Over the mountains and through the woods…

To the sister-in-law’s house we go!

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It feels so good to be back home.  But, it was such an amazing time away.  I spent this past week at my sister-in-law’s house in western Montana.  She, her husband, and her four kids live a beautiful life that’s different than the conventional norm today.  They live off the grid but they’re still very connected to people and work and I found the time that I had there very inspiring.  I have a lot to write about my trip, but first it’s time to deal with the groceries that I picked up at Costco on the way home.  Mark and I are trying really hard to succeed on a budget and pay off debt so fewer and more productive grocery trips are part of the goal.  Now I have to deal with the after math and the cabinet stocking!

(I need a bigger freezer!)

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I’ll be feeding the ducks for years at this rate…

Bread, bread, bread…  Why do you confound me??  I have made it through four bread recipes so far with my new Bosch Universal mixer (gifted to us by the WONDERFUL kitchen store – the Coastal Cupboard!) and all of them have turned out super DENSE. And I can’t figure it out!!!!  So far I think thirteen loaves have been made…  They all taste amazing – great flavor (I’m using Wheat Montana flour in Natural White and Prairie Gold) – but a half of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on whole wheat bread is all that my stomach can take.

I need good recipes!  I know this blog has not made it out to anyone yet, but for future readers who have the patience to make it to this posting, PLEASE HELP!!

Now back to cookie making…

Life is like a spilled bowl of cherries

Today is a day of cleaning…  organizing…  vacuuming…

All things that I aspire to, but am not very good at.  I dream and dream of how successful I would be if I had a neat working space, and a super clean kitchen, and a really organized fabric stash.  And every once in a while I make it to that place.  It’s AMAZING.

Annnnnnnnnnnd

then all hell breaks loose and it’s gone.  That perfect moment of organization is out the window.  So, raise your glasses!  Here’s to a day of trying to reach one day of AMAZING before it goes back into craziness.  Maybe I’ll be able to make this one into two days of amazing.  I guess there’s just something about perfect open spaces that gives me awesome ideas of what I want to cook (often bread involving the oh-so-evil-and-messy flour), or sew (needles somehow are attracted to an open floor – I swear), or paint (there’s pretty much nothing non-messy about painting.)

Now, that being said, I made an AWESOME recipe last night.  I usually am not a huge fan of my own cooking, but this one had some true merit (and helped use up a large costco serving of my favorite fruit ever – Rainier Cherries!)

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(Photo snagged from internet world)

So, I don’t know about everybody else, but I just love rainier cherries but there are about zero entree dish recipes online incorporating them! Looked at what I had and came up with an awesome recipe that turned out GREAT!

Bacon-wrapped Chicken Stuffed with Rainier Cherries & Feta

Pit and coarsely chop about one cup of rainier cherries.
Chop 1/4 cup or so of onion.
Mix these with enough olive oil to coat and mix in a little bit of rosemary and thyme (maybe 1/2 tablespoon total seasonings.)
Add a bit of pepper and a tiny bit of salt.
—- Put in fridge.

To make marinade for chicken put chicken in bowl, add good amount of olive oil to coat and a bit more. Add: 1 to 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, 2-3 tablespoons honey, 1-2 tablespoons mustard (type your choice), and pepper. (won’t need salt – will be covered with bacon!)

Put chicken in fridge and marinate until 1 hr before dinner time.

When ready, preheat cast iron skillet in oven to 375 to 400 degrees. (I started out at 375 and upped it to 375. Then remove chicken from marinade. Butterfly the chicken but cutting into the thick side but not all the way through. Open flat onto counter surface or cutting board. Flatten chicken with mallet or rolling pin. Then on one side of the open piece of chicken spread out a heaping spoonful of cherry mixture. Cover with a heaping spoonful of feta cheese (would also work awesome with gorgonzola, I’m sure). Then roll the chicken into a roll and wrap with bacon. Tie with wet baker’s twine to keep bacon in place.

Repeat with all pieces of chicken.

Lastly! Place the bacon-wrapped chicken pieces in the cast iron skillet. I think I cooked them for about 30 minutes total. The pan fills with juices from the chicken and bacon, so at the very end I placed the chicken on a cookie sheet to crisp the bacon on both sides.

Oops! Almost forgot the sauce! Take the leftovers of the cherry mix (not the feta) and put in sauce pan on med-hi. Cook for just a minute (mix already has olive oil in it). Then add a 1/4 cup or a little bit more of balsamic vinegar. Cook down until it has thicken slightly. Take off the heat and add a table spoon of butter. The perfect sauce to go with it!

I served with yummy fresh green beans with onions and the extra bacon pieces tossed in!! I’m sorry I don’t have a picture, but when I make it again I’ll definitely take one!

Hope you enjoy! Nothing like some good Rainier cherries!!!

My next project

My next project  http://www.eleganceandelephants.com/2013/05/pleated-playsuit-pattern.html?m=0

I have SO many things that I want to sew…  This awesome free PDF playsuit pattern being one of them.  Except for, I’m going to figure out how to make it with snaps on the bottom for babies.

A soft opening…

I need to find a way to express my thoughts, because there are too many things going on in my life for me to keep them all straight.  I want to paint!  I want to sew!  I want to bake!  I want to have kids!  (I know I know, we just got married…  wait a year…  well, I have baby brain and it seems that even when I’m trying not to freak out my husband, I still end up mentioning something about babies.)  So, I think I’m going to see how this goes for a while first before letting it all out there into the netherworld.  This is the official soft opening to no one other than… me.  I fly unto thee, Mary, because otherwise I’d be a complete and utter mess.