Monday, April 29, 2013

Why I am Bat-Shit Crazy

As many of you know I am obsessed with basset hounds. I fell in love with the breed shortly after my father got his first several years ago. He has not had one since he was a kid after he lost her in a car accident. I promptly adopted my Molly McButter, and recently I have adopted a senior hound named Winston Churchill. Actually, his name was just Winston, but being the anglophile that I am....He just got done with surgery to remove his "brains", several cysts, and had a teeth cleaning. He now has a donut of shame, and a few bald patches. Poor dude. He looks like a wrinkled frankenstein with a hemorrhoid pillow around his neck.

He came through the surgery in one piece and I hope that is all the vetting he will need for a while. He is still a little pissed about it.

As if that isn't enough, however, I volunteer with the rescue they came from. I am a foster home, and an all around jack of trades. Thanks to my husband we are in high demand for auction items. He builds dog beds for doggie royalty. I just make the pillows. He uses mostly reclaimed materials, and non-toxic finishes. If you are interested in a piece, his prices are great. Message me if you are interested and I will give you his email.
We were in the old Staples building in Henrietta NY this year, and I don't think I ever want to spend time in there again. At least not until my feet recover. Next year we are back at the Dome Arena. Most of these pictures were stolen from Sommer Slavin's Facebook page. Thanks Sommer!

This is the hammock bed. Oak with red wood caps. 

This is the sofa table with dog bed underneath. It was clear pine with
oak accents.

This year is special because I am sticking my toe into the pool of baking for a crowd. I am making cookies to sell at this annual fundraiser.

Sadly due to placement and poor advertising, I ended up
giving these away. 

This is the food area, decorated by yours truly.
Those are my kids, bored out of their skulls. The blurry
dog is Cookie my basset wanna-be who vibrates
with energy. 

Chinese Auction baskets and Silent Auction table where
hubby's table and hammock bed are.
We were running out of table space!
The baskets were on both sides. I think there were
a total of 78.

This was another silent auction item. 

Silent auction afghan. This thing was amazing!
This is our "basset crap" online store the Slobber Shoppe.
This is run by our board president, Shelly. 

More Basset crap. Great stuff!!

There is a lot of other stuff going on, raffles and upcoming events. We are doing a golfing day this year.

As great as all the stuff is, I know that it is the people that make this organization shine. I am not one to express sentiment, but I do believe in giving credit where credit is due.

Here are our amazing board members: (L to R)
Shelly Gordon President and Slobber Shoppe Matron
Justin Beabes who I nicknamed "Dr. Teeth" after the Muppet,
 as he is a Doctor in real life,
and has an impressive set of choppers. I was nearly blinded.
And last but not least, Gary Penny, Treasurer and the only guy that
can tell someone to go shit in their hat and they ask him when he
would like them to do it.
This is Chris Brothers, our adoption coordinator and
volunteer Patty Fiden. GREAT ladies to know! Another great lady is Michele Lamare
who I did not get a picture of , but if I do I will add it. She is our Foster care
coordinator, and she stayed at my house with her dogs as she is from the other
side of the state. There were 7 dogs in my house, and I loved every
minute of it. 
This is Dennis the transport coordinator, the only guy that can
call me at 10pm on a Wednesday and not get his ass handed to him.
On the right,  Dr. Teeth's wife, Andrea Beabes who claimed
me at her bitch for the day. She was foster coordinator
when I was doing adoptions. 
This is Joan Gates (Her husband Neil is in the back)
and Sommer Slavin on the right. Sommer
was Intake coordinator when Andrea and I were doing our
thing. Joan and Neil are some of the best foster parents E-V-E-R!
With her is Holly, who I will explain about later.
This is Toni Caiazzo on the Right and her dog Theo aka Stormin Norman.
Holly in the above pic and Theo were crowned Queen and King respectively. They
were on a transport I did with my friend Meags last summer. They came from a
really awful back yard breeding situation, and neither were expected to live. Holly has
terminal cancer which is why she is in foster care still. ABC will care for her until
she passes over the rainbow bridge. That whole group was a mess, infected with
heartworm, fleas and diseases.
Read the ABC Blog post about it- There are several but this one explains better.
This is Phoebe, Sommer's girl who won Duchess. She has knee
dysplasia and has to be transported in her wagon. The things we do
for these dogs. 

Here is Holly now. She looks gorgeous, and is still my princess.
She was a wreck when she came in. 

This is when Joan first got there in the AM to help
set up. The dogs got her all tangled. 

This is Shelly's dog Duke, who is deaf. He doesn't bark, he
actually Moos but he wins the howling contest every year.
Shelly's husband Don has a bro-mance of sorts with Duke.
 Shelly only occasionally minds being second fiddle. ;)
In the back, the DJ and the woman to the right are John and Theresa
Morrison. John is intake coordinator, and Theresa does marketing.
They have 3 ABC dogs, Cooper, Pumpkin and Charlie. These two are
notoriously hard to get pictures of. HA! I win! John and I are going
to be having a BBQ cook off one of these damn days. Then we plan to
get drunk and have to be peeled off the floor. Running bets are
that we will be singing off key to Journey. 

