SKB writes

Life and times and thoughts and lessons


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Rocky approved pumpkin dog treats

Rocky will seriously do ANYTHING for these yummies. They are quite easy to make, albeit a bit messy. Just remember to use water on your hands while making them and it is simple!

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Gather ingredients:

  • 1 can pumpkin (not pie filling, just straight plain old pumpkin)
  • 8 tbsp. molasses
  • 8 tbsp. water
  • 4 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 4 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon

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Mix the first 4 ingredients into bowl.

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Add the rest of the ingredients.

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Stir, then knead with hands until well blended.

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Turn the oven on to 350.

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Put a sheet of parchment paper on each of two large cookie sheets.

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Using water to wet your hands (otherwise the dough is too sticky to work with!), roll the dough into small balls and place on cookie sheets in rows.

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Wet your fingers and press down on each ball.

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Put in oven and bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees.

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After 25 minutes, take the pans out of the oven. Once they cool, they are ready, HOWEVER, they will be soft and chewy. If that is fine, you are finished. If you want them to be hard (so that it works your pup’s teeth as well!), wait for the oven to cool slightly, then put the pans in overnight.

Store in an airtight container. Your pooch will LOVE you for these 😀

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Asparagus soup

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Asparagus is such a tasty veggie! This soup is sure to be a hit with any and all asparagus lovers and is very easy to make. This recipe makes a HUGE pot of soup, so what isn’t eaten right away can either be canned or frozen 🙂

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Chop three onions. Pour about 2 tbsp. olive oil into large pot and add onions.

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Prep asparagus. For a big pot of soup, about 8 lbs. of asparagus is needed. Wash thoroughly.

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Grab a bunch, make sure ends are even, break one off, then cut the rest of the bunch in approximately the same place. This is a quick and easy way to get rid of the tough ends. You can save and freeze the ends for veggie stock or toss into the compost bin.

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Cut off the ends and put them into a bowl. You will add these at the end.

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Cut the rest of the asparagus into approximately 3/4″ pieces. They don’t have to be even or even pretty looking, as you will be blending them anyway.

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Turn the stove on a medium flame and sautee the onions for about 5 minutes.

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Add asparagus to the pot and stir. Turn the flame down to medium low and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

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Add spices/herbs: 2 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. pepper, 1/2 tsp. turmeric, 1 tbsp. garlic, 1 tsp. lemon pepper, 1 tsp. dill, 1 tbsp. parsley.

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Add about a cup of white wine. Stir and simmer for 5 minutes.

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Add chicken broth (or veggie broth if you want the soup to be vegetarian). You will need about 8-10 cups of broth. Stir.

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Taste and add spices/herbs, if needed. Turn heat up to medium high.

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Bring to a boil, then turn flame down to low and simmer for 20 minutes.

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Use an immersion blender to blend into a creamy consistency. The longer/more you blend, the creamier it will be.

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Blending will cause the soup to have a lot of foam – when you are finished blending, just stir and the foam will rejoin the rest of the soup.

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Add the asparagus tips, stir and turn the flame up to medium low. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

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Soup is ready to be enjoyed!

Serve with a dollop of sour cream or pour in a couple of tablespoons of heavy cream, if desired.


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Seriously easy baked Italian chicken

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Seriously easy chicken. I mean it: seriously easy. And delicious!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place chick in casserole dish or baking pan.

Mix olive oil, vinegar, red wine vinegar, mayo, garlic powder, basil, sage, paprika, salt, pepper, smidge of mint, fresh lemon juice – pour over chicken. (Or if you are feeling lazy and have some Italian dressing in the fridge, just open and pour some all over the chicken.)

Cover with aluminum foil, bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, remove cover. Bake for about 7 minutes uncovered, then sprinkle Parmesan on top and bake for another 7 minutes.

Makes oodles of “gravy” that can be poured on potatoes, broccoli, etc.


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Making mint candy dishes/trays :)

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Saw this … HAD to try it. Not quite as easy as Pinterest would have me believe, but definitely a lot of fun!

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Candies are ready!

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Wanted to have a lip around the edges or at least control the melting of the candy, so used this pie pan.

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Umm … parchment paper says it doesn’t want to stay in the pan.

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Seriously … had to squish, fold, bend, smoosh, pat, press, to get the parchment paper to even START cooperating.

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Starting to place the candies, but since the parchment paper is not laying flat, it and the candies keep moving.

