Thursday, August 7, 2008

Valley Junction Farmer's Market

This was my first experience at the Valley Junction Farmer's Market and I had a fabulous time! The weather was perfect, we were with great friends, we ate delicious food, visited many "girly" shops, saw many adorable dogs, and I was able to find some great gifts! If you have never been, you need to go, and if you need someone to go with give me a call!


This was a very simple and delicious recipe that I tried this week. Can you guess where the recipe is from? Yes of course, from one of my favorite magazines Simple and Delicious!

I love cooking and I am always interested in new recipes. If you have any great ones feel free to post them to my blog!

Grilled Pork Tenderloin

1/2 c. Italian salad dressing
1/4 c. reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 pork tenderloin (1 pound)
1/2 teaspoon steak seasoning

*In a large resealable plastic bag, combine salad dressing and soy sauce; add the pork. Seal bag and turn to coat; refrigerate for up to 4 hours. (The longer you refrigerate it the better, I made this twice and the second time I refrigerated it overnight and it had a lot more flavor!)

*Coat grill rack with cooking spray before starting the grill. Prepare grill for indirect heat. Drain and discard marinade. Rub pork with steak seasoning.

*Grill pork, covered, over indirect medium-hot heat for 25-40 min. or until a meat thermometer reads 160. Let stand for 5 min. before slicing. Yield: 4 servings.

Tomato Cucumber Salad

5 plum tomatoes, chopped
1 medium cucumber, coarsely chopped
8 ounces cubed part-skim mozzarella cheese
1 c. balsamic Vinaigrette

*In a large resealable plastic bag, combine the tomatoes, cucumber and cheese. Add dressing; seal bag and turn to coat. Refrigerate for at least 15 min. Serve with a slotted spoon. Yield: 8 servings


Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Our Dog Max

One of my favorite McFarland Moments was the day we adopted our adorable Schnoodle, (mix between a Schnauzer/Poodle, basically an expensive mutt) Max into our family. Tim and I had both grown up with dogs and were really excited to someday have a dog of our very own! After we were married we decided that was the next natural step to take.

The most difficult decision was deciding on a breed. Tim had his heart set on a large dog, (Golden Retriever or German Shepard) however because of our living situation and association rules we could not have anything over 25 lb. I had only grown up with large dogs (Yellow Labs and English Springer Spaniels) so I was not familiar with a lot of small dog breeds but was kind of excited to finally own a small dog. Having had the opportunity to grow up with large dogs my whole life I knew exactly what characteristics drove me up the wall and ideally I wanted to find a small dog that did not have these same characteristics!

Growing up I was never a fan of slobbery wet kisses that our dogs for some reason thought I enjoyed. Also I was not a fan of always managing to leave the house with half of my dogs hair still on me! Ok, maybe I was exaggerating a little bit about the dog hair, but I know I was very thankful that the lint roller had been invented! I also am a little bit of a cleanaphobic. Dog hair everywhere would not have been a good anecdote to my phobia. Having a dog that did not shed would make my life so much easier! There was one characteristic of a small dog that I did fear as well. That was the barking. Most of the small dogs that I had been around had this endless bark that I knew would put me over the edge. This characteristic was also added to my list of traits I did not want to have in our dog. Yikes, after this list maybe I wasn't ready for a dog... maybe I should have just gotten a web kin! :)

However, with that list in check we began our search for a small, minimal barking, non shedding, and minimal drooling dog! I didn't know if there was a breed out there that could meet these expectations. While we were searching every small dog breed out there Tim became set on wanting a Beagle. Yes they are nice looking dogs but I was told they had an uncontrollable bark and with that said there was no way I wanted to pursue them any further. Plus I had my heart set on this soft, fluffy (non shedding), cuddly puppy and Beagles did not seem to have any of those traits. Tim agreed that the barking would get old and so we began our search once again. I never mentioned the soft, fluffy and cuddly traits to Tim...I didn't think he was probably interested in those! :)

I wasn't sure if there was a dog out there that could meet all of our/my expectations until I discovered the Schnoodle! No shedding, does not drool, minimal barking and absolutely ADORABLE! It did not take me very long before I was sold on this breed. After convincing Tim that this was something we should look into we began scanning the newspapers/Internet for Schnoodles. We finally found a breeder in Altoona, IA that sold them!

We were very excited to go, ok I was probably more excited then Tim but I think he was a little excited as well! :) When we first got there we were shown about 6 baby Schnoodles. They were all adorable! I didn't know how we could decide on just one. After playing with all of them and being very indecisive we finally decided on one. They took him inside to give him a fresh bath, but while they were inside cleaning him up we discovered another one that caught our eye!

Sitting in the middle of a cage with other puppies around him, was this adorable puppy smiling right at us! As soon as I made eye contact with him I knew he was the one! I convinced Tim that there was no way I could leave without him. We had to tell the owners we picked the wrong one! By this time the owners had come back out with the freshly bathed puppy we had originally picked. I slowly walked over to the owners and told them I was very sorry but I decided to pick a different puppy instead. I think they were use to my indecisiveness and probably anticipated me changing my mind. They said it was no problem to switch puppies and agreed that the puppy we picked was adorable! So finally they gave our puppy a bath, handed him over to us and sent us on our way with our first Schnoodle puppy.

It has been about 2 yrs. since we got Max and he has lived up to every one of my expectations! He is a wonderful dog and I am so glad he is part of our family. We have had many funny memories with him and look forward to sharing many more!

I really wasn't sure what I wanted to write in my first blog but for some reason Max came to mind! I think it must have been inspired because I am reading Marley and Me by John Grogan which is an adorable story about a family and there life adventure with a very spontaneous dog! If you haven't read it, I would highly recommend it!