Thursday, October 31, 2013

The World According to Bella

The Reveal

I waited till today to show you my Halloween costume. Its way better than the first one Mrs. S thought I should wear which was just plain dumb. It was a silly looking monkey hat with ears that stood out like an elephant and flopped about. She thought I looked hilarious. But I stood my ground and whined and keep shaking my head no-no-no till she got the idea. Then Mrs. S got real smart. She remembered my Texas outfit which I so love. I have worn enough orange at the lake lately to stay safe from the hunters, pink was a nice change. So that is what I wore to the dog park for their annual Halloween parade yesterday. Some said I looked real sweet and was a pretty dog. Lucky Mrs. S added a chinstrap to my hat so it stayed on better. I did not want people to laugh at me. I liked my outfit.
It was chaos at the park as Mrs. S said with all these barking dogs running around in ridiculous outfits. I saw a Santa, cheerleader, a scary looking devil and even a Triceratops. But my favorite was the turkey one that Max wore. I didn’t even recognize him till Mrs. S told me it was him complete with tail feathers. Lily looked lovely in her princess outfit with a sparkly crown and pink skirt. I wondered where they all shopped for their clothes.
I did not win a prize but my buddy Mulligan did. He looked quite sharp in a superman outfit. He had a cape on with a large letter S sewed in the front. His owner got real excited when he got one of the prizes. It was a huge and a mean huge rawhide bone. I was happy just to get a bag of mini milk bones. 
I think the owners had more fun than the dogs.
After all the excitement I had to go home and take a nap. 

Love, Bella

HAVE A HAPPY HALLOWEEN from our house to yours

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Keep Calm and Carry On

Keep Calm and Carry On is a catchphrase that originally appeared on a World War II-era British public safety poster. After one of the original posters was recovered and placed in a British bookshop in 2000, the inspirational message was shared online, sparking a series of image macros centered around the phrasal template “Keep Calm and X.”

“Keep Calm and Carry On”--suddenly, the slogan, printed on a colored background and topped with a royal crown, has cropped up everywhere, emblazoned on everything from totes and T-shirts to coffee mugs and throw pillows. Where did all of this come from and why has it become the meme of the moment?

Some back history: The Keep Calm and Carry On poster was commissioned in 1939 by the temporary Ministry of Information in England, following the printing of two other inspirational posters stating “Freedom Is In Peril. Defend It With All Your Might” and “Your Courage, Your Cheerfulness, Your Resolution Will Bring Us Victory.” It was intended to be used to strengthen morale in the event of a large-scale attack or occupation, which many considered inevitable at the time. The posters were printed using a “special and handsome” typeface, which would be difficult for Germany to counterfeit, and featured the crown of King George VI. The other two were distributed, but “Keep Calm” was placed on reserve, for use only in times of crisis, and actually never saw the light of day. 
That is, until one of the 2.5 million posters turned up more than 50 years later in a box of used books at a lovely secondhand bookstore called Barter Books in the northeast town of Alnwick England.
As of 2012, Barter is not the only place that houses original copies of the poster. The Imperial War Museum in England has approximately six and fifteen additional copies were found in February 2012, where they were appraised on the television show Antiques Roadshow.
The website was registered in February 2007, with an online shop selling a variety of related merchandise featuring the slogan, ranging from T-shirts and bags to deck chairs and chocolate bars. 
Of course it wasn't too hard to find this poster for Halloween 
In case you are anticipating a "sugar overload on Halloween I'd like to recommend these two healthy snacks.
Carrots Cucumbers  Broccoli and Dip
Blackberries and Cubed Cheese

Tuesday, October 29, 2013


Looking to add some zip to your healthful diet? Avocados add a creamy and delicious flavor to all types of recipes. Beyond its flavor, this luscious fruit also has many nutritional properties that can be part of a healthful diet. In fact, avocados contain nearly 20 vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients.

Avocados are a good source of healthy fats, the monounsaturated fats. Monounsaturated fats are healthy additions to the diet because they help to nourish your body, sustain your energy, aid in healing processes and promote a healthy cellular environment.

