Begin Again!

imageIn light of the world news lately my problems are pretty trivial, but to a blogger, even a relatively new one like me, starting all over again is overwhelming. Our recent relocation last year, and subsequent settling in, has kept both my husband and me very busy. Other than posting a recipe here and there, The Happy Cardinal, has taken a back seat to everything else. Today, in my effort to make some changes to the inner workings of this site, I managed to lose all the wonderful comments and supportive “Likes”, and “Sharing” stats from over two years on all but two of my submissions.  As trivial as that sounds (Agh!) it’s the only real gauge I have to see if the site is being read and or shared with others. I’m trying to work through it in hopes of regaining some of the lost data. Then I want to post some content about the many transitions we’ve experienced since our relocation to another state, and while making an old cottage our home, along with some photographs we’ve taken of the process. I welcome with open arms any support my friends want to offer, including, but not limited to, how to work with WordPress! Please stay tuned. Tomorrow, I begin again.

Roasted Radishes

Roasted Radishes

Serves 4
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 1 hour
Total time 1 hour, 15 minutes
Dietary Diabetic, Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Meal type Salad, Side Dish, Snack
Misc Child Friendly, Gourmet, Serve Hot
Occasion Casual Party
Roasted radishes make the perfect, healthy snack!

Ingredients

  • 1 Package Radishes (Thickly Sliced)
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Sea Salt (May omit if using other seasoning)
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil (May use a bit more if it's not enough to coat lightly)
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Creole Seasoning (My preference is Tony Chachera)
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Pepper (May omit if using other seasoning)

Directions

Step 1
Preheat oven to 400
Step 2
Slice radishes thickly. Place in medium size bowl.
Step 3
Toss radishes in olive oil to coat lightly
Step 4
Spread in single layer on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil
Step 5
Sprinkle with seasoning or salt and pepper, I use Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning.
Step 6
Roast for 1 hour or until crusted on top

Healthy Dog Treats

 HEALTHY DOG TREATS

Every month or so I stand in the pet aisle of my local grocery store in an effort to find the best (or least offensive) healthy dog treats for my beloved pups.  It’s the same confusing dilemma each time while I look for treats made in the USA, treats that don’t contain harmful ingredients, harmful preservatives, yada, yada. More and more I hear about peoples’ pets that suffer from skin allergies and intestinal abnormalties and that are thought to be wheat intolerant. So why not consider a gluten free option for our pets too? I’m usually able to narrow the selection down to the “least offensive”, but the price tag on these treats is highly offensive. Really! The newer options for healthy dog treats can break the bank, especially if you have more than one dog.

Cooking is something I love to do.  So why not whip up my own dog treats?! That’s exactly what I did and I’ll never again waste hard earned money or subject my dogs to the low quality and expensive stuff that’s sold in our stores today.

I made three different kinds of treats and here’s how I did it….

Sideways Plank - Oatmeal Dog Treats

  • Cookie cutters
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Parchment paper
  • 2 1/2 cups fine ground oat flour (I use whole oats and grind them with a Nutribullet)
  • 1 Tsp of salt
  • 1 egg
  • I tsp of stock (beef, chicken or vege)
  • Water (enough to make dough pliable (start with 1/2 cup and add more if needed)

*Helpful tip: When kneading dough lightly dust hands with oat flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

1.  Wisk together oat flour and salt

2. Wisk together egg and stock

3. Slowly pour egg mixture into flour mixture

4.  Add water slowly while folding dough

5.  Fold with pastry spatula until dough begins to pull away from sides of bowl

6.  Sprinkle one tsp of oat flour onto parchment paper

7.  Knead dough into baseball sized balls and roll with pin to approximately 1/4 inch thickness

8.  Cut with cookie cutters and place on parchment paper lined cookie sheet

9.  With extra dough, roll into nickle sized balls for smaller treats

10.  Push treat sized balls down with thumb to flatten

11.  Bake for 30 minutes

Allow to cool.  Refrigerate or freeze  to maintain freshness

IMG_7559Sideways Plank Oatmeal-Pumpkin

  • Cookie cutters
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Parchment paper
  • 2 1/2 cups fine ground oat flour (I use whole oats and grind them with a Nutribullet)
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil (melted)
  • I/2 teaspoon of cinnamon (optional – may reduce or omit)
  • 2 tablespoon of maple syrup (optional – may reduce or omit)
  • Water (enough to make dough pliable (start with 1/2 cup and add more if needed)

*Helpful tip: When kneading dough lightly dust hands with oat flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

