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Posts Tagged ‘dining’

Set the stage (and table) for Thanksgiving

by | November 11th, 2015

For many, Thanksgiving is their favorite holiday. Free from the pressure of gift-giving, it is simply a joyful gathering of friends and family. Great food and conversation, and maybe a college football game to aid the digestion. Priceless.

rustic fall tablescape

Because Thanksgiving is such a lovely, all-day indoor affair, why not add to the ambiance with fall-inspired home décor? We invite you to peruse the BackCountry Autumn Pinterest board  to get ideas for a festive table and beyond. To kickstart your creativity, we’re sharing some of our favorite ways to prep for the big day.

First stop is a pin that’s all about gratitude. After all, nothing sets a more positive tone for a Thanksgiving dinner than guests expressing gratitude. Clever ways to inspire sharing include kraft paper placemats with an “I am thankful for…” writing prompt that your guests can complete. Another idea is a big pumpkin spray-painted white on which all can write their messages of gratitude. Or, have your guests jot down what they are grateful for on small slips of paper, which you then roll up and bake in crescent rolls. Like a fortune cookie, everyone can open one up and guess who wrote it.

Thankful for

Maybe you love the idea of creating a showstopper centerpiece, but the only time you venture into a craft store is to buy poster board for your kid’s science project. Find help with this pinwhere you’ll see several beautiful arrangements using only small pumpkins, leaves, and succulents you may already have around the house. Natural, pretty, and no crafty gene required.

If you do know your way around a can of spray paint, try this all-gold tablescape. Just spray paint real and/or fake pumpkins, pinecones, and Christmas garland. Add gold votive candles and you’re done. Or nestle candles in a glass container  filled with popcorn kernels or other seasonal goodies.

all gold tablescape

If you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, try turning pumpkins and gourds into elegant serving dishes. Topped with silver serving pieces, pale gray and green pumpkins add interesting height and color to your buffet. And why limit the charming conversation pieces to your table? On your porch, you could welcome guests with pumpkins etched with your house numbersOr floating mini-pumpkin votives on a table in your foyer. Just insert tea lights into small pumpkins and float them in a charming rustic container with leaves and sprigs of herbs.

Enjoy exploring our Pinterest boards. With thousands of acres of open space as its backdrop, BackCountry can be a wonderful place to host a Thanksgiving dinner—and then walk it off on miles and miles of trails

Welcome, October. Or shall we say, Crocktober.

by | October 13th, 2015

Goodbye, summer heat—and our fixation on salads, grilling, and anything that doesn’t heat up the kitchen. October kicks off the season for tasty, hearty fare that warms up your belly, soul, and sometimes, happily, your kitchen too.

Now that the Denver Broncos are back in business, why not gather with your fellow BackCountry neighbors over a football game and, perhaps, a crockpot full of barbecue? In honor of our community, so well-known for its friendly get-togethers, BackCountry has created several Pinterest boards for you to explore—to get your mouth watering with seasonally inspired recipes, and your creativity awhirl with ideas for crafty autumn party décor. Here are some highlights.

Starting with crockpots, here’s a board devoted to the art of fix-it-and-forget-it from BackCountry’s master developer Shea Homes Colorado. If you are operating under the impression that slow cooking menus are limited to soups and beans, check out the recipes for a savory and light sweet potato gratin, Chinese-style barbecue, and lasagna described as “the easiest lasagna you will ever make.” Sold.

Easiest lasagna ever BackCountry Pinterest

On BackCountry’s Fall is for Football board, you’ll find more slow cooker recipes, as well as many other kinds. You’ll never miss your summertime grill with this Peppered Corn on the Cobwrapped in bacon. Want another barbecue variation, maybe on the sweet, Southern side? Here’s Pulled Pork with Bourbon-Peach Barbecue Sauce. And should you need some festive ambiance to go with all that good food, check out this board, 39 Clever Tailgating DIYs To Get You In The SpiritThink pennant-shaped cupcake toppers, downloadable party invitations, and custom drink labels.

pulled pork BackCountryCO Pinterest fall recipes

You’ll find another board from builder Shea Homes that’s unabashedly devoted to the Broncos. Snag a recipe for a Denver Broncos cocktail made of blue Cucacao, vodka, and blood orange soda. Or some irresistible orange and blue, candy-studded Broncos cookiesOr how about a whole Broncos-inspired menufrom appetizers to dessert?

Denver Broncos cookies BackCountryCO Pinterest

And lest we forget that other October attraction, Halloween, head over to BackCountry’s Autumn boardwhere you’ll find seasonal recipes, craft ideas, and Halloween goodies galore. Pick up 21 Halloween decorating tips or learn how to roast pumpkin seeds salvaged from your jack o’ lantern. Or stack up a pile of Pumpkin Waffles with Maple-Walnut Syrup!

pumpkin waffles BackCountryCO fall recipes

Hungry yet? If not, then check in often. Pins are always being added, so be sure to take a look before your next gathering.

BackCountry Featured Home – Auburn Homes Custom Collection

by | April 24th, 2015

Custom Collection – Auburn Homes

4,854 Sq. Ft.
5-bedrooms| 6 -baths| 4-car garage
Available December 2015

Discover this European-style stone and stucco home that greets guests through a romantic courtyard. A grand foyer leads to a breathtaking two-story great room that connects kitchen, nook, and a generous deck and invites gatherings, entertaining and family togetherness. But owners will also appreciate the home’s intimate spaces like a rich study with wood beam ceilings as well as a formal dining room. A secluded main-floor guest suite is complemented by its own private deck creating an ideal retreat.

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Foodies, this month’s for you.

by | March 5th, 2015

If there’s one thing everyone can rally around, it’s a good meal. Sure, preferences will vary, but that’s the beauty of this month’s bounty of culinary events, ranging from swanky Broadmoor cuisine to St. Patty’s Day comfort food. Bon appétit, BackCountry!

Broadmoor Taste & Savor
-March 5-8
What better place to sample ambrosial delights than The Broadmoor, Colorado Springs’ iconic, five-star resort, framed by the majestic Rockies? At this inaugural Taste & Savor epicurean weekend, you’ll rub elbows with acclaimed chefs and beverage experts from around the country, savor gourmet dishes, world-class wine and craft cocktails, and attend seminars and panel discussions. Two- and three-night packages include events, a gala, and brunch starting at $750 per person. Learn more.

Cooking Class with Chef Leah
-March 10, 6-8pm
Not long ago, local Philippines-born Chef Leah Eveleigh sliced and diced the competition on Food Network’s Cutthroat Kitchen. Now this winning chef will be on your team, teaching you to make this Taste of Asia menu: miso soup, shrimp and vegetable tempura, Vietnamese fresh spring rolls, and sticky rice with mango. Best of all, you’ll sit down together and enjoy the delicious fruits of your labors. Feel free to bring your own bottle of wine. $50 per person at the BackCountry Sundial House, 6 – 8pm, Residents only; minimum of 12, maximum of 16. RSVP by March 9 through ActiveNet or at the Sundial House.

Adult St. Patrick’s Day Event
-March 13, 7-10pm
Lucky you, there’s a fun St. Patty’s Day party right in your neighborhood at the Sundial House. Join the gang for Irish-inspired food, drink, and toe-tapping music from Ruby Rakes. Don’t forget to wear green for a session in the photobooth! Menu includes mixed field greens with fresh vegetables and balsamic vinaigrette; chicken breast in Jameson Irish whisky cream sauce; colcannon potatoes; Irish heritage cabbage with Irish bacon, nutmeg, and red wine vinegar; and dinner rolls. $15 per person before March 1. After March 1, $17. RSVP through ActiveNet or at the Sundial House.

St. Patrick’s Day Parade
-Mar. 14, 9:30am
This year’s theme, “Emerald Mile,” captures the close ties Colorado maintains with its Irish heritage. After all, Denver’s parade is the largest this side of the Mississippi, attracting more than 350,000 cheering wearers o’ the green. Enjoy the floats, bagpipers, marching bands, dancers, horses and stagecoaches, and more Irish-themed fun with Western flair. Learn more.

Annual Easter Egg Hunt
-March 28, 10am
Sweet surprises lay hidden for this year’s roving band of Easter egg gatherers, but no hunting is required for the doughnuts and other refreshments kindly provided by Royal Crest Dairy. Beyond enjoying all the tasty treats, children can hobnob with the Easter Bunny and Little Bo Peep, and ooh and ahh over a petting zoo full of furry animals such as rabbits, chickens, sheep, goats, donkeys, and a miniature horse. To keep things fun and fair, The Easter Egg Hunt will be broken into three age groups: 3 and under, 4-6, and 7 and up. Children MUST bring their own baskets to collect eggs. RSVP through ActiveNet no later than March 21.

The holidays are here. What’s cooking?

by | December 10th, 2014

Some of us already have it all figured out, a la Martha Stewart, right down to the darling candy cane place cards. For others, desperation is driving us to consider Papa John’s as a viable backup plan. After all, pizza can be red and green, right?

‘Tis the season for cooking, which means it’s a great time to call for reinforcements. Whether cajoling that amazing lemon shortbread recipe out of your grandma, or scouring the web for a new way to serve green beans that doesn’t involve a single can of cream of mushroom soup, let’s kick off the process with some links to good recipe sources.

