Photo of the Day- Sadie’s 2nd Birthday

“Sadie’s 2nd Birthday”

On September 5, 2010 Sadie turned 2. It doesn’t seem like I have had her that long. She is my spoiled little baby so of course she got a bunch of toys. She also got 2 new collars and new bows for her hair. My little puppy isn’t a puppy anymore.  

These are some of her new toys. She loves to cuddle with them. 🙂

Lemon Blueberry Bread

This bread tastes amazing. I came home from work last night and the house smelled of something so delicious; I found my mom was making lemon blueberry bread. She was so excited; this was the first recipe she came up with all on her own. I was so proud of her; she never even called me once asking about measurements or any other baking questions.

The strudel crumb topping gives this bread a great crunch on the top layer, with just the right sweetness. The bread also is complimented by the lemon that wakes up your taste buds. Enjoy this bread with coffee as your morning breakfast. Berries are the best thing you can eat for breakfast, and this is a good and tasty way to get them. 🙂

Everyone must try this bread; trust me, you won’t want to stop eating it.

Enjoy!

Ingredients:

2 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 tablespoons butter (room temp)
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk
zest of one lemon
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 cups flour
1 cup fresh blueberries

Topping:
1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup uncooked oatmeal
1/3 cup sugar
4 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Procedure:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Place parchment paper into a 9 X 5 loaf pan, or butter and flour a pan.
  3. Combine the first 8 ingredients in a mixer.
  4. Sift the salt, soda and baking powder into the flour, then slowly mix this into the rest of the batter.
  5. After rinsing the blueberries, give them a quick toss with some flour to coat them.
  6. Gently stir the blueberries into the batter. Pour into the prepared pan.
  7. Mix the topping ingredients together in a small bowl. It will be slightly crumbly.
  8. Place this crumb topping over the batter.
  9. Bake for about one hour.
  10. Check to make sure it is completely baked with a toothpick. The toothpick should come out clean.
  11. Let cool in pan about five minutes before transferring to wire rack to finish cooling.
  12. Slice and serve.

Take a Trip to Leavenworth, WA

Looking for a day or overnight getaway in the Pacific Northwest area? Try Leavenworth, Washington. It is just on the east slope of the Cascade Range. From the Seattle area, take I-90 east and then east over Blewitt Pass, or venture on the slower paced Highway 2 over Steven’s Pass.  From eastern Washington, it’s a short drive west out from Wenatchee. Fall is a fantastic time to travel as the leaves begin to turn the beautiful fall colors over the Cascade Range.

Leavenworth is like stepping into a Bavarian Town in the Alps. You can listen to live Bavarian music played by a live band while strolling the streets and enjoying the scenery of the mountains, and the flowers in all the hanging baskets, all the while stepping in and out of a myriad of Scandinavian shops. This is where you are easily tempted to be sure to fill yourself full of bratwurst, sauerkraut and a locally brewed beer. There seems to be such a cheerfulness on the streets as you watch the children enjoying peering at the items in the store windows and pressing their noses against the bakery windows. The smell of waffle cones seems to be everywhere.

The hotels are charming and there are many to choose from. In December, the Christmas Lighting Ceremony is a big draw, so if you plan to go then, you will want to book your room as soon as possible.

For winter, if you are a skier, Mission Ridge and Steven’s Pass are both nearby. The rest of the year, hiking, rafting, fishing, biking….. the activities in the area are endless.

Check out the official Leavenworth web page

Irresistible Spinach Dip

I first had this Spinach Dip at my Uncle’s. I was reluctant to try it since I don’t usually go for spinach. Well, I am so happy he insisted I try it. Once tasted, you can’t stop wanting more. What a great way to get in some healthy nutrients. I made this for my brother and friend and was surprised at how much they raved about it too and finished it off in no time at all! This dip will last for as long as cottage cheese will last in your refrigerator. This is a great healthy snack.

Enjoy!


Ingredients:
2 cups regular or low fat cottage cheese
1 cup slightly cooked spinach (About 3 cups raw)
1 garlic clove
salt and pepper
lime or lemon juice

Procedure:

  1. You will need a food processor or blender. I used a small Cuisanart Food Processor.
  2. In a medium pan boil water and add the spinach.
  3. Cook for just a minute, until the spinach is slightly softened.
  4. Drain and squeeze out the excess water.
  5. Place the cottage cheese in the food processor and add the rest of the ingredients.
  6. Blend.
  7. Taste and adjust the seasonings to your liking.
  8. Cover and refrigerate until chilled.
  9. Serve with chips or veggies.

