Friday, October 29, 2010

Pumpkin Pie Perfection Bars

The other day I got obsessed with It's a website where you flag topics that you are interested in, then click "stumble" and you are directed to sites that it thinks you will enjoy. It's like crack... I couldn't stop. I was directed to lots of food blogs, and one that came up had a recipe for pumpkin pie bars. Here it is. I made them, and Caenaan LOVED them. I was on the fence about them, as they were very soft and the flavor was a bit off. I decided to create my own recipe based on these pumpkin bars, and if I do say so myself, they are AMAZING. Here is the recipe!

Pumpkin Pie Perfection Bars

Crust Ingredients:
2 1/2 Sticks Unsalted Butter, room temperature
1 Cup Sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
3 1/2 Cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 Cups chopped pecans

1 Cup old fashioned oats
1/4 cup brown sugar

Filling Ingredients:
1 (15 oz) can Pumpkin Puree
1 (12 oz) can Evaporated Milk
2 eggs
3/4 cup white sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves

1/4-1/2 cup cinnamon chips (I found mine at The Good Food Store, but Hershey's also makes them)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Line a 9X13 aluminum pan with parchment paper, allowing it to hang over the sides.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, mix together butter and sugar until combined. Add the vanilla and almond extracts. Sift together flour and salt in separate bowl, and then add to the butter/sugar mixture. Add the pecans and mix on low speed until combined and dough starts to come together (it will be slightly crumbly, but will hold together when you press it). Press about 2/3 of the dough into the parchment lined pan, reserving the rest for the topping. Bake for 18-20 minutes (you want it firm but not browned).

While the crust bakes, assemble the filling. Combine the sugar, salt, cinnamon and cloves in a small bowl. Beat eggs lightly in large bowl. Stir in pumpkin and sugar/spice mixture. Gradually stir in evaporated milk.

Add oats and brown sugar to remaining crust mixture and crumble it together. Set aside.

When you remove the crust from the oven, turn the oven up to 425 degrees F and immediately sprinkle the crust with the cinnamon chips. Then pour the pumpkin filling over the top. Return to oven, bake for 15 minutes, then reduce temperature to 350 degrees F. Remove the pan and gently sprinkle with the oat/brown sugar/crust mixture. You want an even layer, but might not use all of the mixture. (Save the extra and use it as a crumble topping for baked apples or berries. Yum.) Return the pan to the oven and bake for another 25-30 minutes, until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the bars cool for about 15 minutes, then remove them from the pan, cut and serve. Ice cream might be necessary. O. M. G.

Hunting and Halloween and Homemaking...

Hunting season in Montana opened this past Saturday. Even though I had gone out and had WAY too much fun at MAT's Rocky Horror Show on Friday, I dragged my ass out of bed and went hunting with my husband. He is set on making me a mountain woman and has had so much fun buying me all sorts of hunting gear. I have my own gun, my own fanny pack, my own camouflage outfit, orange vest, hat and binoculars! We drove to Lolo, then went up Highway 12 and finally to Wagon Wheel Road. We spent about 3 hours driving slowly and quietly on all the back roads, up and down the mountain. Unfortunately, we didn't see a thing except for panoramic views of the gorgeous mountains. I had fun getting all dressed up, though, and spending the day with Caenaan.

Later in the week, I got to dress up for work every day. The first day, I got pretty ambitious and dressed up as one of my favorite characters from my childhood... Jem! She's truly outrageous. Jenny and I used to have a bunch of Jem dolls... I remember cutting Kimber's hair really short (I was known for torturing Barbies. I used to chew on Jenny's Barbie's hands and feet.) After I cut her hair, she was always the ugly doll and nobody wanted to play with her. Sad. Here is me, complete with a keytar from the '80s! (oh and by the way, I dressed as Jem TWENTY years ago for Halloween!!)

The next post will be about a few recipes I have tried this week!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Mommy's Chicken and Dumplings

(This picture that I took sucks. But after searching for beautiful pictures of Chicken and Dumplings on Google to pass off for my own, I have found that all pictures of Chicken and Dumplings suck. I guess that's what you get when "dump" is in the title of your dish.)

