Saturday, January 24, 2009

Cafe Rio! (or one heavenly evening of delightful eating!)

Anyone who has eaten at Cafe Rio in the west know what I mean. So delicious. This is my interpretation of a Cafe Rio Pork Salad, and I must say - it is delightful. Cafe Rio Salads come in a tin pan - I used a pie plate, but you can use a large serving bowl if you wish.

(In some cases I merged recipes I found on the web and in some cases it might be identical. Sorry I don't give anyone credit, but it's a compilation of my google skills and cooking and tasting experimentation!)

Here are your layers (recipes follow):
Tortillas (warm these - I put the tortilla on the plate, sprinkled the cheese on and popped it in the oven that was warm from making the little Tortilla Strips
Shredded Cheddar Cheese
Beans - dice onions and soften with some minced garlic in olive oil, add black or pinto beans, cumin, garlic salt, chopped cilantro etc. - doctor them up! or buy black beans that are already seasoned!
Cilantro Rice
Pork Barbacoa
Romaine Lettuce - shredded or broken into bite size pieces
Pico de Gallo - of course use Larish's amazing recipe for Salsa
Guacamole - the stuff you get sealed in a bag is amazing but it is so easy to make your own!
Tortilla Strips
- slice a corn tortilla into narrow strips - I used my trusty pizza cutter! Put on a baking sheet, lightly toss with olive oil - spread out, add salt and pepper and bake for 20 minutes or so at 350-375 degrees. Amazing! Toss them around 15 minutes (they will still be soft) and it will give them some interesting shapes instead of just straight sticks!
Tomatillo Dressing

Cilantro Rice
4 cups water
4 cloves minced garlic
1/2 bunch chopped cilantro
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 can (4 oz) green chilis
4 tsp. chicken bouillon
1 tsp cumin
3/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. lime juice
Zest of 1 lime
3 cups of long grain rice

Add all to a pot, bring to a boil, stir and cook covered for 30 minutes. I like to cook rice in pot with glass lid so I can keep an eye on it - rice will form air pockets on the surface and you can tell when it has absorbed all the water and is done.

"Cafe Rio" Pork Barbacoa

~WARNING~ it takes two days to prepare this pork!

5-6 lb. pork roast (I used a pork loin roast)
21 oz. Dr. Pepper (not diet - you can use coke)
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup white sugar
1 clove garlic, minced
7 oz. can chiptole chilis in adobo sauce
8 oz. red taco sauce
1 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

Put pork roast in crock pot and pour in water to half way cover the pork. Put on low and walk away for TWELVE HOURS. Yes, 12 hours. (I do this overnight)

Use a metal mixing bowl for the next step. Put the can of chilies into the bowl and add some Dr. Pepper. Pour some more of the Dr. Pepper into the can to get every last luscious bit of that adobo sauce, and put that into the bowl. Basically, you are rinsing off the Chili Peppers from the adobo, and you want to remove them and throw them away, or you will have to have the fire department in attendance cause they are HOT. Mix remaining ingredients into the bowl until sugar dissolves.

After 12 hours, drain pork.

Add above mixture to the pork in the crock pot, and continue to cook on low for 4 more hours.

After 4 hours, shred that pork, stir in the sauce, and cook for 2 more hours. The pork will basically shred itself it is so tender.

So - cooking time is 12 hours, + 4 hours, + 2 hours for a grand total of 18 hours!

So heavenly!
Creamy Tomatillo Dressing

1 pkg Ranch Dressing mix
3 tomatillos, chopped
(up to) cup mayo ( I like less mayo 1/2 cup in mine but you might like it full strength)
1 cup milk (again I prefer 1/2 cup milk)
1 cup chopped cilantro
3 cloves garlic, minced
Juice from 1 lime

Mix this up in a blender and be sure to store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It will be good for 4 weeks, but if the lid is off your milk will taste like cilantro!

Breaking the News

I can't wait any longer for Katie and Rode to break the news. They are just too busy!

Here is a little hint:

Even as I type, it is being installed in this beauty:

We lovingly refer to Lisa as Wonder Woman! She has been invaluable in helping Katie with babysitting, painting, shopping and choosing home decor. Mama, you are the best!
Of course wonder woman is married to this guy, installing bead board in the dining area:
Look at that cute baby, supervising his work.

His right hand man Tayson (Rode's nephew) has been there every weekend, working hard along with the rest of the guys!
Katie and Rode found this house in Heber, about 90% done, and they have been able to complete the work themselves. Luckily they have been able to choose carpet, hardwood, lighting, fixtures, etc to their taste! They are so blessed.

They closed on the house the day we left Utah to come to NH, so while we have toured the home, we never go to get our hands dirty helping! Darn.

I can't wait to see the results!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Sewing on Thursdays

Every Thursday night I have been going to Sanford and meeting up with some friends for a little "enrichment" activity - we mostly sew, but we have also been known to knit, crochet, or just visit. Sometimes we bring a snack to share, and we have a great time.

I made these cute onesie dresses and headbands for the girls with Amy Butler fabric and - believe it or not - scrapbook embellishments!

For Thanksgiving I pulled all my fall scraps out, designed and whipped up this table runner:
And this banner:
I love these banners and made several of these to give to friends. Totally awesome!

