It’s chilly here…

27 Aug

…which means fall is coming!! I love fall- I love that it transitions from summer, and you can wear more things- my wardrobe has expanded.

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The reason I’m writing is that I’ve realized that life isn’t the same as it used to be. I absolutely love Boulder, but my parents live in Colorado Springs, so that’s hard. I either need them to move to somewhere up here, or I need to move back to Colorado Springs. Boulder is great because I have so much more independence than in Colorado Springs- since I don’t drive right now, I can ride the bus most everywhere I want to go, and I have a ton more friends in this part of the state. But I’ve kind of realized how important having them nearby is- like today, my mom is skipping her haircut and driving the hour and a half to come get me. Something needs to change here, so I’m not so lonely.

Although my friends should do what they want to, no doubt about that, it was just hard for me when I saw on Facebook them doing something I used to be a part of. It has kind of overwhelmed me lately that my life is in absolutely no way like it used to be, and I haven’t gotten used to that yet. I haven’t gotten used to the fact that there are different, “adaptive” ways that I can do things. I have put my fingers up in an “X” when I hear the word “adaptive.” But maybe that’s a way to keep doing what I love, but in a kind of different way.

I’ve realized that my balance and my coordination gets in the way of things I like doing- like cooking and exercise, for example. I used to be right-handed, and since my accident caused hemiplegia on that side, I’m now left-handed. And my balance gets in the way when I exercise. For instance, I’ve noticed yesterday that when I do spinal balance, I am on my knees, and the opposite leg and arm operate together. That’s fine when I lift the right leg to use with the left hand, but when I switch and use the left leg with the right hand, I notice it’s much more difficult. I never used to consider it, but your balance plays a huge role in the things that you do.

Having a TBI has made things extremely difficult. I can’t do the same things I used to, I’m not the same person that I was, and my dating life is absolutely null. I didn’t think that mattered, but having someone else to talk to when you’re going through a change is extremely important. I’ve relied on my parents, which has been great, but I would like someone my own age to go through this with.

If you have any suggestions on how to deal with these things I’m experiencing, I’m all ears.

 

(Image found here. I love the pattern of many photos, etc. on the wall over the couch.)

My birthday!

22 Jul photo-5

I had my birthday on Sunday, at home with my parents in Colorado Springs. I saw our family dog, a chocolate lab named Abby, and my brother has a chocolate lab/German short hared pointer mix. It’s very good to have family members that have dogs, because I don’t have to get one!

For my birthday, I cooked breakfast, dinner, and dessert. and my mom said “we’ve spent all day in the kitchen!” which is fine with me, because I love cooking! I got a Cuisinart, the Snitten Kitchen cookbook for my birthday, and dad printed one of my photos that I can hang in my apartment. It was good to be at home and just relax for my birthday, and not feel like there was anything I had to do.

My mom and I made blueberry oatmeal yogurt pancakes for my birthday (recipe here) and they were so delicious. Since we ate enough at breakfast, we didn’t need lunch, and we grilled pizza for dinner. I found a recipe for pizza online, and it called for pesto as a topping, and I knew we had homemade pesto because we grow our own basil plants in the backyard, and we just made up the other ingredients- chicken, red onion, and mini bell peppers, and we sprinkled some cheese on top. Since my dad is an “expert” at grilling, I always try to make him grill at home. The pizza turned out great, and there are leftovers that we’ll have for lunch!!

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We also made dessert for after dinner. I found this coconut cake recipe, and thought I’d give it a whirl. But it didn’t turn out (in any way) like the pictures said it would. It was a lot of hard work, though, so it’s a bummer that it didn’t come out the way I hoped. Oh well, it was still delicious.

My birthday went well; thanks for asking!! And I have a lot to be thankful for ever since my injury. Like I said in the last post, going through something like this makes you really appreciate what you do have. So while I don’t have a dog, there are a lot of things that are going in the right direction.

