I’m a Travelling Dog!

Mommy said we did not have internet for a long time so I couldn’t send out my blog!  I wrote it anyway so I will get caught up very soon! 

Mommy says I can’t call the New House, the New House anymore.  She says it is just Our House.  I’m going to call it the House-that-comes-with-us-in-the-Car, because that is what it does!  It is really weird to have your house come with you in your car but sometimes it’s good.  My bed and my dish are right there with me!  I can lay right in my bed, in my House-that-comes-with-us-in-the-Car, and look at my Mommy.  I like that.  Auntie Debbie says that now I am a Travelling Dog!  She rubs my head when she says that so I guess it’s a good thing!

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This is me in my little bed! I like to take naps when we are travelling

Yesterday, we went to Little Rock, Arkansas.  Mommy said that a President used to live here!  I did not think that was interesting.  My friend, Haley’s, mom came here once though, so I guess that is interesting.  I did find a little rock and I did pee on it so I have left my mark on Arkansas!  We did not meet anyone interesting or any other dogs at that stopping place.  This morning we drove and drove and drove.  I decided to take a nap because it was boring to be a Travelling Dog, even if I get my ears rubbed!  Then Mommy stopped at a New Place!  It had so many trees!  I sniffed and sniffed all of the trees.  I found a big stick and I carried it all around with me.  It was so much fun!   Auntie Debbie took lots of pictures of me with my stick but she couldn’t get them from her Camera to Mommy’s Computer!

 

After we went to Arkansas, we went to Oklahoma!  We drove and drove and drove! The roads are kind of bumpy in Oklahoma.  Even bumpier than they are in Arkansas!  Then we drove on the bumpiest road ever!  Everything in the House-that-comes-with-us-in-the-Car was shaking really hard, even me!  I thought that Our House would shake apart!  Mommy did not like driving on that road.  But then we stopped at a really nice place!  There was a dog there, named Cocoa!  He played with me.  I did not bite him because he was so gentle and nice.  His eyes were different colors.  Mommy said he might be from Australia, too!  After I played with Cocoa, I was tired so I went into the House-that-comes-with-us-in-the-Car and I went to sleep. 

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This is Mommy’s bed in the House that comes with us in the car! It’s very comfortable.

I Met A Big Dog!

Today’s Adventure was very Interesting.  I was in Nashville and Mommy’s friend, Stephanie came to where the New House was parked and we got to go ride in her car!  We went to her house and there was a Giant Dog there!  His name is Walter and he is the Biggest Dog I have ever seen! 

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Mommy said it was best to have a door between me and Walter!

Mommy made me wear my muzzle because she thought I would bite Walter.  I thought Walter was a cow because he was so Big so I tried to herd him around.  He is a puppy still and he could not stop trying to play with me.  I told him “No” and he did not listen so I tried to bite him.  Mommy said it’s a good thing I had my muzzle on because if Walter had bitten back it would have been a Bad Day!  After a little bit, Walter and I ran around and chased and played.  I was very tired when we got back in Stephanie’s car and went back to the New House. 

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Walter is Huge! I gave him What For!

Mommy let me stay in my crate (she bought me a special new crate for the New House) and she and Stephanie and Auntie Debbie went someplace called the Grand Ole Opry.  Mommy said that Country Music Stars go there to sing.  I don’t know why Mommy went there.  She can’t sing! 

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Mommy and Auntie Debbie went here but I stayed in my crate like a Good Dog!

I met a Nice Man at the New House place.  He is from Australia!  When Mommy told him that I am an Australian Cattle Dog, he gave me lots and lots of Cuddles!  He even gave me a little Koala to clip to my collar!  I love my little Koala but Mommy won’t let me chew on it!  Every time he walked past, the Nice Man would say “Ozzie, Ozzie, Ozzie” and give me cuddles!  I liked that!

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This is me and my Koala that the Nice Man gave me!

Tonight, Mommy and Auntie Debbie did something Surprising!  They built a Fire, on PURPOSE!  I did not like that at all.  Fires are dangerous!  Mommy said that “it’s okay” but I did not believe her!  I stayed far away from the fire.  Mommy said that was being a Good Dog so I think I am right about the fire!

Tomorrow, we are going to drive and drive again!  We are going to a place called Little Rock.  I will find that little rock and I will pee on it!

My New House Moves!

Today, the Adventure started. I climbed up my stairs and got in my new little bed with my Blankie and Mommy put on my Harness.  I hate my Harness.  It hugs me and makes me Calm Down.  I don’t like to Calm Down!  But Mommy said I Have To Wear It because the New House is like going in a car.  Going in a car is fun because I get to go to School and I get to go the see my friend, Dr. Watson.  But Mommy did not tell the Truth!  The New House is not like going in a car!  I sit in a little bed and the Whole House goes with us in the car!  I Do Not Like It!  Today, I sat in my little bed, right behind Mommy while she was driving.  Auntie Debbie is coming with us in the New House that is not like a car.  She would pet my head when I told her I didn’t like it.  She told me I was being a Very Good Boy!  I did not feel like a Very Good Boy!  I felt like a Sad Dog!

