Tips for Holiday Travel with Pets

Tips for Holiday Travel with Pets

posted in: Nonfiction, On the Road, Our Work, Travel, Woof Trekking, Writing | 0 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

With the holidays coming up, many of you will be traveling over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house. Pet lovers may be taking their precious pups and furry felines on the road with them, perhaps for the first time. If you are new to the ways of Woof Trekking (road tripping with your pets), this may cause some anxiety for both the humans and the pets. But have no fear, we are here to help.
holiday-travel-with-pets-2
We have been traveling with our two dogs, Izzy and Nana, and one cat, Billy, for four years. We have gained a lot of knowledge to share with you. If you are new to our blog, you can take a look at our previous woof trekking posts here. We have also written a book about our experience with traveling with our cat and two dogs. You can get your copy on Amazon and Kobo.
woof trekking, pets, road trip, vacation, holiday, travel, travel with pets
You may be surprised that we travel with our cat, however Billy is a pretty chill cat who does fairly well on the road. If you want to take your cat with you (or a skittish dog for that matter), taking them on short, little trips to see how they handle going in the car is a good idea. We actually have two cats, but Tyra doesn’t travel well and prefers to stay home and be kenneled.

We have previously talked about what to pack for both your dogs and your cats. Some important items include: food, bowls, and kitty litter box.

Safety is very important while traveling with your pets and we have some tips to keep everyone safe. First of all safety in the car is very important, both of our dogs wear car harnesses so they can be buckled in. Billy also wears a harness so he too can be buckled up while riding in a human’s lap. You can read more about car harnesses here.


Some dogs and cats travel really well on the road and have no problems. Nana is one of these dogs. She loves car rides and watching the world pass by. Izzy is the opposite, she loves getting into the car but as soon as it starts moving, she becomes anxious and starts to whine. When we travel, we give her Dramamine, per the recommendation of our vet, and it takes the edge off. (Always talk to your vet before giving your pet medication.) Billy on the other hand gets motion sick in the car. He also gets Dramamine to help him deal with this. You can read more about Anxiety and Motion Sickness here.
pacific coast highway 9
The last point we would like to make is about hotel safety. Some hotels are better than others but all should be inspected before letting your pets loose. We have found some interesting objects hidden under the bed. Our biggest tip is to get down on your hands and knees with a flashlight to clear the floor of any dropped pills and other foreign objects.

Go forth and don’t be afraid to take your pets on the road with you. If you want to read more about our travels, get a copy of our book. Bringing your pets on your travels will make your adventures even more memorable!

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Our Best, Beautiful Banana Bread

Our Best, Beautiful Banana Bread

posted in: Breakfast, Desserts, Food, Snacks | 6 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

Our family loves bananas, we always have a supply on hand. Even when you eat them everyday, you can still get a couple that ripen too quickly and are better for baking than for eating alone. We have previously shared a couple of banana recipes: Banana Oatmeal Muffins and Banana Chocolate Chip Scones.

twitter beautiful banana bread

Today’s banana recipe is for the very best banana bread. We have tried lots of banana bread recipes and this is the only one that we can all agree tastes delicious. It is the same one our mom baked for us when we were little kids!

The most important ingredient in banana bread is of course B-A-N-A-N-A-S. Make sure to mash them up well, you don’t want too big of chunks in your bread.
banana bread - 1
The dry ingredients, flour and baking soda.
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Softened butter and glorious granulated sugar.
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The butter and sugar creamed together.
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Add in the eggs and vanilla.
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The liquid mixture is now complete.
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Carefully add in the dry ingredients.
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Mix until incorporated.
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Now it’s time for the bananas.
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Take your time mixing in the bananas, at first it will be a little difficult but in the end, you have banana pieces all throughout.
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Pour the batter into a buttered loaf pan.
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Bake until a toothpick comes out clean.
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Slice and enjoy!

Banana Bread

Banana Bread

Ingredients

  • 3/4 c sugar
  • 1/2 c butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 2 c flour
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 3 ripe bananas, mashed

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F.
  2. Grease a 5x9 loaf pan.
  3. Cream butter and sugar.
  4. Add eggs and vanilla.
  5. Combine flour and baking soda, then add to liquid mixture.
  6. Stir in mashed bananas.
  7. Pour into prepared pan.
  8. Bake for 50-55 minutes or until toothpick inserted into middle comes out clean.
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Izzy and Nana’s Favorite Homemade Dog Food: Chicken, Veggies and Sweet Potato

Izzy and Nana’s Favorite Homemade Dog Food: Chicken, Veggies and Sweet Potato

posted in: At Home, Food, Woof Trekking | 3 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

Last Friday, we told you about the food that the dogs eat on Woof Treks. Namely: Taste of the Wild and Wellness Chicken Stew. They also eat canned green beans when we are on the road.

