Monday, November 01, 2010

Git it

Most of us expect dogs to be protectors of homes and families, and playmates to our children, now Puck goes over and above. He's taken on the role of mouser. Cold weather is creeping in, and a mouse must have come into our house yesterday for warmth and our elderly cat Charlie is no longer up to the task. Puck stalked it for hours. He was sniffing under the fridge and then he would go stand outside the kitchen door to wait for it to come out. He just caught it, killed it and brought it to us to put into the garbage. Protecting our kitchen from dirty little varmints. Good dog. Stay vigilant! Use your OCD powers for good, not evil. He did not sleep much last night. He kept having to leave his bed in my room to run into the kitchen to see if any mice had come in.

He was pretty proud of his kill, I should have taken a photo of him with it. But the disgusting factor of a mouse was too much for me. I face a lot of gross things, but the sight of a little mouse sends me jumping onto furniture. Next time. This is the second time he's caught a mouse. Last winter, Bella woke me up at 3:30 to go out. As we walked by the kitchen, a mouse scurried across the floor and Puck raced in and pounced on it, stunning it. He kept pawing it until it was dead. But that was more of a fluke, what impressed me this time is that he stalked the mouse for a long time before catching it.

With him patrolling the house and Wicket patrolling the garage and breezeway by night and barn by day, I'm hopeful we won't have any mice inside this winter.

"Relatively healthy peanut-free snack"

That was the request from Kira's teacher for their Halloween Party the next day. I wanted to come up with something both adorable and creepy, both delicious and nutritious, but my creativity was all used up trying to take care of 6 kids and our homestead while Matt has been working out of town. I briefly thought of making a fruit tray. I needed a comfort food with a reference to pumpkins and since one of the mom's from Campbell's hockey team recently dubbed me the Cookie Queen, I felt pressure to bake cookies. Maybe subconsciously I was trying to practice a recipe on the schoolkids before I presented it to the hockey parents. So I found and modified this recipe. I thought the cookies turned out wonderfully, soft and mildly flavoured. But I wasn't sure what the school kids would make of them. I think it worked, since 3 teachers sent me requests asking for the recipe. Here it is for the rest of you to try:

"Relatively healthy peanut-free snack" PUMPKIN COOKIES

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine softened
1 cup mashed pumpkin (After our dinner was finished, I cut a pie pumpkin in half, took out the shells and roasted it in the oven at 325 for 1 hour. If you don't want to do that, you can use canned pumpkin.)
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups icing sugar
3 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

PREHEAT oven to 350°F. Grease baking sheets.
COMBINE flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in medium bowl. Beat sugar and butter in large mixer bowl until well blended. Beat in pumpkin, egg and vanilla extract until smooth. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto prepared baking sheets.
BAKE for 15 to 18 minutes or until edges are firm. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.
COMBINE glaze ingredients in small bowl until smooth. Drizzle over cooled cookies.