Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Words from Weasley and Some Knitting Patterns

Weasley here:   Mom wants everyone to know that in our Wordless Wednesday post where I was pictured starkers in the snow

 my nakedness was of my own doing.  I had been warmly ensconced in my Pug Snuggly coat  but then I ran about with such vigor that my coat feel off and I would not stay still for mom to put it on me again.  Anyway, the walk was cut short because Norbert got salt in his paw and we had to go home.

Now mom wants to share some simple knitting patterns from the net so please discontinue reading if you are board by talk of knitting.   The first is The Just in Time Neck Cozy

Purl  Bee recommends a staggeringly expensive yarn, really that money could be used to buy treats and toys!, but mom used Lion Brand Jiffy Thick and Quick which is acceptably low cost.  This project only took mom an hour and a half and she is a slow knitter.  She made a few for friends too.

The second scarf is the The Fisherman's Rib Cowl

Fisherman's rib is a nice easy stitch pattern that is a little different but not hard.

This cowl too mom a bit more time, about two weeks on and off and used one skein of Rowanspun Aran yarn.   She made a few mistakes too but decided to wear it anyway. 

The last project is the Vine Lace Baby Hat which mom made for our dad's new baby niece.

Mom thinks she made some mistakes in this too, but thinks it looks acceptable.   It used less then one skein of Lion Brand Organic Cotton.

We are pretty bored by the knitting and definitely think its time for mom to make something for us, dog sweaters perhaps?  Or maybe some knitted toys.

(Note: We have scheduled Weasley's neuter for next Thursday, February 8th and I am already feeling a little nervous about the anesthesia since I am super paranoid in general so send us some positive vibes)

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Wintery Wordless Wednesday

Kumquat Yogurt Cake for WC Fields's Birthday

“The advantages of whiskey over dogs are legion. Whiskey does not need to be periodically wormed, it does not need to be fed, it never requires a special kennel, it has no toenails to be clipped or coat to be stripped. Whiskey sits quietly in its special nook until you want it. True, whiskey has a nasty habit of running out, but then so does a dog.”

WC Fields 



WC Fields may have been famous for stating his hatred of children and dogs, but that doesn't stop me from loving his films.   Whether or not his dislike of dogs was an act or reality, I can't help but like him.  Today is 133rd anniversary of his birth.  In celebration I am sharing a clip of one of my favorite scenes from  his best film (in my opinion), Its A Gift.  Even at 80 years of age this movie never gets old.   The recipe is inspired by the fruit, Kumquats, mentioned in the scene.



Kumquat Yogurt Cake for WC Field's Birthday (adapted from See Girl Cook)

 (This recipe may not use  the ten pounds of Kumquats WC Fields was looking for,  but its still full of Kumquat flavor)




1 1/2 cups all purpose flour 

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1 cup sugar

1 1/2 cups  Kumquats, sliced in half and seeded

3 eggs, whisked

1 cup plain yogurt

1/2 tsp almond extract

1/2 cup vegetable oil or olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 and line a loaf pan with parchment paper.   Whisk the dry ingredients together in a large bowl aside. In the food processor combine the sugar and kumquats and process until combined into a chunky paste.  Pour the kumquat paste into another bowl and add the yogurt, eggs, and almond extract.   Whisk together until completely combined.  Add the oil and fold in with a spatula until completely combined.  Bake for 45-50 minutes until cooked through.




Friday, January 25, 2013

Friday Funnies-Leave Me Alone!

A peaceful cat, one Scooter, enjoying his kitty hide-away

and then----Attack!!!!!!

Don't worry, no cats or pugs were harmed.   Weasley was promptly removed by his mom and Scooter went back to enjoying his hide away in peace.  Weasley is of the opinion that cats should enjoy play wresting and games of chase.   Scooter not so much.   Luckily, with the help of treats, Weasley is learning to leave the cats alone.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

National Peanutbutter Day

We just had National Blondie Day, and National Cheese Day and today our waist lines get no rest with......National Peanut Butter Day.   Peanut butter is a big staple of the American diet, with apparently consuming about 350 millions pounds of the stuff a year. While peanut butter was originally popularized in this country as a health food by John Kellog, it does have a good amount of calories and in most of today's versions a lot of sugar.   If you stick to the no sugar added variety, which is closer to the healthy mashed peanut paste eaten by Africans and South Americans for thousands of year, then peanut butter is not really bad for you.  

 It is also a healthy choice for dogs, its high and protein and most dogs love the taste, plus very few dogs suffer from peanut allergies.   Its easy spreadibility makes it an obvious chose for stuffing Kongs and hollow bones.  However, peanut butter does have a lot of calories and fat, so you need to be careful with your pups waist line particularly if you have a small dog.   All of the dogs in our house LOVE peanut butter and its our go to for hiding pills, its also what we usually stuff our Kongs with.   In an effort to make it lest calorific I mix the peanut butter with something with less calories and fat, like low fat yogurt.

