Just a quick little note

It's Labor Day Weekend and we are headed up to Denver for a friend's wedding! We are very excited for the trip. We fly out tonight and plan on going on in Downtown Denver with some friends. Tomorrow is the wedding and we fly home Sunday. The weather should be beautiful, and I'm looking forward to it.

On another note, we had a horrible horrible storm last night. In parts of the valley it looks like a tornado went through. My mom's clinic was closed today because they don't have electricity. On my drive to work I saw a giant metal billboard bent down and sitting on a car. It was unbelievable. Trees are down everywhere and it's actually quite sad. Hurricane winds were reported around the valley and hail pelted some parts of the city. Luckily our yard was somehow spared and we didn't lose a single tree, which is a miracle considering how small some of them are.

I'll be sure to post a few photos of the wedding. I'm trying very hard to be a better picture taker, now if only I had a new digital camera!


Better Late Than Never

Ok, so I'm a bit late with this, but it's a totally worth it recipe so I recommend making something just to try this week's recipe... the pie crust. Every November my mom throws this Apple Pie Party and the point of the party is to make your own apple pie over the duration of a few hours. We first used this recipe for these parties, and to this day, it's the best pi crust I've ever made. it does require a food processor, but if you don't have one, it's probably worth buying one. This is the crust I used to make the cherry pie I posted a few weeks ago. Note that this recipe is for a filled and covered pie. If you only need a bottom shell you will be able to make two shells. I hope you enjoy this!

2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1/4 inch cubes
1/2 cup ice water

To make the crust, mix flour, salt and sugar in a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Scatter butter pieces over flour mixture and toss lightly with your hands to coat the butter. Blend together with short pulses until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal, with pea-sized butter bits. Drizzle in the water a tablespoon at a time, pulsing continually, until the dough comes together. Be careful not to over mix. Divide dough in half, form into disks and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill at least 30 minutes or up to 2 days.


What a weekend...

Here's a photo of what we would have liked to be doing...

But instead, we finished about 95% of our backyard "remodel"! Yup, for those of you who have been reading for a while, we've been working on this since the end of April. There was a lot more work than we originally though, so along with our blistering heat, its taken us quite a while to get things done. Over the past two weekends we hauled 12.5 tons of rock from our driveway to the backyard. I honestly never want to look at rocks again! The only thing we have left is the above ground garden that needs to be built along the side of the house. I'm guessing it will be finished in the next few weeks. My parents came over last weekend for two days to help in the process, and my dad showed up again on Saturday to help Chris take the last load of dirt to the dump. Thank goodness for the dump! We had so much dirt in our backyard that had to be removed and we can take things to our city dump for free!

I'll post pictures soon. I was going to take some this morning, but we are having dreary weather due to Tropical Storm Julio and I wanted sunny photos of our "new" backyard!

P.S. The above photo was taken about three weeks ago after Chris worked in the yard for most of the day, and yes, he is wearing shorts if anyone was wondering!


It's Official!

I have run over 400 miles this year! It seems weird to say that, on one hand it seems like a lot, and on the other it doesn't really seem like that much at all. Some people who knew me in high school and college might be amazed to hear that I'm running period. I was never a runner, I hated running, and wanting nothing to do with running. I was completely satisfied playing tennis, dancing, or swimming. However, during my last semester of college I was home for Easter and my mom suggested that I go on a run with her. She had started running about a year and a half prior when the P.F. Changs Rock 'n Roll 1/2 Marathon came to town. I decided to humor her and go. Well I guess somewhere between high school and that day, running had become easier. I managed not to do too bad and decided that I too could do the 1/2 marathon. After all, it was 10 months away. I trained and trained and trained and completed my first 1/2 in January of 2006.

Now I am a complete running addict! Here's a list of 1/2 marathon race that I've completed so far. I JUST signed up for the inaugural San Antonio Rock 'n Roll race, so Megan I'm coming to see you! I usually refuse to do any races that are in the summertime or early fall because of the extreme heat here in the desert. I'm not good with running 12 miles in the heat. So far this summer, my longest outdoor run was 6 miles, and we start at 5:00am in 90+ heat!
  1. PF Changs Rock 'n Roll 1/2 Marathon (Phoenix) - 2006, 2007, 2008
  2. Country Music 1/2 Marathon (Nashville) - 2006
  3. Disneyland 1/2 Marathon (Anaheim) - 2006
  4. Shamrock 1/2 Marathon (Virginia Beach) - 2008


The "Best" Chocolate Chip Cookies

This week's recipe was something I found off a blog that I frequent regularly called Bake Or Break. I really like this site because of the photos they take. One day I hope to photograph my good half as well as they do. This recipe intrigued me simply from the title...My Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies. I'd been wanting to give these a try for a few weeks, but hadn't had a good reason to until my parents graciously spent their whole weekend helping us to finish the backyard. They LOVE chocolate chip cookies, and I must say, they were pretty tasty. Not your typical toll house cookie, but overall very good. Chris especially loved them as they were coming out of the oven and I ate more than my fair share as well. The best part was that they are still soft and chewy the next day. I think that I will be making these again. Try them, you won't regret it!

Click here for a copy of a printable copy of the recipe.


Stay Away Fay!

