Saturday, March 30, 2013

All Natural Easter Eggs

Like plenty of pampered pets the Urban Hounds get a good filled basket every year, one thing thats always in there: hard boiled eggs.  

Last years basket

Eggs are one of the easiest, cheapest, and healthiest things you can give your dog for Easter, or any other time of year. Like many concerned pet owners I feed my dogs high end grain free kibble but I still worry that my dogs are not getting the nutritional benefit they would from a fresh diet.  To help boost the nutritional value of their food I regularly add fresh foods such as yogurt, cottage cheese, cooked meat, and eggs.   

Dogs need high quality protein and eggs are just that.  In addition to protein they have plenty of vitamins and minerals, and as I mentioned before they are cheap.    Egg can be fed to dogs raw or cooked, I prefer cooked since my dogs don't regularly eat a raw diet.   However, I have fed raw eggs when I was sure of the eggs source, i.e. from a local farmers market.

Once large egg has about 70 calories which is a fine daily kibble topper for an active medium to large dog, for smaller dogs you can divide the eggs or serve every other day and reduce the kibble as needed.   In home cooked diets egg shells are often recommended as a source of calcium, but if your dog is eating kibble then you should remove the shell to avoid giving your dog too much calcium.  The shell should also be removed on any eggs that are not organic.

Of course dogs could care less if the eggs are dyed:

"Just give me an egg mom!"

but its fun for the human.  This year in keeping with the organic eggs  I decided to use natural dyes.  I made three colors: red, yellow, and blue.  The red did not get as bright as I hope and came out more of a pinky brown.

Red Dye

2 large beets grated by hand or in a food processor fitted with the grating blade
2 cups water
1 tbsp white vinegar

Combine the beets, water and vinegar in a sauce pan and bring to a boil.  Boil for 15 minutes.

Yellow Dye

3 tbsp ground Tumeric
2 cups water
1 tbsp white vinegar

Again combine and boil for 15 minutes.

Blue Dye
8 ounces of frozen blueberries, crushed in the food processor or blender
1 cup water
1 tbsp vinegar

Again boil 15 minutes.

Dyes boiling on the stove

Cool the dyes for about 15 minutes before adding your hard boiled eggs.  If you want you can strain the dyes through a sieve or you can the  eggs right in the pot, which will produce a mottled effect.  Let the eggs sit about an hour and then remove them and blot them.

The finished eggs

Friday, March 29, 2013

Friday Fun-Star Trek Sweaters (and another Birthday)

If you have been reading this bog you know we are Star Trek Fans (just check our Geekery page) we were so lucky that Melissa from Pug Notes was able to make us truly out of this world Star Trek inspired sweater vests, complete with insignia!  Check us out (we are posing in front of our Star Trek The Next Generation Fan Mosaic, which features picture of Weasley and Bob):

Tubby as Captain James T. Kirk


Weasley as Lt. Commander Spock


Ping as Lt. Uhura

For MLK Day: ‘Lt. Uhura’ On How Rev. King Told Her To Stay On ‘Star Trek’
The nation honors the memory of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday. And among NPR’s offerings that day will be a fascinating story from actress Nichelle Nichols — known to fans around the world as “Lt. Uhura” on the original Star Trek TV series and six of the later big-screen movies based on that vision of the future.
Star Trek went on the air in 1966. Tell Me More host Michel Martin spoke with Nichols about how the actress almost left the show after one season to return to her first love — the musical stage.
But at an NAACP dinner in Los Angeles, Nichols says, King told her he was her biggest fan. When Nichols (who has shared this story before, including in her autobiography) told King she was planning to leave the show, he told her she couldn’t do that.
  Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry, Nichols says King told her, was showing the nation a universe where ” ‘for the first time, we [African-Americans] are being seen the world over … as we should be seen’.” And ” ‘you have created a character’ ” that is critical to that, he said.
King also told her that ” ‘this is the only show that my wife Coretta and I will allow our little children to stay up and watch.” …
{Click the photo to continue reading.}

The whole crew:

Today is also Tubby's 12th birthday.  I started this blog when he was turning ten and I was having a hard time with his advancing years, I wrote about it in this post: Ten Years of Perfect Pug Love.

