Weekly Photo Challenge – Fleeting Moment

On Tuesday of this week, I was evacuated from my home because of the Waldo Canyon Fire near/in Colorado Springs, CO… the biggest natural disaster ever in Colorado. Things can change in an instant!

I find being near water brings peace (even when I haven’t had to flee an inferno of smoke and flames :-). I visited a park today with my nephew and his children (who I’m staying with while evacuated) and took this picture. This tiny waterfall, in Boulder Creek is only about 6 inches tall. But look at all the fleeting bubbles! (I had no idea what the challenge would be when I took this).

“Leisure is a form of silence, not noiselessness. It is the silence of contemplation such as occurs when we let our minds rest on a rosebud, a child at play, a Divine mystery, or a waterfall.” – Fulton J. Sheen

++++++++++

“Life is mostly froth and bubble, Two things stand like stone, Kindness in another’s trouble, Courage in your own” – Adam Lindsay Gordon

I’m so grateful to find out I have a home to go back to even though it’s not out of danger yet. I could have lost everything… gone, in an instant! Many people did, including friends of mine.

(This challenge asked for a fleeting moment on the street. I realize this picture is not on a street, but it says a lot about about the topic for me, especially under my current circumstances. I hope you understand…)

Has your life ever changed in an instant? Please tell me about it in the comments.

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My Wildfire Evacuation – Waldo Canyon Fire

I’ve never been evacuated before in my life, until Tuesday. The worst natural disaster in the history of Colorado took place… and I was there.

The wildfire started on Saturday. We could see the smoke from where we live, but weren’t overly concerned about it. It was about 15 miles away. There was a lot of space for that fire to cover if it were to put us in any danger. We were warned that we could be evacuated, but no one (including the police and firefighters) thought it would actually come to that.

Fast forward to Tuesday. I was kind of disappointed that I hadn’t gotten any pictures of the fire. Either I didn’t have my camera with me when the interesting photo opportunities showed up, or it didn’t really show the intensity of the situation. All that changed in the afternoon. I went out on my balcony around 4pm and took some shots. You can see some of them here: http://lifeofcolors.com/2012/06/26/wildfire-mandatory-evacuation/

It got worse and worse. I had a visit from the “head honcho” asking me how I was doing and making sure I had a place to evacuate to if it became mandatory. I had already pretty much packed my bag just in case at that point. The building was becoming somewhat hazy from all the smoke, despite all doors/windows being closed and air conditioning on.

At 8pm we got the word to evacuate. The wind had shifted and we were now in danger. I was able to borrow a car from a friend and leave the city.

It felt like I was leaving an inferno. Flames and smoke were billowing into the air everywhere I looked to the west of the interstate. I had no idea if I would come back to a building or not, and even if the building was still standing, how bad the smoke damage would be. I was in emergency mode… cool, calm, collected, and doing what needed to be done. I drove the 1 1/2 hours to my nephew’s house.

This is where I evacuated to… my nephew’s basement where he does rock climbing practice. So now I can dream about rock climbing. I assure you, that would only be a dream, as I have no desire to actually do it! 🙂

I found out this evening that my building is safe although not completely out of danger yet. Such good news! Some people will be moving back in tomorrow. I think I’ll wait a little longer to go back.

Wildfire, Mandatory Evacuation

This evening around 8pm I was evacuated from my home because of a wildfire raging nearby. I took these photos from my balcony around 4pm.

We will see how things are once I’m told I can come back. I’m safely at a relative’s house.

Apple Cinnamon Oat Bread (Machine)

I’ve been distracted the last few days. There’s nothing like a wild fire breaking out nearby and being told of the possibility of having to evacuate…

Fortunately we didn’t have to evacuate, but only a couple of miles away people did. The fire is only 5% contained and burning wildly, but now we have heavy equipment and the Air Force involved.

So, (needless to say) I haven’t posted during this time. Sorry for those of you waiting for the bread recipe from this post: http://lifeofcolors.com/2012/06/22/weekly-photo-challenge-create/

Apple Cinnamon Oat Bread

I wanted to make it as easy as possible, so I used two packages of Apples & Cinnamon instant oatmeal, and 1/2 cup of Cinnamon Apple Sauce.

