Saturday, October 29, 2011

Trick or treat

Ella and I , witches, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

Boo at the Zoo
Ella and I are pretty cool witches out to trick or treat at the Denver Zoo

Captain Hook

Boo at the Zoo, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

Mr. Smee and the crew of the Jolly Roger
Plus a cool green witch

Sunday, October 16, 2011

No squirrels allowed

no squirrels 1, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

OMG I hate squirrels. Even though I have no trees for them to hide or live in they make themselves welcome at any time. Fortunately Sophie keeps them well controlled when she is on watch in the back yard but yesterday I found one in the chicken coup eating the girls' food. That is enough! So I built a Scare Squirrel to help ward them off.


Scaresquirrel, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

I hope this will work

Scaresquirrel, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

up close you can see our Ms Scare has fabric for hair and candy corn buttons for eyes

Friday, October 14, 2011

Journey of a pumpkin

pumpkin, inside, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

At the end of May when the soil was finally warming up in the garden I planted a few pumpkin seeds in the corners where the plants could spread out and get plenty of sunshine. Last week I harvested the last of them so they wouldn't freeze in the cold night temps. Now what to do with all of these beauties (15 in all). Some of them will still be around for Halloween but a couple of them went into the oven to roast. Then pumpkin puree, main ingredient to pumpkin butter which then became the flavorful part of pumpkin gingersnap ice cream.

pumpkin after 3 months of sunshine

Cinderella pumpkin, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

pumpkin puree

pumpkin puree, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

to pumpkin gingersnap ice cream

Recipe for:
Basic vanilla ice cream base:

Ice Cream Base:

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 cups heavy cream

Heat the milk in a sauce pan over medium-low heat.

Prepare an ice bath by setting a 2-quart bowl over a larger bowl partially filled with ice water.

Set a strainer over the smaller bowl and set aside.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until pale yellow in color and the sugar has dissolved. Gradually pour the warmed milk into the yolk mixture, whisking constantly. Pour the mixture back into the same saucepan you used to warm the milk. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring constantly, until the custard thickens and coats the back of a wooden spoon.

Strain the custard into the top bowl of the ice bath to stop the cooking process. Add the heavy cream and stir over the ice bath until cool. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill thoroughly, preferably overnight. Yield: about 3 cups.

1 cup spiced pumpkin butter:
5 cups pumpkin puree
slice a pumpkin in half, scoop out the seeds and stringy stuff, light brush or spray inside of pumpkin with vegetable oil, turn upside down on a baking sheet and roast in a 375 deg oven for about an hour. Scoop out cooked pumpkin and puree in food processor or food mill. Place puree in colander for 30 minutes to drain of excess water.
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cups apple cider
3 1/2 tsps ground ginger
3 1/2 tsps ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tsps ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
Combine in a saucepan and reduce until proper thickness, about 30 minutes
1/2 cup crushed Gingersnaps
2 Tbs Calvados
Combine vanilla base, spiced pumpkin butter and Calvados and place in ice cream freezer. When semi-firm, add gingersnaps. Place in freezer for a couple of hours to continue to harden.
Bon Appetit!!!

pumpkin ginger snap ice cream, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Glittered sneakers

glittered sneakers, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

Just another day (or 2) at Nana's..
What's more fun for a little girls than glitter on sneakers? More glitter and a touch of jewels! After inspiration from The Martha Stewart Show, I hoped that my Denver girls and I could have a fun day personalizing their shoes. I bought us each a pair of classic Van's sneakers, added some new colors to my glitter collection, searched for the perfect diamonds, blue topaz and lavender pearls, grabbed some mod podge and glue and started to work.
I am proud to say that Kate (4) and Ella (8) made their shoes themselves with only a little supervision by me. They chose the colors, the jewels and their pattern. We swapped out the laces in Ella's and here are the results.
The bonus: remnants of glitter everywhere!

gold, jewels and monogram

glittered sneakers, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

mask off

mask off, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

glitter and mod podge

glitter and mod podge, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

Kate paints with gold glitter

Kate paints, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

add a little bling to the toes

glittered sneakers, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Aspen leaves in October

Aspen, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

Colorado in the fall

Aspen grove, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

The leaves are just beginning to turn down here in Denver even though the daytime temps are in the 80s but I had heard that up in the mountains the Aspen trees were putting on a show. I started out early Sunday in pursuit of color and color I got.
My destination: The Maroon Bells trail in Aspen---200 miles from Denver. This trail was ranked the #1 trail for fall color by Sunset magazine so I knew I couldn't go wrong. OMG--such beauty. The area is named for the mountains that look like bells and are deep rosy red in color. There are 2 bells (on the right) and the third mountain is Pyramid MT. They make up 3 of Colorado's 54 14,000 ft peaks. But what is at the base is pure heaven.
Ten minutes before I left the house I received an e-mail from my friend Kathy Jones telling me of her week's vacation in Aspen starting today. I haven't seen my dear friend in nine years. It was serendipitous that we were both due to arrive in this lovely place within an hour of each other. We had a good chat and shared a fun meal at Little Annie's in Aspen with her cousin, Joan.
It was a glorious day in the Rockies!

Maroon Bells, Aspen, Colorado

Maroon Bells, Aspen, Colorado, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

aspen grove

Maroon Bells, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

the largest living organism on the planet

Maroon lake

Maroon lake, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

at the bottom of the Bells

wild flowers at the floor

wild flowers, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

Kathy and Joan, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

and my friends, Kathy and Joan, helped me finish my day in Aspen with a dinner at Little Annie's