Posts Tagged by Foodie
|July 31, 2015||Posted by Ruth under Inspirational & motivational, Lifestyle, Mindfulness, Pup culture, Recipes, Seasonal, Soul food, Videos|
On a blue moon eve, we’re relishing life’s sweetness.
In the midst of rapid-fire, life-altering, all-good changes for Rusty & I, one thing remains a constant: change itself. Perhaps counterintuitively, that is what makes life oh-so-sweet.
Because only change is certain, mindfulness is essential.
Gazing at the moon, I know the now is everything. In the now, be present, be grateful, and let go. Let go of what’s past, what’s not yours to control. Don’t cling to what’s bound to change. Ultimately, mindfulness creates happiness in the face of chaos.
Last month I briefly tuned into
news chaos after a self-imposed grey-out.
I had enjoyed a creatively productive morning, solving problems in my head (writing ideas, organizational solutions, meal planning & laying out my week’s agenda). Then, seeking a break, I plugged in & immediately became less positively productive. I made the mistake of perusing media, which I’d intentionally avoided for the past week. Suddenly: prison-break killers loose in NY; another Bush political ad (the drumbeat begins); a raccoon apocalyptically rides an alligator (because Florida); shark attacks; escaped Georgian zoo animals; & a flooding-likely tropical storm in the Gulf. Now, I questioned: I care, BUT, do I need any of this noisy info? Simply, no.
In a blink, none of that din matters in my life. But this moment did:
Last week, a tall friend rescued a distressed hummingbird from my patio skylight. It was an exercise in gratitude. I was thankful for his help, as was, I believe, the hummingbird. Later in the day, my friend randomly & sincerely said, as though he was a boy describing magic, “I got to hold a hummingbird this morning.” I hadn’t even thought about it that way. What a gift to us all.
Shift gears to get to the sweet stuff, which sustains & surrounds us more than chaos.
It’s in the hummingbird’s beauty & flight to freedom. It’s in the rewardable moment when a jumping puppy fleetingly has four paws on the floor. And it’s in life’s happy accidents. (Accidents? I don’t believe in them. They are our teachers: serendipities the Universe wants us to see.)
Rusty & I had a sweet, serendipitous kitchen moment.
As I inhaled a garlic bagel smothered in cream cheese, topped with dill, capers & smoked salmon – I noticed Rusty’s stare. Say what you will, I was under poodle mind control. I covered some cantaloupe with smoked salmon (just a bit ‘cuz it’s salty, but safely cooked) and shared the bounty with my foodie fido. On a rushed morning, together, we created a blissful, in-the moment, savory summery-snack.
Rusty’s always been a canine cantaloupe connoisseur:
So, silently reflect on tonight’s moon.
There’s wisdom in that silence. A blue moon is about setting clear intentions. My suggestion: Take 10 minutes to aim for mindfulness. Marvel at the moon as you howl with Pup. Last full moon, Rusty & I tipped our heads back & let it rip. Soon, the neighborhood’s pooches joined our chorus. It was magical.
Intentions are powerful.
Set them thoughtfully, positively. Send them sweetly, heartfeltly. Choose an intention of daily mindfulness. With practice, your mindset will shift to one blessed with spontaneity, creativity, appreciation, self-knowledge & happiness. What a lovely, wondrous starting point in a blue moon – a savor-worthy summer event.
What are you waiting for? Get your howl on! xo ~Ruth & Rusty~
- “With freedom, books, flowers, and the moon, who could not be happy?” ~Oscar Wilde
- “If you’re trying to find out what comes next, turn off everything you own that has an OFF switch and listen.” ~Ann Patchett
- “When you wait, you get very clear on what you desire and how much you want it. And when you get clear on what you really want, you can manifest anything.” ~Lissa Rankin
- “An entire sea of water can’t sink a ship unless it gets inside the ship. Similarly, the negativity of the world can’t put you down unless you allow it to get inside you.” ~Goi Nasu
- “Intentions are powerful. Set them thoughtfully, positively. Send them sweetly, heartfeltly.” ~Ruth Hagen
- “Because only change is certain, mindfulness is essential.” ~Ruth Hagen
- “There’s wisdom in the silence.” ~Ruth Hagen
©2015 The Soulful Pet
|January 20, 2015||Posted by Ruth under Inspirational & motivational, Lifestyle, Recipes, Seasonal, Soul food|
So. Let’s take the pulse of your year thus far, shall we?
Resolutions not-so-much? Whining & we’re only weeks into 2015? Right, that’s because you ran that rat race straight into the resolution mousetrap. Have no fear, overwhelmed whiskered-one. There’s a way out – if you’re open to it.
