Shiva’s Random Recipe for Dehydrated Hermit Cookies

DSC_0212I’m assuming you’ve heard about this incredible giveaway going on at Kol’s Notes this week. And when I say amazing, I mean for real heavy duty, super duper MEGA crazy. The prize is every dog’s biggest fantasy wrapped in jerky and covered in liver dust.

That’s right, Kol’s Notes is giving away a brand new – too expensive for my wee budget – Excalibur Dehydrator.

This is serious stuff, pet lovers. We all know how lazy I am. Shiva has been complaining to her dog friends – or would if she had any – that it has been DECADES since I made her treats with my own two hands. Like, half her LIFE ago. Clearly I do not love her anymore. This dehydrator could change all that. Put me back on her top human list again, maybe even above the woman at the bakery who gave her a cinnamon twist. I need to enter this giveaway. My precarious relationship with the muttski demands it.

There is just one obstacle to this scheme. In order to enter, I need to come up with my own recipe.This is weave-pole level of trickiness because I do not cook. Ever. And the few times I have, that one weird afternoon several years ago in which I saw myself as the next Food Network star*, I required the use of several cookbooks. How am I supposed to come up with my own ingredients, my own techniques, and my own cooking methods when I have never even used a dehydrator before?

Instead of freaking out and giving up before I even started, I decided to get creative.

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Coconut and pineapple, this is about as creative as I get.

A quick browse for inspiration online showed me what I had already suspected. Most of the easy dog recipes involve beef and other red meats that my dog’s sensitive stomach does not tolerate. I know. She chows down garbage on a daily basis but one handful of lamb kibble has Shiva waking me up several times throughout the night. Building a recipe with cheap ingredients I already had at home was looking even more complicated if I was going to keep my dog’s guts intact.

So I did what I do best when research has failed me: made stuff up.

Looking through my cupboards, I couldn’t help but notice the gargantuan jar of peanut butter taking up the middle shelf. The peanut butter shelf. This stuff is practically a food group in our house. Though it may not be a traditional item in a dehydrated treat – based on what I found, anyway – I knew there had to be a way to incorporate it into my concoction.

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Tinfoil makes the mess go away

Cue to me throwing a whole bunch of crap into a bowl, rolling the mixture into balls, and shoving it in the oven for eleventy-seven hours. Yes, I ended up sticking with what I know, baking cookies. We can’t all be culinary geniuses.

To be honest, I also kind of cheated. Since I had to use the oven and since I did it at the last minute and since I have no idea how to make anything without a recipe and SINCE I gave myself less than an hour to pull this together… The treats didn’t turn out as dehydrated as I would have liked. They were also made with pre-dried packaged ingredients instead of the real deal. But in theory, I do believe this would work. No, I am convinced it would work given a more dedicated cook and the right equipment.

Whatever, the dog still likes them.

Tasting the "dough"

Tasting the “dough”

Prove me wrong?

Here is my beautiful, if impatient, recipe for dehydrated hermit dog cookies:

You will need:

1 healthy portion of coconut**
3 or 4 handfuls of dried fruit, can be a mix of different ones, pick your dog’s favourites!
Grated carrot. (This was my PH’s addition. I think as the resident chef, he felt left out.)
Lots of spoonfuls of peanut butter. I kind of just added as I went, enough to make everything stick together but not too much to make it extra goopy.

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Dump all of the ingredients into a bowl. Doesn’t matter what order, we’re not making brioche here. Mix them up. I like to use a wooden spoon. (My PH, the actual cook, said a metal one is better. Pshaw.) When the peanut butter looks like it has formed a cookie-like dough, or when your arm is tired, shape the mixture into small balls.

Dry in your oven or dehydrator at a low temperature for eleventy-seven hours or until they look crispy and like they won’t fall apart in your hands.

Makes about… Jeepers, I don’t know how many, a bowlful?

If you feel like something a little special, add a garnish of grated carrot and a spring of green leaf lettuce.

Voila!

Voila!

So… They may have turned out more crumbly than I anticipated. That doesn’t mean the recipe doesn’t work. It just means my oven isn’t a dehydrator. I challenge the winner of this competition to try this and I guarantee it will work. And if it doesn’t? I’ll owe you a signed picture of Shiva.***

This "treat" looks questionable. At least there is lettuce.

This “treat” looks questionable. At least there is lettuce.

Have you ever made your own treat recipe? Did your pets like it? I think I am going to stick to my usual method of hanging out in the living room reading blogs while my PH cooks. It seems safer and is far more successful.

