Whole Wheat Blueberry Buckle

Hi there! ¬†I had a nice long, funny post to share with you, but then when I just went to save it, my computer froze and I lost it ūüôĀ ¬†I was too angry to re-type the whole story!

I¬†really¬†hate computers sometimes. I promise you, it was going to be good. ¬†I’ll save it for another time…

Now…I will take a deep breath and then share one of my favourite desserts¬†with you.

A “buckle” is a fruit heavy cake that gets its name from the fact that the added moisture from all the fruit can actually cause the cake to ‚Äúbuckle‚ÄĚ a bit in the center.

Whole wheat blueberry buckle - thebakingvet.com

I have made thus cake “dairy free” many times by using coconut oil in place of butter and coconut or soy milk in place of milk. I still prefer to use coconut milk. It doesn’t give much of a coconut taste at all but it seems to produce a really moist cake. It really works well with any type of milk though, even low-fat.

Another bonus is that this cake is made with whole wheat flour so you can eat it for breakfast without feeling guilty ūüôā I like the nutty flavour that the whole wheat flour gives this dessert.

Whole wheat blueberry buckle - The Baking Vet

This cake is best served warm with vanilla or coconut milk ice cream. It’s a great thing to bring to a summer potluck. People love it!

Whole Grain Blueberry Buckle

From: http://bakingbites.com/2008/08/whole-grain-blueberry-buckle/#more-2282

Cake Ingredients:
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup cake flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
1/2 cup milk
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups blueberries (fresh is best)

Topping Ingredients:
1/3 cup all purpose flour
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch ground nutmeg
2 tbsp butter, very soft

Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease an 8-inch square (or 9-inch square) baking pan.

In a large bowl, whisk together whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in melted butter, milk, egg and vanilla extract. Stir well, mixing until no streaks of flour remain. Gently fold in blueberries and pour into prepared pan.

In a small bowl, make the topping. Whisk together flour, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Stir in butter until mixture is crumbly and sand-like. I find it easiest to use my hands. Sprinkle evenly over batter.

Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Cool on a wire rack for at least 20-30 minutes before serving. Can be served warm or at room temperature.

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S’mores Cookies

Happy Canada Day! ¬†It’s a very hot and sunny day here today and I spent a great morning playing outside with Ruby, blowing bubbles, running around and splashing in a little homemade “pond”.

I have just a friendly little reminder that summer heat is not fun for everyone. ¬†Your dogs and cats can overheat quickly in a parked car. ¬†They do not sweat like we do and cannot tolerate heat as well as people can. ¬†It happens every year…the headlines in the news tell us that a dog has died of heat stroke after being left in a car for too long. ¬†Even 5 minutes in a hot car can be too long for a dog. ¬†Cracking the window open slightly often has very little cooling effect either. ¬†So…just DON’T DO IT!

There are some dogs that can over-heat just from a long walk in this hot weather. ¬†Brachycephalic dogs (Pugs, Bulldogs, Boston Terriers, etc) are extremely sensitive to the heat due to their “pushed in noses”. ¬†They usually all have specific traits (like an elongated soft palate and stenotic nares) that makes it even more difficult for them to breathe when it gets hot. ¬†I usually recommend people NOT walk their pug or bulldog at all in the heat or humidity. ¬†It’s best to just wait until the sun goes down at night and it cools off a bit. ¬†These dogs are born with “respiratory challenges” and the heat makes it that much more difficult for them to breathe!

Since it is Canada Day and the start of July, I thought this post about heat and s’mores cookies would be appropriate ūüôā

These cookies taste just like s’mores and will remind you of a summer campfire. ¬†When I first made them, a few of the marshmallows melted into a gooey coating over some of the cookies. It made them look a little funny but didn’t take anything away from the taste.

S'mores cookies - thebakingvet.com

The original recipe called for a mix of cake flour and bread flour. ¬†I didn’t have any bread flour so I just used some all-purpose and the cookies turned out great anyway. ¬†They were very thick and soft and each bite had a mix of chocolate, graham cracker and marshmallow deliciousness. ¬†They disappeared fast at work this past week.

