there's just nothing quite like summer time in Montana...
we recently had a little gathering to celebrate the time my parents were able to spend here... initially, when they first arrived to fill in as interim pastors at a church here in Whitefish until a permanent pastor was found, we were hoping for 3 or 4 months. 9 months later, here we were savoring the summer! God is SO good to give us time with each other. that's what gathering together is all about, spending time in conversation, making meals, talking walks. that's what the idea of SundaySupper is all about! that and great food of course!
summer calls for simplicity... it's too hot to fret over much! so, for this evening, i grabbed my two oil cloth table cloths that i've had forever and threw them over our picnic table. izzi cut some daisies and we put them in mason jars. i did go to great lengths to string the plastic flags between trees... quite a job considering the uneven ground that the ladder had to balance on and the enormous ants crawling on said trees that found me interesting. i like having supplies, like the plastic flags and the table cloths and striped paper straws, stored away for moments just like these. they may only get used a handful of times throughout the year, but they are worth saving! keep your eye out for sweet sales and stock up!
serving summer staples helps with keeping things simple... watermelon and smashed avocados never disappoint! also, i've found that collecting coordinating serving dishes is a plus and help in last minute situations. these red bowls you see are out of our camping gear! since we were going to be eating outside i grabbed all the camping/plastic picnic plates we have, which all happen to be various shades of red. and i have made a habit of collecting white bowls over the years as they simplify decisions...they go with any and everything!
Brian served delicious carnitas/shredded pork that we served over greens or with beans and a corn tortilla.
Brian Rays Carnitas
6-8 oz pork shoulder cut into 2-3 inch cubes; sprinkle heavily with salt and pepper; brown the meat in a large stock pot; when browned remove from pot; chop 2 large onions, 3 carrots, 4 stalks of celery and sauté in the same stock pot as the meat; sweat the veggies for about 5 minutes, scraping the bottom of the pan to incorporate the remaining delicious bits of browned residue (will add amazing flavor); add the pork back in to the pot with the veggies; add 6 cups vegetable stock, 2 cups of milk, 2-3 bay leaves, 8-10 cloves of garlic to the pork and veggies; bring to a gentle boil, lower to simmer for 5-10 minutes skimming the fat off the top as it rises. add 2 TBSP of dried oregano and then place lid on top and put in a 300 degree oven; cook for 3 hours
after 3 hours all of the liquid should be absorbed; stir around with a fork, effectively shredding the pork; spread out evenly on a foil covered baking sheet and place back in the oven...crank the heat to 425 and let roast for 10-15 minutes, stirring every few minutes for an even crisp.
serve on a warm tortilla with rice, beans and salsa, or over fresh, crisp greens with avocado.
something we've grown quite fond of is slicing fruit to put in our water. we drink a lot of water around here and the addition of fruit gives it a little twist... in the dispenser above i put lemons, limes and cucumbers, but mixed berries with lots of mint is also very delicious! the other dispenser is full to the brim of sun tea, which i prefer iced, of course, and without sweetener.
we stayed outdoors as long as we could... then, the bugs came out. so we enjoyed our delicious homemade pie (courtesy of my awesome daughter-in-love) inside. and by 'we' i do not mean the dogs! even though, clearly, Sydney is under the impression that she was next in line.
it's such a blessing to have had my dad here to speak into our lives in person! i love that now that my kids are older they can have a deeper relationship with their grandparents. oh, i encourage you to involve your kids in their grandparents lives. they are a blessing to each other.