I don't have pictures of the awesome grocery bags I made - some for myself and some for Hezzie for Christmas. I also whipped up a couple of Amy Butler Birdie Slings for Kate and Kelley for diaper bags. So fun!

There is more, but I need to take pictures to show you my "finishing" projects. I promise you will be impressed!

Paula Deen's Gooey Butter Cake

Brian was raving about this cake his sister made while he was visiting in Logan. I made it for another New Hampshire reunion at the Winterton's and it was indeed a hit. While it was cooking all I could think was that it smelled just like a heart attack waiting to happen.

Gooey Butter Cake

Ingredients & Directions:

1 18 1/4-ounce package yellow cake mix
1 egg
8 tablespoons butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine the cake mix, egg, and butter and mix well with an electric mixer. Pat the mixture into the bottom of a lightly greased 13 by 9-inch baking pan. Prepare Filling

1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
8 tablespoons butter, melted
1 16-ounce box powdered sugar

In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the eggs, vanilla, and butter and beat together. Next, add the powdered sugar and mix well. Spread over cake batter and bake for 40 to 50 minutes. Make sure not to over bake as the center should be a little gooey.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 40 minutes
Ease of preparation: easy

Recipe courtesy Paula Deen and Random House Publishing

Happy Birthday to the College Graduate!

You might think this post is about Heather, but no, it is her husband, our third son Denver! His birthday is at the beginning of January so this is a late birthday post.

Denver graduated in August and I never did announce that here. We are so proud of him, especially since his big Christmas Day announcement - he is now working full time in his field, no small accomplishment given the current economy. He is a Media Specialist and is still able to continue his Videography business as well. If you haven't checked out his work be sure to go to his website, he really is incredibly talented. And videography is not his only talent, he excels in anything he does from music to missionary work.

So, Denver. We have another smart talented handsome husband for our daughter. We love Denver and his enthusiasm for life and his ability to find joy in everyday experiences. As a rule he is very positive and is able to lift Heather at all times. They certainly are a pair! The two of them can't seem to stand still, so it is good that they have a dog to walk several times a day! Denver keeps us all laughing and we certainly love him for that.

Happy Birthday sonny! We are so glad you have joined our family!

Happy Belated Birthday?!?!

Check out the loving look this son is giving his mom. You can tell he loves me, can't you?

Brian's birthday falls a few days after Christmas, and this year we missed out on the annual Brians Birthday Basketball Bash cause he was in Logan with his family, and frankly, Heather is the only one who likes to play basketball. The rest of us spend our time calling time out or pulling down the pants of the other players. Ok, maybe we do some pushing and shoving too. But I digress.

Brian is our brainiac son (Brian - Brain...), studying to be a dentist in Philly and likes to dress the part. Although the above scrubs are the throw away kind when you attend your second child's Cesarean birth. There I go digressing again.

Not only is Brian a brain, he is a smart, multi-talented, deep thinking, music loving, mac promoting, spiritual giant, loving husband, wonderful father, great friend kind of guy. We'll keep him, and we are so grateful that Kelley broke that rule about dating her home teacher. And kissing her home teacher. But that is a story for another post.

Watching them at Christmas was kinda fun, cause you can tell they are more in love every day.

Happy Birthday, Brian!

Scandinavian Almond Bars

These delightful cookies were a big hit this Christmas. We were pretty consistent and when we found a recipe that was loved by all we stuck to it. We made a couple batches of these. Notice there is only ONE flattened "log" on this rack - we ate them as soon as the glaze was drizzled!
Like any good Scandinavian, Greg found these to be delightful.

Scandinavian Almond Bars

Cream together:
1/2 c. butter
1 c. sugar
1 egg
1/2 stp. almond extract
1 3/4 c. flour
2 tsp. baking powder

Mix well and divide dough into fourths. Roll each fourth into a log about the length of your cookie sheet and put two logs on a sheet lengthwise. Using your fingers press each log to @ 1/4-1/2 inch thick. Brush each log with milk and generously sprinkle with sliced almonds. Bake at 325 degrees for 12-14 minutes.

Let cool for a few minutes then slice each log into sticks (check out the photo above - I used a pizza cutter). Then drizzle the following glaze onto the cookies. I got this recipe from Maryellen and she likes a fine line drizzle, but Greg and I agreed - any drizzle is exceptional and these are like heaven in your mouth, fine line or not.

1 c. powdered sugar
1/4 tsp almond extract
add milk SLOWLY a teaspoonful at a time until your glaze is the right consistency.

Maybe this recipe is clear as mud - but the cookies are amazing! Give them a try. Or call Maryellen and bribe her into making you some!

OR come over with your camera, and document the making of a masterpiece and I will post a picture tutorial!

In any case, enjoy!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Picture Postcard Christmas

This year our Christmas was straight out of the Christmas Card Box! We celebrated with family and friends in a winter wonderland. It snowed and snowed, starting on Christmas Eve and snowing all day on Christmas. It was beautiful Utah Powder and it sure piled up. What a great day (two weeks!) we had!

Doesn't the above picture look like it could be on a Christmas Card? One goal I have for 2009 is to learn more about photography: not just taking better pictures but learning how to doctor them up like the pros. In the meantime, the above will have to do. This horse and buggy came along in Midway Utah just as we were about to go to a yummy restaurant and have some gourmet pizza. Good times!

There were so many highlights of this trip - watch for more posts!