September 29, 2010

Summer Houseboat Trip

I am still sick.


I can't seem to shake this cold, no matter how much sleep I get.

I'm getting ready to lay down on the floor, cry, and kick my legs in a temper tantrum.

Plus, She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, who lives for the sole purpose of torturing me, has got my panties all worked up in knot.



Instead of dwelling and seething and wasting all kinds of energy being angry or feeling sorry for myself, I am going to write a happy post!

About something we did this summer!

Remember summer?

Once upon a time, on a beautiful, warm, sunny day - Steve and I were invited along with a group of my parents' friends to take a houseboat trip!

It was a riot!

We had delicious food, plentiful drinks, and wonderful company.

I've probably mentioned it before, but my mom and dad are very lucky to have a wonderful group of friends...and now I am even luckier to count them as my friends too.

What a great group of people.

Here are some pics!

Heading up into Voyageurs National Park...boys at the front, girls in the back...just the way we like it!

Steve and my dad, lounging at the front of the boat...

My mom, Jan, and Vicki smiling big for the camera!

Me and my dad...

Spontaneous dance parties started to break out... are no words. Don't ask. I have no idea how Gale came across a giant, penis shaped balloon. I don't want to know.

Me and my mommy...

Too soon, the sun started to set and it was time to make our way back.

Our fearless navigators...Jim, Mark, Terry, Steve and Cal

And last but not least...

Thanks Mark and Sue for inviting us! We had an awesome time!

What a beautiful day!

What a beautiful summer!

And now, if Tara would only send me some pictures from canoeing the Brule for her going away party (ahem...hee hee)...I think that would get me caught up through Labor Day weekend.

I hope everyone is having a great week!

September 27, 2010

How to Freeze Basil

Yummy basil.

Why does it seem like no matter how much basil I grow in the summer, I never have enough to get me through the winter?

And then I have to pay $45 for 5 leaves at the grocery store.

Because I live in the frozen tundra of Minnesota.

And they have to send us basil from Mexico, or some place equally tropical.

It's an injustice.

But the good news?

You can freeze basil!


There are several different methods for this...

You can make a simple basil pesto, and freeze it in small containers.

You can chop your basil and freeze it with a little water into ice cube trays.

Or, you can freeze the leaves whole - with no additives!

That's what I do.

I like this method best because I don't always like to have the addition of olive oil or water in whatever dish I'm cooking.

Does that sentence even make sense?

Please bear with me...I am sick and should be in bed, eating homemade chicken noodle soup and having Alejandro (my imaginary pool boy) rub Vicks Vapor Rub on my body.

Instead, I will stare at my computer, eat leftover beef stew, and cry because my  nose is raw from blowing it 96,472 times.

Anyway, back to the basil...this is how I like to do it:

1. Thoroughly wash and DRY your basil leaves.

These are not dry enough.

2. Spread in one layer on a baking sheet.

3. Place in freezer until the leaves are frozen...or be like me and forget about them overnight...whatever works!

4. Once frozen, remove baking sheet and transfer frozen leaves to zip-top bags or plastic containers (working quickly as they thaw fast).

5. Label and return to freezer.

Use these later in soups, stews, sauces, etc. I usually measure the leaves before they are frozen so that I can write that on the bag (example: 2 cups basil, 9/10). Keep in mind that some discoloration will occur when you freeze them...and possibly even more when you thaw them for use. They won't be pretty enough to use for garnish, but the flavor stays true and they are perfect for use in my Roasted Tomato Basil Soup!


September 20, 2010

Moving On...

Ultimately we have just one moral duty:
to reclaim large areas of peace in ourselves,
more and more peace,
and to reflect it towards others.
And the more peace there is in us,
the more peace there will also be in our troubled world

~Etty Hillesum

My divorce is final.

Actually, it was final August 27th, but evidently it took the court system a few weeks before they decided that they should probably let me know.

