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happy birthday, Whiskey! [recipe]

[SCROLL TO THE BOTTOM TO SEE RECIPE / BYPASS THE BULLSH**]

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according to the animal hospital that gave our puppy his first physical exam after he was found roaming the rough streets of Tulsa and eating out of garbage cans, Whiskey’s first birthday is this Wednesday, Aug. 16!

Austin and i adopted this little bug from Rescued N’ Ready Animal Foundation after i wore down Austin’s resistance to getting a dog with my excessive nagging.
we adopted Whiskey in December, but we already celebrate a crap-ton of holidays in December (aka MY very important birthday, oh and also Jesus’s) so we’ll go ahead and celebrate Whiskey’s birthday in lieu of celebrating his adoption day.

first i took this guy to Biscuit Acres Dog Park at 91st & Yale. [Whiskey is sporting a Chai’s Choice front range harness; it’s a dog gear company owned by a retired U.S. veteran #notanad #butilltakeyourmoneyorfreedogstuff]
after a very busy 15 minutes of running, sniffing butts and rolling in dirt, Whiskey was ready to go home.
for his birthday, i decided to make Whiskey a batch of homemade peanut butter banana oatmeal treats. i do it because i love him, but also because dog treats are expensive and Whiskey sure as hell ain’t pulling his weight in the moneymaking department.

this recipe is so freaking simple. it only has three ingredients: oats (1 1/2 cup), bananas (1 or 2, depending on how big they are – that’s what she said) and creamy peanut butter (1/2 cup). a fourth ingredient, love, is optional, and does not affect the taste of the treat.
first, set the oven to 350 degrees (F).
next, you might find the oats easier to work with if you beat them into submission a powder with a food processor. it should look like sand.

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yum, sand!

in a separate bowl, mash together the banana and peanut butter. when it’s finished, it should look like oily, light-colored diarrhea. chunks of banana are fine.

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yum, diarrhea!

set aside a small bit of the oat powder, maybe 1/4 cup. mix the rest of your concoctions together into a dough.
use the extra oat powder like a flour to dust a sheet of parchment paper. put the dough on the parchment paper, and fold over it so your rolling pin doesn’t stick to the dough. roll it out to about a quarter-inch thick. [if the treats are too thin, they’ll burn in the oven.]
use a cookie cutter to cut out your treats and lay them out onto a baking pan. i line it with aluminum foil first but if you want to make your baking pans dirty and disgusting, that’s fine.

stick these bad boys in the oven for about 15-18 minutes. they should be golden-brown when you take them out. let them cool for about 20 minutes before letting doggie have at ’em.
because there is banana in them, the treats should be eaten within 7-10 days.
you can keep them in a tupperware [or the carry-out tubs from PeiWei because you save all of those because you’re cheap].

finally, feed them to your doggie because he or she is a good boy or girl! happy birthday, Whiskey! your mama slaved over a hot oven for you!

whiskey eating.gif

RECIPE [without all the dumb commentary]

INGREDIENTS:
-1 1/2 cup steel-cut oats
-1 or 2 bananas
-1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

DIRECTIONS:
1. Set the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Grind the 1 1/2 cup of oats into a powder using a food processor.
3. In a separate bowl, mash the bananas and peanut butter into a mushy mess.
4. Set aside about 1/4 cup of oat powder. Mix the rest of the oat powder with the mushy peanut butter & banana mess into a dough.
5. Roll out the dough until it’s about 1/4 inch thin. Cut out as many treats as you can get out of the dough.
6. Lay the treats onto a baking pan. Bake for 15-18 minutes, until golden brown.
7. Cool for about 20 minutes before feeding to your dog, or risk burning your dog’s tongue and feeling like the worst human alive.

blog, travel

alaska: nature’s best

ocean

it has been a few years since my entire family took a vacation together. dad has been talking about Alaska ever since we visited 14ish years ago, so my brother and sister-in-law generously took us all back for a week-long tour.
the particular tour we booked is called Nature’s Best, through a company called Globus. it’s ideal because it’s a guided tour with lodging, activities, attractions and most meals already booked, meaning little planning and a lot of exploring on our parts.

i can’t get over the scenery; it’s just as beautiful as everyone says it is. the highlight of the trip, for me, came right in the middle: a double rainbow came out during our wilderness tour through the Denali National Park & Preserve. our wilderness tour guide shrugged it off, like, “yeah, that happens here.”

our wilderness tour was eight hours long, on a school bus. no cell signal inside the park – just hours of looking for ‘the Big Five’: moose, caribou, Dall sheep, bear and coyote. we saw four out of the five – never spotted a coyote.

oceanside timelapse

near the end of our trip we drove along the ocean to get to Anchorage. we left early in the morning, but it really doesn’t matter – in the summer, the sun stays up 20+ hours every day, so the beach looks this beautiful at all hours.

we got incredibly lucky and joined the Denali Club that week. Denali is the tallest mountain in North America, and it’s gorgeous – when you can see it. locals estimate the mountain is only visible about 30-percent of the time. otherwise, it’s too cloudy to see the peak. about an hour before we were leaving Talkeetna, i got a call from our hotel, the Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge. i’d put our room number down on the “Denali watch list,” which staff call as soon as the mountain is visible.

another highlight: visiting the Happy Trails Kennel in Big Lake. dog-sledding is no joke in Alaska; it’s actually the state sport. people who race in the Iditarod devote their entire lives to it: breeding dogs, training dogs, testing gear and clothing. winning the race doesn’t pay much at all – you win bragging rights and enough money to barely break even on all your shipping costs.

i’m now vacation-day-bankrupt, but it was worth it to spend time with my family in this raw, serene state. this type of vacation isn’t my ideal trip (think tropical, a lot of sleeping, eating and drinking on the beach), but my dad loved it, and that’s what matters.

family at Talkeetna