Monday, June 30, 2014

The World According to Bella

Check out my latest WWN story published in Rockport Community Newsletter titled: Sleepover

I thought Mrs. S got a bit carried away on her 'blitz' of 4th of July recipes. Not one of them was for me or my doggie friends. So I told her to look at a site that had yummy doggie treats and post a few recipes. 


Cook's notes: This recipe is quick, easy and a fun 4th of July treat for your doggies friends. it's probably best served outside.

  • 2 cups low salt beef or chicken broth
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 2 or 3 ice cube trays
  • Small rawhide sticks
  • Mix water with beef or chicken broth and pour into popsicle trays. 
  • Place in freezer, add a rawhide stick halfway through freezing and serve cold. 

Cook's notes:Voila...sweet, cool bite-size treats for your pooch!

  • 2 cups vanilla yogurt (or plain low-fat)
  • mashed bananas
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • Mix ingredients and freeze in ice cube tray. 
Love, Bella

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Add More Sizzle-Triple Berry Pie

"Laughter is the shortest distance between two people."
Victor Borge
Add more sizzle to your holiday cooking with the explosion of flavors in these recipes.
Firecracker Popcorn
Add some sizzle to your holiday gathering! Firecracker popcorn made with microwave popcorn, Strawberry Pop Rocks candy, blue sprinkles and white candy melts. Follow the link for easy directions.
Twizzler Firecracker Cupcakes
Make a bang at your July 4th party with these Twizzler Firecracker Cupcakes! These patriotic treats are fun and an edible craft for kids to make. You will need a box cake mix, twizzler candies, blue sprinkles and a tub of prepared vanilla buttercream. Follow the link for easy directions.
Triple Berry Pie
inspiration for this recipe came from Best Summer Recipes published by America'
Cook's notes: This recipe works by using fresh ingredients and making a homemade graham cracker crust to maximize the flavors. The filling is a mixture of pureed berries, cornstarch, sugar, lemon juice and fresh berries. A glossy coat of warmed red currant jelly is tossed with reserved berries.   
  • 1-1/2 cups finely crushed graham crackers (about 12 whole crackers)
  • 5 TB. melted butter
  • 3 TB.sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon or 1/2 tsp. allspice
  • 2 cups raspberries
  • 2 cups blueberries
  • 2 cups strawberries or blackberries
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 TB. cornstarch
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • optional 1 tsp. Grand Marnier
  • 3 TB. red currant or apple jelly
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Process graham crackers in a food processor to fine crumbs.
  • Add in cinnamon or allspice, butter to crumbs and pulse to incorporate, about 5 pulses.
  • Use the bottom of a dry measuring cup to press crumbs firmly into pie pan. 
  • Bake for 8 minutes-set aside to cool and then refrigerate crust until filling is done.
  • In a large bowl toss berries with 1 tsp. Grand Marnier. Process 2-1/2 cups  of the berries in the food processor until smooth, about 1 minute.
  • Strain puree through fine mesh strainer, pressing on solids to extract as much puree as possible. You should get about 1-1/2 cups.
  • Mix sugar, cornstarch and salt together and add to large saucepan with puree mixture. Whisk to blend and on medium low bring mixture to boil. Cook until thick as pudding about 5 minutes. 
  • Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice. Set aside to cool slightly and pour warm pureed mixture into cooled crust.
  • Warm jelly in microwave and toss with remaining berries. Spread berries evenly over puree and lightly press berries in.  
  • Refrigerate at least 3 hours or overnight. Cover lightly with plastic wrap until serving. Serve pie chilled.
Bon Appetit!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Patriotic Salad and Meet Bobby-Dorset's Mayor

Robert "Bobby" Tufts has already been elected twice as mayor of a tiny tourist town in northern Minnesota.
Mayor Tufts' name was picked in 2013 during annual Taste of Dorset Festival to be mayor of Dorset for a second term. Dorset has no formal city government and a population of 22 to 28, depending on whether the minister and his family are in town.
Anyone could vote as many times as they like—for $1 a vote—at any of the ballot boxes in stores around town. The proceeds go toward organizing the festival.
Bobby was only 3 when he first won the election. His story has gone syndicated and was picked up by several networks. Bobby has been on the David Letterman Show and Good Morning America. Today I met Bobby in Dorset. 

Dorset had their annual Festival of Authors and Artists. The event is sponsored by Sister Wolf Books. Inside their bookstore many authors were on hand to sign and talk about their books. 
Bobby was there to sign his new book Cooking with Bobby.

