30 March 2016

Wilson the Westie

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We adopted our Westie in 2010, right after our Westie, Dakota, passed away.  We thought we may be done with dog partnership, but the calling was too strong!

We first learned about Wilson, aka Rusty, aka Bob from a friend of our daughter's, whose grandmother was Rusty's owner.  She couldn't care for him any longer and he was on his way to the pound for adoption.  We called just in time and the owners rerouted themselves to our home.  As we were chatting about Rusty, we were told he didn't respond well to Rusty or to Bob, as he was called before.  We were given his favorite toys and then she left, saying goodbye to Rusty.

Rusty had no problems looking around the house.  He checked out the sofa, the bedrooms and the kitchen.  He seemed fine, but then he sat down and H O W L E D.  Like the dead were after him.  Nothing I could do or say helped.  I went and sat on the sofa.  Eventually he calmed down and came into the living room.  I kept calling him over to me, but he completely ignored me.  Then I said, you are acting just like my mom says Grandpa Wilson used to do.  Yep, he looked up when I said Wilson, and so I said, Wilson?  Rusty popped up and trotted to stand by me.  So I've called him Wilson ever since and he responds to his name!



28 March 2016

Dirty Root Beer~Secret Recipe Club Reveal

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The Secret Recipe Club is a great group of bloggers who like a challenge.  The challenge is this:  each month we are given an assignment to find a recipe in a specific blog, make it, and write about it.  This month, I was give the blog Burnt Apple.  The recipes there are so much fun!   Traci writes that she feeds three children and a husband, all with special dietary conditions, and has a special BURNT section on her blog.  I love it.


When I was looking through, I had a plan in mind, I was looking for a cheesecake because that is what I needed to make for my PEO Book Club that was coming up.  No cheesecakes to be found, but I did find this Skillet Brownie and these Whole Wheat Carrot Cake Waffles that my son-in-law would love!  But when I found this recipe for Dirty Root Beer, I knew I had a winner.

27 March 2016

Greek Spice Cake #SundaySupper

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 I am so excited for the opening of the Our Big Fat Greek Wedding 2.  The first one was so delightful.  A group of women friends plan to see it when it opens!  This spice cake is a Greek classic, served at one of the restaurants we like here in St. Louis.  For our Easter holiday, I added a cup of finely chopped carrot to the batter.  This cake is delicious without any frosting, but my family will expect a classic cream cheese frosting on it.  Would yours?
Greek Spice Cake 2



25 March 2016

Mexican Bonbons

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What might inspire Mexican (chocolate) Bonbons?

Mexican bonbons

My all time favorite movie, A Walk in the Clouds!  For me, it is the ultimate in romantic movies, and of course, it doesn't hurt that Keanu Reeves is the main man.  I met Keanu in Colorado when I was on vacation.  I walked up to him and said, "You're Keanu Reeves."  He said, "I know."

Not my greatest moment, but still...

23 March 2016

How to Host an Easter Egg Hunt

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I live in a neighborhood that promotes a New Urbanist style of living.  Our homes all have front porches designed to be at eye level with a person walking on the sidewalk, so it is easier to have a spontaneous conversation.  Our neighborhood is designed to have several districts, and ours, the Beach District, is one of the newest.  We love our district!

We had a successful Halloween block party last October and I wanted to continue that fun with an Easter Egg Hunt.  I reached out to my favorite party planning website, Oriental Trading, and they agreed to give me some product in exchange for my honest review of their products.



21 March 2016

Radishes with Ricotta

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I so enjoyed this book called The Unprejudiced Palate by Angelo Pellegrini.  It was a great choice by my Cook the Books Book Club, which reads books about foods, cooking, chefs... anything with food as a theme. This gentle book on the reminders of fine living was written nearly 60 years ago!  When I picked up my copy, it had a foreword by Mario Batali and was edited by Ruth Riechl, so I didn't know that when I started.  The advice given within the book is still very relevant today.



20 March 2016

Top Ten Peeps Treats for Easter

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I love Peeps and must have them at Easter, even if it means going through sugar withdrawals afterwards.  Everyone knows how bad sugar withdrawals are, right?  So they must be wonderful!  I like to have a peep swimming in my hot chocolate and another way, which will be the last item on the list on this post!



18 March 2016

It's Friday and we're in Love with SALADS!

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It's time for our weekly linky party featuring salads!  I just planted my swiss chard, spinach and cool weather lettuces and my mouth is literally watering right now!  I am eager to try some radishes, too, since there are such a big variety available these days.  I learned how to roast them and, oh my! Delicious!


What's not to love about a salad?   I always include the ingredients I like and leave out the ones I don't and I always have a great salad!  What other recipe can you leave out ingredients and still turn out a great product?  It's a cook's dream!

15 March 2016

True/False Film Fest

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The True False Film Festival has been a part of the Columbia (MO) scene since 2003.  It's been a part of our live since about 2005.  Bob was the first to figure it out and went a few years on his own, before he convinced me that yes, this is something you want to be a part of.  From that time on, T/F has been an annual Steffes family holiday!