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Cut the parchment paper edges/corners, so that there was less excess and it did help a little. Once I finished the outer ring of candy, it was much easier. Note to self: starting with the outer ring might NOT be the wisest idea …

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Another challenge is the wrapper. The wrapper that is FULL of static cling. The wrapper that likes my fingers. The wrapper that just won’t go away …

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Finally finished! A little worried about the gaps and holes between the candies. What will happen?

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Putting it in the oven (preheated at 350). Let’s see how this goes!

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Umm … candies at 8 minutes are a little shinier, but don’t seem to be doing much more …

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Holy cazooses! They melted like nobody’s business around 10-11 minutes!

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After 11 minutes, took them out of the oven. Look at that! All of the gaps & holes are gone, it is one big, flat, cohesion of yumminess!

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Carefully took it out of the pan and placed it on the counter to cool – it worked, by George, it really worked!!!

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After a few more tests, I decided to try making ornaments too. Just place a few candies into a cookie cutter, put in the oven at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes and they are ready. It’s a little tricky making the hole in the top (using a toothpick), though. If you do it too soon, the candy is gooey and will stick to the toothpick. About a few minutes after taking it out of the oven, though, it loses its gooeyness, but isn’t too hard yet – poke a hole with the toothpick and let it cool completely.

Have fun playing with peppermint and spearmint candies … as well as butterscotch, cinnamon, Jolly Ranchers and any hard candy that you can find 😀

 


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Shortcut for boiling beets for soup

Every single recipe that calls for boiling beets suggested that they are boiled first and then the skins slip off. Every single recipe. Therefore, not knowing any better, I did that for years. Last night, however, I wanted to make a HUGE pot of beet soup and I wondered if there were a shortcut. My logic was this: first you wash the beets, then you cut off the ends, then you put them in the pot, then you let them boil, then they have to cool, then you slip off the skins, THEN you are ready to do something further with the recipe. Seems like a lot of wasted time and a huge mess. After all, once they are boiled, they are slippery and they are juicy.

So … I giggled and decided to experiment. I washed the beets. I cut off the ends. I peeled them. Yes, with a peeler (a y-shaped one is so much faster and easier). It was a bit messy, but not THAT bad. And it cleans up quickly, so no biggie at all.

After peeling, I cut the beets in quarters, tossed them into the pot, added water and boiled them. No slipping off skins needed. No accidental icky skins and teeny roots left in the juice. When they were tender enough, I used my immersion blender to chop them all up. Easy. Then I added broth, barley, carrots, onions, herbies and soup was done in no time.

Just wanted to share 😉


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DIY natural cleaning solution

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OMGOMGOMG – I’ve DONE IT!!! I have created the PERFECT natural cleaning solution that does NOT smell like vinegar, even though it is made with vinegar! It has all of the cleaning and disinfecting qualities of vinegar, the awesomeness of being natural and healthy, but smells like lemons and lavender. I am so beyond excited that I’m doing umpteen happy dances!!!

I have been using distilled vinegar and water (1-1) for all of my cleaning and disinfecting for a few years now. I love the fact that it is natural and has no chemicals, and I really don’t mind that everything smells like a salad after I clean. But … I know that some are sensitive to the overpowering smell of vinegar, so decided to experiment.

And … here’s the recipe:
1 cup lemon infused distilled vinegar (I filled a large jar 3/4 full of lemon peels and filled it with vinegar, then let it sit for 2 weeks, shaking daily)
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/8 tsp. Dawn dishwashing liquid (I used the hand renewal lavender version)
2 tbsp. rubbing alcohol
3 drops of lavender essential oil
1 oz. (or whatever it takes to get it to the 1-1 mark on the bottle) straight distilled vinegar
fill to top with water


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Lemons remove counter top stains!

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What a great confirmation of something I already knew! Lemons WILL remove stains from counter tops!!!

The other day, I made forbidden rice in a rice steamer. Nice idea, but not such a nice mess afterwards. The boiling rice spattered ALL over the counter top and left a nice big stain underneath the steamer. Vinegar water, dishwashing liquid, lemon juice and baking soda worked to clean up most of the mess, but a relatively large stain still remained.

I squeezed some lemon juice on the stain and left it. Unfortunately, lemon juice dries and/or evaporates, so even though the stain turned lighter, it still remained.

Brain storm time!!! I sliced a lemon, squeezed a little juice onto the stain and rubbed it in, but left the slices ON the stain instead of just using the juice. Every few hours or so, I squeezed a little more juice and rubbed, then left it again. It has now been 24 hours and the stain is almost completely gone!

As I’ve said before – lemons ARE the bomb!