Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Arriving Home... Back to BIG SKY Country!

We wake early in Santa, Fe and hit the hard road once again. We are dusting off our saddles and heading to Colorado. Boulder to be exact. We hope to get to Wyoming, but our dreams are shattered when my dad gets pulled over right after we head out of town and is rewarded with a $177 speeding ticket. He calls this a donation to the state of New Mexico, I call it the reason we opted for a free night's stay at my aunt and uncles in Boulder over driving farther down the road. When I tell my boyfriend the news his response is, "Would you give a priest a ticket?" The answer is... I guess so. My dad does appreciate the support though and during my dad's traffic stop my mom and I find a gift shop to browse. My parents end up spending the rest of the money we had for a hotel room, farther locking in the stay in Boulder.

When we arrive in Boulder, we are feeling a little more peppy than before and decide that since we have a kitchen, we are going to make something simple for dinner. We decide on eggs. What could be simpler than eggs and healthy too. Mom and I pick up eggs, spinach, and cheese and we head across the street to the bar. It is seriously passed cocktail hour and we decide to have a margarita. Hey, why break the tradition? When our drinks are finished we head home, to my aunt and uncle's house. They aren't there, but their neighbor graciously left a key for us to get in.

I whip up an egg scramble in about 15 minutes and we make toast and call it dinner. We have some white wine that we brought along and pop the cork. We are in a celebratory mood. I am only a half a day to Montana and my man, who I haven't seen in WAY too long! We hit the sack early and before I know it my alarm is waking me up telling me that today is the day! Montana here we come! We load up the car and hit the hard road for one more day!

My boyfriend has agreed to meet us in Bozeman and when we arrive, I am breathless! I can hardly wait to see him. It has been over a month. I see him pull up in his Ford pickup that has "Montana Guy" written all over it and I break into a huge smile as I meet him in the parking lot. We embrace, laugh, and he comments, "lookin' good honey. I missed you." To which I have no words other than, "Ditto."

Our first night back together just the two of us we decide to make my Famous Cheeseburgers on the grill with Grilled Potato 'Chips'. The sun is shining and it feels like summer and nothing says Man-tana (as I have heard it called) like a juicy burger on the grill.

I am definitley back in my Man-tana! Traveling is fun, but there is nothing better than the feeling of being back in the familiar folds of my own sheets! I am happily back in Montana and back in the kitchen. I have a lot of serious cookin' to do!

Abby's Famous Burgers

1 1/2 lbs. ground beef
1 package dried onion soup mix
2 tbsp. garlic; minced
1 tbsp. red pepper

Mix all ingredients listed above using your hands until all of the seasonings have been incorporated. For into 4 equal size patties. As my man points out, make sure they are thin and make an indent in the middle with your thumb to make for even cooking.

Heat the grill and grill for 3-5 minutes a side depending on how well done you like your burgers. Make sure not to mash the burgers, you will loose that juicy taste which makes these the best around.

For an added bonus, we sliced white onions and added 2 tbsp. garlic and 1 tbsp. olive oil. We placed this all in a foil package and grilled right next to the burgers. It was a perfect juicy topping to the grilled burgers.

Grilled Potato 'Chips'

3 potatoes; washed
1 package ranch dressing mix
2 tbsp. olive oil

Slice potatoes into 1 1/2 inch think circular rounds leaving the skins on. Place in a large zip lock bag and add the olive oil and ranch dressing mix. Shake the bag to incorporate all the oil and seasonings.

Heat the grill to medium-low heat and place the potato 'chips' on the grill. Reserve the leftover olive oil mixture for basting. Cook on 5 minutes a side continously flipping and basting for 30 minutes or until the potatoes squish easily with tongs.

Sprinkle with 1 tsp. sea salt and serve alongside the delicious cheeseburgers. Enjoy!

Mental Health Benefit: Nothing gets me in a relaxed mood than being outside. Every once and a while we deserve to step out of the kitchen and cook in the great outdoors. Take deep breaths and delight in the sweet aroma of grilled meat, onions, and ranch potato 'chips'! It is the perfect introduction to spring and a great way to entertain, reconnect with a loved one, or just relax on your own. Go ahead and step out (side)! You deserve to switch it up every once and a cook in the great outdoors!

Here's to cookin' in the great outdoors from my home to yours!

~ "Too Lovely" Hot Messes back in Montana

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