danny’s birthday (weekend)

This year, October 14th fell on a Monday.  October 14th as in Danny’s birthday and Monday as in a day we both have to work.  So this year we spread our celebrations out over four days.

On Friday we started out with some Which Wich.  Neither of us had been until recently when they started emailing us coupons, and needless to say, we are now really into Which Wich.  Such a fun concept and such delicious food too.  And, like I mentioned last month, somehow we can get filled up on a seven-inch sandwich.  Kind of weird, but also great.

Saturday found us driving up to Castle Rock for an early showing of “Gravity” (thanks, Ryan and Caley!) with our friends David and Kirsty.  Last I heard, Danny wasn’t too sure about how he liked the movie.  And as for me, I found it a bit too suspenseful for my taste.  Anyways, we followed the movie up with some Noodles & Company…

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We love that place…possibly more than we should.

I had planned a nice leisurely hike for after lunch but what really happened is that we got lost.  Both in the car and on foot.  So even though we weren’t on the trail (yet), we took a picture so that when I wrote this post it would look like we went hiking and had a great time.

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However, thanks to Danny’s persistence and cleverness, we found it shortly afterwards.

And wow.  So thankful we found it.

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As we made our way back, we saw a deer. And then another.  And another.  By the time a couple of dogs came along and sent the deer running for cover, we had seen five sweet, peaceful deer friends!

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Once on the paved path, we encountered this fella…

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All I can say is that we were immensely glad Dog (a friend of ours) wasn’t along.

For dinner, Danny took some leftover sweet potato burgers we had around and made himself a fancy pants double cheeseburger (the term cheeseburger being used in the most vegan way possible).

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Sunday morning found us at the early service at church, followed by showing up at HuHot thirty minutes before they opened.  So we went to the ARC and hung out before becoming the very first customers at HuHot on that particular Sunday.

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The food was delicious, but for some reason I spent the rest of the day in bed and on the cozy chair in the living room wondering if the chef had snuck some raw meat juices into my food.  Thankfully there was football on all day so Danny was not suffering due to my illness and lack of fun-ness.  We also capped the day off with some Coldstone.  Because they have sorbet and BOGO coupons for birthdays.

On Monday, Danny’s actual birthday, I took the morning off of volunteering at Compassion so I could make muffins and prepare The Birthday Cake.  This year’s request was our favorite banana cake

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…but it’s really more impressive looking with the lights off.  And with the handsome birthday boy and his 24 candles…

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What a wonderful weekend it was.  A great time to celebrate a very special guy and do some fun things together.  And also eat almost every single meal at a different restaurant.

(I would like to mention that everywhere we ate offered Danny a free meal, so that is how/why we did all that eating out.)

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esther and lester go to the zoo

A few weeks ago, as mentioned in this post, Danny and I went to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo.  Before heading down south to the zoo, Danny decided that we should stop by the Dollar Tree.  For something to wear to the zoo, he said, because I had already nixed the idea of buying animal print clothes at the ARC.  Anyways, we found some masks suitable for the occasion, decorated them in the car, named our new friends (Esther the Elephant and Lester the Lion), and got going.

Warning: these pictures are ridiculous and there are SO many of them.

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^^ We were able to catch a special tiger demo in which the tiger demonstrated his swimming and jumping skills.  Super fun, especially since neither of us had ever seen a tiger swim before! ^^

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^^ We also happened upon one of the zoo staff trying to coax a reptile of some sort out of its cage to “go off exhibit” for a couple of weeks.  She then proceeded to examine him in front of us.  Neat-o. ^^

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^^ Isn’t this lil’ wallaby and the way he sits on his tail The Cutest?! ^^

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^^ We liked this guy so high up there, and with such an awesome view of the Springs too. ^^

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^^ There is a lynx next to Lester in this photo if you look really hard. ^^

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^^ One of my favorite pictures we took all day. ^^

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^^ This turned out SO much stranger than I anticipated.  As if naked mole rats aren’t weird to begin with… ^^

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If you looked through all of the pictures, WOW.  And thanks.  I feel special :)

happy birthday danny!