I have a devilishly long 2015 to-do list.
Believe me, I’m the type of gal who would/should, to my mind, accomplish everything by 1/2. Notice I didn’t say “could”. ‘Cuz I can’t…. and neither can you.
Here’s what we can do: Rewrite the rules.
Yep, new rules for the new year. They’re not complicated, they’re cheap & they payoff in spades. Best part: Break ’em & shake ’em if ya wanna!
I’m not a dictator, not even a benevolent one.
I won’t write rules for you. But I will tell you what Rusty & I came up with so far. It’s an evolving list, as it should be. We all evolve (Darwin!): body, mind & soul. To quote Mary Matalin: “Inflexible minds are boring minds.” Boring is not on this list, so flexible we shall be!
Ruth & Rusty’s “Happy Now & Here” Rules:
- No resolutions – ever. See? Easy.
- Always do a twofer. Whenever you can, double up. Buy 2 tickets to a show instead of one. Match a friend to the entertainment & take them. Buy 2 bags of pet food. Donate one to a shelter or give it to a neighbor in need. Make 2 batches of yummies & give one away. (See below for a very shareable recipe!) Buy a sandwich @ the deli, & treat the person behind you to one, too. Bring your trashcan in, and heck, drag the neighbor’s in, too. Got it?
- Take a vacation in your hometown. And talk to people. Learn their names. Take your dog; you’re guaranteed to see things through his nose/eyes you hadn’t noticed before. Convos are randomly uber-easy with Pup nearby, as you know. I find it fascinating how delightfully open folks are around animals. No Fido, & Fluffy just won’t play that? Be a solo tourist; ask people where they like to eat, drink, hike, or hang with art & books. Really listen to their tips and actually go do what they recommend. It’s the best. (Trust me, introverts. You can do it.)
- Purge with purpose. Right, I did it today. I filled & delivered 3 purpose-filled bags: donation, consignment & reuse. In the past, Rusty’s purged unused toys. He doesn’t miss them, but his pals love them. I wholeheartedly believe that less clutter in your space is less clutter in your mind & soul. Besides, Rusty just has too many toys. (Shhh….)
- Choose happiness. If you follow TSP, you know this choice is big. It changed my life. My first week of 2015 was a downer. But I brought it back to happy asap. How? I connect with friends & family I love, who truly love me back. I ask for help. I create beauty. I play with Rusty. (Get on the floor & play with your pet; it’s a whole other world down there!) I exercise, eat well, love with all my heart, sing, dance, bake, sip wine, hug, laugh, & smile with my eyes. I’m curious by nature. I consult Reiki masters, shamans, energy healers, Buddhists & yogis. I read everything. If it lights my soul up, sign me up. What lights your soul up?
Five easy things. Do them simply & sweetly, as often as you like.
Be kind to yourself & others in the process. Do not judge your progress or count how many you’ve done. Do not judge others by their response or count what you receive in return. Just be. Just do. Find yourself & your bliss in the being, doing, giving & receiving of each moment.
Speaking of giveable yummies, try this ridiculously easy recipe.
Each batch is an individual serving that’s frozen. When you’re ready, pop as many servings as you like into the oven and roast away! You can share it with your pets (no garlic or onions, please). Or deliver packaged portions to a friend who’s going through a tough time. Or invite a friend over for an impromptu home-cooked meal.
Ruth’s Rosemary-Mustard Roasted Chicken & Veggies
Ingredients (use organic when you can)
1 lb new potatoes, quartered
2 carrots, peeled & cut into 2-inch sticks
2 medium zucchini, cut into 2-inch sticks
2 fresh rosemary sprigs
course sea salt & pepper
8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
4 1-quart resealable plastic freezer bags
In a large bowl, combine prepped veggies. Stir in 2 Tbs olive oil, 1 1/2 Tbs mustard, 1/2 tsp sea salt & 1/4 tsp pepper. Separately, season the chicken with ground sea salt & pepper, to taste. Divide veggie mix and chicken among the 4 bags. Add 1/2 rosemary sprig to each bag & seal. Freeze, until ready to cook, for up to 3 months. Each bag is one serving. (This cooks best from frozen, so get your chill on!)
To cook: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Empty bag(s) into a baking dish. Roast for 25 minutes. Stir veggies & flip chicken. Roast 20-25 minutes more, occasionally stirring veggies, until chicken is cooked through. Remove the rosemary sprigs & plate up the goodness!
(Rusty chowed on bits of veg & chicken from this dish. If I were making him his own bag, however, I’d leave out the salt & pepper. I’d replace the 1/2 rosemary sprig with 1 Tbs chopped, fresh parsley, mixed into the veggies.)
