Wednesday, June 24, 2009

pico de gallo recipe

A perfect compliment to pulled-pork tacos or great on its own: this pico recipe is most delicious freshly made and eaten promptly.

{ pico de gallo }


Makes 1 3/4 cups

  • 1 medium tomato, cut into 1/4-inch dice (1 cup)
  • 1/4 medium white onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice (1/2 cup)
  • 2 small serrano chiles, stems and seeds removed if desired, and cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt


  1. Combine ingredients in a bowl. Serve immediately, or refrigerate for up to 1 hour.
Note from me: I like to use on-the-vine tomatoes. They are a bit smaller so I used 2 instead of 1. The serrano peppers are excellent if you can tolerate the heat. (I removed all the seeds.) Although I haven't tried this, you should be able to tone it down by using jalepenos in place of serrano peppers. Use a plastic glove or bag over your hand when chopping the peppers as the heat and "burn" your fingers.


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

slow cooker pulled-pork tacos

I want to share with you a new recipe. It's tried and true—twice, and Yummy with a capital "Y".

{ Slow Cooker Pulled-Pork Tacos }

  • 2 cups store-bought salsa, plus more for serving
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • kosher salt
  • 1 2 1/2-pound boneless pork butt or shoulder, trimmed of excess fat
  • 18 corn tortillas
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro sprigs
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges
  • In a 4- to 6-quart slow cooker, combine the salsa, chili powder, oregano, cocoa, and 1 teaspoon salt. Add the pork and turn to coat.
  • Cook, covered, until the meat is tender and pulls apart easily, on high for 4 to 5 hours or on low for 7 to 8 hours.
  • Twenty minutes before serving, heat oven to 350° F.
  • Stack the tortillas, wrap them in foil, and bake until warm, about 15 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, using 2 forks, shred the pork and stir into the cooking liquid. Serve with the tortillas, cilantro, sour cream, lime, and extra salsa.

We like to buy the uncooked tortillas from the grocery store and cook them up on the griddle. It is imperative that you use fresh cilantro. A fresh pico de gallo makes this even better. I will post my favorite pico recipe tomorrow!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Bryce beauty

Last weekend it was time to bring our trailer home after its long stay in Arizona. After all, we have plans for keeping it busy this summer!

So, the girls and I drove down to meet Tom part way in Bryce Canyon for the weekend. Last time on our way through we thought we saw Bryce Canyon, but really it was just the much smaller Red Canyon en route to the real thing.

The real thing was more impressive than the Grand Canyon (in my humble opinion.) I feel very fortunate to see so many great things, and very much in awe of the amazing wonders of our world. Aren't we lucky to have such variety in our very own nation? I take that back. Aren't we lucky to have such amazing variety in our very own state? I've always thought Montana is the most beautiful state there could ever be, but I'm quickly finding out Utah has plenty of character of its own.

I thought this lady had it right. Sitting alone and still, soaking it all in. We, on the other hand, buzzed in and out in a hurry, holding tight to little hands lest they should wander too close to the cliff edge.

Walking up to the canyon you hardly knew it was there, except that as you approached you could hear the echo of the wind roaring through the canyon. It reminded me of walking up to the ocean and hearing the roar of the surf. The trails along the canyon edge were like the boardwalks along the beach.

Ummm... it was a little windy. It was hard to get a good picture!

Abby's friend Bethany came with us, and Tracee (her mom) and Kayli (her older sister) joined us the next day for some four-wheeling exploring.

Sarah with Kayli.

This photo doesn't really do this justice, but my man is covered in filth from head to toe. That's what happens when you eat my dust on a 4-wheeler.

The girls enjoyed a few games of frisbee at the campsite. Best $2 we spent the entire trip.

Best buddies.

Friday, June 12, 2009

a quick happy photo

This is Sarah with her little friend Emma from across the street. Sarah has really come into the age of playdates lately, and it is fun to see her interacting with other kids so well. (Notice the row of Barbies sitting on my chairs meant for "decoration". They helped themselves.)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

last day of school

Today was Abby's last day of Kindergarten! She is sooo ready to move on to all day school, school lunches, and harder lessons, but it has been a great year for her.

Yesterday her class put on a little program. They started with a "fashion" show. Abby wore her veterinarian costume because that is what she says she would like to be when she grows up. The teacher read, "That is why I must do well in school because I'll have to go to LOTS of school to be a veterinarian."

Then they sang us a few cute songs.

Socializing with her friends:

In an area as big as this, there is a good chance she won't even see these girls next year. It's sad, but I guess she will always be making new friends.

Joanne, Eliza, Abby, and Sarah, who was lucky enough to get to come watch her big sister.