S'mores cookies - The baking vet

S’mores Cookies

From: http://www.bakedbyrachel.com/2013/06/perfect-smore-cookies/

Ingredients:
10 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp light brown sugar
1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup cake flour
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp plus 1/8 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp coarse sea salt
1 heaping cup semi-sweet jumbo chocolate chips
1/2 cup crushed graham crackers
1 cup mini marshmallows

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350F.

In a large bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until smooth.  Mix in the egg and vanilla.  Then add both flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  Mix until all ingredients are well combined and smooth.  Stir in the chocolate chips, marshmallows and crushed graham crackers by hand.

Using your hands, form large golf ball sized balls of dough.  It is best to make sure the marshmallows are tucked into the center of the ball.  Place dough balls 2 inches apart on a parchment lined cookie sheet.

Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the edges are lightly golden in colour.  Cool on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.  Store cookies in an airtight container.

Makes 24-30 cookies.

 

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Lemon Berry Custard Bars

I got to use a great line on an annoying client the other day.  My husband was so proud of me.

A client came in with a new puppy  It was an adorable, healthy little guy. At new puppy visits we always talk about nutrition and feeding guidelines.  This client asked me what I recommended she feed her new puppy.  I went through my usual discussion about how there is NO one miracle food out there that is best for every dog.  I gave her a few recommendations on brands, what to look for in the ingredient list and how much to feed.

The dog owner, who seemed interested when I was talking to her, then tells me, “Ok well thanks but I’m just going to feed what my breeder recommends”. ¬†The breeder had recommended a raw food diet, which is a topic that I really don’t want to get into here.

Without hesitation, my response was, “And where did your breeder go to vet school?”

The woman responded, also without hesitation and with a totally innocent look in her eyes, “Oh no, she’s NOT a vet. ¬†But she’s very knowledgable. ¬†She’s had dogs for over 30 years!”

I told her that “I’ve had TEETH for over 30 years but that doesn’t make ME a dentist!”

Then I got a blank stare…She thanked me for my advice and left the exam room.

Now, this post has nothing to do with my mostly negative¬†feelings regarding raw food diets for dogs (which is a huge topic that I’d rather not get into now). ¬†I am just venting about an issue that veterinarians deal with on a daily basis: competing with the advice given by THE BREEDER.

Oh well. ¬†I’ll try this line again the next chance I get and let you know what happens.

(***P.S. Not ALL breeders give terrible advice and not ALL people cling to this advice as if  it were the winning lottery numbers!  But it sure does happen and it makes for a funny story!)

I have another dessert bar recipe to share with you. ¬†I have made this one several times. ¬†It’s a great summer dessert because of all the berries and a hint of lemon. ¬†It’s a great thing to bring to a summer picnic or potluck. ¬†It tastes so good, people will think you slaved away all day in the kitchen, even though it is pretty easy and quick to make. ¬†Plus, it makes a LOT of bars. ¬†I assure you, it will be a hit! ¬†People always ask me for the recipe.

Berry Custard Bars - thebakingvet.com

I cut the pieces pretty small, but since you use a 13×9 inch pan, there is a lot to work with. Just to let you know, I used frozen berries and it worked really well. ¬†Just fold them in gently. ¬†Also, becasuse they are cold, they will cause the custard mixture to thicken up right away but it wasn’t a problem. ¬†Enjoy!

Lemon Berry Custard Bars
http://www.bakersroyale.com/bars-and-cookie-bars/summer-berry-custard-bars/Crust Ingredients:
1 box of yellow cake mix
4 ounces butter, melted
1 egg
1 tablespoon lemon zest

Berry Custard Ingredients:
3 large eggs
1 1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cups sour cream
1/2 cup flour plus 2 tablespoons
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup raspberries
1 cup blueberries
1 tablespoon lemon zest

Directions:
Heat oven to 350 degrees F and line 9×13 pan with foil and cover with bake spray.Place the dry cake mix, butter, 1 egg and lemon zest in a bowl and mix until well blended. Press mixture into parchment-lined 9×13 inch pan. Set aside.

