The Lexingtonienne

October20th

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Did you know it takes, like, forever to make a gourd?

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Let me rewind a little bit. First of all, I’m not that big on Halloween decorations because 1) I’m afraid of skeletons, and 2) orange looks terrible on me. I don’t even like to stand near anything orange. You certainly will not find it anywhere in my house.

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But I did find some cute little decorative squashies at the grocery store, and I bought several of them to put in the hurricane on my dining room table.

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(The seashells that had been in the hurricane previously were starting to look a little… summery now that it’s well into October.)

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So that’s my fall decoration. Little white and green and orange and yellow squashies in a hurricane. That way I have the colors of fall, but the orange is minimal and well-contained.

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Well it just occurred to me that these things could maybe be turned into gourds, which are super fun and totally remind me of Montessori school. Being the Martha Stewart that I am (har har), I had to go to about.com to find out how a squash becomes a gourd. Here is what I learned.

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Step 1. Clean the surface of the squashes with soapy water and allow to air dry. No problemo.

Step 2. Place in a well-ventilated area away from direct sunlight for a week. Okie dokie.

Step 3. Move to a dark area where they can remain for at least 6 months. Nevermind.

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At this rate I could have gourds in time for my birthday in May. Or I could make them and have them for my baby to play with next fall, if I planned on being some kind of super mama. But let’s be honest. I’m just going to throw these out when I’m ready to replace them with a more Christmasy decoration, and from now on I will simply have a greater appreciation for other people’s gourds.

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But you know what does not take six months to make? These stuffed chicken breasts.

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STUFFED CHICKEN BREASTS WITH SPINACH, BACON, BLUE CHEESE & ARTICHOKE HEARTS
1/2 onion, chopped
1 T olive oil
4 C (approx) fresh baby spinach
4 slices thick bacon, cooked
1/4 C (approx) blue cheese crumbles*
1 small jar artichoke hearts, drained
1 package boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup
Salt & pepper

*The blue cheese flavor, for me, was pretty strong. So if you’re not a fan of bleu cheese, feel free to substitute something you do like, maybe provolone, smoked gouda, or fontina.

Preheat oven to 400. Saute onion in olive oil over medium-high heat until onions begin to turn clear. Add spinach and cook just until wilted. Salt & pepper. Turn off heat, allow to cool slightly, then transfer to a bowl.

Roughly chop the drained artichoke hearts and add to the bowl. Add cheese. Crumble bacon and add.

Pound chicken breasts to about 1/3 inch thick. Cover each breast with spinach mixture, then roll up. Lightly grease a baking dish with cooking spray and place chicken breasts in dish, rolled side down. Lightly salt and generously pepper the chicken breasts.

Spoon condensed cream of mushroom over top and cover the dish with foil. Bake approximately 30-35 minutes or until chicken breasts are firm to the touch. Uncover and bake about 10 more minutes until mushroom soup is bubbling around the edges of the dish.

By the way… you could also add some breadcrumbs to the stuffing mixture. I did not because somebody didn’t want any carbs on his dinner plate.

xoxo,

Hannah

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