They started this diet in January when we started going to our new vet. He sent us home with instructions to help Nana lose weight by replacing about 1/2 of her food with green beans (in addition to going grain-free).

Since January, Nana has dropped 10 pounds going from 38 to 28 and our vet is exceedingly pleased. Nana scored about a 7 on the Body Condition Score in January and now she is at an ideal 5. She is much more spry and active than she was when she was overweight. Izzy is such a high energy dog that she has always been scored around a 5.

 Izzy is Overwhelmed with Nana's Energy Post Weight Loss
This photo is from March. Nana is about 33 pounds and very frisky. Izzy is overwhelmed with her sister’s newfound energy.

Nana was never starving during this time because of all the vegetables. Around April, encouraged by the positive effects of her new diet and at the casual suggestion of our vet, we switched over to a completely homemade meal for breakfast and dinner.

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How to Make Healthy Homemade Dog Food

They eat the following recipe of homemade dog food twice a day, which is relatively low calorie compared to other dog food options.

They still receive some commercial dog food throughout the day including Taste of the Wild kibbles, as well as occasional dog cookies, both commercial and homemade such as our Homemade Banana Peanut Butter Dog Cookies. They also get frozen raw beef shank marrow bones to chew on a couple times a week for about 10-20 minutes. We will blog more about that later this month.

***Consult with your veterinarian before making any changes to your dog’s diet. This article is about our experience and is for informational purposes only.***

Izzy and Nana’s Favorite Homemade Dog Food

The first ingredient is chicken. Chicken Legs are usually the cheapest at about 67 cents/pound on sale. However, we mix it up and sometimes do a whole chicken or bone-in chicken breasts. They love it all! We shred the chicken and take away the bone, skin, and fat.

Homemade Dog Food - 1

Next, we get out our scale, set to grams, and and clear the tare with the food bowl on the scale.

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Then we add veggies. We steam vegetables every night to go with human dinner, so it was not much of an adjustment to cook a little extra more for the dogs. We cook broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, carrots, zucchini, and green beans.

Homemade Dog Food - 3

We cut it up into smallish pieces, a lot like the aforementioned Chicken Stew. Izzy gets 80 grams of veggies because she LOVES them. Also Izzy is a bit bigger than Nana. She is at her ideal body condition score and still weighs 35 pounds. Nana gets 55 grams of veggies.

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We cut the chicken and veggies with kitchen shears like these from Kitchen Aid.

We add about 60 grams of chicken for Izzy and 50 grams for Nana.

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The last ingredient is sweet potato. 40 grams for Izzy and 30 grams for Nana. We usually feed them the orange sweet potatoes, but accidentally got white flesh sweet potatoes at the store last week.

We have tried to corner our vet into giving a precise amount of protein, veggies, and sweet potato for our girls, but he says whatever we are doing is good because they are very healthy.

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They always finish their meals at the same time and they are maintaining their ideal body weights. Consequently, we have stuck to this meal plan. It is important to remember that they also get a fair amount of nutrient dense kibbles throughout the day.

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Izzy is excited to eat her breakfast!

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Good to the last lick!

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Another possible variation on this recipe: Put an Egg on it. If you watch food shows, you know how popular this has become in recent years for human food. Dogs can try it, too!

Izzy and Nana’s Favorite Homemade Dog Food

Izzy and Nana’s Favorite Homemade Dog Food

Ingredients

  • Chicken, unseasoned
  • Mixed Vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, carrot, zucchini, green beans), unseasoned
  • Sweet Potato, unseasoned

Instructions

  1. Bake the chicken at 400 degrees for at least an hour, flipping half way through. Alternatively bake until thermometer reads 165F, although we like to bake until 185F because it is easier to shred. Take away all bone, skin, and excess fat.
  2. Steam Vegetables. Broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts and carrot all take about 20 minutes starting from a room temperature pot. Green beans take about 8 minutes. Zucchini slices takes about 6 minutes. We cook these all in the same pot, adding the beans at the 12 minute mark, and the zucchini at the 14 minute mark.
  3. Steam Sweet Potato. These take about 18-20 minutes.
  4. The exact amount of chicken, veggies, and sweet potato will depend upon your dog and how many other treats they get throughout the day. Work with your veterinarian to create the ideal meal plan for your dog.
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Perfect Rich and Sweet Blueberry Crumble (Grandma Inspired Fantastic Treat #5)

Perfect Rich and Sweet Blueberry Crumble (Grandma Inspired Fantastic Treat #5)

posted in: Desserts, Food, Grandma Inspired Fantastic Treats (GIFTs) | 2 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

Our grandma was born in Oregon, the third highest cultivator of blueberries in the US, behind Michigan and Georgia. But that is not the only reason this recipe reminds us of our grandma.