Puppy's Peanut Butter Parfait

 1 scant tbsp all natural creamy peanut butter, no sugar added
1/4 cup to 1/2 cup plain low fat yogurt
1 ripe banana if you have it on hand, I didn't
A few organic dog biscuits for crumbling (optional)

Mash the banana (if using) and add the yogurt and peanut butter and mix well. Crumble over the cookies and again and stir.   Spoon a small amount into a Kong type toy (I used the Planet Dog Strawberry available from Olive Green Dog and an old hollow bone from I don't no where).  Freeze overnight if you have the time, and then give to a dog that needs something to occupy them. 

Or just serve them on a spoon which is how Tubby and Ping enjoyed the mixture.

If you want something a bit sweeter for the humans here is a recipe I have made in the past, its very easy and good choice for kids (I made it with the students at my school).   

Peanut Butter Dream Bars (Adapted From Buttercup Bakes at Home)

2 1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs, crush in a plastic baggie or grind in a food processor
1 1/2 sticks of unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 cups pecans (chopped)
1 cup peanut butter chips
2 1/2 cups sweetened, shredded coconut
2 (14 oz) cans sweetened condensed milk

Preheat the oven to 325.
Crust: In a bowl combine the graham cracker crumbs and the melted butter and then press into an ungreased 9x13 inch pan.
Spread the pecans over the crust, then the chips, and then the coconut.  Pour over the condensed milk, being careful to pour evenly.  Spread with a spatula so it completely covers the coconut.   Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until lightly golden.   Allow to cool to room temperature or overnight before cutting in small bars and serving.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Tasty Tuesday-National Blondie Day

Blonde or brunette?  

Its a question that applies to hair color, pugs, and also bar cookies.

The origin of the brownie is shrouded in myth, but it is believed to be an American discovery of the early twentieth century.   It is likely the creation of Fannie Farmer who published a recipe for chocolate bar cookies in 1905.  Others tell the story of a housewife who forgot to add baking powder to a chocolate cake and thus inadvertently invented the brownie.  Regardless of the source once the brownie was out in the world countless variations began to appear, one of which, the Blondie, substitutes brown sugar for the cocoa powder.     Today January 22, is national Blondie day and a perfect day to try the brownies fairer cousin.

Chocolate Chip Blondie Bars for People

  • 1 1/3 sticks unsalted butter melted, and cooled slightly
  • 1 1lb light or dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 tsp espresso powder
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 3/4 cups all purpose flour (King Arthur brand is best)
  • 12 ounces chocolate chips
  • 2 cups chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 350.

Combine the butter, sugars, salt, and vinegar (you can do it right in the pan you melted the butter in).  Cool to luke warm and add the eggs, espresso, vanilla, and baking powder.  Stir in the flour, chocolate chips, and nuts.

Line a 9x13 inch pan with parchment paper and pour in the batter and smooth. Bake for 38 minutes until the top is golden and shiny and the center is just baked through.  The brownies will be very moist so cool completely and then cut in bars.

Glutten Free  Coconut Flour Blondies  with Carob Chips for Dogs

1 cup coconut flour
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup molasses
4 eggs beaten
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup carob chips
1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

Preheat oven to 350 and grease and four the baking pan.

Stir the vegetable oil and molasses together and then add the coconut flours.   Add the beaten eggs and mix very well and stir in the carob chips.  Spread into an 8x8 inch square pan and sprinkle with coconut flakes  Bake 30 minutes until  cooked through.

Ernie Update: The news was pretty mixed.  Ernie's heart looked pretty good on the ultrasound so the vets are still a little confused about the murmur.  His blood work showed slightly elevated calcium levels so  he needs to have it rechecked in a month.

Monday, January 21, 2013

National Cheese Day

Yesterday, January 20th, was National Cheese Day and it had us feeling French, so Ping put on her navy and white sweater from Pug Notes, her pearls, and her beret from All You Need is Pug.

 French Onion Soup from Cook's Illustrated
  • 4 lbs onions, sliced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tbsp
  • 4 cups low salt chicken broth
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 6 sprigs thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 sprigs parsley
  • 1 baguette, sliced
  • 8 ounces gruyerre, shredded
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  
This soup takes five hours to make so be prepared.  Place butter in pot and 1 tsp salt and onions.  Cook covered for one hour (onions should be slightly reduced).   Remove pot from oven and stir onions, scraping bottom and sides of pot.  Return pot to oven with lid slightly ajar and continue to cook until onions are soft and brown, 1 1/2 hours longer stirring and scraping the bottom of the pot every half hour.  

