A Girl's Gotta Eat

Friday, December 2, 2011


Because that means it's time for www.cookingontheweekends.com!

Greetings, humans. So sorry for the silence but it is the season for food, after all, and I've been busy eating, er, I mean cooking. I'm terribly excited to welcome back my very favorite Valentina Kenney Wein of the most fabulous Kenney clan. After the resounding success of Valentina's Sweet Potato Sausage Soup w/ Udon Noodle Soup, she's back with another scrumptious yet simple recipe for Cumin Scented Tomato Soup (see photo below) that's perfect paired with a huge chunk of - wait for it - yup, bread! Seriously, people, this is so easy and sounds so delicious that I'm already salivating. So, back by popular demand, here's Valentina's recipe!

Cumin Scented Tomato Soup - Serves 4 humans or 1 very hungry bulldog
Total Prep and Cooking Time: 20 minutes

This quick and easy soup is divine on a winter night. The rich tomato flavor, combined with the spices, will warm you right up!

Olive oil for the pan
3/4 cup roughly chopped red onion
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 (28-ounce) can peeled plum tomatoes (I like Cento San Marzano)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (as much heat as you like)
1-1/2 cups vegetable stock or broth
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons Crème fraîche
Freshly chopped chives, scallions or spinach to garnish

In a medium-sized saucepan over medium-low heat, sauté the onion with the garlic until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes, cumin, and cayenne, and continue to cook until very aromatic, about 2 minutes. Pour in the stock or broth with the salt and sugar and bring it to a boil. Then reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 15 minutes.

Use an immersion blender to purée the soup until it's smooth. Season to taste with salt, sugar, and pepper. You can either mix the Creme Fraiche into the soup or add a dollop of it to each serving.

Garnish with something green and pretty!

If you prefer a chunkier soup, simply use a wooden spoon to break the tomatoes into smaller pieces.

Pair this with a nice warm chunk of bread and a glass of wine - need I say more?

I expanded my repertoire (putting those french lessons to good use) this past week and attempted a classic Italian chestnut cake (see photo below), which Daddy proclaimed to be an acquired taste he hasn't yet developed. We used chestnut flour for the first time - very interesting, and we topped the cake with a glaze of honey and Vin Santo, then dusted it with powdered sugar. What could be bad?

But I'm a bread girl at heart, so I'll be back later this weekend with a few new breads, including Goat's Milk with Figs & Honey and Cottage Cheese w/ Dill.

I'm back with a vengeance!
Love and licks to all,


Sunday, November 6, 2011

Rainy Sunday Morning

But it's hot hot hot in the kitchen! Good morning, humans, and welcome to November. It's cold and raining in sunny Southern California and Mommy and Daddy are dreaming of Charleston.

We've been cooking up a storm this morning, pun intended, with some stellar results. Mommy and I have been playing around with some new recipes, and we're proud to announce a new all-time favorite according to Daddy - Gorgonzola Bread with Walnuts, Mint and Sour Cherries (see photo below). I know, I know - sounds iffy, but trust me - this bread is insane! We also made a Goat Cheese with Walnuts and Figs, and our first Semolina Bread with Sweet Pepper Ricotta and Figs. Seriously yummy.

Alas, not all our attempts were so successful - we trashed, as in threw in the garbage, a Chocolate Coffee Crunch Bread along with a Chocolate Woolloomooloo Bread with Hemp Seed and Coconut. Yes, I also had high hopes for anything with hemp in it, but it just didn't pan out. The Chocolate Applewood Bacon Bread with Sea Salt was okay toasted, but we're holding out for home runs over here. Can you tell Mommy and I spent a little time in the candy aisle this week??!

We also decided to take our own advice and tried Valentina's recipe for Sweet Potato Sausage Udon Noodle Soup last night (see poor quality photo below - sorry). OMG! We used spicy Italian sausage instead of sweet, and kept it rather chunky (we used the immersion blender only for the sweet potatoes in chicken stock). It was amazing, so please please please, put on your aprons and try this one... and be sure to slurp your noodles! You can find the recipe at www.cookingontheweekends.com (click on October recipes).

