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Friday, July 12, 2019

Jalapeño Crab Dip and the "farmhouse" margaritas!

When I posted this photo of a margarita happy hour we had last weekend over on Instagram I had lots of requests for the Jalapeño Crab Dip recipe that is seen in front of the basket of chips (fyi- the recipe made two poreclain baking dishes, only one is shown.)  I've been making this dip for over ten years and it is always a crowd pleaser!  If you try it be sure to come back and tell me what you think!
And "yes," you're all invited next time!😉😆

Jalapeño Crab Dip 

1 med-large or large red bell pepper, diced
1-1/2 t. extra virgin olive oil
1 (14-oz. approx.) jar/can marinated artichoke hearts, drained and diced
1 cup Mayo
1-1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated (I either grate my own in the food processor or buy it aged and grated from Costco)
3/4 cup green onions- thinly sliced, using both the white and green parts
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
2 or 2-1/2 T. minced jarred jalapeño (not fresh, this makes a big difference)
1 t. fresh lemon juice
1/4 t. celery salt
8 oz. fresh lump crab meat, drained
kosher salt

Saute bell pepper in olive oil over medium heat for about 5-7 minutes until softened and lightly brown.  Cool slightly, then place in mixing bowl.
Add remaining ingredients except for crab meat and mix well to combine.  
Fold in crab meat.
Season with a pinch of salt and pepper.
Spread mixture in an 8" baking dish (or similar equivalent.) 
Bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes (depending on your oven) until lightly golden on the entire top.
Let the dip cool to barely warm before servivng (about 15-25 minutes) to let all the flavors meld.

It is wonderful on crostini, but my favorite way to serve it is with tortilla chips!  The flavor combo is perfect.  Oh, and cold leftovers are amazing! 

And, since it was a margarita happy hour I will include how I make my margaritas!  These are my favorite margarita glasses (and favorite glasses period, which is saying a lot because I have a "thing" for glassware:) HERE.

I make a sugar, kosher salt and cayenne rim.  I do this in advance so the mixture sets up and hardens on the rims.  Sorry... no exact measurements, just to taste and sight.  Go lightly on the cayenne as you just want a hint of heat!

I use a 1-1/2-1 formula.
1 part Tequila (we love Costco's Silver, and also their Anejo if you can find it
1/2 part Grand Marnier or Cointreau (Dan & I are Cointreau fans;)
and a squeeze of 1/8 of a small lemon AND lime, 
with lots of ice!  I like to add a straw- the perfect straw to me is a McDonald's coffee stir!  I wash and reuse mine, but open a new one for guests!

(Please reuse your personal straws.  When we are at a restaurant and ask for water we always say "no lemon, no ice, no straw, please" (your sever usually garnishes the glass and they are not washing their hands every time they pick up a lemon slice- watch and think about it;), and ice machines... well, enough said;)  and straws because of the following..... Please read...

Q: You say 500 million straws are used in the US every day, but I can't picture that--what would 500 million straws look like?

500 million straws could fill over 127 school buses each day, or more than 46,400 school buses every year!
500 million straws per day is an average of 1.6 straws per person (in the US) per day. Based on this national average, each person in the US will use approximately 38,000 or more straws between the ages of 5 and 65. So the sooner we can begin to use fewer straws, the better - it is never too soon (or too late!) to start!

Also this article from National Geographic

Hope you are having a great summer!

Friday, February 15, 2019

We have, officially gone to the dogs!!

And then there were Four.

photo by Richard Ortega

Meet our new rescue girl....
Given (by me;) name... Bunny Williams!  
Bunny, because of those ears, and Williams, well- because of my adoration of the iconic designer and dog rescuer Bunny Williams!!  You can read about my birthday lunch with Bunny Williams  HERE .
Yes, I name all our girls with a middle name, my maiden name and then married name!  Because rescued princesses should all have long, fancy names don't you agree?!💝💝💝💝 

photo by Richard Ortega

When we adopted Magnolia and Louise three and a half years ago HERE it changed Ella's life in all the best possible ways!  Ella was 11 and she became a puppy all over again, playing with Magnolia all the time- running and chasing each other.  (Louise loves all, but isn't a big "play" girl; she loves to be chased though and she runs like a greyhound!) Ella is now 14-1/2 and can still keep up on 2-1/2 mile walks with her younger sisters!   She still plays with Magnolia some in the yard, but over the last six months it became apparent to me and Dan that it wasn't enough playful interaction that our silly-billy play-girl Magnolia wanted and needed.  It made us sad, and we realized that we owed her a playmate.

