Cajun Lentil Dip

by Marianne on 07/26/2015

in Eat, Home

Dear Hummus, I’ve found another dip and it makes me very happy.  I still like you, but I think maybe we should see other dips.  I mean, when I see you in a restaurant, all made-from-scratch and perfectly creamy, I’m still gonna be like “Oh yah, I want some of that.”  But, don’t get your feelings hurt if I walk right past you in the grocery store and act like I don’t even know you.  It’s just that I’m sometimes underwhelmed by you in those tiny little $4 containers. Maybe we can just be friends?

The new dip of my dreams is made with lentils.  I love this stuff.  It’s so easy, and for about $2 I an make a giant vat of it.  Go get some dried lentils and give it a try.  The lentils don’t need to be pre-soaked, so they are cooked in about twenty minutes.  I like it with some Cajun spices (like Slap Ya Mama!), but I’ve also made it with Madras Curry Powder and turmeric for a different spin.  It’s all good!

Aside from being delicious, lentils stack up pretty admirably against chickpeas, so that’s a nice bonus. Check this out. (Chart found at


Lentils win in pretty much every category.

Cajun Lentil Dip

I seriously could eat this all day, every day.  Creamy, garlicky, and just a bit of spice.  So yummy!

It also makes a great veggie sandwich!


Cajun Lentil Dip
Recipe type: Appetizer
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2-3 cups
  • ½ lb. dried Lentils (Red or Yellow)
  • ½ Onion
  • 1 TBLS Cajun Seasoning (such as Slap Ya Mama!)
Per 2 cups cooked Lentils:
  • 2 TBL Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 TBL Lemon Juice
  • ⅔ tsp Cajun Seasoning (such as Slap Ya Mama!)
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 4-5 splashes Hot Pepper Sauce (such as Frank's, or Tabasco)
  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  1. Rinse Lentils in a colander and place in a pot covered with 2-3 inches of water.
  2. Add ½ chopped onion and 1 tsp salt.
  3. Bring water to gentle simmer, and cook for 20 minutes, until lentils are tender.
  4. Let the lentils cool, then strain to remove excess water.
  5. Working in batches, per 2 cups of lentils, add the remaining ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth.
  6. There will be some extra if using 2 cups. (1/2 lb uncooked will yield about 3 cups of cooked lentils.)






Jackson Happy Tails

by Marianne on 05/24/2015

in Dogs, Home

I gave him one more hug, and kissed that face… oh that face!…and left him with his new family.  On the way over we talked about them, about how excited they were that he was coming.  We talked about how he would have a girl who was eleven, and that she really hoped he would sleep in her room and cuddle.  We talked about how he would have a new dog friend named Bob.  Bob has lots of toys to share.  We talked about how this worked – this fostering thing.  This was the promise I had made to him… that I would help him find a wonderful home.  I told him not to miss me, even though I will miss him.  Tears welled up a few times, but none fell, at least not then.  Everyone had giant smiles on their faces when I left, including Bob the dog.


Jackson found himself a great family and that makes me happy.  But that goofy little guy sure did leave a spot on my heart.  He was here about 3 months, and not one day went by without him causing at least a few out-loud laughs. He sat in chairs, he got stuck places, and he made hilarious noises when he played bitey-face.  He is a total clown.


Stuck under the couch

He’s such a great dog.  Perfect in every way. My heart swells just thinking about him.  And to think, he almost didn’t make it.  Just a few months ago, he was a stray, and was picked up and taken to the pound.  This was his former “address” where he was picked up:

He was skinny, and sad, and also unfortunately had heartworms.  The heartworms would keep him from getting to the adoptions building, so his chances of leaving the pound alive were grim.   He was just one of many email pleas that went out to local rescue groups.  He didn’t even have a name.



Luckily, he had a hero. A Red Collar Rescue volunteer saw his pathetic picture, and stepped up to sponsor him.  He put up his own money to get him out of there, and to get his heartworms taken care of.  That day Jackson became part of the Red Collar Rescue family.  That day his luck turned around.  The poor guy managed to get out of the pound with the beginnings of an upper respiratory infection, but at least he was out!  His freedom ride picture is the saddest thing ever.


Poor little guy.  But Jackson left the pound that day, and never looked back.  He’s living the good life these days.


All he needed was a chance.  What a lucky boy!

Happy life, Jackson.  You will be forever in my heart.



Be kind.  Be a hero.  FOSTER – DONATE – ADOPT


Blueberry Cheesecake Lemon Squares

by Marianne on 04/09/2015

in Eat

So, this happened last weekend. I was on a mission to try and use up the thousand or so Meyer Lemons still hanging on my tree, and the first thing that came to mind was Lemon Squares (And ironically, this actually only used up a total of 1 or 2 lemons,  so I’ve got way more to go!)