Grandma Inspired Blueberry Crumble

The second reason was her dentures. She had “soft teeth” from an early age and consequently, she was sporting dentures before her twentieth birthday. She wasn’t bashful about it either. She considered it a talking point and even a point of pride, for no one else she knew had been wearing dentures for so long.

Anyway, whenever we would go grocery shopping with her, we would pass the blueberries. Then we would joke and ask her if she wanted some, and she would exclaim, “NOOOO, they turn my teeth BLUUUUE!” and then she would laugh, which in turn made us laugh.


We actually have a love-hate relationship with blueberries ourselves. Like Forrest Gump said, “You never know what you’re going to get,” and that is a disconcerting fact about these little indigo orbs. Sometimes they can be so squishy. That being said, blueberries have been proven to have several health benefits, including being high in antioxidants and a low Glycemic Index.

This Grandma-Inspired Fantastic Treat is a deliciously sweet blueberry crumble. It manages to make blueberries delicious and brings a smile to our faces with memories of our grandma.

For the Crust and Crumble

Combine sugar, flour, baking powder, diced butter, egg, and salt in a food processor. Mix until roughly the size of peas.

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Here is the texture we’re looking for.

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Press half of the crumb mixture into the bottom of a 9 x 13 pan.

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For the Filling

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Whisk together lemon juice, granulated sugar, vanilla and cornstarch. Then pour over the blueberries, giving them a gentle stir to coat. The cornstarch will help keep the filling together.

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The blueberries are ready for action. Pour them over the bottom layer of crumble and tilt the pan around for even liquid distribution.

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Top with the other half of the crumb topping. It’s ready to go into the oven!

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Bake for 35 minutes in a 350°F preheated oven.

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And there you have it, perfect blueberry crumble. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream for yummy deliciousness.

Mind the dentures though, this stuff stains. ?

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Blueberry Crumble

Blueberry Crumble

Ingredients

  • 1 c granulated sugar
  • 3 c flour
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 1 c butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 4 cups blueberries
  • 1/4 c lemon juice
  • 1/2 c granulated sugar
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 4 t cornstarch

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. Grease 13x9 pan with butter
  3. Using a food processor, mix first 6 ingredients
  4. Pour about 1/2 of the crumb mix into the prepared pan
  5. Press crumb mix with fingers to compact the bottom layer
  6. Whisk together lemon juice, granulated sugar, vanilla and cornstarch
  7. Pour liquid mixture over blueberries and gently fold to coat all the berries
  8. Pour blueberry mix into pan over the crumb layer
  9. Tilt pan slightly to move the liquid all over the crumb layer
  10. Maneuver blueberries into a uniform layer
  11. Pour remaining crumb mix over the top
  12. Bake about 35 minutes, until top is golden brown
  13. Let cool and store in refrigerator
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Grandma’s Sweet and Savory Teriyaki Chicken (GIFT #2)

Grandma’s Sweet and Savory Teriyaki Chicken (GIFT #2)

posted in: Food, Grandma Inspired Fantastic Treats (GIFTs), Main Dishes | 0 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

This is the second post in our blog series, Grandma-Inspired Fantastic Treats (GIFTs). Today’s treat is our Grandma’s recipe for teriyaki chicken.

sugar, karo, ground ginger, soy sauce, chicken

She would make this dish for special Japanese holidays including New Year’s, Boy’s Day and Girl’s Day. For this recipe, you can use any cut of meat. This time we used chicken breast, however, when our grandma made it, she always used chicken thighs. The dark meat takes on the marinade really well.

sugar, karo, ground ginger, soy sauce, chicken

This teriyaki sauce is delectable, sweet and salty. A hint of umami. So good. It might be the Karo syrup… ?

I remember seeing that stuff in the cupboard when I was a kid, before the whole anti-corn syrup movement, and wondering what is that goo? I had no idea it was made from actual corn! Ha. In case you’re interested in corn and food, here’s an informative article from the Washington Post: How corn made its way into just about everything we eat.

teriyaki chicken sauce

After boiling, the ingredients come together to this wonderfully thick and shiny sauce. Cool marinade to room temperature and add to cut up chicken.

sugar, karo, ground ginger, soy sauce, chicken

We do all our marinating in gallon size ziploc bags. Stand the bag up in a large bowl to avoid spills.

sugar, karo, ground ginger, soy sauce, chicken

Ready to go in the fridge overnight.

sugar, karo, ground ginger, soy sauce, chicken

After baking at 325°F for an hour, you get… Grandma’s Sweet and Savory Teriyaki Chicken!!!

sugar, karo, ground ginger, soy sauce, chicken

While Grandma loved making Teriyaki Chicken, her favorite fast food joint was… you guessed it, Panda Express. Both our grandparents loved their orange sauce and mandarin teriyaki sauce. Panda Express is still a wonderful guilty pleasure for us, and while it is neither healthy nor artisanal, there is still something very comforting about sliding your tray down the line, drooling over greasy noodles and crab rangoons.

