Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Ping Update

Ping got through the surgery fine.  In all the vet removed three lumps: one on her head, one on her abdomen, and one on her foot that has been there for at least a year.  The vet feels that the lump on her abdomen was just fat and the one on the head did not swell or redden ( a sign of a mast cell tumor) so that is good news.  Unfortunately the growth on her foot did swell and redden, this worries me a bit as its in a region where it is hard to get good margins.  However, the fact that the growth has been there so long and has not changed makes me feel a bit better.  We won't get the results of the biopsies for about a week so we will learn more then.  I appreciate everyones kind thoughts.  We are going back to enjoying our little staycation and blogger break but we will be on everyone's blogs again by next Tuesday.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Power of the Paw for Ping

So I know I said we would be on blogger break until September but we need some Power of the Paw and good Juju sent this way.  I noticed too lumps on Ping, one small one on her head and a still small but slightly larger one on her abdomen.    She is overdue for a tooth cleaning and so will be going on in for surgery tomorrow to have her teeth cleaned and the lumps removed and biopsied.  She is the same age Tubby was when he had his mast cell tumor removed and the one lump is almost in the same exact location.  Aside from my fears about anesthesia I am really worried these are going to turn out to be cancerous lumps, as Tubby's was, and even though I know that pugs can be fine after mast cell cancer (Tubby is proof of that) the C word still has my knees shaking.


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Tasty Tuesday-Hippie Dippie and Blogger Break

We are feeling a little hippie-ish here at the moment.  It could be because we have wearing our tye died tees,



or maybe its because the anniversary of the famous Woodstock Festivais this Wednesday, or maybe its that mom and dad watched the movie Across The Universe this weekend and all that 60's Beatle's music is stuck in our heads.


Anyway, in keeping with the Hippie mood mom decided to make some flower child friendly treats for today's Tasty Tuesday post.  The first is a recipe for dog friendly Granola, now mom has never giving us Granola even though she likes to make it for herself and dad and  she has posted her recipe on the blog before (recipe link).    To make us granola mom adapted a recipe from the super cute dog cookbook Throw Me a Bone.

Grrrnola (adapted from Throw Me A Bone by Susan Orlean and Sally Sampson)




1 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup almond slivers (optional)
1/4 cup wheat germ
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup bran flakes
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp fish or coconut oil
1/2 cup dried blueberries
1/2 cup dried banana chips
1/2 cup carob chips

Heat a skillet over medium heat and add the oats and almond slivers and stirring constantly toast until golden, about five minutes.   Lower the heat to low and add the wheat germ, sunflower seeds, and bran flakes and stirring constantly cook for five to ten minutes more until golden.  Off the heat stir in the honey and the fish or coconut oil.  Cool.

Once cool stir in the dried blueberries, banana chips, and carob chips or substitute any dried fruits your dog likes.   Serve sparingly (as it is pretty sweet) as a kibble topper with a little yogurt.


Super sweet, just like me!

Norbert licked the bowl clean

Now for the humans....cookies.   Our grandma used to make a lot of recipes from of hippie friendly 60s cook books like, Diet for a Small Planet.   Mom's favorite treat where these cookies, which come buy their unusual name because they have so many ingredients, you know everything but the Kitchen Sink.

Kitchen Sink Cookies adapted from Diet for a Small Planet




They look ugly, but trust us they taste delish!

1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
 1 1/3 cup rolled oats
3/4 cup unsweet flaked coconut
1/4 cup milk powder (1/3 cup instant)

¼ c cocoa
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger
2/3 cup raisins
2/3 cup chocolate chips
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
1/3 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup oil or melted butter
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup honey
2 eggs, beaten

milk, 1-2 tbsp, if cookie mixture is too dry

Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl until well combined.
Mix liquid ingredients in a smaller bowl then pour into the dry mixture and stir well.  The batter will be quite thick if it is too dry add a little milk, not more then 1-2 tbsp.

Use a spoon to scoop out about 2 tbsp of dough and form into a ball, flatten a bit, and place on the parchment lined cookie sheets.

Bake at 350 degrees 10-12 minutes.


Tomorrow marks the first day of mom's three week summer staycation.   So we will be having a lot of fun hanging out with her and dad and we will be taking a blogger break until September.   We hope everyone has a wonderful time for the rest of August and we will be back blogging soon!



Monday, August 13, 2012

Monday Mischief-Recall


Weasley here:  I'm still working on this basic training thing.   On Saturday we all took a long walk and them mom and dad had some tasty looking human breakfast that they did not share with me, the meanies.  Then mom and dad took me to the dog park and it was empty so we practiced some re-call.  I like this game I run back and forth and get a treat!

