Wednesday, May 14, 2014


Tell the truth, you saw the title of this post and thought - BABY!? Well, sort of. A new fur baby came into our lives three weeks ago when my lovely mom sent me this picture in an email:

I quickly resnapped the picture on my phone and sent my husband a text message. While hubby and I have been talking for the last year about getting a new dog, we were also hesitant because Woozie is now 12 and it's been awhile since she's been socialized. She's become a sweet natured doggie who is content with hubby and I. We were also talking about specific breeds and private adoption through a breeder. But that face! How can you resist that face?

So we asked about this little pup and learned that there was another interested party. We learned that this pup was abandoned and wandering alone for three days before someone called about her. She was brought in by the SPCA and has been with her foster mom the entire time. The foster mom used to work with my mom and the other interested party. Over the last three weeks, it's been a roller coaster as to "will she, won't she" confirm she really wants this puppy. And in a very, very small way, I got a taste of what it's like to go through a real adoption (human baby). Again, very very small way as I know it takes months and years to adopt children and can be very heart wrenching.

The foster mom wasn't convinced the other party was the right fit so she brought the pup to see me a couple of times so that we could get to know one another. It was an instant bond. I loved her from the moment I saw and held her. She's a sweetheart and very affectionate.

We had to wait until yesterday to adopt her because she wasn't quite 8 weeks and hadn't been spayed (a SPCA requirement). The surgery date kept changing based on availability and vacation schedules but she was finally spayed yesterday and ready to go by 2pm.  The other party backed out a week ago. Still it was nerve wracking because of SPCA's policy of "first come, first serve." Basically if a dog is put on the floor, whoever grabs the paperwork first gets the dog. I don't agree with that policy in the slightest. We were also interested in another puppy on the east coast and I completed a very thorough questionnaire. The SPCA has a 1/2 page adoption info page. But as my hubby and mom said, they probably see a lot of dogs and cats come through and adopting them out is better than the alternative.

We left the house at 1pm yesterday (I took yesterday and today off of work) and were at the SPCA by 2pm. The pup remained in the Clinic while we completed the adoption process and paid for her ($125) so that no one could see and fall in love with her. The process went smooth and we were done and on the road by 3pm. She's been a very good puppy so far and is almost potty trained. We have a vet visit at 5pm today and plan to enroll her in puppy training as soon as she is cleared to go.

She was originally listed as a "Pit mix," which concerned us at first - until I met her and realized how sweet her disposition was. Yesterday we learned that she is actually a Labrador mix. They didn't list "Pit" on her paperwork. However her paws look like "Pit." I think she's a Labrabull. Whatever, she is, we are smitten.

So enough chatter. I introduce you to our newest family member - COOKIE!

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Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Pioneer Woman Cookoff

On Cinco de Mayo, my coworkers and I participated in a Pioneer Woman cookoff. I came up with the idea after a introducing my coworker to Ree's (aka Pioneer Woman) Marlboro Man sandwich. We absolutely love this sandwich, which is primarily meat and butter. Uh, I see no problem.
We've both tried different types of rolls and while I prefer seeded hoagie rolls, my coworker likes Hawaiian Sweet Rolls. We both agree that my Ciabatta just did not work for this sandwich. It was just too heavy and dense.
I don't work in a big office, although we are growing rapidly and will be moving to a new space in October (most likely in Tampa but staying in Pinellas County is still a possibility). We had about 10 people participate in the cookoff and here were the rules:
We’re having a potluck on May 5th. Not just any potluck, a Pioneer Woman potluck! What?! You don’t know about the Pioneer Woman?! Let me introduce you to Ree Drummond who lives on a ranch in Oklahoma with her Marlboro-steak-and-potatoes-eating man, four kids, and lots ‘o animals.
Ree is a bestselling author and has a show on Food Network. She breaks down her recipes into easy-to-follow steps (with copious pictures!) on her blog:
Here's the catch - You can ONLY use Pioneer Woman recipes (breakfast, lunch, dinner, your choice)!
We had an amazing amount of food and to make it fun, prizes were given to two winners. We had three judges that tried all the food and decided on a winner for overall food and one for desserts.
The winners? Ribs! I mean who can resist ribs, right? Well I guess a vegetarian or vegan (I caved a couple months ago and am back on the meat wagon). And I thought I made some tasty fall-off-the bone ribs, but these were spectacular! The Itty Bitty Nutella Cakes won best dessert. I'm a little picky on desserts and most of the desserts consisted of peanut butter. I've been Picky Niki most of my life and I don't like peanut butter and chocolate together. Yeah, I know. I'm weird. Just ketchup and cheese on my hamburgers. No lettuce anywhere except in a bowl with dressing. Just meat and cheese on a sub. I hate tomatoes. I hate fruit. That's just me. Okay so off on a tangent there - let's get back to some yummy food pics.

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