Saturday, March 29, 2014

Holi Festival of Colors

I first heard about the Festival of Colors in Spanish Fork on my mission. 
My trainer, Sister Suzette Gonzales had told me about it and showed me some pictures, 
and I just knew that I had to go.

For those of you who don't know, the Holi Festival of Colors is an Indian Celebration of Spring.
You can read more about it here.
It is definitely a celebration, with singing, dancing, yoga, and of course, color throwing.
The whole idea behind it is to gain a sense of "oneness" while still appreciating individuality. 
I just love learning about other cultures, don't you?

We decided that we wanted to be there for the first couple of throws (they happen every hour)
and we are really glad that we decided to get there early!
Nice and clean before going in.

We were able to see the Temple before it got super packed and learn a little about it. 

It is a beautiful structure! We took a walk around it and climbed up to it to get a better look.
Again, we are glad we got there early! This place got PACKED. When we walked up to the temple before we left, there was hardly any room to move around. When we first got there,
 we were able to take our time and really get a good look. 

Then we decided that we should buy some chalk and get ready for the first throw.

We went down to the very front, because we wanted to be able to see the throw well. 
We enjoyed listening to some fun music and learning about some of the Indian chants.

People were throwing colors like crazy. 
It was fun, because everyone was involved and had fun with everyone.
Total strangers were running around throwing colors at each other. 
The younger kids that were there had a ball, throwing at each other and at others, 
while trying to run away from pursuers. So many little giggles. So cute!

Then it was time for the first countdown throw.

After the first go round, we looked like this.

We enjoyed trying some Indian food, reading about the tradition of Holi, looking at some booths, and of course throwing colors at each other and anyone else we happened to pass. 

The place kept getting more and more crowded. Seriously, you would not believe the people!

We decided to watch the second official countdown throw from the Temple, so that we could see the whole thing from above. It was really pretty and fun to see it from that perspective. 

 A sunny day, perfect company, and some vivid colors all make for a great date. 
In all, it was a great way to bring in Spring.

Anyone else make it to the festival this year?

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers

Recently, I have been loving quinoa. 
It's really good for you, filling, and easy to work with. 
This recipe is simple, delicious, and pretty quick.

Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers

4 Red Bell Peppers
1 c. Uncooked Red Quinoa
2 c. Chicken Broth (you can also use water, but the chicken broth gives the quinoa a wonderful flavor)
1 can black beans
1 c. corn 
1/4 c. Monterrey Jack Cheese
1 tsp garlic salt
1 can Red El Pato Sauce (or other enchilada sauce)
Sour Cream to serve

1. Rinse the quinoa well. There is no need to soak, but rinsing is important.

2. In a medium sauce pan, bring liquid and quinoa to a boil. Cover, and reduce heat. Simmer for 20 minutes. If you are using water, all of the liquid will be absorbed. If you are using chicken broth, you will still have quite a bit of liquid that you will need to drain off. 

                            With Chicken Broth                                                   With Water

3. Cut peppers in half, hollow, and rinse.

4. Pour El Pato Sauce in a 9 x 13 pan

5. Fit pepper halves into pan. If you like the peppers a little bit more tender, bake them at this point for 10 minutes at 350. I like them a little bit crunchier, so I don't pre bake them.

6. Drain and rinse your black beans.

7. Combine quinoa, black beans, cheese, corn, and garlic salt.

8. Fill peppers with the mixture.

 9. Cover and bake for 25 minutes at 350. Uncover and bake 5-10 more minutes.

Serve with the enchilada sauce and a dollop of sour cream. These are also really good with some sliced avocado. I just didn't have avocados this time around. This recipe is super high in protein, but meatless. I really enjoyed it, and Brad even likes it! He usually doesn't like peppers, but he really like these! If you have never cooked with quinoa before, this is a great recipe to try! It is simple, and delicious. I really do recommend cooking the quinoa in chicken broth. It gives it such a great flavor!

On a personal note, I may have jumped the gun on my Spring Has Sprung post.
It snowed yesterday. 
Thanks, Utah.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Spring has Sprung

I came home to this lovely the other day.

It's the first one to open up, and it gives me a lot of hope.

Perhaps the cold is really gone. Perhaps this Arizona girl survived her first real winter.

But Utah spring doesn't mean 80 degrees like I'm used to...
Now if I can just make it to a point where I don't need a coat when I leave in the morning.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

El Salvador Restaurant, Spanish Love, and a Dash of Disney

One of the really great things about being in Provo is that there is a market for lots of cultural things. 
Maybe it's because so many people who live here served missions to various parts of the world.

We are definitely trying to take advantage of a number of cultural restaurants and celebrations. 
We tried to go to a Korean festival, but couldn't find it.
We often shop at La Pequena, an Argentine supermarcado.
We are planning on going to the Holi Festival of Colors next week at the 
Radha Krishna Temple in Spanish Fork.
And we have a mental list of all of the restaurants that we want to try.
Seriously, there is an ethnic restaurant on every corner around here.