1.  Wisk together oat flour and cinnamon

2.  Wisk together pumpkin, coconut oil and maple syrup

3.  Slowly pour pumpkin mixture into flour mixture

4.  Add water slowly while folding dough

5.   Fold with pastry spatula until dough begins to pull away from sides of bowl

6.  Sprinkle one tsp of oat flour onto parchment paper

7.  Knead dough into baseball sized balls and roll with pin to approximately 1/4 inch thickness

8.  Cut with cookie cutters and place on parchment lined cookie sheet

9.  With extra dough, roll into nickle sized balls for treat size

10.  Push treat sized balls down with thumb to flatten

11.  Bake for 30 minutes

Allow to cool.  Refrigerate or freeze extra to maintain freshness

IMG_7554

Sideways Plank Oatmeal PB

  • Cookie cutters
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Parchment paper
  • 2 1/2 cups finely ground oat flour (I use whole oats and grind them with a Nutribullet)
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil (melted)
  • 1/2 cup water (enough to make dough pliable (start with 1/2 cup and add more if needed)

*Helpful tip: When kneading dough lightly dust hands with oat flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

1.  Wisk together oat flour coconut oil and peanut butter

2.  Slowly add water and fold until mixture pulls away from sides of bowl

3.  Sprinkle one tsp of oat flour onto parchment paper.

4.  Knead dough into baseball sized balls and roll to about 1/4 inch thickness

5.  Cut with cookie cutters

6.  With extra dough, roll into nickle sized balls for treat size.

7.  Push treat sized balls down with thumb to flatten

8.  Bake for 30 minutes

Allow to cool.  Refrigerate or freeze extra to maintain freshness

Doggy cookie collageYour pups will love them. And so will their friends!

Bone closeup - Copy

 

 

 

A Perfect Day

SL Tea 1Have you ever experienced that wonderful feeling when everything just seems to unfold perfectly? When at the end of the day you just feel – good! There’s nothing in particular that happens – no big Power Ball win, no one magic thing – it’s just a feeling of gratitude.  Well, my whole weekend has been just like that. I’m learning to appreciate that it’s the little things that bring substance to our lives.

I’m also learning that when I have expectations about the way things should be, those things often fall short of my ideal. And when I have absolutely no expectations – no real plan, that without effort,  everything might just turn out perfectly.

I woke yesterday to near freezing temperatures with a forecast of rain, sleety and heavy rain. The ground outside was already covered in beautiful white snow and in some areas, ice. It was going to be a nasty, gray, sludgy kind of day.

I had been indoors for most of the week and was developing cabin fever. I called my sister, Nadine, who lives in a neighboring town to ask if she wanted to meet. My husband and I love the country and we made a life changing transition to move to Tennessee last year so I could be closer to her. She and I have always dreamed of living closer to each other. We now only live 45 minutes apart! The snow was melting and the rain was moving in. My lambswool lined boots weren’t going to hold up long so we made our big plan for this day to first meet at the Tractor Supply store.

Our mission: Find rain boots!

Fun!

Nadine and meMy sister, Nadine, and me

Since I was a child I have always loved utilitarian stores where you could find everything from dog food to livestock. This country living is going to suit me just fine!

Well, two people could not have had a better time hanging out at a tractor supply store! We admired the little chicks they were selling. (Oh, how I want hens!) I found a couple of beautiful white climbing rose bushes (love white roses!), we tried on boots and hats and we laughed and giggled our way through the store. No plan, no time constraint, no expectations. I did end up finding the cutest darn rain boots (below) and, of course, I couldn’t leave without a pink and camouflage “Tractor Supply” cap, (above) after all the rain was coming down hard!

RainbootsThe world’s most comfortable rain boots!

 The next couple of hours were spent treasure hunting at a nearby Goodwill store where we met my beautiful niece, Laura. The three of us rummaged around, reminiscing about the good old days whenever we found vintage items that allowed us to fondly revisit our childhoods.

At the end of the day, we went back to my home, The Firefly Cottage, for chicken chili, chocolate fondue and a warm fire. It was a fun day and what made it most special is that we were together.

Have you had a day when everything just seemed to fall into place, with no master plan but it just ended up being – perfect, whether with yourself, or with someone else? Please share your story here with me. I’d love to hear all about it.

Thank you so much for visiting.

Kim

 

Roasted veges done!Beautifully Roasted Vegetables

There is nothing like the flavor of roasted vegetables – marinated and blackened to a caramelized perfection to enhance any recipe you create. Roasted vegetables make a delicious and healthy snack as well as a wonderful addition to a sandwich, wrap, omelet, casserole, or any other culinary creation.

One of my personal favorites is roasted vegetables on homemade pizza. Since I am not a fan of “pizza sauce” on my pie, using roasted vegetables adds a burst of flavors that will change the way you think about processed sauces and fast food or store bought pizza, forever.