"So, I'm here, wheres my treat."
At training class on Sunday we practiced leave it and I did such an awesome job that mom and dad bought me this new toy.



He is small and cute just like me and I love him.  The most amazing toy ever!



Mom plans to use the toy to teach me leave it! (Fat chance I'm leaving my ducky) but don't tell her.  She is already planning to order back ups on amazon.


Oh and mom wants to post the French Toast recipe so in exchange for the promise of more Kong Mini Squeakers I am going to let her.


Plain and Simple French Toast

1 loaf Challah bread sliced (about 8 slices)
3 eggs, beaten
1 cup heavy cream

Whisk the eggs and the cream together and pour it into a baking pan.  Lie the  bread slices in the mixture and soak for about 90 seconds, turn and soak again.
Heat a skillet over medium heat and melt in 2 tbsp of butter.  Add the challah bread and cook about 2 minutes per side until nicely browned.  Transfer to the oven to keep warm, add another 2 tbsp of butter and cook the remaining french toast.  Serve with Maple Syrup (mom likes Grade B).

Friday, August 10, 2012

Happy 11th Birthday Sugar

Our wonderful pal Sugar is 11 today!  Here are some of  our favorite b-day photos that we are posting in honor of her big day.  Don't forget to drop by and wish her a happy birthday.






Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Pawfessional Photos

Memories are a precious commodity for any dog owner.   While I take a million pictures there is no substitute for the work of a professional.  Here are e 2 lower cost professional photos I have had taken of the Tubby and Ping and Norbert and Bob about four years ago by Champion Pet Photos 


 
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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Tasty TuesdayBurger Bash! Turkery Burger Hash.

 Try saying our post title three times fast, we dare ya'
Anyway summer time is burger time.  We've all seen the humans fire up those grills--

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 and then leave us out!  Sheesh! So we made momma promise that before the end of the summer we would have us some burgers.   Now, she did kind of screw up this recipe by not forming our burgers perfectly (probably she should have chilled them) but we didn't complain.  Just call it turkey burger hash.

Come on make with those burgers, mom!


  Turkey Burger Hash (a good kibble topper)

 1 1lb ground turkey
1/2 a can of diced tomatoes
1/4 ounce cheddar cheese, diced

Stir the turkey and the tomatoes together and mix well.  Form the meat into small meat balls and flatten.   Place a piece of cheese in the center and cover with the remaining meat.  Flatten again into a burger shape.   If your want your burgers to look like burgers, rather then messy burger hash scramble (which tastes just as good by the way), chill them in the fridge for 30 minutes.   Spray a skillet with non-stick spray and cook through about 8 minutes per side.  Serve as a kibble topper. 


Of course the peeps must have burgers too.  Mom and Dad like lamb.  Their favorite lamb burger recipe is from Food 52 and its super duper easy.  The yogurt topping would be good with veggie burgers and turkey burgers too, and its very good with chips!

Lamb Burgers with Cilantro Yogurt


1 cup whole milk Greek yogurt
2 minced garlic cloves
1 bunch cilantro, minced
salt to taste
2 lbs ground lamb
Burger rolls, onion brioche rolls

Combine the yogurt with garlic, cilantro, and salt.  Set aside.

Season lamb with salt and pepper and form into burger patties.  Chill 30 minutes.  Grill until cooked through.


Monday, August 6, 2012

Monday Mischief-Growing Up!

Weasley here.   Mom can't believe that just a few months ago I looked like this, a tiny baby.....

Now I am a big mature, young man pug!

Of course mom still thinks I'm a baby.  She is wrong though because I have gotten too big for puppy play group, now I'm ready for Basic Training: Obedience 101!   I go to training at Its Your Dog in Sussex County, its almost an hour and a half from our house, but they offer a puppy play group and Basic 101 class combo that mom wanted.....and Sunday was the first day of 101.

To get confident I followed my Pal Sid's advice on Confidence Shirts.  Mine are from Cafe Press, they use American Apparel t-shirts and they can put saying on your shirt.  They have a million pre-made shirts with sayings from movies and books that mom goes nuts for.   So to get my confidence up I put one of my new shirts on Sunday morning:

See, confident!



In case anyone's interested this is what my shirt says:


It is a reference to a silly character Freddie Threepwood from some stories written by one of mom's favorite author's PG Wodehouse the shirt is pretty cool, but I was dissapointed to learn that there are no actual Donaldson's Dog Joy Biscuits.

