Hanging in Hays

One more adventure/activity post, and then the kitchen will be open once again.   I love sharing my kitchen with all of you, but I also enjoy sharing our other adventures too.  I hope you don’t mind the occasional diversions.  I think it shows that yes, I really do live quite a busy and full life outside of the kitchen as well.  Life is good on many levels; what we eat is only one of many great things in our lives.

We were only in Hays over the weekend, but we sure managed to pack a lot into those few days.  Then again, we always do.  I am not one who likes to sit still or idle for to long.  The main reason for the trip was of course to celebrate Ollie’s 90th birthday, Ollie’s 90th,  however, we were able to do a lot of other things as well.

Larry’s sister Jean lives out on a farm, and they had a new litter of Doberman puppies that we just had to go visit and play with.  We love dogs, all dogs, not just ours, but others dogs too.  So of course we had to go visit with the puppies, along with the steer and the pigs (we did not get any pictures of the pigs though.  They were well hidden and did not want to be disturbed for the pictures to be taken).





The steer got a little jealous because the puppies were getting all the attention, so we had to go visit with him too.  As I said, the pigs could care less.  As far as they were concerned, we were bothering their nap time.



Kansas is prairie land, where the buffalo roam, or at least, where they used to roam freely.  Today, you find them mostly on farms.  There were four new buffalo calves at the buffalo farm.  Everyone was resting and didn’t pay any attention to us whatsoever.  The area had double bars, so I could not get any closer or get better pictures without the bars in between.


There was even a rare albino buffalo too.


After Ollie’s birthday celebration, a bunch of the “boys” decided to play a round of frisbee golf.  Paige went along to play with the “boys” too.  My sister-in-law Jean and I just went along to watch, but we ended up having a great walk around the course while the frisbees were flying.

Love was definitely all around.  In all my many trips to Hays, I have never seen this area before.  I am pleasantly surprised at how pretty is is here.  It is usually NOT this green and lush.




The gang of “golfers”.  Now this a motley crew if I have ever seen one, indeed.  🙂


I promise.  I will be back in the kitchen again, starting right now.  🙂




Racing ‘Round the Track

I know, I know.  I have been remiss and HAVE NOT been in the kitchen as much lately.  I will be back in the kitchen again today.  I promise.  But we like to go out and enjoy life too.  A LOT! And there are only so many hours in the day.

Larry and I have gotten to the point where we don’t buy each presents so much any more, but rather give each other experiences instead.  For my last birthday (in February), Larry got me gift certificates to go race the track at the Unser Indoor Racing track.  We just now had time to go.  What a blast!!!!!  We had so much fun.  We will definitely be doing this again!  In case you had not yet realized this about me, and I will fill you all in on a little secret of mine ….. I am an adrenaline junkie.  There!  It’s out.  I said it.  Yes, I crave anything that really gets my blood pumping.  This was most definitely a 45 MPH thrill around the race course too.

We got suited up just like this model, then headed for the cars and the track.


Before heading off to the starting gate, we viewed some of the real race cars that Bobby Unser raced in his day.




Here we are at the starting gate.  The engines are revving, and we are ready to go.IMG_0567

The flag waves us off and the race begins.  (This is not us racing).


As you can see, we had a blast and are raring to go again, SOON!


You can learn more about the Unser Karting by checking out their website at info@unserkarting.com.  Unser Karting is located at 7300 Broadway Denver, CO 80221 in North Denver.


Ollie’s 90th

We are back from Kansas, where we went to go celebrate my mother-in-law Ollie’s 90th birthday.  Nothing Cookin’ at the Moment  Ollie had a great time and had about 150 people helping to celebrate her big milestone birthday.  It was a grand party.   Most of the family was there and everyone did their part to make it a fantastic celebration of life for Ollie.  In a way, the whole Billinger family were my guest chefs for this month.  They all did a FANTASTIC job!!!!!!  Hats off to the Billinger clan.


Ollie’s favorite color is purple, and Bingo is her game, so it was a purple Bingo party.


Ollie, in the purple, with all 9 of her kids.  This picture is a replica of a picture taken for Ollie’s 70th birthday.  Everyone is in the same position they were in 20 years ago.


My brother-in-laws Randy, Roger, Gordon, Francisco and James made most of the food.  James is a farmer and smoked all the meat.  He always does a great job with his smoked meats and always gets rave reviews.  Whenever we are at  “Billinger” event, there is always a ton of food, and this event was no exception.  No one ever goes home hungry after they have been to a “Billinger” party.  My sister-in-law Sheri made all the decorations, the cupcakes and the beautiful chocolate roses as a thank you gift for everyone to enjoy.  Our niece Paige made the beautiful cakes.  The party was a Bingo theme since Ollie is the Queen of Bingo.

