This is just a quick, drive-by post.

Do you have broken windows?  (Click over… they’re more akin to pet peeves than shattered glass.)  For me, it’s missing a wog – walk-run – with the dogs due to circumstances beyond my control, having a cluttered front porch, hand/fingerprints on doors and walls, not finishing my to-do list at work…

I have an FO (finished object for non-knitters), but no photos.  Stand by.

I have read several books and am lost in Trenton, NJ at the moment.  So far, I’ve been unable to make myself sick of Stephanie Plum and her zany friends and relations.  I think it’s because I can relate.  I remember the first time I told my father I was going to be a writer.  His dark mocha eyes twinkled and he said, “It’ll have to be fiction, even if it’s biographical; no one would believe it was true.”

41MA5cxy7xL._SL190_SY246_CR0,0,190,246_I wear a size larger in Sanita clogs than Danskos.  Oh… and when I say clogs, I always mean closed-backs.  These are shinier and sparklier in person.  My idea of a great pair of shoes – or boots – is when the Knight and my (male) co-workers say something obnoxious about my footwear.  Maybe that’s why I like our “guest” technician; he seems to genuinely appreciate my slightly flashy choice in shoes.

51OM+b6ku+L._SL246_SX190_CR0,0,190,246_And speaking of boots…  I might have snagged another pair of Ariat boots.  These are kiddo sized, and they fit perfectly.  Ariat boots really are built for all-day wear.  I’ve tried to explain to one of my co-workers that my “wooden clogs” and my “stiff boots” support my feet well and aren’t just a fashion statement.

Yeah, they’re PANK and calf-hair leopard, and they’re ridiculously comfortable, right out of the box.  Now, if the snow would GO AWAY so I could wear them more…

And I still owe you a CAbi post too.  There just aren’t enough hours in the day.

Oh – and you absolutely have to try this recipe.  A friend brought it Sunday night, and even though I thought I hated mango, I shoveled it in, maybe even with both fists.  Eating well doesn’t mean suffering… until I think about the good ol’ days when I ate shrimp two times a day sometimes.

What’s new with you?


Pasta Party!

Many of you already follow Louise of Months of Edible Celebrations, so you know why I’m posting.  I wish I could claim that I chose October 25th as our wedding day because it’s Pasta Day… but I had no idea.  But now YOU know, and you also are getting a sneak peek into the Knight’s famous Pasta Goulash.

UntitledPlease…  I know goulash has a definition and this ain’t it, but back before the man became quite the cook – and smoker chef extraordinaire – he created this flexible, dependable, quick mess, and that’s what he calls it.  Don’t let the misnomer or the simplicity turn you off; I’ve had pregnant friends demand the formula during that pre-delivery nesting phase, and returning JLC board members would be disappointed if *I* cooked on my night to host the pre-meeting meal.  Even though I have a meaty lasagna to be proud of, THIS is what people ask for, time and time again.


1 box (or more!) of any bite-sized pasta, cooked and drained

1 lb. of ground meat, cooked, drained, crumbled

4 oz. pepperoni (we prefer the minis)

1 jar meat sauce or the equivalent from your freezer

grated cheese

Italian seasonings

So…  This is really more of a formula than a recipe.  This recipe is easily halved to serve 2 generous portions, or doubled to serve a small army.  We’ve used elbows, mini shells, corkscrews, ziti and more, and really, this dish is goulash-like in that is all about what’s available.

While the pasta and the ground meat are cooking, dump the sauce into a pan and start warming it up too.  Then, when the pasta and meat are ready, glop it all together.  The Knight NEVER uses the same combination of seasonings and/or meat twice.  When we’re using unseasoned ground meat, the seasonings go in the meat while it cooks, but he flies by the seat of his pants and seasons non-stop, even after the food is served.

Of course, the cheese is the final touch.

When you reheat, add more sauce.

Do let me know if you give it a try.  My cook runs on compliments and flattery.

