Breaking New Ground

7 May

aveena:

I am very excited for this project, and am really excited to see things moving forward! Clear Creek offers so much recreationally and scenically, I’ll be glad to see this project finished!

Originally posted on Peaks to Plains Trail:

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Ready to dig

On April 23, Clear Creek and Jefferson County Commissioners broke ground with gold-painted shovels on the portion of the Peaks to Plains Trail in Clear Creek County. Work on this 2-mile section is being managed by the Clear Creek County Open Space Commission and staff.

All six County Commissioners from both counties christened the project with enthusiastic words of support for the intra-county project. The groundbreaking ceremony was held at the west entrance to the Oxbow, just west of Tunnel #5.

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Shovels ready

Clear Creek County Open Space Commission Chair Marion Jennings served as master of ceremonies. The event was well attended with key people from both counties as well as project supporters. Attendees included the Jefferson County and Clear Creek County Administrators, Ralph Schell and Tom Breslin; a representative from Great Outdoors Colorado; board members and staff from the Clear Creek Land Conservancy; staff from both county open space programs; members of…

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Spring Gardening in Colorado

26 Mar

Spring is well on its way here in good ol’ Colorado! However, Spring here ranges from winter to summer and back again, all within a span of a couple days. This type of weather wreaks havoc on our gardens and its important to follow a few steps until Spring has truly arrived. Here are a few tips from my flower garden to yours on how to keep your plants alive during our late spring frost.

1. Don’t pick up all the mulch/grass trimmings/leaves yet. This adds great insulation and protection from our late season frosts.

2. Don’t trim rose bushes yet. Even though the bases are turning green, leave the deadened parts alone until after the frost.

3. Don’t fertilize yet. It will encourage growth, but the tender growth may die back from the cold or weight of the snow.

4. DO water. Of course it depends on the temperature, but if it’s going to be warm for the next couple days go ahead and water your flowers. Even in the winter, if it’s been dry they need moisture.

Here is a great blog from the Colorado State University (CSU) Extension on Spring Gardening. This blog post goes into lawn and tree care for Spring in Colorado and has been a great resource for me.
Jeffco Gardener

 

Here are a few pictures from my garden:

Wild strawberries

Wild strawberries

These are wild strawberries. They grow by rhizomes (each plant is connected) and this thing has spread so quickly already. Unfortunately the strawberries take a while to ripen and by then they’ve been ravaged by squirrels and birds.

Columbines

Columbines

These are my columbines, they’ve really taken hold here. At first they looked pretty scraggly, but each year they come back stronger and larger than the year before. I am very excited to see them this year!

Tulips

Tulips

These actually are on our neighbors side, but they’ve already grown a bunch and it’s only March! You can see another patch of wild strawberry near the base of it.

Rose bush

Rose bush

A very blurry picture of my rose bush. I am very very excited to see this bloom this year. I bought it at Home Depot and it has just thrived. My plan is to purchase two more rose bushes before the summer is over.

Irises

Irises

I am also very excited to see these bloom. I got these from a friend and the color should be spectacular. I want to say they’re purple, but that will just add to the suspense.

The late frost better not kill my plants!

Happy Gardening!

Video

How to Haze a Coyote

21 Feb

Now most of you know that I work in the Parks and Recreation field (like the T.V. show? Yep, exactly like the show). When I find something that’s useful and funny, I just can’t turn away from that.

Coyotes have been increasingly problematic as human development encroaches on land, and coyotes are just wiley enough to adapt to our neighborhoods and parks. There are pros and cons to having coyotes around, unfortunately the cons greatly outweigh the pros.

Pro: They eat pesky rodents.

Cons: They may become territorial and aggressive and attack pets or people.

That’s it. I mean, there are several other pros and cons, but the con greatly outweighs any pros.

With all that said, enjoy watching this video on how to keep coyote’s at bay!

Ski Trip!

