Sunday, October 23, 2016

My Heart Is Shattered

When it rains it pours. As many of you that personally know me, know that my little Sheltie (Shetland Sheep Dog) Gabby had emergency surgery last month. She was diagnosed with Pyometra, a very expensive but life saving surgery had to be performed, which she recovered nicely from.  Gabby had been having issues a few days after the surgery with a dry cough which I had been telling my vet about. The Vet said it could be allergies and to keep an eye on her because twice a year she gets allergies and she is highly allergic to flea bites, no fleas were found. Gabby kept coughing more and more and I didn't think it was allergies, but possibly Kennel Cough that she could have contracted while at the Vet's. I also told the Vet that she isn't eating and has lost weight. The vet had me bring her in on Monday  10/17/16, she also thought it could be Kennel Cough but wasn't exactly sure, she also stated that Gabby has a Heart Murmur which I honestly don't ever remember being told about. This is a new Vet that just joined my Vet's practice who was telling me this. 

Gabby was given Doxyiclylene, I was told that if her cough worsened to call the office. The vet didn't seem to have any real concerns about Gabby losing the 4-pounds but I did. Since Monday she had been throwing up the medication, not eating or drinking which really concerned me, red flags were being raised that something seriously was wrong. I called the Vet and told her about what was going on and I had asked if I should halve the medication, half in the morning and half at nigh? She thought that this would be a good idea and to let her know if this worked or not.  Gabby kept coughing and I would tell her to get a drink and put a bowl of water in front of her, she just ignored it.  On Thursday evening 10/21, I gave her the medication once again and twenty minutes later she was having issues breathing and she was whinny which she has never done before and kept pawing at my leg. I called the Vet's office immediately at 7:30 P.M., the receptionist said that the only Vet available was my own and that she was in an emergency and if Gabby got worse to take her to the Emergency Vet. Gabby progressively got worse, gasping and breathing extremely heavy,  I was on my way to take her to the ER, on the way she keeled over onto the front seat of the truck and started foaming at the mouth, gasping, I was falling apart driving and me being all alone made it 10x's worse. 

I arrived at the ER Vet's and was pounding on the door yelling for help, the techs at the ER grabbed her from me and told me to stay in the waiting room, I was hysterical by this point. 15-Minutes later the Vet there came out and said that Gabby was in full-blown Congestive Heart Failure and not breathing on her own and that she was basically drowning in fluid, her heart was extremely enlarged. She then proceeds to say, she didn't think she would make the night.  She grabbed my hand and softly said to me that there is nothing I could do or that she could do that would save her. She then told me how sorry she was.   I had to make the heart breaking, gut wrenching decision, to have my beautiful little girl put to sleep. I am so upset and pissed off at the same time. Why didn't my vet diagnose this? Congestive Heart isn't something that just happens in 3-days.  I stayed with Gabby and laid over top of her,  hugging and petting her, telling her what a good girl she is and how much I love her. She lifted her head and looked me in the eyes and drew her last breath.  Right then and there I felt like I had died with her.  I have cried over the loss of other wonderful pets, friends and family members, but I don't ever remember feeling like this.  I was so sick to my stomach I couldn't focus or even hear what the Vet was saying to me. I stood there crying-sobbing, looking at her lips moving while she was talking, but not hearing a word that came out of her mouth, it was like I was there but I wasn't.

Gabby was the best dog ever and I do mean ever!  Never did she do one thing wrong, I couldn't have made her more perfect if I made her myself. She had been by my side for almost 10-yrs.  Today would have been her 10th birthday. She was as beautiful as she was smart, she loved going for long hikes with me, taking rides in the truck, she mothered all of the animals domestic and wild that I would bring home to foster, rehabilitate or even some times kept permanently.  She was ever so gentle and loved my kids which are all grown now and she loved my two grand kids. There wasn't a person around that didn't give me a compliment when she was with me about how well behaved she was, and they were all shocked that she was never on a leash but stood by my side at all times.  I was always told what a beautiful dog she was and I smiled with pride.  If I was at my desk using the laptop, she would lay right by my side. If I was in the bathroom, that's where you would find her, sometimes howling for me to hurry up in the shower.  If I was sick, she'd be in bed with me. Any place I was she was there.  I miss her bouncing around barking wagging her tail when ever I asked if she wanted to go outside or if I asked her is Daddy home? (My husband) She knew by the sound of the engine of his van and would bark sometimes before I even knew he was here. She was my heart dog, that one special one that comes around once in a lifetime, not to say my other dogs and pets aren't loved, they are and were. She just lit up a room with that big personality in a little body.