Avocados were first cultivated in South America and migrated to the United States in the 1800s. California is the largest producer of avocados in the United States. 
Raspberry Avocado Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette
Cook's notes: A neighbor gave me some of her raspberries awhile back. It is a gift to be coveted considering the prices in the grocery store right now.  When I rediscovered them in my freezer I knew this salad recipe was perfect for them plus I had ripe avocados. It is a light salad-a no fuss meal.
I included the dressing directions. But I took the shortcut and used a prepared raspberry vinaigrette.
This salad serves 4-6
  • 2 avocados, peeled, seeded and diced
  • 1 small package of spring mix salad
  • 1 large can of mandarin oranges, well drained or two oranges peeled  
  • 1 cup raspberries
  • 1 package of glazed walnuts
  • 1/2 cup green onions diced or red onion rings
Toss all ingredients with raspberry vinaigrette
  • 1/4 cup virgin oil
  • 1/4 cup raspberry vinegar
  • 1-1/2 TB honey
  • 1/2 TB. Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 tsp. salt 

 If you happen to be a real lover of avocados there is an entire cookbook devoted to the subject. It is called  Absolutely Avocados by Gaby Dalkin.
This recipe comes from her book called Shrimp and Avocado Pasta. 
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 2 TB Parmesan cheese-plus more for serving
  • 1 TB fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 LB. linguine 
  • 2 TB. butter
  • 2 TB. minced garlic
  • 1 LB. medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/3 cup chopped scallions
  • 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • Cut avocado in half lengthwise. Remove pit and remove avocado from skin
  • Place in a food processor and add in Parmesan cheese and lemon juice
  • Pulse one to two minutes while streaming in 2 TB. olive oil till smooth and creamy
  • Season sauce with salt and pepper
  • Bring large pot of water to boil and add in 2 TB. olive oil
  • Add linguine and cook till al dente, drain -set aside
  • Add butter and remaining olive oil to a large skillet, add garlic and onion and cook 30 seconds
  • Add shrimp and cook till pink about 2 minutes per side
  • Add in pepper flakes and stir to combine
  • Add in cooked pasta and the avocado mixture to shrimp and toss to combine
  • Pasta should be evenly coated, add in more Parmesan cheese,taste and adjust seasoning 
PS. I thought this information would be helpful to you in choosing a ripe avocado 
Pick up the avocado to assess its exterior features. This is the easiest way to tell if your avocado is ripe. The avocado should be dark brown in color with small hints of purple in it. If the avocado is green on the outside, it is not ripe.
  • Feel the avocado in your hand. Gently squeeze the fruit in your palms. If the fruit is ripe and ready to be used, it will feel firm but still give in to pressure. If the exterior is hard like an apple, then the avocado is too hard and will need time to ripen. If the avocado is soft and mushy and doesn't retain its shape once pressed on, the fruit is overly ripe and is no longer good.

  • Monday, October 28, 2013

    Cranberry Pear Apple Crumble

    "Autumn begins with a subtle change in the light, with skies a deeper blue, and nights that become suddenly clear and chilled. The season comes full with the first frost, the disappearance of migrant birds, and the harvesting of the season's last crops."
    by Glenn Wolff and Jerry Dennis

    Crumbles are especially popular during the Fall and Winter months which just happen to coincide with harvest time of cranberries, apples and pears. 
    This Cranberry Pear and Apple Crumble takes chunks of sweet pears,tart cranberries and crisp apples and tops it with a streusel-like mixture topping. It is oh so good when served warm from the oven with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. 
    Filling Ingredients:
    • 6 cups of tart apples, peeled and cut into chunks (about 5 apples)
    • 2 cups of pears cut into chunks (about 4 pears)  
    • 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
    • 2/3 cup white sugar
    • 2 tsp. cinnamon
    • 1/4 cup flour
    • 1 tsp. orange zest
    • 1 tsp. fresh lemon zest
    • 1 TB. orange juice
    • 1 Tb. lemon juice
    Filling Directions;
    • Preheat oven to 350
    • Mix flour, sugar, both zests, juices and cinnamon in a large bowl
    • Add cut up fruits and pour into a 13 x 9 baking pan
    Topping Ingredients:
    • 1 cup of flour
    • 1 cup brown sugar
    • 2 cups of quick cooking dry oatmeal
    • ¼ tsp. baking soda
    • ¼ tsp. baking powder
    • ¼ tsp. salt
    • 2 TB.cinnamon
    • ¾ stick of butter (6TB)
    Topping Directions:
    • In a food processor pulse ingredients a few times just till crumbled
    • Sprinkle crumble mixture over fruit filling
    • Bake uncovered about 40 minutes or until apples are tender   

