Author Archives: TaMara

Friday Recipe Exchange: Lots of Kabobs

Kabobs

Happy Labor Day weekend. This will be a quick exchange before I run out the door. Oh, I’m not going anywhere for the weekend, we’re still working on potty training with Bixby. LOL. His latest update is here.

I decided on shish kabobs for the recipe exchange because they are a favorite for large get-togethers. I can prepare them a day ahead and then pop them on the grill when guests arrive. They cook up quick and everyone can get theirs cooked to their idea of perfection. And if you’re lucky and everyone is staying at your house, you can form an assembly line to put them together.

Pictured above is one of my go-to skewers, easy marinade and simple to assemble for a small family dinner or a big get-together. It’s equal parts vegetable oil, soy sauce, lemon juice, and toss in some crushed garlic cloves. Mix together and marinate cubed pieces of steak (sirloin works well) for at least an hour or overnight. I remove the steak pieces from the marinade and then toss the veggies with the marinade quickly before alternating meat, vegetables and pineapple chunks on skewers. The ones above really need some cherry tomatoes, too. Grill over high heat, turning frequently until steak is cooked to desired style.

Some other fun food on a stick:

Fajita Chicken and Vegetable Kabobs can be found here.

Grilled Chicken and Papaya Skewers are here.

Lamb Kabobs recipe is here.

And a variety of other Marinades can be found here, to create any number of skewers to grill.

What’s on your plate for the weekend? Grilling anything tasty?

For tonight’s featured recipe, I thought it would be fun to make sure dessert was included in the mix.

Spicy Fruit Kabobs

You can substitute or add any fresh fruit you’d like in this recipe. 

  • 1 cantaloupe or honeydew melon, seeded
  • 2 pears, cored
  • 2 apples, cored
  • 2 bananas, peeled & quartered
  • 8 wooden skewers, soaked in water
  • ½ cup warmed honey
  • ½ cup warm water
  • ¼ cup limejuice
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded & chopped
  • 1 to 2 tsp chili paste

13×9 glass baking dish, blender

Cut fruit into large chunks, alternate fruit on skewers, ending with banana chunks to hold fruit in place. Place in baking dish. Blend together honey, water, lime, jalapeno & chili paste until smooth. Pour over fruit. Let set during dinner (approximately 30 minutes at room temperature. Grill over low coals 5-7 minutes, basting with marinade. Serve immediately.

Banana Split Kabobs

(serves 4)

  • 12 fresh large strawberries, hulled
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 bananas, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 12 fresh pineapple chunks
  • pound cake, cut into 2-inch cubes
  • chocolate syrup
  • shredded, unsweetened coconut

4 long bamboo skewers, 4 dessert plates

Roll strawberries in sugar, coating lightly. Alternate fruit and cake on the skewers. Place on plates and drizzle with chocolate syrup and garnish with coconut. Serve with additional syrup for dipping if desired.

That’s it for this week. Have a safe and fun holiday weekend.  – TaMara

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Bixby Diaries: Week Two

Bixby Diary WK 2 Final

8.20 Fell out of bed last night (I fall out probably once a night), but no one noticed, so I went exploring and found a great treat. (TaMara’s note: Shelby, Einstein, Duncan, Coty and Sadie are going to come back and haunt me because they were NEVER allowed on the bed or other furniture).

8.21 Today I learned about timeouts. While biting a litter mate is expected, biting one’s person is frowned upon. (TaMara’s note: the timeout was more for me than him. Really took me by surprise nipping at my face)

8.22 My person cleans out the kitty potty spots every morning. This morning I decided to help her by carrying the plastic bag. I was rewarded for my good deed with a fun game of chase. Also worked really hard to climb onto the couch for naptime. (TaMara’s note: Sigh, let the haunting begin, because I let him sleep there).

Sleepy puppy

8.23 Went for a walk in a new place today. Lots of water, flowers, weeds and great smells. My person calls it the Ponds. I’m still unsure about getting too far from the house or car, I’m not all that impressed by my person’s ability to smell her way back. I don’t think her eyes are all that good, either. So far my vigilance has kept us from losing our way.

Time to Smell

8.24 Woke up this morning and found out I could now easily reach the counters by standing on my back legs. How awesome is that!  I must have grown a whole inch last night. So much to see up there.  (TaMara’s note: No, no, not awesome)

8.25 Spent a lot of time in the car today, I usually like my crate, but today I thought it would be fun to howl and bark. When we got home, I got another timeout, this time for chasing the cats. Is it my fault they run away all the time? (TaMara’s note: Again, timeout more for the cats and my sanity)

8.26 My person works too much, so I decided to take over her desk. She’ll have to find something else to do.

Desk surfing

8.27 Spent the day at the office again. Boooring. Came home and power napped. I feel a growth spurt coming on.

So sleepy

8.28 Big day. Learned sit and come – because steak, baby! I do anything for bits of steak. Also went to the vet for my weekly weigh in – and got to meet my vet. Got a shot and didn’t even feel it. I’m a big boy! 27.6 lbs and 17 inches at my shoulders. I’ll be 10 weeks old on Saturday.