I must say he is quite cute for a mayor of 5 going on 6 in October. The unfortunate part was there was a glitch in getting his books there today for the signing. But he was collecting coins for a local fundraiser, chatting with the crowd and passing out free popcorn. 

Artists were selling their wares.
Dorset has many resturants to choose from on one small block. 
In fact it is known as the 'Restaurant Capital of the World.' In a town of just 22 people, they have six restaurants, which may be the most, per capital.
Patriotic Salad
Cook's notes: A light and refreshing red, white, and blue fruit salad tossed with a minty honey-lime dressing. Chipotle chili powder heightens the flavor. It is a nice contrast to the sweetness of the fruit. Apples and bananas can be substituted for jicama.
Serves: 6 recipe from

  • 4 cups sliced strawberries
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 cups blueberries
  • 2 cups diced watermelon
  • 1 cup diced jicama
  • 1½ tablespoons lime juice
  • 1½ tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon minced mint
  • ⅛ teaspoon chipotle chili powder (optional)
  • Place strawberries in a large bowl and sprinkle with sugar. Toss to coat.
  • Add blueberries, watermelon, and jicama.
  • In a small bowl ,stir together lime juice, honey, mint, and chili powder. Pour over fruit and toss to coat.

that in the
 Cook's notes I will be incorporating information on the "why" a recipe works using certain ingredients. Look for that in the next recipe posting. 

Friday, June 27, 2014

Celebrate 4th of July

Ideas to get the party started 
fruit kabobs
watermelon on a stick
Mini s'more pies

If only my Up North store had carried these mini graham cracker crusts by Keebler! Then this dessert would have been top of my list for our 4th of July BBQ. Kids and adults would love this quintessential summertime dessert. And it's only made with 3 ingredients: mini-graham cracker crusts, Hersheys' chocolate bars and marshmallows. 

Follow this link for easy directions.
Turn your summer drink into firecrackers. Coat the glass rim with lemon juice and then dip the rims into Pop Rock candies that are in a dish. To get the red-white-blue effect use Tropical punch (blue) add some Pop Rocks candies and then fill glass with any red drink such as pomegranate and cranberry juice adding seltzer.

Cherry  Margaritas
  • 1/2 cup cherries pitted and mashed or 2 oz fresh cherry puree
  • 1 oz. simple syrup
  • 1 oz. fresh lime juice
  • 3/4 oz cointreau
  • 1- 1/2 oz tequila
  • Lime wedge for garnish
  • Combine all ingredients into an ice filled mixing tin. Shake and strain into a chilled glass. Garnish with a lime wedge.
  • Combine the zest of one lime with several teaspoons of rock salt.
  • Rub a lime wedge around the rim of the glass. Dip into the zest salt mixture.
  • Fill the glass with ice.
  • In a cocktail shaker mash the cherries with the simple syrup and lime juice. Add the other ingredients and shake to combine. If using the puree shake to combine.
  • Pour into prepared glass and and garnish with a lime wedge.
Mixed Berries Trifle 
Cook’s notes: Use a glass stemmed compote to showcase the dessert. Make the custard the day before and refrigerate. Assemble the trifle the day it will be served.
  • 1 small pint of raspberries and blueberries 
  • 1 quart sliced strawberries 
  • optional adding in 1 cup of blackberries 
  • 2 tsp. orange-flavored liqueur 
  • 1 large prepared angel food cake torn in chunks 
  • 6 large egg yolks 
  • ¾ cup sugar 
  • ¼ cup flour 
  • 2 cups half and half 
  • 1 cup of whip cream-whipped 
  • ½ tsp. vanilla 
  • 2 TB. Amaretto or 1 tsp. almond extract 
  • Whisk yolks in a saucepan, add in sugar and flour and blend well. 
  • Bring half and half to a simmer in another saucepan and then add to yolk mixture. 
  • On low heat use a whisk as mixture thickens cook about 1-2 minutes do not let boil or mixture will curdle. 
  • Remove from heat and stir in vanilla, almond extract or Amaretto. 
  • Run mixture through the blender to make sure it is a smooth consistency. 
  • Place in a bowl to cool, fold in whip cream that has been whipped, cover custard with plastic wrap and refrigerate. 
Assemble early in day before serving: 
  • Rinse fruit and pat dry on paper towels.
  • Add all fruits in a bowl and drizzle with Grand Marnier. 
  • Divide torn cake into thirds as well as fruit and custard. 
  • Bottom layer of serving glass with 1/3 cake pieces, 1/3 of the custard and 1/3 of the mixed fruit. 
  • Repeat two more times, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until serving.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Mongolian Beef Stir Fry

Charlotte Zolotow June 26, 1915 – November 19, 2013) was an American author, poet, editor, and publisher of many books for children at over 70 books. She was a legend in children’s publishing whose works include William’s Doll, The Storm Book, If You Listen, and Mr. Rabbit and the Lovely Present.

