Saturday, February 20, 2010

Wide Load

Or "Why my neighbors cross the street when they see me coming."

I thought I'd do something different today. Walk all 3 dogs together. They're short clips, so you shouldn't get too seasick watching them.

Heidi and Duke are really good walkers, Coral's the bad walker of the bunch, but I took her to class this morning, so she was a little tired.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Vote for Duke!

I entered Duke in the Bissell MVP Pet Photo contest. You do need to register to vote, but it's pretty painless, just name and email. There are prizes for the winners...but the big winners are the pet charities the winners designate. I don't know if registration is still open for this week, but you can still register your pet for the next 5 weeks.

MVP Pet Photo Contest sponsored by BISSELL, maker of pet vacuum cleaners.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Homemade Samoas Bars

Girl Scout cookies. Gotta love them. Until you realize you just paid $4 for 5 cookies.

I made these for a potlock, and was told they were better than GS cookies. I used unsweetened coconut, so it was not supersweet like GS cookies, but definitely sweet enough. The original recipe also said to toast the coconut for 20 minutes, turning every 5 minutes. Yeah. Don't do that. At 5 minutes, the coconut wasn't really toasted. At 10 minutes, the coconut was extra crispy. Extra crispy coconut is not good coconut. Just hang out close to the oven while toasting, I think I toasted 7 or 8 minutes total, tossing every couple minutes.

Homemade Samoas Bars
Cookie Base:
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt

First, make the crust.
Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking pan, or line with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, cream together sugar and butter, until fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla extract. Working at a low speed, gradually beat in flour and salt until mixture is crumbly, like wet sand. The dough does not need to come together. Pour crumbly dough into prepared pan and press into an even layer.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, until base is set and edges are lightly browned. Cool completely on a wire rack before topping.

3 cups shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)
12-oz good-quality chewy caramels
1/4 tsp salt
3 tbsp milk
10 oz. dark or semisweet chocolate (chocolate chips are ok)

Preheat oven to 300. Spread coconut evenly on a parchment-lined baking sheet (preferably one with sides) and toast 8 minutes, stirring every 3 minutes, until coconut is golden. Cool on baking sheet, stirring occasionally. Set aside.

Unwrap the caramels and place in a large microwave-safe bowl with milk and salt. Cook on high for 3-4 minutes, stopping to stir a few times to help the caramel melt. When smooth, fold in toasted coconut with a spatula.
Put dollops of the topping all over the shortbread base. Using the spatula, spread topping into an even layer. Let topping set until cooled.
When cooled, cut into 30 bars with a large knife or a pizza cutter (it’s easy to get it through the topping).

Once bars are cut, melt chocolate in a small bowl. Heat on high in the microwave in 45 second intervals, stirring thoroughly to prevent scorching. Dip the base of each bar into the chocolate and place on a clean piece of parchment or wax paper. Transfer all remaining chocolate (or melt a bit of additional chocolate, if necessary) into a piping bag or a ziploc bag with the corner snipped off and drizzle bars with chocolate to finish.
Let chocolate set completely before storing in an airtight container.

Makes 30 bar cookies.

Note: You can simply drizzle chocolate on top of the bars before slicing them up if you’re looking for yet an easier way to finish these off. You won’t need quite as much chocolate as noted above, and you won’t quite get the Samoas look, but the results will still be tasty.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

PAWS for Reading

Once a week, Duke goes to school. He's participating in a program called PAWS for reading, where kids are encouraged to read by reading to dogs. The first few times he went, he was a little stressed out because it was a new environment, but he quickly got used to it, and started rolling over for bellyrubs and even using the kiddos as pillows. He was disruptive this week though, because one little boy was reading a book about Egyptians, when Duke decided to crawl right over to him and shove his head in the book. The little boy was a trooper though, and continued to read through his giggles, though he had to move around a little because it's hard to read through Duke's big head.

After the kids read, they get a bookmark and a sticker with a picture of the dog they read to. When they read to another dog, they get another sticker to add to the bookmark.

Our therapy dog group had a potluck dinner this weekend, and we were, of course, talking about our dogs, and all things dog related. Someone mentioned the bookmarks, and Tim was jealous and asked why he didn't have a bookmark. Of course, it was because he hadn't read to Duke yet. You don't get a bookmark until after you read to the dogs. So Tim read his Mustang magazine to Duke today to earn his bookmark.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

The cutest little carnivore

Beef ribs for everyone tonight, including Miss Heidi.

Miss Heidi had a full day today!

First we went to the frisbee club meeting with Duke. Duke and I got one of the member of the year awards. I think that means they figured out we're big suckers and will show up and help as much as we can. Heidi came with us because we were going to a Superbowl party afterwards, and I didn't know how long we'd be gone, and if she could hold it the entire time. On the upside, she met lots of people today at both the frisbee club meeting and at the party.

Duke decided to be annoyingly interested in the food table at the party, so I put the dogs in stays while people were eating. Heidi did amazingly well, considering I haven't done more than a 3 minute long stay with her before. First I had her in a sit/stay, which she broke twice, but that wasn't bad considering it was a new place with lots of people, and she was in the stay for about 15 minutes. Then I put her in a down/stay on her pillow for about half an hour. She broke that once when more people came in, but stayed put the rest of the time. It was so hard for her to be good though, because people were talking to her, and her little curly tail was wagging like crazy.

After people were pretty much done eating though, she made her rounds, going from lap to lap for loving.

When we got home, everyone got beef ribs for dinner. Heidi's molars were starting to get some plaque buildup, and beef ribs are one of the easiest ways to clean teeth.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Poor abused Heidi...

As if the cone of shame wasn't torture enough, I have to go and post a picture on for everyone to see, comment, and laugh at.

The result?

People came up with a few other doozies, but here are my favs: