Author Archives: TaMara

Friday Recipe Exchange: Bring on the Veggies

DSC_8853 (1600x1060)

I thought as the farm stand season winds down it would be fun to focus on recipes that take advantage of super fresh produce before it all disappears.

I was going to make an Eggplant Parmesan for the featured recipe but never got around to it, so I went with the Chili Rellenos Casserole instead.

To get started, a fresh and tangy Asian Pear and Grape Cabbage Salad, recipe here.

These Marinated Mushrooms (recipe here) sounded good and could be used as an appetizer or sliced into a salad.

Pizza is great way to get have a fun and flavorful vegetarian dinner. JeffreyW always does pizzas right and his Margherita Pizza  (picture above) is no exception.  Click here for his recipe and lots of photos.

This week’s dinner menu sticks with the veggie theme: Pasta with Marinated Vegetables and Bruschetta. Menu, recipes and shopping list are here.

And finally, for the pet lovers, Bixby checked in this week, spoiler alert there was a bath and a stuffed monkey.

What’s cooking in your kitchen this weekend? Have any cool weather recipes to share?

Tonight’s featured recipe, quick, easy and oh, so good:

Chili Relleno4_Snapseed1

Chili Rellenos Casserole

  • 2-7 oz cans whole green chilies
  • ½ onion, diced
  • 16 oz shredded 4-blend Mexican cheese
  • 4 to 6 corn tortillas, torn into wide strips
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 oz salsa
  • ¼ cup milk
  • salt & pepper
  •  ½ tsp crushed garlic
  •  ½ tsp red pepper flakes
  • ¼ cup snipped fresh cilantro ( Italian parsley or fresh basil if you hate cilantro)

bowl, 8×8 glass baking dish, greased

Drain and seed peppers. Layer 1/3 of the peppers in the bottom of baking dish, top with 1/3 onions, 1/3 of the cheese and 1/3 tortilla strips. Repeat to make three layers. Beat together eggs, salsa, milk, spices and cilantro. Pour evenly over casserole. Bake uncovered at 350° for 35-40 minutes until fluffy and center is set.

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




Never Too Early for Christmas Shopping

I want this, but I think I’ll wait for the Amazon reviews:

jingle bells…jingle bells…



Bixby Diaries: Bath Time

Bath time

Hi. Long time, huh? My person said I should check-in, so here I am, all 150 lbs of me. For some reason she thought I should have a bath. She said I smelled. I don’t know how that is possible, I spend my days playing in sprinklers, my pool and my neighbor sprays me with a hose whenever we walk by his house. I like him a lot. I think she’s been working too hard, it’s affecting her judgement.

Favorite monkey

This is my new favorite thing. My person calls it a monkey. We came home from the store and there was a box on the floor and when I opened it, there was my Monkey. I love it. It is soft on the outside and great to chew on, like a bone. I take it everywhere and even sleep with it.

(TaMara’s note: It’s a rope covered in fur. I snuck it into the house and taped it up into an empty box – I keep a few around just for this purpose. He hasn’t let it out of his sight since. He learned its name very quickly – usually it takes a week or two to teach him the name of a toy)

Can't have my monkey

You can’t have my Monkey. Ever. Lots been going on here. It getting cooler so I get to go a lot more places. We go to a lot of houses, shopping and visiting friends. I spend a lot of time in the car, but there is always an adventure when I get out of it.

We have a new friend next door. He’s tiny like my sisters were and he smells like me, looks like me and I’m not sure I like him. Mostly because my person makes all these weird coo-ing and smootchy sounds around him. Can you imagine?

(TaMara’s note: My neighbors brought home a blue harlequin puppy – like Bixby he’s part European and very good looking. Of course I was coo-ing over him. It’s hard to remember Bixby was ever that small. And yes, he did not seem amused by the entire interaction. I sneak over once a day without him to spend time with the cutie-pie. There is much sniffing and stink-eye when I return.)