I started looking on at my Texas rescue friend, Alice Lang's Ltyle, Texas dogs and now CCPAL Dogs and, of course, on Petfinder.  You know how I love me my southern💓 girls!  I also started following several rescue groups on Instagram.  
One of the rescue groups I started following was
Second Chance Rescue NYC. (NYCSCR) Over the months of following them I came to realize what an amazing rescue group they are.  They rescue from NYC animal control, all around NYC and also dogs from high kill shelters in the south.  They also take in the really difficult abused and/or critically injured animals. (All people who work/volunteer in rescue are angels on earth in my opinion.  The horrors that they see must break their hearts on a daily basis and yet they continue on and on and on... sadly, because they have to.  There is a special place in heaven for each and every one of them🙏 )   NYCSCR is an all-volunteer 501c3 rescue and the majority of their dogs are in foster homes, but they do have their own Center where they board the dogs that they don't have enough fosters available for.  You can read their mission statement HERE .  And see their adoptable animals HERE

About a month and a half ago, maybe even two months, I saw this face on their Petfinder page and I gasped.  She was so beautiful, and those ears- swoon.  Her name was Momma Misty.
photo by Richard Ortega

She was rescued in early fall of 2018, along with four of her pups, from a high-kill rural shelter in the south, heartworms and all.  They were saved just 24 hours before they were ALL to be killed.  Sadly, in some states puppies are euthanized.  Second Chance Rescue NYC pulled her and all of her babies and brought them to NY.   All of her babies had been adopted, but Misty still waited.   She was about 2 years old, they guessed, and was very good with other dogs.

I kept her page pulled up on my computer (I'm that crazy person who always has no less than 25 tabs open at any given time- welcome to my brain😱 ;) then I would save other dogs, then would overthink it and tell myself we were crazy to adopt a 4th, could we fit 4 in the backseat of the car?, and on and on.  I was really good at talking myself out of getting a 4th, so I would delete the dog pages, only to go back and look days later and once again fall in love with her face and have her back and several others in my open tabs.  But it was always her.  That face.  Those ears. That sweet little snow-ring marking on her nose.  But, then I would think- she's so beautiful and sweet and good with other dogs certainly she'll get adopted.  But she didn't.
Then a little over a week ago I saw this image and post on Instagram and my heart just broke for her and I thought "give her to me." Dan, of course, was right there with me, so I submitted an application.

Come to find out she had been in boarding at the Center for the past five months, not in a foster home.  My heart broke for her again.  There are only so many fosters and at the time when she came in there were no fosters available for her and her babies, so she went to the Center.  Now, the Center is a nice shelter mind you, but it's an industrial park setting where there are many dogs, barking dogs just as in any shelter. And, these are the lucky ones!  They are loved, walked four times a day, fed good food, have social interactions with the volunteers who are there every day, but still it's not a home.  

NYCSCR will adopt to within a 6 hour radius of NYC.  So, after talking and texting with the rescue we drove to Westchester, NY to meet her this past Saturday.  The meet and greet went well and the dogs all had really good body language between them; she and Magnolia just wanted to play, and wasn't that how this all got started?!!

So, they suggested we foster to adopt, which we did and is a fabulous option, by the way, to make sure a new dog will fit into your existing pack.   Two days later (even though we really knew the first night;) we told them to send us the Adoption Contract- she was "home."  She needed us.  And we needed her.   She needed a home, sisters and us as parents.  She is such a good girl, but doesn't know any commands or directions and we are good alpha-dog parents and will have her well mannered and polite, like her sisters, in no time (fingers crossed!)  She pretty much learned sit within the first 24-hours.  If you saw my video of feeding time on Instagram/Facebook Bunny is well on her way to having that down too.  She is pure muscle and very strong.  At the Center she was pulling super hard to the point where she kept choking herself.  We stopped at the first Petco we could find and bought her the same harness that we have always used for Magnolia and Louise- the PetSafe Easy Walk Harness HERE (this is a good price, we paid $29 at Petco.)  And, omg, it instantly made a huge difference.  I highly recommend this harness with the lead-ring at the chest.  If you have a harness with the lead-ring on the back it actually encourages pulling as it's a natural reaction for them to try to pull harder when pulling forward and being held back.  The rescue called her momma, but I thought it was time she passed that baton to me, her new mama, and she could just be a happy, balanced, loved little puppy girl.  The first time I saw her I thought "Bunny," so Bunny it is!