I was sick this week. So sick, in fact that I did not go one day without a massive 2-hour nap. And even then, I was exhausted. One day, I woke up from said ginormous nap and Caenaan had brought home all I needed to make my favorite comfort food: my mom's Chicken and Dumplings. I had to make them myself, but I guess it's the thought that counts. That, and I don't think he could even read my recipe, considering that it is just a list of ingredients scratched on a notecard... I've made it so many times. So, here it is for you to enjoy. Every person should have a recipe like this in their arsenal... comfort food at it's finest!

Mom's Chicken and Dumplings (simplified)

Now, when my mom makes this, she of course makes her own chicken stock and uses the cooked chicken from that in this recipe. I am lazier, and find that it's nearly as satisfying to buy stock and pre-cooked chicken from the store. And that turns this into a 30-Minute Meal (ugh, Rachael Ray).


Two 32 oz Cartons Chicken Broth (or stock)
1 can Cream of Chicken Soup
1 or 2 Tsp Poultry Seasoning (I like LOTS)
1 Rotisserie Chicken
Salt and Pepper

Dumplings (this is doubled... I like dumplings)
3 C Flour
1 Tsp Salt
3 Tsp Baking Powder
1/2 C Shortening
1 C Milk

Remove the meat from the rotisserie chicken and set aside. Throw away the bones and skin, or save them to make your own chicken stock!

Pour chicken broth into large stockpot, whisk in cream of chicken soup and poultry seasoning. Heat over medium-high heat, whisking occasionally to remove lumps.

While broth heats up, combine flour, salt and baking powder in large mixing bowl. Cut in shortening with a pastry blender or a fork, until there are crumbs no larger than peas. Stir in milk until dough combines. Form into a ball. Roll out to 1/4 inch thick on a floured surface. Cut into strips about 2 inches wide, then cut those strips into pieces about 3 inches long. Add reserved chicken to broth, then drop dumplings one at a time into the boiling broth. Lower heat to medium. Let the dumplings float for a few minutes, then push them down into the broth gently. Don't manhandle them, or they'll disintegrate! Keep pushing the dumplings down every few minutes and after about 7 minutes of cooking, your chicken and dumplings will be done! Add salt and pepper to taste.

These get even better as the days go by... the dumplings break down a bit and thicken the soup even more. Mmm.... Thanks MOM!

The Best Frackin' Popcorn... Ever.

If you guys haven't tried making your own popcorn at home, you're crazy. While I do love that microwaved fake-buttery goodness in a bag, making your own popcorn is SO cheap and amazing. Most of the time, you just put a layer of popcorn kernels in the bottom of a large stockpot, barely cover them with oil, set the heat to medium-high, cover and shake till the popping almost stops. Seriously, it takes about 5 minutes. However, with 5 seconds more work, you can have ridiculously delicious kettle corn that will impress your friends... I would know. I made it for the first time last night, and Amy and Shelley FREAKED. So here goes...

Spicy-Sweet-Salty-Crunchy Kettle Corn. Aka: Crack.

1/2 Cup Popcorn Kernels
Enough neutral oil (Canola, Peanut, Vegetable) to barely cover them in a stockpot (maybe 1/4-1/2 Cup)
1/4 Cup Sugar
1 Tsp Paprika, or a mix of Paprika and Chili Powder, or add some Cayenne in there for a kick!
Salt to taste

Put your popcorn kernels and oil in a large stockpot. Cover with a lid. Set burner to medium-high. While the oil and kernels heat up, mix sugar and Paprika in a small bowl. As soon as you hear one or two kernels pop, quickly remove lid and pour in the sugar/spice mixture. Replace lid before you get burned (I have a cute little blister from not heeding my own advice). Shake, rattle and roll until the popping slows to 1-2 seconds between pops. Remove from heat immediately, wait a few seconds for popping to subside and then remove lid and add as much salt as you want. Transfer to a bowl. You can eat this molten, sticky popcorn now, or wait a few minutes until the sugar hardens and the popcorn becomes really crunchy.

