Saturday, December 17, 2011

Joyful Journey, our 36th Anniversary

 Joyful Journey is a spa and hot springs in Villa Grove Colorado.  For our 36th anniversary we decided to get away, but stay somewhat close to home.  Don and I had always talked about staying here.  We have visited the pools for an afternoon, but never stayed overnight.  This time we booked a room. 

It was lovely to get away to peace and quiet to regenerate.  There are no TVs and the spa is out in the country but right of of Hwy 17.  This makes it easy to find.  The view all around is of the majestic Sangre de Cristo mountains. You can find more about it by going to .

The ladies that served us were very kind.  They knew it was our 36th anniversary so they made up a little gift basket with oils and soap stuff they sell in the spa.  They try to use natural products which is nice.  We also like the fact that there is no nude bathing.  The pools are clean and managed well.  There is a "cold" breakfast in the morning with granola, yogurt, hard boiled eggs, bagels, juice, coffee and teas, and breads. 

This isn't what some would call a swanky place, but it's adequate for those who don't want to spend too much and still feel relaxed.  We enjoyed ourselves.

Rather frosty, but the pools are very warm!

Our Wedding Day December 14, 1975

25th Wedding Anniversary

Now, on our joyful journey!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Rocket Cake

My grandson turns five tomorrow.  He wanted a Rocket Cake.  So of course I had to do it.  I made the rocket three times.  Once using cake, which was way to soft.  The second time I used rice krispy treats but didn't put in stability besides the dowel in the center.  It exploded at the bottom after just sank on itself.  The third time I put in little cardboards every 6 or 8 inches with small dowels through the treats so that it would hold up and it did much better.  Another learning experience. Hope you enjoy the pics.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Whole Wheat Bread - Soooo Delicious!

I have been making this recipe for years.  I don't remember where I got the basic recipe but I have changed it as I learned what works.  This comes out well with great texture and the flavor is pretty good. I took photos as I went so you can see what it should look like as you progress.


4 cups water heated to 110 to 115 degrees.
3 TBS Active Dry Yeast
1/2 Cup Honey
1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil
2 TBS Kosher Salt
1/2 Cup Wheat Gluten Flour
1/2 Cup Wheat Germ
2 Cups King Aurthur’s Whole Wheat White Flour
3-5 Cups Best for Bread White Flour


1.  Dissolve yeast in warm water that is between 110 and 115 degrees.
2.  Add honey and stir until dissolved.  Let stand 10 minutes.
3. In large 4 cup measuring cup place 1 cup King Arthur's Whole Wheat flour, wheat germ, gluten flour, and 1 cup Gold Medal Best for Bread flour.  Add salt and stir until incorporated.

Yeast mixture should be bubbly.

4. Add flour mixture to yeast mixture and stir well.

5. Add oil and mix well.

6.  Add enough of the Gold Medal Best for Bread flour 1/2 cup at a time until dough is thick enough to turn out onto clean floured surface.
7. Sprinkle more flour on top of the dough and fold the dough onto itself and press down with the heels of your hands.  Turn the bread 1/4 turn and repeat the process.  If the dough is sticky add more flour 1/4 to 1/2 cup kneading by folding and pressing for about 10 minutes or until dough is not longer sticky.  Flour the surface as needed so that the dough doesn't stick to it either.

8.  Form dough into a ball.
9.  Pour a small amount of vegetable oil into a large mixing bowl. 
10.  With your hand spread the oil around the bottom and sides of the bowl.
11.  Place the dough in the bowl and then turn the dough upside down.  This will make sure that the dough gets oiled on both sides.  This helps keep it from sticking to the cloth while raising.
12.  Wet a clean dish towel with hot water and wring it out well.
12.  Place the dish towel over the bowl and place in a cool oven with the oven light on.  Let dough raise until double in size.  This can take up to an hour.  If the dough raises too fast you can punch it down, press the air bubbles out by kneading the dough for a minute.  Form back into a ball, place in the bowl, cover with cloth and let raise again.
13.  Spray with vegetable spray four bread pans.
14.  After dough has raised remove from bowl and knead the air bubbles out for about a minute. Spray the work surface first with vegetable spray or brush with vegetable oil so the dough won't stick to it.
15. Form the dough into a ball and cut it in half.  Then cut the halves in half to make four balls.

16. Roll with a large rolling pin a piece of the dough working out the bubbles.  Try to roll the dough to the size of the baking pan.

17.  Begin at the furthest edge away from you and roll the dough towards you.  With each roll press the dough into itself. When finished rolling the dough seal the edges and tuck them under forming a roll.

18.  Place the roll of dough into a greased bread pan and press down slightly.
19. Let raise until double in size without covering.  Spray tops of loafs with cooking oil to keep from drying out if you are in a dry climate.
20.  Bake at 350 degrees for 55 minutes.  Bread should be crusty on top and golden brown. 
21. Remove bread from pans as soon as you take them out of the oven.  Let the loafs cool on cooling racks and then bag them in plactic bags.  Can be frozen for several weeks.  But I always eat them right away, within a week.  We love bread at our house as you can see. Makes four large loafs.

