Archive for August, 2009

I really wasn’t planning on writing today but Jimmy and I made a fantastic dinner that I couldn’t wait to share! I need to start by letting you in on a little secret. The best recipes in the world are in Bon Appetit’s Fast, Easy & Fresh cookbook. It’s a big fat green book, over 700 pages of the most amazing recipes. When I first bought it, we made a month’s worth of meals without even thinking of opening another book…it’s that good! I suggest everyone has it in their library of cook books. Sign up for Border’s rewards, wait for a 40% off coupon to arrive in your inbox and run out to purchase this gem!!

OK, back to the cooking. Each weekend, Jimmy & I sit down and plan 5 or 6 dinners to make for the week. Since we had so many great farmers market finds, I decided to throw veggie skewers on the menu. It sounded like a quick, easy way to use up what we already had. And since we still had two ears of corn, I opened my Fast, Easy & Fresh book and found a fabulous recipe for Skillet Corn on the Cob with Parmesan and Cilantro.


Now, on to the skewers…

I used a red and green pepper, yellow squash, zucchini, cherry tomatoes and tofu. You could use any combination of fresh veggies but what really made the meal was the tofu.

I think tofu takes a little practice, my first attempt was a disaster, but once I got it figured out, we include it in a recipe or two every week. The key is to drain as much of the water out as you can. Tonight, I cut my block up into cubes (the package I bought had 2 cubes that I could easily cut into 24 pieces) then press the cubes between paper towels. When there isn’t much water coming out anymore, you’re ready to throw it in the marinade.

I opened my fridge and threw in whatever I had (I watched Rachael Ray today and figured if she could make gravy out of the contents of her fridge door, I could come up with some magic too). 

Though I didn’t measure anything, here’s what I think would work:

1/4 cup soy sauce, 2 tablespoons hoisin, 1 tablespoon dijon mustard, sriracha chili sauce to your desired spice level.

Toss your tofu in the marinade, let it sit for 15 minutes or so and skewer it with your veggies onto your bamboo sticks (soak the sticks in water for a half hour before using to prevent burning!!) and throw on a greased grill for about 10 minutes turning on all sides to get those nice charred edges on the veggies.


Serve with the corn above and voila, a quick, easy, healthy meal for two!

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School Days!

Can you believe after 7 years, I’m going back to school tomorrow??!! Just over a year ago the thought of school freaked me out…seriously, just thinking about writing a paper made me light-headed, thoughts of vomit, sweaty palms, the whole nine yards. But now, I’m way excited to start my masters program. I really like what I’ve been doing since getting my bachelors, marketing and advertising, but I’d love to take it in a new direction. My program is interactive environmental journalism. Sounds interesting, right? Who knows where this will take me but I hope it’s somewhere fun and exciting. And if not, maybe I can fall back on all the baking skills I’ve gained in the last week to help pay the bills 🙂

And, while we’re on the subject of back to school, my little sister started her last first day of high school today. Yep folks, that’s right, Alyssa is a SENIOR! I’m so proud of her and excited for the adventures she’ll have in her last year in high school.

Wow, now I feel really old. Where has my youth gone??

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Marlie’s belated birthday excursion was a trip to the dog park at the Sparks Marina this morning! We’ve been to many dog parks in our 7 years as pug parents, but none compare to this. Marlie usually isn’t a fan of the dog parks as she generally has no interest in associating with other dogs (does the queen really interact with your average civilian??) but this was an entirely different experience.


I think it’s safe to say our pugs aren’t huge fans of water. Both may be traumatized from falling in my parents pool or from Jimmy “taking them swimming”  while they’re digging claws into his shoulders, holding on for dear life. But today, Marlie and the water made amends and she went crazy running all over the park, making friends with other dogs, demanding their owners attention, in general, just acting like a complete spaz!!


Jett was out of control too, but that’s typical Jett behavior at dog parks. He always manages to chase the fastest dog in the park and ends the day by cooling his belly in the grass.


Both were exhausted by the time we left. This is Marlie’s “let’s go home” face.


Once the weather cools down a little more, I imagine we’ll spend plenty of days getting dirty at the Sparks Marina! Thank goodness we have a grooming appointment this week 🙂

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This must be Heaven!