We have been craving some El Salvadorian Pupusas for a while now,
so date night last night found us in this little restaurant

If you didn't know it was there, you may not even see it!
But are we ever glad that we found it! 
The pupusas were absolutely amazing! The people were so friendly, and the atmosphere was fun. 
We always love an excuse to use our Spanish, so we decided that this would be an all Spanish 
dinner conversation... and let me tell you, if you don't use it often, you get rusty! 
I definitely need to speak more!
But let me tell you, I still swoon every time Brad speaks to me in Spanish. 

Brad was especially excited about the soda. 
Now, we are not soda drinkers. 
Actually, we aren't anything but water drinkers. 
But Brad has a special place in his heart for latin sodas... it reminds him of his mission to Nicaragua.
I am not really used to "latin" sodas, because they don't really exist in Argentina. 
I know that is surprising to many people, but Argentina is actually quire European. 
I didn't eat beans and rice, but rather meat and pasta.
The soda was pretty much the same as our soda... maybe just a bit sweeter.  
So Brad was really excited to have me try Kolashampan.
Sadly, I disappointed him when I told him it tasted like medicine and went back to my water. 
Glad I decided to try his rather than order my own. 

His soda was almost gone by the time our food came. It was fun watching him drink it. 
I had no idea that someone could find such happiness in a soda... now I know.

But the food was amazing!

It was super filling. 
I ordered three pupusas, because I just couldn't decide between all of the great options,
but wished that I had only ordered two when I left with a bursting stomach.
Word to the wise.

But seriously, so.good. They have a lot of great options, and each pupusa is only $1.60!
You really can't beat that!
We absolutely recommend this little place to anyone in the area, so go check it out!

After dinner, we were off to the dollar theater to see Saving Mr. Banks.
Image: The Walt Disney Company

We don't go to the movies often on date night, mainly because we like to do things where we can talk and interact. But, every now and then there is something we want to see, so we make an exception.
This movie was so so good! It was really just quite touching, and we very much enjoyed it. 
Great cast, great message, and quite well done.

In all, it was such a fun date night and good to be together. 
Brad has been totally swamped with school readings, preparing for finals, moot court competition, and plans for the summer that it was nice to get away from it all for a bit. 
Seriously, date night is necessary.

On a side note, it is finally starting to warm up a bit!
We are looking forward to beautiful spring days and being able to leave the coats at home.
Happy Spring everyone!

PS- We joined Bloglovin. Click on the link in the right margin to follow us.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Family, New and Old

I was looking at some family pictures today, and felt overwhelmed with love and gratitude.
I just had to share. 

I am so grateful for my family. 
Family right now, means a number of things to me. 

First, Brad and I are our own little 2 person family. It's fun to figure out life together, 
taking a little of what I know, a little of what he knows, and making it work together. 
He is my rock. He is my biggest supporter. He is my best friend. He is my love. 

Then, there is my family of origin. My parents and my brothers mean the world to me. Hardly a day goes by that I don't talk with at least one of them. They check up on me, and I check up on them. We make sure that we stay in contact, even from such a long ways away. 

I have the most amazing parents you could imagine

My Mom taught me everything by example. I want to be just like her. Every time I do or say something that she would do or say, I get excited, knowing that I am growing and becoming a better woman. Mom was and continues to be my sounding board. She is the best mom and friend a girl could ask for. 

Dad always showed me the kind of man that I wanted to find for a husband. In my eyes, 
he was a super hero. He could do no wrong. He somehow balanced everything but put us first.
 And he made everything possible... I would go to him with an idea and he would make it a reality. 

My brothers are rock stars. 

It has been so fun having Mackay home from his mission! Through the years, we shared a million midnight bowls of cereal, talking about dates, school, and life. He listened to my boy problems, 
made me laugh like no one else could, and after a few hours, and a couple bowls of cereal with him,
 I knew that everything would be okay. 

Kadon is my little man. I loved when he wanted to come along with me to run errands or have a fun activity. I love watching him grow up and become such an amazing young man. It's hard for me to miss so many important events in his life right now, and I love when he calls to update me. 

Of course, add to that Grandparents, Uncles, Aunts, Cousins, etc. who are so very wonderful.
I have a standing date with my Grandma to talk with her every Monday, and she sets that time aside 
for me. I really need that time, and I am so grateful that she does that for me.  

I'm so glad that my family has welcomed Brad so fully to the family. 
Seriously, they like him more than they like me. 

And then, I have a totally new family! 

What a blessing it is to have been welcomed into Brad's family with open arms. 
They are so good to me, and I am so grateful for them. About a week ago, 
I was having a difficult day. I remember praying, asking to feel loved and cared for. 
Soon after, my wonderful sister-in-law sent me a sweet text message, telling me that she had 
been thinking of me and asking how I was doing. I am so grateful that she was 
the answer my heartfelt prayer that day. 

My mother and father-in-law are the most amazing people. I love talking with them and being with them and they make me feel welcome and loved. I love calling my mother-in-law or sending each other emails just to say hello and visit. She is so great! I mean, she is the one who gave me that 
great yellow necklace in the pictures above. Seriously. She's got style. 
My father-in-law is fun and kind and a great example to us of a hard-worker. 
I finally have a niece and nephews! Being the oldest, I never had that.
 It is SO fun to play with them and get to know them. They are such special kids. 

