Sunday, February 19, 2012

Spinach, Ham and Cheese Quiche - Recipe

I made the most delicious quiche yesterday morning, I thought I should share the recipe. Besides, I haven't shared a recipe in a long time it seems... So here you go.

Let me first start by saying that if you don't know, I am a huge advocate for local food.  This was made with some of our farm fresh eggs, compliments of our beautiful egg layers here at the Open A Bar 2 Ranch, LLC, white cheddar dill cheese from the Cozy Cow Dairy in Windsor, CO and fresh spinach grown by Dan Weitzel of the Mitchell Valley Farm.  Dan grew the spinach in his high tunnel in Western Nebraska, in the months of January and February!  Can you believe it??  It is so tender and yummy.  Dan is a vendor, along with us at the Scottsbluff Winter Farmers' Market.  I often wonder how many people actually are aware of the fact that we are extremely blessed to have a winter market here.

If you are on Facebook... like the Open A Bar 2 Ranch, Cozy Cow Dairy, Mitchell Valley Farm and the ScottsbluffWinter FarmersMarket!

Here is the recipe.

I started with a basic recipe from the Better Homes and Gardens red-checked cookbook, one of my favorite all time go-tos, and tweaked it to my needs.

The Ingredients...

1 already made pie crust (because I stink at making pie crusts)
1/2 cup or so of chopped onion
2 Tbs. butter
8 farm fresh Open A Bar 2 Ranch eggs! (WARNING:  if you use store bought eggs you will probably get food poisoning or something of the sort...)
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk (I used raw milk, straight from the cow, because that's how we roll...  take that USDA police)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup sliced ham 
3 cups lightly packed fresh spinach from Mitchell Valley Farm
1 cup Rocky Mountain cheddar dill cheese from Cozy Cow Dairy

(This recipe is very versatile, so use what ever ingredients you want to... just stay with the basic ingredients of the eggs, sour cream and milk.)

1.  Bake the pie crust according to the directions on the package.
2.  Meanwhile, saute the onions in the butter until translucent.
3.  Beat eggs lightly in a large bowl.  Stir in sour cream, milk, salt and pepper.  Stir in onion, ham, spinach (I left mine whole leaf, but you can chop it up if you want to) and cheese.
4.  Pour mixture into hot, baked pie crust.  Bake in 350 degree oven for about 50 minutes.  I covered the edge of the pie crust with foil so it would not burn.  It is done when you can insert a knife in the middle of the quiche and it comes out clean.
5.  Let stand about 10 minutes before serving.
6.  Eat and enjoy!  Yum.

The remaining dates for the Scottsbluff Winter Farmers' Market are February 25th, March 10th & 24th and April 7th & 21st.  It is held at Aulick's TLC in the greenhouse from 1-4pm.  You should come.  Seriously, you will be surprised at what all it has to offer.

AND if you want farm fresh eggs but can't make it to the farmers' market... let me know.  I sometimes deliver...  Call us at 787-1111.  Now all you smarty pants who live many miles away... don't bother asking... the answer is no.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Winner, Winner... Chicken Dinner!!

Just thought I'd let you know that we actually won the KGWN Cutest Couple Contest!

Can you believe it?

I am totally flabbergasted that we actually won.

If you don't know what I am talking about... then you missed THIS POST.

Here is what we have won!
The lucky couple voted "Cutest" will win a prize package from KGWN News Channel 5 and the Cheyenne CW including a one night stay and dinner for two at the Historic Vee Bar Ranch nestled in the foothills of the Snowy Mountain Range, a prize package worth more than $200! 

You can bet your bottom dollar that there will be a blog post concerning our stay and dinner!

Click on the picture below to go to the contest link to see the other winners.

When I entered the contest, I was entering it kind of as a joke.  I told Dan the Man I thought we should enter with our "American Gothic" picture from this past summer and he rolled his eyes at me and said that was a stupid idea.  Well, you know me... as soon as he said that he thought it was a stupid idea, I knew I had to enter to prove him wrong.

The first few of days the contest it was a tight race between us and another couple.  We would take first place during the day, and then they would pass us up in votes during the night.  I pleaded daily, actually twice a day on Facebook for our friends to vote for us and boy-howdy, did they ever vote for us!  It became a team effort with people making it their mission to vote everyday and win the contest for us!