Now I am stuck in limbo between using my maiden name (which is legally what my name is now), and my ex-married name (which is what my drivers license, passport, social security card, and Cooking Light subscription say). Remember how much it sucked to change your name when you got married? What a pain in the ass. Well, imagine that like 3,000 times worse...because when people congratulate you on getting married (why do people assume that's why you are changing your name?), you have to watch them stick their foot in their mouth when you tell them it's actually a divorce.

And did I mention that you have to pay $14 to get a certified copy of your divorce decree (which you need to change your name on everything)? Really? I didn't pay enough already for my divorce?

The good news is that I am ok.


Just the fact that I can bitch about the little details because THAT is what is bugging me is proof.

I even celebrated...for like a week straight.

Steve and I went to The Scenic for dinner the day I found out...and then that weekend we ate our way through Grand Marais!

Not that I was celebrating the fact that Jim and I failed at our marriage - that is a tremendously sad thing that caused immeasurable amounts of pain for almost everyone involved.

Not cool.

But I celebrated the fact that that chapter in my life is closed. That I flipped the page to a brand new chapter and that I can decide exactly what I want to write in this story.

Isn't that worth celebrating? And again, by celebrating I mean eating delicious food and drinking ridiculous amounts of wine.

 Do you think it was a coincedence that I got the news on a Wednesday...the same day that my favorite restaurant offers half priced bottles of wine?

Of course it wasn't.

I waited for a while to post the  news on the blog because there was one thing left to do before it felt final...Jim had to come down to Duluth last Friday and get the rest of his stuff.


Thinking that I would get a jump-start on it, I started going through boxes and closets on Thursday night.

The first thing I came across was a letter from my Grandma Grow written to Mrs. Peterson (me), that included newspaper clippings from my hometown newspaper of my friends' happy events: Gina and Michael's wedding announcement and an article announcing the birth of Jenica's daughter, Destry.

Instant water works. Grandma was always sending me these types of articles (because she was the cutest woman in the entire universe), along with articles on why I should quit smoking, and recipes that she came across that she thought I might like to try.

Did I mention that I also had PMS?

Great idea, Lindsey.

As I continued to go through stuff, I also found my old wedding planner, wedding cards, our engagement pictures, folders packed with ideas for our wedding: dresses, centerpieces, flowers, etc.

And I continued to bawl my eyes out.

There is just something about realizing (for the 100th time) that all of those dreams and expectations that you had (while you were smiling away in those pictures, or ripping the pages out of a wedding magazine, completely oblivious) were dead and gone, that has a tendency to break me down a bit.

I totally thought I was screwed for when Jim got there Friday.

But want to know something funny?

I was perfectly fine.

I didn't shed one tear.

I didn't feel angry, or sad, or guilty...

I felt...peaceful.

Maybe my (almost) daily meditations are helping.

Maybe I finally forgave myself and him.

In Tupac's words:
"You can spend minutes, hours, days, weeks, or even months over-analyzing a situation; trying to put the pieces together, justifying what could've, would've happened... or you can just leave the pieces on the floor and move the fuck on."

Maybe I did that?

Either way, the peace I found felt damn good.

I've been so busy feeling sorry for myself that I've began to notice over the last several months that I have become way more negative about life in general than I used to be.

This weekend, I tried to let that negativity go and instead cling to that little chunk of peace that I felt...


I hope that I can continue to reclaim that peace within myself.

September 14, 2010

Chicken Enchiladas

Looking back at some of my old posts, I realize that some of the first recipes that I shared with you were kinda confusing.

Or unnecessarily complicated.

Or both.

Or, some of the recipes didn't include pictures.

So, as I make my favorite meals over and over, I will try to update the recipes and pictures.

If the original recipe is confusing or complicated (as is the case with my original Chicken Enchilada recipe), I will just re-post a whole new recipe.

If I do an update (like add a pic, or make a correction), I will just amend the original post.



Now that we have that all straightened out...on to the food!

Remember my Spicy Shredded Chicken recipe?

Are you tired of hearing about it yet?

I hope not, because that is what I used for these delicious Chicken Enchiladas.

If you want to, you can substitute any cooked and shredded chicken, pork, or beef.

Just make sure to season it to taste, ok? For me?

