Woofer’s Bark Bark Valentine Treat

Eating chocolate has been tied to a reduced risk of heart disease. Now scientists have uncovered how strong this link is.

To read more click here: 

Why Chocolate is good for Tallulah and My Heart

Turns out there’s added benefits when you add nuts and berries.  

Walnuts are one of the top nuts for brain health. They have a significantly high concentration of DHA, a type of Omega-3 fatty acid. Among other things, DHA has been shown to improve cognitive performance in adults, prevent or ameliorate age-related cognitive decline and lower resting blood pressure. One study even shows that mothers who get enough DHA have smarter kids.

Just a quarter cup of walnuts provides nearly 100% of the recommended daily intake of DHA.

Strong scientific evidence also exists that eating berry fruits has beneficial effects on the brain and may help prevent age-related memory loss and other changes.*

“Berry fruits contain high levels of antioxidants, compounds that protect cells from damage by harmful free radicals. The two also report that berry fruits change the way neurons in the brain communicate. These changes in signaling can prevent inflammation in the brain that contribute to neuronal damage and improve both motor control and cognition.”

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Woof Woof Bark Bark

Woofer’s Bark Bark, a good for your brain’s Valentine treat 

Ingredients

  • 1 lb 70% dark chocolate, finely chopped or grated or 6 oz. bag of dark chocolate chips
  • 1 ½ cups roasted walnuts or almonds, unsalted
  • 1/2 cup dried raspberries (other dried berries will work)

Directions

  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Melt chocolate in microwave oven or stir chocolate in a double boiler until melted.
  3. Add nuts & berries and stir quickly to combine. (reserve some to sprinkle on top)
  4. Spread chocolate-berry-nut mixture on parchment paper, keeping nuts in a single layer.
  5. Sprinkle top with the remaining berry-nut mixture.
  6. Chill until chocolate is set, about 3 hours.
  7. Break bark into pieces and store between layers of parchment or waxed paper.dscn7199

WOOF! woof!

Click here and on the Pinterest pictures for other chocolate recipes, and more about chocolate:

 Freddie’s Food Friday

Chocolate Rides Again

A Chocolate a Day Melts the Fat Away

Journal Reference:  Marshall G. Miller, Barbara Shukitt-Hale. Berry Fruit Enhances Beneficial Signaling in the Brain. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

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Yoga Dead Mouse Position (parenthetically speaking)

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Corpse Pose – also called Savasana*

Benefits: Allows the body time to process information at the end of a long day.

“No yoga session is complete without the final pose – Savasana. The body needs this time to understand the new information it has received through practicing yoga. Even though Savasana is a resting pose, it’s not the same as sleeping . . . ” (because you should never eat when you are sleeping).

Basic Instructions:

1. Lie down on your back (while your mice are climbing into the chocolate).

2. Let your feet fall out to either side  (comfortably tuck in your tail).

3. Bring the arms alongside the body, but slightly separated from the body, and turn the palms to face upwards (to catch any chocolate that might not be accurately thrown)

4. Relax your whole body, including your face, (but not your mouth which should be ready and open wide). Let the body feel heavy. (notice it getting heavier and heavier the longer you stay in the savasana position) 

5. Let the breath occur naturally. (chew only on the exhale to avoid choking)

 My wonderful friend Sharon just sent this new yoga pose to me. I hope she follows up with chocolate.  I’ll provide my own yoga mat and mice.

Ratie by judy

Mousie by judy

* Instructions borrowed  from various Yoga instruction sites.  (Parenthetical edits are in RED)

A Dessert . . . er . . . Desert, to die for

Just Desserts

Death by chocolate

all reason leaves the being

breath taken away

Death by chocolate

quickening pulse overtakes

heart stops with desire

Stay with vanilla

languishing longings subside

live a longer life

Whoops!!  Sorry, wrong prompt!!

Here’s the correct prompt . . .

