Thursday, August 28, 2014

Poached Eggs in Spicy Tomato Sauce

Dave does not eat breakfast, as much as I've lectured  explained that it is the most important meal of the day, he can't eat in the morning.  Funny thing is, breakfast food is his favorite, so we have breakfast for dinner a couple times a month.  Sometimes it helps with our meatless meal for the week.

I really do want Dave to live a good, long time; so I can annoy him as long as possible.  We had poached eggs in tomato sauce.  In Mason's words, "It doesn't look very good, but it smells amazing."  I use tomatoes I roast and can or freeze and one can of tomato sauce as the base.  I like to add garlic, onions, ancho chili powder and worcestershire sauce and simmer for about 30 minutes to thicken before I poach the eggs in the sauce.  You can add what every you like...roasted chilies, bell pepper, diced zucchini...  Sometimes I serve with warm bread, sometimes with corn or flour tortillas.  Dave doesn't even complain there is no meat!

I cook my egg and Mason's eggs first because we like our yolks hard.
Dave likes runny yolks, so his go in last.
Poached Eggs in Spicy Tomato Sauce
more of a suggestion than a recipe

1 large onion, diced
olive oil
2 cloves garlic
2 cups roasted tomatoes, cut with scissors to make small pieces or 1-2 cans of diced roasted tomatoes
1 14 oz. can tomato sauce
1 Tbsp. worcestershire sauce
1/4-1/2 tsp. ancho chili powder, depending on your taste
salt and pepper to taste

Over medium heat, sauté onion in olive oil about 5 minutes until translucent and soft. Add garlic and cook about 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, worcestershire sauce, and chili powder.  Simmer over low heat about 20 minutes.  Taste sauce and add salt and pepper.  Make a small hole or pocket and crack egg into hole, repeat for the number of eggs you desire.  Simmer, covered until eggs are done to your liking.  Serve with toast or tortillas.

August 28, 2014  Sunrise 6:19 am  Sunset 9:23 pm  Temp H 64/ L 46°F

Tuesday, August 26, 2014


It was a beautiful, sunny day.  Our family was together, four of the seven dogs tagged along.  It was one of the hardest days of our lives.

Lobo, our 14 year old golden, has been diagnosed with lymphoma.  He is in the final stages of his life.  We took him to our family camping spot for one last swim and fishing trip.  He loves going.  We packed up the horseshoes, hot dogs, and four of the furry guys for the day.
Taking a rest.

Lobo knew where we were the second we turned down the dirt road, about 50 miles of town.  The started sniffing the air and getting excited.  The weather cooperated; it was warm, with a slight breeze to keep the bugs down.  The dogs the fetched sticks we threw into the river, and chased after rocks.  Everyone played games of horseshoes while the old guy took a nap.  Dave tried to fish and took a couple of walks.  It was a good way to spend the day.
Lobo's favorite activity, swimming to get a stick.

Bo came to us by way of Golden Retriever Rescue.  He had been a companion dog for an elderly man in a nursing home.  When his previous owner no longer needed him, Lobo went up for adoption.  We had just lost our dogs in our house fire and GRR called us letting us know about him.  It was love at first sight.
We all took turns spending a little time on the blanket with the old guy.

He was the biggest golden I have ever seen.  Weighing in at about 120 and tall enough that his head was above the table, begging was easy.  He was the gentlest of all the dogs, very obedient, and quiet.  We had to teach him how to play, his companion status didn't give him time for that before, but once he learned, he played with gusto.  He never completely forgot his training though, when ever anyone was sick Lobo was stationed next to their bed, patiently giving comfort until the illness passed.
One happy dog.

Lobo was just as patient with the other dogs.  From the time Riley came into our house, he would climb on top of Lobo to stay warm.  Bo just laid quietly and let Riley cuddle in.  Later, when we would not let Riley on top of Bo, they would snuggle together, Riley tucked into Lobo's stomach or under his chin.
Last winter, the dogs cuddling by the wood stove.

Bo never understood how big he was and Hershey always bullied him.  Lobo would hide behind me for protection when Hershey was in a foul mood and trying to take it out on Bo. Once, Dave started walking up the stairs, saw Bo and Tucker at the top looking down at him, half covered his face with his t-shirt and growled and walked like a monster up the stairs.  Lobo squeaked, peed on the floor and came to hide behind me.   Lobo was not the bravest dog, but he was the most loyal and loving.
Joe, explaining the fine art of fly fishing.