I made a big batch of this a half-hour ago, and as I typed this blog post, I ate it all. Go me. Now, go you, and make this crack-corn for yourself, or share it with friends if you dare.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Sweet Potato Tots

It seems that this is the recipe y'all are most interested in, so here it is. If you've ever been to James Bar and had their sweet potato tots, well... these are better. And cheaper.

3 Large yams (often confused for sweet potatoes... sweet potatoes are yellow, not orange)
2 Eggs
1 cup flour
2 bags potato chips or 2-3 cups Panko bread crumbs
Oil for frying

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place sweet potatoes on an aluminum or parchment lined baking sheet. Roast until just fork tender, but not mushy. Lumps are okay! (If you'd rather, you can peel the potatoes, cube them and then boil them for 20 minutes or so.... basically, we're just making mashed potatoes to begin with)

Once potatoes have cooled, peel them and mash them in a bowl. Don't obliterate them, as this leads to mushy tots. Nobody wants mushy tots. Add eggs, flour, salt and pepper to taste. If the potatoes are too dry, you can add a splash of milk, but sweet potatoes have a higher sugar/moisture content than russet potatoes and so they tend to be much more moist.

Now would be a good time to start heating your oil up to 350 degrees. It's important to get that oil up to temperature before you add the tots, or the filling will ooze. No oozy tots.

While your oil is heating, you want to start forming the tots. Begin by crushing the potato chips into a shallow dish (or just pour the panko into said dish). Then, drop spoonfuls of the potato mixture into the crumbs. Roll the potatoes around in the crumbs, then form them into a tot shape. The easiest way to do this is to make a light fist around the tot, then pinch the ends with your other hand. You'll get the hang of it. Make all the tots before you begin frying, or you'll get behind! They take a bit of time.

Then, begin frying them in small batches. They like to stick to one another, so be gentle with them, or they'll fall apart. Fry till golden brown, turning periodically so they brown evenly. They should take about 5-7 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Add more salt to taste.

I like to serve them with this chili ketchup...

1 cup ketchup (I love ketchup.)
1-2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp red pepper flakes

Mix everything in a small bowl. Dip your tots. Enter food bliss.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Holy Hiatus, Batman!

Well, as you can tell, this blog has gone by the wayside... The end of the summer was just too jam-packed and beautiful to be spent inside blogging. Then, my second year of grad school began, and my life got way too crazy way too fast. Caenaan and I barely had any time together, and when we did, the last thing we wanted to do was blog. Sleep was higher on the priority list. But I'll fill you in on a few things that have been going on since July...

I met a few famous people, including Alex Gemignani (Broadway: Les Miserables, Sweeney Todd, Assassins)

and Seth Rudetsky (Host on Sirius/XM's On Broadway, musical director and accompanist for tons of Broadway shows)

Went on a few great adventures....

Glacier Park with one of my long-time best friends Amie...

A few days in Cut Bank, spent cooking, traveling and hiking with my mommy....

We cooked Chinese Green Onion Cakes that mom had while she was in China

High tea at the Prince of Wales hotel in Waterton, Alberta, Canada...

Iceberg Lake with mom... Probably the most beautiful hike I've ever been on.

"Gourmet" tuna salad, made with hand-picked wild chives!

Mother-Daughter love

LOTS of fun cooking in my own kitchen! Recipes to come...

Sweet Potato Tots

Bread and Butter Pickles

Fig, Goat Cheese and Walnut Pizza with Balsamic Glaze

Saw some new sights in P-Burg... the mine up at Granite Ghost Town


Started working on Hair, but found some time to horse around and enjoy the weekend...

SOOO..... That's two months in a blog post. Now that my life is calming down a tad (after SIX weeks of school...) I may be able to update this thing more often... you guys really need the recipe for my sweet potato tots and quick dill pickles!

Mrs. Hatfield

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Grilled Pizza

Mmm... charred crunchy cheesy goodness. My mom started making homemade pizza when I was in high school, and for Cut Bank, it was gourmet. These few pizzas incorporate ideas of hers, as well as some of my own. Enjoy!

