Friendship

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We spent a wonderful, laughter-filled evening with the cousins Wednesday, at the super fun downtown Holiday Stroll. We love our time together!

We also love Colorado Springs! It’s a little weird, but it’s beautiful and full of heart. There were stands with free hot chocolate and cookies, while Santa (no photo, sadly), carolers, and a brass quartet strolled along with us.

We even got lucky a second time at Jack Quinn’s, scoring one of the special booths for a delicious dinner beforehand. I got my favorite Blarney Stone, and Greg is showing his goofball side with dessert. I love him so much!

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Hello friends! Happy day after Thanksgiving to you! It was a non-traditional feast for us this holiday, celebrating with our cousin Zach. We enjoyed each other’s very fine company, along with margaritas, guacamole, green & red chile, pork & three kinds of wee sweet tamales. All made by yours truly, which was quite the endeavor! I started on Tuesday, so I wouldn’t be a manic maniac Thursday.

Grandpa would be super proud, especially noting the pork to masa ratio, as he nearly always lamented a lack of meat. It was my first time making tamales on my own. The last time was in high school, helping my mom. Much thanks to Tamales 101 for all the history (did you know they were among the first MREs?) and helpful advice! Greg and I decided that they’re the best we’ve ever had, which is wonderful, when Moreno’s and La Choza set such a high bar.

It was also the first time we’d ever had sweet tamales, more out of necessity than forethought truth be told, because there was SO much masa. Seriously. I didn’t have enough ingredients to fill them savory style, even when improvising with green chiles and cheese. I flavored the masa with vanilla and sugar in one batch, cinnamon and sugar in another, and sugar and chocolate chips in the third. You’d think our resident chocoholic would have been most excited about those, but he was dubious. They turned out to be our favorite, which was rather sad, as I made the fewest of them. Next time! The chocolate laden one is our final incarnation, made with leftovers and a sauce on the fly this afternoon. Delicious.

Finally to Zach’s creme brulee! It was egg nog flavored and muy muy delicioso. He and Greg did a fine job on the brulee portion. FIRE!

Oh, and here is my “recipe” for margaritas – my favorite in the land. Make a single glass or enough for a party. The sparkling water makes it slightly unconventional, but it is muy potente without it. Besides, bubbles are fun! If you are lucky enough to have some prickly pear syrup on hand, add it to your liking and be glad. The flavor and color are fabulous.

  • 3 parts sparkling lemon, lime, or lemon-lime sparkling water
  • Two parts tequila
  • 1.5 parts lime juice, fresh squeezed or bottled
  • One part orange liqueur (I like Gran Gala)
  • 1/2 part agave nectar
  • salt

Stir everything but the sparkling water together in a glass or pitcher, and taste to see how you feel about it. Add whatever it needs before adding the water. Sometimes the lime isn’t as flavorful, and I end up having it in equal proportion to the tequila. Maybe you like it sweeter. It’s your margarita. Do what you like! Another way I let go of convention is by adding salt directly to the glass. Salting the rim is a major pain. Sprinkle some nice sea salt in, stir, and taste. Add more, if you want. Enjoy!

With all their favorite flowers in full blossom, our hummingbird friends are in a frenzy, with Rufous, Calliope, and Broad Tails zooming for garden domination!

New mushroom sculptures – aren’t they sweet?

Breakfast delights: biscuits, jam, sausage gravy, and, of course, coffee!

To riff on the famous Jaws line, I think we’re going to need a bigger table…

a hungry fritillary (I think) on the orange echinacea

We’ve also been hosting swallowtails, monarchs, admirals, mourning cloaks, sulphurs, cabbages, and just as many moths that I don’t know what to call. If only they weren’t so camera shy.

My favorite companions in one of my favorite places!

Gooseberries! These are from the neighbors, as our bush is just getting its legs. I made jam, of course. So good!

 

 

 

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Took a step back in time today, to visit Glen Eyrie Castle, the home of William Palmer, the founder of Colorado Springs. Though we all know my Native American ancestors had a bit of a jump on him! It was a rare treat, as every room of the castle was available for viewing, including each of the guest rooms. We had two stellar and knowledgeable tour guides, and oohed and aahed over details grand and small.

As you can tell, I was most intrigued by the views, imagining quiet moments wandering from gorgeous window to window, conjuring the supreme quiet of every season: a drift of snow, froth of new green, arc of azure sky and rock formations and evergreens at every turn.

We ended our tour with a very British high tea, with that pretty salad, wee sandwiches, biscuits, and scones and equally good conversation. Thank you, Cori (front and center), for the marvelous suggestion. Happy Birthday to you!

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Welcome to Monday and April (!). Tonight’s dinner was a pretty Thai salad with protein noodles made from wild Alaskan pollock. I am always trying to find ways to reduce carbs (so I can indulge my sweet tooth without having sugar overload), and these were a great surprise find at Costco.  The noodles were yummy and just right, but oooh-eee was the dressing spicy. Thai chilis are hot to trot!

Speaking of that sweet tooth, look at this killer caramel crunch corn flake brownie from a recipe by Cupcake Jemma. She makes all  kinds of awesome looking treats, and these were my first to try. Good gracious are they RICH! Greg and I brought them to D & D night with the cousins (My gnome Kittra is going strong!), and we struggled to finish one brownie each, which is saying A LOT. But, wow, wow, wow, are they tasty!

Handsome hubster in silhouette.

Look at those clouds, like some heavenly zen garden in progress, or, perhaps coming apart.

What?

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Spring is doing it’s best to tease us, with balmy 70 degree days followed by snow and below freezing temperatures.  I don’t particularly mind, as I have still been able to make progress out in the garden. The crocus have already passed and tulips and every other manner of bulb is peeking from the ground. I am eager for their sweet pops of color and hopeful Juniper doesn’t trample too many with her joyful romps in the yard.

Hoping life is lovely where you are!

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