Monthly Archives: October 2013

Packers v. Vikings – Food Overload

I didn’t have nearly as much luck researching Minnesota Foods as I did researching Cleveland Foods.  Maybe there is more culinary wonderfulness to Minnesota than I could find, but I just wasn’t seeing it.  I blame Google.

So instead of resorting to making lutefisk – something that I never ever ever want to eat – I decided to make all the foods I associate with fall and football.  Here is what we ended up with:

  • Buffalo Chicken Dip — A last minute addition because Ryan was hungry and decided we had to have a snack during the game.   He also thought it was a good idea because (1) it is easy to make (not really) and (2) we had all the ingredients to make the dip except the chicken (not true, and kind of a big deal to be missing the chicken).  So he ran to the store to get the chicken and the cream cheese and the ranch dressing and the Frank’s Hot Sauce.  Yes, the only ingredient we had was cheddar cheese.  At least I convinced him to pick up a rotisserie chicken, because I had no room in the oven to cook the chicken.
  • Homemade Dutch Oven Bread — Yes, again!!!  I promise you that once you try this bread, you will want to make it every weekend too.  In fact, next weekend I am making it for my brother because he has been asking my mom to make him homemade bread.
  • Potato Soup – Only because I associated Potato Soup with Minnesota for some unknown reason.
  • Crock Pot Applesauce – This is the only recipe that was remotely related to Minnesota.  Apparently, Honeycrisp Apples are the state fruit of Minnesota, so I used a mix of Honeycrisp and Granny Smith for the applesauce.
  • Italian Shredded Beef – One of my favorite recipes!!!
  • Pulled Pork – I tried a new recipe, and I think I have a new favorite!!!!  This recipe with homemade BBQ sauce is awesome!!!!!!  I started with the Beer-Braised Country Style Ribs, from last weekend, and tweaked the recipe to make pulled pork instead of ribs.  I was pleasantly surprised!!!!

Here are some pictures from the food extravaganza.

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I would say it was quite the productive cooking day!!!

Murphy had a productive weekend too!!

He had his girlfriend come over for  a sleepover this weekend.  They had a lot of fun watching out for a squirrel invasion.  Well, Mahogany did most of the watching, well Murphy slept, but occasionally he helped too!

Murphy and Hoggy 1 Murphy and Hoggy 2

They have a system all worked out — Mahogany is the “eyes” and Murphy is the “muscle.”

Mahogany “patrols the perimeter of the house” by looking out all of the windows, and Murphy rests so he can save his energy for when the squirrels decide to launch an invasion – See photo 1.

Then when Mahogany sees a squirrel, she barks, Murphy comes running, and then they both stare at the squirrel  – See photo 2.  Apparently two dogs staring is better than one.  I am not sure that the squirrels feel very intimidated by them.  In the second picture there is a squirrel sitting on the fence post staring back while eating a snack. I am not sure who won the staring contest, but I think that the dogs believe they did because they kept the evil squirrel from invading the house, and that the squirrel thinks that the dogs are nuts!

After successfully staring at squirrels in the morning, Murphy put on his Halloween costume and eagerly awaited the arrival of trick-or-treaters!!


For those of you who are wondering how Murphy did with all of the trick-or-treaters, well Murphy did what Murphy always does – he slept through almost all of it!!!

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Rib Chili – A Belated Meal Review

Last weekend Ryan had to leave on Sunday for work, so we had Football Dinner on Saturday.  We also had to wait until he got back form work (Thursday – ugh) to do the rating, so that means we are a little late in getting to the rating.

Here it is:

Cleveland Browns – Rib Chili & Homemade Bread
Category Max Rating
Deliciousness 20 18
Authenticity 10 9
Complementary Items 10 9
Presentation 5 4
Quantity 5 5
Total 50 45
Bonus – Packers 3 3
Bonus – Murphy 1 1
Total 54 49
Average 10.8 9.8

Overall I feel pretty happy with my score.  He down-graded me on “Complementary Items” (a category that he created, and that only he fully understands) because we didn’t have dessert.  I would like to point out that Ana was in charge of dessert, not me.  That girl is bad mo-jo for my football dinners!!!

For the Rib Chili, which I am not certain is a real thing, but sounded like a delicious idea, I made chili and then added beer-braised country style spare ribs.  Here is the recipe that I used for the ribs.  I liked the ribs so much, I adapted the recipe for this weekend’s meal.  More on that later!!!!  It was a nice change of pace from regular chili, but I think that I like the beer-braised ribs so much that I would rather eat them as a separate item.