But because I made copious amounts of Spicy Shredded Chicken for my fiesta, I had a huge container full in the freezer.

I made 3 pans of enchiladas, and one pot of Spicy Chicken Tortilla Soup.

Holy Mexican goodness.

You can leave out veggies or add them to your taste. And if you h ave extra filling - save it! Freeze it! Use it for nachos! It's delicious!

These are pictures from before I baked them. Unfortunately by the time they came out of the oven it was dark out, and Steve and I devoured them. So this is the best I can do for the assembled product.

And as a side note: These freeze well. Assembled a pan of enchiladas, wrap it in plastic wrap (un-baked), then aluminum foil, and put it in the freezer. Don't forget to remove the plastic wrap before you put it in the oven though!

Chicken Enchiladas (makes about 3 8-inch square pans, each pan feeds about 4 people)

  • 1 lb Spicy Shredded Chicken (or any other cooked and shredded chicken, pork or beef)
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can Rotel tomatoes
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 (7 oz) can of diced green chiles
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 tablespoon taco seasoning, or to taste
  • 12 large flour tortillas (you can sub smaller ones or corn tortillas is you desire)
  • 4 (12 oz) cans of enchilada sauce (I used 2 hot and 2 mild)
  • 2 cups of your favorite salsa
  • 3 cups shredded monterey jack cheese
  • sour cream, for garnish (optional)
  • black olives, for garnish (optional)
  • lettuce, for garnish (optional)
Combine meat, beans, tomatoes, chopped bell pepper, chopped onion, and green chiles in a large pan over medium heat. Add lime juice, and if necessary add taco seasoning to taste. Stir until heated through.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine all four cans of enchilada sauce and salsa in a large bowl.

Cover the bottom of 3 8x8 baking dishes with one cup of sauce mixture (each).

Spoon mixture into tortillas and roll, placing them seam-side down in the baking dish. One 8x8 dish held 4 filled tortillas of the size I used. Repeat until all dishes are filled.

Top each pan with one cup of enchilada sauce; finish each pan with one cup of shredded cheese.

Bake at 350 degrees until cheese is melted and bubbly, and enchiladas are heated through.

Top with sour cream, black olives and lettuce.


Printable Recipe

    September 13, 2010

    Tomato and Basil Bruschetta!

    Oh, yum.

    You know how much I love tomatoes + basil.

    Add some balsamic vinegar, and you've got one happy girl on your hands.

    If you have ripe tomatoes out of the garden, this is a must make.

    Or even if you don't.

    The best part about this is that it's oh, so easy!

    I used a mixture of cherry and roma tomatoes because that is what I had ripe.

    You can use whatever you have on hand!


    Tomato and Basil Bruschetta (serves 8 as an hors d'oeuvres)
    • 6 - 8 fresh, ripe Roma tomatoes, diced
    • 1/4 cup julliened or chopped basil
    • 2 tablespoons good balsamic vinegar
    • 1 - 2 tablespoons olive oil (start with one, add more if necessary)
    • 1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder (or, you could finely mince 1 - 2 garlic cloves)
    • 1/4 teaspoon of pepper (or to taste)
    • 1/4 teaspoon of salt (or to taste)
    • 1/4 teaspoon sugar (optional)
    Combine all ingredients into a large bowl, stir to combine. If possible, let this sit for at least an hour to combine flavors. Spoon onto thinly sliced, toasted baguette. Or, if you need convenience, put it on Melba Toast. Another idea: use it to top grilled chicken breasts. Enjoy!

    Printable Recipe

    Happy Monday!

    I can say that because my week is short this week...

    My work week ends on Wednesday at noon!


    Even though I won't be saying whoo hoo when I get my paycheck in two weeks.

    But I just can't be sad about that right now.

    I had a fabulous weekend and this is the face I wake up to every morning....

    You totally thought I was going to post a picture of Steve, didn't you?



    Kempton is my best boy...

    ...but I guess he comes in at a close second...

    Not bad, eh?

    And the best part?

    They fight over who gets to sleep next to me.