7 Feb

Every year we go on a ski trip and this year it was to Copper. Unfortunately it was a shorter trip than we usually take, but it was still just as fun.

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Some years it is cold and windy, with snow blowing in your face. Other years it’s too warm and there isn’t enough snowpack. But this year, it was just right! It was cold, but the sun warmed you up. The slopes were a tad icy, but the gorgeous view helped out with that. The runs were amazing, though I am very much out of shape.

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There is nothing like taking a hot shower, getting into comfy clothes, and relaxing by the fireplace after a day of skiing. Maybe the sore muscles, the wind frozen face, and exhaustion just makes you appreciate those tiny things in life even more.

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I truly love Colorado and appreciate all it has to offer. The mountains, the sun, the history, and yes, even the crazy weather we get sometimes. It’s important to take pride in something, but Colorado just makes it so easy. It’s easy to boast of what it has to offer.

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I hope you take pride in where you live too. Whether it’s the golden fields of wheat, sunny beaches, or lush, green forests as far as the eye can see. Love where you live (yes, even Kansas) and you’ll soon appreciate all that is has to offer!

Homemade Chicken Wings

2 Feb

I wish I added this post before Superbowl Sunday, but wings are best served fresh. I found this recipe on Food Network’s website and was excited to see multiple sauces. I had tried a wings recipe in the past cooking them in the oven. This method is healthier, but in my honest opinion, just not the same as frying.

I have a love/hate relationship with Crisco. I understand that it is filled with chemicals and is incredibly unhealthy for you. However, I also recognize that it performs better in certain recipes. Frying, is just one of those recipes.

There are precautions to take when frying your food.
1. Use a thermometer. Too hot and the oil will burn and splatter everywhere. Too cold and it will take too long to cook the chicken, resulting in an overcooked exterior.
2. I use a splatter screen. I also cleaned up extra oil that splattered on the stove-top to prevent grease fires.
3. Don’t walk away! Keep an eye on the temperature and on splatter.
4. Don’t overfill the pot.
5. Eat a wing or two. (to make sure they taste ok!)

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So this was my first post using my cellphone, so I apologize for the picture quality. These wings turned out GREAT and I highly recommended this recipe! Go Broncos!!

Sunny Anderson’s Chicken Wings 3-ways

A long hiatus…

22 Jan

I have neglected this blog for too long. It’s not like I had any major life events happen, except I did get a permanent position in the field I was hoping for! No more searching every 6 months for a new job, no more wondering about insurance, and no more learning how to do a job every 6 months.

However, that’s no excuse! The only excuse I do have is I have not been able to bake or cook awesome dishes like I used too. The few new recipes I have tried, have failed. Like the fettucini alfredo with asiago cheese, I have not-so-fondly nicknamed that recipe the “feety dish” as it tasted like feet. Or there was another dish that left us a lovely feeling of indigestion and heartburn. I even did a tried and true recipe of stuffed bell peppers, but bought the wrong kind of turkey meat (it was mashed breast meat, not ground). At least that one didn’t make us ill.

I am off my game!

I do have one recipe that I am very excited to try, my very first pot roast. I’ve got a thermometer so the temperature will tell me when it’s done, not the time. How can you mess up a pot roast? Well, we’re about to find out… 

Pumpkin Roll – An Illustrated Guide

19 Oct

Once I made this pumpkin roll and realized how easy it was I wanted to make all kinds of rolls. Why stop at pumpkin! Cranberry roll for Christmas! Melted peep roll for Easter! Maybe I could even make them savory, mashed potato with herbs roll! Meatloaf roll! Ok now, I’ve gone too far. However, this pumpkin roll is very delicious, super easy to make, and only slightly messy.

Messy and bulgy, but delicious!

Messy and bulgy, but delicious!

The first step is to mix the dough. This is the easiest part. Now for those of you who are new to baking most recipes will call for mixing wet and dry ingredients separately. There are multiple reasons for this, but the way I see it is once you add baking soda/powder to a liquid it starts reacting right away. It’s important to wait for that reaction for the oven so it can help the dough rise a little bit.

