Healthy Brownies… well healthy-ish

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Most of the time I’m pretty content with being a Chihuahua. I get carried around all day. I can fit in really small places like under the bed or in mi mama’s purse. I have a personal butler to clean up after me, like when I leave my toys out or “accidentally” drop a little turd on the rug. People always assume I’m much younger than I really am because of my teeny stature and I still get carded at PetsMart when trying to buy a bag of DogNip. When someone tries to tell me what to do or if I’m bored with what they are saying, I can pretend I don’t understand English and quickly scamper away without seeming rude. The list goes on but I think you get the point.

However, there are a few situations when being a small (albeit awesome) little pup is not completely wonderful. I came upon one of these instances this past weekend when mi papa was having some of his rugby friends over for dinner. I, of course, was in charge of all the preparations and dinner menu and already knew what I wanted to make for the occasion (Butternut Squash Lasagna). I even knew what I wanted to have prepared as a dessert (Carrot Cake Cupcakes). Unfortunately mi mama had a different plan and suggested I bake up some brownies for our guests instead. Brownies!!! No, not brownies!! Chocolate– my nemesis!!!

It’s not that I dislike the taste of brownies. Quite the opposite really. What I do dislike, however, is the massive diarrhea and convulsive vomiting that goes along with sampling a little bit of brownie. Oh the perils of being a dog, and not having the corresponding enzymes in my stomach to be able to properly digest chocolate… and grapes and raisins and walnuts… oh don’t even get me started on those evil bastards nuts.

Now I don’t like to disappoint mis padres, especially mi papa, so I sucked it up and agreed to make a batch of brownies for the occasion. And oh holy frijoles did they turn out delicioso!

Well on that note, I better be going. And speaking of notes, I need to go practice mine on the piano. I’ve got a jam session with Billy Joel later today and I’m determined to become the next Piano Man– er Piano Pup.

One fish, two fish, red fish, yum fish

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There’s just something about summer that makes me want to cook fish. Maybe it’s because fish live in water, and I associate summer-time with putting on my cute little Speedo and goggles and swimming in the ocean (actually, I don’t exactly swim per se. I can dog paddle when in a life or death situation but I’d much prefer to lay on dry land while watching other people splash around in the water. My weekly bath in the kitchen sink is about as close to swimming as I’d like to get). Or maybe it’s because during the winter months I spend so much time cooking up hearty stews and casseroles containing lots of chicken or legumes, that I’m totally ready to change it up a bit with a something different. Something seafood-y. Something saucy. Something muy delicioso.

Well anyway, whatever the reason may be, I’m happy to say that as of this week I’ve been soooooo in the mood for cooking some fish. Some flaky, buttery, fresh Alaskan Salmon fillets to be exact. Now originally I wanted to have mi papa grill these little babies outside on the barbeque, but unfortunately Mother Nature had other plans up her sleave and decided to rain on my BBQ parade. So in the oven they went. And you know what, I think I’m glad I was forced to bake them instead because they turned out so incredibly tender and moist (why do people always chuckle when I say that?)  Served alongside some Jasmine rice and garden fresh green beans, this made a tasty and surprisingly easy weeknight dinner for two.

So there you go mi amigos. And go I must do for it’s the beginning of the weekend and I’m ready to party. And by party I mean go for my evening walk with mis padres, eat my kibble, squirt out a little poo or two and curl up on the couch with mi papa while licking my paw for about an hour. Pretty exciting stuff.

Now just as soon as he gets home, we can get this party started.

Be sure to wear your sunscreen

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Hola mis amigos! I apologize for my lack of blogging lately and for failing to post any new recipes. No excuses really. I’ve just been spending a lot more time sunning myself out in the backyard and a lot less time sweating my furry butt off in the hot kitchen. Spring time has officially hit us up here in the Pacific Northwest (finally!) and I’ve been doing what I can to enjoy as much of it as possible before it turns dreary again. Plus mi mama was out of town for over a week and it’s never fun to cook for just one person. Even if that one person is my favorite human being on the planet (te amo Papa). So in between sunbathing, digging up hidden cat poop treasures in the garden, modeling my new Speedo for the French Poodle down the street and going for long walks to the dog park, I’ve only managed to squeeze in a few hours these past couple weeks to devote to creating culinary masterpieces in the kitchen. I’m not gonna lie, there’s been a lot of plain pastas with bottled spaghetti sauce and store-bought veggie burgers served for dinner as of late– not exactly gourmet.

