In honor of finally having nice weather, we grilled our ENTIRE dinner last night – chicken, potatoes, asparagus, and DESSERT!  Yes, grilled dessert!!!

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Dinner was grilled chicken cordon blue – Ryan’s invention (much better than his last . . . fritos and peanut butter) – with potatoes and asparagus.  Dessert was strawberry peach cobbler.  It was fantastic.  I didn’t keep track of the recipe, but I will have to make it again soon so I can write the recipe down.

Today we are trying pulled pork on the grill, and I am trying to find a way to make buns for the pulled pork on the grill instead of inside in the oven.  Thoughts????

Also, not that long ago I posted about the magical power of pancakes.  In case you want additional proof of the mind control powers of pancakes, Ryan has spent the last 2+ hours doing yard work non-stop.  Murphy has spent the last 2+ hours sleeping non-stop.  Apparently pancakes only have a brainwashing effect on husbands, not dogs.

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Love Notes From Murphy – Father’s Day


Dear Dad,

You are the best.

Definitely better than the rest.

I really do think you are great.

But would it kill you to give me more treats?!?!

I like it when you take me for a walk.

You are really great at listening to mom when she needs to talk.

Thank you for feeding me and buying me toys.

If you buy me even more, I’ll promise to be a good boy.



You are the best dad . . .

. . . I could ever have.


p.s. poems are hard.



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Love Notes From Murphy – Pick-Up Lines Edition 


You are the ham to my eggs. And you have really nice legs.

What do you think? It’s an attention-getter all right, but will it land me a hot date?

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Mondays with Murphy – The Poop Garden

The humans built me a Poop Garden. This is me in my poop garden:


The humans said I am using it wrong.  I said, I was pooped, so I laid down to rest.  Isn’t that what a Poop Garden is for? Silly humans.

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Strawberry Basil Soda

Yesterday, we participated in the Walker’s Point Food Crawl in Milwaukee.  One of the restaurants on the Food Crawl, Meraki, had several homemade sodas on the menu, including basil soda.  In spite of my initial reservations, I decided – why not?!?!?!  And . . . . drum roll . . . the soda was by far one of the best things I have ever had!!!

Inspired, I decided to try and make my own basil soda.  I found this recipe, and made it my own:


  • 1 pound strawberries, trimmed
  • 1 cup water
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 3/4 cup basil leaves
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Soda water


  1. Puree strawberries in a blender.
  2. Add strawberry puree, water, lemon juice, basil, and sugar to a medium sauce pan.
  3. Heat over medium-high heat until boiling.
  4. Simmer 5-8 minutes stirring frequently.  Do NOT walk away, the mixture could easily boil over and that is a mess one would not want to clean!
  5. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  6. Strain syrup.
  7. For serving, mix 2 tablespoons of syrup, lots of ice, and soda water (and vodka if you are over 21) in a glass.
  8. Enjoy!

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When asked for comments, Ryan stated that the soda was “an explosion of deliciousness,” and “like Six Flags Great America — a roller coaster in my mouth.”  I think he may have had too much sugar, Murphy and I will monitor him closely.

I also made honey ginger peach soda, but I don’t think I am quite done with that recipe yet.  It still needs a few more tweaks!  I am also thinking about trying blueberry mint!  What other combinations should I try?

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Ryan’s Peanut Butter Cookies

A few weeks ago Ryan and I were grocery shopping, and he decided he needed peanut butter cookies.  Instead of buying pre-made dough from the store, I promised Ryan that if he found a recipe online I would make him homemade peanut butter cookies.

So, when we got home off Ryan went to his office, with Murphy close on his heels, to research peanut butter cookie recipes.  Twenty minutes later my boys came back downstairs with a marked-up recipe.  Not only had Ryan found a recipe, but he had made revisions!!!!!  This had the potential to be truly horrible — the last “recipe” Ryan came up with was mixing Fritos with peanut butter for a snack.

Nevertheless, being the “good” wife I am, I followed his recipe as requested (and he says I am incapable of “obeying”).  Here is the recipe he found as a starting point, here is what we ended up with:


  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cup flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup Reese’s Pieces


  1. Preheat the oven to 340 degrees.
  2. Mix together butter, brown sugar, and peanut butter until smooth.
  3. Add egg, milk, and vanilla.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix tougher flour and baking soda.
  5. Add the flour mixture to the to the peanut butter mixture.
  6. Mix in Reese’s Pieces.
  7. Drop rounded spoonfuls onto cookie sheets (Specific Ryan Instruction: use parchment paper to make clean-up easier).
  8. Press down with a fork in a criss-cross pattern (also a Specific Ryan Instruction because apparently peanut butter cookies must have a criss-cross pattern).
  9. Bake 8-10 minutes.
  10. Let cool for a few minutes before moving to a wire-rack to cool completely.
  11. Eat a few (or all of them) while they are still warm.