Our first stop is the BackCountry Facebook page, where we asked for a little holiday favorites help from our friends. One resident responded with a recipe for homemade noodles. (Don’t be intimidated—it’s much easier than you’re thinking.) Simply combine 1 beaten egg, 1/2 tsp salt, and 2 tbsp milk. Add 1 cup sifted all-purpose flour (for thicker noodles, add 1/2 tsp baking powder to the flour before mixing). Roll out the dough to desired thickness and let stand for 20 minutes. Cut into strips and drop into hot soup (chicken broth is best) for 10 minutes.

Besides making us hungry, this suggestion led us to collect more tasty ideas on the BackCountry Pinterest page, such as Sweet Noodle Kugel with Cherries, Brussels Sprouts with Lemon and Thyme, and Maple Pecan Sweet Potato Mash. Be sure to check those out. And while you’re there, take note of the pin for 23 High-Tech Ways To Make Entertaining Easier. (A big thumbs up for the Bluetooth kitchen thermometer. Dry turkeys no more!)

If Hanukkah is your moment to shine, consider these 29 Miraculous Foods to Make for Hanukkah, ranging from tangy brisket to sautéed cauliflower “steaks” for your veggie-loving guests.

For Christmas-themed recipes, varieties are endless. Just head over to Pinterest and search for Christmas cookies, cocktails, or what have you. But for those who prefer a pre-planned, no-brainer approach, take solace in this link from Better Homes and Gardens for best Christmas dinner menus or this article on the Huffington Post that covers the whole meal, from Persimmon Bruschetta appetizers to Tiramisu Cookies.

Bon appetit!

Featured Home – Shadow Walk Collection

by | November 18th, 2014

Shadow Walk Collection

Sunshower Plan
Price $688,577
10684 Skydance Drive
Available December 2014
3-bedrooms – 2.5 Bathrooms – 3-car tandem garage

This stunning Sunshower plan is a well-designed ranch plan featuring spacious great room with fireplace, kitchen with island, morning room with access to the outdoor dining terrace, formal dining room, expanded unfinished walkout basement, and a 3-car tandem garage. Stunning design finishes include hardwood flooring, tile flooring in the bathrooms, slab handstone countertops with a tile backsplash in the kitchen and master bathroom, and montresano maple greyloft cabinetry.

For more information on this home, please contact the Shadow Walk Collection sales office at 720.344.1121 or visit

View the BackCountry Featured Home

*Price, specifications and availability are subject to change without notice. Square footage is approximate. Actual homes as constructed may not contain the features and layouts depicted and may vary from photo.

Let’s talk turkey

by | November 17th, 2014

It’s the headliner on almost every Thanksgiving menu. So why not consider your options before grabbing the first frozen monolith you find on sale? There really are some interesting alternatives.

Around 46 million turkeys are consumed each Thanksgiving, and about 99% of those are your standard white tom turkeys—also known as broad-breasted whites. These big guys are bred to grow into a mature bird with a large, white-meat breast within 18 weeks. The price is usually very competitive, but the downside is that most are given antibiotics to speed growth, may be injected with a sodium solution, and then there’s the whole controversy about factory farming, which we’ll sidestep here.

Cooking chicken in the oven at home.
But let’s take a look at the sometimes-confusing alternatives. Heritage birds date back to the 1800s, and are more like what our colonial forefathers carved into. Closer to wild turkeys, they produce darker meat and, some would say, gamier taste. Heirloom breeds are a bit newer, dating to the early 1920s or 1930s, still providing the white meat we Americans love, but with a more robust taste than the standard tom. Both of these types cost more because their life cycle is 24-30 weeks, and they aren’t raised on antibiotics.

If you’re seeking one of these specialty birds or a humanely raised broad-breasted white, try Marczyk Fine Foods (with birds sourced from Bennett, Colorado), Tony’s Markets (all birds free of antibiotics and salty solutions), and In Season Local Market (featuring prairie-grazing birds also from Bennett). And don’t overlook chain stores such as Whole Foods, Sprouts, and Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage, whose turkeys range from conventional to organic to heritage—sold both fresh and frozen. Do be aware that these specialty brands can sell out quickly, so reserve yours early.

grilled - marinated turkey on the grill 2
On the other hand, if you’d rather someone else do the cooking, consider a Honeybaked turkey breast, a perennial crowd-pleasing combo of tender white meat and sweet, crunchy glaze. Or a spicy, Cajun deep-fried turkey from Bayou Bob’s or Dickey’s Barbeque Pit, which also offers a smoked turkey.

