Tag Archives: Food

Do Your Dogs Love Bananas?

Dogs waiting for a bite of banana
The pups waiting for a bite of banana.

Banana time at our house is eagerly anticipated each day. Five of our six dogs love bananas. I’m pretty sure my husband hasn’t eaten an entire banana in years. He’s a soft touch that way. The shelties are especially food driven. All the dogs can catch their bite as it is tossed in the air. Zekie’s (the dog on the left) catch makes a nice lip smacking sound since he doesn’t have any canine fangs, having broken them all off in attempts to escape his crate in previous years. Read more about him here. Zekie, My Pit Bull!?

All the dogs know they get one bite and they must take turns. Claire, our newest pack member, still occasionally tries to steal Nikki’s share as Nikki is old and somewhat senile. You can read about Claire joining our family here. Welcome Home!  You can’t blame a girl for trying!

Luckily, bananas are one of the fruits that are safe for dogs since ours’ love them so much. Some fruits are not, and if you are confused about which ones are safe, a quick internet search will provide you with a list of which are safe to share with your canine friend and which are not. Raisins and grapes are particularly bad news.

The focus that a piece of food can hold for a dog is amazing. That’s why it is so much easier to train a food driven dog. Just look at that laser focus. You can teach most dogs to sit in a matter of minutes if you have a piece of cheese or other appropriately delectable goodie. I suppose it is not that different from me knowing when there is a chocolate cake on the countertop and not being able to stop thinking about it. Or those Oreos, or that chocolate ice cream with Reese’s peanut butter cups in it. Come to think of it, I am having a new understanding of my dogs’ focus and preoccupation with tasty food!

Food Driven!

Can you tell that daddy has food?

Cassius the greyhound, Shelby, Zekie, Claire, Baxter, and Nikki all want some. Nikki is too short to be seen in the photo.

It is easy to get the attention of food driven dogs. They are easier to train. That is if you can get their focus off the food!

The Art of Food

The year 2020 got off to a good culinary start. With our traditional pork and sauerkraut that I made for everyone else, we had raisin walnut cinnamon bread that I made this morning. It was delicious with some butter but I couldn’t help but think what amazing French toast it would make. I love making bread. The dough is so soft and smooth when I knead it. It is therapeutic.

My mother in law spent the afternoon with us and joined us for the New Year’s meal. She brought an amazing coconut cream pie that she made this morning. It was also delicious!

We are fortunate to have a family of good cooks who appreciate cooking and baking for the art they can be!

Pizza, Mangia!!

From time to time I like to make homemade pizzas. They are fun because you can make up your own concoctions with whatever you want. My pizza dough recipe makes enough for two pizzas. You can make both at the same time or save the dough in the refrigerator to make the second pizza on another night.

I just use the standard pizza dough recipe that came with my bread machine. If I’m going to be away, I will make the dough in the bread machine so it is ready when I get home. If I’m around the house anyway, I knead the dough by hand. You could also use pizza dough from the freezer section of your grocery store. 

Above is my red pizza before it goes into the oven. This one has fresh mushrooms, black olives, and chicken sausage on half. The cheese is cheddar. I find that the cheese you use doesn’t really matter as long as you don’t mind a non-traditional pizza.

And here is the pizza after baking. My pan has holes to make the pizza crispier and make it cook more evenly. For the sauce I just used jarred spaghetti sauce of your choice. I often use Del Grosso Three Cheese.

This pizza is actually the favorite in our house. It is a white seafood pizza. The crust is brushed with olive oil, then topped with sea stix, shrimp, chopped marinated artichoke hearts, minced fresh garlic, and Old Bay Seasoning. The cheese on this one is a six cheese Italian Blend.

I bake the pizzas at 425 degrees for 15-17 minutes. Let them cool a few minutes, then slice and serve!

Homemade Soup!

Now that the weather is cooler, soup season is here! I love homemade soup. We rarely have canned soup because homemade is so much better in all ways. It is more nutritious, has less salt, is more filling, and tastes better. And you can put whatever you want in it. My daughter says, that I “get” soup.

This morning I took my soup sack out of the freezer, dumped the contents in a pan of water and let it simmer for more than an hour. After it cooled, I scooped out all the chunks from the soup sack and let the broth cool. Everything I scooped out got thrown away. All the flavor was cooked out. I let the liquid cool and used my fat separator to remove the fat. You can also refrigerate the broth until the fat solidifies and scoop it out that way. Then I split the skimmed broth in half. Half went into the freezer and the other half went in today’s (and probably tomorrow’s) lunch.

I cooked some sweet white onion in olive oil until it was soft. Then I added the broth which I spiced with salt, pepper, onion and garlic powders, dried garden basil, and oregano. While this simmered lightly, I went out to the garden and cut some Swiss Chard. It is still growing even though we had frost last night. It is a hardy vegetable. I sliced the stems, chopped the leaves, and added both to the pot. From the pantry I added a can of garbanzo beans and some bronze cut penne pasta, along with two links of sliced Italian chicken sausage. All of this simmered together for two hours. Part of the secret to delicious soup is this long, slow simmer. It allows the flavors to to meld and become one.

Personally, I don’t eat the meat because of the whole “dead animal” issue, but my husband does and I only want to make one soup. This however makes me very popular with the dogs if I find any meat in my portion.

List of ingredients:

  • Homemade broth (substitute purchased if you must)
  • White onion, finely chopped
  • Salt, pepper, onion & garlic powders, basil, oregano
  • Swiss Chard (or spinach or kale)
  • Garbanzo beans, 1 can
  • Pasta, chunky shaped
  • 2 Links sausage, any variety, sliced

I did not bother listing amounts because, it’s soup, it doesn’t really matter. Make it to your preference. If it’s too thick, add water. If it’s too watery, boil it down. That’s the beauty of soup. There is no wrong, make it your’s!

The Versatile Grilled Cheese



I love the many faces of the grilled cheese sandwich. It is such a versatile food that can be prepared in so many ways. Above, you see it on Italian bread made with Muenster cheese and freshly sliced avocado. It was the most delightful thing I had tasted in a long time. And it was only a lowly grilled cheese. But it had been elevated to new heights.

The first consideration in making one of these sandwiches is the bread. Which one to pick? Oh, so many choices. I tend to prefer the “white” breads for this use. Not just your squishy store brand white bread though. I prefer something like a crusty Italian, French, sourdough, olive oil, ciabatta, or some other bread with a nice texture. Wheat bread is not my favorite for grilled cheese but it will do. The texture of the wheat interferes with the overall sandwich for me.

The next decision is what cheese to use. There is always good old American cheese. This is my last choice. One of my favorites is Muenster. It is mild but with good flavor and oh, so creamy. The various cheddars are also good bets. New York White, extra sharp, medium, or mild, excellent choices all. Brick, farmer’s cheese, provolone, mozzarella, these are all good to use. Although I like the taste of smoked cheeses, in my experience, they don’t melt well. If you want to use a smoked cheese, I would add a little of it with another type of cheese. You get the smoked flavor but still have the “meltiness” of the other cheese.

At this point you may have everything that you want in your sandwich. Not me. I like to put in extras. Thinly sliced onion is the most basic choice. Other add-ins that I might use are the afore mentioned avocado, alfalfa sprouts, sliced tomato, or fresh spinach. I also enjoy grilled cheese with jam, a nice raspberry or strawberry is good. I thought this sounded odd the first time I heard of it but it is delicious.

When getting ready to grill the sandwich, melt some butter in a non-stick pan and coat one side of each slice of bread with it. I like to then sprinkle the buttered bread with some garlic powder (except for the jam version) and grill on a medium heat until it turns that beautiful golden brown color.

Plate it up, and then enjoy!


20150301_195602 I love pancakes!

There are so many ways to make them. I always use Bisquick for my pancakes. I find that it produces the best results.  The other similar mixes just don’t measure up.  I alter the basic recipe on the box to whatever suits my taste.

I always add extra liquid so the batter is a little thinner and I can get a bigger, flatter pancake. Not too much liquid though or you will have trouble flipping the pancakes. The liquid can be varied. The recipe calls for milk. I rarely use regular cow’s milk because of lactose issues in our household. Generally I use vanilla almond milk. You can also substitute chocolate almond milk or orange juice. Don’t forget the eggs and oil as per the box recipe. Next the standard recipe calls for vanilla extract. I often use almond extract instead. Any other flavor would work just as well depending on the final product you are going for. I whisk all of the wet ingredients together before adding them to the dry. Sometimes I add in canned pumpkin or mashed bananas. You may have to adjust the liquid depending on the consistency of these. No big deal. If the batter gets too runny, just add a little more of the Bisquick to thicken it up. I like to add cinnamon and nutmeg to the pumpkin and maybe a little molasses to make it like pumpkin pie.

And then you are ready for what I call the “add-ins”. Nearly all of my pancakes include chocolate chips. Other things you could add include:  almonds, pecans, walnuts, chopped cranberries, coconut, sliced strawberries, blueberries, orange zest, lemon zest, raspberries or blackberries, chopped dates. The possibilities are many. I mix these items into the dry Bisquick before adding the liquid. I find that having them coated and dispersed reduces the needed mixing and makes a better quality pancake.

I always use a silver stone, non-stick pan to cook the pancakes in. I add a little cooking spray before the first pancake. Make sure the pan is well heated on medium heat. Then pour in the batter and spread it around a little with a spoon to get the pancake thin enough and as large as you want it. Small bubbles or holes will surface starting at the outside and then toward the center as cooking takes place. Flip the pancake when the bubbles are coming up near the center. I often have trouble flipping the first pancake. It is usually the “sacrificial pancake”. After this I never have any trouble. If there is no chocolate, this is the pancake the dogs get.

I hope you have fun making these pancakes and coming up with different combinations. I always do. My particular favorites that I make over and over are:

  • Pumpkin Chocolate Chip (All time favorite!)
  • Banana Chocolate Chip
  • Orange Chocolate Chip

Other tasty combinations are:

  • Orange Almond Chocolate Chip
  • Banana Pecan
  • Coconut Pecan Chocolate Chip made with Chocolate Almond Milk (like German Chocolate Cake!)
  • Raspberry White Chocolate Chip

So, have fun with this. You are only limited by your imagination!