So that's it over here. Sticky buns are about to go in the oven, two Peanut Butter and Bittersweet Chocolate Breads are cooling. I steadfastly refuse to walk in the rain (even though I have a very cute raincoat) so will either chomp on an antler or take a nap, which is always a pleasant alternative.

Love and licks to all,

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Oh, My Aching Tummy

Thank goodness it's over.  The doorbell constantly ringing, the annoyingly cute kids, the endless pieces of chocolate finding their way into my mouth... I finally gave in to the sugar crash.

When I awakened from my stupor this morning, I swore I wouldn't eat again for a week, but little did I know that my dear friend Valentina, of www.cookingontheweekends.com fame, was about to post a recipe for Sweet Potato Sausage Soup with Udon Noodles.  OMG, I mean how is a bully to resist something like that?!  So here I am, salivating once again, dreaming of Valentina's yummy soup in my tummy.  It's so easy - one pot cooking (my kind of recipe!) and perfect for chilly autumn nights. Valentina and her family, especially her two boys, are every bit as delicious as her food, and I am positively mad for her parents, who are two of the most amazing and courageous people you will ever meet. The other things I really love about Valentina? She pairs food with flowers (how I love flowers!) and features recipes that are gluten-free, a/k/a healthy.... so do it, people!

That's it for now - gotta go take my Pancetta Bread out of the oven before my morning walk on this foggy day after as my mind drifts toward Thanksgiving and turkey and stuffing and sweet potatoes and mashed potatoes and brussel sprouts....  ::::sighing with anticipation::::

Love and licks to all,

Monday, October 31, 2011

Oh, How I Hate Halloween....

Or at least I did, until I understood there was food involved!

Greetings, dear humans, and welcome to the Halloween Edition of Bella's Breadbox.  It's been a busy day for me - the garments are flying all over the closet as I seek the perfect costume to wow the crowds this evening.  First up - Princess Bella (see photo above), though I'm not sure how the Queen would feel about me presuming to be British royalty.  Next idea - Chiquita Bella (see photo below), and I must confess this one made me laugh.  Wait, I'm giggling as I type!  I'm such a funny puppy.  I'll tell you what - I'm going to let you decide what I should be.  Just type your vote in the Comments Box and the one with the most votes wins.  But better hurry - I go out early before it gets too scary.  Oops, I meant dark.

In between dress-up, I'm busy busy baking.  We made two peanut butter and jelly breads today with apricot jam oozing out of them.  I tried to lick them, but Mommy wouldn't let me.  We've also prepped an asiago cheese bread and a pancetta bread to bake tomorrow morning.  Oh, the smell of the pancetta as it sauteed - simply divine.  I kept waiting for a morsel or two to drop so I could snarf it up like a Hoover vacuum cleaner, but neatness appears to be the word of the day over here  :-(

Mommy says I have to go nap if I'm to go out tonight.  Remember to vote on my costume and please come back tomorrow for an exciting food surprise and an update on my trick or treat activities!

Love and licks to all,
Soon-to-Be Southern Bella

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Full Monty

Get your minds out of the gutter.  I mean really, people.

Many of you have been asking for the full list of my breads, so if you scroll down, you'll find it.  By special order, I also offer sticky buns that look remarkably like my cute little cinnamon tail (see photo below).

The big news here is that Mama arrived for a visit last night.  OMG, how I love Mama... although I do wonder where Papa Jerry is hiding.  Mama always sneaks me food and little tidbits when Mommy and Daddy aren't looking.  The other big news is that our house is for sale, which means I have to leave so strangers can come look at it, even though it's usually at my nap time.  Hrrumph.  Mommy and Daddy say I will love Charleston and that soon I'll be a southern bella  :-)

Thank you to everyone who's been ordering breads from me.  You've kept Mommy and me so busy, I barely have time to eat my favorite bone.  Gotta go sneak in a nap with my Mama.

Love and licks to all,

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

101 Uses for Stale Challah

Greetings, humans, and belated Happy New Year!

Forgive my lack of timeliness - it must be the excitement about my birthday TOMORROW!  Yes, read it and weep - tomorrow I turn three, which Mommy says means my terrible two's are behind me.  Little does she know.