Not from us, since we are safely in the desert thousands of miles away, but from Chris' parent's house in Islamorada, FL! For those not familiar with South Florida, Islamorada is located in that popular chain of islands known as the Florida Keys. See below for a map of exactly where they are located. We have been out of touch with the news the past few days, but yesterday I read that the Keys were under evacuation notice for tourists because of tropical storm Fay. Then this morning I read that Fay is expected to become a full blown hurricane in the next 24 hours! Fay has already killed more than 7 people in Haiti and right now the National Weather Service is predicting more than 10 inches of rain and and storm tides more than 5 feet their normal size.

The only good news is that Chris' parents are spending their summer in New Jersey, like they do every year for this exact reason. Their house was fully hurricane proofed before they left in case of an event like this. While their house might not be immediately affected, their yard is especially vulnerable to storms. A few years back, their yard had severe damage after hurricane Rita hit. His parents spent countless hours trying to bring their plants back to life. Some things survived, but many did not. I just hope that this won't affect them like Rita did. Their home in Florida has brought me so many great memories over the past few years, and I know how much they love living there. I will post again once I have any updates, but for now I thought I'd post a few photos from our most recent trip.


Recipe Wednesday Is Back

Even though I've reformatted the blog, I still want to keep Recipe Wednesday. This week's recipe is dedicated to summer...Cherry Pie! My mom's birthday was July 3rd, and since she is usually the birthday dessert maker in our family and I didn't want her to make her own birthday treat, I volunteered. On the cover of her Cooking Light magazine was this recipe and that's what Mom wanted, so I went with it. The only thing I did differently was that I used homemade pie crust and didn't have a coffee grinder for the tapioca so I skipped that step. Everything else is the same. I guarantee this will be one of the best cherry pie's you've ever had. I highly recommend buying the cherries at Costco/Sam's Club too to avoid the high price of some grocery stores.

Instead of typing the recipe, just click here to get a printable version of the recipe. One more thing as well, I highly recommend buying the cherry pitter they suggest. I did and it was so easy to use. It only took me about 20 minutes to pit all the cherries. This is a messy process though, so be aware of flying cherry juice!


Big News!

Well it's been ongoing for a little while, but pretty hush hush until recently. A few people probably already know but Chris went to OCS (Officer Candidate School) for the Marines when he was in college. He passed, but didn't take his commission, which means that he didn't sign and had no further obligations. Well after a lot of though and discussion, he has decided to try again! However, this time he is applying to be a part of the USMC Reserves, not active duty. What does this mean you may ask? Well here's a little breakdown...

  1. He's put in his application to go back to OCS in October. We don't find out if he is accepted until the beginning of September. If he does, then he will head to Quantico, VA for 10 weeks of intense training.

  2. Following his graduation he would then go back to Quantico after the first of the year (the date is TBD) for 6 months of TBS (The Basic School).

  3. After graduation from TBS he will head to another base (location unknown) for an undetermined amount of training for his "job".

  4. He'll then be required to go to his home base one weekend a month and two weeks a year (just like in the commercials) to meet with his unit and train.

A lot of people have questions for us such as are we moving and will he be deployed. Some answers are clear (no we won't be moving, he can do his job from anywhere as long he travels to his home base once a month) and some are up in the air (we don't know anything about a potential deployment considering he would be about a year out from being able to be deployed and we don't know what state the war will be in by then) but we are asking for every one's positive thoughts and well wishes. Right now we are just waiting to find out if he's been accepted to October's class. I'll update everyone once he gets an answer, so stay tuned for more information!


Silly Rabbit, Trix Are For Kids!

This morning as I was going through my breakfast routine I had a thought which made me laugh to myself. Every morning I pour cereal into a plastic cup, add the milk, grab a spoon and walk out the door to the car where I enjoy my morning meal. As I was pouring my cereal and looked at the box I wondered 'When will I grow out of the "kiddy" cereal stage?' In my hand I had a box of Trix! Yes, Trix, the cereal that for years stated it was strictly for kids. And I am a 25 year old standing in my kitchen wearing dress slacks, pumps and a nice sweater pouring miniature multi-colored cereal from a bright red box. Then I thought about the other cereals I had bought on my last few trips to the store: Golden Grahams, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Corn Puffs and Fruity Cheerios. WOW! I guess I might never grow out of this stage of my life; after all, my dad is over 50 (sorry Dad but it's true) and still gets excited with my mom buys Frosted Flakes. And sugary cereal is hardly a dietary issue. It's not like I'm pouring from a box of doughnuts for breakfast. I am almost tempted to try really hard to buy adult cereal like Special K or Fiber One tomorrow when I head to the grocery store, but let's be real. It won't taste as good and the milk won't turn fun colors, and really, how much fun is that?


I'm Back!

I'm finally back in the blogging world! As you can probably see, I've created a whole new look for the site. After much thought I decided that I wanted to use this site to keep everyone update on our lives, as well as doing my usual recipes, helpful hints, etc. I'll still be doing Recipe Wednesday, I still have lots of recipes to share with my readers. I hope that everyone enjoys my new format. Over the next few days I'll be updating and finishing the formatting so stay tuned for the final results. I'm certainly happy to be back to blogging on a regular basis. Oh, and happy August!