Of road trips and dog beds

There was a trip in our future because, since Canada is so spread out, anything you want to buy is at least an hour away. This trip was a couple of hours so, gritting our teeth against the freezing rain on the windshield, we put our boots on and off we went like a herd of turtles.

Several hours later, purchase made, we were heading back when I spotted a Petsmart!..you know where they have all sorts of things for pets?

Not that long after, we were back on our way…with a couple of new purchases.

Yeap. We might have bought these exact beds for our pooches before and…yeap, they’re still very expensive but no one said we had any fiscal restraint when it comes to our pooches.

Besides, they love these beds. Or, at least, we think they do.

If we were having coffee

If we were having coffee, I’d moan that I want spring and I want it now. We’ve had a long, cold winter and we’re due for Spring. Especially since our Groundhog promised an early spring…

Okay, that’s not the best reason for an early spring…but, hey! It would be really, really nice if we finally have temperatures above freezing for a couple of days. I do think our weather forecasters feel our pain because they keep promising nicer weather just a couple of days ahead…unfortunately, those predictions never come true but they’re still nice to see.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that this is the time of year when our doggies blow their coat and we have a lot of hair around our house as a result. I have one of the culprits as we speak staring at me over the edge of my computer, sniffing my screen asking for kisses and hugs because it has been almost a minute since I gave her some and that’s simply too long.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that it’s back to work tomorrow and I don’t feel ready for it. I think I have the Monday blues a day early. Maybe my doggies aren’t the only ones who are spoiled because working is a reality of life and I should be grateful I have a job not moaning that I have to work.

Obviously, more coffee is needed.

A huge thanks to Eclectic Alli for hosting our Coffee Share and to you, my lovely reader, for reading!

The bread obsession – Part 2: The defeat

It’s official. I can’t make bread.

To ensure my success, I rewatched all the videos, read all the recipes and made sure I tried to follow things to a ‘t’. This time, I used the baking stone and whole wheat flour and, for all my efforts, I got another inedible bread brick, albeit of a slightly darker colour.

They’re absolutely inedible

Now, in order to gain some pity points, I should mention that it seems there isn’t one bread recipe out there but a million and they all contradict one another. One called for hot water while another claimed hot water killed the yeast and destroyed the bread. Some tell you to knead like there’s no tomorrow, some tell you not to touch the dough. Some say the trick is all in how your dough feels, others say you have to measure things scientifically. It’s pretty confusing.

Did I get any pity points?

Looking back at my first two attempts, I figured I didn’t let my dough sit long enough (only a couple of hours). This time, I let it sit overnight; that’s at least 12 hours of that dough sitting there with nothing else to do but puff up some bubbles. You’d think the resulting bread would be different in some way, right? Nope. The second bread is just as dense and difficult to eat as the first.

Maybe it needs more yeast or a different type of yeast or maybe it needs less kneading or maybe it needs less time to sit…or …maybe it needs me to stand on my head and whirl around a bit.

Or maybe, just maybe, we can go to the store and buy a loaf.

Where I’m sick and…obsessed

So, I’m sick. Really sick. My entire body seems to be oozing some sort of fluid and it’s all pretty disgusting. My eyes are runny, my nose is a sore, congested mess and my lungs are trying really hard to keep air in them. It’s not easy with all the coughing and sneezing I’m doing.

I blame this illness for the obsession that has taken over me. It started innocently enough with my hubby mentioning that he’d love homemade bread. I went online and watched a video where a calm, serene man kneaded dough into submission and made beautiful bread effortlessly. It seemed so easy, so simple and so lovely that I had to try it.

First, I had to buy the machines to make such bread. I opted for a Dutch Oven.

This is a dutch oven. I had no idea these things even existed.

So I got flour and threw in the ingredients. Well, first of all, my dough didn’t look at all like the well-behaved, even sphere I had seen on the video. Mine was a messy, sticky goo that seemed determined to ooze its way through the kitchen but, hey, what did I know? Time to bake! In it went and out it came…looking as thick and heavy as a brick.