 

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Grandma's Sweet and Savory Teriyaki Chicken

Grandma's Sweet and Savory Teriyaki Chicken

Ingredients

  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup Karo Light
  • 1/8 cup mirin
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/2 t ginger powder
  • 2-3 pounds chicken breast

Instructions

  1. Mix all ingredients EXCEPT the chicken in a medium saucepan
  2. Boil for 10 minutes
  3. Let cool
  4. Cut chicken into about 1 inch cubes
  5. Place chicken into gallon ziploc and pour sauce in
  6. Press air out of bag and massage so marinade is touching all sides of chicken
  7. Marinate overnight
  8. Preheat oven to 325°F
  9. Pour chicken into a baking dish and cover with aluminum foil
  10. Bake 30 minutes, turn pieces, bake another 30 minutes
  11. Chicken will be done when internal temperature reaches 165°F
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Roasted Bacon-Wrapped, Blue Cheese-Stuffed Fresh Figs (GIFT #1)

Roasted Bacon-Wrapped, Blue Cheese-Stuffed Fresh Figs (GIFT #1)

posted in: Food, Grandma Inspired Fantastic Treats (GIFTs), Side Dishes | 0 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

Last week we announced that we were going to start a new blog series about Grandma Inspired Fantastic Treats (GIFTs). This recipe kicks off the series and is most definitely inspired by our grandma, the original foodie in our life. We previously blogged about her love of Greek food in this post about Chicken Souvlaki.

twitter fig

Our grandma was very matter-of-fact, with a limited filter (aka she said exactly what was on her mind). A couple of years ago, our family travelled to the Midwest for a wedding. After the wedding, we spent some time at the bride’s house with our grandma’s sister-in-law.

The family had made a nice dinner and when we arrived at the house, they were still preparing the appetizer, bacon-wrapped, blue cheese stuffed, dried dates. Naturally, we jumped into help.

The new groom, showed us how to put them together, “First, you take the dried fig and then…” Our grandma jumped in before he could even finish his sentence.

“That’s NOT a FIG, that’s a DATE!” she proclaimed emphatically.

We all turned red, embarrassed by our grandma correcting this man she had just barely met.

“GrandMA,” we hissed at her.

“Whaaatt? That’s a date not a fig.” She showed no signs of self-consciousness.

The groom continued on like nothing happened and we eventually enjoyed the dried dates with melted blue cheese and crispy bacon.

While our grandma never made this tasty treat, as you can tell from this funny story, she definitely inspired it.

Finding Fresh Figs

We found the fresh figs for this recipe at Costco in the freezing, walk-in refrigerator room. According to an article by The City Cook, figs are in season from June to September. This jives with what we found out from the produce guy at our local Trader Joe’s.

More Bacon Recipes for You!
Luscious Bacon-Wrapped Steak Fit for a Queen
Sweet and Salty, Bacon-licious, BBQ Baked Beans
Mouth-Watering, Almost Healthy, Prosciutto-Wrapped Asparagus

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Here we have our fresh figs! Plus some frying bacon – always a welcome sight!

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While your bacon is frying, score those figs and get your blue cheese ready for action.

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Cool bacon on paper towels and stuff figs with blue cheese.

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Wrap stuffed figs with bacon and bake for 15-20 minutes at 350°F.

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FIGS, GLORIOUS FIGS!

Another variation of this appetizer incorporates a pecan or walnut inside the fig with the cheese. We were not so keen on the idea at first, but after tasting this version, we believe the addition of a pecan would be absolutely perfect!

Bacon-Wrapped, Blue Cheese Stuffed Fresh Figs (GIFT #1)

Bacon-Wrapped, Blue Cheese Stuffed Fresh Figs (GIFT #1)

Ingredients

  • Fresh Figs
  • Blue Cheese Crumbles
  • Bacon

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. Cover baking sheet with aluminum foil
  3. Par cook bacon so some of the fat is rendered but still soft enough to bend
  4. Let bacon cool slightly
  5. Quarter figs from the bottom, being careful not to slice completely
  6. Place cheese crumble into cavity
  7. Wrap bacon around the fig and use a toothpick to hold it all together
  8. Place on prepared baking sheet
  9. Bake for 15-20 minutes
  10. Let cool slightly
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Of GIFTs and Woof Treks: Two New Series for Our Blog

Of GIFTs and Woof Treks: Two New Series for Our Blog

posted in: Food, Grandma Inspired Fantastic Treats (GIFTs), Woof Trekking | 1 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

In the coming days, we are going to debut two new series of blog posts.