It is impossible to express the deep love a person can have for a pet.  Lobo was well loved, he lived a good life, and he will be terribly missed by human and dog friend alike.  Words can't express the ache we feel when we lose someone we love.  It isn't any different when the loss is for a family member that has 4 legs instead of 2.

August 26, 2014   Sunrise 6:13am Sunset 9:30pm  Temp. H 64/ L 49°F

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Blackberry Cheesecake

It was a birthday at work.  I volunteered to make a cake and this was on the list to try.  It has been on the list for a long time since the kids can't do dairy and I don't want a whole cheesecake at home and be the only one who can eat it.

Not the best picture, I used my iPhone, but here is the finished cake with a layer of whipped cream.
People are always afraid of cheesecakes and there is no reason to be.  They are so easy to make.  Just remember that a pkg. of cream cheese is only 1/2 pound.  And when it is after work, and you are tired and make the cheese cake read the directions carefully and don't put in only 2 packages of cheese cake.  It was still edible, and good...just not delicious and rich and luscious like I wanted it to be.  I guess you could almost call mine 'light' cheesecake.  We ate it all anyway, and no one would have known if I hadn't told them.  See how forgiving a cheesecake can be?
iPhone picture, but you can see the layers!

Blackberry Cheesecake
adapted from

1 cup graham cracker crumbs
3 Tablespoons butter, divided
2 lbs. cream cheese, that means 4-8oz. pkgs. (Not that I only added 2 pkgs. or anything)
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup milk
4 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
3 cups blackberries, divided
zest and juice of 1 lemon
sweetened whipped cream, optional topping

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Butter 9-inch springform pan generously with 1 tablespoon butter.

Crush graham crackers and mix with 2 tablespoons butter.  Press into bottom of springform pan.

Mix cream cheese and sugar until smooth.  Add milk, then beat in eggs one at a time, mixing just enough to incorporate.  Add sour cream, flour, and vanilla, mix until smooth.  Divide mixture between two bowls.

Puree 2 cups of blackberries, add to one bowl of cream cheese mixture.  Mix in lemon zest and lemon juice.

Sprinkle remaining 1 cup of blackberries onto graham cracker crust.  Top with blackberry cream cheese mixture.  Bake for 10 minutes.

Remove from oven, carefully pour remaining filling over blackberry mixture.  Return to oven and bake for 60 minutes, until top is set.  Refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight.  Top with sweetened whipped cream and serve.
Serves 12-14

1 year ago: there are no more posts from August, I guess I was a slacker last year.
2 years ago:  Banana Bread and Putting Up Wood for the Winter

August 23, 2014   Sunrise 6:00 am Sunset 9:45 pm   Temp. H 70/ L 46°F

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

10 meal Workshop

This is not a paid advertisement.  I did not receive any monetary compensation for this post.  I did make 20 delicious meals in 2 hours though!

Well, I made 10 and the Chick made 10, so there are 20 in our freezer ready to go.
Laura, our Pampered Chef consultant.  You can contact her at
We had a fun couple of hours.  We could have gone faster, but I was being slow that day.  Dave would cart our meals out to the freezer (after he rearranged to make room).  Laura was handing us cool tools to try, washing our dishes, and cleaning up the floor where I constantly spilled stuff.  
We now have 20 19 meals in the freezer for when I'm traveling or too lazy to put dinner together.  I do love to cook, but by Thursday or Friday dinner is such a chore.  Now I have a back-up plan (or 19 of them!)
The Chick, graciously helping and not complaining that I roped her into this.
We have 3 chicken dishes, 3 beef dishes, 3 pork dishes, and one vegetarian dish that I'll add shrimp to so Dave will be happy.
Our pantry ingredients ready to go.
 It took us 2 hours to make 10 meals each.  We are going to do this again in October, so if you want to join us just let me know.  We have lots of room at my house and Dave will just set up a table for you.  
One of the meals in progress, our recipe on the flip folder - very easy to follow.
My 20 meals, stacked in the freezer!

