..........Contact me at Mom25dogs@gmail.com.........

Contact me at Mom25dogs@gmail.com

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Robert Ludlum's "Bourne Supremacy"

I finished Robert Ludlum's "The Bourne Supremacy" a few weeks ago and watched the movie. As with the first one, the movie was nothing like the book. I don't know why they even call it "The Bourne Supremacy". The only thing they have in common is the character Jason Bourne (who is actually David Webb) and his background of being a government agent during the Medusa project in Vietnam and later was injured and became an amnesiac, slowly regaining his memories.

In China, scrawled in blood, is a name the world wanted to forget: Jason Bourne. The Chinese vice-premier has been killed by a legendary assassin. Why has Jason Bourne come back? Why in China? Is he back in business? But US officials know the truth: there is no Jason Bourne. The name was created as cover for David Webb on his search for the notorious killer Carlos. David Webb and his wife, Maria, have been in hiding under protection of the US government. David has been a professor at a small university in the US and has been under psychiatric treatment from his friend, Morris "Mo" Panov (see "The Bourne Identity") trying to regain his memory and a normal life. Someone else has taken the Bourne identity and become a dangerous assassin in China threatening world peace. David Webb must become Jason Bourne again to catch the new villain. The end result is David is successful and he and Maria go back to their normal life in America.

The movie has David Webb living incognito with his grimy girlfriend, Maria, in India. I can't get passed how dirty and grimy she looks. Anyway, an assassin comes gunning for them and Maria is killed. David Webb begins looking for her killer, the assassin, who has taken on the Jason Bourne identity.

The movie never goes to China, never introduces the Chinese leader who is threatening world peace. The plot, the characters, the motivation, NOTHING resembles the book.

The movie is OK but the book is better. I've now begun reading "The Bourne Ultimatum".

Friday, November 02, 2007

A Little Doggy Fun

All my dogs except my Spunky Monkey who doesn't know how to get up and down from the bed due to being blind. I put him up with the rest of us when I go to bed.

The boys are wearing belly bands (boy dog diapers) with large Serenity pads in them. Iggies aren't great for potty training. We use diapers and pee pads. If you see me buying big bags of Serenity pads...it's for the dogs, not me! LOL! They go outside once a day (unless the weather is bad) without their diapers so they can "breathe". Otherwise, they can get diaper rash like a baby does. Ever powder a dog's butt? I have! A little medicated powder solves the problem.

Persephone's skin is even thinner and more delicate than the boys. Yesterday she had bruised elbows. Sephy tried to jump on my office chair and she missed a little and it dragged her elbows across the nappy fabric as she slid. It grazed her elbows and gave her some red bruises.

I'm telling you, these dogs are very fragile and delicate and yet so agile (almost as good as a cat). If you get an Iggy you have to be aware that they are NOT rough housers like a Labrador Retriever. They like to tussle and wrestle but YOU have to be sure that you do it gently and are careful with them. And be prepared to pay for broken legs. Broken legs are expensive to fix in Iggies and yet they can easily happen. So the Iggies are really not dogs for people with small children who don't realize how rough they are. A child can forget and be running through the house and turn a corner and knock right into the Iggie. A total accident and yet it will cost you through the nose plus putting the Iggy through the pain. They are not dogs for people who don't have the time to put into them. They are very dependent on their people and very attached and clingy. They are not dogs for people who have carpet in their homes as they are notorious for being hard to potty train. They are not dogs for people who like the dog to sleep on a dog bed beside the bed...these dogs are cold intolerant and they LOVE cuddling up to you tight under the covers. With 5 dogs under the covers with me...I can barely turn over at night and then I have to wake up to do it so I'm sure not to roll over some long, thin legs. They are not for people who can't afford dog expenses. These dogs have to have good food, coats, doggy diapers, and I've already mentioned how expensive a leg break is. You can't throw these dogs out on a chain in the backyard and leave them to their own. They get cold, sunburned, depressed without their people, are delicate and very thin dogs so that they can die quickly if not kept under constant care. You need to do some research and learn about how to care for these dogs before getting one.

