Friday, December 13, 2013

Regina's on a Log

This post is for my dearest Regina. Who has moved to start her next life adventure in Washington. 

I miss you R2!!! 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Tastiest Pie You Ever Did See

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. And in preparation, Ted and I made a delicious blackberry pie! This pie truly outshines the blackberry pie I made a couple years ago.

Ted was the genius of that awesome lattice you see. As well as the best dough-maker-roller-outer ever. 

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! 

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Oh Colorado

I had never been to Colorado before this Road Trip. I am so lucky to have a state so beautiful so close by.

(I recommend clicking on the pictures to see the full resolution photos. It's worth it.)

On the road.... 

Driving to Ouray from Flagstaff, AZ. 

Made a quick stop to wander down a dirt path.... 

Went for a hike in Ouray along Bear Creek.  The scenery was absolutely breathtaking. 

We explored the little mining town of Ouray. 

We visited the Ouray Hot Springs. 

On the way to Crested Butte, we passed by Blue Mesa Lake. 

In Crested Butte, we went for a beautiful mountain bike ride along a dirt road and passed by Peanut Lake. 

The next morning, we headed out of Crested Butte towards Aspen. We came across some incredible Aspen groves. 

Once in Aspen we hiked up to Crater Lake. 

The trail head started at the famous Maroon Bells Lake. 

I could have stayed here forever. 

Aspen was a perfect little city. I'm going to retire here. 

We left Aspen and headed up towards Independence Pass. 

We then drove through the ritzy city of Vail to look at some flowers in the Betty Ford Botanical Gardens. 

Next was Denver to visit some good friends. That's Misty and Brad. Denver is lucky to have them.

We all drove up the highest paved road in the United States to Mount Evans. 

We went mini-bowling! 

And we made some tasty pizzas on our last night in Colorado. 

Until next time, Colorado.

Sunday, August 18, 2013


Thanksgiving is probably one of my most favorite holidays of the year.  I figured it wouldn't hurt to have a Thanksgiving a little early. Perhaps help everyone get back into the swing of "going back to school". So, yesterday, Ted and I worked hard to put together a delicious turkey dinner for my family. It was a success! My first turkey! In the words of Rebecca: "Booya!"

Ted's dining table was beautifully set.

We made stuffing, cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes, corn, green bean casserole, gravy, and mashed potatoes! Carl loves mashed potatoes. He loves Rebecca more. I think

Ted made the best gravy! And he knew it. 

Carl got a hold of my camera and took some very artistic pictures. 

We ended the night with delicious pumpkin pie and peach tart my dad and mom made. 

We were all very full. 

P.S.  And the pergola got a little bath from a late-night monsoon. 

Monday, August 12, 2013

Homemade Prickly Pear Jelly

What an experience.

I am the definition of a Tucson native. I have lived in Tucson my entire life and have never lived anywhere else. I am a true desert girl. Every summer I saw the prickly pear fruits form and slowly turn a deep red-purple color. I even once smashed one with a rock when playing out in the desert with my sister. We were surprised at the semi-sweet flavor on the inside. I knew they could be made into jelly and always wanted to try. And so, as someone who has lived in Tucson her entire life, it's about time I try to make some jelly!

I will start by saying this was not the easiest of tasks and it requires some devoted attention. Obviously the thorns pose quite a challenge. I read multiple blog entries and articles about how to deal with these pokey things while trying to produce something edible. I had settled on freezing the fruits and then thawing them another day since the juices were supposed to just ooze out when thawing. (I recommend this if you want to do the minimal amount of work possible.)  But I was interested in the actual fruit and somehow turning that pulp into jelly.

So, after I cut a pear (aka. a tuna!...huh?)  in half (for the heck of it and to taste the insides) and so easily removed the purple fruit from inside with a spoon... I decided to do go about it a bit differently. I was glad I could now incorporate the fleshy inside and not just extract the juices through the freezing method.

And so I spooned out every center of those tunas. It was difficult at times to avoid the thorns, but the spoon worked great! I put all of the spooned out fruit in a bowl. Next, I ran the contents of the bowl through a food processor. And OH what a mess. I recommend adding a little big of juice/fruit at a time and blending. (Food processors do not seal completely.)

Once I had blended up all of the chunks and seeds, I poured the liquid into a really nifty filtering device.

Since I was not wanting to make a special run to the store for cheesecloth, I used a piece of (clean)  fabric from a t-shirt. I fashioned it on to the top of a yogurt container with a rubber band and made sure to create a little dip in the fabric for liquid to pool.

The prickly pear juice did not filter through without a fight. Stirring it with a spoon helped some, but it required some manual squeezing in the end to get all of that good juice out from the pulp and seeds. I somehow managed to get about 4 cups of beautifully pinky-red juice. This was just what I needed for my recipe.

I then poured all of the juice into a big pot and added the sugar (which I halved and then halved know me), lemon juice, lemon rind, and pectin. And away we went!

I got the juice boiling and walked out of the kitchen to bring in some towels I had been drying outside. When I came back in, the pot had boiled over and my stove top was now pink. This, I must embarrassingly admit, happened yet again during the boiling process. Good grief. No wonder you should start with 4 cups. You loose 2 cups in the boiling process. Ha!

After about an hour and 15 minutes of simmering and boiling, I decided to pour my mixture into some cleaned jars so I could share my masterpiece with friends and family. (I knew I was about ready to pour since the liquid solidified into a nice jelly on a cool spoon.)

The final product was excellent! I only wish it had stayed that brilliant pinky-red color as it had started off. I almost want to say it was a bit too sweet, but I know many would disagree. If I were to do this again, I'd cut the sugar in half another time. I really want to be able to taste the subtle watermelon-strawberry flavor of the fruit even more.

Oh yeah... and I wouldn't let it boil over...twice.  Maybe then I'd be left with a little more jelly :)

And special thanks to my Ted who helped me pick the fruits and hold the spiky things while I scooped out the centers.


4 cups of prickly pear juice (about 4 pounds of prickly pear fruit)
2 cups of sugar
1/2 cup of lemon juice
1/2 tsp lemon rind grated
3 1/2 Tbsp pectin powder (I used the low sugar kind)

Monday, July 8, 2013

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Charron Vineyards

The weekend monsoon brought in some beautiful rain storms, 70 degree temps, and a perfect afternoon to visit a vineyard.