Category Archives: Pets

Tidbits

PICT9603 (1600x1060)Random wildlife – Ginger checks out a backyard visitor.  This was captured by the backyard camera in a happy accident.  There is a setting on the camera that allows you to space the time between shots and we have it set for 5 minutes, iirc.  That cuts down on the number of pictures it will take if, say, the deer here stays and mills around for a while but it may miss whatever shows up during that hiatus.DSC_0559 (1600x1060)I mentioned the other day that I bought the ingredients for mojo marinade thinking about doing a pork butt for a more authentic Cubano sandwich.  I marinated this one overnight then roasted it low and slow.  It was covered for most of the cooking time but I did take the lid off for the last 30 minutes.DSC_0561 (1600x1060)Here’s the sandwich I had in mind the whole time.  It’s basically a layered assembly of Swiss cheese, pickles, ham, and the mojo pork.  The bun halves are smeared with mustard, the other components assembled, and cooked in a grill press.  These are great tasting sammiches even without the mojo, any roast pork will work fine.DSC_0576 (1600x1060)Mrs J planted some cucumbers in with some clematis where it climbs up a wired in enclosure down on the south side of the house and the vines are starting to produce.  (You can just barely see them in the picture with Ginger and the deer, above.)  We had a couple rounds of the classic cucumber, tomato, and onions with vinegar and oil so we used the last half dozen to put together a refrigerator pickle recipe.  Can’t wait to try them, we’ll give them a week to come together but I’ll bet they get better after that.  DSC02505 (1600x1200)Kitteh!  This is one of several in a litter at the shelter, I have no more info than that, alas.DSC_0570 (1600x1060)Mrs J saw a much earlier photo of roast pork and gravy on egg noodles and she remembered that she really liked it and we haven’t had that in a long time and we do have some roast pork and egg noodles, don’t we?  She who must be obeyed!  The fact that these were slices from the mojo pork butt made no difference.  I simmered the slices in chicken stock with onions, colored it with Kitchen Bouquet, added a bit of beef soup flavoring and thickened it with corn starch.  Not the ideal gravy but it worked well enough!PICT1343 (1600x1060)More random wildlife – a few wild turkeys browsing for insects, I assume.  This camera is on the opposite side of the house and is looking North.  It doesn’t get nearly as much action as the one overlooking the spot where Mrs J scatters corn and sunflower seeds but we see a fair selection of critters.  I understand that they have cameras with wi-fi transmitters built in that can broadcast their captures to a centrally located receiver.  Sounds interesting, we gather the memory cards and view the take via a screen in the house.  From what I’ve seen the wi-fi range isn’t far enough to be all that useful for us.

Happy 4th of July from Bixby and the Gang

Bixby 7 4 15

“Whatcha doing?”

Trying to get a picture of Bixby’s big ole paws….he had other ideas.Bixby paw 7 4This was the best I could do. I have really big hands (I can palm a basketball), his are bigger. Bigger than a few months ago:HandsSurprised me, too. I’ve lost all perspective. People say, what a horse (like I’ve never heard that before) and I think, oh, he’s not that big.  I keep thinking he’s stopped growing…but it’s only slowed.

Bixby 7 4 profile

Those white marks around his face? He decided he was going to do some landscaping in the backyard by trimming the bushes that line the fence. Those are scratches from the thick brush and bites (from what, I don’t really want to know).  Silly boy.

Fireworks2

We’ll be missing the fireworks this year. I’m worried about leaving Bixby home alone for his first July 4th. They don’t seem to bother him too much, but for this first one, I think I should be home. Even if it is my absolutely favorite holiday. Have a safe and fun day!

Paw print

Frozen Treats: Vanilla Nut Crunch (and Bonus Kitteh)

Vanilla Nut Crunch

It was time to break out the ice cream maker and cool things off. I’d been focusing on gelatos the last couple of summers, but yesterday I wasn’t interested in standing over the stove and stirring an egg mixture. I dug out the instruction manual for my Cuisinart machine and sure enough, there were some simple cream-only recipes. I decided to start with vanilla.

I have two favorite ice creams, one was Ben and Jerry’s Wavy Gravy, RIP (their new hazelnut is inedible IMHO) and Blue Bell’s Moo-llenium Crunch (fingers crossed they can come back from the shut down). I’ve mastered Chocolate-Hazelnut Gelato and it’s a fine substitute for Wavy Gravy, so this time I thought I’d tackle the crunchy vanilla ice cream from Blue Bell.