Just Deserts

Death in the desert

All moisture leaves the body

breath taken away

Death in the desert
slow pulse life slipping away
heart stops with the heat

Stay in the suburbs

cozy, comfortable, cool

Die by chocolate

_____________________________________________________

NOW!  Click on Rosemary Lee’s post to see what chocolate LITERALLY does to YOU!

Seeking Equilibrium THE BLISS MOLECULE

I Want S’more

Therapeutic S’mores

Ingredients:
7 whole graham crackers (1 cup/250 mL finely crushed)
1/4 cup (50 mL) powdered sugar
6 tbsp (90 mL) butter, melted
4 bars (1.55 oz or 43 g each) milk chocolate candy, divided – 16 bars, whole
12 large marshmallows

Directions:

  1. Taste chocolate to release endorphins to feel good. 
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).
  3. Place graham crackers into a large resealable plastic bag.
  4. Imagine a person you are angry at is in the bag with crackers.  Smash crackers with fist or finely crush into crumbs using a roller.
  5. Eat chocolate to feel good.
  6. Combine graham cracker crumbs, powdered sugar and butter in small bowl. Using Small Scoop, place scant scoop of crumb mixture in each cup of a mini-muffin pan.
  7. If you don’t have a mini muffin pan go to shopping mall.  When you can’t find a mini muffin pan at the mall buy a pair of shoes and purse if you are female.  Buy a big screen TV and leather recliner if you are male.
  8. Wearing your new shoes and/or sitting in leather recliner watching TV, press crumbs to form shallow cups in muffin pan with fingers or bottom of a  small glass.
  9. Eat chocolate for enough energy to continue pressing crumbs.
  10. Bake 4-5 minutes or until edges are bubbling. Meanwhile, break two of the candy bars into rectangles and eat the rectangles to re-energize from all this work you’ve done so far.
  11. Break two more of the bars into rectangles
  12. Remove pan from oven; place one rectangle into each cup.
  13. Cut marshmallows in half crosswise using shears or scissors dipped in cold water (helps minimize sticking).
  14. Place one marshmallow half, cut-side down, into each cup.
  15. Return to oven 1-2 minutes or until marshmallows are just slightly softened.
  16. While waiting for marshmallows to softened eat more chocolate.
  17. Remove from oven to cooling rack; cool 15 minutes.
  18. While waiting for cups to cool eat some chocolate.
  19. Carefully remove cups from pan. Cool completely.
  20. Break remaining candy bars and place in (1-cup/250 mL) Prep Bowl. Microwave on HIGH 1 minute-1 1/2 minutes or until melted and smooth, stirring every 20 seconds. Dip the top of each marshmallow in melted chocolate. Turn top-side up and let stand 40 minutes-1 hour or until set.
    Yield: 24 cups

Taste test: Eat S’more cups

  • The first cup – focus on taste of graham cracker crust.  Make notes of how you might want to increase the butter, powdered sugar.
  • The second cup – Focus on the taste and consistency of the marshmallow.  Make notes of how you might want to add extra marshmallow.
  • The third cup – focus on the taste of the chocolate.  Make notes of how you might want to add extra chocolate.
  • The fourth cup – focus on taste of how all the ingredients blend together.
  • The fifth cup – focus on taste of how all the ingredients blend together again.

Nutrients per serving: (1 cup) Calories 100, Total Fat 6 g, Saturated Fat 3.5 g, Cholesterol 10 mg, Carbohydrate 11 g, Protein 1 g, Sodium 60 mg, Fiber 0 g

Cook’s Tips:

  • The time it takes the chocolate to set varies depending on weather conditions and room temperature. You can refrigerate the cups briefly until the chocolate is set; store them at room temperature.
  • Store the cups in a single layer in an airtight container for up to 1 week. Freezing is not recommended because there won’t be any left to freeze.
  • For a richer chocolate flavor, substitute dark chocolate candy bars for the milk chocolate.  Taste the dark chocolate before substituting to make sure it has a rich chocolate flavor.

http://www.pamperedchef.com/recipe_search/recipe.jsp?id=91599

Rats have feelings too! (parenthetically speaking by Max)

Dear all my Best Friends and Fans,

I’m here to tell you that rats have been given a bad rap.  First,  they are very small and don’t eat much.  Second, they are fun to chase.  Third, THEY HAVE FEELINGS and are very upset they have been so maligned for so long by you humans.

