Everyday Adventures in Havachon Heaven

The Good, Crazy, & Adorable Life of One Havachon Puppy

A Birthday in the Daisy Family

Taking a brief break from Daisy Doings to share something yummy with you. 🙂

Last week was DD’s birthday, so naturally I made one of her favorite dinners – homemade spaghetti and meatballs. And for her birthday cake, she requested my flourless chocolate cake with chocolate ganache.

Happy Gluten-free Birthday DD! 🙂

I was a culinary maniac for two solid days! 😉

Our little family party was lots of fun, but don’t you just hate it when your birthday falls on a weekday? You still have to work all day and you only have a few hours of party time at night, before you have to start prepping for the next workday. It’s a gyp – I think people should have a paid day off on their birthdays. 🙂

Unfortunately Daisy didn’t get to partake of any birthday goodies. I make meatballs from ground turkey rather than beef, and we all know what happens to Daisy when she gets foul fowl into her tum….. She did get a couple small bits of unsauced pasta, though, which she scarfed down with gusto. In typical Daisy style. 🙂

DD follows a gluten-free diet – she’s got a wheat allergy, as I mentioned in a previous post. I gotta say – with all the choices now in gluten-free dining, she doesn’t miss out on much anymore, and she can eat heartily while still staying a size zero! ::grumblegrumblegrumble::

This cake is decadently rich and incredibly sinful, but worth every bite. Depending on how you serve it – with chocolate ganache, a raspberry sauce, a caramel drizzle, or anything else your heart desires – you change it just enough to make it seem new. You can even make it in small, individual sizes for perfect dinner party servings!

Here’s the simple recipe (I halved it, which is the picture you see):

1/2 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup white sugar
18 squares bittersweet chocolate, 1 oz. each (18 oz. total)
1 cup butter, softened
6 eggs
1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C). Grease one 10 inch round cake pan and set aside.
2. In a small saucepan over medium heat combine the water, salt and sugar. Stir until completely dissolved and set aside.
3. Either in the top half of a double boiler or in a microwave oven melt the bittersweet chocolate. Pour the chocolate into the bowl of an electric mixer.
4. Cut the butter into pieces and beat the butter into the chocolate, 1 piece at a time. Beat in the hot sugar-water. Slowly beat in the eggs, one at a time.
5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Put the cake pan in a larger pan filled with boiling water halfway up the sides of the cake pan.
6. Bake cake in the water bath at 300 degrees F (150 degrees C) for 45 minutes. The center will still look wet. Chill cake overnight in the pan. To unmold, dip the bottom of the cake pan in hot water for 10 seconds and invert onto a serving plate.

Personally, this method of removing the finished cake from the cake pan never works for me. It pulls away from the edges by itself, so that’s not a problem, but the bottom tends to stick pretty tight. Next time I’m going to bake it like I bake banana bread – with a single layer of wax paper underneath so it’ll pop out easily and I can just peel the wax paper off. Hopefully that’s the key!

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Dogs and Wheat Allergies

We became acutely aware of wheat and gluten allergies about 10 years ago, when we discovered that DD is wheat intolerant. Back then, there weren’t many choices for the wheat-free diner, either at restaurants or at the supermarket.

Gluten-free breads were tough and crumbly and didn’t taste like real bread at all. Gluten-free pastas had terrible flavor and texture. And forget about gluten-free desserts and snacks, they were just horrible. For several years, DD actually preferred living without those things and only ate foods that were naturally gluten-free.

Now that more and more people are being diagnosed with gluten allergies, wheat allergies, or celiac disease, companies of all sizes have perfected their products, all purpose wheat-free flours, and mixes that are almost identical to their wheat-filled counterparts. Even restaurants many times offer gluten-free menus. DD is one happy diner again.

Enter Daisy.

During the first couple weeks we had her, she developed a nasty rash on her tummy that spread and became raw. Our vet said it could be an allergic reaction to something indoors, outdoors, or in her food. Well, that covered everything in Daisy’s world. His plan was to clear up the rash and then start her on an elimination program so we could figure out what it was she was reacting to. But he couldn’t do anything until he cured her of her respiratory infection, which took a while.

Keep that chicken away from me! Fowl is foul!

We couldn’t wait that long. We put on our Allergy Detective hats once again and figured out that it was chicken she was reacting to. Any time she ate chicken, she had nasty gas. I mean, n-a-s-t-y.  (Sorry for being so graphic, but this was  practically a “leave the house” situation!) And what was her puppy food primarily made from? Chicken.

Elimination program, here we come.

We switched her from a chicken blend to a beef blend and it made all the difference. Her rash cleared up on its own. And there were no more “hold-your-nose” moments.

But it got me thinking – can dogs be wheat intolerant too?

The answer is a resounding YES. And apparently the symptoms show, if you know what to look for – dull coats and/or red, flaky, itchy skin, constant head rubbing, diarrhea, vomiting, ear shaking, etc.. Fortunately, there are now wheat-free dog foods as well as wheat free recipes for dogs with this problem.

As for Daisy, we’re sticking with the poultry-free diet. But we’ll always be on the lookout for any new symptoms that might develop as she ages. Because just like people, dogs can develop new allergies later in life.

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