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A Girl Should Be Two Things: Classy & Fabulous. - Coco Chanel

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Monday, August 31, 2015

Little Wild Horse and Bell Slot Canyons

While in Goblin Valley last weekend, we decided to do an 8 mile hike that goes up one slot canyon over to the other slot canyon and down the other slot canyon. It was a cool hike. However... it was so hot that I thought I was going to die. It would have been cooler if it weren't almost 100 degrees outside. It is a very neat hike though... can't be claustrophobic or too fat or else you wouldn't fit. ha ha It got REALLY narrow! It was nuts! Hiking through slot canyons is cool though. I totally recommend it.








Sunday, August 30, 2015

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Tacos with Avocado-Pepita Dip

Here is the other recipe we made. The main event. It is SOOOOOOO good. I think I pinned this same recipe or something similar on Pinterest... I have been dying to try it because it looks so good, and I was right. It is SUPER good. Full of flavor. I will make this again for sure. Probably soon.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes

* 2 pounds sweet potatoes (3 to 4 medium sweet potatoes), peeled and sliced into 1- inch chunks
* 2 tablespoons olive oil
* 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
* 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Spicy Black Beans

* 2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained (or 3 cups cooked black beans)
* 1 small yellow or white onion, chopped
* 1 tablespoon olive oil
* 2 teaspoons ground cumin
* 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
* 1/3 cup water
* 1 teaspoon sherry vinegar or lime juice
* Sea salt and black pepper, to taste

Avocado-pepita dip

* 2 avocados, pitted and sliced
* 1 cup cilantro, packed (mostly leaves, some small stems are ok)
* 1/2 cup pepitas
* 1 jalapeno, seeded and roughly chopped (or 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes)
* 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
* 1 small lime, juiced or 2 tablespoon sherry vinegar
* 2 tablespoons water
* 1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
* Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Tortillas and garnishes

* 8 to 10 small corn tortillas
* Crumbled feta
* Toasted pepitas
* Optional: finely sliced radishes, quick-pickled cabbage, chopped green onions, cilantro, hot sauce

Instructions

1. Roast the sweet potatoes: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Toss the prepared sweet potatoes with olive oil, cayenne pepper and salt. Arrange in a single layer and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, tossing halfway, until the sweet potatoes are tender and caramelizing at the edges.

2. Prepare the black beans. Warm the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and a sprinkle of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions have softened and are turning translucent, about 5 to 8 minutes. Add the cumin and chili powder and cook for about 30 seconds while stirring. Pour in the beans. Remove from heat, stir in the vinegar, season with salt and pepper, and cover until you're ready to serve.

3. Make the avocado dip: First, toast the pepitas in a skillet over medium, heat until they are fragrant and starting to make little popping noises. Transfer to a bowl and set aside. In a food processor or blender, combine the avocado, cilantro, jalapeño, garlic, lime juice, water and salt. Blend until smooth, scraping down the sides of the processor/blender as necessary. Add almost all of the pipettes (reserve a couple tablespoons for garnish) and blend until the pipettes are chopped small (some remaining texture is desirable)

4. Warm the tortillas: Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat and warm each tortilla individually, flipping occasionally. Alternatively, you can warm them directly over a low flame on a gas range.

5. Assemble the tacos: Spread black beans down the middle of the tortilla, top with sweet potatoes and avocado-pepita dip. Garnish with feta, pepitas, and anything else that you want. Repeat with remaining tortillas and serve.


Saturday, August 29, 2015

Sun-Dried Tomato Caesar Salad

My new roommate Leslie LOVES to cook. I don't hate that. We got to talking about how a certain recipe looked super delicious and we wanted to make it, so we made it (I will post that next) AND also made this yummy salad from the same girl's blog. I have never had a salad quite like this before, but I really enjoyed it. I would make it again for sure.

Ingredients

Parmesan-crusted croutons
* 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
* 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 2 cups of 3/4 inch cubes of rustic bread

Sun-dried tomato dressing (yields about 1 cup dressing)
* 1/4 cup roughly chopped sun-dried tomatoes
* 1/2 cup grated parmesan
* 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
* 2 table spoons water
* 1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
* pinch of sea salt
* 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
* freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Caesar Salad
* 2 or more small heads of romaine, halved or chopped
* Sprinkle of additional Parmesan
* Sprinkle of additional chopped sun-dried tomatoes

Instructions

1. If you are using tough, dried tomatoes, you'll need to soak them in boiling water until there're pliable, then pat them dry and continue with the recipe. Or you can get them from Trader Joe's that come soft and not too oily right out of the bag.

