Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Barbeque Pulled Chicken Sandwiches

Yesterday when I was trying to think of what to make for dinner, I remembered these yummy chicken sandwiches that I found in my Rachael Ray magazine a few months ago. They are super easy to make and really tasty! Give them a shot!

Here's what you'll need:

4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
Salt and pepper
1 onion finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 1/3 cups barbecue sauce
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar (this is the key to make the chicken taste awesome!)
Hot pepper sauce
6 kaiser or French rolls, split
6 ounces shredded cheese (Monterey Jack, Provolone, or Mozzarella cheese)

Season the chicken with salt and pepper and place in a heavy pot with the onion, garlic and just enough water to cover (about 1 1/2 cups). (You could also use chicken stock for a richer sauce, or go half and half with chicken stock and water.) Add the barbecue sauce, vinegar and a few drops hot sauce and bring to a boil.

Reduce the heat and simmer until the chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes. Remove the chicken from the sauce and shred with two forks.

Boil the sauce, skimming occasionally, until reduced by half, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the shredded chicken and heat through. Spoon the mixture onto the rolls and top with the cheese.


Monday, June 25, 2007

The Best Two Years!

Today is Michael and my two year anniversay. I can't believe how quickly it has gone by! (I remember thinking the same thing last year at about this time.) I remember something my Uncle Chris said to me the day we got married...he said, "You won't believe how much more you will love Michael next year, and 5 years from now, and fifty years from now!" At the time, I didn't think I could love Michael any more than I did that day. But now, I see the wisdom in his words. Here's to you, Michael.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

My Day in Court

Well, the day that I went to visit, anyway. Mike has been a regular at the courthouse for the last couple weeks and he comes home with some really funny stories. This week, he was telling us about a trial that began on Wednesday in which a self-proclaimed white supremacist was accused of robbing a Wells Fargo bank two years ago in downtown Salt Lake City. The accused, who decided to represent himself, is a member of The Order, a fundamentalist element of the Aryan Nation, and justifies his robbery as a way to fund their war against "a corrupt government". Mike told us we should come to court the next day to check it out. As it happened, my day was pretty open, so Lauren and I took him up on his offer. It was pretty interesting. Lauren and I felt like Elle Woods' two best friends coming to cheer her on in court.

We got to court just in time to see the defendant cross examining the FBI Agent who arrested him. Not quite as fast-paced as Law and Order, but still pretty fun. Then the jurors were let out of the courtroom for a short recess. The defendant was planning to testify, but at the very last second, he decided not to. Lauren and I were so bummed--it probably would've been hilarious! So, when the defense rested, it was on to the closing arguments--quite interesting. It seemed to be a slam dunk for the prosecution...and after 12 minutes of deliberation, the jurors came back with a guilty verdict!

To read the whole story, click here then here.

Also, click on Lauren's post for her point of view!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The Summer of Taryn

This is what Michael has dubbed this summer. Right now we are a couple weeks into the internship that Mike has at the US Attorney's office in Salt Lake City. He seems to be enjoying it so far. When he first started, he used to go to the courthouse and see criminals be sentenced. He is working in the General Crimes division, although he is pretty sure he never wants to practice criminal law.

This job only goes until July 13th--Mike wanted to maximize his time this summer and get as much experience in different types of law as possible. Last week, he accepted a job in Kalispell, MT for the second half of the summer! He will be working with the TOP real estate attorney in town for about 25% of his time, and he will work with the hospital for the rest of the time--so the he can be exposed to all the types of law that the hospital is involved in. Not only does this sound like a really amazing opportunity for him, but it also means that we will be living in the "casita" at my parents' house! Could I have planned this summer any better?! The first half of the summer living with my twin, and the second half hanging with my parents and Dean! My husband is too good to me.

After Mike finishes a day of work, we will have about 5 hours (it doesn't get dark in Monty until about 10pm) to hit the lake, go golfing, wakeboarding, tubing, waterskiing, kayaking, whatever we feel like! You know what they say about all work and no play...hee hee.

Here are just a couple pics of all the fun we had on our visit to Kalispell last summer:

...on our trek to Glacier National Park...

...playing on Lake Blaine...

...cheering for Dean at the championship game...

...and making final preps before my mom's "welcome to the neighborhood" party. All these fun things in less than a week--just think about how much fun we will have in five weeks!

Thursday, June 07, 2007


At 4:30am the morning after Tessa's wedding, I went to the airport to catch a plane to Austin, TX to compete in my first triathlon. Despite running on three hours of sleep, I was so amped about the race, there was no way I was going to be able to fall asleep. I finished my book and then I re-read all of the rules and race info for the triathlon. When I finally arrived in Austin, Tara picked me up and we headed to the hotel to check in. Throughout the afternoon, Tara and I would look at each other and just laugh, not quite believing what we were about to do.

After we settled into our hotel room, we went to get a bite to eat and see a bit of the city. First stop, the Capital, where Tara gave me a quick history lesson on the state of Texas.

As we were leaving the Capital, the rain started to come down...a very light rain at first, but the weather forecast was predicting a much stormier weekend. As we drove back to the hotel, we got pretty excited as we drove past a few of these:

By the time we went back to the hotel to pick up our race packets and check our bikes in, the rain was coming down pretty hard and we got drenched when we took our bikes to the transition area! But, when I asked one of the volunteers if we would race in this kind of weather the next day, he said, "Oh, yeah. We'll race in this. If there is lightning, then the bike will be cancelled, but the race will still be on." I thought to myself, "Oh, no. Don't cancel the bike, that's my best event!"

