BBQ Pork/Chicken Salad

A few of you have been asking about this delicious salad I made last night.

Here's the recipe:

In the photo below, we got pre-pulled/cooked chicken from Costco.
It was frozen and all we did was heat it up.
You can cook a pork shoulder in the crock pot all day or just get a frozen meat.
That's what we did. Frozen.
The Costco one comes with BBQ sauce on it. You can add your own though.
If I were making my own pulled pork/chicken from home, I would normally soak 1 container of Sweet Baby Rays BBQ sauce and 1 cup Ketchup in 2 cups of shredded BBQ chicken/pork. The recipe below is the more complicated/time consuming one.
The above cheat sheet, is the fastest/easiest one. 
Gotta love Costco frozen goods :)
You can try both ways and see which one you prefer. They're both excellent!

BBQ Chicken:

- Put 4 chicken breasts in crockpot.
- Cover with mixture of 2 cups of BBQ sauce, 1 cup Ketchup, salt and pepper, garlic powder, and 2 cups water.
- Mix it up and cook on high for 4-6 hours or until it falls apart when you stick it w/a fork or a knife.

The recipe continues on:
1 cup corn
1 cup black beans
1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese (shredded) *not pictured below
2 tomatoes (chopped)
1/2 cup carrots (chopped) * optional
1/4 red onion (chopped) *optional
1 full avocado *optional
1 can black olives *optional
Crushed tortilla chips

And you can omit things like carrots and onions but the other items are a necessity and really make the taste of the salad.

Finally....Drench with Ranch Dressing :) 

Photo taken on my iPhone

It's a really good summer salad and is extremely effortless, in my book. 
You get a lot for very little :)
I don't usually crush my tortilla chips. I usually leave them on the side, and when I'm tired of picking at my salad w/the fork, I usually let the tortilla chips jump in and take over. They're great for picking up all the other little pieces, when you run out of lettuce.
We usually put all the little ingredients on the side, in individual dishes, so people can add whatever toppings they'd like.
Normally, though, I just get romaine lettuce, dump it in a large serving bowl, and add all the above ingredients and mix together all at once. It just depends if you have picky eaters or not.
This is real easy and yummy.
Enjoy :) 


Tortilla Bar

I just wanted to take a quick minute to give a shout out to Tortilla Bar.
It's been on our bucket list for awhile. Now we can check it off our list.
When I say our bucket list, I mean mine and Cari's.
You see- Sean and Cari had their baby a couple weeks ago
and the night before she went in to be induced, the four of us decided to go out.
We chose this lovely place since we'd been wanting to go for awhile. 
Boy was it yummy. And so beautifully presented too!

I present to you a delicious onion, avocado and grape salad.
I would've never thought to combine these ingredients into one dish
But no mistake here. Absolutely delicious!

Photo taken on my iPhone

This was their fancy version of a quesadilla.
They put mozzarella, butter, and garlic in a bowl w/peppers
and they cut up corn tortillas into little triangles. 
I crave it on the daily.

Photo taken on my iPhone

And here is our dessert. A popsicle
It was strawberry flavored with salt crystals on top
Oh. And a flower for decoration 

Photo taken on my iPhone

The Tortilla Bar is located off Orem State Street next to Wendy's, across the street from the Sprouts shopping center. 
We went on a Thursday night and made reservations ahead of time, which I highly recommend. If you go on a weekend, you might be S-O-L when it comes to seating. People are usually lined up out the door and waiting for hours. Seating is very limited. It just goes to show how popular and loved this place is.
It's a locally grown restaurant, meaning their menu changes daily, according to the local crops at that time. The prices are a little on the steep end, but not too much. We each ordered an appetizer, two main entrees, and two desserts to share. We walked out of there spending about $60 so not too bad, but the portions are small. Very small.
Everything served there is all organic, freshly grown from local farms, and delicious. I highly recommend it to any of the locals and cannot wait to go back! I pass it daily, as it's right down the street from our house. Bring on the temptation! 


Bryan and Melissa's Wedding

Jake's brother (Bryan) got married on Saturday, July 6th, 2013
We definitely started off our 4th of July with a bang!
Wedding guests started arriving the weekend before and it was just... crazy
I'm not gonna lie and say things were all peachy. It's a wedding.
When does that ever happen? It doesn't. 

