Gluten Free Dog Treats

Dog Biscuits and Cutter













Yes.  If you know me even a little, you know that I’m a dog lover.  Nora is a sassy, mischievous and smart Wheaten Terrier.  She is a lover of all people and dogs and makes me laugh daily.  You can’t find cheaper therapy.  And while I don’t normally dress my dog in people clothes…I couldn’t resist just this once.

Nora and her Biscuits













 I make a batch of these doggie treats every few weeks.  It’s cheaper and Nora has some food allergies or sensitivities that make her itchy so, out of necessity I found a recipe that I modified to have limited ingredients, healthy for dogs, and will store for weeks.  Not all dog biscuit recipes are created equal.  I watch out for things that dogs can be sensitive to or that just aren’t good for them.  I’ve used all types of flour including all purpose and rice flour, but have settled on Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Flour since Nora didn’t do well on rice flour or all purpose flour.  Wheatens can have gluten sensitivity (LOL).  The benefit to gluten free flour?  NOT STICKY.  Nice for rolling out and you do have to roll them.  Also, a dog bone cookie cutter is required for this recipe to work.  Just kidding.  That’s kind of like putting frosting on a dog biscuit.  Who’s that for?  The dog or you?  So the dog bone cookie cutter makes me feel clever.  Nora doesn’t care.

Pumpkin Peanut Butter Dog Treats

  • 1-15 oz can pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 3 cups flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free) – you may add a bit more flour depending on which brand of pumpkin you use
  • 3 tbsp ground flax seed (optional)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Just follow these steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 325F
  2. Mix all ingredients together until homogenous
  3. Roll out of floured surface to about 3/8″-1/4″ thick
  4. Cut and place on baking sheet

Put them really close together since they don’t raise or expand.  This makes two very full half sheet pans.

Dog Biscuits in Tray













Then when they’re all baked and cooled you can put them in a nice jar.

Dog Biscuits












Next, find a super cute chef’s hat and try to get it on your dog’s head for a picture.  Then take about 150 pictures and reposition the hat every single time.  Have lots of treats in your pocket.  Don’t forget to take them out when you’re done.  Eek.

Nora with Chefs Hat













Much credit goes to my husband Steve for his mad photography skills, and Nora’s awesome groomer Tracy who (bless her heart) didn’t shave Nora even though she had lots of mats in her fur this time. I promise to never, ever let that happen again!

Categories: Dog Treats, Recipe Index | Leave a comment

Spinach and Blackberry Salad

Fresh!  A salad that’s full of color and good, healthy things.  This is not hard to do and you can substitute any other nuts, cheese, berries, or lettuce.  The idea is…eat good food!  And make your own salad dressing.  It’s easy, cheaper, and better tasting.

Spinach and Blackberry Salad













Vinaigrette Dressing

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • Salt and pepper to taste

As always, use good quality ingredients.  Whisk these together and you’re done.

Spinach Salad Dressing













Now for the salad.  Assemble your ingredients.

Spinach and Blackberry Salad

  • 6 cups fresh spinach leaves
  • 1/2 cup halved grape tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup blackberries
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  • Sliced red onion

Spinach Salad Ingredients













Put it all together and you have a gorgeous salad and your body will thank you.  And now for the close up.  Yay!  Good food is pretty, don’t you think?

Spinach Salad-cropped


Categories: Recipe Index, Salads | Leave a comment

Reuben Casserole

Overhead on Plate at 650













One of my favorite dishes of all time is the Reuben Casserole.  I’ve been meaning to get this on my blog so I have it recorded for history’s sake.  It’s super easy, feeds 6-8 adults and is better than the sandwich itself!  Not kidding.  I make the Thousand Island Dressing but I’ve bought it before too.  Still…many people will have the ingredients on hand already so why not make it?  It’s easy too! 

Side View with Guinness Glasses & Flowers at 650













This is a great, any-time comfort food.  Pair it with Guinness and you’ll be as Irish as can be.  Truly, I bought the Guinness for the photo remembering that I don’t like it and would just give it away.  But I guess I do like it.  Huh.

So here’s how easy it is.  Again, either make the dressing or buy it.  Either way is great but here is the recipe:

Thousand Island Dressing

  • 2 cups mayo
  • 1/3 cup chili sauce
  • 1/4 cup sweet pickle relish
  • 1 tsp worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

What is easier than that?  Now for the casserole:

Reuben Casserole

  • 12 slices of pumpernickel rye bread cut into cubes
  • 1-1/2 lbs thin-sliced corned beef cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 27-oz can sauerkraut that has been drained and squeezed of excess liquid
  • 1-1/2 cups Thousand Island Dressing
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 lb shredded Swiss cheese
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  1. Heat oven to 350F
  2. Spray 9×13 pan with cooking spray
  3. Combine dressing and sour cream together in a bowl
  4. Place half the bread cubes in the bottom of pan
  5. Place all of the corned beef over the bread cubes, then layer with sauerkraut, dressing/sour cream mixture, and cheese
  6. Top with the remaining bread cubes and drizzle with melted butter
  7. Cover with foil and bake for 35-40 minutes
  8. Remove foil and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes


Now find someone you love and enjoy.

