Third Transplantaversary

Note: There are no pictures. We took some on the iPad, but I haven’t transfered them and I left my wireless keyboard in the office. Maybe I’ll add some pictures in a few days and repost.

Today was the check up in Denver for my third transplantaversary, the actual day is May 10, Friday. We left when we wanted. Drive was easy. Kids were great. Traffic jammed in Denver, like normal. Had to wait an hour for blood work, not normal, and was late to my appointment. Thankfully, they fit me in.

Saw Doctor Cooper, one of our three favorite transplant docs. Note: There are only three transplant docs. Check up was great. Kidney function is what they expect. No protein in urine. We left with smiles on our faces and joy to God on our lips.

Then we went to Snooze for lunch. This might be Jen’s and my favorite place to eat in the big city. Kids had gluten free pancakes, Bear with chocolate chips, Kat with blueberries. They shared their pancakes with each other and Roo who had two scrambled eggs. They left full.

Jen had their Blueberry Danish Pancakes:Buttermilk pancake topped with Blueberry coulis, sweet cream and almond streusel surrounding a center of lemony cream cheese filling! (I tried some… very tasty.)

I was checked their website yesterday and was all set to get their spin on the Cuban Sandwich with a sunny side up egg and Dijon hollandaise sauce, but it wasn’t on the menu…they changed a few items. Instead of crying in my water, I got their corned beef hash, and a Velvet Elvis pancake (Red velvet pancakes topped with peanut butter cream cheese frosting, bacon maple syrup, fresh bananas and chopped peanuts) instead of toast. It was awesome!

After lunch, we waddled to the car with bellies full of joy and traveled to the Park Meadows Mall to stop by the Lego store. Jen and I bought this pet shop to build. We even managed to stop by Godiva for some truffles to eat on the way home.

Then to top off this great day, I opened the door home and “Dad is Fat” by Jim Gaffigan was sitting there waiting to be read.


1 down and many more to go.

Since Jen and I have been married, which is for about 8.5 years now, I’ve been the one that has done most of the cooking. I’ve always found cooking as a way to relax. It’s just the ingredients, some heat, and me. No pressure of work, no pressure from the family. I don’t have to be ‘on’. I can just cook. I find the time in the kitchen relaxing, therapeutic, and a way to get out of or to work through things that are in my head.

Tonight was the first night that I cooked a recipe from Rick Bayless’s Everyday Mexican. I made Swiss Chard Tacos with Caramelized Onion, Fresh Cheese and Red Chili.

I have to admit that when I first saw this recipe I thought that was a recipe that was going to end up being pushed back on the list for a couple of months. I mean, come on, tacos made with swiss chard instead of meat. That’s not right. It’s like not having turkey for Thanksgiving, or Hot Dogs at the ballpark. However, as a way to make things equitable, and so I don’t put off doing recipes, I decided to have Jen pick random page numbers and this was the recipe that was on the page. Good thing she picked it too, because this recipe is really good. I can’t wait to start diving in and making more of Mr. Bayless’s recipes.

When this cooking challenge is all said and done one of two things are going to happen: 1.) I’m going to hate Rick Bayless and Mexican food, and will never, ever, eat anything from this culture again, or; 2.) I and the family are going to love doing this. This is going to be a fun couple of months.


P.S. Mr. Bayless offers different riffs on his recipes. I’m going to work through his book by making the normal recipe then if I’m able to make a riff, or variation, with the leftovers I’m going to. For instance, he says that you can add tuna to the greens. So, for lunch tomorrow I’m going to do just that.


3 Ingredient Fudge

After a busy day in the office doing some Romans 2 study and preparing tomorrow’s Bible Study on the 6 Law Codes found in Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy I was pretty tired mentally when I got home. Thankful that my wife had tater-tot casserole on the menu for tonight, I decided to be the wonderfully sensitive and amazing husband that I am… I made a recipe for quick fudge that Jen has. Really simple…. 3 ingredients simple.

Step 1: Dump 1/4 cup butter, 3 cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips and a can of sweetened condensed milk in a pan.

Step 2: Turn stove on medium heat and stir mixture until… wait for it….. it’s all melted and mixed.

Step 3: Pour into an 8×8 pan and let cool in fridge.

Step 4: Cut and devour.

Note: Cutting is option, devouring is not.