Picnic Game 2013

Welcome to the Picnic Game 2013!  Hold on, wait a minute…

Before you spread out your blanket and start fixing your plate, let’s give credit where credit is due.  Many thanks to our event coordinator and hostess supreme, Louise of Months of Edible Celebrations.  Be sure to visit her, and all of the other food-fixin’ bloggers.

Now, let’s get started.

I’m going on a picnic and I’m bringing…

Aloo Gobi courtesy of Mae

Aloo Gobi courtesy of Mae

… Aloo Gobi, made by Mae


Blueberry-Cucumber Salsa!


I was inspired by Budget Gourmet Mom’s Cucumber, Blueberry and Mint Salsa recipe, but since I had the letter “B” for the picnic game, I needed to rename it.  And since we don’t stock agave nectar, the substitutions began.

1/2 cup fresh blueberries

1/2 cup English cucumber, chopped (blueberry sized pieces?)

1/2 tablespoon local blueberry honey

1/2 teaspoon fresh lime juice

3 roughly chopped mint leaves

Toss berries and cucumber.  Drizzle honey and lime juice on top, then gently fold in mint.  Serve with whatever you have in the pantry that suits you.

UntitledSissy and Gg had Pretzel Crisps.  (No corn)  I had regular Wheat Thins.  I liked the Wheat Thins better.  It would be great to tote to any picnic or poolside, or even on a hike, as nothing in the dish is particularly perishable.  As Louise was kind enough to invite the fur-girls, I wanted to bring something they could eat and their human friends might enjoy too.  The Knight wouldn’t try it, but he doesn’t like blueberries or honey very much, so…  he got a pass this time.

What’s your favorite picnic recipe?

Any picnic plans with the 4th of July right around the corner?

Birthdays Abound


Dadaw Knight boxing with his best girls...

Today’s one of the most important days in my life.  It’s the Knight’s birthday!  Facebook also reminded me that two other delightful friends were also born on this day.  Only one blogs, so wish Frank well in your heart (he does field trials with his dogs, so I know y’all’d love him) and pop over and visit Barbara

There are several other special birthdays coming up but I hesitate to mention anyone for fear of overlooking someone.   Still… I’d be remiss if I didn’t note that the kind and wonderful Alison and the sweet and funny Barbara (yes, a different one) will be celebrating in the next few days too!  (That 2nd Barbara is having one of those milestone birthdays, so if you only click over for one…)

Photo from

I didn’t get any photos at the cookie swap, nor were there any recipes to share.   I will borrow from Recipe Girl via Pinterest and show you what I took and the link to the recipe is within as well.  Sissy does want it known that she unwillingly donated the peppermints to the cause.  No candy canes were harmed in the making of said cookies at our house. 

If you’re game, go visit Amy and share your must-make-eat-have holiday recipe!   I think I’ve shared mine before, but it’s that time of year when I need to create my baking list and make a plan…

What’s ahead for your weekend?  If you’re local, look for the League “float” (golf cart) tomorrow in the Downtown parade.

Picnic Game

Who doesn’t love a picnic?!  Louise at Months of Edible Celebrations is hosting the picnic game, which I must confess, I don’t recall playing as a child.   I do remember seeing other girls sitting in large circles, clapping and reciting and laughing, but I don’t remember participating.  I was probably playing soccer or lacrosse with the boys…

At any rate, what started as me being silly led to this post and our offering for the picnic.  I don’t have a go-to picnic recipe.  I’m known as the baker in my family and with my inlaws, but there’s no one thing I’m routinely asked to bring to our summer gatherings.  So, I joked with Louise that Sissy would want me to bring dog biscuits, and being a fan of my silly mutts, Louise jumped right on it!

Without further delay, here’s my first (to the best of my recollection!) attempt at the picnic game!

