Nature Walks – More Mountain Flowers – Day #2

I have FINALLY finished editing all the pictures from our trip. You won’t see them all, there are WAY TOO MANY, but you will see the highlights. And part of those highlights are the beautiful flowers we saw all over the place. Here are some more for you to enjoy.

These are some of the beautiful flowers that were all over the sidewalks in Grand Junction. There were so many. Grand Junction was our first stop of the trip.




Color your world beautiful and make it a great day.


Chicken Saltimbocca

My friend Karen and her friend Lori, who is now also my friend, arrived on Wednesday evening. We all embarked on our Western Colorado and Southeastern Utah journey early Friday morning. That gave us a full day and two dinners here at home before leaving. Karen had said she wanted something Italian for dinner. Easy-peasy. But I wanted to make something a little different than what we would normally think of as Italian food. So I made chicken saltimbocca with fettuccine Alfredo and vegetables and served it with my rosemary focaccia and a chilled white blend. Rosemary Focaccia

Chicken saltimbocca is thought to have originated in the days of the early Romans, in the area of Breschia, though no one knows for sure. Breschia is located in the Lombardian region in the Italian Alps. The term saltimbocca also spelled as saltinbocca, is an Italian term meaning “jumps in the mouth. Traditionally this dish is made with either chicken or veal that is wrapped with prosciutto and sage.

A little pre-dinner toast.

Chicken Saltimbocca

2 lbs chicken breast cutlets – if they are too thick, pound them out a bit with a meat tenderizer, if needed

salt & pepper to taste

fresh sage leaves

prosciutto cut into very thin slices

olive oil

1 cup dry white wine

1 cup chicken broth

1/2 stick butter

I cut my chicken breasts in 1/2 then seasoned them on both sides with both salt and pepper. Carefully wrap each cutlet with the prosciutto and 1 piece of sage tucked in to the prosciutto.

Get a large skillet very hot and add the oil and some of the butter, then carefully place each chicken cutlet into the mixture and cook for about 4-5 minutes per side, or until the juices in the center run clear and the chicken is no longer pink inside.

Add the wine to the skillet and scrape up all the browned chicken bits. Cook for about 1 minute. Add the chicken broth, bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer and continue to cook for about 5 or so minutes. Add a bit more butter and cook until it is all melted and the sauce is creamy.

Once everything is done, spoon the sauce over each chicken cutlet and serve with your favorite side dish. I served it with fettuccine Alfredo and sauteed vegetables and rosemary focaccia.

Karen was my Sous Chef for the day’s meal.

Lori was supervising it all while enjoying a glass of wine before dinner.

Chicken saltimbocca is not a dish found in most Italian restaurants. It is a Northern Italian dish. Most Italian restaurants feature foods from the Southern regions. On our last night of our travels, we dined at Scileppi’s, Dinner at the Church, and ironically they offered chicken salimbocca on the menu. But more on that later.

We all had a delicious dinner followed by fun and games and trip planning for our upcoming adventures.

Have a great day and make everyday great. Stay safe and stay well. ‘Til next time.

Home Again

We are back from our short, but wonderful road trip through Southwestern Colorado and Southeastern Utah. We were only gone for the long weekend, and returned home late Tuesday night. But even short trips leave me way behind with chores and emails, and of course, the most fun part, editing through ALL of our pictures. This time, I have quite a few to go through too. I have over 800. We traveled with our friends Mike and Lauren, Karen and her friend Lori, who is now our friend too. We all had a great time and I have lots of fun things to share. I will be sharing pictures and tales of our adventures with you before too long, but first I have to continue the editing process. Suffice it to say it was a BEAUTIFUL and FUN trip!!!!!

I will share some beautifully colored flowers from our travels with you for now though, and will continue to do so everyday until you have either had enough or I am done. 🙂 I hope you enjoy them.

Colorful blooming Cacti.

Have a beautiful and colorful day. Stay safe and stay well. ‘Til next time.

Nature Walks – More Pelicans

It is pelican season and they are definitely loving it here. And I am loving having them being here too. I never get tired of seeing all of our beautiful and BIG Pelicans. They are always spectacular to see.

