Saturday, July 18, 2009

Two reunions and an update.

On Thursday when I wanted to upload the pictures I'd taken of Dots leaving on her mission trip, I could not find my camera ANYWHERE. I searched the house high and low, but my camera was nowhere to be found. The last time I could recall taking pictures was when I put Dots on the bus. After that, Hockey Boy and I ran some errands, including a stop at the car wash. I knew I had not left the camera in the car then, but was it possible I had taken it out of my purse to get to my wallet and then left the camera on the counter?

My camera is just a few months old, and though not the fanciest or most expensive model out there, it was a significant upgrade for me and I love it. I couldn't imagine I would have walked off and left it at the car wash, but I couldn't figure out any other place to look.

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I called up to the car wash and inquired if they'd found a Nikon camera. The girl put me on hold and then returned to the phone and said, "Yes, we have it." Oh, my! I was overcome with shock, relief and immense appreciation. I hurried up to the car wash, gratefully retrieved my camera and profusely thanked the woman behind the counter. Isn't it nice that there are still honest people in the world?

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Last weekend we hosted a reunion of Robert's Grand Canyon hiking group. Nine out of the thirteen guys were able to attend which I thought was great given the busyness of summer.

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My photographer, Dots, told these guys to act like they didn't know their picture was being taken

I served an easy dinner of Layered Taco Salad (recipe follows) and Sangria (recipe in this post), with a tray of lemon iced ginger snaps and Rocky Road brownies for dessert. Everything went over well, and we had a very fun evening.

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I divided the salad between three bowls. I should have used two because I forgot that the meat and other toppings would weight down the lettuce

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Sangria

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Dessert tray: Rocky Road brownies and Ginger Snaps with Lemon Glaze


Robert had prepared a DVD montage of everyone's pictures from the trip set to music by The Eagles, Jackson Browne, Gin Blossoms and 10,000 Maniacs that he played on the big TV upstairs after dinner. He had also framed a picture of the group with a trail map signed by each hiker, and he presented one of those to each of them. Everyone was so appreciative!

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Yesterday Dots's leader posted this picture on Facebook of a seemingly happy Dots. Their group has been hard at work chasing chickens whose wing feathers needed clipping, planting peas and harvesting watermelons. Hopefully Dots is keeping too busy for any further homesickness. She returns home tomorrow.

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Dots is on the far left. The caption read, "5 hours on the farm makes lunch taste even better!"

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Recipe

Layered Taco Salad
Gourmet August 2003
Serves 6-8

Dressing:
¼ c fresh lime juice
½ c chopped cilantro
1 t sugar
1 T chili powder
¼ t ground cumin
½ t salt
¼ t black pepper
½ c olive oil

Beef:
1 medium onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 serrano chili pepper, finely chopped, including seeds
1 T chili powder
2 T olive oil
1½ lb. ground chuck
1 8-oz. can tomato sauce
½ t salt
¼ t black pepper

Salad:
8 cups mixed lettuce (I used half iceberg and half baby romaine/leaf/spinach mix)
1 avocado, sliced into ½” pieces
1 tomato, chopped
1½ c grated cheddar cheese
1 15-oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 6-oz can sliced black olives

Whisk together lime juice, cilantro, sugar, chili powder, cumin, salt, and pepper, then add oil in a stream, whisking until emulsified. Refrigerate until needed.

Cook onion, garlic, Serrano pepper, chili powder, and cumin in oil in a Dutch oven over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until onion is well softened, about 6 minutes. Add beef and cook, stirring occasionally and breaking up lumps, until meat is no longer pink, about 5 minutes, then spoon off any excess fat from skillet.

Add tomato sauce, salt, and pepper to beef and cook, stirring, until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat.

Layer salad in the following order: lettuce, beef, tomatoes, cheese, black beans, avocado and olives. Drizzle dressing over salad and serve.

Eloise's note: I doubled everything but the dressing for our group of 13, and they ate almost all of it!

8 comments:

DawnW said...

Yum, that dinner looks wonderful!! Would you post the recipe for the lemon iced gingersnaps? My kids love gingersnaps anyways, but the lemon icing is a neat twist!

Also, I love your wine glasses for the sangria! They remind me of Barefoot Contessa's!

Maggie said...

I'm going to have to try making this salad! Thanks for posting the recipe.

JoAnn said...

WOW, you were lucky with your camera. Gives one some faith in humanity!

I have already printed out the taco salad recipe.

Kay said...

The return of the camera gives me hope for our society. And the fresh-faced smiles of Dots and her friends give me hope that Shelby and Kaylin may look like that some day instead of the floozied-up style so popular these days. Gosh! I sound like an ole grandma...oh wait, I am!!

Jennifer said...

Oh, I'm so glad about your camera!!! And the food looks delicious!

Preppy Pettit said...

What a great dinner idea for this awful heat!! I need more hot weather dishes b/c Lord knows I won't hit up any drive thru's soon!

Amber M. said...

Aren't you so grateful for honest people?? So glad you got your camera back.

And can I come to a party at your house someday?? Please??

pink green & southern said...

I am sooooo glad that you found your camera and that the people at the carwash were so honest!

What a fun party! Thanks for the recipe--I love me some a good taco salad!

I know you miss Dots but she looks like she is havign a great time and I am still so impressed with her!