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I told Auntie Debbie that I did not like the New House!

I decided to take a Nap and maybe I would like the New House better.  When I woke up from my Nap, Mommy opened the door of the New House and we weren’t at Home!  There were all kinds of things to sniff and smell!  I sniffed where Other Dogs had been.  They left some messages and some of them have New Houses that move too!  I didn’t know that Other Dogs had Adventures! 

We got in the New House again and I got in my little bed and Auntie Debbie drove the New House for a little while.  I was unhappy so I held paws with Mommy for a while and then I felt better.

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Holding paws with Mommy makes me feel better!

 Mommy has a New Bed in the New House.  It is softer than our old bed so I like it.  I snuggled with Mommy and slept all night long!  Since the New Bed is in the New House, maybe I will like it better now.  We got up Really Early in the morning, which made Auntie Debbie kind of mad!  She doesn’t like to get up early like me and Mommy do!

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I am guarding the New House!

We are going to travel some more today and then we will stop someplace called Nashville for two days.  Mommy says we will visit her friend, Stephanie.  I met Stephanie before and I like her.  She has a little dog the same size as me.  I wonder if we will be friends.  I’m not always friendly to Other Dogs but Mommy says I have to Learn to Get Along.  I don’t know what that means but I guess I will figure it out!

The Adventure Begins!

This is Snickers again!  Mommy has been having a hard time and has been very busy so she is going to let me write the blog for the next Month!  It’s going to be a lot of work but I Can Do It!  So, here goes!

 

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I had to think about what I was going to write!

Mommy came home the other day and said that the Adventure is starting!  Then she started to take all of the Stuff out of My House!

The other day, Mommy put me in my favorite crate and went away for a Very Long Time!  Then, she Finally came home!  She came inside and said, “Snickers, the Adventure is about to start.  I finally got our new house.  You wanna go see it?”  When Mommy says, “You wanna go?”  I always do!  So I jumped up and said “Yes, Yes, Yes!”.  Then she put my leash on and we went Outside and she took me to this Giant Box and it was Interesting!  It smelled like Other People and a little bit like Other Dogs.  It has a bed in it and it has a chair and a table and a door.  It is like a House, but it is Smaller than My House and it has wheels like a car.  Mommy was very excited but I didn’t think it was that exciting.  I wanted to go for a Walk!

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This is the box that Mommy brought home!

A few days later, Mommy put me in my crate and Started Taking My Stuff out of My House!  She took out the big box that stands beside my Dish that she kept her dishes in.  She took out the Table that sits on the other side of my Dish!  She took a lot of boxes that I liked and I wanted to stay in My House!  She did not take My Dish.  I yelled really loud while she did this!  I Barked and Barked and Barked!  She worked All Day and took so many things out of My House!  Then, on another day, she had Strangers come and take more stuff out of My House!  I was Really Mad!  Every day, Mommy would let me sit in her lap and tell her how mad I was.  She would cuddle me and tell me that Everything Will Be Okay.  She kept saying that we will have an Adventure and that we will have fun Together in our New House. 

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I was not happy that Mommy took stuff out of the house!

Every day we would go to our New House and some of our Stuff would be there!  It was starting to smell like My House!  It even had some of my Treats in it!  Mommy let me carry one of my Toys over there and leave it there and I can play with it when I go to the New House. 

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I still have my favorite toy, Bluey, so I am going to be Okay!

Now, almost everything is gone from My House!  Lots of things are in the New House and it smells almost right!  I have a Bed that Mommy says is Just For Me!  My Dish and My Crate and My Blankie are still in My House but Mommy says that they are going to the New House in three days and then the Adventure will start! 

I don’t know what an Adventure is but I am Interested!

I love cooking with Sou Vide!

First of all, I’d like to thank Snickers for taking over the blog last week.  I have been very busy and really appreciate his attempt to cover for me.  He’s so sweet and helpful and I’m glad you all have had a chance to hear from him.  I will let him do a lot of the writing when we take off on our adventure.  For today, back to food…

I have been using a sou vide machine for about two months now.  I had been thinking about getting one for over a year but it seemed kind of frivolous and I wasn’t sure I would use it enough to justify the expense.  But when I decided to downsize my kitchen, and after doing a lot of research, I realized that this tool could take up a small space and do a lot of work!

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Way too hot for fish!  Needs 130 degrees for only 30 minutes!  This was set up for something else!