What’s going on

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Things have been going pretty well for me. Last night, I went to a Red Rocks concert with Fahren and Tyler (my friends from Copper Mtn Ski Patrol), and we saw Gregory Alan Isakov- who I’ve never seen and was DYING to see. I’ve recently started work for my friend Andrew at his company. He started Boulder Startup Week, and it’s now owner/run by a larger company in Seattle. Working for him is great, and because he’s a close friend, I can say that I don’t have enough energy to go into work (like today). Having work to go to seems like a simple thing, but having a schedule keeps me on-track and I don’t get frustrated/annoyed as easily. And, this Sunday’s my birthday, so I’m happy to be at home in Colorado Springs, see the dog(s), and be relaxed and do what I want to do.

(My brother has a chocolate lab/German short haired pointer mix puppy, so it’s very good to have family members who have dogs, so I don’t have to get one!!)

With a TBI like I have, I’ve learned that it’s very good to thank and appreciate the people that have helped you. Last night at the concert, I have some balance issues, so having Fahren and Tyler help me was a step above what they had to do. I’m not exactly capable of what I used to e able to do, so rather than seeing that as a frustrating thing, I’ve just realized that I meed more assistance doing what I used to do (like walking, for instance) and I should gladly accept it from the people who offer it. Last night, at the concert, Fahren had found us new seats down the row, and the woman next to me noticed that I lost my balance and kind of fell into the guy siting on the other side of me. The woman said she’d help me walk down to where Fahren was sitting, and I didn’t even know her, but I gladly accepted. That was just one example I noticed where I need to accept help I need from people who offer it.

I’m already excited for the weekend- a chance to relax, celebrate doing what I want to do (it’s my birthday, after all!) and be with my parents and my dog. Hope you are as excited for the weekend as I am!

 

(Image from this site.)

 

High-Altitude Pumpkin Bread

4 Jul pumpkin-bread

I had pumpkin bread recently from the farmers market, and I thought it was so delicious, I’d try it myself.

I was kind of in the baking mood, so I also made these cookies for my friends BBQ this afternoon. Honey? And oats? What could go wrong? But I learned after I made them that the honey really makes the flavor different. It said to add your own extra ingredient, so I added some chocolate chips, which was a mistake, because the honey really alters the way they taste. I should have just left the chocolate chips out.

Here’s the pumpkin bread recipe. It was really good, but the next time I make it, I’ll have to kick up the pumpkin flavor. Does anyone have any ideas?

3 eggs
2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 cups canned pumpkin puree
3 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)
1/2 cup chopped raisins (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Beat oil, sugar, and eggs in large bowl until light and fluffy.
3. Add vanilla and pumpkin, mix until well blended.
4. Sift flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Add to pumpkin mixture and beat on low speed until blended.
5. Stir in nuts and raisins if desired. (I added nuts.)
6. Pour batter into 2 9×5 inch loaf pans that have been sprayed with cooking spray.
7. Bake for 60 minutes at 350F or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
8. Remove bread from pans and let cool on rack.
This recipe makes two loaves, and I noticed at the top you can decrease the amount it bakes. Oh well! Now my parents will have some to try.
(Photo from here.)

Homemade granola

30 Jun photo 2-7

I figured out that it’s much cheaper-and much more delicious- if you make granola at home. I have made it at home for almost a year now but I always have followed recipes (like this one). But I realized that I bake everything else delicious, and there’s no reason for me to not make up my own granola recipe and post it.

This is my first try, and it will need some work. But it tastes delicious!The oats taste great and they’re crunchy, and I added some chopped pecans and some walnuts to give it that extra crunch. And I found out from this recipe that adding almond extract gives it that flavor that it needs- and it smells delicious when you bake it! I will just have to narrow down the ingredients it calls for when I make it the second time.

3 cups old fashioned oats

1 cup pecans, chopped

½ cup walnuts

½ cup coconut

¾ cup slivered almonds

¼ cup dried fruit (I used pomegranate)

¾ cup golden raisins

1.5-2 teaspoon cinnamon

¼ cup melted coconut oil

½ teaspoon almond extract

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

½ cup pure maple syrup (we use only Vermont maple syrup)

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1. In a large bowl, stir the oats, pecans, walnuts, coconut, slivered almonds, dried fruit, raisins, and cinnamon.

