Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Jamaican Patties or Stir It Up!


Yeah, man. It's a snowin' outside and I'm thinkin' Jamaica. Let's change the tone here and start with some music. Just do it. We all need a little jammin. So just click here and get your groove on while you are a readin'.

Hey man. It's been a way too many years since I've seen the blue ocean. Since I've felt the sand. Since I've seen the blue skies above while the salt water brushed my feet; my manicured feet with hot pink toenails. Yeah man. I'm a dreamin'. You already know what it sounds like. Well, that is if you clicked on that link. By now your body should be swaying. Gettin' the kinks out while the world sounds a bit rosier. Yeah man. I love me the sound of a Jamaican accent. It always sounds so happy. They could be tellin' me they hate me and I'd just be shakin' my head up and down. Yeah man. Love that accent.

And don't get me started on those locks. Oh man, I might be weird, but I love those locks. Reminds me of when we were on the beach and Zoe and her friend who is engaged, (Oh man. How can that be?) stopped their 6 year old giggling and sat patiently in the sun while their entire heads were braided with beads of their choice. Yeah. That's about as close as two little blond 6 years olds can get to dread locks. But oh man. I do love me braids, too. And then upon going back to school I remember how all the little girls on Zoe's basketball team just ogled those braids and half of them showed up at the next game with their heads braided. Oh yeah man. They felt the groove. Good to start that groove early, man. Also remember how it felt to remove those braids after about 6 weeks. Those cute little girls weren't so patient then, as we sat at our friend's cabin destroying our fingernails trying to get those braids apart. Oh man, So not fun. Just think about that man, before you get those braids.


I've made it to Buffalo Soldier. Where you be at, my friend? My shoulders are a groovin' with the keys below my hands, shoutin' out to me. I'm a thinkin' of that truly awesome, way out there trip, to Jamaica we took when the kids were 6. Way too long ago, Lot's happened since then. But I still love me Jamaican food 'cept for about the last 20 years I've had to eat it in the Mile High. Still good, but so not the same. Just sayin'. And I even have a little friend over on Colfax at the Carribean Bakery, (no web site) who sells me patties. He has the locks. He has the accent. But no sand, man. No sand.

So Stir it up. Little Darlin'. Stir it up. Make yourself some patties. We first ate them in Montego Bay. I told our driver. I said, "I want some patties, man. What's the best spot?" He took me to Mother's. Well, I think it was Mother's. My mind's gone through a lot of changes since then, man. It was lunchtime at Mother's. It was packed. I was the only girl with straight hair in there. Just sayin' man. I think that driver thought me crazy. But I got me my first taste of a patty, man. No goin' back since then. Yeah man. I don't forget good food in this crazy head o' mine.


Man I love that riff in "I Shot the Sheriff". Don't be doin' that man. No, don't you be doin' that. But you best be doin' this patty makin'. These are so perfect for lunch. For dinner. For snacks. Fill them with lentils. Fill them with love. I love me some lovin' patties. The recipe looks long. It's only because I gave you a lot of tips to get that pastry jammin' right. You need a good, flaky pastry. Really makes that fillin' sing.

Jamaican patties are the equivalent of Jewish kreplach, Chinese potstickers, Mexican empanadas, Italian ravioli, Cornish pasties, American hot pockets. You get the picture? Time to get your feet out of the sand and get this recipe workin'. You'll be happy you did. This is happy, handheld food. So... Let's get together and feel all right!


Jamaican Patties
Adapted from: Travelling Jamaica
Time to Make: About 2 hours start to finish

Ingredients:
4 c flour, lightly stirred
1 T yellow curry powder
1 1/2 t salt
Pinch of turmeric
1/2 t baking powder
1 c or 2 sticks cold, unsalted butter
1 1/2 c ice cold water

Filling:
2 T oil
1 1/2 lbs ground meat (I used pork)
1 large onion, finely chopped or less depending on your mood
5 scallions, finely chopped
2-3 t dried thyme
3 garlic cloves minced
1 T grated fresh ginger root
1 t turmeric
Salt and pepper to taste

1-3 t Scotch Bonnet pepper sauce
2 T rum
1-3 c dried bread crumbs (I used 1 1/2)
1-3 c water

Directions for Pastry Dough:
Mix together flour, curry powder, salt, turmeric and baking powder in a large bowl. Cut your cold butter lengthwise down the center of the stick. Now cut horizontally in 8 slices so you have 16 cubes. Mix these into flour mixture and cut in with a pastry blender or two forks. Make sure your butter is distributed evenly, but don't worry about some pieces of butter being bigger than others. The idea is to create a flaky crust and to do this you need those butter cubes to melt into the dough leaving air pockets behind, which is what creates flakiness.

