Christmas Cookies for the Dogs

The weekend before Christmas is usually one full of holiday baking–families and friends get together to bake all sorts of goodies. I always enjoy baking, I just don’t do a bunch of it because I end up eating it all. But when it comes to baking for my pups and for my friends’ with dogs, I’m all about it. Which is why part of my holiday baking consisted of baking two batches of Christmas cookies…for dogs.

These two recipes are pretty easy, and healthy, for you. If you’re looking for some last minute gifts for dog lovers, or for your own dog, I highly recommend these two recipes.

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Chicken ‘N Oats Cookies

2 Cups + 1/2 Cup rolled oats
1/2 Teaspoon salt
1 egg
1/2 Cup low sodium chicken broth (can use beef broth)
1 Tablespoon parsley

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, combine 2 cups rolled oats with salt, broth, egg, and parsley. Once combined, add the 1/2 cup leftover oats.
  3. After laying out wax paper, pour out the batter and knead by hand for 3 minutes to firm up the dough. Let the dough stand for 3 more minutes.
  4. Roll the dough to about a 1/2 inch thickness and use cookie cutters to cut into the dough.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes, with the option of flipping the cookies over for 4 additional minutes for extra crispness.
  6. Store in airtight container.

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Peanut Butter Puppers Cookies

1 1/4 Cups whole wheat flour
1/2 Teaspoon baking soda
1 Cup natural peanut butter (I like to use crunchy for texture)
1 Cup water
2 Tablespoons honey
1 egg

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the whole wheat flour, baking soda, egg, and peanut butter.
  3. Add the water and honey (your dough will be very sticky).
  4. Allow dough to chill for about 5-10 minutes in the freezer to help quell the stickiness.
  5. Roll out the dough on a floured surface to about 1/4-1/2 inch thickness and use cookie cutters.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes, until golden. Sometimes I’ll flip over the the cookies after 20 minutes and bake an additional 4 just to get a little more crunch.
  7. After cooling, store in an air-tight container.

**If you’re giving these (or any) homemade cookies to a dog lover on your list, be sure to include the ingredients in case their dog has an allergy. (For instance, my mom’s dog cannot have gluten due to his epilepsy.)

Your turn: Do you do anything special for the dog lover in your life on Christmas?

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A Handmade Christmas List–Unique Gift Ideas

By now you’re probably finishing up your Christmas shopping…or maybe you’re just starting. Lately we haven’t had much money to spend for presents, so we try to make the most of each gift we give by making sure they’re special for that person. Whether it means searching for the perfect shirt at Target, or finding something on Etsy, I pride myself on trying to find the “perfect gift.”

To me, the “perfect gift” comes from the heart and takes a lot of time and effort, not just something you ran out to the store, saw and thought “Hey, that works.” Because of this, I try to plan a little early. This year, I found items for my dad and brother-in-law that I know they love, will use until holes appear (and continue to use), and can be hard to find. For my mom, something that I know she’ll hang up and smile every time she sees it. For my sister, a reminder of some of her favorite things. For M…well…he’s a little more difficult…

So I thought I’d share a couple of my favorite places to shop on Etsy for unique, handmade, and some times custom, items that you still have time to buy for your loved ones this holiday season. These are small businesses, which I love to try to support as much as possible, and I hope you do, too.

All Wooled Up
From handknitted scarves and shawls to handmade jewelry, to needle-felted wall art to reclaimed sweat bags, you’re sure to find something for every female on your list. You can’t argue with one-of-a-kind, upcycled items that can keep you warm, decorate your house or neck, or just look great. And the prices can’t be beat. So many pretty items!

AWU

Porter Productions
What started out as some fun trinkets for friends in the dog agility world has expanded to so much more! Lucky pennies, reminders of accomplishments, motivational sayings..anything that can be stamped into metal and hung from your neck or ears, she can do. She’s even started enameling coins and metal, which looks super cool! You can do keychains for dads, using birth years of their children; or celebrate your latest running domination. I have to say her special 13.1 2014 penny she gave me this summer brought me a PR in a half marathon! 🙂

PP

KeraAshley
Another great place to find handknitted items from scarves to headbands and even cute mug warmers. (Who doesn’t want their coffee or tea to stay warmer just a little longer at your desk??) The crocheting and knitting are great–look cute and stay warm!

KA

Stickman Hardware
Looking for something for the man in your life? If he loves beer, does homebrewing, or aspires to be a brewer, you can’t go wrong with a custom keg handle from a fellow homebrewer! StickmanHardware designs and builds customized hardwood tap handles for homebrewers and beer lovers, using hardwoods such as walnut, maple, bocote, and bubinga and inlaid chalkboards to create tap handles which are both aesthetically pleasing as well as functional.

