Sunday, November 16, 2014

My Puppy Love Toby

This is Toby - short for Toblerone. He is my baby. DH and I adopted him a year ago and he is the highlight of my day. How can anyone be grumpy after being greeted by this face each morning? He is the most empathetic, playful and cuddly dog there is. Of course, everyone probably says that about their own dog. And they are all probably right. :)

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Mommy's Meatloaf

Today I bring to you one of my all-time comfy dinners, which is a staple around this house, as well as a tummy healer when sore (it must be the love).

Now, I know you are all thinking, "but, this is meatloaf. How exciting and yummy could this possibly be?"  Well, try it and you'll be converted for life.  The best way to serve this wonderful meatloaf is with your favorite mashed potatoes and one of my other staples: Green bean casserole!

The best thing - correction, the 3 best things about this meal are as follows:
  1. This recipe makes a ton, and it lasts for days (saves a ton of $$$$)
  2. You can prepare it all in advance and bake it whenever you are ready (like after a long stressful day at work!)
  3. Leftover meatloaf sandwiches! I use spicy brown mustard, sliced meatloaf on white bread. It sounds weird, I know, but YUM.

The smells throughout the house when the meatloaf is baking are unbelievably mouth-watering.  Even if you are not hungry when the meatloaf goes into the oven, you sure will be salivating when the oven dings!

And.... ladies and gentlefolk, here is the long-awaited Mommy's Meatloaf recipe, followed closely by the Green Bean Casserole Classic! 

Mommy's Meatloaf

  • 2 lbs ground meatloaf mix (1/3 beef, 1/3 veal and 1/3 ground pork - not sausage meat)
    • You can just use ground beef if your local market does not carry this mealoaf mix.
  • 1 raw egg
  • Italian seasoned breadcrumbs (approximately 1 cup)
  • 1/2 yellow onion
  • 1/2 potato (any kind will do, I use whatever I have laying around, Russet, Red, a few Nu, Yokon, etc)
  • Worcestershire sauce (approximately 1/3 cup)
  • Put the egg, onion and potato in a blender and puree.
  • Mix the puree with all remaining ingredients in a large mixing bowl. 
  • Add more breadcrumbs if the mixture is too wet. You can tell that it is the right consistency when you are able to form a cohesive mass (like a giant meatball) and it stays together while in the mixing bowl.
  • Grease a 9 x 5 bread pan (I cheat and use Pam, but beware Pam has Soy Lecithin which leaves that sticky stuff on your pan that will never come off no matter how hard you scrub!)
  • Roll the ball of meatloaf mixture into the greased bread pan and bake, uncovered at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 1 hour 15 minutes, or until the top is browned and the loaf is cooked fully through.

Green Bean Casserole

  • 1 cup whole milk (or 2 % if trying to reduce the fat)
  • 2 - 14 oz cans cut green beans
  • 1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 can sliced water chestnuts
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • French's Fried Onions

  • Mix all ingredients but the fried onions in a medium baking casserole dish
  • Bake uncovered for 30 minutes or until bubbling
  • Remove from oven and cover with fried onions
  • Place back in oven and bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown.

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Slow Cooker Beef Chili

This is the best and easiest chili recipe I have ever made. You can prep it the night before and put the insert in the fridge. Leave it out on the counter while you get ready in the morning to come to room temp, and turn it on before you leave for work. Coming home to that amazing chili smell on a cold winter evening is what makes the few minutes the night before all worthwhile.

1 large onion, chopped
1 large green pepper, chopped
3-4 cloves of garlic, chopped
1.5 lbs chopped beef, browned
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground oregano
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground basil
2 TBSP chili powder
4.5 TBSP red wine vinegar
2 14.5 oz cans diced tomatoes with spicy green chilies
1 15 oz can dark red kidney beans

Brown beef and drain excess fat.  Place beef in bottom of slow cooker.  Layer chopped vegetables on top of beef, then add drained and rinsed kidney beans.  Add all spices and vinegar, then gently mix together all ingredients in slow cooker, carefully not to mush the beans.  

Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hrs.  Serve in a bowl over a bed of white rice, and top chili with shredded sharp cheddar and a dollop of sour cream.

I have mentioned this before, but I LOVE my Zojirushi rice cooker

I can set the rice to be ready at a certain time, so that the rice can be set up the night before, and be ready the next evening along with the chili.

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Friday, February 21, 2014

Gordon Ramsey's How to Chop an Onion

My nemesis: The Onion.  

If you are going to cut yourself with a newly sharpened knife, it will most likely be when dicing an onion.  They are slippery, evil creatures of the night who laugh at you as you cry helplessly while trying in vain to dice even tasty morsels of oniony goodness.

Cry no more, my fellow chefs!  Presenting, Gordon Ramsey's How to Chop an Onion:

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Sunday, August 18, 2013

Small Pet Select Hay

I clearly have a love of all things food.  Well, I have met my match!  Apparently, guinea pigs will do anything for most things leafy green (or carrots, carrots are god).  They will wheek as loud as can be, they will look pleadingly at you like they are starved, even if they *just* finished their last bite of tasty fresh cilantro as they are pleading.  If their hay holder runs out of hay before you awaken, expect to hear cries of desperation from my beloved furbabies. 

Meet Oreo and Reeses

These two guinea pigs, also called cavies, are boys, also called boars, who are only 1 year old.  They grew up in the same litter, and are now pair bonded, but are still brothers.  In other words, they drive each other insane at times.  I should clarify- Reeses, Mr. Special Snowflake, loves to wheek, climb on, talk incessantly to and in general just irritate the dickens out of dear, quiet Oreo.  They are quite the pair to watch, and each interaction is funnier than the last.

Piggies love food.

Hence, this is their "kitchen":

The hay rack you see is filled at least once a day.  I run through 8 lbs of hay every 30 days or so.  I used to run through a LOT less hay, until I read about this awesome company who ships boxes of fresh, moist hay for our beloved furbabies.

Whenever I open the box of Small Pet Select hay, the wheeks of joy are heard apartment-wide. It is a joyous sound that fills my heart with warm fuzzies.

If you would like your piggy to look at you like this in the morning, then go order a Small Pet Select hay box for your furbaby immediately! (They deliver quite fast too!  Use coupon code GUINEAPIG for FREE SHIPPING & A FREE STICKER! )

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Thursday, February 14, 2013

Check Out My New Etsy Shop!

I have opened a new Etsy shop!  My photography images will be available for sale as prints of all sizes as well as screen prints on items such as cards, mugs, key chains, puzzles, reusable totes and more!  Check out SunshineStudioPDX and see what all the hubbub is about!
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Monday, February 4, 2013

Broiled Salmon with Miso Glaze and Cross-Country Move

Broiled Salmon with Miso Glaze
(Recipe to follow my long story about my cross-country trip)

Sorry all, for the lack of blog posting lately.  Dear hubby and I decided we had enough of the great Northeast and 'twas time to move to the Pacific Northwest!  So into the car went the Fam, yes including two very confused and slightly grumpy guinea pigs.  After a two week sojourn across the amazing US through the South and up the West Coast, we arrived at our new home in Portland, Oregon.

For those of you who feel an inability to be yourself where you currently reside, I highly suggest taking a trip to Portland.  You might never return home again.  Along with the beer and coffee brewing obsession, you can't fly your freak flag high enough here.  NYC has nothing on Portland's weird.  I mean weird in a good way of course.  In Portland, even the H addicts are polite to one another.  All I can say is, I am now home.  Even Oreo and Reeses are finding happiness in their new home.

Coffee in Portland is the BEST I've ever had.  Even the crap coffee in Portland is better than the best Starbucks.  I'm giving a shout-out to my fav coffee spot just a few blocks walk from my spiffy new apartment:

At Barista, coffee is anywhere from a mocha cappuccino with the most amazing Valrhona chocolate, to  their syphon coffee which amounts to a science experiment with pretty LED lights and everything!