Italian Chicken Pasta
from our Pampered Chef 10 Meals Workshop

4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (at least 2 lbs.)
3 Tbsp. Pampered Chef Italian Seasoning Mix
1 Tbsp. Pampered Chef Garlic and Herb Rub
1 Tbsp. Pampered Chef Three Onion Rub
1 Tbsp. Pampered Chef Bell Pepper Herb Rub
2 (14.5 oz) cans chicken broth
2 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. Flour
16 oz. uncooked rotini or other short type pasta

In a freezer, gallon-sized ziplock bag add all the seasonings, broth, butter, and flour.  Mix by massaging the bag.  Add chicken.  Label and freeze.  

When ready to cook, thaw and add to your crockpot.  Cook on low 4-6 hours.  Add the pasta for the last hour of cooking time.  

2 years ago:   Salmon Cakes

August 20, 2014   Sunrise 5:54 am Sunset 9:52 pm Temp. H 67/L 47°F

Monday, August 18, 2014

Peach Cobbler and the Newlyweds

We had a very busy weekend.  The curly haired boy and our new DIL arrived on August 4 and toured around the state.  They came home on last Thursday and we had a little party for them on Friday night.  The menu was pulled porkcabbage salad, Dave made beans, fresh melon, Donna brought a selection of fresh veggies, and this peach cobbler for dessert.

Melt the butter right in the pan

This is one of those easy desserts that comes together easily, tastes delicious alone or with a topping, and you can make multiples quickly.  I made three for the night and I buy a case of these disposable pans so it is easy to do dishes afterwards...just toss when they are empty.
Pour the batter over the butter, no stirring
We had a conveyer system down.  The chick cut the fruit, I mixed the batter while the butter was melting, we threw it all together and let it bake.  We had three finished in no time.

The chick and her excellent knife skills.
Add the peaches to the top and toss in the oven.
We had about 20 people over on Friday.  It was fun visiting with everyone.  It was especially fun to have the house filled with laughter, I do miss having all my kids home.
Baked to golden perfection.
Easy Peach Cobbler
adapted from All-recipes
1 stick butter (1/2 cup)
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 cup milk, I used almond milk
4-5 large peaches

Preheat oven to 350°F.
In 9x13" pan, melt butter in oven.
While butter is melting, peel and cut peaches in slices and then half the slices.
Mix flour, sugar, baking powder and milk, pour over melted butter, do not stir.  Top with sliced peaches.  Sprinkle with cinnamon.
Bake for 30-45 minutes until the batter is cooked through, using a cake tester or toothpick to check the middle for doneness.  The tester should come out clean, with a few moist crumbs.
Enjoy with whipped cream or ice-cream.

1 year ago:   Cobb Salad and Putting up Wood
2 years ago:  Salmon on the grill

August 18, 2014  Sunrise 5:48 am  Sunset 9:59 pm  Temp. H 68/ L 50°F

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Chocolate Zucchini Quick Bread

I got a new shirt for boot camp.  It really sums up the whole getting healthy, building muscle, eating right kind on message.
So, you can see, I am taking my workouts to a whole new level.  Along with that I am really concentrating on healthy eating.  Did you know chocolate is a health food?  It is, and pair that with some zucchini and you have a superfood in the making.  This chocolate zucchini quick bread is just the thing.

In August we usually have so much zucchini it is coming out of our ears!  But not this year.  My zucchini plants are still tiny and pathetic.  Luckily, my dear friend, Donna, gifted me with two large zucchini so I could make this cake.  She wants me to survive the Zombie apocalypse too.

Chocolate Zucchini Cake
adapted from King Arthur Flour

2 eggs
1/3 cup honey
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. espresso powder
1/3 cup baking cocoa
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup chocolate chips
2 cups shredded, unpeeled zucchini, gently packed

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Spray a loaf pan with cooking spray, or lightly grease with oil.

Mix eggs, honey, vegetable oil, brown sugar and vanilla in a small bowl.

In a medium sized bowl mix the salt, baking soda, baking powder, espresso powder, cocoa and flour.  Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, add the chocolate chips and zucchini and mix.

Pour into prepared loaf pan and bake for 60-70 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
Cool for 10 minutes in pan, then remove from pan and cool completely before cutting.