See you next week, or when my person has time to type for me – BixbyPaw pring

Dinner Menu: Stuffed Burgers and Cajun Sweet Potato Fries

Stuffed Burger Uncut Snap

Thought it was time for some end-of-summer burgers. I make these all the time because they really are easy and a great way to have a cheese burger without losing half the cheese to the grill. And the sweet potato cajun fries are the perfect sweet, spicy combo.  Grill some plums or peaches and dinner is done. Enjoy.

On the board tonight:

  1. Jalapeno-Cheddar Stuffed Burgers
  2. Kaiser Rolls
  3. Cajun Sweet Potato Fries
  4. Raw Vegetable Tray
  5. Plums

Jalapeno-Cheddar Stuffed Burgers

Stuffed Burger Final

Ingredients for each burger:

  • 4 oz ground beef
  • salt, pepper
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp crushed garlic (opt)
  • 1 oz sharp cheddar, sliced thin
  • 2 or more slices of pickled jalapenos

Mix salt, pepper and garlic into the ground beef. Form two, 2-oz patties. Place jalapenos on one burger, cheese on the other.

Prep2

Place the two sides together and seal the edges completely. Gently flatten the burger, but be careful because you don’t want the cheese busting out of the center.

Prep1a

The key to grilling or frying these is low and slow. Medium heat seals them and allows the cheese to melt without drying the burger out. I flipped at the 5 minute mark, but depending on the heat, 3-4 minutes may be enough to flip. They’re thin, so the beef cooks quickly, but you want to make sure the cheese melts. I would say minimum 4 minutes per side.

If cheese starts to leak out, flip and flip again as needed. DON’T press down on these burgers while you grill, you’ll have a cheesy mess.

Now the warning. Did I say WARNING? Yes I did. You’ll need to rest these burgers to let the cheese cool a bit. Otherwise you could be biting into a scalding cheese center. You’ve been WARNED.

That’s the basics, now let your imagination run wild. Maybe I should have titled this, How To Stuff A Wild Burger.

Cajun Sweet Potato Fries

  • 3 large sweet potatoes, scrubbed and peeled
  • 1 to 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp Cajun seasoning
  • ¼ tsp cumin (opt)

large bowl or baking dish and baking sheet

Cut potatoes into quarters lengthwise, then cut each quarter into 2 or 3 lengthwise slices. In bowl, toss with remaining ingredients and place in a single layer on baking sheet. Bake at 450° for 15 minutes, turn and bake an additional 10 to 15 minutes, until golden brown outside and tender inside.

Plums

If you grilled the burgers you can also grill the plums. Slice in half, remove the pits and grill over low heat

Shopping List:

  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 4 oz shredded cheddar or jalapeno jack
  • sliced jalapenos (I use pickled)
  • 4 green onions
  • 1 tomato
  • 3 large sweet potatoes
  • 4 large Kaiser rolls
  • Favorite raw vegetables
  • Vegetable dip
  • 4 to 8 plums

Also: cumin, Cajun spice, sugar, salt, pepper, olive oil, crushed garlic

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Life According To Bixby: Falling Off The Bed

 

Bixby Life and falling out of bed

 

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Friday Dinner Music: Kill of the Night, Gin Wigmore

Friday Recipe Exchange: What To Do With All Those Tomatoes

DSC_3069 [1024x768]

It seems everyone but at my house has a garden full of tomatoes. That’s okay, I know where all the good farm stands are located. What to do with all those tomatoes then becomes the question. Tonight’s recipe exchange will give you a few ideas.

First, let’s get this out of the way, Bixby’s weekly update is hereBixby 8 19 14

Now for the recipes:

JeffreyW takes some of his harvest and Oven Dries Tomatoes, here and here.

You can then use those dried tomatoes in place of sun-dried tomatoes in this Roasted Green Beans, with Tomatoes and Feta, here.

I love soups and while the weather is still hot, Cold Cucumber and Tomato Soup is a perfect way to use some of the garden’s bounty, recipe here.

Tired of tomatoes? This week’s dinner menu of Seared Ginger Tuna with Mint-Papaya-Pineapple Salsa has not a hint of tomato.

What’s on your menu this weekend? Anything good cookin’ in your kitchen?

DSC_6445 [1600x1200]

For tonight’s featured recipe, I’ve adapted JefferyW’s recipe for his sauteed cherry tomatoes and pasta, pictured above.