The girls are getting along great.  Magnolia and Louise have given her some corrections when she gets a little too excited and she takes their advice;) very well with no reaction.  She follows me everywhere, but don't worry Dan will soon enough become her favorite;).  And is quick to understand our "aant" which is the sound we use to correct them from doing an undesirable behavior.  We are all learning to trust one another and create a routine.  So far, so good.  One of my favorite things I do with all the girls is to let them "smell" things.  I learned from Cesar Millan that a dog experiences the world through their Nose, Eyes, Ears- in that order.  So to show them respect I present an object, be it a votive candle to a apple or anything else and say "smell" and they all come up to give it a whiff.  I do it a good 5 inches away from their nose so they are not being presented with it and try to eat it, but instead they learn that smell means to simply smell but I am honoring/acknowledging their incredible sense of smell HERE

Bunny is probably 2 years old, is a pitty-mix (heavy on the pit!), she is more grey in person than black, weighs about 43 pounds, and is very smart and loves to play.   And, I'll be damned... she's a southern girl!!!  She was found as a stray in Yazoo City, Mississippi!  So, we're all still speaking "y'all" around here!  Isn't that the darndest?!!!  And would you look at this Texas Longhorn blaze on her chest!!!  Do you see it?!  I'm thinking this girl has some Texas lineage😍
Hook 'em Horns!!

the first walk!



Our first walk!

Checking out the fireplace in the living room.

Poor baby, her little elbows are worn from laying on a hard surface.  Louise had this too, the fur will fill in with time.  Ohmy, looks like my cuticles need some CeraVe lol!

snuggle Bunny!

Over on Instagram and Facebook I asked you to guess what her name is!  Boy, did y'all have some great (and some lol funny) names!  Thanks for playing along!!
The top contenders you named were:
Valentine, Pinky, Pink, Violet, Rose, Olive, and four of you guessed correct with BUNNY!!!  (and two of you had Misty, so y'all were correct too;)
Here are all the great names, so go out and adopt some dogs & cats
Lucky, Bunny, Rose, Maura, Miss Luna, Precious, Suzanna, Misty, Greta Cocoa, LouLou, Olive, Valentine, Louise, Rosie, Papillion, Violet, Pinky, Pink, Thelma, Bella, Sweet Pea, Petunia, Peaches, Betty Jean, Lilac, Pinky Tuscadero, Maggie, Sugar, Abliene/Abby, Clementine, Camellia, Annabelle, Scarlet, Pru, Gray, Joy, Heidi, Lilly, Lucy, Lola, Jubiless, Ouiser, Truvy, Gloria, Savanah, Georgia, Augusta, Charlotte, Sally, Ears, Floppy Ears, Gretchen, Clara, Babe, Grace, Abigal, Shelby, Cerave!, Hazel, Angel, Gracie May, Ruth!, Maud, Millie, Daisy, Penny, Sweet Caroline, Beatrice, Steve!, Pepper, Martha, Lexi, G.G.(for GreyGirl!), Lacy, Pippa, Piper, Claudia, Rosebud, Delta, Valentina, Blackie, Adelaide, Bugs, Floppy, Lovey Dovey, Myrtle, Ruby, Happy, Fancy, Hope,  Lark, Bella, Alice, Breezy, Helen

If you are so inclined, please consider a donation (or perhaps a monthly gift, as we have done) to Second Chance Rescue NYC 
 to help them to continue to rescue the unloved, abandoned, abused and injured dogs and cats.  Also, if you are within a 3 hour distance from NYC, you can apply to foster, and within a 6 hour distance ADOPT!!!
thank you. xxojoan

A very special thank you to Dana at Second Chance Rescue NYC for loving our girl so much and being her advocate and biggest fan. xxo