Posts Tagged by Treat
|November 11, 2017||Posted by Ruth under Inspirational & motivational, Intuition, Lifestyle, Mindfulness, Science and soul, Seasonal, Training/Behavior|
I’m up way too early writing this this morning. But I’m inspired and cozy as I work.
It’s 330 am, and I’m curled up on the couch by the now-comforting fireplace’s glow. I’m flanked by dogs on both sides, their soft, warm bodies pressed against me, as I sip coffee, reflecting on recent events. I am overwhelmed with what matters most in life: gratitude, love, community, trust & kindness.
I have my house; it didn’t burn down.
Rusty, my miniature poodle friend, is curled up on my left, comfy & safe. Finn, a mini goldendoodle, sighs as he presses in even closer against my right side. Finn is visiting Rusty & I for a day – his humans have their house; it didn’t burn down. Finn is dog-tired from being “Uncle Finn” yesterday to a lovely & sweet but perpetual-motion goldendoodle puppy guest, little Bella. Bella’s family doesn’t have their house; it burned down. But – they have each other.
It seems distant but realistically, tragically recent that the worst fire in CA history ravaged northern CA counties.
Just 10 days ago, it was announced that all the fires are 100% contained. Our community is eternally grateful to the heroic first responders’ bravery & resilience in the face of an epically terrifying conflagration. We watched in horror & amazement as fire devoured entire neighborhoods, and friends & family ran for their lives. Startled awake in the middle of the night, often by angelic first responders pounding on their doors, people scrambled to evacuate hell on Earth: a blood-red glowing sky, flames lapping darkened landscape nearby, blowing embers & choking-thick black smoke. Families fled for refuge, finding safety in relief centers, friends’ homes and hotels. We were all in deep fear & shock.
Those of us who didn’t need to flee for our lives with just the shirts on our backs & our pets in our arms, quickly packed in case we were next to be evacuated.
The fire was incredibly intense & merciless. It was a searing challenge beyond measure, often driving firefighters to flee its unrelenting advances. The evacuations rolled out as it spread. So many of us were so scared; so many of us left our homes, not knowing if we’d find them standing when we returned. Rusty & I were lucky; friends in safe towns to the west & south of us kindly offered their homes to us. I can’t tell you how comforting that was.
Personally, my bag was packed for a week.
The evacuation zones grew increasingly closer to my home, just a handful of miles to the north and east of me. The closest advisory evacuation line bordered the end of my street, just a quarter mile away. Three times I thought I needed to flee; three times I thought I’d lose my home. It was a week before I could breathe and begin to believe that Rusty & I were safe.
Now our community rebuilds – resiliently.
It’s who were are: Sonoma County strong. Only a few weeks ago, evacuees were allowed to return to their devastated neighborhoods to sift thru ashes. Most of us haven’t yet personally witnessed the complete annihilation of these neighborhoods – aside from images from drones, helicopters, & press photographers. When we do see the singed ghosts of once vibrant communities & beloved, historical landmarks in person, collective shock & sadness will roll through us, renewed. The charred bits I’ve seen so far caused me to gasp & sob in horror yet disbelief. But I know we will prevail; we must.
We are collectively still processing this ever unfolding trauma.
We might tell ourselves that life is back to “normal” as we get groceries, pay bills, take the kids to school, celebrate holidays, and make plans to rebuild. Indeed, we are not in fear for our lives now. But this experience lives in vivid memory in our minds & bodies – as trauma. It is important that we continue to lean on each other to heal, to mentally process events & move the trauma out of our bodies.
So, Sonoma County, how are you – really?
How are your pets – really?
No doubt, we’ve all been traumatized. Science shows that fear and stress are group-think & energetically contagious. We can all feel it in the air, humans & animals, alike. Trauma unfolds its symptoms slowly; it’s not felt completely initially. So this will be a long-haul healing process. Personally, I’m very concerned about our collective well being. Our immune systems are stressed; our psyches are stressed. But I’m optimistic for our community and our group consciousness’ healing capacities.
We are all now much more awake and raw.
And most of us aren’t used to that experience, to those feelings. Self-aware empaths and intutives like myself keenly feel this energetic shift, the community’s angst and fear thick in the air; we are uniquely called to help heal. I believe it is our purpose to help those affected by tragedy to cope, survive & thrive.
Pets, natural empaths & intuitives, feel the shift, too.
So that rawness & openness that feels new to you is familiar to your pets. Animals are experts in being present in the now, so they are better equipped to release trauma. Your pets can help you heal because it comes naturally to them. Now is the time to consciously, collectively heal, while trauma is most potentially transient if given a loving incentive to move on, before stress events take up more permanent residence in your mind & body.
Begin your healing; plug-in to community.
I mean really plug-in: Get personal. Skip the extra-excessive hours on social media. Rather, help and ask for help – in person. Traumas teach us to rely on each other because we don’t have the choice not to. Stoically isolating doesn’t heal; we’re not islands. (Why is it so darn hard for us – myself included – to get comfy with asking for help?) So build a team to lean on. Use the resources available to you, be they medical, psychological, financial, strategic, social or spiritual. They are there, ready when you are. And you are ready. Be there for yourself – now.
Our pets plug-in, without hesitation.
If they want a cookie, they unabashedly ask for one – without shame. Bonus: In giving Fluffy that treat, we gain a positively warm & fuzzy feeling. The healing connection’s a two-way flow: Fido knows when you need a cuddle. We cry; pets instinctively comfort, and we let them comfort.
Learn from your pets. Use their love lessons in your life, privately & in community.
Give and accept giving. Giving & receiving, giving & receiving – and so the cycle is meant to go. And so we are bonded as family and community, humans & animals, alike – by love. In the face of adversity, remember: Love is expanding not contracting, softening not hardening.
♥ I have an idea – a uniquely healing one! ♥
Together, let’s harness the healing power of the bonds we share with our pets. I’m offering “Mutual Healing Sessions“. They are designed to reduce your stress, as well as your pets’. (Stressed pets often exhibit behavioral changes, including aggression; destruction; and depression/anxiety-based behaviors.) If you’re stressed, so are they. Relax yourself, relax them. And vice versa. I combine my 25+ years of experience as a science-based, positive trainer/behaviorist with my empathic and intuitive abilities to help pets and people heal via the power of the bonds they share.
So let’s get together; let the healing begin.
If you & your pets feel just a bit off nowadays, it’s more than understandable. Life stressors are many & cumulative: current culture, politics, tragedy, holiday hustle-bustle, life transitions, etc. Reach out, ask for help. I’m here for you. Our time together will feel like time spent with a friend. Together, we’ll come up with doable, personalized behavioral/wellness plans, drawing on a variety of healing modalities (training, mirroring, mindfulness, meditation, grounding, breathing, intuition) – whatever resonates with you and your pets the most.
Stay open and awake to the healing possibilities, my friends. Let’s do this together!
Sending you all woofs, wags & tons of love!
xo ~Ruth & Rusty
- “In the face of adversity, remember: Love is expanding not contracting, softening not hardening.” ~Ruth Hagen
- “Pets are great love conduits; with their guidance we reconnect with each other with ease, without judgement.” ~Ruth Hagen
- “Opportunities multiply as they are seized.” ~Sun Tzu
- “In every community, there is work to be done. In every nation, there are wounds to heal. In every heart, there is the power to do it.” ~Marianne Williamson
©2017 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
|June 8, 2014||Posted by Ruth under Lifestyle, LOLs & BOLs, Pup culture, Recipes, Soul food, Videos|
Shhh…. Can you keep a secret?
My Rusty has a rep to uphold: that of a maniacal cat-chasing poodle. Unbeknownst to him, his favorite treats are – gasp! – cat treats. Shhh…. Please don’t tell him about my beastly betrayal. He’d never forgive me. Or I’d be eating cat food. Or both. Probably both.
Kitty treats are the perfect size for my little guy.
He loves Grizzly NuTreats for cats; Organix cat treats; and simple, small cubes of poached chicken breast – which, of course – are a canine & feline fave. While processed dog treats aren’t healthy for your cat, the reverse is fine. Just don’t go overboard. Look for a short ingredient list, preferably organic with few or no grains, sourced & made in USA. Healthiest of all, barring any allergies, is a single-ingredient, human-grade treat. Basically, you should be ok eating your pet’s treat. So go ahead & simmer some chicken. And save the broth. I hear it’s good for the soul!
Determined to satisfy Rusty’s taste buds & not leave our, well, my feline friends out, I baked a batch of cat-friendly goodness.
These beauties are uber-easy & hella-healthy. Yes, I taste-tested them. So did Elliott’s mom, who happens to be a nutritionist. In fact, it was her idea. She thought they looked yummy & was curious. How awesome is that? While we agree that tuna-flavored biscuits aren’t our thing, Rusty & Elliott couldn’t get enough of them!