I didn’t add any extra oils/butter or sweeteners because of the apple sauce.

Apple Cinnamon Oat Bread

  • 1/2 cup cinnamon apple sauce
  • 2 packages apples and cinnamon instant oatmeal
  • 1 cup water
  • 1-1/2 cups all purpose unbleached flour
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons dry active yeast

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients into pan of bread machine in order listed. Make a well to put the yeast into so it doesn’t touch the liquid.
  2. Bake on basic setting . Cool at least 15 minutes on wire racks before slicing.

Once the bread was baked I made natural edible paint. For all three colors I used water and a bit of vinegar to “set” the colors. The purple is from blueberries, the brown is from coffee, and the orange is from tumeric.

The house near the berry bushes. 🙂

The verdict? This is a slightly sweet bread that is fantastic for toast! I gave most of the loaf away and haven’t heard the response yet from the people I gave it to, so I can’t tell you what anyone else thinks about it. 🙂

By the way, there are currently at least 10 wild fires burning in Colorado. The weather is predicted to stay very hot here in Colorado Springs (90-100ish), with no rain and very little humidity, and somewhat windy… perfect conditions to fuel wild fires. We desperately need rain.

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Create #2

Have you ever just wanted to jump into a pile of leaves? This is a wall hanging I created last year. It was so much fun to do! (Can you tell I’m hoping for some cooler weather soon? 🙂

“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.”

Albert Camus

(The challenge: Create.  The best part about creating something is being in the moment, relishing the creativity you’re experiencing, and letting your actions guide you to an end goal. Then you can step back and admire your work!

Share a picture that means CREATE to you!)

This wall hanging involved fabric, polymer clay, paint, pigment, and silk leaves. I started by painting the canvas, both the front and the sides. Then I attached the fabric to the canvas. Then I made a pattern for the leaves, mixed and conditioned the different colors of clay, cut the clay into the leaf shapes, then baked the clay. I then attached them to the canvas, along with the silk leaves. Finally I added the gold pigment around the leaves, then sprayed it with fixative so the pigment wouldn’t rub off.

It reminds me of leaves twirling slowly down, walking through crunchy leaves on a cool day, making a pile of leaves to jump in, playing tag in a maze that was made of leaves (you couldn’t step over a “wall” to tag someone, you had to be in the same “section” they were), the smell of burning leaves or simply the smell of fall, leaf tours to see the beautiful colors, etc.

What does it make you think of? 🙂 Please add your ideas to the comments.

I will post the recipe from yesterday’s create challenge tomorrow.

Yesterday’s “create challenge”: http://lifeofcolors.com/2012/06/22/weekly-photo-challenge-create/

Weekly Photo Challenge: Create

The photo challenge from WordPress: “Create.  The best part about creating something is being in the moment, relishing the creativity you’re experiencing, and letting your actions guide you to an end goal. Then you can step back and admire your work!

Have you snapped a picture of something you’ve created, or something someone else has created?  

Share a picture that means CREATE to you!”

Create each day anew. – Morihei Ueshiba

Creating and creativity are huge in my life. When I saw the challenge, I decided to create something beautiful so I could take a picture of it.

I started with an idea, I made up a recipe for a loaf of bread. I used a couple of kinds of flours, cinnamon apple oatmeal, cinnamon apple sauce, water, salt, and yeast. Here is the post for the actual recipe: http://lifeofcolors.com/2012/06/25/apple-cinnamon-oat-bread-machine/

Then I created edible natural dyes from water, blueberries, tumeric, coffee and vinegar.

Once the bread was baked and the dyes made, I painted the bread. I kept it simple and childlike: a house near some berry bushes, under the sun.

