Why Dogs and Food?

Why Dogs and Food?

It's simple. Write about what you love. And what is better than dogs and food? If you are anything like me - and millions of other people - you will relate to and understand the unwavering love I have for my dogs and my passion for cooking - and eating - great food. I hope you will enjoy reading about my day to day experiences with good food and a couple of very special dogs.

Thanks for visiting.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Summer Salad with Pasta & Spinach

Some of us have great stories, pretty stories that take place by a lake, with boats and friends and noodle salad.
~ Melvin Udall, As Good As It Gets

As summertime approaches, the warmer weather inspires many of us to choose a lighter fare of dining.  Summer salads are an easy way to whip up a light, refreshing and delicious meal.  I came across this salad recipe, courtesy of Creme de la Crumb, and it is a delightful mixture of greens, fruit and pasta with wonderful textures and flavors.  Of course, as with most recipes, I add my own twist, but either way, I guarantee you will love this salad.  You may serve it as a side dish or add some shrimp or chicken to it and make it a meal.

Grab yourself some baby spinach, cilantro, mandarin oranges, dried cranberries, pine nuts and bow tie pasta and toss it up with a sweet and tangy teriyaki dressing.  The original recipe is here and below it, I tell you how I altered it.

Mandarin Pasta Spinach Salad with Teriyaki Dressing
Prep time
Total time
This salad is easy, quick, healthy, and tossed in the most addictive teriyaki vinaigrette dressing!

Serves: 4
  • 8 ounces bowtie pasta noodles
  • 4 cups spinach leaves
  • ½ cup craisins or raisins
  • ⅓ cup cashews or Diamond of California Pine Nuts
  • 1 4-ounce can mandarin oranges, drained
  • ¼ cup cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
  • ⅓ cup teriyaki sauce (the thicker, the better!)
  • ⅓ cup rice wine vinegar (may sub apple cider vinegar)
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder (if you have it)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ½ cup oil (such as vegetable oil, canola oil, olive oil)

  1. Cook pasta according to package instructions, drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
  2. While pasta is boiling, prepare the dressing. In a jar combine all dressing ingredients. Cover and shake to combine. Chill until ready to use.
  3. In a large bowl toss together pasta, spinach, raisins, nuts, mandarin oranges, and cilantro. Just before serving pour dressing over salad, toss, and serve.

This is how I changed it up and it was delicious!

I added the following:

  • fresh slices of mandarin orange (versus canned)
  • about a cup of shredded cabbage
  • sliced fresh strawberries
  • fresh blueberries
  • some crumbled feta cheese
  • boiled fresh shrimp  (I think you could add some grilled chicken and it would be great, too!)
  • a TBS of honey and a sprinkle of sesame seeds to the teriyaki dressing


Sunday, February 14, 2016

My Funny, Little Valentines

"The world would be a nicer place if everybody had the ability to love as unconditionally as a dog." ~ M.K. Clinton

It's Valentine's Day.  Lots of love in the air.  Facebook posts loaded with hearts and flowers and hugs and kisses.  It's been awhile since I have had a human 'Valentine'.  Except for my mom.  Mom will always be my Valentine.  But really it's been just me and my pups for a long time now.  And that's okay.  It's better than okay.  It's wonderful.

It was a beautiful, sunshiny day today.  Birds chirping in the trees in the early morning hours and blue skies with wispy clouds hanging in the backdrop.  Flowers are already peeking out of the earth and it feels like Spring. After a lot rain the last few weeks, there is so much green everywhere!  People are outside, mowing lawns, taking walks and even cooking outside on their grills.  My doors are open to let in the fresh air.  I almost forget that it is still Winter.

The boys and I had a good day.  We hung out in the yard in the morning and went for a leisurely walk together in the afternoon.  There is a field close by with lots of tall grass for Raleigh to munch on and lots of mole mounds for Izzy to dig and stick his face into.  I have to keep them on leash as there is a busy road nearby and I also do not trust them not to run off.

Dogs can have so much fun doing the simplest of things.  Sniffing every single bush, pole and flower and peeing on fallen palm fronds; digging in the dirt and rolling in the grass.   Just watching them gives me a peaceful feeling.

I am happy to have spent my Valentine's Day with the two little rascals that love me unconditionally every single day.  


Saturday, January 16, 2016

The New Kids in Town

"To get a dog is to open yourself to profound joy, and prospectively, to equally profound sadness." ~ Marjorie Garber

It's been a long time since I have posted in this blog.  My last post was written while I was grieving the loss of my beautiful Henry.  It was very difficult to write about it.  And then, a couple of months later, I lost Walter. My grief was so profound, I could not even bring myself to post a farewell to my special boy.  Those were some dark days for me.

Walter had been suffering from arthritis and I was tirelessly trying to control it with medicine and acupuncture and other therapies that might help his mobility and ease his pain.  Although it was somewhat helpful for a while, his tired legs and spine could no longer hold him up and his anxiety level had risen to a point of concern.  I had a hard time trying to lift him up to go potty and even then, he could not stand long enough to finish.  It was heartbreaking.  I had that difficult conversation with my Vet about the inevitable.  It was Walter's time to meet Henry over the rainbow.  And once again, only two months after losing Henry, I was saying goodbye to Walter.

