Thursday, 26 February 2015

Photographing Betty

Today I am browsing some photos of Betty since she is away at the vets being spayed. She is staying overnight at the vets so this makes for some quiet time for me and Buster. I don't think Buster trusts that she is really gone - he has already done two sweeps of the house looking for her, he can't believe the house is finally dog-free!

Getting photos of Betty has not been easy and sadly I missed getting loads of photos while she was a tiny pup. I have been trying to get more photos whenever I can, but it sure is a challenge! Below are a handful of the recent snaps I was able to get of her in the few seconds she stopped tearing around the place like a little tornado!

Taking a peek at the snow outside

No idea why her ears are standing up like this

Lounging by the heat vent

Warming her bum

Sitting still for a split second...

...before jumping at my face!

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Dreaming of a garden

So it's been really cold lately, like REALLY cold. As in the -30's with the windchill. Oh, and it's snowed plenty. Yet all I can do is dream about this summer's garden. I am hoping that spring shows up soon but who really knows what is going to happen this year. Last year it felt like it took ages for the snow to go and for the ground to warm up, I hope this year isn't quite so severe because I cannot wait to get cracking on the garden!

All I can really do now is plan, shop for seeds and daydream...oh and soon enough I will be starting some seeds indoors. Seeing little green sprouty-things in the dead of winter indoors helps cheer me up a little. When I do get seed starting in the coming weeks I will share a bit more of what I am planning on growing in this years vegetable garden along with some flowers I plan on starting from seed - some seeds I have bought and some that I saved from last years garden. Until then my fellow gardeners of Southern Ontario, stay strong!

Monday, 23 February 2015

Stay inside and stay warm Part 2

Did I mention it has been cold? Well it has. Very cold. We need a new word for cold its that damn cold. I have decided the best way to stay warm is by staying inside - genius, I know! But what can you do indoors day in and day out to stay warm? Bake! Bake all the yummy things your pantry will allow and get that oven cranked up to heat your house!

I have attempted two apple cheddar quick bread loaves following this recipe. Both turned out pretty good, not perfect, but certainly edible enough for me to have to make that second loaf, having demolished the first one in about two days. I did tweak the recipe however, using olive oil in place of canola oil and while baking the second loaf I lowered the temperature to 375 degrees, since 400 seemed too high the first time around and left me with a loaf that was rather brown on the outside while still a bit under-cooked inside. I may still experiment with the recipe as I have found the loaves are a bit too moist and dense, not as bread-like as I had hoped.

Next up were cookies. I made two types of cookies, first was chocolate chip following this recipe. They turned out great and made a very large batch. If you are going to make these be sure to follow the baking times closely. I thought the cookies looked underdone so left them to bake for another few minutes when they really were done the first time I checked. They were a bit on the crunchy side because of my own doing. The second batch of cookies I made were sesame tahini cookies following this recipe. I figured I would give them a go because I had all the ingredients on hand and I often have a hard time getting through an entire jar of tahini before it goes bad. Again, follow the recipe and don't leave them in the oven longer than recommended - I have a bad habit of this! The only change I made to this recipe was to roll the cookie tops in cinnamon sugar with some extra sesame seeds rather than just the raw sugar the recipe called for. The cookies turned out really well and I have really enjoyed them - they are definitely different than your usual cookie and remind me a bit of shortbread.

Finally I whipped up another quick bread, this time a cheddar jalapeno loaf following this recipe. I pretty much followed the recipe exactly, but I used pickled jalapenos. The bread turned out really well. I am not sure how much the pickled jalapenos may have changed the flavor of the bread but I am happy with the outcome.

Sadly I still have issues with eating bread. I basically stopped eating bread altogether because I was always left feeling not great (serious indigestion) after consuming pretty much any bread product. I thought for a while it was the yeast in the bread that was doing it but I have come to realize it is likely the flour - maybe an issue with gluten? I am torturing myself by eating what I have baked over the past few days and if I don't want to keep feeling like crap I am going to have to try some gluten-free recipes.

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Stay inside and stay warm Part 1

It has been really cold lately, as in the high -20's with the wind chill...and the sun just keeps on shining...fooling me into thinking it will warm up slightly. So what do you do when it's this cold outside? Well, you stay inside of course! But I am getting pretty tired of sitting around inside, since there is only so much you can do to keep yourself and a hyper-active 5 month old puppy busy day after day. I have tried to get Betty out a couple of times when the cold hasn't been too severe but she has shown her extreme dislike of this weather by stopping at the bottom of the walkway in front of the house and turning around and running back home. We have been getting out once a week to go to puppy class at Petsmart, which gives her time to socialize with other puppies and dogs, practice her skills (sit, stay, come, leave it etc.) and she gets a nice walk around the warm store! We have also taken trips to my mum's place so Betty can have a change of scenery and run around with/torture my mum's dog Millie. This past Saturday though marked the end of puppy class and Betty won't be starting an Intermediate level class until mid-March. What to do?! We plan on visiting Petsmart for a few indoor evening walks. There really isn't an alternative as there is no where else indoors to take a dog.

In between eating, drinking, pooping and terrorizing me, Betty likes to spend her time snuggled on her puffy bed, covered in blankets positioned in front of the heat vents. She is one clever puppy - she moved her bed from one side of the room to the other just to be near the heat! I think we should all be like Betty and park ourselves in front of a heat source and snooze for the rest of the winter!