Thursday, September 27, 2012

Going to the Dogs

There’s a cute famiy story--well, Chicago doesn’t think it’s cute--but everyone else laughs heartily when the tale is told.

Chicago was in elementary school and our dog-du-jour was Tasha. I’m a cooker--have I mentioned that?--and I was experimenting with a dog cookie recipe. I didn’t like all the unnatural ingredients in the store-bought ones, they were expensive, and the fat content was astronomical. So, I thought, how hard can it be.

But, I digress.

Chicago came home from school and spied the dog cookies cooling on the counter. “Oh, goodie,” he said. “Cookies!” or words to that effect. “Can I have one?”

“Sure,” I said. (I know; it should have been “Surely”, but it wasn’t. Okay?)

“Chocolate chip?” he asked as he reached over for the biggest one.

“Nope,” I replied honestly.

He bit into it and grimaced before rushing to the sink to spit it out.

“Hey!” I yelled. “Give me the rest of that.” I bent down and let Tasha take it from my hand.

“You fed me dog cookies?” The disbelief in his voice was comical.

“To be accurate, you grabbed one from the rack. It’s on you. There’s nothing wrong with them except they didn’t meet your expectations.” I mean really, there was nothing in those cookies to hurt him. So they weren’t sweet! The only thing in those cookies that I hadn’t fed him before was a can of chopped meat dog food. You see my point?

Nevertheless, he still to this day holds a grudge.

Back to the dog cookies. Over the years and dogs, I have perfected my dog cookie recipe. Current beneficiary, Maudie, drools, reallllly drools when I am baking them for her.

When we were foster parents for the Desert Labrador Retriever Rescue group, I gave a package of the cookies and the recipe to whomever we turned the dog over to. And now, just for you, I am sharing a treat your pup will love. Promise!

Tasha and Pooh Bear Moore’s Dog Cookies

5 c. Bisquick, HeartSmart
5 c. whole wheat flour
1 c. wheat germ
6 T. garlic powder
1 qt. beef broth
1 egg
½ c. molasses
22 oz. can chopped meat canned dog food.

Mix dry ingredients well. Blend in broth. Add egg, molasses, and dog food. Mix well. Drop by tablespoons on Pam-sprayed cookie sheet. Bake at 450° until browned (~ 10-12 minutes). Makes 10 dozen cookies. Freeze most of them. Put enough for the week in a Ziploc bag in the refrigerator for treats.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Yonanas: My New Favorite Kitchen Gadget

If you’ve been reading me, you know I love, love, love kitchen gadgets. I mean, really, what’s not to love? Toys for grown-ups, or at least who look like grown-ups.

Well, you have to go buy this one. I mean it. It’s for your health. I’m thinking of writing it off on my taxes (Only kidding, Mr. IRS Man!). Even if not tax deductible, it’s worth the purchase price (which ain’t cheap, but not unaffordable).

This woman, Eileen McHale created Yonanas as an alternative to ice cream. You freeze overly ripe bananas (I know, you like to make banana bread, but how many loaves can one family eat???) rock solid hard. Freeze other fruits, too. The first one I made was Strawberry-Blueberry Yonanas. I shoved one frozen banana down its little throat, added a cup of frozen mixed strawberries and blueberries, another banana and presto! there’s this soft serve mix in my bowl. I stirred the concoction to thoroughly blend the fruits and then served a guest and me.

Did it taste like bananas, you ask? Nope. It tasted like soft serve, creamy, strawberry-blueberry ice cream. Honest! And clean-up was easier than my blender!

Last night, I served DH a concoction that WAS NOT low cal, but he loved it. I used three frozen bananas, 2 tablespoons of Nutella, 2 tablespoons of mini chocolate chips, 2 tablespoons of caramel ice cream topping, and 2 tablespoons of pecans.

I shoved the bananas down the little guy’s throat and it poured into a bowl containing the Nutella and chocolate chips. I blended it thoroughly, divided it into two ramekins, topped them with caramel and pecans, and watched DH lick his bowl. Really! Even with my added stuff, it still came in with a count lower than if I had used vanilla ice cream or even frozen yogurt.

I wouldn’t steer you wrong. Do buy this or put it on your list for some gift-buying occasion. Lil’ Bro is getting one for a wedding present. Safe to reveal here since he never reads my blogs.

Here’s a link to see what it’s like, then buy it! Seriously!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

In Praise of Vinegar

It’s been a long, long, long time. My health took a nosedive this spring, and it has really slowed down my productivity in writing, blogging, tweeting, and Facebooking.  But, I’m baaack!

First an update: My alter ego, Angelica French, writes steamy romances. She started a new blog, Romance Righter. Check out weird sex laws and weird sex facts at

I have four manuscripts out right now to publishers/agents hoping for a hit!

For today’s blog post I wanted to tout one of my favorite things (yet again). White and apple vinegar! Buy it by the gallon. It is cheap, cheap, cheap and the uses you put it to will save you $$$.

Here is an article elaborating 20 uses for vinegar.  Check it out for more detail. The article says you can use vinegar to:
         Condition your hair
         Kill weeds
         Remove underarm clothing stains
         Soften fabrics
         Remedy sore throats
         Deter ants
         Soak sore muscles
         Freshen air
         Remove stickers
         Cure hiccups
         Clean crusty paint brushes
         Dissolve rust
         Eliminate stale odors
         Remove mineral deposits
         Neutralize spice in foods
         Prolong life of cut flowers
         Clean glass, plastic, chrome, and floors
         Treat fungal infections
         Tenderize and kill bacteria in meat
         Open drains and freshen garbage disposals

It is time for me to take some vinegar to my wine glasses (#17). Our hard water here really builds up. I soak a paper towel with white vingegar, swirl it over the hard water spots, and rinse. They are beautiful to behold!

I also cook with vinegar. (Don’t we all???)

Pattycake gave me this recipe decades ago, and it remains a family favorite snack. Not beautiful to look at, but your tummy will love them!

Black Bottom Cupcakes (makes ~18)
Filling:                                             Cupcakes:
8 oz. cream cheese                           1 ½ c flour
1 egg                                                1 c sugar
1/3 c sugar                                       1/3 c cocoa
1/8 t salt                                           1 t soda
1 c (6 oz) chocolate chips                ½ t salt
                                                        1 c water
                                                        1/3 c oil
                                                        1 T white vinegar
                                                        1 t vanilla

Combine cream cheese, egg, sugar and salt. Beat until smooth. Stir in chocolate chips. Set aside.

Sift together flour, sugar, cocoa, soda, and salt.  Add water, oil, vinegar, and vanilla. Beat well. Fill muffin tins lined with paper baking cups 1/3-1/2 full of chocolate batter. Top with heaping teaspoon of cream cheese mixture.  

Bake at 350° for 30-35 minutes.

Another way to use vinegar is in vinaigrettes. Simple to make, but if you need to buy some, keep some on hand, here are the best:
Top balsamic vinaigrettes

If you’re not already a vinegar afficianado, now is the time to get the habit! Tart dreams!