Place egg in a bowl of stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Beat eggs until well combined. Add in sugar and beat and until foamy. Add in sour cream, flour, cornstarch and mix to combine. Turn off mixer and fold in raspberries, blueberries and lemon zest.

Pour mixture on top of crust and bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until the edges are a light golden brown, and the center slightly jiggles when pan is tapped.

Cool completely in pan. Turn out onto a cutting board and cut into squares.

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Oatmeal Lemon Cream Bars

In my last post, I talked about fledgling birds and the nesting pair of nuthatches in my back yard.  Well, the babies finally came out of their nest!  They hung around the backyard, hopping and flying around the deck for one day and then they were gone. Those little birds were pretty agile considering how young they were.

Here is a picture of one of the babies. ¬†I couldn’t get too close so the picture isn’t great. ¬†I didn’t want to scare the babies or get dive bombed by the parents!

IMG_2164

I had some seeds on the deck and this little guy had one in his mouth when I took the picture. ¬†I took the photo at 8 in the morning as I was leaving for work so I didn’t get to enjoy watching these cute little guys on such a beautiful day.

Now for the recipe for my new favourite dessert. ¬†It combines two of my favourite things, lemon and oatmeal cookie and they are incredibly easy to make. ¬†Actually, they might be too easy to make and that could be dangerous. ¬†I brought them into work last Thursday and they disappeared quickly. Then, I made them again on Sunday for Father’s Day. ¬†I am eating a piece as I type this.

All you ¬†need is some eggs, butter and a pouch of Betty Crocker’s Oatmeal cookie mix:

IMG_2166

Then, just mix some lemon juice and lemon zest into a can of sweetened condensed milk and voila, you have a delicious dessert!

Oatmeal Lemon Cream Bars - The Baking Vet

Oatmeal Lemon Cream Bars

From: http://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2012/04/29/oatmeal-lemon-creme-bars/

Ingredients:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold
1 pouch (1 lb 1.5 oz or 496g) Betty Crocker oatmeal cookie mix
1 egg
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
The zest from 2 large lemons
Freshly squeezed juice from 2 large lemons

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350F degrees.

Butter an 8×8 baking pan.

In a large bowl, cut butter into cookie mix using an electric mixer. Stir in egg until crumbly.

Press just over half of oatmeal cookie dough into bottom of prepared baking pan. Bake for 10 minutes.

While the cookie crust is baking, stir condensed milk, lemon zest and lemon juice in a small bowl. Spread lemon mixture over baked crust (while crust is hot). Crumble the remaining oatmeal cookie mixture over top. Bake about 20 minutes longer or until golden brown.

Let cool completely before cutting.  Enjoy!

Posted in Brownies and Bars | 2 Comments

Lemon Cake Mix Cookies

Well it’s finally spring here and I’ve been away for a while so I could enjoy the warm weather! ¬†But since it’s a rainy, dreary day today I thought it was time for a blog post. ¬†I also debated going for a run or a nap but changed my mind ūüôā

My backyard tree has been taken over by a pair of white-breasted nuthatches. ¬†There is a big, dead branch off the main tree trunk that is hollow on the inside. ¬†This is where they have made their nest. ¬†The two parents are busy from dawn to dusk collecting food for their babies inside the tree. ¬†I see them bringing bugs, worms and seeds into the nest all day long. ¬†I can’t wait to see the little babies come out soon!

This is a picture of the tree branch in our backyard. ¬†It’s hard to see but there is a small hole in the branch. ¬†One of the parents is going into the nest and you can just see the tail feathers sticking out of the hole. ¬†There just so happened to be a mama deer hanging out in the backyard today too!

This is the season for baby birds (fledglings) to emerge from the shelter of their nests.  Contrary to popular belief, fledgling birds CANNOT fly.  They will jump out of the nest and remain on the ground for the next few days while they practise and eventually learn to fly.  During this time, the parents are still there, watching them and feeding them.

