Thanks Texas Monthly?

25 07 2009

This month’s glossy mag dedicated to the big great state highlights the 50 best burgers in the state. Well, hmmm. They royally screwed up. They left out Chris Madrid’s! Who does that? The comments on the blog post are comical. I think Chris Madrid’s gets mentioned in 90% of the comments. Maybe it’s better marketing for the best burger ever. There, I said it. EVER!

I’m in this weird habit of laying in bed in the morning and checking my work email on my phone. It’s my way of knowing what I’m going to face before I actually have to get up and face it. Saturdays are good because I check goofy stuff like Facebook. This morning I caught more than a few rants about the Texas Monthly article. Instantly, I needed nachos. Chris Madrid’s style nachos.

So…for breakfast this morning, I made breakfast nachos! I was just going to do bean and cheese and Scott suggested we throw some eggs on top. Why not, right? I mean, who eats nachos for breakfast anyway? The result: “this has to go in our regular weekend breakfast rotation” vote from Scott. They were great!

4 fresh corn tortillas
vegetable oil for frying
4 eggs
refried beans
shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
1 serrano pepper
fresh salsa

Preheat your broiler to high.

Heat a couple tablespoons of oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Place tortillas in hot oil, one at a time, and flat to make a “tostada” (you Texans don’t even need to be reading this part, you know how to make homemade taco shells and tostadas). After it’s hardened a bit, 2-3 minutes, flip the tortilla to make a crisp shell.

During tortilla frying; shred your cheese, heat your beans, slice your serrano (if you don’t like peppers disregard), and scramble up your eggs. Place the crisp tortillas on a baking sheet and spread the refried beans down to cover it. Place approximately one scrambled egg on each tortilla. Cover with cheddar cheese. Sprinkle your serrano pepper on the top.

Put in the oven on broil for 3-5 minutes until the cheese is bubbly and tostadas have a few brown spots on them. Watch it carefully, the broiler acts fast! Dip in fresh salsa and have fun.

Only one quick snap before devouring them…

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breakfast nachos - eggs, fresh tortillas, refried beans, cheese, salsa!

Now I think I need a trip to San Antonio to get a Tostada Burger…I won’t ever try to replicate that here, there is no way I could do it ANY justice.

Three Years!

22 07 2009

Cliche? Probably. But wow. Time really does fly when you are having fun! Scott & I were married three years ago today in Seattle. So much has happened since then and we’ve had such a great time living life as a team. Happy anniversary, love!


22 july 2006

Sunday Supper: Concert Picnic

20 07 2009

Sunday night we went to a concert at a local county park, Marymoor Park in Redmond. Usually when bands come to town they play at one of downtown’s older theaters or the legendary night clubs (you know, where people like Pearl Jam & Nirvana played in the 90s). It was refreshing to be outdoors. Especially since our extremely dry summer is continuing.

Fortunately, this park allows you to take your own picnic, so you aren’t stuck eating mass produced “philly cheesesteaks” for $20 a pop. I made up some yumminess!

First course: just as we arrived at the park all hot and sweaty; cold Proscuitto e Melone. I never understood why my mom salted her cantaloupe. It grossed me out to no end. After my honeymoon to Italy, I SO UNDERSTAND HER! It’s a standard antipasto in almost every Italian Ristorante (in the summer, of course, when the melon is in season). The combo of salty & sweet is perfect.

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proscuitto (or thinly sliced ham) wrapped around cantaloupe

The first band to play was Ra Ra Riot. Scott’s main reason for wanting to go to this concert. They are from Syracuse, New York and have such a fresh, fun sound. They have a cellist and violinist in the band, which add a depth to the sound that you can’t find in most music. You can hear more of them on their My Space music page. They were seriously awesome.

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ra ra riot

Second Course: After Ra Ra Riot, we waited for the next band to come up and ate a tomato and mozzarella salad. I found some black cherry tomatoes at the market and some little pearls of fresh mozzarella. I drizzled it with EVOO, some kosher salt, freshly ground pepper and chopped up a little basil out of my garden. Yum!

