Thursday, May 13, 2010

Best Friends Adventure

This past weekend I was blessed to be able to visit and volunteer at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah which is the home of DogTown.

We started off our visit with a Saturday afternoon tour of the Sanctuary (they offer 4 free tours daily). You start off at the Welcome Center:

Saira captured this fantastic pics of the hummingbirds:

Then we met some Old Friends at DogTown Heights


and Aspen (who really needs to learn to relax!)

and this sweet little trio:

We also visited Benton's House, home of some special needs kitties
Proof we were really there:
After the tour we took some time to visit Angel's Rest, which is one of the most peaceful places I've ever been.

Then we went back to town to relax, and have some dinner. We were all so excited to start out day of volunteering, that we could hardly sleep!

Tomorrow I'll introduce you to some of the dogs we were able to meet.

It's a new day!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Kitchen Adventures

I was feeling ambitous yesterday and decided to try a couple of recipes from one of my favorite bloggers The Pioneer Woman.

Cajun Meatloaf and Perfect Potatoes au Gratin

I noted that the meatloaf called for 3 whole pounds of meat - and immediately cut that down to 2 lbs (1 beef, 1 pork). I used 2 small bell peppers and 1 onion too.

I carefully made a list of the ingredients needed, and set off for the grocery store. Gathered my ingredients for these dishes (plus the regular shopping for the week), and headed home.

I got a kinda late start on these because I was being lazy, and because - well, I didn't read the recipes to know that one took an hour to cook, and the other, 40 minutes. Fortunately they both cook @ the same temp, so they could share the oven...

I pulled out my ingredients, and started chopping up the veg for the meatloaf. Side note - I have one of these handy dandy little Progressive Choppers, and for recipes that call for a lot of veg, it's invaluable! Amazon sells it for $25 - worth the price! Hint: just be sure your veg are in fairly small pieces, 3x3 at most and it works like a charm.

Onion (check), bell peppers (check), garlic (check), celery - errm, where's the celery? HEY HON, DID YOU GRAB THE CELERY AT THE GROCERY STORE? (him - NO). ok, nix the celery. I threw in some ground coriander instead.

The other item I thought I had at home, but didn't was the nutmeg. So we left that out too. (improvise, it's what I do!).

Even after cutting down the recipe to 2lbs of meat instead of 3, this thing was HUGE. And PW's recipe said to make it about 1.5" high, and in doing that, it covered most of my baking pan. Oh, and it's not pretty. There. I said it. Meatloaf ain't purty.

Even with my modifications - this meatloaf was SOOOO GOOD. OMG good. Smack yo momma good. So good, that I'm excited about leftovers (yes, yes - mark this day in your calendar). And we put a good chunk of the leftovers in the freezer too.

Onto the potatoes..I decided to make this recipe as is, mostly cuz I failed to read where it says "Makes 8 servings". I chopped up the potatoes..and quickly realized I'd need my 13x9 baking pan to fit it all. And that this wasn't the best pan to use either (I really needed a deeper/bigger casserole pan). But it worked. and these were just as good as the meatloaf!!!

I'd make both of these recipes again, in smaller quantities.

What have you cooked lately? Meals? Cakes? Pizza?

What is your go-to guide for recipes? A website? A recipe book? Your mom (can I have her # please)?

Happy Eating!