Pina Colada Cupcakes


Classic Chocolate Cupcakes


B-I-N-G-O Cupcakes


Paige and Jake bringing in the cakes.  Paige did an AWESOME job on these.  The inside of the Bingo cake was a purple and white marble.   Larry’s oldest sister Linda also had a birthday, and turned 70, so Paige made her a Las Vegas cake as well.  When this cake was cut, Linda hit the jackpot, because it was filled with chocolate gold coins that spilled out.


The birthday “Girl”, the cake and pastry chef.


Chocolate Roses


Hays is the German capital of Kansas and Larry’s family are all part of that German heritage.



Ollie with all 9 kids plus the in-laws and the outlaws.  I am proudly one of the outlaws.  🙂


Ollie and the kids.


Ollie with the great grandkids.


Ollie in the middle with last of her own siblings, Marlane one the right and Mary on the left.  These “Girls” are still looking good.


Larry and his mom.  Ollie finally got a chance to rest.  Happy, Happy Birthday Ollie.   You are the best.  We love you with all our hearts.




I Have Been Recognized

I have been recognized and awarded this awesome award, The Blogger’s Recognition Award, by fellow blogger Sunipukadiyil at https://fragrantflowersandrecipes.blog/?author=1.  WOW!!!! Thank you very much.  I am very honored.

Blogger-Recognition-Award-e1555502653666 (1)

What Is The Blogger’s Recognition Award? [B.R.A] as explained by Ribana:

This award is a way of acknowledging the work load and creativity that bloggers put into their blogs. Running and maintaining a blog isn’t just about writing something and then knocking it out to the readership – that is the core element of blogging, but not everything. There is much much, more to keeping a blog running, functioning and being presentable each day of each week of every month.

Bloggers are very talented people – they work hard, they promote market, advertise, and run a busy site.

They organize all kinds of activities; they encourage, motivate, interact, engage and are community orientated. It matters not if they are shy and reticent or loud and personable – each actively progressive blogger is the same – they all work hard and passionately with their blogs, they put the hours in to deliver to their audience each day a welcoming location to read, absorb, learn and have fun.

To escape the hustle bustles of city life, or the begrudgeries of boredom – they entice readers to peruse their pages to look for entertainment.

That is what the Blogger’s Recognition Award celebrates.


My blog, “A Jeanne in the Kitchen” started from a kitchen conversation with one of my best friends.  She was telling me how she was always so impressed with how I could create something out of thin air and leftovers.  I thought everyone cooked this way.  I never gave it much thought.  I also never gave any thought whatsoever about writing a blog up until that point.  I really did not even know that much about the world of blogging.  I am still very much a work in progress, learning as I go.  I’ve come a long way since my humble beginnings, with a long, fun journey still ahead.

My Advice to Bloggers Both New and Old

  1. Be Yourself.  Your readers will know if you are not being yourself or if you are not being real.  They are smart and sophisticated.
  2. Know your subject matter.  Again, your readers are to smart and will know when you are trying to pull a fast one on them.
  3. Be consistent.  Don’t play games if you want your blog to succeed.  It takes hard work and discipline to be successful.
  4. Have fun.  If you are not having fun with your blog, or not receiving any benefit from it, put it away and give it a break.  You can always come back to it later.  If your heart is not involved with your blog, your readers won’t be either.


There are so many great bloggers out there, each with their own unique personality.  Everyone has so much to offer.  It is very hard for me to come up with only a few that I think really shine.  Everyone has their own bright shining star.  But here are some of my favorites.  I think you will like them too.

Once again, many, many thanks for this honor.  It is all possible because of all of you.  if you like what you see and what you are reading, come check me out at ajeanneinthekitchen.com.  Hope to see you all soon.






Nothing Cookin’ at the Moment

The kitchen will be closed for a few days.  We are going to be celebrating my mother-in-law’s 90th birthday.  All of Larry’s siblings will be there, as well as most of the family and Ollie’s friends.  Larry is the youngest of 9, and everyone will be there to celebrate Viola, who everyone calls Ollie.  I got VERY lucky in the mother-in-law department.  Ollie is an angel.  Everyone loves her and she loves everyone back.  We are expecting over 100+ guests to help her celebrate at her big shindig.