Persephone has a potty training problem. She hates to go outside and she uses the pee pads almost 100% of the time but she does have a problem. Occasionally she pees on my bed. She might would do this on my couch or chairs if she was left unattended in the rest of the house. Now, I don't know how to teach her not to do this since she only does it when I'm not around. They have the attention span of a 2 yr old so it's not like I can take her to the spot and fuss at her or spank her (and NEVER hit an Iggy hard, a light smack is all it takes). I mean it's been a couple of hours....! So what do you do? As a human being with good public school education, some college, and some experience (and if I didn't have experience I would find someone online who could give me the benefit of their experience, join a message board for your dog breed) I am responsible for coming up with a solution. So I keep extra sheet sets and thick mattress covers and a liquid barrier (vinyl mattress cover) underneath so that the mattress never gets wet. I just change the mattress cover and sheet set. I use white sheets so they can easily be bleached. Bleaching removes the odor too so it discourages her from continuing to do it. It may be an inconvenience but she's worth it! She is not left unattended in the rest of the house. Sephy's just a little, tiny girl dog that may or may not learn...I'm the human being with the brain, education, experience and ability to find the solutions. It's up to me and to implement them. Then if she makes a mistake, it's usually my own fault and up to me to fix.

Thursday, November 01, 2007



Figs have a honey and caramel flavor that goes good with aged cheeses, peppery lettuce or bittersweet chocolate.

Store the delicate fruits in the refrigerator and use within 2-3 days after purchase.

I love ripe figs, warm from the sun and plucked right off the tree and eaten. So sweet!

I've eaten a lot of fig preserves. My Grandma used to make them every year and even included a couple of jars of fig preserves in a box of canned things that she gave me for a wedding present. She had canned from her garden and we had green beens, fig preserves, etc. all winter after we got married.

But my favorite way to eat them has been just picking them from the fig tree when they are ripe and soft and sweet. The preserves are a little too sweet for me but the fresh fruit is jjjuuusssttt right!

Figs originated in northern Asia Minor. Spaniards brought the fig to America in 1520. The fig tree was mentioned prominently in The Bible. Cooked figs were used as sweeteners in lieu of sugar in historical times, and this usage still continues today in North Africa and the Middle East. High in potassium, iron, fiber and plant calcium, figs are also used for medicinal purposes as a diuretic and laxative. The fig tree can live as long as 100 years and grow to 100 feet tall, although domestic trees are kept pruned to a height of about 16 feet.

Take fresh figs and dip into white or dark chocolate. Lay them on a dessert plate and put a small dollop of whipped cream on top.

Take some fresh foccaccia bread and combine chopped figs with some olive oil, fresh rosemary and garlic, spread over the bread and bake till hot.

Chopped figs, Swiss cheese and bits of smoky bacon make an unforgettable quiche.

Chop fresh figs and fresh Rosemary together and use to stuff pork chops, chicken breasts or dumplings.

Stir a few finely chopped fresh figs into plain or vanilla yogurt. Add a bit of granola for a quick breakfast.

Brie-Stuffed Figs with Fresh Rosemary

Trim off stem tips of fresh Figs. Slice open one side of each fig. Stuff with a small piece of Brie or Camembert cheese and chopped fresh rosemary leaves. Sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper. Place cheese-side up in baking pan. Bake at 350° for 7 minutes or until hot.

Bacon-Wrapped Fruited Figs

Bake bacon at 400° for 10 minutes or until bacon is cooked but still flexible. Cut strips in half. Trim and cut open figs. Stuff with a small chunk of fresh peach, nectarine or mango. Wrap with half-slice bacon (may not entirely go around fig) and fasten with pick. Bake at 400° for 7 minutes or until hot.

South Beach Pasta Salad

8 ounces dried spinach rotini
1 pound ripe red and yellow cherry or grape tomatoes, stemmed and cut in half
1/2 red (Spanish) onion, thinly sliced
1/3 cup cider or white wine vinegar
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme or 2 teaspoons dried thyme
3 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf (Italian) parsley
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
10 fresh figs, cut in flat slices
1/4 cup ripe olives, pitted and cut in half

Fill a large pot three-quarters full of water and bring to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 10 minutes, or according to package directions. Drain the pasta thoroughly. Cool and chill. In a large bowl, stir together the tomatoes, onion, vinegar, oil, thyme, parsley, pepper and cayenne. Serve immediately, or cover and store at room temperature for up to 2 hours.
To serve, combine the pasta and the tomato mixture. Stir and toss to combine.
Serves 6

