Journal

You can’t succeed if you don’t try…

Well I’ve been thinking about doing this for a while, but I’m not going to lie, my personal fears have held me back. Will I be good enough, will people want to read what I write, what will I talk about, and the list goes on and on. But today I decided to say “screw it”. How will I know if I never try. If I fail, I fail, but at least it won’t be because I didn’t even try.

First a little about myself. I’m in my early forties and happily married to my highschool sweatheart.  I work full time, struggle with the normal day to day stresses in life, but overall we have a pretty good life. We don’t have any children, but we do have 2 furbabies. A mixed breed dog named Rosco and a Dogue de Bordeaux named Brogan.

I love to cook, struggle with cleaning (it’s not my favourite thing to do), love photography, paddle boarding (or really anything involving water), animals (especially my dogs), reading, and most recently learning about essential oils and incorporating them into our day to day life.

My goal is to share some of my interests and ideas with all of you. Maybe some of my ideas, recipes or hints and tips will help someone else out. Or if nothing else give you a little escape from your reality.

main dishes · recipes

Pork tenderloin stuffed with sundried tomatoes and cream cheese

I have tried many different versions of stuffed pork tenderloins throughout the years and I think I finally came up with the perfect combination.

Ingredients :

1 medium Pork tenderloin

2-3 Tbsp sundried tomatoes packed in oil

1-2 tsp dried thyme

1/4 onion chopped

5-6 button mushrooms sliced

3 cloves garlic minced

4oz cream cheese

1 cup bread crumbs (or 2 slices of bread put through a food processor)

1 package bacon

Directions :

Slice the mushrooms and add to a frying pan with the onions, garlic, thyme (salt & pepper to taste) and sundried tomatoes (with some of the oil). Saute until partially cooked (you want the mushrooms to release more mositure into the pork when it is cooking).

Add the cream cheese and stir until melted, then add the breadcrumbs. Mix well and set aside to cool.

Made a slit in the top of the tenderloin and then make a pocket that goes as far into the ends as you can. Or you can butterfly it and make it into a jelly roll style wrap.

Once the filling mixture is cooled, stuff the pork with it. And then make a basket weave with your bacon and roll it around the pork tenderloin. I use a cookie sheet and parchment paper to make rolling it easier and then this time I left it rolled in the parchment paper and put it in the oven at 350 for about 1/2 hour, then I unwrapped it and left it for about another half hour for the bacon to crisp up.

It turned out so moist.

Definitely worth trying if you like sundried tomatoes…

dogs · Journal

This is a big day, 2 years since Brogan’s diagnosis!

Feels like I blinked and summer was over, I don’t know how it managed to slip by so quickly. It doesn’t feel like I accomplished much, but I did get to enjoy it. It just feels like it went by too quickly.

We got to spend a lot of time at the cabin, which is our happy place. So although summer went by too quickly I do have to say that we did get to embrace and appreciate every moment of it.

Today, September 27th, is an emotional day for me. Its my mom’s and one of my good friends birthdays, but its also on this day that we lost Sloan, and that Brogan got diagnosed with right sided heart failure. This year today is a day for celebration. I’m celebrating that I have such a loving family and circle of friends. I’m celebrating all the love that Sloan brought to us in the short amount of time we got him, and I’m really celebrating that Brogan is still with us and is doing fairly well. Not saying our life hasn’t changed, but he didn’t have a great prognosis and its 2 years post diagnosis and he’s still feeling good, being a goof, and today he even managed to catch 3 Frisbees in a row…he then missed the next 5. But he has never caught one yet, so thats pretty amazing. Unfortunately I’m away on the road this week, so I didn’t get to see it, but my husband made sure he shared it with me. It makes me so happy that he still feels good enough to do those things. He loves frisbee, he loves going for walks, he loves travelling with us and he loves being a pest to his older, smaller brother. So I am very grateful that he still is with us and enjoying all of that.

recipes

Buffalo chicken salad with blue cheese

This is a recipe I found online a long time ago and have made numerous times throughout the years. It satisfies my cravings for spicy chicken wings without having spicy chicken wings, perhaps saving me a few calories.

Ingredients:

Salad

2 chicken breasts, cut into chunks

¼ cup flour

Salt and pepper

¼ cup oil

1 batch Spicy Chicken Sauce (recipe from this episode)

1 head of romaine lettuce, washed and sliced

2 ribs celery, washed and cut into sticks

Juice of 1 lemon

8 oz blue cheese, crumbled

Spicy Chicken Sauce

½ cup butter, softened

½ cup Franks hot sauce

¼ cup ketchup

Directions:

Salad

1. Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat.

2. Toss chicken with flour, salt and pepper until well coated.

3. Pour oil into pan and add the chicken.

4. Cook on one side until it’s golden brown and then flip and cook the other side until the chicken is cooked through.

5. Remove with tongs and place in a bowl.

6. Pour Spicy Chicken Sauce over hot chicken, toss well to coat.

7. Put lettuce, celery and chicken into a salad bowl. Drizzle any excess chicken sauce over the salad and add the lemon juice.

8. Toss well and garnish with crumbled blue cheese.

Spicy Chicken Sauce

1. Whisk together the butter, hot sauce and ketchup.

Read more at:

http://www.foodnetwork.ca/recipe/buffalo-chicken-wing-salad-with-blue-cheese/7981/

main dishes · recipes

Chocolate Chili

I found this recipe yesterday and tried it out tonight. I made 1/2 because I didn’t want to waste 2lbs of ground beef in case it wasn’t good. But I can honestly say this is the best chili recipe I have ever tried. I’m generally just “okay” with chili. It’s something my husband loves, so I make it more often that I would like to keep him happy. I eat it once and then he gets all the leftovers. However with this recipe I will be happy to eat it the next day.

