CHANGES (You Should Probably Read This)

First off just want to say thank you to all of you who have commented or emailed me to show concern over Crazy Cocker Spaniel. We went to her regular veterinarian today and he seemed very optimistic. The condition she has technically has no treatment, but if it is what they refer to as Old Dog Vestibular Disease, then it sort of works itself out over time. In reality they dog learns to compensate much like if she lost a limb. CCS is already walking (very drunken like) upstairs and has even tried downstairs (though she doesn’t like to do it in the morning as she is a night owl like me). Her eye nystagmus (involuntary eye movement) has slowed down (that’s a good thing) and she is eating and drinking. I am told that her head tilt will most likely stay and her walking will never be 100% but she is not in pain and is a happy go lucky dog. She forgets her body can’t do things though and she keeps trying to do things she shouldn’t…similar to that of a toddler. So she is still under watchful eye. I am told that 7-14 days for significant recovery. We are on day 4 and she has improved so much that I am very hopeful.

And now on to the name of the post…CHANGES. Well more like reversing in a way. When I was at the King Arthur Flour event I had a wonderful chat with Maria of Pink Patisserie (which if you aren’t reading her beautiful blog you should be) about blogging and the fine line of making money vs. hobby. Talking with her reminded me of why I used to blog…for fun. For outlet. For the love of baking and cooking and to share that love and knowledge with others. I didn’t worry about upsetting people (not that I like to but I used to be a tad more controversial) I just wrote. I didn’t worry about what percentage of people might make what I put on the blog. Or what would go viral on Pinterest, etc. And then I needed money. So I decided to change a little to appeal to a more mass audience and maybe get some income that way. And I did. But the people I work with: Plugra and Rodelle would have worked with me regardless as I am of course a butter and vanilla junkie.

So what does this mean? Not much really to you the reader. Just that I am back to blogging for fun. I wasn’t really making money when I was trying to make money anyway (in fact I might have made less ironically)….so why put that kind of pressure on myself? I was getting too caught up in the I should be doing x,y,and z in order for me to be a best blog. I’m coming up on 9 years of blogging next month and I want to continue so I know that I need to go back to this being for fun or I won’t be around. Now if I make money along the way that is awesome (feel free to donate to the cause..aka blog). That doesn’t mean I won’t have ads as this blog still does cost quite a bit to run each month and I need that cost covered (plus the IRS says I’m a business). That doesn’t mean I won’t be working with wonderful companies like Plugra and Rodelle, I will. I will continue to only choose companies that make sense for this blog and whom I have the utmost respect for (though I have always done this). I’m also considering doing a monthly podcast with my blogging bud and all round kick ass person Kita of Pass the Sushi…again just for fun. And I’ve decided I want to do an E-book…yes those make money but I want to do one that is on something that I want to do not what a publisher wants me to do. :)

One thing I am adding to my blog is a Newlywed series. When I lived in Phoenix and even when I first moved up here I used to teach cooking lessons. I taught bachelors how to cook so they could work on not being a bachelor anymore. :) I taught baking skills. I taught teens how to cook. And I had a whole series on Newlywed cooking. The Newlywed lessons were my most popular. So being a newlywed myself, I thought it would be fun to spend the next year to the art of being married. The Newlywed Series that I used to teach would focus on one ingredient or technique and learn it in one easy, one medium, and one more wow worthy (save that for the in-laws). I would teach chicken three ways. Beef three ways. Pasta three ways…I think you see where this is going. I’m going to start off with a few slow cooker ideas so hopefully you own one or at least registered for one if you are about to tie the knot. If you don’t own one I love my Ninja 3-in-1 Cooking System (MC701). You also should start to invest in spices. You could just buy a spice rack that comes with spices like this one Kamenstein Criss Cross Bamboo 18-Jar Spice Rack (it comes with all the spices you need for this recipe…and then some). If you prefer to just buy them a few at a time that is fine. I will actually be doing a whole post on spices you should have in your pantry this coming week.