Now slowly stir in the ice water. You will want mixture to come together in one giant ball. You may not need all of the water. You may need more. The right amount is the amount that helps create the ball when you use your hand to push this together into one giant mass! Different flours need different amounts of moisture! Just be careful not to overwork the dough. Once it is together without being to crumble, wrap it up in plastic wrap and stick it in a very cold place. My cold place was out on the deck where I left it for about 2 hours. You could leave it overnight in the fridge if you prefer.

When ready to use, soften the dough in your hands and divide it into 4 pieces. Now divide those pieces into three, to give you about 12 pieces. Obviously if you want smaller patties, you can make them smaller but we like these meal sized!

Directions for Filling: The key here is to use the type of meat you prefer. Turkey tends to have a lot of moisture so you may need to use more bread crumbs to bind the mixture. Lean beef, chicken and pork most likely require less. Use your judgment. The key is in the seasonings. These seasonings rock! I found it much easier to find a Scotch Bonnet hot sauce than find fresh Scotch Bonnet chilies. Hot sauce is also a lot easier to work with than fresh chilies! Use at your own discretion.

In a large bowl, combine all the filling ingredients through salt and pepper. You can add more salt later if the mixture needs it. I only used a few grinds of pepper because I prefer using the hot sauce. Using your hands, mix this mixture really well. Knead all the seasonings, onion and garlic well into the meat. Massage well!

Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the meat mixture and cook over medium high heat until meat is lightly browned. Add the hot sauce, rum and bread crumbs. Mix well. Stir in enough water to lightly cover meat. Mix well and bring mixture to a simmer. Cover and simmer until mixture is the consistency of thick chili. You don't want this filled with soup and you don't want it dry. When it is a good spoonable consistency (about 20 minutes), take mixture off of heat and let cool while you roll out the pastry.

I rolled out my pastry into 5-6" rounds to the thickness of about a 1/4 inch. Using a large serving spoon, place a spoonful over the dough. I covered it very close to the edge. Now pick up as you would a taco and bring edges together. Place on an ungreased baking sheet. Continue with rest of dough. It is OK to warm the dough up a bit between your hands. I also roll my dough between two sheets of plastic wrap so I don't have to worry about using flour. This really is pretty easy.

When all the rounds are filled, use a fork around the edges to crimp. I find the best way to do this is to pull the fork through the top to the bottom rather than just pressing down to seal. Try it and see.

Bake at 400 for about 35 minutes or until the  bottoms are a bit gold. Dough will turn a light yellow and your kitchen will smell like Jamaica as it bakes. Not a bad thing when it is cold outside!


More Island Food:
Thai Coconut Peanut Pork Dip
Balinese Chicken
Brazilian Coconut Shrimp Stew
Hearts of Palm, Avocado and Orange Salad
Coconut Rum Tres Leches Cake


Friday, February 20, 2015

Barbeque Bean Soup with Sausage


Colorado has seen our fair share of beautiful days over the last few weeks, but our weather is getting ready to turn. The weather people are predicting a weekend full of snow. Of course, they have been known to be wrong but predictably the grocery store was filled with folks anticipating being dumped on. Now being dumped on is a good thing if you are in the mountains and prepared to ski. But driving to the mountains while the snow is falling is not so much fun. Manservant was planning on skiing this weekend and I am not so sure he is going to make it.

In which case me being prepared, means having food in the house. I have all the staples and I am ready to hunker down. Magazines are waiting to be read, and all I need is Manservant to chop some wood. Truth be told, I don't mind hunkering down. To me there isn't much better than being in my pj's all day, while sitting next to a toasty fire, and gazing out the window at Manservant operating the snow blower. I promise I'll even have the hot chocolate waiting as he strips out of his wet clothes.

