Wednesday, July 4

Gone to the Dogs...











As many of you know, the plight of endangered species is near and dear to my heart, but that doesn't mean I don't get just as emotional about causes a lot closer to home (and you all know how much I love....




....dogs.

Got your attention, didn't I?


Seriously,
 when this great contest came to my attention, 
I was really excited to share it (and participate!)

Write To Woof





The quick and dirty is that for almost the next FULL YEAR (until April 30, 2013), writers may submit stories of a maximum of 12,000 words (or poetry/rant of 100 lines or fewer), along with a (paltry) entry fee of $15--all proceeds will go to help Almost Home, a no-kill shelter in my home state of Michigan, (in fact, entry fees are considered donations and are therefore tax deductible, so talk about a double bonus!)

There are ten categories:
Poetry / Rant (100 lines of fewer)
the following genre categories are 12,000 words or less
Romance
Mystery/Crime
Science Fiction/Fantasy 
Thriller/Suspense
Horror
Young Adult (Pre-teen/teen)
Juvenile Lit (children stories)
Biography (including autobiography)
Non-fiction/Essay 

Prizes:
Three over all winners will be selected by a panel of judges:
1st place $200
2nd place $100
3rd place $50


In addition, there will be non-cash winners in each category and according to the website, EVERY entry will be published in an anthology that will be up for sale at Amazon.com (yikes, I wonder if they realize how big that anthology could be)...and let's not forget the best prize of all: helping save lives because every year hundreds of thousands of loving pets end up in shelters all over the country. Sometimes their owners have died, or simply been forced to move and can't take their pets with them. Sometimes they are victims of natural disasters, like hurricanes, earthquakes, and forest fires, just like people are. In some cases, someone, somewhere is looking for them, but they've been separated by flood or fire. And far too often, these animals were the victims of abuse,  abandonment, neglect, or they just got "too big" and their owners didn't want them or couldn't take care of them any more. 

Far, far too many lost and abandoned pets are euthanized every single day, simply because there was no one willing or able to adopt them--and most shelters don't have the budget to operate as "no kill". 

Many of these animals are older or special needs (blind, arthritic), making them difficult to place (everybody wants a cute kitten, but that 12 year old cat? He's a lot harder to find a home). I think that Woof to Write is a truly brilliant fund raising idea. It benefits everybody involved.

Or, of course, if you wanted to get involved closer to home, you could chose to do something for a shelter in your hometown...and remember how hard it is for older animals to find loving "forever homes", the next time you find your home in need of a four footed occupant to make it just a little bit more complete. 

In celebration of dogs, here are some very special Hunk Day men and their best friends:





sigh, I wish this one was in color...


...but this one is:
(some of you may have seen this
on Facebook)

now seriously, if your mind ISN'T in the gutter
you'll recognize the fuzzy puppy for what he is...

...if your mind IS in the gutter,
it's got great company!!


Recipe:

today's recipe is completely unrelated to anything else in this post. 

While chocolate is probably my favorite food of all time, one of my absolute favorite cakes is actually carrot cake.

okay, I have never in my life made one THIS pretty

For ages now, I've been saying that carrot cake counts as real food because it has...well, CARROTS in it. Many carrot cake recipes also call for walnuts and raisins as well, and those are both good for you, right?

Right.

So the other day, I set out to "prove my theory" and make "real food" out of cheese cake. The resul:

Carrot Cake Pancakes

The only special piece of equipment you'll need is something you probably already own: 

A cheese grater.

IMPORTANT note:
grate your carrot using the finest size shredder you have available. Carrots are hard veggies and can take forever to cook. You (most likely) don't want to crunch down on raw carrots!

So, here's the basic recipe:
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup milk (or buttermilk, if you like buttermilk pancakes--and will have something to do with all that leftover buttermilk later)
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted (preferably unsalted, but whatever's in your fridge will work fine, even if it's margarine and not butter)
  • 1 cup flour sifted (yes, do please actually sift it) -- and of course, you can use whole wheat flour, oat flour (which would be yummy, it's got a GREAT flavor), rice flour (can be a bit tricky to work with, but that's actually what I used when I made mine because it's what I had on hand).
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/3 cup of finely chopped walnuts (feel free to substitute pecans, macadamia nuts, or any other SOFT nut--or a mix of nuts)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla  
  • 1/2 teaspoon each ground cinnamon and ginger 
  • 1/4 teaspoon each ground nutmeg, clove, and allspice
  • 1 decent sized carrot (enough to yield about a half a cup of shredded carrot)
whisk together liquids, sift in dry ingredients (okay, do not try to sift the carrots or the nuts), beat until almost free of lumps (that's what my Aunt Mary taught me, she said to leave a few lumps, it made for better pancakes. I dunno....well...her pancakes were pretty fantastic!!)  

Stir in the carrots and nuts, add more liquid or flour to adjust for consistency (I like my pancakes thin, almost crepe like, you might prefer them thick).

Make just the way you would make regular pancakes...unless you're feeling innovative, like this guy:

http://www.geekologie.com/2012/05/pass-the-syrup-dads-insane-pancake-art-f.php


Okay, I got side tracked. We're not quite done yet.  While your pancakes are cooking you'll also need to work with the following:

  • 8 oz softened cream cheese
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
    (you may find you want more or less depending 
  • on how sweet you like your fluffy white stuff)
In a bowl blend the cream cheese and sugar (literally "cream it" together--I'm not making that up, it's a real baking term!!)  Stir in the vanilla. It takes a little work to get it all whipped together (a fork works best) so be patient. (Yes, I'm asking you to whip your cream....sigh). 

Basically, this mimics typical carrot cake frosting and is totally optional....but seriously, the frosting is the best part! I ended up plopping some onto each pancake and then topping it with a little maple syrup and some nuts and raisins.... 

Ergo, you may want
  • raisins and nuts as well as
  • maple syrup (I seriously recommend REAL maple syrup)
all right, now that we've all trotted our minds through the gutter together... 

don't forget that Woof To Write contest and the amazing cause it goes to support.
http://www.writetowoof.org/index.html








(and in case anyone is wondering why the last two posts have been highlighted, I'm having a heck of a time with formatting all of the sudden. I get random white highlights, even when I haven't cut and pasted anything from anywhere..... grrrrrrrrr)














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