Also along this newlywed adventure of mine I enlisted the help of Jameson Fink. I first met him through our mutual friend Jessie (aka Cake Spy) but really knew he was the coolest when I attended his unique wine pairing class at IFBC a few years back when he had us pairing wine with jarred jalapenos, potato chips, cheese, and my personal favorite…Skittles! Told you he was cool. He will be helping you pick out a wine to go with each newlywed recipe (including dessert). The other thing that makes him cool is he went to grad school where I went to undergrad school…Northern Arizona University (Go Lumberjacks!). Be sure to check out his blog!

Now on to this sauce: When I was married to the picky eater he would eat what I call meat spaghetti usually once a week, if not more. It wasn’t even fun meat sauce, just ground beef cooked and then jar sauce usually Ragu added. But when I would make meat sauce for me I would make Bolognese sauce. MDP is all about the Bolognese sauce. Mine tends to have a little Italian sausage as well but I wanted to limit the ingredients in this since the recipe does have quite a few already. If you are thinking of skipping the fennel seed, please don’t, it really adds something. And if you are not wanting wine you can use beef stock in its place.

What Jameson has to has to say:

What better to pair with a classic Italian sauce than an equally classic wine? Go for a red wine from Tuscany’s Chianti region. And hey, now that you’re married, it’s time to stop buying the bottle with the straw basket. Move on! (You can still put a candle in an empty bottle if you must.)

Chianti is made mostly from the Sangiovese grape, and is a red sauce-loving wine. And since in this case you’re cooking with it, too, buy something good without breaking the bank.The Badia a Coltibuono winery makes a very nice, and nicely priced, Chianti called “Cetamura”. For around ten bucks you can both slow down and enjoy your slow-cooked meal.

(Note: If you can’t find the Cetamura, ask your friendly wine shop person for a recommendation in that range.)

Obviously you don’t need to be a newlywed to benefit from the series so I hope you don’t feel singled out (pun intended) and just enjoy the post regardless of what you relationship status is. :D

*This post contains Amazon Affiliate links. When you buy items from Amazon with a link from my blog I make a small percentage of the sale which helps keep this blog running.

I just love this photo of MDP, CCS, and myself on our wedding day.

I just love this photo of MDP, CCS, and myself on our wedding day.

Slow Cooker Bolognese Sauce


  • 1 TBSP. bacon grease or extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 ½ lbs. ground beef
  • 1⁄2 cup chopped sweet onion
  • 1⁄2 cup chopped celery
  • 1⁄2 cup chopped carrot
  • 1 TBSP. chopped garlic
  • 1 can whole tomatoes, chopped (28 oz.)
  • 1⁄2 cup milk or heavy cream
  • 1⁄2 cup dry red wine
  • 1⁄4 cup tomato paste
  • 2 TBSP.. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. fennel seed
  • 1⁄2 cup cream cheese


  1. Heat the bacon grease in a sauté pan over medium heat.
  2. Add beef and cook until no longer pink. Drain the fat and set meat aside.
  3. Mince onion, celery, carrot, and garlic in a food processor (or unless you possess mad knife skills feel free to mince by hand).
  4. Transfer to a 4- to 6-qt. slow cooker.
  5. Add meat mixture, tomatoes, cream, wine, tomato paste, vinegar, salt, basil, oregano, and fennel seed to slow cooker.
  6. Cook on low-heat setting for 3–4 hours.
  7. Immediately before serving sauce, stir in cream cheese to give it a silky finish.
  8. Adapted from Cuisine at Home


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  1. The same thing happened to my beloved Springer Spaniel. He got better – though he still kept his head titled – until he passed about 2 years later (he was 16). He lived a great life. Hang in there!

  2. PS and the recipe looks delish!

  3. Thanks for the update on Crazy Cocker!
    It’s good to hear you going back to a format that you love. My belief is that you only get one shot at life (unlike some luck people who believe in reincarnation!), so don’t waste time doing what you don’t love. Life is too precious. I look forward to your recipes- they’ll be great for my high school and college age kids to read! (And since we have pretty much the same bolognese sauce recipe and we all enjoy pretty much everything we’ve made from your site, this is GREAT!)