    Sunday, October 27, 2013


    Cranberries are an American native fruit and a favorite seasonal ingredient found in traditional holiday recipes.
    By November, nearly all of the cranberry crop has been harvested. Millions and millions of the little hard, tart ruby berries grown in the bogs of Cape Cod (Massachusetts), New Jersey, Wisconsin, Washington, Oregon, and the Maritime Provinces of Canada have been bagged fresh or earmarked for juice or canned sauce.

    The Pilgrims and those who followed appreciated the wild berries but did not start to cultivate them until 1816, when a bog was planted and tended in Dennis on Cape Cod. By then, American and Canadian sailors on long voyages knew they could eat cranberries to protect themselves from scurvy—making them a cranberry counterpart to British "limeys."
    Cranberry Trivia 
    1. There are small pockets of air inside cranberries that cause them to bounce. Air also makes the berries float in water. 
    2. There are approximately 440 cranberries in one pound.
    3. Cranberries are 90 % water.
    4. Fresh cranberries can be frozen up to one year in an airtight container.
    5. Massachusetts is the leading producer of cranberries. 
    6. Cranberries do not grow in water but on low running vines in sandy bogs and marshes.
    7. Americans consume 5,062,500 gallons of jellied cranberry sauce every Thanksgiving. More than 94% of Thanksgiving dinners include some type of cranberry sauce.
    Cranberry-Dried Cherry Sauce
    Cook's notes:This sauce would be perfect for any dinner. It is quite tasty served over turkey. chicken, pork or salmon. It can be made a few days in advance and kept refrigerated. It also can be used as a basting sauce for grilled meats. Don't skip the wine part. For some inexplicable reason it really enhances the sauce flavor :)
    • 12 oz. cran-cherry juice
    • 1 cup of water
    • 1 cup dark brown sugar
    • 2 large cinnamon sticks broken in half
    • 1/4 tsp. allspice
    • 2 TB. cornstarch-1/4 cup cran-cherry juice
    • 1-5 oz package dried tart cherries
    • 1-12 oz bag fresh cranberries
    • 1/4 cup dry red wine like a Merlot, Cabernet or Malbec
    • Whisk 2 TB. cornstarch into 1/4 cup cran-cherry juice and set aside
    • In a saucepan add 12 oz. cran-cherry juice, 1 cup of water, brown sugar, allspice, cinnamon sticks
    • Bring mixture to boil over medium heat stirring till sugar is dissolved, add cherries and reserved cornstarch mixture and cook 2 minutes till slightly thickened 
    • Add cranberries and cook till berries pop about 7 minutes over medium heat
    • Remove from heat and transfer to a bowl, stir in wine 
    • Cool and remove cinnamon sticks
    • Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate
    Cranberry Pumpkin Nut Bread
    • 1/2 cup butter (softened)
    • 3/4 cups brown sugar
    • 3/4 cups white sugar
    • 2 large eggs
    • 1 cup unsweetened canned pumpkin (not pie filing)
    • 2 TB orange zest
    • 1/4 cup orange juice
    • 1 cup whole wheat flour
    • 1-1/4 cup white flour
    • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
    • 2 tsp. baking soda
    • 1/2 tsp. salt
    • 2 tsp. cinnamon
    • scant ground cloves
    • scant nutmeg
    • 1/2 tsp. ginger
    • 1 tsp. allspice
    • 1 cup chopped walnuts
    • 1 cup orange flavored cranberries or regular (coarsely chopped)
    • 2 TB. granulated sugar
            Preheat oven 350
    • Grease one large loaf pan or use two-three mini loaf pans
    • Toss coarsely chopped cranberries in 2 TB. sugar, set aside
    • Cream butter, sugar and 1 egg.  Add in second egg, pumpkin, orange zest and orange juice and beat all ingredients together
    • In another bowl add flours, spices, baking soda, baking powder, cranberries and nuts
    • Add to pumpkin mixture but stir only to moisten ingredients
    • Bake 40 minutes or until center comes out clean using a toothpick
    • Cool in pan 10 minutes, invert to a cooling rack