Even the other dogs here at home, all 5, are walking room-to-room looking for her and I have caught myself doing the same. My little Capone (Mini Long-Haired Dachshund) has been whining. He just started walking after his paralysis in March which caused him to become paralyzed from the middle of his back down to his hind legs. We were so thrilled to see him walking, wobbling again and now this happens. Gabby was like his foster Mommy since he was 8-wks old.   Here's Gabby laying with Capone after he was first diagnosed with having Calcification of his Disc, which ruptured causing him to become paralyzed. Gabby stayed by his side the whole time and continued to do so until her passing. They were best friends.  

A few weeks back as many of you had read, Koda had to be put to sleep.  As upsetting as that was, he was old and had a good life.  Gabby on the other hand was still young and this has came as a complete shock,  it's so much harder to deal with and comprehend that my "Gabby Girl" won't be my side any more. 

Rest In Peace my beautiful girl, you made my life brighter and funnier with you around.  God must have needed an angel with four-legs, so he took you home.  You will forever be in my heart and we all miss you terribly.


Friday, October 14, 2016

Rustic Garlic and Rosemary Bread Made In A Dutch Oven

This recipe couldn't be more easy, although it does have a few steps.  The dough needs to Proof, meaning to rise and let the yeast ferment for at least 12-hours.  I usually make two loaves because it goes so quickly.  It also taste great toasted. This recipe makes one loaf.

What You Will Need:
Medium Size Dutch Oven
2-Large Mixing Bowls *If not using a Stand Mixer*
Stand Mixer or Hand Mixer
Oven Mitts
Measuring Cup
Measuring Spoon
Plastic Wrap
Aluminum Foil
Parchment Paper cut to a few inches bigger than the size of your Large Mixing Bowl
Small Baking Sheet
Cooling Rack if you have one
Pot Holders

Roasted Garlic:
1-Garlic Head Medium
1-2 Teaspoons Olive Oil

Directions For Garlic:
Preheat your oven to 375-Degrees Fahrenheit
Cut the top of the Garlic head off about 1/4-inch exposing the Cloves.  Place the Garlic on a small piece of Aluminum Foil, drizzle the Olive Oil over the top of the Garlic and let it go down over the sides. Wrap the Aluminum Foil up and over the top of the Garlic so the whole bulb is completely covered.  Place the bulb onto the Baking Sheet and roast for 45-55 minutes.  When time is up, put on your Oven Mitts, take out of the oven and set aside on a heat resistant flat surface to cool. Remove the paper skins and discard. Rough Chop the Garlic Cloves and set aside.

Bread Dough:
2 1/4 Teaspoons of Rapid Rise Yeast or 1-Envelope
1-Tablespoon Rosemary Dried and crushed *You can rub it in your palms to break it down*
1 1/2 Cups of Warm Water
3 1/2 Cups of Unbleached All-Purpose Flour *Plus 3-Tablespoons to use on Parchment Paper
1-Teaspoon Sea Salt
Roasted Garlic Divided
1-Teaspoon Olive Oil *For Garlic Bulb*

First roast the Garlic Bulb as directed above.
In the Stand Mixer, mix all of the Bread Dough ingredients and use half of the Roasted Chopped Garlic. Wrap the remaining Garlic and place in the refrigerator.

Using your Large Mixing Bowl, rub the bottom and sides with Olive Oil. Remove the Bread Dough from your Stand Mixer and place into the Large Bowl. Cover the Large Bowl with Plastic Wrap and let it set out on your counter or table over night for at least 12-hours or over night at room temperature.  This will give the dough time to rise.

After the Bread Dough Has Risen:
Preheat Oven to 450-Degrees Fahrenheit
Put your Dutch Oven into the oven with the lid on for about 20-minutes.

Preparing The Bread Dough:
Place your Parchment Paper on a clean flat surface, sprinkle with a Teaspoon of Flour.  Put a little bit of Olive Oil in the palm of your hands and rub to coat, this will help keep the Bread Dough from sticking to your hands while working the Dough.  Punch down the Dough in the Large Mixing Bowl with your hands. Pick the Bread Dough up and pull from the outside edges, now tightly roll and form into a ball.  Place the ball of dough onto the floured Parchment Paper.  If the Bread Dough is sticky you can add a little more flour and roll it until it isn't sticky anymore. Sprinkle some Crushed Dried Rosemary on the top of Bread Dough, this is optional.  With the second half of the Roasted Chopped Garlic, sprinkle over the top of the Bread Dough.