I haven’t made Lemon Squares in years, but they were my favorite thing in the world to make back in junior high. So easy to make. These guys are amped up with some cream-cheese and blueberry, which sends them over the top. They  are decadent; creamy, tart and sweet, and seriously more sugar than I’ve had in a single day in a long time. Just one should do ya!

I don’t normally have a big sweet-tooth; I’m more of a dark chocolate girl here.  But I do like lemon-y things. When I make these again, I’ll probably just do plain blueberries on top (maybe thawed frozen ones) and will definitely cut them into smaller squares, throwing the pan in the freezer for about a half hour before cutting them to make them less messy. Otherwise, perfection!


Blueberry Cheesecake Lemon Squares
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 16
Shortbread Crust
  • 6 TBLS Butter
  • ¼ Cup Sugar
  • 1 Cup Flour (all-purpose)
  • ¼ tsp salt
Lemon Filling
  • 2 Eggs
  • ¼ Cup Sugar
  • 2 TBLS Flour
  • 3 TBLS Lemon Juice
  • zest of ½ lemon
  • ¼ tsp Baking Powder
Cream-cheese filling
  • 1 8 oz block Cream Cheese - softened
  • ½ tsp Vanilla
  • 2 TBL Lemon Juice
  • ¼ Cup Powdered Sugar
Blueberry Topping
  • 1 Cup Frozen Blueberries
  • 3 TBLS Sugar
  • zest on ½ Lemon
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Grease an 8x8 in pan
Shortbread Crust
  1. Slice butter into cubes, then beat with mixer for 30 seconds until smooth.
  2. Add sugar and salt, and beat until fluffy.
  3. Stir in the 1 C flour to make a dough.
  4. Press the dough in the bottom of the pan.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes
Lemon Filling
  1. Combine ingredients and beat for 3 minutes.
  2. Pour over the baked crust and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until edges just start to brown.
Cream-cheese Filling
  1. Mix together softened cream cheese, vanilla, lemon juice and flour until creamy.
  2. Spread on top of cooled lemon layer.
Blueberry Filling
  1. In a small pan, bring thawed blueberries, sugar, lemon zest and sugar to a simmer.
  2. Let simmer for about 3 minutes, then remove from heat and let cool.
  3. Spread or drizzle over cream cheese layer.
  4. Cool in refrigerator before cutting (or in freezer for 30 minutes).



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New Years Soup

by Marianne on 02/12/2015

in Eat, Home

Yah, I know it’s a bit late for New Years.  Half-way into February, and here I come with a post for New Years Soup.  This is why blogging isn’t the job that pays me… or maybe it’s because of that?  (Stay tuned for my Valentine’s Special, coming this fall! haha!)  I’ve been making this soup for the past 2 years because it’s an easy way to get the minimum things that you must eat on New Years Day.  Everybody knows that if you don’t eat black-eyed peas and something green on January 1st, then trolls will wreak havoc upon your life, and pilfer your bank account for an entire year.  Something like that. Maybe it’s not true, but I never risk it.  Anyway, it’s also delicious on other days of the year.  That’s why I’m sharing it.   Plus, there are meatballs, which just make me happy.

It’s easy, and if you are making your own broth (like I told you to), then it’s even more awesome.  Here’s the recipe.  I’ll catch up with more stuff soon.  I’m already a dog-story or two behind!

New Years Soup
Recipe type: Soup
Cook time: 
Total time: 
  • 4 Quarts Chicken Stock/Broth
  • 1 Potato, peeled and cubed
  • ½ Onion, diced
  • 1 piece Salt Pork (approx 3" x 2")
  • 3 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 2 Carrots, diced
  • 1 rib Celery, diced
  • 1½ cups (frozen) Black-Eyed Peas
  • 14 oz. pkg frozen Turkey Meatballs
  • 1 tsp Italian Seasoning
  • 1 tsp Salt (to taste - depends on broth)
  • 1 can diced Tomatoes
  • 1 Cup small Pasta
  • 4 Cups chopped Kale
  • Tabasco (to taste)
  1. Add all ingredients except for Pasta and Kale to a large stock pot, and bring to a simmer. Let simmer gently for 20 minutes.
  2. Add Pasta, and simmer for 20 more minutes.
  3. Add the Kale, and continue to simmer another 10 minutes.
  4. Season to taste with salt/pepper/Tabasco.
  5. For leftovers, you may want to add extra broth, as the pasta will soak up a lot of the liquid.

You know what’s even sadder than sharing a New Years post mid-February?  Sharing a New Years post 13 months late!   I actually meant to post this LAST YEAR!  Here is the 2014 version.  Same soup, different pasta.  Also mmm.