Overhead with Thousand Island Dressing-2 at 650














Side View with Guinness Glasses at 650














Overhead on Plate-2 at 650















Categories: Main Dishes, Recipe Index | Leave a comment

Spaghetti Sauce

This recipe is for you if you want to try and make your own sauce but don’t know where to start.  Once you learn to make this you can personalize it to your own taste and add or take away ingredients.  Custom sauce.  And if you make your own you save money and can have it on hand in your freezer.  It’s so easy and so much better than the stuff in a jar.  I use the giant can of San Marzano tomatoes from Italy.  They are said to be the best because of the growing conditions in Italy.

2014-11-30 Spaghetti Ingredients














You will need:

  • 1 giant can Nina San Marzano tomatoes (3000g or 6 lb 10 oz) or other brand
  • 2 12-ounce cans tomato paste
  • 1 10-ounce can Ro-Tel dice tomatoes and green chilies
  • 2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 cup chopped basil
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 4 tsp chopped garlic
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 very large chopped onion
  • 3 Tbsp sugar
  • 5 bay leaves
  • 1-2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine

Put all those ingredients in a nice large pot.  Turn on the heat to medium for a start – just until everything gets warmed up and starts to simmer, then turn the heat to low and simmer gently for 2-3 hours or until the onions and tomatoes are very soft.  Then remove your bay leaves.  Using a stick blender mix it all together until smooth.  That’s it. Easy as can be.  Now you have 4 quarts of amazing sauce that will be ready whenever you need it.  Buon appetito!

2014-11-30 Spaghetti on a Plate

Categories: Main Dishes, Recipe Index, Seasonings, condiments | Leave a comment

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year?

Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year.  Right?  Not always.  Not for everyone.  Lots of pressure for family, friends, parties, traditions, shopping and more shopping.  We miss loved ones.  That’s how I feel, anyway.  In the chaos I sometimes lose my focus.  Then I stop.  Breathe.  What am I doing?  Why do I celebrate Christmas?

Oh yes.  In the craziness I sometimes forget.

Luke 2:10-11 (NIV)

10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid.  I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.  11  Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.”

Hundreds of years before Jesus was born, this and many other prophecies were written (and fulfilled) about the coming Savior:

Micah 5:2 (ESV)

2 “But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days.”

We celebrate the Savior who came to us as a baby.  Who created the universe.  I worship the One who made me.  That’s it.  Jesus.  He is why I celebrate Christmas.  He is a bit surprising at times.  His family tree contains the likes of prostitutes, murderers, liars, cheats.  And lest anyone think this is a white person’s religion, think again.  Jesus came from a multi-racial family.  His political and top social issues might be summed up in this: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind and love your neighbor as yourself.

So…Merry Christmas to all.  May it be a time of reflection as well as all the other stuff.  Much love to you.  It really is the most wonderful time of the year if you let it be.

Thank you Steve, for your beautiful photo.  This is our Christmas card to you.

for Karins Christmas 2

Categories: Faith | Leave a comment

Dutch Baby

Pannekoek (plural Pannekoeken), German Baby, Puff Pancake.

Dutch Baby- Cropped 1














“When you wake up in the morning, Pooh,” said Piglet at last, “what’s the first thing you say to yourself?”

“What’s for breakfast?” said Pooh.  “What do you say, Piglet?”

“I say, I wonder what’s going to happen exciting today?” said Piglet.

Pooh nodded thoughtfully.  “It’s the same thing,” he said.

- A.A. Milne

The Dutch Baby is exciting.  Make sure that your family is gathered around when this comes out of the oven because it is quite dramatic but it doesn’t last long before it settles.  A big, buttery, reminiscent-of-a-popover delight!  A puffy, crusty pancake.  With toasty brown butter flavor.  Topped with farm fresh berries.  Ahem and amen.

You must have a cast iron skillet for this.  If you don’t have a cast iron skillet (whaaat?!?) we should talk.  This is our heritage in America and the original cast iron cookware actually goes back to the time before Christ in China.  They are durable and in the South they are handed down from generation to generation. It is a source of pride to have grandmother’s skillet.  Truth be told, I had to buy my own.  No matter.  I went to a camping store and paid $12 some years ago.  True, they are heavy and you’re not going to do any fancy omelet flipping in one of these.  They are the workhorses of cookware; solid, beautiful things.  Truly, you could probably use some other skillet but I won’t vouch for them.