*Yeah, I had this idea that me drunk on wine while baking cheesecake would make a brilliant show. This was after my idea for a travel show in which I drank wine while touring historical landmarks. Like “The Thirsty Traveler” only more nerdy.

**What? You expected proper measurements?

***Yes, I am still trying to give these away. 

Simplify and Beautify! I Will Have Both!

My goal these days is to combat the overwhelm, end the glorification of busy. I was caught up in that wicked trap of thinking the more I did the more I needed to do for too long. It didn’t make me a better person. Mostly, I just did a whole lot of things as quick as I could, praying it was “good enough”, before leaping into the next task. It did no one any favours. No wonder I spent every weekend passed out on the couch, using Shiva as a pillow, ignoring all the work I had to do around the home, wondering if I was ever going to stop dreading Monday.

No more.

Granted, there are always going to be times when the sheer amount of stuff piles up and I feel that familiar rise of panic. Tis the nature of the beast. But I am going to try very hard to cut down on my thinking I need to do all the things all the time as fast as possible.  I’d love to say I am going to eliminate this train of thought entirely but then I would just stress that I wasn’t doing it properly and it would be one more thing keeping me up at night. So I am going to try. When I feel my shoulders tensing in anticipation of an immense workload, instead of ducking my head and attempting to bulldoze through like Shiva on an agility course, I am going to take a deep breath and ask for help.

That’s the goal, anyway.

Project Simplification Commence!

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Part of this whole mental conversion is taking the time to enjoy, to get to know myself better, and figure out what is important to me. Not to my boss or my barista or that person I see at the bus stop every day, but to me. It’s not an easy process. Especially when life interrupts in its typical jackass fashion. Being instinctively lazy, I’ve been tempted to avoid a lot of the hard work. That’s why I have to make at least a part of it a little more fun.

This is where the blog comes in. I have finally – for now – figured out what I want to do with this space. It only took me three? four? twenty thousand? years? Now that I know, I want its appearance to match its direction and purpose. After all, the online world is a strictly visual one. However, the thought of embarking on a redesign makes the ol’ panic crawl up from my belly. And what am I supposed to do when I get that feeling?

Ask for help.

This is where the brilliant and creative AJ Emm comes in. The same talented individual who envisioned the current style, has agreed to tackle its next incarnation. I have no idea why. I guess she likes a challenge. I feel so lucky to get to work with someone as kind and helpful, someone who knows what I want without me having a clue how to articulate it.

Stay tuned for Rescued Insanity: Simplified

In the meantime, you have an opportunity to receive a bit of AJ’s genius yourself. She is so generous with her skills, she wants to give you a gift – a custom portrait of the special pet (or person) in your life. I almost don’t even want to share this amazing opportunity with you as I kind of covet the prize for myself.  Who wouldn’t want an adorable keepsake like this?

max_patches_3-01I am lucky enough to know both of the animals featured in this portrait and trust me, this is the closest the two have ever gotten to each other. AJ is magic like that.

Want to enter? Check out the details below!

 
 
 
 
 
 

One lucky winner will receive a single pet illustration or a digital portrait,

custom made based on their own loved ones pictures.

(If you have already ordered a portrait or want to order one to ensure holiday delivery,
the cost will be refunded to you or you can choose to have a second custom piece created.)

 

Click here to order your portrait now, Save 25% by using coupon code UNICORN at the check out!

and enter below for your chance to win.

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If Only The Love Dog Was A Real Thing in The World

There need to be more reality shows on television that feature dogs. I never thought I would type those first nine words. Let me paraphrase. There need to be more dog shows on television. One could make the argument there are plenty of dog shows on Animal Planet and other cable, specialty channels. That’s not enough for me any more. There is a wide, dog-less hole in network television howling to be filled. I can’t think of a single show since Lassie – or the better, Canadian equivalent, The Littlest Hobo – that gave a dog a prominent role. It’s just wrong.

51cbbukMnvL._SL500_AA300_I came to this conclusion after reading Elsa Watson‘s latest book, titled The Love Dog. When I was approached to review the book, I had no idea I could be sucked in to the idea of a reality show – even one that stars a gorgeous Golden Retriever. Especially a dating reality show. Yes, I love dogs. But my disdain for dating shows knows no bounds. I pride myself on being one of the least sentimental people on the planet. Heck, I don’t even know the date of my own anniversary! Shows about romantic love hold little interest for me. I have yet to see one episode of The Bachelor. Yet, it wasn’t long after I opened The Love Dog that I was hooked on central concept.

Elsa Watson is on to something pretty brilliant.