Many people see these fledglings on the ground and immediately want to “rescue” them. ¬†However, if you put them back into the nest, they will just immediately jump out again.

I used to work at a wildlife rehabilitation centre and we would get phone calls all day long from people finding these birds on the ground and wanting to bring them in, thinking they were either injured or orphaned or just too young to be out of the nest.

The best thing you can do if you have baby birds in your yard that are learning to fly is to LEAVE THEM ALONE. ¬†It won’t take long before they fly away. ¬†Plus,¬†if you try to go near the fledglings, you could be the victim of a dive-bomb attack from the angry parents.

One last thing: please keep your dogs and cats away from the area until the babies have flown away ūüôā

The recipe I want to share with you today is a lemon cake mix cookie that is super easy and incredibly delicious.  I got so many requests for this recipe.  These cookies are very, very tart with the use of lemon juice, lemon zest AND lemon extract.  Adding powdered sugar to coat the cookies makes them a bit sweeter.

The cookie dough is very sticky and hard to work with unless you chill it in the freezer for at least an hour.  After that, you can easily roll the dough into balls with your hands.  Chilling the dough also helps to reduce the amount of spreading that the cookie will do.  It keeps them a bit puffier and lighter, rather than being super flat.  I hope you enjoy them.  I will be making them again!

Lemon Cake Mix Cookies

From: http://laurassweetspot.com/2012/05/17/lemon-burst-cookies/

1 (18.25-ounce) package lemon cake mix
2 eggs
‚Öď cup vegetable oil
Zest of 2 lemons
2 tablespoons lemon juice
¬Ĺ teaspoon lemon extract
‚Öď cup confectioner‚Äôs sugar

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350¬įF. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat.
Pour cake mix into a large bowl. Stir in eggs, oil, lemon zest, lemon juice and lemon extract until well blended.  I used a standing mixer with the paddle attachment.

Cover and chill the prepared cookie dough in the freezer for about an hour.

Place confectioner’s sugar in a bowl.

Form the dough into balls (I used my hands), roll in confectioner’s sugar until coated and place on baking sheet.

Bake for about 8-10 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned. Cool for 2-3 minutes on the cookie sheet and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.  Enjoy!

 

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Maple Pecan Cookie Bars

People often ask me if I became a veterinarian because I don’t like people. ¬†Hahaha, I guess there’s¬†some truth to that. ¬†However, it’s the wrong career choice for those who don’t like¬†talking to people. ¬†With some exceptions, veterinarians are talking to clients all day long about such things as: their pets history, test results, cost estimates for a medical work-up or surgical procedure, medical advice, etc. ¬†The list goes on and on and on. ¬†I feel like people¬†expect¬†more from their vet than from their family doctor. ¬†I feel like people¬†expect¬†to be able to call up their vet at any time of the work¬†day to have a 30 minute conversation about their pet. ¬†However,¬†nobody would EVER expect this from a physician.

My point is only that in my field of work, one cannot avoid lots and lots and lots of client communication. ¬†I just wish the animals could speak so their owners could just stop talking for once ūüôā

I really didn’t want to become a¬†human doctor because people can be GROSS. ¬†I do rectal exams on dogs and cats all the time and it doesn’t gross me out. ¬†However, the thought of doing a rectal exam on a person DOES gross me out (some people more so than others). ¬†Same goes for doing a pelvic exam, oral exam, examining “warts”, etc. ¬†Dog and cat vomit and feces really don’t bother me, but people…well that’s a different story.

