Category Archives: TaMara

Friday Recipe Exchange: Super Bowl Sunday Snacks

JeffreyW's Awesome Nachos

JeffreyW’s Awesome Nachos

I am still fighting this cold, I’m chasing after a 105 lb willful puppy,  I’m buried by mortgage paperwork, and suddenly it’s time for the Super Bowl and the recipe exchange. So I had no choice but to pull out a classic recipe exchange, my favorite snacks, tortilla pinwheels. From 2012:

It’s that time again.  Super Bowl Sunday, when you sit down to stuff your face with favorite snack foods, drink beer and watch the Super Bowl Commercials.  I think there is some football in there somewhere.

You can’t go wrong with nachos – easy and easy to pile high with your favorites ingredients.

Here’s rather healthy (?) version: Black Bean and Corn Nachos, recipe here.

JeffreyW gets a little more creative with his pizzas, here , herehere  and if you want to see them all, here (the man does love a good pizza).

And I think Chili is always a crowd-pleaser, so a variety can be found here.

And for the animal lovers, Bixby puts down his tug ball long enough to update on his life to date.

I’ll never turn down nachos, or pizza for that matter, but when I was thinking about favorite party foods, tortilla pinwheels came up pretty quickly.  So many things you can do with them. Four variations follow.

Now it’s your turn, what are you planning on making this Sunday and more importantly what beer are you serving?  Who has the best recipe for hot wings, a football must have food?

Tonight’s featured recipes, a variety of flavors, but don’t let that limit you:

Basic Tortilla Pinwheels

  • 1 (8 ounce) package whipped cream cheese
  • 10 (10 inch) flour tortillas
  • 1/2 cup green onions, chopped
  • 1/4 cup black olives, chopped (optional)
  • 3/4 cup chopped ham slices

You spread the ingredients on the tortillas, roll them up and slice them into 1 inch pinwheels. Couldn’t get much easier.

So how do we add some dazzle? Flavored tortillas and a variety of fillings.

Here are some ideas I had:

Jalapeño & Cilantro Tortillas and Black Bean Tortillas

  • Cream Cheese
  • Pickled jalapenos
  • Sliced green chilies
  • Turkey
  • Salsa
  • Black olives
  • Shredded cheddar cheese

Roasted Red Pepper Tortillas and Sun-dried Tomato & Basil Tortillas

  • Cream cheese mixed with crushed roasted garlic
  • Spinach
  • Pepperoni
  • Grated parmesan

Plain Tortillas and Whole Wheat Tortillas

  • Cream cheese
  • All-fruit style strawberry preserves
  • Crushed red pepper flakes

The list is endless, limited only by your creativity.

That’s it for this week. Next week I’ll try and put something together for Valentine’s Day. – TaMara


Bixby Diaries: Too Big

Wanna play tug1

Wanna play tug?

I know it’s been a while since I’ve written, but it takes a lot of energy to grow. And there is so much to learn. Like this week, I learned how to unscrew my food “dish” and get the food out faster. My person doesn’t seem as excited about this as I am.


She’s been muttering about having to find some other way to feed me. I don’t know why, this is working for me. (TaMara’s note: Little beast. Now instead of taking 15 minutes to eat, he gobbles it all down. I’m heading to the farm store today to see if I can find something, probably horse related)

Office mate

My office mate.

My days are pretty routine: get up, jump on my person and wake her up, carry the cat litter to the trash, wait for the cats to eat so I can have my breakfast, good game of tug, nap, bug my person while she works, lunch, nice long walk, nap some more, then it’s time for dinner. By 8 pm, I’m pretty much done.

Action Shot1

Action shot!

My only complaint these days is that all I ever hear is, “Bixby, you’re too big…” usually followed by something I used to be able to do. Sit in laps, take naps with my person on the couch, sit with company on the couch, jump around and tackle my person, run full out when I’m on my leash. Even last week, I found a new friend, a puppy like me, and we were playing and having a great time, then her person said, “I think he’s too big for her” and she left with her. I was a little sad, but then my person threw a stick for me to chase and the world was sunny again.