Homemade Guacamole

Most people have had store bought guacamole or restaurant guacamole. Did you know how easy it is to just whip up a fresh batch for yourself at home? This way, you know exactly what the ingredients are and that they will be fresh and chemical free. My mom showed me how easy it is to fix up some fresh guacamole and I was surprised at how easy and quick it was to make. You can pare down the amounts and just make a small batch for one meal or a large bowl for a large gathering. As you prepare it you will see how you prefer yours. Perhaps only a tiny bit of tomato, or try adding other ingredients instead, maybe olive oil instead of mayonnaise. Don’t be afraid to experiment!

Ingredients:

5 Large Avocado’s
1/2 cup Mayonnaise
2 Roma Tomatoes, diced
1 Clove Garlic, chopped
Salt and Pepper
Lemon Juice (about a tablespoon)

Procedure:

  1. Cut up the avocado’s in small pieces and place in medium size bowl.
  2. Add the mayonnaise and adjust the amount of mayonnaise to the consistency you like, as it will depend on the size of your avocados.
  3. Stir in the tomatoes, garlic, lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Cover and chill until ready to serve.
  5. Serve with chip, use as a spread in sandwiches or as a side to Mexican dishes along with the sour cream.

Vanilla Ice Cream

Did you know that the United States is the largest consumers of ice cream?  Vanilla Ice cream is one of everyone’s favorites. Vanilla Extract comes from the plant vanilla planifolia, a member of the orchid family found mainly in Madagascar but also Mexico, parts of South America, and Tahiti. The vanilla extract produced from the plant in each of these areas has its own very distinct characteristics.

This recipe is as simple as it gets for vanilla ice cream, add all the toppings you want to spice or sweeten it up.  This vanilla ice cream recipe is rich, so you will be satisfied with just a small one cup serving.  You could drizzle Bailey’s Irish Cream, Kahlua or Grand Marnier liquors over the top, serve with a crisp vanilla wafer and wow your adult guests.  Accompany with a good strong cup of coffee or tea.

Ingredients:
1 cup Whole Milk
2 cups Heavy Cream
3/4 cup Granulated Sugar
2 tablespoon Vanilla
pinch of salt

Procedure:

  1. Place your ice cream bowl into the freezer.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, sugar, and salt until the sugar is all dissolved.
  3. Stir in the heavy cream and vanilla.
  4. Cover and refrigerate for 1-2 hours or overnight.
  5. Turn on your ice cream maker.
  6. Pour the mixture into your frozen freezer bowl and let mix until mixture thickens, about 20-25 minutes.
  7. The ice cream will then be a soft, creamy texture. If you would prefer the ice cream to be a firmer consistency transfer the ice cream into a airtight container and place in the freezer.
  8. Add your toppings and serve.

Chicken Caesar Salad

Semi home made salad, the only thing store bought is your dressing. Everyone loves a Caesar salad, this salad is quick to make and can be ready in 45 minutes. I made my croutons for this dish and it added that extra crunch and it was nice to say I made these when I served the salad. There is nothing better then homemade. This is a great dish to serve with spaghetti or lasagna.

This popular dish was originally created in 1924 by Italian chef Caesar Cardini at his restaurant in Tijuana, Mexico. When is comes to Caesar salad, a lot of people think anchovies but Cardini was opposed to using anchovies in his salad, that is one reason why I love to use Cardini dressings.

Enjoy!

Ingredients:
4 boneless chicken breast
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic
1 1/2 cups Cardini Caesar dressing
4-5 Romaine lettuce hearts
Pepper
croutons

Procedure:

  1. Cut the chicken into bite size pieces.
  2. Over medium high heat in a saute pan drizzle the vegetable oil and cook chicken, with the garlic till fully cooked.
  3. Take off heat and place in refrigerator.
  4. Wash the lettuce, dry, and cut into pieces.
  5. In a large bowl place the lettuce, chicken, and croutons.
  6. Drizzle the Caesar dressing and combine all together.
  7. Serve.