Today on our walk we had a crazy experience. My person always says, “no squirrels” when I try to chase them off. They are evil, you know. But she won’t let me dispatch them for her. Today, this nasty little miscreant ran right at us and went between my legs. (Evil, right?!) And STILL my person wouldn’t let me go after him.

(TaMara’s note: It was pretty creepy. He was on the sidewalk and I assumed he’d dash off when we got close enough, but no, he waited until we were right on him and then dashed for the tree, which was on the other side of Bixby. I thought he was going to run up my leg. As it was, Bixby almost ripped my arm off after he got over his shock. He’s right, they’re evil.)

Tonight I was walking around the house, minding my own business when this stupid fly buzzed me. I wasn’t having any of that, so I was determined to get it. I never caught him, but did manage to chase him out of the house. You’d think I’d get a lot of praise for this, but nope, just a lot of head shaking.

(TaMara’s note: Think bull in a china shop and you’ll get the idea of what went on.)

That’s it for me, my dinner is waiting and … …


He’s happily eating away. I’ve moved him up to Large Breed Young Adult food, and he was getting six cups, but he’s back up to eight because he seemed to still be hungry. And when I put him in the bathtub, I could see why. He has grown again and barely fits in the tub. We go to the vet soon for check up and shots, so I’ll weigh him again, then.

The was a dearth of photos this week, it becomes more and more difficult to get him still enough. I suppose I should just get the video camera out.

He is an awesome, smart and kind dog. I’m very lucky. – TaMara

Paw print



I Can’t Even…Still Laughing

Screenshot 2015-10-01 18.12.06


Watch the whole thing below:

It’s….just…not…possible.  :-D


Marinated Baby Mushrooms


These mushrooms can serve as an appetizer or side dish.

Marinate Mushrooms

  • 8 oz Baby Bella Mushrooms, washed, dried and stems removed
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • fresh oregano, chopped
  • salt and pepper

bowl, large jar with lid

In a bowl, add lemon juice and white wine vinegar, slowly whisk olive oil into it. Stir in fresh oregano, salt and pepper to taste.

Place mushroom in the jar, pour marinade over them, cover with the lid and shake gently to coat mushrooms completely.

Refrigerate overnight, gently shaking occasionally.  Serve at room temperature. Refrigerate any leftovers.



Dinner Menu: Pasta with Marinated Vegetables and Bruschetta

Photo courtesy FoodNetwork

Photo courtesy FoodNetwork

Just finished giving the Beast a bath. He hasn’t been in the tub all summer because he loves sprinklers, his pool and my neighbor hosing him down. The first thing I noticed: he’s grown. I’ll post pictures later.

Keeping in the vegetarian theme, here is this week’s dinner menu.

On the board:

  1. Pasta w/ Marinated Vegetables
  2. Tomato & Olive Oil Bruschetta
  3. Grapes

Pasta w/Marinated Vegetables

  • 10 oz Rotini pasta
  • 1 tray ice cubes
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small eggplant, peeled & chopped
  • 4 mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 zucchini, sliced
  • 10 to 12 cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 6 oz jar marinated artichoke hearts
  • 1 red onion, sliced in rings
  • 2 oz black olives
  • 2 oz grated parmesan


  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 oz fresh basil, minced
  • 1 tsp minced oregano leaves
  • 1 to 2 tsp crushed garlic
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Saucepan, skillet, bowl, serving bowl

Mix together dressing and refrigerate. In saucepan, cook pasta according to package directions, drain, rinse in cold water and toss with ice cubes. Set aside and let cubes melt. While pasta is cooking, in skillet, heat oil and sauté eggplant, mushrooms and zucchini until tender. Remove and cool in refrigerator while preparing remaining vegetables. In bowl, toss all vegetables with dressing. Remove any un-melted ice cubes from pasta, and toss with vegetables, refrigerate 10 minutes. Add cheese.

