Wednesday, February 25, 2009

My New Puppy

I have a new Boxer puppy! Since I run an editorial business, I wanted to name her something vaguely related to words, punctuation, etc. So I think I'm going to name her Asterisk (Aster for short). And what's really fun is that I can refer to her as * when writing to friends! She is a barrel of fun, as all puppies are, and she and my Doberman, Nova, get along great. Poor Nova puts up with a lot from Asterisk, who frequently insists on sitting on Nova's back.

They play a lot in the yard, and I'm thankful that the first week I had her, the weather was sunny and dry. That helped a lot with potty training. I could also leave her outside in the fenced yard with Nova to play with for an hour or so several times during the day. When I brought her in, after playing hard, she slept in her crate with no problem.

But now that it's raining cats and dogs, things have become more trying for Asterisk. She does her business on the deck *sigh* instead of going down into the yard, and unless Nova is out with her to encourage her to play, she sits huddled in a miserable mass in front of the door. So, like a trooper, I don coat and go outside with both dogs and hang out with them for 30-45 minutes or until my coat is soaked through. Once they get to playing, dogs don't care about rain. And I admit that once I am outside with the dogs, I don't mind it either.

It's been four years since Nova was a puppy, and I'd forgotten how much work it is to housebreak a puppy. In Asterisk's case, I had to section off part of her crate to keep her from peeing in it. The crate is a little too large for her, meaning she can pee in one end and then sleep in the other.

She was very unhappy with me after I sectioned off the crate. She can stand, turn around, and lie down, but if she pees, she has to sleep in it. I've also begun restricting her water after 9 p.m., and it seems to be working. Sort of. I also let her out once in the middle of the night, so I'm sure that helps.

All in all, I'm thrilled to have a new puppy. Do you have a puppy? Or a dog? If so, how did the housebreaking go?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Recipe: Slow Cooker Pepper Steak

I just made this recipe for the first time last night and it's divine. I served it over egg noodles, but it could also be served with rice. This is a hearty, juicy dish, and because the meat cooks all day in the crock pot, it is incredibly tender. The only thing I would change is to leave out the 1 tsp. of salt, or cut it in half. There is plenty enough salt with the bouillon and soy sauce, so adding more salt was overkill. Still, it was delicious!


2 lbs beef sirloin, cut into 2" strips
garlic powder to taste
3 Tbs vegetable oil
1 cube beef bouillon
1/4 cup hot water
1 Tbs cornstarch
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 large green bell peppers, roughly chopped
1 (14.5 oz.) can stewed tomatoes, with liquid
3 Tbs soy sauce
1 tsp white sugar
1 tsp salt (I would delete this salt)

Sprinkle strips of sirloin with garlic powder to taste. In a large skillet over medium heat, brown the seasoned beef strips in the vegetable oil. Transfer to slow cooker. Mix bouillon cube with hot water until dissolved, then mix in cornstarch until dissolved. Pour into the slow cooker with meat. Stir in onion, green peppers, stewed tomatoes, soy sauce, sugar, and salt. (Note: I mixed all liquids together first, then added to beef)

Cover, and cook on High for 3-4 hours or on Low for 6-8 hours.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Glorified Rice

This is a rice salad usually served with meals, but is so sweetly delicious it can also be served as dessert. It's almost like a rice pudding. This is my mom's recipe, and I have no idea if she made it up or adapted it from another recipe. Friends have mistakenly called it Heavenly Hash, but that's a different recipe that calls for marshmallows and fruit cocktail, while my recipe has neither. I don't normally use a recipe for this, so I've done my best to give approximate amounts of ingredients. Don't let the simple ingredients mislead you. This is really delicious!


Cooked rice (1 small saucepan full?)
1-2 cans crushed pineapple
1 jar maraschino cherries, sliced in half
1 tub Cool Whip

Add 1 or 2 cans drained crushed pineapple to cooled rice. Fold in Cool Whip. Add cherries last (if you add them first, it will turn the salad pink). Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Sometimes the rice will absorb so much Cool Whip overnight that you'll need to add more, to keep things moist.

If used as dessert, serve in glass goblets and garnish with a whole maraschino cherry.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Recipe: Sherrie's Pasta Salad

After trial and error, I came up with a pasta salad that I really like. The nice thing about this salad is that you can add or subtract ingredients per taste. I happen to like broccoli and cauliflower, so I include them. Whenever I make this salad, it disappears pretty fast. My brother-in-law really likes it, and when we have summer get-togethers he always asks me to make it.


--1 small package corkscrew noodles, cooked in seasoned water
--Bernstein's Cheese Fantastico salad dressing
--raw broccoli, cut to bite-size pieces
--raw cauliflower, cut to bite-size pieces
--red peppers, chopped
--green peppers, chopped
--sliced black olives
--green onions, sliced (I used mostly tops)
--cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
--Kraft grated parmesan cheese

Boil noodles in water seasoned with chicken bouillon and garlic powder. Drain and cool a little, then lightly marinate with Bernstein's dressing to keep the noodles from sticking together. Regrigerate while preparing vegetables.

Chop veggies and add to noodles. (To keep the green onions from overpowering the salad, I discard most of the white bulb and use the rest, including the tops) Add more Bernstein's dressing and parmesan cheese and toss. Optional ingredients: frozen peas, mushrooms, grated carrot, pepperoni, hard-boiled eggs, or whatever else you fancy.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

12 Things About Me

I first found this exercise on Susan Wiggs's blog, The View From Here. I love her blog! Anyway, she talked about how on Facebook there's a program where you list 25 things about yourself, and send it to friends, who then list 25 things about themselves.

I'm always a sucker for these things, and it's one of the few (very few!) things I will pass on via e-mail. (Be forewarned--if you send me an e-mail that says to forward it to everyone in my address book, it automatically gets deleted)

But this one is fun, because it shows a side of yourself many people may not know. I don't have time to come up with 25 things about myself, however, so my list will be shorter. Without further ado, here is my list. I invite you to share 12 things about yourself!

1. I am artistic (painting, drawing, photography)
2. I am lost without my camera
3. I have a green thumb. I can make anything grow, even a seed from a store-bought grapefruit (now a 12" tree)
4. I like salty-or-sour/sweet foods
5. I love music
6. I'm a good marksman with a slingshot and a BB rifle
7. I was first published at age 11 when my poem was printed in my school district's teachers newsletter
8. I have no patience with companies that hire customer service people whose first language is NOT English, and who don't monitor the e-mails their CS people send out. How am I to know that when a CS person's e-mail says to click on the Lens Image that they mean the magnifying glass?
9. I secretly hate people who drive Hummers and other huge gas guzzling status symbols
10. I'm forgetful, and sometimes it's embarrassing, like going to the grocery store with a row of clothespins clipped to the hem of my sweatshirt from hanging up laundry. Or turning on the water in the shower and then forgetting to take a shower. Clue: no hot water.
11. I sometimes wear my tennies without socks
12. I have an extremely sensitive sense of smell and can tell when friends need to empty the garbage under the kitchen sink or when they are wearing musty-smelling clothes. As a result, I rinse food particles off everything before putting it in the garbage.

Okay, your turn. If you can't come up with 12, that's okay. Just list the weirdest. *g*