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Kim Hudson

Kim Hudson has 89 articles published.

Modern Mixtape Vol. 25 – Outside Looking In

Hello friends! I’m back with a new Fall/Winter 2018 mixtape for you! Excuse the back to back mixes, but it’s better to have extra music than not enough. Despite all of these grandiose ideas of having SO. MUCH. TIME. once all 3 children were in school, life has had other plans for me. Nevertheless, listening to music helps keep me sane whilst driving to and from school 12 times a day. This particular mix is one of my favorites in awhile. These songs magically fit together and even create an accidental story line. I love it when that happens!

I’m pretty sure I’ve listened to “Bite the Hand” by boygenius and “Pristine” by Snail Mail hundreds of times. Other standouts include Sharon Van Etten’s latest release, “Comeback Kid.” I have to be honest, I wasn’t a huge fan of her past music, but I really like the energy behind this new song. Her voice has a PJ Harvey vibe, but the beat and drive are what really get me. It will be interesting to hear the rest of the album once it’s released. I’m also digging some of Mitski’s tracks from her 2018 album, “Be the Cowboy.” I recently heard an interview with her where she said she purposely tries to do the opposite of what fans tell her they like most about her songs. HA! Perhaps that is why she has such a unique sound? There’s something a little bit off in her music and that is exactly what catches my attention. (Please don’t change that, Mitski!)

The Beths, Rubblebucket, Jealous of the Birds, Yves Tumor, The Twilight Sad, and Houses are all new-to-me bands. I haven’t had time to dig further into their albums, but hope to in the future. Lastly, there are groups I am always keeping my eye on for new releases. These would be: Bob Moses, Wild Nothing, Death Cab, Beach House, The Breeders, Kurt Vile, Santigold and Wolf Alice. 

I hope you enjoy this playlist as much as I do!

LISTEN ON SPOTIFY

Modern Mixtape Vol. 25 Tracklist

Heaven Only Knows // Bob Moses
Letting Go // Wild Nothing
I Dreamt We Spoke Again // Death Cab For Cutie
Fruity // Rubblebucket
Bite The Hand // boygenius
Pristine // Snail Mail
Talking Straight // Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever
Plastic Skeletons // Jealous of the Birds
Run the Road // Santigold
Fast Talk // Houses
Loading Zones // Kurt Vile
Comeback Kid // Sharon Van Etten
Licking an Orchid // Yves Tumor
Why Didn’t You Stop Me // Mitski
Future Me Hates Me // The Beths
I/m Not Here [Missing Face] // The Twilight Sad
MetaGoth // The Breeders
Don’t Delete The Kisses // Wolf Alice
Lose Your Smile // Beach House

Modern Mixtape Vol. 24 – Between My Fingers

As I was finishing up my Fall Mixtape, I realized that I never posted my Spring/Summer 2018 mixtape. Oops! I suppose it doesn’t matter, since they’re all great songs and many are still on air. In this mix, there are some perennial faves like Beach House, The Breeders (loving their latest album — All Nerve), The Decemberists, The Kills, Rhye, MGMT, Death Cab for Cutie, Twin Shadow, etc. And there are few new players like Starcrawler, Yuno, The Internet. My two favorite songs in this collection are by Destroyer and Allie Crow Buckley.

I was super bummed to miss Destroyer when they played at the Bunkhouse in Las Vegas this summer. And as for Allie Crow Buckley, I love this song soooooo much. At 24, she has such an amazing, soulful sound. Plus, the lyrics to Captive are pretty much perfect. The mix starts out a little more rocking and then ends with an electro vibe. I hope you like it. And if not, I have a new fall mix coming out next week!

LISTEN ON SPOTIFY

Modern Mixtape Vol. 24 Tracklist

1. Wait in the Car // The Breeders
2. Severed // The Decemberists
3. I Love LA // Starcrawler
4. Six Wave Hold-Down // Hot Snakes
5. List of Demands (Reparations) // The Kills
6. Nameless, Faceless // Courtney Barnett
7. Date Night // Father John Misty
8. Captive // Allie Crow Buckley
9. My Enemy // Chvrches
10. Taste // Rhye
11. Me and Michael // MGMT
12. No Going Back // Yuno
13. Roll (Burbank Funk) // The Internet
14. When You’re Wrong // Twin Shadow
15. Gold Rush // Death Cab for Cutie
16. Lemon Glow // Beach House
17. Tinseltown Swimming in Blood // Destroyer

Best Chicken Enchiladas

Food from our childhood evokes such strong emotion, doesn’t it? My mother’s Chicken Enchiladas were one of the staples of my youth — but honestly, they weren’t my favorite. Fast forward twenty years to the point where I started cooking for myself. This was one of the first recipes I tried making on my own. I considered what I didn’t like about them and knew with a little tweaking they could be so much better! Over time, I worked out what I think make these pretty much perfect. Unfortunately, at the time, I eyeballed everything and had to share the recipe verbally with a lot of suggestions. I’ve finally taken the time to figure out the basic measurements. However, I do have a few tips and suggestions to follow.