I’m going on a picnic and I’m bringing:

A:  Apricot Cobbler from Mae

B: Banana Cream Pie from Marjie

C:  Cherries in a Jar from Barbara

D: DIVA Doggy Bites


Of course, when Sissy demands special treats, they must be CUSTOM creations, partly because she has food allergies, but mostly because she is a DIVA and it really is all about her more often than not in our little house in the woods.

Since I’m guessing many of you are visitors not well-versed in my special-needs dog’s world, she is highly allergic to corn and chicken, and corn starch is a popular dog treat ingredient.  She’s also sensitive to pork, beef and basically any animal flesh except rabbit. 

This is where I confess that life got in the way, so last night, I flew by the seat of my pants.  I’m delighted to report that what we created is perfect, according to the DIVA and the wee one.

DIVIA Doggy Bites

2 cups Bisquick

1 cup rolled oats

1/4 cup milk

1/2 cup cottage cheese

1 medium to large ripe banana

1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Combine all ingredients in a food processor (or blender).  Mix until smooth.   Spread WET dough evenly on a greased jelly roll pan (I used a Pampered Chef large bar pan).  Bake 20 minutes.  Turn oven off, but leave pan in until the dough is as brown as you desire.

Cool 5 minutes in pan, on a cooling rack, then slice into whatever your dog(s) consider bite-sized pieces.  Remove to rack for continued cooling, then package in air-tight containers or freeze.

photoOf course, they’re DIVA approved.  I couldn’t use her title without her blessing.  And if you must know, they are BITES because the normally gentle gal did jam one tooth into my finger last night while I was trying to take photos, because she felt I was teasing her and she was trying to grab her yum and run!!

Yes, it’s an odd flavor pairing, but they are two of the fur-girls favorites, and they seem to find it an irresistible combination.  I held a treat in my mouth while I took more photos this morning, and it wasn’t vile.  Everything is human grade, so you could eat them if you desired.

photoGretchen likes them too, in case you were wondering.   Look for future versions with pumpkin and pear, peanut butter and more!

Do your dogs like “vegetarian” treats?  If so, what flavors?

Thanks Louise for inviting ALL of us to the picnic.  Gretchen is happy to share HER treats with any of the other dogs present. 

Do you have a go-to, often-requested picnic recipe?  Would you share it with me, even if you’re not playing the picnic game with us?

Oh – and do let us know if you and your dogs try the recipe.  Feedback is always appreciated!

To Brussels with Love

Seems Yahoo and Flickr are having serious issues, so today you get the recipe that made me love brussel sprouts, since everything else requires Flickr’s cooperation.

Gretchen did a nice Thank You note post about her new favorite toy.  I guess Sissy’s allergy eyes are still bothering her, because I know she was grateful enough to write her own note…  Hem. 

So, about those brussel sprouts.  I’ve always loved cabbage, cooked, raw, or otherwise, but my whole life, people have been trying to convince me that I like brussel sprouts.  I’ve tried them, but they were always bitter, slimy, mushy on the outside and firm on the inside and just generally unappealing.

Until I unknowingly met them Black Pelican style.   No, I wouldn’t have intentionally ordered them, not even there – our favorite restaurant in the Outer Banks – but they came disguised as vegetable du jour.  We never bothered to ask, because everything there is always fabulous.  The Knight had one dry heave when he saw them, and immediately began isolating them from his mashed potatoes.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

I remembered that Anita swore I’d just never had properly prepared “BS”, so after swallowing hard and mentally pinching my nose, I speared the smallest half of one sprout I saw and prepared for the worst.  Instead, there was a little happy dance in my mouth, and I barely minded my manners and swallowed before I said a little too loudly in an off-season dining room, “OH MY!”

The Knight looked concerned.  I’m allergic to scallops, so when we’re near seafood, there’s always a chance…  I immediately launched into an explanation, begging him to try…  Oh well.  More for me, right?!

