I’ve been out of commission for a while. Back surgery. Needless to say, before my surgery I was a bit stressed. Rather than lie around and worry about the outcome, I decided to do something cheerful. My little dog, Giovanni, turned 6 years old on March 1st. What better way to cheer myself than to throw a party?
Yes, I know I’m running the risk of being labeled “Crazy Dog Lady”. I’ve been called worse names than that, so I set out to give Giovanni a party. I invited a few close girlfriends and family members.
I baked a chocolate bundt cake, and Mark made a huge pot of his famous Turkey Chili.
Giovanni’s party invitation was posted on Face Book because everybody seems to check their Face Book page more often than their telephone messages. The invitation made it clear that this wasn’t going to be one of those “do gooder” parties where people tell you not to bring a gift. I mean, a dog’s life is limited and this boy loves a new toy.
I was expecting people to tease me, but instead I was a little taken aback by how quickly people replied to the invitation, and everybody sounded so excited.
“We wouldn’t miss it!”
“We’ll be bringing more than one gift!”
“OH! Can’t wait to see little Gio!”
Maybe dog really is man’s best friend. All of a sudden I realized how much power I have as the owner of a cute little dog that my friends and family seem to adore. What if I told people Giovanni is now into Le Creuset cookware? It’s possible, right?
Some of the guests arrived with fancy decorated gift bags filled with tissue wrapped toys and dog apparel. A few others just kept the toy in the store bag–Gio didn’t care. He isn’t picky. Toys that squeak, chew toys, soft fur covered toys, fancy doggy sweaters, and then some!
It was all going swimmingly, until….
Giovanni looked more excited than I had ever seen him before. He had opened every single gift—all 19 of them. Yes, that’s right, 19 toys! I never knew squeakers could be so loud.
I thought I was going to have a nervous breakdown. We all sat in chairs circling the panicky, shaking, drooling, panting, now extremely hyper-active Giovanni!
He was out of control and looked like he was going to pass out at any minute. Giovanni was now the center of our Universe, and he knew it. This was just too much for a little five pound pooch. When I saw his eyes start to roll back into his head, I moved the party guests into the dining room for dinner and tried to hide a few of his toys .
Greedy boy that he is, he followed me staring longingly at each “hiding place” I stuffed a toy in. He glared at me with his piercing brown eyes. I knew he was asking, “Whose party is this anyway?”
People, this went on for days, until Mark finally hid the toys in the garage. I was happy to make Mark the heavy.
The chili was a hit, the cake was a huge success, and when the guests left, I felt as though I had just thrown a party for a very spoiled toddler. I was exhausted. We went to bed early that night.
I’m four weeks out of surgery. Still recovering from the back surgery itself, but doctor could not remove cyst because it is inside the spinal nerve. He removed some bone and stitched me back together. In my heart of hearts, I believe all will be well.
CLICK BELOW TO CONTINUE TO RECIPE FOR BUNDT CAKE
DARK CHOCOLATE BUNDT CAKE W/ Light Faux Ganache or Low Fat Chocolate Glaze
Adapted from Diana Ratrray’s recipe for “Chocolate Bundt Cake with Dark Chocolate Glaze” recipe-on About.com Guide
- 8 ounces butter (2 sticks)
- 1/2 cup Dutch process cocoa, such as Valrhona or high-quality, such as Scharffen Berger*
- 3/4 cup water
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, stir before measuring
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Faux Ganache (recipe below)
Grease and flour a 10- to 12-cup Bundt pan. Heat oven to 350°.
Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat; add cocoa, stirring until smooth. Whisk in the water and remove from heat. To the warm cocoa mixture, add the sugar, sour cream, 1 tablespoon vanilla, and eggs; whisk until smooth. In another bowl combine the flour, soda, and salt. Add all at once to the first mixture, whisking until well blended.
Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until it feels firm to the touch and has slightly pulled away from the sides of the pan. Cool in pan on a rack for 20 minutes. Carefully loosen the cake with a knife and invert onto a large plate.
Serves 10 to 12.
*If you’re using a standard baking cocoa (not Dutch-process or high-quality) add 1/2 teaspoon more of baking soda to the dry ingredients.
Light Faux Ganache
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/3 cup milk –you can use low fat milk
1 (4-ounce) bar semisweet chocolate, chopped
To prepare ganache, combine 1/2 cup granulated sugar, cocoa, and milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat; bring mixture to a boil, stirring frequently. Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, and add chocolate, stirring until smooth. Spread ganache evenly over top and sides of cake; let stand 20 minutes or until set.