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Showing posts from 2008

The Best Pork Chops in the World!

Seriously, these kicked some butt. And the thing about it is, yet again, this was one of those nights when I really didn't have a game plan. I had about half an hour to get dinner on the table before Dev had to leave for class, and I had defrosted 2 pork rib chops.

I suppose you could do this with boneless loin chops, but I don't think the boneless chops have the same flavor that these do. I know the boneless ones are leaner and all that, but when I crave a pork chop, I want something with some flavor (and something that won't dry out the minute any heat is applied).

So here's what I did....

When I got home I rubbed the chops with some dry rub, then immediately started the potatoes. I diced 4 large russet potatoes (I usually use red skin, but I didn't have any today) and dropped them in a pot with enough water to cover, 2 bay leaves and about 3 smashed cloves of garlic.

I let them simmer/boil for about 15 minutes. After draining the potatoes and picking out the b…

Sante Fe/Albequerque

This weekend Dev and I took off for Sante Fe and Albequerque.

Dev is taking an artillery class at Adams State, and he needed to go to some sort of artillery re-enactors event at the New Mexico Veterans' Memorial in Albequerque.

So he came and picked me up from school on Friday and we hit the road for Sante Fe. We stayed at a charming little place called the Olde Sante Fe Inn. It had a nice southwestern vibe, with strings of chilies hanging from the doorways, and beautiful tile work in the rooms. Here's a shot of the outside of our room...

It was very reasonably priced, and I would love to go back when we can stay for the whole weekend- preferably during the winter, when there aren't as many people running around using up oxygen.

We left Saturday morning and drove into Albequerque.

I dropped Dev off at the Veterans' Memorial...

Which, by the way, is very cool. You should go sometime.

Then I embarked on my own little adventure.

Albequerque is a big city.

I am really bad at n…

Another Lovely Sunday Breakfast

Have I mentioned lately how much I love weekend breakfasts? I'm sure I have. Most of my posts seem to be about weekend breakfast.

Dev and I went to Sante Fe and Albequerque this weekend, so Sunday was the only day I cooked.

I had a ton of veggies left in the fridge from the harvest at the greenhouse last weekend, and I needed to use everything up fast (We are headed out again Tuesday to go to Montrose til Sunday).

I have posted about rostis before. I have found these to be a great way to clean out the refrigerator. Basically it's a big potato pancake with whatever you want on the top, shoved under the broiler til it's a big hunk of melty cheesy love. Here's a link to my original rosti post.

This time around I used bacon, onion, swiss chard, mushrooms and tomatoes, topped with cheddar cheese. Because Dev doesn't like fried eggs, I topped his with scrambled eggs when it came out from under the broiler. I, on the other hand, am a runny yolk person, so I topped mine…

My Private Shame...

Everyone has something embarassing they don't want anyone else to know...webbed feet, fear of paper clips...something. And most people take great pains to make sure no one ever finds out about their "thing."

Well, I want to exorcise my demons right here, right now.

This semester Dev has had all night classes, and one night a week I eat dinner by myself. I have to eat dinner unsupervised. All alone. No one knows what I eat. Except me. I am a bad, bad girl.

I want the world to know that I do not have the intestinal fortitude to resist the siren song of the tater tot. I'm not talking half way healthy baked tater tots. I'm not even talking home made tater tots. I'm talking about very specific tater tots... from SONIC.

I know, I know. I'm a food snob who criticizes every restaurant meal I ever eat. I'm a purist who insists on home made yogurt and bacon. I like home made pizza better than pizza from a restaurant. BUT I CAN'T HELP IT! I LOVE SO…

Weekend Update...

What a busy weekend! I didn't get to do as much cooking as I wanted (needed) to do, but it was great to be out around town and active!

Friday I went to an organizational meeting for the Artwalk. Unfortunately, because of funding issues, there won't be an Artwalk this year (it's supposed to be in March)- but a few people are starting to meet so we can seek other sources of funding to recreate Artwalk for next year. I think it's a wonderful community event and I'm eager to jump in and do whatever is necessary to help bring it back!

