Category Archives: TaMara
Cycling has been put on the back burner. Between the flood damage and the puppy, it’s been too difficult to get out. But Bixby and I take a long walk everyday and that is nice, too. Now that he has outgrown his car crate, that is one less obstacle to taking my bike out where the trails are undamaged and get a long ride in.
Click on any photo to see full size.
Been terribly busy, but got a few good shots this week. He’s growing so fast and so handsome. We have a great time together.
Despite this peaceful tableaux, these two go after each other like, well, cats and dogs. It is clearly a struggle for Alpha. Bixby lost that battle before he ever arrived, but it may take him a bit longer to realize it. To his credit, his respect for Emma is evident and he’s always playful with her, though, not always remembering his lumbering size. She, on the other hand, means business and has used her claws a couple of times. Mostly, she’s more hiss than bite. But they always sleep together.
Crazy-assed dog. Makes me laugh every day.
On a food blog, when isn’t Tater an ingredient? When she’s a dog. Friends of blog, Larilyn and Alton (not that one) adopted a dog this last week. And when I say adopted, I mean flew her over several states to get her to Colorado, because that’s the kind of people they are. She showed up while they were on vacation and a month later no one had claimed her, so she’s now officially a Coloradoan.
And Bixby is completely charmed.
That’s about all I could get of them, the rest of the time they were just a blur through the yard.
Photo by JeffreyW
I’m going to repeat some favorite soup recipes tonight. I’m working on a few new pumpkin recipes, but they are not ready for prime time this week. So you’ll have to make do with repeats.
When I’m busy, soup is the thing. I make big batches and they are quick and easy to reheat and add a sandwich or a piece of grilled chicken for a fast dinner or lunch. I could eat soup everyday during cold weather. JeffreyW is no slouch in the soup department either, so there are over 200 recipes on the blog of the soup variety.
For tonight, here are some soups worth repeating:
Cream of Chicken Soup, recipe here.
Two Broccoli Cheese Soup variations are here.
Tomato-Spinach is one of my favorite hearty winter soups, recipe here.
And combining two recent recipe exchanges, JeffreyW does Bean Soup in a Frybread Bowl, recipe and yummy photos here.
For the pet lovers, there is a Bixby diary this week. He’s four months old now and takes up most of my spare time. Which explains why I’m more often outside and not in the kitchen cooking. Also, I’m having great success with both dog and cat food dispenser/toys, that make them work for their food, story here, in case you are looking for a good way to entertain your pets.
What’s on your menu for this beautiful fall weekend? Do you have a favorite way to make grilled cheese? Do you grill any other types of sandwiches – either the grown-up panini style or something of the more guilty pleasure type, like grilled peanut butter and jelly?
Tonight’s feature recipe was one of the first menus I ever published…and also the first time I made my own tomato soup.
Hearty Tomato Soup
- 28 oz canned tomatoes*
- 1 tsp crushed garlic
- 8 oz carrots
- 2 stalks celery
- 3 green onions, including greens
- 1 tsp basil
- ¼ tsp oregano
- salt & pepper to taste
- 2 cups milk
- 2 tbsp whole wheat flour
2 quart saucepan
In a blender, mix tomatoes, garlic, carrots, celery & onions. Blend until liquid. In saucepan, combine tomato mixture with spices, heat over medium heat, stirring constantly. Let bubble (don’t let boil or use high heat, it will scorch) for 5 minutes. Add flour to cold milk, blend until smooth, add to soup. Let bubble again, reduce to low heat and let simmer for 15 minutes. Stir occasionally.
* This is the time to use up any left over garden tomatoes, instead of canned. Blend until you have 4 cups of crushed tomatoes.
Totally Awesome Grilled Cheese
For each sandwich:
- 2 slices whole wheat bread (or favorite firm bread)
- Enough favorite cheese (Velveeta, cheddar cheese, Monterey Jack, etc. to cover bread (about 3 slices)
- Sliced Jalapeños (if you want some heat)
- 1 large slice of tomato w/dash of salt
- 1-2 tsp Mayonnaise or Miracle Whip
- Spray Oil
Spread salad dressing on both slices of bread and add ½ of the cheese to one slice of bread, place tomato & jalapenos on the cheese and top with remaining cheese and the other slice of bread, this keeps bread from getting soggy from the tomato. Lightly butter outside of both sides of the sandwich and grill in skillet sprayed with cooking spray or lightly oiled on medium heat until cheese is melted and bread is toasted. While it is grilling, press down hard with a spatula, “squishing” the sandwich. We don’t know why, but this makes them taste better. :-)
This arrived in time for Bixby’s lunch. It was a rousing success. It replaces me making them out of 2 liter soda bottles – which worked ok when I could reuse them for 3 or 4 meals. Now he destroys them in one meal.
He won’t be able to destroy this, that’s for sure. And if you spin it, food shoots out of it like a food sprinkler (I won’t do that again).
It easily holds two cups of his kibble and takes him a good half hour to eat. I kind of wished it had an adjustable size food hole, but since it’s so sturdy, I’m happy to give up that feature for durability. It’s weighted at the bottom (and it’s heavy) so that it wobbles to really engage him. He had a blast.
I will still give him the occasional soda bottle because he loves to destroy them. Something about smashing them down is fun for him and since he’s yet been able to tear into them, no small pieces to worry about him eating.