Veterinary medicine is a very interesting field of work. ¬†There is never a dull moment, partly due to the many strange things that cats and dogs will eat. ¬†I love the story from one of my former surgery professors about a dog who ate underwear and had surgery to remove the obstruction. ¬†We always save the foreign body after surgery because owners are usually very interested to see the object that they just spent thousands of dollars having removed from their pet. ¬†In this case the underwear did NOT belong to the female owner of the dog and the male owner had some explaining to do! ¬†This is a great story to tell at parties ūüėČ

The main reason I became a veterinarian though is because I feel that animals deserve great medical care. ¬†Contrary to popular belief, we don’t sit around “playing with puppies and kittens all day”. ¬†However, one of the those appointments is certainly a good stress reliever ūüôā

Baking is also a very good stress reliever. ¬†These amazing cookie bars were soft and sweet and tasted like a pecan pie in a cookie. They were also very easy to make. Though the glaze was amazing they tasted great without it as well. It depends how sweet you like them ūüôā

                         

Maple pecan cookie bars

Adapted slightly from: http://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-maple-pecan-blondies-recipes-from-the-kitchn-179863

Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup pecans, finely chopped
1 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon maple extract

Maple Butter Glaze:
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup light brown sugar

Heat the oven to 350¬įF. Grease a 9×13-inch baking dish with butter.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, chopped pecans, brown sugar, salt, and baking soda. In a separate bowl, whisk together the melted butter, maple syrup, eggs, and vanilla extract. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until just combined.

Spread the batter in the prepared pan. It will be quite thick and sticky. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until the center is just barely cooked and set. The cookie bars should be very soft still.

While the blondies are baking, make the maple butter glaze: Melt the butter in a small saucepan then stir in the maple syrup and brown sugar. Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook at a full boil for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.

Drizzle the warm glaze over the cooled bars.

 

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Koko Grandma’s Cookies

This post is for my sister, Erin and my dad who both share my love of these cookies more than anyone else. ¬†My grandma used to make them on a regular basis before she passed away in 1992. ¬†They were the BEST cookies I’ve ever eaten. ¬†Even as a kid I could eat 5 at a time.

Since she’s been gone, I haven’t been able to find her exact recipe. ¬†There are definitely a lot of similar recipes out there. ¬†Many people call these cookies “haystacks”. ¬†My mother-in-law has her own recipe that she calls “monkey shit”. ¬†For our family, they have always been known as “Koko Grandma’s cookies”. ¬†With the help of Erin, I finally got a recipe that I just had to tweak a tiny bit and…voila! ¬†Once I tasted this last batch it brought me back to Sunday dinners at Grandma’s house. ¬†They tasted so good!

You may be wondering why we called my grandma “Koko Grandma”. ¬†I guess as kids, we started calling her that because she had a dog named Koko. ¬†When you have different sets of grandparents I guess it makes sense for kids to want to distinguish between them in some way. ¬†I barely even remember the dog…except that he was a Dachshund and he liked to bite us ūüôā

I DO however, remember my Koko Grandma. ¬†She was one of a kind. ¬†She was a sweet lady but not the average grandma. ¬†She was super cool. ¬†I remember her dying her hair bright red all the time. ¬†In fact, I never really remember seeing her with grey hair at all. ¬†She also liked to play poker and drink beer. ¬†That’s the kind of grandma I want to be! ¬†I’ll be drinking beer until the day I die of course. ¬†She also worked at the Bay selling men’s underwear! ¬†She didn’t dress like the typical grandma either. ¬†And she was a prankster. ¬†She was always joking around with us. ¬†She had the best sense of humour ūüôā ¬†I also remember how generous she was. ¬†She spoiled us every chance she got.

She died waaaaaaaaaaay too young.  I miss her all the time.  But every time I eat one of these cookies, it makes me smile because it reminds me of her.

These cookies are super easy to make and they taste amazing! ¬†When I couldn’t eat dairy last year I tried making them with soy milk and vegan margarine and they DID NOT work out. ¬†This is one of the recipes that needs¬†real butter¬†or the cookies won’t set. ¬†Enjoy!

Koko Grandma’s Cookies

Ingredients:
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup whole milk
1 3/4 cups sugar
3 cups quick-cooking oats
4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
3/4 cup shredded sweetened coconut

Instructions:
In a large saucepan, combine butter, milk and sugar; bring to a rolling boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Continue boiling for 1 minute. Remove from heat; stir in oats, cocoa, and coconut. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto waxed paper and let set for an hour.

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Deep Dish Oatmeal Chocolate Cookie Bars

One of my “pet peeves” as a vet is people who tell me, “I don’t want my pet to have an exam today, I just want the vaccines”. ¬†Essentially they are saying they want me to just give “Fluffy” her shots without doing a physical exam. ¬†Most of the time it’s money driven since the exam costs more than the vaccines and people want to save a buck or two. ¬†However, I have¬†to believe that these people also don’t understand the importance of the physical exam.

First of all, we never just give vaccines without a physical exam.  Injecting a vaccine into a living being is not a benign event.  Important things happen in the body when a vaccine is given!  Therefore it is VERY important that a vet makes sure your pet is healthy before injecting a biologically active substance into them.

Secondly, the exam is the most important part! ¬†I cannot tell you how may times I have found “problems” in a dog or cat that was just in for it’s annual exam and vaccines. ¬†Most of the time they are not life threatening problems, like dental disease or luxating patella, but they still need to be addressed. ¬†Obesity is another one, though this one can lead to life treating complications. ¬†Just yesterday I was examining a dog prior to giving the annual vaccines and I found two mammary tumours…I won’t elaborate but that is NOT a good thing.

Cats and dogs will not come out and tell their owners that their vision is getting fuzzy. ¬†They won’t be able to articulate that they have had a throbbing tooth ache for months. ¬†They won’t be able to let you know that they have an enlarged lymph node or an arrhythmia or a heart murmur or a thyroid nodule, until it’s too late. ¬† These are all conditions that can be treated and/or managed fairly successfully if¬†diagnosed early on.

So please get your pet in for a head to tail exam at least once a year. ¬†And remember that the physical exam is the most important part and it’s worth every penny!

Here is an awesome article about this very topic.  I posted it on Facebook this week and people really liked it: http://www.pethealthnetwork.com/lifestyle/how-tell-if-you-have-awesome-vet

Now for a new recipe. ¬†I made some oatmeal chocolate cookie bars this week and shared them with my co-workers and my brother-in-law (for his birthday). ¬†I had to try to give them all away so they’re not hanging around our house while Sean is in the middle of his work-out/weight-loss bet. ¬†I must say that they were amazingly delicious. ¬†I cooked them for 25 minutes but I did¬†cover the pan with tin foil with about 10 minutes left of baking time because I didn’t want the top layer to get overcooked. ¬†They turned out so soft and moist because of it. ¬†The middle layer of gooey chocolate was the best part. ¬†They were just perfect! ¬†I think everybody should make these and eat lots of them ūüôā ¬†I am eating one as I type this.

Deep Dish Oatmeal Chocolate Cookie Bars

From: http://meganandclaudy.blogspot.ca/2012/09/deep-dish-oatmeal-chocolate-cookie-bars.html?m=1

Ingredients for the Cookie Batter:

2 sticks butter
2 eggs
2.5 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 cups light brown sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
1/3 cup milk
3 cups oatmeal

Mix the butter, eggs and brown sugar. ¬†Add vanilla and milk. ¬†Slowly incorporate the rest of the dry ingredients. ¬†Mix well. ¬†I used a stand mixer since it’s quite thick.

Ingredients for the chocolate filling:

1 can sweetened condensed milk
1/3 cup butter
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (typically one bag is just shy of 2 cups)

Melt the sweetened condensed milk, butter, vanilla and chocolate chips in a saucepan on medium heat.  Stir constantly until they are melted and mixed together well.

Spread 3/4 of the cookie batter on the bottom of a buttered 13×9 pan. Pour the chocolate mixture over the cookie batter and spread the remainder of the cookie batter on top (it won’t cover completely-use a knife to spread it over the chocolate). The top tends to get done before the cookie bars are completely cooked, so you should put aluminum foil over it for the last ten or so if it looks like it’s browning too much. Bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees. Let cool completely before cutting.