Carefully, remove pot from oven and place over medium high heat.  Cook 15 to 20 minutes, stirring frequently, the onions should be very reduced and almost black in color.  Continue to cook 6 minutes more and 1/4 cup of water and then scrap bottom and sides of the pot and cook for about 6  minutes more until the water evaporates, and then add another 1/4 cup of water,  repeat this process three more times.   Stir in wine and balsamic vinegar and cook until evaporated 5 minutes.  

Stir in broths, 2 cups water, thyme, bay leaf, and parsley (tie the parsley and bay leaf together) add 1/2 tsp salt, scraping up any browned bits at the bottom of the pot.  Increase heat to high and bring to a simmer, reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for thirty minutes.  Remove and discard herbs, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Meanwhile, toast baguette slices in 400 degree oven until golden brown.   Take soup out of pot and  place in a deep casserole dish or individual oven proof soup bowls.  Preheat the broiler.  Top the casserole dish or soup bowls with the bread and cheese and broil 5 minutes until the cheese is melted and very brown.  Serve with a green salad.

If you want something cheesy for your dog, check out our cheese day post from last year,  when we made mac and cheese for dogs.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Power Of the Paw for Ernie

Ernie, our 9 year old 3 legged cat, who is much handsomer then the picture above.   Photo shy and a midnight cuddler, he loves to sit on laps late at night, but makes himself scarce during the day.  We adopted Ernie as a kitten with a badly broken leg when I was working at a vet office in Manhattan. 

We tried to save his leg but none of the attempts to set it worked, so we amputated.  Unfortunately, Ernie got infected during the operation (the reason I stopped working at and using that vet) and became very ill.  Thankfully, he recovered and gets along fine with three legs:

Unfortunately, after he recovered Ernie was diagnosed with a heart murmur.  We have been monitoring it for 9 years and it has remained at about a 1 or a 2 and .  At yesterdays annual vet visit our vet felt Ernie's murmur had gotten slightly worse so he has to have additional testing with an echocardiogram, he last had one in 2008 and it showed his heart was in good shape and required simple monitoring.   Ernie is going in for his echocardiogram on Monday and I am a bit worried so please send some positive thoughts our way.  Although we don't feature Ernie on the blog that often, mostly do to his reluctance to be photographed, he really is a very, very special cat and an important part of our lives.

It's National Popcorn Day

Today, January 19th, is National Popcorn Day.  Plain air popped popcorn is an excellent treat to share with your canine family members.  It's low and calories and has a taste most dogs love.

Hounds awaiting Popcorn
Of course you can make popcorn in the microwave, but I think the stove popped kind is tastier and its easier to make it totally plain for your pups, and then add flavors for yourself if you want.   Although you can make popcorn in a pot on top of the stove, the brown eyed baker has good instructions, if you are going to be making a lot of popcorn its worth investing in a popcorn maker, I like Whirly Pop,  easy to use and only 20 dollars on amazon.

While plain air popped corn is fine, and certainly the healthiest option for people and dogs, I like my popcorn with a bit more flavor and National Popcorn Day is a perfect time to make something special.   Jacques Torres Chocolate, which is in down town Manhattan, is a mecca for all things chocolate and sells a delicious chocolate-caramel popcorn. 
Here is a picture of Weasley  outside the store last summer, you can read the post it is from, The Sleepy Foodie, here

 I wanted to try making my own version at home.  I found plenty online but I used the one from Chocolate, Chocolate, and More, with some slight changes and the addition of chocolate.

Caramel, Peanut Butter, and Chocolate Popcorn 

  • 10 cups of plain air popped popcorn (make this in the popcorn maker or on the stove top in a large pot using the Brown Eyed Baker's method, 1 tbsp of kernels makes about 1 cup of popped corn, so use 10 tbsp of kernels and 2 tbsp of vegetable oil to make your corn).
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup light corn syryp
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp, butter cut in pieces
  • 1/2 cup of peanut butter (optional there is no peanut butter in the Jacques Torres version, but I liked the addition)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips (milk or semisweet)
In a medium sauce pan combine the sugar, corn syrup, salt, and butter.  Cook over medium heat, stirring with a heat proof spatula or wooden spoon to combine
 Bring to a boil and boil 3 minutes until it is a a deep golden brown.  Stir in the peanut butter, if using, and the vanilla and stir to combine.  Pour over the popcorn, which you need to  have in a large bowl, and stir quickly to combine.  Transfer the popcorn to a parchment lined baking sheet.  Put in the oven at 200 degrees and cook for 45 minutes stirring every 15 minutes so that the popcorn gets a little crispy (you may want to use two pans so you have enough room to stir).   Put back in the large bow and add the chocolate ships.  Stir to melt the chips.  Store in a large air tight container.

