Sep 25, 2012

Mouse has moved

New URL!  If you get any kicks outta my quirks, you can follow me HERE.

Sep 23, 2012

2 Things Challenge: Eyes/Many

Sleepy EYES.

MANY dogs and their people were at the bark park this evening.

Sep 18, 2012

"Hearty Herdbeast Stew"

Fall is in the air and the wind coming down off the Rockies makes us crave comfort food.  I came across this stew recipe in The Dragonlover's Guide to Pern, any Anne McCaffrey fans out there?  The hubs is eating it up (and Romeo has had some and drools on himself when he smells it cooking.)  A double batch fits just right in my dutch oven.  I had about 2 and a half pounds of stew meat, so I used a handful of garlic cloves, a whole onion, 2 bay leaves, and added a few extra chopped veggies.  I also skipped the last three spices and it turned out fine.  You can easily make this vegetarian by substituting seitan or TVP chunks for the beef.  If you can, it's best to let it sit in the fridge for a day or so, to let the gravy thicken and the flavors develop.  The book also includes recipes for "Klah"- a cinnamony chocolate drink, "Benden Baklava", and "Bubbly Pies".  The following is quoted from page 74-75 of the book, written by Jody Lynn Nye with Anne McCaffrey.

Hearty Herdbeast Stew

For tastiest results, use either the meat of mature bovine or young ovine.  To serve four, assemble the following ingredients:

1 to 1 1/2 pounds herdbeast, cut into 1-inch pieces
3 tablespoons flour
3 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 garlic clove (if desired)
1/2 large onion, cut into bite size pieces
1 pound peeled tomatoes (or 1 16-ounce can of tomatoes in their own juice)
2 cups water
4 small or 2 medium potatoes, peeling optional
2-4 small carrots, sliced
2 ribs celery, sliced into 1 inch pieces
bay leaf
1 cup corn kernels or baby corn cut into 1-inch pieces
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard or cracked mustard seeds
garlic salt

-Dredge the pieces of meat in flour.  Melt the butter in a saucepan.  When bubbly, add the meat.  Brown the pieces on all sides.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Add the onion and garlic; cook until transparent.  Then add the tomatoes and two cups of water.  Break up the tomatoes with a spoon.  Add potatoes, bay leaf carrots, and celery.  Bring the mixture to a boil, cover, reduce to a simmer, and let cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
-Add corn, spices to taste.  Bring the stew to a boil again, cover and return to simmer.  Cook for 15-30 minutes stirring occasionally until corn, potatoes, and meat are all tender.  Uncover and cook for 15 or so minutes until stew is slightly thickened.

Sep 17, 2012

High Altitude Banana Bread

Hurray!  Finally, a quick bread recipe that turns out perfectly at mile high altitude.  The trick is to add less leavening and more moisture.  I also used a half a teaspoon of pumpkin spice, instead of just straight cinnamon.  Even my husband, who doesn't like sweet things, ate this up.  I found the recipe HERE, many thanks to The Wallaces for sharing!

Sep 16, 2012

2 Things Challenge: Local/Hot

These are some photos I took back in June while visiting The Wild Animal Sanctuary, in Keenesburg, Colorado.  Pretty local, it's about a half hour drive from me.  Please check out their website by clicking the highlighted name, they're doing amazing things for endangered, abused, and abandoned larger predators.

It was a hot, dry day with hardly any breeze. Everyone was trying to snooze in the shade.  This was one of the wolf dens.  I wasn't anywhere near close to any of these animals, my camera has an awesome zoom feature.

Almost everyone made it to the shade before siesta time kicked in.

Some decided to go for a dip.

...or to catch what little breeze there was.

And others decided to snooze belly up.

Sep 9, 2012

2 Things Challenge: Day/Ends

DAY/ENDS: The day ends peacefully on the high desert plain.

(This photo was taken in Erie, Colorado.)

