Blue Like Jazz

I love reading. The written word has such a powerful way of expressing ideas and emotions. I love how books carry on conversations with all of those who read them, and how they have the ability to actually become a part of you by influencing how you think and feel.  

I want to use this blog as a place where I share things that I enjoy and where I can share thoughts and ideas that are inspirational to me in my life. 

And reading thought provoking and enlightening books, brings me some of my greatest happiness in life. I'm so grateful that I was taught to read.  

Recently I finished read the book, "Blue Like Jazz" and I can not stop thinking about it.  

photo credit

This book is funny, honest, and beautiful. Most importantly though, it is meaningful. It will help you look inside your mind and heart. I cannot recommend this book enough. If you identify yourself as a Christian this is a definite must read, and if you don't care for or even don't like Christians then this is a definite must read.

To give you a taste of the book, here are a few quotes from it:

"I want my spirituality to rid me of hate, not give me reason for it."

"Christian spirituality was not a children's story. It wasn't cute or neat. It was mystical and odd and clean, and it was reaching into dirty. There was wonder in it and enchantment."

"I think that every living person, every person who is awake to the functioning principles within his reality has a moment where he stops blaming the problems in the world on group thinking, on humanity and authority, and starts to face himself. I hate this more than anything. This is the hardest principle within christian spirituality for me to deal with. The problem is not out there, the problem is the needy beast of a thing living in my chest." 
 - Donald Miller, Blue Like Jazz: Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality

I seriously loved this book. Miller has such an honest approach to his writing and the presentation of his different struggles and heartfelt ideas. Read it. You'll like it.      

Horse Auction and Maddox Ranch House

June 14, 2014:  We went to the Anderson Livestock Auction which is located in Willard, up by Brigham City. Today was one of their Horse and Tack Auctions, and we love to go see all that they have to offer.  

The weather could not have been more perfect. Sometimes it can get really hot and sticky in the auction shed - but not today. 

(Isn't it beautiful there?)

They had a really good turn out, with a large variety of horses. 
Some of them were older and pretty well trained, others were just yearlings and had never been rode. 

One or two of the horses seems a bit sick or neglected, and it just breaks your heart.  

Overall though, most of them seemed healthy and in good spirits. 
(Maybe just a little bit stressed about being in a new place.)

I walk through the corrals and end up wanting to take all of them home. Horses are just such beautiful animals. 

This is what the inside of the auction looks like. They always auction off the horse tack first. And yes - there is a man yelling out the prices at a 100 miles an hour.
 The ability to talk that fast is an art if you ask me. 

We didn't buy any horses (this time) but I was lucky enough to pickup some chaps for a fraction of what they would have cost me at a store. And if you think shopping at a store gets your feel-good endorphins going, you should try going to an auction sometime. It's so much more exciting and nerve racking.  

After being at the auction for a couple of hours, we all started to get hungry.
And when you're up here in this part of Utah, there is only one place to eat: Maddox Ranch House.

This place is the perfect combination of county and classy. And the food is amazing.
(This is my mom's favorite place to eat, and it's not hard to see why)

(Flowers and hot food. It doesn't get much better than that.) 

Underneath these delicious hot rolls are pieces of golden corn bread. 
The tables are stocked with Utah honey and you'll notice that the butter has a pink hue to it.
That's because its raspberry butter - and it is heavenly! 

The raspberry butter, rolls, and corn-pones alone are a good enough reason to come eat at Maddox,
but these aren't even the best part.
I wasn't able to get a photo of it, but if you like sea food, make sure to order the "Seafood Cocktail" which is mixture of crab, shrimp, and salad served with cocktail sauce. It's wonderful.  

I'm telling you. It doesn't get much better than this guys. 
If you want to look at the menu for yourself you can find it on their website here

Well what do you think? 
Have you ever been to an auction before? 
Do you have a favorite steakhouse in your area?