The first series will be about our travels with our pets, aka Woof Trekking. The second series will be recipes inspired by our grandma, aka Grandma-Inspired Fantastic Treats (GIFTs).

It may not seem like it, but these two series are deeply connected.

Four years ago, both of our grandparents passed away on the same day (as we previously blogged about in Nana the Brave!). Our grandpa’s passing was expected, while our grandma’s was not. She passed away six hours before he did, even though she was in near perfect health for an 86-year-old. They always said they wanted to pass away together and walk up to heaven holding hands. In the end, they did.

Their passing induced two major changes in our lives. The first was adopting Nana. The second was our Commemorative Road Trip along the West Coast.

We travelled up the Pacific Coast Highway, through San Francisco, and up to Oregon, where our Grandma was born. The featured image of this post is “The Torii Gate” located outside the Portland Expo Center. It features “3,500 identification tags… to represent the same number of Japanese‐Americans housed at the Portland Assembly Center located at Expo during World War II.” (Source: http://www.expocenter.org/sites/default/files/pdf/expohistory_rev_2011.pdf)

of gifts and woof treks

From there, we travelled to Minidoka, Idaho (see our previous blog post about Minidoka here) where she was interned during World War II and then down to Brigham City, Utah where she met our grandpa. This trip turned out to be our very first Woof Trek, and paved the way for many more excursions with our pets across the United States.

In the Woof Trekking series, we will talk about locations we have Woof Trekked to and show you that it is possible to take your pets on the road with you.

When we returned home from the Commemorative Road Trip, we had to sift through all of our grandparents belongings. During this process, we discovered several cookbooks and cooking magazines in which our grandma had made a ton of little notes and corrections to recipes.

In the Grandma-Inspired Fantastic Treats (GIFT) series, we will make these recipes and share them with you, our readers! We will also be making dishes that remind us of stories about our grandparents (like our post about Chicken Souvlaki.) Grandma loved sweets, so many of the recipes will be baked goods, but every once and awhile we will also post a savory dish she liked.

We hope that you come back and read our two new blog post series. Tomorrow we will have an exciting announcement. Please stay tuned!

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Luscious Bacon-Wrapped Steak Fit for a Queen

Luscious Bacon-Wrapped Steak Fit for a Queen

posted in: Food, Main Dishes | 0 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

Bacon-Wrapped Steak is a luxurious menu item that can be found at just about any steakhouse. The only problem is that you have to pay an arm and a leg to eat the meaty goodness. But have no fear, you can easily replicate the steakhouse experience at home and it is super easy to do.

luscious bacon wrapped steak 8

The first step is to pick out the perfect steak. Any type of steak will do, however, you do need to consider the circumference of the steak. When you cook the bacon, it will shorten. Therefore, you need to either pick steaks that are smaller than the length of cooked bacon or you will need to cut larger steaks down to size.

The next step to achieving luscious bacon-wrapped steak is to fire up the grill. Preheat to about 350°F. Lay the strips of bacon across the grate and par cook until it is slightly brown.

luscious bacon wrapped steak 1

luscious bacon wrapped steak 2

Wrap the cooled bacon around the steaks and use a toothpick to keep the bacon and steak together.

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luscious bacon wrapped steak 4

Voilá!

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Grill the steak to your desired doneness based on how thick the steak is. We prefer a medium rare steak that is still juicy and pink on the inside.

luscious bacon wrapped steak 6

luscious bacon wrapped steak 7

Some people use the touch method to determine doneness, which you can see demonstrated here. If you have heat sensitive fingers, we would not recommend this method.

Our preferred method is using a timer. We have never had a problem with overcooking using this method. You can see a grilling time chart here.

Let your steaks rest for 5 minutes and then enjoy!

luscious bacon wrapped steak 9

Bacon-Wrapped Steak

Bacon-Wrapped Steak

Ingredients

  • Bacon
  • Steak
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat grill then reduce temperature to low, about 350°F
  2. Remove steaks from fridge about 15-20 minutes prior to grilling
  3. Rub with olive oil and season with salt and pepper
  4. Grill bacon slices until slightly brown but not crispy
  5. Let bacon cool slightly, still warm to touch
  6. Wrap bacon around the outside of the steaks
  7. Use a toothpick to hold the bacon and steak together
  8. Depending on how thick your steak is, grill to your desired doneness
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Sweet and Salty, Bacon-licious, BBQ Baked Beans

Sweet and Salty, Bacon-licious, BBQ Baked Beans

posted in: Food, Side Dishes | 0 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

BBQ baked beans have always been a staple of our family’s summer cookouts, but we have always purchased cans and heated them up. We especially enjoy Bush’s Beans, largely due to that adorable dog – Duke! He’s snarky AND cute – #goals.

Recently, we decided to try making our own baked beans and the result did not disappoint. But don’t worry Duke, we’ll still buy yours too.