And now I have proof.  So please read this and I won’t say “I told you so.”

Cagebreak! Rats Will Work To Free A Trapped Pal

“Calling someone a “rat” is no compliment, but a new study shows that rats actually are empathetic and will altruistically lend a helping paw to a cage mate who is stuck in a trap. (Do you think my human has ever lent a paw to help a rat get out of a cage? NO! She smiles when the poor little thing is trapped)

Not only will rats frantically work to free their trapped cage mate; they will do so even when there’s a tempting little pile of chocolate chips nearby, the study reveals. Instead of leaving their pal in the trap and selfishly gobbling the candy all by themselves, rats will free their cage mate and share the chocolate.” (My human gobbles up all the chocolate and won’t share with anyone, much less a rat)

“To me that’s absolutely stunning,” says neurobiologist Peggy Mason of the University of Chicago. “The fact that the rat does that is really amazing.” (Ms Mason would share her chocolate)

Mason and her colleagues designed a series of experiments, described in the journal Science, to explore the evolutionary roots of empathy.

They wanted to look at rats because they already knew, from previous work, that rodents can be emotionally affected by the emotions of their cage mates. For example, during lab procedures, mice seem to experience more pain when they see another mouse in pain.

This is called “emotional contagion,” and humans have it too — just think of how one crying baby can make other babies cry. “But in the end, emotional contagion doesn’t take you very far,” says Mason. “It’s an internal experience. It doesn’t actually do anything for another individual.”

Helping A Fellow Rat

So Mason and her colleagues devised a test to see if rats would take the next step and actually try to help out a fellow rat in distress. They took two cage mates, who knew each other, and trapped one of them in a narrow Plexiglas tube. That’s a mild stressor and one the trapped rat doesn’t like (now that’s a stupid observation – what’s to like. . .unless there’s chocolate in the tube)— it would sometimes make an alarm call.

The free rat outside of this tube seemed to immediately “get” the problem and would work to liberate its pal, says Mason.

The free rat would focus its activity on this plastic tube, crawling all over it and biting it, and interact with the trapped rat through little holes in the tube. “And if the trapped rat has a tail poking out, the free rat will actually grab that tail and kind of pull on it,” says Mason.

Eventually, all this activity would lead to the free rat accidentally triggering a door that opened, releasing the trapped animal. The rats quickly learned to purposefully open the door, and during repeated experiments they would do so faster and faster — but only for a trapped rat. They didn’t act this way when the plastic trap was empty or contained a toy rat.

Rats would free their pals even if the experiment was set up so that the other rat was released into a different cage, so that the two rats did not get to interact after the door was opened. This suggests that the door-opener was really trying to aid its fellow rat, and not just working to get a playmate.

A Helping Behavior

The researchers had a question for the rats: What is it worth to you, to free your fellow rat? “Obviously we can’t ask that question verbally, (now that’s a stupid statement, Rats can’t speak English because their tongues get stuck in their buck teeth) so we wanted to ask it in terms that a rat can communicate to us,” says Mason.

So the scientists used chocolate. They put rats into a cage that held two different clear plastic traps. One contained chocolate chips. The other contained the trapped cage mate.

What they found is that the free rats quickly opened both cages, in no particular order. And they did not eat all the chocolate — instead, they shared it with their fellow rat. (I said I won’t say “I told you so” so I won’t)

A ‘Pro-Social’ Behavior

Jeffrey Mogil of McGill University in Montreal, who has studied empathetic behavior in mice, says this is a surprising study.