Garland Salmon Fry

The first Saturday in June is the Garland Fire Department Salmon Fry. Every year as a fundraiser the fire department serves "A Meal Fit for a King" which includes a salad, baked potato, dinner roll, and all you can eat Salmon. Yep. You read that right - all you can eat salmon. And the salmon is served with this wonderful butter sauce that brings out the flavor of the fish perfectly. It really is the best. 

When we were kids our family would come every year, and now it has become a family tradition. (I'm so grateful that J.R. was willing to drive us all the way up here. It really is a beautiful area this time of year.) 

While you're waiting in line you can smell the Salmon on the grill, and it makes your stomach grumble and your mouth water. We waited in line for 2 hours and 15 minutes - but it was worth it.

This little sweetheart did so well during the long wait. (Isn't she the cutest?)

We teased J.R. about being the only guy with us, and told him that people probably thought we were a polygamist family. 

He wasn't very amused. 

We were so excited to finally eat after waiting in line for so long, that we forgot to take a picture of the meal.  (Sorry) But remember the delicious Salmon Butter Sauce I was telling you about? Well my mom got the recipe years ago - and it's to good not to share with you! Plus it's a really easy recipe.  

Garland Grilled Salmon Butter Sauce

1 Pound of Butter
4 Tablespoons of Kikkoman Teriyaki Sauce 
8 Tablespoons Real Lemon Juice
1-2 Green Onions (chopped)
Pepper and Parsley to taste
Cook over low heat until melted and mixed. DO NOT BOIL. 
To serve: Pour over cooked Salmon like gravy. 

You may not be able to enjoy the whole "Garland Grill" experience for yourself, 
but now you can have a little taste of it. 

Make it next time you have Salmon. You won't regret it. Promise.

What are some of your favorite family summer traditions? 

P.S. - Want to see more pictures of the Salmon Fry?
 Check out this website.

Memorial Day Weekend 2014

We had a wonderful time in Logan over Memorial Day weekend. To kick start our 2014 Summer Bucket List we wanted to go on a hike, and we knew we wanted to do an easy hike. So we decided to try the "Tony Grove Lake Trail" which is a trail that circles a small lake. What we didn't know (or didn't realize) was that the lake is 8,050 ft above sea level, and that this early in the year it's still covered in a foot of snow. 

So we came up with a plan B -  the "Wind Caves"

The hike is narrow, steep, and beautiful. It was more difficult than we had planned for, so we took it slow and steady. It climbs around 1,000 feet in just 1.8 miles, but there are breath taking scenic views towards the top. Plus the caves are worth the climb!

We didn't take a lot of pictures of us on the hike because we were so sweaty and gross, but i wish we would have take more. It really is beautiful there. If you are in Logan, this is an experience you don't want to miss out on.  If you want to see more photos of the hike and the Wind Caves then check out this website.

What are some of your favorite hikes?

Bruges Waffles and Frites

Bruges Waffles and Frites is the perfect place to take your significant other and have a casual date that still feels special. We went for dinner and each ordered our own waffles with strawberries, cream, and chocolate. These waffles are unlike anything I've ever tasted. The cream is thick -almost like an ice cream. The waffles seems to have tiny bits of crystallized sugar baked into them, and the chocolate is divine. (It's imported from Belgium) The waffles are so rich, that halfway through our meal we realized that we should have just bought one and shared it. We also realized that these are definitely more of a dessert than a dinner.

(but what's wrong with eating dessert for dinner sometimes) 

Currently, they have three locations in Utah.
The original is located in Downtown Salt Lake at 336 W. 300 S. (Broadway),
their second location is in Sugarhouse on 2314 S. Highland Drive,
and they also have a location in the Canyons Ski Resort.
Plus, they are getting ready to open a fourth location in Provo.

So far we've only been to their Sugarhouse location.
We ate under one of the umbrellas on their patio, and afterwards we went for a walk in Fairmont Park.
It was wonderful, and I recommend this place to everyone.

Photo Credit

Click here for the link to their website. 
You can view part of their menu (they offer more than just waffles)
 and also read about the owner Pierre Vandamme, 
who was actually born and raised in Belgium.  

So what do you think? Anyone want to have breakfast dessert for dinner?