Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Daybook (it's almost October edition)

(from the simple woman's daybook)

It's been a while since I did a daybook post, so here goes.

Outside my window...unseasonably warm weather during the day.  Makes my sister glad she's in CO.
I am thinking...about Italy.   My BFF at work asked me first thing about going to Italy in 2012.  Between now and then I've got 2 trips on the books and more in the wings, but I've never been to Italy so we can be excited together.

I am thankful for...my mom.  She is awesome.

I am remembering...nothing.  Apparently my brain has turned to mush.  I think it has to do with how fast this past month has gone. 

I am going...to some very cool looking safari lodges in Tanzania next year.

I am currently reading...Almost Forever by Deborah Raney.

I am hoping...that all this working out and food journaling will pay off.   I know it will, but starting off is always hard. 

Noticing that...applicants applying for jobs at our property are pushy.
Pondering these lyrics...currently finding the words in Matthew West's "The Motions" and "My Own Little World" appropriate. 

From the kitchen...a killer Bananas Foster Bread from Cooking Light.   I bought flaxseed for the occasion, so hopefully it kinda sorta passes muster with my trainer.

Around the house...swimsuit hunting.

One of my favorite things...making people feel welcome.

From my camera...Rocky Mountain National Park
 

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Life Lessons by Anthony Bourdain

This week I finished reading Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain.  It was fun and easy to relate to after working in restaurants and hotels the past 15 years.  Working in a very "corporate" environment now, some of the shenanigans that can occur in independent free-standing restaurants, don't happen (or not as much) in a corporate kitchen.   One of the last chapters of the book includes Anthony's recommendations if you want to be a chef.   Many of these can apply to your job as well.

1.  Be fully committed.
2.  Learn Spanish (so useful in so many applications...it's true)
3.  Don't steal.
4. Always be on time.
5. Never make excuses or blame others.
6. Never call in sick ~ except in cases of dismemberment, arterial bleeding, sucking chest wounds or the death of an immediate family member.  (another one I love, since I haven't called in sick in the last 10 years)
7.  Lazy, sloppy and slow are bad ~ enterprising, crafty and hyperactive are good
8.  Be prepared to witness every variety of human folly and injustice. 
9.  Assume the worst.
10.  Try not to lie.
11.  Avoid restaurants where the owner's name is over the door.
12.  Think about that resume!
13.  Read!
14.  Have a sense of humor about things.

Dining Update - This week we went to Westword Dish, where there was sampling from about 30 Denver area restaurants.  We also went to Bonefish Grill.   I'd had a gift certificate from earlier this year that had not been used (constant debate between my sister and I, since I tend to sit on gift certificates and she uses them right away).  The food was great and our server hilarious.   In general I don't seek out chain restaurants, but I wasn't going to waste the gift card.   Had ceviche for the first time since Peru, also enjoyed sea bass, grouper, salmon, scallops and shrimp.  

Anthony Bourdain had something to say about what day you go out to eat.   The 'average' person goes out on a Friday or Saturday where the restaurants are packed and the staff has a turn n' burn attitude.   Sunday brunch is basically leftovers from the week.  Monday is questionable...new shipments come in, but the restaurants want to use their old product up.  Tuesday - Thursday is where it's at.   The product is fresh, the kitchen and the floor aren't as busy and you win.

Bon App├ętit!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Population Me

Another new song discovery.   It's also very timely as there have been recent discussions about what it means to be a good person, living a good life, and being Christian.   Is helping others a part of our American culture?  Only for the middle / upper class?  Because your parents do it?  Because being a good person is important to your friends or co-workers?   What does it take to do more than the minimum in society or in the world?  How do we focus on more than just ourselves, our families, and our friends? 

"My Own Little World" by Matthew West
In my own little world it hardly ever rains
I've never gone hungry, always felt safe
I got some money in my pocket, shoes on my feet
In my own little world, population: me

I try to stay awake during Sunday morning church
I throw a twenty in the plate but I never give 'til it hurts
And I turn off the news when I don't like what I see
Yeah, it's easy to do when it's population: me

What if there's a bigger picture?
What if I'm missing out?
What if there's a greater purpose?
I could be living right now
Outside my own little world
Stopped at a red light looked out my window
I saw a cardboard sign said, "help this homeless widow"
And just above that sign was the face of a human
I thought to myself, God, what have I been doing?

So I rolled down the window and I looked her in the eye
Oh, how many times have I just passed her by?
I gave her some money than I drove on through
And my own little world reached population: two

What if there's a bigger picture?
What if I'm missing out?
What if there's a greater purpose?
I could be living right now
Outside my own little world
My own little world

Father, break my heart for what breaks Yours
Give me open hands and open doors
Put Your light in my eyes and let me see
That my own little world is not about me
What if there's a bigger picture?
What if I'm missing out?
What if there's a greater purpose?
That I could be living right now

I don't want to miss what matters
I wanna be reaching out
Show me the greater purpose
So I can start living right now

Outside my own little world
My own little world

(click here to hear the song)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Getting in Fighting Shape

I met with my sister's personal trainer this week and had the shocking realization that I have not been exercising much since the Bike MS.   Instead I have gone on Sunday road trips and eaten at new restaurants and started supporting the Justice League of Street Food.  And these are good things.   But not good things that get me into "fighting" shape for my trip to Aruba and Curacao in 2 months.   Yes, two months from today I will be enjoying a few days under the laziness cloud at the Hyatt Regency Aruba, before heading to Curacao for another week of relaxation.   Not familiar with your Caribbean geography?  
Look just north of Venezuela.