I’ve never had much success asking for recipes when I fall in love at a restaurant, but OBX does Southern style hospitality, so I wasn’t shocked when the manager happily bobbed back to the kitchen and came back with detailed instructions, and then thanked ME for liking them enough to ask!  Since I’m not a big-time blogger and no one said anything about not sharing, you know I have to pass it along, just in case one of you actually likes brussel sprouts too.

Start with fresh, small brussel sprouts.  Boil the sprouts until just tender, then remove then to a cold “bath”.  Slice each in half.  In a metal saucepan, heat up a liberal quantity of olive oil.  Add some fresh, chopped garlic, and as soon as the garlic beings to brown, quickly toss the sprouts in, removing immediately from the heat.  Add sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste.  Serve immediately.

I think I need some tonight!  If you want a proper recipe, I think this one is pretty close.

Stepping In


Worried gal fall 2009

Gretchen here.   Mama will be out of commission for a few days.  Please forgive her if she doesn’t leave a comment on your blog, and overlook the typos if she does…

She “shaved” off her nail and part of her left middle finger last night while making THESE.  They were quite tasty, and if you use a proper cheese knife instead of something too sharp for the job, I’m sure you’ll whip them up in no time, without incident.

Photo courtesy of Pampered Chef

Mama had planned a whole post on the Honey-Apple Brie Bites, but I don’t see that happening.   Have a great weekend, and Mama’ll be back soon enough.  She really is fine…  I promise. 

Oh – and Sissy might have a silly nurse’s hat, but she’s not much on tending to the injured.  I had to press up against Mama’s legs while she tried to stop the bleeding and put away the brie so Sissy wouldn’t eat it while she took care of herself.  I’m a worrier, you know…

Have a great weekend, and a great week next week.  Dadaw and I will take great care of Mama!

Hand-made Steamed Milk?

Another double post day…

The Republic of Tea dropped a tempting recipe in my inbox this week.  


Photo from RoT

Chocolate Candy Cane Tea Latte         


  • 6 oz fresh, filtered water
  • 2 Republic of Tea Double Dark Chocolate Tea Bags
  • 6 oz steamed milk or milk substitute
  • The Republic of Tea Agave Nectar (to taste)
  • 2 candy canes or peppermint sticks


  • Heat fresh, filtered water to a rolling boil.
  • Place each tea bag in a standard sized mug. Pour 3 oz. water in each mug and steep for 5-7 minutes.
  • Remove tea bags, stir in agave nectar. Top with steamed milk and garnish with a candy cane or peppermint stick.

Serves: 2

There are a few problems, easily corrected.  I am mostly a loose tea gal – THAT substitution is easy enough.  I don’t have their Agave Nectar either, but I’m guessing a mild honey or simple syrup would do nicely instead.

But steamed milk?  I do have an espresso machine, but it lives in a box, not even in the kitchen.   While my counter space isn’t too limited, I am a kitchen appliance junkie, so not everything can live in plain sight. 

Google to the rescue!   How to steam milk without an espresso machine.   Has anyone tried this?  (If you didn’t click on the link, the short version is, dump the milk in a container more than double the volume of the milk and SHAKE, then steam in the microwave.) 


... and she wonders why we LOVE peppermints?!

 I’m also thinking peppermint extract is the way to go, because a candy cane sitting out of a mug is an invitation to both of my dogs to lick, slurp, etc., especially since they also LOVE milk!

(Why yes, I am going to go home and drag out the espresso machine and try both methods, unless some of you foodies weigh in first and assure me that the shaken, not stirred method will work just as well.)

We are Thankful

We will have our regular Thursday posts tomorrow, but it’ll be big fun to write them with the fur-girls for a change.  However, a lot of you are already elbow deep in the holiday baking, and others already have house guests, so I wanted to get a somewhat timely Happy Thanksgiving out there!

