Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Adventures in Ballooning - Misbehavin' & More

*I started writing this post over a year ago...found it in the archives and decided to finish is...excuse me in advance for my long-windedness on this one....

One of the perks of living 'out in the middle of nowhere' is that there are not alot of power lines above ground, the land is flat (for the most part) and the mornings in the winter, spring, summer and fall are somewhat calm.  Perfect conditions for hot air ballooning!!  Down the road from us is the soccer and baseball field complex - huge flat land conducive to the inflating and launching of said hot air balloons.  Early in the mornings I can hear the whoosh of the propane filling up the balloon, so I grab my cup of coffee and head out to the back porch and watch the balloons float overhead...a nice peaceful way to begin the day :)



Ruby Mountain Balloon Festival 2011


I've always wanted to go up in a hot air balloon. 
But in the back of my mind was always the thought 
"would I go through with it if the opportunity presented itself?" 

 I will admit, I am not daring.  My mind works in a worst-case scenario kind of way:

I really want to learn how to ride a motorcycle.  
Nope, I would fall off and turn into a giant piece of roadrash!

I love watching Alpine Ski racing!  That would be such a rush!
Watch out for that tree!

I want to go on a safari in Africa.
Can you say lion food?

I want to attend Burning Man.
I would get run over by an art car during a wind storm!

I want to ride in a hot air balloon.
A bird fly into the balloon, spinning it out of control and I will go splat on the ground!



Do you see me?  
There I am!  
I got the opportunity to crew for the McCoys on their balloon Misbehavin' a couple of weekends ago.  
What a great group of people I got to spend the morning with. 
 Gayle, Martha, Lisa, Tim and Laura were so much fun and eager to 
answer my questions and show me the ropes. 
Beautiful northeastern Nevada morning.
Looking to the west.
Looking to the east.

Looking down towards the marina.  There's the chase crew!  Hi guys!

Saw three deer heading up the trail.


Fast forward to present time....
I have been crewing regularly for Gayle and Martha for about a year and have had the opportunity to attend 4 festivals this year.  3 in Nevada - Mesquite, Lovelock and Winnemucca; and this past weekend in Panguitch, Utah.  I was also able to attend a yearly Safety Seminar in Park City, Utah that was very informative.

My family has grown...balloonists draw you into their world, it doesn't matter if you're a pilot, crew member or a volunteer...you are immediately welcomed into the family with a hug! 

Each time we fly, I learn something new.  I have graduated from holding the throat of the envelope during inflation to helping Martha attach the instruments to the basket, setting and attaching the cables to the uprights of the basket.  Lately my job has been to be on the crown line - the rope that is attached to the top of the balloon - and act as ballast to keep the balloon steady during inflation and the 'pull' the balloon down after it's landed.  If I did this every day, I would have arms of steel!

I don't get to fly every time we go 'play' and that's quite alright.  I love watching the faces of the people in the basket as they lift off the ground on their first balloon ride.  Those smiles are one of the main reasons we love doing this!  I kept telling myself that I didn't want to fly all the time because I didn't want it to get old.  But recently I've come to the conclusion that it is because I'd want to get my pilot certificate and my own balloon but that second part is financially impossible.  There is a saying among pilots that "Your first ride is free, the second will cost you around $20 grand!"

This weekend in Panguitch that bug worked its' way deeper into my brain.  My ballooning brother Josh had me get into his basket during the evening Glow and made me (forced me, I tell you!) to work his glow burner!  Touching that little red switch was a rush, it was as if I could feel the propane rushing from the tanks at my feet up into the burner, meeting the pilot light and sending a stream of flame into the beautiful balloon!  I was talking about this to Gayle as we walked back to the hotel later that evening.

His response to me was "You don't need a balloon to get your certificate.  We have two..."

Who knows?




Wednesday, July 25, 2012

There's a Lizard in the Kitchen!

Chicken Enchiladas


This recipe is a variation of the one in the Better Homes & Garden cookbook.  Gotta warn you, I put raisins in my enchiladas.  Yah, I know what you're thinking..."Raisins, Liz?  Really?  Ugh!"  But trust me, they add a little sweetness to the enchiladas.  Like you're biting into a little blob of happiness!  You don't have to add them.  I won't hold it against you, I promise.

