Sunday, November 25, 2012

“An ungrateful man is like a hog under a tree eating acorns, but never looking up to see where they come from.” Timothy Dexter

This quote was shared at church today. And I kind of liked it. I am not sure what the significance of ‘a hog eating acorns’ is and I had to Google Timothy Dexter to find out who he was and why people were quoting him. But the whole ‘never looking up to see where they came from’ stood out as a good reminder to look up and remember where all blessings come from.


I could go off and list all the hundreds of things I am thankful this month of Thanksgiving. But I won’t. It’s been done. And it’ll be done again. There is one thing that I am largely thankful for this season of gratitude. And it is people. I am so blessed by the people who are in my life, passed through my life, and will pass through my life. Ok, so really that is more than one thing. It actually adds up to hundreds of blessings that make my life abundant. And these blessings come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. They often appear as home teachers, roommates, classmates, coworkers, blind dates, amazing people I admire and wish to emulate from a distance, friends, passing acquaintances, cousins, friendly drivers, good neighbors, friends of friends, leaders, teachers, bishopric, mission companions, brothers, sisters, support system, family, tender mercies… Some quietly pass through. Some are here to stay.

A few nights when I was thinking about these many blessings and I wrote in my journal, “God has been in my life through the people He has let in my life. Some I have prayed for, some He knew I would need.”

Thank you for your example. Thank you for looking out for me. Thank you for making me laugh for making me laugh. Thank you for including me. Thank you for reminding me I am not alone. Thank you for loving me in spite of me.

Friday, November 2, 2012

café rio night

So I have been wanting to do this forever. Make a full Café Rio meal at home. I get some kind of strange satisfaction knowing I can cook something just as well or better than they do at a restaurant. (i.e. This Zuppa Toscano rivals the one you order at Olive Garden.) This Café Rio adventure was a long process, but worth every minute. Sorry no pictures. (I am not a big fan of the cooking blogs that do a lengthy photo play-by-play. Really, I don’t need a picture of all my ingredients and I already know how to stir and crack an egg.) Enjoy!

Cafe Rio Pork Barbacoa

5-6 lb. pork roast

21 oz. Dr. Pepper (or Coke, do NOT use diet soda)
1 cup brown sugar (I may have cut back on the sugar a bit. Your discretion.)
3/4 cup white sugar
1 clove garlic, minced
7 oz. can chipotle chilies in adobo sauce (I just used the sauce. I didn’t add the chilies. Add chilies if you want more of a kick.)
6-ish oz. red taco sauce
1 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Total cook time: 18 hours. (Plan accordingly)

  • Place roast in crock-pot, cover half-way with water and cook on low for 12 hours. (Plan ahead. Works to cook it overnight.)  After 12 hours, drain pork.
  • Mix remaining ingredients until sugar dissolves. 
  • Add mixture to the roast and cook on low an additional 4 hours.
  • Take out roast and shred, add back into sauce and cook for 2 more hours.  At this point the meat was so tender it practically shredded itself.

Cafe Rio Tomatillo Dressing

1 pkg. Ranch dressing mix
3 tomatillos (remove papery skin), rough chop
1 cup mayo
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup (or more) cilantro, rough chop
3 cloves garlic
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 - 2 tsp green Tabasco sauce (This is what gives it the kick. So use less if you prefer less kick.) 
juice from 1 lime

Dump everything in a blender and blend until smooth.  Refrigerate in air-tight container. This dressing is to die for, but there is no need to double it because this makes plenty. (I learned this the hard way. Good news it freezes just fine.)

Easy Pico-de-Gallo

3 tomatoes, diced
1/2 bunch of cilantro, minced
1/2 sweet onion, minced
1 section of green pepper, minced
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
about 1/3-1/2 cup vinegar (your discretion)
salt and pepper

Mix it up really well and refrigerate.  Works well in a Tupperware, then you can shake it up right before serving.

Final Checklist:

  • Tortillas – I like the uncooked ones in the refrigerated section.
  • Cheese –I like mozzarella best with this kind of meal.
  • Beans – “black or pinto” (From a can is fine. I stuck my in my mini crockpot to warm them up and added a little garlic.)
  • Rice – I cooked it Brazilian style. (Sauté the rice in olive oil and garlic till slightly brown then add water.)
  • Enchilada Sauce – If you want to do your burritos enchilada style.
  • Pork – Yummy! So worth the time.
  • Lettuce – Shredded Romaine.
  • Pico de Gallo
  • Guacamole- Did I forget to include this above..Just mash up a few avocados, squeeze in some lime, add some chopped cilantro, sprinkle some garlic, salt and pepper. Or I like to add Morton’s Nature Seasons. (My favorite add-to-everything seasoning.)
  • Creamy Tomatillo Dressing – Yum!
  • Tortilla Strips – slice a corn tortilla into strips, brush with olive oil and salt and pepper and bake on a foil-covered sheet for 15-20 minutes at 350-ish. Or Corn chips work fine, too.