The buffet

Un-garnished version from Christmas 2005

I’ll make my cranberry sauce tonight.  I’m terribly picky; I gagged a bit earlier this month when Sandra Lee suggested just buying the canned stuff because it’s so much cheaper and no one will know the difference.  Hello?!  You bet I will!   (And no, I’m not a big fan of Semi-Homemade, but it was on…) 

It’s a very simple recipe; just follow the cooking instructions on the bag of fresh crannies, add orange zest (or a teaspoon of marmalade if you’re without a fresh orange) while cooking.  Chill overnight, then garnish with finely chopped pecans or walnuts.

A hint on zesting…  It really is more of an art than one might think.  Do NOT add pith – the white stuff.  It’s bitter!!   I actually use a micro-grater and then just add a few pretty “curls” of zest to the top, along with the nuts.

I had planned a lovely pumpkin bread pudding for dessert, but the Knight announced this morning that he and his brother require their grandmother’s strawberry cake.  Oh boy.   It’s not always fun being the keeper of the strawberry icing.  (That’s the secret…  Anyone can make the cake well enough.  I’m pretty sure real, fresh, unsalted butter, whipped to a frenzy is the key.)

The buffet

The popular corn pudding

Do you have go-to dishes that your family expects every holiday?  I’m also expecting a call tomorrow morning, asking me to make corn pudding.   Aside from my cranberry sauce, I’m a baker, not a cook.  (Thanks to MJ and her strange collection of holiday pot luck tables on Flickr!  Without them, I would have had to use stock photos from somewhere…)

Whatever you do, have a wonderful Thanksgiving.  And if you’re not in the US, we’ll see you tomorrow for the usual posts!

The anti-medley

… and to think, when I awoke this morning, I thought I had nothing to blog about except a book.

So, we’ll start there, because frankly, the three topics for the day are so insanely different there’s no way to tie them together.

This morning, I finished Gunpowder Green, the second book in  Laura Childs’ Teashop Mysteries.  I can’t stand to read series out of order, but a swap pal long ago sent me this book, and I finally got around to reading it, mainly because there was nothing else in the house I cared to read.   I’ve ordered #1 & #3, despite Ruth‘s offer to loan me her copies.  While it’s not a literary masterpiece destined for high school reading assignments, it’s a fun little series with characters I know.

No, no… they’re fictitious, I’ve never been to Charleston (gasp with me!  I long to correct that faux pas in my life as a southern lady), but Theo, Hailey, Mrs. Dimple and Ford Cantrell are shades of people I know from my own life.  (As are other characters, but I do have other things to share with you today, payroll to do, etc.) 

I’ve finally accepted that just as most of last year I needed simple knits, I’m in a place where I’m not compelled to read the literary classics that I normally enjoy.  I’ve always insisted that it’s more important to just READ than to read from a specific list, so I guess it’s time to put my pages where my mouth has been for years.

What are you reading?  Is it in line with what you’ve historically liked over the years?

Item #2.  Dogs and auto insurance.  While Gretchen would have us believe that dogs and cars don’t mix, dear Barbara emailed me yesterday to share a tidbit she’d found in an insurance policy, and Sue took the ball and ran with it.  Do visit Dogs ‘n More and let us know if your auto insurance offers any coverage for your pets, will you?

photo borrowed from Moveable Feasts

Last, but hardly least, my weekend plans have taken on a life of their own this morning.  I was thinking that I just had to deal with the dreaded taxes and a little shopping, until I was tempted by THIS post and recipe.  All the ingredients are my kitchen, and we do have help coming to work on the shed (finish?) tomorrow…

photo borrowed from Modern Day Ozzie & Harriet

Because of my metabolic issues, I need protein with every meal, but most especially in the morning if I’m having a pastry.    Luckily, dear Marjie anticipated my need and posted a recipe for a crustless quiche for a manly crowd.  I’ll be swapping homemade sausage for the beef… 

And simply because I can’t resist any type of cheese straw or cheese biscuit, I hope to have the stamina to make THESE cheddar thumbprints.

What plans do you have for your weekend?