Hook billed traitor

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When we first adopted our lovely Afghan Hound Duchess from Couches for Afghan’s she had heartworms. The vet wanted me to get her above 50 pounds before the start of treatment as she said it would be easier on her if she was a bit over ideal weight when the treatment started.

That was not hard I increased her feed to 3 cups a day and gave her a couple of high protein snacks a day. This got her to 52 pounds from her initial 46 pounds in the few months before the shots started. I maintained that through the 2 months of  treatment so as not to stress her by cutting food.

Timeline wise that takes us to end of June.

After the treatment and recovery time were over I decreased her food to 2 1/2 cups a day and a treat once a day. Thinking she would lose weight or stabilize.

She was still gaining so I went down to 2 cups a day.

Still no weight loss.

I thought maybe she is stealing food out of the bag of food at night so moved food bag to the garage.

Still not working.

I asked my family if they were giving her extra snacks. They said no they were not.

6 month vet visit. She is heartworm clear and 56 pounds. Luckily vet said she is only 1 or 2 pounds over and still does not feel too overweight. I worry about hips and other things with the weight gain though.

Vet laughs when I tell her what I am feeding as says amount sounds right give her some veggies.

I am totally confused at this point on how she can still be gaining weight then I spot the culprit.

My cute little innocent cockatoo is feeding the dog.

She is giving her bird food and treats from her bowl. Said dog is taking the treats from the birds mouth.

This is not supposed to be. Site hound hunts bird. Not bird feeds site hound.

I feed my Cherry Pie Zupreem fruit blend pellets plus a mix of dried fruits and nuts. Although it does contain grapes probably is not a high enough dosage to hurt the dog. What concerns me more is that the bird does not like the raisins in her food mix and that she might be giving them to Duchess.

Cherry for the longest time would only eat certain colors of her food and would leave the colors she did not like or throw them out. I thought she had decided she like those now as they are gone first. No, not the case at all. She is giving Duchess the ones she does not like. I don’t know if she is being nice and feeding her flock or just getting rid of the stuff she does not want and laughing at the dog for eating it.

I know the bird is not giving away her nuts as those she loves and eats first.

I am not sure what to do about this one for weight maintenance.

The bird does not understand no. The Duchess loves treats.

But at least I found the culprit.

 

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Super easy Seafood Stew

We had a Holiday brunch this weekend with a Bloody Mary bar and had an open almost full bottles of Clamato and Vegetable juice. I decided that the Clamato should be used to make a seafood stew. I also had celery and baby carrots left over from the party so used some of them in the mix.

Again as a disclaimer I suck at measuring.

1 half large sweet onion finely diced

3 stalks celery cut in half length wise and diced fine

Clamato or Tomato juice

6 baby carrots sliced thinly

1 zucchini quartered and thinly sliced

1 can diced tomatoes

1/2 pound shrimp peeled

1 red snapper filet (or other fish)

1 pound muscles

1 pound clams

1 small pack of raw oysters

4 crab claws (get enough that everyone has one they look pretty)

Parmesan cheese

Black pepper

Red Pepper flakes

2 cloves crushed garlic

1 cup chardonnay

Saute  onions, celery and carrots in a bit of olive oil until onions start to get clear. Put in garlic and let cook til fragrant.

Put in chardonnay to deglaze pan

Add the Clamoto juice and diced tomatoes. Season broth with pepper and red pepper flakes to taste.

Chop fish filet into small squares. I left the skin on mine.Clean clams and muscles and make sure they are closed so you know they are still fresh and alive.

Pour in oysters with the broth they come in into stew.

Add other seafood but leave out the cooked claws until the end.

Bring stew back to a boil on high heat then turn off once shells have opened on clams and muscles. Should not take more than a minute.

Add crab claws.

Taste for flavor and see if you need to adjust any seasoning. You can add fresh chopped basil at this point if you would like.

Let sit a couple minutes to cool.

Put in bowl with a crab claw on top. Sprinkle with cheese.

This was served with garlic olive oil toasted on sour dough bread.

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Coffee crusted smoked ribs and smoked corn.

I used the smoker my Mom got us for Christmas for the first time to make smoked ribs. They turned out tender and yummy. No sauce was needed as the ribs had lots of flavor from the rub. They were also fall off the bone juicy. I was impressed with myself.

The rub is both sweet and spicy.

I have to admit I was a bit intimidated by the smoker as I have never used one. Mine is one of those gas smokers you get from Sam’s club. I got my son to help me drag it and the tank out into the yard. I started a bit late in the day so it was a late supper.