Mixing the liquids

Mixing the liquids

Mixing the dry stuff

Mixing the dry stuff

Challenge one is to put this mixture on a baking sheet. After trial and error I figured out that it is easier to place parchment paper on the baking sheet. Even though parchment paper is supposed to be non-stick, you must spray it with non-stick spray. I use Baker’s Joy because it contains flour. This dough is meant to be somewhat pliable and so it will stick if you don’t spray the surface first.

Sprayed the parchment paper...it's ready for the dough

Sprayed the parchment paper…it’s ready for the dough

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Now the dough is ready to be spread out

You don’t have to have a cake frosting spreader to spread the dough, but it sure helps getting it as flat as possible. You want to make sure it is all even so it will roll smoothly.

Making it even

Making it even

As even as I can get it

As even as I can get it

It’s also important not to overcook this dough, but not undercook it. What I tend to do is do some chores or while something is baking. If you do that just keep tabs on the time or set a timer earlier than you thought to check for doneness.

 

Baked and ready to be inverted

Baked and ready to be inverted

This next part is tricky and be prepared to get powdered sugar everywhere. The towel must be coated with powdered sugar as the rolling comes next. It does help to have two people for this next part.

Got it down!

Got it down!

Once it’s down it just needs to cool, then cream cheese added.

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Can I just eat this as it is?

Can I just eat this as it is?

Ok, now comes the rolling. It’s tough, but if you’re gentle and keep going it will look great. Trust me!

The first part of rolling is always the hardest

The first part of rolling is always the hardest

See, it looks ruined, but don’t worry. Keep going and it will form a nice roll.

Voila!

Voila!

 

Even now it doesn’t look perfect. Unfortunately my photos end here. But what’s next is easy. I wrapped this entire roll in seran wrap and placed it in the freezer to harden. This is perfect as you can make this days ahead of time and it will still be fresh for you. Freezing it also makes slicing easier. What I did was froze it for a couple hours to get it to harden and then took it out. Cut the ends off to make it look pretty and coat with more powdered sugar. You’ll be left with a gorgeous pumpkin roll that tastes great and looks even better!

Libby’s Pumpkin Roll – found on Very Best Baking’s Website

Prep:
45 mins
Cooking:
13 mins
Cooling:
60 mins
Yields:
10
Dazzle family and friends with Libby’s® Pumpkin Roll; moist and creamy, with a tantalizing aroma and beautiful presentation.

Ingredients

  • CAKE
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar (to sprinkle on towel)
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup LIBBY’S® 100% Pure Pumpkin
  • 1 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)
  • FILLING
  • 1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 6 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Powdered sugar (optional for decoration)

Directions

FOR CAKE:
PREHEAT
oven to 375° F. Grease 15 x 10-inch jelly-roll pan; line with wax paper. Grease and flour paper. Sprinkle a thin, cotton kitchen towel with powdered sugar.

COMBINE flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt in small bowl. Beat eggs and granulated sugar in large mixer bowl until thick. Beat in pumpkin. Stir in flour mixture. Spread evenly into prepared pan. Sprinkle with nuts.

BAKE for 13 to 15 minutes or until top of cake springs back when touched. (If using a dark-colored pan, begin checking for doneness at 11 minutes.) Immediately loosen and turn cake onto prepared towel. Carefully peel off paper. Roll up cake and towel together, starting with narrow end. Cool on wire rack.

FOR FILLING:
BEAT
cream cheese, 1 cup powdered sugar, butter and vanilla extract in small mixer bowl until smooth. Carefully unroll cake. Spread cream cheese mixture over cake. Reroll cake. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour. Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving, if desired.

COOKING TIP:
Be sure to put enough powdered sugar on the towel when rolling up the cake so it will not stick.

For nutritional information please visit Libby’s website.

 

 

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