Saturday, February 4, 2012

The World According to Bella

Things Are Looking Up
Life here in Texas doesn't get any better than this for me.
My early morning hours are spent surveying my domain off the deck, listening to the owls hooting and keeping a watchful eye on the cats across the street. 
But when I hear "Who wants to go?" I jump up in a flash ready for our next adventure. 
Before I go on y'all need to know we now have new nicknames: Winter Texans. Its like being called snowbirds in Florida. At least that's what our neighbor here tells us.
I scored big yesterday at The Chamber of Commerce. As I was resting patiently on their front porch for Mrs. S,  a real nice lady comes to the door. Wouldn't I like to come in  for a treat. Well, I look around surely she must be talking to someone else. But no it was me. Inside she had a big jar of doggie treats and one was just for me. Now talk about real Southern hospitality. Well I had barely finished licking up the crumbs off the floor from that treat when a man comes by. He offers me another doggie treat. Now I ask you who am I to turn down a second one!
In the afternoon (and this is really true) as we were walking along the water's edge two different pickup trucks (oh- did forget to mention everyone and I mean everyone here, drives big really big pickups?) stopped rolled down their window and said to Mr. C and Mrs. S what a pretty dog they had. So of course  I gave both drivers my best puppy dog tail wag.  If things couldn't get any better on this walk we come across a restaurant with  a sign in the window: Pet Friendly (I have also learned that here means dog friendly).  Lucky me to be able to dine al fresco on the deck overlooking the pier.
But today was another story. A field trip to some really scary places sent me into a tail spin. At the state park we heard from the ranger to be careful avoiding snakes like rattle and copper so stay on  the walking paths. My tail was definitely between my legs when I heard that. Yikes! I was really glad when we made it back to the van alive.  But then it even got scarier at the wildlife refugee.  Not only did we have to avoid the snakes here but also alligators. Check this photo out. This is for REAL. 


It was practically impossible for me  to focus on all the birds soaring around after I saw this creature. Home never looked so good at the end of the day. I went straight to bed (but only after a little supper) for many, many hours. 
Enjoy Sunday's big game if you are a football fan as for me I'm tuning in to The Puppy Bowl. 
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Valentine Candy Brownie Mix
Cook’s note: This recipe is quite similar to one I posted in December called Sand Art Brownies. I thought adding Valentine M & M’s was a good alternative gift idea for the holiday instead of using chocolate chips. Note there is 1 cup flour plus 3 TB total used in this recipe.
This recipe is adapted from a Pillsbury Holiday Baking issue
I did not have on hand a quart size jar for this photo 
 Need to assemble
  • Quart jar with lid and cover
  • 7-8 inch square of fabric for top of lid and use ribbon or raffia
  • A recipe card or tag with baking directions to be attached to the lid
Ingredients:
  • 1 cup pink and red M & M’s plus 3 TB. candies set aside in plastic bag
  • ½ cup plus 3 TB. flour
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened baking cocoa
  • ½ cup flour
  • 1/2-cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped walnuts
Directions:
  • In a quart glass jar layer in this order
  • ½ cup flour plus 3 TB. flour and ¾ tsp. salt
  • 1 cup Chocolate candies
  • Cocoa
  • ½ cup flour
  • Brown sugar
  • White sugar
  • Walnuts
  • 2-3 TB candies in a small plastic bag place on top walnuts
  • Place fabric over lid and tie with ribbon or raffia
  • Attach directions for baking
Baking Directions:
  • Preheat oven 350 grease a square 8 inch baking pan
  • Set aside candies in plastic bag
  • In a large bowl mix contents of jar with 2/3-cup vegetable oil, 1 tsp. vanilla and three eggs
  • If brown sugar has become slightly firm from sitting in jar break up with fork
  • Using a wooden spoon beat about 30 strokes
  • Spread in pan
  • Sprinkle candies from plastic bag on top-press down a bit
  • Bake 35 minutes for a 8 inch square  
  • If using a 9 inch square pan bake @ 350 for 22-25 minutes



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