Holidays, 2015

Holidays, 2015
A Winter Scene - red door, a dusting of snow, and a vintage bicycle

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

May in Colorado is Birthing Time!

There is a small farm close to our home where Paint Ponies are raised---they are some of my favorites as their colorings can be so unusual.  I drive by several times a week and I've been watching for the birth of these little ones.  It happens every May around this time....there are still a couple of moms with large tummies waiting to give birth, but I thought I'd share with you the new little ones I saw and was able to pet yesterday....If you click on the LINK above, you can read about this interesting breed, which is the second largest breed registry in the United States.

a round tummy....I wonder what color this little one will be!

This mom had already given birth and was really friendly

Love her 'choker'

Look closely to see a little one out there

a teeny little one- just two days old on the other side of this mom

hard to believe this brown and white came from black and white....but so cute!

               The grass is green.....from all the rain......this is unusual in Colorado....
I'm sure the horses love it, too!!!!!     

This little one is too tired to even stand up!

just sleeping soundly with all of the other horses grazing in the peaceful!

I hope all of you are having a wonderful Spring---it's been such crazy dangerous weather for so many....from tsunamis and floods to tornadoes and earthquakes, volcanoes erupting and covering the earth with its sooty mess....

I'm counting my blessings....                                                   

Saturday, May 21, 2011

When it Rains, I bake....but this time, for someone else!

 This week, our home went on the market for sale....and I decided to bake up some 'enticements' for the real estate folks who are having  rough time of it right now.  Not very much is selling and what IS selling is selling for much less.  So, I think we all have to have some kind of 'edge' when we sell these days, so I thought I'd sweeten them all up a little! My mom has been making cream puffs since I was little....I remember her turning them into swans....I was amazed at how they all looked on a pretty dish, so I decided to make them, too.  It had been rainy and cold all week...perfect for baking!  I also made eclairs and profiteroles....all pretty related, just varied the fillings and toppings.  My cream puffs got just a dusting of powdered sugar but my eclairs got a deep dark Valrhona chocolate spread atop each.

Profiteroles and cream puffs

The graduation cupcakes all finished
A good friend of mine has a daughter graduating from high school this week, so I made up some chocolate bouchons ( not pictured ) and these spicy cardomon cupcakes with mocha frosting.  I had to make extras for the man in my life who said...."Now THAT'S a good combination!"  Hope the graduation party thought so, too!

A for Allison, the graduate
 I found these cute 'A's' to top off each of the cupcakes ( for ALLISON) and they all got snuggled into a red wire basket I found and wove the polka dot ribbon through.  Their school colors are red and black.
All placed in their RED wire basket with black and white spotty ribbon

 I managed to tuck 20 of them in there
 I got them all delivered and then stayed up REALLY late on friday night cleaning up the kitchen as we had a 'return visit' from the folks who came to see the house earlier in the week.
Hope they enjoy them!
I'm so inspired by all of you out there who bake.....I have an upcoming baking surprise that I will tell you about really soon, so stay tuned.  In the meantime, does anyone have a fabulous strawberry cupcake recipe that REALLY tastes like strawberries and is moist and wonderful?  I really need one!!
On the topic of the folks who came by today----unfair advantage: I browned a bottom round roast last night with onions and garlic and put it in the crock pot to slow cook today with broth and carrots....the first thing they said when they came in was....ooooh, the house smells so good!  They stayed for 2 hours and 15 minutes.  We know that because we were here when they arrived at 1 and we returned home at 3:15 and they were just leaving!  I'll keep you posted.....

Love you! xo

Thursday, May 12, 2011

A Well-Loved Cold Rainy Day and what comes out of the OVEN on those days!

When Colorado gives you a cold rainy day, make Strawberry Rhubarb Pie!

It's always interesting to see how summer finally comes to can be absolutely BLAZING hot and then we remember 'back when' it was cold and long for a bit of chilly weather....but summer comes slowly.  Last June, it rained and was quite chilly almost every single day.  I have to say that I have NEVER seen Colorado look so green before.  Rain is scarce here.  It's a high desert and the dry harsh climate is tough on the growing season.  Still, I try every year to make 'my oasis' an oasis of sorts.  I've fought the winds; I've fought the hail.  I have mounds of boxes in the garage just for that run out and place over unsuspecting plants. Last Mother's Day weekend was absolutely gorgeous and the gardening shops were full of gardeners anxious to get their hands dirty.  I, however, have finally learned NOT to plant the most delicate of species until at LEAST mid-May.  And so...this past Monday, I was NOT surprised to hear the weather forecast for the week. 70's on Monday, but then HIGH WIND WARNING and a huge drop in temperatures.  Night time temps dipped below freezing and it snowed yesterday for a bit.  Some of the higher elevations got LOTS of snow and our mountains, visible to our west, are blanketed in white right now.  Areas in Denver got accumulations of 3-4 inches in some spots and my oldest daughter has commanded snow to 'go away....I'm done' on Facebook.  She is at 7300 feet, so get the worst of it other than actually living in the mountain towns of Aspen, Vail or even Estes Park. Because I 'wasn't surprised,' I had gone outside and cut stalks of Spring rhubarb and had acquired luscious California strawberries from Whole Foods.  I was prepared to bake!  My youngest daughter had asked me over the weekend if I would do some baking for an event she is having on Friday, so I got all of the necessary items I would need to stay in on the cold and rainy days and bake to my heart's content!  First, however, I had to prepare the plants outside that have NOT been planted yet so that the bitter cold didn't ruin them. I wasn't about to leave them alone!
Temperature: 37 degrees F