Source: Californiafigs.com

Fig and Gorgonzola on Italian Bread Toast

1 cup fresh Figs
1/3 cup Gabbiano Chianti
1/4 cup orange juice
1 (2 X 4-inch) strip orange peel
2 small sprigs fresh rosemary
20 (2-inch) squares rustic Italian bread
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup Gorgonzola cheese
1/4 cup butter, softened

Remove stems from figs; cut each into 4 slices. Bring wine, orange juice, orange peel and rosemary to a boil in small saucepan; add fig slices. Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes or until most of the liquid has been absorbed; set aside. Preheat oven to 450°F. Brush bread squares with olive oil and place on baking sheet. Bake 5 minutes or until lightly browned; let cool. Combine cheese and butter in small bowl. Spread mixture onto toasts and top with fig slices. Garnish with tiny rosemary sprigs, if desired.

Source: Valleyfig.com

Scott's Holiday Salad

Scott's Holiday Salad

Source: Better Homes And Garden, November, 2007, pg 274

1/2 cup cold water
2 envelopes plain gelatin
1/2 cup white vinegar
1 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
3 cups peeled and diced cucumbers
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
1/2 cup celery, diced
vegetable oil

In bowl pour 1/2 cup cold water. Sprinkle the gelatin over water to soften about 10 minutes. In a nonreactive saucepan, combine 1 cup water, the vinegar, sugar, and salt. cook and stir over medium heat until hot and sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat; add softened gelatin mixture. Stir until dissolved. Transfer to a large bowl. Place bowl over a larger bowl of ice. As it begins to thicken stir in the vegetables. Pour into an oiled dish or mold. Place plastic wrap on the top and put in the refrigerator for 4 hours. To unmold, dip mold briefly in hot water and invert onto a serving platter.

*Note-I made this this afternoon and it was delicious. My husband says it's good but he can't get passed it being a gelatin salad. I took a sample to my sister and she loved it too. Very fresh tasting and would be a refreshing summer salad...cold, refreshing, crunchy, sweet/sour! Sort of like how Gazpacho is.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Apple Recipes

Thick Porkchops with Spiced Apples and Raisins

Pork Chops
4 center-cut, bone-in loin pork chops, about 8 ounces each
Extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Leaves from 2 fresh thyme sprigs

Spiced Apples and Raisins
3 New York Cortland or Empire apples,peeled, cored and sliced in 1/2-inch-thick wedges
3/4 cup fresh apple cider
1/2 cup raisins
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the apples and thyme and coat in the butter; cook and stir for 6 minutes to give them some color. Toss in raisins and add apple juice. Stir in the brown sugar, cinnamon, and cloves. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add lemon juice and simmer until apples are tender but still hold their shape, about 10 minutes. Set aside and keep warm. Rub chops on both sides with a little olive oil and season well with salt and pepper. Place a large ovenproof skillet, preferably cast-iron, over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil and swirl to coat the pan. Brown chops for 2 minutes on each side. Place skillet in oven and roast chops until center is still slightly pink in the center and internal temperature reads 160 degrees F. when tested with an instant-read thermometer. Serve pork accompanied by the warm spiced apples, drizzling a bit of the sauce over the chops.
Makes 4 servings
Source: Recipe courtesy of Tyler Florence, celebrity chef and author. http://www.nyapplecountry.com/porkchopsapplesraisins.htm

Apple Crisp

4 cup of Sliced Apples
1/3 cup All-purpose flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup oatmeal
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup butter or melted margarine
Salt as necessary

Put Sliced Apples in a baking pan and Sprinkle with lemon juice. Combine all dry ingredients with butter or melted margarine and mix with a fork until crumbly. Sprinkle all this over apples and bake at 350 degrees for at least 30 minutes.

Spicy Apple Crisp

6 to 8 cooking apples
1 cup flour
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
3/4 cup butter
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 peel of one lemon
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Peel, quarter and core cooking apples. Cut apple quarters into thin slices and place it in a bowl. Blend nutmeg and cinnamon then sprinkle over apples. Sprinkle with lemon rind. Add lemon juice and toss to blend. Arrange slices in a large baking dish. Make a mixture of sugar, flour and butter in a mixing bowl then put over apples, smoothing it over. Place the dish in the oven. If dish is very full, put a pan under the dish to catch spills. Bake at 370° for 60 minutes, until browned and apples are tender.

