Saturday, July 30, 2011

Snooze A.M. FAVORITE restaurant in Denver!

When I asked around to see what places I should be eating at, everyone mentioned Snooze. It is a downtown Denver-based restaurant that has made its way to multiple locations around the area. It opens at 7 AM on weekends (week days it's 6 AM I believe) and closes by 2:30 PM. To me...I view that as a genius business idea. The popularity of this place is amazing; it's not out of the ordinary to have to wait 2 hrs on the weekends for bigger groups.

I was sure to take my family here when they visited. It is extremely lucky that there is a Snooze location at Southglenn Shopping Center. After I fell in love after the initial visit...I had to take Anna!

It all started with Vanilla Lattes served in honey jar-looking mugs. I couldn't resist and bought a mug on this visit :)

 This time...I ordered the Breakfast Pot Pie. Dad had gotten this when he came. I knew I should get it because he hasn't steered me wrong yet :) It was very, very tasty. The sausage gravy had some rosemary in it and the hashbrowns are wonderful!
Anna got the Peaches and Cream French Toast! There was a mascarpone cheese was great, not too sweet.

I have thoroughly enjoyed her company, what a blessing it has been!

Friday, July 29, 2011

IKEA...Swedish Meatball Combo Meal :)

We ventured out to the new IKEA for lunch...which was pretty brave for it being the third day open! Traffic is still being directed on the roads by police and the amount of people inside of that place is insane! I work with very ambitious people we trudged up the road and had the advantage of WALKING to IKEA.

One of my co-workers is from Illinois and told us about the Swedish our plan was to order the meal just to say we've had them. Once we got through the huge line our meatballs were the reward :) I will give the workers credit, the line moved fast for how many people were in it.

We all got the Swedish Meatball Combo, but I was the only one who got the lingonberry sauce and all! It was only $5.33 with tax and included: Swedish meat balls, mashed potatoes, gravy, lingonberry sauce, side salad, and a fountain drink. I may have to go back...I was a very satisfied customer. The Swedish meatballs were WAY better than I expected.

I actually left my hair down today...Mel this pic is for you (we are having a friendly hair-growing competition for her wedding). What do you think, is it a tie? :)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Boulder, CO & this week!

Last weekend I took a BIG step and drove on I-25 around Denver. The reason for me doing so, was an invitation to come to see a friend who is staying in Louisville. She commutes to Denver daily for an internship. This is the same girl whom I went to the Museum of Art with.

Those who know me, know that I like to put boundaries up for myself and stay in a safe is safe to say I burst that bubble! Driving in five lanes was good for me, I am however holding off on driving in that until the drive home... in which I will be headed the other direction.

Traveling to Boulder was great fun though! It was our first experience of hiking in the mountains. These were called the Flat Irons (no, not the beef cut-ha) and part of the Colorado Chautauqua National Historic Landmark. We hiked a ways and then took an "air conditioning break" at Starbucks :) Later we drove up the mountain range towards what people were calling Flagstaff (look-out maybe?); the views were breath taking.

We found some lunch on Pearl Street in downtown Boulder at the aptly-named Boulder Cafe. It was delicious--I ordered a pulled pork sandwich with melted fontina cheese, served with chipolte-rhubarb BBQ sauce. That sauce I will most likely try to replicate!

 Anna was so great and kept pushing me to climb higher! We just kept going...and met some people from Texas who were in the same boat of being "first-timers."

I also wanted to mention an experience that was pretty exciting for me this week. My boss had asked me to be apart of recipe ideation involving a popular Midwestern food chain. I was delighted to be able to go through the process of creating new menu ideas...we shall see if any of them come to be.

So, on Monday we flew into Omaha, NE and drove to Des Moines, Iowa to get ready for our meeting on Tuesday. I got to see my parents and eat at the Machine Shed (what a treat!). Tuesday went well...and then we headed back west. It was literally a flying trip, so I'm sorry I didn't get to see more of my Iowa folk. Soon I will catch up with as many people possible!

Tomorrow I give my internship presentation to the, has the time gone quickly! A few more weeks and I will be headed back home. My co-workers want to celebrate by eating lunch at the new IKEA food court=Swedish Meatballs :) I'm going to miss my new friends...they are quite the characters!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Klug Studio Photo Shoot!