    Saturday, October 26, 2013

    Last minute DIY Halloween Ideas

    Add sparkle to your holiday decor.

    This glitzy pumpkin featured in the photo was created using a synthetic pumpkin purchased at Michaels Craft store. It was spray painted orange. Then it was sprayed with adhesive and the glitter applied immediately after. Once dried embellishments were added.
     The following link is a tutorial to glitter pumpkins using a real pumpkin.

    To create this lollipop pumpkin use a synthetic pumpkin because the moisture in real pumpkin flesh gets the lollipop paper stick soggy. Use a drill with a 9/16 bit to make the holes or use an awl. Mark holes with a tape measure placing holes 1-3/4 inches apart. Great holiday centerpiece or at your front door for treats for the trick-or- treaters.
    Wrap table legs in colorful stripped stockings and add some witchy type shoes.

    Vampire's Dream Drink
    This drink is made from two parts cranberry juice, one part pineapple juice with a splash of grenadine.
    Halloween Parfaits
    Parfaits are made with vanilla pudding, orange sprinkles and crushed Oreos. 

    Monster Trash featured below with Chex mix, nuts, pretzels and candy corn. 

    Friday, October 25, 2013

    Candy Corn and Chicken Pot Pie Soup

    Candy corn is a confection in the United States and Canada, popular primarily around Halloween. Candy corn was created in the 1880s by George Renninger of the Philadelphia, PA-based Wunderle Candy Company. The three colors of the candy – a broad yellow end, a tapered orange center, and a pointed white tip – mimic the appearance of kernels of corn. Each piece is approximately three times the size of a real kernel from a ripe or dried ear.  Note:there are 140 calories in 19 pieces of Brach Candy Corn . 

    Halloween is a treasured American holiday -- and it is one where candy rules. Stores begin devoting aisles to trick-or-treating booty for weeks if not months before the 31st. It has been reported that the average American eats 24 pounds of candy a year, and most of that is likely consumed right around this time.

    The top selling candy: Candy Corn. Americans purchase over 20 million pounds of it a year, though it is unlikely that every last one of those millions of candies was actually consumed.

    Did you know that Candy Corn is the most searched-for candy term in Google -- more popular than candy apples, gummy worms and candy pumpkins?

    Chicken Pot Pie Soup
    Cook's notes: This was a recent prize winning soup from a contest at BHG. And in my book it does get the prize. The hearty soup is packed with flavor and perfect for these chilly autumn nights.
    Serves 6 
    • 3/4 cup each of  diced carrots, celery and onion
    • 2 garlic cloves minced
    • 1 TB. butter or olive oil
    • 1 container low sodium chicken broth (32 oz.)
    • 2 cups dried medium egg noddles
    • 1/2 tsp. each seasoned salt, dry mustard, chili powder
    • 1/4 tsp. marjoram
    • 1/4 tsp. curry powder
    • dash ground pepper
    • 3 TB. flour
    • 2 cups diced cooked chicken
    • 1/2 cup half and half
    • 1/3 cup peas
    • optional adding in 1 cup fresh broccoli
    • Reserve and set aside one cup of chicken broth. Whisk 3 TB. flour into the chicken broth
    • In a large soup pot saute carrots, onions, celery and minced garlic in olive oil or butter for 8 minutes or until tender
    • Stir in broth, reserved cup of broth with flour, noddles and chicken
    • Bring to boil, reduce heat, simmer 10 minutes or until noddles are tender
    • Whisk in half and half and peas simmer uncovered 5 minutes or until till thickened  
    Serve with biscuits or garlic bread sticks

