Sunday, March 25, 2012

Happiness is Having a Dog......

Perhaps there are some who believe it is silly to bestow human characteristics and emotions upon an animal.  I say they must never have known the love of a dog.  Anyone who has had the honor of owning a dog knows what it feels like to open the backdoor, step into the kitchen and be greeted by their most loyal of  friends. The happiness they display for us after our long day of work is exactly the same happiness they show when we leave the room for a minute to do a load of laundry.
A dog loves you unconditionally with much affection and without exception.  I once read somewhere that dogs have all the virtues of a human without any of the vices.  When was the last time you heard anyone say they were betrayed by their dog or that their dog was scheming  up a plan to have them fired. 
Dogs are faithful, intelligent, dependable and in my Bella's case,  generous and kind.  She instinctively knows who needs her attention the most and at the time that they need her the most.  She shares herself with five people who all want and need different things from her.  She performs her duties effortlessly, with enthusiasm and boundless energy.
For me she is my constant companion.  My most loyal, ever dependable friend.

The great pleasure of a dog is that you may make a fool of yourself with him and not only will he not scold you, but he will make a fool of himself too.
Samuel Butler, Higgledy-Piggledy

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Mini Maple Bundts....

It's sugaring season in New England and the annual tapping of the maple trees is a welcome sight for weary winter eyes.   Aluminum buckets hanging securely from stately maples trees are announcing to all that spring has arrived.  A scenic drive up to New Hampshire for the molten maple sugar is a welcome diversion from tedious spring chores. I bought my large jug and home I went to make these mini maple bundt goodies. They take minutes to make and bake and are a yummy breakfast or afternoon treat.
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour 
  • 3/4 tsp. baking powder 
  • 3/4 tsp. baking soda 
  • pinch of salt 
  • 1 egg (lightly beaten) 
  • 1 6 oz container plain Greek yogurt 
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp. canola oil 
  • 2 tsp. lemon juice 
  • 2 1/2 tbsp. real maple syrup 

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. In a separate bowl stir together egg, yogurt, oil, lemon juice, and maple syrup. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients into the well. Gently fold everything together until just combined.
  4. Divide batter evenly into a greased mini bundt pan. The batter will be pretty thick.
  5. Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool for a minute or two and then flip over onto a cooling rack while still warm.  Make a glaze with 1/2 cup of confectionery sugar and a few tablespoon of pure maple syrup.  Stream the glaze over the mini bundts and then sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Home Made Taco Seasoning.....

We have been trying for a long time to lower our sodium consumption and are finding it very difficult.  We are always on the look out for lower sodium products with good flavor.  Those of you who are looking for these options as well know how difficult this can be.   Here is a recipe for a sodium free taco seasoning with big bold flavors.
The directions are simple.  Add two heaping teaspoons of the taco seasoning along with 1 cup of water to one pound of cooked hamburg.  Simmer until all the water has evaporated.
Poor dietary habits die hard so I just couldn't resist adding 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt to the two pounds of hamburg that we always use.     

  • 4 tbsp. chili powder
  • 3 tbsp. paprika ( I used half smoked paprika )
  • 3 tbsp. cumin
  • 2 tbsp. plus 2 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

Give this one a try. You won't be disappointed.   

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Hummus.....From the Great Island

Please take this bowl away from me before I eat the whole thing.  Sue from (click here to view Sue's cooking blog and her recipe)  View from the Great Island  had a recipe for hummus that was an absolute winner.  I made a few changes to suit my son's taste buds.  He wanted a more garlicky flavor and a little heat.  Four cloves of garlic and a few drops of Tabasco took care of that.  The recipe really was perfect as is, but I  aim to please so I the added the extra ingredients for him. Even with the small adjustments of  hot sauce and extra garlic it was still delicious.  I also thought I had enough Tahini and was caught short with only three heaping tablespoons left in the can.   Still delicious, still creamy.  Awesome hummus. Here is the recipe with my changes.
  1. Two 15.5 oz. cans garbanzo beans , drained and liquid reserved
  2. Juice of 1 1/2 lemons 
  3. Three tbsp. Tahini. 
  4. Four cloves garlic
  5. Olive oil and reserved liquid to loosen he hummus.
  6. Hand full of pine toasted.
Put it all in the food processor and pulse until smooth.  Add just a little olive oil and reserved liquid from the beans to thin it out .  Toast the pine nuts then sprinkle on top with a drizzle of olive oil.
Great recipe Sue, thanks a million.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Mmmm, the House Smells Wonderful........

According to one of the many helpful tip pins on Pinterest, if you would like your house to smell like the Williams Sonoma store follow these simple directions. 
  1. One lemon sliced thin
  2. Two sprigs of rosemary
  3. One teaspoon vanilla extract
  4. One cup of water to start and more as the day wears on
Toss it all in a sauce pan and let it simmer on the stove top all day.  Did it smell like Williams Sonoma?  I'm not quite sure, but it did add a wonderful clean fresh fragrance to the house.

It certainly camouflaged Bella's wet dog smell.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Snow Day and Old Boots.......

  After 34 years of long harsh New England winters,  I thought you might get a well deserved vacation from the cold clutches of the old man.  It was not to be......

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