So, I'm guessing there might be a few folks across the nation that are getting tired of this scenario. One thing I can promise is that you won't get tired of this soup. We've been eating it all week. Manservant loves beans. I mean he really loves beans. It used to be that pintos were his thing and where I came from it was kidney beans. Honestly, neither are my favorite.


I like white navy beans. (Now why are navy beans white?) And Great Northerns. And black beans. And teeny red beans. I like green beans. I love cacoa beans and coffee beans but I guess that is getting off track.I used mayocoba beans in this soup which is an heirloom Peruvian bean, similar to a pinto. They contain 9g of fiber and 8g of protein per a 1/4 cup. Not bad for a little bean. I soaked my beans but if time is short, feel free to use canned beans. And I don't even care what variety! Check out the dried bean council if you'd like.

Soup is a hard thing to mess up which is totally unlike predicting weather. Don't be afraid to use other types of meat and you could even leave it out. I've seen many varieties of BBQ bean soup that used short ribs. Now my mother loves short ribs, but me, not so much. Personalize this soup to your heart's content. I wasn't sure where I was going when I began, but this turned out so good that Manservant has been eating it every day.

As it happens, his parents sent a honey baked ham for the holidays and because there are only two of us, I put a lot in the freezer. Manservant takes that ham and lays it across the top of this soup and is in hog heaven. I've also seen him poach or fry some eggs and put those on top. It is hard to keep this man from his beans!


Barbeque Bean Soup with Sausage
Serves 8-10
Time to Make: This varies depending on if you are using canned or dried beans. I would say anywhere from 1 1/2 hours to 4 hours. 

Ingredients:
1-1 1/2 lbs sweet Italian sausage
2 c chopped onion
4 minced garlic cloves
1/2 c of your favorite bbq sauce
1 T maple syrup
1 T Worcestershire
1 T chopped chipotle in adobo sauce
1 t smoked paprika
2 T special seasoning
1 envelope onion soup mix
1 15 oz can diced tomatoes
1 15 oz can tomato sauce
3 cans water
1 lb dried beans soaked or 3-4 cans of your favorite beans, drained
Few dashes of liquid smoke
1 T balsamic vinegar

Special Seasoning:(You will have some left over but I know you will find ways to use it. It rocks!)
2 T sugar
1 T coarse salt
1 T  freshly ground black pepper
1 T garlic powder

Garnishes:
Chopped raw onion
Cooked, crisp bacon bits
Grated Smoked Cheese
Cornbread Croutons (I used leftover cornbread and baked it until dried out.)

Directions:
In a large Dutch oven, cook the sausage over medium heat, breaking into pieces, as it cooks. Stir in onion and garlic and saute until soft. Add bbq sauce, maple syrup, Worcestershire, chipotle, smoked paprika and special seasoning. Stir well and let cook a few minutes. Add both cans of tomatoes and water. Stir in dried beans if using and let simmer for about 2-3 hours, covered. This depends on the variety of bean and how soft you want them to get. You may need to add more liquid. If not using dried beans, let mixture simmer for about 1 hour.Add canned beans and let cook until soup is of desired consistency. Before serving, stir in a few dashes of liquid smoke and the vinegar. This gives the soup some oomph!

Garnish as desired!

Don't forget to enter the Whole Foods giveaway!

Other winter dishes for a cold day:







Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Mardi Gras Roundup of Recipes


My mind has been working overtime. I'm the type that over thinks things. Like how I soon might be getting another one of these. Puppies are due and I'm already thinking of names. Will it be pink or blue? Should I go buy a new bed or get out the crate, and how will little Freddie adjust? The weekend found me slumming at the dog show. Truthfully I could own one of each. I think I would have made a great Noah; only I'm not good on boats. Manservant and I went on Saturday with a close friend of ours. I think it was good I brought my friend. That way Manservant had someone to talk to while I was busy ogling all my four legged friends. (Thanks to my friend Karen for this Skye pic!)


We had lunch at Cart Driver. What's with all these strange names for new restaurants? It's been written up in Denver for so many things. Yes, they had good pizza in this tiny shoebox of a restaurant. And oysters. And soft serve. We only had the pizza. It was good, but I'm wondering if we are too old to catch the vibe. Liked the neighborhood though.

Speaking of old... Did you see the SNL special? I was graduating high school in 1975. 40 years? It just can't be. Yes, I admit this did bring tears to my eyes. But I'm a sap. And this time I was watching completely straight. I really am getting old. And I live in Colorado. Pot is legal here. It's just not the same when you don't have to worry about police breaking down your door. Not that I ever did!

After skipping out of Cart Driver, we ran back up to the Source because Manservant loves The Proper Pour.  I even love The Proper Pour. It is a great boutique wine and liquor store and they even give free samples. Usually. He walked out of there with something, but my friend and I declared that since it was Valentine's Day we would hit Babette's. Babette's Bakery, that is. There was barely anything on the counter but we did manage to snag a chocolate sable cookie that was TO DIE FOR. Visit Denver just to eat this cookie. I do make a World Peace cookie that is similar and it is really good, but a bit different than this. I started working on a new recipe yesterday because it was THAT GOOD! (You know I don't take my capitals lightly.)

We also bought 2 of their molten lava cakes at which Manservant looked at us and inquired about our diets. To this we both responded in unison,"It's Valentine's Day!" The three of us then walked out and split the cookie approximately three ways. Since I noticed I may have split it and taken more than my share, I offered my friend the rest. SHE TOOK IT! And without hesitation. Trust me, that this is so unlike her. And we are still friends! After declaring it one great cookie, we walked back and bought two more. Really. It was THAT good.

Saturday night found us at an engagement party for Zoe's best childhood friend. I made her this cute plate.(A little self promotion never hurts, does it?) Don't you love it? Now I have to plan for a shower and a wedding in Costa Rica. Don't twist my arm!


And last but certainly not least... I will leave you with this picture. Picture yourself as a mother and know that your only son is heading out of Shanghai in the largest mass human migration of mankind. He is going to visit the Buddha at Yellow Mountain; 5 hours from Shanghai by bus; with his friends over Chinese New Year. I asked where he was staying. He said, "In a youth hostel." I said," Take food." He said, There is always food on the side of the road." I said,"That's what I'm worried about." This is a picture of where he's going.



I said, "I get dizzy just thinking about it." He informed me he is an Eagle Scout. I informed him that I am his mother. He says he is prepared. I said,  People walk both directions on that little bridge hanging on a rock wall that is thousands of feet above the ground." He says he knows what he is doing. He said millions of people walk that bridge every year. I said that's what I'm worried about. I asked about safety inspections. He says he knows what he is doing. He is 24!!!! I said, " I am 57!!!". "Mom. DON'T WORRY.", he said. These better not be famous last words.

Enough already. Let's eat. Hey, it's Fat Tuesday. Bet he can't find this food on the side of the road.

Here's a few recipes that should make your Mardi Gras very good. I'll be posting a few more soon, but this ought to do for now! Let the good times roll!

Okra Shrimp Bisque
Cajun Fish with Pecans and Browned Butter
BBQ Shrimp Cajun Style
Shrimp and Grits
Cajun Potatoes
Remoulade Sauce
King Cake

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Thursday, February 12, 2015

Beet Heart Salad with Maple Mustard Vinaigrette


Everything is coming up roses-at least that's how it feels in Colorado. Our weather has been incredibly warm and I'm almost not wanting winter to return. I'm sure it will, but in the meantime I swear my roses are starting to turn green; not a good thing so early in the season. So speaking of roses, (great segueway, huh?), Whole Foods has a great rose special for your favorite valentine. If you get there fast you can score 1 dozen fair trade roses for $12.99 or two dozen for $20. Last year the Whole Foods closest to me ran out, so this year I hope Manservant gets there early.


Now if you are thinking roses, it might be best if you take a look at this chart. Since everyone seems to be talking shades of grey lately, I thought it best that we add in some prettier colors. Rose colors, if you will. During the Victorian era the language of flowers was an important thing to know. Flowers often conveyed messages of love or dislike, so be careful what you choose, Make sure that posy is sending the right message.