“Sou Vide” is French for “under vacuum”.  It describes a form of cooking where you vacuum seal a piece of food, submerge it in water, and cook it slowly at a low, steady temperature.  This ensures that the food never exceeds the perfect level of doneness.  Vegetables stay crisp and don’t lose any nutrition into their cooking water, because they don’t ever contact the cooking water.  Chicken breasts cannot dry out because they don’t get hot enough to squeeze the moisture out of them, as so often happens when they are baked or sautéed.  Beef remains at a perfect medium rare (my preferred temperature for the quintessential steak).  I have even learned to enjoy cooking fish, my kitchen nemesis! 

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All set up and ready to go!

If you’ve checked out my yogurt post of a week or so ago, you’ve seen my sou vide machine in action.  It’s perfect for keeping the milk and culture mixture at the perfect temperature for curd development.  It makes the entire yogurt making process easy, and relatively care free. 

There are a variety of machines on the market.  Some will attach to your phone via Bluetooth or wifi.  The benefit of these machines is that they come with recipes on your phone or the company’s website, which can make the process pretty foolproof.  I don’t like the idea of any website tracking my cooking and kitchen habits (except this one) so I decided to go a little more basic.  I just fill a container with water, clip the machine onto the edge, making sure that the water is between the minimum and maximum water lines and plug it in.  I can set the water temperature and cooking time, then just press the “on” button and prepare my food while the water heats to the correct temperature.  I have to do a little more research but my kitchen doesn’t tell anyone what I’m doing!

Today, I decided to tackle (hah!) fish in the sou vide water bath.  I found some swordfish steaks at my local grocery store that looked pretty good so decided to give it a try. 

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Swordfish steak with za’atar and sumac

 

I patted my swordfish steak dry with a paper towel and sprinkled both sides with salt and pepper.  I looked in the spice cupboard and found some Za’tar, a Middle Eastern herb and spice blend containing thyme, sumac, sesame seeds and other herbs.  This is one of my favorite mixtures for chicken and fish as it is flavorful but not overwhelming.  I added a little extra sumac because it adds a citrusy tang and I didn’t have any lemon zest on hand.  I placed it in the vacuum bag with a little bit of olive oil and sealed it up. 

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I heat the water bath up to 130 degrees Fahrenheit.  This is the perfect temperature for swordfish, according to the temperature guide that came with my machine.  After clipping the bag of vacuum sealed fish and spices into the water, I set the timer for 30 minutes.  After the timer went off, I took out the packet, dried it off and sliced off the top.  While flavorful and perfectly cooked, the appearance of my steak leaves much to be desired.  It’s pallid, pale, and pasty looking!  Easily fixed!  I heat up my trusty cast iron skillet to rocket temperatures and slap that steak onto the blazing surface.  Wait 30 seconds, flip it over, wait another 30 seconds and a perfectly golden seared surface appears.  Crispy, tasty, and perfectly tender inside, the lovely swordfish steak becomes an elegant entrée. 

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Believe me, it tasted better than it looked!

Sou vide cooking is easy, takes up very little space, and does not heat up a kitchen on a steamy summer day.  An added benefit is that my dish washing water is already hot.  I just need to pour it into the sink and add soap! 

I am Snickers!

Hi, everyone! 

My name is Snickers.  I took over Mommy’s blog because she hasn’t had any time to write.  Besides, she just writes about food and doesn’t share any of the yummy smelling things she cooks with me!  Since I am much more important and interesting than food, I decided that I will write the blog this time. 

 

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This is my face before my haircut!

My dog mother was a Schnauzer and my dog father was an Australian Cattle Dog.  Mommy says that this means that I have a Lot of Energy!  Someone told Mommy that my father was something called a “Yorkie” but Mommy knew that wasn’t right because I got so big and was so bouncy!  She did something called a “DNA test” that told her the truth about me! 

I like to run Really Fast and I like to Chase.  I love to play Fetch.  I go get my ball and bring it to Mommy and tell her “Throw” (she understands barking) and she throws my ball so many times!  I get so happy when I can play Fetch.  Mommy even got me some Cows because I am a Cattle Dog and needed some!  I have five stuffed Cows with squeakies in them.  I love to have Mommy throw the Cows and I go get them and let her throw them lots and lots!  Sometimes I chew on them to make them squeak really loud.

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This is me and one of my 5 cows!

I have lived with Mommy for two years.  I came to live with her because the lady I lived with before didn’t have time to take care of me.  I had to stay in a crate all the time and didn’t get to play or run around or chase balls, or any of the fun things that Mommy lets me do.  I was very unhappy.  When I first came to live with Mommy I didn’t know any Rules but I learned quickly.  Mommy says that now I am a Very Good Dog.  I don’t know what that means but Mommy gives me lots of tummy scratches when she says it!

