Monday, August 19, 2013

Crockpot Carnitas

I tried another carnitas was good. I liked that it cooked in the crockpot all day. It didn't make my house hot; it smelled delicious. I love crockpot food for company, which we had, everything is done and you are free to enjoy your friends! That makes me happy. The flavor was great but my meat didn't fall apart and shred as easy as it does when we make the other carnitas recipe. It may have been my cut of pork but I tossed the wrapper and it was out in the big trash can before I realized it so I didn't double check.....make sure you use a "Boston butt" for your carnitas, it is the best. I will make these carnitas again though.

The spices: salt, cumin, chili powder, pepper, oregano, cinnamon, & cayenne. They all look so pretty in the bowl there, mix them up with your fingers and try not to sneeze!

5 cloves of garlic are also needed.

Into the bottom of the crockpot put some lime juice, orange juice, beer, and salsa. Nestle your pork butt on top and slather it with the garlic & spices. Put the lid on the crock pot and let her go for 8 hours.

Crockpot Carnitas
Inspired by: Pinch of yum
4 to 5 lb. pork, "Boston Butt"
5 cloves garlic
1 T. Salt
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. chili powder, I used ancho
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. oregano
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
juice of 2 limes
1/2 cup orange juice
12 oz. beer
1/2 cup salsa
Put your liquids in the bottom of your crockpot. Combine your spices. Mince your garlic. Rub garlic on pork and place in crockpot. Rub spices on pork. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours. Shred meat with two forks and return to sauce until ready to serve.
Click here for the printable.
Invite some friends over and Enjoy!

Friday, August 16, 2013

This & That

My mother in law, Sue, has many talents. Pictures, cooking, creating a beautiful yard are among them. These are some of her pots at her house. I thought the one above was pretty unique. It's called a down under pot. She says the marigolds are the happiest to be planted there.

This little planter sits just outside their shed. Mini petunias for hair isn't that just too cute??
 She also took us by this house right on the highway, it's a friend of hers that plants pumpkins on their big hill and they grow down it. When the pumpkins get big the gal builds platforms for the pumpkins to rest on. Super cool.
This is my husband and I trying to coax some friends who happen to be in the area to come join us on the beach....little did we know they were already headed home. I will say I'm loving the Widmer Citra, it's a lovely summer beer.
I could spend every Friday night this way. It was awesome!
We drove our car on the beach....we had never done that before. It was fun and I was sure to wash my car as soon as we returned. Salty sea water is tough on cars....
We also did a kayak adventure while we were there. The Lewis & Clark Fort puts them on during the summer. It is a free guided tour. Children have to be 10 in order to participate. I did just check the website and they do offer a few Family Days for people with younger children. It was a neat experience.
This is me entertaining myself while our guide told stories about days of old... She actually was a really great story teller I was being very naughty!! My kids really enjoyed it.
We then had lunch at the Wet Dog Brewery in Astoria. The food was fantastic. I shared a pulled pork sandwich with my husband. I also enjoyed an Arnold new favorite drink...this is what my son does every time he encounters tator tots's an epic tot tower....can you name the movie where he learned it???
My latest pedicure at the beach. I love a good pedicure! Rebecca's Nails in Monroe is my favorite local place.
Happy Friday!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Life with Ruby!

We had a great visit at the coast last weekend. Ruby enjoyed her time at the beach and so did I. Can you see the contentment in our eyes??? The beach is a happy place for me.

Here Ruby is contemplating her next move... Shall I chase the birds or run through the waves?  Maybe I'll just stay here on Mama's lap and watch.....

I like to call this photo, waiting for Mama. Although she will go with my husband he is never her first choice and always has an eye out for me....

Here she is watching the kids jump in the waves. In Gearhart you are allowed to drive on the beach so you can see the tire tracks in the sand.

I love the signature one foot up pose and am always thrilled when I can capture it on my camera.

My daughter enjoyed having Ruby along as well...

What is that you say??? My ears are flipped? Well it was a little windy down by the sea.....

We worked on getting a shot with everyone using a tripod and the timer on the camera. Ruby was fascinated by the blinking light and the beeping on the camera so she looked right at it....lucky for us!

Me and my girls going for a walk. You can see the kids and dad in the distance...beach walks are my favorite.

We tried for some family shots while we were there too. My mother in law is an incredible photographer. My husband had a hard time with the sun. but this one turned out ok I think....

I think this one is funny because it looks like I'm swishing my hair around but really it's just the wind....

Everybody loves Ruby, even Papa Barr had some lap time with the Rubster!

My husband & I had to have a little fun while we were taking pictures....the kids had no idea we were doing this behind them....clearly neither did Ruby.

Schooby Dooby and good times at the beach!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Mixed Greens with Avocado & Nectarine

One of my favorite parts about visiting the coast is being inspired by what my mother in law, Sue, makes for us to eat. This salad was inspired by one she made while we were down there and I've eaten it 3 times for lunch this week! It's a bite of summer in your mouth, grilled chicken, sweet nectarine, creamy avocado, toasted almonds, with a poppy seed dressing....A-MA-ZING!! I totally get stuck in salad ruts and keep eating the same one over and over this is just what I needed at this point in the summer. You must try it!

