Saturday, June 1, 2013

I{HEART}ART: Inspiration: Cactus Wren
"CACTUS WREN" by Tina C. Wells, Acrylic on canvas, 8"x8"
A quick get-away took us to Carefree, AZ. We sat on our secluded desert porch and watched this little cactus wren hop from plant to plant. I love the polka-dotted belly and tail. 

JOURNEY: Carefree

Carefree, Arizona: The Boulders
Over the Memorial Day weekend, we took a trip to see my husband’s family in AZ. With built-in babysitting, we dropped off the kids in Phoenix and headed for an overnight stay in Carefree, Arizona. It doesn’t sound like a real place, does it? More like a state of mind, but actually Carefree is a real location just northeast of Phoenix. It does live up to its name; truly I felt as though I was getting away, breathing deeper, relaxing in this desert oasis. Carefree, and its sister town of Cave Creek is all that I want Arizona to be, with its wild-west, rustic charm, a little bit Cowboy and a little bit Indian. There are many small meandering shops with everything from tourist tchotchkes, to specialty western wear, rustic furnishings, and restaurants. Speaking of restaurants, I recommend El Encanto for Mexican fare- so charming with a pond tucked into the courtyard.  
Love this desert landscape

El Encanto, Cave Creek, AZ

Flemming's in North Scottsdale is a short 20 minute drive and has a great happy hour

We stayed at a wonderful resort called The Boulders. As the name would suggest, huge boulders tower above. It has an amazing understated glamour, sprawling across several miles with pools, golf course, spa. The rooms are tucked into little 3-room villas, walking accessible or by golf cart, with private entrances and patios, so that we hardly saw another person there. We were celebrating our 15 year anniversary which is coming up in 2 weeks. The resort brought us a nice bottle of champagne that we enjoyed on our porch, overlooking cactus, boulders, quail, lizards and rabbits...and my favorite, the Cactus Wren, Arizona’s state bird. The weather was mid-90’s which is perfect pool weather in the desert. The only disappointment was that we couldn’t stay longer...
The Boulders Resort 

Rugged desert landscape from our porch

RECIPE: Mexican Corn Bake

I got this recipe from my grandmother years ago, but it never fails to please. A great side dish with your favorite mexican or southwest entree. Serves a crowd!

1/2 cup yellow corn meal
1/2 cup oil
2 eggs
2 small jars pimentos
2 small cans chopped green chilis
2 cans (15 oz each) creamed corn
2 cups sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
salt & pepper

Mix ingredients together, bake in greased 9x13 casserole pan 1 hour in preheated 350 degree oven. 

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