Crock Pot Chuck Roast

For dinner tonight we cooked a two lb. chuck roast in the slow cooker. We didn’t decide on making this until we went grocery shopping around 10:30, and we didn’t have the roast. Long story short, the grocery store had chuck roast for $5.49 a lb give or take. I ‘m not going to pay that much for a chuck roast. That’s way over priced, like paying $100 to see Bon Jovi over priced. Instead we went to the local butcher, Double J Meats, and bought the chuck roast for $3.99 a lb.. Definitely going back there again, even if it’s only to try their in-store made bacon. 

So we got the chuck roast and threw it in the crock pot with an entire jar of Mezzetta Garlic and Dill Golden Peperoncini’s. That’s it. Nothing else. Set the crock pot to high for about 4.5 hours and the meat was done. It was juciy, had a little bit of a vinegary bite still, but not a lot of heat from the peppers to cover up the meat. The boy loved it. It was great. For the ease of use and flavor this is totally a meal we’re going to make again. 

We served it on rolls with some steamed broccoli and orange bell pepper on the side. Plus we’ve got enough meat to last us for about 3-4 more meals, depending on how we use it. Which is good, because our grocery budget for the rest of the month is like, $3. I’m not joking, it’s really like only $3, unless we find change in the couch cushions. 

Anyway, here’s some pics. If you feel your mouth salivating, don’t panic, it’s totally natural. 

The meat and peppers before the cooking.

The meat and peppers after the cooking.

The meat after it was fork shredded. 

Today was a great day!

After church Jen and I had two members over for lunch, slow cooker pulled beef tacos, followed by us going out for a date at the movies while our friends stayed and watched the kiddos for us. After the movie we stopped at Walmart and bought an egg dying kit and the boy’s b-day gift… his first tricycle. I can’t wait to teach him to ride it when we move in to the house. Then we got home, grabbed the kids and Jen fed the girl. After a few minutes, Terry a fellow LCMS pastor from Denver, his wife Vonnie and one of their kids, came down and treated us to dinner.

It turns out that on Sundays most (non-chain) restaurants in Pueblo that we know of are closed. Five stops and 45 minutes later we finally stopped at Toni and Joe’s Pizzeria that we know is open. We had some salad, tried a few different pizzas that we haven’t tried yet and had some good conversations.

As the post says, today was a great day. A busy, crazy and hectic day, but a good day nonetheless.

Creme Brulee French Toast

This morning both kids were sick with over 100 degree temps, so Jen stayed home with them instead of going to the Church service. I couldn’t really blame her. When I got home Jen had dinner in the oven for lunch instead. It was Creme Brulee French Toast bake. She also had some bacon cooking on the stove. Here’s some pics following the recipe. Enjoy.

Creme Brule French Toast Recipe (The recipe my wife got from a friend on Facebook.)

caramel sauce:
1/2 lb butter 2 cups brown sugar 4 tsp corn syrup
Heat sauce ingredients in small sauce pan until melted and smooth, pour into 9X12 baking dish (or 2 8×8)

cut a loaf of french bread into 1 1/2 in slices and arrange in dish

4 eggs 1 1/2 cups half & half
1 tsp vanilla 1/4 tsp salt
whisk eggs, half & half, vanilla, salt & pour slowly over bread
cover with plastic wrap – refrigerate overnight
bake uncovered at 350 for 50 minutes
turn over onto platter so caramel is on top
top with syrup, powdered sugar, whipped cream, fruit…

This is what the French Toast looks like after it’s done baking.

It looked so good it took all my power to resist eating it from the tray like a total pig.

Bacon, glorious bacon!


Sunday Brenner

Our new tradition, well not new, but newish nonetheless, is to have Brenner on Sunday nights. We make pancakes, french toast, waffles, biscuits, homemade hash, egg bakes and whatever sounds good. Normally we stick to the basics. About half the time these Brenners include some pork product like sausage or, my favorite pork product, bacon. Tonight included some basic run-of-the-mill grocery store sausage… on a Pastor’s salary you can only buy the really good stuff once in a while for special occasions, like if the Bears would have won last week and got to go to the Super Bowl.

Tonight Jen made her pancakes with a twist. Instead of using 1.5 cups of AP flour, she used .5 cups each of AP flour, whole wheat flour and wheat germ. I’ve gotta say they turned out very good. They might be even better than her normal recipe. To be honest, my wife doesn’t cook often, but she does Brenner better than anyone else I know, and I’m not just saying that because she’s next to me on the couch as I’m writing this. Although that doesn’t hurt.

Here’s some pics.

Here are the aforementioned pancakes.

To go with the pancakes tonight Jen made a blueberry compote. 

We also had some sausage (hiding on the back of the plate) that I cooked up earlier and froze for future Brenners.  Here was my plate and I’m ready to eat some more!