Sunday, January 30, 2011

One Bowl Chocolate Brownie Cookies

It was movie night last night and I wanted to try something new and something fast.  This fit the bill.

One Bowl Chocolate Brownie Cookies

6 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
6 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups chopped toasted walnuts -- optional

Oven to 325 degrees.

Microwave chocolates and butter in a large microwave bowl on HIGH, 1 1/2-2 minutes or until chocolate is almost melted, stirring halfway through heating time. Stir until chocolate is completely melted and smooth.

Stir sugar into chocolate until blended. Mix in eggs and vanilla. Stir in flour, baking powder and salt. Stir in nuts.

Drop by rounded tablespoons, 1 1/2" apart onto ungreased cookie sheets.

Bake 12 minutes or until set. Do Not Overbake. Cool 5 minutes. Remove from cookie sheets. Cool completely on wire racks.

Store in airtight container.

Lynne's Note:  I used toasted pecans, because I prefer them.  I only had semisweet chocolate and cut the sugar back by 2 tablespoons.  They were still very sweet.  I baked my cookies on a Silpat.  When I let the cookies cool the 5 minutes stated in recipe they were glued to the Silpat.  When I let the cookies cool for about 1 minute or so I could get the cookies off in one piece and looking nice.  Great quick recipe when you want something sweet now.

Cookie on far right is the one I waited only a minute or 2 for the cookie to firm up enough that I could take it off the Silpat.  The bottom of cookie stayed intacted for a nice cookie cookie.  The cookies on the left I waited the 5 minutes and they were stuck.  Cookie at the bottom left is an example of most of that batch looked like.  I would scrap what was left of the cookie and squish it to the bottom.  Don't get me wrong nobody poo pooed the cookies whatever shape they were in.  They were very good.

Thursday, January 27, 2011


An email from my brother today... "Well it looks like we're going to have a bionic dog. Winston passed the tests for a pacemaker." 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Another Chapter in the Dog Saga of my Family

I told my brother when we went out to eat for my dad's birthday a week or so ago not to mention that my poodle has been sick.  My dad and mom lost their poodle 1 year ago to liver cancer.  It's a very tender subject.  My poodle seems to be mending well.  We'll go in next week for a follow up check up to be sure.  Why sadden them unnecessarily.

Well, my brother calls today to say that his new pup has a serious health issue.  There is something wrong with his heart.  The beating of it is slowing down day by day.  What should be beating around 100 times a minute is beating at 30.  Like a typical dog you'd never know anything was wrong with him.  This was found out accidentally with a check up regarding the dog's teeth.  The Vet said the teeth are fine, but there is something else we need to talk about.

My brother and his wife have set up an appointment for a 2nd opinion.  The only treatment for something like this that has been discussed is a pacemaker.  I can't believe it!  My husband's cousin is a Vet he's in his 60's, so has been doing this for a long time.  He told me a few years ago that if you have the money we can do just about anything to fix your dog.

My brother and his wife are DINKs (double income no children).  Not that they have all the money in the world, but their dog is their child.  They are prepared to pay some money out to help their dog live a longer life.  My brother and I had a pretty lengthy talk about what's reasonable and what's not.  We also talked about the quality of life of a pet.  If they were to put a pacemaker in they'd need to let him live a full life.  Not a sheltered life.  Well, sheltered within reason.

Winston (Poodle/Pomeranian... Pomapoo?)

We also talked about why us... why are our dogs having serious health issues this past year?  We realized that up until now we have been very fortunate to have dogs that have lived full healthy lives.  We go the extra mile to make sure our dogs are fed well and healthy.  That's 40 years of dog ownership.  We figured sadly that it's just our turn.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Hanging In There

Quick webcam picture of my beautiful girl.  As you can see we're hanging in there.  She's actually doing great as far as the eye can tell.  Doing all the healthy things a dog should do.  She'll go in for a recheck here soon.  Hoping all the problems she was having in her blood samples have resolved themselves.

She's back on regular dog food except that it has 1 tablespoon of cottage cheese, a sprinkle of chopped chicken and some chicken broth.  Why the big hoopla with the food now?  Well, she's spoiled that's why!  Turns out she also loves my home cooking.  I feel pretty lucky to have gotten it down to that little bit of hoopla.  I was cooking a whole chicken for the family once a week.  I then would take the chicken carcuss and make chicken broth with it.  Then I'd also cook up a batch of rice.  I would take all the leftover chicken from the family dinner and pick it from the bones and chop up finely.  I would put the chicken broth sans any salt and put in the fridge to skim off all fat.  The Vet had said low fat low salt diet.  For her dinner I would take chicken, lowfat cottage cheese, rice and chicken broth.  My dog was in hog heaven.  For a sick girl she was eating like champ.

