Monday, October 27, 2014

Elk Visit at McGregor Mountain Lodge Estes Park, Colorado 10-25-2014 tak...

We went up to Estes Park this past weekend for a stay at McGregor Mountain Lodge. We took one of our daughters and her family with us and had a really great time. I took this video of this elk right outside our cabin. What a thrill! It was only about 6:30am and I thought I would go out and sit on the patio with my coffee. I remembered what the innkeeper said about looking around before going outside, especially if it was dark. I looked to my left, nothing there. I looked to my right and about six feet away from the door was this big fella. I quickly woke my granddaughter up and we grabbed our cameras and started snapping away. I finally had the good sense to turn on the video portion and got this video. Hope you like it. I'll post some pictures when I get them downloaded.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Pre-Diabetes and Weight Loss

In January I was diagnosed with pre-diabetes. It was a big shock. I went to the doctor for my physical after getting my new health insurance. I hadn't been to a regular doctor for two years. I had taken myself off my statin drug for cholesterol because I didn't like the side effects I was having. I had been off the drug for a year when I saw the doctor. I fully expected to hear the doctor say that my cholesterol was  sky high and I needed to start taking the statin drug again. Imagine my surprise when she said my cholesterol was fine but my A1C test was 6.2 which meant I had pre-diabetes. She wanted to put me on metformin but I said no. I think I went into deep denial. I said I would diet and exercise and I went home and proceeded to do nothing. I guess I really didn't believe her or I thought magical thinking would cure me. I went in for another A1C the end of April and found out my results were now 6.4.  You are considered a diabetic at 6.5. That shook me out of my complacency! I immediately started metformin and I took a diabetes education class. I cut as much sugar out of my diet as possible and got an app for my smart phone called Healthediabetes from Calorie King. I limited myself to 1200-1500 calories a day, tracked my blood sugar and started walking. I had my A1C checked  again the end of August and it was 6.1. I want to see it back in the normal range of 3.5-5.6 and to that end I've taken off 22 lbs. I have another 50 to go but I'm determined to get it off and keep it off this time. My life depends on it.

I'm not going to tell  you that I never have sweets anymore because that would be a lie. I will tell you that I allow myself a bite or two but not every day. I'm trying to live by everything in moderation and to cut out what triggers me to eat more.
One of the tools I'm using to make sure I get my exercise is a Fit Bit Flex. I wear it on my wrist 24/7 and it tracks every step I take and how I'm sleeping at night. Since I started using it, I've walked everyday and each day  I've progressed. This week I got 44,089 steps. That's great for someone that three weeks ago got 8,876 for the whole week. I'm ultimately reaching for the goal of 10,000 steps a day and I know I will get there.

Yesterday I broke down and went clothes shopping. I hate to shop for clothes but was delighted to find out I had gone down a bra size, a pants size and a  shirt size. Yippee. I think I'm going  to save for a nice pair of cowgirl boots next!

Sunday, October 05, 2014

Blue Ribbon Baking from a Redneck Kitchen

I received this book from Blogging for Books a couple of weeks ago, but I've been so busy, I didn't pick it up until yesterday. My kids and grand kids were coming for dinner so I decided it would be a perfect time for dessert baking. 

I watched Francine Bryson on the American Baking Competition last year and she became my favorite to watch. The show was hosted by Jeff Foxworthy and had a variety of people from all walks of life competing, but Francine stood out as a sassy, but sweet Southern lady that really knew her way around a kitchen. I felt like she got robbed when she didn't win, but she was a finalist and I knew I would  probably see a cookbook from her someday.That day has come.

Her  new cookbook, Blue Ribbon Baking from a Redneck Kitchen is a must have. Her recipes are clearly written and easy to follow and the pictures are beautiful. She includes little  stories about how she came up  with the recipes and it really is an entertaining read. I love Francine's pie chapter, where she gives a lot of great recipes for different kinds of pie crust before she starts with the actual pie recipe. In the chapter Baked Goods to Show Off, she has a recipe for World-Famous Chocolate Bacon Peanut Butter Pie. She made this on the show and the British judge almost tossed his cookies when she told him what she was making, but once he tasted it,  he was won over big time!

Today I chose to make Cheater's Caramel Apple Dump Cake. It was a really easy recipe and the whole family loved it. How can you go wrong with apples, apple pie filling, cream cheese, cinnamon, brown sugar, caramel syrup, and a boxed cake mix. These recipes may not be health food for every day consumption but everybody needs a little sweet in their life sometime


I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Friday, September 05, 2014

Giants vs Rockies

Tuesday night we got to go into Denver to Coors Field and watch the Giants and the Rockies baseball game. Our two youngest daughters sent us tickets so off we went. The game didn't start until 6:40, but we decided to go early so we could watch batting practice and have dinner at the ball park. We got there about 4pm and the gates opened at 4:30pm. We went up to the roof to find out that the restaurants didn't open until 5pm so we hung around and I took some pictures.

Angel Pagan and Hunter Pence in the dugout

The Giants going through their stretches.
Mike  and the Rockies mascot.

We had a great time at the game and hope to get to some more next year.      