    It's always nice to feel wanted.

    Although they both snore very, very loud...

    But I think Kempton sheds a wee bit more. 

    Stay tuned for a delicious recipe to use up some of your garden tomatoes and basil!

    September 7, 2010

    Things I Love Right Now

    Here are some things that are on my mind and making me happy right now:

    • Kempton. It is his 8th birthday today. That dog has been through more with me in the past 8 years than anyone else in my life. And I'm very glad he can't talk...hee hee hee. I don't know what I would do without him. But most of the time, I don't know what to do with him...naughty bad boy. 

    • That the weather is cool enough to start the oven. Normally I hate when summer leaves, because winter and I are not friends. But exercising and cooking are more fun in the fall, and those are two things that I am trying to do regularly right now. I made 3 pans of Chicken Enchiladas last "mild" version for Steve to feed the kids tonight, one delicious pan for dinner last night, and one to put in the freezer for future use. Did I mention that I also made Spicy Chicken Tortilla Soup? Soup tasted so good with the cold wind blowing and rain beating against the windows last night. Yes, I made all of these things using leftover Spicy Shredded Chicken. Make it. Now. I'll post pics later (you've heard that one before, right?), but I have a lot of catching up to do.
    • That I got to snuggle with my sunshine for an extra hour this morning. Usually he is up and gone by the time I get up for work, but today he got to sleep in because he was going to take pictures of his kids on their first day of school this morning instead of going to work. It was so chilly out, I didn't want to get out of bed. Yes, I was late for work. But Steve has the perfect body temperature for snuggling. It couldn't be helped.
    • That when I left Steve's parent's house yesterday to go home, Katy hugged me so tightly I almost didn't leave. But I wanted them to have some daddy time without me there...and I was in desperate need for a nap. I don't know how you parents do it. 
    • Labor Day weekend. I will post pictures later, but it turned out to be a wonderful weekend. At first I was sad because I wasn't spending it at the cabin like I did every year, but I ended up having a great time. 
    • Pot roast, lasagna, spaghetti and meatballs, macaroni and cheese, chicken noodle soup and risotto. Comfort food. It would make me happy if someone would bring me one of each, please? Or better yet - just make it summer again, so I feel like eating salad and fresh veggies instead of pasta and meat. Thank you! 
    • That it isn't Monday today. HA! It's already Tuesday...I have a 3 day work week this week, droogies!
    Enjoy the cooler weather everyone! 

    September 1, 2010

    Camping on Rainy Lake

    Our totally kick ass of my favorites in Voyageurs National Park. Hauling all of your gear, coolers (we don't really like to rough it), therma-rests, etc. up the rock is not fun. But once you are set up...beautiful, beautiful, beautiful.

    I know that I am biased, but is there a more beautiful lake anywhere?
    As we were cruising around, exploring the little bays around our campsite, we came across this tiny little deer swimming across the channel.
    The poor, tiny thing was either so scared or so tired, that when it reached the shore it just stood there, shaking. It wouldn't jump out of the water. I wanted to take it home and raise it and love it and protect it. But I'm not sure that Kempton would be cool with sharing the tent with a baby deer for the next couple nights.
    While Steve was catching walleye, I was catching tiny bass that were barely bigger than the bait I was using.
    Almost every time we dropped our hooks down, we had a bite and reeled in a fish...most of them were small, but a couple of them were around 19 inches.
    Finally I catch a walleye! Wanna kiss, little fishy?
    Taking a rest in the front of the is hard work!
    Breakfast on Sunday morning...fried eggs over the campfire!
    Chef Steve (he specializes in breakfast entrees)
    Loons...the sound of Rainy Lake...
    I've seen a lot of sunsets on Rainy Lake, but this one was up there in the most beautiful ever. Did I mention that a huge storm blew in right after this? Steve and I sat on the rock at our campsite, and watching the lightening and sipping wine for about an hour before the rain started. And the wind. And then for the next couple of hours, we stood outside in the hurricane-like conditions holding our tent from blowing away. Literally. But we continued to enjoy ourselves (and continued to sip wine)!