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mozzarella and tomato salad

Third Course: While the next band was playing, I made up some sandwiches. I started with some good ciabatta bread from the bakery. I topped it with a mixture of soft goat cheese mixed with ricotta (just to cut the tang, only a small spoonful), a squeeze of lime, and chopped cilantro. I took one whole roasted poblano pepper and put that on top of a grilled chicken breast. I also added some slices of avocado to mine. Mmmmmmmm.
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delicious sandwich!

The headliner was Death Cab for Cutie (plus some Oatmeal Scotchies). Death Cab for Cutie hails from Seattle, so it’s always fun when they play here. I LOVE DCFC. Their lyrics are witty and always entertaining. Their sound is fun and happy most of the time. This picture was taken during my favorite song by them: I’ll Follow You Into the Dark. I like the visual, big evergreens behind the stage as it’s getting glowy and dark.

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death cab for cutie

We had a really great time at our Sunday night concert! Yay for summer!

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perfect summer night

sat-2-sea: day four

17 07 2009

By day four we couldn’t wait to get home. At this point every night was a different nightmare about all of my plants being burned to a crisp, the dahlias being eaten by aphids, the tomatoes dug up and destroyed by the chupacabra, rough dreams. I was homesick. We woke up early and hit the road. We were pretty close to the Washington border to start… so … Welcome to Washington!


welcome to the evergreen state!

Just over that border in the central part of the state, Washington has tons of wineries. One of our favorite places in the state to visit is Walla Walla (home of excellent onions, a liberal arts college and really nice wines). There are just hills and hills of beautiful vineyards.


columbia valley vineyards

Opening up into one of the valleys along the Columbia River.


columbia river basin valley

Washington really must love us. She greeted us home with a nice downpour, low 60° temperatures, and dense fog. This picture below was just at Snoqualmie Pass, up in the mountains. As much as I usually despise this type of weather in the summer, we REALLY need some rain (it’s not rained but about 1/2″ at our house in over 60 days) and after the stifling 106° temps in Texas, this was a very welcome relief.


welcome home, lpod

Getting closer to home as we get over the pass.


foggy and wet at snoqualmie pass

And on our lovely 520. If I call you when I’m “in traffic” this is most definitely where I am sitting. There are worse places to be stuck in traffic, I can admit that. But man, the traffic on this bridge stinks.


520 - the bridge of agony

Guess what? My dahlias didn’t get eaten by aphids. They were thirsty and have been a little munched on, but they survived. And they are beautiful! I have about 6 different plants, this is the first to bloom…the others are getting close. I can’t wait to see what colors they are, I totally forgot what I planted! Even my tomatoes were thriving. My hydrangeas are a little angry and crunchy, but they’ll survive.


my dahlias survived! a true welcome home

Thanks for following our journey from San Antonio to Seattle! I tell you, I’ve made that drive twice in my life so far…the 2nd was waaaaaaaay better than the first!

sat-2-sea: day three

16 07 2009

Day three, we woke up early, grabbed a free breakfast, skipped their coffee and sought out an espresso shop. A cute little house turned book store, espresso shop, and wine bar in Cortez, CO. My Americano no room was delicious and a perfect pick-me-up for hitting the road. By this point in the day, we were considering making the rest of the drive straight into Seattle.

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cute espresso shop in cortez, co

So, we jetted on. Straight on to Utah!

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welcome to utah

I liked this picture. On a quiet Sunday morning, it felt like we had the road to ourselves.

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lpod and the open road

We even passed some incredible monuments. Of which, I don’t remember their names. This is just before you approach Canyonlands National Park.

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cool rock formation in utah

Even some natural amphitheaters. Sigh. Reminds me of Lake Powell. Too bad we couldn’t take an extra week and go hang out on Lake Powell for a few days. 

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natural amphitheater

Going into Moab we crossed the Colorado River.

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colorado river outside moab, ut

The red rocks of Moab were stunning. The pictures really can’t capture how deep the red is.