Let's start with the crust. If you are lucky enough to live in Missoula, the way to go for pizza dough is Le Petit Outre. I'm not sure if they sell their pizza dough in the actual shop, but I know that they have it at The Good Food Store and Orange Street Food Farm. It's such a great product. I bought four packages today and froze two for later. Follow the instructions on the bag and you'll be good to go. The other option for crust is what my mom used to use - Pillsbury Hot Roll Mix.
The side of the box has instructions for pizza dough. I honestly couldn't tell too much of a difference when I made the two side by side. I believe the Hot Roll Mix yields about two crusts the size of one Le Petit crust. So it's a tad more economical.

Anyway, once you have your dough stretched out to the size you want (mine was about the size of a dinner plate), you can start building your pizza. I made three today: Black bean and chipotle with caramelized onions and asparagus, Pepperoni with fire roasted tomatoes and caramelized onions and then my version of a Roman pizza.

Start by heating up your grill - I set mine to medium heat. You don't want it too high, or the crust will burn before the toppings heat through. You'll want to brush your dough with olive oil and then flip it over so the oil is on the bottom. You don't want your pizza sticking to the grill. If you are using the oven, you can skip this step. Then, simply start adding ingredients. Once you have all of your ingredients on the pizza, transport it out to the grill - I used an upside down cookie sheet, so the pizza would slide right off onto the grill. If you have a pizza peel, even better.

Here are the ingredients I used for each of my pizzas:

Black Bean/Chipotle Pizza

Chopped chipotles in adobo sauce
Canned black beans
Blanched asparagus
Fire-roasted canned tomatoes
Caramelized onions
Parmesan cheese
Mozzarella cheese

Pepperoni Pizza

Fire-roasted canned tomatoes (reduced with garlic to a sauce)
Caramelized onions
Mozzarella cheese

Roman Pizza
Olive Oil
Mozzarella Cheese
-After the pizza cooks, top with either prosciutto or cooked bacon, fresh baby arugula, shaved Parmesan cheese, lemon juice, more olive oil, salt and pepper. It's almost like a salad-pizza!


The pizzas should cook in about 15-20 minutes. Check them often to make sure the crust doesn't burn. If the bottoms start to get too dark, you can turn off the grill, close the lid and wait for the cheese to melt. Or you can move the pizza to a cooler spot on the grill. That is the challenge when cooking over an open flame - controlling your heat! One of my crusts was totally black tonight, and it didn't really matter. It was still tasty!

One Helluva Week...

This week has been quite a crazy one. Since the last post on Tuesday, here's what has happened: I played piano for Bastille Day out at Missoula Winery (ate LOTS of great cheese), tried to make sweet potato tots and failed, did a show in P-Burg, sighted in my rifle, went with Caenaan to Whitefish to see Alpine Theatre Project's production of Hair, spent the night in Whitefish and partied with the cast, drove all the way back to P-Burg to do another show, worked at Next Step Prep, made grilled pizza. Whew! It has gone by SO fast. But I will elaborate on what Caenaan and I did together, since that is what this blog is supposed to be about.

On Saturday, we had tickets to see Hair at the Alpine Theatre Project in Whitefish. First, however, we went out to Deep Creek Rifle Range to sight in my rifle. Caenaan got it for me this year, and I will be going deer hunting with him int he fall. I'd never shot a rifle before, and was quite nervous. When you sit away from the gun and someone else is shooting it, it's freaky, because you actually feel the percussion from the shot. It made the hair on my arms stand up. It's also VERY loud. Caenaan sighted it in for me, and then I had to shoot it. I was very nervous, expecting it be loud and to kick hard and hurt my shoulder. It wasn't too bad though. When you're actually shooting the gun, it's not as loud and you don't feel that same percussion blast as when you sit farther away. I managed to shoot four shots within an inch and a half of one another at 100 yards. Pretty good for a girl. I forgot to take pictures, but I'm sure we will go again.

