Tag Archives: puppy

Take me out to the ball game

So I missed What I ate Wednesday but I have a good excuse. I took the afternoon off and headed up to Wrigley for a cubs/cards match-up. I always try to save my luck for when they are in town and it came through this week with 4th row seats and gorgeous weather. There’s just something about being at Wrigley in the middle of the day that makes you  feel like your cheating the system. And it’s awesome.

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Beautiful day for a ball game! Go cards!

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What did I eat Wednesday?

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Baseball season.

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Peanuts. Salted in-shell peanuts. And lots of them. Welcome to baseball season folks! Growing up my dad and I used to head to Lanphier Park to watch the minor league cardinals affiliate, a bag or two of salted in shell peanuts in tow. After all, a good game is determined as much by the layer of shells under your feet as the runs scored.

photo (7)

And lucky for me the Cardinals pulled out a win. I forget how much better  it is to watch live baseball than on television. The crack of the bat, the smell of hot dogs and the look of a meticulously-groomed field. And if that weren’t enough, the Duck Dynasty lookalikes seated next to us were pretty entertaining as well.

greater swiss mountain dog puppy

What Finn ate Wednesday Tuesday. A tennis ball. Nearly a whole one. Swallowed it in one full gulp before I could get my hand down his throat to remove it.

We interrupt this blog post for a dog owner rant:

I was thoroughly annoyed at the owner who was letting his dog lay in the middle of the dog park shredding tennis balls into giant chunks Tuesday night. He wasn’t playing with any dogs. Just laying there letting the rubber fly. Finn of course trotted right over to the destruction and snatched up a piece within seconds. I managed to get the first piece away from him but before I knew it he had another (larger) one and down the hatch it went. I equate situations like this to dropping a bag of marbles in front of a group of babies. Of course some of the kids will play nicely with the marbles, but it’s only a matter of time before one or all plop those suckers right in their mouth.

The moral of the story is that some weeks you’re on track and some weeks you’re not. And that’s OK.  Unless you’re eating foreign objects and in that case it’s not.

And so I add tennis ball to the unique list of non-food items my puppy has ingested in the past 10 months:

  • Fully intact pressed rawhide bone
  • 5-7 wooden letter stamps (This is why your Christmas gift tags said “To and “Fro”)
  • Cookbook covers (who needs ’em)
  • 1/3 stuffing from bed he was obviously done with
  • Enough bark to wood-chip a small garden
  • Half of an entry mat-unwoven
  • NEW ENTRY: Tennis Ball

To read more about the fun things my dog eats click here. Otherwise enjoy the weekend and I’ll hopefully have some real food to share for Mother’s Day.

Will Bake for Barks

Growing up as a family with dogs, we always had a box of milkbones in the pantry. Sat down when told to? Milkbone. Did your business outside without running away? Milkbone. Now there were pig ears and other dried meats given as well, but from my memory, milkbone had a corner on the dog treat market throughout most of my childhood.

Fast forward 18 or so years and you have to search through a million varieties to even find a box of old-fashioned milkbones. Trust me I did it. I bought a box when Finn was a pup and tried to give him one. He sniffed it, looked up at me and walked away. This coming from the dog who gets his daily fiber from bark chips and the occasional chewed piece of gum?

greater swiss mountain dog puppy

When we started manners class, I was told to bring high-value treats to use as rewards for our training exercises. We mixed kibble in there as well, but I found if I rewarded with beef jerkey or dried chicken, I could get that dog to fold my laundry for me if I asked. And still today, I can’t make a batch of almond or peanut butter without his nose nearly inside the food processor. We officially have a treat-lover.

It wasn’t until we started lurching and sprinting into  visiting our local pet food store daily that I realized just how crazy the dog treat market is in Chicago. Not only is there aisle upon aisle of packaged treats, but there are entire bakeries dedicated to dog treats, special sections in grocery stores and as I learned last night on our evening visit to the dog park, gourmet dog food trucks. That’s right folks, you might be starving for a snack, but this vehicle caters to pooches only.

They see me rollin’ they barkin’

Don’t get me wrong, I think everyone deserves a special treat now and then, but on the regular, I’m not going to pay $3.00 a piece for a custom designed Preppy Puppy Mini Poodle Puff so my dog can inhale it in less than 5 seconds and not taste the sprinkles. I am however a sucker for a food truck so I may or may not have taken their business card, liked them on Facebook and went home and whipped up a batch of my own homemade treats immediately after.

homemade peanut butter dog treats

Homemade Dog Treats

  • 1 C whole wheat flour
  • 1 C all purpose flour
  • 1 C Oats
  • 1/2 C peanut butter (I used chunky)
  • 1/4 C honey
  • 1 tsp olive oil (or coconut)
  • 1 C chicken broth

Prefer the original? Recipe adapted from A Cozy Kitchen.

Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl, mix peanut butter, honey, oil and chicken broth. In another bowl mix flours and oats. Here’s where it gets tough, mix wet ingredients into dry until combined. Try to avoid the looks coming from your puppy as he smells his favorite things all rolled into one giant ball.

greater swiss mountain dog puppy

Listen lady, this better not take all night.

Roll dough onto floured surface.

homemade dog treats
Use cookie cutter to cut treats and place onto non-stick baking mat. I used a 3-4″ biscuit cutter. Bake for 14-16 minutes. Transfer to cooling rack.

homemade peanut butter dog treats

Hold in front of your dog while you try to take a photo, causing him to bark incessantly because you are a mean mother.

homemade dog treats greater swiss mountain dog puppy

ok, go ahead and reward your puppy for being patient with you.

homemade peanut butter dog treats

I would say enjoy but I don’t know how you feel about the combination of peanut butter and chicken broth. Perhaps it’s the new chicken and waffles? Finn seemed to enjoy them but remember he also has an affinity  for stranger’s chewing gum.

Have a great weekend!

Will Run For Food

This weekend kicks off race season in the Murphy household. And by household I just mean myself. The only race Finn would win would be that of kibble inhalation and I’m fairly certain he would medal every time. Kid’s a maniac!

swiss mountain dog

training is tough, folks.

Each April various members of my family and I run various distances in the Christie Clinic Illinois Marathon in Champaign. From the youth fun run to the half marathon, it’s always a fun weekend to get together with family, see the campus and remember life before responsibility and real food.

Memories of Pokey Sticks and Ranch Sauce

Typically this time of year we also have a few birthdays to celebrate. One perk of a large family is that there is no shortage of excuses for a party. And with parties come food. If you haven’t yet guessed by the popular categories on this blog I have a small love for food. Ok, big love. Enormous, at times.


Sometimes I run for food. I’ll admit, I used to hate running. If there wasn’t a ball involved in the process, I was not interested. Sprints were ok but only if I was racing someone else. The idea of distance running just to get in shape repulsed me. Just ask my former soccer coaches. Sorry guys. 

It wasn’t until I moved to Chicago that I started running just to well, run.  It was a chance to explore my new city on foot. A chance to avoid traffic both on the roads and at the gym. A chance to meet some very interesting people. I signed up for my first half marathon that year and have been running ever since.

I still have a hard time calling myself a runner. Yes I run. And fairly often. But I don’t know if I can classify myself as one by name. Is there a mileage requirement perhaps? Or maybe years spent? Heck I don’t know.

What I do know is that 4 or so years later I still haven’t quite conquered the running just for fun thing. Don’t get me wrong there are days I just go out to clear my head and figure out what I’m going to cook for dinner, but I prefer to have a race and a training plan to follow to hold myself accountable. I’m a creature of habit. I found that the best way to get myself to run the 4 miles I’m scheduled for that evening is to picture myself wheezing and cramping through my next race. I’m sure there are more positive motivations out there but that seems to work for me. Probably because I’ve experienced both a time or two. 


I’m sure worse on some days

It wasn’t until I started running regularly that I realized my diet needed an adjustment as well. Until training for a half marathon I had never run anything over 5 or 6 miles. And I don’t know about you but that mile marker is typically when my stomach goes completely empty. Don’t worry I’m not getting all nasty on you or anything. I just mean that at that distance point my body has absorbed all fuel I’ve put into it and starts to growl at me. And this isn’t just a oh it’s time for lunch growl. This is a listen lady you clearly did not give me enough to get through this workout rumble.

I quickly realized that I had to start thinking about what I was putting into my body vs. what I was burning off. And that, my friends, is when my love affair with the oat began.

It started with those measly instant variety and transitioned from quick to old fashioned. (A rare instance where we moved back in time) I began eating oatmeal before my runs because it was the only thing I could stomach that close to exercise and that early in the morning. It soon became part of my morning routine and has been ever since. My name is Sarah and I like to oat, oat, oat.

Oats are a simple food. And I like that. You can experiment with them. And I like that. Doctor them up with fruit and honey or get real crazy and stir in a spoonful of homemade almond butter and you’ve got a great pre-run meal. Sarah science shows that eating oats before exercise helps your metabolism, enhances performance and keeps your stomach happy.