From their description:

Classic vanilla ice cream with a combination of dark chocolate chunks, creamy caramel chunks, roasted pecan halves, chopped almonds and walnut pieces.

The nuts and crunch

Vanilla ice cream recipe? Check. Dark chocolate? Check. Caramel chunks? Nope, but we’ll get to that. Roasted pecans? Nope, will have to live without because I was not going to drop everything and run to the store. Almonds and walnuts? Check and check. On to the recipe:

Vanilla Nut Crunch

  • 1-1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 2 tsp really good vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup chopped dark chocolate
  • 1/4 cup chopped almonds (raw or roasted, unsalted)
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts (raw)
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans (optional ;-) )

mixing bowl, ice cream maker

In the mixing bowl, combine milk, sugar and salt, use a hand mixer on low speed to combine until sugar is dissolved (about 2 minutes). Stir in cream and vanilla by hand.

Freeze according to manufacturer’s direction for your ice cream maker (for mine, I place the frozen bowl on the machine, add the paddle and the top, turn it on and then pour the ice cream mixture in while it’s turning. 30 minutes later I have ice cream).

After it has completed its freezing cycle, fold in nuts and chocolate. Freeze until hard. Makes about 1-1/2 quarts.

Remember the caramel bits? I had a bottle of caramel syrup which made a nice topping and when I was done, it was pretty darn close to Moo-llenium Crunch. I’m sure pecans will make all the difference next time.

And here is a bonus kitteh because he had to “help” me take the photos today.

Z-Man Whatcha making

For tomorrow – Dutch Chocolate Ice Cream.  Until then – TaMara

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How to Entertain a Great Dane Puppy

Bixby Tub

Bixby celebrated the first day of summer by cooling off in the tub. One year old and a charmer.

Tidbits

DSC_0485 (1600x1060)I had a bit of Andouille sausage left over from the jambalaya.  We had a nice hash made with it and I always put an egg on top.  Or two.  Speaking of eggs…DSC_0488 (1600x1060)…here’s our first BLT of the season.  I wish our tomatoes were ripe but they’re not yet ready.  Adding an egg makes this a BELT.DSC_5342 (1600x1060)A neighbor called us over the other day to see their latest critter find.  They thought that a couple of swans would look nice on their pond so when offered these three they said OK.  They said that they didn’t know yet what sex any of them were, seems it’s impossible to tell at this age without a blood test.DSC_5341 (1600x1060)

They’ve been raising goats for a couple of years now, I keep hoping they will start making cheese but so far my hints haven’t worked.DSC02501 (1600x1200)Here’s a kitty!  Mrs J says it’s semi-feral and has been spoken for by one of the volunteers at the shelter but the poor woman is beset with medical issues that have her in and out of the hospital.  Not sure what the problem is except it is a gall bladder issue.  We wish her a speedy recovery.DSC_0497 (1600x1060)Mrs J said she was thinking about making a pie so I ransacked the freezers and found blueberries enough for her to make this one.  I don’t think I’ve seen that exact crust thing before.  Looks good!DSC_0501 (1600x1060)There were a few mushrooms left over from the fried mushroom project so I sauteed them in butter for a burger with Swiss cheese.  I made an impromptu dressing from ketchup, bbq sauce, and minced garlic.  Yum!DSC02502 (1600x1200)This is Ivan, a 3 month old kitten that came in with a litter of 5.  He has the cutest little socks!  They are all ready for adoption!  hint hint…

Friday Recipe Exchange: Tidbits

Buffalo Leg QuartersJeffreyW uses the Tidbits title when he puts together a lot of different items in one post, so I thought I would co-opt it for this eclectic post.

It’s been a busy week of cooking, surprisingly. When stressed, I retreat to the kitchen and even in its unwelcoming state, there was solace there this week. Bixby turned one on Tuesday, I baked up some more dog biscuits for him and his best play-buddies. You can see his birthday photos here.

Then I was at the store and found chicken leg quarters on sale and sitting right next to them, my favorite bottle of wing sauce, so I made some Buffalo Leg Quarters, pictured above and recipe here. They were really good and much easier than making wings.

JeffreyW was busy in the kitchen, too and his Shrimp Mornay with Broccoli from earlier in the week looked delicious. Photos and recipe here.

What’s been cooking in your kitchen this week? Is it time to give up on indoor cooking and move it all out to the backyard? What’s up for Father’s day? Cucumber Salsa I had tonight’s featured recipe tucked away for the day I could find decent tomatoes. That day was today. And if you want other cucumber salad ideas, click here for a bunch of them.

