Anniversary Staycation – Carbondale, CO

Winter provides just a few opportunities to indulge in our wanderlust.  We go on a few excursions and we try to spend weekends doing something fun, but getting out of the house when it’s cold and miserable is not our favorite pass time.

Our anniversary is the end of February, so we try to do an overnight stay somewhere not too far away so our 15 year old can stay home with the dogs but we’re close enough to get home if something happens.  Carbondale is about 45 minutes from our house and has a vibrant downtown – lots of restaurants and fun things to do.

We got into town about noon, just as Marble Distilling Company was opening for the day.  Our bartender (John Paul, I think his name was) was great and as we were the only ones there, we got lots of attention.  I had a Cosmo or two, Todd tried a hot chocolate drink with their espresso-infused vodka called Moonlight ExPresso and tried their young whiskey.  I tried their different vodka selections.  We also had their cheese & charcuterie board, which was great nibbles to go along with our drinks.

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What’s For Dinner – Feb 19-25, 2017

Busy week – but still time to get dinner on the table every night.  Saturday we’ll be out celebrating our 21st anniversary, so boy will be home with a delivery pizza on his own.  Treat for him/easy for me. 

Sunday, Feb 19, 2017 – Meatloaf with Italian Roasted Potatoes & Asparagus.  Hubby specifically requested meatloaf for Sunday – and I found this yummy roasted potatoes recipe on Pinterest and Saved it – the whole meal was excellent and we have enough for leftovers on Monday.

Monday Feb 20, 2017 – Leftovers!  I love me a Meatloaf Sammich!

Tuesday Feb 21, 2017 – Chopped Salad with Roasted Chicken Breast.  Gym tonight and making a meal after that is always awful – so I will roast some chicken in my Pressure Cooker and we can cut it up to put on our salads when we get home.  I’ll prep the salad before we leave so we just have to dish up & eat.

Wednesday Feb 22, 2017Mozzarella Chicken Pasta with Sun Dried Tomatoes– Another Pinterest recipe I’ve not tried before – but it looks so good and I’m CRAVING pasta lately.  So this will be a treat.  Have half a loaf of french bread in the freezer I’ll thaw and broil with butter and garlic powder…yum – and of course a salad!

Thursday Feb 23, 2017 – Leftovers.  HOPING there will be enough.  We have gym tonight and making food on gym nights is always hard.  If we don’t have enough leftovers I will probably put together some Lasagne Roll Ups and have them on timed bake in the oven – we can eat when we get home – and pasta after the gym sounds DIVINE.  We were supposed to have them last week but it just didnt fit in!

Friday Feb 24, 2017 – Grilled Pork Chops, Baked Sweet Potatoes & Salad.  It’s been in the mid-50’s here and I’m jonesing to use my grill – so we’ll grill some chops and have some yummy sweet potatoes with cinnamon butter.  

Saturday Feb 25, 2017  Our anniversary is actually Monday but we’ll celebrate Saturday night.  Pizza for boy, yummy grown up dinner for us.

Instant Pot Pinto Beans Recipe (Charro Style)

I am a big fan of the whole pinto beans you get in a good Mexican Restaurant.  I like them more than the refried beans and they’re actually healthier, because refried beans are fried with FAT – which makes them tasty – but not necessarily healthy.

I got an Instant Pot (actually it’s a Cuisinart Pressure Cooker) and I was anxious to try to recreate my favorite beans.  These are excellent – and really flexible.  I put them in my Oven Baked Tacos Recipe, we eat them alone, you could “refry” them if you like – and for sure you can freeze them when you make too much!

I’m not exactly sure what makes these “Charro Style” but the recipe I adapted was a Slow Cooker Charro Beans recipe.  The only thing I left out was the tomatoes, which just didn’t go with what I wanted to accomplish.  Hopefully these tickle your tastebuds as well!

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Planning our Summer Wanderings

It’s a gorgeous spring day here in Colorado, even though it’s the first week in February. This winter has been almost disturbingly mild, not much snow at all here, while the mountains and other areas are seeing record amounts of snow.

Because the weather is pleasant, I’m dreaming of summer getaways, camping trips, etc to get out and see some more of this beautiful country.  We’re talking about taking a driving trip up through Yellowstone, to Kalispel/Glacier, over to Sandpoint/Coeur d’Alene and down through Boise and Pocatello then back home.

I used a handy site called Roadtripper to plan out a possible route.  It not only lets you place the towns you’ll stop on the map, it shows points of interest, camping, lodging, food, etc along the way.

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Swedish Spritz Cookie Recipe

These tasty butter cookies are a holiday tradition in our home.  While you can dye and color the dough to make green trees or whatever you like, I prefer the plain sugar cookies with sprinkles and redhots as decoration.
You need a cookie press for this recipe.  You could roll them in logs and refrigerate and slice, but it’s just not the same. cookie-press I got my cookie press on Amazon.com – It’s the OXO Good Grips Cookie Press and it works well – it works BEST if the cookie sheets are really cold, but that’s not really practical when you’re baking dozens at a time – just be patient and understand that the dough consistency is directly related to how the cookies come out of the gun and onto the sheet – don’t be afraid to chill the dough down if things just get a bit too soft.

Colored sugar and red hots for tree stars or holly berries are my favorite decorations – but you can do absolutely whatever you like!

Enjoy!

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Yummy Pecan Pie with Bourbon

So – bourbon isnt a huge, major ingredient in this pie – but its an important one.  I didnt realize I liked pecan pie until I tried this version WITH bourbon.  Without it just tastes like sugared nut pie….don’t ask me why … I’m sure Alton Brown has some scientific reason complete with chemical reaction as to why that is.

I made this for Thanksgiving dessert, served it with homemade Vanilla Bourbon Whipped Cream and it was DIVINE!  Actually I could probably just eat the whipped cream for dinner – forget the turkey.

Also – no lie – I buy pie crust.  It’s probably the best storebought shortcut out there, makes getting a pie in the oven a breeze, and doesnt taste much different than anything I could make myself – and making & rolling out pie dough is a pain in the ass and MESSY.  No thanks.

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