13 March 2016

Turkey Meatballs with Spinach and Goat Cheese #SundaySupper

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We love meatballs and always have a ziplock bag of frozen ones available for any spontaneous meatball cravings!  They are such a fun and versatile protein to have around.  We like ours made with a combination of meats, with our favorite being turkey and ground beef.  We often add vegetables to ours, too, such as chopped fresh spinach or cooked carrots and onions.

This is a good appetizer for a group but I've had it for dinner for myself.  Such a delicious treat, too and so simple!

11 March 2016

Penne Pizza with Marinara Sauce

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It's my dream to go to Italy to cooking school someday (in the not so distant future!) but until I do, I like to use products that help me believe that I am already there.  Botticelli Pasta, Sauce and Olive Oil do the trick nicely!  I was very pleased when they reached out and asked me to do a product review on their products.  Lucky me!


I am not a fan of jarred sauces, not when it is easy enough to make your own, but at this time of year, when tomatoes aren't flavorful and plenty, that a good jarred sauce comes in handy.  My taste test for jarred sauces is harsh: open the jar, take out a spoonful and eat it, right out of the jar.  It's hard to hide imperfections when you do it like this!  A spoonful of Botticelli sauce is delicious.  The tomatoes are bright and flavorful, the sauce is slightly chunky with a buttery note at the end.  There is a natural sweetness, which I expected, given that Botticelli makes it sauce from Italian tomatoes.  This was a sauce that would make a delicious meal.  The best part:  Botticelli products are found in our local supermarkets like Walmart and Price Chopper.

09 March 2016

(Purple) Hasselback Potatoes

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One of the most inspiring aspects of blogging is getting to work with a group to produce a post that will help cooks all over the world make something delicious at home!  This new bimonthly group will do just that.  Just wait until you see what has been happening all over with the lovely POTATO!


I love Hasselback potatoes after seeing another blogger make them.  Check out my inspiration here! For my dish, I wanted something that I could easily control the portion size and the amount of servings I needed.  I also wanted a recipe that I could easily repeat whenever I wanted.



As I was pondering all of this, my Green Bean delivery came and inside were these beautiful purple baby potatoes.  I knew immediately that I was going to make Hasselback potatoes and that it fit all of my criteria.

07 March 2016

Cottage Mashed Potatoes #TasteCreations

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Thank you to all who added Leek recipes to last month's Taste Creations.  Leeks are delicious, and if you haven't ventured out to try them, you must!  I insist!

This month, the month of March, the month we celebrate all things Irish, we decided on the potato.  I am sharing my favorite version of mashed potatoes.  Not the perfect fluffy mashed potatoes we get at Thanksgiving, those are Thanksgiving potatoes.  These are the every day potatoes that you don't have to get out the beaters.  You mash them with the power of your own hands.  It is very satisfying to make these potatoes!

I think they are special because of the added basil.  It is just something a little different.  It is hard to get fresh basil right now, so I used my frozen basil from my fall harvest that I posted about earlier.  I squeezed the excess water from it before I added them to the dish.

Cottage Style Mashed Potatoes



06 March 2016

Sweet Potato Pancakes #SundaySupper

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Root vegetables are the star of this week's #SundaySupper!  I love all kinds of root vegetables, most of them mashed in some way, but this sweet potato pancake recipe is so delicious, and a great way to use a vegetable in a breakfast food, but don't forget what a great side dish this can be with a bit of horseradish cream.  Yum yum.


I love these because you can make roasted sweet potatoes for dinner, make a few extra, and have these pancakes for breakfast!  If you leave out the seasonings, this becomes a 2 ingredient pancake! Woo hoo!


04 March 2016

What I Liked, Products I Love!

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We had a good month of fun shopping!

I'd like to share with you some of the things we got because I always look at reviews before I buy anything these days!  When it comes to my dogs, I am really picky.  I love shopping with Chewy.com as they do a lot of the research for you!

February was National Dental Month (for dogs, too!) so we got Zuke's Z-bones for the dogs.  Our dogs loved these treats and we loved their apple clean breath!  Wilson was so funny, he'd toss the bone in the air and catch it before he ate it.  Truman did his usual, let's hold it for awhile and savor it.  Both dogs loved these treats!

Received at a discount in exchange for my honest feedback.

02 March 2016

Homemade Noodles #FoodieExtravaganza

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My great grandmother, my grandmother and my mom have all mastered the art of making homemade noodles.  While I have actually taken classes to learn how to do this, it wasn't until this past Thanksgiving, when my mom specifically asked me to take over this part of our dinner, that I settled myself down and learned the craft of making homemade noodles.


When we were younger, my sister and I liked to make fun of my mom's noodles.  They were not very uniform in size and a little tough, but we would eat bowlfuls of them and even eat them cold the next day.  We loved those noodles, made with homemade turkey broth.