Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Just a list of life...

* Taking an e-course - well trying too - been fitting it in around other things. It has been incredibly inspiring and has had so much useful information. It is overwhelming though too.

* My brain is on information overload with everything I am trying to get in there and remember. My focus and just remembering things has been really hard for me lately. I have to write everything down. I have to save everything. I have to keep everything so that I can go over it again and again. It is very frustrating. I used to be one of these people that you tell me something and I will remember it forever. Now I don't. It is odd the things that stick but the majority of things don't stick.

* I haven't had to use my inhaler for over 2 years (I have asthma) and about 3 weeks ago I started needing it daily. Last week to 10 days ago - I started needing it 4 to 6 times a day. So I called to make a doctor appointment and my doctor was booked up for 2 weeks but they have a new doctor starting there and asked if I wanted to see her. And so I said yes. I mean I can't breath what choice do I have. My doctor and my therapist are right in the same clinic. So last week when I went to see my therapist, my doctor saw me come in. And so I told him I couldn't get into see him and was having asthma problems. He came right back to my therapist office with me and listened to me breathe, talked to me a bit and called me in a new prescription for an inhaler since mine was OLD. (no charge for seeing me either.) We think it is just a bad allergy season but it is odd - that I haven't had to use it in 2 years and now have had to use it so much. But it has calmed down in the last 4 days - so that is good. I just am so thankful for the great health care providers I have because really I don't know what I would do without them.

* We have been in Denver a lot this past month. It was a lot of up and back so it felt rushed. But it had to be that way because of business. And also our little boy cat is having bad allergies too so he is on an allergy pill schedule so we had to get back to stay on that so that he doesn't have set backs. So we did a lot of drives back in the moonlight which was actually kind of nice. And the roads were very empty. But on our way over the last time the weather was kind of bad and we saw 3 cars off the road even one totally flipped. We came out of the tunnel and could barely see the car in front of us so it was very scary. But it cleared up not to far away but it weird because it hadn't been bad and then all of sudden is bad and all these cars off the road and then it was fine again.

* In between traveling, Michael and I had a chance to meet some friends I have known online for years. I have known the woman of the couple for many years and they were thinking of moving to Grand Junction so we met for the first time face to face when they were in town. It was so nice to met her/them. They were so nice and we had a great time with them! But their plans for moving here fell through as his allergies were so bad here. The junipers were making it impossible for him to breath. And as I said above my allergies have been the worst this year so I could totally relate to that and didn't blame them for not wanting to move here. They are retired and want to stay in Colorado but just don't want to stay up in the mountains where they are as it is too much maintenance for them. So although I understand not moving here - it did make me sad. We all got along so well - it would have been really nice to have them here. She does have family here though so I know we will see them again thankfully.

.... So life has been busy. And moving along. Sometimes too fast so I should try to capture some moments so that I don't forget them.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake

I saw this recipe first on Baked Bree and then also on Tasty Kitchen. And it looked so easy and with ingredients that I have on hand always.

For the cake:
1 stick butter at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs, separated
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups (16-ounces) sour cream
3 cups flour
1 teapoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

For the middle and top:
1 bag chocolate chips
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 x 13 pan with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, combine all of the cake batter ingredients. Mix for 1 minute at low speed; mix 3 minutes at medium speed. Pour 1/2 of batter into greased pan. Generously sprinkle cinnamon and sugar over batter, making sure to get the corners, and then sprinkle with 1/2 bag of chocolate chips. Pour remaining cake batter on top and spread across bottom layer. Repeat with cinnamon and sugar and chocolate chips.
Bake for 40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with only a few crumbs.

NOTES: Be sure to check this cake around the 30 minute mark as you don't want to over bake it. It was a super moist cake. My middle part didn't seem to be noticed that much. There were some chips of course but I couldn't taste the cinnamon-sugar. And after putting lid on this cake the moister make the crispy cinnamony top become moist. I liked it more crispy so not sure if baking it a little longer would help keep it crispy. But over all this was a good cake. Nothing fabulous but good solid cake recipe that was easy to make and great because I have all the ingredients on hand almost all the time so could be made spur of the moment if needed.

