Chicken Salad – one of my favorite things

I seem to get into a mood for chicken salad every so often. It really is kind of dead simple, but it takes, to my mind, a bit of finesse.

I poach the chicken breasts in just plain water. I could do it with salt, peppercorns, and a bay leaf or so, but if I do that I cannot share the chicken water with the pups. I would never deny them one of their favorite things – chicken water. It is amazing how fast they (or I should say Hood) realize what I am up to. I think it takes about a nano-second. Top it off with hard boiling some eggs and dogs just about lose their minds. It is kind of fun. To make your dogs so happy, by doing something that makes you happy too. I will not wax on about how I want another German Shepherd Dog at this point, but I really really do want another. He would never be Duke, but …. yep, I will just stop right now.

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No GSD will ever be better than my Big Dog. I miss you.

Back to chicken salad. I know you can make it with rotisserie chicken, but I am old school and like a poached chicken in this application. That along with a couple of hard boiled eggs*, a shallot, and some (peeled) celery. Of course Duke’s mayonnaise – a requirement in the South, a good pinch of salt and some pepper, and maybe a little lemon juice, just to brighten things up a bit. Then all you need is some fresh white bread spread with a little more Duke’s mayonnaise, and maybe another pinch of salt. That is amazing lunch.

MotH’s mom makes chicken salad with grapes and nuts and I do so love her for that, but I know the MotH and the Boy would just boycott that, even though it would be great for me. And it usually is – we share chicken salad and boiled collards. The boys just do not get it.

* The easiest way to make an excellent hard boiled egg that is still lovely (read: not green around the edge), is this: Put eggs in a pot, cover with about an inch of water and bring to a rocking boil. Then remove them from the heat and cover the pot with a lid. Let sit for 13 minutes and you really have just about the best boiled eggs there are – just cover with cold water and crack them a bit against the pot and then shell. There it is – just make sure you have at least a couple for your dogs.

National Dog Day

Today is National Dog Day, so I think I will begin operation Get Another Dog in earnest now. Up to this point, I have been casually dropping hints that the MotH* has consistently ignored, but I think I will put the spurs to it, as it were, and actively start looking for a dog that I want.

That raises the question – what kind of dog do I really want? My first knee-jerk reaction would immediately be a German Shepherd Dog, but I am wondering if that makes sense going forward. I would always compare any GSD to Duke and I just do not think it could possibly measure up. IMG_0041

And then there is Bering. The  Boy wanted two types of dogs, a GSD and a Siberian Husky. When our friends rescued a Husky right after Hurricane Katrina, I was not enthusiastic. It seemed that he was noisy. Guess I did not know anything about a Husky. The Boy picked the name, it was the Bering Sea. And lord help me, the Husky was beyond words beautiful. I miss my little puppy friend. It is a damn shame that cancer took him at six years despite all the efforts we made.

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Then we got the idiot. He was bred to be a service dog. The group thought that mixing a Border Collie and a Lab would make a good service dog. Funny, but I do not think this group will try to make that mix again, since 3 of the 4 of that litter totally washed out. But he is my little idiot and no one else can say that about my dumb little boy. He is my Hood. This the picture when I knew he was mine.

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*Man of the House

July, although hot beyond words, it my favorite month.

This is the month when I married the best man I have ever know, besides my dad. It was 14 years ago and the Boy was young, but very happy. We were so relaxed – it was almost stupid simple.

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Duke – the best GSD ever is in the background – too funny

I was an event planner for at least a decade before, although not a wedding planner – thank goodness! I planned events for a couple of universities. And to be honest, once you have been an event planner, it seems to me that planning – well it just does not matter much any more.

We were living in North Carolina together, but only after we were engaged and my dad had given his consent – so old fashioned I am. The MoTH drove to Chapel Hill and said, “Honey, I’m home.” And I knew I was done. It was the best thing ever.

Our anniversary is coming up this weekend. I am so very fortunate. We are the best of friends and can basically finish each others sentences. We do it all the time – yes, really all the time. Jinx, personal jinx, you owe me a soda. There is the Boy again. Yep.

I do wish we had at least Duke when we got married, because he would have been involved in the ceremony. As it was, the event woman at the Highland Lake Inn did not understand how I really did not care about much of anything – I’ll call the local florist and see what is left over from last weekend. See, we were married on a Tuesday. That tells you all – I just wanted him to be my husband. He makes me so happy. I am blessed beyond words.

I will post all the recipes that I made for our pre-wedding reception – it was pretty damn good – if I say so myself.

 

 

Shortbread with chocolate chips and toffee bits

I am a huge fan of shortbread. I mean, come on, it is basically a butter cookie and then you are going to add chocolate, but even better (!) – toffee chips. Yes – I did just say that – toffee chips. Damn skippy. I think next time it will just be toffee chips. That sounds like a breakfast cookie to me. Lots of things sound like breakfast cookies to me though, so I probably should not be trusted at this point. D&D_1448

1 cup unsalted  butter, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar, sifted – must be sifted
1 teaspoon  vanilla
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips – or however much you want – just saying
3/4 cup English toffee bits, such as Heath (the ones without chocolate)

Preheat the oven to 350°.
Sift together the flour and salt on a piece of waxed paper. Cream the butter and powdered sugar together until smooth. Add the vanilla, and then add the flour mixture. By hand, mix in the chocolate chips and toffee bits.
With a cookie scoop, drop cookies onto baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Bake until the edges are just starting to brown, about 12 to 15 minutes, turning the baking sheet half way through – it is just a thing I do. Cool on a wire rack and store in an airtight container, like one does with all cookies.
Many thanks to Farmgirl Fare for the excellent recipe. I do love the banners for that site and then there are pictures of donkeys. I always though I would have a few donkeys, but I just do not think it will work out now. That said, I think I could pull off having a mini donkey and say it was a German Shepherd Dog. Totally  – could pull that off.

My little Bering boy 

This post just seems to get harder each year. But I will not forget my duffus Siberian Husky. I loved the way he welcomed me home every night – with his chortling and talking. It is a total Husky thing.  MotH – I do want at least one more Husky and also a GSD. Yep. You have been given notice.

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Bering – my sweet puppy boy

Love every once in a while how Bering would howl like a wolf. Not very often, but he still did it. Love how he probably would let a burglar in the house and showed them to the best stuff if you gave him something to eat. Duke would never ever do that. Bering totally would.

He was my* first sweet (puppy) boy. The Boy was so happy when we got him because this was one of the two dogs he always wanted. The first was a GSD and the other was a Siberian Husky. Not many kids get the exact dogs they want. The Boy came up with the name and with his geography brain he said Bering. It made so much sense. The two (dog) boys were close in age. Duke was about a year and Bering, when we rescued him was, according to the vet, about 9 months, so the dogs and the Boy grew up together. Best thing ever.

*Duke was always the MotH and the Boy’s dog. Not mine, but Duke always took care of me.