My brother and mom and dad doctor up their dogs food everyday.  I've always been one to give my dogs straight dry dog food.  The Vet said that was the healthiest way to feed them.  It's such an easy way too.  When we travel my folks have all these containers and cans of things for the dog.  I have a bag of dry food and a measuring cup.  I may have joined their ranks.  As it turns out it's not such a bother.  I always thought that dry dog food looked and sounded a bit boring myself.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Sick Little Poodle

Christmas 2010

Little Star is front row center.  She is my dog... errrr.... I guess I should say our dog.  She thinks she's my baby.  Much the same way my kids know they are my babies.  I have this thing I do when I get a new dog I find out how long a dog of that size is supposed to live and I expect it to live that long with my good care and love.   My 100 pound dog was said to live 10-12 years.  He lived for 13 1/2.  I was told my 10 pound dog might make it 10 years, because she had a heart murmur.  She lived to 16 1/2.  My Little Star is a miniature poodle and I was told she'd live 12-14 years.  Her sister Twinkle died last January of liver cancer at the age of 8.  I wrapped my mind around that tragedy by the fact that Twinkle survived a rattlesnake bite and that her liver was probably damaged.  In the back of my mind though I've had a nagging worry that my dog might get sick.

13 days ago it was a regular day and I fed my poodle breakfast.  She's always eager for a meal.  She even had a little running twirl and flip she does to let me know "yes, please I'd like breakfast."  Very cute.  I set the bowl down and instead of diving straight in she stared at me.  How odd I thought.  Again I gave her the command to dive right in.  Again she looked at me.  In the 8 years we've had her she's never turned down a meal.  I left the bowl out and she ate a few piece through the day, but it was still there at dinner.  The next day was did the same thing.  Eager to eat and yet wouldn't eat.  I picked the bowl up this time and gave it back to her at dinner.  Friday morning she flatly refused to eat.  Didn't even eat a morsel or 2. 

I had a coffee date and expressed my worry that my dog wasn't eating.  My friend suggested maybe she was bored with eating the same food for 8 years.  I've often wondered myself how she does it.  My friend gave me a baggie of her dogs food.  I brought it home and she scarfed it down.  She scarfed down a dinner meal too.  Saturday we bought a big bag of the same food and she refused to eat it.  Sunday she refused to eat.  I was so puzzled.  Again, I palpated her stomach.  I wiggled each tooth.  I checked her over for ticks or fleas.  Her energy level was the same.  She was still running and playing.  She wasn't sleeping any more than usual.  She seemed healthy in every way, but she wouldn't eat.  I made an appointment with the Vet. 

First thing Monday the Vet Tech took her history of what was wrong and then took her temperature.  She says, "Poor puppy you have a temperature."  Now I'm suddenly alarmed!  What she really is sick!  My heart thought she was being finicky, but my brain I knew that wasn't the case.  They took blood, urine and fecal samples.  Tests came back that she indeed has an infection of some kind.  They're not sure if her liver if functioning properly.  Her urine is dark and cloudy, but no urinary tract infection.  So, they think she wasn't drinking either.  An x-ray showed that all her organs were the right size and in the right place and looking healthy.  Ultrasound also showed nothing out of the normal.  The Vet was puzzled.

They gave me antibiotics to give her and told me to put her on a low fat diet.  By Wednesday I noticed that she wasn't drinking.  Now I'm really worried that my poodle is going to die.  When I started her on my home cooked lowfat diet she began eating again with gusto.  So, I decided to see if I could trick her into drinking.  I used my homemade chicken broth.  At first I gave her 4 ounces of chicken broth.  Over the couple days before her next check up I reduced it to 1 to 4 ratio with water.   She drank it gladly.

I took her in for a recheck and the Vet checked her temp and said it's almost normal.  I feel better, but uncomfortable with the "almost normal."  She still is only drinking my broth water and hasn't touched her water bowl for 1 week.  I wonder if it's because I'm keeping her hydrated and she feels no need to drink or what.  I asked the Vet how long can a dog go without water.  He said 24 to 36 hours.  So, Wednesday I'm to slowly introduce her to dog food and I think I'll slowly stop spiking her water.

For now she's still hippy skipping around and being her fluffy cute self.  We enjoy having her around so much.

I've been a little teary over the week.  The thought of losing my Little Star long before I thought I would is difficult to comprehend.  I know it does happen.  I know it could happen.  We're just doing the best we can.  I've comforted myself knowing she is well loved and well taken care of and whatever will be is out of my control.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Crocheting For A Cause

I found out that the Special Olympics needed crocheted scarves for this year's event.  The California chapter had only 45 and needed at 1000.  So, I thought why not help out.  I went on my quest of the 2 specific colors of yarn needed for the project.  Red Heart yarn is not hard to find.  What I found out though is Red Heart Supersaver Blue 886 is hard to find.  I looked at 3 Michaels, 2 Walmarts, 2 Joanns and 1 Beverlys when I decided that I wasn't going to do the project afterall.  I couldn't fine the blue yarn.  I really struggled with myself.  I could order 2 skeins of yarn from Red Heart and pay shipping.  Hopefully, they'd get here in a timely manner.  I decided I wasn't going to order yarn.  I have other charity projects to work on and I shouldn't beat myself up about not wanting to order a special color of blue yarn.  It still weighed heavy on my mind.

Today after my machine knitting class I decided that there was one more Beverlys kind of out of the way, but not that far.  I drove over and low and behold they had Blue 886.  I was so excited!  I will be working on making some scarves for the California Chapter of the Special Olympics.