Saturday I went to the Vintage Garage and participated in a knitting party of sorts. This really neat person named Kim runs a gorgeous little yarn shop in the Vintage Garage, and she invited local knitters to come to her shop and sit and talk and knit. We ended up sitting at the back table in "Back in Thyme" (a WONDERFUL place to eat if you've never been in there). Kim didn't get to spend very much time with us, becau…

Weekend Cooking

I was in the kitchen quite a bit this weekend.

First up, I made a batch of banana muffins to have around for easy breakfasts and snacks this week. I totally cheated and used the bisquick muffin recipe- I just added mashed banana to the wet ingredients. They came out ok- not quite as sweet as I would have liked, but putting cream cheese frosting on them fixed that right up!

Next, I decided to make a batch of home made cinnamon rolls. Dev really likes them and although the are EVIL to have around, I made them anyway.

Just use a basic white bread dough recipe (I used my Dad's). After the first rise, roll the dough into more or less a rectangle (mine is never a rectangle- more like some sort of Rorshact(sp) dough blob experiment)then slather it with butter or margarine (I used Brummel and Brown Yogurt Spread) and brown sugar mixed with cinnamon.

Use a serrated knife to cut the roll into slices. One recipe of bread dough made about 12 slices. I put 6 slices into one 8 inch cake pan (…

"There Will Be Blood"

More like "There Will Be Questions- and There Won't Be Any Answers."

Dev and I watched "There Will Be Blood" last night. I had heard it was a good movie, so we were looking forward to watching it.

We piled on the sofa with our deconstructed barbecue chicken pizza (the cornbread crust stuck to the skillet so badly it wouldn't come out, so I just piled the scrambled up cornbread on the plate and put the pizza toppings on it), and got ready to be spellbound. Only that didn't happen.

To be fair, some of my negative attitude about the movie may be due to the fact that the movie stuck several times, and we had to stop it, restart it and go through the chapter selection menu to get back to where we were. I'm not sure if this is a netflix problem, or a "Mimi needs a new DVD player" problem.

But even giving credit for that, I still didn't get the movie.

The performances were good and all that- I have always been a fan of Daniel Day Lewis. To me…

Mac and Cheese

Macaroni and cheese has to be the undisputed queen of the comfort food kingdom.

Today has been a pretty cold day, and when I got home from school, I was craving a great big bowl of gooey, cheesy macaroni.

I checked out a couple of Rachael Ray cookbooks from our library (I really try to hate her, but I get really good, quick dinner ideas from her books and magazine) and there are about a billion different variations on mac and cheese in both books.

I chose one that combined broccoli with mac and cheese. Of course, I didn't have any broccoli, so mine was actually pea, mushroom and corn mac and cheese.

The recipe was pretty standard- boil the pasta, make a white sauce, add humungus amounts of shredded cheese of your choice and stir everything together with the veggies. If you want to see the recipe, check out "Rachael Ray 365: No Repeats." But really- you can wing it and get the same results.

I will say that the resulting mac and cheese was really tasty- I think it's the…

Potato Soup

When the weather around here starts getting bitterly cold (it was 6 degrees here this morning), I start thinking about soups and stews. Last weekend I had some chicken stock to use up- so I decided to make some potato soup.

This recipe is an old southern one from a book called (appropriately enough) "Southern Cooking." The author of the cookbook, Lorine Olliff Hendricks, is from Metter, GA. The book is pretty entertaining, and includes recipes for possum and squirrel- I would say that's pretty authentic.

I was looking for a potato soup recipe (cuz I didn't have any possum or squirrel laying around) and found one on page 5.

Here's the recipe:

3 slices bacon
1 sweet onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped fine
3 cups potatoes, sliced thin
salt and pepper to taste
1 c. water (I used homemade chicken stock)
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese for garnish
3 cups milk
1/2 c. cream

Cook bacon in heavy saucepan until crisp. Remove for later use (I garnished the soup with it). In the bacon dri…

Birthday- Revisited

Sorry about the whiny birthday post yesterday, but I really was feeling down and homesick.

As is usual, a new day brings new perspective. I realize that I have many many things to be thankful for.

All around me there are positive things happening- my other best friend Lisanne has a brand new baby to love and raise. I have a great job as librarian at a primary school. Dev graduates in a few months. I could go on and on.

