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Anything is good, in moderation. I cook because I love to and because I can share with those around me. I crochet for the same reason.

Do what you want to do, enjoy what you do and use it to touch those around you.

Apr 30, 2012

Chocolate Marshmallow Cookies

Toasted marshmallows and chocolate - YUM.  Next time I make these, I may even crush up graham crackers and roll dough balls in them before baking.  Voila - SMORES.

  1 1/2 Cups Mini Marshmallows                                                 6 Tbl Butter
  2/3 Cup All Purpose Flour                                                        5 Large Eggs
  2 Tsp Baking Powder                                                               1 Cup Sugar
  1 Tsp Salt                                                                                 3/4 Cup Brown Sugar
  2 Ounces Unsweetened Chocolate                                            1 1/2 Tsp pure vanilla extract
  4 Ounces Bittersweet Chocolate                                               11.5 Ounce Milk Chocolate Chips
  1 Lb Mini Chocolate Chips                                                     

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line baking sheets with silicone mats or nonstick foil; set aside. Heat oven to 250 degrees, spread marshmallows on pan and bake about 8 - 10 minutes - should be puffed, may not be browned.  DO NOT ALLOW TO BROWN.

In a heat proof bowl, or in the top of a double boiler, set over a pot of simmering water, melt together unsweetened, bittersweet and milk chocolates and butter; set aside.
In a small bowl, mix together flour, baking powder and salt.  In a large bowl, beat eggs, sugar, and vanilla on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the melted chocolate mixture and combine on low speed.  Add flour mixture, and continue to beat on low speed until almost combined.   Mix in marshmallows and mini chocolate chips.  Drop dough onto prepared baking sheets about 3 inches apart. Bake until set, 12 to 15 minutes. Cool on cookie sheets for 2 minutes then move to a cooling rack.

Apr 29, 2012

Week 17 - 47.8

Another capital has been achieved, this week sees us pass through Springfield, Illinois and turn north toward Madison, Wisconsin.  We are now firmly in farm country, based on the view from Google Maps.  If you have the opportunity to visit Springfield, IL, they have an impressive variety of historic sites.  Pictured at is an impressive list of sites to visit as well as links to additional information. 

Apr 28, 2012

Italian Turkey Rolls

Turkey just isn't for Christmas, and I had one frozen, so I decided to make something a little different. This serves three.   The nutrition information is for an 8 ounce turkey breast.

  8 - 10 Ounce Turkey Breast                                                   1/4 Tsp Pepper
  8 Ounce Tomato Sauce                                                          1 Clove garlic, minced
  1 1/2 Tsp dried oregano leaves                                                1/4 Tsp Crushed Red Pepper
  1 Tsp dried thyme leaves                                                        4 Ounce Mozzarella
  1 1/2 Tsp Rosemary                                                               2 Tbl Parmesan
  1/2 Tsp salt                                                                             

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Rinse and dry turkey.  Pound into 1/4 inch thickness.

Combine tomato sauce, oregano, thyme, rosemary, salt, pepper, garlic, crushed red pepper and Parmesan in a small bowl.  Spread 1/2 of the sauce mixture on the turkey, top with the mozzarella.   Roll up and tie with cooking twine.  Place, seam side down, in 8-inch square baking dish or 9 inch pie pan. Spoon remaining sauce over cutlet.  Bake 25 minutes or until no longer  pink in center.

Per Serving: 284 Cal (42% from Fat, 48% from Protein, 11% from Carb); 34 g Protein; 13 g Tot Fat; 6 g Sat Fat; 4 g Mono Fat; 7 g Carb; 2 g Fiber; 4 g Sugar; 383 mg Calcium; 3 mg Iron; 1135 mg Sodium

Apr 27, 2012

Smoothie 3 - Its a Dream

If you like orange creamsicles, you will love this smoothie.  Orange with a hint of vanilla, it is makes a great protein filled breakfast.  Very filling.

  1 Medium Orange                                                                    1 Tsp Vanilla
  2 Tbl Walnuts                                                                          3/4 Cups Water
  1 Tbl Flaxseed                                                                         4 Ice Cubes
  3/4 Cup Cottage Cheese                                                          

Zest and juice the orange - put in a blender.  Add remaining ingredients and blend until smooth.