Sep 2, 2012

2 Things Challenge: Portrait/Round

Well, the photo I first had in mind for this week's challenge no longer exists.  Oops.  It was a pic of an oval framed portrait of Elizabeth I, that I took at the Denver Art Museum.  Wish I could remember the artist's name.  Word to the wise, back up your data to an external hard drive AND online somewhere, because external hard drives will break down on you.  This is probably a very obvious thing to do, to those who are more plugged in than I am.

Oh well, I learn from my mistakes.  For this week's challenge, I'd like to share a family photo taken back in late April while I was in Ohio.  I got to be in town for my da's birthday celebration, which included dinner at the Pufferbelly and a Leon Redbone concert.

I'm my father's child.  Can you tell?

Aug 22, 2012

More Puppy Romps

Romeo, Teddy, Katie and I at the Union Reservoir a few weekends ago.  Romeo is no water dog and mostly just wanted to wade, but after watching Teddy for a while he went swimming!  Video is at the end of the post.

Aug 21, 2012

Gluten Pups: Meatless Hotdogs/Sausages

If you are a vegetarian or vegan who isn't a fan of the faux meat available on the shelves but wants to be eating hot dogs from the grill, then this recipe is for you.  It sounds daunting, but it's super easy!  Just takes a little prep work.  I first heard of this recipe from The Vegan Ronin, check out what she has to say about it HERE.  (She found the recipe from Vegan Dad, who I believe found it from someone named Isa?)  I always end up with more than the recipe says it makes, about 8 hot dogs or about 15-20 breakfast links.  And I like to leave the dogs in the steamer for closer to an hour.

I've tried this recipe a few times now and my advice is this: it's crucial that the sausages are wrapped up all snug or you'll end up with seitan lumps that are yummy, but not visually appealing.  And here's how to make sure they're all snuggy:

Take a good handful of dough...

...and make a little log.

Now tuck the tinfoil snuggly around and underneath the dough and roll it up.

Twist the ends of the foil into a tootsie roll shape until it's tightly wrapped and fold the ends up.  Now it's ready for the steamer.

I don't own a steamer and to be honest, my kitchen is so full I'm not interested in getting one.  So I jerry-rigged my own using a frying pan and my lil veggie steamer basket held up by an aluminum pan that I poked full of holes, and I used the lid from my dutch oven.  Ta da!  The only drawback to this design is that I can only fit about four regular sized dogs in it at a time.




So now your gluten pups are steamed and ready to eat.  At this stage they can be baked, grilled, or pan fried for extra crispiness but this is a matter of preference.  YuuuuuMEE!

Aug 19, 2012

2 Things Challenge: Flat/Flagpole

FLAT (and yummy!): This is a piece of paper thin roasted Korean seaweed snack I got at the Natural Grocer's, comes in a little pack like a bag of potato chips. The type of seaweed itself is called 'kim' in Korean and 'nori' in Japanese. Seaweed chips! I had some in miso soup for lunch and ate the rest as is. They remind me of kale chips my mom makes.

FLAGPOLE: This is the always empty flagpole in the parking lot of the next door K-Mart. Always empty, even on patriotic occasions.

Aug 8, 2012

Mouse's Better Than Mac 'n Cheese (Quinoa Risotto)

The following is basically a risotto, but made with quinoa as the grain. (Less starch and higher protein than the rice.) I followed the grain to liquid ratio HERE, but I used olive oil instead of butter, added sage and pine nuts, and used just 2 small garlic cloves. Wish I'd had some mushrooms to throw in. I recommend using a good freshly grated Parmesan because the quality is everything to the flavor, you will miss out if you cheat and use Kraft!

I've also made this recipe spiced with golden raisins, chopped apples, onion, nutmeg, and cinnamon. You can also add millet to the quinoa, just as long as you still use one cup grain to two cups water.

2 Things Challenge: Value/New

I value the people in my life.

Every single one of them.

New clouds coming in behind the storm.

While my sister was visiting in July, we drove up to the Boulder Chautauqua and discovered a new hiking trail and a new view.

Jul 20, 2012

Where does evil come from?