Walter was the sweetest and kindest dog I have ever met.  He was happy to take a back seat to Henry.  He absorbed every joy and every sorrow because of his empathetic nature.  He rarely left my side - always wanting to be at my feet, his body touching mine in some way.  He welcomed everyone he met with warmth and a gentle lean and a wag of his tail.  He had a child-like innocence about him all the way until his 12th year and beyond.  Walter was a true-blue, supportive companion and was always there to give me comfort when comfort was needed.  He was pure love.  I miss him so much.

When Walter breathed his last breath, I was holding him tight, whispering love songs into his ear.  I closed my eyes and saw Henry running up to greet him and they were smiling.  They were no longer in pain and no longer of this earth.  But they still live in my heart.  They will always live in my heart.

We all heal at own pace, in our own way.  Since the summer of 2014, I traveled on an amazing adventure to Africa, a life-long dream, and, I adopted a couple of little dogs.  The healing began.

The healing of the heart sometimes feels insurmountable.  Fortunately, the heart is resilient.  It mends.  Perhaps, it even grows a little in the process.

It's already 2016 and the time has moved so swiftly.  I have had my two new little muppets - Raleigh and Izzy - in my life for over a year now.  All is well.  Both of them ran out of time at a shelter, and luckily, they were rescued.



And then, they rescued me.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Loving Henry

"Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened." ~ Anatole France

In loving memory of my sweet Henry.

Loving Henry
George Bernard Shaw said: "Heartbreak is life educating us."  I'm all for education; I just wish it didn't have to hurt so much sometimes.

I lost my beloved Henry on June 24, 2014.  It's been a month already since that sweet boy closed his eyes and soared to the rainbow bridge and still, I grieve.  I still look for that happy smile and those big, bright, brown exotic eyes.  I still wait to hear his 'woo-woo' howl when I walk through the door in the evenings.  But it doesn't come.  He isn't at the door, wagging his whole body, and he isn't even around the corner, lying in his hammock bed, wiggling and woo-wooing because he just can't get up anymore to greet me at the door.  Even Walter, his big brother, lies quietly on the floor next to the place where Henry's bed used to be.  I had to take it away because Walter wouldn't use it and it was a painful, empty reminder - like Tiny's Tim's lonely crutch standing solemnly in the corner by the fireplace.  I would rather look at all the smily, happy photographs all over the house to give me glimpses of Henry's beautiful spirit.

Henry loves his hammock bed
I swear, I have cried so many buckets of tears in my lifetime, I could fill the Pacific Ocean.  I have dealt with a lot of loss in the past year.  I was divorced in September of 2013; I lost Macky, my 22-year old kitty (and my longest companion), on February 14th of this year; and now Henry is gone, too.  It's a lot to wrap my head around and I find myself floating in a deep sea of thoughts and emotions so often lately. I have been donating to many animal rescue causes with Henry in mind, because he had such a generous spirit; and perhaps I can help ease the pain of an animal in need.  I think about getting another dog.  Not to replace Henry, and not because I must have another dog - but for a companion to Walter, who has deeply experienced all these losses, too.  He is such a soulful creature and he seems to be a little lost and lonely after losing almost all his family members and best buddies.  Walter is getting on in age as well, and he doesn't have a lot of energy anymore.  But he is true blue and my devoted companion.  We spend a lot of quiet time together these days.  

It's summer time and I can't help but think about Henry running into the bay to paddle around with that look of pure concentration and rapture!  He really loved to swim!  I think it also helped his joints feel better.  Henry loved life so much.  Every walk we took was an adventure for him.  Every nook and every cranny was sniffed and inspected and every sound was captured and pondered.  He was such a joy to watch; and to be around Henry, was to be truly happy and at peace.

Henry loved to swim.  Smooth as silk.
Henry might have been serious about swimming but he also had a comedic side. Check him out in his Halloween costume here:

Henry as a Mad Scientist.  What a good sport!
When I went to the Denver International airport to pick up Henry after being flown to me from Canada's Kyon Kennels in April of 2003, I could hear his yelps echoing in back of the cargo area before they even brought out his crate.  Everyone was laughing because he had so much energy and made it very clear that he wanted out of that crate right away!  I was more than happy to take him out and hold that little ball of white fluff while I signed the retrieval documents.  He was licking my face and squirming in my arms; and I knew from that moment, that I was going to love him forever.

Look at that sweet, baby face!
As a baby, Henry liked to sleep on his back.  Silly dilly.
I know there are many people who say they will never get another pet because they could not bear to go through the grief of losing another one.  I get that - I really do.  The grief is excruciating.  But if we didn't have the sorrow, we would have never known the joy.  That's the deal, isn't it?

So, I say: Here's to the joy! Here's to knowing that my soul has certainly been awakened because I have definitely known the unconditional love and devotion of an animal.

Here's to loving Henry.

Always watchful and caring
My beautiful boy.

Forever, Henry