Thursday, March 26, 2015
You'll hear this word a few times during your vacation here at Drowsy Water Ranch. We shout "howdy!" to greet you, we holler "howdy!" when we want your attention, and we simply say it in passing as we meet you walking through the ranch.
The word is simple enough, but, for us, "howdy" is much more than just a greeting. For us, the word howdy is how we share our western hospitality. Howdy is how we welcome you into our family and into our way of life here on the ranch and Howdy is how we tell you that we love what we do and we want you to love being here as much as we do. Howdy means more than a simple hello; it is a symbol for what might be the best vacation you and your family have shared.
Here is a list of just a few of the things that "Howdy" stands for at the ranch:
1. "Go Play!"
Kids at the ranch enjoy the freedom of running around all day long under the Colorado sun. For some, it's a luxury they can't enjoy at home. In our secluded mountain valley, kids are safe to roam free. Their confidence soars as they realize they can have fun without always being within arm's reach of mom or dad. Like with animals, the happiest and healthiest kids are the free-range variety!
2. "Go Ride"
Kids and adults alike love the animal interaction. One-on-one with an animal as smart, caring, and strong as a horse teaches us respect and kindness; not to mention it afford a pretty awesome way to see the Colorado mountains. The relationship formed with a horse in the course of a week is one that is remembered for a lifetime. We can't count how many times we've had guests come back to the ranch after a number of years and tell us about the horse they rode 20+ years ago. They can tell us the name of their horse, the color, and many stories that we may not recall. These four legged friends make an impact.
3. "Go Run!"
With 120+ horses, we boast a happy and healthy herd of equines. Our horses go out to pasture every night and on the weekends. Like kids going to recess, this time to run, play, socialize and recharge means the horses are more calm, focused and ready for direction when it's time to come back in for work.
We do a lot of our veterinary care ourselves and we have farriers that shoe our horses when we can't do it. We know each horse by name and can tell you their breed, their background, and their personality.
4. "Make Friends!"
Maybe the most powerful magic of a Drowsy Water vacation is the ranch's amazing ability to create lasting friendships in just a week. Kids and adults come from all over the world and from all different walks of life but, when they are with us at the ranch, everyone is one of two things: a cowboy or a cowgirl. When everyone is wearing boots, it's hard not to get along.
Hope you come say "Howdy" soon!
Thanks, Nell, for the awesome photos. We are going to miss having you here this summer!
Thursday, March 12, 2015
A Perfect Marriage Forged at DWR
The secret to a perfect marriage is here, right here, at Drowsy Water Ranch. Yes, you better believe it, we have all the components for a perfect marriage: sweetness, softness, dependability, and fun.
The marriage also includes a lot of chocolate. And peanut butter.
Jealous now? Huh? Are ya? Bet you didn't see that one coming.
I bet you thought we're talking about Ken and Randy Sue, folks, or Justin and Gretta? Both of those marriages are a-okay, but neither compare to the relationship involved in the Drowsy Water Ranch Peanut Butter Bars. When these bars are baked in the DWR kitchen, other marriages turn green with envy. Other marriages can see the perfection in the relationship forged between the peanut butter and chocolate in the ranch bars. Other marriages know they can't make you feel this good. It's a shame this marriage is only around a few times each summer.
Or they were, until now, because now you can enjoy them at home. Now that this secret little ranch recipe is out, maybe they'll even improve your marriage. After all, who can't smile for a least a second when they have mouthful of lovely chocolate dancing the tango with smooth peanut butter? It definitely won't hurt anything to give 'em a shot.
First, gather your ingredients: chocolate, peanut butter, butter, sugar, brown sugar, egg, flour, oats, vanilla, baking soda, salt, powdered sugar (yes, three kinds of sugar) and milk.
Next, watch for small fingers looking to steal the secret ingredients.
Cream together your first two sugars (brown and white) with butter or margarine or shortening. I always use real butter--it is one of life's great joys.
Add and mix in the vanilla, egg, an peanut butter. WARNING: You will have a bowl of creamy deliciousness. Try not to eat too much of it.
In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt, and oatmeal.
Mix your dry ingredients into the bowl of creamy deliciousness. Then press the mixture into the bottom of a greased 9"x11" pan.
Here is a secret tip (we are full of secrets today): use wet fingers to press the mixture down. If you don't use wet hands, the mixture mostly ends up stuck to your hands. I can't say that is necessarily a bad thing, but if you want to eat the final product and not just the intermittent steps, you might try to get the mixture on the bottom of the pan.
Bake this crust at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes. Then pull the crust out of the oven and sprinkle with the most heavenly delicious bits of yumminess ever (that is their scientific name; also known by their common name as chocolate chips).
Now, scoop MORE peanut butter out of the jar,
Mix your PB with a little milk and powdered sugar (I repeat, that's the third kind of sugar involved in this recipe).
You'll end up with your second bowl of creamy deliciousness. Just set it aside for a minute. You have to deal with the chocolate chips first.
By now, the chocolate chips have been given adequate time to melt while wrapped in the warm arms of peanut buttery goodness. Spread them all around to form a thin layer of chocolate on top of the crust.
Return to your bowl of sugary, peanut buttery creaminess.
You are now at the point in the recipe where you can choose your own adventure. You can pick one of two paths for the final look of your bars; either you choose the marbled look and spread the peanut butter cream on top of the slightly warm chocolate causing the two toppings to swirl and dance arm in arm.
Or you can choose the layered look. It has more of a clean finish with straight lines of peanut butter and chocolate. If you have black and white accents in your home and like to wear pin stripes, this might be the look for you. To achieve this look, let your chocolate cool completely (I tossed the whole pan in the freezer for 10-15 minutes) before spreading the creamy peanut butter topping on for the final layer.
Here is a contrast of the two styles done side by side in the same pan.
Next, the final step, is to cut these little babies (yes, this marriage moved fast, they already had babies! Gasp! Scandal!). Then eat. And share with your beloved. Or eat all the marbled look bars yourself,
And give the layered versions to your straight and narrow love.
Then let us know if these little bars aren't the new secret to your marriage.
Drowsy Water Peanut Butter Bars
1/2 cup butter or shortening
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup flour
1 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 peanut butter
1 1/2 Tbsp. milk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cream together butter, white sugar, and brown sugar. Blend in egg, peanut butter and vanilla. In separate bowl, mix together flour, oats, salt and soda. Combine flour and sugar mixtures. Press mix onto the bottom of a greased 9"x11" pan using wet fingers to prevent sticking. Bake for 15 minutes.
Remove from oven and sprinkle crust with chocolate chips. Let sit 5 minutes. Meanwhile, combine peanut butter, powdered sugar, and milk. Set aside.
Spread chocolate chips over crust using spatula. For a marbled look, immediately spread powdered sugar and peanut butter mixture over the top of chocolate chips. For a more layered look, allow chocolate to cool completely before spreading peanut butter and sugar mix on the top.