National Dog Day – A Charlie Guest Post

charlie and jager

Charlie and Jager

Did you know?
I’m sure YOU did!

Seems everyone knew!

It was all over Facebook and Twitter.

Seems everyone knew…. (sigh)
Except Mom.

Not sure how she could have overlooked the most wonderful day of the year…

Yesterday was National Dog Day!

August 26 – EVERY year!  DUH!!!

You knew – right?!!??

And as much as I hate to admit – I do need Mom’s opposable thumbs to help type as I dictate my – err- “regular” blog posts here.

So thank you, Debi, for asking about me to remind my Mom I am missed by our lifeinbetweener friends here!

Sheesh!  What is a dog to do?

Well – anyway –  how did you spend National Dog Day?

Even though Mom overlooked this important day, I have to admit – I had a glorious day!  My day included breakfast, naps, treats, donut time, jump on the bed time, a walk, dinner, some ear scratches and belly rubs, and a visit from the pizza delivery girl (it was Friday after all!).

What more could a dog want – right?

Here is a picture of me with one of my dog friends.  This is Jager.

Jager is just a puppy – not even a year old – (even though he is quite a bit bigger than me already!) – so I have a lot to teach him since I am already 2.  Jager can be a little bit annoying, but Mom tries to remind me that I was a pup once too (and annoying to older dogs – Really??!!).   And puppies are really “exuberant!”  They don’t quite understand when it is time to just “walk” versus time to “play.”  They don’t quite know when it is time to “quit.”  Pups don’t always understand boundaries and seniority and whose toys are whose, but I’ll teach him.  That’s what older dogs do with younger dogs.  It’s my job.  I like jobs.  It’s important to have a purpose.

We all have a purpose.  Isn’t that great to know?

Woofs & Wags,
Charlie

Charlie is an adopted dog with brown eyes and a white-tipped tail who brings joy and laughter to his family and friends.  Charlie is a gifted writer, raving food critic, cat, chipmunk, and donut lover, and exceptionally photogenic model.  Some of his best friends are Mike theUPS Man, Cliff the Mailman, and ANYONE who delivers pizza to the house.   If you would like to read more guest posts by Charlie, simply type “Charlie” into the Search box at the top right hand corner of this link: https://lifeinbetween.me/.   If you would enjoy a companion like Charlie, please consider pet adoption.

 

It’s That Time of Year

abstract fern watercolor 5x7

Abstract Fern Watercolor 5×7

It’s that time of year
when the colors and smells and heat of summer

with lush greens and fragrant flowers
and thick, heavy air

are making way for
the colors and smells and chill of autumn

with vibrant reds and scorching oranges and deep hues of yellow
and a refreshing “nip” in the air.

It’s that time of year –
a change in seasons

A time for new beginnings
and a time for sweet endings.

It’s that time of year
that wonderful, lovely, sweet time of year.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

Summer Vegetable Tart

Summer Vegetable Tart Baked

My sweet friend Janet found a recipe for this amazing summer vegetable tart, and I told her she had to come over so we could make it together and enjoy.

And that we did one evening this week.

Besides being so great to see her and spend time in the kitchen slicing and chopping and chatting….

O. M. G. –  this turned out so delish!

Summer Vegetable Tart Before Baked

With summer coming to an end and the abundance of zucchini and red-ripe tomatoes and eggplant and squash, this recipe is a must-do for a hot August evening dinner or Sunday lunch or brunch – or anytime really!

Summer Vegetable Tart Before Baked with Cheese

Anything smothered with Parmegiano Regianno is a winner in my book, but this savory summer vegetable tart is seriously a new favorite.  Dare I admit I had 4 pieces?!

I think you are going to want to try this, so here is the recipe.

Summer Vegetable Tart

Ingredients:Summer Vegetable Tart Baked

  • 1 medium zucchini squash, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium yellow squash, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium eggplant, thinly sliced
  • 2 large tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed (or pie crust or crescent rolls)
  • 1/4 cup tomato or pizza sauce
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmegiano Reggiano Parmesan cheese
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Roll out puff pastry or pie crust or crescent rolls on a baking stone or cookie sheet to rectangle or circle to form “pizza” tart crust.

Thinly slice vegetables with mandolin or sharp knife.  Lay out on parchment paper or paper towel.  Sprinkle with salt, and let set for 15 minutes.  Pat dry with paper towel to absorb excess moisture.