After a few years of eating oatmeal hot, I’ve recently transitioned to the world of overnight oats. And you should too. Once you get past the idea that they aren’t hot these things are a great alternative. And because you aren’t heating them they lose less of the good stuff.

overnight oats banana blueberry

Easy Overnight Oats

  • 1/4 cup Old Fashioned Oats (you may prefer rolled)
  • 1-2 tsp chia seeds
  • 1/4-1/2 cup milk (I use half almond milk and a splash of water)
  • 1/3 C plain nonfat yogurt
  • Pinch salt

In a small mason jar or tupperware, mix yogurt and milk. Add chia seeds, oats and salt and stir. Place in fridge overnight or even for just a few hours. Top 1/4 cup blueberries, 1/2 a banana or both. Add a little honey if you want it a little sweeter. 

If you’re looking for a million more ideas as to how to make your overnight oats, check out Kath Eats Real Food. Fair warning, if you are overwhelmed with options like me, make sure you have enough time in your evening to do so.

Here’s hoping you get a chance to experience family, friends and good food this weekend!

Spring Cleaning with a side of Rhubarb Cake

I had grand intentions this weekend. With an extra day off, I intended to make a to-do list and actually do the things on it. That’s right folks, spring was coming and I was feeling the itch.


Unfortunately in order to do spring cleaning you actually have to have weather that indicates some sign of spring. It’s no fun to dust with the door shut or to store away those bulky sweaters when temps are still in the twenties. Trust me. I tried.

I know I keep talking about April showers but they really hit us hard here in Chicago last week. April showers followed by April flooding and capped off with more April snow showers.


what’s that you say? oh just your average manhole turned geyser in the middle of the city. NBD.

But the difference between April and January is that  in April the sun eventually shines and the cold weather doesn’t last as long. So as the city dried itself off, I set out to tackle my to-do list again.

I tried to get Finn involved. Telling him that if I was going to do a purge and donate a bunch of my clothes, that he had to pick one toy to get rid of, too.

greater swiss mountain dog

time-stamp: 11:25 a.m.

Clearly, he was game.

greater swiss mountain dog

timestamp: 11:27 a.m.

I think I mentioned last week in my post about Jake’s Captain America Party that my sister is much better at purging things than I am. And even though she was in town this weekend, I still managed to part with my abundance of t-shirts that I haven’t touched in years all by myself. Many, many years.


if I told you I used to have 3 drawers full would you believe me?

Why? Because you never know when you might need that sleeveless basketball t-shirt from 7th grade you spent hours wearing while doing suicides in an 80 degree gymnasium. Or that the memory of the co-ed flag football championship that you and your fellow Tampax Runstoppers won might not be enough without the long-sleeved uniform that went with it. Because those shirts are attached to life, folks. And that’s hard to let go of.

Well it was hard. Until you’re living in a one-bedroom condo and you literally run out of space for your hoarding problem and then turn into the purging sister you never thought you’d become.


this empty basket’s for you Anne

I managed to make a decent dent in my closet and actually felt better about myself once it was all over. I’d like to thank you for helping me let go through this post as well. After all, I think some of the parting process comes from documenting the encounter. Who am I kidding, of course it does. And I can only hope that a teenage boy in the city will learn something about the female reproductive system after he wears that shirt to school one day. And that makes me giggle.

After the cleaning was done I set out to completely reverse it by messing up my kitchen. I hit up the grocery store yesterday and bought a plethora of rhubarb. And when I say plethora I mean both in amount and size. My produce market is like the Gold’s Gym of produce markets. Everything there is on steroids. And I’m ok with that.


After the blueberry cake last week, I couldn’t stop thinking about my grandma’s rhubarb cake. And since it was a co-worker’s birthday the next day, it was the perfect excuse to kick off the season. If you haven’t tried rhubarb cake, you’re missing out. I can’t take credit for this one beyond throwing everything together. Credit goes to my Grandma Bosch. Hers puts mine to shame.

rhubarb cake

Remember what I said about recipes with stains? Well this one takes the cake. Not only do I have one stained recipe, but right above it I have another. That’s right. Two of the exact same recipe written down in the same cookbook on the same page. Clearly a trusted recipe. 


Grandma’s Rhubarb Cake

  • 2 C Sugar
  • 1/2 C Shortening (other recipe calls for butter-makes sense now)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 1/2 C flour
  • 1 C buttermilk (mixed with 1 tsp baking soda)
  • 4 C Rhubarb, chopped


  • 1/2 Sugar (there’s always extra)
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350.

Chop rhubarb into 1 inch pieces. Set aside.


In a large bowl, mix flour and salt.

Mix 1 tsp baking soda into buttermilk.

Cream shortening or butter with sugar. Add egg and vanilla. Alternate adding dry ingredients and buttermilk until combined. Fold in rhubarb.

Spread into greased and floured 9×13 pan. Dust cinnamon sugar mixture over the top. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until knife comes out clean. NOTE: I have a gas oven and mine was done in less than 40.

rhubarb cake

Now eat your cake and forget about all of the memories you just threw away. Happy spring!