Monday, October 14, 2013


So we've been home for a week, and boy, what a week it has been!

  • Got the house cleaned and in order
  • Helped Ryan assemble a 350 lb smoker - and trial run it before our party
  • Returned to work after my leave and got to read about 300 emails. (I think 5 were worth reading)
  • Had a mini dinner party Friday night - made grilled filet mignon, asparagus, & butternut squash risotto
  • Ran 10 miles to resume my marathon training
  • Prepped and threw a party Saturday night with approximately 45 guests
Sunday after cleaning up, scrubbing the floors, and getting the house back in order - I will admit I fell asleep with my feet danging in the pool.

When I set up this party, I wanted to do something easy. "Let's grill some burgers, have a big salad, and call it a day!"

Somehow that transformed into a menu of......

  • Smoke Pulled pork
  • Pulled pork flatbreads
  • 4-cheese bacon Mac'N'Cheese
  • North Carolina-style Slaw
  • Smoked Beer Can Chickens
So Saturday morning Ryan was up at 3:00 am getting the fire started and getting the meat on the smoker! I joined him arounnd 4:30-5 am, and started the cooking. Making 4 home-made pizza doughs, pounds worth of this freshly-shredded mac'n'cheese, meticulously julienne-cutting cabbage for the coleslaw.

But I was smiling ear-to-ear. It felt so good to reunite with my kitchen. I feel like a woman again.

The party was everything I envisioned it to be. I took absolutely zero pictures, as I was way too occupied being a social butterfly trying to make sure I connected with everyone that came out.

It made me realize how blessed we are. We have such a positive, awesome group of friends Great pepole, great families. There really is "no place like home"

Below I've shared the few pictures I took! Which is only of food before the guests arrived.

The pork, aka "Boston Butt" ready to be smoked. Taking at 0330!

The smoker ready to go!!
All smiles, kneading bread dough. I originally wanted to lift weights after my run Saturday -- but when I realized how much cooking I had to do. I realized I had to pick one of the other! It worked out, because I got my "strength training" in kneading all the bread!

The finished product! I don't know why these pictures got so fuzzy! The pizzas had our special "BBQ Pizza sauce", with fresh cilantro, mozzarella cheese, black olives, and pulled pork. They were delicious!

Ryan shredding all that pork!! It went pretty quick, as the meat just fell off the bone!
The chickens, along with the Mac N Cheese went within the 1st 30 minutes!!!

As I'm seeing people for the first time, and am asked about San are my reflections:

  • It was an invaluable experience. It forced me to make a new group of friends, work in a new place, and find my way through a new city.
  • It make me really, really appreciate what I have. I didn't like living in a tiny, dark, yucky, old, ugly hotel room. I didn't like having to use a hot plate and a crockpot. But I did it, and I made it fun and enjoyable!
  • I've learned that you can make anything in a crock pot. I learned that hot plates have 2 levels "Boiling fricking hot" and "Off"
  • I learned that I'm not the happiest working in an environment where I'm just merely a worker. I thrive on taking some form of ownership and leadership. It drives me nuts when I'm the outsider who doesn't have a place to state her opinion.  I don't like just "showing up" to work. I have to attach some meaning to it.
  • I learned that my body can adapt to any climate. It takes transition, persistence, patience, and about 3 weeks.
  • I will never be able to say "y'all" with a straight face.
  • San Antonio isn't that cool. The Riverwalk is neat. Once. Want to find a neat place in a new city? Go to, find the area with the most expensive homes, and find a shopping center in that area -- they will have the eclectic restaurants with the atmosphere we like.
  • It takes a team. I spent every weekend hopping from library to Starbucks to library -- to get out of our room, supporting Ryan, so he would study. I made flashcards and study guides. I wanted to be out riding my bike, going to the lake, shopping - but I chose to be his number 1 fan. It definitely stregthened our marriage.
  • Austin is amazing. If for some reason we ever had to live in San Antonio, we would frequently visit Austin to get away.


Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

Yum! The food pics look awesome and I am so glad that so many of your friends were able to make it. I totally understand why you didn't take photos as it's more important to be in the moment instead of trying to record it on film (err on your iPhone). I am so glad this SA experience is behind you and you are back home. It's good that it has made you appreciate Tucson even more. It sounds like you learned a lot about yourself and strengthened your marriage, so it's good to see that some blessings came out of a phase of your life that was not without its challenges!

Marlys said...

That food looks positively awesome! I would love to taste that pizza! How did your coleslaw go? I bet you're glad you didn't shred 3 heads of cabbage! I agree with Lisa in that you learned something from your San Antonio experience and grew in your relationship! That is powerful!