For the chili, you could probably use any recipe that you like.  I typically use two kinds of meat for my chili, but because I was adding the rib meat, I only used ground beef.

I served the chili with homemade bread and mashed potatoes.


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Begging with Murphy

***Disclaimer: Murphy is very much well loved and well fed.***

Here is Murphy last night:

Murphy Begging

I bet that after seeing this picture you don’t believe me anymore.

The truth is that Murphy had just been taken outside and fed dinner.   I also put his sweatshirt on so that he wouldn’t get cold.  So why such a sad face?  Because Murphy is smarter than I give him credit for.  He knows that when I see that face, I melt and he can have pretty much anything he wants.

You see, I was eating popcorn and even though I had shared some with Murphy, I apparently had not shared enough.

Murphy takes begging to the extreme.  Fortunately, Murphy only begs when he really wants something.  Unfortunately, when it comes to food, the only thing Murphy doesn’t want is uncooked vegetables and jelly donuts.



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Mondays with Murphy – Treats Please


Sorry I haven’t blogged in a long time, Mommy was busy getting married, and I don’t have any thumbs of my own to blog with.

This weekend is trick or treat in the neighborhood, and I am really hoping that Mommy will make me treats too!!!  I found a recipe for Frozen Yogurt Dog Treats and for Frozen Dog Treats.  Yes, dogs can use the internet too – especially when they have a good human!!!  I am hoping that if I post these recipes, mom will see them and make me treats for Halloween.

I need to pick a Halloween costume too.  I was thinking that I could wear my Yoda shirt again or my Rufferree shirt.

Look at me as Yoda, don’t I look good!!!

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I once dressed as an airplane pilot, but I accidentally ate that costume.  Oooooops!!! It was my very first halloween costume, and no one told me you aren’t supposed to eat your halloween costumes.

Dad thinks I should dress as Yoda again, but mom thinks I should get a new costume.  What do you think?

Also, Mom told me that Saturday is National Pit Bull Awareness Day, and this is how the conversation went:

Mom:  Murphy, did you know that Saturday is National Pit Bull Awareness Day?  Do you want to do something to celebrate?

Murphy: Mom, why would we celebrate?

Mom: Because you are a pit bull, Murphy.

Murphy: Me??? No way, Mom. Pit Bulls are big dogs, and I am just a tiny little lap dog.  Don’t you see how nice I fit on your lap????

Mom: No, Murphy you aren’t a lap dog, you just think you are.

Murphy:  Woooooah, mind blown!!!  Its a good thing I have super dog contortionist abilities so that I can turn myself into a lap dog!!  I am like a magician or something!! Who wants to cuddle?!?!?!

Don’t you think that Mom should make me treats now — It is trick-or-treating, I look super adorable in a costume, and its my day!!!!!!



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Packers v. Browns – Rib Chili

Yup, you read that right — rib chili.  Not chili, not ribs, rib chili.

Thank you, Cleveland!!!

We made football dinner a day early because Ryan has to go out of town for work today.  Hopefully, making football dinner a night early doesn’t jinx the game. Oh wait, hopefully it does [insert evil laugh] – go Bears!!!!.

The pierogis were a fail, but in my opinion the rest of the meal was a fantastic success!!!

I also made the Dutch Oven Bread again, and I think I have perfected the recipe.  I updated the recipe, so be sure to check it out.  I promise that it is fantastic!!!!!!!!!!

Here is a picture from the meal.


I will post the recipe and the review later.

Also, here is a strange coincidence for all of you who celebrate Sweetest Day.  Sweetest Day, which was yesterday, apparently originated in Cleveland.

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Homemade English Muffins

On Friday night, Ryan and I went to the grocery store (I know married couples sure know how to have fun), and Ryan wanted to buy English Muffins.  Instead of just agreeing with him, I made the mistake of asking him if he wanted me to just make homemade English Muffins.  Of course he said yes.

We tried this recipe once before over the summer, and it turned out great.  It does take a bit of work, but on a cool-fall Sunday morning, with a fresh cup of coffee in my hand I don’t mind.

Here is the recipe that I started with.  I pretty much followed it exactly, with only a few tweaks.  Most of my changes were because I used the stand mixer with a dough hook instead of kneading the dough.

