Happy New Year – January 2015

fireworksHappy New Year to you and yours! What will you create and experience this year? Though I always make New Year’s resolutions, over the last two years I have toned it down to what I really think I want to accomplish, as opposed to what I should. It seems to work out better. So for SMART goal setting your goals must be:

·        S = Specific
·        M = Measurable
·        A = Achievable
·        R = Relevant
·        T = Time-bounded

And of course it helps to write it all down and check in every once in a while to see how you are doing.

I am a compulsive list maker and one of my joys in life is crossing items off my goal and to do list. I have found that I accomplish a lot more when I do set goals. There are several programs available for free that walk you through it. One of my favorites is http://chrisguillebeau.com/how-to-conduct-your-own-annual-review.
Give it a shot, you might surprise yourself!


Upcoming Classes

Herb and wild edible walks, private cooking, crafting and garden classes are available for you or your group or organization. Check www.chrysalisherbs.com for topics or call 303-697-6060.


vegetarian-classDelicious Vegetarian – Thursday, January 29, 6-8pm, Denver Botanic Gardens

$42 member, $47NM, sign up here

Discover the scrumptious side of international vegetarian cuisine! The hands-on cooking class begins with a savory salad and moves on to a delicious butternut squash curry, a spicy cashew veggie stir fry, a pesto and roasted veggie pizza and ends with a sweet. Eat your veggies and love doing it! Recipes and dinner included.



pressed flower classPressed Flower Arts – Saturday, February 7, 10am to noon. Denver Botanic Gardens, $39 member, $44 non-member, more info: sign up here

Can’t wait for spring flowers? Spend an enjoyable morning creating masterpieces with pressed flowers. Participants will make bookmarks, cards and two kinds of flower candles to take home. Learn the best flowers to grow and how to press for optimal color, durability and longevity. All materials, handout and refreshments are included.


winter soupWarming Winter Soups and Chowders, Thursday, February 26, 6-8pm, Denver Botanic Gardens, $42 members, $47 non-member. sign up here

Savory soups are easy, inexpensive, rich in vitamins and easy to freeze. Learn how to make delicious Lemon Soup with Lamb/Mint Meatballs; creamy Fish Chowder with Bacon and exotic Indian Chicken Stew with Vegetables and Lentils. Dinner, bread and a sweet are included, along with take-home recipes.


Fun Things to Do

The beautiful Colorado winter is here, enjoy it! Take a walk in a foothills park in the snow. Red Rocks in Morrison has some great trails; Jefferson County Open Space has beautiful parks close to Denver but a world away. http://jeffco.us/open-space/parks/. Check other counties open space parks for more options.

stock showThe annual National Western Stock Show & Rodeo is one of the world’s largest livestock shows with one combined with rodeos, entertainment, horse shows, kids’ activities, crafts and food galore. Boy howdy!

January 10-25, National Western Complex, Denver.


Breckenridge ULLR Fest: Parades, floats, Vikings, skiing, contests and wild times. January 11-17. more info


Estes Park Winter Festival: January 16-19, chili cook off, snowshoe event, igloo making carriage rides and more. more info


Winter Park Winter Carnival: January 24 and 25 Music, fireworks, snow sculpture and more.more info


Free Days

zooDenver Art Museum – Saturday, January 3

Denver Museum of Nature and Science – Monday, January 5

Denver Zoo – Sunday and Monday, January 12, 13, Thursday, January 22

Denver Botanic Gardens – Monday, January 19

 More IdeasColorado Events


The Cold and Flu Season is Here – a review

cold and fluThe flu virus is in full swing along with a nasty cold and stomach affliction going around. My extended family managed to contract all three varieties during the holiday season and share the wealth.

Natural methods for prevention include taking a good multivitamin/mineral daily along with 2,000 IUs of Vitamin D3 daily and some extra vitamin C. I also try to get enough rest, wash my hands frequently, restrict skin contact in public places, eat a whole foods diet and limit sugar which lowers immunity. If you are around one of those annoying people who refuse to cover their mouth when they sneeze and cough I always hold my breath until I am out of the immediate area. This is harder if you are in a movie. In this case I have to restrain myself from slapping said offender.