Then, we headed off for Whitefish. One of my favorite sights on the way up to Flathead is when you come over the hill at St. Ignatius and see the Mission Mountains. They are just so beautiful.

When we got to Whitefish, our friend Brendan (who plays trumpet in the band) took us to a great Mexican restaurant called La Hacienda. I would highly recommend eating there if you are in town. The fish tacos were to DIE for! We had a few pitchers at the adjoining bar, then headed to the show.

For those of you who aren't familiar with Alpine Theatre Project, go check out their website. They are a professional theatre in Whitefish that put on top notch productions. I am music directing Hair at the University in the fall, so I was very excited to see it and get a feel for the show. Caenaan was nervous and thought he wouldn't like it. However, he was blown away by the quality. The cast was absolutely amazing, as was the band, and overall, it was a great show. After the show, we went with Brendan and picked up beer for what would be an awesome night. The cast was having a taco party up at their condos, and we were lucky enough to be invited. Their living quarters are amazing, since Whitefish is quite a rich community and certain benefactors donate their condos to the cast for housing. It was so fun to get to meet the cast... it's weird hanging out with people who have done Broadway and national tours of shows and find that they are so down to earth. Here is Brendan's gnome, hanging out in the VORTEX...

The band has been playing tricks on each other using this gnome... he randomly shows up in people's cars, their beds, in the bathroom. It's fun.

So we stayed up far too late, drinking Miller Lite (VORTEX!) and eating tacos at the most amazing condo on Big Mountain. Then we had to get up at the crack of dawn and drive all the way back to Missoula, then I had to get in the car and drive to Philipsburg to do a show. That's life when you do summer theater.

The last few days have been spent recovering from our whirlwind weekend... Caenaan worked super hard today, so I made him grilled pizza for dinner. Recipe to follow!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie and Crust Recipe

I've adapted both of these recipes from ones I found online. The crust is honestly the best recipe I have ever made. I prefer crust with shortening... it's just my thang, but if you like a butter-crust, well... go find your own damn recipe. Hehe. Seriously, though, everyone has their own taste for pie crust, and I'm a firm believer in trying as many recipes as you can. Flour, salt and butter/shortening are super cheap, and I love experimenting. This crust melts in your mouth, but is still flaky and is very easy to work with. Other crusts that I have made are too flaky and hard to work with or are too tough. The filling holds together nicely if you use enough cornstarch. When I say heaping tablespoon, I MEAN heaping tablespoon. I ran out last night after just four tablespoons, and my filling was quite runny. Have fun with these recipes... I have found that people are so surprised when someone makes a pie from scratch, and honestly, they're not that hard at all!

Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie

One 9-inch double pie crust
2 ½ C chopped red rhubarb, fresh
1 ½ C (or about 1 ½ pounds) de-stemmed, washed and halved strawberries
1 ¼ C sugar
6 heaping TB cornstarch
1 heaping TB all-purpose flour
½ Tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp lemon zest, ½ tsp lemon juice (optional – I tasted no difference with this addition)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a large bowl, mix all filling ingredients. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes, stirring a few times. Pour into prepared pie shell. Cover with top crust, sealing edges with fingers. Cut plenty of holes in the top to let steam escape (or use a pie bird, but who the hell has one of those?). Cover edges with foil or pie crust shield. Place on parchment or foil lined baking sheet (this is important, as fruit pies tend to overflow) and bake for 15 minutes at 425 degrees, and then reduce heat to 375 degrees and bake for another 40-50 minutes or until golden brown. In the last 10-15 minutes of cooking, remove foil or pie shield. Let cool completely before devouring.