It was a bit hard to keep lit so keep an eye on it to check for the flames blowing out in the wind. I soaked my wood chunks in water for several hours and used hickory. Other than that it was pretty easy to use and not as scary as I thought it would be. Just watch the temperature and adjust as needed. I could not keep the temp as low as suggested on other sites for cooking ribs without flames going out. I tried to keep it between 250 and 300.

I am putting recipe for rub here so I don’t forget how I made it. I am really bad about making something good then forgetting the ingredients I used and not being able to make it again. I hope other people do that too.

I am also bad about not measuring so you will have to bare with me on that with my recipes.

Ingredients:

Brine:

  • Vinegar
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Beer (I used Saint Arnold’s Lawn Mower)
  • Water to cover

Rub:

  • slightly less than 1/4 cup coffee grounds
  • pepper
  • celery seed
  • celery salt
  • about 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • cinnamon
  • ground cumin
  • paprika
  • couple big pinches cayenne
  • cumin seed
  • ground cloves
  • salt
  • chili powder

Use a sharp knife and peel off membrane on the back of ribs and trim any excess fat.

Soak ribs in brine in a covered bowl in refrigerator for two days.

Rinse and dry ribs before coating with rub. Use a thick coating of rub.

ribs

They are ready for smoker.

Heat your smoker with wood chicks util it reaches 250 and you can see smoke. Try not to let temp get over 300 but don’t panic if temperature fluctuates during cooking.

Smoke for 2 hours on racks uncovered.

Take off smoker and put in a foil packet with a couple splashes of beer for moisture. Great excuse to have a beer while cooking.

Seal packet well and put back in smoker for 2 more hours.

This is a good time to put in your corn to smoke on the top smoker rack.

Check after 2 hours. Mine were almost done.

I put back in smoker uncovered for the last 30 minutes. You want the bones to be loose so that they can pull out easily.

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Smoked Corn

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This recipe is super easy.

Just peel the corn husks back. Don not remove husks.Remove threads. Rinse.

Rub with olive oil or butter

Sprinkle Tony Chachere’s

Cover corn back up with husks.

Cook on top rack of smoker for a couple of hours.

We also had a salad of Tomatoes, Red onion, Mandarin oranges, and avocado with a lemon apple cider vinegar dressing.

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My daughter enjoying her ribs.

Pork Medallions with fig reduction

A friend of mine holds monthly tasting events with a different adult beverage theme every month and I always try to come up with an appetizer for the event that is yummy and fits with the beverage we are tasting. This appetizer was made for a port tasting. It was completely experimental and came out amazingly tasty.

This dish can be served as individual small bite appetizers or as a salad.

For my daughter’s dinner I did this as a chopped up pork chop salad by dressing the baby arugula with lemon juice and placing all ingredients on top. Much easier to assemble and a good way to use the left over pieces of pork chops after making medallions for your party.

I used pork chops since they were on sale. Cut from bone and pounded a little flatter with a meat tenderizer. You can use a tenderloin also. Just make sure it is close to bite sized pieces cut thin. About ¼ inch thick. I used a shot glass to get the circles out of the pork chops.

Fig reduction

6 shallots very finely chopped

Package dried figs (stems removed quartered) ( used a pack of California figs and a bag of mission but have leftovers)

1 inch nub of freshly grated ginger

Zest of one large lemon

Juice of half lemon

A few shakes of red pepper flakes

Salt and pepper

About 3 cups port (I used ¾ of a bottle of Warren’s heritage Ruby) (we did not taste at party)

Olive oil

 

Sautee shallots in a sauce pan in a bit of olive oil to lightly caramelize.

Add Port to deglaze

Add other ingredients

Cook over medium heat until liquid has been reduced.

Be careful not to burn the sugars.

 

Toasted pecans

Bag of pecans

Olive oil

Sea Salt (my salt is pink)

Cast iron skillet hot

Toss pecans oil and salt together

Cook until pecans color and crisp a bit.

 

Pork

Season with Tony’s

I used a fairly hot cast iron skillet.

Put olive oil in skillet let it get hot.

Add pork .

Since the medallions are small cooked only 3 minutes each side. Be sure not to overcook and dry out the pork.

Assembly

Let your pork rest a few minutes before assembly so you don’t have standing juice on your presentation tray.

Put medallions on tray

Baby arugula (I used 3 pieces per and pinched off long ends)

Figs reduction next

Pinch of blue cheese

Top with a pecan

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What to do with a LOT of coffee containers

For months my husband has been saving coffee and creamer containers for me. Lots and lots of them. When he started saving them he said, “I know you will figure out something to do with them. They look like a craft project.”

