Homemade Doggie Treats

Four-legged friends have always been a part of my family. I pretty much grew up on Noah’s Ark – with cats, dogs, horses, and chickens around. And, animals are definitely a part of our little family’s circle now. Duke, our sweet mutt that we found on Craigslist four years ago, is most definitely our shining star. He’s kind and calm, and loves nothing more than to go out on the boat and swim with the boys. We couldn’t ask for a better pup.

So, it’s nice to be able to make him a homemade treat too. This is totally a basic guideline, ingredients can be easily added and substituted. If we have leftover spent grains from homebrew day, they make a great addition in place of the oats. Cheese or cornmeal are also great ideas to switch up the flavor.

No matter how you decide to make them, I’m sure your puphead will be thrilled at the prospect of a homemade doggie treat. And, I’m always thrilled at the prospect of cutting out processed junk from another member of my family’s diet. Here’s to all the furry friends of the world!

Crab and Corn Chowder

A couple of weeks ago we played tourist on our little island of Chincoteague, left the boys with my mom and dad, and walked down to Main Street…which, is just literally at the end of my parent’s street. There aren’t many shops – a small bakery, a little wine and cheese shop, some tacky beach t-shirt shops, and a few really fun and funky boutiques. We ventured in The Flying Fish Gallery, and amongst all the fun things they had in the store – my ceramics honing sense immediately zeroed in on these gorgeous oversized mugs. I thought how pretty would these be with a cream of crab soup or chowder in them? I couldn’t wait to get them home and fill them up with something!

Seems like everything is in season right now here on our beautiful Eastern Shore. Crabs are running great, thought they got a late start. Dad got a bushel in his 2 pots he has off the dock in just 4 days last week. That’s a lot of crabs for very little work, folks! We went and had steamed crabs for lunch, and he sent me home with the leftovers to pick.

Corn is in season everywhere right now, and this chowder really showcases the sweet, fresh flavor it lends. Let me just say that this soup was nothing short of phenomenal. All the flavors married so well, and I loved that you could taste the individual ingredients. The crab, the corn, the onion, the garlic, the potatoes…all off them working together in perfect harmony, but one not overpowering the other. Will be making this one again and again! The epitome of a Maryland Eastern Shore summer.

blueberrybuttermilkcake

Is it just me, or has it been a realllly long week? Last Sunday we went to the sandbar. It’s pretty much what it sounds like…a sandbar that has formed at our ocean’s inlet outside of Assateague and Wallops Islands. It’s pretty much a local’s only spot. We take the boat out with a basket of fried chicken for lunch on Sunday afternoon, enjoy a tasty malt beverage, throw some horseshoes, chat with friends, watch the boys and our dog have a blast swimming together…it’s pretty much Heaven on Earth. I’m so lucky to call this place home!

An old friend from high school and his lovely wife, who also happens to be a great cook and foodie, stumbled upon our beach chairs in their sandbar stroll. I mentioned that I was trying to use up blueberries, and she mentioned this fabulous blueberry buttermilk breakfast cake that she’d made twice in a month. With that kind of recommendation, I couldn’t wait to give it a try. And let me just say, wowzers! Easy, moist, delicious – what more could you want in a cake? It was definitely reminiscent of a blueberry muffin. But, the muffin top portion (anyone remember that episode of Seinfeld?). Which, is of course the best part.

Delightful for breakfast, brunch, or as a simple dessert. I’m already looking forward to trying it with other fruits or berries too – how delicious would it be with peaches or raspberries? Or both? Have a great weekend everyone!

Rigatoni with Beef & Sausage Ragù

I don’t know about where you guys are, but there was a hint of fall in the air here this weekend. We turned off the air-conditioning and opened up all the windows, and I even had to don a long-sleeved shirt at the local fireman’s carnival on Friday night.

Needless to say, I was feeling something in the way of comfort food. And what better fits that bill than a big bowl of baked cheesy pasta? My girlfriend made this dish for me after we brought home our first son Andrew, over 5 years ago now. She drove all the way from Annapolis to come and make us this pasta, and share dinner with us. It quickly became a favorite in our home, and consequently my “go-to” baked pasta dish.

Ground beef and spicy Italian sausage is simmered in a rich tomato sauce, releasing all their meaty flavor into the sauce. Then at the end, a bit of heavy cream is stirred in…making it lighter in flavor, but yet richer at the same time. Layered with a bit of mozzarella cheese before baking, it’s becomes bubbly and crusty in the oven – everything that a baked pasta should be. Paired with a glass of red, a fresh green salad, and some crusty bread – it’s the perfect Sunday meal to gather your family around the table. We intend to enjoy every last day of summertime, but I’m definitely looking forward to that chill in the air being here to stay!