Friends and family were even soliciting votes from their friends and family for us.  It was great fun and exciting to see the battle for the cutest couple go back and forth!  With such a dedicated team pulling for us, we eventually took a commanding lead and ended up winning the contest by almost 200 votes.  We had a total of 530 votes, the 2nd place couple had 338 and the 3rd place couple had 325.

Yesterday I received an email saying that we had won and they would be contacting us soon to discuss how we will be receiving our prize.

I can not possibly adequately thank all of our friends and family for voting for us!  We would not have won with out your support!  We are truly blessed beyond measure and thank the Lord for each one of you.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Valentines Day Gifts... Right Here Folks!

Looking for something unique for your sweetheart?

Go to the Scottsbluff Winter Farmers' Market
on Saturday!

Don't forget to bring your gently used or new shoes
to donate to the Shoe Ministry!

AND don't miss Sarah Pinet's cooking
demonstration at 2 pm.

See you there!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Dime Store Pony

All was just fine and dandy on my Sunday afternoon ride...

That is...

Until Chris put a dime in the slot!

Whoa Trigger!

How do I stop this crazy thing?

That is all.

Wait, no it's not...
Did you vote for my Man Dan and me?
Look up at the top of the post and click on the contest link and go vote!
Thank You!


Monday, February 6, 2012

Our Romantic Life

The Cutest Couple Contest (see on the left, go and vote!) that Dan the Man and I have entered has me thinking about all the "romantic" times we have spent together as a couple...


Just kidding...

Let me tell you about our wedding and most romantic honeymoon ever...

We got married at Dan the Man's parent's cabin near Walden, CO on July 6, 1996.  Several friends and family gathered for the long weekend and spent the entire time at the cabin.  It was a beautiful day full of friends and family.  I loved my wedding dress and the weather was perfect.  The only "glitch" to the day was the pastor getting lost and being late.  This was before cell phones and if I remember right, he found someone else that was headed to the wedding and followed them.

I had intended on having a small wedding consisting of family and close friends.  Little did I know that in Walden, CO, once a wedding invitation is extended to one inhabitant of the town, all who reside in the town and the surrounding area are invited!  Actually, the outpouring of friends from the community only reinforced what I already knew... the Manvilles are loved by all because they are such a wonderful family.

We spent the night at the cabin in our "honeymoon suite" (an office converted into a bedroom) on the second floor.  I don't know how many people we had packed into the cabin on that weekend, but it was FULL!  We were lucky to receive a bedroom to ourselves!  Some people even brought tents to sleep in.  Mind you, this is a one bathroom dwelling.  The spare room is now loving referred to by all as the "honeymoon suite."  If I remember right, we even called down to the first floor to request room service, but everyone was too busy playing cards all night long to deliver anything to us!  I believe they thought we were joking when we asked for room service!

The next morning Dan, my lawfully wedded man, and I headed to Denver for our "real" honeymoon...  kind of. We were actually headed to Denver for a couple of nights to attend a steel building seminar!  What more could a new bride ask for than a romantic weekend at a steel building seminar?  Days full of informative classes and a night spent at a banquet full of general contractors talking about purlins, beams, erections (of steel buildings) and more!  Ahhh... the memories!

Some of you may not know, but when we first met, Dan the Man was a general contractor who owned his own construction company in Laramie, WY.

A couple of years later we took a romantic 2nd honeymoon to Mexico... to attend another steel building seminar...

Oh and there was the romantic trip Dan the Man took me on to Bismark, North Dakota for a Lowline (type of cattle that we raise) Seminar.

I mustn't forget the romantic trips to the National Western Stock Show in Denver on several occasions.  But I should have known that those were a part of the deal, since Danny's dad took his mother to the stock yards in Denver for their honeymoon!

Not too long ago you will remember that romantic trip we took to Wray, CO for the ranching seminar.

If we actually win this contest...  It will be the first overnight trip we take just to do something that classifies (at least in my book) as a romantic getaway!

Here's some pictures from our wedding...

 Nick, Kathi, Chris, Colton, Danny and little Skyler!
Our boys were so precious!

Look at us now...
This picture was taken before Nick & Sarah's wedding, October 15, 2011.
I need a picture with all of us, including Sarah!
Hint, Hint to Nick & Sarah...
Sklyer, Danny, Nick, Kathi, Chris and Colton

Cutting the cake!