1 year ago:   Rhubarb muffins and Fall's first frost
2 years ago:  Nutella Meringues and Vertigo

August 13, 2014   Sunrise 5:31 am  Sunset 10:18 pm  Temp. H 75/ L 51°F

Monday, August 11, 2014

Blackberry Cobbler and Sand Art

We had a sunny, beautiful weekend in Fairbanks.  One of the few lovely weekends this summer. I took full advantage of it by working in my pitiful garden, sitting on the deck for my morning coffee and meeting Donna at the first China and USA Sand Sculpture competition.
It is amazing how detailed artists can be with sand!  I was fascinated, and the warm sun just made it a better experience.  If you live in or around Fairbanks, and you haven't gone yet, you need to go.  It is worth the trip.

Because I was busy outside, I didn't want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen so I planned grilled chicken (gotta get Dave's quota of chicken in), salad and a nice fruit dessert, made in the crock pot.  It was a first try, I'll tweak it for next time.  It tasted good, just wasn't the prettiest looking thing, but a little ice cream on top and everything looks good, don't you agree?
Not the prettiest looking dessert, but wait until you serve it!

Delicious berries,  sauce, and a little biscuit.

Even better with some ice cream!

Blackberry Cobbler in the Crock Pot

2 lbs. blackberries, fresh or frozen
3/4 cup sugar
3 tsp. tapioca
1 1/2 cup Bisquick
1 can cream soda

Mix blackberries, sugar, and tapioca together.  Spray crock pot with cooking spray.  Pour berry mixture in.  Sprinkle Bisquick over top in an even layer, pour cream soda over the top.  Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours.

1 year ago:   Happy Homemaker - Drink of the Week
2 years ago:  Cabbage Salad

August 11, 2014   Sunrise 5:25 am Sunset 10:25 pm   Temp H 77/ L 54°F

Friday, August 8, 2014

Chicken with Mushrooms and Almonds

The Hippy boy has a little trouble with athlete's foot.  We were giving him advice and a hard time about his feet and his choice to always wear the sandals he wears.  He took it pretty well.  When he left to go home the slipped off his flip-flops and rubbed his feet on the grass saying, "Let's see if I can grow mushrooms on Dad's lawn." (have I told you how picky Dave is about his lawn?)  The boy laughed and jumped in his car and went home.

A couple days later, we were waiting for the Hippy Boy for dinner.  I had unearthed a slimy box of whole mushrooms from the back of the garage fridge and had a brilliant idea.  I decided to stand the mushrooms up in the grass where the Hboy had rubbed his feet.  The chick ran out to the front yard with me and helped.  We nestled the slimy mushrooms in the grass in a nice little mushroom circle and went back inside before the boy showed up.

When he arrived we told him about the mushrooms he had grown.  He didn't believe us.  "Look outside."  We all told him.  He looked out the window.  "No, I didn't do that?" he said in disbelief.
"Yep, that was all you.  And you know how your dad is about the grass." I answered.
He started to believe me.
"No, really.  Did I do that?" he was amazed.
"Athlete's foot is a fungus, and so are mushrooms.  You grew those."  I answered with a straight face.

He ran outside to see for himself.

When he got outside, he could tell those mushrooms were just placed in the grass, we all had a good laugh and moved on with dinner.

I really do love dinner around the table with my family.  My mom and dad are here, the chick, Dave and the Bboy, the Hboy all sitting around the table eating delicious food and talking about the day.
This was a good dinner, Dave ate it and said it was good. (We are still working on helping him love chicken).  And these mushrooms were not grown by my son's feet!

Chicken with Mushrooms and Almonds
adapted from Anne Burrell Cook Like a Rock Star

Extra Virgin Olive oil
8 pieces chicken, I used thighs and breasts with skin on
kosher salt
2 onions, dices
pinch of red pepper flakes
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 lbs. assort. mushrooms
1 cup dry white wine
4 cups chicken stock
1 thyme bundle, tied with butcher's twine
2 bay leaves
1/2 cup whole blanched almonds, toasted

