Hasn’t the weather this past week been something else? Wow, I am not used to getting up and finding that it is 19ºF outside! Yes, I know lots of folks had it colder, in fact my granddaughter said it was 10ºF at her home, but she lives near Abilene, and I haven’t talked to my brother in north Texas in a couple of days, but someone else from that area said it was 9ºF at her home. He would probably laugh at me because their temperatures are usually quite a bit lower than ours.
As I am writing this, Thursday morning, I haven’t been anywhere in my car since Monday, when I made a trip to the grocery store as there were several things I needed, and my sister reminded me that maybe on Tuesday, I wouldn’t be able to go out. Wednesday morning, the pipes were frozen inside the house and it was several hours before they thawed, luckily, I had set the coffee pot up the night before and also had drawn up several gallons of water so it was no real problem and the heating system in my home is a good one, and it was serviced back in October or November before any cold weather set in. Coats, hats and scarves seem to be the order of the day and I have managed to dress properly for a change, usually I grab a sweater or light jacket and head out!
We all love our pets and love to give them treats, but have you ever thought of making treats for your pet?
I made these way back when I still had a dog and he seemed to really like them. Since my friend has two dogs, one, Shadow, who sometimes stays with me when she is gone, and Lola who is a chocolate lab that belongs to her daughter and weighs over 100 pounds, and sometimes thinks she is a ‘lap’ dog I’m thinking that maybe they need a treat!
Mongrel Munchers (Homemade doggie treats)
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups quick rolled whole oats
½ cup chopped unsalted peanuts
1 large ripe banana, mashed
¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350ºF. In a bowl, stir together flour, oats and peanuts. In another bowl, stir mashed bananas, applesauce and vanilla together. Stir this mixture into the flour mixture and stir together. Roll dough into walnut-sized balls and flatten on ungreased baking sheet. Bake 15 minutes, or until lightly golden, and cool on a rack before serving. To store, place in airtight container for 1 week. Wrap and freeze for up to 2 months. (My thought is that you might label the container so folks in your household don’t think it’s “people food” and a treat for them!)
The recipe for these and the following information was from an older column and originally came from a Guadalupe Valley Electric Co-op leaflet we used to receive. Now, and for several years, we receive the same Texas Co-op Power magazine that MEC sends their customers with the center being concerned with my area.
This same booklet also had some really great information on keeping pets safe during the winter months.
Don’t keep your pets outside for very long. They can get frostbite and hypothermia just as humans do.
If you have an outdoor dog, provide him extra food and a shelter with bedding. He will need more calories to produce body heat and to have a healthy warm coat.
It is a good idea to bang on your hood or honk your horn before you start your car in the morning. Outdoor cats and other animals will crawl up near the engine for warmth and shelter. The moving parts from the started engine can cause not only harm, but also even death to animals hidden under the hood. (I can attest to this, as a couple of kittens crawled up under the hood of my car when I still lived in Devine, and were killed when I started the engine. This was during the summer time, so you can just imagine the type of odor I had after a couple of days!)
Also, keep your eye out for antifreeze puddles. It tastes good to pets, but it is deadly. A tablespoon can kill a cat and a half of a cup can be fatal to a 25-pound dog, according to National Humane Education Society.
Now, here are a few hints from me. They have been published before, but it has been quite a while ago.
To re-smooth Teflon pans: boil a mixture of 1 cup water, 2 tablespoons baking soda and ½ cup liquid bleach in the pan for 5 to 10 minutes. Wash thoroughly in hot soapy water, rinse thoroughly. Before using again, wipe the surface with vegetable oil.
Cold tea, coffee grounds or crushed eggshells make a good fertilizer for houseplants and also act an insecticide.
A bowl or small jar of vinegar will absorb smoke odors from tobacco or the smell of paint and other cooking odors.
Brush the top of a piecrust with milk, sprinkle with a little sugar and cinnamon and it will brown beautifully.
Years ago when we attended the Devine Livestock Booster Club Annual Raffle and Dinner, the following recipe was a favorite. In fact, it is such a favorite, not only with them, but also with my son that when I was willing to make it up, he kept a gallon ice cream bucket of it on his desk at work. I am not really sure if he shares or not! He now works in a different place and still keeps a big container (from cheese balls), of crackers, on the counter and I know he shares! Most of the time, it is crackers he has made using the “mini” saltines, and believe me, he makes them full of “fire”.
Due to the fact that oyster crackers have been downsized into 10-ounce packages rather than one-pound containers and have increased in price, from $1 to $1.25 or more, and you have to use three packages rather than two, most of us have gone back to the original recipe that called for a pound box of saltine crackers.
2 bags oyster crackers (store brand is fine)
¾ cup cooking oil
1 envelope Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing® mix
2 teaspoons (or more if you want more heat) cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Empty both bags of crackers (or all four sleeves of saltines), into a large bowl with a lid. Mix together oil, dressing mix and cayenne pepper. Pour over crackers; cover with lid and gently shake to coat thoroughly. Remove lid and allow to set for several hours or overnight. Shake or stir several times during this time. Do not cover until later. (The only person I know who likes her crackers as hot as my son likes his, is the CEO at our hospital! That lady really likes some heat in her crackers, and I usually add more cayenne if I am making them to share with her). Also when we have bake sales, I place twelve saltines in a snack bag, and we sell them for $1, and when I do this, one batch is usually very hot and another much milder.
This dessert is one Mother used to make as I was growing up. We all always looked forward to it. It sounds more difficult to make than it really is. The little extra work is totally worth the taste and the result.
1½ cups granulated sugar (divided usage)
2 tablespoons butter (do not substitute)
2 cups boiling water
Caramelize (melt and brown) ½ cup sugar in heavy, ovenproof skillet. Add remaining sugar, butter and boiling water. (You might want to pour this into a baking pan instead of using the skillet to bake it in). Set aside.
Preheat oven to 350ºF.
½ cup sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons butter (do not substitute)
½ cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
Mix together, sugar, flour and baking powder. Cut butter in (as you would do for making biscuits or pie crust). Add milk and vanilla, mix well, and drop by teaspoons into sugar mixture. Bake at 350ºF for 30 minutes. Serve with ice cream or whipped cream.
Double Dark Chocolate Cake
1 package dark chocolate cake mix (without pudding)
1 cup sour cream
½ cup cooking oil
½ cup warm water
1 package instant chocolate pudding (small box)
1½ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
Spray microwave Bundt pan with non-stick cooking spray and sprinkle with granulated sugar. Combine first six ingredients, stir in chips and mix well. Pour into prepared pan, and microwave on medium for 10 minutes. Turn pan one-quarter turn and cook on high for 4 to 6 minutes longer. Total baking time in a microwave is about 15 minutes and you do not need to turn the cake on-quarter turn if you have a turntable .Remove from microwave, remove from pan, place on plate and cool completely. Frost if desired. (This cake can also be baked in a regular oven at 350ºF for 35 to 40 minutes or until it tests done with a toothpick or cake tester that comes out clean, leave in pan on cooling rack for 5 minutes or so and then place on plate and cool completely).