(if you want the printer button to work click on the title of the recipe at the top of the post and then click the print button)

Monday, March 28, 2011

Friday, March 25, 2011

Gratitude Friday

I am thankful for...
1. all the work the business is getting. I am so very grateful for that.
2. saving money with coupons
3. the color pink
4. lemon grass essential oil
5. talking with friends on the phone

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Annie's Mac-n-Cheese

I picked up some Annie's Mac-n-cheese for 49 cents a box and although I know I could make homemade for very cheap sometimes convenient food is exactly that convenient. Annie's is organic and all-natural alternative to the kind with preservatives. We had never had Annie's before and it was good. But I didn't want to make it on the stove top so I compared directions online for it verses Kraft Mac-n-Cheese and found they weren't off that much except Annie's offers tangy alternative suggestion such as yogurt instead of milk. So I just used Kraft's microwave directions and it worked great for Annie's.

So the microwave directions that I used for Annie's....
No Drain Microwave Method:
1. Pour Macaroni into 1 1/2 or 2 quart microwavable bowl. Add 1 3/4 cups hot water.
2. Microwave, uncovered, on high 8 to 10 minutes or until water is absorbed, stirring every 3 minutes. Continue as directed on box at step 4 where you add the milk.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Friday, March 18, 2011

Gratitude Friday

I am thankful for...
1. a good trip over the mountains to Denver
2. Michael's Mom getting me a French Silk Pie...March 14th is Pi (3.14) and so it is called Pi Day. I said I wish I could have my Mom's chocolate pie and JoAnne bought me a French Silk pie since I couldn't have my Mom chocolate pie. That was so sweet of her! Pie from my other Mom!
3. Noodles and Company! We don't have it in Grand Junction so a rare occasion when we get it but it was so good!
4. meeting our new neighbor - who seems very nice
5. enjoying the bright moon lighting our way home tonight

Monday, March 14, 2011

Friday, March 11, 2011

Gratitude Friday

I am thankful for...
1. for being a place where I can just write and get things out when my mind is spinning
2. watching Mad Men with Michael
3. spring cleaning - cleaning out everything always makes me feel good
4. adorable photos of my niece my sister and brother-in-law post on facebook so that we can see her precious face
5. all the great work the business is getting

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Philadelphia Cooking Creme

A convenience food that I tried....Philadelphia Cooking Creme. I had seen these in the store before they were really advertised and thought they looked good but didn't pick it up because well at the time wasn't sure it was worth the money. I then saw ads and found a coupon for $1 off so decided to try one of them out.

I really liked how easy it was as well as the flavor being very good too. It was really quick when I needed a meal on a night where I was short on time and energy. I look forward to trying other blends.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Day 3

It the end of day 3 of The Art of Action and my head is swimming with so many things. I can say with complete confidence I am overwhelmed. I have a lot on my plate right now so trying to do all I can to keep up with all the posts and along with keeping the action end of things going too. I know it is going to be an inspiring and amazing class but I do wonder if I put myself into a situation which I wasn't up for right now. But at the same time I wonder if that is my fears cropping up or just the pushing something good for me away because I am not feeling I deserve it. Which both things would be somewhat typical for me. And I really don't want to fall into that pattern. I want to do this because I know it would be very good for me and I am already learning so much and can't wait to see what things will come from this class.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Natalie Merchant

This is Natalie Merchant singing from her album, Leave Your Sleep. The lyrics are from 19th-century poetry.

I wish my memory was better. Because I know I saw 10,000 Maniacs when they opened with R.E.M but I would swear they were at Ranch Bowl in Omaha also. Seeing her dance is what brings up a faint memory. I remember my friend Shurie and I dancing and I have this memory of Natalie (or someone very similar dancing style) coming off the stage at Ranch Bowl and dancing. The stage at Ranch bowl was tiny so she needed to move. But when I look at the dates she was in Omaha - it only lists the one with R.E.M. So it must have been someone else. I know that I saw a lot of bands at the Ranch Bowl....many before they made it big and went on to the Civic years later.