The 450 mini cupcakes that they had at their wedding?...
.....Were made by yours truly 

These cupcakes were vanilla with a chocolate hazelnut frosting, made from scratch.
The frosting that is.

They also had edible pearls on them.

Photo taken on my iPhone

These cupcakes were chocolate with a buttermilk frosting, made from scratch.
Again... The frosting made from scratch. Not the cupcakes.

And of course, edible pearls. 

My friend (Cari) helped me w/the piping and baking.
I could not have done it w/o her. 
My sisters were also around to help w/the baking & reception set up.

Photo taken on my iPhone

The wedding was a country western, vintage theme.
They used tan/brown, mint green, and yellow for their colors and lilies, roses and sunflowers for their.... flowers, duh.

The groomsmen 

Bryan and Jake

And here we all are, as Strain's, in our cowboy/girl get up

Oh it was such a warm day. Beautiful, but warm. 
We had quite the time preparing all the food and drinks at the reception.
Any time there's a wedding in the family, you better be sure Jake's parents will be some how involved in the food.
They are excellent cooks!
We all helped pitch in w/the cost of food. I'm sure Costco appreciated our business that week!
Happy wedding day, Bryan and Melissa! I always knew we'd be sisters ;) 


It's Independence Day!!!!

Both last year and this year, we had Jake's family over for the 4th of July.
Last year, we had Jake's mom & dad and his brother 'cuz he was just moving up here.
This year, we had the whole shebang 'cuz Jake's brother was getting married.

Hotel Strain at your service!... No seriously 

Slight confession: I'm not good at taking pictures of people (obviously)
I'm better at taking pictures of the things people do instead :) Oops?

Here are some of our 4th of July firework pictures:
These are all straight out of my camera BTW no editing


This picture is one of my favorites:
It was one of those ground flowers that I just used a really long exposure on.

The following four photos are from Stadium of Fire.
We watch it every year w/o paying for tickets.
It's pretty awesome.
We can hear the music, and have a great view of the light show.
All w/o cost and or traffic.
We just walk around the corner, in our neighborhood, and enjoy :)
Clearly everyone else does too.
There's a great view on the cliffs of Orem
Look at all the cars: (or some of them)

Set aside from all the fun firework pictures, I have one last awesome photo!
This photo is something that's an item on my summer bucket list... Lightening!
I've always wanted to capture lightening. This time? Done
And this is straight out of my camera, taken from our front porch.

AH! I was so excited I was able to capture some of these awesome photos. I have plenty more, but these were just some of my favorites. 
I love long exposure! (Or bulb)
My sister and I definitely had fun capturing these lights.
It was funny- Everyone was clapping when the fireworks would be done doing their thing. As for me and my sister, we'd be sad 'cuz that was the end of our picture.... Until the next one went off.
As Martina McBride would say, "It's Independence Day!" Or it was. 


Jake's Birthday

This year, we celebrated Jake's birthday in style. Kind of
We just kinda hung out and had a lax day. I left it all up to Jake

We both took the day off work and took out Sweet Thang

Photo taken on my iPhone

We went fishing. I made a friend

Photo taken on my iPhone

Photo taken on my iPhone

We went up Provo Canyon and had a campfire at Nunn's Park.
We made hobo packs and I made my famous fruit trifle for dessert.

I got Jake 311 concert tickets for his birthday. He loves 311.
I like them too. Just not love like Jake loves them.
HOWEVER; They do sing our love song. Coincidentally it's called "Love Song."
It's also my ring tone for Jake

PS by the way- We had both been to the same 311 concerts
at the same place
at the same time
But we had never been together. We were always with different people.
I decided it was time we went together. (Sigh) a first

Photo taken on my iPhone

I hope you enjoy your last 12 months of being in your tuh-wen-ties!!!!!! Enjoy it while it lasts ;)
I had a fun time taking the day off work, and spending your birthday with you, my dear. Here's to you being amazing and celebrating your wonderful life! I love you so much and cannot wait to spend many more birthdays with you!
Oh- and happy two year engagement-versary. Seriously- who proposes on their birthday? I can't stop thinking about that day, and how our engagement went two years ago. It was quite the day & will be a memory for the books for sure!
I love you papa bear! Happy 29th