21. Slice and eat!  Enjoy!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Shortbread Cookies:

I got this recipe from The one thing I needed to do was let them bake longer and make the cookies a bit thicker than the recipe says for high altitude.  When slightly browned, (don't over bake or brown), they seem to not break as easily. 

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Beat butter in a bowl with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy.  Add sugar and beat until smooth. Add salt and vanilla and blend well.  Gently stir in the flour until just incorporated.  Flatten the dough into a disk shape and wrap in plastic wrap.  Chill for an hour or until firm.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. 

On a lightly floured surface roll the dough into a little more than 1/4 inch thick circle. Cut into rounds or shapes with a lightly floured cookie cutter.  Place on prepared baking sheets and place in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes.  Bake for 8 - 10 minutes (high altitude for 12) or until cookies are very lightly browned.  Cool on a wire rack.

For Chocolate Dipped Shortbread;  Place 3 ounces of finely chopped good quality chocolate in a double boiler.  After chocolate is just melted and smooth remove from heat.  Add 3 more ounces of shaved chocolate and stir with wooden spoon til smooth and glossy.  Taking one cookie at a time, dip one end of each cookie in the melted chocolate and place it on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Once all the cookies have been dipped in the chocolate, place the baking sheets in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes or until the chocolate has hardened.

Shortbread cookies will keep in an airtight container for about a week or they can be frozen.

Makes about 2 dozen.

Home Made Nutty Granola

I've always wanted to make my own granola.  I looked at several recipes and then came up with this.  Let me know if you like it!

4 cups rolled oats
1 cup wheat germ
1 cup chopped walnuts or slivered almonds
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup pomegranate infused craisins
1/4 cup organic date pieces with organic oat flour
1/4 cup chopped dates
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup water

1. Heat oven to 300 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the oats, wheat germ, nuts, sesame seeds, craisins, dates, pumpkin seeds, and salt.

2. Make a well in the dry ingredients and add the oil, honey, and water. Toss the mixture until the ingredients are well combined, then spread it evenly on a cookie sheet.

3. Bake the granola for 40 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring every 10 minutes to keep the mixture from sticking. Let it cool completely, then stir in the cranberries or dried fruit.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Vegetarian Tamales, Yummo!!!

My daughter, Callie, learned to make these awesome tamales.  While we were visiting my folks in California we made a bunch to put in GG's freezer.  Callies girls also like them a lot and can't get enough of them.  So I tried them at home and sure enough my Grandsons and the rest of the family love them too!  If you're not vegetarian you can put whatever filling you want in them and they will be awesome.  So here is the recipe that Callie got from .

1 Pkg. of Corn Husks
2 Cups of Masa
1 tsp of Baking Powder
3/4 tsp of Salt
2 tsp of Cumin
2 tsp of Chili Powder
21/4 Cup of Veggie Broth
1 Stick of Butter

Start off by soaking your corn husks in water for at least 30 minutes.
Grab a bowl and add in the masa, baking powder, 1/2 tsp of the salt, and 1 tsp of both the cumin, and chili powder. Now add 2 cups of the veggie broth to your mixture and form a dough. Pop your stick of butter into your mixer and whip it up for a minute or so. Add the masa dough in and mix it up well again.
Set your finished dough aside and let's move on to the filling. The basic tamale recipe is what we use and then we came up with our own filling.  The filling recipe is:

Two bag of Morning Star Farms Meal Starters. (You can use whatever brand of textured vegetable protein you like. Sometimes I use Loma Linda Vege Burger. It is like a crumbled burger.
You can use 2 pounds shredded chicken or 2 pounds of browned hamburger in place of the vege food if you want meat filling.)

1 Onion chopped fine
1 Red, Yellow, or Green Bell Pepper chopped fine
2 T oil

Saute onion, pepper and burger in oil until onions are clear. If you want some kick to your tamales you can add 1/4 Tsp Cayenne Pepper or Chili flakes or more depending on how hot you like your food.)
2 c. shredded mexican cheese. 

Set up the counter with the Masa dough, burger, and cheese in an assembly line. I lay down a tea towl and lay a corn husk on the towel while filling and rolling.  Drain the husks and put at the beginning of the assembly line. Tear strips of a couple of husks about a quarter to a third of an inch thick for tying up the tamale rolls when ready.

Lay a corn husk scoop a small amount of Masa dough in the center of a corn husk.  (About a large tablespoon or so.)  Put a tablespoon of burger down the middle and sprinkled a small amount of cheese on top.  Roll the husk in half so that the Masa surrounds the burger and finish rolling like a burrito. Fold the bottom up and tie it in place with a strip of husk.

To cook I used my spaghetti strainer and set in in a big cook pot.  Stand up the tamales and place water in the bottom of the pot up to the bottom of the strainer.  Cover the pot with tin foil to seal it so the steam wouldn't escape and steamed them for 90 minutes.  Put some uncooked tamales in the freezer for later steaming.  A double recipe of Masa dough and the filling from above will yield around 50 tamales depending on how big you make them.  Enjoy!