It looked amazing…and tasted awful

My lovely hubby, innocently tried a piece and chewed and chewed before finally swallowing the mess. It tasted nothing like bread.

Anyone else would have probably shaken it off, realized you can buy freshly baked bread at the store and moved onto better projects but not yours truly. I was, and still am, pretty sick and one cough after another, I was going to bake something! So, on came attempt number two (where I doubled the amount of salt).

Second attempt was even heavier than the first. The dough didn’t even pretend to rise.

The second attempt was even more depressing than the first. See the above? It’s about as light as cement and feels like that in your stomach. Ugh.

But did I give up? Nope. I went back to the store and bought a new contraption.

A baking stone will sort everything out!

Well, I haven’t actually used this one yet. I’m in the middle of production.

Guess what’s under that kitchen cloth? That’s right! More dough.

In my desperate attempt to not create another ‘bread-brick’ I’m going to knead this thing like there’s no tomorrow and let it rise overnight! Let’s see if that makes any difference. Oh and I’ve switched from white to whole wheat flour because hubby said ‘The whiter the bread, the sooner you’re dead’. So who am I to contradict him?

Oh yeah. Another post is headed your way. 😀

 

We’ll see how this goes…

Well, I made up this recipe. Completely made it up out of my little noggin. So the result is…well, I can’t really tell because it’s still in the oven, but I will definitely let you know.

I started by cooking some spinach in a pot. It cooks really well if you just keep stirring and it doesn’t stick. It turned out like this.Then, I made some tomato sauce. I sautéed some onions with garlic and added crushed tomatoes, tomato paste and some more tomatoes for good measure and then, once it was cooked, I blended it with the immersion blender. Oh! And I chopped some fresh parsley and some fresh basil to add to the sauce.

This was the basil

This was the parsley

This was my tomato sauce

And then I cooked some portobello mushrooms with some onion and garlic and olive oil.

This was the mushroom mixture after they were cooked. I also had to chop them up.

I then added the spinach (after I cut it into small pieces) and some roasted walnuts that I also chopped.

these were the roasted walnuts

this is me mixing it all together

Finally, I had some fresh pasta lasagna sheets and filled them up with the mixture, then put them in a glass bowl, wrapped them so that they would contain the mixture and covered them with tomato sauce.

Issues? Well, I didn’t measure anything. I might have overdone the salt in the mixture (so that’s going to wreck the entire thing).

Hubby is on his way over and he’s going to be my guinea pig. It’s my real first attempt at cooking without a recipe…and this could easily be a disaster. Oh! And here I was all delighted that the recipe is vegan…well, turns out that the pasta is made with eggs.

Where the kibble is just not good enough

Well, I might have mentioned that we have 2 dogs. They’re akitas and we love them dearly. As caring doggie parents, we try to take good care of them, walk them, hug them and feed them good food.

Believe it or not, our search for just the right kibble for these two has been a labour of love that took years. We’re not newcomers at the dod food store. We’ve had other fussy eaters before but Ocean, our little princess, beats them all.

Only kibble? I want to register a complaint with the chef.

River, our tubby guy, will eat anything not nailed to the floor. That, itself is an issue, because we don’t want him to be unhealthy.

Breakfast was exhausting.

So, our kibble has to be perfect for both Ocean and River because to have 2 different brands would send us over the edge into insanity. We have searched, asked experts, compared the tiny ingredient writing in the bags and changed our minds a hundred times. Finally, we have one that we agree on and that our doggies like.

So, what do we do? We add things to it.

That pale stuff in there? That’s tuna. Yeap. We don’t eat it…but we buy it for our dogs

5 things I learned from my dogs

I value the wisdom of my dogs. In spite of all our technological advances as humans, there are times when I truly wonder who is the species with the greater intellect.

5. Trust your gut (nose).

4. No matter what, I love you.

3. A daily walk is a must.

2. Make time to play and rest.

1. The present moment is everything.