Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Joys of Puppy Ownership

Guess what I came home to tonight after critique group? A very happy puppy, greeting me at the door. She was just so excited to see me. She was all smiles and puppy wags. Only problem is, I locked her in her crate before I left for group tonight. Somehow, she figured out how to open the door, and oh my, did she have a good time. Yes, she pooped and peed all over the place. But she was very selective. She only pooped and peed on the rugs. She completely avoided all the linoleum. Thankfully, she did not tear anything apart.

And she got into the cat's water, so she tanked up really well. The throw rugs are now in the washing machine. I’m so glad they are machine washable, because they are expensive rugs. I'm going to have to tear out both carpets in the library. I know from long experience that it's a lost cause trying to save them with urine smells in them, and the bottom carpet is old anyway, so out it goes. The top carpet is relatively new, but it's already had a few previous accidents on it, and though I took it outside and hosed it down really well when it happened, and let it air dry in the sun for a week, it's now toast. I'm not supposed to be doing any heavy lifting, but this can't be helped. The carpets have to go. Too bad, because the top carpet was practically new.

Things could have been much worse. She could have destroyed the furniture. Terrorized the cats. Gotten into the living room with my pale oatmeal-colored carpet (a sturdy puppy gate prevented that). Now the little blighter is in her crate sawing logs after I cleaned up all the messes around the house. I guess all I can do is laugh. *g*

Here are some pictures I took today of Asterisk and Christopher playing hide & seek. For a cat, Christopher is so good natured about the puppy. He doesn't use his claws at all. Are these cute pictures or what?

(Top) Christopher on the other side of my desk, tempting Asterisk with The Paw of Death.

(Bottom) Christopher has just leaped out at Asterisk from behind the footstool with an, "AHA!"

(Top) Ready to play patty-cake

(Bottom) A pounce ready to happen

This picture cracks me up. Asterisk had been jumping at Christopher when Christopher suddenly whipped out his paw to slap her face (notice his claws are sheathed). Asterisk stopped so fast her loose puppy skin accordioned about her neck and shoulders. Too funny!

When the Warranty Runs Out

Just when you need all your body parts the most, they wear out and the warranty expires. I went to see the doc about an annoying little problem and they discovered a much more serious problem while I was there. No, it's not the Big C or anything fatal, but it is just worrisome.

I've always been healthy as a horse, so it was a shock to find out that my body is succumbing to the ravages of time. I see a specialist (actually, 2 specialists) in a few weeks, but it looks like I'll be getting a hysterectomy. I'm still shaking my head in disbelief. This sort of thing happens to other people, not me.

So I'm going into high gear with the ol' positive attitude. I'm not dwelling on the problem, but dwelling on having a healthy body. I know from long experience that the mind can work miracles, and I'm just going to keep on imagining myself healthy and whole and happy and smiling.
And that's going to be a whole lot of fun!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Puppy Shenanigans

My new Boxer puppy, Asterisk, is making overtures of friendship to Christopher the Assassin, my cat. Christopher likes dogs, and was best buddies with my old Boxer, so he's tolerating the pup pretty well.

The picture above Shows Asterisk under my desk, trying to reach Christopher. And Christopher knows that the puppy can only get her head and front feet through that little hole at the bottom, so he is sitting tantalizingly close, just to tease the puppy. Animals are so entertaining.

I happened to have the camera on the corner of my desk today, so I was fortunate enough to catch a cute picture of Christopher sitting atop the desk, peering sneakily down at Asterisk, who was under the desk. A moment after I took that picture, an unsuspecting Asterisk moseyed out from under the desk and suffered the indignity of a series of rapid-fire slaps to the head (no claws) from Christopher, who'd been hovering like a vulture waiting for the chance to nail her.

Christopher thought it was great fun, but it startled the daylights out of Asterik, who thought the demons of Hell had landed on her head. It was hilarious watching Christopher planning his attack and waiting in tense expectation for Asterisk to get in range. I love my animals. They're better than TV.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

An Ordinary Day

Today I cleaned the barn, which was very satisfying. The horses hung out with me and offered advice over their stall doors. Asterisk (my Boxer) and Nova (my Doberman) played King of the Mountain on the bales of hay. It was hilarious, and had me laughing out loud several times. The dogs were having such a good time playing like silly kids while I laughed at them. I wish I'd had my camera with me.

It was fun puttering around in the barn. I had the radio going, and it was (for once!) almost like spring outside. We've had so much rain, snow, sleet, and hail since January that any day we get dry weather is a treat.