Rusty’s Crazy-Tasty Tuna Treats
Ingredients (use organic wherever possible):
One 5-oz. can of tuna, no salt added & packed in water – drained
1 cup oat flour (Buy it prepared, or simply make your own by grinding old-fashioned oats in a food processor.)
1 large egg
1 Tbs olive oil
1 heaping Tbs fresh parsley (I used Italian, but Pup might like curly parsley’s milder flavor. For Kitty, use 1 Tbs dried catnip.)
Place rack in upper third of oven. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper for later.
In a food processor with the blade attachment, blend all ingredients until a smooth dough forms.
This adorable dough is easy to work with – not too sticky. Roll it into 1 1/4 ” balls. Arrange the balls on the lined baking sheet. Use a skewer to press an “x” into each ball.
Bake for about 17 minutes, until the treats are dried on top & slightly browned. Cool completely before your pet (or you!) dig in. Store them in an airtight container in your frig for up to 7 days.
~ Gently tweaked from Joy The Baker~
I don’t put catnip in Rusty’s treats because, quite honestly, we haven’t had the ‘nip talk.
But you should have that chat with your cat. Sit Princess down & have a heart-to-heart. Let’s face it, if you don’t tell Kitty about catnip, who will?
Rusty & I agree on many things:
First, if you have oat flour left over, you should make the dog treats below, too. Second, we choose our baked goods by their aromas. Third, we won’t eat cat poop. Also, we love to laugh. Finally, we’re easily driven to distraction. So, even if you don’t make Alton’s stinky treats, watch his fun little vid ’til the very end ‘cuz…… SQUIRREL!! LOL & BOL ~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
|September 28, 2013||Posted by Ruth under Inspirational & motivational, Lifestyle, Recipes, Soul food, Training/Behavior|
It was a peaceful day at our house.
I was writing, and Rusty was sleeping in his cup bed on the ottoman-with-a-view by the window. Rusty stirred, got up to turn around in his bed, and screamed in pain. The sound went through me like a knife. Pet-parents, you know what I mean: I swear I felt his gut-wrenching cry in my soul.
What on Earth just happened?!
Rusty raced into my office, and, for the first time ever, hid out of reach in the corner under my desk. I followed him, only to find him shaking in pain. Had he been bitten by a bug? Had he tweaked a toe repositioning in his bed? Whatever it was, it was bad. I knew we’d be racing to the vet as soon as I could talk him into putting his pain aside long enough to put his faith in me.
Off to the vet we went.
Of course, it was off-hours for Rusty’s regular doctor. So I nervously drove to the 24-hour vet hospital. We parked. Rusty hopped out of the car and strutted into the place like nothing had ever happened. (Typical, right? Adrenaline’s an amazing pain mask.) He was hostile to the sweet nurse who took his temp, but he made up with her. No one took his response to the indignity his poodle butt had just endured personally. I sat on the floor with him as we waited for the vet. Would I like the vet? How sharp would her diagnostic skills be? Would her approach be invasive or compassionate? Aware that Rusty would absorb my feelings & thoughts, I hoped for the best & remembered to breathe.
When the vet entered the room, I knew we were in good hands.
As she sat on the floor with us, I was relieved to see a familiar face. I worked with her as a veterinary nurse decades ago, so I knew that Rusty would be helped by one of the best vets in the county. The course of action she recommended was pain medication & a wait-and-see approach. If he didn’t improve, she would explore a tentative diagnosis of masticatory myostitis. Fortunately, her initial assessment paid off. The acute pain of unknown cause was in his jaw. But Rusty rallied without further treatment, thanks to a savvy, discerning vet. Fingers & paws crossed, it won’t be back. Whew.
All better, right? Not quite.
Poodles are smart; that’s one of the many things I adore about Rusty. While he was healing, he learned to keep his mouth shut to minimize discomfort. So that meant no chewing, no fetch, no catch, no tug, no yawns, and no smiles. Long after he was pain-free, he was still play-free. Rusty lost his poodle mojo.
When I was a kid, I badly injured my foot in a bicycle accident.
I limped around for months. I learned to rely on my good leg, exclusively. One day, as I was walking down the hall, I lost my balance. Not thinking, I planted my injured foot on the floor to steady myself. Ouch?! That would surely hurt like hell……wait a minute. I was pain free. I had learned not to try for fear of pain. By sheer accident, I realized my mistake: learned helplessness.
