Sunday, July 22, 2012

Blue Moon Wisteria

I forgot to post about my Blue Moon wisteria!  This is the first year I have ever had a flower on my wisteria vine (bush? tree?).
It's been growing for 4 years.  It is VERY hardy.  I don't protect it at all in the winter and it's in a fairly exposed area.  So Blue Moon wisteria really is hardy in Minnesota zone 4!

This is what it looked like to start out.

I wasn't sure what it was going to look like when it bloomed, because I've never seen a wisteria bloom.

It was more purple than blue, but it shows up very blue in pictures.  I bought this vine at Menard's, of all places, for about $25.  I go back every year and ask them if they have any more.  Every year they look at me like I'm crazy - "Wisteria?  What's that?"

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Homemade vs. Qudoba vs. Chipotle

For my parent's anniversary I tried to make a Chipotle-esque meal.  Our family is a big fan of Chipotle's veggie bowls.  And their chips.
However, a Qudoba opened in town a few weeks before my parent's anniversary and I was curious to see what they had to offer.  Turns out they didn't have much.  I really, really wanted to like Qudoba, because the 'local' Chipotle is an 2 hour drive round trip.  The Qudoba is only 10 mins. away.
Unfortunately, I was disappointed by Qudoba.  Not only are the portion sizes half the size of Chipotle's - Qudoba is more expensive and the food is very flavorless.
I tried Qudoba twice, because I wanted to believe that the first time was just a bad mistake.  The 2nd time I took some 'authentic Mexicans', as in friends visiting from Mexico.  They also thought the food was flavorless and we all walked away disappointed and still hungry.

I wish I had weighed the 2 meals!  The Chipotle one was MUCH heavier.  The round bowls are deceiving.
Qudoba: Veggie/Naked bowls $6.29 each + .69 for veggies (stupid) = $6.98
Chips - $1.99

Chipotle: Veggie bowl $6.25
Chips $1.25

After eating the Qudoba meal I was still hungry.  I could only eat 1/2 of the Chipotle meal.  
I did the testing on 2 different days - to be fair ;)

So could I make Chipotle at home???

Well, I tried.  I made a Cuban black bean recipe that had green olives and chocolate in it.

I had corn, olives and queso fresco - which is tasty with lime squeezed over it.

And I made fruit salad.  Bonus fruit salad ingredient picture!

I sauteed onions in achiote oil - achiote paste and olive oil.  It makes a tasty red oil.

I pan seared peppers and onions.  Plus added a little bottled smoke flavor to give them that grilled smokiness.

And we had a delicious meal.  BUT I would still drive 2 hours to eat Chipotle.  It just can't be replicated!  Or replaced!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

40th Anniversary

It was my parent's 40th wedding anniversary in May.  These are pictures from the anniversary dinner at my house.

Flowers from my garden.

The dinner.