Tag Archives: labrador retrievers

Things My Labrador Has Eaten

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Caught in the act!

Caught in the act

A friend of mine recently adopted a labrador, and so naturally, the conversation turned quickly from training techniques to the incredible things labradors eat.

Let me preface this by saying I do not ALLOW my dog to eat junk that could harm him–but he is lightening fast when it comes to eating, and sometimes he’s choking down something before I can bat an eyelash. He is quite literally a garbage disposal on four legs.

Obviously, I love this crazy dog, and I don’t want him to get sick or be harmed by something he eats, and I am in NO way promoting the idea that you should allow your labrador to eat everything. I’m just saying that the world is not puppy-proof, and there’s only so much I can do. He is, after all, a canine who loves eating more than life itself.

He would do ANYTHING for food. Actually, he would do ANYTHING for something he THINKS is food. It’s great for training and keeping the floor clean of crumbs, but not so good for his digestion.

So, inspired by the conversation with my friend & her new puppy….

Things My Labrador has Consumed or Utterly Destroyed through Mastication
  • Tree branches
  • Corn stalks (fresh from the field)
  • Large stones (usually spit out)
  • Butterflies, grasshoppers and other assorted insects
  • Banana peel
  • Toilet paper
  • Flowers from the garden
  • House flies (encouraged)
  • His leather leash
  • Socks, socks and more socks
  • Potted Bird of Paradise plant
  • His own fur (from the dog brush)
  • Bailey’s fur (from the dog brush)
  • His dog bed
  • The zipper on his mat–yes, JUST the zipper
  • Countless stuffed dog toys
  • Manure
  • My son’s Crocs
  • Ten-pound, foam-coated hand weights
  • Bird, rabbit and deer droppings
  • Toilet water
  • A five-pound weight (the shiny kind that goes on a barbell)
  • The contents of an entire wastepaper basket
  • The cover to my daughter’s history book
  • A foam soccer ball
  • A fly swatter
  • Monopoly Money
  • A reflective dog vest
  • A fortune cookie, gold foil wrapper and all

*Nearly eaten: my favorite ear ring, plucked directly from my ear, which I was able to retrieve from his drooly mouth before he swallowed it!

Charlie is notorious for stealing stuffed animals from the children’s beds, eating his dog food in less than 45 seconds and for hoarding anything shiny. He has even been known to carry around 2 or 3 toys in his mouth at one time.

Strangely, Charlie does not eat shoes (even my goat-leather running shoes that still smell like camels from our trip to Jordan), nor does he eat garlic (though he tasted a clove that fell on the floor).

I DO give him actual bones to chew on,  (supposedly) appropriate dog toys, and he gets frequent exercise.

He simply eats with gusto. 

He is, after all, a labrador, and his zeal for eating is part of his charm. 

 

The Best Lab Tested Hummus Recipe Ever

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Ever since the puppy melted the food processor on our glass-top stove, I have been forced to consume store bought hummus, which is loaded with salt, oil and (often) sugar, most likely added to distract you from the distinctly chemical taste, which sets up residence on the roof of your mouth.

However, the chemical hummus can now be evicted, as my husband recently purchased a new food processor. While I still have to wait until my sell-out-chick-lit manuscript becomes a best-seller before I can afford a Vita-Mix, I am extremely happy with the Siemens FQ1, which, being a German brand, should last for years, barring any further occurences of the labrador trying to cook.

charlie hummus wait

Charlie Learns How to Make Hummus

As much as I would LOVE to turn this into a blog about my Chocolate Labrador and how cute he is while staring at the food processor, I will show some control over my lab-session (as my son calls it) and leave you instead with the BEST HUMMUS RECIPE EVER.

Obviously, being a white girl from MidWestern America currently living in Germany, where ‘spicy’ means adding extra black pepper, this recipe is not my own. It comes from Jerusalem: A Cookbook, by Yotam Ottoleenghi & Sami Tamimi. If you don’t own this book, you should. While there isn’t much ‘healthy’ food in here, and it certainly is NOT vegan, the recipes DO inspire you, and many of them CAN be altered for your particular needs. So, without further ado….

The World's BEST Hummus with Tongue Tingling Harissa

THE HUMMUS

The Raw Materials

1 1/4 cup (250g) dried chickpeas

1tsp baking soda

6 1/2 cups (1/5 liters) water

1 cup Tahini

4 tbsp fresh lemon juice

4 cloves garlic, crushed

6 1/2 tbsp (100ml) iced water

The Method

BEFORE YOU DO ANYTHING: The night before, cover the chickpeas with cold water (twice their volume) and soak overnight. Trust me, it’s worth the wait. Don’t use canned! *Note: I usually double this recipe so I can have enough for an entire week. Of course, I eat it every single day.