I heard a delicious rumor that Daddy plans on making me a steak tomorrow - oh, the very thought of it gets me drooling.  I suspect there will be a fair amount of singing, hugging, humping and petting - I can't wait.  Midnight can't come soon enough for this girl.

But in the meantime, I thought I'd catch you up on my Rosh Hashanah activities, which included challahs and a lovely tarte tatin (see photos below).  The challahs were beautiful, one was a three-braid and one was a five-braid with sesame seeds, and the tarte was perfectly caramelized thanks to a tip from my Aunt Lynne in Park City.  Thank you, Aunt Lynne!  But I have to confess I was really excited about the stale challah, which Daddy turned into french toast (see photo below) and Mommy used for Chocolate Pear Bread Pudding (no photo - didn't have time before Mommy snarfed it!).  I'm really loving this stale bread business  :-)

I have a Ricotta Almond Bread with Lemon Zest in the oven as I type and a very busy weekend coming up - Tomato Thyme Steccas for Andrew, four breads for my new friend Melanie's shower, and a Thanksgiving Stuffing Bread for Aunt Irene's dear friend Bob to use for break fast.  Yum.  Break fast - what does that make you think of?  Breakfast! 

I've got to dash - very busy in the kitchen but sending everyone wishes for a healthy and very happy New Year... and happy birthday to me!
love and licks,

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Southern Belle

Happy Sunday, humans!

I begin this dreary morning with an apology for my silence - twenty days without a bark.  What's up with that?  I'll tell you - Mommy and Daddy went away and left me to my own devices.  Well, not really.  Aunt Jenny came and stayed with me.  Truth be told, I had so much fun I barely noticed they were gone.  But then I remembered the tantalizing odor of freshly baked bread wafting from the kitchen and I missed them so much.

Where were they, you ask?  Charleston, South Carolina.  Mommy taught me a new word this week - relocation.  I think that means we might be moving to South Carolina.  But that's a red state, you say.  Yes, but the golf is good, says Daddy.  Don't discuss politics with people, says Mommy.  That's a lot to ask of a bulldog but, like the little engine that could, I think I can, I think I can...

I feel a skooch betrayed.  Turns out Mommy and Daddy were with Aunt Gail and Uncle Stuart and their Italian Spinone, Sambuca.  They come home with the stink of his scent on their clothes.  Oh, the nerve of it.  But even worse?  Mommy and Uncle Stuart baked bread, all sorts of bread, and Uncle Stuey learned how to make pizza (see photo below)!  Well, I nevah (how's that for a southern bully).  Is there no such thing as loyalty to a little sous chef?!

Thank goodness things are back to normal and we're back in business at Bella's Breadbox.  First up?  A breakfast pizza (see photo below) that we had for supper.  We love having breakfast for supper!  This was delish - smothered with cheese and topped with bacon, chives, scallions, shallots and topped with eggs and cilantro.  Divine.  And good cold the next day, I might add.

We also took our first stab at Meyer Lemon Bread with Rosemary (see photo below) based on a request from Mama and Aunt Connie.  We used the zest of one meyer lemon and then squeezed some fresh lemon juice into the water when we mixed the dough.  The end result?  A little bit of a pucker tempered by the sweetness of the meyer lemons.  Daddy gave it a B+.  I'm thinking a little brown sugar might make the difference next time.

We're gearing up for a very busy week because of Rosh Hashanah.  Mommy and I are plotting the menu, including a lovely Tarte Tatin from Patricia Wells and our freshly baked challahs.  I'm so excited - I love scooping out the dough and rolling it into a ball  :-)  And apples are one of my favorites.  Yes, folks - it's going to be a good food week in Santa Monica!

So that's the update from Amalfi Drive.  We wish a healthy, peaceful and joyous New Year to you and all your loved ones.

Love and licks ya'll

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Labor Day Labor of Love

Good morning, Bella fans!

Hope everyone is having a glorious Labor Day Weekend because labor is the word over here.  Sheesh, I'm too pooped to pop.

