August 30, 2008

School Daze

Classes started last Monday. People keep asking me if it's hard to be back after a year on sabbatical and, ya' know? it's really not. The nerdier part of me always gets a little excited about the beginning of a new semester, and this year was no different. Plus, I've been saving the above (temporary) tattoo (courtesy of GK) for just the right moment, and the first day of school seemed to be it.
I walk back and forth to school most days, and this time of year, whenever I leave or return home, I'm treated to the wonderful vanilla smell of this clematis paniculata growing along the front steps. This stuff grows like a weed in my neighborhood, but still I'm happy to have my own bunch. It was here when we moved in, and I've thought about transplanting it to the back because--until it blooms--it really does look a little weedy. But then when it finally does bloom I think, heck, it was worth the wait.

In the weeks before classes began, my back to school preparation included baking up some dog goodies from two fabulous cookbooks I just discovered: The Bubba Rose Biscuit Co's Organic Dog Biscuit Cookbook and You Bake 'Em Dog Biscuits by Janine Adams. Prior to this I'd done some baking for Katie, mostly for special occasions. But these recipes are so fast and easy (and the tips for clean-up are great), that I've been baking doggie treats more often. And not only baking. The first thing I actually tried were some frozen peanutbutter-yogurt treats (bottom right) from the Organic Dog Biscuit Cookbook.

I first saw the recipe in the recent issue of Bark magazine. These turned out to be such a hit that I decided to buy the book (which calls them "Ice Cubes Just Got a Lot Better"). Since then, I've also made "Grilled Cheese and Bacon" biscuits--also a huge hit. From You Bake 'Em, I've tried--and received rave reviews for--the "Cheddar Biscuits." What I like about these books is that the ingredients are easy to get, and there are plenty of recipes that don't involve grinding up liver (although I'm building up to that). Also, if you use treats for training, as I do, it's nice to be able to give your dog something that's wholesome. (Not to mention your dog's friends--I've become pretty popular at the dog park.) One time saver I've discovered is, instead of cutting shapes (since, seriously?, dogs don't care), I just roll out the dough and use my pizza cutter to make 1-in squares. Once baked, they're easy to carry in my pocket and to break into smaller pieces. I can make one square go a pretty long way.

I wanted to post a picture of Katie enjoying her treats, but by the time I clicked, she'd eaten them all...

And, finally, a couple days ago, I heard from my friend Josh that little Teddy, cutest hamster ever, had passed away. Our thoughts go out to his person Sarah and her family. He was a good hamster, and he was very popular at pet sleep away camp. I'm glad we had the chance to know him. We'll miss you Teddy.


Anonymous said...

Yeah, it is kind of a silly question--after all, you had a WHOLE year off, a WHOLE year to recover, a WHOLE year to sit around and....

GK (not envious at all)

Rima said...

Best of luck for the new school year! Hope all is well!