How very blessed I am. 

Family means so much to me. What a blessing to have so many supportive and loving people. 
It is a joy to be a part of a new family, still have the amazing relationships of my own family, 
and of course, have Brad, the love of my life, as my eternal companion.

Thanks to Stacy Guthrie Photography for the amazing pictures!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Chicken With Mushroom Cream Sauce

Guys, this recipe is so so good! Seriously. We love it. 
To demonstrate, let's just say that Brad ate it for dinner on Sunday, took it for lunch on Monday, 
and when my test on Monday forced us to eat left overs for dinner, he ate it again for dinner! 
He kept saying "this sauce!" 
It's in moments like that when I feel like I'm doing an okay job. 

So here it it:

Still working on making the pictures look good...
I promise, it's delicious, even if my pictures sometimes look like it's not.
And there really is chicken under there somewhere... the sauce is just so good!

2 chicken breasts
1/2 stick (4 T) butter, plus 1T, divided
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced and pressed
18 oz. Mushrooms (I buy a package of sliced mushrooms, but you could slice your own too)
1 t oregano
1 t parsley
salt and pepper to taste
1 c. sour cream

Fettuccine Noodles

For the Chicken:
1. Cut each breast into 3 or 4 thin pieces
2. Melt 1T Butter in a medium large skillet over medium high heat
3. Salt and pepper the chicken to taste
4. Add chicken to butter and cook on each side until browned, about 8-10 min. on each side
(Some don't like their chicken super browned, but we like it really done. You're personal choice here)

Mushroom Cream Sauce
1. Melt 1/2 stick butter in medium sauce pan
2. Add garlic and onion. Sautee 3 minutes

3. Stir in Mushrooms, coating in butter. The mushrooms will soak up most of the butter

4. Add oregano, parsley, and salt.
5. Let cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
6. Stir in sour cream.
7. Bring mixture to a boil
8. Turn down the heat and let simmer for 10-15 minutes.
The sauce may need a little extra salt. Just depends.

Serve sauce over chicken.
Option: place chicken over fettuccine noodles. We like it best this way.

This really is so good, and pretty simple. Brad says that he could drink the sauce by itself. 
I'm not so sure about that, but it is really good. So give it a shot and let us know what you think!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Life Update: AZ Bound

A couple of you caught on with a picture that I posted a couple weeks ago that 
Brad went down to AZ to interview for some summer internships.

There were a number of barriers to his going down there.
First, when he applied for the internships, he faithfully told the various firms that he would
be down there over his placement break (a one week break from law school for
the purpose of doing interviews), even before getting any interviews.
Basically, you are more likely to get interviews if you are already there and they don't have
to come to you or fly you down, so we would make it happen.
A number of weeks went by without hearing anything from AZ firms.
He had a bunch of interviews in Salt Lake, but our hearts were with the Arizona jobs.
Lots of AZ firms called him, saying that they don't hire first year students, but that they
were extremely impressed with him and to definitely apply the next year.
Many wanted him... just not yet.
Still, as we prayed, we felt really good about being in Arizona and decided to move forward.
Brad was invited for an interview with one firm in AZ, and though it wasn't his top choice,
we decided to send him down to AZ and give it a try.
There were moments when we almost called it off.
Is it worth it? We would ask.
That's so much time that he could be doing homework and writing his paper.
Should we cancel the plane ticket?
But each time we prayed, we still felt that he should go down.

Just days before his trip, he got a call from his first choice firm.
They wanted to meet with him!
They told him that they don't usually hire first years, but with his credentials,
they would at least like to see him.
They made it clear that they weren't making any promises.

So Brad went down.
His plane was delayed and he was a little late getting in to the first interview.
They were very understanding and accommodating.
While that interview went well, it still wasn't Brad's first choice.

The next day, he interviewed with Fennemore Craig.
It went really well and we felt really good about it.
But they still said that they didn't yet have permission to hire a first year,
but that they would see and get back to him.

Brad came home, and we still felt like it was right for us to be in AZ
and that something would happen.
I was so glad that he was home.
I was quite lonely without him here!
So life went on, and we played the waiting game for a few days.

Well, we are happy to announce that Brad was offered a job!! 

He will be working in Phoenix this summer at Fennemore Craig, a really great law firm! 
This was the internship that we really wanted and we could not be happier. 
Brad was invited for a number of interviews in UT and a few in AZ 
(I'll brag on him for a bit... he is doing really well in law school), 
but from the start, we just felt really good about Fennemore Craig. 
Brad said that when he went for the interview, he felt even better, 
like he was definitely supposed to be there. 
We are so very excited and so grateful for the opportunity. 
If you are a regular on the blog, you know that we really miss our beloved Arizona, 
and we especially miss our amazing family. 
We are looking forward to a summer of great experience with the law, 
amazing memories with family, and a whole lot of heat!

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