Jul 24, 2014

I'm Moving...

...blogging platforms and domain servers, that is. You may stumble upon a wonky looking Withlove-rachel.com over the next week, but do not be alarmed. I'm learning as I go, and while I think I've got this, I expect something is bound to go wrong.

 But also, because I am old school and follow blogs through the Blogger dashboard, in the past I've lost blogs that I read regularly when they've made a similar switch. It was sad; I thought they stopped blogging. I'm not stopping. This could (but hopefully won't) happen if you're following me on Google Friend Connect. In other words, feel free to follow me on Bloglovin', sign up for email subscription with the form on the right, and while you're at it you can get updates by following me on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook.

Thanks for reading, and I promise I've got plenty more fun stuff in the pipeline that will make it worth your while.

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Jul 23, 2014

Slow Cooker Al Pastor Tacos

I love tacos. I mean, I really, really looovvvee them, as long as they're legit. Let's first set the record straight: "hard shell tacos" do not count as tacos. It's okay if you like those things, but when I'm talking about tacos, I am talking about freshly warmed corn tortillas, lots of spicy meat, onions, cilantro, and lime. A little pico de gallo and avocado are an added bonus. But none of that ground beef and shredded lettuce crap.

Okay, so where was I going with this? Oh yeah, one of my favorite kinds of tacos are Al Pastor. Al Pastor is traditionally rotisserie grilled, like shawarma or doner. In fact, I learned that Al Pastor is one of those great fusion foods, inspired by Lebanese immigrants settling in Mexico. You learn something new every day...

Anyway, I don't have a spit and I don't have time for that, so this is a cheat method for making your own Al Pastor, in a slow cooker. This recipe is so, so easy and it makes for AH-MAZING tacos. The chipotles bring a nice smoky flavor, while the pineapple adds a hint of sweetness while making the pork fork- tender. Here's what you need:

  • 2-3 pounds of pork roast, tenderloin, or shoulder (I used roast)
  • 1 small can of chipotle chiles in adobo (7 oz)
  • 1 (8oz) can of diced pineapple with the juice
  • 1/2 cup of chopped white onion
  • a spice blend using a teaspoon each of : salt, pepper, cayenne, cumin, and oregano
  • (optional) A hearty squeeze of Sriracha. It adds some extra heat and garlic, and I just believe that Sriracha makes everything better.

That's it! Just plop the pork in the slow cooker, sprinkle the spices over the pork, pour the onions on top (if you buy pre-chopped onions, added lazy bonus!) pop open the cans and ooze them on top, and voila! Put a lid on it, set to low, and let it do it's magic for 8 hours. (5 hours on high  if you're short on time.)

The toppings are totally up to you, but I made sure to have freshly chopped onion and cilantro, some goat cheese crumbles (cojita would be better, but I couldn't find any), avocado slices, and freshly made pico de gallo (easy-peasy: just stir up some diced tomato, onion, cilantro, lime juice, garlic salt, and pepper.) And of course, get yourself the best corn tortillas you can find and warm them up on your stove.

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Jul 21, 2014

So This Happened.

For much of this past week, I've felt like a real jackass.

You see, on Tuesday we adopted this cat.

I know, those eyes are ridiculously huge, right?

A friend of mine had her but couldn't keep her because their older cat terrorized her too much and the situation wasn't safe or happy for her. We arranged for the kitty to come over and meet Khaleesi first, to make sure our dog wouldn't terrorize her more than the old bully cat, and the two animals seemed curious and confused about one another, but very gentle and there was no chasing, swatting, biting, barking, hissing to be had so we thought, Great! We'll keep her!

She is a shy little kitty who kept hiding in corners of the room, but she also liked to be held and to cuddle with me and C. We threw around a few ideas for names but decided to wait until we knew her better. She cuddled on the couch with C while I went to bed, and he dozed off just after she jumped down and curled up under a chair.

 Then when he woke up, she was gone.

She's probably just hiding somewhere, I said and tried to go back to sleep. But C had already searched all over the house.  Babe, you left the back door open over night,  he reluctantly explained.

Shit. I often leave the door to the backyard open a little so that Khaleesi can go out to go potty. But I was still pretty certain that the cat was just shy and hiding out, so we figured we'd wait a day, and that she'd eventually come out for her food. Except that Khaleesi also has a penchant for cat food and can sniff it out no matter where I try to hide it, so that complicated matters more (and probably freaked the cat out more if she was hiding and watching).

After 24 hours, we decided to tell the couple that gave her to us, since their phone number was still on her tag. I felt like such an asshole having to explain that we already lost the cat. C made flyers and posted them around our block, and I searched the backyard and our neighbors' bushes (at night, with a flashlight, like a real creep).

I kept assuring myself and C that she was probably just hiding where we couldn't see her, but as the weekend crept up on us, even I began to lose that optimism. We went out of town for a wedding and left bowls of food around the house just in case, but C had completely lost hope by that point.

Then while we were out of town, the couple that gave her to us found a promising lead on Craigslist. A woman in Huntington Beach had found a small black cat with large eyes. We all called her that morning (ha, poor woman) but she had taken the cat to a local shelter, so while getting ready for the wedding I was on the phone trying to track down this poor cat and then analyzing photos to see if it really was her. I was so excited for a lead and so frustrated that I'd have to wait 24 hours before I could go check it out.

So when I finally made it home on Sunday morning, my plan was to drop off the dog and then head to the shelter right away. I walked into the front entry way and almost kicked over two small empty Tupperware containers near the front door.

The food I had left for her! It was empty, and her favorite toy was next to the bowl. I ran to another hiding spot where I left food and it was empty too! And the litterbox had been used!

So the point of that whole story is that we do now indeed own a really cute cat, even though she has no name and we haven't seen her since Tuesday night. Or maybe the point of that story is that HA! I was right! The cat was in the house all along and I actually didn't screw everything up by leaving the door open! Or maybe the point is that there is now a ninja kitty hiding somewhere, maybe in the walls, maybe in a closet behind my shoes, maybe in some crawl space I didn't even realize existed in this house, and sooner or later she is going to scare the bejeezus out of me.

In fact, "Ninja" is now on the short list of possible names, as is Arya (since we've already got one Game of Thrones pet name). We welcome any suggestions! Also, we're ordering this  feeder

to keep Khaleesi from eating her food. Anyone have advice or experience with something like it? Is it worth it?

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