April 28, 2014

Nana's Fruit Salad

I usually make this for Easter but it's a sweet finish for any occasion. My husband refers to it as ambrosia salad which I thought always had sour cream in it. This does not have sour cream and my family has always lovingly referred to it as Nana's fruit salad. It's quite simple to make and everyone loves it especially kids. This Easter I ended up with lots of leftovers I think everyone was in a food coma after the meal so they had no room for dessert. It also seems like people can be picky about coconut so if you don't like it just leave it out. What made this years batch extra fun was the adorable bunny marshmallows I found.
I love using the shaped marshmallows! 
Just make sure that the marshmallows you use are the regular vanilla flavor. 
Isn't it pretty? I've often considered using a variety of fresh fruits for this
 instead of canned but the canned makes it so quick and easy. 
 Enjoy the recipe!

April 21, 2014

Easter Celebration & Asparagus Salad

Now that we live in Colorado again we are far away from our families. We are thankful that we have friends that are like family to celebrate with on the holidays. We generally invite people over who also don't have family near by. We will use just about any excuse to share good food. What better day to share food and celebrate than on Easter. To me it's a day to remember the great sacrifice that was paid for me and the miracle resurrection that took place. My parents send the most beautiful flowers every Easter as a way to celebrate with us.
I'm not super traditional when it comes to what I fix for an Easter meal. I like to try new recipes and change things up. One thing I make sure to always have no mater the occasion is deviled eggs. THESE Smoked Salmon Deviled eggs are my favorite.
I tried making a couple new salads this year. I like to choose recipes that I can make ahead so that I'm not cooking the day of the celebration.  Did you see my tomato salad on Instagram? Not only was it tasty but it was super cute and resembled a bouquet of tulips.

I also made an Asparagus Salad that I really enjoyed. For this salad you cut the asparagus into small rounds and leave it raw, which is a unique format for this veggie.  The vinegar that's added makes for the perfect bite. Overall it was a big hit and people were definitely very surprised that it was raw asparagus.
 This simple and delicious salad can be found HERE thanks to Anne Burrell.

Another salad that I usually make that's a sweet finish to the meal is my Nana's Fruit Salad.
I'll share this recipe next time.
I hope that whether you celebrate Easter or not that you had a wonderful weekend and were able to spend some time with those you cherish! 

April 15, 2014

Crock-Pot Chai Tea

I know many of you love the Crock-Pot Hot Chocolate Recipe, I do too. It's my go to crowd pleaser. I can remember helping my mom with a holiday breakfast she was planning. She realized she didn't really have a way to fix a large amount of coffee. So we made Crock-Pot Hot Chocolate and poured in a pot of coffee in place of some of the water. It was yummy!

This Chai Tea recipe comes from the idea that if I could make Crock-Pot Hot Chocolate why couldn't I make Crock-pot Chai Tea. I love a good cup of Chai Tea but I'm kinda picky about it. I don't want it to be too spicy and I like it sweet. One chilly night some friends were coming over and I wanted to make something warm but different than the hot chocolate. I began researching homemade Chai tea and I decided to combine a couple ideas, omit a few spices and put it all in the crock-pot.
It actually worked and it was good. I served the Chai Tea in some of my great grandmothers tea cups. It's not everyday that I get to use these cups, plus it's always nice for your guests to feel like royalty every once in a while. They were tiny cups so multiple refills were required.