I don't have any measurements, I just kind of play it by ear... This recipe will yield one pan of 'ladas.
I usually double it to two pans since my roommates and I have a difference of opinion on the whole raisin issue and I like flour tortillas while they prefer corn.  You are free to use the tortilla of your choice.

You'll need:

2 or 3 chicken breasts, baked and shredded
1 large can of enchilada sauce
Shredded Cheese, lots of  shredded cheese (I use a Colby-Jack mix, but you can use your favorite)
1 can diced green chiles
Yellow Onion, diced
Raisins, optional
Diced Black Olives
Tortillas of your choosing

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

If you're using corn tortillas, wrap them in foil and and toss them in the oven for about 5 minutes to make them pliable.

I didn't do this the first time and they broke apart when I rolled them.

It wasn't a pretty sight.

Put your shredded chicken in a bowl and stir in enough enchilada sauce to coat the chicken a little.

Add some of the sauce to the bottom of your casserole dish, just enough to coat the bottom.

I got a papercut underneath my fingernail yesterday at work, it hurts.

Just thought I'd share that with you.

Take a tortilla and place it on a clean work surface.  Plop some of your chicken in it.  Top that with some cheese, onion, chiles, olives and raising.  Use as much or as little as you want to.

Roll the tortilla and place it seam side down in the casserole.

Repeat that last step with all your tortillas.

Pour more enchilada sauce over the tops of your rolled tortillas.  I use a pastry brush to spread it around evenly.  At this point I also toss more of the onion, chile, olives and raisins on top.

Cover the casserole with foil and put it in the oven for about 35 minutes.

Pull your pan out of the oven, uncover and smother the top of the enchiladas with more of the shredded cheese.  Use as much or as little as you want.

Put your uncovered pan back in the oven for about 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted.


Hey, guess what?  They're done!  Enjoy!













Saturday, June 16, 2012

There's a Lizard in the Kitchen!

So this morning I was thumbing through a bunch of recipes that Roomie Shauna found and a couple of them caught my eye.  Parmesan Garlic Knots and Soft Pretzels.  Yum!  


Soft Pretzels
via tasteofhome.com

  • 1 pkg, (1/4 oz.) active dry yeast
  • 1-1/2 cups warm water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 to 4-1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 8 cups water
  • 1/2 cup baking soda
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • Kosher salt, sesame or poppy seeds, parmesan cheese, cinnamon sugar mix - you choose!

  • In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water.  Add the sugar, salt and 2 cups all purpose flour; beat until smooth.  Stir in enough remaining flour to form a stiff dough.
  • Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.  Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top.  Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
  • Punch dough down; divide into 12 portions.  Roll each into an 18 inch rope and twist into a pretzel shape.
  • In a large saucepan, bring 8 cups water and the baking soda to a boil.  Place pretzels into boiling water, one at a time, for 30 seconds.  Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
  • Place on greased baking sheets.  Brush with egg and sprinkle with the desired topping.
  • Bake at 425 degrees for 12-14 minutes or until golden brown.  Transfer to wire racks. Serve warm.  Makes about 1 dozen.

I made these this morning and used Kosher salt on half of them and a cinnamon sugar blend on the other half.
Shauna's going to make some spicy nacho cheese dip for the salted ones and we want to make a cream cheese icing to dip the others in.


Then Shauna and I made the Parmesan Garlic Knots later this afternoon.  
These are so simple!  So easy!  So yummy!  
You'd best have some marinara sauce or ranch dressing or both 
on hand in which to dip these little bites of heaven!

Parmesan Knots

  • 1 tube (12 oz) refrigerated buttermilk biscuits
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon parsley flakes

  • Cut each biscuit into thirds.  Roll each piece into a 3-inch rope and tie into a knot; tuck ends under.  Place 2 inches apart on a greased baking sheet.  Bake at 400 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown.
  • In a large bowl, combine the remaining ingredients; add the warm knots and gently toss to coat.
This makes about 2-1/2 dozen.

I don't have a picture...they're all gone...no, not really.  I just didn't have my phone or camera handy.  We're going to have these with dinner tonight.  I think they'll go great with the rib-eyes that Roomie Jeff is getting ready to go toss on the grill!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Blogger's Block

I'm suffering from that right now.  There is so much that I want to blog about, but every time I open this up, whatever it is I want to write about becomes a jumble of words in my mind and I can't seen to get them to come together.  So instead of just sitting here staring at a blank 'page' and trying to force my brain to form cohesive thoughts that will flow together nicely, I'm just going to toss together a short synopsis of what I've been wanting to blog.  Short and sweet...like my sisters!

