March 27, 2017

Desert Living

Spring officially springs on the calendar on March 20th. In Tucson, the meteorological winter (I didn't even know that was such a thing) ended on March 1st. It was the 4th hottest winter on record. So I wanted to end the winter season with my favorite...time outside.

I love hiking. I found a new love for it recovering from my ACL repair. I recently tried a new trailhead. Pima Canyon Trailhead. It was lovely! Probably now my most favorite trail here in Tucson. 


Going from desert to not feeling like you are in the desert is just so amazing! I mean look how green and beautiful this hike is...there is even water!

I took a million more pictures, but I will stop. Anyway, if you ever find yourself in Tucson, I highly recommend this hike! I would rate it at moderate. It is a down and back trail. Six miles in, six out. We went halfway in and then back out. I will absolutely try the whole hike in the future!

So while everyone else is happy to see Spring come and winter end, I sadly say goodbye to winter. I will spend all the time outside I can before it is too hot!

What are your favorite outdoor activities?

March 24, 2017

Red Chicken Enchilada Soup

My dad is a master chef with no recipes. He just knows how to make food. That is great, but it makes it hard to learn. Part of my exploration in the kitchen is a drive to have recipes and teachings to hand down to future kids of my own. Occasionally I do get a little like my dad and "just know" how to make things but don't really have a recipe. 

Now on the other hand, that is annoying. I know there is this cheesy red chili soup that my dad makes, but I knew asking him for a recipe would elicit me a "just throw what you want into a pot." Because literally, it is that easy for him. I do not know how he is so successful in just making amazing food.

So I used my Pinterest prowling skills and found this recipe and adapted it to some of the things I knew my dad did and it turned out AMAZING. (which is funny because the blogger says she adapted it to use real cheese and not velveeta....you bet my dad's recipe used velveeta though!) Kevin who is usually about ceremony, waiting till I get to the table to eat, was already halfway through his bowl and asking for seconds. So I would say it was a hit!

Oh and did I mention that it literally takes 20 minutes to make? Yeah, nothing better than that on a busy weeknight. Especially when you have your mom's homemade red enchilada sauce. Her and a bunch of girlfriends always get together to make it. I love it--and no, I do not know her recipe. :-(


Ingredients:

2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
1/2 of a white onion, diced
2 tablespoons of garlic powder
1/2 cup of flour
3 cups of warm water
3 tablespoons of chicken bouillon powder
2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
1 1/2 cups of red enchilada sauce (or as much to your liking, I use homemade but you can use just a regular sized can)
1 can of Rotel (diced green chili/tomatoes)
4 ounces of velveeta cheese, cubed
4 ounces of shredded cheddar cheese
tortilla chips and sour cream (optional to top)

Directions:

Heat the oil in medium high heat in a large stock pot and add onion and garlic powder. Saute until the onion is almost translucent.

Add in half of the warm water and the flour. Stir and then add the chicken bouillon powder. Continue mixing and add the remaining water. Stir until a little thickened and add the chicken and can of rotel (juices and all).

Stir and continue stirring until mixture simmers. Add in velveeta cheese and shredded cheese stirring to combine, melt, and simmer. Be careful to keep stirring so that it does not stick to the bottom of the pot.

Serve the soup with toppings and enjoy!

March 22, 2017

What I Learned About Myself Recovering From Surgery

Will you ski again? After tearing my ACL, this was the question I got the most. How did I tear my ACL you ask? My husband and I went up to visit my family in Ohio and we decided to all go skiing in icy New York. Since I am used to all the great snow out west, I started skiing in the terrain park. You see where this can go wrong...you see I am a terminal intermediate. I will never be an amazing ski pro, so why I took a small little jump, I will never know. 

Just for the record, I would have been fine, but there was a hole at the bottom of the landing. My husband who is an advanced skiier even slipped in it. Ugh.

I knew when I got back up and tried to step into my ski, that I couldn't. I knew it was bad. I didn't have any strength. I don't even remember if I was in pain, I just knew that I had a road ahead of me. Turns out I was right. I had endless hours of PT, surgery, making Kevin follow me hand and foot, etc... 

And then there were things I could have never imagined in front of me. The nausea and itchy feeling since the pain medications didn't agree with me, the guilt of inactivity I had when I had a good knee, etc...

I declined going to the hospital or seeking any medical treatment while back east. I was very careful and did a lot of ice and elevation and waited to fly home and see my PCP to get an appointment for an MRI. I can't explain it, I just knew what was wrong and knew there wasn't anything anyone could do until I got home anyway.

Monday, I talked about how much I had learned about my marriage during my recovery, but I also learned a fair bit about myself.
Three big things I learned along my journey:

I am patient, but now I am far more patient. So is Kevin after worrying and putting up with me.

A life event like this is an emotional roller coaster. I did not cry during any process (including the actual tear itself) until a couple days after my surgery sitting on the toilet wondering how I got to feeling like this. Poor Kevin didn't know what had happened, but glamorous or not, let yourself feel the way you need to feel.

Don't worry. Yes, I did keep skiing after my injury. Yes, you will be you again. It is easy in the situation to think that you will never be normal again, but you will and there is no reason you shouldn't be. Freak accidents happen. I sustained a severe ankle sprain walking down a flight of stairs. I have also broken my pinky toe by walking to breakfast. Accept that life is freak and hard sometimes and be strong and keep doing you.


So if you have been knocked off the horse in life right now, know that you are not alone. Life is a learning curve.

March 20, 2017

In Sickness And In Health

This post has been in my drafts for a while. Three years ago today I had surgery after tearing my ACL/MCL/LCL in my left knee. I wrote a little bit during the recovery process (because what else was there to do besides watch TONS of TV?) but never really posted anything (apart from this pity party post).

So today on the third anniversary of my, albiet common and minor surgery, I am going to post about how amazing it is to have a great partner and what it taught me about my marriage (yes, really). I really can't believe it has been that long since the experience...
Of course, I already knew I had a wonderful husband, but we made vows in sickness and in health and during the whole process, Kevin was supportive, encouraging, wise, and kind. I had never experienced the feeling of not being able to do things on my own, but I was able to be completely reliant on him. He had to be exhausted and stressed, but he never complained. He continued to serve me essentially without expecting anything in return. Therefore I realized, that marriage is not always 50/50. Even with things smaller than surgery one partner may give, be, and help more. That is okay. Just as long was we both give 100 percent of love and devotion to each other.

So today is not our anniversary or a significant day to remember in our relationship per se, but it will be forever be a day I am reminded of how much I have learned and love in my marriage.

March 17, 2017

Lime Bars

Happy St. Patrick's Day! I hope you all are wearing your green so you don't get pinched! I am also eating some green and enjoying some citrus love! My lime tree is just blooming faster than I can use limes. Come on over if you need some limes!

So why not share a yummy and easy recipe for lime bars?!
You're welcome!




Ingredients:

For the crust:
1 cup of cold butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup of sugar
2 cups of flour
For the lime layer:
1 1/2 cups of sugar
1/4 cup of flour
4 eggs
Juice of 4-5 limes
powdered sugar

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Spray a 9x13 inch baking pan with cooking spray.

Mix chopped cold butter, sugar, and flour in a food processor or mixer until blended.

Press mixture evenly into the bottom of the pan. Bake for 20 minutes.

While that is baking, whisk together lime layer: the sugar, flour, eggs, and lime juice. Let it sit for 10 minutes. Before pouring lime layer over pastry mixture, re-whisk.

Bake for another 20 minutes or until top is slightly browned and lime layer is set.

Cool completely and sprinkle with powdered sugar then cut up and enjoy!
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