Crisp Cucumber Salsa

  • 1 large chopped cucumber – I used an English cucumber so I didn’t have to peel or seed it.
  • 2 small chopped tomatoes
  • 3 green onions, chopped, greens included
  • 2 tbsp minced fresh Italian parsley
  • 1 jalepeno pepper, chopped (seeded if you want to lower the heat)
  • 4-1/2 tsp minced fresh cilantro
  • 1 tsp minced garlic

Dressing

  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1-1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1-1/2 tsp lime juice
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • dash of cayenne pepper (opt)
  • 1/4 tsp seasoned salt
  • Tortilla chips
  • Small tortillas, cut into eighths

small bowl, serving bowl

In a serving bowl, combine the top seven ingredients.  In small bowl, combine the dressing ingredients and mix well. Pour dressing over cucumber mixture and toss gently to coat.

Let the flavors blend for about thirty minutes. Serve at room temperature or ice cold with chips and tortillas.

That’s it for this week. I hope everyone has a lovely Father’s Day. – TaMara

 

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You Only Think It’s Your Bed

You ARE NOT Making the Bed

All week long, Jake has been making a stand when I go to make the bed. Usually I relocate him. This morning, I thought I’d let him win.

row-of-hearts

Happy Birthday Bixby!

Headshot 1 year oldA year ago, I woke up to a text message saying the puppies were arriving. I was so excited because I had waited so long for a puppy (several years). A few weeks later, the first photos arrived.

Bixby Baby Pix 7 14 14

I had no idea how much my life was going to be ruled by this bundle of attitude and energy.  But wait, there’s more! Click to read

Tidbits

DSC02458 (1600x1060)This scared looking minipin, Hannah, is a refugee from a breeding program and is gradually learning that not all humans are assholes.  She turned up at a shelter in a neighboring town but they had no luck placing her – staff at St Francis said they would try their luck at finding her a home.20150611_165955 (1600x1060)This mantis was hunting ants on my parsley, I took out the cell phone to see how it would work for macro.  This is the best I could do, he was very lively and scurried around trying to avoid the looming rectangle.  He’s only an inch long, or so.DSC02479 (1600x1060)Mrs J tried several times to get a decent photo of Suzy, this one is as good as any.  There was one that would have been really good due to the expression on her face but it was, alas, just too out of focus to use.20150611_163448 (1600x1060)Steak and fries with garlic green beans.  The trick to the beans is to cook them a bit before dumping them into a pan with garlic butter to heat through.  Nice thing about it is that you can boil or steam the beans ahead and then finish them quickly when the rest of the dinner is ready.  I dug a huge rib eye steak out of the freezer, one that I had the butcher cut off of a rack of them.  I couldn’t find a mate to it so I cut it into two steaks and trimmed it up some.DSC02487 (1600x1200)Amelia is a Siamese about 1-1/2 years old.  Mrs J says she’s a squealer – if a dog or another cat touches her she becomes very vocal.20150612_121932 (1600x1060)I have a thing about cheese crust pizzas.  Thing is I just love them!  This one has the meatballs you can see, pepperoni, mushrooms, olives, and onions that you can’t because of the cheese, unless you look really close.  I do see an olive or two peeking through.

Tidbits

20150607_144444 (1600x1060)I nearly forgot that I had this baguette tray with the perforations .  I thought I might try it for some hoagie rolls and it seems to have worked pretty well, not sure if it’s better than on a regular tray.  I got a rash of complaints when I served up a photo of a cheesesteak on a round bun, they said I wasn’t true to the  proper form in the Platonic sense of “cheesesteak” – most of the complaints pointing to lack of a long roll, never mind that they weren’t Amoroso’s.20150609_164029 (1600x1060)That should quell the riot.  I’ll take note of any complaint and report back.PICT3623 (1600x1060)Bonus kitteh!  This is the neighbor’s cat, Mrs J says that is a mackerel pattern.  It was taking advantage of our bench that overlooks the front pond early the other morning.20150609_190526 (1600x1060)I think these are the best looking hamburger buns I’ve made so far.  The shapes are good and the sizes are nearly uniform.  These are from the King Arthur Flour “Beautiful Burger Buns” recipe – now my go to recipe for buns and rolls.20150610_173025 (1600x1060)Mmm… we had this spaghetti for dinner tonight.  A little Italian sausage in some of my Awesome Sauce from last year’s tomato crop.  My container basil was getting lonely, this was a perfect place for s sprig.20150608_162124 (1600x1060)Baked beans!  These are always good to have on hand, along with slaw and potato salad.  Add a sammich for an instant lunch.

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