Sue made a homemade Poppy Seed dressing from a cookbook she put together for a friend. It's called Cara's Favorites. Cara does a lot of catering in the Gearhart area and is famous for her cooking.  The dressing is easy to make. Everything goes into a blender and then you drizzle the oil in to emulsify it and then stir in your poppy seeds. You don't have to make the dressing there are also great poppy seed dressings out there. My two favorites are Brianna's and Litehouse.

Mixed Greens with Avocado & Nectarine
Inspired by: Sue Barr
Who was inspired by: Caralee Olsen
I am just going to tell you what I put in it. Depending on how many you are serving adjust your amounts.
Lettuce, I used mixed baby greens and romaine, spinach would be great too.
Diced avocado
Diced nectarine
Toasted almonds, I bought them in the bulk section at Fred Meyer. You could use slivered.
Grilled chicken, I used Weber just add juice marinade, garlic & herb for my chicken. I used part apple juice and part lemon juice.
You could also add:
purple onion
green onion
dried cranberry
What do you have in your frig?
Poppy Seed Dressing:
by Cara Olsen
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. dry mustard
1 tsp. salt
1/3 cup white wine vinegar
1/8 cup diced onion
1 cup salad oil
2 tsp. poppy seeds
Blend sugar, mustard, salt, vinegar, and onion in a blender. With motor running, add oil slowly. Stir in poppy seeds. Refrigerate.
If you are going to serve this to a group I think dressing the lettuce first and then adding in all your other ingredients is a great idea then you don't loose the beauty of the salad because of the dressing besides the lettuce is really the only thing that needs dressing.
Click here for the printable.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

This & That

I have been enjoying a pretty active summer. Loving the weather we are having in the Northwest. Probably one of the best that I can remember since moving here. I did the Seafair Triathlon with these lovely ladies. I was the bike portion, Ali, in the middle, was the swimmer, and Jen, in pink, was our runner. We had SO much fun! We ended up taking first place in our division which was a delightful surprise.

Here we are with Rusty at the finish line. He works with me at the Y and he won the whole thing! Rusty teaches a spin class on Saturdays that I attended through the winter & spring he helped me take my fitness to the next level, push myself harder, it's been great.

I've also got to enjoy some outdoor time with my husband. Here we are on Storm Lake paddling around.

Ruby came too...

I've been doing a lot of cycling too. I signed up for my first century. I'm nervous to ride my bike 100 miles but it's kind of a rite of passage for cyclists. Julie and I are riding together and I look forward to our days on the bike. This is the Julie who gave me the Peanut Butter Granola Bar recipe....

This is the gang on a weekend group ride. We road 61 miles, from Monroe to Redmond to Carnation to Duvall & back. My brother took us on this ride....he's the one taking the picture.

AND I've enjoyed a little girl time. We enjoy a good meal, chat it up, and have a good laugh. Here we are at The Collective in Woodinville, a nice little pub with 41 beers on tap. We didn't eat there just checked out the beer selection....


Monday, August 5, 2013

Slumber Party Food

My son had these two over for a slumber party last week while his sister was away at you can see they were not having any fun......

I made them these little dough covered meatballs for dinner with a side of marinara. I had cut up watermelon to go with it....

Of course you could make your meatballs from scratch, as well as your biscuit dough. AND you can grate your own cheese, BUT I didn't have time for that so I did what any other health conscious mother would do....head to Trader Joe's and let them do all the work! I bought a bag of their frozen turkey meatballs, refrigerated biscuit dough, and some cheese already grated.....All you do is cut each portion of biscuit dough in half, roll it out a little, place some cheese on the dough and the meatball. Then wrap the dough around the meatball and bake.

I lined them up in the baking dish that I sprayed with Pam. Then brushed them with olive oil and a sprinkling of parmesan cheese. Bake at 350 for about 20 -25 minutes until the dough is done.

It was great slumber party food. Easy for them to pick up, no utensils required....simple and delicious! Ben doesn't take his with any sauce...he's a meat and bread kind of guy....

They all enjoyed their dinner outside on the fort!

Friday, August 2, 2013

This & That

One of my favorite things about summer is sitting in our backyard and watching the hummingbirds come and go. Sometimes I'm lucky enough to get a few shots of them. They are fascinating to me, so small and so brave. They LOVE these red flowers in my yard.

I brought this piece of drift wood back from the lake. I think it's pretty and every time I look at it I will think of warm days by the lake.

We are having an incredible summer here in the Northwest. My hydrangeas are flourishing.

My daughter enjoys them too. Her shirt matches the flowers!
I like my feet, it's a strange thing I know but they are one part of my body that I don't complain about. I like to take pictures of them....this is at the river.

And by a daughter had a campout with a group of her friends. We built a fire while they went for a walk....they came home to....

This! Boy these girls have it rough....they promptly consumed much of it...and had a ball...

Continuing to do a lot of riding this summer. Gearing up for a century in a couple of weeks. Rides are always better with friends and LUNCH!

Another favorite part about summer is having fresh roses in my bathroom. I found this little guy having his fill of rose petal and making a mess of my sink! He promptly went back outside..

Happy Friday!