After all the crying and carrying on, Dev put me back together and took me to dinner at the golf club. When we came home, I found roses and a brand new 12 inch, French copper skillet. It made me feel guilty for feeling so depressed.

Here's a pic.

So what makes you feel better when you get depressed? Comfort food, that's what. The next two posts will be about what I'm cooking to dig my way back up to the surface....

On My Birthday

My friend Diane wrote a post on her blog about turning 40. She recapped, in a few sentences, the decade she had just experienced, and shared her hopes for the next one.

This got me to thinking about my last decade. My 30's were a mixed bag. Meeting Devin was, of course, the highlight of my 30's, but there were quite a few other events tossed around in there.

I rekindled and strengthened my friendship with Diane. We have known each other for years, and our friendship has weathered some pretty rough times, but each year it seems we find more reasons why we will always be a part of each others' lives. We have gone through marriages (and matching divorces), freak dates by the thousands (between the 2 of us) untold numbers of bottles of wine (and pints at KB's)- I could go on and on. I guess this is part of the reason that my birthday this year hasn't been one of my best. I am homesick for possibly the first time since I moved out to Colorado, and I think one of th…

Binging, Changing Weather, and Other Things In My World

This is what the sky looked like Monday night on the way home from the grocery store. I swear, since I moved out here I've seen some of the wickedest looking clouds...

So I feel really gross right now because I just binged on potato chips. I usually don't let myself do that, but for some reason I could stop myself this evening. Why do I do this?? Now I feel all bloaty and fat and gross.

I think Fall is officially over around here. Wednesday on playground duty it snowed on us, and tonight our low is supposed to be 11. This morning when I left for my library conference it was 5.

Life Can Be So Unfair....

We woke up to this. UGH!!!!!

I love my crockpot!

Tuesday didn't begin with much flair (or should that be flare?). I could not drag myself out of bed, and after getting ready for work it dawned on me that I didn't have a clue what we were going to have for dinner- which isn't good because I get home from work after 4, and Dev has to be in class at 5:30.

What to do?

Get out the crock pot- that's what.

I sliced half a white onion and threw it in the bottom of the crockpot with half a package of fresh sliced mushrooms. I threw 2 bone in chicken thighs on top, then poured about a cup of white wine and a can of low sodium cream of chicken soup all over it. I set it to low and ran out the door.

When I got home, I diced 3 large red potatoes and sloshed them in a pot with water to cover and 2 coarsely sliced cloves of garlic. After simmering them for 15 minutes, I drained them and added some plain yogurt, about 3 oz of cream cheese, salt and some fresh cracked black pepper. I smashed all of it together til it was lumpy.

Then …

Sunday Dinner

This was our dinner tonight. Pork chops with an apple jelly/raspberry wasabi mustard glaze, green beans and smoked tomato grits.

The pork chops were pretty easy- sear them in the skillet, baste them with apple jelly melted in a pot with wasabi raspberry mustard, then finish them in a 400 degree oven.

The smoked tomato grits were the star of the show.

Dev and I were watching "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives" on food network the other day, and one of the dishes mentioned was smoked tomato grits. I just acquired a cast iron stove top smoker, so I decided to see what I could come up with.

I cut 3 roma tomatoes in half, one white onion in thirds and peeled 2 big cloves of garlic. I tossed them with olive oil, salt and pepper, then put them in the smoker for 45 minutes. In the process, I managed to set a pot holder on fire....

Here's what the stuff looked like after it was smoked....

After it cooled, I threw all of it in a blender with enough chicken stock to puree everything.

I prep…

Sausage Hoagie Quiche

I was watching this show on Food Network the other day, and they were profiling some diner where the owner made his own italian sausage, then used it to make a sausage hoagie.

I started thinking that the ingredients for his sandwich (italian sausage, red peppers, onions and cheese) would be good in a quiche.

So, I defrosted a pie crust, browned some breakfast sausage and added some diced onions and red peppers. I put this mixture in the bottom of the pie crust, then sprinkled on about a cup of cheddar cheese.