I should clarify that her book is a work of fiction. It is a story about a dog named Apollo who had been trained to perform on a reality program designed to repair relationships. Like most reality shows, this one is scripted. Well, at first anyway. It becomes bit more complicated than that but I don’t want to give too much away.

The story is light, fun, and entertaining, even if you have no interest in reading about a celebrity canine. The narrative is broken up into different parts and perspectives, which gives a full picture of each character’s experiences. My favourite parts, naturally, were those written in Apollo’s point of view.

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Author Watson has a great handle on the rich inner life I like to think dogs lead. Apollo is a special dog for a lot of reasons but he still experienced many of the same desires of many dogs I know. I really appreciated the delicate approach the book applied to his emotions without overly anthropomorphizing.  It did not surprise me at all to learn from her website that Elsa Watson lives with two equally special dogs. Their inspiration definitely comes through in her writing. I knew immediately I would like the book’s writer when I read her motto: “Any day on which you pet a dog is a good day.”

Can’t argue with that.

It might sound silly, but I think a show like the one Watson created in her novel, would be just as big a success in real life. I’d love to see an actual televised version of The Love Dog. Disdain for corny romance aside, I do believe dogs have the ability to bring people together. It’s always beautiful to watch people fall in love with their animals. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, my PH’s cat was one of the largest reasons I agreed to go out with him. He is proof our pets are capable of uniting us. It’s time a major network gave a dog a chance to reach fame in our living rooms once more.

Or perhaps I am just as sentimental as everyone else after all.

If you would like to meet Apollo yourself, I have some happy news! One lucky reader has a chance to win a copy of Elsa Watson’s latest book right here on this blog. To enter, just leave a comment below by Friday, February 1st at midnight Pacific. I’ll run them through Random.org and announce the winner next week! Thank you so much for participating!

Making Myself Feel Better With a Giveaway

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2013 is living up to its unlucky number. It’s been one bully of a month and it’s not over yet. Posting here has been sporadic and half-hearted at best and I apologize sincerely for that. The last thing I want is to turn this place into a vacuum for my selfish whining. Annoyingly, all I feel like doing is indulging in a childish tantrum. So to preserve what modicum of respect you may have for me, I’ve been pretty silent.

You deserve better. This blog deserves better. I’ve never been very good at pretending to be something I’m not. I think one of the best things I have to offer is my authentic truth. It just sucks when said truth isn’t very motivating. Or entertaining.

Instead of penning one more self-indulgent post that no one should read, I am working hard to channel my inner Shiva. After an altercation or stressful situation, she runs in a circle, shakes herself off, and then gets back in the game. I’d like to do the same. Consider this ramble my version of running around with my head cut off.

Or you could just play with me!

Or you could just play with me!

Here’s the thing. Ever since BarkWorld I’ve had this gift card for Petco that I can’t use. You see, there are no Petco’s in Canada. It’s a downer for sure. I’ve been hanging on to it anyway in hopes of staging an awesome giveaway. From the looks of things, that’s not going to happen. Instead, I am going to use it in the hopes of making myself feel better. Wanna play along?

All you have to do for a chance to win is share your favourite animal video! I’m thinking I just need a mega cuteness fix. There is no problem an adorable fuzzy creature can’t solve, right? This is my theory, anyway. Share your go-to happy video in the comments below and enter the Rafflecopter for a chance to win $10 at Petco. It’s a win-win for us all! You’ll have until, say, Saturday, to post the link and I’ll announce the winner on Monday. Does that work?

Ready… Steady… Go!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Drumroll Please….Advent Calendar for Dog Lovers Winners Are Announced!

calendarWelcome to the final installment of the Advent Calendar for Dog Lovers hosted by Kol’s NotesPupLoveRescued InsanityWoof Woof Mama & I Still Want More Puppies!

Eeee! I can’t believe it’s finally time for my favourite part of any giveaway. It’s time to announce the winners of the Advent Calendar for Dog Lovers!

For twenty-four straight days in December the above blogs and I tantalized you with wicked dog products. After calculating all of the entries, the official winners have been randomly selected. I have the honour of announcing the lucky individuals who scored the prizes from day 9 all the way to day 16. Woo hoo!

My warm congratulations go to…

9. EMILY GOODMAN has won a custom cardboard cut out of her dog, hand drawn by the talented Jo Malone of Studio Legohead perfect for displaying on a shelf or a desk.