~Lovingly lifted & tweaked from Real Simple~
Wait…. this just in: Rusty said, “That’s a twofer you can drool fer!” You were expecting Shakespeare? He’s a poodle, peeps. He’s a poodle.
Happy Now & Here! xo ~Ruth & Rusty~
©2015 The Soulful Pet
|February 9, 2014||Posted by Ruth under Inspirational & motivational, Lifestyle, Recipes, Seasonal, Soul food, Worthy reads|
Sigh. My cholesterol’s high.
Not disastrously so, but it surprised my doctor & I @ my last wellness checkup. How could that be? My doc gave me homework, “Check your family history, and change your diet.” While my diet’s not off-the-hook horrible, I can certainly make changes. I won’t be guzzling 6-packs of highly caloric Ensure anymore, as I did a few months ago to survive my 2-week complete appetite loss that followed the news that my husband’s divorcing me. And I won’t be stress eating the quickest sugar-laden, simple carb within reach, as I did once my appetite returned. I will reduce saturated fats & increase fiber. Upon recheck, my cholesterol’s down but still a tad high. Good news! I’m on the right track, but, as it turns out, I have work to do on two fronts: self-care via diet & battling genetics.
I just finished reading “Am I Being Kind?” by Michael Chase.
It’s a lovely book; you should read it. I intend to revisit it @ least twice a year. Each read will impact me differently as I journey through my life’s recent & rapid changes. In the book, Michael recommends asking yourself as you go about your day if you’re being kind to yourself, others & the Earth. Being kind to yourself is a must, if you wish to give kindness to others. In short, wellness matters; it’s self-kindness. So now when I eat, I ask myself, “Am I being kind to my body if I eat this?”
I also recently read Lissa Rankin’s book, “Mind Over Medicine“.
My take-away (one of many) from her science-based, must re-read gem is that our minds contribute to good health or a lack of wellness. Our beliefs are powerful enough to create & compound illness. So, for example, if I walk around thinking that I’m bound to have high cholesterol because it runs in my family, then I’m more likely to have it. If, however, I genuinely believe (& I do) that I can affect my health in a positive way by reducing stress & improving my diet, then that’s quite possibly my future reality. Since my numbers & my family’s history both surprised me, I’ve got a real shot @ positively thinking my way to wellness.
I plan to thrive, not merely survive.
I choose a life of happiness & kindness shared with friends, family, pets & clients. I would give nothing less to Rusty. Now, I promise me that I’ll give nothing less to me. Wellness is now a priority. Having said that, I delight in good food & wine. Baking feeds my soul; I believe in real butter, cream & dark chocolate. What’s a high-LDL gal to do? Moderation, variety & creativity, of course!
Pears? Not so much.
Yes, they’re in season. Yes, they’re adorable. So much so, they’ve inspired countless artists’ still lifes. I want to take them home & fill a bowl with them – or bake with them – or drink them. I cherish a nice pear cosmo. And, a chocolate-pear scone would be divine but not kind to me now. But to eat a plain pear is dicey. While Rusty loves them, I detest their fuzzy grittiness. It’s a texture thing. My challenge: make fiber-rich, fat-free pears visually and tastefully appealing to me. How? You’ll see….
Ruth’s Spicy Chunky Pear Sauce
8-10 Bartlett pears, peeled, cored & cut into 1-inch pieces
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup currants
2 t fresh lemon juice
1 t ground cinnamon
1/2 t ground ginger
1/2 t ground cloves
1/2 t vanilla extract
Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low & simmer, stirring occasionally, until pears have softened, about 25-30 minutes.
Mash with a potato masher. (If you want a smoother sauce, wait for it to cool. Then use an immersion or upright blender or a food processor.)
Once the sauce has cooled, store it in glass containers (healthier than plastic) in the frig for up to a week. To keep it longer, freeze or can it. Pear-fection!
~Tweaked from Two Peas & Their Pod~
Rusty LOVES the pear sauce as much as I do.
I picked the currants out of his portion. (No grapes, raisins or currants for dogs. The spices in the sauce are dog-friendly.) If you have pears but aren’t feeling saucy, just share them with your dog as is. (Don’t let Pup have the core or the seeds. Give one cube a day, as a little fiber for Fido goes a long way.) Or, pop them in the oven as I did to make Rusty’s Roasted Pears: Preheat oven to 375°. Peel & cube pears to desired treat size. Put pear chunks on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Roast until pear pieces feel dry to the touch and look a little browned underneath, about 20 minutes. Cool completely. Roasting makes them sweeter (not gritty) for you & Pup!