I had to get out the blankies and bags for the tender plants

And wrap up the new hanging pots of plants I made over last weekend    
 After gathering about 8 stalks of rhubarb, I snipped the leaves and cut them in small pieces.  Then I washed and hulled the strawberries and let them 'set' a bit to leach some of the moisture from them.
All for the compost!

The fresh rhubarb with sugar

My lovely strawberries....all ready for nibbling while I make the pies

I tried this instead of my instant tapioca that I typically use with my fruit pies and I'm actually NOT going to use it again; I did not like the outcome as well.

I made a lattice crust with some 'hearts' which I'll discuss in a minute

My crust protector and in it went into the oven at 350 degrees for about an hour and 15 minutes

I made TWO pies...this one I did with leaves instead of hearts

This is HOT out of the can almost see it bubbling right in the picture!

 I mentioned earlier that my youngest daughter had asked me to bake.  She is in the school of Veterinary Medicine and last night (Wednesday, 5/11) after taking her last test as a JUNIOR, she officially became a SENIOR!  I cannot tell you her joy because she has wanted to be a vet since a little girl and she has done this totally on her own.....I will speak more on this in another post.  But against all odds, she has made it and I am thrilled to bake something for this accomplishment.  Well, since this year's seniors are graduating on Friday, they put the new senior to work immediately doing 'rounds' in the hospital.  She is starting in the CARDIAC unit...hence, the 'hearts.'  I made the heart pie for her and her husband to celebrate with this evening and the cookies are for her to take to a luncheon on Friday...the new seniors are getting together to celebrate.
I picked up my favorite seedless raspberry jam

I love the simplicity of the ingredients and 'no seeds'

And I made a big batch of linzer heart cookies with freshly ground almonds in the batter

I think they are going to love them!

I still have eggs left, however......hmmmmmm, what to bake now? It's still cold and rainy!!
Thank you so much for reading and following along with me.......I'm an inn-keeper, teashop owner, bakery shop wanna-be......and as my dear friend Nancy recently said, "You need someone to pay you!"  Yes, I do!

Monday, May 2, 2011

May 1 Garden in Colorado

It's becoming a bit of a tradition of sorts to take pictures of the garden as it grows.  Here in Colorado, however, that is S-L-O-W.  Hopefully, you will all be pleasantly surprised when it all does grow, but it's going to be a little while yet.  Some things are natural growers in Colorado and rhubarb is one of them!!  Remember the plant in April?  Well, I could actually make a pie fact, I just may!
This rhubarb will be 3 X's this size by the end of summer....and that will be after MANY pies!!

There's a few things coming up....some bleeding hearts, daffodils, tulips, some of my ground covers and siberian iris

Spring also brings PREDATORS and we've recently had a LARGE heron come into the back yard who has eaten most of our fish, and there were 54 of them.  Here, I tried to put my tomato stakes across the pond to discourage BIG BIRD

My lilac bushes are beginning to get a few green things on them!!

the poppies are slowly getting bigger and bigger

aspen trees with daffodils beneath

my peonies are beginning to sprout!

lavender is not looking good....
this trellis will be covered with vines later....but now?

I will be adding compost and new mulch here, too

these will have yellow flowers soon

right now there's just a bird in the pot....but soon, they'll be planted with herbs, tomatoes, and annuals

come on poppy!!

I always have to get a few new additions but it's been too cold to plant them.  The weather is supposed to warm this week, so I'm hopeful these little ones will have a home soon

and no, it's not a real flower, but it's my granddaughter Alayna who is 6 carrying a plastic flower that I had attached to her mom's birthday gift yesterday....she decided the flower was for her!  And yes, she's missing all of her front top teeth!

So, it's not much, but I'm excited and I have plenty to do inside this week......

Love you all!!