Well, my idea of heaven anyway. Yesterday Jimmy and I went to a lovely Reno/Tahoe YPN event and bailed early to make it to the last Hometowne Farmers Market of the season. For those of you who have never experienced this fabulous Reno affair, it’s a huge event held every Thursday of the summer in Victorian Square in Sparks. And seriously, it doesn’t get much better than this! Well, not unless all the produce was grown and sold by Tom Cruise (the early years, not the post-couch jumping version…there may be a lingering college obsession on the verge of breaking out here). This is my favorite farmers market by far, though I must confess, I haven’t been to all that many. But this one is complete with entertainment (of the intended kind, bands and performers, and the intoxicated patrons who usually make for good people watching), friendly farmers, garlic fries, sweet corn and plenty of beer! Every summer in college, this was the place to be and who knew you could buy some amazing produce there too? The things you learn as you get older…

So, back to the market. We were a bit overdressed for the occasion so we rushed in and out, but managed to pick up a mere $20 worth of goodies. That’s right, only $20 for all this goodness – two fat cucumbers, four yellow squash, two of the biggest zucchinis I’ve ever seen, three giant beef steak tomatoes, two ears of corn, a bunch of broccoli, celery, three red onions, a pair of freakishly huge artichokes and of course a refreshing lemonade big enough for Jimmy & me to share. Our fridge is on fruit overload so we skipped that temptation, but those pluots (a cross between a plum and an apricot) nearly sucked us in!

 farmer's market

Unfortunately, this is only a summer market and this was the last week, but next June, I’ll be ready and waiting!  I learned tonight that there is a Saturday market somewhere that runs through October. We’ll check it out next week and post some details if it’s blog-worthy.

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After 6 weeks, one long road trip in a U-Haul, one quick weekend visit and an easy drive in the Jetta, we’re finally all in Reno…well, Sparks actually! We spent the first week in July packing up the house and loading up a 26-foot U-Haul with everything we own for the trip across the state. Two cats, two dogs and two people in the cab of a U-Haul is not the most comfortable 8-hour drive but it wasn’t all that horrible. Poor Jett and Marlie were stuck on my lap while the kitties were crated in the middle of the cab.

sleepy pugs

But it was all worth it, because boy, do the pugs love their new home!! As do Jimmy and the cats, and I’m quite fond of it too although I haven’t even been here a week yet! Here’s a sneak peek of the living room. What you don’t see are the lazy pugs sprawled out on the couch!

living room

I moved in with my very generous parents for about 6 weeks so I could work a while longer in Vegas. I spent a little more time with some great friends and family but I sure did miss my little furry kids and husband! I was able to get up to visit for one weekend, which really only made me want to move even sooner. Patience is not my strong point!!

But finally, we’re all here and happy to be back together! I’m enjoying a week of vacation before I start my master’s program on the 25th and Jimmy’s trying so very hard to work from home while I’m distracting him with cooking, vegging on the couch watching Days of Our Lives and begging for him to join me at the pool! As you can see from the overly-decorated patio, I have too much time on my hands!


This week, we have an extra-special event, Marlie’s 7th birthday! It’s still too warm outside during the day for snorty little pugs so her excursion to the Sparks Marina will have to wait until it cools down this weekend, but she did get a nice surprise this morning. After Jett & Marlie were good little puggies doing their business in the proper location this morning, they were rewarded as usual, but instead of carrots, they got HOMEMADE PEANUT BUTTER BONES! Yep, that’s right, in all my free time, I baked the most delicious treats of all time (I tried some of the dough, trust me, they’re good)!! Jett, not being a fan of anything he’s actually supposed to eat, left his on the floor, so birthday girl actually had two! No wonder this is what they’ve been doing for the rest of the day…lazy pugs!!

lazy pugs 8-20-09

Marlie says she’d love to share her treats with all her friends, but since we moved away from most of you, ask your mommies to make you some of your own. I forgot where I found this recipe, I’d love to give credit where credit is due, but here it is, enjoy!!

 dog bones

2 cups wheat flour

1 tbsp baking powder

1 cups milk

1 cup peanut butter

Combine the flour and baking powder in a bowl, set aside.

Combine the milk and peanut butter, stirring well. Then incorporate the dry ingredients.

Roll the dough onto a floured work surface to a ¼ inch thick. Cut into desired shapes (bones usually work best so people don’t try to eat them by mistake!!). Place on a greased cookie sheet and bake at 375 for 15 minutes. Cool completely before feeding to your furry friends. 











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