Moderation, variety & creativity are truly the spices of life & wellness.
My pear sauce is undoubtedly heavenly on fiber-rich oatmeal. It’s amazing on fat-free & yummy Cardamom-Pistachio Biscotti. But this girl knows a good thing when she tastes it: spicy pear sauce, warmed & spooned over coffee ice cream makes me do a happy dance! Listen, wellness isn’t about deprivation, ‘cuz YOLO. It’s about respecting and nurturing your body & soul. Pear-fection, indeed!
How do you strike a balance between health & happiness?
Please share your stories & recipes. We’re drooling with anticipation! xxoo ~Ruth & Rusty~
©2014 The Soulful Pet
|December 13, 2013||Posted by Ruth under Lifestyle, Recipes, Seasonal, Soul food|
Cue music: “These are a few of my favorite things”….??
Well, sort of. If I catch a whiff of patchouli from a lovely earth-muffiny gal while browsing my local health food store or farmers’ market, I like it. I just wouldn’t wear it. After 20 plus years of working with pets, I’ve learned to go scent-free. Perfume can irritate, scare and even agitate animals. I do love earthy (not floral), realistic scents, though. I adore Thymes’ Frasier Fir candles. They smell uncannily like an evergreen tree, which is lovely year round. If I’m not working with animals, I’ll wear Aveda’s Stress-fix. It’s a calming, soothing blend of lavender & sage – and it works! I certainly can’t get mad @ a non-regifted, artisanal fruitcake. (They DO exist.) Heads up, fruitcake haters: the best uniquely similar, yet way yummier treat I’ve ever had was the house-made Panforte di Mendocino @ Cafe Beaujolais in Mendocino, CA. (Follow the link to order it online.) So there you have it. Now you really know a few of my favorite things. I feel like Oprah!
Cranberries. We love ’em, right?
How about pecans, oranges & currants? (NOT raisins – icky to me & toxic to pets.) All ok? No rum-soaked, candied green things here – what are those, anyway? Assuming you’re on board, Rusty & I are going with the cranberry theme. His fave treats are Honest Kitchen’s Smooches. They simply contain barley flour, chicken, molasses, water, eggs, coconut oil, cranberries & Parmesan cheese. (Remember: If you are giving your pet processed treats, look for ones made in the USA with the shortest ingredient list. Organic is better, if you can find it. Homemade, of course, is always best.) I like HK’s Smooches because they are only 2.3 calories each. Plus, their larger size and rough texture help clean my little guy’s teeth. Rusty has another cranberry product on deck to taste test: Cranimals Gold. It’s a supplement that contains only cranberries & seaweed. It’s packed with antioxidants & omega 3. I’ll put it in non-fat, plain organic Greek yogurt as a healthy treat for him. Yum!
Prepare for tasty goodness, friends.
I discovered a cranberry quick bread to die for. It’s a seriously simple, one-bowl recipe. The most muss & fuss you’ll do is cutting 1 1/2 cups of cranberries in half. Patience, grasshopper. It’s worth it. Or – delegate to someone who’s not dangerous with a knife. Pop the batter in your oven, & your whole house will smell like the holidays. That’s way better than patchouli, peeps.
Ruth’s Not-a-fruitcake Quick Bread
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
Zest of 1 orange
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup fresh-squeezed OJ (I prefer satsumas, but naval oranges are fine. Not store bought OJ, please!)
2 Tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted & cooled slightly
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups cranberries, thawed if frozen, sliced in half
1/4 cup currants
1/2 cup pecans, coarsely chopped, toasted & cooled slightly
Preheat oven to 350. Arrange a rack in the middle. Coat a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan with butter; set aside.
Place flour, sugar, orange zest, baking powder, salt & baking soda in a large bowl. Whisk well. Add OJ, melted butter, egg & vanilla. Stir until just combined. Fold in cranberries, currants & nuts until evenly distributed. Don’t over stir.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, pushing it into the corners & smoothing the top. Bake until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, in about 65 minutes. Place the pan on a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes. Turn the bread out onto the rack to cool completely — if you can wait that long!
~Adapted from Chow.com~
I hope we helped you finish your holiday shopping & baking!
BTW: The quick bread makes a great gift, as does my cranberry granola. Now, please sit back & let the ugly truth fly: How do YOU really feel about fruitcake and/or patchouli? Do you have favorite holiday treats (for pets or peeps) that you buy or make? How about a fave scent? Please share links & recipes! Funnier yet, we’d love to hear about the tastes & scents you hope Santa forgets this year!