We've been very busy this past week, albeit silent about our efforts online.  Would you like the good news or the bad news?  Okay, the bad first.  We had our first official flop, and by flop I mean toss it in the trash - even I won't eat it.  What was it, you ask?  It was our first attempt at Sweet Potato Bread with orange juice, lemon zest, cinnamon, brown sugar, nutmeg and ginger.  But that sounds so good, you say.  And the idea was so brilliant, I add (especially since it was mine).  But the final result - blah.  No, not just blah, ick.  No, not just ick, awful.  Bitter.  Disappointing.  Unhappiness.

I know, I know.  After what we've been through, this should be the worst thing that happens to us.  But oh, if you'd only smelled the dough - we had such high expectations.  We were counting the minutes until the bread was done - we could hardly wait the hour to let it set before tearing off a chunk of the end.  Pfeh.  What a disaster.

But there is good news, and plenty of it.  Being the bread afficiando I now am, I told Mommy to expand her repertoire (those lessons from my french bulldog cousins are really paying off) into pizza.  The dough is super easy, from Jim Lahey's "My Bread" which is our bible of bread baking, and Mommy and I put our stubborn heads together to come up with toppings.

Our guinea pigs were our dear new friends from Italy, Marianna and Carlo.  Are you crazy serving pizza to Italians, you ask?  Yes, I reply.  We are crazy.  Crazy like a fox!  We made four kinds of pizzas, although we sadly only photographed two so forgive me for being such a tease.  Here they are, in no particular order - creme fraiche with salmon and dill, shaved asparagus with parmesian cheese, rapini with carmelized onions and red chili flakes, and grapes with rosemary (see photos below).  Snarf city!  They were delish!

And for dessert?  Get this - we melted bittersweet chocolate and then stirred in crushed up Frito Lays.  Yep, I said Frito Lays!  We spread the mixture on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and then topped the chocolate with more crushed Fritos so it looked like brittle (see photo below).  Then we popped the whole thing, baking sheet included, into the freezer to let it set.  We broke it into pieces, scooped some on top of vanilla bean ice cream and sprinkled it with saigon cinnamon sugar.  OMG.  Incroyable!

But back to our regularly scheduled bread bake.  I do so love to race up the stairs in the morning to the smell of freshly baked bread and this morning did not disappoint.  Mommy surprised me with a new creation - ricotta almond bread with lemon zest (see photo) and it was a beauty.  I'm drooling as I type, because I haven't yet sampled the loaf but I fully intend to before lunch.  A girl can live by bread alone  :-)

So that's all the news that's fit to blog.  Time to go put an Asiago Cheese Round in the oven for Uncle Josh and Aunt Darcy who we're seeing tonight for supper.  Mommy and Daddy don't know it yet, but I plan to stick my head in the door before they can close it and go with them.  hehe

Love and licks to all,

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Sleepy Sunday

But not in this house!  Sleep is an ever elusive thing, but it does make us very productive.

A busy weekend in Santa Monica and I had a blast being Mommy's little taster - oops, I mean helper.  The truth is, I've never met a carb I didn't like.

But before we speak of breads, we must speak of cookies, brownies and cakes and by that I mean to say I made three new friends today.  No, not dogs, silly - human friends!  Ross and Melanie Canter of Cookie Good who make cookies and brownies that are seriously amazing, including creations like caramel-pretzel-chocolate chunk cookies, smores cookies and heath bar brownies.   And that's the least of it - you have to check out their website at www.cookiegood.com.  Happily, they ship anywhere so all of you out there can slobber over the sweets I snarfed on the car ride home today.  Yep, not a morsel made it into the house.  Trust me, you'll be drooling over these goodies even more than I did.  

And let's not forget my new friend Kimberly Bailey from Butter End Bakery, who makes the most amazing cakes and not cakes ever!  I saw some of Kimberly's cakes today, including one with a dragon winding its way up a three layer cake.  OMG, I want to play with that dragon!  Sadly, you must live near Santa Monica to partake in Kimberly's cakes but everyone can go check them out online at www.thebutterend.com.

Did I mention the really really cool thing about today is that Kimberly, Melanie and Mommy all had this thing called cancer, and all three of them turned to baking... and all three of them are doing really well!  That's sweeter than any cake or cookie.