One for the Good Guys

by Marianne on 01/19/2015

in Dogs, Home

This weekend I was taking my new foster pup, EmmyLou, to meet some potential adopters, and hit a little traffic snag en route. I mumbled “Asshole!” to the driver of the car who had been behind me in the slow-moving traffic jam, as he decided to use the entrance ramp lane to jump maybe 8 cars ahead, and I had a thought:  What if every heartfelt “asshole” that was lobbed at you in the course of your life stuck to you, and accumulated like points, until randomly cashed-in on some well-earned suffering?  I passed some time thinking up suitable tortures for this inconsiderate driver, who at that moment embodied everything that disappoints and infuriates me about the human condition.  I did not wish him bodily harm, really, but maybe just a little poetic justice, such as

  • 3 flat tires in the middle lane during rush hour.  Cell phone battery dead. Has to pee.  People are honking and flipping him off.
  • Girlfriend leaves him — for another girl.  Takes all of the remote controls.  Leaves litter box, and sack of potatoes under the bed.
  • Doomed to never catch a green light for the rest of his life.
  • Dog pees on pants-leg of $600 suit while on the way to some douche-y bar to hang with douche-y friends.
  • Trips and falls in the middle of crowded street.  Rips pants right up the back, and loses one front tooth.  Epic tantrum caught on now viral video.

I could have gone on for hours. But, while I was sitting there stuck in traffic, lobbing thought-darts at some faceless jackass eight cars ahead of me, EmmyLou is in the back seat and

  1.  Throws up
  2.  Eats it
  3.  Poops
  4.  Now has a giant Cujo-style drool hanging off her mouth

All I could do is tell her I was sorry that happened, roll the windows down because it stunk like hell, and hope that she could manage to stay out of it. (Note to self: Keep wet-wipes and paper towels in the car at all times.)  Were these my own “Asshole points” being redeemed?  Could be.  Sure hoping my tab is all paid up now!

EmmyLou trying to keep warm

But that’s not really what this is all about.  Despite the eventful commute, we made it to our meeting place and met the family and their dog, Jack.   The meeting was great.  I really liked these people, the dogs got along, and we decided to go forward with a home visit and finalize the adoption.

Their home was fantastic!  Great neighborhood with folks out walking their dogs.  Walking paths and parks nearby.  HUGE back yard. A daughter that was super-excited about having a new snuggle-buddy.  The family took great care of their pets, but had sadly lost one recently to cancer.  Jack (their senior dog) had been missing his friend, but was now happy and trying to engage EmmyLou in some playful doggie-games.  They all loved her!  Jackpot for EmmyLou!   Before I got home, they had texted me a picture of her on the couch, laying her head on her new mom’s legs. 

I love these kind of endings.  Just a little over a week ago, this sweet little pup had been on death row, after spending a month in the city pound.  A pup that it seemed nobody wanted now has a dream life.  She finally gets the life she should have always had.  I know it’s just one small story, and every day there are thousands of other sad stories, but I think we have to celebrate all of the successes.  I don’t try to keep score… I only count the plus ones.  Otherwise, it’s just too depressing. So, today it’s plus one for the good guys, and minus one for the assholes.  Take that, bad guys!!!

Have a great life EmmyLou! So happy to have been able to help you get there.



Big Thanks to Red Collar Rescue for making this happen! High fives all around!






Merry (Doggy) Christmas

December 25, 2014

Twas the night before xmas, and all through the house,    Not a creature was silent, not even Maggie! The brown dogs had dug up the plants, I see    and had Molly on another all-night barking spree. Rusty is here to share in the joy    and make sure we shred every last toy. […]

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Sweet Potato Kale Hash

December 21, 2014

There is nothing that cures what ails you quite like a warm sunny-side up egg layered atop something delicious. And what ailed me this morning was about 2 gallons of wine, staying out past my bedtime, and way too much laughing last night.  Yes, another fun (and loud) Fraser family Christmas has come and gone.  […]

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Of Dogs and Upholstery

December 7, 2014

There are some risks inherent in fostering dogs.  Not the least of which is the possibility that they will take a piece of your heart with them when they go (to their forever home.)  Oh, they will, no doubt.  But when you factor in the fact that your heart grew ten-fold the day you brought […]

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Pumpkin Spice Dog Cookies

November 30, 2014

Nadine has been at it again… this time she’s whipped up some pumpkin cookies!  I know that making cookies for dogs probably just reaffirms my ‘Crazy Dog Lady’ status, but for Nadine it’s really a necessity.  Poor girl was having some serious tummy issues until we switched her to grain-free food.  Not sure really if […]

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Spicy Salty Dog

October 23, 2014

Because it’s almost Friday! Getting ready for a little girls reunion weekend with my crazy, dear friends from high school.  Nothing too outrageous (this time!), just a quick trip back to the Texas Hill Country, where all the memories happened.  Should be a fun weekend, and a nice break from “it all”.  I imagine us […]

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