Chili Feed
Back in February, Dad and I attended the annual chili feed put on by the POW*MIA Elko Awareness Association.  This year it was held at the convention center, as the number of attendees has grown so much that they outgrew the former location.  We were treated to a wonderfully delicious variety of chili served by the amazing Nevada East Roller Girls, on skates! There was also some heated auction action and we got to see our State Assemblyman, John Ellison, model a leopard print Snuggie!   Before we ate, we all gathered in the auditorium for the presenting of the colors and a demonstration from the Association's Drill Team.  We were introduced to dignitaries from the National League of POW*MIA Families, J-PAC (the nations largest forensic science lab, they are responsible for the identification of remains, they bring a lot of families closure) and Bob and Jani Bergdahl, their son Bowe is currently the only US POW.  Bowe was captured by the Taliban on June 30, 2009 and it is believed that they are currently holding him in Pakistan.  With Memorial Day a couple days away, as we're remembering those who gave the ultimate sacrifice, I know I'll also be thinking of Bowe...

Confessions from a Former Picky Eater
Hey Momma, I eat asparagus now!  And spinach!  And brussel sprouts!  Ok, I lied, I still won't eat brussel sprouts...And I don't eat my burgers with just ketchup anymore, now I like 'em with cheese, and mustard, and garlic, and tomato, and lettuce, and sometimes I'll use baby spinach instead of lettuce!

The Bakery
I've blogged a couple of times about helping out at Trinity and Michael's bakery, Let Them Eat Cake.  Well, Trinity got an opportunity to take a job at a  fancy-schmancy restaurant in New Orleans, so they passed the torch of the bakery on to their friend Shawn.  Trinity is in NOLA and Michael is here packing up the house and getting ready to meet her there next month.  I will miss them ALOT!  I have a lot of fond memories, like this one from St. Patrick's Day.  Things got a little crazy while we were making corned beef and cabbage...




I'm going to miss the cranberry oatmeal cookies that Trinity makes, I'm going to miss the Irish Car Bomb cupcakes, I'm going to miss bickering with Michael while Trinity rolls her eyes at us, I'm going to miss the true owners of the bakery, Scooter and Vespa, the faithful Corgis.  I'm going to miss Trinity and Michael and Samantha!  One thing I won't miss about the bakery is the deadly strawberry slicer utensil...

Knit One, Purl What?
I finally got the two scarf projects I was working on done last night.  Trinity's Mardi Gras scarf is on the left and the one on the right is the crazy scarf I made for my friend, Sarah.  I'll be delivering Sarah's to her today, but Trinity said I can't UPS hers to her, I must deliver it in person.  The money in my coin jar are now earmarked for a trip to Louisiana to see Trin in New Orleans and my sister, Stephanie in Baton Rouge.


This morning I started working on another scarf and it's really frustrating me.  I've cast-on three times, followed the pattern precisely and still am ended up with one extra stickin' stitch!  Arghhh!!!

Homemade Bread
I made bread not too long ago and it tasted and looked great!  I shared pictures of it on Facebook.  What I didn't share were the pictures of the shattered Pyrex casserole dish.
The baking directions called for a pan of water being placed on oven rack below the Bread.  This doofus grabbed the first pan in sight without thinking of what would happen when she poured the hot water into the hot glass dish in the hot oven.
Um, yah.  It was loud, really loud...and scary, really scary.  After making sure that I wasn't bleeding all over the kitchen ( luckily, I wasn't hit with any flying Pyrex shrapnel) and quadruple checking the bread for glass (it was all good!), we cleaned the glass out of the oven while the bread rested on the counter.

I was s-m-a-r-t on the next go-round and used metal.

The bread came out moist with just the right amount of chewy-ness and without being peppered with glass shards.


Thanks for visiting!


Monday, December 26, 2011

Knit One, Purl What?




I think I mentioned in the first Knit One post that I had decided to knit most of my Christmas gifts this year. Well, I overcame my procrastination (just a little) and persevered!
Katie, my 13 yr old niece, got a soft, fuzzy scarf in purple and black.
I think she likes it, judging from the pictures!


The 16 year old, Kristen, was gifted this scarf and hat (the first one I made) in chunky greens, blues and purples. She declined to model it, but harassed me all Christmas Day to teach her to knit.