And now back to bread!  Saturday we made our steccas, which is Italian for sticks.  What, you think English bulldogs can't speak Italian?  As the day progressed, we got more and more adventurous.  We prepped our first attempt at Pumpernickel Rye Bread and tried Potato Roasted Onion Bread.  The pumpernickel has organic rye flour, which looks a little too healthy for this young lady, though things did pick up when Mommy took out the molasses.  Sadly, it was unsweetened, a/k/a unsulphered.  Boring.  I think I'll tell Mommy to take it to her doctor tomorrow - he likes tasteless food.

But the Potato Roasted Onion Bread - now we're talking!  First we baked yukon gold potatoes and mashed them up with the skins on to add color to the dough.  While the potatoes were baking, we very lightly drizzled a cup of thinly sliced onions with olive oil and pan sauteed them until they were wilted and caramelized.  I'm thinking Mommy could have put a little sage or thyme in with those onions, but she never listens to me.  The plight of a teenager.  When everything cooled, we mixed the potatoes and onions with the flour, salt and yeast, and then we added the cold water.  This morning, we proofed our dough (don't we sound professional - hehe) and then baked up the loaves.  And what did our favorite taste tester, a/k/a Daddy, have to say - well, his mouth is full so we're not really sure but it sounds like, "dats dewishus" so we think he likes it.  We love when he loves our breads!

I'm off to lick the flour off the floor - then I must take a nap.
Hugs and licks to all, especially to my new friends

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Weekend Bake

Sheesh, have we been busy!  Let's start with the Saturday recap...

We sent our favorite Thanksgiving Stuffing Bread to Mama and Papa Jerry in Philadelphia, who promptly tore open the package and began eating the bread in the car.  Now you see where I get it!  Many of you know that I am mad for my Mama and Papa Jerry.  It's very exciting when they come visit me and I get to give extra kisses and licks, usually starting around 6AM when Mommy lets me wake them up.  Look out below - incoming bulldog and I love to jump around their bed!

But I digress.  So the Thankgiving Stuffing Bread was sent back east and here on the west coast we baked up two batches of steccas (see photo below).  Mommy bought beautiful blueberries, so we tried making a blueberry boule which got a little mushy (see photo below).  Personally, I think it needs a little sugar but I say that about everything.  We also re-made our multi-seed bread, this time using sunflower seeds without the shells.  And instead of baking the bread as a round loaf, we made rolls.  Who knew?!  They were delicious, even though they're healthy for me.

The much dreaded bath was put off until today, but I may get a reprieve for a few more hours because I just ate lunch and Daddy won't want anything to upset me when my tummy is full or I might puke  :-)  Not a pleasant business if you're Daddy and have to clean it up.

So that's it for the weekend here in Santa Monica.  The sun is about to break through, we're wishing Uncle Paulie a very happy birthday and looking forward to a good week.

Love and licks to all,

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Perfect Granddog

TGIF, humans.  What a week!

We were up early again this morning, this time baking our favorite Thanksgiving Stuffing Bread which we sent overnight to Mama for her weekend consumption.  Perhaps some of you lucky readers in Philadelphia will get to snarf a bite?  Better hurry - Mama likes her bread!

We also baked our first try at multi-seed bread (see below).  Do you remember the old game, what's wrong with this picture?  Look closely and see if you can spot the mistake.  Did you find it yet?  Such are the travails of a baker - who knew you had to shell sunflower seeds?!  Mommy took one bite and said, "uh-oh."  Talk about crunchy.  I felt like a parrot spitting out shells when I tried it.  Really, Mommy.  An A for effort but a D for smarts on this one!  I'm never going to let her live this down.

Tomorrow is Saturday and we're heavy into alliteration over here, so it will be Stecca Saturday on the menu, which happen to be one of Daddy's favorites.  We'll top them with cherry tomatoes, thyme, sea salt and a drizzle of olive oil.  I also suspect I'll be getting a bath since I was puddle jumping this morning.  Let's just say my paws are no longer pearly white.  And on Sunday we will rest.  I hope.

Wishing everyone a lovely weekend.  Nap time on the best, oops I meant west, coast.
love and licks,

Thursday, August 11, 2011

If You Can't Take The Heat...