In an interview, Charlotte said “Things that matter to children — that’s what I try to get into my books. Things that are very important, even if they aren’t important to the adults around them.”

Published in 1993, Snippets is exactly that — forty-one brief passages gathered from Zolotow’s many books. As the subtitle says: A Gathering of Poems, Pictures, and Possibilities . . .

The pages read like small poems, offering concrete and sturdy observations, or hopes and dreams and wild imaginings.

Nancy Willard was born June 26, 1936. She is a novelist, a poet, and a children's writer and occasional illustrator. Her 1981 collection of poems, "A Visit to William Blake's Inn," won the Newberry Medal as that year's most distinguished contribution to American children's literature.
Her magical view of life, blending of the ordinary and the extraordinary, wonder-filled language, and evocative images are characteristic of her poetry and prose for both adults and children. Her first children's book, Sailing to Cythera, and Other Anatole Stories (1974), was followed by further adventures of the young Anatole, including The Island of the Grass King (1977), Stranger's Bread (1979), and Uncle Terrible (1982), all illustrated by David McPhail. Another series, inspired by her son, James, includes The Snow Rabbit (1975) and The Well-Mannered Balloon (1976). 
Mongolian Beef Stir Fry
Cook's notes: It is interesting to note that neither the ingredients nor the method of cooking is Mongolian in origin but the name is widely known and served virtually in every Chinese restaurant.  
This dish is full of flavor with juicy beef cubes in a luxurious sauce. I added blanched green beans and grape tomatoes. This dish is versatile because snap peas, asparagus or broccoli could be substituted for the green beans. The dish takes advantage of summer garden produce.  
  • 1 TB. vegetable oil
  • 1 pound of steak (sirloin or flank) sliced in thin strips or cut in chunks
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup diced green onions
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 tsp. ginger grated or 1/2 tsp. ground ginger 
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon  
  • 1/4 cup light soy sauce
  • 2 TB. hoisin sauce
  • 2 TB. brown sugar
  • several squirts of Sriracha
  • 2 TB. cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup low sodium chicken or beef broth
  • 2 cups green beans
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • Heat oil in a wok or large skillet over medium high heat, add the beef and sprinkle beef with cinnamon.
  • Saute about 4 minutes and stir frequently.
  • Add garlic, onions and ginger; saute one minute more.
  • In a small bowl or liquid measuring glass mix soy sauce, hoisin sauce, brown sugar, Sriracha, cornstarch and broth.
  • Blanch green beans or asparagus.
  • In skillet or wok move meat to the side and wipe pan clean with paper towel.
  • Add sauce mixture, green beans or asparagus cook on low heat 5 minutes or until sauce thickens.
  • Remove heat serve over rice and garnish with a few diced green onions.   

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Summer Orzo Salad with Grilled Shrimp

Cook's notes: This versatile salad uses a variety of summer vegetables paired with orzo, a small Italian rice shaped pasta.  The shrimp and vegetables are grilled, added to the orzo and tossed with a light lemon-dill vinaigrette.
The inspiration for this recipe came from Country Living July/August 2014. I added my own spin to the recipe with some adaptations.
  • 4 cups fresh corn kernels (about 6 ears) or frozen whole kernel corn
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 12 oz. package of orzo
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes,halved
  • 1/4 cup chopped basil
  • 2 large shallots minced
  •  1 TB. chopped fresh parsley or 1 TB. dried parsley
  • 2 cups grilled shrimp or substitute 2 grilled salmon fillets 
  • 1 medium zucchini cut in thick slices or bunch of asparagus spears
  • 1 cup each red and yellow sweet peppers
  • In a large skillet over high heat add 2 TB. olive oil, corn and saute 3 minutes. Add minced garlic and shallots, saute 2 minutes more. 
  • Cook orzo according to package directions, drain and cool.
  • In a large bowl, add orzo, corn, tomatoes, basil, garlic onion mixture. 
  • Toss with vinaigrette dressing, add grilled shrimp and grilled vegetables.   
Lemon-Dill Vinaigrette

  • 1/3 cup (1.3 ounces) crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil 
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Combine all ingredients in a small bowl, stirring well and whisk in olive oil. 
On this day in 1947, Anne Frank's diary was published. She began keeping the diary in 1942, when she was 13, and she wrote it during the two years that her family was in hiding from the Nazis in Amsterdam. They were discovered in 1944 and taken to concentration camps, where Anne died of typhus in 1945. 