However, on one night last week I decided I’d had enough of warming my tiny brown body in the afternoon sun and actually prepare something more extensive than just Hot Pockets for dinner (edited to add: I do not condone the consumption of Hot Pockets in any way for either mis padres or anyone else for that matter. Unless of course you’re constipated and looking for a sure-fire way to induce severe diarrhea).

We had a little over 2 cups of leftover brown rice in our fridge that needed to be used up, and my initial thought was to whip up a little batch of vegetable fried rice or throw it into some sort of a chicken casserole. But then I had a little pep talk with myself and decided I could go even more above and beyond with my creativity. And what I came up with ended up being a huge success and earned two paws thumbs up from mi papa. Who knew leftover rice could lead to such a deliciously wonderful outcome.

Well amigos, I better be going. The sun is still shining, my Speedo is clean and ready to be donned and I’m thinking of going for a little swim out back in our inflatable kiddy pool. Now if I could just figure a way to get down from this huge deck chair….

Three years!!! Wow, that’s like twenty-one in dog years

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Three years ago today, mi Tio Paul and his lady love Laura, walked down the aisle of the Moody Gardens Mansion and pledged their undying love to one another in a ceremony of marriage in front of all their family and friends… well almost all their family. I was forced to stay home and babysit their cat, Maddie, who I’m convinced is the only kitty in history to actually be more afraid of me than I am of her. It probably doesn’t help that I sneak up and pounce on her while she’s sleeping and scare her while she’s eating’s so I can eat the rest of her kibble. And I’m fairly certain if she were able to “crap her pants” whenever I’m around, she would. But I digress.

So I would like to take this moment to wish mi Tio Paul and mi Tia Laura a very happy anniversary as well as apologize for any amount of therapy I may have caused your fur-child to need following the mental abuse I inflicted on her three years ago. I truly am sorry. However, I would like to set the record straight and clarify that her recurring bouts of constipation are NOT my fault, and I really wish she would stop blaming me for that particular issue. Just because I slipped a couple Lego blocks and a few Fibercon tablets in her food bowl while she wasn’t looking does not mean that her inability to defecate is in any way my fault. Maybe she just needs to eat more veggies and go for a walk once in a while.

Anyway, in honor of mi Tio and Tias beautiful union, I made a delicious breakfast bread containing two ingredients that are also a match made in heaven– strawberries and bananas. And because mi Tia Laura is a vegan, I made this bread completely egg and dairy free. It’s also really low in sugar and contains no added fats or oils. Perfect addition to a romantic breakfast in bed or as a dessert to complete a candlelit dinner for two.

Feliz Anniversario Po and Rara!

They may be sloppy, but these Joes definitely aren’t wimpy

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Fun fact: Did you know the original Sloppy Joe sandwich was invented in the 1920′s by a restaurant cook named Floyd Angell in Sioux City, Iowa as a variation of the popular loose-meat sandwich?

Or that they are referred to as “Yum Yums” in parts of the Midwest and “Wimpies” in Pennsylvania?

Or that the term “Sloppy Joe” is not a food at all in Australia but instead refers to a hooded sweatshirt with a furry fleece lining much like wool? Imagine the weird looks you’d probably receive in an Australian restaurant when trying to order a Sloppy Joe with extra pickles.

So, this past weekend I decided to use my new Dutch oven and make my own little variation of the Sloppy Joes: aka the Untidy Teenies. But instead of using ground beef, turkey or cow tongue (yeah, they use that in some parts of New Jersey…. nasty) as the main protein source, I made the animal-friendly decision to prepare them vegetarian and use red lentils and beans instead. And in all honesty, I think they turned out a heck of a lot tastier than other kind of sandwich of this variety, while still maintaining all their awesome sloppy-ness.