    Thursday, October 24, 2013

    Pumpkin Cheesecake and Treasured Words

    Luxembourg Gardens, Paris 
    As colors fade and slip away from the landscape, trees stand bare.
    We rely on words to keep the memory alive.  
                                                                                by Holly Mathers-Shuemaker
    Treasure Words
    by Rebecca Kai Dotlich

    Words are magic-
    quiet, loud.
    Steady, strong,
    slow, proud.
    Whisper, shout-  
    let them out-
    hold words close,
    toss afar,
    see them sparkle-
    each a star.
    Thread words on
    a silver chain,
    let words touch you
    warm as rain.
    Written, read, said,heard-
    delight in, sip on,
    treasure words.
    Cook's notes: This recipe was a great find. It was made with only 2 packages of cream cheese so it did not seem so rich and heavy. It was full of savory autumn flavors. The gingersnap cookie crust's flavor was a nice contrast to the filling. 
    recipe adapted from a Philadelphia Cream Cheese Ad

    Cook’s notes: Recipe serves 12. Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight.
    Gingersnap Crust:
    • 25 gingersnap store-bought cookies (hard not soft) crushed about 1-1/2 cups
    • ½ cups chopped pecans
    • ¼ cup melted butter
    • 1 TB. granulated sugar
    • 1 tsp. cinnamon
    • 2 packages (8 oz. each) cream cheese softened
    • ¾ cups firmly packed brown sugar
    • 3 large eggs
    • 1 can of pure pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
    • 1 TB. flour
    • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
    • 1-1/2 tsp. cinnamon
    • ½ tsp. ground ginger
    • 1/8-1/4 tsp. ground cloves
    • 1/8-1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
    Gingersnap Crust
    • In a food processor break cookies in half and finely grind to crumbs
    • Add in pecans, sugar, cinnamon and melted butter
    • Mix well and pat into bottom of a spring form pan 
    • Beat softened cream cheese and brown sugar
    • Add eggs in one at a time beating on low speed after each addition
    • Add in pumpkin, flour, vanilla and spices
    • Beat until smooth and pour into crust
    • Bake @ 350 for 45-50 minutes or until knife comes out clean from the center of cheesecake 
    • Turn off oven and let sit 15 minutes
    • Remove from oven and run a knife around inside rim to loosen cheesecake
    • Cool in pan on a wire rack
    • Remove outside part of the spring form pan. Cover cheesecake lightly with foil
    • Refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight
    Add ½ tsp. cinnamon to whip cream and use it to garnish cheesecake.

    Wednesday, October 23, 2013

    Puff Pastry

    Puff, the Magic Dragon" is a song written by Leonard Lipton  and Peter Yarrow. It was made popular by Yarrow's group Peter, Paul and Mary in a 1963 recording. The song achieved great popularity. The lyrics for "Puff, the Magic Dragon" were based on a 1959 poem by Leonard Lipton, a 19-year-old Cornell University student. Lipton was inspired by an Ogden Nash poem titled "Custard the Dragon", about a little pet dragon."

    The lyrics tell a story of the ageless dragon Puff and his playmate Jackie Paper, a little boy who grows up and loses interest in the imaginary adventures of childhood and leaves Puff alone and depressed. (Because of the line "A dragon lives forever, but not so little boys", the lyrics may imply to some that Jackie Paper dies.) The story of the song takes place "by the sea" in the fictional land of Honalee (the spelling used by author Lenny Lipton, though non-authoritative variations abound.) 
    The Peter, Paul & Mary song "Puff the Magic Dragon" is frequently connected with the North Shore place name Hanalei for the reference to mythical Honah Lee.
    The song gained national prominence in 1962 when it made it to number-two on the Billboard Top 100 pop charts. Unfortunately for the dreamers and pop culture makers of the North Shore the song has no ties to Hanalei. But when we were in Kauai (Hanalei Bay) many of the townspeople there still cling to the urban legend their town's name has prominence in the song. Both are pronounced the same way.
    Puff, the magic dragon lived by the sea 
    And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honah Lee, 
    Little Jackie paper loved that rascal puff, 
    And brought him strings and sealing wax and other fancy stuff. oh 

    Puff, the magic dragon lived by the sea 
    And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honah Lee, 
    Puff, the magic dragon lived by the sea
    And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honah Lee.