Inspiring words by Anne Frank.
As long as this exists...
by Anne Frank
"As long as this exists," I thought, "and I may live to see it, this sunshine, the cloudless skies, while this lasts, I cannot be unhappy." The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quite alone with the heavens, nature, and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature. As long as this exists, and it certainly always will, I know that then there will always be comfort for every sorrow, whatever the circumstances may be. And I firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles.

"As long as this exists..." by Anne Frank, excerpt from The Diary of a Young Girl. © Bantam Books, 1986. Reprinted with permission.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The World According to Bella

"To lie sometimes on the grass
under trees on a summer's day,
listening to the murmur of the water
or watching the clouds float across
the sky, is by no means a waste of time.

John Lubbock (UK) 
banker, politician, philanthropist, scientist
Maybe the night would have gone so much better if only Mr. C and Mrs. S had been told ahead of time Mulligan has never had a sleepover. I was excited for my best buddy Mulligan to spend the night with us. Mrs. S bought extra treats, filled up my water bowl, hauled all my toys out of the basket and fixed a bed for him out of blankets. I waited patiently for Mr. C to pick him up. 

We were forced to pay attention to all Mrs. S's rules what we could and couldn't do. I did hear her say something about not getting out of control and no roughhousing. 

The first part was fun playing tug-a-war. 
But then I had a hard time sharing my favorite orange rubber squeaky toy and really wanted it back. 
We ignored Mrs. S's yells to quiet down but after awhile I had to take a "time out". I went under the table to my usual napping spot. 

I was happy when I heard the words "bed-time" but wondered what Mulligan would do. My bed was not big enough to share.

I settled in my bed watching Mulligan pace back and forth. He did not like the blanket bed nor did he want mine. 

 Mrs. S and Mr. C settled in their bed and the lights went off.  All of a sudden a scream pierced through the air "Get off the bed!"
The lights went on and Mrs. S was having a meltdown. Seems someone forgot to tell Mulligan the CARDINAL RULE  at our house; no jumping up on the furniture which also means the bed. 
Mulligan had taken a flying leap,landed right into the bed between Mr. C and Mrs.S. but they were not having any part of this and made him get back off. Well the lights went out again and I tried my best to get back to sleep. But Mulligan was determined to get back a spot back on the bed and took another flying leap. This went on and on for many hours into the night with Mulligan on bed, lights on, Mulligan off. I was exhausted watching all of his antics and finally dozed off. A few hours later real loud snoring woke me up. I thought it must be Mr. C. but it was Mulligan. The sun was just coming through the blinds. There was Mulligan in the middle of the bed sound asleep and snoring.  As for Mr. C and Mrs. S they were practically hanging off their sides of the bed-they lost and Mulligan won this fight. What a night!
Love, Bella      
Cook's notes: The following are some appetizers perfect for your next summer grilling party. The ingredients were unusual combinations but the flavors really compliment each other.   
Avocado with Salmon
Use whole wheat toast rounds and top with prepared avocado spread. Add thin slices of salmon or use smoked salmon. Sprinkle with red onions and chives.
Melon Balls with Prosciutto and Rosemary Skewers  
Use a long skewer to thread 3 melon balls and prosciutto. On the top poke a small hole to add sprig of Rosemary. 
Pesto Tortellini Skewers
makes 24
spinach and cheese tortellini works well for this appetizer
  • 10 oz. package fresh cheese tortellini (deli section) 
  • 8 oz. fresh mozzarella cheese balls
  • 2 TB. prepared pesto
  • 24 small slice of pepperoni
  • 24 grape tomatoes
  • skewers
  • Cook tortellini according to package directions. Drain and pat dry on paper towels.
  • Mix tortellini and mozzarella balls with pesto.
  • Wrap pepperoni around mozzarella ball, thread on skewer with tortellini and grape tomatoes.   

Till My Last Breath

“Till My Last Breath” is a historical romance western genre. It employs a time travel element which sets it apart from usual western themed ...