Friday, August 7, 2009

Cool as a Cucumber

This morning the local newspaper sent a reporter and a photographer to our home to interview Sarah about her upcoming cooking contest. She had a blast! She was quite the pro, answering the reporter's questions and going through some steps of her recipe so photos could be taken. I think she has such a great time that she's "got the bug" to be on camera more often!!!

Her recipe is titled "Beef California Roll Salad" and combines three of Sarah's favorites -- beef, pomegranates and sushi! Yes, I said sushi. The girl loves sushi! So her recipe has the flavors from a "California Roll" sushi which are avocado, cucumber, carrots, sesame and wasabi. The beef is marinated in a Chinese-inspired blend (garlic, ginger, hoisin sauce, toasted sesame oil, pomegranate juice, pepper) and grilled.

Missing from the photo above are pomegranate arils which are sprinkled over the dish. When she was creating the recipe after Christmas we could easily find fresh pomegranates, but now they are no where to be found in our area. But when she sets foot in Sonoma for the cook-off there will be pomegranates galore! I think she's ready to head to California right now!!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Colorado or Bust!

Our family vacation this summer was a week in Colorado. We spent the first few days in Estes Park, then headed down to visit Celestial Seasonings Teas in Boulder and then on to Denver. In Denver we enjoyed the wonderful hospitality of a family we met during our trip to China. They have seven children and three of their children were adopted from China as older children. Sarah had so much fun she was completely asleep in the car on the way home -- or "fun overload" you might say!

In Estes Park we had a great time walking in the downtown shopping area as well as going through Rocky Mountain National Park. We saw several kinds of animals, but Sarah enjoyed feeding the chipmunks the most! We made two trips up the tram so she could buy scoops of peanuts and sit and feed them to the many hungry chipmunks. And we didn't need to further than the parking spot in front of our hotel to see wildlife -- deer!

Then we headed down to Boulder to tour Celestial Seasonings Teas. Quite interesting indeed. The "mint" room where they store the mint leaves before making them into tea had such a strong smell that Sarah asked to walk outside. The guide said that if they were to leave the door open on the extra reinforced walled mint room for one day that the mint could be smelled for a mile away.

In Denver we toured Hammond's Candies which has been around for a long time. The kids liked getting the free candy samples (ok, I did too!). Then we wanted to have Chipotle for lunch because it's one of our favorites but the closest Chipotle we have is in Springfield and we don't get there much. The family we were with used their GPS to find the closest on and, low and behold, it wound up being the original, very first-ever Chipotle. Pretty cool.

The best part about Denver was having time to visit with our friends. The kids went swimming and then we all went walking so the kiddos could climb rocks and splash in streams. A GREAT time was had by all!