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Tres Leches Cake

I have a sad but all too common story to tell. ¬†Last week at work, I met a 12 year old cat who had been sick for a few days. ¬†He stopped eating, became very lethargic and started vomiting earlier in the week so his owners brought him in to see me. ¬†He had always been a healthy cat but he hadn’t been to the vet in 7 years!

He was very weak and dehydrated and we ran some blood work. ¬†It turned out that he was in end-stage kidney failure and there really wasn’t anything we could do for him at that point. ¬†His family was shocked and not at all prepared for such bad news. ¬†They asked me how he got so sick, so quickly.

It’s not that these people are bad pet owners and did anything wrong, but I think that this cat HAD been sick for a very long time. ¬†When I questioned them more, it turned out that he had been drinking more for quite a while. ¬†I suspect that he developed kidney disease several years ago and like most cats with this ailment he lived a pretty normal life aside from increased drinking and increased urinating. ¬†However, it’s incredibly common for cats to hide their symptoms until they get so sick that they reach a crisis point. ¬†It goes back to their natural instincts. ¬†A sick or injured wild animal will almost always try to avoid showing their weakness, in order to avoid being an “easy target” for predators and competition.

I think this poor kitty lived for a long time with his kidney disease gradually progressing until he simply crashed.  Of course, to the owners, it seemed very sudden and they had to say goodbye to their family pet with no advanced warning.

The moral of this sad story is that dogs and especially cats should have annual blood work to screen for things like kidney disease (and many, many other diseases). ¬†It’s not that his kidney disease would have been curable if caught early (because there is no cure in our dogs and cats), but it could have been managed in ways to help slow the progression of the disease. ¬†Knowing would also have helped prepare his family for the day that they would have to decide to euthanize, rather than having to make that decision so suddenly. ¬†They were heart broken to find out that their cat was dying when they thought he maybe just had a “stomach bug”. ¬†It was a very sad situation ūüôĀ ¬†So please talk to your vet about doing annual screening blood work in your pet, especially once they get over the age of 8.

So last night was Oscar night and we had some people over to watch it. ¬†My contribution to the food was dessert, of course, and my husband made a delicious buffalo chicken dip too. ¬†The dip was a hit and I should probably post that recipe too. ¬†For now though, I’ll let you know how to make a Tres Leches Cake. ¬†It is a Spanish butter cake that is soaked in three different kinds of milk. ¬†I was skeptical at first that the cake would be soggy, but it really wasn’t. ¬†The cake is very, very moist and topped with a whip cream frosting. ¬†Everybody really liked it ūüôā and it was fun to make.

My husband is starting a work-out/weight loss bet today so I had to get the leftovers out of the house.  Luckily my in-laws happily took the leftover cake off our hands!

Enjoy!

             

Tres Leches Cake

From: http://somekitchenstories.com/2012/08/24/tres-leches-cake-recipe/

Ingredients:

For the cake:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup white sugar
5 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups whole milk
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (12 fluid ounce) can evaporated milk

For the frosting:
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons powdered sugar

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour one 9×13 inch baking pan.
Sift flour and baking powder together and set aside.
Cream butter and the 1 cup sugar together until fluffy. Add eggs and the 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract; beat well.
Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture 2 tablespoons at a time; mix until well blended. Pour batter into prepared pan.
Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 25-30 minutes. Pierce cake all over with a fork.
Combine the whole milk, condensed milk, and evaporated milk together. Pour over the top of the cooled cake. ¬†It will look like a¬†lot of milk but don’t worry, it will absorb.
Whip whipping cream, powdered sugar, and the vanilla together until thick. Spread over the top of cake.  Keep refrigerated.

 

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Red Velvet Cupcakes With Cream Cheese Frosting

Happy Valentine’s Day! We got a few calls at work today about dogs that had gotten into boxes of chocolate truffles or chocolate candy. It’s all too common around Valentine’s Day, Easter, Halloween and Christmas. Cats don’t have the same taste buds as dogs and therefore, since they have less of a “sweet tooth” we rarely see chocolate toxicity in cats. Oh yeah, did I mention that chocolate is toxic?!