Tomato & Olive Oil Bruschetta

  • 1 loaf Italian bread, sliced in half lengthwise
  • 2 tbsp olive oil (more if needed)
  • 2 tsp crushed garlic
  • 4 basil leaves, chopped
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, sliced
  • 3 green onions, chopped

baking sheet and bowl

Gently toss 1 tbsp of olive oil, 1 tsp crushed garlic, basil, tomatoes and green onions and set aside. Mix togethere 1 tbsp oil and 1 tsp garlic. Spread on sliced sides of bread. Broil bread until golden brown on top (watch carefully). Layer tomato mixture on each half of the bread and then slice each half into quarters or eighths.

Shopping List:

  • 10 oz Rotini pasta
  • 1 small eggplant
  • 4 mushrooms
  • 2 zucchini
  • 10 to 12 cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 6 oz jar marinated artichoke hearts
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 loaf Italian bread
  • Large bunch of basil
  • Small bunch oregano
  • 2 Roma tomatoes
  • 3 green onions
  • Grapes or any in season fruit

Also: crushed garlic, olive oil, red wine vinegar




National Preparedness Month

I should get a dragon
Being as it’s the last day of September, I thought I would take a moment to put in a pitch for National Preparedness Month. Floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, fires, or even just a broken water main or blown transformer are all reasons to make sure you have adequate supplies.

Here are 10 things you can do to be more prepared:

  1. Sign up for local alerts and warnings, download apps, and/or check access for wireless emergency alerts;
  2. Create and test emergency communications plans;
  3. Assemble or update emergency supplies;
  4. Conduct a drill to practice emergency response actions for local hazards;
  5. Participate in a preparedness training or class;
  6. Collect and safeguard critical documents;
  7. Document property and obtain appropriate insurance for relevant hazards;
  8. Make property improvements to reduce potential injury and property damage;
  9. Conduct an exercise or test your emergency plan; and,
  10. Plan with neighbors to help each other and share resources.

If you’d like to learn more about how to take any of these actions, download this free guide.

One year the water main broke on our cul de sac and we were without water for three days. Luckily we were able to go out and buy water, but it made me realize that we probably should have had a supply on hand.

And of course two years ago, a flash flood bisected our city and even when we could get out to the stores, the stores could not get shipments of goods in. The first thing they ran out of was water and there was little food on the shelves.

It always a good idea to have a plan and some supplies on hand. I hope you never need them.



Asian Pear and Grape Cabbage Salad

Today sucked. I mean really and truly sucked.


But in other news, there’s water on Mars and the Blood Moon did not bring on the apocalypse and in the words of Scarlett O’Hara, tomorrow is another day.

I have a bunch of nice vegetarian sides and main dishes piled up in my to post file, so I thought this week would be a good time to focus on a few. Farm stands are still going strong, the weather can’t decide if it’s grilling or soup weather, this seemed like a safe bet.

Savoy Cabbage

Savoy Cabbage

Asian Pear and Grape Cabbage Salad


  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp spicy brown mustard
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Whisk together all the ingredients, except oil, slowly whisk in oil to create vinaigrette. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.


Red Anjou Pears

Red Anjou Pears

  • 1/2 head of red cabbage
  • 1/2 head Savoy cabbage
  • 1 Asian pear, halved, cored and sliced into thin strips
  • 1 Red Anjour pear, halved, cored and sliced into thin strips
  • 1 cup seedless red grapes, halved
  • 1 cup seedless green grapes, halved
  • 1/2 cup toasted walnut or almond pieces


Cut each cabbage in half to create two wedges, remove core and slice crosswise into thin shreds, toss with pears, grapes and nuts. Drizzle with vinaigrette and toss thoroughly. Let set for 10 minutes and serve.

Asian Pears

Asian Pears














Moon Rise

Moonrise 1a 9 27 15

I only had my cell phone with me. I’ll try for the blood moon later tonight.

Future Desserts

I just bought a set of four of these to make individual cookie desserts for a dinner party. If they turn out, of course there will be photos and a recipe. I’m sure I will find may other uses for them. Stay tuned….




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