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Stella has a new favorite puppy perch. She hangs out on our windowsill for much of the day. She people (and dog) watches, naps, chews on her toys, and entertains pedestrians. I even bought her a little rug to lay on so she can feel more comfortable. Stella is quickly turning into a cat.

Recently, I was looking for Stella everywhere but couldn’t find her. Then I noticed her little nosey sticking out from the curtains. Don’t you just want to kiss it?!  She has turned the windowsill into her doggy den, a safe place where she can relax.

The funniest part of Stella’s habit is what people must think when they walk past her window and see her hanging out in there. I’m sure Stella has seen some pretty wacky things go by too. What a peeper!

I can’t get over how beautiful these beet chips turned out to be. They remind me of Chihuly’s glass ceiling at the Bellagio. An edible work of art.

I got four beets in my most recent produce delivery, and I wasn’t sure what to do with them. I am not a beet lover, but they are steadily growing on me. With their thin little tails, the beets remind me of the prehistoric deep sea creatures that live in complete darkness and have severe underbites. I decided to turn two of my beets into beet chips using largely the same method for making sweet potato chips. Do you have any suggestions for what I can do with my other beets?

First, pre-heat your oven to 325ºF and prepare your beets by chopping off their heads and tails and peeling off their skins. Brutal. Then, slice them very thinly to about 1 mm. I used a mandoline for ease and consistency, but you could very carefully use a knife to slice them as thinly and evenly as you can. The beets looked like beautiful, tie dyed treasures on the inside.

Lay your slices out on a baking sheet without letting the beets overlap. When I make sweet potato chips, I don’t use any oil to keep them really healthy, but they lose their crispiness after a few hours. So for these beet chips, I decided to spray my baking sheet with cooking spray and then spray the tops of the beets with it again. I didn’t have a chance to find out whether they maintained their crispiness or not because I gobbled them right up. Maybe next time…

Put your beets into the oven and let them bake for about 20 minutes or until they start to curl up and turn crisp. As with sweet potato chips, these beet chips crisp up as they cool down. If your beets aren’t sliced uniformly thin, you might have to take some out of the oven before others so they don’t burn. Keep an eye on them closely.

When making these chips, consider that the beets will shrink considerably in the oven. Two medium sized beets yielded enough chips for only one person to enjoy. They turned delectably sweet and slightly toasted. A great snack!

Stella Puppy loves her treats, which is good because I enjoy making them for her. The most recent batch is pumpkin and cinnamon, and it smells really good. Stella thinks they taste good too, but they are a little bitter and dry for human tastes. Pumpkin is really good for dogs’ digestion, but Stella won’t eat it on its own. Concealing it in these treats makes us all happy!

To make these treats for your own special pal, pre-heat your oven to 350ºF. Then, mix together 1 cup of oat flour, 1 cup of brown rice flour, 1 cup of pumpkin, 1 egg, 1/3 cup of water, and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon. I found the flours at a farmer’s market (the kind that has its own permanent building), but I’d bet that Whole Foods carries them too.

The batter for these treats is pretty wet and almost spongey, very unlike the peanut butter banana treats I’ve made Stella before. This means that you can’t roll them out into cute shapes, and it also takes longer for them to get crispy in the oven.

Instead, scoop these treats out into tablespoons (I use a small ice cream scooper to make the process easier and more consistent) on an ungreased cookie sheet. You can put the treats close to each other because they don’t spread when they bake, and you can also press down on them a little if you want flatter treats. Put your treats into the oven and let them bake for 25-30 minutes or until they harden and turn a darker color. Make sure they cool completely before you give them to your dog.

Once Stella got a whiff of the treat, she eyed it carefully.

Then she gave it a curious sniff.

And a happy lick.

Then she snatched it up into her little mouth and started to chew, chew, chew.

Chew, chew, chew, chew, chew.

MMMMmmmmmmm, she liked it. She even made this blissful face, closing her eyes to fully savor the pumpkiny goodness. With just a little drool on her lips.

This recipe was adapted from The Organic Dog Biscuit Cookbook by the Bubba Rose Biscuit Company.

I have been making the perfect summer dessert, and it’s so easy. You can’t beat balsamic marinated berries over brownies as a satisfying way to cap off a great meal. I love it because it combines fresh, juicy fruit with chocolate in a new and interesting way.

To make it, put a collection of the best berries you can find in a bowl. I’ve used strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries. Then, sprinkle them with 1 tablespoon of sugar and 3 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar per pint of berries. Mix it all together and let the berries sit for at least an hour. They get better the longer they sit because some of the berry juice has a chance to seep out and mix in with the vinegar to create a delicious syrup at the bottom of your bowl.

These berries are best served over brownies because the chocolate flavor paired with the tangy balsamic and sweet fruit is absolutely heaven. Spooning the berries over ice cream would also be delicious!

It’s no secret that I love potatoes. Crispy layered, twice baked, fingerling, whatever! Here is another potato recipe that I love eating as a side dish with any meal. These smallish potatoes are boiled, smooshed, seasoned, and baked until they are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. This is also the first recipe I ever made from the Pioneer Woman’s blog, and I’ve been going back to her for inspiration ever since.

This recipe is best made with small, round, thin-skinned potatoes. New potatoes or Yukon golds work really well. Put your potatoes into a pot of boiling water and let them cook until you can stick a fork into them easily. It shouldn’t take more than 20 or 30 minutes. Also, preheat your oven to 400ºF.

After the potatoes are soft, drizzle a sheet pan lightly with olive oil and put the potatoes on it. Take a potato masher (or something similar like the bottom of a drinking glass) and press down on the potatoes so they flatten to about 1 inch thick. It’s really important to make sure the potatoes are cooked enough for this step– I didn’t wait for them to boil fully the first time I made them, and when I pressed down on the too-hard potatoes (sitting on slippery oil), they flew all over my kitchen. A little patience would have saved me from cleaning up a big mess! Drizzle some more oil on top of the potatoes and season them with salt, pepper, and rosemary (or another herb of your choice)

Put the potatoes in the oven and let them bake for about 20 minutes until they are golden brown and crispy. Serve them as a side dish for any meal. These potatoes are a real crowd pleaser, so get ready to make them frequently!

This recipe was adapted from the Pioneer Woman Cooks.