Yesterday my favorite fella turned 24!  Which, as he pointed out before he left for work yesterday, means that he’s now two years older than me.  Not quite technically true, but it’s his birthday, so if he wants to say that, I’m all for it.

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If you know Danny, you know he’s good-looking, funny, and into talking.  Among other things.

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As his wife, however, I know a few more things than just those basics.  As I’ve been drafting this post (in my head and on paper) for the past couple days, I often think of him in relation to us (i.e. he eats the food I make that isn’t all that good, he makes the bed in the morning), but in the end, I’ve decided that this should be a celebration of him, not a listing of the things he does to make me happy.  I can talk about all that other stuff in a post about good things he does.  But this will be about who he is as a person.

Danny is Jesus-loving, people-loving, sports-loving, superhero loving, and fun-loving.

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Danny is loyal and faithful.

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Danny is kind and compassionate.

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Danny is steady and dependable and peaceable.

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Danny pursues what he wants and isn’t afraid to work hard for it.

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Danny is humorous, imaginative, and an incredible sleeper too.

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Danny is innovative and oh so clever.

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Danny is intelligent and thoughtful.

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Danny is an excellent speaker with an impressive vocabulary and mastery of spelling/grammar/acronyms/words/phrases.

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Danny is handsome and stylish and just downright intuitive about those kinds of things.

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Danny is wonderful and cute and just the best.  There.  Sappy at last.  But it’s true.

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Happy Birthday, Danny.

Here’s to many more years of all that you are and all that you will become.

I love you.

*** Photos taken during our engagement shoot in October 2012 and courtesy of beautiful and talented Caroline Leigh Photography.

lately

It’s that time again.  Time for random life updates.  And this time there are SO many.

  • I HAVE A JOB!!  It has been a long time coming, but I am finally employed.  I started this past Monday at the East Library, and while it’s very different from I was expecting, I’ve been learning a lot and I love being with the books.  The only problem is that it makes me want to not work and just read all day long.  I probably won’t do that, though, don’t worry.  Because we know that if I have spare time at home, I end up on the floor with the computer, not curled up with a book on the couch.
  • I am still sleeping through the night.  Y’all.  This is the best news of not only the past month, but of my entire life.
  • Last weekend, among other things, we celebrated Danny’s birthday with my family at the Downtown Aquarium (in Denver).  More to come on that, but for now…

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  • I might have mentioned this before but there is some construction going on on I-25 right now.  I-25 as in our main roadway to go anywhere aside from our local Loaf-n-Jug.  And until two days ago, the construction just so happened to have shut down our way onto and off of the highway.  Which is rather inconvenient if you are used to using it between one and thirty-two times a day.  I have been able to use the fine roadway in the past two days, and was finally able to see why they needed to shut down our access to the highway: they were putting in two roundabouts.  Roundabouts have their merits, but I personally think it is a very interesting choice for entering/exiting a major highway.  AKA I’m not a huge fan.
  • I feel like it’s important to give some kind of moving update since all of the kind people who read last month’s post have been asking me things like “WHEN?” and “WHERE?” and “WHY?”  Well, here’s the thing.  I don’t really have any news.  Except now it’s more like, maybe we’re not moving.  Potential false alarm.  So that’s something.
  • This past Sunday, D and I went to the zoo with our beloved zoo membership (thanks again, Keith + Susie!).  Except this time was extra awesome.  #1: The weather was perfect.  Not too hot, not too cold.  #2: There were some big cat demos going on.  For example, we got to see some keepers bribe a tiger to swim in his pond and jump on a barrel while in said pond.  Unusual, but cool.  #3: We bought, colored, and assembled animal masks from the dollar store and took (too many) photos with them throughout the zoo.  Evidence…

DSC07898^^ Esther with an elephant (statue). ^^

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^^ Esther with an elephant (getting its feet cleaned). ^^

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^^ Esther with some trees. ^^

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^^ Esther and Lester together. ^^

