Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas 2015!

I love to look at every one's interpretation of Christmas.  All the textured neutral, silver and blue, silver and green, all white and modern, and countless other variations of different Christmas styles.  All so pretty and elegant and festive. But, because I love red so much, I always end up decorating with traditional red and green.

Red is so warm, so welcoming, so Christmas-y!

Here is all the jolly red that I have added to our family room.

Wishing everyone a wonderful Christmas and happy, peaceful New Year filled with good fortune!

Santa's plate full of goodies.  When I was little, finding a plate with half eaten cookies and crumbs up on the mantle Christmas morning was always proof-positive that he existed.


Thank you for visiting!

Linking to the following this week....

Best of the Weekend at Ms. Toody Goo Shoes
Roses of Inspiration Linkup at The Enchanting Rose
Bouquet of Talent at Life on Lakeshore Drive
Party in Your PJs at the Cookie Puzzle
Idea Box Thursday at Mila's Little Things
Show and Tell Friday at My Romantic Home

Monday, December 21, 2015

Cheesy-Man Dog Treats- A Recipe and Tutorial

I think Rosie channels the spirit of our dear, departed dog Buster.  Buster would eat anything that didn’t eat him first, and was infamous for standing on his hind legs and exploring the kitchen counters, grabbing and gobbling up anything his little pointy snout could reach.  

Rosie pulled a similar stunt one Thanksgiving—we were clearing the table after we were done eating; the huge, ruined turkey on its big platter was the first thing removed to the kitchen counter. Next trip in from the dining room, laden down with dirty dishes, I discovered Rosie with one of the turkey legs on the kitchen floor…..

This is probably our fault; we allow the dogs to lurk under the dining table when we are eating and feed them tidbits from our plates.  Those of you who indulge this naughty canine behavior know what this is like.  You’re eating your nice [holiday] meal and suddenly you feel a nudge on your elbow or knee, you look down into a pair of pleading, shoe-button eyes…. and, well, you just can’t say no.

Hyena-like behavior notwithstanding, I like to make treats for my dogs around the holidays....because, I like to bake.  And because I like to see their eager faces looking up at me from the kitchen floor.  Somehow they always know when I'm making something for them.  

I decided to make these cheesy dog treats this year, because not only do the dogs love them, but so does my husband. Yes, these are actually people treats too.  Made with cheese, butter, flour, and little bit of half and half, these treats are essentially a savory cookie that appeal to everyone, canine or human. 

Because I used yellow cheddar here (the pre-packaged, already shredded variety), the treats came out rather orange and blobby.  If you want a more neutral-looking treat, use a white cheese like white cheddar, jack, mozzarella, etc.  

If making for strictly human consumption, you could use a really nice gruyere.  Of course dogs won't care what they look like or whether you used a really nice cheese or the run of the mill, pre-grated and pre-packaged variety.

Using a gingerbread man cookie cutter turns these doggy treats into cheesy-man doggy treats.  Since these little guys were destined for Christmas treat bags, I used a gingerbread man cookie cutter, as well as a snow man and teddy bear cutter.

The heart and star shapes in Purina cat chow are perfect for the eyes and buttons for these little cheesy creatures. Since these cookies are about 3 inches tall, I actually used kitten chow, since the pieces are tiny enough to work as decorations on small cookies.

Since my husband draws the line at eating cat food, I used cut up bits of bacon to decorate his treats. 

Wrapped up in little treat bags, they will make a festive addition to the pile of loot my dogs will get this Christmas. These also make great stocking-stuffers or gifts for anyone who has dogs, or for people who like to eat cheesy-man doggy treats ;-)

Creating custom labels like the ones I used here is super easy. I embellished plain plastic treat bags with Christmas-themed dog graphics from The Graphics Fairy (click here for that website).   

Here's how to create multiple, custom labels that can be applied to plastic treat bags.

1. After downloading a .jpg clipart graphic, open it in the PicMonkey 'Edit' page (click here for that website).  Create a 'To/From' tag from PicMonkey's selection of labels in their 'Overlay' section and then add text by clicking on the Text button (located above the butterfly/Overlay button).

2. Use a word processing program like Word to create a document into which you can insert multiple clipart graphics (this allows you to print to full sheet labels, see next step). In Word, click on the Insert tab at the top and select Pictures. From there you can open the label you created with PicMonkey and insert it into your document.

3. Print your document to full sheet labels such as the Avery Full Sheet Labels shown below.

4. Cut out around each label.

5. Remove the backing and apply the labels to plastic treat bags.... 

....and fill with doggy (or husband) treats. 

Here is the recipe...

4 oz. grated sharp cheddar cheese (or other cheese of your choice)
4 tablespoons butter, softened and cut into 4 pieces
3/4 cup of flour
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 tablespoon of half-and-half

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

1. Combine cheese, butter, flour, and salt in a food processor and process until crumbly.  Alternatively, combine cheese and dry ingredients and cut in butter using a sturdy fork or pastry cutter.

2. Add half-and-half and process on low speed until the dough comes together in a ball. If mixing by hand, use a large spoon to mix until everything just comes together.

3. Roll dough out on a lightly floured surface to form an approximately 8 x 10 inch rectangle (it should be about 1/8 inch thick).

4. Cut treats with a cookie cutter and bake on a cookie sheet for 15 minutes, until edges are slighly brown.

5. Decorate with cat chow (for dogs) or bacon bits (for dogs and people).


Thank you for visiting!

Linking to the following this week....
Roses of Inspiration Linkup at The Enchanting Rose
Bouquet of Talent at Life on Lakeshore Drive
Party in Your PJs at the Cookie Puzzle
Home Sweet Home at The Charm of Home
Brag-Worthy at Bless'er House
Idea Box Thursday at Mila's Little Things
Share Your Cup Thursday at Have a Daily Cup of Mrs. Olson