Ollie is up front and center, surrounded by all her kids.  This picture is a few years old now, but it is a great family photo.  Larry is in the back, 2nd from the right  (he is the tallest and the youngest one).  In order, bottom row, Linda, #1, Ollie – The Grand Lady herself, Lori, #5, Jean, #8.  In the back row, Left to right, Ken, #4, Randy, #6, Jerry, #3, Ron, #7, Larry, #9 and Jim, #2.


~ Happy, Happy Birthday Ollie and many, many more to come.  We love you lots. ~

Grilled Potato Salad

As I mentioned in my post “A Man and His Grill”, everything we had for our grilled feast was cooked on the grill, at least to some degree.  A Man and His Grill  This potato salad was one of the side dishes I made that day, and yes, it too, was partially cooked on the grill.  It is a nice fresh and new twist to potato salad.  It is a lighter version, with no mayonnaise.  There are so many good versions of potato salad, and this is yet another good recipe to add to the list.


I did par-boil the potatoes for about 8 minutes and cooked the bacon on the stove as well, but after I had par boiled the potatoes, they went on the grill to finish cooking.  I did not get the grill marks I was hoping for, but then I was not the one on the grill either.  🙂   I cooked the bacon for about 8 minutes as well.  It was a nice, medium crisp; not soft, but not overdone either; just perfect.


While the potatoes are cooking, prepare the rest of your potato salad ingredients and make the mustard vinaigrette.

Grilled Potato Salad


2 lbs red potatoes, cut into small wedges

5 sliced bacon, cooked to a medium crisp, chopped

1/3 cup olive oil

1/4 cup wine vinegar

1 TBSP Dijon mustard

1 TBSP honey

2 tsp fresh thyme, chopped fine

1 red bell pepper, diced small

1 small red onion, sliced very thin

1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped fine

salt & pepper to taste


For the dressing, mix the olive oil, vinegar, salt & pepper, Dijon mustard, honey and thyme together thoroughly and set aside.  Mix the dry ingredients together as well, in a separate bowl and also set aside.


Grill the potatoes, either directly on the grill or in a basket for about 15-20 minutes, or until they are tender.  You are more likely to get grill marks if you place the potatoes directly on the grill, if that is what you are looking for.  The taste will not be affected though, if you do not.  Once the potatoes are completely cooked, gently toss them with the dry ingredients first, and then toss in as much of the mustard vinaigrette as needed to thoroughly coat the salad ingredients.  This easy-peasy potato salad takes you out of the kitchen a little faster, so you can enjoy more of the summer outdoors.  I used this same dressing to marinate my mushrooms too.  Everything came out delicious.




Grilled Brussels Sprouts with Green Olive Sauce

I never ate Brussels sprouts while growing up, so I always thought I did not like them.  Boy, was I ever wrong!  I LOVE them.  I guess it was just that my parents did not like them and did not cook them, so I never acquired the taste for them until much, much later.  We actually eat them quite often now, in many different ways.  So now, when I see a new recipe or new cooking method on how to prepare Brussels sprouts, I am all over it and can’t wait to try it.   I found this recipe for putting them on the grill that was one of those that was a must-do.  They were part of our grilled feast for Father’s Day.  A Man and His Grill  I thought they were great.  Larry liked them, but he said there are other ways I’ve prepared them that he likes better.  To each his own.


Only a few simple ingredients is all you need to make these very tasty Brussels sprouts.


Grilled Brussels Sprouts with Green Olive Sauce

16-36 Brussels sprouts, ends trimmed off – try to get them about the same size

3 TBSP olive oil

salt to to taste

1 cup parsley, chopped fine

2 TBSP lime juice

1 TBSP garlic

1/2 cup green olives, pitted – any kind of olives will work, although I like the Cavatappi olives for this

a dash of sugar, optional – I found the sauce was a little to tart and bitter without the sugar

red pepper flakes to taste, optional


If using wooden skewers, soak them in warm water for about 30 minutes to prevent splintering.

Par boil the Brussels sprouts in boiling hot water for about 8-10 minutes, to soften them.  This makes it easier to skewer them.  When they are done, remove them from the water and let them cool enough to handle them and to skewer.

To make the olive sauce, mix everything together in a food processor until it becomes a light saucy paste and set aside.  If you do not have a food processor, a blender will do just fine.



Brush the skewered Brussels sprouts with some of the olive mixture and place directly on a hot grill.  Cook for about 5 minutes per side, turning them over at least a couple of times.  Cook until they tender and browned.  You want them tender on the inside and  slightly crispy on the outside.  Serve with the olive sauce either on the side to use as a dipping sauce or directly spread over the cooked Brussels sprouts.  Either way, they are very tasty and delicious.  I also topped my steak with a bit of the olive sauce as well, which was very good too.