Making your own beans from scratch requires a little bit of forethought because the dry beans need to soak overnight and plump up.

beans, baked beans, food, kitchen, cooking, recipe, eat

baked beans 3

BBQ baked beans always require bacon, lots of yummy, delicious bacon.

bacon, baked beans, food, kitchen, cooking, recipe, eat

Add in some green bell pepper, onion and garlic…

beans, baked beans, food, kitchen, cooking, recipe, eat

beans, baked beans, food, kitchen, cooking, recipe, eat

Along with some molasses, brown sugar, ketchup, and honey…

beans, baked beans, food, kitchen, cooking, recipe, eat

beans, baked beans, food, kitchen, cooking, recipe, eat

And you’ve got baked bean brilliance. Smoky, spicy and sweet. What else could you want? Everyone gobbled these BBQ baked beans at our latest summer feast. Try the recipe and let us know what you think!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Sweet and Salty, Bacon-licious, BBQ Baked Beans

Sweet and Salty, Bacon-licious, BBQ Baked Beans

Ingredients

  • 8 cups water
  • 1 1/2 T Kosher Salt
  • 1 pound dry pinto beans
  • 12 oz bacon, cut into 1/2 inch squares
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 1/2 T garlic
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups ketchup
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 2 T yellow mustard
  • 1 T apple cider vinegar
  • 1 T sriracha
  • 1 t garlic powder
  • 1 t onion powder
  • 1 t paprika

Instructions

  1. Rinse beans to remove dirt and pick out any bad beans or hidden rocks
  2. In medium size bowl or container, mix 8 cups water and kosher salt
  3. Add pinto beans, let sit overnight at room temperature
  4. Drain and rinse beans again
  5. In large dutch oven, cook bacon over medium heat
  6. Remove browned bacon, leaving as much fat as possible
  7. Add onion and cook until slightly brown
  8. Add green pepper and garlic, cook for one minute
  9. Add 3 cups water, chicken stock, reserved bacon and beans
  10. Bring to boil, reduce heat to low, cover and cook for one hour
  11. Preheat oven to 300°F
  12. Stir in remaining ingredients, cover and place in oven
  13. Bake for 4 hours, stirring occasionally
  14. Remove cover and bake for another hour
  15. Let cool 15-20 minutes
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Buttery, Grilled Corn on the Cob

Buttery, Grilled Corn on the Cob

posted in: Food, Side Dishes | 0 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

Since it is officially summer, it is also officially grilled corn season. Corn can be found at just about every grocery store now.

Our local Walmart just got renovated with a large grocery section and we found the best deal on corn there. 10 cents an ear! What an awesome find!

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We have found that the best way to pick the perfect ear is to peel down the leaves and silk to look at the top of the corn. You want to see that the kernels are mostly developed to the end of the cob and it hasn’t started to rot.

corn on the cob 2

corn on the cob 3

When you get the corn home, it’s time to get your hands dirty. Shucking corn isn’t really a dirty process, it just takes some strength to pull the leaves and silk off.

Once the corn are clean, give them a quick wash to remove any leftover silk, then you are ready to prep them for the grill. Tear off about 12 inches of aluminum foil to wrap the corn in.

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Slather them up with butter, season generously with salt and pepper and wrap tightly.

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An alternate name for this recipe could be Butter with a Side of Corn. Yum!

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I prefer a folding method on the ends instead of twisting. Folding decreases the leakage of butter while cooking.

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This is the end result! Plump, juicy corn!

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You can eat it straight off the cob, like Mac prefers it, or cut off the cob, like Al prefers it.

 

Buttery, Grilled Corn on the Cob

Buttery, Grilled Corn on the Cob

Ingredients

  • Ears of corn
  • Softened butter
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Sheets of aluminum foil

Instructions

  1. Soften butter to room temperature.
  2. Preheat grill about 350-400°F.
  3. Place corn on aluminum foil.
  4. Generously spread butter all over the corn.
  5. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  6. Fold and seal the aluminum foil.
  7. Place on grill, set timer for four minutes.
  8. Turn a quarter turn and re-set timer for four minutes.
  9. Continue until you have turned the corn four times.
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Perfect Steak and Egg Breakfast Sandwich

Perfect Steak and Egg Breakfast Sandwich

posted in: Breakfast, Food, Main Dishes | 0 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

We came up with the recipe for this sandwich after a burning desire for a breakfast sandwich, like the kind from McDonald’s with a round puck egg. The only problem being, how do I make a round puck egg at home without any sort of ring mold? This was quite the conundrum until the lightning bolt hit. You could use a ring made of onion and a quick search of the interwebs revealed that lots of people do this.