Tara and I went to get a little carb-loading in at Hula Hut, a place my friend Heidi, former resident of Austin, recommended. But, by then, the pit in my stomach had grown, and I was almost too nervous to eat! I did manage to drink about a liter of diet coke, though. The restaurant must be quite popular, because the wait for a table was over an hour and a half!

As we were getting ready to go to bed, I got a text from the race officials saying the race was set to proceed as scheduled. Ohmigosh, by then the butterflies in my stomach were out of control! But, by some miracle, I finally fell asleep around midnight. Unfortunately, that didn't last long, and I was up again at 4am...ugh. Not exactly the night's sleep I was hoping for before the tri. At 5:39, when the olympic distance racers were preparing to check in (their race started at 7am), I got another text that said to "stay tuned, stay dry, more updates to come". I went to look out the window and it looked like a torrential downpour! However, there was no lightning, so I thought I would at least still get to do the bike. Shortly thereafter, at 6:09, I got yet another text that said the swim was cancelled and that the event cancellation would be decided at 7:30am. By this time, Tara and I are wide awake and starting to fear the worst. To be honest, the swim is easily my weakest event, so I was slightly relieved. But, the swim was also the part of the race that I was most excited to prove to myself that I could do, so I was also pretty upset. At 6:43am, the final blow came when the text arrived that the triathlon had been cancelled. I was honestly too shocked to really believe the news.

This is what Town Lake had turned into because of all the run-off from the storm. When we checked into the hotel the day before, we had a great view of the beautiful blue Town Lake. When we woke up, and it got light enough to see the water, this is what it looked like. Sick. Yeah, good call on cancelling the swim.

We went down to the lobby of the hotel, where all the other racers were waiting for another update. The doppler radar didn't lie--all of Austin was completely covered by the storm. We went to pick up our bikes from the transition area and the entire field was covered with about a foot of water...our feet were completely submerged as we ran to get our bikes...but, it was no use, we got completely soaked!

I was totally crushed. I mean, talk about taking the wind out of someone's sails! Three and a half months of training--dragging myself out of bed at 5:30am to go to the gym before work and then going right back to the gym after work, despite wanting to do anything but, and finally feeling ready and getting all they way down to Austin, and they cancel the race?!?! I still get pretty worked up about it, so I will stop before I go on another tirade. Team Tar is currently exploring other options to complete a triathlon before the summer is over. Hopefully we will have better luck next time.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Wedding Party Favors

For my second act as a wanna-be professional baker (the first being the cupcake tasting party), I made sugar cookie wedding cakes. When I got to Utah, Tessa asked me if I would make favors for the wedding party. At first she wanted just a normal sugar cookie with the initial "O" on it for Olson, her new last name...but after our consultation, we decided that a wedding cake sugar cookie would be a bit more festive for the occasion. (I did end up piping a blue on on the top tier of each cake.)

This was definitely a learning experience for me, as I experimented with different layer sizes and different frosting techniques. It was also a more lengthy process than I initially anticipated and I was working on them right up until I had to get ready to go to the temple. But, I am happy to say the final product was a success. And, I am available for hire, if anyone needs some wedding cake party favors!

Tessa and Duffy

Well, they did it! On May 26th, Tessa and Duffy made it official! Welcome to the family, Duffy! After the sealing, Faren and I stayed to help the photographer (really, we were there to hold Tessa's train as she walked and make sure not a hair was out of place for each picture). Tessa and Duffy couldn't stop smiling the entire time, stealing kisses when they thought we weren't looking and saying things like, "We're married! I'm your wife! I'm a wife!" (Ok, so, Tessa was saying those things.) Being married in the same temple nearly two years ago, I remeber having those same sentiments as Michael and I took our pictures on the temple grounds.

The reception was fabulous! Dean performed a song on his guitar for the happy couple and he was outstanding! The food was delicious--my favorite thing was the passed fun! I got to hang out with my family and even a few of the divas! Despite my super-high heels (I am the shortest in my family and was trying to shorten the gap, pun intended), I had a great time dancing with Michael. The weather couldn't have been better and the entire evening seemed to fly by!

Congratulations to Tessa and Duffy!

Monday, June 04, 2007

Let the good times roll...

I know it has been a while since I've posted anything new, which is actually not because there has been nothing to post about, but because there has been so much going on and no time to sit down and blog!

First things first: After three full days in the car, Mike and I finally arrived in Utah! Just in time for dinner at Granny's house. Here we are helping to make favor bags for Tessa and Duffy's wedding. It was quite the production--we had teams of two, one person to fill the bags with candy and fold them with precision at Lauren's direction, the other person to prepare the "Tessa & Duffy" stickers and place them on the bag.

As we were talking with Tessa and Duffy about their plans for the week and details about the wedding, Duffy mentioned that the one thing he wanted to be involved in with the wedding plans was the cake tasting. However, as one of Tessa's friends was making the wedding cake, there never had been an actual tasting. So, I decided that I would make our own cake tasting for Duffy and planned three different cakes. The first was a three-layer banana caramel cupcake with banana slices and caramel in between each layer, the second was a vanilla butter cake with a meringue cup filled with fresh whipped cream and berries, and the third was a devil's food cupcake with fresh whipped cream, dusted with cocoa powder and topped with shaved chocolate.

On Thursday, Tessa's best friend from Tupelo, Faren, got to town and the real wedding festivities began. We got manis and pedis...

...we went to Nordstom...

...we went to the spa...

...we had lunch at Promontory Point in Park City...

...we had a rehearsal dinner full of funny toasts and yummy food...

...and all that was left to do before the wedding was to have our hair done by Lacey. I went last, can you tell?

It was such a fun and eventful week and it flew by! I was so happy to be there for all the fun pre-wedding festivities!