We did have some excitement last week. Men did the weirdest thing, they climbed up on TOP of the house. People are not suppose to be on top of a house. I was freaked at first, but then my person took me in the bathroom while she showered and I totally forgot about the men on the roof. Because, did you know that water comes out of the wall?? I climbed in the tub with my person (she yelled, but I just ignored her) and put my head under the water. It was the funnest thing ever.

How do I turn this on

How do you turn this thing on?

And then after that, my person said, “well you’re all wet, might as well give you a bath.” Which was even more fun. Then we went outside and all the roofers came down and petted me, so I was fine with them being on the roof. Them being new friends and all. (TaMara’s note: nicest guys and so grateful they took time to meet Bixby, because after that he was completely fine with the whole process, except he was afraid to go outside  when the compressor was running, so potty breaks were a challenge)

Where's my tug toy lady

TaMara’s Note: Above is the face he makes when I take away his tug ball and say “wait” while I snap a photo. He is NOT amused.


Missy would prefer he not get so close

That’s pretty much my life to date. It’s pretty ok, even Emma seems to like me more, but I still can’t win over Missy. I try every morning, though. I don’t give up easily. See you next time. – Bixby

Paw print

Friday Recipe Exchange: Feed a Cold


I have been fighting a cold this week and all I want is orange juice and homemade soup. So, of course, that’s the theme for tonight’s recipe exchange. Soups. And there are plenty on the blog, because both JeffreyW and I love soup. Just search on soups and you’ll come up with almost 300 entries.

Here are few selections:

Cream of Chicken Soup, click here.

From Joshua D (Yutsano), Cauliflower Beer Cheese Soup, click here.

From JeffreyW, three soups:

     Vegetable Beef Soup, picture above and recipe here

     Moroccan Spicy Lamb Soup, recipe here

     Parmesan Potato Soup, with Bacon, click here

What’s cookin’ in your kitchen this weekend? What must have recipe gets you through cold season?


Tonight’s featured recipe takes very little effort, so you can have quick and easy homemade soup for a weeknight dinner or when feeling under the weather.

Tortellini Soup

  • 2 cups water
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 8 oz sliced carrots
  • 14 oz can diced tomatoes (or equivalent fresh)
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp oregano, crushed
  • 1 tsp basil, crushed
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 cup fresh baby spinach, rough chopped
  • 20 oz pkg frozen tortellini
  • 4 oz grated Parmesan

large saucepan

Add all ingredients to saucepan, except spinach, tortellini & Parmesan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat & let simmer for 15 minutes. Add tortellini and bring to boil again, reduce heat, let simmer 10 minutes, add spinach and let simmer additional 5 minutes, until tortellini is tender. Serve with Parmesan garnish.

That’s it for this week. I’ll try and have a Bixby update later…he’s been sleeping a lot the last two days, so I’m thinking, growth spurt.  – TaMara


Bixby Diaries: Seven Months Old

Office Mate1

My office mate. This is my view while I work most days.

It doesn’t seem possible, but Bixby is 7 months old this past week. He’s 101 lbs, 31″ at his shoulders and 40″ from snout to butt. And he’s a big snuggler. He seems to be going through a crisis of size. He gets very upset when he no longer fits places he fit before – on the couch napping with me – there is just not room for two, but he tries and often ends up sleeping ON me. He wants to sit in my lap, even though no matter how he moves and adjusts, he just doesn’t fit. He usually sighs and ends up just putting his head in my lap. But you know what big puppies are great at? Hugs. He’s at the size that when I’m sitting, he can come up and put his head on my shoulder and hug me. Tail wagging the entire time.

Bixby toy box

This is his toy box. He’s sure his bone is at the bottom.

Size is also playing a role in some difficult walks. He has been throwing his weight around and just dares me to try and stop him. This means he ends up walking at ‘heel’ a lot, walking at the full length of the leash is only for puppies who don’t misbehave.

Bixby  Long's Peak

Hard to believe my puppy is so big. He’s handsome, isn’t he?

Though he is not a food motivated dog, apples being the exception, treats are helping with issues on walks. Dried apples, dried beef liver and small dog bones keep him from jumping on strangers or trying to play with every dog we meet. But once he hits his limit for being well behaved, about twenty minutes on a walk, treats have little effect.