Remove the Dutch Oven from the oven using Oven Mitts, be careful this is extremely hot! Place the Dutch Oven on either Pot Holders or on a heat resistant flat surface.  Remove the lid using Oven Mitts and place the lid also onto a heat resistant flat surface or onto Pot Holders.  Pick up the Parchment Paper by the corners with the Bread Dough on it and ever so carefully place into the hot Dutch Oven. Carefully push the sides of the Parchment Paper down the sides of the Dutch Oven and put the hot lid back on using your Oven Mitts.  Still wearing your Oven Mitts, carefully put the Dutch Oven into the oven to bake for 40-minutes, then carefully remove the lid with Oven Mitts and continue baking for about another 10-minutes or until the bread is a nice golden brown color.

Once the bread is a nice golden brown color, carefully remove from the oven once again wearing your Oven Mitts. Please be extremely careful this is very...very hot! Lift the bread up and out of the Dutch Oven by the corners of the Parchment Paper, place the hot bread on a Cooling Rack or on a Large Plate or Platter to cool.  Wait at least an hour before cutting and serving.  Enjoy!

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Thursday, October 13, 2016

Tortellini With Blue Cheese Sauce

What you will need:
Large Pot
Large Frying Pan
Measuring Spoons
Measuring Cup
Large Spoon or Heat Proof Spatula
Large Plate or Bowl
Tasting Spoon  *I use a Teaspoon*
Oven Mitts

1-Tablespoon Granulated Garlic
5-Ounces of Blue Cheese Crumbled
10-Ounces of Mushrooms Sliced
2-24-Ounce Packages of Cheese Tortellini *I used the Vegetable one because it gives them color.*
1-Tablespoon Parsley Dried
1-Teaspoon Salt, plus 1 1/2 Tablespoons for the water
1-Teaspoon Pepper 
1-Teaspoon Paprika
3-Tablespoons Butter
3-Tablespoons Flour
2 1/2 Cups Whole Milk
2-Tablespoon Olive Oil

Fill your Large Pot 3/4 of the way with water. Bring the water to a roiling boil, once boiling add in 1 1/2 tablespoons of Salt.  Now add in both packages of the Tortellini and let cook for about 10-minutes, stir so they don't stick together.  Once cooked put on your oven mitts, drain into a colander and set aside.  Be careful this is extremely hot.  Keep the Large Pot aside because you're going to use it again.

Next, add Olive Oil to the Frying Pan, put on medium-heat. Add in the sliced Mushrooms, cook Mushrooms for about 5-minutes or until light brown in color and tender.  Remove the Mushrooms and put them either on the large plate or in the Large Bowl and set aside.

Now for the Blue Cheese Sauce:
Using the same frying pan still on medium-heat, add in the Butter.  Let the Butter melt, once melted add in the Flour, whisk until they are combined forming a paste, don't let the paste get browned, this is called a Roux.  Once combined, slowly add in the Milk while continuing to whisk, this will start to thicken, this is called a Bechamel Sauce. Once all of the Milk has been used, add in the Blue Cheese. Use your spoon or spatula to stir.  You want to keep stirring until all of the Blue Cheese has melted. Add in your above spices, Parsley, Garlic, etc., mix well.

Now in the original Large Pot that you used for boiling, add the Tortellini to the pot, then the Blue Cheese Sauce and Mushrooms, stir well until all are combined with the Sauce.  Using your Tasting Spoon see if this may need some more seasonings, this is to your own personal taste.  Once done sprinkle the top with Paprika and serve hot.

With this supper-dinner I also made my Honey Mustard Glazed Ham, Baked Cinnamon Apples and home made Rustic Garlic Rosemary Bread.  These recipes are also listed here on my blog if you'd like to try those as well.  I hope you like everything I share, your comments and questions would be greatly appreciated.  Have a great day! 

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Sunday, October 2, 2016

Banana Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake with Vanilla Glaze

This is an easy and delicious dessert to make. You can make it with or without the Vanilla Glaze.  You can also use Loaf Pans if you like.  I used a Bundt Pan to be more decorative.  I used my KitchenAid Stand Mixer with Paddle Attachment to make this recipe.

What you will need:
Medium Size Bundt or Loaf Pan
Large Size Mixing Bowl *Only if you aren't using a Stand Mixer*
Stand or Hand Mixer. *If you don't have either a Whisk will do.*
Large Spoon
Medium Size Bowl
Measuring Cup and Spoons
Lined Baking Sheet using either Parchment Paper or Aluminum Foil
Paper Towel or Paper Napkin
Tooth Picks
Oven Mitts
Large Plate or Platter

Ingredients For Cake:
3-Large very ripe Bananas.  *I let mine sit on the counter until the skins are black, this makes for a sweeter banana.*
2-Cups of  Unbleached All Purpose Flour and 1-Tablespoon for dusting the Pans
1-Cup Chocolate Morsels - Chips plus a handful for topping
1-Teaspoon Baking Soda
1-Teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2-Cup Half & Half *If you can't find it, it's half Whole Milk & half Heavy Cream. 1/4-Cup each.*
2-Large Eggs
1-Teaspoon of Pure Vanilla Extract
1 1/2-Cups of Granulated Sugar
1-Stick Salted Butter Softened.

