Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Sheperd's Pie / Cottage Pie

Recently, I’ve been privileged to write not one but two articles about Shepherd’s Pie. Rarely, do I track the location of ghosted articles, so I decided to stick with the theme and write the true story about real Shepherd's Pie, as it appears and is eaten, in our house.

The history of Shepherd’s Pie begins in Ireland with sheep herders and potato farmers teaming up to make Meat Pie. This protein rich pie was filling and as history records: Potatoes were definitely in the daily diet of most Irish people. This dish dates to the pre-famine era.

The British enjoyed the Meat Pie but renamed it Cottage Pie.

In the 1870s, Shepherd’s Pie was printed in an American cookbook. As with all things American the pie not only grew in size but also in the number of ingredients. Today, cooks can find any number of regional “Traditional” Shepherd’s Pie with few calling for the original ingredient, Lamb.

In my vegetarian kosher kitchen, you’ll find neither meat, nor gluten in this incredibly yummy and filling dish. So what do I put in my Cottage Pie?


8 - Potatoes
2-slices of Butter
Dash of Kosher Salt
Splash of Milk
Cook 'em. Mash ’em. Set them aside.

In the skillet over medium heat:
Olive Oil
Large Onion
5-6 cloves of minced garlic
12 oz Bag of Meatless Sausage or Meatless Balls

Turn the heat to low and add the veggies:
10 oz Bag of Organic Peas & Carrots
10 oz Bag of Organic french beans/spinach
4- Diced Tomatoes
½ cup Vegetable Broth
½ cup Tomato Sauce

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

My Cottage Pie bakes in a Quiche dish because it’s larger than a regular pie pan.

First, coat the bottom of the pan with butter or non-stick spray. Then place a thin layer of potatoes on the bottom of the pan and bake it for 5 minutes or so, until it seems firm. If I don’t do this the bottom of the pie can be squishy when served.

Pulling the pie pan from the oven, I pour everything form the skillet into the pie shell, and then cover with the mashed potatoes. I like to sprinkle cheese and wheat germ on top.

Bake 45 minutes. If you prefer you may bake @ 375 F for 30 minutes.

Cottage Pie is incredibly filling. Don’t let the kiddos eat it too fast because it expands.

Warning: Cottage Pie uses many pans and the baking dish in the preparation which in my house is a determining factor in menu selection. But everyone loves it so much I do serve it as a winter savory.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Book Review: The Disease of More: One Woman’s 25-Year Recovery from Alcohol and Food Addiction

Eleanor story, The Disease of More: One Woman’s 25-Year Recovery from Alcohol and Food Addiction provides a testimony to the excesses available in American society, how far a person can push those excesses and yet be redeemed to have a full and affluent life.

Eleanor begins with her past, her family’s history in the Hispanic community. She documents her father’s drink problem. In spite of not wanting to live like her parents, she found herself imitating the less desirable traits her father exhibited. Her personal story includes child-rape-molestation and incest that influenced many of her choices.

Somehow she was able to graduate college and applied for college scholarships which were available to her. She moved across the country to attend school and get away from her problems, but her problems continued as did her drinking and eating.

Eleanor came to the realization that she wasn’t going to finish school unless she got her drinking under control. She started going to AA meetings and found continuous sobriety helpful in her academic and personal life.

Once a lawyer, she obtained a fabulous job in the Bay Area, met her husband and began a great life. Still she was eating at an amazing pace. She found after many years of trying to control her weight. She found that she created issues with her family to cover her over-eating. She found that many similar issues she had with drinking were also applicable to her eating. The only difference being that total abstinence isn’t possible with food. One must eat.

Eleanor found her salvation in a 12-step program for food which helps her remain accountable for her calories. She lost the weight she wanted and now lives a pleasant life with her husband and children.

Eleanor’s story is a contemporary version of the stories found in 12-step books and literature. It shows that if we or a loved one has a problem, there is help available to get whatever the problem, alcohol or food, under control and move on to a full and happy life.


Alcoholics Anonymous

Food Addict Anonymous

Alanon For Family and Friends

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Dog First-Aid Kit 'Cuz Ya Never Know

Well-meaning intensions aside, procrastination can be profoundly revealed when a pet is injured. My story is simple: my pets never get injured, so why have a first aid kit? Because never can turn into rarely in a blink of an eye.

