my day in pictures

I’ve always wanted to post what some of my morning sunrises look like as I drive into work. Well, here’s a particularly nice one with lots of fluffy clouds.

IMG_0070.jpg

I’d post pictures of what my day at work is like, but ummm… yeah, I’d get fired for that, so just imagine what it’s like working in a cube in a concrete windowless room and you’ll get what it was like at work today. 🙂

The best part of the day, though, was at 4pm, when I made my way to Four Peaks Brewing Company (only 5 miles away from my office) and got to enjoy several pints of their just tapped today pumpkin porter seasonal beer.

IMG_0071.jpg

Yeah, it’s yummy. That made up for anything bad that could have happened earlier in the day.

Oh, and just for fun. Here’s a pic of one of my coworkers giving his thumbs up for the pumpkin porter. Yes, there were several of us who gathered there after work tonight.

IMG_0073.jpg

our first sacred blow up doll

Sean and I were walking through Lowe’s last night when we saw something that had to be documented and shown to the world.
Blow Up Jesus
The blow up nativity set for Christmas. That’s it. Humanity has officially sold its soul to commercialism.

everyone stinks on camelback

Every October, one of my coworkers starts coordinating weekly hikes up Camelback via the Echo Canyon trail. They’re always on Saturday mornings, first thing before the heat of the day kicks in and before college football games start. Seriously. We have die hard college football fans in my office. Anyway, I digress. This Saturday was the first hike, but since Doug was in town and we had our fruit and veggies to pick up, Sean and I opted out. To make up for having opted out of yesterday’s hike, though, we decided to hike up Camelback this morning. Instead of torturing Doug with Echo Canyon, which is an incredibly difficult climb, we decided to try Cholla Trail, which is supposed to be at least a level of difficulty easier.

My comments on Cholla? Don’t ever hike it if you’re afraid of heights or falling. Seriously. I have a fear of falling, that most of the time I can keep under control, but there were a couple spots on the trail where you’re hiking a very narrow ridge and it’s a nasty drop off on both sides that nearly had me in tears. Other than that, it was honestly a pretty good trail. It’s 2.8 miles as opposed to Echo’s 2.2 miles. The first half of the hike is actually pretty mild. It’s a steady incline with a pretty well-defined and laid out trail. The second half of it is where it gets kind of hairy. At that point, there’s no good way to lay out a trail because you’ve hit granite at this point and the only way to get around it is to climb up it. I made it, though. So did Doug and Sean (my resident mountain goat).

Here’s Sean and Doug harassing each other at the top.

IMG_0031.jpg

The link will also take you to the other few pictures I snapped along the way or at the summit. Next week? I think I’ll stick to Echo Canyon trail from now on. Oh yeah, you can thank Sean for the title, too. It was a comment he made on the trail today and it was too funny not to share with the world.

day of food

Today was one of those Days of Food at Casa de Morrill. We woke up this morning and headed a short ways down the road to pick up our first load of food from a local food co-op called Bountiful Baskets. The group does a co-op mainly for fruits and veggies, but you can also opt to buy cheeses, bread and beef from them. You opt in every two weeks, select what you want, purchase it online and then every other Saturday you head down to your local pick-up point and get your food. Here’s a picture of our haul once we got home.

IMG_0015.jpg

We paid $17 this time as first time participants (it will be $15 after this) and we got approximately $50 worth of fruits and veggies. We got lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, green onions, red bell peppers, canteloupe, pineapple, bananas, apples, peaches and pluots. We’re pretty pleased and what food we’ve tried so far is quite yummy. We also picked up a loaf of country bread and some raw milk Jack cheese through them. The cheese is already quickly being consumed in our house. Yum!

After a breakfast of some pancakes and peaches (from our earlier haul), we took a little trip over to Queen Creek. Earlier this spring, Sean and I had read about an olive mill out in Queen Creek and had wanted to visit, but never had the time. About a week ago, Sean found out about a butcher that just sells pork products that was about 3 miles down the road from the olive mill. That was enough to make it worth a short trip out to the area and since Doug’s (Sean’s dad) in town this weekend, we decided it would be a great trip to make with him as well.

We started with the Queen Creek Olive Mill. It’s a small operation, but they offer tours and they sell all of their products onsite. We got there just in time for one of their tours and spent the next hour learning about olives and making olive oil, which I have to admit I found really interesting. A couple of notes about Queen Creek Olive Mill. They’re the only olive grower and olive oil producer in Arizona. The whole operation started as a hobby and in four years has grown to being a major provider of olive oil to a lot of the higher-end restaurants in town as well as providing olives and olive oil to the public. They only sell extra virgin olive oil and their oil is produced through a cold-press process. At the end of the tour, we meandered around the store and sampled some of the products. We had originally planned to have lunch at the restaurant they have on the premises, but were so full after grazing on the samples, we decided to pass this time. We did pick up a 15 oz bottle of their extra virgin olive oil, a 7 oz bottle of the vanilla bean olive oil (extra virgin infused with vanilla beans), a bottle of their mesquite smoked almond stuffed olives and their sweet red pepper and olive tapenade.

The last stop on our trip was The Pork Shop. Yes, that really is their name. Here’s proof. The shop only butchers pork, but it doesn’t just stop there. They make their own sausages that span everywhere from basic breakfast sausage all the way to German beirwurst, italian sausage and smoked andouille sausage. This is a very dangerous place for Sean and me. When we walked in, they had samples out and as we sampled those and they were polished off by the steady stream of customers walking in, those samples were replaced with other samples of other meats. As if we weren’t full enough already. Holy cow. The sausages were all so tasty it became hard to decide what to get and what not to get. We settled on a pork butt for Sean to smoke tomorrow for pulled pork. This decision was only made after a long discussion with the butcher on what they used and what they thought might be best. We also picked up 5 cheddar brats, 5 Fat Tire brats, 1 Parmesan Italian Sausage coil, 1 package smoked andouille sausage, 1 smoked ham hock, .5 lb beirwurst, 1lb pepper-smoked bacon and 1 log Wisconsin summer sausage. So we went a little crazy with the purchasing. You would have too, if you’d been in our shoes. Yum!

Dinner tonight? Brats (from The Pork Shop), roasted potatoes and pineapple (from Bountiful Baskets). Day of food indeed.

Madeleines

Another part of Sean’s anniversary gifts (yes, there were several) was a madeleine pan because I’ve been curious to try making these at home for a while. Madeleines are a shell-shaped sponge cake that are good to serve with coffee or tea. I finally had time to make some this morning, so here are some pictures of my first attempt at madeleines. Click on the picture to see the rest of them.

IMG_0013.jpg

I was pleased overall with how they came out. The batter was pretty easy to make, although it took a while. The next batch will definitely come out better now that I’ve got the hang of them. If you’re interested to see the recipe I used, here’s the recipe from King Arthur Flour Company (it’s the only type of flour I use now).