Today is National Colorado Day. Colorado is an amazing place with a history rich in dinosaurs, Native American peoples, Spanish Explorers, frontiersmen and settlers moving west. It’s history, like all of mankind’s history, has peaks and valleys, moments of greatness and deep darkness.
These days we seem to focus on the worst moments of human existence and hold those moments out to be the only truth. Good men sometimes do bad things. And bad men sometimes rise up to become heroes. The past should be preserved, even put on display, the good, the bad and everything in between. For even in darkness, there is beauty and goodness. All you need do is look.
Since today is so close to another big event from the past, the sinking of the Titanic, I thought we might take a look at a house in Denver, Colorado that was once the home to Molly Brown, more famously known as the Unsinkable Molly Brown for having survived. Her home was originally owned by Isaac and Mary Larger. James Joseph (JJ) Brown bought the home in 1894 for $30,000. Four years later, possibly due to JJ’s deteriorating health, the title was transferred to his wife, Margaret – or Molly Brown as she was known. Since Margaret and the family traveled frequently, the house was often rented out. In 1902; while the Governor’s Mansion was undergoing remodeling, the Brown Home served as the Governor’s residence. In 1926, Margaret turned the home over to her housekeeper as acting supervisor of a boarding house. When Margaret died in 1932, the house was sold for just $6,000.00 It became a rooming house for men, a Jane Addams Hull House Settlement, converted to rooms and apartments for rent before being rescued in 1970. Today it is home to the Molly Brown Museum.
America the Beautiful is one of the most patriotic songs ever written. However; like others, this was not written as a song but rather as a poem. Written by Katharine Lee Bates in 1893, the poem was originally titled Pikes Peak. Bates, an English professor at Wellesley College, had taken a train trip to Colorado Springs to teach at Colorado College. Several sights along the way inspired her, and found their way into her poem. Among them were the World Exposition in Chicago, the wheat fields of Kansas and the majestic views of the Great Plains from Pikes Peak. The music was actually composed by Samuel A. Ward, the organist at Grace Episcopal Church in Newark, New Jersey. Ward had initially composed the song’s melody in 1882 to accompany the lyrics to Materna, based on the hymn O Mother Dear, Jerusalem. In 1910 Ward’s melody and Bates’ poem were joined together to become one. Ward died in 1903, never to realize what became of his melody. Although the composer and the poet never met, or even knew of the others existance, together they created one of the most beloved tributes to America and all her splendor.
A darker moment in Colorado’s history can be found at the site of the Ludlow Massacre. Miners and their families were living in a tent city in Ludlow. Conflicts arose when the coal miners, seeking better working conditions and higher wages, went on strike. To settle the strike, the National Guard was called out. The tensions and conflict reached a pitch when the National guard not only opened fire, but set the tent city ablaze on April 20, 1914. Some were shot fleeing the flames. Others died from smoke as they sought protection underground. The conflict resulted in the deaths of two women, eleven children, many infants, and seven men. The massacre had a lasting impact on the labor movement, and led to the creation of laws to protect workers as well as laws prohibiting child labor. From the ashes of tragedy came changes for a better life. Today a monument has been erected that we might never forget.
Despite its checkered past, Colorado remains a place of immense beauty. Beauty created by God’s Hand and ours.
When it comes to Colorado’s food, in our house we so love the Spanish influence and Mexican flavors of Colorado that is was hard to pick just one dish to share. Enchiritos won out. They are a cross between Enchiladas and Burritos – a wet burrito. Enjoy!
1/4 Yellow Onion, diced
2 Garlic Cloves, minced
1 large Jalapeno Pepper
1 tablespoon Vegetable Oil
5 oz Ground Beef
8 oz Ground Chorizo
2 teaspoons Cumin
1 tablespoon Taco Seasoning
Salt to taste
Black Pepper to taste
1 (16 oz) can Jalapeno Refried Beans
6 medium Flour Tortillas
10 oz Spicy Red Enchilada Sauce
1 cup shredded Pepper Jack Cheese
Optional Finishing Touches
6 tablespoons Guacamole or as desired
6 tablespoons Sour Cream or as desired
Heat oven to 375-degrees. Spray a large casserole dish with cooking spray, set aside.
Cut a quarter section from the onion from root to tip. Peel and chop the quarter piece, set aside. Peel and finely mince garlic, set aside. Stem jalapeno pepper. Slice pepper into rounds. Reserve a few rounds for garnish, dice remaining pepper and set aside.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add vegetable oil to the skillet, swirl to coat bottom. Add onions, garlic and diced peppers. Sauté until onions become translucent and peppers soften slightly.
Add ground beef and chorizo to the skillet. Cook through, about 15 minutes or so, breaking the meat into small pieces as it browns. Drain well, return to skillet.
Season meat with cumin, taco seasoning, salt and pepper. Stir, cooking for medium-low heat for a few minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.
Add refried beans to the skillet. Mix thoroughly to combine. Remove from heat and let cool for about 10 minutes.
On a flat griddle, warm tortillas. Lay tortillas on a flat work surface. Working with one tortilla at a time, spoon about a quarter cup or so of the filling mixture down the center of the tortilla. Tuck the ends in, then roll tortilla encasing the filling completely. Place in the prepared casserole dish. Repeat until all the tortillas have been filled.
Ladle enchilada sauce of the tortillas, spread out to cover completely. DO NOT drown tortilla in sauce, just enough to cover the tops is all you need. Sprinkle Enchiritos with Pepper Jack Cheese and garnish with reserve jalapeno peppers.
Bake, uncovered, in the heated oven for about 15 minutes or until cheese is melted and the sauce is bubbling. Serve, garnished with guacamole and sour cream as desired.
Since the Enchiritos have beens in the filling, all you need to finish this flavorful supper are Spicy Mexican Rice and Margaritas. Enjoy!
Rejoice, O hearts that seek the Lord
Sing to Him, sing His praise always
5 thoughts on “Beautiful Colorado – It’s Your Day”
Break out the Margaritas! Those look really tasty.
Thank you – glasses, as always, are chilled and ready.
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Rosemarie, if only you lived next door
That would be perfect!
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