Friday, June 26, 2015

It's Take Your Dog To Work Day!




I used to work in an amusement park in Carolina Beach, NC. Shortly after I started, it was bought out by a rich family looking for a hobby. Among their hobbies was raising Irish Water Spaniels (which look like big poodles) and they used to bring them to work with them often. The dogs were cool, but even better than that was the fact that the new owners didn't mind the staff bringing their dogs and in fact encouraged us to! I think I was the only one who did, but my Scotty-dog loved being able to ride to the beach and go for walks when I wasn't bound to the office. He forged quite a friendship with 2 of the owner's 3 dogs- it wasn't unusual to come in and find a giant puppy pile snoozing behind my desk!

I'm pretty sure there isn't a Take Your CAT To Work day, for two reasons. A: Cats don't work, they like to watch us do it. B: Have you ever tried to jam a cat into a carrier & then listened to it sing the war songs of its people for a cross-town commute? If I did bring her to work with me, Nightshade would either spend the shift under my desk hissing mad, or disappear into the bowels of this hellhole, never to be seen again!

Foodie Friday- Dog friendly edition



I realized that it's only fair to make goodies for our beloved animal companions from time to time. So, after searching for recipes, I found this one and tried it on my friend's finicky cocker spaniels and one of our less than picky K9 units at work. It was a kit with both of them. This is also safe for humans- my friends and I all tried it, but didn't like it nearly as much as all of the pups did!


Homemade Chicken Jerky For Dogs

INGREDIENTS

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 tablespoon smooth peanut butter
1/4 teaspoon soy sauce

PREPARATION

1. Preheat your oven to 170˚ F.

2. Remove any excess fat or bits of bone from the chicken breasts and pat dry.

3. Mix together the peanut butter and soy sauce, which creates the marinade for the jerky. Stir and thin with up to 1 tablespoon of additional water to create a smooth paste. Coat the chicken with the peanut butter mixture, and place in the freezer for 1 hour.(Slightly freezing the chicken makes it easier to thinly slice.)

4. Remove the chicken from the freezer, and cut as thinly as possible.

5. Cover a sheet tray with parchment paper, and arrange the thin slices in a single layer. Place in the oven, set the timer for 2 hours, and hang out with your pup while the jerky cooks.

6. Your jerky is ready! Once cool, cut with scissors into smaller bits, or leave as is for big mouthfuls of chewiness. Store in a sealable container, and your homemade chicken jerky is good for up to 30 days — if it lasts that long. And the jerky is totally human-tasty, too. It's low in fat and sodium while being a high-in-protein pick-me-up.

Chicken is a healthy protein for pups and gives the jerky a nice chew without being too dry. For chewier jerky, cut the chicken with the grain.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The Fifth and Final Listmania (for now, anyway)



Nine Things My Socks Would Say If The Could Talk

1. Not me again! Can't you wear a different pair today?!?

2. Um, hey, this isn't my mate!!!

3. Get that cat away from me! I'm not a chew toy!

4. Time to play hide and seek!

5. Cut your damned toenails already! I don't need holes poked in me.

6. Wait a minute...that shirt clashes with us.

7. Have you ever heard of odor eaters?!?

8. For god's sake, keep your shoes on at your friend's house! You want the whole world to see how many holes you've worn in us?

9. If WE'RE wet & cold, YOU'RE wet and cold!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Foodie Friday- This One's Dedicated to All the Kitties!


This is for the cats. It's a little time consuming to make, but any cat will tell you that they're worth the extra trouble.

Homemade Organic Spinach and Chicken Cat Treats

INGREDIENTS

1/2 pound steamed organic boneless and skinless chicken thighs
1 cup fresh organic spinach leaves
1 cup organic quick-cooking oats
1 organic brown egg
1 tablespoon organic catnip
1/4 cup flour

PREPARATION

1. Preheat your oven to 350˚F. Steam the boneless and skinless chicken thighs until cooked through. You can swap for boneless and skinless organic chicken breasts, salmon, or tuna with cat-loving results too. Let the chicken cool for 20 minutes before the next step.

2. Place the chicken, oats, spinach leaves, egg, and catnip in a blender or food processor, and pulse on low until the mixture blends together. It should still be a bit chunky but also smooth, similar to the texture of wet sand.

3. Pop the mixture into a bowl and add the flour. You can also add a dash of salt or sugar to mix up the flavor. Use your hands to knead the dough until it's no longer sticky, then place on a flour-dusted work surface.

4. Use a rolling pin to create a rectangle of dough around 1/2 inch thick. With the help of a pizza cutter or small cookie cutter, create small shapes for the finished treats.

5. Place the kitty treats on a parchment-lined sheet tray, and bake for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven, cool until room temperature, and then toss to your cat.

TIP
If your cat isn't a fan of chicken, then swap with organic salmon or tuna.