Abby had an excellent teacher this year: Mrs. Tipton. She will miss her!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

my photo book arrived!

I was very impressed with how quickly Shutterfly filled my photo book order. (Read about the original idea here.) Overall the experience was very good. Here are some photos of the finished product:

The finished book is 12 x 12, and 32 pages long. It cost me about $75 to print including shipping, and that was with a 20% discount that they were running. (The 12 x 12 size is quite a bit more than some of their other formats). Overall, it seems worth it considering the quality of the book.

I am totally doing this again. My plan is to do a book for every year of our married lives. But with that investment, I'll be staging it out slowly :) I think I'll start with 2008 and work backwards.

If you are considering doing a photo book yourself, read on. (If not, I won't be offended if you skip on outta here!) Here are a few things I learned.

1. I did quite a bit of research before choosing my printer. Shutterfly had great reviews all around. I was looking for full custom options, but if you want templates to help you, they have a lot of options.

A few other options I considered:

a) Blurb: I've heard they produce good quality books, but you have to pay extra to remove their logo (does it appear on every page? I wasn't sure on that. My Shutterfly book has their logo on the last page). Also, they don't have phone customer support so you have to depend on e-mail to communicate with them.

b) iPhoto: As a Mac user this would be an obvious option, but their formats and templates were to restricting for what I wanted to do with this particular book. I hear their quality is great.

c) Shared Ink: They have excellent options if you want higher quality, but it comes with a price.

d) My Publisher, Smilebooks, and a few others were ruled out because their software works only on a PC and I'm a Mac girl, all the way. I'm like allergic to Windows or something.

2. The method I used on this book (scanning real scrapbook pages) took quite a bit of time to prep because I had to add bleed on all the edges so it wouldn't cut off the content on the pages. I also typed all the journaling so it would be easier to read. Uploading it to Shutterfly, however, was a snap. If I build layouts from scratch in Photoshop, I can build them to exactly the size I need. Shutterfly has Photoshop templates you can download.

3. The color isn't perfect. As someone who is familiar with printing, I'm probably extra sensitive to this. Overall things seemed to print heavier than they looked on my screen. But, if there is one thing I've learned in my line of work, its that printing is not an exact science. For what it is, this is pretty darn impressive.

Have fun!

last soccer game

Abby had her last soccer game on Saturday. I'm really proud of the way she held her own this season as the youngest player on the team. This was her first season to play positions. Her team was fun to watch this year and gave the other teams a run for their money.

Here is a photo of her team:

Want to see something funny? Here is the original photo.

The photo that was the best of all the girls included Assistant Coach Richard but not Coach John. And Paige was looking the other way, and... well, for my work friends who read my blog, I know this isn't perfect Photoshop work. But for this crowd, well, good enough I hope.

The coach handed out trophies with something nice to say about each player. (Even if it was "most attitude")

And then the girls thanked him with a water balloon attack.

Which he promptly returned.

Best soccer buddies. Unfortunately, many of her teammates are moving up to other levels. They will miss playing together. But in any case, we are looking forward to the fall season!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

a new project

Over 5 years ago, after Tom's sweet Grandma Elva had passed away, I typed up the amazing story she had written about her life, and then I sorted through the many albums she had (well-labeled, I might add) and matched appropriate photos to the story.

Here are a few pages from the album that resulted. I gave it to Tom's dad for his 50th birthday.

Since then, I've wished we could have a copy of the album for ourselves, so I borrowed it back and made scans of the pages. I plan to have a 12 x 12 digital book printed. The best part about that is others can get a copy if they want it. I've done a little research, and I'm leaning towards getting it printed with Shutterfly. But does anyone out there have experience with this or have any recommendations?

If this goes well, I plan to do a book for each year of our marriage. I'll keep you posted on how it goes!

Monday, June 1, 2009

wish list-bentwood chairs

Here are a few photos that have inspired my desire for bentwood chairs.

Since the Pottery Barn chairs (above) are no longer available (I called and had them check their other stores and they only had one left somewhere in Colorado), I've started to do the following:

1. I'm trying to check Down East Home once a week, since they carry Pottery Barn furniture at about 1/2 the price, and sometimes they have discontinued merch. (This is probably a hopeless case since they rarely have a full set).
2. I set up e-bay searches to e-mail me every time something new is posted with my keywords.
3. I check KSL classifieds and Craigs list daily.
4. I'm saving my pennies so I can afford them when the right chairs come along!

Is that serious or what? I think it could be fun to hit a few antique stores around here to see if I could collect a mismatched set that would look okay together. I kind of like that look. It would take me a good solid day to get that done though... and a good shopping partner. Anyone interested?