Colorado Bound

Colorado Bound

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Hank's Big Adventure

Tyler's birthday was on Saturday - the big 28! Last year I was a terrible wife and went on a girl's trip to Vegas on his Birthday. It was nearly free, but I felt guilty all the same. So this year I vowed to thrown him the best birthday party ever. Thanks to Pinterest, I found some great inspiration and got crafty. I took Friday off of work so I could prepare everything. I even took Hank to doggie daycare so he could get all his energy out and be calm for our guests. 

Fast forward to Saturday. I miraculously had time to do everything I wanted to do before our guests started arriving. House immaculate? Check. Food all prepped? Check. Decorations complete? Check. Time to make myself look nice? Check. Worn out and happy dog? Check? Hello? Hank?

If you've met Hank, you know he gets a little anxious when guests walk in the door. After about 15 seconds of barking and cautious sniffing, he's your new best friend and won't leave your side. Hank went through his usual routine when our first guest arrived. Our second guests came and we greeted them exchanged hugs, but something was missing...where was Hank? We checked the house and backyard. No Hank. 

Instead of panicing, we all sprang to action. I set out on foot while the guys got in cars and canvassed the neighborhood. Oh, and it's raining. Of course it is raining. No story is complete without bad weather. Even in Denver. 

After about 15 minutes of calling his name, Hank is nowhere to be found. Now I'm starting to panic. Nevermind that my dress and hair are soaking wet and my makeup is running. It's right about now that my phone rings. A good samaritan a few blocks away has found Hank. But Hank is hurt. 

Once we get Hank home, we see that he's managed to tear off all the padding on his feet. What happened to you Hank? It's all I can do not to burst into tears in front of all our guests. We grab some peroxide and start cleaning his wounds. He starts yelping. Cue the waterworks.

Karla assured me that her dog Tank had a similar injury after running around on the concrete. We took her advice and covered his wounds with Neosporin, hoping he'd be better in the morning.

After a sleepless night with lots of tears, Hank appears to have healed a little. Until we stand him up to go outside. His wounds break open and he can't even stand on his own. We decide to take him to the emergency vet. 

A few hours later (and more tears from me) Hank emerges. His feet are bandaged and he's walking! What's more his tail is wagging and he even tries to jump up on us. The vet says that his wounds were caused by running on the concrete. I told him no way - Hank is my running buddy and he runs 8 + miles with me on the concrete. Yea, but how fast are you going? Uh, 6 miles per hour? Turns out Hank can probably run at least 40 miles per hour in a sprint. Do that on the concrete and it tears off all the padding. So Hank had a few glorious minutes to see just how fast he could go doing what he loves - running. I was worried he wouldn't want to run again after the trauma of his feet, but I put on my running clothes today and he jumped off the couch and started barking. I can't wait to have my running buddy back as soon as these bandages are off. Ready to see how adorable he looks?

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Monday, May 21, 2012

Crispy Baked Ravioli

Tyler loves pasta with tomato sauce. Unfortunately for him, I'm not a huge fan of pasta so I rarely prepare it - with one exception, fried ravioli. I decided to try and prepare a lighter, baked version at home. After experimenting with a few versions, Tyler gave this recipe his seal of approval. Baking the ravioli is easier and healthier than frying, which makes this a quick meal solution for busy weeknights.

Crispy Baked Ravioli
  • 1 package refrigerated ravioli, any flavor
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup fat free Italian dressing
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 cup Italian seasoned panko breadcrumbs
  • cooking spray
  • Marinara sauce for dipping
COOK ravioli in boiling water according to package instructions. Drain and let cool for 10 minutes

PLACE breadcrumbs in a shallow bowl. In a second bowl, combine egg, Italian dressing, salt and pepper. 

DIP the ravioli in the egg mixture and then coat with breadcrumbs. Repeat with all the ravioli and place on baking sheet coated with cooking spray.

SPRAY ravioli with a little bit of cooking spray to help them brown.

BAKE at 400 degrees for 8-10 minutes until breadcrumbs begin to brown.

SERVE with marinara sauce.

*TIP - Use one hand to dip ravioli in egg mixture and the other hand for coating in breadcrumbs. Keeping one hand dry makes for a less messy process.
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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Mini Lobster Cups

I love seafood, particularly shellfish. I'm always looking for great seafood places (yes, even in Denver) but I rarely cook anything but shrimp at home. I got a new cookbook for the Holidays called Winter Celebrations. I made quite a few of the recipes and one of my favorites was this easy recipe for Mini Lobster Cups. They look impressive and are amazingly easy to make! I even feel a little more confident about trying other shellfish recipes at home.

Mini Lobster Cups

  • 15 frozen mini phyllo shells
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/4 pound cooked lobster meat, coarsely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh chives, plus a few chive sprigs for garnish (may substitute green onion)
  • pinch cayenne pepper
HEAT oven to 350 degrees. Arrange phyllo shells on a baking sheet and bake about 10 minutes, or until shells are warm.

MIX cream cheese in a medium bowl until smooth. Gently fold in all the lobster except 2 tablespoons. Fold in the lemon zest, minced chives and cayenne.

DIVIDE lobster mixture evenly between the shells. Top with remaining lobster meat and garnish with sprigs of chive before serving.

Variation: During Mardi Gras I substituted crawfish meat for the lobster and it was equally delicious!
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Thursday, March 8, 2012

Spinach Ricotta Cups

Like so many great ideas, I found this recipe on Pinterest from the blog Eating Well...Living Thin. There are so many great recipes on this blog, I'm sure I'll be trying out many others!