Roasting vegetables is easy.  It’s also a great way to preserve them when their shelf life is coming to an end so that you can use them later. Simply refrigerate or freeze them.

How to Roast Vegetables

What you will need:

  • Vegetables (Any and most)
  • Olive Oil
  • Balsamic Vinaigrette (Optional for zingy taste)
  • Black cracked pepper (Optional, but so good!)
  • Sea Salt (Optional) I use iodized sea salt or Himalayan pink
  • Basil (Optional, but so good!)
  • Any spice you like…
  • Parchment paper *This provides a non-stick surface. A baking sheet alone will also work but be prepared to let it soak afterwards, even if sprayed
  • Baking sheet (large)

Preparation time: 15 to 30 minutes depending on the amount of veges you will need to wash and wedge.

Cook time: 30 to 60 minutes

All vegetables can be used. I do my best to use fresh, organic vegetables which are fairly abundant these days and because of popularity, more affordable than in the past. I use zucchini (any and all squash), radishes, onions (any and all onions), tomatoes, green, red and yellow peppers (any and all peppers), eggplant, garlic, broccoli and cauliflower (great for snacks!), potatoes (small red, tubers or cut large. Great for meat dishes or breakfast casseroles). Anything not mentioned here? Give it a try! Pineapples and most other fruit are also delicious when roasted.

Kale, one of my favorites, will disintegrate when roasted in the oven. I peel the leaves from the stems and roast my kale in a skillet with garlic and very little olive oil until nice and crispy. This makes a great snack too.

Here’s what to do:

1.  Wash all vegetables. Cut into approximately one inch wedges and place into large bowl. Too small a wedge the vegetables will disintegrate while roasting especially if you don’t use the parchment paper. They will stick to the pan and there won’t be much left of them when you scrape them off.

2.  Add a small amount of olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette, basil, and pepper, just enough to coat all vegetables while hand tossing gently. Salt is always optional. A little goes a long way and is not heart healthy. Use salt sparingly and sprinkle over the top once vegetables are spread on sheet or omit all together.

3.  Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Trim excess paper from sides so it doesn’t scorch. *Please note – the maximum temperature for an oven when using parchment paper is 420 degrees. Spread vegetables out on parchment paper.

4.  Roast vegetables at 420 degrees for up to 2 hours. Check in 30 minutes and turn with large spatula to allow all sides to be browned.  Continue to cook until edges of onions become blackened and vegetables look caramelized. They will be fully cooked early on but the roasting takes longer.

5.  Remove from oven and allow to cool.

Use vegetables as you would like for recipes.  Onions, tomatoes and peppers give wonderful flavor for pizza. Potatoes and onions great with meat dishes, etc….

Vegetables, not even close to doneAfter 30 minutes use spatula to turn vegetables

Roasted veges  nicely done!After 90 minutes – ready!

Sauteed Kale getting crispyRoasted crispy kale with garlic. Great as a snack by itself, on pizza, sandwiches and salads.

Roasted vege pizzaAnd one of my personal favorites – roasted tomatoes, onions and peppers with feta cheese on whole grain crust. It’s great with goat cheese too! So good!

I’d love to hear your questions or feedback under comments.

Thanks so much for visiting!

Bon Appetit! (My mom would always say this to me.)

Kim

5 Steps to a Good Life – #5 Find Balance and Build Relationships

 

image5. Find Balance and Build Relationships

Socialization and building relationships seems to be a unanimous remedy towards a fulfilled life most experts remind us. It sounds reasonable. After all, even my pups are more relaxed the more my husband and I socialize them. Human connection may very well be the road to a healthier and happier life. Spending time with family and building friendships offers a sense of belonging. Being needed, depended on and accountable to, offers a sense of purpose, enhancing quality of life. When we are happier, we are healthier.

Personally, I can be so project oriented that if I don’t consciously make an effort to reach out to others, I could easily find myself isolated. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing I wouldn’t do for someone if they ask, but they will have to first find me because I might be organizing my closet or something! But that’s another post on obsessive personality types (in a good way!). Finding balance in my life has been the single most difficult thing for me. It’s something I have to consciously work on because I am so project driven.

Our recent relocation to another state has put some distance between many of my friends and me. This has also opened up wonderful opportunities for my husband and me to develop and to nurture relationships with new friends and nearby family. How exciting is that!

So come on, join me in setting some goals in building, connecting and nurturing our relationships and finding balance in our lives so that together we might enjoy a happier, healthier and more fulfilled life.

Blessings to all,

Kim

“Piglet sidled up from behind. “Pooh?” He whispered.
“Yes, Piglet?”
“Nothing,” said Piglet, taking Pooh’s hand. “I just wanted to be sure of you.”

