Patti, Zach, Molly and Maggie's mom
One of the things I like to make is dog treats for Molly (and friend's dogs too!). She's a great taste-tester (a job she loves!!). One of Molly's favorites is muttballs. They are so easy to throw together and this recipe can be adapted for anything that you may have on hand.

Molly's Muttballs

1 pound ground turkey or chicken
1 egg
1/2 cup grated/shredded cheese (I use parmesan or mild cheddar)
1/2 cup bread crumbs (or you could use quick oats)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 Tablespoon parsley flakes (if I have fresh parsley, I'll just grab a handful and chop)
1/2 cup shredded carrots (I have also used shredded zucchini or squash)

If baking, preheat oven to 350 degrees. You can also fry these on top of the stove till they are browned and cooked through, but I prefer baking... less mess and easier!

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl until blended. With a small melon scooper, scoop and roll mixture into balls and place in a mini-muffin tin that you've sprayed with cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20-25 minutes. You can flip the muttballs half-way through the cooking time if you'd like them browned on the sides, but honestly... Molly doesn't care whether they are browned or not so I usually let them cook.

Store in a covered container in the fridge for up to 3 days (if they last that long!) or wrap well and freeze for up to 2 months (thaw before serving). This recipe makes about 36 muttballs.

Cooking for your furbaby can be fun... they aren't really picky if the recipe doesn't quite turn out. Some human-grade foods to avoid if you are cooking for your furbaby:

Chocolate and coffee - contains theobromine and caffeine which can be toxic and affect the heart. Can cause death.

Macadamia nuts - contains an unknown toxin that can affect the digestive and nervous system and muscles.

Moldy or spoiled food - DUH! This is a no-brainer! Would you want to eat it?!

Mushrooms - wild growing mushrooms can contain toxins which may affect multiple systems in the body, cause shock and result in death.

Onions - contains sulfoxides and disulfides which can damage red blood cells and cause anemia.

Peach and plum pits - can obstruct digestive tract.

Persimmon seeds - can cause intestinal obstruction.

Raisins - contains unknown toxins that may damage the kidneys

Salt - large quantities may lead to electrolyte imbalances.

Sugary foods - can lead to obesity, dental problems and diabetes.

Table scraps - should never make up more than 10 percent of the diet, if that.

Yeast dough - can expand and produce gas in the digestive system, cause pain and possible rupture of the stomach and intestines.

As always, if you are uncertain about any foods that are safe to feed your pet, check with your vet!!

God Bless,

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Patti, Zach, Molly and Maggie's mom
Here's a handy chart for substituting pans when you don't have the exact size the recipe calls for. Note though, you may have to adjust the cooking time. You'll want to check whether the new pan has the same depth of ingredients as the original size. If it makes a deeper layer, it will cook more slowly -- if shallower, it will cook more quickly.

Patti, Zach, Molly and Maggie's mom
Do you have a boxed cake mix in your cupboard? Create a new taste sensation by adding a simple ingredient or two! For example, add rich flavor to a white cake mix with your favorite extract...mix coffee instead of water into chocolate cake mix for a mouth-watering mocha variation...or fold flaked coconut into a yellow cake batter for a tasty change of pace.

Before mixing the cake batter, try one of the following variations:

• Substitute coffee or your favorite carbonated beverage for the water.

• Add 1 tablespoon of grated lemon or orange peel.

• Add 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg and 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves.

• Add 2 to 3 teaspoons of vanilla, almond, orange, lemon, coconut, peppermint or rum extract, or butter or maple flavoring.

After mixing the batter, stir in one of the following ingredients:

• 2 to 4 ounces of finely chopped semisweet or milk chocolate.

• 1 cup finely chopped nuts.

• 1 cup coarsely crushed cookies.

• 1 cup flaked coconut.

• 1/2 cup almond brickle baking chips or English toffee chips.

• 2 tablespoons poppy seeds.

Patti, Zach, Molly and Maggie's mom
This coming weekend will kick off the "official" summer season with the long Memorial Day weekend. Time to crank up the BBQ! Here's a few recipes to try:


1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup lime juice
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (4 ounces each)

In a resealable plastic bag, combine the honey, soy sauce and lime juice; add chicken. Seal and turn to coat. Refrigerate for 30-45 minutes.