  • 1 cup of warm water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons yeast
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 5 cups all purpose flour (+ extra for sprinkling)
  • 1 teaspoons salt
  • Cornmeal
  1. Add water to bowl of stand mixer.  Sprinkle the yeast over the warm water.  Set aside for 5-10 minutes
  2. In a small saucepan, heat the milk, butter and honey until the butter is melted. Cut the butter into small pieces so that it melts quickly. Let cool.
  3. Add milk mixture to the water/yeast mixture
  4. Add flour and salt.  Using a dough hook attachment mix in the first three cups of flour until most of the flour is incorporated.  Add salt and remaining flour, and mix until a ball forms.
  5. Lightly sprinkle cornmeal on two cookie sheet. 
  6. Split dough in two.
  7. Roll out the dough (you will need to add flour so that it doesn’t stick) until its a 1/2 inch thick.
  8. Cut out circles (I used  a water glass, so mine were a bit on the smaller side), place on a cookie sheet, and sprinkle the top with cornmeal.  Cover and let sit for 45 minutes.
  9. **Optional** If you do not have a warm/sunny spot for the dough to rise in, preheat the oven to 250 degrees.  Place the cookie sheets in the oven, and turn the oven off.
  10. Heat a cast iron pan (or any other pan with a heavy bottom) over medium heat.
  11. Place each muffin the pan and cook on each site until browned (think medium brown/golden brown not dark brown).  Flip and repeat.
  12. Then eat!!!

I like to top my English muffins with either honey or peanut butter, but you can add whatever you like.


Also, Murphy wants you all to see his new bow tie.  Someone loves him very much and made him a new knit bow tie!!!



It isn’t the best picture, because Murphy loves napping about as much as he loves his bow ties!!! Murphy decided to try mixing prints – what do you think of the red bow tie with the blue paisley collar?? I told Murphy it was a little much, but Murphy insisted that the ladies would love it.

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Packers v. Browns Menu Ideas

I apologize in advance to anyone who is from Cleveland or who loves Cleveland, but when I realized the Packers were playing the Cleveland Browns this weekend, I was a little disappointed.  I mean, what types of food can Cleveland really be known for? I knew this one was going to take some research.

Except it didn’t.

The first article I came across, entitled “100 Things that Make Cleveland the Best,” had tons of options for great food – more importantly great football food.  Who knew?? Clearly, not me.

Apparently, Cleveland has tons of farmers markets, is well known for ribs, chili, chili and ribs (who knew that was a combination on its own), pierogis, ice cream,  and Italian food.  Seriously, who knew???

At first I was tempted to make Italian Food, because we learned (well I learned, Ryan kind of learned)  to make homemade pasta while we were on our honeymoon.  Ryan and I took a cooking class while we were in Florence.  We were so jet lagged we slept through the start of our class, and had to wander around the local market in an attempt to find our group.  Luckily we did find them!!!

Ryan actually signed us up for this trip – he called it an investment in our future.  Well, little did he knew that he would be required to cook as well!!!!  Revenge is sweet!!  We made homemade pasta, ravioli, bolognese, and tiramisu.  All of the food was delicious, but I would say that my favorite part was watching Ryan cook!!!  He has not as inept as I have led you all to believe, but I still think that I will remain the primary chef in this house.

Look at that chef potential:




How does this all connect to Cleveland you ask? I swear that it does.  And I am getting to that point now.

Well, apparently married men take hints so much better than engaged men.  Remember how I so subtly hinted that I needed an electric knife?  Well guess what I got for sweetest day?  Yes, an electric knife, but I also got a pasta making attachment for my stand mixer!!!!  Sweet!!!  And guess what, Ryan passed up buying himself shoes to buy me a sweetest day present.  Now that is love!!!

And no I did not get Ryan a sweetest day present? Why? Because Murphy forgot to tell me that today is sweetest day.  Hahaha, just kidding. I am making him a fantastic dinner today, so maybe that will make up for it.

So, back to dinner.  I decided against Italian food, because I am saving that for a different game.  Instead, I am making a combination of ribs, chili, and pierogis!!!  You will have to check back in to see how it turns out.  Oh, and Ana, the worst rater in tuesdaynightboyfriend history, has been invited back to judge.  Wish me luck!!!

p.s. Ryan wants you all to know that he know has an Italian cooking certification, but he says that the certification only qualifies him to be judge food, not cook.   Another thing I have learned about married men — they are just as fully of bullsh*t as engaged men.