· Red - true love, passion and respect
· Dark Red - beauty, perfection and adoration
· Pink - romance and admiration
· Deep Pink - appreciation, gratitude and sincerity
· Light Pink - sweetness and gentleness
· Orange - desire, passion and excitement
· White - spiritual love, purity and new beginnings
· Yellow - warmth, joy and friendship
· Lavender - love at first sight

When I look at this list I think I deserve one of each color! But truthfully my favorite shade of roses are pinks. I love the palest pinks and the deepest pinks. What about you?


Saturday night finds us at an engagement cocktail party for one of Zoe's close childhood friends. Since it ends at 7 and I'm not sure we are going to want to go out for dinner, we will probably end up at Whole Foods. (Yes, this is a Whole Foods post!) They have some great dinner for two specials, such as salmon or a petite sirloin or even an eggplant portabella napolean; each with truffled mashed potatoes and asparagus. The specials are $24.99 for two which seems like a great deal to me! Add some cheese before hand, a bottle of wine and a little chocolate for dessert and you've got a romantic evening ahead of you. Well, I hope you do!

I love a salad before my meal, so this year I might jazz up the evening with this fancy schmancy beet salad. This might be one way of getting your kids to eat beets. It's kind of weird that I never served beets to my kids and now they are the rage. Zoe loves a beet salad and what is more perfect for Valentine's Day? I do love all the pink and red desserts that are out there, but this is another way to add some shades of red to your meal and make your family feel special. This is a superb salad, and the dressing is over the top. You will be making it to serve on all your greens.


Beet Heart Salad with Maple Mustard Vinaigrette
Serves: 2-4
Time to Make: About 15 minutes
Ingredients for dressing:
1/3 c maple vinegar OR 2 T maple syrup and 3 T balsamic vinegar
1/2 t chopped garlic
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/4 to 1/2 t salt
a few grindings of pepper
1 1/2 t Dijon mustard
3 T olive oil
1 T mayonnaise
Ingredients for Salad:
2 beets cooked
1 good size handful of your favorite greens (I used arugula)
3-4 ounces of honey goat cheese
1 handful of chopped hazelnuts or your favorite nut
1 handful of pomegranate seeds or dried cranberries, cherries or strawberries
2-3 thin slices of red onion
2 T of pretty micro greens
Directions:
Make your dressing by combining vinegar, garlic, lemon juice and salt and pepper. Whisk in Dijon mustard. (My favorite kitchen tool is my teeny little whisk.) Now slowly whisk in the oil and get a little emulsion going. Last, add the mayo and whisk that in to. (This is optional, but it gives the dressing a creamier texture.)

Take your cooked beets and cut them into thin slices. Pull out your small valentine heart cookie cutter that is hiding somewhere in THAT drawer. Cut your beets into hearts. Put about 1 T of goat cheese between two beet hearts. Set aside. Now on individual plates throw on those greens. Toss on some hazelnuts, pomegranate seeds or dried fruit, a few wisps of red onion and maybe some leftover beet pieces and a little more goat cheese. Last but not least, add a flourish of micro greens. Top with a beet and goat cheese heart.

You could toss this salad ahead of time with the dressing, of which you may or may not want to use all of. I like to drizzle it on at the table because I think the salad is so pretty before it is tossed.

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More Simple and Romantic Recipes:

Chocolate Lava Cake

Hot Fudge Cake

Salted Honey Rose Tart
Salted Butterscotch Chocolate Tart
Mussels in White Wine and Garlic
Brazilian Coconut Lime Shrimp Stew
Ziti Al Fresco
Strawberry Crepes
Mushroom Lover's Pastry
Linguini with White Clam Sauce

Monday, February 9, 2015

Simple Scallops with Lemon Zest, Garlic and Capers and Weekend of Love!

                              "Sauteed scallops with garlic and lemon are a perfect way
                                                 to begin a Valentine's Day dinner"



Love is in the air and isn't it fitting that I just arrived home from my cousin's wedding? Love was certainly evident in Phoenix as we began the weekend meeting Zoe at the airport, and then devouring Mexican food at Filiberto's, a great place we found on Yelp. After a few hours baking in the fabulous sunshine, we followed it with a family dinner at my parent's new abode. It wasn't actually in their abode, but it was in the private dining room of their new retirement community. Zoe had a particularly good time!