My little dog has a small head. She can poke her head through the fence to gaze at the neighbor’s beautifully manicured and dog-free yard. The rest of Tippy, the little dog is too wide to make it through the fence. My neighbor, an older lady actually likes to talk with Tippy. So I figured no harm, no foul.

Until one day when Tippy’s ear got caught on the fence as she pulled her head back through. It is amazing how much blood is in a dog ear. There was blood all over the yard, blood all over Tippy, and when I went to help, blood all over me.

I won’t keep you in suspense. It was a flesh wound, no stitches required but it was a mess.

Had I had a dog first aid kit, things might have been less messy. Instead, I was yelling at child one and child two to look in the various household cupboards for gaze, for tape, for antiseptic.

End result: I’ve made a list for the dog first-aid kit and will keep it readily available for the potential future occurrence. Now that I’m prepared I do hope we’ll just return to the “my dog never gets hurt” status.

Dog First Aid Kit

Muzzle (even when they love you, they nip when you make their ouch worse)
Roll of Gauze
Gauze Squares
Non-stick Pads
First-aid tape
Vet-wrap/bandage roll
Sterile Saline Solution
Tube of Antiseptic
Cotton Balls
Cotton Swabs
Pet Carrier
Cold Paks
Heat Paks
Bitter Apple Product (to discourage licking)
Vet’s phone number

For humans
Sterile Saline
Antiseptic cream
Doctor’s phone number

Diane Harrison of Wild Side Kerry Blues sent this message.

"Great article! Things to add to your dog first aid kit: Benedryl (for bug bites, stings, hot spots and any allergic reactions. and very good to use to calm your dog down), Tagamet,(great for large breed dogs that can or get, gastric torsion aka: Bloat) Tums, Aspirin, Clavamox (a very good antibiotic that you could get from your Veterinarian. Any good Vet will sell this to you if you tell him/her it's for your dog first aid kit) Pedialyte is great, but so you won't have to worry about it going bad, get an Electrolyte powder. Gold bond powder, Kwik Stop Powder, Super Glue, And a Bulb syringe. Just my 2 cents worth! :-)

For more information about Kerry Blue Terriers:

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Book Review: Sunstruck

Title: Sunstruck
Author: Mayra Calvani
Cover Art: Debi DeSantis
2011: Zumaya Embraces: imprint of Zumaya Publications
236 pages
ISBN: 978-1-934841-18-1
Print: $14.99
Kindle: $6.99
Nook: $6.99

Sunstruck opens in sweltering San Juan, Puerto Rico giving the reader an instant taste of the exotic island. Mayra Calvani describes the sights, sounds and smells of this tropical city as only a native Puerto Rican can.

Daniella is a student with a taste for artistic and amazingly handsome men. Unfortunately, the men are as broke as they are handsome and as dysfunctional as they are artistic. Still she can’t seem to help herself. She emotionally bounces back and forth between her ex-husband and her new boyfriend.

She just doesn’t see what Ismael sees in his new old wife, Irene. Lady Dracula, as Daniella dubs her, is just creepy. And Ismael has lost his zest for life and the coloring from his face. Daniella worries about him, his new marriage and his new enterprise.

Tony’s success is all wrapped up with the art gallery crowd of which Lady Dracula is a main player, of course. Daniella loves Tony. Tony says he loves Daniella but he hates her cat. It’s a bad sign.

Daniella knows she should concentrate on her studies but she just can’t help wanting to go to the party that may bring Tony some recognition. She dresses in the cutest little dress, but Tony hardly notices her, he’s too involved with his paintings and with himself.

Once at the party things really start to heat up. Ismael is jealous of Tony, on the inside, but helpful to his career on the outside. It’s the usual love to hate the ex’s new mate unhealthily enmeshed story. Yet, Daniella and Ismael can’t see themselves back together either.

The party gets really weird when Lady Dracula enters the room. She has an obsession for antique torture devises. She is also fabulously wealthy, so nearly anything goes.

The psychological intrigue keeps this novel's pages turning. It’s a quick 200+ page book or e-book that evokes tingles, chills, and nervous laughs, all in the middle of a delightful story of a truly likable naïve young woman.

Without a spoiling the ending, I will say it is satisfying.