What do you think of my creation? Did you create anything today? I’d like to hear about it in the comments. 🙂

Here are a few other weekly challenges I did:

Olive Oil, Rosemary, Garlic Bread

“Garlic. Would you please make some type of garlic bread,” my friend asked? Although I’ve done several different kinds, and all were hits with my friends, I wanted to try something different this time for my bread and soup night. I wracked my brain (and my refrigerator) for an idea. I had some fresh rosemary so I decided to use it along with the garlic, and thought using olive oil might add some extra flavor. Sounds like it has potential, doesn’t it?

“My final, considered judgment is that the hardy bulb [garlic] blesses and ennobles everything it touches – with the possible exception of ice cream and pie.”
Angelo Pellegrini, ‘The Unprejudiced Palate’ (1948)

Olive Oil, Rosemary, Garlic Bread

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups all purpose unbleached flour
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons garlic
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons dry active yeast

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients into pan of bread machine in order listed. Make a well to put the yeast into so it doesn’t touch the liquid.
  2. Bake on basic setting . Cool at least 15 minutes on wire racks before slicing.

The verdict?

This was a huge hit! “It has almost a sweet taste, an Asian taste to it. Really good! Fantastic.” One person said they thought it was the best bread they have ever eaten, and they think they will write a song about it. 🙂

Here are some of my other original bread recipes:

Sourdough Quinoa Bread:  http://lifeofcolors.com/2012/06/13/sourdough-quinoa-bread/

Cottage Cheese Hemp Bread:  http://lifeofcolors.com/2012/06/10/cottage-cheese-hemp-bread-machine/

Savory Mozarella Garlic Bread (Machine) Recipe:  http://lifeofcolors.com/2012/05/29/savory-mozarella-garlic-bread-machine-recipe/

Sourdough Onion Bread (Machine) Recipe: http://lifeofcolors.com/2012/05/25/sourdough-onion-bread-machine-recipe/

Do you think you might like this bread enough to write a song about it? 🙂 Let me know if you try it and what you think in the comments. Or, do you have other ideas for making garlic bread?

Pinto Bean Bread

Does the name pinto bean bread scare you? Don’t let it! This has been a favorite each time I’ve made it. People can’t believe it actually has pinto beans in it! It’s great as a sandwich bread, but at my dinners I just have butter and sometimes honey available to put on it.

This Pinto Bean Bread recipe is found in “Easy, Fabulous Bread Making. A collection of quick, no-knead, homemade bread recipes” by Barbara Mack. Links to buy the book are below. This recipe requires time, but no kneading, and it’s very simple to make! (The picture shows all the wrinkles… as I couldn’t get the saran wrap to cooperate when it was rising)!

“Good bread is the most fundamentally satisfying of all foods; and good bread with fresh butter, the greatest of feasts.” – James Beard

Pinto Bean Bread

  • 1/2 cup cooked and mashed pinto beans
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons yeast
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
  • 3 cups flour

Mix all ingredients except flour together in large bowl. Add in half the flour; beat well. Add in remaining flour and mix thoroughly, but do not knead. Cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours, for up to 5 days.

Shape into one large or two small boules. Cover and let rise until doubled. Bake at 350F for 45 minutes (for one large loaf) or 30 minutes for two smaller loaves. When you thump the bottom of the loaf, it should sound hollow.

How I did it…

I followed the recipe except I used 1-1/2 cup unbleached all purpose flour and 1-1/2 cup whole wheat flour. I cooked and mashed the beans first. As you can see, I left pieces of the beans and didn’t mash it completely.

This is what the dough looked like before it rose.

I left mine in the refrigerator for almost 24 hours. Because I live at higher altitude it takes longer to rise. Last time I made it I only had it in the refrigerator for about 8 hours, so it didn’t rise as well.

I shaped it and put it on my “baking stone” to let it rise a second time.

I let it double in size and baked it.

I didn’t put enough spray on my baking stone. It’s still new and hasn’t been seasoned yet. So, some of the bread stuck to it. But, it still tasted great! 🙂

The verdict?

This bread is always a hit! People can’t believe it has beans in it. I suggest you try it so you, too, can become a believer. 🙂 It’s a delicious, nutritious bread.