Spread tomato sauce on pastry.  Layer with vegetables.  Drizzle with olive oil.  Top with Parmesan cheese.

Bake for 30-40 minutes until crust is golden brown, vegetables are tender, and cheese is melted and browned.  Let set for 5-10 minutes, cut, serve, and enjoy!

Happy Eating!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Genevieve the Giraffe

Genevieve the Giraffe - Watercolor 10x11 300lb Fabriano Artistico

Genevieve the Giraffe – Watercolor 10×11 300lb Fabriano Artistico

I’ve been wanting to do a watercolor painting of a giraffe.

Not sure why.

I’m hankerin’ to do an elephant too…

Must be all this back to school  reflection and memories of field trips to the zoo….

Unless you can think of a better reason!

Anyway, I went in search of an image on the web to paint from, and I ended up coming across a nice little tutorial from Alison at Eastwitching, and gave it a go.  Here she is.  I’ve named her Genevieve.

Genevieve the Giraffe.  Isn’t that a lovely name?

Alison does lovely whimsical animals that many of you may enjoy.

Thanks for the tutorial, Alison!  It is so lovely when artists share their tips and tricks and talent.  I appreciate you!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

Sprinkled with a Dash of Melancholoy

Morning Ride Home Fog 1

It’s that time of year…
that bittersweet time.

You can just feel it…
There’s a  nip in the air.

You can hear it…
The crickets croon.

You can smell it…
Drying leaves and withering grass.

There’s that knot in the stomach…
not sure if it’s nervous or excited.

It’s an ending…
but it is also a beginning.

Carefree days are left behind…
Structured schedules begin.

It’s brand new shoes…
and choosing just the right first day outfit.

It’s shiny new binders…
and backpacks with lots of compartments.

It’s one-subject and three-subject and five-subject
multi-colored spiral notebooks.

It’s freshly sharpened pencils…
and pens in red, and blue and black.

It’s fresh new crayons and assorted colored pencils…
and highlighters in neon shades of yellow and pink and green.

It’s the anticipation of seeing old friends
and the hope of meeting new ones.

It’s new teachers, new subjects, new classrooms…
It’s squeaky clean blackboards with fresh sticks of chalk.

It’s time to secretly pass notes
with important messages

like “Do you like me? Yes or No
Circle One”

It’s waiting with the neighbors at the bus stop
and sharing seats times three.

And then growing old enough
to be too cool for the bus.

It’s apples for teachers
and pictures with bus drivers.

It’s back to school time –
Can you feel it in the air?

And even though it’s been
quite a few years

since I sent my boys off
with ambivalent feelings of sadness and pride

and even more since it was me as that little girl
with butterflies of anticipation, fear, and excitement

I still get that feeling
this time of year.

Sweet joyful memories…
sprinkled with a dash of melancholy.

I can’t be the only one
that feels this way.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

Daily Prompt:  Learning

Creamy Cauliflower Risotto and Garlic Rosemary Lamb Chops

Creamy Cauliflower Rissoto and Lamb Chops

Last Sunday, I was in the mood to be creative in the kitchen, so I decided to tackle the rack of lamp chops I recently purchased and do something interesting with a head of cauliflower I had.

For the lamb chops, I rubbed them with a simple mixture of fresh rosemary, garlic, salt and pepper and marinated them for 4 hours in the fridge.  When we were ready to eat, I simply pan seared them about 2 minutes on each side in a hot skillet with olive oil.  They turned out amazing!

lamb chops and creamy cauliflower risotto

Here is the recipe for the Creamy Cauliflower Risotto.  I have to say… I absolutely LOVED it!  A little more work than simply roasting cauliflower or mashing russet potatoes, but if you have the time and the inclination, it is SOOOO worth it!

Add some fresh greens, and you have a meal fit for royalty!

Hope you will give this a creative cauliflower recipe a try!  You won’t be sorry.

Creamy Cauliflower Risotto

  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped sweet red, yellow, and/or orange peppers
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup white wine
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 4 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup Greek yogurt or sour cream
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Finely chop cauliflower florets until it reaches approximate size and texture of rice.  (You can use a food processor if you like, but I did not.)  Set aside.

Heat olive oil in a large sauce pan.  Saute onions, peppers and garlic until caramelized.

Add white wine, and cook for 1 minute.  Add cauliflower “rice” and chicken stock.  Cover and cook on medium for about 10 minutes.