Mom made a special obedience class morning breakfast, Lemon Blueberry Pancakes (of course she really made the pancakes for herself and Dad) but I got a taste which sort of made up for the Donaldson's Dog Joy Dissapointment.

Lemon Cream Cheese Blueberry Pancakes from  Food 52 

Serves 6


1 1/2 cup flour

1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 pinch salt

2 eggs, seperated

1 cup buttermilk, shaken

6 ounces cream cheese cut in small pieces

1 table spoon melted butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 tablespoons lemon juice

zest of one large lemon 
1 1/2 cups blueberries



  1. In a medium bowl, mix together flour, sugar baking powder, baking soda, salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together egg yolks, buttermilk. Add cream cheese and mix until cream cheese has separated into uniformly small lumps, about the size of large cottage cheese curds. Stir in melted butter, vanilla, lemon juice and lemon zest.
  2. Add dry ingredients to wet, then stir to combine. Whisk two egg whites until stiff but not dry; fold gently into batter.
  3. Heat a griddle or cast iron pan over medium high heat, until a drop of water sizzles. Lower heat to medium; butter or oil pan. Drop batter into pan by 1/3 cupfuls. Once the batter has spread, drop in the berries. You might want to drizzle some batter to cover them. These need to be cooked a bit longer than you might expect; they won't bubble as quickly or as much as plain pancakes. Turn down the heat if necessary, to keep them from over browning, and let them puff up to their full extent after you turn them, which will take 2-3 minutes. Serve maple syrup.

    (Keep pancakes warm by placing a plate over a pot of simmering water and place the pancakes on the plate as you cook batches, this keeps them warm but prevents them from drying out as they would in the oven).




    After pancakes we got in the car to drive to class.  Unfortunately I had to take off my confidence shirt as mom thought shirts in class might not be the best idea, maybe she didn't want the other dogs to be distracted by my awesomeness.  I was excited when we got to class and already to get going.


    Basic 101 Here I come!

 I was the youngest dog in class by about 6 months and I was the only one for whom it was the first class.  So I studiously watched the other older dogs perform the exercises first:


I can do that, no problem!






The class was mostly on leash walking and I  totally nailed it.  After all the point of walking is obviously to get to all the exciting things as quickly as possible.   Mom seems to think I didn't do quite perfect and was saying some things about the need for more practice at home, and sighing a bit as she tripped over my lead.   The trainer lady fitted me for a front fitting harness.  I think this was because I am so super cool that the lady just wanted to get me a new cooler grown up dog harness instead of my old baby one, but mom says it is to stop me pulling.

Any way class was a blast and I managed to eat about 7 good size freeze dried tripe treats.  I can't wait until next Sunday!


Saturday, August 4, 2012

Book Review: A Three Dog Life by Abigail Thomas

I love to  read and I love dogs, but I don't always love books about dogs.  Many of them are overly sentimental memoirs or dry training tomes that just bore me or make me feel guilty about my pet parenting skillsA really great dog book is a rare treat.  

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 I heard about A Three Dog Life quite a few years ago in my favorite dog magazine, BarkI planned to read it but only got around to do so last week and I wasn't disapointed.  What first attracted me to this memoir is the title, after all for four years my husband and I shared a three dog life with Tubby, Norbert, and Ping first in Brooklyn and then in the Upper East Side in Manhattan.  While I love having Norbert and Weasley and owning our own home with a yard for the dogs, no matter how miniscule, I do have many fond memories of my previous three dog life.

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I found Thomas an easy narrator to relate to.  Despite the major differences in our lives: she is a successful author, a mother and grandmother, is brilliant, and has three decades on me.  I did notice some simalarities: we are both New Yorkers, we enjoy knitting, and we love dogs.    Another similarity is we  both adore our husbands and have happy marriages.   However, Thomas's marriage, her third, experiences marriage tragedy in the first pages of the book.  While out walking their beagle, the leash snaps and Thomas's husband chases the dog into the street to save him and is struck by a car.  The dog is uninjured but Thomas's husband, Rich, experience a major brain injury which alters his personality and robs him of all short term memory.

The book deals with how Thomas moves from the utter devestation of this tragedy on to a calm and happy life, and a truly loving, although unconventional marriage, with her husband.   

After the accident Thomas's friends ask her if she blames her dog and she is surprised by the question since her dog is her primary source of comfort and support.  Gradually, she begins rebuilding a life focused around dogs.  She moves to Woodstock NY to a house close to the long term care facility her husband lives in and adds two new dogs to her pack.    She spends  her days cuddling in bed with her dogs, watching them play, and walking with them through the woods. A few times a week she visits Rich in the hospital and they too lie in bed together and hold hands or she listens to the snippets of information and memories he shares with her.  Rich's understanding of the world around him varies from confusion to moments of such deep insight that Thomas feels there is something almost extra-sensory about it. From  her dogs and her husband she learns to live in the moment and take pleasure in simple things.  Despite the tragedies in the book it is really a joyful memoir and never overly sentimental.

