 95-year old dad realized I'd made him cheesecakes as both his sight and hearing have deteriorated greatly this year. But, CA's 88-year old mom was very pleased and happy to share with some of her caregivers. 

By Friday, 7/15 our daughter's family had arrived. LC was turning 5-years on 7/20 so we had fun celebrating his birthday a bit early on Saturday. 

Who doesn't love a donut cake?!

I'm now ready to buckle-down and begin eating "right" again. Love the My Fitness Pal app for calorie counting, excersize recording, and nutrition monitoring. 

Breakfast at Silver Grill in Fort Collins, CO. 

A simple lunch. 

Last night we adapted a favorite salad. The beauty of using the My Fitness Pal app is that I can plan my daily food intake to accommodate a more caloric dinner, or a restaurant meal. 

For example, CA and I had a late breakfast today at The Farmhouse at Jessup Farms. I didn't even miss the potatoes or bacon, as green chiles and fresh fruit were available substitutes. 

My leftover green chiles prompted us to make chicken quesadillas and guacamole for dinner. Turns out carrots taste wonderful with guac--The Two Hot Tamales recipe. 

I warmed the green chiles and, just at serving time, stirred-in some sour cream. 

So... While we are in Colorado, our daughter and family are staying at our very unofficial Airbnb with friends from Cincinnati. Only right, as CA and I stayed at JE's home on our way to CO.

Unfortunately for them, an Opposum somehow made it into one of our covered window wells, then died. Thanks MA for doing the clean-up.

12 July 2016

At Home

It's been awhile since I've posted any photos of our decor. It's always fun to look back and see what's changed.

Front entry:

Looking down from Loft:

Front guest room:

Back treehouse guest room:

Loft desk area:

Guest bathroom shower curtain we found, a number of years ago, while driving up the east coast from Boston to Bar Harbor:

One corner of our great room:

Back porch:

Front porch:

Front garden:

02 July 2016


Our week has been good. Very good. The Colorado Fun Kids arrived Wednesday in time for dinner, stayed one night, and then flew from Chicago O'Hare to Vienna, Austria. Grandparents there drove them the one hour to Bratislva, Slovakia--DIL's hometown.

On the drive here from Fort Collins, D+M's Family stopped to see J+M and the Omaha Fun Kids, then drove to the Peoria, IL area to visit GG and my family. A good time was reportedly had by all. 




My 95-year old Dad's 28th great grandchild, Natalie Ann. 

Their time with us was too short, but our family of 12 will be together by mid- 
August in Fort Collins, CO. And, JE's family will arrive here for a visit mid-July. 

The insanity began when we invited some newly-vegan friends for dinner on our porch. No... back up a bit. Thursday early afternoon I stepped-off the cliff. Willingly. It was my idea. Why not bake cookies for the 16 university students and 4 leaders who are going along with the Fun Kids for 5 weeks in Slovakia--Cru's Slovakia Summer Mission? Why, I have almost 3 hours; I'll just whip-up a batch of Aunt Roxy's Oatmeal Crisps. With walnuts. And raisins. And dried cranberries. And chocolate chips. Oh! I'll top them off with M+M's!

Yep! Right off the I am woman, W-O-M-A-N... cliff. 

Ta-dah! Unfortunately, one such victory inspires grandiose plans for unreachable goals; complex, highly-strategized plans--preparing dinner for vegans. 

I've asked CA to just shoot me if I ever get anywhere near such a cliff again.

I pulled off a highly-edited, reportedly superb version of my original menu... On-the-fly. I made the enchilladas, but discarded plans for the taco entrée and used the oven-roasted sweet potatoes (already prepared) as a side dish. The two planned desserts--melon skewers and fresh berries in a tequila-agave syrup--were likewise abandoned. We were too full after appetizers and the meal. Really, though, there was no way I had energy to chop, assemble, and arrange one more recipe!

Roasted Red Pepper Hummuus. 

A can of vegan chili and a package of vegan  cream cheese. Nasty tasting, so doctored-up with green chiles, medium-temp red Salsa, a chopped Jalapeño. 

That worked; it was palatable. Served with these:

twohottamales.com Guacamole recipe Also, served with Teader Joe's Sweet Pitato Tortilla Chips

We always use Tortilla Factory's White Corn Tortillas. These are lightly fried and well-drained just prior to assembly. 

Sweet onions+mushrooms+baby spinach=vegan enchillada filling. 

Enchilladas with glutenfreegoddess.com 's Green Chile Enchilada Sauce (add 1/2 cup Medium Salsa and 1/2 cup Sour Cream. 

Oven-roasted Sweet Potato side dish. 

Oh, and some Green Rice--just regularly-prepared rice with green salsa added. 

The kitchen was completely trashed and required a major clean-up before bed, and more today. 
I sat on the couch and ate 1/2 bag of Trader Joe's Milk Chocolate Peanut butter Pretzels. Note: It is always advisable to shoot yourself in the foot after falling off a cliff.