This method works great if you have large onions on hand. If you do not, a bell pepper could also be used as your egg mold.

steak and egg breakfast sandwich 1

Slice your onion so that you end up with a ring about 3/4 of an inch wide. It needs to be fairly wide to hold all of the egg, however the thickness of the ring will be determined by how big your onion is. I would guess-timate my onion was about 3.5 inches in diameter at it’s widest point. steak and egg breakfast sandwich 2

Eggs, cracked and ready for action!steak and egg breakfast sandwich 3

Once you pour your egg into the onion ring, patience is a virtue. At this point, you may want to load your English muffins into the toaster and begin toasting.steak and egg breakfast sandwich 4

You have to play a waiting game so as not to overcook the bottom but not have the top be too runny prior to flipping. You don’t want to end up with a rubbery egg puck. Once the top looks to be mostly set, give the eggs a quick flip. steak and egg breakfast sandwich 5

As you can see it wasn’t a perfectly, clean flip but the end product still had a slightly runny center and was not rubbery at all. steak and egg breakfast sandwich 6

Slice up your steak.steak and egg breakfast sandwich 7

Place steak on the bottom section of toasted English muffin.
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Top with egg. (You could remove the onion ring if you don’t like onion that much. We are onion fans, so we ate them!)steak and egg breakfast sandwich 9

We melted some cheese to the top English muffin half, which was a great touch. We used pepper jack, but cheddar would also be a solid choice and swiss could also be quite tasty.

 

Steak and Egg Breakfast Sandwich

Steak and Egg Breakfast Sandwich

Ingredients

  • Large Onion
  • Steak
  • Eggs
  • English muffins
  • Sliced cheese
  • Salt and pepper
  • Oil for your pan

Instructions

  1. Slice onion to form 3/4 inch rings
  2. Grill steak to your liking and let rest
  3. Toast english muffins
  4. Warm frying pan to medium heat and add some oil so the eggs don’t stick
  5. Place onion rings into pan to cook slightly
  6. Crack an egg into a small bowl and then pour the egg into the onion ring
  7. While waiting for the egg white to cook, add salt and pepper
  8. Flip and wait for the egg to completely cook
  9. Assemble the sandwich by placing slices of steak on the toasted english muffin
  10. Add cooked egg with onion ring and slice of cheese
  11. Finish off with other half of the english muffin
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Banana Chocolate Chip Scones

Banana Chocolate Chip Scones

posted in: Breakfast, Desserts, Food | 0 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

I love the flavor of bananas. It has been a lifelong obsession. Banana Runts are my favorite. I also love banana Laffy Taffy. I even love the banana flavored Circus Peanuts despite their kind of squishy texture. Bananas and chocolate are yet another perfect pair, which brings us to our recipe today.

Scones have always been a weird baking conundrum for me. No matter what I did, they ended up being dry and never sweet enough. The other day, it dawned on me that substituting brown sugar for granulated sugar would help. This, in combination with the mashed bananas, would make the scones more moist and sweeter. My finishing touches included some warm spices (cinnamon and nutmeg) and mini chocolate chips.

Enjoy!

banana, chocolate chip, baking, breakfast, dessert

Start by mixing all the dry ingredients in a large bowl: flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt.

banana, chocolate chip, baking, breakfast, dessert

Add butter and use fingers to blend butter into the dry ingredients.

banana, chocolate chip, baking, breakfast, dessert

Mix vanilla into the mashed bananas.

banana, chocolate chip, baking, breakfast, dessert

Make a well in the dry ingredients and add the banana mixture and heavy cream.

banana, chocolate chip, baking, breakfast, dessert

Mix until all the ingredients are incorporated, the batter will be very wet.

banana, chocolate chip, baking, breakfast, dessert

The batter is quite moist and a little hard to work with, however the end product is also very moist and tasty.

banana, chocolate chip, baking, breakfast, dessert

Flour a cutting board and scoop out half the dough. Form into a disk and cut into 8 scones. Place scones onto cookie sheets, repeat with second half.

banana, chocolate chip, baking, breakfast, dessert

Bake at 425°F for 12-15 minutes.  

Banana Chocolate Chip Scones

Banana Chocolate Chip Scones

Ingredients

  • 3 1/2 c flour
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 1/2 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t baking soda
  • 1 1/2 t cinnamon
  • 1/2 t nutmeg
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 3/4 c butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 c heavy cream
  • 2 t vanilla extract
  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/2 c mini chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  3. In a large bowl mix first seven ingredients until well combined.
  4. Add butter and use fingers to blend butter into the dry ingredients. You can use a pastry cutter for this process if you have one.
  5. Mix vanilla into the mashed bananas.
  6. Make a well in the dry ingredients and add the banana mixture and heavy cream. Mix until all the ingredients are incorporated, the batter will be very wet.
  7. Add chocolate chips.
  8. Flour a cutting board and scoop out half the dough.
  9. Form into a disk and cut (alternatively you could use a scoop to portion out).
  10. Place pieces onto cookie sheets, repeat with second half.
  11. Bake 12-15 minutes.
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High Carb, High Fat Breakfast of Champions: A Simple Pleasure

High Carb, High Fat Breakfast of Champions: A Simple Pleasure

posted in: Breakfast, Food | 0 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

In the low fat, low carb world we live in today, sometimes a girl just wants some carbs and some fat. I’ve had some buttered toast in my day, and to date this recipe is tops in my book. It starts with Sara Lee Artesano Style Bread.