Wednesday and Thursday were spent in downtown Denver at a Professional Food Photographer's studio!!!! I had such a great experience getting to see the recipes I helped write, test and develop being put under awesome lighting. It was a four-person team: Food Photographer, Food Photographer's Assistant, Food Stylist and Food Stylist's Assistant. Watching them work was entertaining :)

There were so many different "gadgets" found in a huge tool box to help the food along. Browning pigments, tweezers, cake pedestals, and more were used to enhance the look of the meat as well as put the plates together. Every so often they would ask for our input on how the dishes should look or how the beef should be portrayed.

There was a stand-in plate to get the placement correct on the lense and then there was the "hero" plate. This is a picture of them staging the Beef Tikka Masala.

Another job of the crew was to keep me and my co-worker fed and comfortable--in which they did with flying colors! They made us breakfast, stocked the fridge with beverages and ordered us in lunch.

The second day we ordered food from H Burger, a restaurant that serves gourmet burgers and nitrogen ice cream shakes!!!! I knew I always wanted to try buffalo...and they had a buffalo burger on the menu. Everyone urged me to order it...and two others ordered the same thing! This picture displays me being scared of what my Dad would think of me eating a buffalo burger (haha)!

The photo below is taken from H Burger's website: This is a picture of what the burger looks like up close...buffalo burger, jalapeno jack cheese, green onion, BBQ sauce, and onion rings. It was tasty, but I most definitely will stick to beef from now on (quite gamy). Dessert was the bomb though: nutella toasted marshmallow milkshake (nitrogen ice cream-style). It was fun!

As you will find out from me, I am adventurous with my education as well as food...but everything else I am a little hesitant about :)

What a great experience to get to speak to professionals who have clients such as: Kellogg's, Werther's, Silk and Domino's Pizza to name a few! Fun times!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Family Visit

Hello all! I know it's been a while since I've blogged...but I've been having fun :)

My family came last weekend and we had a blast! The best part was seeing each other. We explored around Centennial and made our way to Colorado Springs for a day.

We decided we would "kill two birds with one stone" and horseback ride through the Garden of the Gods. It was a beautiful 97 degree day and we spent it on horses for over two hours! My horse was named Easy...far from the truth! Basically I freaked out at all the eating it was doing and holding up all the other riders. Hattie nearly got bucked off when a horse fly was pestering her horse King. Maemie's horse DeeDee was very well behaved. Let me tell you it didn't seem like a beginner's ride as we were taken up and down steep inclines and drop-offs. We survived anyway :)

I wanted them to have the experience of eating a tri tip Hattie and I grilled it and served buttered red potatoes and fruit to go with it. Later we enjoyed mini cakes from Nothing Bundt Cakes bakery. They were aired on the Food Network and are delicious! We chose to sample chocolate-chocolate chip, red velvet, and white chocolate raspberry.

The five-ish days that they were here went way too fast, but I was glad to show them around to my favorite places! They also met some of my co-workers and saw my cube.

We had fun!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

French Pastry Lesson!

Let's just start this post with...I LOVE PASTRIES! My love for French pastries in particular started when I went to the Des Moines Farmer's Market with my friends. There is a pastry stand from Le Mie Bakery (business found in Des Moines) that has the best pain au chocolat (chocolate croissants). Of course Hattie chose that one to purchase and I chose a blueberry pastry the first time. When we went back I was sure to get the chocolate one. Hattie struck GOLD! Chocolate croissants are now my favorite :)

A couple weeks ago the Pastry Chef for NCBA/Beef Checkoff noticed my continued interest in what she does (make amazing desserts). She asked me, "Cassie, if there was one thing you would like me to teach you to do before you left...what would it be?!" I of course answered that I wanted a pain au chocolat lesson! That turned into us preparing various pastries for the morning meeting today! Later we hope to experiment with making beef fillings for these babies!