Of course with popcorn you need a movie. Here are five somewhat under the radar canine centered films we recommend.

1) Charlie Chaplin's: A Dog's Life, 1918: This was Chaplin's first hit and stars the Little Tramp and his canine companion.

2) The Thin Man, 1934, and After the Thin Man, 1936: Beautiful clothes, gorgeous sets, and most importantly, Asta the Dog.

3) Umberto D, 1952: Italian art-house classic about an old impoverished man and his beloved dog.  The final scene below is a major tear-jerker, but it a good way.

4) Milo and Otis, 1986-The charm of this film is there are no people present at all.  Just adorable animals, led by a pug and an orange cat.

5) My Dog Tulip, 2009: This is the story of the writer J.R. Ackerly who finds the love he is been looking for all his life when he adopts a German Shepherd dog.  This might be the only movie that has ever made me cry.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Reality Award from Misaki

Our friend Misaki gave us this cool reward.   We love her blog and visit all the time and were very thankful for the award.

The rules and instruction for this award are as follows . . .
1) Visit and thank the blogger who nominated you.
2) Acknowledge that blogger on your blog and link back to them.
3) Answer the 5 simple questions. (see below)
4) Nominate up to 20 blogs for the award and notify each of them. (see below)
5) Display the award on your blog somewhere.

1) If you could change one thing, what would you change?
Mom-I'd make dogs lie spans the same as humans
Us-We'd like our food portions trippled and we want to eat on a hobbit feeding schedule with breakfast, second breakfast, elevenses, and so on.
2) If you could repeat an age, what would it be? any year?
Dogs and cats (excluding Weasley)-We'd like to be 3 again as Dad says its the perfect age for a dog or cat, not too young and crazy and a long way off from old.
Wealsey-I'm one 1 so I don't wish to be any younger, one seems pretty perfect to me.
Mom-Thirty-five is right around the corner and makes me feel a bit old, I wouldn't mind revisiting my late twenties again.  Seems like yesterday.....
3) What is one thing that really scares you?

Dogs-We are all a little afraid of our back screen door, it slams kind of loud and a few of us have gotten wacked with it when running in and out.

Cats-The carrier--as it means V-E-T!

Mom-Illness in my loved ones, furry or non furry, or myself.

4) What is one dream you have not completed, and do you think you’ll be able to complete it?

Dogs and Cats-We are very content with our life as it is.  Thats the wisdom of a cat or dog.
Mom-I'd love to live in the country, or have a small weekend country home.  I don't think I will complete it for many  years as I am enrolled in my jobs twenty year retirement plan and we own our  home in the city and the house market is not good.  Maybe someday.
5) If you could be someone else for one day, who would it be?
Dogs-and Cats-Ourselves, again the wisdom
Mom-Can you time travel too?  If so I'd like to be Adele Astaire, Fred's sister.  I've been reading  The Astaires: Fred and Adele by Kathleen Riley and their lives were so interesting and elegant.  Plus they where stars during my favorite historic period, the 1920s, and possessed amazing talent.
I would like to pass this award to: (Note I stopped at eleven only because I wanted to stop typing not because I ran out of great blogs)
  1. Pug Possessed
  2. The Three Little Pugs
  3. Pugs and Purrs
  4. Pawfect Days
  5. Stewey Unscene
  6. Two French Bulldogs
  7. A Tail of Two Cardis
  8. Mollie and Alfie
  9. Molly the Wally
  10. Pug-A-Boo
  11. Idaho Pug Ranch

Tasty Tuesday-Summer Time Flash Back

This summer we really enjoyed  Freezy Pups

but we never got around to posting the review.   So prepare for a summer time flash back.

The Freezy pups kit comes with a very cool dog bone ice mold that can be re-used for freezey pups and any other frozen snack you would like to make.  It also comes with four freezy pups flavors: chicken, juicy apple, cheese, and sweet potato n' maple.  Our dogs definitely liked the chicken the best.   You can order re-fills of any of the freezy pups flavors on the website, and I am sure we will be getting more chicken next summer.  Freezy pups are organic and according to the website the foods that go into these treats are free of herbicides, pesticides, fumigants, and artificial fertilizers.  The treats are also  low calorie, a small dog can have two to three a day.  The best thing about the treats is that everything from the mixes to the tray is made in the USA so you don't have to worry about the problems associated with treats from China.  All of our dogs love the treats, I'm not sure why we didn't get a picture of Ping so I remember she enjoyed them.     We will be serving freezy pups again this summer.