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Berger Cookies Recipe

And yet, another recipe that I plan to change.

Here is the recipe – here.

I used version 2, not version 1.  I pretty much followed the recipe exactly, except I used brown sugar instead of white sugar, because I was out of white sugar.  Next time, I plan to use dark chocolate instead of semi-sweet.  I also think that I would use the shortbread cookie for other recipes, possibly with jam instead of chocolate, or in addition to the chocolate :).

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Also, by sheer happenstance, I stumbled upon one of the most amazing combinations ever.  Berger Cookies and Popcorn – the sweet and salty combination is amazing!!  So, I am thinking of finding some way to combine the two in an official recipe – any suggestions???? Popcorn cookies???

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Pit Beef Recipe

Here is recipe I started from for the Pit Beef – here.

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I needed to change the recipe because I was cooking the meat inside and not outside.  Here is the recipe I ended up with:


  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • Kaiser Rolls
  • Eye Round (2 1/2 to 3 pounds)
  • “Tiger Sauce”


  1. Combine the garlic powder, black pepper, salt, and chili powder.
  2. Place the dry rub all over the eye round, and let the round rest in the fridge.  I placed mine in a plastic bag, and let it rest for about 4 hours.  I then removed the the round and allowed it to come up to temperature on the counter for approximately 30 minutes.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  4. Heat cast iron pan over high heat.
  5. Sear meat on all sides, then cover meat and place it in the oven for approximately 45 minutes or until meat is the desired doneness.  I wanted something closer to medium than rare.
  6. Allow meat to rest for approximately 15 minutes, and then slice to desired thickness.
  7. Pile on a Kaiser Roll, top with Tiger Sauce, or whatever else you want, and enjoy.  For the Tiger Sauce, I mixed together a little horseradish, greek yogurt, and siracha sauce.



I think I will try this recipe again, but on a grill, and I also think I will buy an electric knife for the next go round.  As you can see from the picture above, I desperately need an electric knife – hint, hint Ryan.  I think I would also add sauteed onions next time.  The recipe calls for raw onions, but I am not the biggest fan of raw onions.

When it comes to recipes, I always find myself changing the recipe.  Do you typically follow recipes exactly, or do you change them?

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Dutch Oven Bread

Yum Yum Yum!!!!

This may potentially be the best bread I have ever made.  The crust was amazing!!!!I have tried a few bread recipes over the last year or two – here and here – so I am thinking that we may need to have a bread cooking challenge to determine once and for all the best of the bests.  I am sure Ryan will not complain.    In case you haven’t noticed, this house will never be a carb free house.

I started with this recipe from the Lean Green Bean.  I needed to tweak the recipe because I didn’t have any bread flour or whole wheat flour.  I know that one should not mess with recipes while baking, but I have thus far been successful with changing recipes and not having any major catastrophes.

Here is the recipe that I ended up with:

  • 3 cups all purpose flour (plus more for kneading)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Pinch of sugar
  • 1½ c warm water
  • 2¾ tsp active dry yeast
  1. Pour the warm water into bowl of stand mixer.
  2. Add yeast and a pinch of sugar and let sit for 5 minutes.
  3. Add salt and flour and stir until a ball of dough is formed.  Watch closely and stop the mixer as soon as a ball forms.
  4. Remove the dough from the bowl and spray with nonstick spray.  Place the dough back in the bowl and cover and let rise in a warm place for 3 hours. (I put the bowl by the window in the sun because it was nice and sunny outside, but otherwise I would have put the dough in a warmed oven).
  5. Remove dough from the bowl and knead for 5-10 minutes.  Place dough back in the bowl and let it rise again.
  6. While dough is rising, place your dutch oven (uncovered) in the oven and preheat to 430 degrees F.  Leave the dutch oven in the oven for 15-20 minutes.
  7. Carefully drop into the dutch oven.
  8. Cover and let bake for 30 minutes.
  9. Uncover and let bake 10 minutes longer.
  10. Remove loaf from dutch oven and let cool. (But do not let it cool too much because warm bread fresh out of the oven is the best!)


As soon as I sliced into the bread, I knew it was going to be delicious!!!!


My only complaint was that it would be difficult to make multiple loaves at one time.  Ryan pointed out that this is probably a good thing because we would want to eat all of the bread right away!!!  That boy sure comes in useful sometimes!!!

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