Danny hugging his niece, Erin, who is getting married this July!
I've begged her to choose July 6th, but I don't think it'll be that date!
Erin and I share the same birthday so I thought it would only be fitting 
to share the same wedding date.
Erin, it's not too late to make the date July 6th!

Kathi, Danny, Eric Terrell/Best Man and Lori Gustafson/Maid of Honor (my sister)

Me giving one of the boys "the look" during the ceremony.

Awww, sweet memories.
Now... go vote for us!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

What's There to do in Wray, CO??

Business first...  Did you vote for us in the Cutest Couple Contest?  Look to the left and click on that link and go vote for us!  THANK YOU.  As I finish this post... we are closing in on FIRST PLACE but if we are going to win, we need your vote.  You can vote for us once a day until the contest's end, which is Feb 13th.

Okay... now that I have shamelessly plugged that... you may proceed.

WARNING:  THIS IS AN OVERLY LONG POST DUE TO LOTS OF PICTURES.  But if you like to look at other people's homes... you'll like it!  And for typos and misspellings... please just ignore them.  I must post this today before it ends up being another 6 weeks...

Okay... this post is way OVERDUE!  I start the post out with "Last week..." but actually it has been more like 7 weeks ago!  Egads...

Last week Dan the Man took his Country Chicken Girl on an outing to a ranching seminar in Wray, Colorado.  The seminar was okay, in my opinion, but I lost interest by the afternoon session and had a hard time sitting in the hard folding chair looking interested and being attentive for the next 3 hours.  Dan the Man enjoyed it, although it was more of a teaser for a "school" on ranch management.

Since Wray is 3.5 hours from here we decided to go down the night before and spend the night in Wray.  Wray, population around 2000, only has a couple hotels so Dan the Man went completely out of his norm and made reservations for us to stay at a B&B.  I was completely flabbergasted! 

I've never been to Wray, Colorado as I asked my friends on Facebook if there was anything I should know about Wray before we went. I got lots of useful information:

There is not much there and it is a boring drive? :)
Don't blink!
It's better than Yuma CO.
There is no Wray, CO? I've never heard of it.
Really small town. High school is hard to find. The way out sucks too. Never lost anything in wray that I miss enough to go back for.
There's not much there. If I remember right there is a very cool bed and breakfast.
John used to deliver bread to Wray...and Yuma...and the big city of Otis when we lived in Akron CO. I always thought Wray was a nice little town.

Wow, not much promise there as to a memorable trip...  I was encouraged by the comment about the B&B but when I asked this friend if it was the same B&B that we were staying at, he couldn't remember the name of the B&B he had stayed at.

Oh well, we were on an adventure and I was going to make the best of it no matter what the destination held for us.  I gathered all my necessary traveling gear: bottled water, camera, kindle, laptop, smart phone and all the cords and accessories that all these gadgets require.  Oh my gosh... I can remember when I was a kid and the only thing I ever took on a trip was my pillow or a stuffed animal and a paperback book.  Did I seriously need all this for a 3.5 hour drive?  You bet your bottom dollar!  I LOVE today's technology!!!

I entered our destination into my smart phone and we hit the highway around 3:30 pm after all the chores were done.  Skyler was left to hold down the fort and to do the chores on the following day.

It was a beautiful afternoon with heavy precipitation in the air. Not enough moisture for drizzle or snow, but just enough to add a beautiful haze to the landscape.  When traveling with Dan the Man the only stops you get to take are for bathroom breaks and to get fuel.  No scenic picture taking.  I believe I am getting quite good at hanging my camera out the window and taking pictures.   

 Bluff in the distance with sunflower stocks in the foreground.

 About 10 miles from our house.

 Wind Turbines near Kimball NE

 Wind Turbines near Kimball NE

So that was some of the scenery on the way down to Wray, that is before it got dark.  Once it got dark, I put down my camera and picked up my Kindle.  I LOVE my Kindle.  Best invention ever.  Thank you to my boys who got it for me for my birthday.

My mind soon started thinking about eating.  Because of the "raving" reviews of Wray that I received on Facebook, I was a little concerned what we would eat for dinner.  There is nothing that I hate more than traveling out of town on an adventure and then having to eat at a chain-restaurant or fast-food joint.  Do I hear an "amen" out there??  So I got my smart phone (which I love just as much as my Kindle, if not more) and spoke into it "restaurants in Wray Colorado."  How cool is that?!?  That you can talk into your phone and get information on what you seek?  Oh My Gosh!  What will they think of next?

