Monday, July 20, 2009

Penne a la Vodka Pasta Recipe

  • 6 quarts water
  • salt
  • 1 (32-oz) can Italian plum or stewed tomatoes
  • 1 lb. penne pasta
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 10 cloves garlic, peeled
  • crushed hot red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup vodka
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter or olive oil
  • 2-3 Tbsp.chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Bring 6 quarts salted water to a boil in a 8-quart pot over high heat and cook the pasta according to directions.

Meanwhile, pour the tomatoes and their liquid into a food processor or blender and process until blended.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Whack the garlic cloves with the side of a knife and add them to the hot oil. Cook, shaking the skillet, until the garlic is lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes, careful not to splatter as the oil will be hot. Bring to a boil, season lightly with salt and generously with crushed red pepper, and boil 2 minutes. Add the vodka and simmer until the pasta is ready.

Just before the pasta is done, scoop out the garlic cloves and discard. Add the cream and the 2 tablespoons butter or oil, and incorporate into the sauce.

Drain the pasta and place in a pasta platter and pour sauce over pasta. Sprinkle with Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and parsley. Serve immediately.

Serves 6

Friday, July 17, 2009

Keeping Sane While Making Others Insane

We just got our monthly newsletter from our insurance company and they put little tidbits on "The Back Page", and this month's had some funny ones on it, so I thought I'd share them...

Things to Do to Stay Sane

(While Driving Everyone Else Insane)

1. At lunch time, sit in your parked car and point a hair dryer at passing cars to see if they slow down.

2. Put decaf in the coffee maker for 3 weeks. Once everyone has gotten over their caffeine addictions, switch to espresso.

3. As often as possible, skip rather than walk.

4. Specify that your drive-through order is "to go".

5. Five days in advance, tell your friends you can't attend their party because you're not in the mood.

We thought those were a good little chuckle. Another way to keep sane is to get away from all the hustle and bustle and stress of every day life. Why not take a Colorado vacation and enjoy the cool mountain air, the beautiful mountain scenery, and some of the local attractions such as Pikes Peak, Garden of the Gods, Manitou Cliff Dwellings, the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park, and more. Take some hikes, horseback rides, balloon flights, jeep tours, whitewater rafting trip, or train rides. There is much to do in the area to relieve some stress and go home refreshed.

And Rocky Mountain Lodge & Cabins can provide some Colorado Springs lodging for you while you're here enjoying your Colorado vacation. Stay in our Bed and Breakfast Lodge, our rustic Colorado Cabin Rental, or our Colorado Vacation Cottage.

Colorado Camping and Campfire Cooking

Hubby and I went camping for 2 nights this week. We actually fell in love with Colorado while our kids were little and we took many Colorado camping trips. I grew up camping with my family as a kid, and Brian became a backpacker while living on the East coast and backpacked through many of the east coast mountains. Brian's still trying to talk me into "backpacking". He should be happy I'm not always a 5 star resort girl and will still camp in a tent and sleeping bag (with an air mattress, of course). Dry camping's ok for a few days, but that's about as roughing it as I'll go, after a few days I'm in dire need of a shower!

We went to a little campground called Cottonwood Lake Campground not far from Buena Vista, Colorado. It was beautiful there, and we had a deer mosey through our campsite while we were eating dinner our first night. Cold at night, of course, since we were at 10,000 feet in elevation, but beautiful during the day.

Our family all love camping, and especially the camp food. My hubby always wants me to be simple... cereal, instant oatmeal, hot dogs on a stick, but must always have "pudgy pies".

Know what pudgy pies are? They are a family favorite, and we NEVER go camping without having pudgy pies. They're really just sandwiches cooked over hot coals. They're made with metal "sandwich plates on a long metal rod with wooden handles". Not sure if that's the official name for them or not, but my family have been calling them that since I was a kid growing up, and our kids have called them that, and now our grandkids will too. You can make any type of "pies" out them with your favorite canned or homemade pie filling (we use canned to keep it simple). Our favorites are blueberry, apple, and as of recent, caramel apple. Growing up we used to make pizza pies out of them.

Here's how to make them:

Fruit Pudgy Pies: You heavily grease the insides of the sandwich plates with non stick cooking spray so your "pies" don't stick. Take 2 pieces of good white bread (no holes in the bread is important so the filling doesn't leak through), butter the outside of the bread and sprinkle sugar on the buttered side. Place one of the buttered pieces of bread, buttered side down, on one of the sandwich plates. Spread about 1-2 Tablespoons of pie filling over the piece of bread on the sandwich plate, and top with the remaining piece of bread, buttered side up, then cover with the other sandwich plate. Place over hot coals (charcoal or wood), and cook about 4 minutes on each side, until golden brown. Remove to paper plate and allow to cool a couple minutes before eating; that's the hard part.... waiting, if you don't wait you burn your tongue, can't tell you how many taste buds I've burned off in my impatience.

Variations of Pudgy Pies:

Pizza Pudgy Pies: Butter the outside of your bread with butter only. Spread the insides of the bread with pizza sauce, line with any pizza toppings you like, such as pepperoni, cooked Italian sausage, peppers, onions, ham, pineapple tidbits, and mozzarella cheese.

Grilled Cheese Pudgy Pies: Easy, just like grilled cheese at home, butter the outside of your bread with butter only. Add cheese and "toast" over the hot coals.

S'More Pudgy Pies: Butter the outside of your bread and sprinkle with sugar. Spread inside of bread with Nutella, line with mini marshmallows, sprinkle with graham cracker crumbs.

You can be creative and think of your own filling. These are a MUST HAVE every time we go camping.
You can find more Pudgy Pie recipes and can order pudgy pie makers at

Want more of Rocky Mountain Lodge & Cabins' recipes? Check out our recipe page at our website at

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Pikes Peak International Hill Climb

The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is the second oldest motor sports race in America and a long-standing tradition in Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak Region. First competed in 1916, this year marks the 93rd running of the "Race to the Clouds."

The race is on the Pikes Peak Highway, right here in our own Cascade Colorado, where Rocky Mountain Lodge & Cabins is located.

In 2015, the race will take place on Sunday, June 28th with race related events all week long. Fan Fest, on Friday, June 26th spanning 7 blocks of downtown Colorado Springs, will feature motorcycle jumpers, beer gardens, a chili cook-off, live bands, which draws tens of thousands of spectators, and benefits the MDA.

The race is run on a 12.42 mile course with 156 turns that begins at 9,390 feet and finishes at the 14,110 foot summit of America’s Mountain; Pikes Peak! As the drivers climb toward the summit, the thin air slows reflexes and saps muscle strength. The thin air also robs engines of 30% of their power at the summit. Competitors and vehicles must be in top shape simply to finish...let alone win!

This year the race has 11 classes and features a variety of automotive, semi truck, exhibition, open wheel, super stock car, pro truck and motorcycle classes with a field approaching 200 competitors.

Race Week begins Tuesday, June 23. Practice and qualifying takes place Wednesday through Friday from 5:30am to 8:30am am on Pikes Peak.

The current record is  8 minutes 13.878 seconds, and was set by Sebastien Loeb in 2013.

You can find out more about the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb at their official website at

Visit Rocky Mountain Lodge & Cabins' calendar of events page at for more upcoming events in Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak Region.

And if you need Pikes Peak lodging for the Pikes Peak Hill Climb, Rocky Mountain Lodge & Cabins is a stone's throw away from the starting point!