For seven months old, though, he has amazing memory and control. And I find I have to remind myself he is ONLY seven months old when the puppy takes hold and he can’t behave. But at 101 lbs, I have little patience for behaviors that can be dangerous – pulling on ice, jumping up when he meets people, and throwing his weight around when he decides he wants to be in control. Changing those are my focus these days.

How do you slow down a rambunctious 7 month old when you want to get some photos? You tie his lead to a fence. I snapped a few nice ones. Click here to view the album.

Bixby Who me

That’s it for this edition. It’s 10 am and 60 degrees right now, so I’m off to play some tug with the puppy. He still lets me win. – TaMara

Paw print

How To Snap a Wild Puppy

Love his ears

Love his ears

How do you slow down a rambunctious 7 month old puppy when you want to get some photos? You tie his lead to a fence in a field of tall grass. It took him a few minutes of bouncing around and then he settled enough for me to get a few good shots. Luckily I have a burst function – I found a few out of the 75 I snapped. Hover on any photo for captions or click on any photo below to start the slideshow.


Friday Recipe Exchange: California Dreamin’

Mmm, Dinner Final

I was on the run all week, so I didn’t even have time to make you hot cocoa, which was my original plan for the recipe exchange.  Instead, I went looking through the archives and found my LA diary and thought, perfect for this dreary day.

This time last year I was planning my March trip to Los Angeles, dreaming of driving up the coast and getting ready to cook up a storm.


Since I’ve been wishing all month that I was making the trip again, I thought the least I could do was repeat the recipes from a night of cooking I did while I was out there. Nothing new here, but favorite, easy recipes – all at the request of my hosts. The menu for that evening was:

Chicken Piccata (recipe below).

Buttered Potato Pie (recipe here)

Sides and dessert

Tossed Salad with Cranberry Gorgonzola Dressing

Chocolate Walnut Flourless Cookies (one of my most requested desserts, recipe here)

Gluten Free cookies

This was the view for the evening:


Dinner was basically a cooking lesson in an awesome, if underused kitchen. It fun helping others find their innner chef. What’s going on in your kitchen this weekend? Besides California Dreamin’, what are you planning to help get through the mid-winter blues?

Tonight’s featured recipe:

Chicken Piccata prep

Chicken Piccata with Herb Noodles:

Chicken Piccata

  • 1 cup Italian breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp basil, crushed
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • ½ tbsp olive oil
  • 4 boneless chicken breasts, pounded flat
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lemon, sliced into very thin slices*
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 tbsp fresh snipped parsley
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice

bowl, skillet

Combine breadcrumbs, basil, zest, and pepper in bowl. Mix ½ tbsp oil and garlic together. Coat both sides of chicken with oil/garlic and dredge in breadcrumbs. Over medium-high heat 1 tbsp ea. of butter and oil in skillet, add chicken and cook 4-5 minutes on each side. Remove chicken – keep warm – add lemon slices to pan, sauté 30 seconds, add water, parsley and juice, boil for 1 minute, spoon over chicken.

*Scrub well before slicing.

Herb Noodles

  • 12 oz egg noodles
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • ½ tsp basil, crushed
  • ½ tsp oregano, crushed
  • ½ tsp rosemary, finely crushed
  • ¼ tsp crushed garlic
  • Sesame seeds, opt

saucepan, serving dish

Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain well. Melt butter in saucepan, add spices, mixing well. Toss with noodles. For an extra touch you can add 1 tbsp of sesame seeds.

That’s it for this week. I’ll try and get a Bixby update up tomorrow. He’s 7 months old and weighs 101 lbs now, as you can imagine any spare time I have is devoted to training and entertaining him. See you next week – TaMara

Zuma 2

Friday Recipe Exchange: Happy 80th, Elvis

Fools Gold SandwichYesterday would have been The King’s 80th birthday. I like Elvis, but I’m young enough that I missed out on the frenzy of all things Elvis. Though, I’ve managed my own six degrees of separation…

My friend has an adorable, sweet story of how he hit on her (she was very much engaged at the time) when she worked on a film with him. She remembers him as a complete gentleman and had a lovely conversation between takes.

I met his step-brother years ago and he also had only wonderful things to say about him, especially when he was just a young boy and Elvis was already an American icon. Family was important.

So how does this get us to the recipe exchange tonight? All over the news last night was the story of how one of his favorite sandwiches was created right here in Denver. It had bacon, so I had to try it.

