December 24, 2012

Chocolate Crackles

I made my favorite cookies today.

I usually refer to them as chocolate crinkle cookies, but I see that the recipe calls them chocolate crackles.  I've also seen them called snowcaps.  Whatever the name, they are delicious.  This time they weren't quite up to par because I couldn't find the cocoa powder I like (the recipe has both cocoa powder and a hefty amount of melted chocolate), but they were still good.  The recipe comes from a Martha Stewart one-off cookie magazine that was published a handful of years ago.  I couldn't find the recipe online to provide a link.  None of the online recipes were exactly the same, and they all had more than a few differences from the one I use.

This cookie dough isn't like normal dough.  It's more like batter.  These cookies are a mess to make.  The dough is divided up and chilled to make it easier to work with, yet it still becomes a sticky goop very quickly.  Oh, but they are soooo tasty.  The recipe makes a ton of cookies, so it's not like you work with a dough that is a massive pain and get hardly any cookies at the end, like when making gingerbread men.  I'm talking 65 to 80 cookies here, depending on the size of the dough balls.  The dough is formed into balls and rolled in granulated sugar and confectioners sugar (granulated first, then confectioners.)  When the cookies flatten in the oven, they take on their cracked appearance.  Yum.

December 17, 2012

BREW beagle

Kenobi is a BREW beagle.  What does that mean?  It means that I adopted him from a beagle rescue called BREW, which stands for Beagle Rescue, Education, and Welfare.  Is this post just an excuse to share more photos of Kenobi?  Not necessarily.

BREW finds homes for beagles in Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, and eastern Pennsylvania.  It is a great organization.  They take in beagles from shelters or from owners who don't want or can't take care of their dogs anymore, and they place them in foster homes.  There the beagles stay until they find their forever homes.  BREW posts photos and descriptions of the dogs on its website.  I saw Kenobi's photo and knew immediately that he was my dog.  As a bonus, he was already house-trained and was described as a quiet beagle- good for apartment living.

As with other rescues, the first step was to fill out an application.  Once that was done, a volunteer from BREW came to my apartment for a "home check."  It's an extra layer of security to make sure that the dogs they care so much about go to good homes.  The volunteer brought along a beagle puppy.  CUTE.  Once I was approved, I could meet Kenobi.  I drove from Pennsylvania to Virginia to get him!  He was so worth it.

BREW didn't have any background information on Kenobi because they pulled him from a shelter.  He entered the shelter as a stray.  It was estimated that he was about a year and a half old.  He had ehrlichia, a tick-borne illness similar to Lyme disease.  BREW treated him for the ehrlichia and had him neutered, too.  When I picked him up, he was healed and ready to go.  I should say that his name wasn't Kenobi at the time.  BREW (or maybe the shelter) had named him Leo.  He wasn't called Leo for very long, so he quickly adapted to his new name.  It seems funny now to think that his name was Leo.  He is such a Kenobi.  He demonstrates a power over people that can only be him using the Force.

When I got to his foster family's house, I saw that there were at least five beagles there.  Beagle sanctuary!  I loved Kenobi from the first moment I saw him.  He came home with me that day and has been with me ever since.  That was over ten years ago.  I'm more grateful to BREW than I can ever express for bringing Kenobi into my life.  I've said this before, but it bears repeating- it's important that people consider adopting from shelters and rescues when they are looking for pets.  So many loving, wonderful animals needs homes.  People are often surprised when they find out that Kenobi came from a rescue.  They say, "But he's such a good dog."  Yes, he is.  Great animals are waiting in shelters and rescues to find their homes.  I wish Kenobi could be an ambassador for shelter animals everywhere, changing attitudes about the animals found there.  These animals didn't do anything wrong to end up in shelters.  They just need some love in their lives.

Kenobi is my companion, my friend, and a light in my life when things seem very dark.  I will end with a beagle haiku:

Sleeping beagle dog
curled up in my blue blanket,
my heart fills with love.

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