Monday, June 28, 2010

You asked for it!

Back by popular demand! The Wild Ark animal pics!

The other night we had a veritable zoo in the isolation room! This tubby little seal was amongst the overnight visitors. We love his fat little chin rolls. He was sleeping with his face up against the corner of the kennel he was in, so you can't see his eyes. The craziest thing was that he smelled exactly like the ocean: all fishy!

I don't want to spoil you with too many pics at once, so more to come another time :-) You can check out the SPCA Wild Ark website at to learn more!!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

homemade is always better.... and not just knitting...

I love homemade pizza. I love it so much that I prefer it to take-out pizza any day! I've spent almost a decade perfecting my homemade pizza recipe and it is pretty awesome if I do say so myself! (and I do)
So I thought that some of you would perhaps like to try out my recipe for pizza success! NOTE: I use my breadmaker for the dough. If you don't have a breadmaker, you may want to try another recipe. OR you could try this one made by hand... I've never done it, so I can't vouch for it. You will want to check out other recipes for the basic dough making instructions. It takes the breadmaker 2 hours to prepare the dough, and it has a double rise. If making by hand, always *proof* the yeast for 5 minutes in warm water prior to adding to the dough, it should become nice and bubbly. If not, you need new yeast.

Nessa's Delicious Pizza Recipe

1. 1 1/2 cups beer (I prefer a nice amber or brown ale for a fuller flavour, but lager works too)
2. 1 1/2 tsp salt
3. 1 tbsp sugar
4. 2 tbsp olive oil margarine (or regular marg, but NOT oil)
5. 4 1/4 cups white flour (Health foodies won't like this, but after years of experimenting with both white and whole wheat crusts, we prefer white flour. It gives a lighter, fluffier crust than whole wheat)
6. 2 tsp yeast
7. A sprinking (maybe 1/2 tsp? herbes des provence)

Put all ingredients, in order of listing, into breadmaker. Choose dough setting and hit start. Remove dough after 2 hours (when dough is finished) and cut into three peices (We make 3 8.5"X8.5" pizzas with 6 slices each, you can also probably get two med-lrg pizzas out of this). Roll pieces into balls and cover with a light coating of olive oil. To do this, I put a bit of oil into the palm of my hand and rub it over my palms. I then rub the dough ball with my hands to lightly coat it. Place the dough into a large bowl and cover with a tea towel. Take the first dough ball and roll out thin (~1/2 cm) cover pan with 1 1/2 cm over hang of dough. Roll dough back onto itself to create a puffed up edge. You can also fill this with thin strips of cheese for a stuffed crust! YUM! Repeat the rolling process for all three.

Nice amber or brown ales add a full bodied flavour to the dough. Enjoy the rest of the bottle with dinner!

Pizza sauce, I use spaghetti sauce for this, amount is dictated by preference really. I use about 1/4 large can of Hunt's four cheese tomato sauce. You can use whatever sauce you love. Layer bottom of pie with sauce, then a layer of chopped up fresh basil leaves. Top with whatever you like! For the top pizza, I did brown mushrooms, followed by some mozzarella cheese, tomatoes and yellow peppers, and a sprinkling of white Aged Canadian cheddar for extra flavour. The top was lightly sprinkled in Herbes des Provence before baking. I like to let my pizza sit for 15-20 minutes before baking them to get a nice fluffy crust. If you prefer a thinner crust, bake immediately after topping. Bake for ~25 mins in a 350 degree oven, broil two minutes until your cheese has nice golden flecks. Let cool for about 10 minutes before slicing.

- diced onions on the sauce layer
- portabella mushrooms
- broccoli tops cut small
- veggie ground round (seriously, sooo good!)
- pepperoni (Jeff's fave, always put on top with a tiny sprinkle of cheese to get crispy pepperoni)
- olives
- sundried tomatoes
- feta cheese
- spinach (cut into small pieces and placed apart from each other)
- salami (see pepperoni instructions)
- all kinds of peppers (put them in the top layer, under a sprinkle of cheese to prevent soggy dough)
- artichoke hearts (under layer one of cheese)
- anything else you love!

Veggie ground round is delicious under a sharp white cheddar topping.

Monday, June 21, 2010

wild ark

another reason why I love my job...

The vet hospital that I work at is a drop off point for Wild Ark, an SPCA affiliated wildlife rescue foundation. So, we often get cute injured or orphaned wild life brought here until the lovely people at Wild Ark can pick them up. Here is a cutie that was brought in today. At first he was a bit sick looking, but perked up by the time Wild Ark got him. This little bird will be cared for until he is healthy enough to be released back into the environment.

Today is the first day I remembered to bring my camera, I will try to do it more often, because many photo opp's have been missed! We've had baby racoons, baby deer, ducklings, a baby heron, baby squirrels and injured seagulls to name a few...

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Don't you love Olives?

So for all of you who are a bit worried that this blog will turn into an "aren't my pets so precious??" type of blog... don't fear. I just haven't had much blog material lately, since the carpal tunnel in my hand keeps me from knitting and I have had my hands pretty full with the puppy, so drawing has fallen by the wayside. I will update with more art later, when I get time to make more art. The end of the art hiatus is in site...Olive is getting bigger, more well behaved and generally calmer. Tomorrow is her 2 week anniversary with us, or perhaps her 10 week birthday (we only have a guess as to which day she was born...) We are thinking she might have been born on, or very near, our anniversary, April 6th! This is kind of weird, because our cat, Roo, was also born on or near our anniversary. Completely unintentionally of course :-)

Anyways, I can't believe how much she has grown! When we got her she was so little that she could walk under the coffee table with ease; now she is about head level to the top of it, so she can check out what's on top with ease (note to self: do not leave knitting on the coffee table). Last week when I took her to the vet, she weighed 10 lbs, when we got her at 8 weeks, she was 6 lbs. I know she weighs more now... I wonder if it is four more pounds again? This week she has gained heel, leave-it, let-go, off, gentle and stay to her repertoire of skills. I think she is doing fabulously well, especially considering she is a puppy!

One of her favourite things is getting scratches all over. I love her fur! Her head fur is so soft and silky and her body fur is scrunchy and wooly. It is like sinking your fingers into a recently shorn lambs wool: so satisfying. You knitters out there will understand what I mean ;-)
She's lovely.

Friday, June 04, 2010

money can't buy me love?

Sorry John, you forgot about this...

This is Olive. She is our new 8 week old loveable mutt baby.
After almost a month of waiting and wading through the slow adoption process, not to mention about a years worth of pining for doggy love, we have finally welcomed a new puppy into our lives.

We got her through Rest Haven Rescue in Victoria BC. For those of you who are looking for a new bundle of love, she has about 8 brothers and sisters (some of whom are gone now, but I'm sure some are still available). The process is a bit involved, requiring an adoption application with previous pet history, a home visit to assess suitability and a good match, meeting the dog, then filling out the adoption agreement and payment and finally you can take home your bundle of furry love. Although the process can seem tedious, it shows that the wonderful people at Rest Haven really care about the animals they save and want to make sure they are going to the best forever home possible.

Olive is a love bug! She tries really hard to be a good puppy and we've already taught her to come, sit, and lets go (heel). She loves to chew but is learning which toys are acceptable and which are not (to her credit, she's only been with us for 2 days!!). She also has learned to have no separation anxiety. I am using Jan Fennell's book, The dog listener + 30 day guidewhich is amazingly simple, gentle and effective.

And just so Roo doesn't get jealous, yes, we love you too roo!