2. Melt the coconut oil in a pot on the stove. Add the almond extract, vanilla extract, and maple syrup.

3. Once the heated stuff was combined and cooled, add it to the dry ingredients; stir.

4. Bake at 300 degrees F for 45 mins. Stir at 15 min intervals.

5. Take out of the oven; let cool. Store, and if you’re like me, in Ball jars.

Oatmeal Peanut Butter Cookies

26 Jun photo 3-6

I love baking because if you like a recipe, you check to see if you have all the ingredients, then you make it. That’s what I did with this recipe. My roommate, her friend and I will have it for dessert after dinner- so hopefully it tastes good enough for us to have!!

Here’s the recipe (and here’s the link).

Ingredients

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Original recipe makes 2 dozen
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup quick cooking oats
  • 3 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream

Directions:

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  1. In a large bowl, cream together 1/2 cup butter or margarine, 1/2 cup peanut butter, white sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla. Add egg and beat well.
  2. In another bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add these dry ingredients to the creamed mixture. Stir. Add oatmeal and stir.
  3. Drop by teaspoons onto greased baking sheet, and press each mound down with a fork to form 1/4 inch thick cookies. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 10 minutes, or until cookies are a light brown.
  4. To Make Filling: Cream 3 tablespoons butter or margarine with the confectioners’ sugar, 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter, and the cream. Spread filling onto half of the cooled cookies, then top with the other half to form sandwiches.

 

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Strawberry Shortcake

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Strawberries are not my favorite- I’d rather make a recipe using a different fruit- but my mom is going up to Frisco tonight for a hike with her winter-time hut-trip girls, and she’s responsible for bringing dessert, so we made these. Again, I’m not good with the photography, so I forgot to take pictures. But here is the recipe we used. (Link here.)

For the strawberries
  • 1 lb. ripe strawberries, hulled (about 4 cups)
  • 2 Tbs. granulated sugar; more to taste
For the biscuits
  • 9 oz. (2 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour; more for rolling
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 Tbs. granulated sugar
  • 2-1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 4 oz. (1/2 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream; more for brushing
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
For the whipped cream
  • 1-1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 Tbs. granulated sugar
Prepare the strawberries

Put one-third of the berries in a medium bowl and, using a potato masher, crush them into a chunky purée. Slice the remaining berries 1/4 inch thick and stir them into the mashed berries along with the sugar. Taste the berries, adding more sugar if necessary. Let the berries sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.

Make the biscuits

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 425°F. Line a large heavy-duty baking sheet with parchment.

Sift the flour, 1/3 cup of the sugar, the baking powder, and baking soda into a large bowl. Stir in the salt. Using a pastry blender, a fork, or your fingertips, work the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal.

In a small bowl, beat the egg and heavy cream with a fork. Mix in the buttermilk. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the cream mixture. Mix with the fork until the dough is evenly moistened and just comes together; it will still look a little shaggy. Gather the dough and gently knead it three or four times. If the dough seems dry and doesn’t form a cohesive mass, work in more cream, 1 tsp. at a time.

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and roll it into a 3/4 -inch-thick disk. With a sharp 2 1/2-inch biscuit cutter, press straight down to cut the dough into rounds and lift straight up to remove (don’t twist the cutter or it will seal the sides of the biscuits and interfere with rising). Transfer the rounds to the prepared baking sheet. Gather the dough scraps, gently knead them together, re-roll, and cut out more biscuits until you have a total of 6.

Lightly brush the biscuit tops with cream (about 1 Tbs.) and sprinkle with the remaining 1 Tbs. sugar. Bake, rotating the baking sheet once, until the biscuit tops are lightly browned, 10 to 15 minutes. Let the biscuits cool slightly while you whip the cream.

Whip the cream- unless you have something to make it with, buy already-whipped cream

In a large, chilled metal bowl, whip the heavy cream and sugar to soft peaks with an electric hand mixer. (Use immediately or refrigerate, covered until ready to serve).

Assemble the shortcakes

Using a serrated knife, split the warm biscuits in half horizontally and transfer the bottoms to 6 dessert plates. Spoon about three-quarters of the macerated berries and their juice evenly over the biscuit bottoms. It’s OK if some of the berries spill out onto the plate. Top with a generous dollop of whipped cream and cover each with a biscuit top. Spoon more berries and cream over each shortcake and serve immediately.

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