“You know, it’s one thing to free the trapped rat that might be making alarm calls. It’s quite another thing to share the chocolate chips,” Mogil said.  (Would my human share chocolate if I were trapped, I think not)

Even though, in the past, many scientists have assumed that altruistic behavior is something uniquely human,  Mogil says we really should not be so surprised to see it in the lowly rat.

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio.

Lickingly, LLLLLLLLLLLLLLL

Max

P.S.  (The next time you are called a rat. . . Smile and have a piece of chocolate.)

Recipe for Obsession: Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Brownies

  1. Blame this recipe on RecipeGirl.com
  2. Blame Haiku Heights for the Haiku inspiration of “Obsession”

Obsessed with good stuff

ah, deep sweet taste of chocolate

Never get enough

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Brownies

Yield: 32 brownies

Prep Time: 30 min + cooling time

Cook Time: 25 min

These brownies are a major treat for cookie dough lovers…
Ingredients:

BROWNIE:
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup butter, at room temperature
2 cups light brown sugar, packed
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour

COOKIE DOUGH (EGG FREE!):
3/4 cup butter
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup granulated white sugar
3 Tablespoons milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups mini chocolate chips
1/2 cup semi-sweet chips + 1 teaspoon shortening for drizzle, optional

Directions:

1. Prepare the brownies: Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Spray a 9 x 13-inch pan with nonstick spray. In a medium glass bowl, melt chocolate in the microwave in short bursts of 30 seconds; stir after each burst and remove from microwave when melted and smooth. Set aside to cool slightly. In a large mixing bowl, mix butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer. Beat in eggs and vanilla extract. Mix in melted chocolate. Blend in flour and mix just until combined (don’t over-mix). Spread batter into prepared pan. Bake 25 to 35 minutes. Watch closely and remove from oven when toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool completely.

2. Prepare the cookie dough: In a medium bowl, use an electric mixer to combine butter, brown sugar and white sugar. Mix in milk and vanilla. Mix in flour just until combined. Stir in chocolate chips.

3. Spread cookie dough over the cooled brownies. Refrigerate until the dough is quite firm. It’s okay to speed up the process and place it in the freezer too. The firmer the dough, the easier it will be to cut into neat squares. Use a sharp knife to cut the brownies. You may need to wipe the knife off with a paper towel in between cuts since the fudgy brownies and cookie dough will tend to stick to the knife a bit. These brownies are best to serve placed inside cupcake papers and served with a fork.

4. If you’d like to add chocolate drizzle on top, melt 1/2 cup chocolate chips with 1 teaspoon of shortening in the microwave; stir until smooth. Scoop the melted chocolate into a zip baggie and snip off the corner. Squeeze the bag to drizzle the chocolate on top of each brownie. Sprinkle additional chocolate chips on top, if desired.

I am not to blame

You didn’t have to read this

and that is the TRUTH!

Pecan Pie Truffles

The holidays are coming and it is my duty to help you prepare.  So here’s a treat you can freeze ahead of time.  Since I’ve not made these you’d better try them first and let me know if I should make them.

Pecan Pie Truffles

“Get ready for the most intense holiday goodie you’ve ever tried. These fabulous truffles, created by the VegNews food columnist Hannah Kaminsky, are outrageously flavorful and combine the best part of pecan pie (pecans, sugar and bourbon) in a thin layer of smooth chocolate. Like traditional rum balls, these offer a slightly alcoholic kick, so be sure to monitor any underage guests!”

Ingredients
2 1/2 cups pecans, toasted and finely chopped

1 cup graham cracker crumbs

1 cup dark brown sugar, packed

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons maple syrup

1/4 cup bourbon

1 teaspoon vanilla

7 ounces dark chocolate

TEST BATCH Preparation
1. In a medium bowl, stir together pecans, graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar and salt until well combined. Add maple syrup, bourbon and vanilla, stirring thoroughly. Use your hands to make sure the mixture becomes fully incorporated. (lick your fingers to make sure the mixture isn’t spoiled).

