Tuesday, June 2, 2009

new additions

There have been many new things in my life recently from a new house, new furniture, new kitchen, new schedules, and now a new . . . dog!  We picked up Buster the basset on Sunday morning and he is doing quite well for changing homes pretty regularly.  He’s 6 years old and we adopted him from the Las Vegas Basset Rescue.  This organization is so wonderful and they do so much for their doggies.  We couldn’t be happier with the happy guy.  Actually he’s your typical basset . . . doesn’t like to do much but lie around all day, have a good walk (all of about 20 minutes max), eat some grub and lie down again.  Oh . . . the life of a basset.  He’s the first dog I’ve seen that really sleeps hard, I mean really hard.  We have to shake him for awhile before he’ll get up!  So funny!  We had to get him some ear rinse to keep his long ears clean and this tool to help with shedding, along with other typical doggie things.  We hope he’s enjoying his new home too.

Blogging buddies meet Buster the basset . . .


He even knows how to roll over (haha)



100_2931 In house news, we finally got a dining table to eat at, yay!  I’m glad to sit at a table and not on the floor.  We still have to spruce up the place with some pictures, and need to get the drapes on the walls.  Our little housewarming party is approaching fast . . . eek! 


100_2912 This past weekend we made some fresh baked pasta (THE best) and a rhubarb crisp.  We used half whole wheat and half AP flour.  I love rhubarb in the summer, especially when it’s paired along with strawberries and topped with a crumbly, crisp topping. . . yum! 



100_2905I also tried the crisp with TJ’s non-fat tart frozen yogurt.  It was good, but I have to say it doesn’t quite compare to the soft serve we get at that yogurt place near our house of course, but it will do for now.  It doesn’t melt right to me, but is more like a smooth sorbet?


100_2932 Last night I also tapped into the frugal cook and made a polenta mushroom casserole that was delish!  I swear it tastes better than it looks.  It’s flavor was very smoky and slightly spicy from the addition of a little canned chipotle chiles in adobo.  If you haven’t experimented with these yet, they add quite a bit of flavor to many dishes.  I usually buy a can and then freeze little portions in baggies to use later, since you can’t really use one whole can in one recipe unless you want to burn your whole mouth off.  Next time I will make the polenta the night before so it will ‘set’ up better for the topping.  I tried queso fresco for the first time, but I don’t know if I would use it again because I couldn’t really taste it on top, as it was masked by the smokiness of the chiles.


Polenta Mushroom Casserole

Yield:  8-10 servings


  • 5 1/2 cups water or low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 1/2  cups dry polenta (fancy name for corn meal)
  • 1  tbsp olive oil
  • 1/3 cup parmesan cheese
  • salt, pepper, all-purpose seasoning

Mushroom Topping:

  • 1  tablespoon  olive oil
  • 2  cups  chopped onion
  • 3/4 lb lean ground chicken (I had this leftover in the freezer)
  • 2 – 8oz cartons sliced crimini mushrooms
  • 1/2  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/4  cup  fruity balsamic vinegar
  • 1  tsp - 1tbsp chopped drained canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
  • 1  tbsp dried oregano
  • 3  garlic cloves, minced
  • 1  (28-ounce) can tomatoes, drained and chopped
  • crumbled queso fresco cheese, or mozzarella, or goat cheese for topping


Preheat oven to 350°.

To prepare polenta, combine first 4 ingredients in a 13 x 9-inch baking dish, stirring well. Bake at 375° for 1 hour or until liquid is absorbed.  This can be done the night before to help it ‘set’ better.

To prepare topping, while polenta bakes, heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion, and sauté 5 minutes or until tender. Add chicken and mushrooms and 1/2 teaspoon salt; cook until mushrooms release moisture and begin to brown, stirring occasionally. Add vinegar, chiles, oregano, and garlic. Reduce heat to medium, and cook until liquid evaporates, stirring constantly. Stir in tomatoes, and cook over low heat 20-30 minutes or until the mixture thickens and reduces, stirring occasionally.

Spoon over polenta; sprinkle evenly with cheese. Increase oven temp and bake at 400° for 20-30 minutes or until cheese begins to melt and brown.  Serve with a side salad.  This is great for leftovers!


Look and the plate is on a table now, yay!


Any new additions in your life or in the past that made you happy?  Hope your having a great week!


Chow and Chatter said...

what a cute dog congrats, love the polenta recipe, Rebecca

ellie said...

Congrats on your dog! So cute! Your house is coming together! I moved into my place in March and it's slowly getting in order...

The recipe sounds delicious! I love polenta but have never known what to do with it- you may well see this on my blog at some point ;)

Tyler said...

i've bought that fro yo from TJ's before, and your right, it is more like sorbet than soft serve. I liked the flavor a lot though...it's really good topped with granola :)

Gina said...

Oh my gosh, a basset hound?!?! I LOVE it! That dog is wonderful! Your snap shots are classic. I also love the dining room table, it looks great. All your eats looks yummy too, it's funny I was JUST looking up polenta recipes on allrecipes.com, yours looks fantastic.

Sweta said...

I love Buster-he's so cute!!Indeed a great addition to your home and family.
The dining table looks classic-great choice. Never tried polenta-will do so now :)

Anonymous said...

oh my gosh- Buster is SO CUTE!! So awesome to have your own place so you can add to your family!

The polenta recipe looks great!

Anonymous said...

hahaha, my dog Jack arfs Hello to Buster! Jack snores incredibley LOUD and exactly like Jeff- how funny! he doesn't sleep "hard" like buster though... he will wake up at the slightest noise and think someone is attacking the house! its cute .

what a great recipe for mushroom polenta! nice work!

I love the bench at your table too

Emily said...

Aww, congrats on the new addition to the fam! Dogs are the best!

Love your cute table with the bench. Housewarming party will definitely be a success. :-)

Mmmm rhubarb crisp sounds wonderful. I love summer berries and cobblers!

kristen :) said...

Thank you for all your great comments! Buster is doing pretty good so far :)

Anonymous said...

new additions in my life that makes me happy? that gorgeous polenta mushroom casserole. Holy cow. BOOKMARKING!!
and hello, buster!

Michelle said...

New addition in my life...hmmmm...well I got a new haircut! How about that?

Hey I really like your dining room table! Love the bench.

Astra Libris said...

I just discovered your beautiful blog, and I'm so glad I did! Your photos are gorgeous, and oh my, your mushroom polenta sounds incredible!! Most of all, Buster is SO adorable!!! Congratulations on the new addition to the family!