Here we go.  Get your ingredients ready.

  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp lemon or orange zest (optional)

Dutch Baby Ingrediants














Turn the oven on to 425F and place 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) butter in your pan and pop it into the oven right away, WHILE it is preheating.  That’s important.

Dutch Baby Butter














Mix all ingredients with a stick blender, blender, or hand mixer.

Dutch Baby Batter














As soon as your oven has reached temperature, remove the pan from the oven and pour the batter right over the melted butter and into the hot pan.  Put it back into the oven immediately.  Bake for 20-22 minutes or until golden brown and puffy.  Serves four.

Dutch Baby- Cropped 2


Categories: Breads, Desserts and Sweets, Recipe Index | Leave a comment

Double Layer Pumpkin Cheesecake

Double Layer Pumkin Cheesecake-4














Yay for pumpkin AND cheesecake! I usually don’t like my cheesecake messed with too much, but there are exceptions. Yes to pumpkin in cheesecake for sure.

The first time I made this was for Thanksgiving some years ago.  My family promptly informed me that we no longer needed regular pumpkin pie.  This was the new star of Fall celebrations and Thanksgiving, and pumpkin pie is a little boring after all.  My daughter makes this for her family now.

Right now it is 4:00 a.m. on a beautiful September morning. The windows are open and I can hear an owl outside somewhere. Who-who-whoo! Just the owl and I are awake. Anyway, I’m wired to be a morning person. I can’t really help it so I might as well enjoy it.

When I first found this recipe it had a graham cracker crust and not really enough filling in my opinion – but still a lovely pie with star potential.  So I added a gingersnap crust and increased/modified the filling.  Serve it with some whipped cream or Browned Butter Ice Cream to dress it up a little.

Double Layer Pumkin Cheesecake-5














This is pretty simple for cheesecake.  For the crust:

  • 1-3/4 cup ground ginger snap cookies
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 cup melted butter

Mix together and press into pie pan or springform pan.  Bake 350F for 10 minutes.

Now for the cheesecake:

  • 3 8-oz pkg softened cream cheese
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 pinch cloves
  • 1 pinch nutmeg

Mix the cream cheese in the mixer until smooth.  Add sugar and mix until smooth.  Add one egg at a time and mix, add vanilla.  Place half of batter in pan and spread evenly.

Make sure your naughty puppy doesn’t counter surf for the empty cream cheese wrappers.  But she’s so cute…









Now blend the pumpkin and spices into the remaining cheesecake batter and spread over the top of the plain cheesecake batter.  Bake at 350F for 35-40 minutes.  Cool and then refrigerate before serving.  Absolutely delicious.  I’m loving autumn!

Double Layer Pumkin Cheesecake-2















Categories: Desserts and Sweets, Recipe Index | 1 Comment

Browned Butter Ice Cream















I think we all know the wondrous aroma of browned butter.  It has long been used in sauces, on pasta, and on vegetables.  But in ice cream???  Superb.  The complex, nutty aroma in this ice cream takes you to another place on the food-space continuum.  For me, caramel and nuts will win out over chocolate every time and the brown butter caramel notes in this ice cream are deep.  Add to that some cinnamon sugar toasted pecans and it’s almost too wonderful to speak of.

No, Virginia you don’t absolutely have to have an ice cream maker.  But once you make that initial investment you can make ice cream of any flavor, sorbet, frozen yogurt, frozen drinks.  If you’re already familiar with making ice cream sans ice cream maker, go for it.















I never thought I would love making ice cream.  But when I learned that I could actually make ice cream that is as good as the real premium stuff, I was in. I owe that to my friend Janet who walked past me one day and said “Cuisinart ice cream makers are on sale at The Kitchen Window!”  What??  I’m there.  Oh Janet, I totally blame you.  Kidding.  Sort of.

Now.  Making ice cream isn’t that hard.  You just need to plan a little.  Get everything ready a day ahead and then the next day you’re ready to go.  Place the bowl of your ice cream maker in the freezer at least 12 hours before use.  You will also want to completely chill the mixture before processing.  Chill for at least 6 hours and overnight is even better.  There’s a science to all this ice cream making.  Ice crystals, fat crystals, emulsification, and freezing.  Follow the directions and you won’t have to get all involved with the sciencey stuff.  And your homemade ice cream will be pure food heaven.  No weird stuff which I’m all for, don’t get me wrong.  But you don’t need it here.

Cinnamon Sugar Toasted Pecans:

  • 1 Cup chopped pecans
  • 2 Tbsp butter (this will melt by itself in the oven)
  • 1/3 cup cinnamon sugar









Put the above ingredients in a pan and place in 350F oven for 20-25 minutes.  Stir a few times during that time.  Remove from oven and give one last stir to break them up.  Cool.  I will admit that this is a lot of pecans for about a quart of ice cream but you can freeze the extras.