2. To make the croutons, preheat the oven to 400 degrees with a rack in the top of the oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Mix the olive oil, Parmesan and salt in a large mixing bowl until a paste is formed. Add the cubed bread and mix well with a spatula, until all the bread is coated. Turn the bread onto the prepared baking sheet and arrange in a single layer. Bake 10 minutes, then stir and put the croutons back into the oven until they are golden brown and crisp, up to 5 more minutes.

3. To made the dressing, combine the sun-dried tomatoes, parmesan, lemon juice, water, garlic and a pinch of salt in a food processor or high powered blender. Process for 1 minutes, stopping to scrape down the sides if necessary. While running the machine, drizzle in the olive oil and blend for 10 more seconds. Don't worry if it;s not perfectly smooth, it will still taste delicious. Taste and add more salt and some black pepper, if desired. Set aside.

4. To assemble the salad, drizzle the dressing over your halved romaine or toss with your chopped romaine. Finish with croutons and sprinkle of parmesan and sun-dried tomatoes. Serve immediately.



Friday, August 28, 2015

Tibble Fork Trail


I don't remember what this trail was called, but it was by Tibble Fork up American Fork Canyon... so I'm going to call it the Tibble Fork Trail. Becky invited me to do this hike with her after work on Tuesday and I'm so glad she did. Not only do I enjoy time with Becky, but I love after work adventures and I had never done this hike before. Thank goodness Becky thought to bring a flashlight because it totally got super dark before we were done with our hike and it got a little scary and a lot harder to hike. I hate that it is getting dark earlier and earlier. I don't want summer to end!!!


We had a fun time chatting... and the scenery was beautiful too. The thing about this hike that I thought was more unique compared to some of the other hikes I have been doing... once you got up the mountain, it opened up into this beautiful meadow. I loved walking through the meadow and trees and seeing mountains behind that. Utah is such a beautiful place.




I love these after work adventures and I am going to try and keep doing then for as long as I can before it gets dark early enough that I can't. Too many hikes to go on and places to explore and not enough time!



Thursday, August 27, 2015

Confessions of a Brunette on the Internet 286

My weekend in the Midwest was too short. It was fun and flew by. We will see if I can get back again next summer. The lake house will be done by then. Trav is a blast.

Tuesday I went on a hike up American Fork Canyon with Becky. It was fun. However it is getting darker earlier... so we did some hiking in the dark. Thank goodness she thought to bring a flashlight or we would have been in trouble. Yikes! I'll blog more about that later.

I am emotionally involved in the show Nashville. My closet country girl is coming out. What? I don't love country!! There is some good music in this show though and it makes me want to write my own. I'm just not very good at it. I'm in season 2 and I'm loving it. I'm a sucker for drama shows though. Not sure what I will watch next when I'm done with this. This show is still going, so there are not that many seasons.

My visiting teachers came on Wednesday. They are sweet. I feel bad that I didn't like them before. I'm glad when people prove me wrong though. Well... if it's for the better. We had a nice visit.

I had a blind date tonight. First set up in a while. My friend Ben set it up. I always appreciate when people set me up even though I know more than likely its not going to click. I could tell just by talking to this guy on the phone that he wasn't my type... we are different people. Didn't know what he looked like, but I already knew there wouldn't be a second date. ha ha. That sounds terrible, but sometimes you just know. I was right, I wasn't attracted to him and we had pretty much nothing in common. I still make the best of it and have good conversation and appreciate the set ups.

This morning I had a dentist appointment. Just my 6th month cleaning. I usually don't mind them, but today the hygienist was rough on my cleaning. It hurt! Cleanings are not supposed to hurt. She tells me... your gums are bleeding a lot... I'm like yeah... you are stabbing them with a sharp hook. She says, you need to be better about flossing, there shouldn't be this much bleeding. I agree, I should be better about flossing, true, but when I floss, it doesn't bleed or hardly bleeds... maybe because I'm not flossing with a hook! Ugh. My gums were sore the rest of the day. Hopefully in 6 months I don't get the same lady cleaning my teeth.