9-inch Double Pie Crust

2 ½ C all-purpose flour
½ Tsp salt
1 C shortening (chilled, or not. Mine works fine at room temp)
Glass of ice water
Waxed paper

Mix together flour and salt in a large bowl. Add shortening, and smush into flour with a fork (or a pastry blender… my pastry blender sucks, so a fork works better for me). Stop when the mixture has pieces no larger than peas - some bits will be more the size of oatmeal, while others will be smaller… lots of recipes say “resembles course meal” but since when have you ever looked at course meal? Yeah. That’s what I thought. Next, sprinkle the ice water over the flour mixture, starting with about 3 tablespoons. Then stir with the fork. Keep adding ice water, one tablespoon at a time, until the dough just holds together when you press it with your hands. You’re looking for a dough much dryer than bread dough, but you don’t want it flaking off when you try to work with it. Shape into a disk and wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Cut dough in half, and form one half into a ball, smoothing out any cracks. Place on a floured piece of waxed paper large enough to cover your pie plate. Sprinkle flour on top of dough and cover with another piece of waxed paper. Roll out dough until it extends about ½ inch beyond the edge of your pie plate. Remove waxed paper and gently place dough into pie plate. Roll out the other half of the dough exactly the same, and after you have filled your pie, cover it with this piece of dough. Pinch the edges together, and if you want, you can flute the edges to make it look pretty.

I know that seems like a very long pie crust recipe... but honestly, when I was first starting out, I had no clue what "course meal" or "add iced water until crust just barely holds together" meant. I ended up with lots of pie crusts that fell apart, or didn't flake at all. I figured I'd try to take out the guesswork for those of you who haven't ever made a pie crust! Let me know what you think, or if you have any recipes that you think I should try! (Caenaan just told me that he would LOVE to taste any new recipes)

Mrs. Hatfield :)

The only thing better than steak for dinner...

...Is pie for breakfast. And lunch. We definitely didn't both eat pie for breakfast and lunch today. Nope. Not us. Caenaan claims that his lunchpie was more of an afternoon snack. I call bullshit.

We devirginized our grill yesterday evening. I went to Safeway and bought what I later found out to be sub-par grilling steaks... Caenaan educated me that top round is not as tender as sirloin or tenderloin. I just bought something that looked pretty and was fairly cheap (I buy wine the same way), but I guess that's not the way to buy steaks. But they just LOOKED so pretty! Check out these awesome grill marks...

Anyway, Caenaan also made some garlicky asparagus and mushrooms that were DA BOMB (thank you, 90's cathphrase). He tossed the asparagus and button mushrooms with olive oil, minced garlic, salt and pepper, then made a tray out of tin foil and put that on the grill. He covered it with another piece of tinfoil so they would steam on the grill. I don't even like mushrooms, but they were awesome.

Note that I am drinking PBR, while Caenaan enjoys a classy glass of red wine. Psh.

Earlier in the day, I showed what a fantastically domestic housewife I am and made a strawberry-rhubarb pie. Last month, Caenaan brought me HUGE stalks of rhubarb from a lady at work, and we made a pie for the company at OHTC. However, Caenaan had to leave town early and couldn't try it. It was AMAZING. The filling didn't run and the crust was perfectly flaky. I tried to recreate it yesterday, and while the crust was once again perfect, the filling was a bit runny. Altitude difference? Or maybe I used less cornstarch. I'm not sure. Here is the pie from start to finish:

Ready for the oven, with my pie-shield from Pampered Chef:

And finally, a beautiful slice before I devoured it:

After dinner, we cleaned up and then went to take the garbage cans to the street for pickup on Tuesday morning. I wanted the one with the wheels, but Caenaan told me it was heavier, so he would carry it. He slung it over his shoulder, took about four steps, then said, "Oh shit, what just dripped down my back?" It was nasty, stinky, putrid garbage juice. He ran inside, stripping his clothes as he went, and jumped immediately into the shower. I laughed hysterically on the lawn for a few minutes, and then came inside to help... by taking pictures of him crouched in the bathtub, washing garbage juice off his legs and back. Those pictures have since been deleted (trust me, you wouldn't want to see it). I did make up a song, though... "Caaaeeee-naaan, the garbage-juice maaaann!" It's catchy. I think he liked it.

Look for more posts about our grilling adventures, hopefully on nights where the wind doesn't try to blow our food away, and when we have some friends over.

Even though this post was written through the perspective of Mrs. Hatfield, Mr. Hatfield contributed greatly :)

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Goodbye Giftcards....