I write in response to a recent, local tragedy.

I woke this morning feeling refreshed and blissfully unaware of current events. (Ignorance is bliss, but only to the ignorant.) I walked the dog, I fed the bunny, I put the kettle on, I went about the little routines that make up my morning. The heat was beating down already when I walked Romeo, making the air thick and filling as pea soup. I kissed my sister goodbye as she left after a wonderful visit, to head back east. And then a text from our concerned brother changed the day's mood. Shootings? Aurora? I hadn't finished my first cup of coffee yet and felt a bit like Arthur Dent trying to put meaning to the word "yellow".

Roland "Doobie", 2006-July 18, 2012

"My heart has joined the thousand, for my friend stopped running today."  - Watership Down

We lost Rollie to lung cancer yesterday.  You are missed, little friend.

Jul 7, 2012

Alien in my Window

I found this dried out little body on my windowsill next to the basil plants.  Ashes to ashes, little alien.

2 Things Challenge: Home/Image

The back barnyard on Blackberry Farm, late spring, as seen from my mother's fiber workshop loft.

Jun 30, 2012

2 Things Challenge: Blue/Fresh

These images are from last night at the Red Rocks Amphitheater, we heard The Avett Brothers.  The weather was PERFECT.

I just came across these singers on the radio, Dave Carter and Tracy Grammer.  Beautiful song and musicians.

I was born in a forked-tongued story,
raised up by merchants and drugstore liars.
Now I walk on the paths of glory,
one foot in ice, one in fire.

I see the mountain, the mountain comes to me,
I see the mountain and that is all I see.

Some poor prophet comes, some find solace,
some lay him down in a junkyard bay.
Some will chase us and some will call us,
gone, gone, gone in a day.

gone to the mountain, the mountain comes to me,
i see the mountain and that is all I see.

Miller take me and miller grind me,
scatter by bones on the wild green tide.
Maybe some roving bird will find me,
over the water we'll ride.

over the mountain, the mountain comes to me,
I see the mountain and that is all I see.

Some build temples and some find altars,
some come in tall hats and robes spun fine.
Some in rags, some in gemstone halters,
some push the pegs back in line.

I see the mountain, the mountain comes to me,
I see the mountain and that is all I see.

Jun 27, 2012

Baby Bunny Butt Cheeks

We've all had days like this.

More photos to come of the bunny babies born on May 19th!

This Year's Apartment Garden

These photos were taken on June 15th.  The spinach I'm going to have to feed to bunnies, it just isn't doing well.  I think I'm going to transplant a few basil plants into this window pot.

The basil seeds were several years old, I wasn't sure they'd sprout so I planted a bunch.  Whoops.  They've done great, now I'm going to have to give some away.

And I set aside a few organic fuji apple seeds to dry a few months ago.  The day after I took these photos, there were two seedlings in this pot.  But here's the first one with the pot all to itself.

Jun 22, 2012

The Portrait of a Lady

I loved this novel, but I love the movie as well.  I had the biggest crush on Martin Donovan after watching this movie in high school.  I love this tune so much, I taught myself how to play it on my flute.  Queen of the Nerds, right here.

Martin Donovan, as Ralph.

Jun 17, 2012

2 Things Challenge: Wooden/Word

Wooden/Word: My mother-in-law has a friend that does wood carving.  She brought me this when they visited last November.

Jun 16, 2012

In the Hoophouse

My parents have a fantastic hoop house for growing vegetables year round.

There were a lot of praying mantises...manti?  They were so small, I had a heck of a time getting them into focus.

A young grasshopper on the left, a very young mantis on the right, enjoying the good weather in the spinach patch.

This is a praying mantis egg case.  The mantis is a carnivore, my parents introduced them to keep the veggie eating bug population down.  Unfortunately, they ate a lot of each other up as well.  A full grown mantis will even take on a scorpion!  Not that we have those in Ohio...

Other insects get into the hoop house as well and need help getting out...


                                              ...which is when this comes in handy.