For the last 8 or 9 months I have been watching this collection of containers grow and fill the space above the kitchen cabinets. I would stare at them and wonder WTF I was going to do with this ever-growing collection of coffee and creamer containers. They were multiplying like rabbits above my kitchen cabinets and I could not think of anything to make with them. Still my husband kept telling me. “You’re going to make something great. I know it.”  I felt guilt at not using them yet. Guilt that he has been saving these things just for me and I have done nothing with them. Pressure to be creative when I looked at them and could come up with nothing I wanted to make.

I scoured Pintrest looking for ideas anything I could find worthy with not one single idea or even the spark of an idea. No luck.

Meanwhile, there they sat dirty and neglected on top of the kitchen cabinets becoming clutter.

Then inspiration hit…

My craft room is a disorganized Mess

I have a confession. I am a hoarder of crafting supplies. I save things that I have only used on one project years ago that I may need again for something. I then lose that something because my organization is just bins and boxes with no labels.

Case in point: florist wire and florist tape. I bought florist wire and florist tape for my wedding in 2012 to make the boutonnieres and bouquets, as I was a DIY bride. I kept the florist tape and wire, because even though I don’t do anything with flowers I may need it again for some strange and mysterious purpose.

This Christmas I had need of florist wire. A wreath I had made had some pieces that came loose when we moved. I searched and searched and dug like a crazy woman at a dollar undie sale at a high-end lingerie shop. I was slinging craft supplies all over the place and couldn’t locate the wire.

Off I went to the store to buy more florist wire.

Just the other day I found the missing wire. Now I have 2 spools of florist wire. Lack of organization is costing me time, money and making my space crowded.

My husband said to emphasize that he does not like the spending money part.

I am also guilty of buying craft items because they are on sale. Or look cool. Or hey, I want to make that. Only never to touch them. I am sure I am not the only one to do that either.

I get all bouncing up and down excited about projects go and get things to make bunches of that thing, whatever it may be and only do that kind of project once or twice. Storing the supplies away for making more later.

Everyone does that. Right? Help me feel less guilty here.

Or that do-hicky that you do not know what it is or what it is for but you must keep it because one day you might need it for a mysterious something that will never ever manifest but might, in a could be alternate dimension.

 

The coffee containers are transforming

One day I will be brave and engage in the dreaded craft purge (cringe) but, for today, my goal is to try to organize and label. I am a bad kitty.

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Let’s make this thing.

Step one (painting containers)

Be sure to wash containers with a good degreasing cleaning product.

If your containers have languished around in the kitchen above the cabinets like mine did they will be coated in kitchen grease. Yuck!

If your containers have removable labels take them off before painting.

tip

Step two (cut the lid)You don’t need to be thorough painting bottom just enough to cover edge if hanging on wall.Paint upright then turn upside down for second coat so you get all those pesky bumps and indents covered

A big note here. The lids like the one below for the creamer containers don’t cut well and chip and break. I decided to use them without lids for longer items.

See not pretty.

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Take a sharp pointed exacto blade and cut the lid in half leaving the rim. Like I did on this one.

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Step three (paint the lids)

Be sure lids are clean and dry

Paint them with spray paint to match tops

Here are all my painted canisters

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Step four (put them together)

After paint is dry, put containers on a table touching each other in a pattern you find pleasing

Find nuts and bolts.

If you’re like me, you have a collection of various size screws nuts and bolts. Just grab a bunch

I found that if I have some screws that were a bit longer helped because of the indents on containers they fit better.

Then take a drill and drill holes in the containers where they touch each other and bolt together.

Be sure if using ones with screw on lids to put the lids on before drilling so that you make sure the cutout is in the orientation you would like.

Paint scratches off easily so use caution.  I am OK with where the paint is chipped as I think it gives a more rustic look.

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Keep in mind, you do not need to be a great tool using person to do this project well. I hand tightened the bolts. You can tighten with wrench if you prefer. The goal with the nuts and bolts is to add enough structure so your stack of containers is not floppy.

Step five

If you are hanging on the wall, drill a couple holes in the center back of the containers so you can hang them.

Put the lids on.

You can now use either free standing on a shelf or hung like I am doing.

The picture shows the connected containers.

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What to do when you buy the wrong vinyl

I am fairly new to the world of using a silhouette cameo. Which if unfamiliar with it cuts things out on paper and vinyl and such that you send to it via a graphics file on your computer.

I was all excited and went to the local craft supply store and bought this big pack of squares of vinyl in a variety of colors. I was wanting permanent vinyl to make cups and such. Turns out I bought the temporary kind that you use for things like wallies.

I did not know what I was going to do with all this vinyl.

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Use vinyl letters or a label maker and label each bin so you know what is in them.Step six (make labels)

I chose removable so if I change my mind I can take it off

Project is complete

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