  4. Isela Grayson says:

    That sounds delicious, can’t wait to try it! How the pup continues to get recuperate speedily!

  5. I’m glad to hear CCS is on the road to recovery! She’ll get better because she doesn’t want to go, and who would when they’re living with you? ;)

    I love the idea for this series, and as a red-sauce-of-all-types lover, this is calling my name. I only recently tried adding cream cheese to a tomato sauce, and it changed my life, so adding it to Bolognese is going to be fantabulous to try.

  6. So glad to hear that your dog is feeling better.

    The wedding picture of the three of you is – wonderful.

    Glad to hear you are going back to the old blog style. Now. Please BRING BACK THE WATERMELONS!

    Reta Kenter

  7. jacquie says:

    i’m so glad to hear that CCS is feeling better. acupuncture and chiropractic have been helpful in some cases if you are interested in/subscribe to complimentary meds. I do love the picture of you three on your wedding day. i hope she continues to improve. w/ old dogs we just have to appreciate every day we have with them don’t we?

    i’m glad to hear that you are getting back to blogging because you want to and because it is good for you. i never felt that you would “lie” per se but there has been a different tone since you went “business”. i’m looking forward to having more of the former Peabody back though obviously a bit different due to the intervening time an events.

    pets and kisses to CCS from me.

  8. I’m glad that CCS is doing better – still praying daily.

    Love the changes in store for the blog. I’ve always loved your blog since the very beginning (remember, you’re the one who taught me how to bake via your posts, way back in 2007!), so I look forward to more great things from you, Peabody!

  9. Mary Red says:

    Wonderful news. Y’all will be in my prayers. Hopefully in two weeks, CCS will be feeling much better. When our beloved pets become ill, it’s heartbreaking. Your love of CCS throughout your posts makes me smile. A favorite aspects of your wedding was CCS’s attendance. I love the photo of your groom’s man carrying CCS. Thanks for sharing your life with us.

  10. Maressa says:

    I am glad you are going back to being you! Or more you ow whatever. I am getting to the point where I feel the same in my life!
    Looks so yummy! I love fennel, need to make this ASAP!

  11. Gotta love a recipe where the first ingredient listed is bacon grease!!!

    Glad CCS is doing better, and excited about the newlywed series!

  12. So glad to hear that CCS is doing better. I love the new series, even if I have been married for 10 years!

  13. Audra Blair says:

    Yay for Lumberjacks! Yay for CCS and a speedy recovery! Yay for the new series! And a special YAY for letting me know about Plugra butter. Was in Phoenix last weekend and made a special trip to a store that carried it – and WOW – best butter ever and I am not bashful about trying butter – everywhere.

  14. So glad CCS is doing better! I love seeing her sweet little face.

  15. I’m glad you are moving back to writing for your own self. I personally like the way you write and if it offends some people, we’ll grow up people. Too many people get offended over stuff that’s not about them and feel compelled to voice their outrage at your opinion. This makes no sense, so just be yourself. The vast majority of us like you very much just the way you are

  16. I’m glad CCS is getting better. I’ve been sending vibes and prayers your way! I worry so much about the poodle that I could just feel your stress.

  17. Glad she is not in pain and also glad to see you blogging for fun! It’s really hard to not get sucked into the x-y-z of blogging but it’s definitely a lot less stressful when you don’t worry about all those things. I’ll follow you no matter what though haha

  18. Jennifer says:

    I’m new to this blog (well sort of, I’ve used the pumpkin pound cake recipe numerous times so that’s why I kept coming back) but I just had to comment and let you know that I think your wedding dress is beautiful! I had something similar for my wedding. I also just wanted to say that I hope your Crazy Cocker gets better soon. It’s very hard for me to see my fur babies sick so I can understand the stress eating. Enjoy being a newlywed!

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