Savory Summer Tomato Pie

Savory Summer Tomato Pie

Allergy Egg, Milk, Wheat
Dietary Vegetarian
Meal type Appetizer, Breakfast, Lunch, Main Dish, Side Dish
Misc Freezable, Pre-preparable, Serve Hot
Occasion Barbecue, Birthday Party, Casual Party, Christmas, Easter, Formal Party, Thanksgiving, Valentines day
The Happy Cardinal Kim Brewer - Bettencourt
This Savory Summer Tomato Pie is the perfect dish for all occasions. Beautifully garnished by a side of summery fruit.

Ingredients

  • 1 9 inch deep dish pie crust
  • 2 eggs (beaten)
  • 1 cup whole milk (may substitute with half and half)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh diced or dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 cup onion (diced)
  • 1/2 cup cottage cheese
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 1/2 cup swiss cheese (shredded)
  • 2 or 3 Medium tomatoes of your choice (sliced thin)

Note

This recipe is easily amended for vegan preference by using non dairy products.

Gluten free crust may be used in place of ready-made pie crust.

When preparing this delicious Tomato Pie, I always double the recipe and make 2!

Directions

Step 1
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place 9" pie shell in pie plate and set on cookie sheet. Set aside. If pre-made, prepare according to package directions. I like to pre-bake mine for 10 minutes. This is not a neccesary step.
Step 2
Slice tomatoes 1/ 4 inch thick. Leave in colander to drain while preparing the mixture.
Step 3
Mix together in large bowl - 2 beaten eggs, milk, ricotta and cottage cheese, salt, pepper, onions and basil and set aside.

*Vegan replacements can be used.
Step 4
While in colander, with a doubled paper towel, gently press tomatoes to release excess moisture.
Step 5
Layer all tomatoes on bottom of pie shell until shell is covered.
Step 6
Sprinkle swiss cheese on top of tomatoe layer until covered.
Step 7
Pour prepared mixture over swiss cheese slowly until pie shell is full.
Step 8
Gently move cookie sheet to oven. Bake at 375 for 50 minutes to 1 hour depending on oven. Pie is fully cooked when fork inserted in middle comes out dry.

*If necessary, gently tent with foil the last few minutes so crust doesnt burn while pie is cooking fully.

Bon Appetit!

5 Steps to a Good Life – #4 Plant an Herb Garden

 

Herb Garden 34. Plant an Herb Garden.

You don’t need to have a green thumb to plant and grow an herb garden.  Spring and Fall are both a wonderful time to begin.

Small raised bed gardens, planters and garden pots all work well for growing herbs. While some herbs grow well in the shade most produce better in the sun. Some prefer warmer climates while others grow well in cooler temperatures.  Learn your planting zone and what herbs grow best in your area.

Fresh herbs are wonderful when added to your culinary creations, salads and dressings or as garnish for your plate.  They can be used for tea (dry the leaves) medicinal purposes or fragrance. There is no end to what we can do with herbs.

Have fun and enjoy.

IMG_1229

5 Steps to a Good Life – #3 Watch the Sun Rise

DSCF20793. Watch the Sun Rise

If you are fortunate enough to live on the east coast you have more than likely seen the sun rise over the ocean.

There are few things more commanding than witnessing the sun break the horizon and move upward into the sky – with it, bringing the promise of a new day with all new possibilities. Moments later the glistening sun resembles trillions of diamonds sprinkling the water beneath.  It’s glowing warmth is as nurturing and as comforting as a mother’s love.

Take the time to watch the sunrise, by sea or by land, it’s magic will renew your spirit. God feels closer than ever when we witness his miracles.

DSCF2070“From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same the LORD’s name is to be praised”. Psalm 113:3

Blessings to you and yours.

Thanks for visiting!

Kim

 

5 Steps to a Good Life – #2 Spend Time with God

 

2.  Spend Time With God.

Life is not without distractions that’s for certain. Every day we meet people who are overwhelmed with the pressures they face. Finding balance in our lives is becoming increasingly more difficult. The demands on our time leaves little margin for quality of life.

Without faith in God, life would be pretty grim.  Forcing ourselves to slow down and spend quiet time with Him is hard.

Nature is the one constant that helps me feel closer to God.  There is so much perfection to see. I feel such gratitude for the beauty that surrounds me. Spending time outdoors is something I can always count on to restore my faith and spirit.

Take a walk, visit the ocean, the mountains, spend time outdoors. Dedicate that time to open your eyes to the beauty that surrounds us.

Let us be – with God.

DSCF1414“But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish in the sea inform you. Which of all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this?”
Job 12: 7-9

XO Kim