Apple Dumplings

Core as many apples as may be required. Fill the holes with a mixture of sugar and cinnamon; make a paste for a short crust, roll it out, and wrap each apple in it. Bake the dumplings about 30 or 40 minutes in the oven, or boil them the same time in plenty of water, placing the dumplings in the water when it boils fast. Serve with cream or sweet white sauce.

Short crust pastry Yield: 8 Oz

8 oz SR Flour
1/2 ts Salt
2 oz Lard
2 oz Margarine
7 ts Approx Cold Water
1 oz Caster Sugar

(For sweet Pastry)
1. Mix flour and salt in a basin, rub in lard and margarine.
2. Using a knife to cut and stir, mix with cold water to form a stiff paste.
3. turn dough on to a floured board or worktop and roll out.

Apple Fritters

3 good juicy cooking apples
3 eggs
6 oz. of Allinson fine wheat meal
1/2 pint of milk
sugar to taste

Pare and core the apples, and cut them into rounds 1/4 inch thick; make a batter with the milk, meal, and the eggs well beaten, adding sugar to taste. Have a frying-pan ready on the fire with hot oil, or butter, dip the apple slices into the batter and fry the fritters until golden brown; drain them on blotting paper, and keep them hot in the oven until all are done.

Apple and Onion Pie

6 oz. apples
1/4 lb. Spanish onions
1 hard-boiled egg
a little butter
pepper and salt to taste
some paste for a short crust
Peel and cut up the apples and onion, stew gently with a little water. When nearly tender, season and add the butter, turn the mixture into a small pie-dish, quarter the egg, and place the pieces on the mixture, cover with a crust, and bake the pie 1/2 hour.

Apple and Carrot Casserole

6 large carrots
5 large Rome or York apples
5 Tbsp. sugar
5 Tbsp. flour
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 Tbsp. margarine
1/2 cup orange juice

Slice carrots thinly and cook in salted water for 5 minutes; drain. Slice apples and cook in clear water 5 minutes; drain. Layer carrots and apples in casserole. Mix sugar, flour and nutmeg; sprinkle on top. Dot with margarine. Pour orange juice over all. (Can be made ahead and baked just before serving). Bake 30-40 minutes in 350 oven. Makes 6 servings.

Scalloped Apples

4 - 6 large Virginia apples (Golden Delicious)
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1-1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon fine bread crumbs
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
2 tablespoons brown sugar
Sprinkle of nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Add water. Mix sugars, cinnamon and allspice. Sprinkle over apples along with lemon juice, bread crumbs and nutmeg. Dot with butter. Bake about 45 minutes until apples are soft. Serve warm or cold. Serves 4 to 6.

Squash and Apple Bake

1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/8 tsp. ground allspice
1 large Granny Smith apple, cored and diced
1/8 tsp. ground white pepper
1 medium leek, white part only, thinly sliced

Pierce the squash in 3 or 4 places with the tip of a sharp knife. Place the squash on a double layer of paper towels on the floor of the oven. Microwave on high for 4 minutes. Turn the squash and microwave on high for 4 to 6 minutes longer, or until it just begins to feel soft when gently squeezed. Let stand until cooled, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, in a 2-quart oval casserole or 9-inch glass pie plate, combine the oil, lemon juice, apple, leek, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and pepper. Cover tightly with a lid or vented plastic wrap. Microwave on high for 5 minutes, or until the apple and leek are quite soft. Cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Scoop the pulp from the squash into the casserole with the apple mixture. Mash the squash with the back of a spoon while stirring in the apple and leek to combine. Spoon the mixture back into the casserole or pie plate. Cover loosely with a lid or vented plastic wrap. Microwave on high for 4 to 6 minutes, or until heated through. Makes 4 servings.

Apple Pasta Salad

1 container (8 ounce) plain nonfat yogurt
2 cups uncooked rotini pasta
1 can (8 ounce) unsweetened crushed pineapple, undrained
1/2 cup shredded carrot
1 cup sliced celery
1/2 tsp. salt, optional
1/4 cup sliced green onions
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 tsp. dry mustard
3 cups diced, unpeeled York or Winesap apples
1 tsp. finely chopped crystallized ginger
1 Tbsp. honey

Thoroughly combine yogurt, pineapple, salt, spices, ginger and honey; refrigerate. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt. Rinse with cold water and drain thoroughly. Cool completely. In large bowl, combine all ingredients including yogurt dressing. Chill thoroughly before serving. Makes 8 (1 cup) servings.