The New Indian Slow Cooker

I received a new cookbook in the mail today. The New Indian Slow Cooker by Neela Paniz is a soft cover book with about 60 recipes in it.  I have to admit that I've never tried Indian food before, mainly because my hubby refuses to try it because he doesn't like anything spicy. The pictures in this book are beautiful and it made me hungry just looking at them. However, I know I will probably not use this cookbook.
 Using my slow cooker means easy cooking for me. That set it and forget it is what I like about slow cooking. Looking at the recipes in this book, it seemed to me that not only was there a lot of prep work before going in the slow cooker, the ingredients list for some of the recipes was daunting. When 1 have 22 ingredients in a recipe that are expensive and hard to find, I usually wouldn't pick that recipe to cook.
I  did like the stories the author told about her recipes, but I think I need to try out an Indian restaurant before I try any of these recipes to see if I like Indian food.
I think if you are a big fan of Indian food and want to re-create that same food at home, you would probably love this book.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Cooking "Down South"

Anyone that knows me, knows that I'm a big cookbook collector. I could probably cook something different everyday and not run out of recipes for the rest of my life.
I just got a new cookbook called, "Down South" by Donald Link. It's a beautiful  book, the pictures are stunning and I love the author's anecdotes about growing up in the South. The first chapter starts out with cocktails. I'm not much of a drinker but the recipes were interesting. A recipe for Cherry Bounce caught my eye, because I'm a big fan of the Outlander books and that is a drink they had in the eighteenth century.

If you are a big seafood fan, this book is for you. From Watermelon Gazpacho with Crabmeat, to Grilled Scallops with Green Garlic Butter, all the recipes look tantalizing and fairly easy to make.

Donald also has some great recipes for meat including Braised Chicken with Salami and Olives, Lamb Shoulder Stew with Lemons and Olives, Tupelo Honey-Glazed Ham, and Pork Belly and Smoked Sausage Cassoulet.

 In the appetizer section they have a recipe for Parmesan Bacon Gougeres. These are little cheese puff bites that are the perfect appetizer. If you're looking for a new cookbook and you like Southern food I  suggest you get this cookbook.

Donald Link is the chef-owner of Herbsaint, Cochon, Cochan Butcher, Peche, and Calcasieu in New Orleans. He won the James Beard Award for Best Chef South in 2007, and his first book, Real Cajun, won the James Beard Award for Best American Cookbook.

I received this book from "Blogging for Books"for this review.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Benson Sculpture Garden

This sculpture is titled "Painting Music"
Blogger is not cooperating with me right now so some of my pictures ended up here instead of below my writing. Oh well, I hope you enjoy the pictures!

I love the concentration on her face.
This one is for Megan!

This week I've been house sitting in Loveland for my daughter and her family. They are on a lovely vacation to Idaho and having a great time. Mike and I have been staying here because they have one golden retriever, 2 cats, and four chickens that need daily care. It's been interesting to say the least.

Yesterday we decided to go to the Benson Sculpture Garden here in Loveland. I think that most of these lovely works of art were cast at foundries here in Loveland. I toured one of the foundries a few months ago and was very impressed at all the work that it takes to make one of these bronze sculptures. The artists are very talented and Benson Sculpture Garden is a beautiful place to walk, take pictures and just contemplate the amazing pieces here.
 Wolf Pack
I love this one!

This reminds me of a sailing ship!

This is called "Breeze" I love the movement of her hair!

This needs no explanation.

Beautiful grandma!

I love the expressions on the faces of the statues.

Some of the beautiful landscape

A whimsical sculpture in the Children's Sculpture Garden    

This fox looked really real to me.

I was really glad that we went to the garden in the morning because we had a ripping good thunderstorm in the afternoon.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Epic Road Trip-Day Twelve

 We left Rapid City behind and took off for Wyoming. Our first stop for the day was at a small pioneer museum in Sundance, Wyoming. It was interesting. They had a lot of old rifles, saddles, photos and furniture from the period. We didn't stay long because our objective for the day was Devil's Tower. It was worth the drive. If you have ever seen the movie, "Close Encounters of the Third Kind," you will recognize Devil's Tower right away.

This is a National Monument and is really worth seeing.  After we left the monument, we drove to Casper, Wyoming for our final night on the road. We had a 4 1/2 hour drive the next day to get home from our adventure. We drove most of it straight through except for a stop or two for letterboxes.  All in all, it was a great trip and lots of memories were made. Now we're planning our next adventure!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Epic Road Trip-Day Eleven

We got up early and drove to Deadwood. We planned to be there all day, but discovered it wasn't much of a place for kids. We did enjoy going to Mt. Moriah Cemetery (Boot Hill) where Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane are buried. It really is a beautiful old cemetery with a Mason section, a Jewish section and veterans section with civil war, Spanish/American war and World War 1 veterans buried there.

After we left the cemetery, we went to an old gold mine. Mike, Kim and the kids took a tour. I had hurt my knee that morning and decided not to go with them because there were lots of stairs. I waited in the car with a good book.

We went into one of the casinos to have lunch and then let Mike do some gambling while Kim, the kids, and I went to get ice cream and take a quick look at a miniature railroad museum in the basement of the ice cream shop. After that we decided to go back to the hotel so the kids could once again have fun in the pool.

Saturday, August 09, 2014

Epic Road Trip-Day 10 1/2

After we finished at Bear Country USA we decided to drive to Mt. Rushmore. This really is an awe inspiring place. It's just beautiful country and when you get your first glimpse of Mt. Rushmore, it's breathtaking.

We really enjoyed this. We stayed for a couple of hours and ate lunch with a great view of Mt. Rushmore.
We got on the road again and went back to Rapid City to explore the School of Mines Museum. I think the kids really enjoyed this.

After we finished at the museum we went back to the hotel, got in our swim suits and went to the pool. It was a good sized pool with a fun water slide for the kids. We also ordered pizza to be delivered to the pool for dinner. They had nice tables with umbrellas (even though it was indoors) to eat our dinner. We stayed down there for a couple of hours and then went back to get ready for bed and more fun tomorrow.