I found a new drink at Sodalicious. It's called the Flaming Ginger. I didn't know if was on the menu until I was reading off the menu to Trav. The Flaming Ginger is my normal drink (Mango Mountain Dew) but then it has Strawberry. Yum! Love it. Don't worry, when I start the diet with Lisa I will be not drinking soda anymore. At least not for a while.

I guess that's it. Another week in the life of Tracy. This next week I think I need to start thinking about working on getting a travel visa. :)

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Shavehead Lake


A lot of the time I was visiting Trav, we spent at their Lake house... well... there will be a house there when Trav builds it, in Michigan. Different lake than the last time I went to visit. Almost every night if we were not at the lake already, we went over there to eat dinner. Why? Because the grill was at the lake and so was the dutch oven. Trev spoiled me with his cooking almost every night. His dutch oven meals are to die for. So is the Indiana corn grilled and chicken and jalapeño poppers and well... everything he makes. We always sat by the fire and ate yummy food. I loved not only eating good food while sitting by the fire and looking over the lake, but Saturday night there were also lots of fireflies out and people letting off floating lanterns and fireworks. What a perfect night.


We went out on the boat a couple of times. Took the kids out on the tube and Trav did some wake skating.





The rest of the time was spent paddle boarding. It's my new favorite thing this summer and I'm dying to get one, so I was thrilled when I found out they had a couple. We went on some long paddle board outings in some beautiful scenery. I got eaten alive by mosquitos... but it was worth it for how pretty it was.







Such a fun and relaxing vacation. Loved it. Thanks for having me and taking such good care of me Trav!


Sunday, August 23, 2015

Fishing on the Dirty E


One of the things I do with Trav when I come to visit is go fishing on the Dirty E (The Elkhart River) that is right by Trav's house. Last time I was there, I caught a Bass that got me into Dallin's Bass Slayers Club. Well, this time I reaffirmed my membership. I actually caught a fish on my fist cast on the river! Luck for sure. I didn't come close to catching as many as Trav did... but I caught more than 2, so I was happy. ha ha.






Regardless of how many fish I caught, it's fun to fish while you drift down the river. It's beautiful and it's fun to hang out and talk with Trav while we drink Mountain Dew. We fished the entire afternoon. It was great. Fun summer activity especially going with someone who loves it so much. Trav was so proud of me every time I caught a fish. Made me feel good. He was always ready to take a picture. One time, I thought he was waiting to take my picture, but he was actually video taping me. You can see how big of an idiot I look like fishing.

video

It was a good day of fishing in Elkhart Indiana. Some great cousin bonding. Did I tell you there is a secret handshake when you get into the Bass Slayers club? I know it. I'm proud to say I'm still the only girl in the club.


Saturday, August 22, 2015

Hanging with Mo

My good friend Monica (one of my first friends I made when I moved to Utah 11 years ago) moved with hubby and kids to South Bend Indiana. When I decided to visit my cousin this summer, I was excited to be able to visit Monica as a bonus. I hadn't seen her in over a year. She lives close enough to my cousin that they are in the same stake. They are only 25 minutes from each other. Anyway, we had a blast catching up and hanging out. She is way into Jamberry Nails... she sells them, so she insisted that she put some on me while I was there. I love that with Monica we can always just pick up where we left off no matter how long it has been since we have seen each other. Love this girl. Hopefully it's not years before we get to see each other again. More reason for me to fly out to the Midwest.



Friday, August 21, 2015

Chicago


When I go visit my cousin Travis, he has me fly into Chicago, because it is cheaper. It's nice of him because it is a 2 hour drive for him to come pick me up. I found a cheap flight AND it was a direct flight. It was late though... so since I have a friend that lives in Chicago now, I had him (Rick) pick me up and we walked around town and chatted and caught up and then I stayed with him.





On Rick's way to work the next day, he took me to breakfast and then we said our goodbye's and I walked to the bean and waited by myself with my suitcase until Trav came and picked me up. Not a bad place to wait!