I have officially left the kitchen, but evidently the apron goes with me.  All I can say is thank goodness I can type while I chew because my cheeks are bulging with an enormous bite of chocolate babka (see photo below).  OMG, this is delicious - bittersweet chocolate and cinnamon rolled inside the dough with brown sugar and cinnamon streusel topping, all rolled into a braid like a challah.  It is one beautiful loaf of bountiful calories waiting to be consumed by yours truly.

Today, we're back to breads - asiago cheese and we're prepping another Thanksgiving Pilgrim Bread, but this time we're adding chopped pecans to the recipe, an inspirational idea from my wonderful Aunt Jan who walks with Mommy and me every Thursday.  We're also going to experiment with a multi-seed bread which sounds suspiciously healthy - pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, sesame seeds - maybe a little honey to make it bearable.  Results to follow tomorrow after we make Daddy taste it  :-)

Nothing else to report - it's a gray and gloomy morning by the beach and I'm looking forward to my next play date with my new friend, Ruby, a six-month old vizla puppy.  I love rolling around the grass with her.  It's a dog's life.

Licks and love to all,

Monday, August 8, 2011

Thanksgiving Pilgrim Bread

Greetings, humans.

A hard Monday on something Daddy calls Wall Street.  He says if things don't get better we'll be moving to some place called Harlem.  I hope we can still afford dog food!

Mommy and I have been very busy in the kitchen.  We made steccas topped with tomato, thyme and sea salt, drizzled with olive oil.  We also made sticky buns which magically disappeared  :-)  Today we made a new bread - Thanksgiving Pilgrim Bread (see photo below) with wild rice, onions, rosemary, sage, salt and pepper.  OMG, it smelled just like Thanksgiving when we baked it, and it was even tastier than the dish of turkey and sweet potatoes I get to snarf at Thanksgiving.  This bread rocks!

We also made apricot almond bread, which might be good, but suffers by comparison with our other efforts.  We haven't even sliced it yet, but I plan on putting on my cutest face and begging in another hour or two... right after I take my nap.

Tomorrow is chocolate babka day.  I don't really know what that means but it sounds good!  Will blog more tomorrow with a mouth full of bread!

Love and licks to all.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Dog Days of Summer

Greetings, humans, and welcome to the dog days of summer. 

It's hot here, but not as hot as where Mama and Papa Jerry live.  Of course, we could be in Texas, so I guess we don't have anything to complain about  :-)

Despite the heat, Mommy and I have been busy in the kitchen baking a few loaves our much beloved Asiago Cheese Bread (see photo below) and our new favorite , Mexican Hot Chocolate Bread with piment d'Espelette (Basque red pepper) and chili pepper flakes.  Oh, the smells coming out of that kitchen! 

Oddly enough, no matter how hot it is, I never seem to lose my appetite.  I have just snarfed my lunch of steamed broccoli and carrots, topped with non-fat Greek yogurt and baked yams, also known as Mama's Bulldog Diet.  Delish.  It more than makes up for the falling stock market, the potential downgrade of our debt rating and rising unemployment.  I don't really know what any of that means  :-)

We're going to experiment with Apricot Almond Bread later in the week - stay tuned for details and thank you all for following me.  It's usually the other way around!

Love and licks,

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Mexican Hot Chocolate Bread

Ay, Caramba!

I can't feel my tongue.  Wait, I feel something.... a combination tingle/burn from the chili peppers Mommy put in the Mexican Hot Chocolate Bread, a/k/a chocolate chili pepper bread.  I only ate a little piece but I'm going back for more.  Is this what hurts so good means?

Mommy and I continue to experiment with our breads.  This morning's blackstrap praline bread was a bust.  Too crunchy, though that wouldn't be bad if Daddy was still a dentist  :-)  But the Mexican Hot Chocolate Bread is divine ::::sighing::::  We used a combination of bittersweet chocolate chips, unsweetened cocoa powder, piment d'espelette (Basque chili pepper) and chili flakes.  Wow Wow Wow (as opposed to bow wow wow).  I'm considering asking for political asylum and becoming a Mexican bulldog.

I think I'm having my first hot flash - gotta go drink a few bowls of water.
Love and licks

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

You Win Some, You Lose Some

::::yawning::::  Good morning, humans, on a day when all is right in the world - we have football back!  Now I realize this is almost meaningless for Buffalo Bills fans, but for the rest of us, this is big news!  How did I celebrate, you ask?  I chomped on my favorite football toy!