  • A couple of weeks ago, we spent a weekend in Greeley because Danny was in the wedding of our friends Tom and Tasha.  I don’t know if you’ve used Pinterest before, but if you have, you will understand what I mean when I say that their wedding was Pinterest.  Everything about it leapt from the internet home of Pinterest and into the warehouse where their wedding was held.  So unreal.
  • I am getting excited for Thanksgiving because of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
  • September was especially soggy for us, and now October has just been bipolar (for example, last week we went swimming in our apartment complex’s outdoor pool, and two days later is snowed).  But back to September.  The rain was crazy.  So many people, families, and towns have just been devastated by the rain.  We weren’t hit as hard as other parts of Colorado, and we’re so thankful for that.  After the rains had died down, we took a walk on the nature path next to our house, and were surprised at what we found.  A preview…

DSC07846^^ This used to be a hill with a path going across it, but now it’s a hill with a valley carved in the middle of it.  ^^

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^^ The land here was completely washed away, taking the water from the pond (which is located to the left) with it.  I think it goes without saying that now taking the path requires fording the stream or turning around and going back where you came from.

  • We discovered that Which Wich (a sandwich shop) is fantastic.  In fact, we can BOTH get full off of a 7″ sub, which is more than usually needed to fill me up, but definitely not for D.  So what I’m saying is that they really pack these guys full – enough to fill up a hungry guy.
  • Bass Pro Shops (conveniently located across the street from us) is opening on November 14.  That is one month and 2 days, y’all.  Now, some people can’t figure out why I’m excited about this, especially since I’m vegan, but this is just something I can’t explain.  Progress.  It signifies progress.  And that is why I’m pumped.  Also it will have bowling.  So that’s cool too.  And it just might be one of the reasons why I don’t want to move because BASS PRO SHOPS ACROSS THE STREET.
  • This past weekend was my grandparents’ 50th anniversary.  Wahoo!  We went on an AMAZING trip to Alaska this past summer to commemorate the occasion, but their actual anniversary was this past Saturday, so we gathered at The White Fence Farm with a collection of family members and ate food (okay, so some of us only ate corn fritters, but don’t judge.  They’re food too) and petted animals (primarily goats, sheep, and cows) and made speeches (only two people did that, but it’s worth mentioning because they were great).

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  • Based on my history, any post of this type wouldn’t be complete without some mention of Kate Middleton.  So here is what you need to know for this month: Prince William + Kate + Prince George recently moved into their new apartment.  And by apartment I mean a palace with four floors, an elevator, two master bedrooms (although they are going to share one), and various other things, including a room especially for luggage.  If that is what apartments are like in England, then we’ll be on the next flight over because that sounds pretty good to me.
  • Danny’s 24th birthday is Monday so this weekend is going to be full of goodness of all kinds.  Get ready for more of my favorite fella coming soon to this space, as it is time to celebrate him and his life!

eating lately

It’s fall now (it snowed yesterday, that’s how I know it’s fall), so this post will obviously be full of fall (aka pumpkin) goodness.  NOT.  If you’re new to this corner of the interwebs, you know that if I’m passionate about something, it’s that fall is not about pumpkin (food, patches, carving, etc).  Don’t get me wrong: I do love pumpkin (food, patches, carving, etc.) and that’s why there’ll be a pumpkin recipe or two featured here, but it’s because I was having a crisis, not because it’s fall.

Okay.  Now that that’s cleared up, onto the good stuff.  The latest and greatest food we’ve made in the past month…

Breakfast

Caramel Glazed Baked Donuts – These required a fair amount of effort.  More effort than I am typically willing to give for a Saturday morning breakfast.  However, they were delicious, and if you are willing to work for them, you should make these tasty treats.

Jam-Swirled Silver Dollar Pancakes – Oh goodness.  These hotcakes were a delight.  I loved the jam in them, and I topped mine with peanut butter.  I would like to note that it didn’t make enough to fill D and I up, so next time we may double it.