Anyway, I really wasn't expecting much to come up.  This was a little town in the middle of no where.  I got 7 results.  Hmmm... the first one on the list was the 4th & Main Downtown Grille.  I went to their website via my smart phone and checked it out.  I read the entire menu to Dan the Man as he drove and we decided that it sounded like a good place to eat.  I typed the address into smarty pants (my phone) and it gave us directions on exactly how to get there.  And since we already had read the menu, we had an idea of what we wanted to order.

We ate in this part of the restaurant.
I borrowed this picture from their website.

We drove right to the restaurant and were delighted with what we had found!  Check out their website to see pictures and the menu.  I don't want to go into that much detail with you or this blog will go on forever.  We both decided on the "Build it Pasta" dish.  Both entrees were fabulous, but I liked Dan the Man's a little better than mine.  I think I would have liked mine better with the alfredo sauce.  The garlic cream sauce was just a little too "light" for me.  I like a think heavy sauce most times.


I had pasta with sundried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, capers, shrimp and garlic cream sauce.


Dan the Man had Blacked Steak with roasted pepper cream sauce.

And for dessert...  Turtle Cheesecake.  yummmmmmm!

Now this was heavenly!!!

After dinner, we headed to the B&B.  It was only a block or two from the restaurant.

Wait, halt... before we go any further...  the following pictures are not of the best quality.  I apologize.  The B&B is so much prettier in person.  The colors they chose to paint the individuals rooms are magnificent!  I literally drooled at the opening of each door into each room.

Now, I must tell you that this is not your normal B&B where the host lives at the B&B.  The host does not live at this B&B.  They live off-site and have an Inn Keeper who checks people in and also prepares the meals and cleans the rooms.  The Inn Keeper does not live at the B&B either.  Unfortunately for us, the Inn Keeper had a school function to attend and wasn't at the house to greet us when we checked in.  They left a key in the door to our room so we let ourselves in.  We found out later that Karen, the Inn Keeper, was celebrating her son's achievement at school.  He was receiving his award for getting student of the quarter (or it might have been semester, now I can't remember) but regardless, what a great reward!  I forgave her for not greeting us when we checked in.

Anyway, I am telling you this because the set-up of this B&B is not your normal, or what I would call your normal set-up for a B&B.  This B&B has no living room... So if you are looking for a B&B that resembles a home, this one doesn't quite do it.  It is comprised of several rooms, a dining room and a breakfast nook along with a kitchen.  So there is nowhere to relax in a "living room" sort of room.  But don't let that deter you from staying here.  I just want you to know so you are not disappointed and you know what to expect.

So Dan the Man and I let ourselves into our room, which was on the first floor and were greeted with such a warm inviting space.  Oh my and the colors that were used in the room were some of my favorite colors!  These are the colors I have used in my studio and our guest bedroom.

Awww, they left the light on for us!
Cute little Christmas tree on the night stand.
Comfy bed!
The room is a little small, so it was hard to photograph it all, but on the wall opposite of bed,
there was a nice flatscreen tv mounted on the wall.  Also wi-fi was available, no extra charge.
And between the bedroom and bathroom was a nice walk-through closet.
On to the bathroom...

Adorable clawfoot bath tub!
Nice tile and pedestal sink!

After we got acquainted with our room, we took a look around the first floor.

Breakfast nook.

Dan the Man looking through an antique picture viewer thingy.

Beautiful Christmas tree lighting the dining room.

Dining room table.

After we snooped around the first floor, I talked Dan the Man into going for a walk.
I was so stuffed after dinner and really needed the exercise.
It wasn't necessarily cold outside, but there sure was a lot of moisture in the air.

Nice inviting welcome with the wreath on the door and the light shining in the hallway.

Beautiful nativity scene in the front yard!

We walked around the neighborhood for about 30 minutes.
It was quite and still.  A sleepy little American town.
A couple of beautiful homes that really caught my eye.
I should have taken a picture of them, but that would have made this post even longer!
I will not forget the night because of the weather,
the cold, crisp feeling of the precipitation in the air...
the glow of the street lights...
the magical view into the homes who had their Christmas trees displayed in their front windows...
the ice crystals that were forming on the tree and floating in the air...
taking a walk with my man Dan in the middle of the night in an unknown town...
it was just special.

We worked our way back to the B&B and were welcomed with the warmness of the house when we opened the door.  Our room was toasty warm and we settled into bed.

I can remember waking to the smell of COFFEE!!
WOW, that was super nice!  I never get to wake up to the smell of coffee, especially since I am the first person up no matter where we are.  I could also hear someone in the kitchen busily preparing breakfast.  That is also a sound that I have not heard since I was a kid and living at home.  What a wonderful sound, dishes, pots and pans rattling in the kitchen while someone is preparing breakfast.  I laid there in bed and just thought that this was the BEST part of staying at a B&B.  How awesome is it that someone is preparing ME breakfast while I lie here in bed.  Ahhhhh, I could get use to this.

Dan and I got showered and dressed and headed over to the dining room for breakfast.  Karen, the Inn Keeper was there already waiting on two other guests.  To tell you the truth we didn't even know if any other guest were in the house or not.  Over in the breakfast nook, coffee and juice awaited us.  We helped ourselves and then joined the other two guest at the dining room table.

Karen asked us what we wanted to eat for breakfast.  Our choices were biscuits and gravy or eggs and a blueberry muffin.  I had the biscuits and gravy, Dan had the later.  I was a little disappointed that we were not having a gourmet breakfast with stuffed blueberry french toast, spinach and mushroom quiche or frittata, sausage, bacon, hashbrowns, donuts, muffins, fruit, etc... but really...  I was still so full from dinner, what we were served was just right.  We chit-chatted with the other guest and found out that they were traveling separately, both had jobs that brought them to Wray and the surrounds area on a regular basis and they always stay at the B&B.  They ate and then left and went off to their work.

After they left, we had a little time to talk with Karen.  That's when we found out about her son's achievement at school.  Karen then offered to show us the whole house if we were interested and had time.  Of course I wanted to see all the rooms and we had time, so we got the grand tour!  She even let me take pictures of all the rooms!

Well, let me backup a bit and tell you about their website in case you decide to check it out.  The website shows pictures of "hotel looking" rooms and this totally puzzled me.  When I asked Karen about it, she said she had no idea why those pictures would be there.  She was not the one who set up the website.  I told her I thought it was too bad that those pictures were on there, because they really misrepresented the house.  I also told her, that if I got some good shots, they were more than welcome to use them.  Since that was soooo long ago, Karen probably thinks I didn't ever do a post on the B&B!

Here is their website:
Doc's Bed & Breakfast, Wray, Colorado

So to finally wrap up this post... Here are pictures of the B&B.  I fully recommend it!  And for all of you who had your doubts about Wray, Colorado...  shame, shame on you!  There is at least one beautiful place to stay and one great restaurant!

Cute archway leading into the bedroom area of this room.
We'll call it room #1.

All the rooms had their own little Christmas trees.
Such a nice touch!

Nice little desk area.

What you see as you first enter room #1.
Bedroom area to the right.

Bathroom for #1, hard to get a good picture of it.

Room #2, black & white & red!  With zebra stripes.
I loved this room.  Actually I loved them all!
I liked how each one was so different.  A decor to please any one's palate!

#2 bathroom, again hard to photograph.

Room #3, kind of like the "honeymoon suite."
This room has a private deck off of it with a hot tub outside.
I didn't get a good picture of the deck with hot tub.

Oh la, la bathroom with his and her's fluffy soft bathrobes for the hot tub!

Room #4
Beautiful bed, no?

Room #5
I really liked this room, very bright and sunny!

The kitchen where Karen prepares the breakfast.
It was right next to our room.
If you want to sleep in, I would suggest that you ask for a room that is not next to the kitchen.
We had to get up anyway, so it was not a problem for us.

Dan the Man settling the bill with Karen the Inn Keeper.

Screened in back porch which would be lovely in the summer time!
A game of checkers or chess with a tall glass of iced tea?

Part of the dining room.

Coffee Bar like in the breakfast nook room.
This is where we got our coffee and juice.

Seating in the breakfast nook if you'd rather eat in here.
We didn't want to be anti-social, so we joined the other guest in the dining room.

Still in the breakfast nook...

Dining room table and Christmas tree in dining room.

Cute old typewriter with a little letter from the owners.
Nice touch.
I notice those little things...
Dan the Man... not so much!

View in the morning.


PS...  We will definitely be back if we ever find ourselves in your neighborhood again!
I just won't be able to decide which room to stay in because I loved them all!