Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Jack O' Lantern Apples

Check these homemade babies out:

My jack o'lantern apples
These were born out of necessity for a homemade treat for my best friend's Halloween/house warming party. I debated doing "Mummy Hot Dogs" but figured that would ultimately bomb since neither of us are big fans of hot dogs. I have an abundance of apples so I really wanted to find a fun way to incorporate some into the meal. I initially thought about taking the easy route and making an apple pie with some Halloween cut-outs but then I remembered seeing carved apples somewhere (probably Pinterest) and decided to combine the two and voila.

I added green food coloring to the apple pie filling and some sugar gems for no other reason than that I wanted to use them. The actual carving was a pain and time consuming. Breaking news- apples aren't used for carving for a reason! I couldn't get too imaginative because 1. I'm just not imaginative to begin with and had to Google pumpkin carving designs. 2. there wasn't much space to really do much. Almost all the apples looked like the one on the right. The one on the left was my exception mainly because it was time consuming and most of the apples I had weren't as tall.

I wasn't going to do anything else to the apples since I figured the pie filling would suffice but I thought the different flavors and temperatures would probably not work well together so I baked them long enough to have them cook a little but not completely bake through so that they would basically melt (think real jack o'lanterns two weeks after Halloween).

I was able to save one for my best friend before they disappeared so it's safe to say they were a success. Not pictured: the vanilla frosting I added cinnamon and vanilla extract to for those who wanted an added layer of sweetness to top it off.

I only got to take a bite off one because sometimes that's what happens when you're the baker. Good news is I can make myself a whole batch. Bad news is I can make myself a whole batch.

My Dog Has Cancer... here's why Pit bulls are the best

I don't like posting personal photos so here's a cute  pit bull that looks almost exactly like my Rocco.
Photo from Reddit

He'd been diagnosed with chondrosarcoma almost two years ago and had surgery to remove his leg and part of his pelvis and that was followed by chemo. He was fine for a little over a year till we took him to the vet last week and they discovered a few small tumors in his lungs. 

Now he's starting a second round of chemo to help slow the growths in his lungs. I didn't take the news well, as you can imagine, but I want this post to be a short but sweet ode to this beautiful breed. 

1. They're playful and loving. 

I've raised four pit bulls and they all  have different personalities but one thing is certain- they love to play and they adore you. I think this is part of the reason why pit bull owners are such vocal advocates of the breed. Once you've had a pit bull you can never not have one because their love is like no other. To this day Rocco- who is about to turn 10- likes to run around with his rubber ball or his squeaky giraffe. It's absolutely precious. He and Dante (my oldest. He's 13) love to gently gnaw on my arm when they're really excited to see me. This gesture is reserved for family and it's super sweet that they intentionally do that. 

2. They're loyal and sensitive to other people's vibes. 

Yes, I know, ALL dogs are loyal but their loyalty is visceral. When Rocco was a pup he once slid up next to me and sniffed  my hair and then fell asleep with his nose covered in my hair. It was weird but Rocky is weird. To this day he likes to sniff me before bed, it's just the way he is but I think it's also his way of making sure that it's really me. He's the gentlest dog and kind to everyone but he's a mama's boy and fiercely loyal to the family. The reason I say they're sensitive to other people's vibes is because they have different reactions to people depending on how that person feels about them. My dog-lovin' friends always get that love right back but the ones who are scared of my dogs end up actually scaring my dogs so they bark and steer clear of that person. It reminds me of the quote, "my personality is who i am my attitude depends on who you are." 

3. They have a spark. 

When we found Bella on the street by our house we already had three dogs at home and couldn't imagine adding a fourth let alone another pit bull. We posted her photo on Petfinder.com and a woman contacted me saying she was interested in Bella because she hadn't had a pit bull since her own died and that she missed that "spark" they have. That conversation solidified my own feelings and I was happy to know I wasn't the only one who felt that way about them. I've only ever had pits but I've known other dogs for almost my entire life and I can tell you (and others can attest to this) there's no dog like a pit baby. Oh and we ended up adopting Bella anyway.