Links to buy the book: the paperback edition: http://www.amazon.com/Easy-Fabulous-Bread-Making-collection/dp/1453886451/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1340142644&sr=1-1&keywords=Easy%2C+Fabulous+Bread+Making and  the Kindle edition: http://www.amazon.com/Easy-Fabulous-Bread-Making-ebook/dp/B0047DX0TY/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1340142760&sr=1-1&keywords=Easy%2C+Fabulous+Bread+Making

Vegetable, Tortellini, Bean Soup

Would you come over if someone offered you homemade bread and soup for dinner? I thought so! On Friday I had my once a month open to everyone homemade bread and soup night. It’s become the “place to be” with my friends and neighbors. 🙂

I knew less people would be coming this time. (When several of my “groupies” tell me they can’t come, I know it will be quieter). Normally I have between 25-45 people show up. On Friday I had 12-15 come. I made one crock pot of soup and four types of bread. (Yes I do have bread left over, but every bite of soup was eaten).

I forgot to get a picture before we started on the soup, but this is what it looked like after about 45 minutes…

“It [soup] breathes reassurance, it offers consolation; after a weary day it promotes sociability…There is nothing like a bowl of hot soup, it’s wisp of aromatic steam teasing the nostrils into quivering anticipation.” – Louis P. DeGouy, Waldorf-Astoria chef, The Soup Book (1949)

I found this wonderful product called 21 Seasoning Salute (available at Trader Joe’s Stores) that I wanted to try. The ingredients include: onion, black pepper, celery seed, cayenne pepper, parsley, basil, marjoram, bay leaf, oregano, thyme, savory, rosemary, cumin, mustard, coriander, garlic, carrot, orange peel, tomato granules, lemon juice powder, oil of lemon and citric acid. I thought this salute would be perfect for a soup!

This is an incredibly easy and versatile soup to make. All you need is a crock pot and a few ingredients. You may use any type of beans and any type of vegetables, either fresh or frozen, and any type of tortellini. I used pinto beans, a frozen stir fry blend of vegetables, and a seven cheese blend frozen tortellini.

Vegetable, Tortellini, Bean Soup

  • 3 cups (or 2 cans) cooked pinto beans
  • 10 cups water
  • 4 tablespoons 21 seasoning salute
  • 4 cups vegetables
  • 8 to 12 ounces tortellini
  • 2 to 4 cups water
  • salt

Directions:

Put pinto beans into crockpot, add water and seasoning salute. Set it on low and let it cook for four hours. Add vegetables and stir, cook for another two hours. Add tortellini and cook for another two hours. Add water, then salt and 21 seasoning salute to taste.

The verdict?

This soup got rave reviews. Everyone totally enjoyed it. Simple, filling and delicious!

If you try this, please let me know what you think in the comments. What kind of soups do you like? Have you made/found any great vegetarian soup recipes that you would like to share? Enjoy your day!

Here are the links for the bread recipes I made:

Cottage Cheese Hemp Bread:  http://lifeofcolors.com/2012/06/10/cottage-cheese-hemp-bread-machine/

Sourdough Quinoa Bread: http://lifeofcolors.com/2012/06/13/sourdough-quinoa-bread/

Pinto Bean Bread: http://lifeofcolors.com/2012/06/19/pinto-bean-bread/

Garlic, Rosemary, Olive Oil Bread: coming soon

Weekly Photo Challenge: Close

The Challenge this week from wordpress: “Close. It’s a feeling, it’s a proximity…it’s people, it’s a place, it’s objects. They’re close.”

“Share a picture that means CLOSE to you!

“Keep close to Nature’s heart… and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.” – John Muir

“Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.”  – Frank Lloyd Wright

I took this photo while I was walking through the woods. The photo is very ugly in a beautiful sort of way, if that makes any sense at all. I see it both as being close to nature, and nature being close to itself!

What do you think? Is the photo both beautiful and ugly to you? Does it express the challenge word of “close”? I’d enjoy hearing your thoughts in the comments.