Ingredients for the Vanilla Glaze:
4-Tablespoons Whole Milk
1-Tablespoon Pure Vanilla Extract
3-Cups Confectioners - Powdered Sugar

Preheat your oven 350-Degrees Fahrenheit

In your Stand Mixer add in the Butter and Sugar, cream together, low-speed. *Mix well until smooth.*

Now crack both Eggs into the Sugar and Butter mixture, be careful not to have any shells fall in, mix well. Add in your  peeled Bananas, Half & Half and Vanilla Extract, mix well.  Remove the bowl from the Stand Mixer.  Add in the Chocolate Morsels-Chips and hand stir using the Spatula until well blended.

Next you want to sift together Baking Soda, Baking Powder and All Purpose Flour into a medium bowl. Set aside.

Don't turn your Mixer on at this point.   Add in a small amount of your dry ingredients, flour mix to the wet ingredients, banana mixture. Put your mixer on low or it will blow the dry ingredients all over your counters.  Now repeat this step until all of the dry ingredients are well incorporated into the wet mixture.

You now want to grease and flour your Baking Pan.  To do this, take your Paper Towel or Paper Napkin and scoop a small amount of Shortening on to it.  Lightly rub the Shortening covered Napkin or Paper Towel all around the inside and bottom of your Baking Pan, discard the Paper.  Add in the tablespoon of Flour into the Baking Pan.  Turn the Pan on its side and then rotate so the Flour will lightly cover over the sides and bottom of the pan. Now, turn the Pan upside down over your sink and gently tap out the remaining flour, this will help prevent the Cake from sticking to the Pan, set aside.

Taking your Cake Batter Mixture, slowly add it into the floured - greased Baking Pan.  You can use the Spatula do do this and scrape out any remaining Batter.  Make sure all of the Batter is used. Sprinkle about a handful of  Chocolate Morsels-Chips on top of the Batter.

Place your Baking Pan onto the lined Baking Sheet, put into the oven and bake for 50-60 minutes depending on your oven.  At the end of the 50-minutes, put on your Oven Mitts and remove the Cake, be careful it's extremely hot.  Holding a Tooth Pick, push into the top of the Cake, remove the Tooth Pick. If it comes out clear with no Batter on it, then it is done baking. If it has some Batter on it, then it still needs to continue baking for the remainder of the 60-minutes or so.  Check once again to see if the Tooth Pick is clear, if it is, take out of the oven with Oven Mitts and place onto a heat resistant flat surface.  Let the Cake cool completely. While cooling you can now make the Vanilla Glaze.

Vanilla Glaze Directions:
In a Medium Size Bowl sift in the Powdered-Confectioners Sugar.  Add in the Vanilla Extract, stirring with the Spatula. Add in a Tablespoon of Milk and then stir using Spatula.  You want to slowly add in the remaining milk as you continue to stir.  If there are any clumps, press them out with the Spatula.  You want to be careful not to add too much milk or the Glaze will be runny. You will be able to tell if the consistency is correct by taking a large spoon, dip it into the Glaze and turn it over, if the glaze runs off the back of the spoon then it's fine. Or run your pointer finger thru the Glaze that's on the back of the Spoon, the Glaze should separate. Set aside until the  Cake has cooled.

Once cooled you can now Glaze your Cake.  First take either your large Platter or Plate and place it over the top of your Cake. Gently flip the Cake and Platter-Plate over placing it onto a flat surface. Gently tap all around the sides and top with your hand to release the Cake from the Pan.  Gently lift the Pan up from off the Cake and Plate. If it's still stuck, put it back down onto the plate and tap some more, then raise up again. If some of the Cake sticks don't worry about it, you can gently scrape the remaining Cake out using a Spatula, scrape around the edges and add the remainder to the rest of the Cake, gently press together. Now, with a large Tablespoon, fill the Spoon with Glaze, drizzle the Glaze all over the Cake starting with the top first. You want it to drip down the sides, you will have extra Glaze.  You can take the extra and put it into a container and store it in the refrigerator.  Let the Glaze set up, become hard on.  Keep the Cake either on your counter or in the refrigerator before serving.  Any left over Cake I either place in an air-tight container or cover with Plastic Wrap.

My second daughter Amanda was here earlier during the day, I had told her I would be making this cake in the evening. She later sent me this text making an excuse to come back home to have some, she lives an hour away from me.  It's nice knowing that my cooking and baking are well worth the wait.   (Wink)

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