I bought one of these for the cats last spring. It was an instant hit. When I ordered Bixby’s Kong, I got two more of these so they can all play. I use them for a mix of treats/food. That way they can chase them around when they need a nibble between meals. Very sturdy and you can adjust the holes for treat size. Definitely would not stand up to puppy mouth, so I have to keep an eye on where they land. I usually put them up on the cat tree when not in use.
Hi again. I turned four months old this past weekend and my person says I’m terribly smart for my age. I know the commands: sit, stay, shake, stop, walk, heel, up and off. I’m working on come, but that one is harder because most times I just want to race around and around before I listen to that one. (TaMara’s note: My favorite command for him is, “Is that yours?” and he drops whatever he’s picked up that he shouldn’t be chewing on. Lately, he’ll even bring me whatever it is and is so proud when he gives me it.)
I’ve grown so much, I can’t sleep in my favorite office chair when my person goes to the office.
I love my walks now. My person takes me around the neighborhood and we meet all the neighbors and she takes me around the ponds and we hang out by the waterfall. I love water. My person says I can’t go into the water yet, because it’s still contaminated from last year’s flood. I wouldn’t know about that because, well I wasn’t even an idea yet. But best play toy ever, LFern, says she knows a place where I can go and run in tall grass, my favorite thing to do, and also play in the stream. I can’t wait.
My ears still do what they want. Someone told my person we look alike, I guess because my ears are always floppy and she has curly hair. I don’t see it. I mean, she doesn’t even have a tail. I get two frozen apples a day and a couple of frozen carrots a day and it really helps with my teething. I don’t even chew on my person anymore. Dr. Deb says I can have 6 cups of food a day now. Yay!
I’ve had some great play dates and I really like them. I hear I’m getting a new playmate next week and I can’t wait to meet her. I hope she likes me better than her brother does, because he never wants to play. But Auntie Larilyn thinks the new puppy will want to play with me, so I’m excited.
Had my last visit to Dr. Deb today. She says I look great. But, the shots she gave me have made me very tired, so this will be a short diary. I weigh 51 lbs now and stand 54 inches on my hind legs, which means I can reach up and kiss my person whenever I want. And I do that a lot. – Bixby
Bixby came to a meeting today, it’s been a while. He seemed surprised he no longer fit in his chair.
Here is his first week with me and his first day at the office. He fits nicely in the chair.
Look at that Great Dane profile. He’s my handsome, smart, sweet boy. I love him.
(Only had my cell phone with me, but the quality of the photos does not diminish his handsomeness. <3 )
I’m having difficulty typing this because at the moment I’m sitting on the couch with a Great Dane draped over my shoulders like Grandma’s shawl. I’m not sure why, just where he landed this morning. And…now he’s snoring. I will do my best.
Sometimes JeffreyW and I have this odd blogging-psychic link and end up cooking similar meals days apart. I knew I was going to do a chili themed recipe exchange as soon as there was a chill in the air and football/baseball/hockey were in full swing (it’s like sports Christmas). So I wasn’t terribly surprised when I opened up the blog earlier this week to see he had created a chili themed post.
Chili is one of those recipes that appears to be capable of causing intense debate, so consider the following as our entries into that debate. Then you can discuss amongst yourselves the merits of your old family recipe for chili. Beans, no beans, fritos, no fritos, vegetarian, spicy or mild. And while your are at it, what’s else is on your plate for the weekend?
Super easy chili, recipe here.
JeffreyW’s Chorizo Chili here.
Even this week’s Dinner menu involved chili: Kid Friendly Chili-Mac, menu and recipes here.
For some great ideas to do with your leftover chili, see Jeffrey’s photos here.
For tonight’s featured recipe, a different take on chili:
White Chicken Chili. For JeffreyW’s version, picture above, click here.
White Chicken Chili
- 3 lbs chicken thighs, bone in, skin on
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 3 jalapeno peppers, chopped
- 3 poblano chiles, chopped
- 3 anaheim chiles, chopped
- 2 onions, chopped
- 6 garlic cloves, crushed
- Salt and Ground black pepper
- 1 tbsp ground cumin
- 1½ tsp ground coriander
- 3 (15-ounce) cans cannellini beans
- 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 2 limes, minced fresh cilantro leaves and sour cream for garnish
Dutch oven, blender
In the Dutch over, heat oil and brown chicken thighs, skin side down, until the skin is crisp. Remove to a plate. Pour off all but 1 tbsp of chicken fat, heat and add chiles and onion to the Dutch oven and sauté until soft, then add the garlic and sauté another 2-3 minutes. Remove half of the sautéed mixture to the blender.
Add 1 can of beans and the chicken broth to the blender. Puree beans and onion mixture until smooth. Add puree to the Dutch oven, along with remaining ingredients, except garnishes. Remove the skin from the chicken thighs and add those to the chili and let simmer, covered, at medium heat until the chicken is cooked through and pulls easily from the bone, about 30 to 45 minutes. Stirring occasionally.
Remove chicken to a plate and let cool enough to remove the meat from the bone and rough chop. Add the meat back to the chili and simmer until chicken is heated through, about 5 minutes. Serve immediately with fresh lime juice, cilantro and sour cream for each bowl.
That’s it for this week – hopefully I’ll have a Bixby update for you next week! – TaMara