Learned helplessness is a powerful force.
Why try if I’m comfy right here? After all, last time I checked, trying hurt. Or trying was hard. Or trying led to mistakes others punished. Sound familiar? People and animals experience this. As a trainer, it’s my job to know when to coach a pet and guardian out of learned helplessness. Can they physically do it? If so, what’s holding them back? Often, it’s a “truth” that the owner has created for her & her pet. Really common “truths”: My dog doesn’t do stairs; I have to carry him. Or, my dog’s a picky eater; I have to hand feed him. Or, he doesn’t listen to me unless I have food in my hands. People believe these “truths” and act them out with their pets, day after day. Pets rise to our expectations. Expect less, they give less. Change your truth & expect more, and your pet will rise to the occasion. Bonus: this works with family members and coworkers, too!
Learned helplessness had a grip on Rusty.
I knew he didn’t hurt anymore, so it was time to push him. What to do? Hmmm….. got it! When we adopted him, he obsessed over bell balls to the exclusion of all other toys. We gradually took them away so he could discover the joy of exploring a full toy box. Time to rekindle the obsession: bring the bell ball back! Since Rusty LOVES new toys, I went on a shopping mission…..
I armed myself with an arsenal guaranteed to revive poodle mojo.
Bell balls; small, squishy Raspberry balls; crumbly, healthy treats; and a ridiculous pink flamingo decorated the house. (I don’t buy my rough & tumble poodle pink toys. My issue, not his; I know.) Rusty needed to chew & shake toys again. Pink aside, the flamingo was perfect: flat, soft, squeaky & flappy. I called Rusty, then shook the bell ball. He lit up like he’d found a long-lost friend! He grabbed the ball, carried it into his bed, & left it there. That was anti-climactic. But he had opened his mouth to carry the ball; I was on the right track. Later that day, I rang the ball again. This time, I give him the Raspberry ball. It’s smaller, grippable, squishy, and crazy bouncy. Rusty was in love! Soon he was fetching, catching & chewing – all with one toy. He completely ignored the heavier, larger bell ball. (Fine with me. That thing’s a Hartz product, made of toxic, reactive Chinese rubber.) The next day, I jingled the bell ball again. His eyes wide, I gave him the pink flamingo. Poodle heaven & mission accomplished: He shakes, chews & carries that thing with him everywhere! He hasn’t looked back. Woohoo!!
Thanks for reading about how we conquered pain, fear & learned helplessness. We hope it helps you & your pets!
Ready for the treats Rusty promised? In honor of our post praising the power of balls, I made some balls. The first recipe celebrates Rusty’s health:
Rusty’s Peanut Butter Granola Balls
1 cup uncooked organic rolled oats (not instant)
1/8 cup pumpkin seeds
1/8 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 Tbsp. flax seeds
1/8 cup grated coconut
2 1/2 Tbsp. grated carrots
1/2 Tbsp. coconut oil
1/2 Tbsp. honey
1 egg, slightly beaten
5/8 cup unsalted, unsweetened organic peanut butter, @ room temperature
3/8 cup fat-free, plain Greek yogurt
Preheat oven to 325. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Slightly grind the seeds together in a food processor or coffee grinder. Combine all the dry ingredients, including the grated carrots, in a medium bowl. Heat the coconut oil & the honey just until they’re liquid. Blend the peanut butter & the yogurt in the food processor. Add the egg, oil & honey. Process again.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry in the bowl. Mix with a wooden spoon. Shape into 1 1/4-inch balls & place on baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, turn the balls so they brown evenly, and bake for 15 more minutes, or until they’re golden brown. Cool on a rack. Store them in an airtight container. If they’re not gobbled up asap, freeze ’em!
Makes about 3 dozen. ~Adapted from The Bark~
With oats & peanut butter left, I made these uber-easy treats for my newly gluten-free hubby. Balls for both the guys in my life, I say. And pink flamingos all around! That really needs to be a girly drink, right?
No-bake Peanut Butter Balls
1 cup organic, rolled oats (uncooked)
2/3 cup toasted coconut flakes
1/2 cup unsalted, sugar free organic peanut butter, @ room temperature
1/2 cup ground flaxseed
1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chunks or chips
1/3 cup honey
1 Tbsp chia seeds
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp sea salt flakes
Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Refrigerate for an hour so the mixture is easier to work with. Roll into 1 1/2 inch balls. Store in an airtight container for up to a week, either in the frig or @ room temp. (I like my balls cold. Yum!)
