I can't believe it's already been a month since our "Jeep Week" trip. We gathered our friends, packed up 7 Jeeps and hit the trail in southwest Montana, each night bringing us to a different location. We camped in a beautiful meadow the first night and found amazing mountain lakes the other nights. While several folks stayed the full 9 days, we stayed only 5, which was plenty considering the amount of dirt we accumulated!

Our meals for the trip were planned so each couple only had to make one breakfast or one dinner. We had dinner and made pulled pork and this salad. I hadn't made it previously, so I put it together and hoped for the best. I was surprised by how much everyone liked it and how quickly it was wiped out. Based on this success I made it again for our trip last weekend to see Tom Petty at the Gorge (awesome concert both nights!). Again, everyone loved it. So, here I am posting it to share. Just a hint, I prepared all the veggies and combined in one bag, put the almonds in their own bag and stored within the veggie bag. The dressing was stored in a tupperware container and I just let folks add as much as they wanted.

Naturally I found it at Simply Recipes.

Ingredients

2/3 cup slivered almonds
8 cups (1 lb) coarsely shredded napa cabbage
12 ounces snow peas, strings removed, rinsed and thinly sliced
1 1/3 cups thinly sliced radishes
1 1/3 cups thinly sliced green onions (including greens)
1 cup lightly packed fresh cilantro leaves
1 cup lightly packed fresh parsley leaves

Dressing ingredients
3 Tbsp rice vinegar (seasoned or unseasoned)
2 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 clove peeled and minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon cayenne powder
1 cup mayonnaise

Preparation

1 Spread almond slivers out in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Toast in a 350°F oven for 5-10 minutes, until nicely browned. OR toast in stick-free or cast-iron skillet on medium high, stirring frequently until browned. Set aside.

2 Combine cabbage, snow peas, radishes, green onions, cilantro in a large bowl. Can make this step a day or two ahead.

3 In a separate bowl, mix together the rice vinegar, sugar, soy sauce, garlic, sesame oil, ginger, and cayenne until sugar has dissolved. Whisk in the mayonnaise.

4 When ready to serve, gently combine the dressing and almonds with the cabbage mixture.

Serves 14-16.


This weekend was one of the most enjoyable Jeep trips I've been on yet. Giljeep held up great, ran on the mainer roads like a charm, and handled the trail really well! The route was one of the more gnarly trails I've ever been on, but the scenery was unbelievable. The wildflowers were in full bloom - pink, yellow, white, purple, and blue against the bright green of lichen covering the trees and lush growth everywhere. Cliff Lake was at the top of the trail, nestled in a mountain bowl. Saturday night we watched incredible clouds roll in over the mountainside while lightning illuminated the sky in the south. It was quite a sight! The sky was an amazing assortment of blues and grays and even some pink as it seemed the impending storm was competing with an attempt at a colorful sunset. Needless to say the picture opportunities were in abundance and I took full advantage of it. The link to my full Flickr pool is: http://flickr.com/photos/27707945@N05/.


Oh, and there was snow. Saturday afternoon was spent contemplating the idea of sledding down the snow fields into the chilly lake below. What seemed like a lot of talk proved itself a great idea as Sunday we gave it a shot. Enjoy the video...

PS - When this video is done, find the one along the bottom called "Sal & Elizabeth sledding at Cliff Lake". :)

Zeke!

What's so funny Zeke!? This is the laugh, the standard state of expression Zeke maintains anytime we're out in the woods. As Eric puts it, he's a "mountain dog" and can't get enough of 'em. The pup just loves to run free and explore the wild, sniffing every last twig and rock, chasing any animal that happens to cross his path. Watch out deer! I snapped this shot over the weekend on a family camping trip and thought it captured his laugh just right.


This weekend we camped with both sets of parents at a local recreation area and really had a good time. Between a hike to a nearby waterfall, catching up over margaritas and even a game of Loaded Questions around the campfire we had a great time!

Watermelon Margaritas


Lately I have a variety of recipes I really want to get up here, but just haven't had the time. Right now I'm relaxing after running a 10K race this morning and thinking these Watermelon Margarita's sound just about right. I made them the other night for our bimonthly girls dinner and was very very happy with them. Being a light and refreshing drink with a tasty watermelon flavor, I have to say I was impressed. I'm thinking these would be perfect mixed in a pitcher for a bbq, to be followed by something else, like oh, a cold beer. The recipe was found in an awesome cookbook my dad loaned me called Great Gatherings, which I'd really suggest picking up a copy of if you enjoy entertaining or just love good recipes. Each "chapter" features a famous chef and they put together a full menu for a themed affair, even suggesting music and wine pairings.

Enjoy!

Watermelon Margaritas

Ingredients
Simple Syrup
3/4 C. Sugar
3/4 C. Water

3 lbs watermelon with rind intact
1 1/2 C (12 oz) fresh lime juice
Crushed ice or ice cubes
6 shots (9 oz) tequila

Preparation
To make the simple syrup, in a saucepan, combine the sugar and water and place over high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, and then cook, stirring, for about 3 minutes, or until the sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool completely.

Cut off and discard the rind from the watermelon. Cut the flesh into chunks, removing as many of the seeds as you can. In a food processor or blender, process the watermelon chunks, in batches as necessary, to a smooth puree. Pass the puree through a fine-mesh sieve placed over a bowl. You should have about 3 cups of watermelon juice. Add the simple syrup and lime juice and stir well. Transfer to a pitcher and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 3 hours.

Just before serving, remove the watermelon-lime juice mixture from the refrigerator and stir well. Fill 6 tall glasses with ice and pour 1 shot of tequila in each. Serve immediately. Mmmm!


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