Ryan and Murphy were both pleased with the end-product.  I am thinking I should put Ryan in charge of finding more recipes!!


Recipe Notes:

  1. You may need to preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  I use dark, non-stick pans, so I always turn the oven down about ten to fifteen degrees.
  2. I intentionally omitted the salt because we are trying to use less salt.
  3. I like to refrigerate my cookie dough for at least 30 minutes before baking, but this isn’t necessary.
  4. Ryan thought that the cookies were better they next day when they were cool from being in the refrigerator.


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Love Notes From Murphy – Fries at Sunrise


I told Mom I wanted to start writing love notes and poems – I call it Dog Poetry. Here is my first love note, I call it Fries at Sunrise:

Let’s go watch the sunrise, and then go to McDonalds for some fries. 

What do you think? Did it make you swoon? 

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Mondays with Murphy – Magic Tricks


Yesterday, I took Mom and Dad to visit Grammy, and while we were there Grammy did a magic trick.

I saw another dog and started to whine (don’t hate — it is a ferocious whine).  Then Grammy came over with cheese in her hand, and poof! the other dog was gone.  It was almost like there was no dog to begin with!  Dog – what dog?!?!?! I know, crazy!?!?!??!

Dad did a magic trick this morning, too.  He asked mom to take me outside, and as soon as she did, it started pouring rain (Mom and I don’t like the rain).  Then, as soon as we came inside, it stopped raining.  Dad should be more like Grammy and only use his magic for good!

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Healthy Potato Salad

Today, I am attempting to make a “healthy” barbecue side dish.  I settled on “healthy” potato salad (is that an oxymoron?).

I found this recipe online, and with the mustard and the dill, I thought it would still have a lot of flavor and still be healthy.  I made a couple of tweaks to the recipe, and ended up with this:


  • 6 medium red potatoes (left the skins on), and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 3 celery ribs, chopped
  • 1 cucumber chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 2 heaping tablespoons sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons goat cheese
  • 1/2 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup spicy mustard
  • Pepper, to taste (We have someone on a low-salt diet, so I didn’t add any salt)


  1. Cook potatoes in boiling water until potatoes are tender (about 10 minutes after water starts boiling).
  2. Drain and let cool completely.
  3. While potatoes are cooking mix together all of the remaining ingredients.
  4. Add cooled potatoes, and then cover and chill at least one hour before serving.


Ryan had two comments.  First, he said it “wasn’t bad,” which means I have work to do on the recipe.   Second, he said it would have been better with bacon, which means he is of the male species.  I double there is a recipe in this world that Ryan thinks couldn’t be improved with bacon — typical man.

I think I will try the recipe again without the rosemary — the dill is such a powerful flavor it overpowers the rosemary — without the goat cheese, and with more brown mustard.  I plan to still omit the salt.  I am trying to make a conscious effort to not use salt and, on a different note, to substitute honey for sugar.

For those of you looking for healthy potato salad recipes, I found some more that I thought looked good and I plan to try:

  1. Warm Potato & Goat Cheese Potato Salad
  2. Light & Fresh Potato Salad
  3. Herbed Potato Salad

How do you make your potato salad? Do you have a healthy version? Does your husband try and sneak bacon into everything?

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Buttermilk Pancakes

Murphy and Ryan love “cakes” for breakfast, and it is definitely a better alternative than mulch for breakfast.

I am also discovering that pancakes for breakfast, will make your husband do anything.  I think they have some sort of magic mind control powers.  Since breakfast, Ryan has cleaned the entire kitchen, is now vacuuming the entire downstairs, and plans to give Murphy a bath later (shhhhh, don’t tell Murphy).

Did somebody say bath?

Did somebody say bath?

If you would like your husband to turn into a super husband, here is my favorite recipe for buttermilk pancakes (adapted from here):


  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter
  • Frozen blueberries (optional)


  1. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon with a whisk.
  2. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, eggs, and melted butter.
  3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, and whisk just until blended.
  4. Let sit for 5-10 minutes.
  5. Cook over medium to medium/low heat (depends on the size of your burners) until golden brown on each side. If adding blueberries, add them right after you pour the batter on the pan/griddle.
  6. When finished cooking the humans’ cakes, make three small cakes for your spoiled dog.
Behold the magical cakes:
Pancakes & Sausage
Perhaps the secret powers of the cakes are too strong.  As I was typing this, Ryan came over and vacuumed me.
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