Annapolis April walking adventures

The tire tracks and the “X” for an eye seem to be appropriate for the chicken now positioned in the former location of “Chicken of the Sea” which has evidently been driven over too many times by negligent motorists to make a comeback. The next time you take a walk in Annapolis’s Arts and Entertainment District, keep your eyes on the lookout for added chickens. This project, sponsored by the Anne Arundel County Arts Council, is designed to raise awareness of the arts and ultimately to help raise more funds to support the arts in our schools.   It is probably not too soon to mark your calendar for the Walk in the Woods, an annual event that is co-sponsored by the Scenic Rivers Land Trust and the Anne Arundel Department of Recreation and Parks. Dogs on leashes are welcome after 10 a.m. and if you are looking for another dog walking opportunity attend the annual Walk for the Animals this weekend at Quiet Waters Park. Finally, if you haven’t visited my new Baltimore Girl Cooks by the Bay blog, check it out and sign up for an RSS feed. I’ll be posting delicious recipes and sharing colorful stories once a week.

The artist decorated chicken now on West Street near Lafayette Avenue
The artist decorated chicken now on West Street near Lafayette Avenue
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The size of Labradoodles and importance of comfort food

Full-grown Chloe

The importance of relativity came across to me physically and mentally, on my many levels this past week.  On a physical level, this new wisdom manifested itself in the size of dogs. That’s right. Dogs.

Last night, having not seen Halo and Leopold, dogs belonging to my son Chris and his fiancée Laura in some time, these previously substantial dogs suddenly appeared small and I had always thought of them as fairly large dogs. They certainly had taken up plenty of space in our home when they had been guests on more than one occasion and we had taken care of them for a weekend.  But compared to my Labradoodle Chloe, they now seem to be “smaller dogs”.  Fourteen-month-old Chloe has kept growing larger and larger. She is now 70 pounds and a tall dog. Twenty-eight inches off the ground, she comes midway up my thigh.  Halo and Leopold have stayed the same in size during the previous year. They now seem much smaller and easier to control when compared to large rambunctious and bouncy Chloe.

My husband Peter and I had been invited to dinner at Chris and Laura’s apartment, and they served us some excellent comfort food that included a winter root mash made from red beets, rutabaga, celery root, and turnips served with a pork loin slowly baked with apples. So where did that term “comfort food” come from anyway? Its first documented use was in the Webster’s Dictionary in 1977 to describe food that evokes nostalgia and relieves emotional stress.  Typical American foods on the list are chicken soup, mashed potatoes, and meatloaf.  Obviously different people have different tastes, so that while one person might find tuna casserole a comfort (I’m not a fan) another person may feel comforted by a dish of Banana pudding (another item I do not relate to at all). Slow cooked meats such as chicken, brisket, and tenderloin, I do find comforting. Just the other week I tried out a roast chicken recipe that required dousing the chicken repeatedly in a rich onion stock repeatedly for several hours, while cooking the bird at 300 degrees and it was quite delicious.

A winter root mash can consist of any root vegetables such as carrots, potatoes, turnips, etc. that grow underground, that are roasted, boiled, or steamed and then mashed. Add a little salt and pepper and butter and you have a delicious and slightly different side dish. Use red beets or purple potatoes and you’ll get a dish that’s really colorful.

root mashpork

Catching Up after Maine, Work, and a Birthday

It has been several weeks since I’ve posted in this blog, although I have been faithfully posting at least once a week on the Annapolis Taste blog.  So if you are ever wondering what I’ve been up to, you could check there.

Back in July one of the members of my book club generously opened her house for a weekend to her fellow bookies  for a long book club weekend. And what a  great weekend it was in York Beach,dining on lobster and doing a night of Karaoke. Of course we swore that “What happens in York Beach stays in York Beach” so I can’t provide any details but… it was a pleasant break from the hot humid environment of Maryland.
So here are a few pictures…

I always have to go swimming. I find the cold water exhilarating and I convinced my friend Susan that she should join me!
Yesterday was August 14th, the wedding anniversary of my friends Lynn and Jeff and the birthday of my husband Peter, day that marks many important occasions. I always write him a poem and we try to do something fun so we started celebrating  Monday night with a beer and a light dinner outside in front of Castlebay on Main Street in Annapolis after walking Chloe around town. All through dinner it was Chloe who got all the attention. Everyone wanted to pet her and say hello. Must be because she is so adorable!

  Last night we went to Severna Park to buy Peter a beer making kit.

Afterwards we went to dinner at Gary’s Grill and for details click here.

Chespeake TASTE editor and her labradoodle

It was a soggy Saturday for my birthday yesterday, but I’ve had an okay weekend so far if I include Friday.  Friday morning we launched Maryland’s newest magazine, Chesapeake TASTE, and had a lively breakfast gathering on the roof of Metropolitan Kitchen and Lounge. From the phone calls I’ve been receiving, the response on content is good and we’re only just beginning. For those blog readers who live outside our delivery area, I’m including my first editor’s letter below. If you’d like to purchase a subscription. We’re offering a special introductory rate.

Editor’s Letter

Recently I adopted a puppy. Born November 12th, the color of apricot cream, soft and fluffy with dark shiny eyes that look like chocolate covered raisins, I named her Chloe. She looked like a toy stuffed animal, when we first brought her home, but she is growing quickly. In her first three weeks at our house she gained close to four pounds. Navigating her new surroundings, she stumbles and trips when walking on uneven ground, as she grows into those large paws.  A Labradoodle, half Labrador retriever and half poodle, she is going to be a big dog– weighing approximately 55 pounds.

I also have a new job, editor of a new magazine—Chesapeake Taste. Like my puppy, it is starting out small, but I expect it to grow quickly. We have a large geographic area to cover, packed with history, spectacular scenery, and a diverse economy.

The care of Chloe has required me to focus strongly into the present, hour by hour, as I take her outside and praise her good behavior.  Frequently we go on long walks.  While we are walking, I stop to talk to neighbors and make new friends who just can’t resist petting a puppy.  I think about Chesapeake Taste, and the unusual and interesting stories we can publish about people, places, activities, and food in our region.

The wonderful thing about being a writer and living in Annapolis is that it gives you a great excuse to meet new people (even when not walking a very cute puppy) and ask a lot of questions. Focusing into the present moment, as I’ve been practicing as I raise Chloe, has reminded me to keep my mind open to all possibilities and fully appreciate the richness of each experience. As editor, I’ve learned that you can never run out of ideas because even old stories can be told from multiple points of view that provide fresh insight.

With the launch of Chesapeake Taste, this being our inaugural issue, I am fortunate to have the privilege to work with a talented team of editors and writers under the direction of visionary publisher–Donna Jefferson, the same publisher of the prize-winning Chesapeake Family magazine founded 23 years ago. It is our mission to print the real life stories of culture, community and flavor that make the Bay an inviting place to live and play.

In addition to our pages in print, there is plenty more to read. We’ve put all the resource listings, calendar events, and breaking news online at ChesapeakeTaste.com. Visit our facebook page to find out what everyone’s talking about and to point us towards more people, places, restaurants, and activities you’d like to read about in future issues of Chesapeake Taste. We’re published 12 months a year.  We’re interested in telling your stories, so please email me at: Nadja@jecoannapolis.com with your thoughts and ideas.  I look forward to hearing from you, as together we create an exciting new publication you’ll look forward to reading each month.

Puppy 102

Chloe the sweetheart labradoodle is sleeping at the moment, but that’s rare because she’s usually busy doing something… chewing, digging, chewing some more, chasing a toy, jumping up and down hoping to be noticed.
She likes to play and my husband Peter can get her to take a walk all the way downtown, about a mile, but she doesn’t want to walk with just me. She keeps stubbornly wanting to walk around the yard, but not actually cross the street and go somewhere. So in another week or two, I’ll have to bite the bullet and enroll with her in a training class.
Housebreaking? Well, she is pretty good, but not perfect. Everything is okay as long as we take her outside every hour. But I’m not certain she would think to remind us to take her out if it was up to her. Still, she is adorable. So soft and happy to see me in the morning.
It’s that time of year again– tax season. I told myself I was not going to wait until March and that I would have it all done by February, or almost done because tax statements are still arriving. At any rate, I am determined to clear my desk for once and for all and be done with it! So, if anyone out there is wondering why I’ve been remiss in blogging, you have your answer.

Puppy Life Lessons

This morning we were greeted by a thin blanket of snow on the ground. 12 week-old puppy Chloe has seen and walked on snow before. I worried about slipping on the icy steps. She sniffed and pounced on tree roots and dug under the snow to find dried leaves. My intent was to see she did all her “business” outside and her intent was to hang around outside in pursuit of something good to chew on.
Chloe is definitely in the teething stage and wants to bite on everything, including my sweaters, stocking feet, and hands. Substitute toys don’t always seem to distract, so this morning I gave her an ice cube. She really liked that.
What she also likes is my company, my presence in her “safe room” which in our house is the tiled and heated side porch. I don’t always want to be sitting out there because it’s not the most comfy room in the house, but Chloe will be lonely if we don’t spend time together. Often she is content to play while I write on the computer.
We talk in generalities about the importance of being present to support others in our life, as well as being present in the moment to savor and enjoy what we have. The youth and exuberance of a young puppy lasts just a few months, so even though she got me up at 6:00 a.m. on a Saturday morning, I’m appreciating Chloe and her fresh perspective on a walk in the snow.

Puppy 101

My new puppy Chloe is now 12 weeks old and she is growing quickly. What a chow hound. As soon as she sees her food bowl coming, she starts jumping frantically in anticipation. While I know it is good training practice to reinforce the concept that a dog should settle down and “stay” before starting their meal, she is just a little puppy and evidently VERY HUNGRY. We visited the Vet last week an he recommended her food intake and reminded me her real growth spurt begins at 4 months, so we a have a few weeks to go before she needs to bulk up and its important not to let a dog get too overweight. I read it is a good idea to feed a puppy in their crate so that they associate the crate as their little home. That all seems to be working fine. So far, she has not messed in her crate once. Her dinner is served at 5:30 p.m. and no water after 7:00 p.m. Bedtime is around 11:00 p.m. and I’m running downstairs to her “safe room” at 6:00 a.m. to let her out of her crate and take her outside.
She has had a few peeing accidents, so we rushed out to buy that special cleaner that breaks up the enzymes in urine. Yesterday no accidents. It does help that I am home to check on her each hour and to make certain to take her outside at least every two hours if she is not in her crate.
My hands, however sport numerous little teeth marks, as she is still learning that difference between a bite and a lick. Shoving a chew toy in her mouth works sometimes, but not always.
Her favorite game is run and fetch. I throw a toy and she brings it back again and again.
What a good dog!