Homemade Dog Biscuits

Ok, I admit, I've taken to spoiling my dog. Quite a bit.  One look at her face and all my troubles melt away.  So when I came across a homemade dog biscuit recipe in Yvette van Boven's book Home Made, I knew I would be baking them.

The ingredients are so pure humans could eat these biscuits.  Why not feed your dog the same wholesome food you would feed yourself?

I used a cookie cutter I bought for a craft project that made the perfect size of treat.  I ended up with a full jar (she had a few before I took photos of them).  Needless to say, she loves them, and I feel good giving them to her knowing they are not filled with preservatives. 


2/3 cup of salt-free homemade beef broth or hot water
2 tbsp olive oil
1 egg
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 2/3 cup all-purpose flour

Combine all ingredients into a firm dough in a bowl.  Roll into a thin sheet approximately 1/8 inch thick on a flour dusted counter top.  Cut the dough into strips or cut out shapes using a cookie cutter.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and bake the doggy biscuits for approx. 30 minutes until golden brown.  Keep in a sealable jar. 

*recipe copied directly from Home Made

Roasted Pork & Apples with Cream Gravy

I missed the traditional turkey dinner this Thanksgiving.  Since cc and I went to Galveston it didn't make sense to cook a large meal for the two of us.  So I opted for a seasonal option and roasted a pork which was a great alternative.  I found the recipe in one of my favorite books, The Farm to Table Cookbook.  It was surprisingly easy and oh so delicious.

The gravy calls for a hard cider but apple cider can be substituted.  I used regular apple cider but I was worried about it being too sweet since it is drastically different than hard cider so I split the it with chicken broth for a more savory gravy and I was pleased with the results.  You will see my substitution noted in the ingredients.

Roasted Pork & Apples with Cream Gravy*


3-4 pound pork loin roast (healthy free-range organic pork is best)
kosher salt and black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
8 small (4 ounces) shallots, peeled and whole
Two 4-inch sprigs fresh rosemary
1 bay leaf
2 sweet-tart baking apples such as Braeburn or Granny Smith, halved and cored
1/2 cup hard apple cider** or 1/4 cup of apple cider + 1/4 cup of chicken stock
1 pint cream

**hard cider is fermented apple cider; it can be found in bottles wherever beer is sold.  You can substitute apple cider which is what I did.


1.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Season the roast on all sides with salt and pepper.  Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or ovenproof pan over high heat.  Sear the pork on all sides until it is deep brown, carefully turning with tongs.  Transfer to a plate.  Arrange the shallots, rosemary, and bay leaf in the Dutch oven and place the pork on top.  Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes.

2.  Remove the foil, nestle the apples around the pork, and continue to roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center of the roast reads 145 degrees, 20 to 40 minutes depending on the size of your roast (the pork should have a blush of pink juice when sliced).  Remove from the oven, place the pork on a cutting board, and cover it loosely with the foil.

3  Put the shallots and apples in a small serving bowl and keep warm.  Over high heat degalze the Dutch oven with cider (or cider and broth), scrapping any browned bits on the bottom and sides of the pan; reduce the liquid by half.  Add the cream and simmer until thickened, about 2 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.

4  Carve the roast and serve with the shallots, apples, and cream gravy.

For my side dishes I served warm homemade bread, braised brussel sprouts with bacon, and roasted, rosemary potatoes.

*This recipe, with the exception of the gravy substitution, is copied directly from the book.

Chickpea Salad

Do you remember a time when women would make food for everything?  Funerals, showers, hospitalizations, births: You name it, there was always good food.  I started thinking about all of this when I was going through my greatgrandmothers' recipes.  There were so many for salads.  I remember them being one of my favorite parts of the meal besides dessert.  My mom even used to make this pistachio fluff for Thanksgiving that I looked forward to every year.  Where have those days gone?

Naturally, salads have been on my mind.  So last weekend when I had a family reunion to attend with a pot luck dinner it was the perfect opportunity to make a few salads.  The chickpea salad I made was a highlight and I can see it being a regular at the dinner table all summer long.  It's cold, refreshing, and filling.   

