Monday, April 9, 2012

Lab Tested and Approved

Labrador retrievers, for the uninitiated, aren't known for being picky eaters.  In fact, mine have eaten everything from ropes to glass.  Jackson has a real fondness for lip balm, especially the rather expensive Burt's Bees.  I would estimate that he has eaten at least half his weight in lip balm.  He weighs over 100 pounds. Burt's Bees owes me big time.

Unfortunately, rope, glass, and lip balm (sorry Jackson) aren't especially good for meeting the nutritional needs of large breed dogs so I try to limit those special treats.  Instead, I've discovered a homemade treat that not only tastes great but is good for them too.  It also doesn't hurt that from the moment I walk out of the pantry with a can of pumpkin and a jar of peanut butter in my hands, my dogs think that I'm the cat's meow.

Today was baking day.   Jackson doesn't leave the vicinity of the oven the entire time that I'm mixing them up and baking them.  (ignore the big box of garage sale crap in the background - we can talk about that later)

My labs have given these treats the Labrador seal of approval, so I'm sharing the recipe here.   It's one of my favorites because it doesn't require any special ingredients and I almost always have everything on hand.

Peanut Butter and Pumpkin Dog Treats

2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour (although I've also used all purpose flour)
2 eggs
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
2 tablespoon peanut butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

(Note: A regular can of pumpkin is about 1 cup, so I usually make a double batch at a time, but break it down and mix it 1/2 at a time unless you have a really heavy duty mixer)

Mix all of the ingredients until mixture is well mixed but dry and stiff.  I have found that when I use organic pumpkin I need to add significantly more flour as I'm mixing.  Organic pumpkin tends to be much thinner.  (Hey, don't judge.  My dogs like to eat healthy too.)

 Either roll out the dough and cut with a cookie cutter or roll into a roll and cut off 1/2 pieces.  I may feed my dogs organic pumpkin treats, but I tend to be lazy when it comes to actually forming the cookies, so I just tear off little ballish shapes about the size of a tablespoon.  I don't even try to smooth them into balls.  My dogs seems to like all the crunchy bits and I think it's great for their teeth.  Plus, at this point in the process, I'm seriously questioning my sanity, so I justify the fact that I'm actually baking my dogs organic pumpkin and peanut butter treats by cutting a corner or two.  But don't tell the labs - they think they are supposed to be that way.


 Bake at 350 for about 40 minutes.  They should be absolutely cooked dry so they are hard and crunchy.

This recipe doubled makes about 11 dozen tablespoon sized treats. 

Just call me Martha freaking Stewart.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Aren't they fetching?

I often talk about my Labrador retrievers, Lincoln and Jackson, but I've never really posted a video of them in action. Of course, that's partially because Jackson, our chocolate lab, is rarely IN action. He was a lazy puppy that would rather have you carry him than walk, and he remains a lazy senior citizen.

Both dogs are 9 years old now, which is getting up there in age for a large breed but a good rousing game of fetch can usually stir Jackson into a few minutes of playtime before he goes to find a warm spot to sun himself in.

They were really young puppies when we moved to Uno Acres and one of the main attractions was the large yard (just a portion on the side of Vern's shop is shown in the video, but they like to play over there because they aren't usually allowed in that part of the yard and it's a special treat for them). I wonder how they are going to adjust to moving to a much warmer climate with a much smaller yard and possibly living in an apartment for a few months.

Jackson will be fine as long as there is sunshine. Lincoln, however, is pretty much going to demand a swimming pool.

Saturday, April 7, 2012


So I thought about just sneaking back into blogging and not even mentioning that it's been almost two years since I last posted an entry. After all, I wrote one every day. In my head. While in the shower. They just never actually made it all the way to the blog. I'm sorry you missed them though - they were hilarious. Truly. Some of my best writing. I solved every single one of my problems and at least half of yours. Oh well, better luck next time.

The truth of the matter is that I think the last two years went by in kind of a blur. I'm not really sure where they went or what we did although I could probably make a few good guesses. Maybe some of those blog entries will actually make it to the tips of my fingers and I can capture for posterity some of the last two years.

Nevertheless, there have been some changes at Uno Acres.

Most visible is that it's apparently been so long since I blogged, that I actually have gone gray.

Which is sort of a lie because I've been gray for the past 30 years. The reasons are many and it was a decision that was both difficult and easy and one that I'm still processing my feelings about. I won't bore you with the "why" of it, but I will give you one very strong "why not." This is not about letting myself go. I haven't given up on myself or my appearance. I'm okay with who I am. And I'm asking that you be okay with that too.

Lot of other changes around here too - We've bought some stuff, sold some stuff, lost some stuff, and gained some stuff. We've been places and done things. We've made some decisions and decided not to make other decisions. We've walked towards some things and away from others. Nothing particularly earth shattering and yet every stone that is cast sends out ripples that are far reaching.

And while I'm sorry that you have missed all of my witty and insightful blog posts over the past two years, what you haven't missed is the completion of our renovation. We've made some progress in a few areas and even finished a project or two. We've probably started a project or two in that time also. But the good news for me is that I will have plenty of material to blog about in the next few weeks because this house will be finished - come hell or high water - in the next couple of months.

Because we are selling it.

See - I told you - changes.