First, there are some recipes that are worth making in large quantity and this is one of them. I always make at least 2 meals worth (sometimes it turns out to be 3) and I freeze what we won’t be eating right away. There is nothing better than having some fool-proof meals ready to pop in the oven at a moments notice. The amount this recipe makes varies on a few things — size of tortillas, how many pans are used and how full the enchiladas are filled. The good news is, the recipe is quite forgiving and flexible. Second, I’ve tried many different varieties of chicken, but this is the one I keep coming back to. Yes, you could use a rotisserie chicken, but I found the meat to be drier and stringier than the large diced breast meat. You could also swap the breasts for thighs, but they weren’t quite meaty enough for me. I’ve seen my mom use canned and pre-cooked, packaged chicken (ACK!) but that completely makes my head spin. Whatever you do, don’t do that! Poaching the chicken in salsa is simple and gives a nice, subtle flavor.

Lastly, I realize these are not exactly traditional. Enchiladas are supposed to be made with corn tortillas but I prefer to use flour for these. I’d call this “American-Mexican” comfort food at it’s finest. All I know is, they are the number one thing my children and husband request I make.

Best Chicken Enchiladas
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Ingredients
  1. 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  2. 1 jar of salsa (I always use Frontera Foods)
  3. 5 cups of grated cheddar cheese
  4. 3 containers of whole milk sour cream (16 oz/ea)
  5. 2 cans diced green chiles, drained (4 oz/ea)
  6. 1/2 can of cream of mushroom soup (optional)
  7. 1 TBL milk
  8. Freshly ground pepper
  9. Olive (or other vegetable) oil
  10. Flour Tortillas (approx 12-15 medium sized ones)
Instructions
  1. Place the chicken breasts in a large sauté pan. Pour the salsa over the chicken and make sure to coat all of the pieces evenly. Cover with a lid and cook over medium-low heat for 15 minutes (flipping them over halfway through.) Don't worry if the chicken isn't fully cooked through. It should be close, but definitely don't overcook it. Remove the chicken from the pan and set on a cutting board. Heat the remaining salsa in pan on high until substantially thickened and reduced. Once chicken has cooled enough to touch, slice it into bite-sized cubes and place in a large bowl. Pour the reduced salsa over the top.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine 2.5 containers of sour cream, the canned chiles (drain first), the mushroom soup mix (if using) and 3.5 cups of grated cheddar cheese. (These amounts are quite flexible. I usually just wing the ingredients in and stir until it feels right. It should be quite thick.) Mix well and set aside.
  3. Preheat oven to 375º F, if cooking right away.
  4. Now here's where it gets a little tricky; figure out which pans you want to use and what size your tortillas are. *See note below.
  5. Line up your baking dishes, place a little bit of oil in the bottom of the first one. Rub it around to coat the bottom and sides of the dish, so the enchiladas do not stick. Grab a tortilla, fill it with a 2" wide line of chicken all the way down the center of the tortilla, then spread the cream mixture over the top, following the line. They will look nearly equal in size, with perhaps a tiny bit more chicken than cream. Set the tortilla down in the pan and roll it up tightly, flipping to place the seam side down in the dish. I leave the ends of mine open. Repeat until the baking dish is full. Keep making more enchiladas and filling up other pans until you run out of chicken. Now, there should be extra cream mixture left over. If not, throw a little sour cream and cheese into the bowl. Add a splash of milk to the mixture to thin it out. It should be fairly runny. Pour this over the top of all of the enchiladas, then using a spatula spread it around. It shouldn't be a huge amount, just enough to lightly cover a little bit of every enchilada. Then sprinkle the remaining cheddar cheese over the top. Finally, I like to add some freshly ground black pepper for a little extra seasoning and color.
  6. If eating right away, bake in the oven for approximately 45 minutes or until bubbling and golden brown on top. These can also be made in advance and left in the fridge for a few hours. I personally like to freeze anything that won't be eaten that day. I cover the extra pans with plastic wrap, then a layer of foil. They can be cooked straight from frozen. It will likely take a few extra minutes, or if you can remember, take them out a little earlier to defrost prior to cooking.
  7. I like to serve mine with shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes, sour cream, Cholula, salsa, and a side of refried beans. But they are just fine on their own, too!
Notes
  1. TORTILLAS: I've tried all different kinds of tortillas, from the "Traditional" Whole Foods brand, to the Flame Cooked ones at Trader Joes, to the "Traditional" Trader Joe's variety, to the Indian Life from WF, to most recently, the Siete Grain-free Brand Almond and Cassava flour variety. They are all different sizes and thickness, so it will change the amount of enchiladas you get in the end. The key is to pick whatever tortilla you like the taste of most.
  2. BAKING DISHES: I generally start with one 13x9x2 Pyrex, then fill a couple of smaller pans that I will freeze. Sometimes I do two 13x9x2 (and freeze one of them). Other times, I'll do a mix of 3 different baking dishes of varying size. It can be nice to occasionally make smaller portions for when I only need a couple of enchiladas. You want the enchiladas to fit snugly together, so it may take a few tries to get it right for your pan and how many are needed at one time.
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Poaching + Assembled

 

North to Alaska Roadtrip: One Day in Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone is one of those places I’d heard about my entire life but really had no idea what to expect. I did know that it is most certainly not a park to visit in one day! It truly deserves days and probably multiple visits to really experience it correctly. However, we knew going into this trip we’d have to make do with our brief stay and luckily, picking the top places we’d see was fairly easy. First, we had to stop at the most famous geyser in the world, Old Faithful, and then, we’d swing by the other-worldly and technicolor Grand Prismatic Spring. 