    Together they would travel on a boat with billowed sail
    Jackie kept a lookout perched on puffs gigantic tail,
    Noble kings and princes would bow whenever they came,
    Pirate ships would lower their flag when puff roared out his name. oh!

    Puff, the magic dragon lived by the sea
    And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honah Lee,
    Puff, the magic dragon lived by the sea
    And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honah Lee.

    A dragon lives forever but not so little boys
    Painted wings and giant rings make way for other toys.
    One grey night it happened, Jackie paper came no more
    And puff that mighty dragon, he ceased his fearless roar.

    His head was bent in sorrow, green scales fell like rain,
    Puff no longer went to play along the cherry lane.
    Without his life-long friend, puff could not be brave,
    So puff that mighty dragon sadly slipped into his cave. oh!

    Puff, the magic dragon lived by the sea
    And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honah Lee,
    Puff, the magic dragon lived by the sea
    And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honah Lee.
    So I got a little side tracked looking up Puff Pastry on Google. When you type Puff automatically Puff the dragon comes up first before Puff Pastry.

    Puff pastry seems to be a relative of the Middle Eastern phyloo and is used in a similar manner to create layered pastries. While traditionally ascribed to the French painter and cook Claude Gelee who lived in the 17th century (the story goes that Gelée was making a type of very buttery bread for his sick father, and the process of rolling the butter into the bread dough created a croissant-like finished product) References appear before the 17th century, indicating a history that came originally through Muslim, Spain and was converted from thin sheets of dough spread with olive oil to laminated dough with layers of butter, perhaps in Italy or Germany. Since the process of making puff pastry generally is laborious and quite time consuming we are lucky it is so available in the grocery store freezer section. There are a multitude of possibilities of recipes using this product.

    The following recipes would make great appetizers for any holiday gathering.
    The appetizers were made in a mini muffin pan (2 inches in diameter)
    Smokey Sausage Tartlets
    Cook's notes:The directions called for cutting pastry into 2-1/2 squares. I found that to be too small and would suggest cutting 3 inch squares to cover the insides of the muffin pan. Makes about 24
    • flour
    • 1/2 of a 17.3 oz. package Puff Pastry sheets (1 sheet) thawed
    • 1-1/2 cups diced kielbasa or andouille
    • 4 TB. orange marmalade or red pepper jelly or fig preserves
    • 1 tsp. Dijon-style mustard
    • dried or chopped fresh parsley 
    • Preheat oven to 400
    • On wax paper coat work surface with flour. Roll one pastry sheet to a 10 x 15 inch rectangle. Cut out 3 inch squares. Press pastry squares into muffin tin 
    • In a bowl stir diced sausage, mustard and jam or preserves
    • Spoon about 1 TB.sausage mixture into each tartlet shell
    • Bake 15 minutes or until golden brown
    • Sprinkle with parsley and serve warm 
    Puff Pastry Meatball Marinara Tartlets

    Cook's notes: The recipe called for using a half meatball per appetizer. In the photo I tried a whole meatball which did turn out to be too large for the pastry square. I thought a 2-1/2 inch pastry squares suggested in recipe was too small and would suggest cutting 3 inch squares. Makes about 24
    • 1/2 of a 17.3 oz. package Puff Pastry (1 sheet thawed) 
    • 12 frozen fully cooked cocktail size meatballs, thawed and cut in half
    • 1/2-3/4 cup prepared  Marinara sauce
    • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
    • 1/2 tsp. dried Italian herbs 
    • Preheat oven to 400
    • Unfold pastry sheet and on a floured wax paper surface roll to a 10 x 15 rectangle. Cut out 3 inch squares and press into mini muffin pan. Press against the sides and bake 8 minutes
    • Place half a meatball into each tartlet top with 1 tsp. of sauce and sprinkle with dried herbs and cheese
    • Return to oven and bake 9 minutes longer 

