Archive | May 2012

Doggie Treats for Your Best Friend

Lady came to visit us recently and the poor thing ended up very sick from her travels. She was gasping for air and her tongue had turned blue. We knew she was losing oxygen, but we didn’t know until later what exactly had happened. The vet told us she was in the midst of a heat stroke when we and her Mom/Dad rushed her to the doggie emergency room.

Once we knew Lady was okay, I decided to try out this wonderful recipe that The Scrumptious Pumpkin posted recently. It looked so easy and so healthy! I doubled the recipe so my mom’s dog, Skipper, will be able to enjoy these, too.


I started by making my own peanut butter. Using dry roasted, unsalted peanuts, I am able to control exactly what goes into the peanut butter and know for sure that there are no added hydrogenated fats, no salt, and no sugar.  This peanut butter was made with peanuts and a little water, pulsed in the food processor until smooth.


As anyone who bakes bread knows, kneading dough is a lot of fun and this dough was no exception! My friend, Jozee, and I made a huge mess in the kitchen, but it was a lot of fun!


Stamping out the doggie bone shapes was just as fun, too!


Here is the actual recipe:

Doggie Peanut Butter Honey Treats

Yield: 20 Treats

1-1/2 tbsp canola oil

2 tbsp smooth, plain peanut butter

2 tbsp honey

1 egg

1 c whole wheat flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Knead dough on a lightly floured surface and roll out to about half an inch thick. Cut treats with a cookie cutter and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake about 10 minutes or until treats are firm to the touch.

Before freezing or storing, allow treats to cool and harden, about 30 minutes.

Lady would have eaten the whole batch if we hadn’t kept them from her!




Your doggie friend/baby will love you if you make these! It was a hit with Lady and I can’t wait for Skipper to get his! Thank you to The Scrumptious Pumpkin for the inspiration, the recipe and the idea!

Garden Eye Candy

This morning was absolutely beautiful and these are a few of the shots I captured. None of these shots have been retouched.

photo (2)




These marigolds are from seeds I collected last summer from the marigolds in my garden!



Warming Up To The Past


Aunt Mary

Today is a bittersweet day filled with memories of one of the most important ladies in my life. You see, today would have been her 72nd birthday. I got to really know my dad’s older sister after I had already reached adulthood.  My Aunt Mary Ellen was a beautiful woman who faced a very rough beginning to her life but was able to rise above those disparaging, dark days. She found strength, happiness, love and had a beautiful family who gave her grandchildren to love and care for.

When my parents split, my Aunt Mary wrote me letters, called me and visited often. She helped me work through a lot of issues and we became quite close.  Her letters were filled with encouragement. She loved art, reading, quilting and cooking. I discovered that we shared similar handwriting and loved many of the same fiction authors. At one point we were mailing books back and forth to each other every week! Then we’d call each other and talk about them.

Then one day, a big box arrived at my door. It was as light as a feather. I shook it and there wasn’t a sound. My excitement grew because it came totally unannounced. Opening it, I discovered a beautiful surprise inside. A hand-stitched lap quilt with an extra special tag sewn into the corner. It was my birthday gift. And little did I know how lucky a girl I was to receive this beautiful gift!


When I look at each stitch it makes me think of the hours she spent sitting there just sewing this, for me, stitch by stitch, block by block.


She knew I loved the color blue, so she made sure to get it on my quilt many times! Whether in a heart or in a flower, it was there…


Even the border has hearts stitched into it! I really loved my Aunt and this is one way to show she loved me!


She tacked on this sweet handmade tag. All I could do was smile when I saw her inscription, “My favorite niece.”


My heart broke when, in early September 2009, Aunt Mary Ellen was diagnosed with glioblastoma, a very aggressive brain tumor. For years she had suffered from severe migraine headaches. We never once dreamed that she would have to endure brain tumors. Sadly Aunt Mary passed away a few months later in 2002. She didn’t last a year after diagnosis. I can’t even begin to tell you how sad it was to say good-bye to my dear, sweet Aunt. I miss her so much. When I touch this quilt and think of all our conversations and letters and visits, it makes me smile. She is in my heart and the Heart Quilt is my living memory of her.

Grandma Kemp

I never enjoyed the privilege of meeting Jeff’s Grandma Kemp. And from the stories he tells me of his childhood visits, she was an amazing woman. Mother to 10 children, this woman kept quite busy and from what Jeff tells me, was an awesome cook! In addition to raising her brood, she even had time to make quilts!

Southern born and bred, she was the epitome of Southern hospitality. Besides his mother, Grandma Kemp was the greatest women he ever knew. She raised her 10 children in a 2-bedroom house. She was the glue that held the family together. She had a large garden that helped feed her large family. This lovely lady hand-stitched a couple of quilts for my hubby. He says that wrapping up in one of these quilts is much like being held in her arms. It was a safe place to be.


See every little stitch of love in this section of blocks.


No matter which side you look at the stitches are evenly spaced.


Grandma Kemp loved all kinds of creatures and she had cats. Cats everywhere….and they all drove Grandpa crazy! So I know I would have loved her!

Grandma never missed a Sunday by the radio listening to the reading of the obituaries. And she knew every single one of them. Grandma Kemp has been gone for a while, but memories of her still hold strong. My Jeff smiles every time he speaks of her.