In my blender I put 4 eggs, 2 cups of heavy cream, some freshly grated nutmeg and a few shots of hot sauce, then processed it for a few seconds. I poured the base mixture over the filling and baked it at 450 for the first 15 minutes, then cut the oven down to 300 and baked it for about another 45 minutes.

I haven't cut it yet, but I think it's gonna be good!

Saturday Lunch

I love cooking on the weekends.

This weekend, I have several projects going (trying to stay ahead of dinners for the week).

For some strange reason I was craving tuna salad yesterday, so I made open faced tuna melts for lunch.

I don't have a recipe for tuna salad, mostly because I always use what I have laying around.

For this version, I used one can of tuna packed in water, about 2 tablespoons of mayo, about 1 tablespoon of sweet pickle relish, about 1 teaspoon of dijon mustard, and one chopped up homemade dill pickle.

Then I toasted a couple of pieces of Dev's home made beer bread, slathered on the tuna salad and a coating of grated swiss cheese. After a few minutes under the broiler we had a pretty delicious lunch!

Paying Bills...Bleh

So I just finished paying bills. I hate this activity.

I am fortunate because I do have a tiny bit of money left over (I can't wait for a month when I don't owe the doctor half my salary). But it seems that amount gets tinier and tinier (is tinier a word??) every month.

It is slowly changing the way I plan meals and cook. A while back, I would sit down and look through my cooking magazines and decide which of the yummie looking recipes I wanted to make, then go to the store and get the stuff and cook. Now- I'm wondering how many things I can make with the pork roast that's on sale for 87 cents a pound. I'm trying to view this as an exercise in many wonderful meals can I make for the least amount of money. But sometimes, I admit, I'm spoiled and I get depressed about it. I can be such a brat.

So, I should just suck it up and be happy that I have a roof over my head and a wonderful person with whom to share my tiny bit of money. And, of cour…

Busy Days

With Dev having all night classes this semester, weeknight dinner is a real struggle.

Tonight I decided to throw together a quick marinara to go on some pasta. I started by mincing garlic and throwing it in a pan with olive oil and some red pepper flakes. After it started warming up, I added dried oregano and some Greek Seasoning. Anchovy paste went in next. I let all that sizzle for a few minutes, then added a can of crushed tomatoes, some onion powder (I didn't have a real one or I'd have added that at the beginning with the garlic). Lastly, I added a few tablespoons of sugar to counteract the acidity of the tomatoes.

I boiled some penne and tossed it together with some parmesan cheese at the very end. Throw in a piece of home made bread, toasted, and I had dinner.

Devin loves pasta, so as he sat and practically licked his plate, it made me laugh, because he claims to HATE anchovies. He hates them in spite of the fact that almost every tomato based pasta dish he has eve…

Rosti A La Mimi

After our experience at Chalet-Swiss, I decided I would go home and make rosti for myself. I felt sure I could match or better what we had there.

But first, some explanation...What is rosti? According to Wikipedia...

"Rösti is a potato dish from Switzerland. It was originally a common breakfast eaten by farmers in the canton of Bern, but today is eaten all over Switzerland. Many Swiss people consider rösti a national dish. Today it is more commonly served to accompany other dishes, rather than for breakfast."

Armed with that knowledge, I woke up this morning and began my quest to make the best rosti I could possibly make with what I had on hand (because I was too lazy and broke to go to the grocery store).

Here's what I used to make 2 individual rosti:

4 handfuls of frozen grated hashbrowns (you could grate fresh potato, but who has that kinda time?)
4 thick slices bacon, diced (I used our home made bacon, but you could use regular thick cut bacon as well, just watch the sal…

Chalet-Swiss- A Review

I have been fairly vocal about the dearth of fine dining establishments around the Alamosa area. I think the best overall meal we've had here in the Valley was at the Creede Hotel.

Because of this, I am always on the look out for that one place to single handedly turn my attitude around- knock me off my culinary feet, as it were.

I haven't found it yet. I had high hopes for Chalet-Swiss, but it just didn't hit the mark.

Here is the one thing I'll cut them some slack for- it was 11:30am on a Sunday. Maybe you have the B team on duty then and they are hung over. I don't know.

We arrived at the Chalet-Swiss after taking a drive to look at fall foliage. As we passed by, I saw it was open and suggested we stop there for lunch. A good friend of mine had suggested it highly, so I figured we were in good hands.

