Mystery Weekend

Last weekend we decided we would get away for a weekend and do something fun. Eric thought that instead of "us" planning something, he would plan it and not tell me what we were doing. Sounds good to me! I did have my suspicions as to where we were going though...

Friday afternoon rolled around and we got the heck out of work and hit the road. Our weekend started off with a night at his aunt and uncles second home in Phillipsburg, MT. They won't be back until January so this was a good chance for us to make sure the (very old) house is in working order for them.

This small town is about 2 hours northwest of Bozeman with a beautiful drive to get there. They have a local place called "Friday Night Pizza" that we've been interested in trying. It's a local couple that whip up gourmet pizzas, but only on... you guessed it... Friday nights. You call in during the day and they schedule a time for you to come get it at their location built into the back of the local laundromat/car wash. We were thoroughly impressed and will definitely plan to get it again next time we are in the area.

That evening we ventured downtown to a local bar. Upon settling up at the bar and ordering drinks, a guy in his mid 20's came up, sat next to us and asked us where we were from. This guy was one of the nicest guys ever and had the full redneck, "I grew up in this town and ain't never leavin' again", personality dialed in. We had a blast talking to him about hunting, growing up in town and his job as a gold miner down south (and then moved home). I'd have to say the highlight of our conversation was hearing him talk about his uncle and how "that man is a mountain lion huntin' son-of-a-bitch, he is, yep". It was a great night! Oh, and did I mention that 9 beers (got a drink for our friend too), tips and 2 shake a days was $15? "YEP"

Jackson, MT Jackson, MT

The next morning we cleaned up the house, made sure everything was in working order and winterized the place. Eric had planned that instead of taking the quick route, we'd take a longer, more scenic route to my favorite place in Montana - Jackson. This drive took us directly through the middle of the Pioneer Mountains along a windy road, passing many hunters along the way. We surely thought that we would see some wildlife along the way, but just didn't get lucky.

You could easily blink and miss this tiny little town as you're driving through. The Jackson Hot Springs Lodge is basically the towns livelihood. We discovered this place several years ago when we were looking for a neat place to visit and have now stayed 3 times and visited during the day once over Jeep Week when we needed the mechanic across the street from the lodge.

Considering the lodge and it's accompanying hot spring pool and cabins takes up one full block of the 4 square blocks making up the entire town, you are certain to get to know a mix of locals and visitors as we did. In fact, we spent the evening partying with the owners. The greatest thing about this place, aside from being really inexpensive to stay, is that you have these really rustic accommodations, an amazing lodge to spend your evening in and then you have a high end gourmet restaurant. I'd have to say some of the best meals I've ever eaten have been in the restaurant here.

Needless to say it was a really fun weekend getaway with Eric. I know we'll be back to both places again and again. Trips like these remind me just how awesome the man I married truly is!

It's been quite a week! Between a fun weekend in Minnesota celebrating our friends marriage, plus a very busy week catching up at work and oh, yeah, the official election of a new president, I'm ready to relax. It's been getting quite chilly around here and with ski season just around the corner we are banking on some serious snowfall.

This afternoon we are having a few friends over for a BBQ. Eric is planning on grilling a variety of meat on the Big Green Egg, a friend is going to make her specialty mac & cheese and her husband is also bringing over Rock Band! Certain to be a good time! I can't have folks over though without the serious itch to make something myself. It's a perfect time to make some of my favorite recipes.

I have to say I'm a bit proud of myself for this recipe. It's one of the few I've put together on my own. The idea came from a combination of watching Rachael Ray make mini pizzas one afternoon and one of Eric's favorite kinds. These are a great appetizer for parties since they are colorful and super easy to make. I only wish the picture was better!


  • 1 tube refrigerated pizza dough
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 tbls chopped garlic (we use the stuff in the jar)
  • 8 oz. mozzarella brick
  • 1 tub grape tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Roll out tube of pizza dough into a rectangle. You can either use a cup to form as many circles as possible or the easier method may be to just cut it into 3x3 inch squares or so.
  3. Brush each mini pizza with olive oil and rub about a 1/4 tsp of garlic on each one.
  4. Slice tomatoes in half length wise, and then slice each half again lengthwise. Slice cheese into 1/4 in thick slices into chunks that will almost fill the sections. Place a piece of cheese on each section of dough and arrange 3-4 tomato quarters on top so the stay put.
  5. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until edges of dough start to brown. Allow to cool slightly, sprinkle basil over top and drizzle with olive oil.


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