Our Maple Tree

Keeping up with The Maples

Taking a Break from the Norm

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Tuesday night Randy and I decided not to stay home and do chores. We decided to enjoy this beautiful fall-like weather we have been having here lately! I know! We are such rebels! 😉 We took Tesla for a short hike up Bearwallow Mountain. It is about a 2 minute drive from our house, basically our back yard, with a gorgeous view.

randy& tesla 2


randy&i bearwallow 2

The only little downfall about the summit is that we have to share it with cows, therefore there are cow-patties everywhere! So as I was taking this shot I stepped and slid in a cow-patty. Lovely!

bearwallow sun 2

Pretty sunset.

bearwallow sun


Happy Tesla!

tesla bearwallow 1


tesla bearwallow 3

And the great view!

bearwallow view


When we got home we made grilled caprese chicken, from Iowa Girl Eats. It has become one of our favorites! And to make it even better, it is super easy and quick. Perfect for a weekday dinner! We usually make a little bit more and eat on it for about a week. We love it that much!

Grilled Caprese Chicken with Basil Vinaigrette


  • 1-1/2 cups balsamic vinegar
  • 4 small chicken breasts, pounded to an even thickness
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 8oz mozzarella pearls
  • For the Fresh Basil Vinaigrette/Marinade:
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, lightly packed
  • 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 1 large clove garlic (or 2 small cloves)
  • lots of salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil


  1. Pour vinegar into a saucepan then bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium then simmer until the consistency is slightly thinner than maple syrup (you should be able to see the bottom of the pan for a moment when scraping a spatula across the bottom,) 15-20 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly.
  2. For the Fresh Basil Vinaigrette/Marinade: add all ingredients except extra virgin olive oil to a food processor or blender then pulse to roughly chop the basil and garlic. Turn processor on then slowly stream in oil.
  3. Season chicken breasts on both sides with salt and pepper then add to a Ziplock back with half the vinaigrette/marinade. Marinate for 15 minutes or up to a 4 hours in the refrigerator. Meanwhile, combine cherry tomatoes and mozzarella pearls with the remaining vinaigrette in a large bowl.
  4. Preheat grill over medium-high heat then grill chicken for 3-4 minutes a side. Plate then top with cherry tomato and mozzarella topping and reduced balsamic vinegar.


I hope everyone’s week has been great and that you have been enjoying this excellent weather! Happy Friday!

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