Ingredients:

2 pounds ground beef
2 onions, chopped
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
3 cloves garlic,minced
2 jalapeno peppers chopped up
Two 15-ounce cans brown beans in tomatoe sauce, undrained
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Two 15-ounce cans black beans, drained and rinsed
One 15-ounce can diced tomatoes (I used chili style ones, they have some extra spice in them)
4 cups tomato sauce (I used the red hot chili one)
2 cups beef broth
Optional garnishes: Sour cream, shredded cheese, minced chives

In a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat, add the ground beef and cook for 2 minutes. Next, add the onions, chili powder and cumin, and stir together. Add the cocoa, garlic and jalapenos, mix together and cook for 2 minutes. Next, add in the brown beans, cayenne pepper and oregano, and cook for another minute. Add the black beans, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce and broth, cover and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
Garnish with sour cream, shredded cheese and chives if desired.

I found this recipe here: https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/paula-deen/chocolate-chili-recipe-1972465

and just tweaked it a bit.

main dishes · recipes

Chocolate Chili

I found this recipe yesterday and tried it out tonight. I made 1/2 because I didn’t want to waste 2lbs of ground beef in case it wasn’t good. But I can honestly say this is the best chili recipe I have ever tried. I’m generally just “okay” with chili. It’s something my husband loves, so I make it more often that I would like to keep him happy. I eat it once and then he gets all the leftovers. However with this recipe I will be happy to eat it the next day.

Ingredients:

2 pounds ground beef
2 onions, chopped
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
3 cloves garlic,minced
2 jalapeno peppers chopped up
Two 15-ounce cans brown beans in tomatoe sauce, undrained
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Two 15-ounce cans black beans, drained and rinsed
One 15-ounce can diced tomatoes (I used chili style ones, they have some extra spice in them)
4 cups tomato sauce (I used the red hot chili one)
2 cups beef broth
Optional garnishes: Sour cream, shredded cheese, minced chives

In a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat, add the ground beef and cook for 2 minutes. Next, add the onions, chili powder and cumin, and stir together. Add the cocoa, garlic and jalapenos, mix together and cook for 2 minutes. Next, add in the brown beans, cayenne pepper and oregano, and cook for another minute. Add the black beans, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce and broth, cover and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
Garnish with sour cream, shredded cheese and chives if desired.

I found this recipe here: https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/paula-deen/chocolate-chili-recipe-1972465

and just tweaked it a bit.

dogs · Journal

Brogan’s heart mystery continues

Brogan loves playing in mud and water

Last time I wrote about Brogan I wasn’t sure what he would want and what we should do with him…should we let him off leash, should we let him have dog friends, or should we play it safe and keep him on leash and healthy for as long as we can. Well today confirmed my decision to keep him on leash. We went for an on leash walk this morning. It had rained so it was muggy, but not crazy hot. He loves playing in mud puddles and really any water, so I let him splash around in the ditches while we were walking. He ended up in one spot that was deep and he sorta had to take 3 swimming strokes to get across. He came out of that hole and was so happy, but was starting to look a little tired so I figured we would come straight back to the cabin and into the air conditioning. We weren’t far from the cabin when he slowed right down, I looked to see what he was doing, I could tell that he was dizzy and he sat down when I was getting close to him. I put my arms around him and held him and talked to him and while I was doing that he slumped down onto his chest. I kept talking to him and we sat like that for a bit, he didn’t lose consciousness, but definitely was having some issue. When he was okay we got up and walked the rest of the way to the cabin.

He basically confirmed with that episode that I can’t let him run around off leash. His heart, or whatever is causing issues, is just not good enough for it. He is happy with our on leash walks, always wants to go, plays like a goof with Rosco (his dog brother) and basically seems very content and happy to be doing what we are doing. So we will enjoy every minute of every day we have together, we just won’t be running around in any off leash areas. I’m okay with that. And I guess he will have to be as well.

dogs · Journal

Brogan’s heart

We have been a long roller coaster ride with Brogan and his heart. As many of you might remember we were basically told that we had 4 or 5 months with him when he was initially diagnosed…and we have definitely surpassed that…and I’m hoping we continue to do so for many more years. That being said the big guy still has the odd collapse/faint, even though we have followed everything that we are supposed to with him. And I’m the kind of person that wants all the answers. Last time I wrote about him we were at the point of thinking it was 2 separate conditions, but we were waiting for the cardiologist to get back to us to see what she thought about that theory. I finally got to speak with her. She said it’s really hard to confirm that, because there are a few other heart related issues that could be causing his collapses. She said she would like to do 2 more tests on him and is supposed to get back to me with the cost associated with them. I’m at the point now that I have to decide if I need to keep testing to try to get an answer, or if I just continue enjoying him and doing what we are doing and just let him live his life. Really the only reason I would like to have a definite answer is so that he could have dog friends again and be allowed to be off leash again. But at this point I’m not 100% sure that is worth it. He is doing well, he doesn’t seem to miss his dog friends as much (he does have a dog brother that fulfills the dog “friend” part) and he doesn’t seem to mind on leash walks, although I’m sure he would love some off leash time. It would be so much easier if he could talk. For so may reasons, but mostly so he could tell us what symptoms he feels and is having before he collapses. And also what he would like us to do. What would he choose if it were up to him. That is the really hard part with animals, we have to guess at what they are feeling…in every way.