And don’t be shy about asking for extra pickles to go along with these babies. Just be sure to also ask for extra napkins. These untidy Teenies have a tendency to spill all over your fleece-lined “Sloppy Joe”.

Speaking of spills, I “accidentally” got peanut butter all over my face after sticking my head in the open jar and mi mama thinks I need a little bath. Hey, that’s what happens when you leave a jar unattended on the coffee table.

Hey can’t a guy get a little privacy!

If baking is an addiction, then call me a junkie

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I’ve been on a huge baking kick lately. Cakes and muffins and granola bars are being churned out of my kitchen pretty much on a daily basis and I can’t seem to put down my mixing bowls and spatulas for longer than 24 hours before I’m picking them up again to create something new. Mi mama and papa are definitely enjoying all my tasty concoctions and it seems their only complaint is not knowing which baked good to choose from amongst the huge surplus… well that and the fact that I’m so busy baking that I’ve sometimes forgotten to prepare anything for dinner. Let’s just say they’ve had a few “gourmet” meals provided by the lovely Marie Callendar. And there may have been a certain chef by the name of Boyardee helping me out once or twice. Hey don’t blame me. I can’t help what those two end up feeding themselves when left to their own devices.

Unfortunately, though, this past weekend I finally hit the creativity wall and I couldn’t for the life of me think of anything to either bake or prepare. Definitely not a good thing for my ego. I am the TeenyLittleSuperChef after all and genius ideas tend to pop into my brain as often and abundant as lame jokes pop out of mi mama’s mouth. I started to freak out a little bit. Now normally when I’ve felt as though I’ve lost my chefing mojo I take some to time to relax and either practice a little yoga or go for a walk down to the dog park, but this particular day I wanted to bake and I wanted to bake right then and there, without waiting for the inspiration to hit me. So instead, I turned to mis padres and asked them for their suggestions. And from what I gathered, mi mama loves strawberries. Mi papa loves chocolate. Obviously, I love mi papa more them both equally, so I decided to come up with a delicious treat that would encompass both of these items. And the outcome was a snack cake that mi papa exclaimed to be “the best baked good I’ve ever come up with!”

Looks like my baking mojo is back! Thank goodness, now I am able to kick back and smell the flowers once again. Speaking of which, check out the muy bonita tulips I planted last fall that have finally begun to bloom.

Gardening is just another little side hobby of mine… TeenyLittleSuperGreenThumb ;)

Is it granola or is it cake? Who cares, it’s delicious!

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Well much like the tooth fairy and Santa Claus, the Easter bunny did not visit our house this year. In fact, up until about an hour ago, I didn’t even know yesterday was anything other than just a typical Sunday. Actually I didn’t really even know yesterday was Sunday but that’s besides the point. There’s just something weird about a giant white rabbit coming into your house while everyone’s asleep and leaving brightly colored hard-boiled eggs laying around for the kids to try to find. Hmmm… what’s that about? I mean, I leave little “surprises” around the house sometimes too, but no one ever seems to get excited about it. I usually get scolded and told that, that sort of thing is only allowed out in our backyard or in a neighbor’s yard while no one is looking. Perhaps I need to start dyeing my “surprises” in bright pastel colors and say that the Passover Puppy left them for everyone to enjoy.

Well despite not knowing yesterday was a day for celebrating bunnies and their hard-cooked eggs, I still somehow managed to come up with a fun little snack recipe that seems fitting for that particular day… granola! (aka: rabbit food). But not just any granola. Banana-Peanut Butter-Coconut Granola baked in mini muffin cups. Honestly, they look a little more like bird’s nests than rabbit food, but still very Easter-like. Kid-tasted and Jesus-approved.

Well mis amigos, I better be going now. I just hid a couple of my Passover Puppy “surprises” out in the backyard and I need to get someone to come out and hunt for them.

Better get your basket, Mama…. or a shovel.