Even though it will be winter-ish here, it will not be in the islands.   I need to dress appropriately.   Hence the need to eat better and work out more.  Hence the need for a trainer to keep us motivated and/or to kick a**.  I went to the gym today and stepped on the scale.  Something has to give.   It may be my fondness for the cupcake truck.   At least in the short term. 

I still had the chance to try some new places this past week.  Our Illini gamewatches have moved to a new location this year, Big Game in LoDo.   This was our third gamewatch there, but the first that I have attended. And we won, which is a plus.   Had a great breakfast burrito, but was sad that I couldn't get the bottomless mimosas.   On the way back, we meandered through Larimer Square and stopped at The Market.  All the good things you would like on a Saturday: coffee, ice cream, sandwiches, and cake are there.   We opted to split an amazing German Chocolate brownie.  See?  Splitting it was a good step.  Even if it was a small one.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A Short Moment for Art Appreciation

Visit Samo's blog (click here) for a chance to win a red poppies plate and bowl.   The artist is the sister of my sister's co-worker, so there is a random connection there, plus you have a chance to win a prize, and who doesn't like that?


In a moment for culinary art appreciation - today at Tiri's garden it was the perfect harmony of the Denver Cupcake Truck AND The Inventing Room.   So I ended up with both a chocolate peanut butter cupcake AND a coconut cookie ice cream sandwich filled with lemon curd and raspberry sorbet.  

Life is short - eat dessert first.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Haiti, Randomly?

Prior to this past week, the last time I consciously thought about the country of Haiti was after the earthquake in January.  A few weeks ago I read the book Remember to Forget by Deborah Raney.  I had never heard of this author, but more or less randomly selected it off the library shelves.   It was a good read and so I went online to request other books that she's written, not knowing what those books might be about. This past week I read one of those requested books Over the Waters.  It just happened to be about mission work in Haiti.   Last week I also got an email from one of the pastors at church letting me know about a luncheon with a guest of our church who has helped to establish a non-profit in Haiti.  And wouldn't I want to know about a possible Wellshire trip in 2011?   The guest speaker today was Kent Annan, co-founder of Haiti Partners.  There is room for a small group (think 8) to go to Haiti in January to see the work of Haiti Partners.   With unemployment so high, over 70%, the trip isn't to provide labor...there are plenty of Haitians to do that.  It's more about building relationships and learning about a culture different than your own.  
I am intrigued. 

It seems a little more than coincidence.  But then again, our pastor for mission said this at today's meeting, "I don't ever pressure people...but watch out, I DO pray."

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Liquid Nitrogen and other Culinary Adventures

On Sunday evening we contemplated going to the Taste of Colorado on Monday afternoon.  We decided not to for two reasons:   1 - we were exhausted from a weekend of camping.  2 - we've been "tasting Colorado" all summer long, trying new restaurants, food trucks, and ice cream parlors.

Last Wednesday I went across the street to Tiri's Garden, the little farmer's market and food cart setup across from the hotel on Wednesday's during the summer.    I was specifically scouting for dessert and discovered this 'hand-crafted' ice cream sandwich.   Chocolate cookies with hot fudge ice cream and marshmallow fluff.   They did not pull it out of an igloo cooler.....they froze it in front of me with liquid nitrogen!   The name of this fantastic Denver food cart?  The Inventing Room.

Other culinary ramblings include:
Lime home of the giant 22 oz margaritas and a tasty treat involving shrimp called a Scorpion.

SmashBurger - I've seen a few here in Denver, but had never been.  Looking online, it's a chain, but worth trying for the first time.  The burger doesn't rank up with my Dad's or the Cherry Cricket, but the smash fries were pretty tasty. 

Over the weekend we went camping.  Last year during our annual Labor Day trip, I created a new campfire treat, the "S'nore" which is a S'more made with a mini Snicker's bar in lieu of a chocolate bar.  No pictures, but just envision starry skies, the smell of a fire, and two toasted and then burned marshmallows on a warmed up Snicker's bar with graham crackers.  Divine.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Sunday Road Trip #2

Last weekend we had an out of town visitor and wanted to make sure that she had a chance to see the mountains, so we took another trip to Estes Park and Rocky Mountain NP.   I randomly googled restaurants to see what we could eat in EP that was not fudge, taffy or ice cream.  I'm not opposed to fudge or ice cream, though I think salt water taffy is disgusting.  So, courtesy of people I don't know, we discovered Smokin' Dave's BBQ.  This is a delicious, casual restaurant that I would definitely go to again.  Between the three of us we had fried pickles, a Carolina BBQ sandwich, a Texas Brisket sandwich, and my sister's sandwich, the "Man-Handler."

At RMNP we hiked Bear Lake and Alberta Falls.


And of course, no trip to Estes can be complete without some kind of dessert. 
This time it was the favorite cookie sandwich at Grandma's Mountain Cookies.


And a special mention of the store Blue Skies and Dragonflies which has the greatest collection of random gifts including the Slang Flashcards.

Summer Fun Update
#60 Fondue
#61 Visits to Sweet Action and Le Bakery Sensual
#62 Crazy Whist
#63 Estes and RMNP

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