Coat a large pan with olive oil and bring to high heat.  Season the chicken generously with salt and add it, skin side down, to the pan.  Don't move the chicken around, it will stick but then release when it is patient.  After about 5-7 minutes, turn the chicken over and brown the other side.  Remove the chicken from the pan and reserve.
Pour out the fat and wipe the pan with a paper towel.  Add some olive oil and lower the heat.  Add the onions, season with salt and red pepper flakes.  Cook over medium heat for 8-10 minutes or until onions are soft.  Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
Add the mushrooms, season with salt and cook 4-5 minutes or until soft.  Add the wine and cook until reduced by half, about 3-4 minutes.
Return the chicken to the pan, pour in enough stock to almost cover the chicken, and add the thyme bundle and bay leaves.  Bring to a boil, reduce and simmer for 30 minutes, adding a little more stock if the liquid level gets too low.
While the chicken cooks, puree the almonds in  food processor.  Once they are ground, drizzle in a little olive oil while the machine is running to make a loose paste.  Season with salt and reserve.
When the chicken has simmered for 30 minutes, remove it from the pan and reserve; remove the bay leaves and the thyme bundle and discard.  Stir the almond puree into the sauce and taste for seasoning, adding more salt if needed.  Bring to a boil and reduce to thicken the sauce of needed.  Serve the chicken with the sauce.
Serves 4

1 year ago:   Lemon Bars
2 years ago:  Zucchini Tart

August 8, 2014   Sunrise 5:15 am  Sunset 10:36 pm  Temp H 73/ L 54°F

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Nutella Pillows

I have met a most unusual person at work...she has NEVER tried Nutella.  Why has she never tried this bit of paradise, you ask.  I don't know, but if Nutella can ruin my hips, they will ruin hers.  I live by the philosophy of, "If God won't make me skinny, I'll make all the people around me fat, so I don't feel so bad," 'cus I'm kind like that.

I had to practice these before I took them to work, so I made a batch over the weekend instead of washing the living room walls, and then, because everyone in my family was out camping and I was home alone, I had to eat them all myself.  Besides, they have dairy and no one else in my family can eat dairy, so I was just doing them all a service by not making them sick, so I was really sacrificing myself for everyone else's safety and comfort, see I really am kind.

These are best warm...not too hot (they will burn your tongue, the Nutella stays hot) and not too cold, just warm is just right (now I sound like Goldilocks), but trust me on this.  You want to eat them about 30 minutes after they come out of the oven.  Or you can warm them up in the microwave for about 15 seconds and serve them topped with ice cream.  Delicious.
Why bother with a fork.  These are so good.

So you see, I have to really start feeding those around me more, since I have no self control on my own, and I don't want to be the fattest one in the room, ever.  'Cus, I'm vain like that.
One sheet of puff pastry makes 6 pillows.

Hot out of the oven.

Don't fill too much or they lose the Nutella goodness.

Nutella drizzle and a hit of powdered sugar.

Heaven on a plate.

Nutella Pillows
adapted from Mom Spark

2 sheets puff pastry
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup Nutella
For Egg Wash:
1 egg, beaten
1 Tbsp. water
For garnish:
Sugar in the raw/turbinado sugar
Extra Nutella

1. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 350-f degrees.
2. In a mixing bowl, combine cream cheese and Nutella. Mix with a handheld mixer for 1 minute, until thoroughly combined.
3. Roll out the puff pastry sheets on a lightly floured surface into a 12" by 12" square. Trim the uneven edges so you have a nice edge all around the puff pastry. Using a pizza cutter, cut each sheet into 6 equal squares.
4. Using a spoon or a small scoop, drop 1 Tbsp. of chocolate filling into the corner of each square of puff pastry. Make sure to leave enough space along the edges so they can be crimped shut. Fold the puff pastry dough over to form pillows. Lightly dab two of the four edges of each turnover with water before crimping them shut. Transfer the turnovers to the parchment lined baking sheets.
5. Prepare the egg wash by beating together one egg and 1 Tbsp. water. Brush each turnover with the egg wash, sprinkle with the turbinado sugar.
6. Bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown. Allow to cool.
7. To garnish: . In a small bowl, warm Nutella in the microwave. Pour into a small Ziploc baggie and snip off a tiny corner. Drizzle each pillow with warm Nutella. Enjoy!

1 year ago:   Oatmeal Cream Sandwiches
2 years ago:  Moose stuffed Zucchini

August 6, 2014   Sunrise 5:08 am  Sunset 10:43 pm  Temp H 70/ L  48°F