Now ten sounds down right young.  I'm so lucky to have had Tubby in my life for 12 years and I hope and pray we have many more years together.   Whatever time we have together I try to look at Tubby as my model, he appreciates every moment and never worries about getting older.  A great way to "Live Long and Prosper" if you ask me.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Staycation Trip to Great Britain

On Monday we visited Great Britain right here in NYC with a trip to the Manhattan restaurant Tea and Sympathy.

They serve British comfort food and lots of delicious tea.  We had cream scones and mushrooms on toast

These recipes are easily made at home: I've posted the recipe for the scones here and a recipe for mushrooms on toast here.  They do taste a bit better in the restaurant though and you get the cute atmosphere.

If you are really lucky you can see the owners bulldog puppy, Cuthbert (I didn't get a very good photo but trust me he is adorable), taking a stroll outside.

The day after our English lunch, I was stilling filling a little British when I went bike shopping so I got an English Bobbin Birdie Bike from Adeline Adeline.

I think Ping is really going to enjoy riding in her Cynthia's Twigs basket on this.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Couch Time

Our favorite part of staycation-TV couch time with our Dad

 Here we are enjoying a Star Trek marathon on mom's birthday, if you look closely you can see the pugs are wearing Star Trek inspired sweaters from Pug Notes.  

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Tasty Tuesday-Raspberry Marshmallows (and a Birthday)

Today, mom is 245 years old in dog years, and she is feeling a bit old.  She said something about not being in the snappy 18-34 year old demographic any more and we have caught her spending money on wrinkle cream that we feel would be better spent on biscuits.  Still, we were happy when she decided to cook something special for her birthday, surely for a birthday it would be liver flavored, but no silly mom made Raspberry Marshmallows, which apparently we cant even eat.  She has never made marshmallows before and she says they are a snap (you will need a candy thermometer to make them), plus they are kind of upscale version of those Marshmallow Peeps in the stores this time of year.

Raspberry Marshmallows (adapted from Ina Garten)

1 small container fresh raspberries, about a 1/2 pint.
3 envelopes unflavored gelatin
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp vanilla
Powdered (confectioners) sugar for dusting

Puree the raspberries in a blender or food processor.  If you want you could strain the seeds but mom didn't bother.   Set the raspberries aside.

Put 1/2 cup of cold water in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attatchment and sprinkle over the gelatin, don't stir.   Set aside so the gelatin softens.

Combine the sugar, corn syrup, salt, and 1/2 cup of water in a sauce pan.  Heat over medium heat until the sugar disolves.  Attach the candy thermometer and turn the heat up to high, cook (without stirring) until it reaches 240 degrees on the candy thermometer.  Turn off the heat.  Put the mixer on low speed and slowly pour the sugar syrup into the gelatin.  After you pour in all of the syrup turn the mixer up to high and beat for 15 minutes until very thick and white (it will be just like marshmallow fluff). While the mixer is going line a 9x13 inch baking pan with plastic wrap and dust generously with confectioners sugar.

When the 15 minutes is up beat in the vanilla and raspberry puree on medium low speed.  Quickly pour the marshmallow mixture into the lined pan and use a spatula to spread it evenly.  Dust with more confectioners sugar.   Allow to sit over night to firm up.   In the morning cut into squares and store in an air tight containers.

Even though we can't eat the marshmallows since its mom's birthday we have decided to forgive her and love her anyway.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Monday Mischief-Pugicure

Despite living in the NYC area, corner nail salon capital of the world, I'm not much into manicures and nail art.  Then I saw these, on Etsy.  Puggie nail decals, and for only $1.99.   They come on a little sticker sheet 

and are super easy to put on, and this is coming from somebody who has only once attempted to paint her nails.  I have very tiny nails but the decals fit nicely, I topped them with some clear nail varnish.

Two days later and they are still attached which is a big deal for me since I've never had polish I didn't chip immediately.

If pugs aren't your breed The Fog Shoppe on Etsy also has Boston terrier, Bulldog (which I'll try next), Boxer, Westie, and numerous other breed decals, plus plenty of non-dog decals too.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Staycation Weekend Recap


Dog Park

And a staycation trip to Japan via Sunday Lunch at the Mitsuwa Market in Edgewater.  I love the model resin food they display so you can see what you are ordering:

The Tonkatsu Ramen was delicious

I love the cute packaging on the Japanese groceries, even the cleaning supplies look like cartoon characters!