2. Form mixture into walnut-sized balls,(Lick fingers some more to make sure mixture hasn’t spoiled in the process) then place on a cookie sheet (Eat a few of the balls to make sure the texture is right) and freeze for 2 hours. (The best way to tell if the balls are frozen is to eat a ball every few minutes)

3. (Eat some chocolate first to make sure it’s not spoiled) In the top of a double boiler or in a medium stainless steel bowl set over a pot of gently simmering water, melt chocolate.  (Taste melted chocolate to make sure it’s the right consistency) Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. (Before dipping, eat a couple of frozen balls to make sure they are still frozen) Dip the frozen balls into the melted chocolate,  (Eat more balls to make sure that the chocolate and the other ingredients are compatible) then place onto prepared baking sheet. Let sit for 15 minutes or until firm. (The best way to tell if balls are firm is to eat a few balls every few minutes)

4.  If any Pecan Pie Truffles are left, eat them and finish off the bottle of bourbon.  You deserve to celebrate the fact you are prepared for the holidays way ahead of time.

Yield: 24 truffles.

Chocolate, pecan pie

Bourbon gives a tiny kick

Don’t truffle with me.

Ice Cream that’s “Hot”!

Even though it’s rather pleasant in Southern California I will sacrifice myself for all of you who are sweltering in the heat and taste test these 2 recipes for you. 

#1 Go Gormand! (gluttony)

Banana Freeze from Spark People

Soft-Serve Banana Ice Cream

4 frozen bananas

The riper the bananas are that you use, the sweeter and creamier it will be.

Place frozen bananas in the bowl of a food processor or blender. Pulse several times to break into smaller pieces, then turn on and run for about five minutes, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl. The bananas will start to resemble soft serve in a few minutes.

Transfer to a bowl and place in freezer for about 15 minutes, if you’d like, or serve immediately.

Number of Servings: 4 (unless you are a monkey)

  • Try putting a tbsp of cocoa powder in with it and then it’s CHOCOLATE banana ice cream!
  • Top with tablespoon of pure maple syrup mixed with 2 t dark cocoa powder
  • Incredible!   Wow, amazing that this tastes SO MUCH like ice cream. I added a bit of skim milk and vanilla extract. YUMMY!
  • I froze bananas overnight and had a “soft serve banana ice cream” for breakfast…I just stuck some granola on top…
  • Incredible!     I love frozen mashed bananas! This tastes great topped with cinnamon as well.

More suggestions:  http://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detail.asp?recipe=694221&comment=all#comment192375

#2 Go Gourmet! (A connoisseur of good food; a person with a discerning palate)

Bing Cherry Ice Cream + Toasted Almond Bark

The Chubby Vegetarian

Cherry Ice Cream

3 cups whole milk
1/3 cup cream
1 teaspoon ground vanilla bean
pinch of Maldon sea salt

2 cups Bing cherries
juice of one lemon
2 tbsp. can sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract

Whisk together the first 4 ingredients and put the bowl in the fridge to chill. Pit the cherries (a recent should-have-been-obvious discovery: a cherry pitter is so much easier than using a knife) and using a muddler, mash them with the sugar, lemon, and vanilla. Set aside. Pour the milk mixture into an ice cream machine that’s already running and then pour in the cherry mixture. After it’s semi-frozen, put the ice cream in the freeze for at least an hour to set.

