Super Bowl Dog Treats

20140202-sb-dog-treats
It’s Super Bowl Sunday! This year I wanted to do something for the dogs. Every once in a while I will bake treats or cake for them, but I wanted to keep it as simple as possible today. I brought home a can of wet food; a low-fat food that would be easy on their stomachs. Also, the wet food needs to be all the same consistency and somewhat dense.

I formed the food into small football shapes and baked them at 350 degrees for one hour. In the meantime, I mixed together one and a half tablespoons of non-fat yogurt and all-natural peanut butter with no added sugar or salt. I also added ¼ of a teaspoon of agave syrup (although honey would work just fine) and enough water to get the mixture to the frosting consistency I wanted. I spooned the frosting into a sandwich bag and cut a very small piece off of one corner to create a piping bag. I use this frosting on the cakes and treats I make for them, the dogs absolutely love it!

Dream Stalkers

A few nights ago, I was stalked by three mountain lions in my dreams. You know (or maybe you don’t) how you’re supposed to make yourself look really big if you encounter a mountain lion? That’s what I did, except I actually stretched out my arms and legs in bed in various ways and made life very uncomfortable for the animals and Gar. What really irks me is that whatever thing or nerve in your brainstem that blocks your brain signals from going down your spinal cord while you sleep, effectively rendering you motionless (true fact), is apparently not always working for me… wtf.

Saving the Bacon

20140115-bacon-wrapped-asparagus
It’s so quietly painful for me to see food go to waste. A lot of the time the food or sides or snacks I make are determined by what needs to be used before going bad. I made this last night because I had bacon I needed to use and asparagus I needed to use. I cooked the wrapped asparagus in my toaster oven for 10 minutes at 300F, then for 10 minutes at 450F, turning them about twice. Bacon flavors pair so well with so many things and asparagus is no exception.

I love the sweet, salty, and smoky flavors of good bacon. I am also somewhat obsessed with cooking bacon perfectly. I take great care in, generally, cooking bacon until it is entirely at least a light brown color because I am not a fan of floppy white pieces of fat. I cannot stand overcooked, crumbly bacon either, so I try to ensure that each individual slice of bacon is both crunchy and chewy.

There is really not much more to say, other than wrapping bacon around your asparagus is excellent. YUM!!!

Ewwww lolcatz

20140109-eww-vet-pics
I almost peed my pants at work today because of a slideshow screen saver. I work at a veterinary hospital and we are paperless (or “paper light” if you will), and we have about 25 computers in the hospital. One computer in a treatment center just got replaced by another one for whatever reason. I was giving an animal fluids under the skin and noticed the slideshow screensaver directly in front of me. The new computer had a default setting to play “My Pictures” from the work server on a slide show as its screen saver.

The pictures I saw were 60% adorable dog or cat and 40% disgusting infection, growth, or internal organ etc. I could not stop laughing at the absurdity of it all. One moment I’m looking at a cute puppy and the next I’m looking at an enlarged spleen. I can’t post most of the gross pictures I saw because I do not want to seriously disturb anyone. However, to give you a little taste, here’s part of an x-ray, a weirdo growth, and a cute puppy from the images I saw. My baby, Mr. Kitty, the Siamese mix with his butt in your face, is an added bonus… enjoy!

Goodbye Holidays

20140107-goodbye-holidays
I took down my Christmas decorations today. If you are as concerned about the look and, more importantly, the feel of your home as I am, the process can be bittersweet.

A friend of mine said something to me just before Christmas that I thought was interesting. I was at her house helping decorate her enormous tree and she said, “This year, the tree is going to only have gold decorations. A friend of mine who is an interior decorator said that decorating your Christmas tree can be simple and beautiful if you just pick a color and forget all the mismatched ornaments and nicknacks.” The gold tree really was simple and beautiful. I loved it. I thought to myself, maybe next year I’ll do pink.

Fuck that. As I took down each of my ornaments, I remembered the context in which I purchased or received those ornaments. I was sad that I would not be appreciating these weird little things for another year but I was happy that the temporality of them made them even more special. So, goodbye vintage porcelain Christmas tree and all the other mismatched ornaments and nicknacks… until next year!

Crock Pot Chicken

20140106-crock-pot-chicken
If you haven’t cooked a whole chicken in the crock pot, you’re missing out. Firstly, I love buying and cooking whole chickens. You can cook or prepare them in many ways. You can break them down and use only certain pieces and save the rest. However, there is no other way of cooking a whole chicken that has a greater simple to delicious ratio than putting it in a crock pot with a simple seasoning. This chicken comes out falling off the bone. It is so moist and tender and so easy and so hard to screw up.

All you need to do is season a whole chicken that has been rinsed and patted dry and put it in the crock pot breast side up on a medium to low heat for 6-8 hours or 4 hours on high. Also, this may sound obvious to most but remove the innards. Every crock pot is different and I usually let my crock pot temperature and cooking time be dictated by my schedule. Yesterday was a crazy ass day at work and I figured it would be as much. So before I left in the morning, I put the chicken on a ten hour low heat setting so it would be ready after my long work day.

The last thing you need to know about making this dish is that you can get fancy with what you put in it besides the chicken but you really don’t need to do anything other than season with salt and pepper all over and under the skin to make it absolutely delicious. DO NOT worry about putting liquid in the crock pot, trust me, you really don’t need to. Instead of just salt and pepper, yesterday I used a seasoning blend that was a riff I did on Emeril’s “Essence” (Emeril’s creole seasoning) which is a seasoning blend I came across while looking up different recipes on fried onion rings of all things. If I had more time yesterday and wanted to do something different I could have mixed my seasoning blend with a can of crushed tomatoes and added onion and bell pepper. Once the chicken was done I could have removed and shredded the meat then added the meat back to the juices in the crock pot. I could have served that with black beans, rice, and homemade corn tortillas…. just a thought. Here’s the recipe for the seasoning blend I used for this chicken and I really hope you discover how easy and tasty it is to crock pot a whole chicken if you haven’t already.

1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon garlic powder
½ tablespoon black pepper
½ tablespoon onion powder
½ tablespoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon dried leaf oregano
½ teaspoon dried thyme
¼ teaspoon cumin