Friday, January 31, 2014

Friday Photos [1.31.14]

Here are some photos from Andy & my week:

 Ella hates the bath she gets before our overnight guests arrive! We are extra mean and make her shake off in the bathroom three times before she can leave. Terrible humans.

 Reading our 'Hunger Games' books Sunday afternoon.

 My bro, Ryan, waiting so patiently to order a beer Sunday night.

 Andy's modeling a Duluth Pack bag Ryan brought to town. What do you think? Is it a good look for him? 

Ryan cooked us a delicious stir fry and salmon Wednesday night! Mmm-mm!

We went out to a nice dinner Thursday night, Ryan's last night in town. Stilted Pig wine - what a cute bottle!

 The weather was totally unpredictable! It was in the 50's and sunny Thursday during the day, and then snowy all night. Andy captured the falling flakes on camera.

 For work on Friday I helped judge a Future Business Leader of America (FBLA) tournament. It was neat to see the high school students dressed up and excited/nervous for their competition! I just loved this trio of boys in their suits.
We're going to a concert with some friends tonight, and Sunday we're having some friends over to cheer on the BRONCOS in the Super Bowl! I'm still a Packers fan (I hope my uncles in Minnesota aren't reading this ;o) ) but I'll stand behind a Broncos win in 2014! Have a warm weekend!


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

A Work Night in the Kitchen

I mentioned last week that I started a new job at Johnson & Wales University. I was drawn to the university because the Denver location is right in my neighborhood and I just loved the campus, and one of the degrees offered is culinary. What a fun degree to work with!

Two weeks ago Thursday, 15 of my colleagues from across the country were in town for our annual meetings on campus. As our Thursday evening team builder, we were in the kitchens in our culinary labs cooking a nine course meal with the chef instructors. How fun is that for a workday?? We split into three teams: Salads, main dishes, desserts. I chose the one that had the least likelihood of having to touch meat (desserts), though once we broke into the wine, we weren't really in our neat organized teams anymore! 

Fun fact: You can tell the "real" chefs from the rest of us by the white coats.

 Chef Phillips explaining his background as a culinary student turned pastry chef to the desserts team.

 The two guys talking are real chefs that recruit for the university. I knew I was the smart one when I chose to be on their team!

 The candied apples took way more work than I'd ever expect! Chef Phillips used the blow torch to crystallize the sugar and melt the crystallized sugar discs over the candied apples. You can see the discs pre-melting dispersed among the apples.

 There were some current culinary students helping us out, too. Here, a teaching moment as we are making cream cheese marshmallows.

 The goat cheese-endive boats (that's what I called them) with beet caviar and candied pecans were so good, they never made it to the table!

 Making beet caviar takes lots of supervision.

 The chef used liquid nitrogen to flash freeze candied pecans! They topped the boats for a sweet crunch. And maybe were eaten right from the platter, too.

 Well, I think we'll just let the professionals take over the cooking for now. If anyone needs us, we'll be by the wine.

Our menu for the evening. I don't know what half the things are, but it was a delicious meal!

 Making ice cream right in front of us for one of our two desserts.

This little apple is the final product of the pictures above. Even the stem is edible - it's homemade chocolate!

 Chef Breanna! What do you think? Can I pull the look off?

It was such a fun way to get to know my colleagues and really see what it can be like for the students I'm recruiting. Plus, I have so much more appreciation for all the work that goes into a really nice meal out! I will never balk at $7.00 for a dish of homemade ice cream again!


Monday, January 27, 2014

A Beer-Filled Weekend

Andy and I drank so much beer this weekend! Each day we had a different event planned that was focused around beer. So, yea, it was a good weekend.

