Browsing articles from "June, 2013"
Jun 13, 2013

Kevin (our puppy) turns 1!

From the kitchen of:  Makes: plenty for one happy pup!
Total time: 15 min to prep, 35-40 min to bake

Look at his face. I mean, really. Doesn’t he just make you smile? Last Thursday, our puppy Kevin turned 1. With a cookie monster party hat and a whole cake to himself, he was smiling from ear to ear. Just look at him! Adorable, huh? Since we adopted Kevin last October from Bonnie Blue Rescue, our daily routine has certainly changed. Yes, we’ve been vacuuming more often than none. Yes, we’ve been walking every day thanks to him. Yes, he wakes us up at 6am to feed him. But even with all these changes, he has become part of our family. We just love him so much. So to celebrate his first birthday, I baked him his very own cake made with his favorite thing: peanut butter. It’s a win for him and a win for us just to see how happy he was that day. Happy Birthday, Kevin aka Pig, Mr. Pig, Pigity Pig. I know, our names/nicknames are totally unconventional for a dog. Haha.


1 egg
1/4 cup natural peanut butter
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 heaping tablespoon honey
1 cup shredded carrots
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda

1. Mix wet ingredients.
 First things first, preheat oven to 350º. While the oven heats up, combine the egg, peanut butter, vegetable oil, vanilla extract and honey in a medium-size bowl. I simply used a fork to mix everything together.



2. Add dry ingredients. To the wet mixture, add the shredded carrots, wheat flour and baking soda. Mix together to form a crumbly, dense texture. Side note, feel free to include any other vegetable other than carrots. I had some left over broccoli stalk that I chopped in. Kevin loves all sorts of veggies. Use what your puppy loves to eat!



3. Bake and rest. Spoon the mixture into a non-stick or glass pan. Bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes. Once top of the cake is nicely browned, remove from the oven and then turn out on a wire rack to cool completely. Because dogs love peanut butter, spread more peanut butter on top as the frosting. Note that I didn’t need to grease my glass pan. It came out nicely since it has vegetable oil in it.



HAPPY BIRTHDAY Kevin! I just love these photos of him with his tongue hanging out, licking off all the crumbs on his face. His hat was very fitting then, wouldn’t you agree? What a spoiled brat!




Don’t worry, we didn’t allow him to eat the entire cake at once. We saved the rest for another day, which he certainly enjoyed!


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Jun 5, 2013

Broad Appetit, Round 3.

Broad Appétit is not new to me or Richmond. Now in it’s fourth season, it draws a huge crowd of Richmonders eager to try what local restaurants have to offer. And for $3 a sample, you can’t beat that! I’ve been to Broad Appétit three times now, and I’m sad to say that this year was a little more of a disappointment. Don’t get me wrong, I had some good dishes this year, I just wasn’t impressed with any one in particular. I would have loved to see more of a variety and more restaurants not doing the same dishes each season. Even so, this is one of my favorite food festivals in Richmond. And if you haven’t been, you should definitely go next season!

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Now lets take a look at the dishes we decided to try out:

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1. Tomato and mozzarella skewer from Bistro 27:
Very refreshing on a hot day. The mozzarella was super fresh and soft, covered in basil and olive oil. A nice way to start off the festival.

2. Chicken and waffles from Tarrant’s Cafe:
I am not new to this dish at all. I’ve had it before and was amazed that they were serving this. Portion size was awesome and the waffle was very crispy. As always, it’s one of my favorites at Tarrant’s.

3. Crispy shrimp over polenta:
I totally forgot where this dish from. I liked the concept, but surprisingly it was on the bland side even with all the sauces. The polenta was very creamy and the shrimp had a nice tempura-like batter. Just needed more salt or seasoning!

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4. Crab cake sandwich from Martin’s:
Martin’s crab cake was as just as good as last year. Lumps of crab meat and not a lot of filler always makes me a happy camper.

5. Asian beef taco from Boca Truck:
One of my favorites from the Boca Truck, I knew this would be good. I just love the kimchi!