Right in the middle of the action is Justin and Andrea's dog
Toby. He is the weirdest basset I have ever met, but I adore him. 

Pics of the crowd. Don't have actual numbers yet but it was
a good number!

This was during the doggie wet tshirt contest. Not what you think
but when I helped with the games ones year we got in touch
with a woman in Oregon that runs a rescue there
and she gave us the idea. You fill a kiddie pool with water,
put in a bunch of t-shirts, and line people up. They have to get their dog
to the pool, get a shirt on them and run with it.  It's hysterical.
Then there is me, exhausted and sweaty me. I spent all day running
back and forth with food orders to the food truck Wraps On Wheels. The
guys that own the truck are awesome. 
I am missing a lot of really great people and I will add their pics and such as they come in. I just wanted to get this post out as I have been delinquent as of late with posting...because of this basset thing...that makes me bat shit crazy every year.

I wouldn't have it any other way.

Reposted on

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Flat Bread from a Friend of a Friend

My very sweet friend, who offered her picture of her hand for my blog on Proper Asparagus, connected me with another food blogger, who linked her recipe for Asparagus Flat Bread Pizza with Sherry Cream Sauce with my post about selecting the best asparagus. As a food blogger, this interconnectedness is very important. So, a deep thanks from this crazy red headed viking!

This chick also knows how to put together a blog, because mine is not nearly as fancy. I think I need to take a class or something.

Anyway, I liked the recipe she posted for her Flat Bread with Rosemary. So I decided to give it a try, although my methods are probably going to be a little different. Click here for her recipe on The Fork and Brush.

For the dough:

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup Rye flour (You can use all whole wheat or a mix of whole wheat and white. It doesn't really matter, as gluten development is not the key here)
3/4 cup water
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp yeast

While mixing the dough, she added Rosemary, and Oregano. I had some fresh rosemary, so I used that, but I decided to deviate and add garlic powder. Fresh wouldn't work here unless you put it through a ricer or something. At that time I should have replaced the olive oil with a teaspoon of real unsalted butter, as you know butter and garlic in my book equal addiction. You can try it that way if you wish, and if you do, please send me a message on how it went for you. Oh, and I added a little sage too.

You mix it all together into a sticky-ish dough. Oil the bowl and stick it in a warm spot. Okay that sounded dirty and I totally didn't do that on purpose. My subconscious is dirtier than I thought. Let the dough rise to double it's size.

Now....I did this at like 2pm in the afternoon. I will not be using it until dinner time. While I waited I gave some thought to what I am putting on it.

This would be great to use up leftover fajitas or rice and beans. You could use leftover chicken and throw some cheese on it. A simple greek with crumbly cheese, olives and sundried tomatoes. You could make it a pizza of any flavor, like the other blogger did. I even think that instead of adding rosemary and savory stuff that if you used brown sugar and maple syrup, then topped with ham or something you got a breakfast better than the stuff at the fast food places. You could make a bunch and freeze them and the kids can throw them in the toaster to thaw and put jelly or peanut butter on them for breakfast. Or you can go totally sweet, add vanilla, and brown sugar. Then while warm throw some ice cream and walnuts on it. You really can get creative with this stuff, and I like the bones of this recipe as they are really flexible, and versatile. That is the key to a signature style of cooking. It is about having a handful of basics you can use backwards and forwards and make it work in any situation.

On to cooking them...

After the dough has risen to at least double the size, make a dough ball. You can decide how or what shape you want them. You can do free form or rectangle or circle. It doesn't matter as long as they are about as thick as a wooden ruler. You can play with it of course but that is a rule I go by.

If you are in need of a uniform shape,
a pizza cutter works well. 

 I used my cast iron stove top grill for this that I greased with olive oil.

They will get a little fluffy, and stiffer (hehe) when they are done. Then you can put anything you like on it. I need to get better about getting pictures before the food disappears around here. I put some roasted garlic cloves, whole tomatoes and a little mozzarella cheese on it, and ate it.

This is a great staple recipe and I will be playing with this a little more to see how else I can use it.

Thanks to The Fork and Brush for this great recipe!


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Not the usual but still important

I want to share something with you all. I know that feelings and all that mental health stuff is a once in awhile thing around here. I am not sharing because I think anyone out there will give a rats ass about it. This topic is all over the news, people who have it are silently suffering and will continue to do so. Nothing I say will change that. There are those that use it as an excuse, namingly those with political or social asses to cover. This cheapens the whole thing for us all.

I have depression. I have social anxiety. I have generalized anxiety disorder. These things never happen in a vacuum.

There is all sorts of references and information available on the interwebs and quite frankly most of it is horse shit. There is no magic bullet. There is no one way to a cure. Some will find remission, others will not.

Here is a web page that has the most honest look at the problems associated I have ever seen. This is very real, this is to the point, and it is advice a realist like myself can stand behind.

Click here.

It isn't about a cure. It isn't about choices, although your treatment is filled with them and the associated guilt for choosing one over another.

Reality is that I live with a roving fear. There are times I get a wave of terror when the phone rings, even if I am waiting on a call. I live with constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop, so to speak. I can never enjoy good times completely because there is always a fear in the background waiting for the worst to happen. When it doesn't, I am relieved. When it does, then I am prepared.

If you don't suffer from these illnesses, good for you. Be happy. Just don't tell me I should be happy too when I can't get out of bed. It takes everything I have sometimes to answer the phone. It makes a lot of people very upset that I don't call them, or see them. I am sorry they feel slighted, and if I could change it I would. This isn't about them, it is all about me. Selfish? Maybe. Necessary? Yup.

This is why I like Facebook, because I can socialize on my terms. The only reason I blog is because I had friends that said that they wanted me to share my humour, and skills with others because others might benefit from my knowledge. I personally think I am a wad of useless information, because it is safer to think about that then the other stuff sometimes. And one friend in particular that has the same disorder, threatened violence if I didn't start writing. ;)

I am very blessed with family that understands. My mother is the ultimate survivor. My husband is a wonderfully, placid individual that doesn't think less of me on a bad day. My daughter suffers from GAD too. I hope I can be as supportive as I have been lucky enough to have in my life.

I like this person's list as it is...real. No big worldly overviews  Just what you should do for yourself in order to just keep it together during a bad time. You don't even have to use them but it is strangely comforting as it is reality based from someone who deals with this. So many of us have glittering personas we show to the world. We become so adept at hiding this that many can't understand the whole dynamic and most never know the pain we live with.

So, if you take away nothing, remember this. If a person is hiding from social interaction, it might be that it is a disease, not an opinion of you. Just go about your business and if we can reach out to you, we will. We don't need advice, just patience.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

It's Pizza man, you listenin'?

Everyone loves a good pizza. It is so easy to make at home that unless I am about ready to commit homicide I make ours at home. The dough is made in the bread machine but you can make it in your mixer too, just leave time for rising.

I'm a New Yorker. I am not a NYC resident. And I know that when people think Upstate NY two things come to mind : Banjos and cows or Hyde Park where the Roosevelt Mansion is. Neither are true. (Although the Roosevelt Mansion is in Hyde Park and it is pretty) Rochester is 6+ hours from NYC. NYC might be part of our state, but it is it's own entity. Upstate is very hometown pride oriented, and the cities and towns are great to explore. NY the state has copious breweries, foodie meccas and wineries that give Napa Valley a run for the money.

Why am I saying this? To get NY style pizza off your brain. This ain't it.

What this is, is yours to play with. You can put just about anything on a pizza and it will be fantastic, for the most part.

Here is the dough-2lbs enough for 2-12 inch pizzas

In your bread maker, add ingredients in this order:

1 1/2 cups warm water
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp salt
4 1/4 cups bread flour (all purpose will work, but it gives the dough chewiness and stretch)
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp yeast

Turn on the bread maker to dough only and let 'er rip!

If you make in the mixer, use the dough hook. Proof your yeast with warm water and sugar. Then add the rest. Take out, rest in a well lubed (hehe) bowl covered in a tea towel in a warm place and wait for it to rise. Punch down, and if you have time, do a second rise. There is all sorts of chemical reasons why, but it makes for better crust, I think.

Once it is ready to go, cut this 2 lb ball of potential yumminess into two equal shares. Working around the edges of the ball, press out with your fingers to spread out the dough.

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Put the dough on the pan into the oven and pre bake it for about 10 minutes. You don't want it cooked all the way, but you want it to cook enough to resemble bread.

Take it out and start adding.

The grown ups had a white pizza which is oil and garlic instead of sauce, with tomatoes, broccoli, fresh basil and chunks of fresh mozzarella cheese. Seasoned with a little oregano and onion powder.

The kids did cheese and then I added a handful of pepperoni to one side just in case someone decided to change their mind about wanting cheese. Which they will do AFTER it's baked. I'm no dummy.

Now when you have built your pizzas to your liking, here are a few tricks for baking.

I have a pizza stone. I keep it in the oven at all times. You should never remove a hot stone and put it in a (relatively) cold kitchen. It will shatter. And those pieces are not only sharp they are hot. I have melted sheet vinyl flooring and given myself impressive scars that way.

I bake the pizza until almost all the cheese is melted. Then I move to the pizza stone for about 3 minutes. This time will vary based on where in the oven your stone is. Mine is on the bottom and is basically 3 degrees from molten magma. You are crisping the crust during this step. Then I move under the broiler for a couple minutes to finish the top. It is a lot of futzing but worth it.

Also, to keep the crust chewy I take a pan and add water and put it in the oven while I am baking. An old friend of mine's very Italian grandmother swore by it. She actually used salt water. I didn't find any difference in using salt water but you can try it if you want to. You don't have to but I do, so see if it works for you.

One of the things I LUUUUUUVE about pizza is the versatility of it. You can make it any flavor for the most part, and you can let your kids have it for breakfast and be totally fine with it. I let my kids have ice cream for breakfast sometimes, so you can't go by me. I mean really, have you looked at the amount of sugar in even some "healthy" breakfast cereals? It's criminal. Organic all natural ice creams at least have milk, real sugar and cream in them. You know, shit you can identify? WHOA....rad concept.

Here's to leftover pizza for breakfast!