If you or someone in your household does get sick, wipe down keyboards, lights switches, TV remotes, doorknobs and other frequently touched places with vinegar. Relieve congested sinuses and chests with a tea tree or eucalyptus essential oil steam. Eat lots of organic veggies and hot foods with plenty of garlic and onions. Get enough rest and drink plenty of water and hot tea. I like elderberry or sage tea with lemon and honey.

Dress for the weather, wear a hat and cover that throat. Grab a good novel, a cup of tea, take a long hot bath and go to bed!


Recipes of the Month


Caramelized Vegetable and Meatball Soup

meatballA hearty, nutritious soup for those cold winter nights. Make extra and freeze. Substitute veggies and protein as you like.

  • 1 small peeled, seeded butternut squash
  • 1-2 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 large parsnips, peeled
  • 10 to 15 garlic cloves, peeled, cut if extra large into medium pieces
  • olive oil
  • 1 lb. ground beef or buffalo, can also use turkey, chicken or lamb
  • 1 onion, cut into medium chunks
  • 2 quarts chicken or beef broth
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tsp of herbs of choice, I like a mix of dried thyme and rosemary, divided
  • ½ tsp paprika

Make the meatballs: With wet hands, mix meat, salt, pepper and half of herb mix in a bowl. If too wet add bread or cracker crumbs until you can roll the mixture into small, bite size balls. Cover and refrigerate for a minimum of a half hour. 

Preheat oven to 425. Cut squash, potatoes, carrots, garlic, onion and parsnips into small, bite size pieces. Put in a bowl, toss with olive oil and remaining herbs and spread out in a single layer, leaving as much room as possible around the pieces. Roast vegetables on lower rack about 30 minutes or so, or until browned underneath and tender.

Add stock to a large soup pan with roasted veggies. Bring to a simmer and add meatballs. Simmer for 15 – 20 minutes, until the meatballs are cooked through.

Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve with some grated parmesan and a crusty bread. 


Roasted Butternut Squash and Arugula Salad with Cranberries and Cider Vinaigrette

butternut squash saladA delicious, seasonal salad, fancy enough for company, easy enough for the family.

  • 1 small to medium butternut squash, peeled and cut into bite size pieces
  • Olive or canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup, agave or honey
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 tbs dried cranberries
  • 3/4 cup apple cider or apple juice
  • 2 tbs cider vinegar
  • 2 tbs chopped scallion
  • 4 oz baby arugula, washed and spun dry
  • 1/2 cup walnuts halves, toasted
  • 1 granny smith, braeburn, honey crisp or other apple of choice, cored and cut into bite size pieces (do last to prevent browning)
  • Goat, blue or (my favorite) gorgonzola cheese to garnish

Preheat the oven to 400.

Place the butternut squash in a bowl. Toss with olive oil, the maple syrup, salt and pepper and toss. Put on a cookie sheet in a single layer and roast the squash for 15 – 20 minutes, until tender. While the squash is roasting, combine the apple cider and vinegar in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook for 6 to 8 minutes, until the cider is reduced to about 1/4 cup. Remove from heat and whisk in the mustard, 1/3 cup olive or canola oil, scallions and salt and pepper. Place the arugula in a large salad bowl and toss with enough vinaigrette to lightly cover. Plate the dressed arugula, top with the roasted squash, walnuts, apple slices and cheese. Spoon extra vinaigrette over the salad to moisten and toss well. Serve and wait for the compliments.


Chai Warming Winter Blend – serves 3-4chai winter blends

  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 2” piece fresh ginger root, chopped
  • 1 tsp. cardamom seeds
  • ½ tsp. black peppercorns
  • ½ tsp. cloves
  • 1 tsp. coriander seeds
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3-4 teabags black or green tea
  • honey or sugar

Bring water and spices to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Add the teabags and milk and simmer for an additional 3-4 minutes. Strain out teabags and spices, add sweetener to taste and enjoy.


May 2015 bring you health, prosperity, adventure and wonder!

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