Monday, June 27, 2011

In Less Than a Week

I will be cruising on the NCL Spirit ~ Western Carribean Style
We will spend 4 days in New Orleans before boarding the ship....
Then we will travel to ......
Costa Maya (we will tour ruins and visit a lagoon ~ for lunch, swimming, & sun!)
Roatan, Honduras (we will spend the day with our good friends/family who live in
Roatan....we will be getting the deluxe doubt!!)
Belize (a day of beach and snorkeling)
Cozumel (we will take a Bar Hop Bus to the other side of the island!!)
Can't wait to get home to post about our favorite times in NOLA and on the Spirit!!
What a great way to spend Rob's birthday and the 4th of July!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Mama Bear and her twin cubs...

My Mom is playing "bear photographer" again today.
She woke up to the commontion in the front yard of the Mama Bear
tearing down the hummingbird feeder.  Mama Bear messed up the front windows so much
with the sweet sugar water Mom had a hard time taking their pictures.
But......Mom cleaned up the morning mess and put out more hummingbird juice...
thinking they were through for the day....but NO...
they came back and she got some great
shots of the little ones and their Mom!
 Mama bear went straight to the hummingbird feeder to get her babies a drink....
 One of the cubs heading to the patio for some water...
 This is precious....look at the baby drinking out of the bird feeder...while Mama stands close by!
 I thought this was Mama Bear...but it is a baby...just a close up of it!!
 The cutest picture EVER!!! This bear cub is ready for July 4th FUN!!
 Mama and twins getting ready to head down the bear is facing
forward and the other one is facing backwards.....CUTE!!!
 Baby playing...Mama said they never stood still and they tried to hide in every
little nook and cranny they could find!!
They made a MESS of the yard/porch...just like toddlers!
I hope they come for a visit on my next visit to the cabin...later in July!
They are both playing in this picture.
She took down all the wild birdseed feeders because of the bears last week...
but now that these have visited two times in one day..I think she will put up
the hummingbird feeders until the next group of company arrives!!
Mama ~ you cease to amaze have some great photography skills!!!
Keep those pictures them!!!

June Dinner Club ~ Italian Night

June 25th  Dinner Club
Hosted by Joanie and Michael Sparkman
We started our evening with a tour of Michael and Joanie's beautiful house....
Vicki even tried out the mattress.....their house is amazing...
...Rob and I really loved the art work!

~ The Antipasti ~
We started with antipasti on the patio overlooking hole #12 North...
it was served with Prosecco (sparkly, crisp, and sweet!)
Vicki (and David) made this arrangement of Italian vegetables,
sliced avocado, anchovies & Italian deli meats.
Next, we moved inside for the primi and secondi courses....

~ The Primi Course ~
Diana (and Matt) made Spicy Vegetable Pasta Sauce
served on penne pasta and spaghetti squash.
It was spicy and delicious!!
This course was served with 2 bottles of full bodied red wine ~ Syrah & Multipullciano

Spicy Italian Vegetable Pasta Sauce

In a heavy saucepan, combine the following ingredients and simmer for 45 minutes:
2 cups coarsely chopped organic carrots
2 cups coarsely chopped organic celery
2 cups coarsely chopped organic onions (Vidalia onions are great when available)
1 28oz can organic tomatoes with puree

Let cool and place all ingredients into a food processor with the following additional ingredients:
1 TBSP organic dried red chili pepper flakes
1 TBSP organic raw sugar
½ Cup organic olive oil
¼ Cup fresh organic parsley
¼ Cup Basil Pesto
Sal gris (or kosher sea salt) and fresh crushed pepper to taste

Run all ingredients through food processor until reaching a smooth consistency, then simmer in pan for 15 minutes
Serve with organic penne pasta and/or baked spaghetti squash, and top with fresh grated Parmisiano Reggiano cheese.