Drain and discard marinade. Grill chicken, uncovered, over medium heat for 6-7 minutes on each side or until juices run clear. Yield: 4 servings


This recipe is from memory...I don't have the recipe with me but ingredient measurements can be altered to suit your own tastes.

2 pounds red potatoes, cubed (use at least 2 lbs... if using more potatoes will have to increase the rest of the ingredients)
1 bottle (8 ounces) ranch salad dressing
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
2-3 green onions chopped
2 hard boiled eggs, chopped (this can be omitted if you don't like)
1/2 to 1 full pkg of bacon, cooked and chopped
salt and pepper to taste


Place potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until tender.

In a large bowl, combine the remaining ingredients. Drain potatoes; add to the dressing mixure and gently toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours or until chilled or can be eaten warm... either way is yummy! Refrigerate leftovers. Yield: 6-8 servings

And a BBQ wouldn't be complete without DESSERT!!!


2 1/2 cups cold milk
1/3 cup instant coffee granules
2 (3.4 ounce) packages instant vanilla pudding mix
1 (16 ounce) package frozen whipped topping, thawed, divided
2 (10.75 ounce) loaves frozen pound cake, thawed and cubed (NOTE: original recipe called for frozen pound cake, but I've made it with a prepared chocolate cake made from the box and like it better. Be sure to try both ways and let me know which you prefer!)
1 (1 ounce) square semisweet chocolate, grated
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

In a large mixing bowl, stir milk and coffee granules until dissolved; remove 1 cup and set aside. Add pudding mixes to the remaining milk mixture; beat on low speed for 2 minutes or until thickened. Fold in half of the whipped topping.

Place a third of the cake cubes in a 4-qt. serving or trifle bowl. Layer with a third of the reserved milk mixture and pudding mixture and a fourth of the grated chocolate. Repeat layers twice. Garnish with remaining whipped topping and chocolate. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Cover and refrigerate until serving.

Patti, Zach, Molly and Maggie's mom
On Saturdays when we have time for a leisurely breakfast, we like to make waffles. Here's one of our favorite recipes.

Buttermilk Waffles

2 cups flour
2 Tbsp sugar
½ tsp salt
1 ½ tsp baking soda
1 ¾ cups buttermilk
2 eggs, separated
4 Tbsp (1/2 stick) butter, melted and cooled
½ tsp vanilla extract
Vegetable oil for brushing on waffle iron

Possible toppings: butter, syrup, superfine sugar, whipped topping, ice cream, sour cream, fresh fruit (bananas, strawberries, blueberries), fresh grated nutmeg, cinnamon sugar. My favorite.... while waffle is still hot, spread peanut butter on it, top with sliced banana and drizzle with honey!!!! MMMM!!!!!

Combine flour, sugar, salt and baking soda.

Mix together the buttermilk and the egg yolks. Stir in butter and vanilla.

Brush the waffle iron lightly with the oil and preheat it. Stir in the buttermilk mixture into flour mixture. Beat the egg whites with a wire whisk or electric mixer until they hold soft peaks. Stir them gently into the batter.

Ladle the batter into waffle iron and bake until the waffle is golden brown, usually 3-5 minutes. Serve immediately or keep warm for a few minutes in a low oven.

Patti, Zach, Molly and Maggie's mom
I've never realized just how much cooking/baking is a calming/stress-reducing activity for me. The last couple of weeks my mother has been very ill and in the hospital. I haven't been able to get in the kitchen and cook a thing... and we are so tired of all the hospital cafeteria and fast food that we've had to rely on these past weeks! Mom is doing better and now in a rehabilitation hospital. I look forward to getting back into the kitchen and cooking something delicious. In the meantime, I just received this and thought I'd pass it along:

There is a new online cooking club from Betty Crocker. Each week, The Mixer features a new class line-up complete with brand new recipes, tips and techniques, flavor secrets and much more. You can participate in a live chat with the Betty Crocker Kitchens experts or watch on-demand! It’s fun. It’s easy. It’s FREE.

Learn how to unlock the flavor secrets while making your favorite Asian dishes! Visit to join now.

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