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Mommy says this is my Mischief face!

Mommy was sad when I came to live with her because her friend, Copper, had just died.  Her other friend, Baron, was sad too.  He cried all day until I came to be his new little brother.  Baron taught me how to be a Very Good Dog!  He couldn’t play very much because his legs were tired and his back hurt most of the time, but he liked to watch me play and run.  He told me that he used to run and play and chase and sniff, just like I do!  He went to go be with Copper in December and I miss him a lot.  Before he died, he told me that I have to take care of Mommy. 

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This is Baron. He was tired a lot.

 

I do a Good Job when I take care of Mommy.  I bark at all the dogs who walk past our house.  I let them know that they can’t come in our house and hurt my Mommy.  Sometimes, Mommy tells me to “Be Quiet” when I bark but she doesn’t know that those dogs are Dangerous!  She has no idea how many times I have saved her life by telling those dogs to Go Away!

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I have lots of stories to tell so I will write Mommy’s blog sometimes.  Mommy said we are going to have an Adventure soon.  I don’t know what an Adventure is, but Mommy says we will have fun.  All I know is that the house has lots of boxes in it.  But none of my Toys are in the boxes and my dish is where it belongs so everything is Okay.  And I am still a Very Good Dog.  (Mommy says I used too many exclamation points but that’s How I Roll!)

I made homemade, lactose-free yogurt!

Grocery shopping when you are allergic and food intolerant can be rather difficult. The frozen food section is full of enticing pre-made meal offerings, most of which contain ooey, gooey, delicious cheese. The produce section contains dangerous items like cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and kale, none of which I can eat. The canned food aisle is full of beans. Nuts are everywhere and in everything!

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Photo by Fancycrave.com on Pexels.com

I wander over to the dairy section to grab my lactose-free milk to make some homemade farmer’s cheese (yum!) and glance longingly at the yogurt section. I see a sign. “Lactose-Free Yogurt” it says! My heart leaps, then sinks slowly to my feet as I realize that it is made from soy milk, or almond milk, or cashew milk. Still nothing for me. I decided to search the internet for assistance. Surely there are recipes for lactose-free yogurt out there. What I found out is that there are lots of recipes for homemade yogurt, most of which require the use of…yogurt. Sigh. With a lot more searching, I finally found a recipe for lactose-free yogurt that used nut milk and a culture that could be purchased online. I decided to try an experiment with my lactose-free milk (thank you, Lactaid!) and this recipe and see what I ended up with. I ordered some Bulgarian yogurt cultures from Amazon and gave it a shot.  Neither of these companies pay me to advertise for them…I just have good results from using them.

 


I heated up the milk with my sou-vide machine (my new favorite kitchen tool) to 180 degrees F and held it there for 30 minutes.

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I then cooled it to 110 degrees F in an ice bath in the sink.

I added the cultures and poured it into a jar. Since I wasn’t sure what part lactose (the milk sugar I cannot digest) plays in the development of yogurt-y goodness, I added a tablespoon of honey (from my sister’s bees) just in case sugar was a necessary component.

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I put the jar back into the sou vide bath with the timer set for 24 hours at 110 degrees F.  I knew I wouldn’t need that long but wanted to over estimate just in case.  It only took 6 hours.

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The instructions that came with the yogurt cultures said to check after 5 hours. I stuck a spoon into the jar at hour 6 and a glistening spoonful of whey appeared atop a creamy concoction that looked an awful lot like yogurt!

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Whey on top of gelled yogurt.

The jar came out of the water bath and into the refrigerator it went. A couple of hours later, I opened the jar and took a taste. Sweet, tangy, creamy and delicious yogurt!

Since I like Greek yogurt better than regular yogurt I had to strain the initial supply into a thicker form. Coffee filters work really well for this, but I had to strain it in small batches of two cups at a time.

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I ended up with a little over two pints of creamy Greek yogurt from two quarts of milk.

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Two pints plus a half cup of strained yogurt

I kept out six tablespoons of the original yogurt to make another batch.

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Unstrained yogurt saved for the next batch.

I have never liked plain yogurt before but this stuff is delightful. I have mixed it with a cut up peach, sprinkled it with granola, eaten it plain, and mixed it with cherry jam so far. I think I can see tzatziki in my future!

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Fresh yogurt with cherry jam!

 

According to what I’ve read, I can make more yogurt from this yogurt.  I do feel a sense of obligation to those six little tablespoons of starter yogurt that I set aside. I don’t know how long the cultures will live in my refrigerator and how soon I have to make more yogurt. But so far, I am happy with the stuff I have and have found myself turning to yogurt with fruit as a tasty snack. I’ve already eaten most of the original batch and will make more this weekend.  Experiment successful!

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Fresh yogurt with fresh peaches!

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