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stark contrast

We headed on into Salt Lake City and got into the bigger, lusher mountains.

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lush mountains outside salt lake

Once we turned the corner, we came across these windmills. They are HUGE! I wish we could figure out how to show you the scale, but they are way bigger than any I’ve ever seen. Can you compare to the normal electric pole below? They were massive.

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scott's nose and some giant windmills

And…well…Salt Lake was not very interesting from the big ole highway. So we made our way straight on into Idaho. Where it got even less interesting.

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udaho ... i mean welcome to idaho

Until we came upon all of the thunderstorms. We never drove through any of them, but we were surrounded by thunder and lightning. It was a blast to watch. Scott loves the waves and zig-zag motion of the clouds.

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And that was about all the excitement in Idaho. On to Oregon. Of course. Oregon’s welcome sign was impossible to catch since it was behind a tree. Silly Oregonians. Didn’t want to cut down a tree so people know they are in their state. Surely the fact that you can’t pump your own gas is a good indicator.

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welcome to oregon...not really

 So, we snapped the cute Oregon Trail Inspired overpass as our welcome into Oregon.

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oregon trail...thankfully no one died of dysentery

We started getting into the rolling straw colored hills of Oregon pretty quickly. I think this is the Snake River, but can’t remember. This is very similar to eastern/central Washington. But I think Washington is greener. Palouse county is amazing.

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rolling hills and rivers

I do like the brown hills. Soon after these pictures, those thunderstorms from Idaho caught up with us. When we got deep into the Blue Mountains of Oregon (post sunset) the storms really picked up and the driving became treacherous. We decided going on to Seattle might not be the best idea, so we ended up crashing in Pendleton, Oregon. A precious little town close to the Washington border.

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more rolling hills and river

Next up: HOME!

sat-2-sea: day two

15 07 2009

After arriving in Roswell around 1am, we crashed at the Holiday Inn Express (thanks for the recommendation, Dad) for some good sleep and free breakfast. We hit the road to Los Alamos by 8:30 the next morning.

Of course, we drove past Camel Rock just outside Santa Fe. I told Scott stories of us as little kids stopping at Camel Rock, the sign that it meant we were close to Marmie & Puntie’s house. Scott was not overwhelmed with enthusiasm when he actually got to SEE Camel Rock for himself. I still think it’s awesome.


spectacular camel rock

We also made a stop at the Nambé shop to look at the pretty pieces of art. We even bought a small piece to remember the trip. On the way up the hill, I told Scott about some of Mom’s stories as a kid living in Los Alamos. My favorites are when they would drive down the hill and harass kids from a rival high school and haul back up the hill into their locked city. Below is a view just before you come into the town. It was a very warm, but beautiful day.


view point just up the hill into los alamos

We drove into town, immediately hitting up Sonic for a Green Chile Cheeseburger and a Route 44 drink to take to Ashley Pond for a picnic. One of Puntie’s favorite activities was to take us to the pond to feed the ducks. We would always stop by Sonic on the way for a brown bag #2 and a Route 44. Such great memories.


ashley pond

We also crossed the street to go to the Mesa Library to find Marmie’s bench. She was a gem to the community of Los Alamos. It’s wonderful to see her memory honored. I’m sitting on her bench and looking back at some neat statues of children playing under the trees. Just on the other side of Scott is a skateboarding park. It was very busy on that hot summer day.


marmie's bench @ mesa library

So, the below is not a great picture. Shar, Mel, Dad, and Mom will get it, but it’s Urban Park; the park where we would go play every night before bed. We sledded down these hills into the street, Shar and I carved our names into one of the trees, I had my first crush on a boy here, and we had SO MUCH FUN in this park as kids. Strangely enough, Rudy’s BBQ (yes, of Leon Springs) was catering a big ole party in Urban Park. You can kind of see their travel smoker.