As for these spinach cups, they are amazingly easy, look elegant, and taste great. Plus they're only 50 calories a cup! 

Spinach Ricotta Cups
  • Vegetable Cooking Spray
  • 24 square wonton wrappers (found in the produce section)
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 (10 oz.) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon milk (original recipe calls for cream)
  • 1 clove garlic, through a press
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Dash cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus additional for garnish
HEAT oven to 350 degrees. 

SPRAY a muffin pan with non-stick spray. Gently press one wonton wrapper into each muffin cup. Spray each wrapper with non-stick spray. Bake for 5 minutes.

COMBINE, ricotta, spinach, eggs, milk, garlic, salt, pepper, nutmeg, cayenne and the 1/4 cup Parmesan. Fill each wonton wrapper with about a tablespoon of the spinach mixture. Loosely lay a piece of foil over the muffin pan.

BAKE for 17 minutes. Repeat with remaining wonton wrappers and mixture. 


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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Aviation Martini

Here's the recipe for one of my favorite classic cocktails. My brother-in-law introduced me to this martini when he and my sister were visiting. Apparently, they've had trouble finding the maraschino liqueur at local liquor stores, but you can find it online.

The lemon juice makes this martini very refreshing and the maraschino liqueur cuts the gin flavor so it isn't as overpowering as a traditional martini.

Aviation Martini
  • 1.5 parts gin
  • 1 part Luxardo maraschino liqueur
  • 1 part fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • splash of creme de violette
  • lemon twist
SHAKE first four ingredients over ice in a martini shaker. Drain into martini glass and add a lemon twist.

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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Apple Cobbler Green Smoothie

Tyler and I started a cleanse at the beginning of February, which is why I haven't posted recipes. We chose the book CLEAN by Alejandro Junger. Tyler and I are on day 16 of 21 and feel great! Not to say I haven't had cravings, but I definitely have not been hungry. 

The basic premise is to follow an "elimination diet" that removes most allergens and all processed food from your diet. This means no alcohol, caffeine, dairy, wheat, soy, red meat, etc. To give your digestive system a break, your morning and evening meal must be liquid. So Tyler and I have gotten very friendly with our blender. We were nervous about adding spinach to smoothies in the beginning, but the fruit definitely masks any taste of the spinach. My favorite meal is this green shake that tastes like Apple Cobbler. Who wouldn't want that for breakfast? 

Apple Cobbler Green Smoothie
  • 1 apple, cored and sliced (peeled if not organic)
  • 1/2 peach, fresh or frozen
  • 1 tablespoon flax seed or meal
  • 1 large handful spinach
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup almond milk (can substitute coconut milk)
BLEND all ingredients until smooth.

I use all the organic ingredients that I can. It costs a little more, but what's the point of a cleanse if you're putting pesticides in your body? Plus we're saving money by not going out to eat. 

While I'm excited to be done with this cleanse in another week, I'm hoping to keep some good habits that I've formed. This smoothie is something I will definitely keep in the breakfast rotation.
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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

DIY Leaning Floor Mirror

One of the pieces that I've been coveting for our new home is a leaning floor mirror. I love the presence that a large scale mirror gives a room. It fills up vertical space in a small room without taking up too much space on the floor. Not to mention the lean of the mirror gives a very flattering perspective of yourself! 

I've seen many that I like for upwards of $300, and even those weren't exactly what I was looking for. So I decided to stick to one of my "resolutions" and get crafty. Here's how I made this leaning floor mirror for our guest room.

What you'll need:
  • Tape Measure
  • Mirror
  • Plywood
  • Boards for the Frame
  • Wood Glue
  • Mirror Adhesive
  • Mitre Box (or circular saw)
  • Clamps
Step 1. Measure your space. I looked at many floor mirrors and kept those measurements as a guide. Then I measured my space to make sure the scale would be appropriate.

Step 2: Get your mirror. You can find old mirrors at thrift stores, but I had mine cut by a glass store. I knew what size I wanted and called around to get quotes from several glass stores in my area. I was able to get this mirror for $60. If you're having the mirror cut, you may want them to sand the edges so they aren't sharp as you handle it.

Step 3: Gather your frame materials. To provide stability, I got a piece of plywood to mount on the back of the mirror. Home Depot will cut the plywood to the size you need. I didn't want the plywood to show from the side, so I subtracted 2" from the height and width of the finished mirror (including frame). For the frame, I liked the rustic look of the knotty pine and chose a 4" width. 

Step 4: Cut your frame. Since we're new homeowners, we don't own a circular saw. I bought a mitre box, which was more time consuming, but did the trick perfectly! We cut the boards at a 45 degree angle so they came together seamlessly at the corners. We kept measuring after each cut to make sure the fit and size was perfect.

Step 5: Glue it all together. Follow the directions for the mirror adhesive. We used generous amounts to make sure the plywood would handle the weight of this size mirror. Carefully flip the mirror over and secure it to the plywood. Using wood glue, adhere the frame pieces to the plywood. Use clamps to secure the fit and let set as directed on the mirror adhesive.

I originally planned to take a hammer to the wood and stain it to give it a "reclaimed" look, but once it was finished I loved the light pine and decided to wait. You can finish your frame however you'd like, there are many possibilities!

We don't have little ones running around the house, so our mirror just leans against the wall. However, for added safety, you can secure your mirror to the wall with a mount.

So what do you think? Can this DIY version hold up to the expensive versions? 

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