And if all else fails, 46 restaurants are currently taking Thanksgiving reservations on Open Table.
Roasted Turkey Breast - Rosemary-Basil Rub

Season’s Eatings: Catch the grand finale of Colorado produce

by | October 6th, 2014

Sadly, those melt-in-your-mouth Palisade peaches are a distant memory, but all is not lost. Let the waning days of October remind you to hit the farmer’s market one last time before they close. Or, if you’re up for a little adventure, go pick your own produce at one of the farms listed below. Arguably, there’s nothing as delicious as a tree-ripened peach, but fresh apples and roasted chile peppers deserve a place of honor on any autumn menu.

At the Highlands Ranch Farmers and Street Market, it’s not too late for fall treasures like Brussels sprouts, winter squash, kale, and other greens, too. And it’s a great source for well-priced and beautiful pumpkins for your jack-o-lantern endeavors. Purveyors of other goodies, like pickles, coffee, honey, baked goods, clothing, and more are still going strong. Sundays, 10-2 at Town Center South through October 26 (weather permitting). Learn more.

Want your food even fresher? Make your first stop, a website that can help you find the source you seek, as well as give you tips on canning and freezing your stash safely.

There, you’ll find info about various nearby farms, such as YA YA Farm & Orchard, located in Boulder County. This historic century-old farm specializes in heirloom apples, organic methods, and family-friendly activities. The farm and orchard will be open to the public through a to-be-determined date in November. Reservations are required for picking, but apples, apple cider donuts, apple pies, honey and many other apple products are available for sale at their apple barn. Learn more.

More apples are ready to be picked at Happy Apple Farm. The farm’s location in Penrose means that their apples ripen earlier, but Red and Golden Delicious apples are still available through mid-October (if not picked out). Nonetheless, they’re a good source for pumpkins, fresh cider, apple butter, jams, marinades, roasted chiles, brisket, pulled pork, and hayrides to the pumpkin patch. Learn more.

At Berry Patch Farms in Brighton, you may be stumped as to where to start. This full-scale farm should have all their fall crops still growing strong through the month, including apples, kale, beets, broccoli, carrots, cabbage, garlic, and onion. They also sell grass-fed beef, honey, freshly ground flour, and more. As with all of these weather-dependent, real-life sources, you’ll want to call first to make sure they’ll have what you want. Learn more.

New dog in town

by | August 18th, 2014

When it comes to hot dogs, more than a few people turn up their noses. Which is completely understandable if we’re talking about boring, pedestrian hot dogs. However, if you’ve ever swooned over a Biker Jim’s gourmet hot dog (of Food Network fame), you’re going to be delighted to know his famous dogs have found a home in Highlands Ranch.

Photo by Danielle Lirette/Westword

Photo by Danielle Lirette/Westword

Opened earlier this month, Biker Jim’s Gourmet Dogs is located at 1601 Mayberry Drive near Crave and Indulge Wine Bar, and, fittingly, in the former site of Bernie’s Hot Dogs. Hailed as Denver’s best hot dog by Westword, and one of the country’s best according to Food and WineForbes, and the Food Channel, Biker Jim’s began humbly with former repo man, Jim Pittenger, selling hot dogs from a cart on the 16th Street Mall. These were no ordinary dogs, though, as they were split, slathered with cream cheese and heaped with strangely irresistible onions soaked in Coca-Cola. Biker Jim’s growing fame led to a shop on Larimer Street (still thriving, as is the cart), and now the Highlands Ranch restaurant, with 30 seats and great mountain views.

What’s created his rabidly loyal fan base? Quality ingredients with unexpected flavors. Dogs include Louisiana Red Hots, Wild Boar Sausage, Alaska Reindeer, and Elk Jalapeno Cheddar Brats. One savory flavor combo, The Conspiracy, includes Stilton blue cheese, bacon, red onion marmalade, and French fried onions. And house-made sides like French fries, fried macaroni and cheese, and fried pickles round things out…so to speak.

Hungry yet? Visit Biker Jim’s Sunday-Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.

Photo by Danielle Lirette/Westword

Photo by Danielle Lirette/Westword

Shadow Walk Collection – Shadow Walk Collection

by | June 26th, 2014

Shadow Walk Collection
Silvermoon Plan
Price 731,737*
10664 Skydance Drive
4 beds | 3.5 baths | 3-car tandem

This walkout home features a spacious great room with two-sided stacked stone fireplace to the dining room, a well-designed kitchen with island, morning room, and stainless steel appliances. The office and laundry room are on the main floor and a media room is on the second-level. Design finishes include red oak hardwood flooring, tile flooring in the bathrooms, slab engineered stone countertops and backsplash with a slab granite island in the kitchen, and cherry slate cabinetry. This home is available in October/November 2014.

*Price listed is not a final price.

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