Empty Nest... Almost

Paige Tyler

I hope you have had a wonderful week celebrating America with your friends and family. I know here at the Tyler household we in are full rest and relaxation mode. I just returned from a trip to Lubbock, Texas and Roswell, New Mexico and I had such a good time since I have never been to either place before.

First in New Mexico we visited several locations all located in the southeast corner. We went to Lincoln National Park through Cloudcroft which is a ski resort town located high in the mountains. After driving through we went to the White Sand Dunes to try and sled down these hills. The sand was so white it hurt your eyes to look directly at it without the aid of sunglasses.

I also went to Carlsbad Caverns which is so worth it and unbelievably impressive. It is a good way to get some exercise and to spend at least 1/2 a day. And because it is so hot it is welcomed relief to spend a few hours underground in the cool 56 degrees.

But the whole reason for this trip was to get Jadyn to college orientation at Texas Tech! Wreck 'Em Tech!!

So we spent a few days in Lubbock getting acquainted with the city and oriented to the area and campus. I think it is going to be a wonderful experience for Jadyn and what a great opportunity to grow. And we are soon to be empty nesters! I can hardly believe that we have come to this phase in our lives. I guess that means I need to travel more so I am not so focused on kids no longer living with us.

Sounds like a great plan to me!


There is one thing that I am passionate about when I travel and that is getting to know the local culture via their food and drink. In fact, I believe a trip would be a complete failure if I didn't get a chance to enjoy the local cuisine. And this does not just apply to other countries but in fact different parts of our own country.

For instance, when in NM last week I made sure to try several local wines because while driving to Roswell, I happen to pass fields of grapes growing. They were OK. I also tried some cactus fruit candy which was pretty good and I have never had it before. But I will now always associate NM with this tastiness.

While in Lubbock, I went out of my way to find the Tex Mex places to eat. I would have liked some BBQ but didn't find what I was looking for in this city though there were plenty of college dive bars. If you have any recommendations for Lubbock, I am all ears!

Food brings the place I am visiting to life. I will remember a place based solely upon their food and drink and those I shared it with. I also love to visit grocery stores which is not for everyone, but it is a must for me especially in a place outside the US. It is so fun to see how others shop and what is unique to their geographical location. I remember those things far better than the inside of a church or castle! I know, weird!

I have decided that am going to focus my message more to those who love food and will travel far and wide just to have those experiences. I feel like these are my people and I am here to help you find these kinds of authentic experiences.

(Dinner under the grapes in Slovenia- one of the best memories ever)

With that, I am going to share with you my recipe for Pico de Gallo which I had almost daily in NM and TX and have since made it upon my return home. It is so easy and refreshing and the ingredients are in season now.


The real secret to the recipe is to use EQUAL amounts of the three main ingredients.

1 tomato

1 white onion

1 handful of cilantro

These three items should all be approximately the same size.

2 T. olive oil

More salt than you think you need (to taste)

Lemon or lime- squeeze at least 1 T. juice

Instructions: chop the first three ingredients and combine in a bowl. Add the olive oil, salt and citrus juice and stir all together. Use immediately or refrigerate up to 2-3 days. You can kick this recipe up a notch by adding chopped garlic and/or jalapeno peppers. Great to use as a salsa or add more flavor to hamburgers, steak, burritos, quesadillas, eggs and more.

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