Cuisine in the Chalet

Now that I have my kitchen somewhat organized and am settled in the new house, I am cooking any chance I get.  It is so peaceful and quiet out there that once I get home from my long commute everyday and even on the weekends, I hardly want to leave.  Last weekend I made Pumpkin Parfaits for the dinner party, and they were a hit!  I sprinkled a bit of cinnamon in the layers and added toffee brickle too.  I wanted to add roasted pecans to the layers but ran out of time.  I made the bottom crust out of crumbled up blondie brownies I made the night prior.  Thanks to “” for the idea and base recipe.  Freshly shaved nutmeg would look and taste great on top too!

Quick Pumpkin Cheesecake Parfaits


  • 1 8-oz package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • Heath Bits O’ Brickle Toffee Bits
  • 1 pint of heavy whipping cream
  • 1/3-1/2 cup sugar/brown sugar/coconut sugar
  • ½ tsp pumpkin pie spice (or a combo of cinnamon, cloves, and ginger)
  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted
  • **an alternative for the crust is crumbled up chunks of brownies/blondies
  • **see whipped cream recipe below
  1. Cream together softened cream cheese and sugar in a medium bowl.
  2. Add in pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice until thoroughly combined.
  3. Fold 1/2 of whipped cream into pumpkin cream cheese mixture and refrigerate.
  4. When ready to serve, stir together graham cracker crumbs with melted butter.
  5. Layer graham cracker crumbs first, pumpkin cheesecake, whipped cream, toffee brickle (best sprinkled in between each layer), and top with remaining whipped cream, freshly shaved nutmeg, cinnamon, crushed graham cracker, and toffee brickle.

Whipped Cream

  • Heavy whipping cream
  • granulated or confectioners sugar
  • vanilla extract

A good ratio is 3 T sugar and 1 t vanilla per 1 cup whipping cream.  Whisk by hand or by electric mixer until soft peaks start to form.




I love these, especially the Pump Action and the Ninkasi Sleigh’r


Our new beautiful custom coffee table


Tomato Bell Pepper Gouda Soup with Red Wine

Fresh Veggie Pad Thai with Zucchini Noodles


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Premier Family Visit in Evergreen!

Well, we had our first overnight visitors for a few days.  My brother, niece, and mom came to stay at our new house, and we enjoyed every minute of their time here .  The three nights actually flew by too fast.  On Friday morning, I took the fam over to Breckenridge for the day.  We enjoyed walking the main street and stopped for some fun pics in the park after having some lunch at C.B. & Potts and stopping for cookies at my favorite Mary’s Mountain Cookies.img_1820img_1816img_1817img_1819img_1801This was the best little toy store, cram packed with toys filling every square inch, complete with an sea octopus playground!  I especially appreciated the selection of stuffed toy foxes!img_1796

Cyrus, Brad, Bryce, Mom and I tried out the local (in Kittredge) barbecue spot called Switchback Smokehouse.  It was an overall delightful experience!  They even had smoked salmon for those Pescatarians out there that still want to enjoy some barbecue:)img_1794

Mom and Bryce exploring the area not far from here around Red Rocks while Aunt Amy is at workimg_1790

I made a little aperitif for the guests.  I see someone that is excited about this.img_1811

In preparation for the guests, we incorporated a little character into the guest rooms with fun bedding and pillows hoping kids will be around to appreciate it even more!img_1966

Poor lighting from the temporary lamp in here doesn’t portray the classy crisp white with grey windowpane duvet with the grey light wool throw.img_1969

One morning we went to Denver for brunch to meet up with Brad’s friend.  Cyrus and Bryce enjoyed some coloring time together at the table on the rooftop–I enjoyed the view.img_1812img_1806

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A Fruitful Foodful Weekend in Denver


Pre-gaming all by myself with my favorite cocktail, the Pisco Sour anticipating Cyrus’ arrival for dinner

Pisco Sour

  • 3-4 oz Pisco
  • 1-2 oz squeezed lemon juice (I like lemon, but lime works just the same & is great too)
  • 1 egg white
  • 3/4 oz homemade simple syrup (I prefer to use Mauritian sugar cubes or use my fine homemade vanilla sugar)

Drinkrections:  Shake it til you can’t shake it no mo’!~  Then add ice and give it another shake-a-roo.  This method ensures the best white frothy foamy effect from the egg white.  Top it off with a few drops of Angostura Bitters and don’t be scared to be creative with a nice tooth-picked design.