Friday we met our friends, Heather & Noah, for beers. It was so great to catch-up with them! We always have so much fun chattin, and they are huge beer-lovin folks, so we are guaranteed a night of good conversation AND beer. We met them at a fairly new brewery in Denver called Epic Brewing. The brewery's original location is in Utah, so Denver is a big change for them in terms of beer laws. But they apparently wasted no time adjusting to the Denver laws; the place was packed Friday night! We started off with some 2oz samples to share before diving into full pours of beer. I loved their fruit saisons and Belgians - raspberry, sour apple, cherry - yum! There was not a bad beer to be found! And we should know; we tried almost all of them ;o)


Saturday during the day felt like a bit of a waste. I had a tough end of the week with multiple headaches, a terrible day-long allergy attack on Thursday that I couldn't shake, and all that left me a bit out of sorts on Saturday. Andy suggested a short bike ride up to the Stapleton Central Park to cheer me up before our Saturday night plans. It was such a beautiful, sunny afternoon out! The wind was strong at times, and that made me wish we had a kite to fly. Next time :o)

 This car was at a construction site on the trail we were riding on. Isn't it cool?

Saturday night we went to our friends' place for our beer tasting group. We started joining these folks recently for their monthly gathering where each person brings a bomber or two of good beer and we sit around all night tasting them. I'm so grateful they invited Andy and I to join this group - they all have great taste in beers! This month everyone also brought cheeses, and it was our friend, Roxanne's, birthday so it was an extra special night. Andy and I brought the Lost Abbey Gift of the Magi (biere de garde) paired with a semi-hard raspberry cheese, and the CBC Sgt. Pepper (saison farmhouse peppercorn beer) paired with a mustard seed Gouda. All were huge hits! I am glad Andy convinced me to get up off my butt and go!

Inappropriate birthday cake ;o)

Rogue Ales collaboration with Voodoo doughnuts: Pretzel, raspberry, and chocolate. Interesting, right?

And then Sunday, the most exciting of all, my brother came to town! He is here for work from Duluth, MN for the week. Yippee!! We brought him to Gravity Brewing for a live show our buddy Zach set-up. None of us had been to Gravity before, or heard the musician; both of which were awesome. I was drinking a delicious peppercorn Belgian (I was sold on peppercorn beers after the one we drank Saturday night!). And if you like old-time and bluegrass music, you have to check out Putnam Smith, the musician we saw. Even if that's not your style of music, check him out anyway. Seriously, so good.

Buddies :o) Don't worry, Chachi. Ryan was talking about you non-stop.  
 Don't tell Shanda we went to Chipotle. Wait. I think I said the quiet part loud and the loud part quiet.

Putnam Smith is a master of instruments. Here with his grandpa's banjo, and a mandolin. Not pictured are his guitar and harmonica.

 This little lady bug was having a blast!

I hope you had a weekend filled with your favorite things!


Friday, January 24, 2014

Friday Photos [1.24.14]

Here are some photos from Andy and my week:

Andy carrying all our new drinks back from the liquor store Friday night. We way overspent - eek!

We watched the first two 'Hunger Games' movies and just loved them! We both checked out the first book from the library.

 Saturday morning brunch at Oblio's. My mimosas became increasingly more full and bubbly with each one ;o)

 Andy and my Christmas dinner Saturday night. He said I have anime eyes in this photo - what do you think? Do I??

 I love how the wine bottles on display at the restaurant Saturday formed a heart.

 The cheese selection at Spinelli's in our neighborhood is fantastic! We were so grateful to have someone help us choose Sunday afternoon. I mean, where do you start??

 This is how I spent most of my MLK Jr. Day off from work.

 I was up north for work and almost got in an accident passing this scene! These are fake crashes in the parking lot of the Fire Protection District; they are used for teaching, I assume.

 We made Chex Mix Thursday night (ok, ok, Andy made it and I just took pictures). It is so tasty! 

 I don't know about the rest of you, but this week has tuckered Ella out.
I hope you have a rejuvenating weekend planned! We are meeting friends for drinks tonight at a brewery, and on Sunday my brother comes to town for the week (!!!!). He is here for work and Andy & I are lucky enough to host him Sunday-Friday :o)