We walked into the foyer/reception area (which was devoid of human life) and stood there. And stood there. And stood there. We peeked through the glass doors an…

Polston Primary School Library

Polston Primary School Library, originally uploaded by All Things Mimi.

After over a month of sweating and fussing, Devin and I finally finished the library at Polston this week.
I definitely think it is an improvement over the way it was before. Hopefully, the kids think it is fun and inviting.
I could never have done it without Devin. He hung all the decorations and even made some of them.
All in all I'd say it's a pretty cool place to work.


Moon, originally uploaded by All Things Mimi. This is how the moon looked from our front window last night. Beautiful, isn't it?

Happy Birthday Devin!!!

Dev's birthday bash was a big hit on Saturday. This pic pretty much sums up the event.

I'll post more about it later, but this pretty much speaks for itself!


Dev and I are headed to Montrose this weekend to celebrate his 40th birthday with his family.

I will take many pics during the birthday bash and humiliate Dev by publishing them right here!

So have a great weekend and I'll talk to you Sunday night!


Ugh! I hate it when the Braves play the Rockies.

I root for the Rockies all during the season because Colorado is my adopted home. But when they play the Braves, that always means trouble. How can I turn my back on almost 20 years of loyalty to the Braves??

Misery. Pure misery.

Sunday Dinner

Sunday dinner was all about comfort food.

I made smashed potatoes which I find much lower maintenance than mashed potatoes. I just boil some chopped red potatoes with a few garlic cloves and a bay leaf, then remove the bay leaf and smash the potatoes and garlic with some butter, a little salt and pepper and about 3 tablespoons of cream cheese.

I also had to use up a few calabacitas I had in the fridge, so I diced half an onion, 2 calabacitas, a yellow squash and 2 roma tomatoes and sauteed them in a little olive oil and red pepper flakes. I added a few cups of sweet white corn kernels towards the end.

And the main course was My Momma's Salmon Patties. This recipe has been around forever. When I was a teenager and had braces, whenever I would get the bands tightened and my mouth was sore, Mom made salmon patties and mashed potatoes.

The recipe is pretty simple:

Weezy's Salmon Patties

1 can red salmon (picked through for bones and skin)
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 c. quick cook…

Saturday In the Valley

We started our Saturday at the Farmers' Market, as usual. The SLV Big Band was playing, which is always good entertainment, so we walked around for a little while. We really didn't need anything, so we didn't stay long.

After perusing the market, we headed out to Monte Vista to visit Home Lake. Home Lake is a soldiers and sailors home. Dev tried to explain how that is a little different than a state veterans' home, but I don't remember what he said.

Anyhoo- it is a beautiful place. There are older buildings there that I would surmise date back at least to the WWII era, as well as modern buildings. Here's a shot of the old pool hall...

I took a whole slew of pics and uploaded them to my flickr's the link to the set.

But by far, the most striking thing on the campus is the veterans' cemetary. The graves there are from the Civil War forward. We saw graves of veterans from the Spanish American War as well.

The hardest thing to see where the …

Date Night

It's not often that Dev and I decide to have an old fashioned date night. There are several reasons for this (we've been shacked up for over 2 years now, there aren't many places to go here in Alamosa, everything is ridiculously expensive, etc.), but really there's no excuse.

So after work on Friday, I announced to Dev that he was taking me out on a date. I had heard a new steak house opened out between Blanca and Fort Garland, so I figured we'd give it a try. Plus- Dev spent 6 weeks out at Fort Garland this summer at a field archaeology school and learned about some really cool things at the fort I wanted to see.

I took some pics while we were out there and posted them to my flickr page. Here's the link to the set.

Dinner was ok. It was pretty typical for what you find in this area. Dev had a steak and rice and I ordered the ribs. My portion was huge (I have a knack for choosing the hugest thing on the menu), so I ate about 3 of the ribs and half my bak…

Rainy Evenings

It's raining here right now, and instead of looking out the window, I decided to post a little something to my blog.

We have had MAJOR computer issues around here (a laptop that fell off a table and won't operate any longer) so we had to buy a new computer.