This process is a labor of love and the end result is well worth it. She wanted to show me how to make regular croissants and brioche-style croissants. Brioche incorporates eggs and more milk into the dough. It results in a more dense, bread-like texture whereas the other dough yields an airy and flaky texture. I prefer the regular croissants :)

 After we made the doughs and punched them down we were ready to go. Rolling out the first layer. There is a total of 3 folds involved with 30 minutes of chilling in between. This ensures that the butter stays good and cold and doesn't melt into the dough. The more the butter stays in tact...the flakier the result!

Adding the butter; it needs to be spreadable, but still cold. The key is to not warm it up too much with your hands. It's best to be quick with this! I rolled out the brioche "rich" dough while my buddy the Pastry Chef rolled out the croissants. She is a master :)

 Making the first fold; the technique is called a trifold. After you make the initial fold, you roll the butter in and fold it again. This starts the count of the three folds; we folded two more times after this. Kinda confusing...but you get the hang of it!

 Ready to be wrapped in Saran wrap and chilled! We labelled the dough with when we needed to take it out to make another fold and roll; also we put what type of dough it was.

After cutting off a piece of chilled dough, you roll it out and make shapes...and fill those shapes with various things. We made these fillings: blueberry-lemon, strawberry-lime, cream cheese, and CHOCOLATE! Also we made traditional croissants and mini cinnamon rolls!

Brushing all of the fruit-filled and cream cheese ones with an apricot jelly glaze...the chocolate ones got a drizzle and a light sprinkling of powdered sugar! I enjoyed a sampling of the different kinds...but my favorites were the cream cheese done with the brioche dough and the chocolate done with the traditional dough.

 Can you tell which one is the brioche dough? It is the one on the right!
All-in-all it was my dream come true! I will never forget this experience. I enjoyed every minute...and need to keep practicing! I'm sure I could find some people to sample my work :)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Pork Chops with Cherry BBQ Sauce

Mom asked where the meat was in my last here it is :)

I participated in a pork competition at DMACC (Ankeny, IA) last semester which was a blast! It's a great feeling to collaborate with friends to make a killer dish. I was in a group with some adventurous palettes and creative ideas. We came up with a pork chop injected with apple cider and chai tea concentrate. Then we created a compote of dried cherries, green peppers, apples, apple butter and sage.

Needless to say I have been craving that dish ever since we made it last! So I made my own version...except with a cherry bbq sauce! Cherries were simmered in chai tea concentrate and ground sage along with some apples and green pepper. Pumpkin pie spice and onion powder were added at this point. After that reduced, I added a few tablespoons of hickory BBQ sauce. The pork chops were seasoned with salt and poultry seasoning and pan sauteed. I brought my spices with me to Colorado!

I work for the National Cattlemen's Beef Association...but I still enjoy pork!

My heart goes out to the farmland and people of Marshall and Grundy County Iowa. It makes me sick to think of what the area must look like right now. Someone posted a picture of a grain bin in Green Mountain and it made me sad. Hopefully things will turn around, I know it is hard to be optimistic at this point.

Until next time...cook something nice and your spirits are bound to turn around!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Cherries & Creme Sandwich

Ok...I realize that there is no meat in this sandwich AND that it may only appeal to my female followers but everyone should give this creation a chance! I love cherries and I love Havarti cheese, that is where this all started. So I packed this in my lunch today and was amazed. The tanginess of the cream cheese and the tartness of the cherries is perfectly mellowed out by the creaminess of the Havarti.

This is perfect for breakfast, lunch or dinner! If you have some deli turkey meat around, that would be great in this sandwich as well. Creativity is key in cooking I tell you--have fun in your kitchens :)

Cherries & Creme Sandwich
Wheat bread, two slices
Plain, whipped cream cheese (as much as you want!)
Fresh cherries, sliced (arrange them on top of the shmearing of cream cheese)
Havarti cheese, two slices (you can substitute Swiss cheese or Gouda if you'd like--it's about the same flavor profile)

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Downtown Denver/Denver Museum of Art

On Saturday, my day started off on the RTD Light Rail headed towards downtown Denver! My station, Dry Creek, is only about 2 minutes away from where I'm staying this summer. Needless to say I was pretty proud of myself that I got on without a glitch. My supervisor at work was nice enough to give me a tutorial on how to use this mode of transportation along with printing off every map and schedule of the city for me, which helped :) It was about a half an hour journey to Union Station, the last stop and my destination. The light rail takes you past Colorado University, Mile High Stadium, and an amusement park.