 ~ The Secondi Course ~
Prepared by Chefs Michael and Joanie Sparkman
This dish was served with Pinot Noir.
Chicken Picatta, prepared with almond flour, and served on fresh organic greens

~ Dolce~
This particular Italian Creme Cake is surprisingly light in flavor and texture,
and the Van Gogh Espresso Vodka right out of the freezer makes it a marvelous dolce.
Prepared by Me (and Rob)....might tasty, if I say so myself!
I posted this recipe yesteray....very easy and delicous!
 I baked...Rob served.....WATCH OUT!
A wonderful evening had by all.....even Wilbur!
We laughed, joked, danced, sang, and enjoyed being with such great friends...
we could have stayed all night!
Thank you, Michael and Joanie for a wonderful evening in your gorgeous home.
We look forward to our next Dinner Club Adventure at the Canyon Lake House!!
Unitl then.....Bon Appetit!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Dinner Club Tonight...Italian Creme Cake

Tonight is our Dinner Club ~ 4 Course Italian Meal!
I was asked to bake and bring an Italian Creme Cake....
....and frozen Vincent Van Gogh Espresso Vodka to serve with it!!
(the icing has this vodka in it, too!)
The cake looks pretty good...the icing is delicious!
Can't wait to bite into it tonight!! (Fingers crossed it tastes as good as it looks?!?)
We were asked to make our dishes as organic as possible.....
We buy organic fruit/veggies...but some of these items were a new to us!

Italian Crème Cake
Although many ingredients are used, preparing this cake is a most enjoyable experience
Sparkman’s House Overlooking the Onioin Creek Club 12th Hole (North)
~Dinner Club July 2011~

In a mixer, cream the following ingredients:
½ stick softened organic butter
½ Cup shortening (organic if available)

Add-in, gradually the follow, in order, one ingredient at a time:
2 Cups organic raw sugar
5 organic egg YOLKS (only), one at a time (save egg whites for later)

With a whisk or spatula, fold in:
1 TSP organic baking soda
½ Cup organic buttermilk
1 Cup organic baking flour
1 Cup organic whole wheat flour
(or 2 Cups organic whole wheat BAKING flour if available – in either case 2 Cups total flour)

When those ingredients are folded in, fold in:
1 Cup organic coconut flakes
1 Cup EITHER organic pecans or organic walnuts
3 TSP organic vanilla
Lastly, beat until slightly stiff 5 remaining organic egg whites and fold into batter

Line two cake pans with wax paper, flour sides, and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Let cool, and remove one and ice the top, then the other and ice top and sides.

For the icing, cream the following ingredients:
1 stick softened organic butter
8 oz organic LIGHT cream cheese
1 TSP Vincent Van Gogh Vodka (place the remaining vodka in the freezer for drinking with the cake)
Juice of ½ organic lemon (use juice press for best results)
1-2 Cups organic powdered sugar (start with 1 Cup and add until reaching a smooth consistency and tasted for taste)

I will post pictures and more recipes from our 4 Course Italian Meal after tonight!
Looking forward to a great evening with friends!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Wildlife at our Ruidoso, New Mexico Cabin

When I was in Ruidoso a week ago...I had my camera ready and
was ready for my yearly wildlife photos....unfortunately I didn't see any bears
or the neighborhood "Mountain Lion / Cougar". I love photographing bears..but
will pass on that Cougar...that scares me!!
While I was there...I did manage to see...
 Mule Deer
 This cute little fox came to visit several nights in a row....night shot!
 Red House Wren
 Hummingbirds...I bet I took 400 photos and just ran scanned through them..
and picked these few to share with you!

This little guy was guarding the hummingbird feeder at dusk!

As of today, I have been home exactly one week...and these are a few bear
photos Mom took today...
AMAZING photos with her new camera...way to go, Mama!!
Last night Mom had a house full of company...and they all managed
to see 5 bears at one time...first an adult bear came down the mountain,
followed by a teenager bear (we think this is the teenager bear),
 then a Mama bear and two baby cubs. I hope she can catch the cubs
on film sometime this summer.
Usually our Ruidoso bears are very "scraggly".
This bear seems to have beautiful gaps or mats!
 Today, this "teenage" bear emptied all the birdfeeders.
They love birdseed for some reason?!?!
 He would knock down the food and then lay down and eat it.
He spent over an hour in Mom's front yard today....
 Checking for more birdseed....all that was left was a windchime!
Until next he goes...Mom was lucky because he didn't get into
her hummingbird feeders. Bears love that sweet water.
She brought in the "downed" birdfeeders and all the hummingbird
feeders for today...and for quite sometime...she is not ready to have
this guy come for daily visits...although it seems like him and his family are
"hanging around" the neighborhood!

Fun Ruidoso times....we love New Mexico in the summer and are so lucky to have our
family house there...we will enjoy it for many years to come!!