I'm happy to say the new desktop is up and running, and I'm still getting used to Vista.

School is keeping me crazy busy, so posts have been few and far between.

I've been cooking up a storm, but have been in such a rush, I haven't taken any pics. I will get back to normal, though- I promise.

Dev cooked tonight. He made a pork loin in the crock pot with some yummie mustard-cranberry gravy stuff. We also had wild rice and steamed snow peas.

Tomorrow night I will make smothered chicken burritos. I will try to slow down enough to take a pic and blog the recipe. I am using some leftover chicken/pinto bean filling I made a while back and put in the freezer.

I'm not sure what our plans are for our day off tom…

Back to the Grind...

School has started around here for Dev and me, which means things have been really really busy.

Dev is taking all night classes this semester, which means I get off work at 4pm and he has to be in class at 5:30. This makes dinner somewhat challenging.

Because of recent health issues, eating out is not a realistic option for me, so I have had to become much more organized and deliberate about planning meals. I had no idea how much of my time would be taken up by the planning and then the prepping of meals.

Prices at the grocery store are still climbing higher and higher, so in addition to the time/diet crunch, there's also budget to consider. I am trying to become a much better pantry cook. When planning this week's meals, instead of leafing through hundreds of magazines and blogs like I normally would, I went instead to the pantry. What could I make from what I had, adding a few fresh items from the grocery store? It turned out I could make quite a few things. We have eate…


This is a croissant spread with the strawberry rhubarb jam Dev made last night. I can't tell you how yummie it was. If he will tell me how he made it, I'll post about it later.

Bad Weather!

Dev just took that picture out our office window. It looks a lot closer than it is, but it's still pretty frightening.

I wasn't sure who to call about it, because I'm sure someone wants to know. It's gone now, but I'm sure the conditions are still right to spawn another one.

I ended up calling the non-emergency police line (got a machine wanting me to leave a message- not helpful), then I called our local public radio station. Their suggestion was to call the State Patrol and report it to them. So that's what I did. The person on the phone said they would report it to the national weather people, but there wasn't really anything to be done unless it touched down and damaged property. I guess that makes sense, but it makes me feel pretty helpless.

Now I'm glued to the window, looking for another funnel cloud. What a fun way to spend a Sunday afternoon, huh?

Farmers' Market Goodies!

IMG_2347, originally uploaded by All Things Mimi. Here's what we brought back from the Alamosa Farmers' Market today.

The cantaloupe is already diced and in the ice box.

Dev is hard at work brandying the peaches.

The beat will be roasted tomorrow for salads this week.

The peppers will be stuffed for dinner.

The calabacitas will be diced and sauted with some corn, the red onion and maybe some tomatoes.

The garlic will go in just about everything!!! :)

I'll do posts on the stuff as it happens.

New School Year...New Job!

IMG_2341, originally uploaded by All Things Mimi. So this is where I will hang my hat this year at Polston.

It looks really plain right now, but Dev and I are hard at work, trying to make it much more kid friendly.

So far we've added some plants, some hanging art work (Devin Allen originals) and a few posters.

I'm still looking for more things to hang from the ceiling and jazz the place up a bit.

I'll be sure to post pics of the finished product!

Quinoa Bake

One of my new favorite foods is quinoa. I have found I can substitute it in any dish that calls for rice or couscous.

And completely out of character for me, I like this AND it's actually better for me.

So anyhoo- I found this recipe somewhere (don't remember where) and wrote it down on a scrap of paper. I finally got around to making it for dinner day before yesterday. It contains 2 of Dev's least favorite things- pinto beans and cottage cheese. However, he went back for seconds, so it can't be that bad....

Quinoa Bake

1 1/3 c. chicken stock
2/3 c. quinoa, rinsed
1 c. shredded carrots
1/2 c. sliced green onions
1/2 t. coriander
1/4 t. salt
dash hot sauce
1 can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 c. cottage cheese
1 (8 ounce) container plain yogurt
1 T. chopped fresh parsley
1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese

In a large saucepan combine stock, quinoa, carrots, green onions, coriander, salt and hot sauce. Bring to a boil, reduce heat. Cover and simmer 15 minutes or until all liquid i…