The next day found us having breakfast with family and my long lost cousin. Well, she feels like a long lost cousin, because we don't get to see her often enough. For that matter we don't get to see any of our family often enough. The one thing I've always wished is that we lived closer to our relatives. Too many folks family can be a real challenge, and I'm not saying that mine is anywhere near perfect, but I've always loved getting together with my relatives. There is something so comforting about being surrounded by those with the same roots.


Growing up I never saw my cousins that often. Two were in California and I had six in Illinois. My family was never one to plan too many family events so I relished the occasions when we did get together. I still love the familiarity of sharing memories and one can only do that with people that knew them way back when.  It is true that you can't choose your family, and sometimes they aren't what you want, and don't give what you expect. I believe though, that if one could ever figure out how to get along as a family, then maybe we just might have the key to solving world peace.


Phoenix was glorious and the trees were heavy with oranges. The flowers were beginning to scent the air and the backdrop of Camelback Mountain made for a beautiful ceremony.




Though it is hard to find the time to chat when surrounded by 200 some people, it was small snippets and "snapchats" that made the evening. I also got to show my dance moves on the dance floor, and luckily no one thought to shoot a video. I am the type that doesn't care about who's watching, and hopefully no one was watching!




We finished the weekend with  breakfast at Bagels and Bialy's and loaded our suitcase with 1 1/2 dozen bialys to freeze upon arrival back in Denver. Zoe managed to eat half of the latke fried egg stack with cheese sauce and bacon, and regretfully we weren't able to take a doggy bag.




So now we are approaching another weekend of love. Well, I can always use love. This scallop recipe is one I adore! It is simple and quick and totally luxurious enough for a romantic Valentine's Day dinner. Not only is it perfect for an appetizer, it also makes a great entree when served over pasta or rice. If finding the way to a man's heart is through his stomach, then I guarantee this is one way to do it. And vice versa. My Manservant could even make this if he wanted too!


This recipe requires garlic. And lemon. And some chili flakes because love always needs a little spice, does it not? Scallops are easy to cook as long as you don't overcook them. Remember to remove them from the heat a bit before you think they are done. They will continue cooking for a moment or so. Have the wine ready. This is ready in a jiffy!




Sauteed Scallops with Lemon and Garlic

Slightly adapted from: More Classic Italian Cooking (Marcella Hazan)
Time to Prepare: About 15 minutes
Yield: 2 for an entree though Manservant could have easily eaten more! 4 for an appetizer

Ingredients:

12 oz frozen  bay scallops thawed according to package directions  (Make sure these are really dry before putting in hot pan)
3 T olive oil
1 1/2 t garlic, chopped fine
sprinkle of salt
Sprinkle of red chili flakes
1 T parsley, chopped fine
1 1/2 T tiny capers, drained
3 T roasted red peppers, chopped
2 1/2 T fine, dry breadcrumbs (if I'm out of breadcrumbs I dry out a piece of toast and then grate it)
Lemon Zest from 1/2 a lemon

Directions:

Preheat broiler to high with rack on the top shelf. Heat olive oil and garlic in a small saute pan over medium heat, until it turns pale gold. Add dried scallops, a pinch of salt and turn up the heat to medium high. Cook, stirring frequently, for no more than 5 minutes, or until scallops are almost cooked. Remove from heat and add parsley, capers, roasted red peppers, lemon zest and 1 1/2 T bread crumbs. This helps soak up a bit of the liquid that the scallops release. You can put these in pretty scallop shells or leave them in the pan. Sprinkle with the rest of the bread crumbs and place under a preheated broiler for about 1 minute, or until scallop mixture turns golden.

Serve with rice or pasta for an entree dish. Be prepared to swoon!




More Simple and Romantic Recipes:

Chocolate Lava Cake
Hot Fudge Cake
Salted Honey Rose Tart
Salted Butterscotch Chcolate Tart
Mussels in White Wine and Garlic
Brazilian Coconut Lime Shrimp Stew
Ziti Al Fresco

Pin to Make Later:




Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Tin Roof Chocolate Peanut Bars and Missing George


Some days, well, some days are just that. The last few days I've been waking up sad and very unfocused. I'm not saying that I'm the most focused person as it is, but I just couldn't quite figure out what's been bugging me. Manservant has his faults, but I knew it wasn't anything he did. (Well, I probably shouldn't look to hard!) Nope. It wasn't. And then I remembered. Not that I've forgotten, but I'm not the best at dates. And when you lose something you love, sometimes it isn't always good to count the days. Of course we all do, because that's what makes us human.