We had an exciting day in the kitchen yesterday.  Mommy and I experimented with chocolate curry bread (see photo below), which sounds vile but was nothing short of delicious, though I grant you it needs a better name.  Even curry haters like Daddy liked it.  We also made carrot bread with walnuts, raisins and cumin seed (see photo below) which Mommy won't eat because she feels about raisins the way Daddy feels about curry, although Daddy is mature enough to at least try it  :-)  Sadly, our attempt at Pad Thai Bangkok Bread with peanuts, lemon grass, ginger and coconut was... well, it was like the Bills taking on a real NFL team.  It was pathetic.  You win some, you lose some.

We've already been at it in the kitchen this morning.  We whipped up some blackstrap pralines, which means we mixed pecan halves with melted butter, brown sugar, molasses, cinnamon and a dash of salt, then baked them for about 15 minutes.  The plan is to chop them up and add them to the classic rustic loaf to create a Southern Praline Bread.  Or I might just eat them  :-)

Everyone here is wishing Uncle Kenny in Baltimore good luck this morning.  We're thinking of you and sending you our love.  Please let me know if you'd like me to bake something for you.  Daddy just loves when Mommy FedExes packages!

Gotta dash - it's morning walk time.
love and licks to all,

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Bella's Breadbox: Sunday Brunch at Bella's

Bella's Breadbox: Sunday Brunch at Bella's:  It's a lazy Sunday morning but not for me. I've been standing around the kitchen for hours, drooling over the goodies and waiting for a morsel to drop.  Is that too much to ask for?

On deck this morning - a selection of breads, including classic rustic, wildflower honey nut loaf, banana bread and sticky buns which Daddy says remind him of my tail!  There are also cocoa sable cookies and pistachio biscuits which I can't eat.  I'm watching my girlish figure ever since a gardener called me la gordita last week, so I sadly must pass on the sweets.  ::::grrrr:::::

I heard a whisper of a rumor that we're making carrot bread with raisins, walnuts and cumin seed tomorrow.  For those of you who know my grandmother, a/k/a Mamma, you know I eat steamed carrots for lunch everyday, so the mere mention of carrots gets the saliva glands going!  I also asked Mommy if we could experiment, so we're preparing a very unusual combination for tomorrow's bake - bittersweet chocolate with coconut and curry.  I'm not sure if I'll we'll be snarfing or barfing after this one!

And for all you in the heat bubble, here's something from my dear Uncle Fred - a photo (scroll down) of a distant cousin in Dallas.  I've heard of iced coffee, but never iced bully!

Licks and love,

Sunday Brunch at Bella's

It's a lazy Sunday morning but not for me.  I've been standing around the kitchen for hours, drooling over the goodies and waiting for a morsel to drop.  Is a crumb too much to ask for?

On deck today - a selection of breads and cookies, including rustic bread, wildflower honey nut loaf, banana bread and left over sticky buns which Daddy says look just like my tail!  We also have cocoa sable cookies and pistachio biscuits that look wonderful.  Sadly, I'm trying to maintain my girlish figure after a gardener called me la gordita yesterday, so I'll pass on the sweets.  The nerve!

The rustic bread was super easy to make.  Mommy and I mixed together flour, yeast, salt and water last night, then covered the bowl overnight and baked it this morning.  I heard a rumor that we're making fresh carrot bread with raisins and walnuts tomorrow.  This is particularly exciting for me because many of you who know my grandmother, a/k/a Mamma, know that I eat fresh steamed carrots every day with my lunch.  So the thought of carrot bread really gets the saliva glands going   :-)

Finally, for all my friends in the heat bubble that the man on the tele talks about, Uncle Fred sent me a picture of a distant cousin in Dallas (see below).  I've heard of iced coffee, but never iced bully! 

Licks and love to all,

Friday, July 22, 2011

Friday - Baked Blueberry French Toast

Ahhhh - the smells wafting through the house this morning are making me drool.  How I wish there was smellvision.