Enchilada Pie

Enchilada Pie is always a big hit.  It’s always nice to hear the compliments 🙂 and then asked repeatedly for the recipe.  I made this the other night for a large crowd, and so I just doubled the recipe and made two.  This is an easy recipe with simple ingredients.   The chili powder gives it that “kick” yet it is not overpowering, it is just enough spice to make you want to take another bite.  Serve with some sour cream on the side to help cool the palate for those with more sensitivity to spicy foods.  This recipe takes about five minutes to put together once you have browned the meat and onions, and then 20 minutes in a hot oven, and dinner is on the table!

Ingredients:

1 pound Lean Ground Beef
1 Onion
1 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Pepper
1 tablespoon Chili Powder
1 can (8 oz.) Tomato Sauce
6 Corn Tortillas
Butter or Margarine
1 can (4 1/2 oz.) Chopped Black Olives
1 1/2 cup shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese
1/2 cup Water

Procedure:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Chop the onion.
  3. In a frying pan over medium-high heat, brown the beef and onion.
  4. Add the salt, pepper, chili powder, and tomato sauce.
  5. Spread each tortilla with butter.
  6. In a 2 quart casserole dish, alternate layers of buttered tortillas, meat sauce, olives and cheese.
  7. Add water to dish.
  8. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes.

Silver Plume, Colorado

Do you live near Denver and looking for a fun area to check out, or will you be traveling the area before winter sets in? Travel west on Interstate 70 from Denver heading toward Loveland Pass and the Eisenhower Tunnel and check out the old mining towns on your way. A fun quirky favorite is the quaint and very old mining town of Silver Plume. Silver Plume is just a 1/2minute off the Interstate, but it’s like stepping back in time.

Once there, park your car and walk up and down the street.

At one end is an old building that houses a bakery where you can purchase fresh baked bread. The owner said he bakes 550 loaves a day, right in the tiny kitchen behind the counter! That is one hard working baker. The place is called the Sopp & Truscott Bakery. One need only to walk in and take a look, and it is hard to not want to purchase a loaf of a large variety of fresh breads.

In the ‘center’ of town, is a place called The KP.

Walk into the KP and sit and relax. The owner is there to make you something to eat, or just stroll around and enjoy the huge antique shop, full of fun and unusual items. Sit at the counter and spend some time playing with the difficult game puzzle’s the owner has that will either entertain you for hours or cause you to laugh at yourself, because you can’t figure them out. The owner will show you the answer if you beg and plead long enough, but its obvious the joy she gets out of watching the people squirm and get frustrated trying so hard to solve them. She also sells homemade lotions and lip balms to soothe your dry skin, needed in the dry Colorado mountain air.

Another charming building to stop into is called the Silver Plume Tea Room, located only a few steps away from the KP. The Tea Room is in a building built in 1889 used originally as a mercantile, and then a saloon. The Tea Room is also filled with antiques but of a different flavor than the KP, with items such as antique china, jewelry, ladies hats and some other gift items. If you dare, you can walk down into the basement, but only at your own risk. The basement is filled with more antiques and the floor is the buildings original old wood beam floor (it creeks) and has a very low ceiling. It’s interesting and exciting at the same time, like stepping back in time, and one might wonder if there could be ghosts! Step back upstairs and sip some tea at tables dressed with old china and flatware and relax a spell.

It’s these unusual places that makes memories!

Chocolate Peanut Butter M&M’s Cookies

Peanut butter M&M’s are one of my favorite candies, and I love them in cookies. Instead of making the normal M&M cookies I decided to try them with chocolate cookies instead, they are pretty tasty.  They still had that soft chewy texture, but biting into the peanut butter M&M is a nice surprise.  Great with tea, coffee or milk.

Enjoy!

Ingredients:

1/2 cup Butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup Cocoa Powder
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
2 Eggs
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Salt
1 1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour
1 large bag of Peanut Butter M&M’s
Procedure:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Cream butter, cocoa powder and sugar.
  3. on low speed, add one egg at a time.
  4. Add vanilla
  5. Add in the flour, baking soda, and salt till all combined.
  6. Add the peanut butter M&M’s until all mixed in.
  7. Form 1 tablespoon size balls, and place 2 inches apart onto cookie sheet.
  8. Bake for 10 minutes.
  9. Cool on rack.