This Chai Tea is super simple to make. The main flavoring came from cardamom, cinnamon sticks and ginger. If you like a spicier tea you can add peppercorn. I used vanilla tea bags but realized after an hour or so that it wasn't looking like Chai Tea so I added a few black tea bags as well. Bits of the tea and spice did end up floating around so I used a small strainer to strain each cup of tea. You could just strain all the tea at once and transfer it to another container. Also this tea is awesome chilled. I had some leftover so I put it in a pitcher in the fridge. It didn't last long. Here's the detailed recipe:

April 10, 2014

This will make you smile

We recently fostered some puppies for a couple nights, you might have seen quite a few pictures on my Instagram feed. These puppies were just too cute not to share. Originally we thought we would just foster one puppy since we already have two big dogs but the rescue had 2 sisters that shouldn't be separated yet. If they have siblings they like to keep them in pairs as long as possible so they can comfort each other. 
This rescue program is such a great idea. A lot of puppies come from other states that have kill shelters meaning if they are there over a certain period of time they will just be killed. Volunteers foster the puppies until adoption day where most of them get adopted because they are just too irresistible. If they aren't adopted a new family fosters again until the next adoption day. If you're in the market to get a puppy you should see if there is a program in your area to volunteer for. It's a great way to see which puppy would be a great fit for your family. If you're not in the market for a puppy you could at least get a puppy fix for a couple nights. 
They have those adorable pudgy bellies and make the cutest faces. Even though they're still learning where to go to the bathroom you learn their behaviors pretty quick and of course just take them out every hour at least. 
Can you tell this sister was the mischievous one? She was very active, much more talkative and always playing.
This puppy I would often loose. At first I was worried but then I realized she was just finding a quiet place to take a nap. She loved to snuggle up with shoes or under the sofa. 
Of course when I let them outside she was much more of an explorer. 
This was probably their first time being in an outdoor open space like this. They were very fascinated by the spring snow that was leftover and they loved climbing on the rocks. 
I love the way puppies run.
Blanca's teaching the puppy to sit. 
Princeton taught the puppies bad habits like how to eat plants.

The big dogs also play rough and frequently wrestle. The puppies were scared at first 
but soon they joined in the fun and wrested each other. 

By far one of the cutest things was watching them sleep and snuggle up together. 
Watching them eat was pretty cute too. They would try to fit as much of themselves in the bowl as they could. 

I wouldn't blame you if you wanted a puppy now. I was sad when we took them to adoption day but I'm happy that someone else will get to enjoy them. Don't forget to see if there's a rescue in your area you can volunteer with. It will make your heart so happy. 

April 3, 2014

Backpacking Dominguez Canyon

A couple weekends ago we took a long weekend with some friends and went backpacking. That's one of the things we were excited about moving back to Colorado for was the outdoor adventure. For me living in a city can be hard, so it's necessary that I can easily get outside and enjoy God's creation.
This trip really took it out of me. I've felt exhausted since I got back and unfortunately came down with either a head cold or allergy problems. The experience is always worth it though. I knew I wanted to share this adventure here on the blog since so many of you enjoy living vicariously through me. In case you don't know when you backpack you put everything you need to for living on your back. These packs can get heavy with shelter, clothes, food.... You hike into a wilderness area and find a spot to put your tent. These spots aren't designated campsites they are usually spots far away from signs of anyone else. The first night we actually hiked in a short distance and set up in the dark. This was our first camping spot which was more "designated."
The next day we continued hiking through the canyon for a few miles until we found a good spot to set up camp. We always try to find spots next to water and with plenty of options for wood so we can have a fire. 
This pool of water was right next to where we camped. I love these experiences because they can be challenging but most of all they are so peaceful and awe inspiring. 

Walking through this canyon was like walking through one of the most magnificent museums in the world.
Except it was free and wasn't crowded! 

It was full of colorful landscapes that outshine the most famous paintings.

We stumbled upon ancient rock carvings called petroglyphs.
There were ruins left behind from the mining days
and subtle signs of spring everywhere.
Not to mention the most interesting of rock formations.
This is the best time of the year to visit Western Colorado. The snow has melted it's not too cold and it's not too hot. Those rocks in Dominguez Canyon will really heat up in the summer.

We always leave this type of trip feel refreshed and happy. It truly is the best kind of vacation! Next time you and your family are thinking about a vacation think about a backpacking trip. There are tons of reasons why you should get out and explore the wilderness where you live but the main one is that it costs next to nothing and the experience itself is priceless.