Pasta Tossed with Fresh Tomatoes and Basil

  • 10 oz  favorite pasta, cook according to pkg directions, drain (don’t dry) and reserve water
  • 16 oz (or more) cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 sweet onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup fresh basil, packed,  reserve a few leaves for garnish
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • Fresh grated Parmesan or Asiago cheese

Skillet

Heat oil in skillet, sauté onions until translucent, add minced garlic, cook for about another minute and then add tomatoes and cook for about 10 minutes, add tomato paste and basil. Stir and let simmer additional 5 minutes, ladle in some pasta water if needed for the desired consistency. Toss with pasta and top with cheese before serving.

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Life According To Bixby: Squirt Bottles

Bixby Life and the Squirt Bottle

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Weekly Dinner Menu: Seared Ginger Tuna with Mint-Papaya-Pineapple Salsa

I love tuna steaks. I live in a land-locked state. This is when it’s good to have a relationship with your butcher, because he’ll let you know when some really good tuna arrives.  I don’t make this every often, but enjoy it when I do. It very simple. I’ve also grilled it instead of pan-searing, which adds a depth of flavor. Remember to preheat the grill and oil the grate well before placing steaks on to cook.

On the board tonight:

  1. Seared Ginger Tuna
  2. Rice*
  3. Mint-Papaya-Pineapple Salsa
  4. Tossed Salad
  5. Sliced Apples w/Caramel dipping sauce

Seared Ginger Tuna

  • 4-4oz tuna steaks
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp fresh minced ginger, or 2 tsp dried
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • salt & pepper to taste

skillet

Heat oil in skillet over medium high heat. While pan is preheating, rub tuna with 1 tbsp lemon juice, season with a little salt & pepper. Cook tuna for 1-2 minutes on each side, depending on thickness, and remove from pan. This will cook it rare (it will be cool pink in the center). Remove and place on serving platter. Turn heat down to medium and add remaining lemon juice & the rest of ingredients to pan and cook for 1 minute.  Season with salt and pepper. Pour over tuna and serve immediately.  Serves 4

Mint-Papaya-Pineapple Salsa

  • 1 papaya, cut in small cubes
  • 8 oz pineapple chunks, canned or fresh
  • 1 cup fresh mint – chopped
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • chili pepper flakes to taste

serving bowl

Combine all & stir well.  I know it’s called salsa, but it’s a nice fruity side, or serve it over the rice. Serves 4

*Rice:  Change things up a bit and try a different style of rice – Jasmine, Aborio, Basmati or Brown rice, each one brings its own flavors.

Shopping List:

  • 1 lb tuna steaks
  • 1 small fresh ginger root
  • 2 green onions
  • 1 small white or yellow onion
  • 1 papaya
  • 8 oz pineapple chunks, canned or fresh
  • 1 bunch fresh mint (enough for 1 cup)
  • 1 oz white wine vinegar
  • 1 cup rice
  • Salad fixings of your choice
  • 4 apples
  • Caramel Dip

Also: olive oil, lemon juice, soy sauce, chili pepper flakes

Originally posted September 2009

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The Bixby Diaries: Week One

Bixby 8 19 14

The Bixby Diaries

Week 1

8.12: What an adventure. Woke up in the morning curled up with my brothers and sisters – some are half-siblings, but we don’t differentiate in the litter. By that night, I was curled up in the arms of my person after a long day of everything being new.

8.13: Discovered my bark at 6:15 am. My person and her strange furry companions don’t seem as excited as I am. Conquered working in an office.  Work is boring. Went for my weigh-in, I’m a svelte 22.2 lbs.  Napped.

Working hard from the boss' chair.

Working hard from the boss’ chair.

8.14:  Mastered the scary, open back stairs at 6 am. On the first try. I’m a rock star. Or, so my person says. Napped.

8.15:  Spent the day trying to win over the strange, furry companions. Learn they are called cats. They look soft, but they have sharp feet. Kinda cranky, too. Napped.

Napping

8.16: Making progress with cats. Being a perfect gentleman…well at least I try. Napped.

Bixby and Emma

8.17: Rough day. Spent it being yelled at and put in time out. Sigh. Being a puppy is hard. But, got a cat to play untie-the-bow with me. So day wasn’t a total bust. Also, napped.

Bixby Bench

8.18: Rockin’ the potty training. Bark at door, go outside and potty. My person learned very quickly. Now who is the rock star? Oh, yeah, and I napped.

More Napping

8.19: Played in the park. Filled with great smells. Made my weekly weigh in.  24.4 lbs of muscle, baby! Been a long week filled with lots of adventures. Nap time.

Bixby Park

See you next week! – Bixby

 

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Making Progress

 

Let's play string Final

A game of string is irresistible.

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