Toasted Almond Chocolate Bark

1 cup sliced almonds
2 ounces 70% bittersweet chocolate
pinch of Maldon sea salt

Toast sliced almonds in a skillet on medium heat or in a 350-degree oven. Once they’re fragrant, after about 3-5 minutes, spread them into a pie plate and add sea salt and the chopped chocolate. Stir until melted and coated, then stick the plate in the fridge. Use this to top the ice cream.

chubbyvegetarian.blogspot.com/2011/07/bing-cherry-ice-cream-toasted-almond.html

What to Send Man’s Best Friend for Valentine’s Day

I wrote this column for my Max-E-zine 5 years ago!  Would you believe – nothing has changed. Things never change with my Humans.  They just are more and more untrainable the older they get.  Maybe it’s not too late for YOU to learn how to treat your best friend:

What’s in a Name, By Max

“My human asked me to write a special column for Valentines Day.  Is that chutzbah or what!  Valentine’s day is NOT for dogs.

First everyone, but ME, gets to eat chocolate.  My Human says that if I eat chocolate I’ll die.  I think she is lying so she can eat it all, which she does.

Second, everyone, but ME, gets flowers.  So  I  go out into the yard and eat as many flowers as I can.  They don’t taste as good as lawn grass.  I love it freshly mowed.   But don’t  send me flowers or grass on Valentines’ day.  Send dog cookies, they don’t wilt.

Third everyone, but ME, gets valentine cards.  I like to eat cards but I prefer the envelopes which are seasoned with paste. You can send me cards with envelopes.

I love YOU

Ok, ok you are wondering why I titled this What’s in a Name.  Well, it is STILL happening even tho my humans have been in training for over a decade.

My name is Max right!  Of course you know that. EVERYONE knows that. This blog is called CreativitytotheMAX,the blog, my web-sites are called HypnosistotheMAX and CreativitytotheMAX. Well, my humans STILL are calling me Sweetie Dog, Honey (can you believe how emasculating that is), Maxie, Good Dog and Sweetie Boy.  The only time I’m called Max is when my humans are upset over nothing –  Maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa ‘AAAAX

Even though I ‘m an excellent trainer they still insist on those embarrassing names.  So I show them.  When I’m called to come inside I take my tiiiiii ‘iiime.  Drives them crazy.

May your valentines day be filled with licks of love and please call your Sweetie a name that isn’t humiliating.

Lickingly yours, LLLLLLLLLLLL

MAX

P.S.  Address your valentine cards with envelopes and dog cookies to Max Westerfield c/o Sweetie Girl Judy,

My Birthday Season is COMING!

Only  25 days till My Birthday Season!

Many years ago my good friend Bernice and I were sitting in a motel room eating doughnuts for breakfast.  We picked this motel because it had free doughnuts and coffee every morning.

It was just before our birthdays which are a few weeks apart.

A bit giddy from not sleeping well on motel mattresses and slightly inebriated on chocolate covered doughnuts, we decided that if we were going to get older each year we would at least take advantage of our accumulating age.  We created OUR BIRTHDAY SEASON.

Here are the rules in case you’d like to have your own Birthday Season.

  1. Beginning on the day of your birth your season lasts the number of days you are old.  Consequently every year your Birthday Season is one day longer.  With me so far?
  2. You are to celebrate your birth the entire season by choosing whatever you wish to do, or NOT do,  each day.  So far so good!
  3. People give you presents the entire season.  SO GOOD, so far!
  4. You must be over 50 to qualify for Birthday Season status.  Over 50 you need more time to have fun because it takes you longer.
  5. You may start your Birthday Season before the day of your birth.  But you cannot exceed the number of days you are old.
  6. Those who are under the age of 50 can celebrate a Birthday Season as long as they don’t tell anyone or demand presents. Gargle thoroughly after breakfast to eliminate tell-tale Birthday Season Breath.
  7. You must eat doughnuts everyday for breakfast during your season.  If you don’t like doughnuts you can choose anything you want as long as it isn’t healthy.
  8. Every day of your season you must be grateful for being born and still being alive.  After your Birthday Season is over you can revert to moaning about your age.


Do NOT write me pointing out the bias I have shown toward certain kinds of doughnuts in the slide show.

This is my blog and I can play favorites.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

P.S.  Write me about your Birthday TRADITIONS!