 

10. SHARON GILBERT has won an Orbee-Tuff Interactive Mazee Treat Ball and EATS Treats from Planet Dog.

 

 

11. KATE VOLZ has won a selection of tasty, all natural US made treats and chews from the Jones Natural Chews.

 

 

12. ROZY NOZY has won a Big Bone Convertible Cushion from P.L.A.Y. Pet Lifestyle and You.

 

 

13. JESSICA MARIE ROBINSON has won Meaty Bites treats from Addiction Pet Food.

 

 

14. KAT ESTRIDGE is taking home a Santa’s House Zippy Burrow Dog toy and a stuffingless Squeakie Pup Husky toy from Zippy Paws.

 

 

15. NIKKIE CORSSAIRT has won the new KONG Bounzer and Wild Knots toys from KONG Company.

 

 

16. TORI has won a set of the Holiday Angry Birds toys from Hartz Pets!

 

 

*happy dance*

If you don’t see your name, that doesn’t mean you didn’t win! Make sure to check out my fellow hosts PupLove and I Still Want More Puppies to see if you won the daily prize. All winners will be receiving an email this weekend with the full details.

And… Don’t forget to head over to Kol’s Notes to find out who won the fantastic Grand Prize! You never know, it might be you.

My heartfelt thanks go out to all who participated. I had such a blast this year and I hope you did too!

Advent Calendar for Dog Lovers Day Eleven

Welcome to the Advent Calendar for Dog Lovers hosted by Kol’s NotesPupLoveRescued InsanityWoof Woof Mama & I Still Want More Puppies





Every day between now and December 24th, we’ll be giving away great prizes – plus every time you enter to win a daily prize, you’ll be entered to win our fabulous Grand Prize Package worth more than $1000 featuring gifts from each of our 24 fantastic sponsors! 

Today I have the honour of presenting the latest treat in the Advent Calendar for Dog Lovers. One of my favourite traditions as a child was the chocolate calendars my mother used to buy for us on December 1st. A true anticipation junkie, the candy itself meant nothing to me. It was all about forcing myself to wait for the next day.

 

I gotta say, this dog blog version is ten times as exciting as opening up the paper square to reveal a tiny chocolate.That’s because I get to share the joy with you!

 

Without further delay, we’re proud to introduce today’s sponsor, Jones Natural Chews!

If your dog is anything like Shiva, he or she loves to chew. In some dogs it’s borderline compulsive. If he they’re not given an outlet for all that chewing, they’ll chew something you don’t want – like your shoes.

 

Not that Shiva has ever done that (Great Shoe Disaster of 2009). Ahem.

 

Give them chews they’ll love and you can feel good about from Jones Natural Chews.

All the chews from Jones natural are made in the United States using U.S. Meat Products. They are certified as as 100% US Made and have stringent quality controls in place. This means you can be confident their products are quality assured.
Tasty Braided Beef Bully Sticks
Jones has a terrific selection of treats to choose from! They’ve got everything from meaty chews – like bully sticks and beef tendons – to jerky, and sausage! Plus a wide variety of naturally processed & preserved bones.
Chickly Links

Dogs love the great meaty tasty of Jones Natural Chews!

Jones Natural is giving today’s lucky winner a huge prize pack of their awesome chews, plus they’re adding a prize pack to our fabulous grand prize package!
Tasty, tasty prizes!
Enter now for your chance to win and check out the entire Advent Calendar for more chances to win great prizes!
You must complete the Rafflecopter to be eligible to win. 
GOOD LUCK!

 


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Chewy.com Giveaway Winner!

The time has come to announce the winner of the Black Friday Chewy.com Giveaway. Are you ready? The winner of the Blue Buffalo Wilderness Trail Chicken Jerky Treats is…

Kelly Ann! Congratulations to her and her beautiful rescue dog, Artie! Isn’t he a stunner?

 

I hope he enjoys the treats! Here was her winning comment:

“My dogs will do anything for peanut butter frosty paws or treats.”

Shiva is a pretty big peanut butter fan as well. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that without this stinky nut butter, we may not have gotten as far with her separation anxiety as we have. A little peanut butter in a Kong goes a very long way to soothing our neurotic puppy.

Overall, Shiva seems to prefer novelty more than any specific treat. It doesn’t matter if it is just a new variety of kibble or a hunk of meat. If it smells interesting and different, she wants it more than anything else in the world. There have been times where I have pulled her away from tempting fast food wrappers with boring old dog biscuits, simply because she had never had those exact dog biscuits before. It’s all about the newness factor for our Sheevs. I can’t blame her, really. As an experience junkie, I can definitely relate.

Thanks to all who participated in the giveaway! I have a feeling there will be many more great opportunities to come!