These were just very lucky shots. Getting good pictures of birds in flight is literally just about being in the right spot at the right time, and just clicking away in the hopes of getting at least one good shot. You never know how the shots will turn out.

Have a great day and make everyday great. Stay safe and stay well. ‘Til next time.

I may or may not be able to post tomorrow, but I will for sure be taking a small break for the rest of the week. We have friends coming in from California today and then we are all taking a small road trip out to the western Slope, or western Colorado. Mike and Lauren will be joining us as well. The 6 of us will be taking in some of the wineries and a lot of the famous sights over in the western portion of the state, and even venturing into a tiny portion of Utah, to Moab, for the Arches National Park.

Rosemary Focaccia

MMMMMM bread!!!!!! I can easily make a meal out of nothing but bread, and have many times too. As long as I have enough butter or olive oil, I could easily live on bread alone. 🙂 That being said, I made a delicious rosemary focaccia to go with my Southwestern Succotash Steak Salad. Southwestern Succotash and Steak Salad It was a perfect accompaniment to the delicious salad.

I think I enjoy baking all different kinds of breads as much as I enjoy eating all different kinds of breads. There is something very comforting about making breads to me. I tend to bake more breads in the winter and cooler months than I do in the warmer summer months, although to every rule there is an exception.

Focaccia is a flat leavened oven-baked Italian bread, similar in style and texture to pizza, and in some places, it is even called pizza, pizza bianca. Focaccia can be served as a side dish or as sandwich bread and it can be round, rectangular, or square shape. It is a yeasted flat bread. Focaccia is good anytime, but it is definitely best when served warm, not hot, but warm, dipped in even more olive oil. I say even more, because it is made with quite a bit of olive oil.

 Focaccia does not get stale easily due to the high quantity of olive oil and other herbs, while traditional bread does. Regular bread is less expensive and has less gluten than focaccia. Most focaccia breads are dimpled. This is to reduce the air in the dough and prevent the bread from rising too quickly. 

Rosemary Focaccia

I started off with a basic focaccia dough, then added the rosemary, both in the dough and on top. This delicious bread only takes a few basic ingredients too.

Start With A Sponge

1 tsp dry active yeast

1/2 cup warm water

3/4 cup flour

Whisk the yeast and water together and let rest for about 10 minutes, or until it gets frothy. Add the flour and let it rise for about 45 minutes.


1 tsp dry active yeast

1 cup warm water

3 TBSP olive oil

the sponge

3 1/4 cups flour

2 tsp salt

3-4 TBSP fresh rosemary chopped fine


1 1/2-2 TBSP olive oil

coarse sea salt

sprigs of fresh rosemary, cut very small

To make the dough, once again, mix the yeast with water and let it get frothy for about 10 minutes. Combine the flour salt and chopped rosemary and make a well in the center. Add the water and yeast combination, along with the sponge and the olive oil and slowly start mixing it all together.

On a lightly floured surface knead the dough for about 8-10 minutes or until it forms into a soft dough ball. The dough will be very soft. Add about 1 TBSP of olive oil to a large bowl, add the dough ball and cover to let rise for about 1 1/4 hours, or until the dough has doubled in size.

Once the dough has doubled, place it on a baking sheet. Get your hands wet with just a little water and slowly spread the dough out to cover the pan. You may need to let the dough rest for about 10 minutes.

Let the dough rise once again for about 1 hour or until the dough is full of air bubbles.

Preheat the oven to 425*F or 219* C.

Once the dough is ready, dimple it with your fingers, by just kind of lightly punching it down with your finger tips. Add the olive oil to the top and spread it to completely cover the top of the bread. Add the small rosemary sprigs and sprinkle with the coarse salt.

Bake for about 25-30 minutes, or until the focaccia is golden brown and the crust is a little crispy around the edges. Spray some water into the oven 3 times within the first 10 minutes of baking. Let it cool for about 10 minutes before slicing it and serving it. Focaccia is best served warm. !Mangia! !Buon Appetito!

Have a great day and make everyday great. Stay safe and stay well. ‘Til next time.

Southwestern Succotash and Steak Salad

It was another steak night and it was also another salad night. I LOVE a good steak salad. This deliciously colorful salad was loaded with all kinds of good vegetables too. I counted them up and I think I counted 9 different vegetables I used for this salad. We shared this deliciously colorful salad with our friends Julia and Bruce. Yes, our very own Julia from We all enjoyed our dinner out on the deck, where over dinner we caught up with each other and had a great time.

Southwestern Succotash Steak Salad

There is a lot of alliteration in this name, for all you English majors out there. Yes, that includes me as well. 🙂

I made the dressing first because I also used it as the marinade for my steak.

The Dressing

1/2 cup yogurt

2 TBSP olive oil

2 TBSP lime olive oil

3 TBSP lime juice

3 TBSP lime balsamic vinegar

1 TBSP honey

1 TBSP garlic

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp chili lime seasoning

red pepper flakes to taste

1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped fine

Whisk everything together and marinate your steak in it as well as setting it aside for your salad dressing later.

The Salad

mixed baby greens

2 cups corn

1/2 cup bacon crumbles, optional

2 cups green beans, cut into pieces about 1/2 inch in size

1/2 red bell pepper, diced fine

1/3 cup Peruvian peppers, optional

1/2 red onion, diced fine

2 cups lima beans

1-2 sweet potatoes, cut into thin round slices, pan-fried

1-2 lbs steak, grilled and sliced thin

optional toppings – avocado slices, roasted pepita seeds, cotija cheese

Boil the green beans, corn and lima beans together for about 5-7 minutes, or until slightly tender, then drain.

In a hot skillet, saute the red peppers and red onions, and bacon if using, for about 2-3 minutes, then add the corn, green beans and lima beans. Continue to cook for an additional 3-5 minutes, stirring often. Add the Peruvian peppers, if using, at the very last minute. They are pretty delicate and don’t hold up to the heat very well.

In a separate very hot skillet, add a combination of both olive oil and butter, then carefully add the sliced sweet potato slices. Do not over crowd them and cook them in batches if needed. Cook for about 3-5 minutes per side, or until lightly browned and slightly crispy. Drain them on a paper towel. You can add a little salt too if you like.

Start layering your salad, starting with the mixed greens, followed by a layer of the sweet potatoes, then some of the succotash. Slice the steak into thin strips, and add, followed by another layer of succotash. Top it all off with any combination of avocado slices, pepita seeds and/or Cotija cheese. Julia was the only one who had all three. Bruce and I both had the avocado slices and pepita seeds, whereas Larry only had the Coitja cheese. Then dress it all up with the dressing. I served it all with some fresh rosemary focaccia on the side, abd red wine, since after all, it was steak . It was all a big hit. We all thoroughly enjoyed this very tasty and colorful and healthy salad and all the good times shared around the table. !Delicioso!

The salad was very good, and is a definite do-over, but the best part of the evening was sharing it with our good friends, Bruce and Julia. 🙂 After dinner, we all played games and laughed away the evening.

Have a great day and make everyday great. Stay safe and stay well. Enjoy all the friendships that come your way. Our friendships are precious gifts. ‘Til next time.

Chicken with Oranges and Mushrooms

We all live very busy lives, yet we want good home cooked meals too. Sometimes the best way to blend these two realities is to bring out the slow cookers and go live life. I did just that and made a slow cooked chicken with a sweet and sour orange and mushroom sauce. I served it over wild rice with green beans on the side and a dry white wine to complete the meal. Delicious!

With the sweet and sour sauce, this chicken dish had a little bit of an Asian vibe to it.

Chicken with Oranges and Mushrooms

1-2 lbs chicken breast

1-2 TBSP flour

salt and pepper to taste

1 1/2 tsp paprika

1-1 1/2 cups sliced mushrooms

1/4 sliced onions

1/4 bell pepper, any color is fine, sliced into thin matchsticks

1/2 cup orange juice

red pepper flakes to taste

2 TBSP orange balsamic vinegar

1 TBSP garlic

1 1/2 tsp brown sugar

1/2 can of Mandarin orange segments

Combine the flour, salt, pepper, and paprika together and coat the chicken. I cut my chicken into smaller pieces.