I counted days for a long time after George died. And then the days become weeks and then months and finally, just like counting sheep, I lost track. That is, until today. I just felt the tears flowing as I remembered that tomorrow was the day that George died. Today, it seems like it just happened yesterday. And I am feeling sad. 



I have a friend in the blogosphere who lost her husband 9 weeks ago. I did not lose my husband. I lost my dog. And I can tell you that it was a hard loss. But thank goodness it wasn't a husband. George was my friend and my loyal companion and I loved him like I've never loved a dog before AND I am still needing hugs. I miss him and I am so ready for a new Skye puppy and I so hope that someone has one soon.

But I did not lose my husband, though there have been moments in life I felt like I did. But he is here and he hugged me today and misses George, too. So today it is Beth that needs a hug. She writes a great blog and she is so strong and fun and amazeballs and I wish I could give her a hug. Lots of hugs. Plus she is a way better exerciser than me and that earns bonus points in my book. She is over the top positive and happy and motivating and she needs a hug, like way more than I do. So if you visit her blog send her a virtual one. She could use it, because today was a tougher day for her, than for me. I'm sure.

It's funny sometimes, but when I write these blogs I often know not where I'll go. At lunch Manservant asked me what I was going to write about today and I told him I didn't know. And I didn't. Until I sat down and started looking at photos of George and thinking about Beth and then the words came. Tears have a way of making my words spout.



I have a lot to be happy about. This weekend I'll be in Phoenix for a quick weekend to attend my cousin's wedding. I'll see my family and get to hug my princess because she is flying from Philly to meet us. It will be short, but it will be sweet. It is moments in life that make it what it is and it will be a very good moment.

Those things do not take away my remorse, though. They give me something to look forward to. And that is what I believe life is about. Looking forward. Counting our blessings. Doing the best we can. And remembering those we loved and how they made our life so good. By being the best we can be, we honor those who made us what we are. Thank you to George. He was one helluva dog. And I am better for that.

So now that that's out of system, well at least for a MOMENT, it's time to talk sweets. Those things that come at the end of the meal. Those things that make you feel better for a second. I'm sending a batch out to Seattle where I'm believing they might need these. Now I am not a football fan. I didn't even know who was playing until I looked it up. And I hate to say it, but even little me could see that this was one MAJOR screw up. So enjoy Seattle. These are for YOU!

If you want to read how the tin roof sundae may have gotten its name, click here. My mother would probably say, "Who cares? As long as you can eat them." She always raved about them when I was a kid!



Tin Roof Bars
Serves 8-16 (These are very rich)
Time to Make: About 15 minutes active time

Ingredients:
1/2 c  soft butter
1/2 c brown sugar
1 c flour

2 eggs
1 c brown sugar
1 t vanilla
1 c coarsely chopped salted peanuts
1 1/4 c milk chocolate chips
1/2 c dulce de leche (optional)
Sprinkle of coarse salt

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350. Cream butter and sugar until light. Add flour and mix well. Press into a greased 8 x 8 pan. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until a pale gold color. Cool crust.

Beat eggs and 1 c brown sugar until smooth. Add vanilla and mix well. Set aside.

When crust is cool sprinkle with milk chocolate chips and peanuts. Pour egg and sugar mixture over top. Bake for 30-35 minutes until center of mixture is not jiggly. Take out and let cool. Before serving spread with dulce de leche. And sprinkle with coarse salt. Or not. Your choice. Just don't throw; an interception that is! 



Other Super Bowl Food:
Saigon Crunch Chex Mix
Buttery Garlic Parmesan Potato Chips
Italian Nachos
Pimento Less Cheese
World's Best Onion Dip
3 Ingredient Artichoke Dip
Thai Peanut Pork Dip
Dan Dan Sliders or Chinese Sloppy Joe
Microwave Caramel Corn
Texas Chocolate Sheet Cake