    Asparagus and Parmesan Rolls
    Cook's notes: The recipe called for making your own cream cheese spread with dried herbs, garlic powder and Parmesan cheese. I would suggest an easier alternative buying a soft garlic herb cheese using products such as Boursin, Alouette, Rodale or Light Philadelphia Garlic and Herb Cream cheese. I thought another alternative to using the recipe as an appetizer would be to serve it with a main meal like soup or with a chicken dish. 
    Serves 12
    • 1 container of Garlic Herb Soft Cheese
    • 1/2 cup grated  Parmesan cheese
    • flour
    • 1/2 of a 17.3 oz. package of Puff Pastry (1 sheet thawed)
    • 1 small jar of roasted red peppers patted dry on a paper towel
    • 12 asparagus spears(thin ones) cut into 1 inch pieces
    • 1 beaten eggs
    • sesame seeds  
    • Roll pastry sheet out on a floured wax paper work surface 
    • With shorter end facing you cut pastry sheet rectangle lengthwise
    • On each rectangle spread with cream cheese
    • Divide and arrange asparagus pieces down the center and add roasted peppers down the center
    • Sprinkle each rectangle with Parmesan cheese
    • Fold pastry sides to center
    Now here is where the learning curve came into play. I overlooked an important direction :)
    Seal edges and down the middle of the pastry and FLIP OVER on cookie sheet so seam is DOWN on the cookie sheet. Beat egg and brush over entire pastry and at ends. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and grate Parmesan cheese over top. 
    Bake about 18 minutes till golden brown. Place cookie sheet on wire rack to cool for 10 minutes. Cut each pastry loaf into 6 pieces. 
    Now the finished pastry tasted great but would have looked better had i flipped it over (seam side down) to bake. 
    Bone Appetit!

    Tuesday, October 22, 2013

    Beef and Tortellini Crock Pot Soup

    Beef and Tortellini Crock Pot Soup  
    Cook's notes: This recipe comes from Kathy's Kitchen. She wrote that the recipe DOUBLES easily and freezes well. I can attest to the great robust flavors in the dish as I enjoyed it at  recent dinner. It is a perfect autumn meal with a slice of  cornbread. Using a crock pot makes it a no fuss meal and gives you that extra time needed to rake some leaves.
    I will admit I had to do a little research on one of the ingredients.

    Sriracha is a type of hot sauce named after the coastal city of Si Racha in the Chonburi Province of Eastern Thailand where it was possibly first produced for dishes served at local seafood restaurants. It is a paste of chili peppers, distilled vinegar, garlic, sugar, and salt. The American version has a heat rating of around 2,000 scoville units jalapeno peppers.

    In Thailand, Sriracha is frequently used as a dipping sauce, particularly for seafood. In Vietnamese cuisine, Sriracha appears as a condiment for fried noddles, a topping for spring rolls and in sauces. Within the United States, Sriracha sauce is most commonly associated with the version produced by Huy Fong Foods, colloquially known as "rooster sauce"or "cock sauce".

    If you want to know more there just happens to be a timely article on America's Obsession with Sriracha in the Huffington Post written Oct, 22, 2013.

