Friday, December 25, 2009

Barking and Pastry

I find myself back in New Jersey with Max and Stanley again, enjoying a quiet holiday while I house and puppy sit. This is my third time staying with them, and I think we're pretty comfortable with each other by now.

Many of you would find the prospect of spending Christmas alone depressing and boring. I actually recommend everyone spending at least one Christmas away from family, or even completely solo. Not only does it make you appreciate your family a whole lot more, but it lets you do a lot of soul searching only true solitude can allow.
With that, I must say I hope this is my last Christmas alone for a while. That is no offense to Stanley and Max, who are wonderful company, but I've spent more holidays on my own than a healthy young woman with a loving family should. For a couple years, I made Christmas out to be a dreaded affair that only caused strain on my family and friends.
I have since shut that book and look forward to decorating gingerbread houses with nieces and nephews who adore me, random dogs knocking ornaments off the tree, and a good mix of cheek pinching and awkward conversation with neighbors and in-laws.
But for now, there is music, macaroni and cheese, warmth, and two cheerful dogs in a clean and quiet apartment. It could be a lot worse. I'm going to really enjoy the lap of luxury with some baking, and treat the dogs to some homemade dog biscuits.
Dog treats are actually easier to make than cookies and if you're a dog lover, you should give it a try. If you've ever flipped over a container from the pet store, you know how many weird and disgusting ingredients get added. I opted to make some minty vegetarian treats, just to give the guys a little help with their tuna breath.

You can find cute cookie cutters at kitchen stores. The bones are pretty standard, but I do like the mini fire hydrants:
Here's the recipe:
2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
3 T dried mint
2 T dried chopped parsley, or 1/4 c. fresh
3/4 cup water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix flour, cornmeal and herbs in a large bowl. Add oil and water and mix well. Roll out on floured surface to 1/4". Cut with cookie cutters and bake for 40 minutes or till lightly browned. Turn heat off and let dog treats dry out in oven for at least one hour.

Merry Christmas!

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