I've decided to post our trip in a series of posts, one for leg of our trip. Because this is more of a "journally" post, I've decided to add a recipe onto each part.
Why? Because a: I have some great cooks in my California family and b: Let's be honest, sometimes family vacation posts can get a bit boring.
Back to part one, we started our trip in Calimesa, staying with Mike's parents. We didn't get there until late Friday night.
Mike and I have complained in the past that we haven't had any real exciting monsoon weather for the past few years in Arizona (except that crazy storm last year that practically uprooted every other tree in Tempe...), but on our drive Friday night, we hit the storm to make up for all of that. I wish I had pictures of all of it because it was spectacular. However, little sunlight, moving cars, and a simple camera do not result in spectacular pictures. I'll just have to paint a picture with words for this one.
First off, as we drove out of Phoenix, there was an impressive mass of clouds looming over us as the sun began to set, with a little square of sunlight peeking through the middle of the mass. A perfect, heavenly, picture window. It was if Heavenly Father could be sitting on the other side of those clouds, just looking out His window and smiling at us all below. A little reassuring wink to let us know we are being cared for.
As we drove nearer to the California border, the clouds and the sky began to darken. Suddenly, we could see what looked like a dense fog or dust cloud settling on the road ahead. It felt like driving into a wall of haze. Fittingly, we were listening to In Rainbows by Radiohead. Just as we entered this bank of haze, "Weird Fishes" began to play and the rain began to fall, gently at first, then heavier as we went on. I have never been in a hurricane or a tornado, but I imagine that what we were experiencing was something akin to being in the eye. It was turbulent around us, with an eerie calm as we drove, the wind, rain and lightning surrounding us. We had quite the lightning show and continued driving in the eye of the storm for about 40 minutes until we finally broke away into calmer weather. It was better than any movie I have ever seen.
On Saturday, Mike and his brother and sister (Josh and Denise) helped his dad move some house stuff to their new home in Oceanside. I stayed in Calimesa with the boys. After lunch, we drove over to my sister- and brother-in-laws' house to play with the cousins. The boys loved that.
After we all got back to the house, we ate dinner. Yummy chicken tacos.
Here's my mother-in-law's creative twist on making chicken tacos:
She cooks chicken tenderloins in a covered pot on the stovetop along with a can of Mexican stewed tomatoes, letting them boil and then shredding the meat and tomato mixture. It is a great and easy way to impart a little extra flavor into your meat and turns out so tender. Then you assemble your soft corn tortilla tacos with any desired toppings (sour cream, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, avacado...). Just warm the tortillas up without frying them. Trust me, it still tastes good without all of the grease.
I love a simple and healthy meal!
Next stop, Bakersfield and an easy chocolate muffin that's good for you!