COOKING DAY: Drain the chickpeas. In a medium saucepan (I use my cast iron, enamel pot–but that’s just me) turn up the heat to HIGH and add the drained chickpeas and baking soda. Stir constantly for about 3 minutes. Add water and bring to a boil, skimming off the foam. Cook between 20-40 minutes, until chickpeas are very tender, but not mushy, and break easily when pressed between your fingers.

Drain the chickpeas. I let mine cool a little, then add to the food processor. You should now have about 3 1/2 cups. Process the chickpeas in the food processor until you have a stiff paste. Then, with the machine still running, add tahini, lemon juice, and garlic. (You can also add 1 1/2 tsp salt, though we choose not to).

Finally, slowly drizzle in the iced water and watch the magic, letting it mix for about 5 minutes or until you get a very smooth, creamy paste.

Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let it rest for 30 minutes. If you need to, you can refrigerate until needed, but pull it out of the kuhlshrank 30 minutes prior to serving.

THE HARISSA

In Israel, even gas station hummus was good, and there were a multitude of varieties. My personal favorite came with a spicy red sauce on top. While I’m not sure if Harissa is the same stuff, it is pretty close. I omit the caraway (as it makes my stomach feel weird); and I omit the oil & salt for dietary reasons; and I add extra chilies for a little more spiciness. A little dollop of this is perfect on top of hummus.  *Note, I make a bigger batch than normal because I have a bigger family than ‘normal.’

The Raw Materials

3-4 red peppers (blackened)

1/2 tsp coriander seeds

1/2 tsp cumin seeds

1 red onion, coarsely chopped

3-4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped

5-6 hot red chilies, seeded and coarsely chopped (or use only 1, depending on how hot you like it)

2 tbsp tomato paste

2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

The Method

Slice peppers in half, seeding them and place face down under a very hot broiler, until blackened on the outside and completely soft (10-15 mins). Transfer to a bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Allow to cool completely then peel, discarding the skins.

Meanwhile, in a deep frying pan, over low heat, lightly toast the coriander and cumin for about 2 minutes. Remove to a mortar and use a pestle to grind to a powder.

Fry the onion, garlic, and chilies on medium heat for 10 to 12 minutes, until nearly caramelized.

Now, add everything (including the peeled peppers) to the food processor, mixing until smooth. (I prefer mine just a little bit chunky).

FINALLY

Place a scoop of hummus on a plate, make a little divot in the top, and add a dollop of Harissa. Serve with cucumbers, raw red peppers, flat bread (if applicable) or your favorite gluten-free crackers and enjoy a little taste of the Middle East in your Western kitchen!

Gratuitous Labrador Photo--I couldn't help it! He's smiling in this one!

Gratuitous Labrador Photo–I couldn’t help it!                   He’s smiling in this one!

Guten appetit!

Wild Rumpus

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Charlie

Charlie

You would think without marathon training, I would have oodles of leisure time on my hands, but my life has taken a new turn with the addition of The Puppy.

The first few months are crucial for dog training, and I want to do it right for a change, which means we are one busy family at the moment.

My days are filled with feeding, exercising, teaching, cleaning-up after and correcting the pack, which also includes the kids.

When we first brought The Puppy home, our Havanese wouldn’t go near him, preferring to snarl from under the table, rather than play. But now that ‘Charlie’ has been with us for two weeks, Pepin has relaxed to the point where he will now sniff at Charlie when the pup is asleep, no doubt checking for vital signs. This is progress.

Charlie plays hard and sleeps hard. When he plays, he is a whirlwind, when he sleeps, we can hold him upside down and he doesn’t even twitch an eyelid. He sleeps so soundly that one of the kids worriedly asked, “Is he okay?”

Charlie also loves the snow. He will roll in it and shove his snout through it and lay down in it and eat it.

Charlie and Bailey

Let the Wild Rumpus Begin!

Charlie has a lot to learn, but I can see the wheels turning in his mind as he works at something new.

At ten weeks, not only will Charlie sit and lay down on command without me having to say a word, but he will also go from laying down back up to sitting (9 times out of 10) when I use only hand signals. We are working on ‘stay’ and ‘leave it,’ with excellent results. He is by far the smartest dog I’ve ever owned (no offense to Pepin–our ‘grumpy old man’).

I have to admit, I am having fun training the dogs. It’s a challenge for me, and if you know me at all, you know I love challenges.

Bailey (the Awesome Chocolate Lab who started it all) is currently staying with us, and thus, our week has been filled with wild rumpus moments where you know EXACTLY where the Wild Things are (in your room, eating your socks) and scenes so tender they could have been scripted by Hallmark.

Always something new to learn

Sweet moments

It has also felt a little like doggy boot camp here in the German countryside as I try to emulate the Dog Whisperer, but I love looking down and seeing those lovely faces staring patiently at me–waiting for their post-walkies carrots.

Will work for carrots!

Will work for carrots!

But something about the way Charlie follows me around the house, sitting nicely and staring at me with his gorgeous eyes makes me wonder:

Am I training him, or is he training me?