Happy holidays, y’all! xxoo ~Ruth & Rusty~
©2013 The Soulful Pet
|August 9, 2013||Posted by Ruth under Guest bloggers, Inspirational & motivational, Lifestyle, Recipes, Seasonal, Soul food|
MJ is having a great summer with her 2-year-old American bulldog buddy, Ronin.
As much as she loves Ronin, it’s visiting pittie, Harley, who stole her heart. Of Harley, MJ says, “I haven’t felt love like that since Maggie was alive.” Sweet!
Mike hits Hawaii’s beaches regularly with Cooper. (Lucky boys!)
They make quite a team. Recently, Mike wrote about good times with Cooper, who regularly reminds him to let go of negatives and savor life’s gifts. That’s a precious lesson that we can all learn from our pets, our teachers.
“My saving grace, this loving, joyful creature. He dissolves any anguish, fear, self-doubt and reminds me that its time to swim, go to the park, create frozen yoghurt treats or play with 100 tennis balls or the best, ride with the top down, the ocean breeze flapping through jowls and floppy ears.”
Lovely. And since you can’t keep an artisan baker out of the kitchen, Mike got busy making Bouchon Dog Biscuits for his buddy, Cooper. (The recipe is from Thomas Keller’s “Bouchon Bakery“, and the tasty treats are served @ the Bouchon Bakery in Yountville.) Mike adapted the recipe as follows:
“Get the good bacon, chicken livers, cornmeal, flour – a pound of each – and chicken broth to wet. I added a large handful of (non-instant) oats. Saute & puree. Add cornmeal, chicken broth and flour into a workable dough. Roll out, use a doggie bone cookie cutter, and bake at 250 until hard. Mix egg white and 3 Tbl ketchup [for a] wash and brush on. Finish in a 200 [degree] oven for half hour. Done!”
Mike joked that these goodies go well “with afternoon tea or champagne”. I don’t doubt that @ all. I suspect Cooper’s humans sampled these right along with him. Since Rusty’s tummy doesn’t do pork, I’ll trust that the biscuits passed human & canine taste tests with flying colors. Bone appetit!
So how’s the summer going for you & your pets?
Please share in the comments….
There’s still plenty of summertime left for us all to live vicariously through your adventures – or – to give them a go ourselves!
©2013 The Soulful Pet
|July 2, 2013||Posted by Ruth under Lifestyle, LOLs & BOLs, Recipes, Seasonal, Soul food, Videos|
Arrrgh! We’re so over the stifling 100-degree days here!
So Rusty & I set out to chill out. We busted out the Popsicle molds & the Freezy Pup trays and got busy.
These tasty morsels are perfect for heat waves & the 4th:
Ruth’s Peep & Pup-sicles
1 cup frozen, quartered strawberries & 1 cup frozen blueberries (Lay fresh berries on a wax paper-lined baking sheet, and freeze for 1 hour. Easy!)
1/2 cup 100% real fruit juice, divided. (Strawberry/apple or blueberry blends are fine.)
1 1/2 cups coconut yogurt, divided – or – 1 1/2 cups frozen coconut yogurt if you prefer it sweeter. (Kids & hubbies will want sweeter; Pup shouldn’t have sweeter.)
2 tsp fresh lemon juice, divided
1 tsp vanilla extract, divided
Set aside 1/2 cup of yogurt for later use. Blend the strawberries, 1/4 cup fruit juice, 1/2 cup yogurt, 1 tsp lemon juice & 1/2 tsp until smooth. Pour mixture into a large glass. Reuse the blender (no need to rinse it) using the remaining ingredients and the frozen blueberries. You’ll have about 2 1/2 cups of filling.
Layer the berry mixtures & reserved yogurt in ice cube trays, popsicle molds, or retro-style paper cups with sticks. Start with the strawberry mixture. Top with enough yogurt to create a 1″ layer, or so. Top with the blueberry mixture. Freeze for @ least 8 hours. Enjoy!
Note: For Rusty’s pup-sicles, I layered the yogurt on top of the blueberry mixture. There’s no wrong way to go. Have fun with it. Create your own concoctions, and let us know what you tried!
~Adapted from ThugKitchen~
Heat wave aside, Rusty’s been a little under the weather this past week.
A bit of a strained muscle, we think. No worries – we’re on top of it, and he’s comfy. He’s feeling well enough now to savor a stench in the yard. Those pup-sicles seemed to be just the medicine he needed!
©2013 The Soulful Pet
|May 22, 2013||Posted by Ruth under Inspirational & motivational, Lifestyle, Pup culture, Recipes, Soul food, Uncategorized, Videos|
Let me begin by saying: Vegas hurts my brain.
It’s soul-suckingly devoid of depth & charm. It’s especially sad to see women trying too hard to be Vegas-distorted versions of themselves. Too made up, too drunk, too-tight & too-short everything – all that posing’s just not cute. It’s like watching a parade of regrets-in-the-making. Thankfully, I’m immune to the din & lights that seduce gamblers. So what’s left to love about it?
My hubby thinks my Vegas aversion is weird.
He loves watching the human train wreck parade. He’s energized by it all. Give the guy a gin & tonic and a blackjack table, and he’s a happy boy. I don’t get it, but I like to see him happy. So imagine his surprise when I told him I wanted to go to Vegas for my birthday. What? Vegas, baby?!
Before you write me off as a buzz-kill prude, know that I have layers. And an id.
What you see isn’t always what you get with me. I’m working on letting my layers rise to the surface more, which means that my id gets a little fresh air. I can go to Vegas with a purpose. My birthday purpose was P!nk. I’m a huge fan. So’s my id.
Why P!nk? The short answer: she’s a genius. The long answer: she has layers, too.
She’s a gifted lyricist, singer & musician. She’s also an animal advocate, a yoga enthusiast, a mostly-vegetarian, & a happy new mom. She’s incredibly smart, with a wicked sense of self-deprecating humor. She’s the first to describe herself as socially awkward and shocked that she’s a cover girl. (I’ll stop soon. I can hear my hubby saying, “chick crush much?”. Yeah, just a bit.) Under her “tough” exterior is a softie who’s overcome major heartaches & obstacles beautifully. She’s refreshingly uncensored, honest & outspoken. Take her or leave her, she’s no poser. She sings from her soul, and she inspires me, so I’m sharing her with you.
Take a listen to P!nk’s acoustic version of “Who Knew”.
(Adorable when she interrupts the song to talk to her baby girl, off screen.)
For years I couldn’t listen to this song without crying about my sweet boxer boy, Gumbo, who I’d recently lost. Recently, on Palladia’s Storytellers, P!nk said that this song’s meaning changes for her depending upon what’s up in her life. At times, that’s included departed dogs for her, too. Who knew?
The morning after Just hours after P!nk’s killer show, we trudged into the hotel’s breakfast buffet with low foodie expectations.
In the midst of mystery concoctions that my tummy didn’t want to meet @ that moment, I stumbled upon a yummy gem of a granola parfait. Determined that this wouldn’t stay in Vegas, I recreated it @ home so I could share it with you (& Rusty), too. Here it is, healthier and with a twist of lemon:
Ruth’s Vegas Zen Granola Parfait
In a glass, layer honey (or maple syrup), plain Greek yogurt, honey, granola, mixed berries, and Lemony Whipped Cream. Dig in!
In the wake of a recent granola recall, I started making my own again. My fave recipe is “Power Granola” from Cooking Light magazine. It’s easy, delish, tried-and-true. If you’re a coconut fiend, you’ll love Deb Perelman‘s “Big Cluster Maple Granola“. For this granola, I dialed back the sweetener in the parfaits by using less maple syrup. Tip: When you layer your parfaits, use the same sweetener that you used in your granola.
Lemony Whipped Cream
Using a whisk attachment on your mixer, beat 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream and 1 Tbs. store-bought lemon curd on high speed until it’s creamy, smooth & thick – like yogurt. Or – Using your finger tips, rub 1/2 tsp. lemon zest into 1 Tbs. granulated sugar until it smells like lemon candy. Beat 1/2 cup whipping cream, as above, for 1 minute. Add the lemony sugar. Beat again until soft peaks form. Tip: This whipped cream keeps for about a day, refrigerated in a sealed container. It’s best to make small batches, as needed. And you’ll NEED it.
Yes, your dog can enjoy your parfaits.
Just deconstruct them before you share. We’ll taste test doggy granola recipes and report back in a future post, so stay tuned. Minimal sweeteners and no whipped cream or overly caloric human granola for your pup. What to share? Rusty loves plain, non-fat yogurt. Berries are an acquired taste for him. If I cut a blueberry in half, he might eat it. But combine the two in his “Beat-the-heat Treats“, and he’s poodle putty in your hands!
Long story shorter, I finally found an elusive oasis of non-posers in Vegas.
They were all waiting in line for the zen-master’s concert, which was awesome. I can now say the cliche, including the t-shirt part. Best of all? My husband, confident in his manhood, confessed that P!nk “put on a great show”, and we’re going again for our anniversary. Zen on! Who knew?