Chocolate contains TWO ingredients that are toxic to dogs: caffeine and theobromide. Whether ¬†or not your dog gets sick after ingesting these ingredients depends on the type and quantity of chocolate they ate. For example, white chocolate and milk chocolate contain much less of these toxic ingredients compared to dark chocolate, baking chocolate and cocoa beans. If your dog ingests ANY amount of chocolate, you should call your vet immediately. We can sometimes determine whether a toxic dose was ingested based on your dog’s weight and the amount and type of chocolate eaten. Sometimes it’s a guessing game because the exact quantity ingested is usually not known for sure.

Symptoms of chocolate overdose include: restlessness and hyperactivity, increased drinking and urinating, muscle tremors, excessive panting and increased heart rate and irregular heart rhythm. Vomiting and diarrhea can also occur secondary to the high fat content of the chocolate. In rare and extreme cases, your dog may suffer from seizures, collapse and death. ¬†If the chocolate was eaten within a few hours, the first thing to do is to induce vomiting. ¬†Treatment will also include supportive care (IV fluids, monitoring, medications to treat diarrhea, etc) since there is no specific “antidote” to treat a chocolate overdose.

If your dog eats a milk chocolate candy bar, chances are good that he or she will be fine. ¬†Your carpets may suffer the most trauma if the chocolate leads to explosive diarrhea ūüôā

Sorry for all the talk about vomiting and diarrhea in a baking blog!

This is my favourite recipe for red velvet cupcakes. I used it to make a red velvet cake for my sister’s birthday a few weeks ago also. ¬†As you can see, she turned 29! I forgot to take photos of the cake once it was cut though ūüôĀ

I really prefer using canola oil compared to butter in this recipe. I just feel like it makes for a lighter and fluffier cake. It has nothing to do with them being healthier. There’s no such thing as a “healthy” cupcake! I also have made these both with real buttermilk and by making “buttermilk” with regular milk and vinegar. I MUCH prefer the cake made with the real buttermilk!

I brought these delicious red velvet cupcakes into work today for Valentine’s Day and they were a big hit.

Have a great Valentine’s Day! ¬†Eat lots of chocolate but keep it out of the reach of your dog!

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

From: http://www.afarmgirlsdabbles.com/2010/11/29/red-velvet-cake-with-cream-cheese-frosting/

For the cake:
2-1/2 cup cake flour (not self-rising)
1 tsp. salt
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1-1/2 cup sugar
1-1/2 cup canola oil
2 large eggs
4 T. red food coloring
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
1-1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. white vinegar

for the frosting:
16 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup butter, at room temperature
4 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350¬į. ¬†Generously butter two 9‚Ä≥ x 2‚Ä≥ round cake pans. ¬†Dust with flour, and tap out the excess. ¬†OR place cupcake liners into 2 muffin tins. ¬†Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together cake flour, salt, and cocoa.  Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat sugar and oil on medium speed until well combined.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add food coloring and vanilla, and beat until well combined.  Add the flour mixture, alternating with buttermilk, scraping the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.

In a small bowl, whisk together the baking soda and vinegar.  Add to the batter, and beat for 10 seconds.  Evenly divide batter between the prepared pans OR fill the cupcake liners about 2/3 to 3/4 full.

Place in oven and bake until a cake tester inserted in the center of each cake or cupcake comes out clean.  Bake the cake for 30-35 minutes and the cupcakes for 18-20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool in the pans for 5 minutes. Remove from the pans, and return to the rack, top side up, to cool completely.

Make the frosting by creaming together the cream cheese and butter on medium high speed for a minute or two, until well incorporated.  Beat in the powdered sugar until fluffy, then mix in the vanilla.

Using a spatula to frost the cake, spread 1-1/2 cups of the frosting on top of one of the cake layers.  Place second layer on top and spread the remaining frosting around the sides and top of the cake, swirling spatula as desired.

The cake/cupcakes can be stored, covered, in the refrigerator up to 6 hours, or over night.

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