We hope you all had fabulous weekend adventures!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Friday Fun-Where the heck is spring?

Two years ago right around this time of the year, we took this picture

Now this year all we've got is rain and snow!  We are still smiling though because mom and dad have a whole week off next week to spend with us, in fact mom has off until next Wednesday, April 3.   We can't wait to have fun walking, playing, snuggling, and snacking with our 'rents giving us the 24 hour attention we deserve.  Happy Friday!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

How I've Changed as a Dog Mom

March 15 will marked our second blogiversary and in less then I week I will turn 35 years old so Ive been feeling somewhat contemplative. I started this blog shortly before Tubby's tenth birthday with this post.  Recently I've been thinking about how my pet care beliefs have changed since I brought Tubby and Norbert home over 10 years ago:

1) Diet-I shudder when I think that I used to feed Iams and that at the time I truly believed it was the best food for my dogs and cats.  I saw the commercials in which it was recommended by vets and saw that it cost more then the supermarket brands and thus felt it would keep my dogs healthy.  I kept feeding it, at my first vet's advice, even though Norbert, Tubby, and Ping were never enthusiastic about eating it and Norbert frequently suffered gastrointestinal distress.   It wasn't until three years into pet ownership that I started reading more about dog nutrition and realized that Iams was not a good quality food.  I started reading about grain free food options and got a subscription to the whole dog journal.  I know read ingredients lists carefully and rotate my dogs kibble with a wide variety of grain free options and make sure to change protein sources between chicken, fish, and beef.  I've learned to always store my dogs food in the bag, keeps it fresher and locks in nutrients, and I read up on each new food at dog food advisor.   I'd love to feed raw but with so many dogs I find it a big beyond me.   

 2) Treats-I know this is pretty much the same as diet but I've changed a lot in this regard too.  I used to think nothing of feeding Tubby and Norbert Pupperoni and other treats made in China and filled with chemicals and other garbage, however based on my first vets advice I was very leery of feeding them "people food."  I know realize that healthy so called people food like lean meats, healthy fruits and veggies, sardines, cottage cheese, yogurt, and eggs are the best treats I can give my dogs.  I regularly add such  foods to my dogs kibble. 

3) Vaccines-When I first got Tubby and Baby the cat I felt that more vaccines was probably better.  I said nothing when Tubby's vet gave him every vaccine bordatella, lyme, parvo, rabies, at once and was horrified when he had an allergic reaction.   I now am very minimal with vaccines and do titer testing on my dogs every three years.  I made sure that Bob and Weasley had their puppy vaccines spaced apart and luckily there have been no reactions.

4) Training-I can't say I really changed on this, more like I found others who validated my way of thinking.   When I first got Tubby someone gave me the Monks of New Skete's How To Be Your Dog's Best Friend, first addition.  I read the book and liked plenty of their advice but I was uncomfortable when they mentioned adversives.  However I figured they knew best and that a balance of rewards and aversives was probably the most successful way to train.  Most dog owners I met 12 years ago agreed and the training advice I got from experienced owners I met at the dog park involved a fair amount of punishment and lots of pack leader talk.  I never used punishment, but at the same time I never really looked down on it.  Now I know that positive reinforcement is really the only effective way to train a dog and I'm so happy that it seems that most training facilities and owners agree.   These days when I hear someone use the term "pack leader" or "submissive" I shudder internally, or if I know them advice them to read Patricia McConnell.

5) Vets-I used to never question my vet.  I figured they knew best in all situations and never considered researching something my self.   Now while I still respect my vet, I actually totally love my vet, I research everything and always ask a ton of questions.  What I love most about my current vet is even though he is a standards vet rather then a Holistic practioner, he is willing to research thing that I am a curious about and never minds my research into certain topics or the questions I ask.  I also would never hesitate now to get a second opinion or see a specialist in an emergency.  In fact Id see a specialist in any emergency.

How have your pet care standards changed since your first days of pet ownership?

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Picnic Pug (Almost Wordless Wednesday)

In all the snow and rain Im longing for the warm weather and came across this old picture of Tubby at a spring time wine festival in NJ.  Sigh, will it ever be spring?