Add butter, and continue to cook for another 5 minutes without lid, allowing some of the liquid to evaporate.  Stir occasionally.

Once the cauliflower “rice” has thickened, stir in the Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.  (There really is no substitute for this BEST Parmesan cheese!)  Remove from heat and add Greek yogurt or sour cream and salt and pepper to taste.  Blend with immersion blender to desired creamy consistency.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

*Recipe slightly adapted from GlutenFreeFix

Sign, Sign – Everywhere a Sign

enjoy the little things sign

My daughter-in-law, Colleen, has been on a roll making fun signs for our McKinneyX2Designs ETSY shop!

just roll with it sign

We are also feathering the nest preparing for

our nest sign

the joy of our little one’s arrival in a few months.

joy

And who is ready for Fall?  With pumpkins and hayrides…

pumpkins and hayrides sign

and time in the kitchen…

fresh baked pies

fresh milk sign

fresh eggs sign

or end of summer ice cream cone treats…

ice cream

and long, lingering bubble baths.

hot baths

I love all these sweet signs and wanted to share with you.

Always stay humble and kind sign

If you or anyone you know would enjoy any of these in their home or find them a great gift, be sure to check out our shop:  McKinneyX2Designs.

I also have some original watercolor artwork, as well as prints

pink abstract watercolor

and greeting cards.

flamingo cards

Happy Sunday!

Do something you love, and cherish the moments.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

A Beautiful Hello

summer phlox

I smiled at you,
and I said “hello.”

You smiled back,
and we both continued on our way.

When we crossed paths again
in the next aisle of our local supermarket

you stopped me,
and you looked directly into my eyes,

and you told me
I was the most beautiful person you have ever seen.

I looked back at you
more than dumbfounded.

I am clearly not the most beautiful person
even in the supermarket that day

let alone being bestowed such an honor
as the most beautiful ever.

I told you
I am sure you are mistaken.

You said, “Oh no,”
I’ve seen many.

I’ve lived a lot of years,
and I have seen my fair share of people.

These days, I rarely encounter
anyone who even notices me passing by their way

let alone one who looks me in the eyes and smiles
and genuinely greets me.

You are the most beautiful person
I have ever seen.

I will never forget you
though many years have passed.

My skin is becoming more like I remember
thinking yours was.

You made my day.
You made my week.

Heck – let’s face it –
You made my year – maybe two.

I am still far from the most beautiful,
but you made me realize

beauty is so much more
than the physical appearance.

You – sweet, gentle man
may be the most beautiful person I have ever seen.

You impacted me so deeply
and so profoundly.

You taught me a lesson
I have carried with me through my life.

A lesson that has carried me through times
of darkness and doubt.

Beauty can take on many forms
and be seen through different lenses.

Sometimes beauty is a simple, sincere
“hello.”

 

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Friday Night is Pizza Night

pizza 2

Friday night is often pizza night at our house, and although we often order in, sometimes we make our own homemade pizza.  It really is a fun way to get the whole gang engaged in the kitchen, and allows everyone to make their pizza just they way they like it.

pizza 1

This is a great, quick and easy fool-proof recipe for dough that you can top with any toppings you like.  It can be made ahead or right when you are ready to eat.

pizza3

One of my favorites is to spread roasted garlic on the dough, top with fresh mozzarella, fresh basil, and fresh tomatoes.  Sometimes simple is the best.

Other times, we spread with tomato sauce and top with pepperoni, crispy crumbled bacon, sauteed onions and peppers, mushrooms, banana pepper rings, and/or black olives.

The only rule is the cheese MUST be fresh sliced mozzarella – no pre-packaged, shredded cheese allowed.  There simply is no comparison.

What is your favorite pizza topping?

Homemade Quick & Easy Pizza Crust

Ingredients:pizza 1

  • 1 (.25 oz) pkg active dry yeast
  • 1 tsp white sugar
  • 1 cup warm water (approx. 110 degrees F)
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 3 3/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp corn meal

Directions:

Dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water.  Let stand 10 min.

Stir in flour, baking powder, salt, and oil.  Combine well by kneading until smooth.  Let set for at least 5 min., or up to several hours.

If you have let the dough rise, punch down.  Stretch and toss or roll dough out onto baking stone or pizza dish sprinkled with corn meal.

Spread with desired toppings and bake in preheated 450 degree F oven over for 15 -20 minutes.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi