It’s a Pawty – A Dog’s Birthday Party

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What happens when you love your dogs and you love entertaining?  Chances are, you’ve thought about having a dog birthday party, right?  This year, Emmie turned 2 and now that she has her very own fenced in backyard, a party was a must!  Inspired by Pinterest (the easiest place for inspirations!), Emmie’s “all things dog” theme was created! Since the idea was to keep the dogs outside, the party began at 9AM <— yes, a party starting at 9AM!

Dog-birthday-party-theme-cake-bone-ideasDog Bone Shaped Cake:

Who knew a little geometry would come in handy while baking a cake!!  One of my favorite types of cake (from a box) is funfetti. Hands down. Something about the vanilla cake and sprinkles combo makes a great taste and reminds me of when I was a kid. I didn’t go fancy on this one at all. Simple cake mix and frosting, follow the instructions and bake. Once the 1 rectangular cake pan and the 3 circle cake pans were done, the fun began to create this dog bone shaped cake. You will cut out 1/4 of each of the circles so you can use the 3 1/4 pieces to make the 4th part of the bone. 🙂 A birthday wasn’t complete without us singing, yes singing, to Emmie and then indulging in a cake (and mimosas!).

Dog-birthday-party-mimosas-parfait-themeBest in Show Bubbly:

A make-your-own-mimosas bar. Need I say more?! I usually buy Andre Brut for my mimosa champagne but I recently learned about freixenet – a few dollars more, but so worth it. Maybe not for the masses when you can buy Andre, but definitely a must for a small gathering.

Pupcakes Dog-birthday-party-pupcakes-peanut-butter-apples

These peanut butter apple cupcakes were made specifically with dogs in mind.  They were a huge it hit!  You can find the recipe for pupcakes here.  The frosting is made of  greek yogurt and peanut butter and topped with homemade dog biscuits (recipe). These were a HUGE hit!

Doggie Bag: treats-to-go

Who doesn’t love going to a party and taking something home?  Well when you go to my dog’s party, you will end up taking home a doggie bag of treats for your fur baby! These are the same treats that I topped the pupcakes with and the recipe is here.  Made of oatmeal, carrots, and cheese, these things are healthy and the dogs ate them up!

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Snacks

I made “fetch sticks” out of overnight French toast and strawberries on a kebab stick.  Topped with maple syrup and powdered sugar, these were so yummy.  I made pigs dogs-in-a-blanket from crescent rolls and mini sausage links.  I had extra rolls so I filled these with nutella and they were actually pretty good!  To make the snack spread somewhat healthy, a parfait bar was a must!

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Emmie’s party was such a great success but the afternoon was even better!  As soon as I was done cleaning everything up outside, the thunderstorms came down hard (talk about perfect timing!)!  The dogs slept for hours and I even fit a little nap in the day. 🙂

Happy 2nd birthday, Emmie!

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Homemade Dog Biscuits and Pupcakes for a Paw-ty!

emmie-puppy-dog-birthdayMy sweet rescue pup, Emmie, is turning 2 this week! I adopted her in October 2013 and she is the first ever full-time responsibility I’ve had all of my own. (Well that’s not to say I didn’t have HUGE amounts of help from my dad, friends and doggy daycare.) The past nearly 2 years with Emmie has flown by… Even if those puppy stage nights of going to the bathroom and wanting to play were the longest nights of.my.life. 

In honor of Emmie’s second birthday, I’m throwing her a birthday party with some of her best friends (and mine) next weekend. <— YES, I am that person. 🙂 I’ve gathered up a few great recipes and made homemade dog biscuits and pupcakes for her and her friends. These things store great in the freezer so I made them ahead off time.

These super easy heathy dog biscuits are sure to please the pups. The “thanks for coming” “doggie bags” for Emmie’s friends will be packed with these yummy snacks!

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Easy Dog Treats – Biscuits

  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 cups oats (ground)
  • ½ cup hot water
  • 1/2 cup cheese
  • 3/4 cup shredded and chopped carrots

Mix everything together and knead until combined. I had to add extra flour to keep this dough doughy but not too sticky and I put it in the fridge for about 20 minutes before rolling and cutting. Roll out the dough to about 1/4 inch thick and use dog bone shaped cookie cutter to make the dog treats. I remember having the hardest time finding dog bone cookie cutters in the size I wanted and ended up finding the perfect set of 3 from a random kitchen store at the Outlet Mall  <– where you can find almost anything and everything random.  Plan ahead and order online!  This is exactly what I bought (not the store but the same product) and it was the perfect variety of sizes for the treats.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Bake 25-30 minutes, flipping half way through

Dog-biscuits-cheese- carrots-homemade

What’s a party without cake for the humans and pupcakes for the four-legging friends!? Here’s a recipe for peanut butter apple pupcakes that smell so good I wanted to eat them myself!