©2013 The Soulful Pet
|May 3, 2013||Posted by Ruth under Inspirational & motivational, Lifestyle, Pup culture, Recipes, Soul food, Videos, Worthy reads|
So that’s what a midlife crisis looks like. Who knew?
I watched in fascination as Michelle Obama explained her bangs.
She was adorable, as always. But the bangs were bangin’ cute. Suddenly, I realized that a midlife crisis could be a good thing. I choose to redefine my own experience as a beginning, not a bitter end. I’m celebrating my midlife crisis & its accompanying burnout as an opportunity to more fully explore life. Lesson learned: When your work defines you, it also limits you. No more.
I had considered bangs, pre-FLOTUS. Really.
Sometimes a girl just needs a change, and that time had definitely come for me. Thanks to a friend who’s an uber-talented hair stylist, I took the leap, and I love them!
What else changed? I’m returning to the things that I love.
I forgot how they feed my soul. Nature, hiking, trail running, friends & family, baking, gardening, and reading – all had been on the back burner. Even my patient husband had been waiting for me to put the leashes & clickers down. He knew before I did that I was ready for a change. (He’s still not sure about the bangs, though.)
I’m thankful that the baking bug bit me again @ the same time that I returned to hiking/running.
Otherwise, my summer reading list would be a dangerous one. I’ve dedicated my reads to women who inspire me because they followed their bliss & their passions. It’s a lovely eclectic list that includes: Chelsea Handler, Lissa Rankin, Joy Wilson & Deb Perelman. For this post, I’ll highlight the bakers in the bunch….
Joy Wilson & Deb Perelman feel like kindred spirits.
They are self-taught cooks & bloggers. They weave stories around their recipes. Normally, I’m a get-to-the-point type of person when it comes to cookbooks. But not with these ladies. They are funny-smart and a bit self-deprecating. The unexpected success of their passionate blogs turned into book deals. (I’m often asked if this blog will become a book. Who knows?)
Deb Perelman’s “The Smitten Kitchen” is an instant classic that begs for a sequel, asap.
In her forward she discusses her insistence on cooking in an NYC kitchen that was so small its functionality was in question. Why would she cook in a city where any craving could be satisfied with a phone call? A friend advised her that NYC stoves were for sweater storage. Thankfully for us, Deb’s can-do, slightly obsessive persistence prevailed. I appreciate her casual delivery of detailed instructions (the hows & whys). My hubby & I approach cooking very differently. I learned to cook by baking, so I’m a recipe girl. He cooks intuitively, by feel, like I work with animals. Nothing wrong with that. Yet, I felt validated when Deb advised don’t let people “tell you you’re less of a cook if you need to look @ a recipe”. Her book is packed with are-you-kidding-me recipes. What ultimately won me over? I’m a pie girl. That began when my mom & I baked together. She’d offer to make a pie if I made the crust – always a fair deal. Deb makes her “Deepest Dish Apple Pie” in a springform pan, and she celebrates National Pie for Breakfast Day. Enough said. I want to hang with this chick. We could be besties.
Joy Wilson’s “Joy the Baker Cookbook” is an absolute treasure. Her bangs are pretty cute, too.
Her blog hooked me when she called her adorable cat, Jules, a “monster” who “terrorizes her in the dark” and a “jerk” who “lights up her life”. Then she celebrated his birthday by baking him a cat cake. C’mon. That’s inspired! Her book is just as wonderfully quirky. She spiked her grandma’s treasured banana bread recipe with bourbon, explaining, “I’m young & restless”. I support that. In the forward she affectionately recalls her dad sharing his baking enthusiasm with her. This rings true for me. My dad inspired my love for nature, via fishing. And he planted the baking seed. I fondly remember visiting his aunt & uncle’s Danish bakery in Pottsville, PA, with him. We were always greeted by my uncle’s handsome smile & hearty hug. Together, we sampled whatever goodies were still warm from the oven. To this day, I love the smell of freshly baked macaroons. So far, none have matched my uncle’s. And I like it that way.
Keeping it healthy is important. So is a sense of humor.
FLOTUS is spreading the word on fitness & a healthy diet. And so is my new fave, not-a-book-yet blog, Thug Kitchen. I’m a self-confessed foodie, and an enthusiastically amateur baker & photographer. Obvious, yes? I will sit outside with Rusty & a glass of iced wine (yes, that’s right, wine snobs: ICE), and cover-to-cover read a cookbook. But only if its author can write & make me laugh, too, as the ladies above do. So it was with great joy that I discovered Thug Kitchen. The incognito Thugs dispense sound nutritional advice via some hella colorful language. (Here’s my take on swearing: If it’s funny, go for it. If you’re swearing just to swear, stop it. If you’re easily offended, don’t read it. Don’t complain about it; just move on. Censoring sucks.) If you find yourself saying, “Who needs another cookbook?”, visit their FB page. It’s hysterical, the recipes won’t disappoint & it’s not dumb. The Thugs aim to “drop some knowledge on your ass”. The vibe is contagious to their fans, whose comments are also seriously, refreshingly, off-the-hook funny. I’m SO hooked. I can’t wait to read their cookbook!