Per Serving: 336 Cal (35% from Fat, 31% from Protein, 34% from Carb); 26 g Protein; 13 g Tot Fat; 1 g Sat Fat; 3 g Mono Fat; 29 g Carb; 8 g Fiber; 20 g Sugar; 141 mg Calcium; 2 mg Iron; 22 mg Sodium

Apr 26, 2012

It's a Snap

Since Abby entered the picture, I thought crocheting may be out of the question for awhile.  Every time I got my yarn out, it grew four furry white feet and ran around the couch.  Apparently, that was great fun.  It took me two weeks before Christmas to make two small soap holders.  Izzy, our cat, lets my yarn alone, but the dog?  Who would have thought.  Then I remembered seeing yarn holders.  Enter Snapware  Snapware makes several fine products, but my current favorite are their yarn keepers.  Specifically, the largest.  I don't often use large balls of yarn, but as you can see, I keep more than yarn in there.  My patterns and crochet hooks tend to grow feet, too.  If you look closely, you can see the teeth marks on the bamboo handle of my crochet hook.  So if your yarn tends to go for walks, help it be a little more of a couch potato.  Keep it safely in a yarn keeper.

Apr 25, 2012

Pork and Salsa Stew

This recipe makes a pork stew with a southwestern flair.  The recipe makes 6 servings.  I used Guy Fieri Salsa Verde, but you could make your own, if you prefer.  The Guy Fieri Salsa added just the right flavor to this stew. 

Lundberg Black Japonica is a rice blend that is sold in the organic section of Giant stores in Pennsylvania, but any black, mahogany or brown rice could be used.

  2 Lb Pork Loin                                                                        1.5 Cup Roma Tomatoes
  16 Ounce Salsa Verde                                                             1/2 Tbl Cilantro
  1 3/4 Cup Chicken Stock                                                         1/2 Cup Reduced Fat Sour Cream
  1 Tsp Cumin                                                                            1 Cup Lundberg Black Japonica

Trim and discard pork surface fat - place in a slow cooker.  Cut the tomatoes in half and slice very thin - put on top and around the pork.  Combine salsa, broth, cumin and cilantro.  Pour over the meat. Put the lid on and cook on low until the meat is pull-apart tender, 6 to 7 hours.  Cook the rice with water to package directsion so it is done before you shred the pork.  Remove  the pork and shred, return to the slow cooker.  Stir in the sour cream and cooked rice.

Per Serving: 260 Cal (40% from Fat, 49% from Protein, 12% from Carb); 32 g Protein; 11 g Tot Fat; 3 g Sat Fat; 4 g Mono Fat; 8 g Carb; 3 g Fiber; 1 g Sugar; 33 mg Calcium; 2 mg Iron; 887 mg Sodium

Pet Stop Pet Fence

Having a dog that runs faster than you do can be challenging - especially if you live on a road that people like to drive at 50 miles per hour when it is posted 25.  With our sheltie, I could cut her off before she got on 'her' road to greet people walking or running by.  We did not want to find out if I could outrun Abby, so when my in-laws offered a pet fence as a Christmas present, Hubby and I were all for it.  I started researching companies and came upon Pet Stop Pet Fence Systems.  When selecting this option, we liked the following:
  • They are manufactured in the US - specifically, Pennsylvania
  • They install.
  • They perform the initial training.  
  • Multiple settings are available on the system.
  • The latest version has a battery back up.
  • Rechargeable collars are available
  • Collars that blink are available
  • All this, and the right prices, too
We had a fence before - we tried to install it ourselves.  With rocky and hard ground, it was very difficult.  The old system no longer worked and did not work for the dogs we had, so we wanted someone who could install it for us.  We have about 2/3 of an acre and the install was done in under an hour - including setting all the perimeter flags.  The initial training is done immediately after the install.  It does involve a correction of the dog, so it is nice that someone else does it for you.  After the initial correction, you are only walking the perimeter of the fence with your dog, no further corrections.  The only inconvenience we had was walks.  The fence circles the entire perimeter of our yard and during the first month of training you are not to cross the fence with your dog on a leash.  So, to go for a walk, we had to put her in the car, drive across the street, and take her for a walk.  This was a minor inconvenience.  Once the first months was over, the flags were all taken up, we had to work on showing her where and when it was save to cross.  For us, we use the driveway and she is on a leash with one of us.  We also keep tags on her collar, so she jingles.  So, Jingle+Leash+Driveway+Mom or Dad = Safe.