Get a skillet very hot and add a combination of butter and olive oil or sesame oil to cook the chicken. Cook for about 4-5 minutes per side or until it is completely browned.

Remove and add to the slow cooker, which has been sprayed with cooking spray.

Add the mushrooms to the butter and oil and saute for about 3 minutes, or until browned, then add on top of the chicken pieces.

Combine the peppers, onions, garlic and oranges and add on top of the mushrooms.

Combine the orange juice, brown sugar and balsamic vinegar and pour over the chicken and vegetables.

Then depending on how long you want to go out to do other things, you can either cook this on high for about 3-4 hours or at a low temperature for about 10-12 hours. Either way, it is going to make your house smell so good and the chicken and vegetables will come out so tender and full of flavor.

Cooking dinners in the slow cooker is sometimes the best of two worlds. You are not missing out on any of life’s adventures, but you are also still able to enjoy a good home-cooked meal too. Perfection! Whoever created the slow cooker was a genius. 🙂

Have a great day and make everyday great. Stay safe and stay well. ‘Til next time.

Chocolate Cherry Bombs

There is something just magical about the combination of cherries and chocolate. It’s like a match made in heaven. Chocolate and cherries are one of my favorite combinations. I paired them up again, only this time instead of using fresh cherries, like I normally do, I used maraschino cherries instead.

These cookies were full of cherries and cherry flavorings as well as chocolate. Each cookie was stuffed with a maraschino cherry that was stuffed with a chocolate chip. So each bite was a cherry chocolate explosion. YUM!

Chocolate Cherry Bombs

24 maraschino cherries, patted dry

1 cup chocolate chips

1/2 cup or 1 stick softened butter

1 egg

3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1 TBSP maraschino cherry juice

1 tsp cherry extract

1 tsp vanilla

1 1/2 cups flour

1/8 tsp salt

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

Combine all the dry ingredients together and set aside.

Beat the butter and brown sugar together until creamy, then add the egg, cherry juice, vanilla and cherry extract and continue to mix until all blended together. Add the flour 1/2 at a time and mix until everything is well incorporated together.

Place in the refrigerator for about 1 hour.

Carefully stuff 1 chocolate chip into the center of each maraschino cherry.

Preheat the oven to 350*F or 190*C. Line your baking sheets with parchment paper.

When the dough is ready, take 1 TBSP of dough and roll it into a ball in your hands. Repeat with the remaining dough. With your thumb, press into the center of each cookie and make a well. Place a cherry in the center of each well, then carefully wrap the dough completely around the cherry.

Bake for about 15-80 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned.

Allow the cookies to cool completely before adding the chocolate ganache topping. For the chocolate ganache topping, melt the remaining chocolate chips together with the cream, over a medium heat, stirring constantly until the chocolate is completely melted and is smooth.

Then either dip the top of the cookies into the melted chocolate or spread it on with a knife. I found it was easier to spread it on with a knife.

Once all the cookies were topped with chocolate, I placed them in the refrigerator for a bit to set. This is optional, but I wanted to stack them, so I needed them a bit more firm.

I used dark, bittersweet chocolate, but milk chocolate is fine too. It is really just a personal preference and whatever you prefer.

It’s a good thing I tried one before I served them today. They were ALL gone! I heard a lot of compliments on them too. I guess they were a big hit. 🙂

Have a great day and make everyday great. Stay safe and stay well. ‘Til next time.

Nature Walks – More Duck-A-Lings

It is such a gorgeous day out. The sun is shining brightly, the skies are blue and it’s not too hot. In other words, it was a perfect day to go walk-about. We took Juneau, and she was having fun taking in all the scents and smells. While Juneau was leading the daddy dog around, and I was busy taking pictures.

It was also a perfect day for the little “duck-a-lings” to be out for a swim too. There were two groups out swimming with mom. One was a small little family of three, while the other had eight little ones swimming alongside mom. Both moms were so proud.

Tis was the first duck family.

And this is the second duck family.

Have a great day and make everyday great. Stay safe and stay well. ‘Til next time.

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