Mulching

For four months, we lived at my parents or, as Ryan affectionately called it, the “Country Club.”  There were pros and cons to living at the Country Club.  For Ryan, one of the pros was my mother’s love of cooking.  This was both a pro and a con for me, especially when it came time to fit into a bridesmaid dress – the horror!

Since moving out, I made an effort to cook healthier foods and less food.  We all lost weight after moving out – Murphy included.  But the Country Club is still open for business.

Here is Murphy on moving day:

Mom, please don't make me leave the County Club.  I love it here!

Mom, please don’t make me leave the County Club. I love it here!!!

Last weekend, my mother invited us over for breakfast – pancakes and bacon.  I declined in favor of making smoothies at home.  Big mistake, because everyone wanted to know what was in these smoothies.   Spinach!!!! You can imagine the shock and horror, when they learned there was spinach in the smoothies.  Everyone decided I was torturing poor Ryan and making him eat mulch.  Ugh.

So, I decided to prove them all wrong.  I would make the most delicious smoothie ever by using fresh fruit instead of frozen fruit.  The flavor was good, texture, on the other hand – straight up mulch!

Fast forward to this weekend.  After we get home from dinner last night, Ryan informs me that he “may” have made a stop or two running errands, and he “may” have gotten “us” a surprise.  I know my husband well enough to know three things: (1) the surprise is not flowers; (2) the surprise is not something shiny; (3) and the surprise is not for “us.”  What was it you ask?  Buttermilk and sausage, so “we” could make pancakes and sausage instead of  mulch for breakfast!

It was a delicious breakfast, and Ryan did the dishes after so I declare this mulch free breakfast a success!

 

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Sick Husbands Are Big Babies

Ryan has been sick for the last few days.

I have been less than sympathetic. I think I may have told him to drink some tea and to hurry up and get better.

In an effort to make up for my horrible nursing skills, I made him homemade chicken dumpling soup.

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Yup, best wife ever.

In other news:

Sorry for not blogging. We are coming back with a new theme for this football season. Stay tuned.

Ryan is in seven fantasy football leagues, yes seven. I am overjoyed. And overly sarcastic.

Murphy has apparently conquered his fear of the rumba vacuum cleaner and loves walking on treadmills. In case you are new here, or forgot about Murphy, he is a dog and he blogs on Mondays.

Mondays with Murphy – Da Bears

Murphy says, “Go Bears!!!!”

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Check out how my Bears shirt brings out my muscles:

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p.s. please ignore my drool

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Packers v. Bears – Deep Dish Pizza and Brownies

I asked Ryan for one word to describe tonight’s dinner.  He supplied: Uhmmmmm, followed by Yummmmyummmmyummm.

I think he is in a food coma, hopefully he will recover, but only after I convince him he doesn’t really like football or the Packers!!!!

I followed up by asking him if we could go to the mall, he quickly responded “no” – his food coma is not as strong as I initially thought, darn.

Today, Iasked Ryan if “Happy wife, Happy Life” extended to supporting the Bears – he said “no. ” I have decided to try and bribe him with food.  It will probably take years of work because his obsession with the Packers is quite strong, but I shall do my best.

Despite the potential for drama and disaster, this match-up provided to be quite a good match-up for food.

In the past, we have made Italian Beef for the game, but this time we decided to be risky.  Well, I was content to make Italian Beef again, but Ryan said he NEEDED deep dish pizza.  Seriously!!!  You can tell this boy has never cooked, because who picks deep dish pizza as if it as easy to make as a bologna sandwich.  Ugh!  Did I mention that last weekend Ryan informed me that if he put his mind to it, he could be a better cook than me?

Oh well, if I am going to convert him to a Bears fan, I am going to have to pull out all the stops!!!!  When I found out that Brownies were invited in Chicago I knew that this meal had great potential for inducing a food coma that would leave Ryan open to suggestion – kind of like hypnosis.

So we made homemade Deep Dish Pizza with sausage, pepperoni, and mushrooms and homemade Brownies.

I succeeded in getting Murphy under my spell (doesn’t take much – if you have anything other than uncooked vegetables in your hand, Murphy will follow you around like you are god), but Ryan is proving a much tougher nut to crack.

Some pictures for your drooling pleasure.

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And now for a monologue with Murphy:

Murphy:  Mom, there is some yummy stuff on the stove, can I have some . . . please, pretty please!!!!

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p.s. Check out my super-sweet hoodie!  This is my “preppy” look.  I hope the ladies like it.

Murphy: Please, Mom?!?!?! I have no problem staring at you until you give me some noms.

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Please, please, please, please, please!!!

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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!!

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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

Hedooooooo!

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.

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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.

Ingredients
  • 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
Instructions
  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.

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

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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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