Some awesome places I've discovered while walking nowhere specific in the Pearl District in Portland:

Comic book shops with awesomely classic books like 70's Dr. Who books: 

This one speaks for itself:

Sur La Table is only a short walk away from home!  (Me making my own chicken crepes)

Bonnet- a wonderful haberdasher who makes their own hats and also sells local artists' goods on consignment:

The food cart scene here is phenomenal.  Now all the food that I've had here has been amazing, but hands down, the best food in Portland is found at these carts. With meals at $5 a pop, you can't go wrong.

Rogue- good times!

Stumptown Coffee- my second favorite coffee spot in Portland.

Hubby and I on our second visit to Portland at my all-time fav ice cream joint:  Salt & Straw (a MUST when in the area)

The trip getting here was both wonderful and extremely stressful for all of us, but it was worth it.  We stopped and hung with some good friends along the way, and had some of the most intense fights and beautiful moments ever.

I got to see California from stem to stern, starting with LA:

Wouldn't be LA without a shootout in the street

 then up the PCH:

with some amazing views along the way:

Mugu Rock, California

and the obligatory stop at Whole Foods:

then through San Francisco:

Bay Bridge

Fisherman's Wharf

The most AMAZING sundae at Ghirardelli Square

Hubby got me a ginormous heart pillow there (such a romantic!!)

Haight-Ashbury- the start of the 60's movement began here.

Nick's Lighthouse at the Fisherman's Wharf 
Z&Y Restaurant in Chinatown, San Francisco

then a detour to Yosemite:

Sunset at Yosemite National Park

Turnout at Yosemite

We stayed in a cabin in Yosemite for two nights.  We cooked tacos and sat by the fire with a good movie.  The guinea pigs sang like a bird!!!  That's a rarity for them!  It was so beautiful to listen to.

Another amazing vista in Yosemite National Park

El Capitan, Yosemite National Park

Half Dome and El Capitan, Yosemite National Park

Bridalveil Falls, Yosemite National Park

Amazing wildlife in Yosemite National Park

Then straight through to Portland.  What a great ride!!

When we arrived, the first thing we did in our layover spot (we moved to our new apartment a week later when our furniture arrived,) was COOK of course!  And.... what you all have been waiting (extremely) patiently for...

Broiled Salmon with Miso Glaze

Serving Size: 4 


- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds 
- 2 tablespoons shiro miso paste (sweet white miso paste) 
- 2 tablespoons mirin (Japanese rice wine) 
- 1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce or tamari 
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger 
- A few drops hot pepper sauce 
- 1 1/4 lbs. center-cut salmon fillet, cut into 4 porti 
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped scallions 
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro or parsley  - 4 slices blood orange

1. Position oven rack in upper third of oven; preheat broiler. Line a small baking pan with foil. Lightly oil foil or coat it with nonstick spray.

2. In a small dry skillet, toast sesame seeds over low heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes. Set aside in a small bowl.

3. In another small bowl, whisk miso, mirin, soy sauce (or tamari), ginger and hot pepper sauce until smooth.

4. Place salmon fillets, skin-side down, in prepared pan. Brush generously with miso mixture. Broil salmon, 3 to 4 inches from the heat source, until opaque in the center, 6 to 8 minutes.

5. Transfer salmon to warmed plates and garnish with reserved sesame seeds, chopped scallions and cilantro (or parsley).

6. Shopping Tip: Miso paste, mirin and tamari are available in health-food stores and Asian markets.

7. Nutrition Tip: Other good fish sources of omega-3s are albacore tuna, mackerel, sardines, lake trout and cod.

8. Nutritional Information: 250 calories 11 total fat (2 g sat) 84 mg cholesterol 3 g carbohydrate 32 g protein 0 g fiber 460 mg sodium

'Til next time!

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