We drove up from Jackson Hole via the scenic route on US-191, giving us more of the park to see. As we were there in July, the traffic definitely wasn’t ideal. However, the slowness allowed us more time to look out the window. After a quick picnic lunch, we went to the geyser area. 

Highway to Yellowstone

I have to admit that I had no idea that Yellowstone contains the majority of the world’s geysers and the largest concentration in one area! In the Old Faithful area alone, there are multiple geysers to view. Prior to the eruption, we checked out the Old Faithful Inn, the Visitor Center, some of the other geysers and grabbed some ice cream to eat on the boardwalk. Sure, it was all a bit touristy, but also one of those things everyone should probably experience once!


Geothermal pools and springs along the boardwalk

Good Old Faithful


Old Faithful Erupting

After visiting the Upper Geyser Basin, we continued along the road to our next stop, the Grand Prismatic Spring. I had seen photos of this on Instagram and it looked incredible. The parking area but was full, so we parked along the road. Although I would’ve preferred to do the Fairy Falls Trail hike that overlooks this area, my children weren’t feeling up for it. Instead, we simply hiked straight to it from the road, which is a dead easy walk over a bridge and to a boardwalk. I carried our littlest one in the Ergo because I was worried he might be tempted to dive into the steamy, colorful pools. Despite not getting the best photo op from above, I’m so glad we saw it. It’s such an incredible wonder of the world!

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Finally, we got back in the car and headed to our hotel in West Yellowstone. This was one of the places that was well-booked in advance, so we didn’t have many options. The Days Inn hotel was our least favorite on the trip, but it wasn’t that big of a deal. Honestly, nothing looked too spectacular in this small town. We walked down for a casual pizza dinner at the Wild West Pizzeria, came outside to a beautiful double rainbow and then called it a night.


Definitely not taking anything from this hotel. HA!
 

Up next– Day 4: Yellowstone to Glacier National Park

North to Alaska: Salt Lake City to the Grand Tetons

On our way out of Salt Lake City, we figured we should visit at least one site in Utah. Even though we’ve been to the Great Salk Lake before, I’m kind of fascinated by endorheic basins, so we quickly stopped at the Saltair to see if anything had changed since we were last there. It is so perfectly creepy! (I wish I could go back in time and see it when it was a full-fledged resort.) From there, we drove towards Logan, so we could take Highway 89 through Idaho and into Wyoming. I must admit, it’s pretty cool to drive through 3 states in a matter of a couple of hours!

Honestly, I wasn’t originally planning to stop in the Grand Tetons, but my friend Desi told me that it would be a mistake to miss it. As it wasn’t out of the way, I decided to add it to the itinerary and I was so glad that I did! It turned out to be absolutely beautiful and a place I’d really love to return to. We stayed the night in a cabin at the Cowboy Village Resort  and for dinner, we walked down to Wyoming’s oldest brewery, Snake River Brewing Company. It was the perfect place to take children that had been cooped up in a car for hours.

The following morning, we visited Jenny Lake, the Mormon Row Historic District and a few different overlooks on the way to Yellowstone. 

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Scenic Drive

The Teton Range

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Mormon Row Historic District

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Jenny Lake

Snake River Overlook

Oxbow Bend Overlook

Reflections

Up next — Day 3: Grand Teton to Yellowstone National Park

North to Alaska: Las Vegas to Salt Lake City

The first day of our road trip to Alaska was not exactly the most exciting. However, it would’ve been far too long of a day had we tried to drive from Las Vegas to Jackson Hole. In fact, starting off slowly and with no real rush meant that we were able to begin on a very relaxed note, which was nice given that it would soon be a lot more intense.

The drive to Salt Lake is dead simple, albeit rather boring and long. It was 430 miles from our house to the hotel which took about 6 hours. Since we’ve done this drive a few times, there was no need to stop and sightsee along the way. One of my favorite parts of driving in Utah is the 80 mile/hr speed limit on the I-15. Pedal to the metal, Mama!

We stayed at Hotel Monaco, which was probably one of the nicest and most expensive hotels on our entire journey. Our room had great views of the city and the children loved that they offer “goldfish companions”. For dinner, we walked to our favorite pizza restaurant, Settebello. Then, we tucked in early so we could get on the road first thing the next day. 

Up next — Day 2: Salt Lake to The Grand Tetons 

 

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