Turkey Waldorf Salad

2 cups sliced celery
2 cups cooked small shell pasta
2 cups diced cooked turkey breast (12 ounces)
2 cups diced unpeeled Fuji apples
1/4 cup sliced scallions (green onions)
1/3 cup chopped walnuts, toasted*

Yogurt Dressing
1/2 cup plain nonfat yogurt
3 Tbsp. reduced calorie mayonnaise
3 Tbsp. cider vinegar
1 Tbsp. sugar
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper

Combine ingredients for yogurt dressing. In a large bowl combine celery with pasta, turkey, apple, scallions and walnuts. Add Yogurt dressing; toss to coat thoroughly.
*To toast walnuts: Place in a small dry skillet over low heat until golden, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Makes 4 servings.

Apple and Cheese Casserole

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter
7 apples, peeled, sliced
6 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Mix flour, sugar and salt in small blow. Cut in butter until crumbly. Toss apples with water and lemon juice in bowl. Spoon into greased 8-inch baking dish. Sprinkle with flour mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake for 5 minutes longer. Yield: 8 servings.

Apple and Sausage Potato Pancakes

Potato Pancakes:

5 cups (half of a 26 ounce package) frozen Country Style Hash Brown Potatoes, thawed
1-1/2 cups unpeeled shredded apples (Ida Red, Rome, Empire, Gala, Jonagold, Jonathan, McIntosh)
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup all-purpose flour2
tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 eggs, slightly beaten
Vegetable oil

Apple and Sausage Dressing:

2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 tablespoon honey Dijon mustard
8 ounces reduced fat smoked sausage, cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
3 small apples, cored, sliced into 12 wedges each (Ida Red, Rome, Empire, Gala, Jonagold, Jonathan, McIntosh)

For Potato Pancakes, combine thawed potatoes, shredded apples, onion, flour, thyme, salt and pepper. Stir in eggs until mixture is well blended. Heat enough vegetable oil over medium heat to just cover bottom of a large heavy skillet. Portion potato mixture by 1/2 cup measures into hot oil. Fry 2 to 3 minutes per side or until golden. Add more oil as needed. Keep pancakes warm.For Apple and Sausage Topping, melt butter in large heavy skillet over medium heat. Stir in mustard. Add sausage and apple slices. Cook and stir 6 to 8 minutes or until apples are tender. Serve 2 pancakes per serving. Divide sausage-apple mixture evenly over top of each serving.

Apple Pecan Hamburgers

1 cup shredded Apples (Ida Red, Rome, Empire, Gala, Jonagold, Jonathan, McIntosh)
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
1 cup cold, cooked brown rice
3/4 cup toasted pecan pieces
1 cup dry bread crumbs
2 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon coarse black pepper
5 hamburger buns, optional
5 tomato slices, optional
Lettuce, optional
Vegetable cooking spray

Place Apples and remaining ingredients in food processor bowl. Using metal blade, process about 30 seconds or until evenly chopped and thoroughly combined. Using 1/2 cup measure, portion and shape mixture into 5 patties. (Mixture will be soft.) Place on baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake in 400 Fo oven about 25 minutes or until deep golden brown. Serve hot on bun with tomato and lettuce or with sweet and sour sauce, if desired. Yield: 5 patties, 3 1/2-inches in diameter.

Grilled Chicken with Apples and Feta

4 skinless boneless chicken breasts (about 5 oz. each)
2 Tbl. Olive oil
2 Tbl. Butter
2 apples peeled and thinly sliced (Ida Red, Rome, Empire, Gala, Jonagold, Jonathan, McIntosh)
4 oz. feta cheese
Salt and pepper
1 tsp. fresh thyme

Prepare hot fire in charcoal or gas grill. Brush chicken with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill chicken until juices run clear, 3-4 minutes per side. Remove from grill to platter and tent with foil to keep warm. Melt butter in sauté pan over medium high heat. Add apples and sauté 2-3 minutes, until they begin to brown and become tender. Spoon apples over chicken and top with feta and thyme. Serves 4.

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