My notes-
This is probably the only thing I will ever use chicken thighs for. I got lucky and scored free ones when I explained to the meat counter guy at Whole Food$ what I needed them for. He asked me to let him know how they came out because he has a cat of his own. (I took some of the treats and a copy of the recipe back to him for his cat) I might try them with breast meat just to see how it comes out and because I usually have that on hand. Also, if you're worried about the cost of organic foods, you can do this with conventional items. I doubt the cat/s will notice the difference.

Nightshade loved these, BTW. So did the feral cat colony. I'm not sure how long they're supposed to last, but I'd think they're ok for a week or two as long as you store them in a tightly sealed container.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Yum! It's National Fudge Day!


In honor of the day, here's a recipe to try. My Aunt Julie used to make this and homemade caramels for Christmas every year. She swears this is the recipe she used, but mine has NEVER turned out as good as I remember hers being! Enjoy!

HERSHEY'S Rich Cocoa Fudge Recipe

Ingredients

3 cups sugar
2/3 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa or HERSHEY'S SPECIAL DARK Cocoa
1/8 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

1. Line 8-or 9-inch square pan with foil, extending foil over edges of pan. Butter foil.
2. Mix sugar, cocoa and salt in heavy 4-quart saucepan; stir in milk. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to full rolling boil. Boil, without stirring, until mixture reaches 234°F on candy thermometer or until small amount of mixture dropped into very cold water, forms a soft ball which flattens when removed from water. (Bulb of candy thermometer should not rest on bottom of saucepan.)
3. Remove from heat. Add butter and vanilla. DO NOT STIR. Cool at room temperature to 110°F (lukewarm). Beat with wooden spoon until fudge thickens and just begins to lose some of its gloss (about 7 minutes). Quickly spread in prepared pan; cool completely. Cut into squares. Store in tightly covered container at room temperature. About 64 pieces or 1-3/4 pounds.
NOTE: For best results, do not double this recipe. This is one of our most requested recipes, but also one of our most difficult. The directions must be followed exactly. Beat too little and the fudge is too soft. Beat too long and it becomes hard and sugary.

VARIATIONS:
NUTTY RICH COCOA FUDGE: Beat cooked fudge as directed. Immediately stir in 1 cup chopped almonds, pecans or walnuts and spread quickly in prepared pan.

MARSHMALLOW-NUT COCOA FUDGE: Increase cocoa to 3/4 cup. Cook fudge as directed. Add 1 cup marshmallow creme with butter and vanilla. DO NOT STIR. Cool to 110°F (lukewarm). Beat 8 minutes; stir in
1 cup chopped nuts. Pour into prepared pan. (Fudge does not set until poured into pan.)

HIGH ALTITUDE DIRECTIONS:
-- Increase milk to 1-2/3 cups
-- Use soft ball cold water test for doneness OR Test and read thermometer in boiling water, subtract
difference from 212°F. Then subtract that number from 234°F. This is the soft ball temperature for
your altitude and thermometer.

Listmania the Fourth



Seven Things I Always Lose

(I decided to skip the list of things to say after you burp in favor of this one. You're welcome.)

1. My temper. Lots of people can attest to this one

2. My lip balm. I suspect it goes off to party with this next item...

3. My pens. It never fails, if I find a good pen with an ink color I like, it will vanish shortly thereafter.

4. My keys. I bought a carabiner clip so that I can attach them to my purse or belt loops. The problem now is REMEMBERING to attach them to said items.

5. My train of thought. I'll be in the middle of doing something and suddenly there's a chocolate pie in the fridge, but I'm waiting for a break to eat it and what was this supposed to be about?

6. My place on cross stitch charts. Even when I highlight the parts I've stitched, I still get off track.

7. My heart, to pretty British boys. Like this one!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Dummies of the Week



My job never fails to provide moments of hilarity, however unintentional. Here are the winners of the Blooming Idiot award for the last week:


The winner-Idiot 1: Officers are involved in a pursuit of subject on a stolen moped. Subject leaps off moped, causing it to crash in someone's yard and takes off on foot, with several officers in hot pursuit. Believe it or not, THIS isn't our winner. No, our winner jumps off the porch of the house next door to the crash and tries to take off on the already stolen moped, not realizing that 2 officers had abandoned the pursuit in order to secure the recovered stolen property. The dumbfounded officers watched him pick up the moped, sit down & start it up, and let him get about 6 feet before unceremoniously yanking him off it and arresting him. Oh, and he had a pocketful of dope on him, to boot.


Honorable Mention- Idiot 2: Officer responds to call of person in distress in fast food restaurant bathroom. Subject has come out of bathroom and is wobbling around in parking lot when officer arrives. Subject is quite clearly under the influence of something. When asked if he'd taken anything, he produced a bottle of bath salts from his pocket and asked the officer to taste them and tell him if they seemed off because he doesn't think they sold him the right thing. Officer declined and transported the idiot to the hospital, and then to jail.