Aunt Lucille

This sweet little lady is Jeff’s aunt. Aunt Lucille is very special to us. Jeff tells me countless stories of their camping adventures at Cades Cove when he was a kid. His family, Aunt Lucille and her family and other aunts and uncles would join them and spend many happy days camping together, watching the wildlife at The Cove and all the mishaps of trips to the emergency room not too far away. From broken bones to bad bruises there are many memories for Jeff. Jeff’s favorite signs are “Now Entering Cades Cove” and “B19.” He tells me about all the times they would all fight to be first out of the car to check the Ranger Station bulletin board to see which campsite they were assigned to.

Even though she’s getting up in years, dear, sweet Aunt Lucille came to our wedding. We were ecstatic to have her there and are so thankful to be able to spend some time visiting her.

As you can see, she is quite a talented crochet-er. She lovingly made these beautiful afghans for Jeff, her August baby.


Aunt Lucille and Mom share a special relationship. It’s so special that when she and her husband John were young marrieds and Mom and Dad were newly married, they joined together and bought a television.


The funny part of this story is that Mom and Dad lived in Atlanta and John and Lucille lived in Asheville. Mom and Dad would have the TV one week and then they’d drive it to John and Lucille’s who would have the TV for a week! Then John and Lucille would drive it back to them!


This week leads up to Mother’s Day and we couldn’t help but think of these women who have played an important part of shaping our lives.


The creative talent they had/have has carried over into our lives as well!


We don’t get to travel as much as we’d like to with our busy schedules, but we still try to keep up with Aunt Lucille when we can.

Aunt Mary and Grandma Kemp are gone and Aunt Lucille may live far away from us, but each one of these ladies have given us a gift that will forever live in our hearts.

The Hot Brown–Kentucky Derby Style!

Today is a very full day. It’s the Kentucky Derby, Cinco de Mayo and spectacular Moon weekend. I’ve been thinking all week about what to make and blog about and really had a hard time deciding on just one item. Since we eat a lot of Mexican food, I thought that I’d first try something I’ve never had before. The infamous Hot Brown. In my discussions with my foodie friend, Heather, the Hot Brown sounded like a nice treat. She is a Kentucky-born foodie who I really enjoy talking with. We talk recipes all the time!

In looking over the images online, I found many different versions of this very popular sandwich. This got me wondering which was the original way? I’m not from Kentucky, so I

Hot Brown FN

really didn’t know about this sandwich. Well, I’d heard of it, but had never seen it, nor tasted it! After talking to my Foodie Friend Heather…I decided it was time to try it.

What is the Hot Brown? Back in the Roaring 20s, guests of The Brown Hotel was a hot spot for dancers and would attract upwards of 1,200 dancers every evening. After dancing into the early morning hours, guests would head for the restaurant to find something wonderful to eat. At the time, everyone was bored with the typical ham and eggs. To help keep his guests happy and coming back, Chef Fred Schmidt created this open faced turkey sandwich with bacon and delicate Mornay Sauce. Needless to say, this is one popular sandwich today!

Hot Brown Brown Hotel

This is the Brown Hotel recipe is reminiscent of a time when whole fats were used constantly and stacked on each other.  I immediately started thinking about how I could tweak this recipe to make it healthier while still enjoying a classic dish. We don’t use heavy cream in our house, but I realized that the cream is probably what creates a good portion of the flavor, so substituting a low fat milk would probably work well. If you’re vegetarian or vegan, an unsweetened nut milk would work as well as a vegetable protein meat replacement for the turkey and bacon. For the butter, you can substitute with Earth Balance or other type Heart Healthy expeller pressed oil “butter” spread.

The Hot Brown by the Louisville Brown Hotel

2 oz. whole butter

2 oz. all purpose flour

16 oz. heavy cream

1/2 c. pecorino Romano cheese

Salt & Pepper, to taste

14 oz. sliced turkey breast

2 slices Texas Toast, crust trimmed

4 slices crispy bacon

2 Roma tomatoes, sliced in half

Paprika, Parsley

In a 2-qt saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and slowly whisk in the all-purpose flour to make a thick roux. Cook for another 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Slowly whisk in the heavy cream and cook another 2-3 minutes or until the cream begins to simmer. Remove from the heat and slowly whisk in the cheese and stir until the Mornay Sauce is smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.


Place the toast in an oven-safe dish, cover with 7-oz of the sliced turkey, take the Roma tomato halves and place alongside the base of the turkey & toast. Pour the Mornay Sauce to completely cover the dish. Top with cheese. Place under the broiler until cheese browns and bubbles. Remove. Cross the bacon on the top, garnish with paprika & parsley. Serve immediately.

Hot Brown Veggie Styel

This is my version of the Hot Brown with oatmeal toast….and since I don’t eat bacon, I used “veggie” bacon. I know, it’s an oxymoron, but still was good! And I used my sliced yellow tomato – and broiled it with the rest. I used Romano and Parmesan cheeses grated super fine and low fat milk to make the Mornay Sauce. While my hubby didn’t try this (I would have used turkey bacon for him) I enjoyed something a little different for breakfast.

Happy Derby Day!