The multiple settings are also nice.  We can have the field as strong as we need it to offer enough correction to stop her (we keep it on the lowest setting).  You also have multiple options for width of field so the dog gets warning beeps sooner if it takes longer to register/comply.  The most recent system was not available when we installed the fence, but the latest system offers a battery backup.  With how often the power went out last year, it would have been nice to have.  However, Abby now stops well before she ever receives an audible correction, so I do not think it will be an issue.

Collars - yes, they are a bit bulky, but they are smaller than the one we had with a previous fence.  In addition, you can have a batter operated or rechargeable option.  The batteries can get expensive and you may not have them when you need them.  We went with the rechargeable option and it only needs charged about every 8 weeks - and we use it almost every day.  It has been great to be outside doing landscaping and not have to worry about the dog getting away.  Yes, shoveling snow and landscaping have become work, kick the ball, work, kick the ball, but it is nice that she does not have to be away from us while working.  The collars also have a 'White Light Activator' option.  This allows you to set the collar to blink at night so you can see the dog while they are out.  We use it the nights we take the trash out late in the evening - we can see when she is across the yard.

Finally, although we would have paid more, the price was right.  The quote we received was half of what we had received from another company.  The original quote was about 8 years old.  If you have a yard and you have a dog, do you and your dog a favor - get a fence and be safe.  If you live in central PA, you can go to  If not, use the link above and enter your zip code.  You'll be glad you did.

Apr 23, 2012

Black Bean Soup for Two

This was a nice change to have a meatless meal - especially as raw as the weather has been this week.  The citrus added a nice punch to the soup and gave it a very bright flavor.  Hubby has requested that I both keep it as is and rework it to a burrito filling.  Stay tuned.

  1 Tbl Extra Virgin Olive Oil                                                   1/4 Tsp Salt
  1.5 Tbl Spring Onion, Minced                                                 1/4 Tsp Pepper
  2 Tsp Ground Cumin                                                              1/4 Tsp Ancho Chili Powder
  15 Ounce Black Beans                                                          1 Tbl Cilantro
  3/4 Cup water                                                                       1 Tbl Lime Juice
  1 Medium Orange                                                                 4 Tbl Reduced Fat Sour Cream

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, 4 to 5 minutes. Add cumin and cook, stirring, about 30 seconds. Drain and rinse beans and add to the pan along with the water.  Zest and juice the orange and add both to the pan along with the salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil, stirring often. Stir in dried cilantro, lime juice and sour cream.  Use a stick blender and puree.  If no stick blender is available, carefully puree in a blender.  Does NOT need to be smooth.

Per Serving: 380 Cal (20% from Fat, 20% from Protein, 60% from Carb); 20 g Protein; 9 g Tot Fat; 1 g Sat Fat; 5 g Mono Fat; 59 g Carb; 19 g Fiber; 0 g Sugar; 90 mg Calcium; 6 mg Iron; 308 mg Sodium

Apr 22, 2012

Week 16 - 52.82

The trek across America continues and brings me near Decatur, IL.  Continuing with a trend of finding outdoor recreation areas, this week finds Lake Decatur.  The lake offers fishing, boating and water sports activities while the surrounding area affords hiking trails, horseback riding, birding and much more.    The Decatur Area Convention and Visitors Bureau website offers a wealth of information and opportunities, or visit them on Facebook.  Of most interest to me is that they offer dog friendly activities, including a dog park.  I think we could find lots of areas to allow Abby to track.

Apr 21, 2012

Capital Area Greenbelt

Thank you, Hubby, for supplying the picture from your morning walk with Abby.

If you live near or visit the Harrisburg, Pennsylvania area, you should take a walk on the Capital Area Greenbelt.  From the Capital Area Greenbelt Association (CAGA) website, , I learned that the project is over 100 years old - it started in 1900 as a way to help improve the living conditions in the city.  Riverfront Park, Reservoir Park and Wildwood Lake sanctuary are all part of this greenbelt, which encompasses a 20 mile loop around the city of Harrisburg.  CAGA is a organization of volunteers that was formed in 1990 to help complete the loop that had its roots 90 years earlier.  If you live in the Harrisburg area, consider volunteering to maintain this resource.   If you would like to learn more, you can contact the CAGA on their website for more information about volunteering, donating or taking tours of the greenbelt.  Map below from the CAGA website.