I'm going to start teaching both of my nieces to knit in the near future....
stay tuned, as I'm sure the experience will be humorous!

See the cute little munchkin in the photo below?


This is Zackary.
He's the son of my friends, Sunshine & Brandon.
He has an affinity for beanies.
He will steal them off of his father's noggin.
Now he has his own.
The pattern called for a pom pom at the top,
but I switched it out for a big tassel.


Several folk got dishcloths, too. Plus, I'm still working on dishcloths since I ran out of time.
No! I didn't procrastinate! I swear upon my knitting needles!
I'll keep posting pictures as I finish.
And wish me luck teaching the nieces...I'll need it!


Sunday, November 6, 2011

Let Them Eat Cake...Bakery


I met Trinity a couple years ago when she came to me at work to order business cards and make some gift certificates for her baking business. She'd been renting kitchen space from a restaurant in town until about a year and a half ago when she and her husband Michael got a line on a small location that could be converted into a small bakery...The shop is cute and cozy and always smells good. Trinity started filling the case with a few different cupcakes and cookies, brownies, dog treats (gotta give the puppies a treat too!) and people could special ordercakes, pies and cheesecakes.


Doesn't that all look yummy?!
Come on, you know you want to call and order your holiday treats!!

Then her friend Shawn began baking and selling bread.
Her Challah is to die for and makes really tasty French Toast.

Then they decided to start doing healthy dinners 4 nights a week and call it What's For Dinner! Every Monday morning they post the menu on Facebook and through an email blast. People can call or email in their order before a certain time and then pick it up after 5.
The dinners are really yummy and priced reasonably.
It's been quite the success.

The holidays are coming.
You're gonna be busy with activities,
you're going to be too tired to cook.
You'll want a nice, healthy dinner to serve your family.
You'll need some cookies.
You'll need a pie...or two.
How about a festive pumpkin cheesecake?
Call Trinity!!!

Their hours are:

Mon thru Thurs 9:30 to 5:30
Friday 9:30 to 4:30
Saturday 11 to 2

1069 Idaho Street
775-401-6640

Stop in and say Hi to Trinity.
And you might just see her cousins Tandy & Bree,
who come down and help her out during the day.
And you can usually find me there on Saturdays.

Knit One, Purl What?


Back in 2005 my Momma gave me a knitting kit for Christmas. I perused the book, grabbed the needles and yarn and started knitting a scarf.

The knit stitch is as far as I got. The purl stitch was eluding me. I looked on YouTube, knitting websites and Roomie Jeff's mom tried to show me. But it was still eluding me. I couldn't wrap my brain (& fingers) around it. So after garter stitched scarf was done, I put the knitting away.

Until this past May, when I decided to quit smoking. It would give me something to do with my hands. I picked up another knitting book, some yarn, some needles and casted on.



I loved the thick chunky yarns I chose....What a nice, warm scarf they would make. This would be my crazy sampler scarf, trying new stitches, changing between yarns. But the purling was still giving my brain & fingers trouble. Grrr!!!

Then Momma came to visit me at the end of June. She showed me how to Purl. I got it! I really really got it!

While Momma was here, we went to check out the local yarn store...Hook, Yarn & Needles, a small shop owned by the wonderful Eva (a.k.a. Crochet Queen). She has the most amazing yarns. I want them all. Eva told us about a really neat knit/crochet online community -- Ravelry. They have tons of patterns and useful info. I've gotten a bunch of projects saved to my favorites already.

I've been back to Hook, Yarn & Needles a few times since then. One of the things I love about the shop & Eva is that she gets just as exited as I do about me mastering a new stitch or technique, no matter how simple. (as a former smoker, she's also given me some of her tips for quitting, too...double bonus)

This Christmas I decided to make people handmade gifts since money would probably be tight. And people love getting gifts made with love. I found a bunch of simple and fast, yet good-looking dishcloth patterns on Ravelry, bought some cotton yarn and started knitting away.





I'd wanted to try my hand at a hat, but most of the patterns I found used double pointed needles and I was hesitant to try them. So I found one that didn't use them...


I just added the tassels to both but haven't taken a picture yet....

One day I will use double pointed needles and make lots of socks in a rainbow of colors.

One day I will make a sweater out of a luxurious skein of Malabrigo yarn.