Makes about 16. ~Adapted from So, How’s It Taste?~
Do you say “can’t” & “won’t” when you think about yourself or your pet? How about “never” or “always”?
Negatives & absolutes are rarely truths. They are often symptoms of learned helplessness. Challenge them: break out of that rut! Have you and/or your pet conquered ruts? How did you snap out of it? What got you going & lit you up? Do tell! 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
|June 11, 2013||Posted by Ruth under Guest bloggers, Inspirational & motivational, Lifestyle, LOLs & BOLs, Pup culture, Training/Behavior, Videos|
Ahh, life’s ingrates. We all know folks who don’t say or send thank-you’s, don’t we?
How do they make you feel? I suspect that a self-actualized soul would be at peace with the mere act of giving. I’m getting there, though I do love to see smiles @ the other end of a present. But to many of us, including my mom, the seemingly ungrateful are confounding. After all, in an online retail world, a nagging question about long-distance giving is bound to surface: Did they even get my gift?
I admire my mom’s creative attempts to persuade people that thank-you’s are the polite thing to do.
Recently, she asked a friend of hers, Bob Scala, if she could share his piece on manners with her “ungrateful” crew (and me). I was charmed by it, so I asked Bob if I could share it with you, and he generously agreed. This is one in a series of self-published essays that he wrote for his grandchildren:
“BopPop’s Thoughts” by Robert Scala, PhD
“Grammy and I were talking the other day about the importance of three very short phrases, “Please, Thank You and Good Job”. In this short note, I want to emphasize “thank you”. It seems that many folks think that good manners are optional. You use them if you have time or if it’s convenient or if it might give you some kind of “edge” over another person. But, good manners are the lubricant that makes every day contacts with people go that much smoother and easier and avoids unnecessary friction and resulting heat. “Thank you” is especially important because it recognizes the worth and value of the other person – the one who gave you something or performed a service or otherwise aided you. It also says to that person that you are not such a big shot that you can look down on that person and ignore his or her presence once they’ve completed their task. In the last several months, Grammy and I have sent wedding presents to three couples – a neighbor child and two couples from our church. No acknowledgement. How does that make us feel? Like we’ve been used; like all we are good for is a gift and once that’s given we disappear? It takes very little time to write a “thank you” note; even less time to say the words to someone who waits on you or otherwise helps you. Keep “Please”, “Thank you” and “Good Job” in your active vocabulary.”
So how do you feel when you aren’t appreciated? Confused? Frustrated? Angry? Sad?
At the very least, will you repeat the gesture? Not likely? Exactly. Now carry this lesson over to training your pets, who feel similarly without fair feedback. Well-timed rewards are a major cornerstone of successful, positive training. Notice & reward desired behaviors the instant that your pet offers them, either on her own, or at your request. Go about your day with treat-filled pockets & a keen eye, and you’ll see that in truth your pet behaves more than not. Suddenly, praise-worthy moments appear everywhere. Presto! Your pet will repeat rewarded behaviors so often that they soon replace undesired behaviors (with some preventative measures). Think of your praise (“Yes!” or “Good!” or click!) followed by a treat as a “Thank you” to your pet. It is the polite thing to do!
Praise is a magic wand & ruby slippers all wrapped up in a simple phrase. Cast your spells wisely.
What’s my mom to do? She’s free to keep giving – or not. The trick is that it’s her choice. She’ll do what feels right & natural for her, as would an unrewarded dog. (So sorry for the canine comparison, Mom. It’s for a good cause.) My loving advice to my mother: Praise the thank-you’s you do get, and release the ones you don’t. Now, how about you? Practice gratefulness & well-placed praise to bring out the best in others, 2 or 4-legged. It’s an instant mood boost for you, a true self-gift. The recipients of your thank-you spells will happily repeat their gestures. In my crystal ball, I see you charming well-trained spouses, partners, children and pets. Abracadabra!
Jimmy Fallon is a praise wizard.
In his weekly practice of writing Thank You Notes, he’s mastered the art of praising anyone for anything. Thank you, Jimmy, for making thank-you’s “classy”, “sophisticated” and, yes, even a little “sexy”. You give us “something to aspire to”.
©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!