I've been carrying around massive amounts of giftcards with me since the wedding... which, I realize, probably isn't a good idea. If I lose them, I'm effed. But I just can't help it, knowing that if I happen to find myself wandering through Bed Bath and Beyond, I could buy something without spending any real money. Ha. The Target cards have been the worst, though, as I tend to spend them (even though they're Caenaan's too... shhh, don't tell). Well, today, those Target gift cards were put to DAMN good use.

The day started off... weird. I left Caenaan in bed to go watch my friends Shelley and AJ finish the half marathon. When I came home, Caenaan had made me a beautiful omelet with bacon, asparagus, mushrooms, garlic and Parmesan cheese... om nom nom. But since I haven't learned the "ways of the wife" and/or how to be grateful... well, we got into a fight. Let's just leave it at that. After crying, pouting and throwing my glasses onto the sidewalk, we got over it and both drove back downtown to watch my other friend Emily finish the full marathon. (On a side note, how LAZY do you have to be to DRIVE to watch your friend finish a friggen' marathon? Maybe soon you'll be seeing posts about our gluttonous butts trying to get into shape. Maybe.)

Here's Emily, right before crossing the finish line

We then started this blog, went to eat at Stone of Accord, bought some ant killer at Lowes, and then stopped at Target to print some wedding photos for an upcoming project of mine (I'm sure you'll hear about it soon). While I was cursing the touch-screen photo kiosk, Caenaan wandered off into Target. He came back having found some awesome deals on patio furniture and grills - both of which we promised to buy with our gift cards from the wedding, because our patio furniture looks like this:

It was my parent's table growing up... sorry Mom. So we ran home, killed some ants, grabbed the gift cards and went back to Target. Here are our purchases, NONE of which we payed for out of pocket! I think we saved about $300 total...

THE MAN GRILL with side burner... Caenaan is SO excited!

Metal table and four folding wrought iron chairs

We spent the evening putting all of our purchases together, laughing over the stupid sissy tools they include for you to use, sweating our balls off and cursing far less than I expected. Then we sat outside and drank the ChocoVine that Caenaan has been dying to try since they got it into the warehouse a few months ago.

ChocoVine is from Holland, and is a red wine blended with real chocolate and cream. I didn't know what to expect, and turned my nose up at the idea of it when he told me about it, but it was actually quite good. It tasted a lot like a mudslide, but it left a fruity taste in your mouth. We went to three different stores trying to find it (you would think as the manager of the wine room at Summit, Caenaan would know which stores carry it) and finally found it at Pattee Creek Market. We each drank about a third of a glass, but honestly, a cordial glass would suit this wine better. However, we have plenty left over for the inevitable barbecue we will have in the next few weeks, so Caenaan can show off his MAN GRILL and I can show off all of the great projects you will be hearing about on here (I hope). With that, I'll leave you with a picture of the sunset tonight, as seen from our ant-free backyard.

Mrs. Hatfield :)

The Hatfields at a Glance

Now that we're married and don't have to plan a wedding every day, we have been looking for ways to spend more time together... Weird. We've chosen this blog. It will be a way for us to tell everyone what we've been doing, and in the process, hopefully we will find more fun and creative things to do together. We'll see. It may just end up a blog about us watching Sunday night programming on HBO (riveting). Let's start with some background about us as a couple.

We met in college, both being music students (band geeks). We dated for four and half years before getting married on May 1st.

After our honeymoon in Hawaii,

we returned to Montana, and are living, working and trying to enjoy our summer in Missoula. Lizzie is constantly off to Philipsburg, playing piano for The Operahouse Theatre Company and Caenaan manages the wine warehouse for Summit Beverage in Missoula.

We live in a tiny, very old rental house...

but it's surrounded by green trees, a big yard, fields and the river. Almost as if we don't live in the middle of town. Our cat, Boo, loves it.

So, in the future, expect to see blogs about wine, food, our cat (and the possibility of a kitten... we'll see), music, theatre, home projects, trips we take, our friends, family and everything else that we could possibly experience together. Enjoy!