Pumpkin Donuts – We’re used to donuts with frosting.  These donuts didn’t come with a frosting recipe.  So Danny took the frosting recipe we usually use and did some magic on it, and before I knew it, we had pumpkin spice frosting.  So that was awesome.  But back to what we’re really talking about.  These donuts are delicious and solid and not all that unhealthy.  So if you’re one of those people who thinks you must eat pumpkin flavored treats all fall long, you should look to these fellas.

Pancakes with fruit compote – The other night I just knew we needed to have brinner (breakfast for dinner).  And I was right.  These pancakes are heavenly (and easy, to boot), and so is the compote.  I used a mix of frozen peaches and strawberries for the compote, and we had hash browns on the side.  For breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner, I recommend this meal.

Breads and Muffins

100% Whole Wheat No-Knead Make Ahead Dinner Rolls with Honey Butter – First things first with these rolls.  I have never had a ‘bad’ recipe from Averie @ Averie Cooks (the creator of this recipe).  So that makes me think that the reason these rolls turned out a little funky is because of an operator error.  For example, I was missing 1/4 teaspoon of the yeast the recipe called for.  I didn’t think it was enough to make a difference, but perhaps so.  Also, the rising didn’t really happen, so that’s what makes me think the additional yeast was necessary.  Anyways, the rolls were tasty, along with the honey butter, and Danny adored them.  Like, he was really, really into them.  So that’s good.

Desserts

Oatmeal Coconut Bars – I originally saw this recipe on the back of a carob chip (kind of like chocolate chips, but they’re made from carob and are vegan, unlike most chocolate chips) bag, and after I inadvertently threw the bag away, I found it on the world wide web.  There is no doubt these were delicious.  However, there is also no doubt that I did something wrong because they were so crumbly and messy, we had to eat them with a spoon.  No problem though.  If it tastes good, who cares if you have to use a spoon in addition to fingers?

Peanut Butter Cookies – My Pinterest comment for these cookies: “LOVE. THESE.”  And I think that about sums it up.  Also, the dash of cinnamon is sweet surprise.

Chocolate Chip Cookies – THESE ARE THE BEST COOKIES I HAVE EVER HAD.  And a non-vegan told me they were better than ‘regular’ chocolate chip cookies.  So that’s something.  I have made these once a week since discovering their awesomeness.  You should try them too.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars – Another pumpkin recipe, I know.  Regardless of the season, though, listen up: I ate 90% of these in under 24 hours.  They use whole wheat pastry flour.  They are maybe (definitely) the most delightful bar treat I’ve ever made/eaten.

Actual Food

Quick Hummus and Vegetable Stuff Pitas – These seemed so good on paper.  Yet somehow they weren’t that awesome in real life.  Danny, in particular, didn’t like them.  Which is so peculiar to me as he is the guy who likes ‘cheese’ made out of soybeans and ‘turkey’ made out of tofu, but apparently not a pita full of fresh veggies.  I don’t know…different strokes for different folks.

Hearty White Bean Spinach Soup with Rosemary and Garlic – All of these soups happened that week it was cold.  Not the week we went swimming (outdoors) and then two days later it snowed.  The other week.  Anyways, I noted that this one was pretty easy to make and tasty too.

Creamy Potato Soup – Just another delightful rainy day recipe.  Except if you don’t cook the potatoes all the way through.  That made this soup kind of a bummer as I felt the need to fish out all of the potato chunks because I just couldn’t handle their crunchiness.  Later on Danny tried to boil them and put them back into the soup.

Corn Chowder – I know this is a good recipe because I’ve made it twice in two weeks.  Easy peasy, and tasty too.  Also, all of the ingredients are simple and ordinary, even for a non-vegan.

Spicy Sun-Dried Tomato Soup with White Beans and Swiss Chard – I know the name is a mouthful, but it’s worth stumbling over.  I was looking for a way to use the massive amount of homegrown Swiss chard my grandparents gave us a few weeks ago, and was thankful for this guy.  Quite delicious!

***All recipes listed are vegan.