Browned Butter Ice Cream (adapted from Desserts/Baking):

  • 1/2 cup butter (I used salted – either works)
  • 1-1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1-1/2 cups whole milk
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Melt butter in a saucepan or small skillet.  Cook over medium heat until the butter is is good and brown, but watch and stir frequently because it can burn quickly.  Brown equals flavor so this step is important.  You’ll want a nice dark brown color and it will be on the bottom of the pan.

In a mixer beat egg yolks, brown sugar and salt until fluffy.  Slowly add the browned butter while mixing.  Just drizzle it in at first and be careful.  Hot butter burns.  No fun.  Meanwhile bring the cream and milk to a simmer.  Then slowly whisk the cream mixture into the browned butter mixture until well blended and pour back into the pot.  Cook over low heat to a temperature of about 170F.









Stir in the vanilla.  Cool and then refrigerate for several hours – overnight is even better.  Pour into the bowl of your ice cream maker and process according to the manufacturer’s directions.  You can either stir in the pecans or sprinkle on top.  Freeze until firm.  Wait for it….oh my.
















Categories: Desserts and Sweets, Recipe Index | 2 Comments

Grilled Tilapia
















Easy, fast and delicious.  I’ve never been super excited about fish but that’s about to change.  Sorry to all the disappointed fish who thought they were off the hook.  Hehe.  That was a totally terrible and spontaneous pun.  Anyway, grilled or oven baked this will be done in just minutes.  Oh yeah.  There’s no pan to clean up because we’re using foil!

You will need:

  • aluminum foil
  • cooking spray
  • Tilapia (or Mahi Mahi, Salmon, Walleye, etc)
  • salt, pepper, this seasoning blend or your own
  • olive oil
  • butter
  • fresh thyme (or tarragon or dill)
  • lemon slices
  • sliced onion

Make a little foil tray for the fish by folding up the sides and ends and spray it with cooking spray.  Double the thickness of the foil unless it’s heavy duty.  Place the fish in the tray and sprinkle with salt, pepper and seasoning, drizzle with olive and a little butter.















Almost ready.  Take a sprig of thyme and place it on top of the fish and finish with a slice of lemon and a few onion slices.  Now place it on a medium heat grill.  When the fish becomes opaque and firm, it’s done!  About 10-15 minutes is all it takes depending on the size of your fish.


Categories: Grilling, Recipe Index | Leave a comment

Mint Iced Tea and Peach Mojitos

Summer I have missed you!  Welcome back to Minnesota and quickly, before we float away in this record month of rain, let’s pause and refresh.  What do Iced Tea and Peach Mojitos have in common?  Mint!  My garden is crazy with this fragrant perennial.  Here are two recipes that are super easy. First, the tea.

Mint Iced Tea














Minty Lemon Sun Tea

  • 12 tea bags
  • Sliced lemon
  • Mint Sprigs
  • 12 cups filtered water
  • Sugar to taste (add post-brewing)

Put it all in a jar in the beautiful sunshine for 3-5 hours and you’ll have minty, lemony sun tea.  My dad used to make sun tea by the pool when we were kids so it brings up some great memories for me.  He would like this, I think.  Remove the tea bags and refrigerate. That’s it.  You have a pretty glass of iced tea.

Peach Mojito














Peach Mojitos

I make these one at a time but you can always make a simple syrup if you’re making more.  One part water to one part sugar; boil and cool.  To be honest, I’d never heard of a peach mojito before.  But I had mint and I had peaches and it sounded like a perfect match.  Of course I did not invent this drink except for perhaps in my own mind.  All that peachy-licious color.  This is seriously very good without the rum too.  Beauty in a glass.

  • 1/2 a lime, quartered
  • 10 mint leaves
  • 1-3 teaspoons sugar (I like one) and equal parts water
  • 1/2 fresh peach
  • 2 oz white rum
  • Club soda

Squeeze the juice of two of the lime quarters into a glass, add mint leaves, sugar and water.  Now….MUDDLE.  This is the fun part.  If you don’t have a muddler – and who does – use a wooden spoon or similar utensil to kind of crush the mint leaves and release their flavor and dissolve the sugar, then add the last two lime quarters and muddle those a bit too.  Now take half a ripe peach and press it through a strainer to get the nectar.  You can buy peach nectar in a can if you don’t have ripe peaches.  Pour the peach nectar and rum into your glass.  Fill it with ice and finish it off with club soda.  Garnish with a sprig of mint and even a slice of peach and a curl of lime rind.  So pretty!  Mint and peach are really nice together.

Now I feel that I may need a muddler seeing as how I have so much mint.  I love kitchen tools.  Happy muddling to you!  May your summer be filled with minty fresh goodness.


Categories: Drinks, Recipe Index | Leave a comment