quick snap of urban park from the street

We also swung by Marmie & Puntie’s house. It’s quite different, the yard doesn’t look like the place where I played for hours on end and the porch doesn’t have Marmie’s comfy furniture where you felt like you could sit there forever. But it’s still their house. I can still smell the inside.


marmie & puntie's house in los alamos

On our way out of town, we were on the phone with Mom & Dad and they encouraged us to take the scenic route on Highway 4 through the Jemez Mountains to Cuba. It was spectacular. The first half of the mountain was a lot of matchstick trees and new aspens as a result of the Cerro Grande Fire in 2000. The other half of the mountain was untouched and is lush green. The contrast is shocking and beautiful in it’s own way. On the backside of the mountain, we passed Valle Grande, a beautiful meadow in the Valles Caldera (a collapsed volcanic caldera) area of the Jemez Mountains.


valle grande

From there, we took New Mexico Highway 126. It’s a state highway. That’s a good decision, right? Right? Well, it was a great decision. Until it turned to a dirt road. New car, dirt road for 30 miles, fear the dirt road will never connect to where we are actually going…slightly stressful…a lot funny. We were pretty delirious. It was a beautiful road though.


state highway...dirt road...same diff

Even when these cows just stared at us as we passed by 2 feet from them. Billy would have had a conniption about the free range cattle on this road for sure.



After the dirt road finally did connect with the US highway we were looking for, we hit Bloomfield, New Mexico. Where we stumbled upon……


best gccb ever

Yes. That’s me. Running into Blake’s Lotaburger before my husband even knew what hit him. Who cares if I had a Green Chile Cheeseburger for lunch?! It’s BLAKES! Lotaburger, Lotaburger, the best treat that you can eat, Lotaburger can’t be beat!

After all that excitement, we settled in for an evening drive into Durango. Ah, beautiful Colorado. Where state highways can be trusted to not be dirt roads.


hasta la vista new mexico, welcome to colorado

This is kind of a random picture, but it was a beautiful evening and there seems to be so much going on here.


outside durango, co

And then of course, there is Mesa Verde. We had a good time laughing about the buffalo being run off the cliffs. Maybe that isn’t supposed to be funny. Hmm. We quickly ran out of steam for the day and stopped off in Cortez (another HI Express, thanks Dad) for the evening. We got a good geocache and dinner in before hitting the hay.


mesa verde

Next up: Utah, Idaho, and Oregon…yeah, a big day…better get your rest!

sat-2-sea: day one

14 07 2009

Well, we like to keep people on their toes. Why bother flying back from Texas? Why not buy a new car and drive? Scott has been looking for a new car since mid-2008. His 8 year old Jeep Wrangler is a little rickety and rough for a long commute every day. We LOVE road trips. You can get a good deal on a car in Texas. Sounds like a perfect match! He ended up with this beautiful machine below. It’s nice, I love it!


scott's new ride

So, we set off on a journey across the country to Seattle. Our original plan mapped us through Scott’s hometown of Midland, up to New Mexico to Los Alamos (mom’s hometown), up through CO and on to Yellowstone National Park. Well, we got a really late start on Friday and didn’t make it as far as we planned. We got pulled over for speeding just outside San Antonio and received a warning…which means if you get caught going one mile over the limit, you’re toast! The police officer did not seem to buy the “we need to go variable speeds to break in the new engine” line.


grandmom's house (scott's paternal grandparent's home) in midland

Scott’s parents recently moved away from Midland, so we have no real reason to go to Midland anymore. We stopped off at a few places to capture some of his favorite places on camera. Not to mention some delicious West Texas Mexican food.


granny's house (scott's maternal grandparent's house) in midland

From there we headed on to New Mexico. We entered at Hobbs and made our way to Roswell that night. We figured if aliens were welcome in Roswell, they wouldn’t turn us away.

As you can see, we hadn’t quite gotten down the “pictures while moving” bit when we entered New Mexico. We rarely pulled over to take pictures, so most of these will be when the car was moving. Entertaining, for sure.


welcome to new mexico

Next up: Los Alamos and Colorado…