6. Fried green tomatoes from Comfort:
I probably shouldn’t have gotten these because I’ve had them many times before. I was just a little underwhelmed with the lack of creativity from Comfort. Wish they did something different this year!

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7. Truffle pizza from Grate:
There were so many different flavors on this pizza that I wasn’t sure if I liked it or not. It had corn, mushrooms, caramelized onions, two different cheeses and truffle crema. Maybe one too many ingredients on the pizza? The crust was a little soggy too, but overall a very creative pizza.

8. Beef empanada with rice from Happy Empanada:
Really, really solid empanada. The dough was light and crispy. Perfectly baked. The beef filling was flavorful and moist. The rice though was bone dry. I took one bite and was really disappointed about that.  

9. Pork belly from Savory Grain:
Who wouldn’t love this tender piece of pork covered with a sweet and savory sauce? Executed really nicely and the arugula salad added a nice pop of color.

10. Pork lettuce wrap:
By far my favorite dish from the festival. Loved the contrast of textures and flavors. The crunch from the vegetables, with the tender pork and herb sauce was outstanding. It was the epitome of Thailand. And of course, I forgot where this came from! Sorry!!

After 10 dishes, we were spent. We ate like champs and enjoyed the company with our family. Did you go to the festival? If so, what was your favorite dish?


Remember this kid? Look how big he’s grown since last year’s Broad Appétit! Kiernan is with his mom, Sheila, pictured above. My other sister, Sharon, and her boyfriend, Jeff, came along as well and they’re pictured below.


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Jun 2, 2013

A bonfire fit for any cowboy

Last week we had some ideal temperatures. Some nights dipped down pretty low. Low enough to leave the windows open, letting that cool breeze come into the house. I live for days like those. The cooler temperature sent me back to a night back in late Spring where good friends, Aaron and Cyndy, threw a cowboy bonfire at their house. Believe me when I say that this wasn’t just any bonfire. It was THE bonfire of all bonfires. Aaron and Cyndy live in Hanover with plenty of land. He built his own fire pit on his property and gathered all the wood from his backyard. The fire pit was roughly 6 feet wide so just imagine a blazing fire with flames reaching 4-5 feet tall. It was awesome. This bonfire was too good not to share with you all. It may be too warm for a bonfire now, but fall is just a few months away!


Look at all that wood. That’s what she said!


Now that is a pretty solid fire. Good job, Aaron!


Meanwhile, cornhole games were had while we wait for the fire to roar and the food to cook.




We were able to bring our puppy, Kevin. He wasn’t allowed to run around since there was a road nearby, so he was leashed up. He didn’t like it very much and later chewed his way out, but he enjoyed being with us :)


What’s a cowboy party without cowboy food? Jared and I were in charge of the cornbread. From Jared’s boyscout days, he camped out a lot. Fortunately, he had this huge cast iron skillet we used to cook the cornbread. I tried a new recipe from well-known chef, Hugh Acheson. We placed the cast iron skillet over the fire to heat up. We added loads of butter and once that melted, we added the cornbread batter. We covered it allowing to cook for 15-20 minutes. It came out perfect and paired very well with the chili.



Cyndy made two types of delicious chili. One with steak and the other with chicken. Both equally as good, super flavorful and very tender. Because chili takes all day to cook, she had to prepare them ahead of time in crock pots. I don’t think there were any left at the end of the night!



We also roasted some hotdogs which were surprisingly difficult to do since the fire was SO incredibly hot and our sticks weren’t long enough.


For dessert, we roasted marshmallows over the fire for good old fashioned s’mores. Our friend, Kara, brought a homemade fruit cobbler that she prepared at home, but cooked it over the fire in a cast iron skillet. It came out so hot that it warmed us up on a chilly night.


After dessert and a few more nightcaps, the fire finally died down. It was a great night with some great company. Thank you so much Aaron and Cyndy for having us over. Aaron, you certainly win for best bonfire. And Cyndy, you win for best chili. Thank you guys!!


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