While waiting for my sauce to cook, I went out on the balcony to light my chiminea and take a peak at the dark silhouette of my distant mountain view just after sunset.


Veggie Lasagna


Added apples to soup for a little tinge of tartness…meanwhile, cooking the potatoes and making veggie broth for the soup


Sauteed zucchini, onions, and leeks, with roasted eggplant and garlic set aside for layering into the lasagna


Reserving some leeks, garlic, and onions for special toppings


In the Vitamix…



Leek, Roasted Garlic, Potato Soup!

I garnished the soup with basil from my patio plant, sun-dried tomato, and muddled basil infused olive oil.


My new copper wine glasses I got for my birthday from my sweet aunts, Dynda and Lisa



Boule Toast with caramelized leeks, onions, and garlic atop mozzarella


After all that food we had last night, I still had a hankering to make Pumpkin Waffles before taking a steamy dip in the jacuzzi.


Pumpkin waffles to die for, so will follow with recipe

Pumpkin Waffles

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
4 large eggs, separated
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups homemade buttermilk (see below)
1 cup canned solid-pack pumpkin
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
Butter or oil to apply to waffle iron for non-stick

Preheat oven to 250°F if keeping some warm and warm evenly on both sides as will get soggy quickly.

Preheat waffle iron. Sift together flour, brown sugar, baking powder and soda, salt, and spices. Whisk egg yolks in a large bowl with vanilla, buttermilk, pumpkin, and butter until smooth. Whisk in dry ingredients just until combined.

In a mixing bowl with a whisk attachment, whisk the egg whites until they hold soft peaks (as in, far softer than the over-beaten whites you’ll see in my picture above). Folk them gently into the waffle batter, until just combined.

Brush waffle iron lightly with oil and spoon batter into waffle iron, spreading quickly. Cook to your preference.  Serves up to 4 hungry people!  I split this recipe and is perfect amount for two people with no waste.

**Homemade Buttermilk

Measure out the 2 cups whipping cream (future buttermilk) and add about 2 T freshly squeezed lemon juice and 1-2 T apple cider vinegar and stir.  Let sit for at least 10 mins and will begin to curdle quickly.  I like this better than store bought buttermilk…plus it’s fun to watch the transformation of the cream and smells delicious!


Pumpkin waffles served with Great Aunt Priscilla and Cork’s Homemade Apple Butter I scored at the family reunion auction

I served the waffles with Jalapeno Onion Home-fries that left a spicy aroma that lingered in my apartment for days.



My entree at beautiful Bittersweet


Special longtime friends Alex and Lindsey Cyrus grew up with in Texas that also live in Denver


Cyrus with the “Midas Touch”–Cyrus and I took a stroll on Sunday to walk off the Bittersweet celebrations last night.  It was a great relaxing way to end the weekend.

Did I mention we also walked around the lake to my favorite neighborhood coffee shop -Coda – and enjoyed a cold coffee bevi on the back patio?  Then we spontaneously decided to try the much anticipated local Thai cafe next door where I threw a small fit, because I ordered the wrong item getting the “Pak U.S. Thai” instead of the PAD Thai I thought I ordered.  I was almost drooling over everyone else’s noodles for about 20 minutes as everyone around me seemed to be enjoying that PAD Thai.  The solution being, I ordered us a third meal; suffice it to say, no doggie bag needed.  On our way back, we didn’t get too far before we strolled up to Joyride Brewing, getting lured in by enticing open air atmosphere to share a pint of their seasonal Scarecrow Pumpkin Ale.  This was a fabulous weekend!


Posted in baking, beer, breakfast, cocktails, coffee, coffee shops, cooking, Denver, dessert, dining, dinner, Drinks, Food, friends, Mountains, Nature, outdoors, parties, random, recipe, Recipes, restaurants, salmon, soup, the good life, Wildlife, wine | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Denver Urban Homestead Tour

As I have mentioned in a previous post or two, Cyrus and I bought a house and will soon be moving into our first home!  He has been doing most of the gardening research and pre-planning as I have been studying how to raise chickens.  I found out about this self guided Urban Homestead Tour in the Denver Metro area so we mapped out our preferred route and decided to participate and check out the attractions.  We saw great examples of food production, chicken keeping, beekeeping, natural building, composting, sustainable design (including re-using grey water from washing clothes outdoors to water plants), and more applied in various spaces and neighborhoods.  Eventually we will be building our own garden in hopes to become self-sufficient with a sustainable set up.  It will be a lifelong learning process and something we can definitely grow on together, get it? 🙂I believe this is the salvaged 1920’s farmhouse.  I went gaga over it and the bark walls you will see on the back of the house and encompassing the shed.We must have a pumpkin trellis next fall season!Busy bees and their hives

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Pumpkin Ice Cream and more…

Cyrus and I are in the middle of closing on our first house in Evergreen, CO–a mountain home!  I thought it would be nice to make a special dinner to celebrate.  We made it to the next step in the process–time for the appraisal next week (crossing our fingers!).

Last night I prepared the pumpkin custard and refrigerated it for 24 hours, so it is sure to be cold enough to firm up to the perfect ice cream texture in just less than 20 minutes.  I also made homemade waffle cones with of my pizzelle iron ahead of time.  If you’ve never had this beautiful Italian flattened out thin and crunchy cookie, make a point to find them at the grocery store or better yet go out and buy a pizzelle maker like I did after I fell in love with my first homemade pizzelle.  I believe I always see these cookies for sale at Whole Foods.  Sorry I forgot to get pics of mine in the making, but you will see it as a bowl shape in the final ice cream picture below.  In addition to the usual flat ones, I made cone and bowl shaped pizzelles specially for the ice cream.

Pumpkin Ice Cream 

  • 1 cup fresh pumpkin puree or canned
    unsweetened pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed dark or light brown sugar (I used about half coconut sugar)
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 Tbs. spiced rumIn a bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree and vanilla. Cover and refrigerate until cold.

    In a heavy 2-quart saucepan over medium heat, combine 1 1/2 cups of the cream and 1/2 cup of the brown sugar. Cook until bubbles form around the edges of the pan, about 5 minutes.

    Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine the egg yolks, cinnamon, ginger, salt, nutmeg, the remaining 1/2 cup cream and the remaining 1/4 cup brown sugar. Whisk until smooth and the sugar begins to dissolve.

    Remove the cream mixture from the heat. Gradually whisk about 1/2 cup of the hot cream mixture into the egg mixture until smooth. Pour the egg mixture back into the pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon and keeping the custard at a low simmer, until it is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon and leaves a clear trail when a finger is drawn through it, 5 – 6 minutes. Do not allow the custard to boil. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl.

    Place the bowl in a larger bowl (ice bath), stirring occasionally until cool. Whisk the pumpkin mixture into the custard. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly on the surface of the custard to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until chilled, at least 3 hours or up to 24 hours.  I like to make the night before, so I am not waiting and pressed for time.

    Transfer the custard to an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Add the rum during the last minute of churning. Transfer the ice cream to a freezer-safe container.

img_1449img_1457img_1458For the enchiladas this evening I made homemade tortillas for the first time.  They turned out to be the perfect texture, light and airy.

Tortilla Recipe

1.25 c. flour

1/2 t. baking powder

1/2  t. salt

2 oz. butter

2/3 c. water

Combine dry ingredients, then cut in the butter blending all until cornmeal like texture. Then add the water until moistened.  

Knead dough on lightly floured surface and shape into ball to place and rest in airtight container for 30-60 mins.  Then shape into slender log and pinch off into 12-16 tortillas depending on size of tortillas preferred.  When ready to cook, flatten out balls as thin as possible without tearing and watch them cook quickly on a cast iron skillet at medium heat.  Watch and flip after 30-50 seconds to cook each side to look like pictures below (see cooked tortillas in bowl).


After the tortillas were cooked, I made them into Veggie Enchiladas filled with caramelized carrots, sweet potatoes, quinoa, and onions topped with sour cream, tomatillo-cilantro, and homemade salsa trio of sauces.  I also grated white cheddar and cotija cheese over the top.  I cooked the enchiladas at 400 degrees until all was warm throughout and cheese was melted.  I served guacamole and ranchero beans as sides.img_1470

We barely saved room for the pumpkin ice cream with this big meal not the mention sharing a bomber of Buffalo Bill’s Black Pumpkin Oatmeal Stout.  I roasted pecans with brown sugar and honey, then tossed them while warm with Heath bits and dark chocolate chunks making it into a crunchy crumble to sprinkle on top of the ice cream.img_1472

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Pumpkin Spice Macarons

This is what happens when your oven is too hot at higher elevation.I like to add just a bit more of the delicious pumpkin buttercream than the average macaron maker.I grated fresh nutmeg and sifted cinnamon on top for a nice natural pumpkin spicy touch!  Eat your heart out Mike!  Recipes to follow

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Fun Family Times in Florida

We timed this trip even better this year!  We had the pleasure to hang out with even more family this trip in Florida.  My cousins Chad and Darren brought their families, and we had a blast on the beach and at night eating, drinking, and playing card games.  We all stayed at the same condominium complex and were able to hang out all hours of our time there.  This was such a memorable summer not only because of the Dixons but also because we had Lincoln and Bryce there on their first cousin vacation. 

Posted in RV Trip

Camping in Nederland

This gallery contains 3 photos.

We are very happy we chose this campground for many reasons: the top being we were graced with moose presence (a first in CO!!) both nights there, then there was the river which was rushing right next to our campsite … Continue reading

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Thump Coffee All the Way from Bend, OR

This coffee shop is one of my top 3 favorites in Denver!  I dropped my friend off at the airport at 6:00am and headed off to try a new coffee shop to work from for the morning.  The service was great from the moment I walked in the door.  After ordering a regular cuppa joe, the other barista and I started talking about Oregon and coffee.  Pretty soon I was offered a sample of his cappuccino, so I can taste the difference in how he makes his different than the rest with a lower temperature.  What a great first impression I got–from the wonderful drinks, to the cool and clean style of atmosphere.  This was a perfect new coffee shop experience…did I mention the banana oat muffin was delicious as well?  

If you are in the Denver area, go try Thump and you won’t be disappointed.  After all, there are only two, and how often do you get to visit lovely Bend, OR?  Probably not enough.

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Independence-Aspen Camping Work Week

This was taken at sunrise in Denver from my balcony before heading out to Aspen on a Wednesday morning.  I am very eager to get on the road, so I was the early bird today.

Mountains to my right and Capitol to my left

Going through Leadville we found a great lil pizza hut called High Mountain Pies with a nice backyard full of picnic tables for the al fresco dining option looking out over the snow covered mountains.We couldn’t pass up the only brewery in town!  Plus breweries have been “our thing” since our RV times.  It seems we always are excited about trying the same beer option…but we make one get the other, so we can try two different varieties. One evening we had a special crepe dinner at this amazing little French bistro. We were both surprised at what was revealed at the bottom of these stairs.  It was the perfect setting for a romantic and charming dining experience.  We shared something cheesy and savory to start, then the sweet crepe with Nutella option.  I even had the opportunity to practice what little French I remember on le propriétaire du restaurant.   20160622_18443820160622_18444920160622_184522Here we are at the John Denver Sanctuary exploring the gardens after our beautiful picnic that looked out over the river.20160623_153039

Campground moments

We went to the Aspen Museum for macarons and beer just around happy hour before heading back to the campground, calling it a day in town. 

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