Happy Friday to all.  It's a mouth-watering start to the day here in Santa Monica between the Baked Blueberry French Toast and the Apple Cinnamon Bread that just came out of the oven.  Mommy and I used stale bread for the french toast.  It was all my idea, clever bully that I am!  We were going to use fresh peaches from our trees for the french toast, but those greedy squirrels got to them before Mommy could.  Nasty little buggers.  But all's well that ends wells - the blueberries are oozing delicious purple juice around the sides, and the top is dusted with sweet cinnamon sugar.  As soon as it cools, I plan on diving in.  Ever seen a bulldog with a purple mouth?! 

Once I'm done snarfing the french toast, I shall move on to the Apple Cinnamon Bread which is a bit of an experiment.  We used diced apples and apple cider in the dough, and we topped it with a slice of fresh apple.  But we had to take it out of the oven a skooch early because it smelled like it was starting to burn, and rightly so.  Good thing I'm not a picky eater (hehe).

It's rapidly approaching the magic hour for my daily walk.  Very gray and gloomy this morning which make for good conditions for a bulldog.  I can't sign off without sending congratulations to my cousin, Stephanie, who is getting married this weekend in Baltimore (I used to know a Lord Baltimore, come to think of it).  I'm so happy for sweet Stephanie - I wish I could be there as her ring bearer.  Can't you just see me all dolled up wallking down the aisle?!  Stephanie and Jason, long life and happy marriage!

Time to dash - love and licks to all.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Wednesday is Peanut Butter & Jelly Bread

Good morning, Bella Fans!

It's another beautiful day in SoCal so Mommy took me for a walk along the beach this morning.  Our big activity this afternoon is making Peanut Butter and Jelly Bread.  My big decision?  Grape, strawberry or apricot preserves.  Hmmmmm....

This is one of my favorite breads because I'm NUTS for peanut butter!  Mommy puts it in the dough, sprinkles the top and the bottom of the bread with chopped peanuts, and then rolls the jelly into the dough so it swirls all around.  Look how pretty it is - I can hardly wait to snarf it down!

Otherwise, it's a very quiet hump day.  I'm off to tackle my new antler bone, take a few naps and dream about peanut butter....  what do humans dream about??

Licks and love to all

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

If it's Tuesday... it must be bread!

Greetings, humans!

Another early start to the day while Mommy waits for steroids to leave her system  :-)  Daddy says she could be a pitcher for major league baseball.

This morning we have steccas on deck.  What's a stecca?  No, it's not a squeaky toy for yours truly.  It's a bread - think of it as a small, flat baguette with things on top like olives, tomatoes and artichoke hearts.  As luck would have it, I like all of those things!  Daddy likes to eat this for breakfast, and he sneaks me a few bites as he sips his cappuccino and reads his New York Times (a few of Daddy's friends in Rochester will have a field day with this!).

Mommy and Daddy are getting ready to day trade and are bugging me to get off their computer.  Sheesh, it's a dog's life over here.  I think I'll go sneak in a little nap before my walk.

Sending love and licks to all - don't forget to sign up to follow my blog with the link down below.


Monday, July 18, 2011

Bella's Blog - Day One

Hello, is anyone out there?

It's me, Bella.  I've just finished snarfing my lunch, which many of you know consists of steamed carrots and broccoli, non-fat Greek yogurt, organic pumpkin puree and baked yams.  Yummy!  It's so good, Mommy lets me lick the spoon  :-)

Today is Monday, which is very exciting for me because Elsa comes to clean the house on Mondays and I'm her assistant, though truth be told, I am a little scared of the vacuum cleaner.  Mommy and I are getting ready for a nap because we've been awake since the wee hours of the morning, and we woke Daddy up, too.  Don't you love family time?!  Later this afternoon we're going down to the beach to see everyone at Shutters - I hope they make a big fuss over me!  Then I'm going to help Mommy prepare bread dough to bake tomorrow morning.  I'm a sous chef in my spare time.

I also ate a few boxes today - I love when Mommy orders things on the Internet!  Her new favorite site is www.iluvfabrix.com because they carry Fortuny, Scalamandre, Brunschwig and other fabrics at a discount.  She said she's going to get into a LOT of trouble on this site! 

So that's it for my very first blog.  Only 4 more hours until supper!  Love and licks to you all!