    •  1 # beef stew meat cut in small pieces
    • 1 large carrot - diced
    • 1 medium sized onion diced
    • 1 med. stalk celery sliced
    • 1 Tbs. minced garlic
    • 1-2 tsp. sugar
    • 1-14.5 oz can diced tomatoes, liquid included
    • 2 cans 10.5 oz beef boullion or granules ( 2.5 cups )
    • 1 tsp. dried basil or lots of  fresh basil, torn apart
    • 2 cups frozen or refrigerated cheese filled tortellini
    • 1/2 can navy beans or other small white beans (drained)
    • Optional: Add a drop or small squirt of Sriracha (aka Rooster Sauce) or serrano pepper( seeded and finely chopped) or sprinkle some smoked paprika on top of each soup serving. Sriracha is a bit potent but adds the perfect zing to your meal!
    • Put meat in a large zip lock bag and drench in flour. Brown evenly and set aside
    • Spray crock pot with Pam
    • Put onion, celery, carrot, serrano pepper in bottom of pot
    • Add meat and top with tomatoes, beef broth, sugar, basil, garlic
    •  Add beans 1 hr. before soup is done. Cook tortellini separately according to directions and add when soup is done.  Add just enough so that soup does not get too thick.  If it does get too thick, add some beef broth.
    •  Cook on low 7-8 hrs or high 5-6 hrs.  Serves 6.
    “Skinner’s Skillet Corn Bread”
    Cook's notes: recipe was adapted by Skinners from the “Lumberjack Restaurant”, Canon Beach, Oregon. This recipe is great served at a cabin brunch or for dinner with Beef and Tortellini Crock Pot Soup or chili!
    Cooking tip: Preheat oven to 400 degrees/preheat iron skillet 5 or so minutes before baking bread
    Ingredients and Directions:
    •  Mix 3 eggs, ¾ c vegetable oil, 1.5 cups milk
    •  Mix 1 c sugar, 2 TB. baking powder, 1 tsp. salt, 2.5 cups flour, 1 cup corn meal
    •  Combine wet and dry ingredients with a whisk well or use small submersible beater
    • Pour into preheated greased (Pam) iron skillet or other 10-12 inch oven proof skillet
    •  Bake at 400 degrees for 35 minutes or until done center comes clean with a toothpick. Lightly spread butter on top. Let rest and serve from skillet or transfer to platter. Great with maple syrup or preserves. When the skillet cornbread was served at the restaurant a pat of butter was added on top. Yummy :)
    Thought for the day :)

    Monday, October 21, 2013

    The World According to Bella

    My weekend with Sadie ended up with her napping under the table and me exhausted on the stairs. Today it took me all day to catch up on my missed naps. Finally I have enough energy to tell you all that we did. 

    Sadie is an English setter. She has lots of energy and doesn't need as many naps like I do. She has been to birding school 3 times and even had her picture on Facebook. Mrs. S told me it was because she was such a good student and well behaved. Sadie doesn't seem to have the same food issues that I do. But sometimes I did see her counter surfing when no one was looking. 

    The day was cold but we really liked going on the last boat ride of the season. We were on the look out for loons but only saw two. I can't  figure out where the rest have gone.

    After our ride Mr.C did the unthinkable. He took the boat out of the water!! I whined! I love- love-love my boat rides and my evenings spent with Mr. C fishing. But what really got me worried was when Mr. C  put on this funny rubber pants and began to take the dock apart. Oh, this makes me so sad. Do you suppose this means we have to leave the lake now?

    When it was dark we had some fun.
    Sadie's owners brought this cool thing to fly into the sky. They said it was a sky lantern made out of rice paper. 
                 They lit the lantern and it went up and up and over the lake. Till we couldn't see it anymore

    Inside we each got our own rawhide bones. I chewed mine quickly and then had to watch Sadie chew hers ever so slowly.
     But I was patient. When she left it unattended I moved in on it and snatched it away. Unfortunately Mr. C made me give it back. 
    I did my best to be nice to Sadie all weekend. I shared my toys and my water bowl. And I even let her sit in my hole that I had dug outside in the summer.  
    On the last day it rained and rained and then turned to snow. There wasn't much to do. When it was time for Sadie to leave I was envious. There she stood with her brand new camouflaged back pack waiting to go.  
    Sadie and her owner often go hunting together. I wondered what things could possibly be in that bag so packed like that.  I heard Mrs. S ask the same thing. We found out that inside it were meds, vest, food, water bowl, first- aid kit, radio collar, toys and lots more stuff. 
     Here is what my bag looks like. Now I know what to put on my Christmas list. 
    Mrs. S spent a lot of time cooking over the weekend. Sadie and I were always on high alert waiting for drops. This was one of her more healthy snacks. Clementines with celery to look like pumpkins. 
    I liked when she added more of the good stuff. 
     Candy corn is one of my favorites. How about you? 
    Love, Bella
    PS. Mrs. S thought you'd like this poster


    Cinnamon Apple Muffins

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