Peanut-butter-pupcakes-dog-birthday

Peanut Butter Apple Pupcakes

  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup applesauce (unsweetened)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 cups oatmeal (ground)
  • 3 heaping tbsp crunchy natural peanut butter
  • 2 tsp baking powder

Bake 350 degrees for 60 minutes

Makes 18 pupcakes

A dog birthday party isn’t weird right?! Well this girl loves her pup and every year is a blessing and full of fun (and not so fun!) moments that I wouldn’t trade for anything… Even if it was for a few more hours of sleep!
I hope everyone has a blast at the paw-ty! Post party details to follow next week!

Happy early 2nd birthday, Emmie!

emmie-birthday-dog-birthday2

Napa: Running Swag & Wine Tastings

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This year’s annual girl’s trip lead us to Napa, CA for the Zooma Women’s Half on June 28th.  This was my second half marathon and second destination run.  Last year, I ran the Subaru Distance Classic Half in Jax on Thanksgiving Day and also a women’s 5k in Chicago!  Napa was the perfect girls destination weekend trip!  What’s more to love than great food, amazing wine and laughter with wonderful friends?  Oh maybe perfect weather… Napa had that too!

I took hundreds of pictures and have way too much to say about Napa and all that wouldn’t even do this city justice.  If you love wine, this place is definitely worth the trip!!  In fact, I don’t think you can do it all in one trip and I already have a list of places to see next time!  Napa is about a 1 – 1.5 hour drive outside San Francisco (if no traffic) but feels like it’s a completely different world.  The weather perfect… sunny, warm and low humidity ( <— according to my standards), the people are extremely nice (they drink all day) and calories don’t count!

So here’s a short recap of our weekend and my favorites of this trip!

napa-fume-bistroFirst things first… drink wine.  Eat lunch.  Check and check.  Right around the corner from our hotel, the Napa Winery Inn, was Fume Bistro, a delicious restaurant with great outside seating.  This place was great for late night cocktails, early lunch and everything in between!  We ended up eating here at least twice and brought our own bottle of wine the last night.

So the wine tours (and amazing food) planning process was well under way!

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The first night we  ate dinner at Il Posto, and let me just say, OH MY GOODNESS Italians sure do know how to cook.  The desserts…. well we couldn’t pick just one so we got three… My favorite, hands down, the affogato.  It just sounds Italian, right?! Affogato!  Affogato what I ate for dinner because this dessert was so delicious!

  •  Affogato – vanilla bean gelato, espresso
  •  Tiramisu – coffee, ladyfingers, mascarpone
  • Fiorello’s Sorbeto – strawberry

The next morning we got up super early (thank goodness for carb-loading the night before!) and ran a half marathon!

napa-zooma-half-marathon-starting-line

This was the first time the  Zooma Women’s Half Marathon Race Series held a race in Napa, Ca.  Seriously, what’s more enticing to women than beautiful weather and wine!? I know, feeling super girly and fun with awesome women and awesome tutus from Tough Girl Tutus!  I love, love Tough Girl Tutus.  This was my first order from this company but I have since placed a second order.  The tutu really is fit for a runner and the colors are so much fun!  I emailed Tough Girl Tutus about shipping times and their response was super helpful.

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The course was beautiful so we thought, why not take a few snazzy pics?! I used my Jenny Collection Handy 10 water bottle during the full 13.1 miles!  This was a great size for the race and allowed me to hydrate with Gatorade between water stops.    I actually run with this often because I hate searching for fluids on runs, especially in Florida!

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After the race, I was feeling pretty tired but the thought of wine tours and more amazing food was enough to keep me going… and so we went!  Off to Yountville!  I would definitely stay in this little town within the Napa Valley.  It has great restaurants and many wine shops with tastings on the main street.

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Wine tasting…

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The last full day was even better!  We went on two tours of vineyards and both could not have been more different from each other.

napa-bell-windery-clone-6Bell Wine Cellars was stunning!  The grounds are beautiful and we even got to drink wine and play bocce ball on the lawn… how fancy can you get?!  I loved learning about the wine making processing and our tour-guide-tasting-teacher-master-wino-extraordinaire, Elise, made it such an enjoyable experience.  <— the wine might have helped a little too 🙂

 

Our next stop was a crazy-interesting-must-go-to-see-for-yourself winery.  Raymond Vineyards.  The wine was amazing, the atmosphere even better.  I don’t think I’m a wine connoisseur and nor can I comment on wine tasting other than my own preference but Napa wine is definitely top notch!

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I feel alittle wine-isticated (<— note to self, not a wino if you use that term!) after this trip and every glass I’ll remember, swirl and sniff!

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Not sure how the next girl’s trip can top this one, but I can’t wait to find out!  Any recommendations for destination races?