Chickpea Salad

15 oz drained chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
1 medium cucumber diced
1 cup frozen or fresh corn
1 medium tomato, diced

Note: The vegetables can change with what you have available from the farmers market or your garden.

1 tsp dijon mustard
3 TBS apple cider vinegar or lemon juice (any vinegar will work)
3 TBS olive oil
salt and fresh cracked pepper
fresh parsley or other herbs (optional)

Whisk all the vinaigrette ingredients together until the mixture turns from transparent to cloudy. If you have fresh herbs, toss everything in the food processor to blend well.
Add the diced cucumber, tomatoes, beans, and corn to the vinaigrette and mix.  Refrigerate.  It can be consumed immediately, but it's better when the vinaigrette has a chance to marinate. 

Gooey Chocolate Pudding Cake & Homemade Ice Cream

While Aunt Linnie's chocolate drop cookies are my favorite treat, I'll try anything chocolate related.  With Valentine's Day being right around the corner I expected to find chocolate goodness in the February issue of Better Homes & Gardens magazine, and it does not disappoint.  It's full of recipes for the chocoholic, but the gooey chocolate pudding cakes caught my eye.  They looked so delicious I couldn't wait.  I made them last weekend.
To top it off, I decided to make homemade vanilla ice cream.  I wanted something creamy for all that chocolate.  My parents have been making ice cream the past few weekends so my mind was already set to make it.  Thanks to Cuisinart I can have ice cream in 30 minutes!

The recipe for the chocolate cakes suggests using little pots, but I used a quart pan and bumped the baking time.  It worked just as well and the pudding part of the cake was almost like ice cream topping.  The presentation wasn't as pretty, but I didn't make it to impress anyone.

Naturally, there are no pictures because it was consumed almost immediately.  I wanted the chocolate lava to still be hot when I took my first bite.  Holy cow!  It's the best dessert I've had in a long time.  The creaminess of the pudding comes from the 1/4 cup of Nutella!  It was quick, easy, and I will be making this again very soon.  Prep and baking time is about an hour.

What is your favorite chocolate treat?  Any special recipes for Valentine's Day? 

++photos taken with my iPhone using the Instagram application++

By The Season: Dal Soup Recipe

    The Art of Eating Locally
        by: Ivy Manning

I am so happy to share this recipe with you as part of by the season. First of all, I love this cookbook.  Its has the easiest and delicious seasonal recipes.  I chose this recipe especially because of the ingredients.  Recently I've learned that I really need to make sure my diet has plenty of anti-inflammatory foods and with turmeric and cinnamon in this one, I've got a good balance.  While this soup doesn't look appealing, hence the lack of photo of the finished product, it is hearty and satisfying.  Let me know what you think.

Dal Soup with Winter Vegetables

1 1/2 cups red lentils
6 cups water
1 bay leaf
one 2-inch cinnamon stick
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon turmeric
2 cups 1-inch cauliflower florets
2 large carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
1 cup roughly chopped cabbage
2 medium (2 cups) Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 tablespoons peeled, minced ginger
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 small (2 teaspoons) Serrano chile, finely chopped

1.  Rinse the lentils in a fine mesh sieve.  In a soup pot, bring the lentils, water, bay leaf, cinnamon stick, salt, and turmeric to a boil.  Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the lentils have turned a muted amber color and the mixture has become a thick porridge consistency, about 25 minutes.

2.  Add the cauliflower, carrots, cabbage, and potatoes and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes.

3.  Meanwhile, place a sauté pan over high heat; add the oil and mustard seeds.  Cover and cook until the seeds pop, about 30 seconds.  Reduce the heat to medium-high and add the cumin seeds, ginger, garlic, onion, and chile.  Saute until the onion begins to brown, about 6 minutes.  Stir the mixture into the soup pot, season with salt and pepper and serve in bowls.