Don’t worry, Rusty will benefit.
I just whipped up a batch of Thug Kitchen’s Sweet Potato Jerky Treats for both of us. (Super yum, no dehydrator required, & no Chinese toxins in sight!) Next up: Joy’s Crunchy Cat Treats. (Perfect for the poodle, too.) I also have some new biscuit trays that are begging to be filled with fresh garden & farmer’s market goodies. Rusty’s my little garden helper & taste tester. A fido foodie, if you will. As I bake & we sample, we’ll report back. Yes, I said “we”, and I mean it. If you can’t/won’t eat your dog’s food, there’s a problem, isn’t there? I hate the term “human-grade” for ingredients. It implies that our food should be superior. I question that. So does Rusty. To quote the Thugs: “Show your dog you f*cking love them.”
So what’s next?
Maybe I’ll go ovo-lacto-pesco vegetarian again. (Don’t worry, I won’t drag my dog or my husband along with me on that.) Maybe I’ll get some chickens. (Did you know that you can clicker train chickens?) Maybe I’ll take a yoga class. Maybe I’ll master the perfect cat eye. Maybe I’ll rent a house on the bluffs of Mendocino & invite my girlfriends to join me there. Maybe I’ll shock the hell out of my hubby & greet him, Mad-Men style, @ the door – in a dress, with a cucumbered Hendricks & tonic. (Never mind the anti-feminist throwback scenario I just painted. The dress would be the stretch for me. We’ll see.) I’m enjoying the exploration. What’s next? Who knows……
Have you tried something new lately? Assuming it’s legal, please share. 🙂 I’m always looking for inspirations!
|March 8, 2013||Posted by Ruth under Inspirational & motivational, Recipes, Soul food, Training/Behavior|
……with Brussels sprouts. Who knew?
I’ve hated them all of my life. Too bitter, too smelly, too cabbagy. Just “too”. The thought of cooking them was intimidating & unsettling. Yet, all of my foodie friends were enthusiastic about them. So a few months ago, I went on a mission to figure out what all the fuss was about. I tried all incarnations of sprouts in restaurants & in recipes at home. Much to my delight, I finally stumbled upon an easy way to roast some charisma into the little green guys. And now, I’m a fan.
What does this have to do with pets? Everything, in my opinion.
We all (us & our pets) get stuck in ruts that prevent us from trying new things. New is suspect. New is hard. New is scary. But new can be wonderful. It’s in the absence of stepping outside your box that you miss the wonderful. Here’s an idea: Today, try something new, and include your pet. It’s uber-easy, really. For example, walk in a new neighborhood or in a different direction. Or – Wake up & consider what you’re grateful for. Sit silently with your pet as you do this. Just breathe & be. I think you’ll find that your day is a little brighter, and your pet will respond to your light.
My little guy, Rusty, had to try new things when we adopted him.
I know that my attitude about “new” is contagious to animals, so I presented each experience with a balance of enthusiasm & patience, @ his pace. Soon, Rusty’s list of things he never knew he liked grew rapidly. He now loves tuck-ins, the stairs to our bed, catch games, rides in his car seat, and beach walks. (See? Once you get started, you’re more optimistic that the next thing you try will be fun, too. Suddenly, you’re craving & relishing “new”.)
That brings us back to those crave-worthy Brussels sprouts. Can your dog try them?
Well, maybe just one from your batch. But ideally, roast a few separately when you cook yours. Only use olive oil & a bit of honey (optional). No salt, pepper or bacon for Pup. Cool completely, and only give 1/2 a sprout to your dog, as a treat. If all goes well, a sprout a day for only a few days should be fine. (As always, check with your vet 1st before changing your pet’s diet.) Sprouts contain isothiniocyanate, a chemical from mustard oil that can be a gastrointestinal irritant. Fortunately, roasting seems to minimize its offensive effects on humans & dogs. Same goes for other members of the cabbage family: broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage itself.
So I’m taking my own advice, and I’m on another quest to like something new: Cooked cauliflower.
I love it raw in salads or dips, but cooked is another story. Roasting might be the way to go again. What do you think? If you have a tried & true way to tastily cook cauliflower, please share. Please.
©2013 The Soulful Pet