A friend of mine from my Bible study in Ames got me acquainted with her fellow "College of Design" friend before the school year was over last semester. Of course she was a sweetheart, so I looked forward to meeting up with her eventually in Colorado. We decided to meet up at the Denver Museum of Art for an adventure! The sculptures outside were my favorite...especially the giant dust pan below!

She has a picture of us standing in front of this...maybe I will post it later.

There was a great view from a window on the 7th floor of Building #2. Civic Park is shown here (we think that is the name of the park-haha).

After the museum, we had lunch at Marlowe's. It was great! I had a thinly sliced pork loin sandwich with pepper jelley and mustard friend had a filet minon sandwich! I knew I liked her :) Both of us had sweet potato fries on the side. We went shopping at the 16th Street Mall and later got some gelato!

It was a good adventure for me to take. We both had a lot of fun together. Denver has some pretty buildings and a great art museum, but I was relieved once I got back to Towne Place Suites. There are just so many things a small town, Iowan girl can handle in one day! Sometimes I think I see corn fields when I close my 5 days I will be looking in the eyes of my family!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Broccoli Coleslaw

A special friend of mine wanted me to post this recipe for her! I made it for the 4th of July BBQ I went to on Monday. Let's just say the BBQ was a blast, with good company and a lot of food--heavy on the protein! We had some grilled pork ribs, petite tenders, steak-wrapped asparagus, and German beef sausage. There were also some fruit salads, pasta salad, and a cobbler with homemade ice cream for dessert. We played some ladder golf and my team won! It was very fun. 

When I got back to my room I could hear fireworks going off. So, I looked out my window on the third floor and I could see five different firework displays! Very cool and memorable :)

I know that everyone has probably seen a rendition of this recipe before, but here is what I did (adapting it from

1/4 C. margarine (better with butter if you have it!)
2 (3 oz.) pkg. oriental flavored Ramen noodles (reserve seasonings)
1/2 C. slivered almonds
1/4 C. sesame seeds
1 (16 oz.) pkg broccoli coleslaw mix
1/2 C. chopped green onions
1 C. to 1 1/4 C. lemon ginger sesame dressing (Target brand-Archer Farms or Kraft toasted Asian sesame dressing)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Melt the margarine and toss with the crushed Ramen noodles, sesame seeds, and almonds. Place on a baking sheet; bake for 8-10 minutes or until crunchy. Cool completely.

Toss the broccoli coleslaw and green onion in a medium sized bowl. Whisk together the dressing and the reserved seasoning packets from the Ramen noodles in a separate bowl.  Combine the noodle mixture and the dressing. Pour this over the coleslaw; mix and toss to coat.

You may choose to top the whole salad with extra sesame seeds.

Enjoy :)

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Coyote Song Trail

That's right...the "You're not dreamin''re in Beaman" shirt is being worn in Colorado! I also sport many Iowa State t-shirts just so people know where I'm from :)

My supervisor and her husband took me to Coyote Song Trail this Saturday. It was gorgeous, more red rocks that I love to see! It was near Littleton, CO. The trail is about 3.5 miles total and weaves  around rocks and wildlife. They told me last time they were there they saw a rattlesnake--which made me think of my Aunt Ardelis! We did not see one this time, thankfully enough.

It was a fun morning and afterward they took me to No-no's Cafe. The owners are from New Orleans so the menu is Cajun inspired. I had a fried catfish po-boy, trying something somewhat true to the cuisine--any food is helped out by being fried! The homemade tartar sauce is what made that sandwich...with fresh dill.

Today I saw Larry Crowne at the movie theater located in Southglenn (I mis-spelled it before). It was a very nice theater-14 screens. Tom Hanks never disappoints in my book. He wrote it under his Playtone production company. That Thing You Do actors pop up here and there...and Wilmer Valderrama (who will always be Fez to me). The plot is predictable, but it puts you in a good mood after. Julia Roberts co-stars. Now I feel like a movie critic! Haha!

Tomorrow I will go to a co-worker's house to barbecue. I am bringing coleslaw! Everybody have a great 4th of July weekend!

FYI...fireworks are banned in CO--oh, well!