Some dog lovers might be dissapointed that the dogs don't play a bigger role in the story, and it's true they are not  the focus of the memoir.   However, they are eternally in the back ground and color the whole account.  I really think you have to be a dog owner to appreciate Thomas's relationship with her dogs and indeed to understand this entire book.

Early in the book Thomas's describes a married couple she used to watch as a young women.  They were an older couple who owned a store and when Thomas would see them walking arm in arm and not speaking, completely comfortable in each others presence, she would think how that was the sort of marriage she wanted some day to have.  At the end of the book Thomas's husband can not remember how long they have been married, he thinks it has only been a year when it has really been 17.  He says; "Abby our life has been so easy that the days glide by."  That really is the message of the book, even with the tragedy Thomas and her husband have a loving marriage one that is based on real love and acceptance and that has moved beyond words, much like the relationships we share with our dogs.


Here is a link to an article by Thomas from the New York Times that is an abbreviated account of what transpires in this lovely book: Link



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Thomas's three adorable dogs

Friday, August 3, 2012

Simple Project Knitted Bird's Nest

What with Weasley being a puppy and chewing everything in sight I haven't been knitting too much lately.   However, I did manage to make a knitted bird's nest from the Purl Bee. 


It's far from perfect but I think it at least resembles a bird's nest:







The project is simple and its a good opportunity to practice knitting on double pointed needles.  You can find the pattern here. I used sock yarn for the eggs, rather then fingering weight yearn, so they are a bit larger then the eggs in the pattern.


Here is a good video for learning to knit in the round on double pointed needles:







Thursday, August 2, 2012

Virtual Vacation: Cornwall and Cornish Pasties

Bob here:  
 As you probably know I'm British, and my mom has instilled a lot of national pride in me.  Lately she and dad have been watching the old TV series Jeeves and Wooster.  
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Its helping to improve my understanding of British aristocracy, British style humor and the music is not at all bad if you like 1920s songs.  This song is our house favorite

In fact the line "only one for me" is on mom and dad's wedding rings.   Anyway in one memorable episode Pearls Mean Tears Jeeves and Bertie go to the sea side.

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I'm not sure exactly where they are but it could be Cornwall.  



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Isn't it lovely?  Wish I could go there and explore.  

In addition to the lovely beaches Cornwall is also famous for one particular food, Cornish Pasties.  Tasty little meat pies.  You can make them at home and imagine you are walking on the beach!

Cornish Pasties



Pastry


4  cups sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 cup, 1 stick butter
1 cup  solid vegetable shortening
11 tablespoons iced water
2  teaspoon salt


Whisk together the flour and salt.   Rub in the butter and shortening until the mixture resembles bread crumbs.  Put a hole in the center of the bowl and add the ice water and stir until the dough completely comes together.   Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour.

Filling


1 tablespoon olive oil
2 medium onions, peeled and diced
2 small carrots, peeled and finely diced
2 lbs ground lamb
3 medium potatoes, peeled and finely chopped
1 teaspoon herbes de Provence
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp English mustard powder
1 egg mixed with 1 tbsp water, for the egg wash.



Saute the the onion in the oil over medium heat until softened.  Add the lamb and brown 15 minutes.  Mix in the herbes de Provence , 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce and 1/2 tsp English mustard powder.  Reduce the heat to low and cook for hour hour.  Add the carrots and cook 10 minutes.


While the meat is cooking prepare the potatoes by cooking them in boiling salter water until tender.


Preheat the oven to 350.


When the meat is done stir in the potatoes and season with salt and pepper.


Roll out the dough on a floured surface and cut out circular rounds of about 6 inches.   Put a heaping spoon of filling on one half of each round and fold over the side and crimp shut to make the pasty.  Cut an opening for steam to escape, you can make plain lines or do initials like mom did.  Place the pasties on a parchment lined sheet pan and brush with the egg wash.  Bake for 45 to 60 minutes until golden brown.


Serve with Branston PickleHP Sauce, and a side salad.



Wednesday, August 1, 2012

PJ Pug

The momma of our fabulous blogger friends at Pug Possessed is a super talented and has a fabulous Etsy Shop.   We love her PJs.   Weasley got too big for his last pair so we ordered a new one and look how cute!