I’m not well versed in Elvis’ favorite foods. Fried banana sandwiches (recipe here) were about it, but I searched around, turns out there is a whole cookbook of his favorite foods, recipes and links here. Seems to be a lot of bacon involved.

How about you, what unusual things do you like to make into a sandwich? My brothers like peanut butter and dill pickles. I love lettuce, tomato and mayo on whole wheat. What else is on the weekend menu?

Tonight’s featured recipe is my take on Elvis’ favorite Mile High sandwich and you can find the whole story and video here.

Fool’s Gold Sandwich

  • 1 foot-long loaf Italian, French or Sourdough bread
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 16 ounces creamy peanut butter (I used crunchy, because that’s what I liked)
  • 16 ounces grape or blueberry preserves (I used an all fruit style, no added sugar)
  • 1 pound bacon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Slice the bread in half, length-wise, coat with butter. Place on a baking sheet and bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes

While the bread is in the oven, fry the bacon until crispy. Drain on paper towels.

Hollow out one of the bread halves, fill with an entire jar of peanut butter and an entire jar of preserves. Top with bacon and top with the other half of the loaf. Slice to serve. I have no idea how many this would serve, I made enough for 2 servings instead of the entire recipe.

That’s it for this week. For the pet lovers, here’s some new Bixby, and here and his favorite new treat here.  Next week…I think something chocolate – TaMara


Bixby is Growing

A few photos. They’re not great. It’s not easy to get him to be still enough to get anything good these days. He’s at full tilt most of the day. He tries to be good and not get into too much trouble, but sometimes the puppy just takes over.

Puppy peanutbutter1Best way to occupy a puppy while trying to get some work done? Give him a 32 oz empty peanut butter jar.

What cat toy

What cat toy? I don’t see any cat toy. (Neither do I, since he seems to have eaten it).

Whatcha doing

Whatcha doing? Something fun? Is that an apple? Wanna share?

Tired Bixby

It’s hard being a puppy. And, no, that’s not an optical illusion. He is as long as his crate now.

Paw print

What to Eat When Watching Your Favorite Elvis Movies

Elvis would have been 80 yesterday, so lots of Elvis going on. I searched out some of his favorite recipes for the Recipe Exchange this week. Let’s start with the obvious:


  • 3 large ripe bananas
  • 1-1/2 cups peanut butter
  • 8 slices white bread
  • 1/2 cup  butter

Peel and mash the bananas in a medium bowl. Combine the peanut butter with the bananas and mix well.

Toast the bread lightly and spread the mixture on three of the slices; top with the remaining three slices.

Melt the butter in a large skillet and slowly brown the sandwiches on both sides until golden brown.

Not your style, how about a black-eyed pea dip to go with your tortilla chips?

From the Graceland’s Table: Recipes Fit for the King of Rock and Roll Cookbook:


  • 1 16-ounce can black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 16-ounce can black-eyed peas with jalapenos, drained and rinsed
  • 1 green bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 avocados, chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 10 3/4-ounce can tomato soup
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup salad oil
  • Dash of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon mustard

For complete recipe and many more, follow the link to here.


A Little Bixby

Apple please

I see you have apples there, you are going to share, right? RIGHT?

Ok, not so little. He’s 6 1/2 months old, but only 95 lbs. I thought for sure he’d be 100 lbs by New Year’s day, but his weight gain slowed considerably the last two weeks. Instead of 5 lbs a week, only 2 lbs a week. No idea if it’s a phase or if this is his new rate.

He is 30″ at his shoulders and easily stands 5′ 5″ on his hind legs. He’s a handful, but training is going well, even though he has hit a very stubborn streak. Apple treats have been very helpful.

Bixby and half months

Just before Christmas, he dashed out the front door twice and took off. Totally freaked me out and I did not react well. But then I realized I never taught him not to dash out an open door, so my bad. It took me less than a day to train him to sit when the door is open and wait for a command before going out the door.

ETA: Forgot to tell you about his new trick of trying to open the door by turning the door knob with his mouth. Deadbolt is always engaged now. And this morning he discovered bananas and they rocked his world. This little fellow loves his fruits and veggies.

Puppies…completely in over my head, but loving every minute of it.

Paw print


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