Sunday, May 26, 2013


Today was perfect.  A perfect Sunday of this holiday weekend, spent with most of my family, in Minnesota.

I flew home to Minnesota a couple weeks ago, and am so thankful we still have a full week left to soak up every bit of home.  Why yes, I have lived away from home (my mom's home, on the river, in central Minnesota) for nearly 10 years (14 if I count my college years in Northern Minnesota) but I still call it 'home'. 

This trip home is such a mixed bag of emotions as my mom is preparing to sell the house I grew up in (the house she built, on a year sabbatical from the college she taught at, at that time, when I was little) and move the house she planned on 'snow birding' to in Arizona.  This makes me sad, as home continues to be my favorite place.  The backyard, more than anything.  Through the years whenever I have been asked about the place I go to in my mind (whether it be for the visualization of peace, safety or happiness) it is usually the plush grass of the backyard that I have played in, danced in, slept in, ran in and even got married in.  Wow.  I am sad.  It isn't tragic, but at times the realization that 'coming home' will never be the same is just to much to think about. 

Today there was a chill in the air all day (which I am always game for) and we spent the greater chunk of it running around outside.  chasing, kicking the soccer ball (until my niece, Avree, accidentally drop kicked it into the river), grilling out and picking lilacs, which are blooming late this season (I personally like to think they waited for my arrival).  I will miss this place so.  I am going to soak up every minute of all my favorite nooks throughout the house and spend as much time as possible out back listening to the river and taking it all in.

I will do a proper 'home' blog, when I return to Colorado and can put together some pics...but for now I will just enjoy every bit of my favorite place, and squeeze in some new memories with my littles. 

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Preschool Class Photos. Are you ready to giggle???

 A mom from preschool called me the other day to ask if I had logged on to see the preschool photos, that had been taken the week before.  I hadn't.  She told me that Logan's picture was very funny.  How right she was, I can't stop smiling when I look at this picture of my sweet little 3 year old.  This is her, in a nutshell (Superman t-shirt and all)!

 Logan Elizabeth, age 3 
She is hilarious.  She asks a lot of questions.
She is so very sweet to her baby brother, Benny.
She loves to run, jump, play catch, kick the
soccer ball, read books and watch 'toonies'.

 She can also be kind of serious.  And by serious I mean 'girl can
seriously strike a JC Penney's photo studio pose like non other'!

 I love that the class photos were actually taken outside, verses the
drop screen 'outside scene' we are all too familiar with
(cue the painted fall foliage scene...that kills me!)
These are the days I treasure (although I have said that since the day
she was born), I just love my little sweets.  She gives me a run for
my money, most days, but I wouldn't have it any other way!

Logan and Benny make today what it is, a wonderful and blessed
Mother's Day!

Is it just me, or does Ellen need the top photo for a segment?

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Chicken Marsala Parcels

I really wanted to make Chicken Marsala, but didn't want to make it the way I always 
make it: with pasta or smashed I looked to my favzy box of frozen pastry 
and decided it would be the perfect addition to the wine drenched chicken breasts.

First, butterfly and pound chicken breasts, between 2 sheets of plastic wrap.
You will need 2 pounded chicken breasts, for this recipe.

Remove the pounded chicken breasts from plastic wrap and dredge in:
1/3 c. flour
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp cracked black pepper

heat 2 T oil in a saute pan, over medium heat

brown the dredged chicken breasts, remove from pan once cooked through 
(a few minutes on each side)

After you finish browning all of the chicken breasts (add a splash of oil to the pan
between each browning process, if needed), add the following to the pan, leaving
all the brown bits from the chicken in the pan:

1 T. butter
1/2 cup finely chopped white onion

Cook the onions for a couple minutes.

To the onions add 1 cup chopped portobello mushrooms.  Continue
cooking cook until the onions are translucent and the mushrooms are tender.

to the pan add:
1 cup Marsala wine and 1 cup chicken stock, heat until simmering then add:
roux (in a cup mix 1 T. flour with 2 T. chicken stock, use a fork to 
combined into a chunk-free slurry which will thicken the sauce)
1 T. brown sugar
4 T butter
sea salt and cracked pepper to taste

Continue to simmer the wine sauce, allowing the flavors to meld and sauce to thicken. 
 Then return the chicken, cut up into bite size chunks, to the pan. 

 Remove the chicken and sauce from heat and allow to cool completely, before 
wrapping in the puff pastries (this can be done the night before...chill in
the refrigerator, and pull out when you are ready to assemble the parcels)

 Puff Pastry.  Find it in the freezer section at the market.  Remove the 
puff pastry from the freezer the night before, place in the refrigerator. Pull out
of the refrigerator about 1/2 hour before assembling the marsala parcels

Use a rolling pin to lightly roll out each rectangle of pastry 
(2 rectangles of pastry, per box).

Then, have completely cooled chicken and sauce, 
along with shredded mozzarella ready to go.

Use a pizza wheel to cut the pastry into 2" by 3" sections. Place
a scoop of chicken and sauce in the middle of the pastry, and top
with a sprinkle of shredded mozzarella.  Keep the edges of the
pastry free of chicken and sauce.

 Top with another piece of pastry, 2" by 3" (this does not have to
be exact, at all) and press edges from top and bottom pastry together,
using the pad of your finger (or use the prongs of a fork).

Continue making parcels, until you run out of pastry.  Then gently
brush the top of each parcel with an egg wash (1 egg white, 2 T. water)
and if desired, crack black pepper and sea salt the tops.

Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes, until pastry is golden brown.


last minute I decided the parcels needed a sauce on in a saucepan I heated to boil:
1 cup Marsala wine
1 cup chicken stock
Roux (mix 2 T. butter & 1 T flour together into paste, before adding to
 the heated wine/stock, this will thicken the sauce- I used butter this time
to add a little richness to the sauce)
2 T. brown sugar
sea salt and cracked pepper to taste 

(why yes, this is the same thing the chicken, onions and mushrooms are 
soaking in, it needed to happen!)

Once the sauce boils for a couple of minutes, allowing the roux to fully cook through, 
reduce heat to simmer for a couple more minutes and it will be thick and delish.

I served the parcels with a loaded green salad and wild rice.