Anyway...I love this performance she did at TED. It is very much Natalie's style and I just love it.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Gratitude Friday

I am thankful for...
1. water
2. clean sheets
3. warm fuzzy socks
4. kleenex and my inhaler as my allergies are really bad
5. Thai Steak Wraps that I made earlier this week and still craving

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Millionaire's Shortbread

This recipe is from the cookbook Baked:New Frontiers in Baking by Matt Lewis and they are the only thing I have tried but all the photos in this book make me want to try everything but I am not sure I will. I have checked this book out from the library and I going to admit this out loud or I guess more like in black and white print....I loved the look of this cookbook. It was the typography, the graphics, the styling just made me want to pick it up and dive into baking! And in reading the recipes I want to make many of these recipes. But I won't touch some of them because they are just going to take too much time for me. I am not a patient baker. I love to bake but I am not patient. And some of these recipes (including this one I am about to tell you about) include patience. And although I am sure the recipes in Baked:New Frontiers in Baking are worth the patience - I just am not sure I am the woman up for the job of testing that out. But I did for this recipe and the bars in the end were worth the effort. OH MY!

These are not bars you can just easily whip up in 30 minutes to an hour. This requires a whole afternoon. They are time consuming and messy to make. As I said I wasn't sure they were going to be worth all the effort but Oh MY! These bars are HEAVEN! Probably the best bars I have had in a very long time. If you are wanting rave reviews, have the time and don't care to make a mess, take the time to create these.

And I suspect that many of the recipes from the cookbook would end up this way - with rave reviews and worth the time and effort.

These reminded me of an upscaled Twix candy bar so I cut them in long skinny bars instead of squares.

for the Shortbread
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 /12 cups all-purpose flour
1 large egg yolk, slightly beaten

for the Caramel Filling
28 ounces sweetened condensed milk (two 14-ounce cans)

for the Chocolate Glaze
6 ounces dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon light corn syrup
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened, cut into cubes

for the shortbread:
Preheat the oven to 350°F. butter the bottom and sides of a 9-by-13-inch baking pan.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the sugar and butter together until blended.

Add 2 cups of the flour and beat until well combined. Add the egg yolk and beat for a few seconds, or until just combined.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Dust the top of the dough and your hands with a little flour. Use your hands to gently work the dough into a 6-by-6-inch square. You will have to turn the dough and sprinkle the top with flour as you go. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup flour on the surface of the dough. Fold the dough over and knead until incorporated, then flatten the dough into a rectangle. Transfer the rectangle to the prepared pan and press it into the pan.

Prick the dough all over with a fork and bake in the center of the oven for 20 to 22 minutes, until golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.

for the caramel filling:
Stovetop Method: Put the sweetened condensed milk in a medium heatproof bowl and set it over a saucepan of boling water over low heat. Cook for 1 to 2 hours, until thick and caramel colored. Remove the bowl from the pan and beat until smooth.

Microwave Method: Put the sweetened condensed milk in a large microwave safe bowl. Cook at 50 percent power (medium) for 4 minutes, stirring briskly halfway through, until smooth. Cook on 30 percent power (medium-low) for 12 to 18 minutes, until very thick and caramel colored, stirring briskly every 2 minutes, until smooth.

Pour the caramel filling over the cooled shortbread and place the pan in the refrigerator until cooled, about 2 hours.

for the chocoalte glaze:
In a large nonreactive metal bowl, combine the chocolate, corn syrup, and butter. Set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and cook, stirring with a rubber spatula, until the mixture is completely smooth. Remove the bowl from the pan and stir for 30 seconds to cool slightly. Pour the mixture over the chilled caramel layer and use an offset spatula to spread it into an even layer.

Put in the refrigerator for 1 hour, or until the glaze hardens.

Remove the pan from the refrigerator 30 minutes before serving so as not to crack the chocolate glaze. Cut into squares and serve.

The bars can be stored in the refrigerator, tightly covered, for up to 4 days.

- made caramel via microwave method and much like when I make my maple fudge recipe - it boils up and over the bowl - so be prepared for a mess in the microwave
- I would add 1 tsp vanilla to caramel
- I added just a bit more chocolate as I used dark chocolate chips instead and had a little left in my bag and didn't want to put them back in my cupboard so used the rest so my chocolate is a little thicker then pictured in the book
- I just melted the chocolate mixture in the microwave instead of on the stovetop and it worked fine


Tuesday, March 01, 2011


Unfortunately I have had set backs on my migraines. Not sure I am just getting "used" to my medication or what is going on with them. But it is irritating me. With my Doctor's permission, I am able to up the dosage on my medication and hopefully it will work well. Crossing my fingers and toes.

Migraines diminish my quality of life and so many of my days just kind of blend into each other. I don't like living that way. I want to be present and enjoy each day - see each day.