My Dog Ate…

… his collar. Yup ate it. Not chewed, not destroyed, ate.

But let me back up for a minute and explain.

About 5 months ago Trey got an adorable 10 pound Labrador puppy. Unfortunately, due to graduating college, wedding planning, honeymooning, and moving, his obedience training was a little spotty in those first couple months. He was also on the timid side when he was little, so leash training focused on getting him to move forward, not on keeping him from pulling. Now we’re nicely settled and able to focus on training, but instead of a 10 pound puppy lagging behind, we have a 60 pound puppy lunging ahead.

Ok so not the best situation, but we were determined to have a well-trained obedient-in-the-face-of-squirrels dog. I talked to my friend and former AKC trainer about our problem and she suggested the Gentle Leader head collar. The Gentle Leader is the same kind of idea as a choke chain except it doesn’t choke the dog (cause everyone wants to be that owner with their dog gasping at the end of the leash fully convinced that ducks are better than air) and it controls where their head is pointed (kinda like a bridle on a horse). This worked great for us because it addressed the immediate problem of a large dog testing out your arm strength every time he had to pee, and gave us time to train.

Understandably, Cole was not a fan. He liked attacking the neighbors’ dogs with kisses and eating goose poop, and he did not appreciate having his head turned around every time those opportunities arose. You could almost see him plotting against the head collar every time you put it on. He’d glare and try to bite the loose bit of strap before submitting to its power. Until this morning. When he finally got his revenge.

 

Adventures in Cooking: Chocolate

When I was making my grocery list this week, I realized that I had’t done hardly any baking since Trey and I got married. That struck me as odd since I’m generally a much better baker than I am a cook, and I baked for Trey several times while we were dating. In an effort to remedy this situation, I quickly scanned through my Pinterest list of recipes and picked out one that looked both delicious and simple: HolyCrapTheseAreAmazing Cookies.

When I returned from the grocery store, I set about making our apartment smell heavenly. The beginning of the recipe was incredibly simple: mix corn syrup and sugar over medium heat until boiling, add peanut butter, add cornflakes, make little balls on wax paper, done! Except for the chocolate drizzle. For that you have to melt chocolate. Now I had melted chocolate a few times before while making Scotcharoos (really my aunt’s specialty, but she lives 9 hours away and isn’t always on hand when a chocolate/butterscotch craving hits), but there’s no drizzling in that recipe. I proceeded in the same manner, however, with short bursts in the microwave and stirring in between. I got the chocolate to a smooth, melted state, but it came off of the spoon in globs instead of a thin good-for-drizzling line. I assumed I just needed more heat to truly liquefy the chocolate and was rewarded with a large cloud of smoke pouring from my microwave followed by a terrible stench.

I still had more chocolate, though, so I decided to melt it on the stove where I could better keep an eye on it. The chocolate got to the same melted-but-not-drizzly state as before. I kept stirring and turned up the heat a little bit, but instead of getting thinner, the chocolate started to thicken and I felt I was on the verge of another smoking pot of wasted chocolate. I took it off of the heat and consulted the internet, source of potentially accurate information on all subjects.

The first lady I came across used a bowl on top of a pot of boiling water, and her chocolate came out super liquid-y. The process looked a little too complicated to me,but she did explain that you could use vegetable oil to smooth out slightly singed chocolate. The next page was a little more helpful on the drizzling aspect. It suggested using a plastic bag to get pretty lines, but had nothing to say about the melting process. Finally the third page went into much more detail on all areas of the process. Apparently the chocolate I was using didn’t have a high enough percentage of cocoa butter, so it would never get super liquid-y. Once it melted it was as thin as it was ever going to get, so heating it more just ruined it.

With a little vegetable oil, I was able to save the batch of chocolate from the stove, and Trey agrees that the cookies came out quite yummy :-)

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