Right now it's 10:15 p.m. and I'm getting ready to work on a client's manuscript. The dogs are sacked out, tired after a hard day playing. All is right with the world.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Recipe: Sunday Spinach

I just finished a plate of creamed spinach that was divine. It's the first time I tried this recipe, and it's a keeper! Without further ado, here is the recipe.


Two 10-oz pkgs frozen chopped spinach

6 T finely minced onion

1/4 c. melted butter

1 tsp salt

3/4 tsp black pepper

2 T cream cheese

6 T grated Parmesan cheese

6 T heavy cream

Tabasco sauce (optional)

Italian bread crumbs

Cook spinach according to package in unsalted water. Drain well. Saute onions in butter. Add drained spinach, salt, and pepper to taste. Pour in cream. Add cheeses and Tabasco sauce. Mix well. Before serving, place in baking dish and top with buttered Italian bread crumbs and bake at 375 degrees for 10-15 minutes. Freezes well.

Note: when I make this again, I think I'll reduce the onions to 5 T. instead of 6, and increase the cream to 8 T. instead of 6. I like onions, but I thought they almost overpowered the spinach. Regardless, it turned out really superior.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Recipe: Sherrie's Creamed Chicken & Noodles

If you wonder why there are so many recipes with my name on them, it's because they are my own inventions. It's a bit egotistical, but hey, I want credit for my daring inventions! We won't talk about the epic failures, of course. And speaking of epic failures, check out the picture on the left. What happened to the broad's nose??? And I guess she's such a good cook she doesn't need to see what she's doing, because her eyes are obviously closed!

This is another recipe you can make, using chicken baked with my special chicken seasoning (see earlier posts). This is a very hearty and filling meal, with a trace of spicy hot from the Mrs. Dash seasoning. But only a trace. No burned mouth linings!


4 boneless skinless chicken breasts baked with Sherrie's Sensational Chicken Seasoning. Remove hot chicken from pan and set aside to cool a little.

While chicken is cooling, mix 1 pkg Country Gravy mix with 1 c. water and 1 1/2 c. milk. Add to pan drippings. Bring just to boil, stirring often.

Cube or shred chicken and return to pan/gravy. Mix well.

Serve over egg noodles or white rice. This will really stick to your ribs.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Recipe: Sherrie's Chicken Salad

After you have baked chicken using my chicken seasoning (see previous post) let it cool, then cube and place in bowl, along with all the pan drippings (mostly the seasoning that came off the chicken).

Mix with Best Foods Real Mayonnaise. Serve on toast for a sandwich, or on a bed of lettuce as a salad.

Optional additions to the salad: chopped celery, mild chopped onion (easy on the onion), Thompson's seedless grapes.

If using as a salad, the Thompson's seedless grapes (the green ones) are awesome. They provide a wonderful complement to the chicken.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Recipe: Sherrie's Sensational Chicken Seasoning

After much testing, I came up with my own kind of chicken seasoning, which I make in large batches and store in my spice cupboard in shaker bottles. I also give it away for Christmas because it seems to be so popular.

I'm sorry I can't give exact measurements. Seasonings are highly personal, so I suggest you do what feels right for you.


4 bottles Mrs. Dash salt-free seasoning, original blend

Kroger Spice Classics poultry seasoning. If you can't find, then substitute with sage, onion powder, & coarse ground black pepper, or use Kroger Grill Time chicken seasoning (go easy--salt is 2nd ingred)


Granulated garlic

Empty all 4 bottles Mrs. Dash seasoning into bowl. Save the bottles. Then, add generous amounts of the other ingredients as per taste (go easy on garlic). Mix well and, using a funnel, refill the empty Mrs. Dash bottles. Replace shaker tops, screw lids down tight, and return to pantry. To avoid confusion, I use masking tape to cover the original Mrs. Dash labels and write "chicken seasoning" on the tape. I save my shaker-top spice bottles to re-use for my chicken blend, so I always have extra bottles around.

When using on chicken, I rinse boneless, skinless chicken breasts in water, and put in baking pan dripping wet. Then I liberally coat both sides of chicken with seasoning, add a little bit of water to the pan to keep the chicken moist, put a lid on the pan, and bake for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. I have waterless cookware, so the lids form a tight seal and baking the chicken that long doesn't dry it out. In fact, halfway through baking, I turn the chicken over and return to oven. When done, the seasoning provides a very tasty crust to the chicken. And because the seasonings are low salt, the chicken isn't overpowered with sodium.

Tomorrow and the next day, I'll post recipes for using chicken cooked with Sherrie's Sensational Chicken Seasoning. *g*