SMHAll Leashed Up
OK, so what about those pups in your life? They bring you so much joy every time they see you! All Leashed Up offers colorful handmade paracord collars and matching leashes, tug toys, and even bracelets that you can wear to match your pooch. My pups rock All Leashed Up designs at the agility trials.

ALU

The possibilities are endless! Hopefully this helps you if you’ve been stumped for ideas!

Your turn: What’s your favorite Etsy shop for gift giving?

 

Running While Pregnant: Simple Mile Interval WOD

Now that I’m at 30 weeks pregnant, running isn’t what it used to be…not even when I was at 20 weeks! Hills are killer–gets my heart rate and breathing up way too high. Plus the pressure on my bladder gets to me after about a mile or so (I know, TMI). My usual route around my neighborhood is very hilly, and doesn’t leave locations for bathroom trips. So I’ve cut back way more on running than I like.

But that’s when I came up with a simple WOD to do at my box–Man O’War CrossFit. I went in on Saturday morning and decided to make the most of what I had available to me. Where we do our runs for regular WODs is pretty flat, and the strip of road is a half-mile long. I really wanted to run, but knew I couldn’t join my running team, so I figured dong mile intervals was the next best thing.

I came up with this WOD with the pregnant woman in mind (thinking how we need to have a break to use the restroom, take our time to get our heartrate down, etc.), but it’s perfect for anyone. My running splits were steady–10 minute miles. So I finished in around 40 minutes (I didn’t use a clock to time the whole WOD, just my runs).

MileInterval

Give it a try and let me know what you think! I wanted something that also worked on my upper and lower back, and was different from what we had done earlier in the week. This was perfect.

JUST A FEW DAYS LEFT!!! Don’t forget about my special offer to get 40% off ProCompression items–Use discount code “PINK2through Dec. 15 to get 40% off ProCompression Marathon Socks or Calf Sleeves–great gifts for the runner(s) in your life and yourself!

A Simple Thanskgiving

I know, I know, this should have been posted days ago, considering Thanksgiving is now a distant memory. But I wanted to share my first Thanksgiving where I fixed everything, by myself, for just myself and M. I was pretty proud of myself for putting everything together!

M had to work all week, including Thanksgiving, so that meant we were staying home. It would be our first Thanksgiving with just the two of us (instead of spending it with family)….and our last with just the two of us (considering Baby A&W will be here next year). I wanted to make it special, but we had a tight budget, so I did the best I could.

On the menu:

  • 3 lb. boneless turkey breast
  • Fresh green beans
  • Mom’s sweet potatoes
  • Hawaiian rolls
  • Spiced cranberry-apple chutney
  • Homemade pumpkin pie

Putting everything together was pretty simple.

Our little Thanksgiving dinner--not as heavy as traditionally, but still delicious!

Our little Thanksgiving dinner–not as heavy as traditionally, but still delicious!

Turkey

  1. Prepare the slow cooker by spraying cooking oil all over the inside.
  2. Leaving the skin and string on, rub the turkey breast with olive oil then sprinkle seasonings (I used rosemary, thyme, parsley, poultry spice, black pepper, and a dash of salt)
  3. Place skin side down in the slow cooker
  4. Add 1/2 cup of broth or water (I used low sodium chicken broth)
  5. Cook on low for 4-6 hours.
  6. Once cooked all the way through, remove the skin and string

So moist! And so easy! If you ever see a sale on boneless turkey breasts, get one to have on hand for any type of meal!

The rest of the sides came together easily. I used my mom’s recipe for sweet potatoes to make a small portion that was enough for M and I.

Mom’s Sweet Potatoes

  1. Combine 1 can of yams (drained) in a large bowl with a quarter stick of softened butter.
  2. Pour orange juice, to you liking, and mix with a hand mixer until incorporated. (There’s no measurement to the orange juice, you just want a nice consistency to the potatoes–not runny, but not stiff.)
  3. Add a handful or two of marshmallows and mix.
  4. Pour into a casserole dish and microwave in 5 minute intervals, stirring the potatoes every 5 minutes, until everything is cooked through.
  5. Spread mini marshmallows on top, covering as much as you’d like, then set the dish in the oven with broil on to brown the marshmallows. (Keep an eye on the marshmallows because once they start to brown, it won’t take long for them to burn.)

We enjoyed some sparkling white grape juice and dinner when M got home, then prepared for our friends to join us for “Friendsgiving–Desert Edition.” A few friends came over and brought desert as well (cherries jubilee and some spice-cake-slow-cooker-concoction that actually came out delicious) to go with my (very first) homemade pumpkin pie. We then watched football, chowed down on desert, and played Apples to Apples until it was time to go crash.

Friendsgiving--Desert Edition!

Friendsgiving–Desert Edition!

I missed spending the holiday with my family, but I was happy to be home for M and to get to spend some fun times with friends. I hope you did the same!

Your turn: Share one favorite part of your Thanksgiving 2014!