Gourmet-Style Hamburgers at Home

Aug 29, 2010 4 comments

There are a lot of really good restaurants in Albuquerque.  I'd say there are more local dining options here than anywhere else I've lived.  It's nice, but lately I've been feeling like I'm eating out a lot, which can get expensive (and is not always the healthiest option either). 

So this weekend, I decided to make an effort to get to the grocery store and make up some tasty, inexpensive dinners at home.  One New Mexico staple is the green chile cheeseburger.  Yesterday, when I went to Sunflower Market, they were roasting chiles out in the parking lot.  They smelled really good.  So I picked some up, along with 93% lean ground beef, sliced yellow cheddar (both on sale), a red onion (75 cents), a few slices of bacon, and whole wheat hamburger buns.  

Last night, Matt and I cooked the burgers up on the grill.  We also grilled the bacon, which worked out really well.  And toasted the buns with a little butter, garlic and red chili powder.  In the end, we came up with this.

A green chile bacon cheeseburger that would rival any burger at a restaurant, and for about a third of the price.  We took a look at the grocery receipt and decided that we spent about $3 per burger.  At a restaurant, the same thing would cost around $9. 

And tonight, we're using the rest of the meat to make sloppy joes.  Yum!


Aug 28, 2010 4 comments

I didn't take too many pictures at Ben Lilly last week, but I thought this looked pretty cool.

Some Award Business

Aug 22, 2010 4 comments

Recently, my blog friend, Chloe, gave me not one... but two neato awards!


So I thought I'd play along and share some things about me, seven things to be more specific.

1.  I cannot eat avocados.  They make my stomach upset.
2.  When my sister is in the shower, I sneak in to the bathroom, put a hairbrush behind the shower curtain and scream "It's a snake!"  It scares her every time.
3.  My brother, sister and I all have different colored eyes.
4.  I like modern art and ancient Chinese art best.
5.  I have been craving Dairy Queen like no other for the past month now.   MMMM... Chocolate crunchy shell...
6.  I don't really like driving.
7.  I took piano lessons for 10 years, and by college I could play Moonlight Sonata, but I can't remember how to play it anymore.

I think I'm supposed to pass this award along to people, so here's what I'm going to do.  If you're listed on my sidebar blog list, and you ever care to read this post, then you win!


Snow Lake

Aug 21, 2010 4 comments

This past week, while I was working, I stayed at a new campsite by Snow Lake.  Everyone else was staying in a hotel (wimps!) and my mapping area is a lot closer to Snow Lake than Ben Lilly.  So, it was just me and my boss.  Camping.  For three nights.  Fun.

Here's where we camped, along with a group of drunk male college students, who said "Dude!" to each other like a million times within a 5 minute period.

On our last night there, I finally had a chance to get some pictures of the lake.  Here it is in all its Snowy, Lakey glory.

In Michigan we would call that a pond, but we also would call hills "mountains," so you win some, you lose some, I suppose.  It's still really pretty, though.

On my journey to the lake, I found a really cool looking rock.  It looks like obsidian but it also has some weird silvery-white stripes on it.

Believe it or not, I did some actual work last week as well.  Every year, we have a field review to show an example of the work we did, and for that we dig a big 1m x 1m pit so the main boss can look at it.  Here's the first one I dug. 

It was NOT fun to dig, because, as you can see in the pile next to the pit, there were about a thousand rocks getting in the way of the soil.  Want to know the best (aka worst) part?  After we had finished digging, we found out that the plot didn't fit the map unit we wanted to put it in because there were no oak trees around.  So I got to go down the hill and dig another, much deeper one.  It was AWESOME.  I didn't take a picture of that one.

One pit we dug was in an interesting looking flat area mostly covered with iris and a grass called spike muhly.

Spike Muhly, image from USDA Plants Database

And here's what the site looked like.

Another day, I saw a cool frog and tried to take a picture but I was too close and it turned out all blurry.  Too bad!

Not to be deterred by my poor photography skills, I ended the week with a cool misty morning picture of the campsite.


Ben Lilly

Aug 14, 2010 4 comments

For the past four weeks, I have stayed at a lovely little campground in the middle of the forest called Ben Lilly.  I have no idea why it's called that.  Probably after some old rich dude who gave the forest a lot of money.

Anyway, it's pretty.  Here's what I woke up to one morning when I looked out of my tent.

The stream that runs through here is called Willow Creek.  It's a smaller stream that feeds into the Gila River.  There was record snow pack on the mountains this year so it's flowing really well.  It was nice listening to it rushing by as I fell asleep at night.  Very peaceful.

The camp site is pretty high altitude so there are a lot of cool trees I don't usually see like Engelmann and Blue Spruce.  But the elevation drops off pretty quickly as I get more into my mapping area and it looks really different.

A lot of what I'm working in is in the Ponderosa Pine forest, which is a couple columns, or climate zones, lower than the Spruce/Fir forest.  It's different looking, but still really pretty.

Then there's a huge part of my mapping area that is really weird.  I'm still trying to figure out what's up with it.  It's a lot like the Ponderosa forest in terms of grasses and forbs (flowering plants) but there are hardly any Ponderosas at all.  Instead, there are scattered junipers and a bunch of open grassland.  Here it is with a storm brewing overhead.

A possible reason for all this open area is fire.  There are a lot of areas with burned trees, so it's definitely prone to it.  This part has just had enough time to get back to a juniper grassland, and the Ponderosas in similar surrounding areas indicate that it's trying to get back to a Ponderosa forest.  This is what I am trying to show with my mapping. 

So that's just a little bit about where I'm working and what I'm doing.  I won't bore you with all the details but hope you enjoy the pictures.


Free Carpet Cleaning, No Work Involved

Aug 8, 2010 8 comments

In theory, I like to keep things clean.  When I first moved into my apartment, I said "I am going to clean a different room in the house every weekend.  That way everything will stay clean all the time!" 

Even though that didn't really happen, at all, I still have the desire to have a nice, clean apartment where I can invite people over, if I ever had any people to invite over.  Oh well.

Anyway, it's hard to clean up after myself especially during field season when apartment life consists of walking in with muddy boots, dropping all my stuff somewhere in the living room, finding something to eat in the freezer and collapsing on the couch.  Stuff can get a little dirty.

But I found a simple, free way to (partially) remedy this problem.  And all I had to do was renew my lease.

Remember the muddy boots?  Well, muddy boots make for muddy carpets.  I've been thinking about renting a shop vac or something to clean up the drippy, muddy spots that have accumulated over the two years that I've lived here.  But it's a funny thing how working hours seem to coincide so well with business hours, so I don't really get much of that stuff done.

So imagine my surprise when I find a note stuck to my door announcing that if I renew my lease, I will get a FREE carpet cleaning.  What?  A carpet cleaning that costs no money and involves no work for me?  I'm in!

I scheduled an appointment for this past Friday morning, between 8:30 and 9 a.m.  This was an added bonus because I got to sleep in while waiting for the carpet cleaner guy to arrive.  By 9, everything had been picked up off the floor and the dude shows up with his special clean-y vacuum.  I waited while he did his thing, which couldn't have lasted more that 15 minutes, and when he walked out the door, I had a fresh clean carpet under my feet.

A guy I knew in school once told me that he would vacuum his room every weekend because he liked the way the lines looked on the floor.  Now I see what he means.  And now that my carpet is clean, I'm going to work hard to keep it that way for as long as I can.  And who knows, maybe I'll get another free cleaning next year!