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The next ingredient is President butter. (Apparently France’s #1 Butter! I can certainly see why. Such salty, smooth goodness.)

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The bread and butter cost $2.99 each at Safeway, bringing the total cost $5.98. “That seems like a lot for something so boring,” you might say. To some this may be true, but not to me. I believe it’s worth every penny.

I’ve tried the 99 cent bread with “healthy butter” made of oils. It’s just not the same. (And no, we’re not sponsored by Sara Lee or President.)

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Look how thick that bread is! It’s practically homemade! It almost looks like Texas Toast. Hmm, speaking of Texas Toast…

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I actually fell in love with buttered toast in Texas. I was about ten years old and our family drove out to El Paso for a fun family weekend trip.

We only ended up staying one night in a dirty room, sleeping on lumpy beds. After a terrible “continental breakfast” of buttered toast, run-ins with unfriendly hotel staff, and a shortage of suitable sights to see, we drove around the UTEP Campus and started driving back home.

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The vacation became known as the “36 Hour Trip to El Paso” in family lore. El Paso is a lot like Tucson since they are both located in the desert southwest. Therefore, it was not a very interesting trip since it was just like home.

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To me, however, the vacation became known as “the dawn of buttered toast.” I have loved it ever since. My favorite restaurant to get quality B.T. is Village Inn, where it comes to your table already buttered with nearly anything you order!

Sooooo goooood. Just add some Smuckers and you’re set. The breakfast of champions indeed!

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Do you enjoy buttered toast? What are your other high fat, high carb guilty pleasures?

High Carb, High Fat Breakfast of Champions

High Carb, High Fat Breakfast of Champions

Ingredients

  • 2 slices Sara Lee Artesano Bread
  • President Butter

Instructions

  1. Toast your bread
  2. Butter your bread
  3. Devour your high fat, high carb breakfast of champions!
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Delicious Grilled Chicken Souvlaki, Grandparents, and Utah

Delicious Grilled Chicken Souvlaki, Grandparents, and Utah

posted in: Food, Main Dishes | 1 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

Today we will be making Grilled Chicken Souvlaki, one of our favorite recipes for chicken. We made this batch of chicken for our retired school counselor neighbor who is recovering from hip replacement surgery.greek chicken 1

She is one of our favorite neighbors and reminds us a lot of our grandma, who passed away four years ago on this day.

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Our grandparents spent the majority of their long lives in Utah, where they had a farm and a fruit stand. Earlier this week, we talked about Japanese Internment Camps during World War II. Well, our grandparents met after our grandma left Minidoka and took a job 200 miles southeast in our grandpa’s hometown in Utah.

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Our grandparents loved Greek food and you may ask: how did a pair of Japanese Americans who lived in Utah, before the foodie revolution, even know about good Greek food?

greek chicken 4The answer is that there is a large population of people of Greek descent who live in Utah. During the early 1900s, there was an influx of Greek immigrants to America and several ended up moving from West. Many came to Utah to work in the mines. You can read more about the Greeks in Utah here.

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Last year, we went on a road trip to Utah. While we were there, we went to a couple of amazing local fast food restaurants, Greek Souvlaki and Crown Burgers. They both had their version of chicken souvlaki on their menus. We tried it at both spots and after that we were hooked. When we got home, we began experimenting with different marinades until we got it just right.
greek chicken 6

While we never made this chicken for our grandparents, it is definitely a recipe they would have loved. This chicken is tender, moist and full of flavor. We have also used this marinade with pork and is just as delicious.

Delicious Grilled Chicken Souvlaki

Delicious Grilled Chicken Souvlaki

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds of chicken, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup lemon juice from about 3 lemons
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 T dried oregano
  • 2 t kosher salt
  • 1/2 t ground black pepper
  • 5 cloves minced, about a heaping tablespoon

Instructions

  1. Whisk all ingredients except for the chicken
  2. Place cubed chicken into a ziploc bag
  3. Pour marinade over the chicken
  4. Press all the air out of the bag
  5. Massage chicken so the marinade is between all the pieces
  6. Place bag into a bowl in case the bag leaks and refrigerate
  7. Marinate 20-24 hours, massaging the chicken twice
  8. Skewer chicken and grill until the internal temperature reaches 160°F
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