PHOTOGRAPHER TOURS SHELTERS TO HELP DOGS GET ADOPTED - “Our mission is to provide shelter staff and volunteers with the resources to successfully groom and photograph shelter pets, helping give them the second chance they deserve.”
The One Picture Saves a Life initiative teaches animal shelters how to groom and photograph the shelter animals to present them in the best light (probably both literally and figuratively) for adoption. Photographer Seth Casteel is currently touring various shelters in the U.S. to put on workshops. You may be familiar with Casteel’s Underwater Dogs series. The photos above are examples of how different the dogs look depending on how they are presented.
In addition to Casteel, John Paul Pet, The Animal Rescue Site, GreaterGood.org, and the Petfinder Foundation are all partners in this endeavor. Click here to learn more about One Picture Saves a Life. You can also donate to this cause by clicking here. (Photos from One Picture Saves a Life)
Vegan Mixed Berry & Coconut Coffee Cake
When the going gets tough, the tough get baking. That is, around here anyway! My weekend started off with a call from my accountant that my taxes were ready, & he advised that I brace myself, as I owed a not-so-pretty penny. I won’t get into specifics, but let’s just leave it at this - I got into my pajamas at 4pm, crawled into bed, & that ended up being my really
excitingpathetic Friday night.
Saturday my little puggie, Lucie Lu, was scheduled for her first dental cleaning. As pugs have tiny mouths & crowded teeth, dental care is extremely important. At almost 6 years old, she was long overdue for a deep cleaning, which meant going under anesthesia, & that is risky for any “brachial breeds.” To say I was nervous is a definite understatement. She’s my baby girl. During her procedure, I got a call from the vet, & almost went into panic mode. She just needed some teeth extracted, which I knew was a possibility. And cha-ching, cha-ching…more money out the door, but she is worth it. Fortunately she did very well through the surgery, came out of the anesthesia quickly, & I was able to pick her up early. I could tell that her little sparkle had faded just a bit & it tore me up inside. We came home & she was restless & disoriented & couldn’t get comfortable in any of her usual cozy places. The only place she wanted to be was on mama’s lap. So I cancelled my evening plans & stayed in with my girl. My heart broke a bit more every time she whimpered in pain. Eventually the sedative kicked in & helped her relax. She rested comfortably in my lap & slept peacefully through the night. Her appetite was back in full force this morning, which I took as a very good sign. She still is not quite herself, but I know she’ll bounce back.
The weather has been particularly cold & dreary these past few days, & add the stress of the weekend’s events, & I was desperate for some comfort in the form of a tasty vegan treat! Nothing calms & decompresses me more (except for yoga) than spending a little time in the kitchen. And I love baking in the early morning. I’ll make myself an almond milk latte, put on some music (lately I’ve been loving this), & get lost in the measuring & mixing. This morning, I wanted to make something sweet & simple. I thought about pancakes, but I made those last weekend. And then I remembered that tomorrow is dreaded tax day, where all the money I’ve saved in the last 6 months will be going into the pocket of my least favorite uncle, Sam (I know he’s your least favorite too, isn’t he?). So why not make a treat that I can share at the office tomorrow? I went looking through my cookbooks & found a coffee cake recipe in “Chloe’s Vegan Desserts”. Perfect! I love coffee cake, & with a few modifications, I had everything I needed. I decided to sub coconut oil in place of the canola for extra health benefits & flavor, & used my favorite blend of frozen berries - tart cherries, blackberries, & raspberries, for the fruit. I also added coconut flakes to the steusal topping. It’s always a risk to swap out ingredients, especially when baking, but fortunately this moist & scrumptious coffee cake was absolutely perfect!
“Vegan Mixed Berry & Coconut Coffee Cake”
***adapted from Chloe’s Vegan Desserts
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1 cup roughly chopped pecans
- 1/4 cup toasted coconut chips
- 1/2 cup brown sugar (organic & vegan)
- 1 Tbsp. cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
- 3 Tbsp. organic virgin coconut oil, melted
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup raw sugar (organic & vegan)
- 1/4 cup brown sugar (organic & vegan)
- 1 tsp. baking powder (aluminum free)
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1/2 cup organic virgin coconut oil, melted
- 1 Tbsp. organic apple cider vinegar
- 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups organic mixed berries, fresh or frozen.
- In a medium bowl, combine flour, pecans, coconut chips, sugar, cinnamon, & nutmeg. Add coconut oil & toss with two forks until it appears crumbly (crumbs should be the size of small peas).
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease an 8-inch square pan.
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugars, baking soda, baking powder, & salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together almond milk, coconut oil, vinegar & vanilla.
- Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture & whisk until just combined (do not over mix!). Gently fold in the berries.
- Fill the prepared pan with batter & evenly sprinkle the streusel topping. Bake for 40 minutes uncovered, then cover with foil & bake another 10 minutes. Let cool, slice, & serve.
You will marvel in the sweet aroma that will fill your kitchen while this is cooking! Even hours later, my house smelled of cinnamon sugar, which brought me immense olfactory pleasure! This cake really hit the spot, especially with a late afternoon cup of tea. As for the pug, she’s resting more peacefully today, & a little glimmer of her puggie spark is shining through.
Opalized wood. Petrified wood is basically fossilized wood that has had it’s organic matter replaced by a mineral such as agate, bit by bit, as it decomposes. The wood structure is maintained, but the wood fibers are slowly changed into stone. Sometimes a jasper, quartz, pyrite or even opal(shown above) can be found fossilized in wood.
I am always tempted on days like these to weep for humanity. Because I know tragedies like the Boston bombing are only a drop of water in the never-ending tidal wave of human violence, because of the inevitable pain and suffering that follows….
It uplifts me to remember that humanity has many faces. There are those who seek destruction. But most people seek creation. The people who ran toward, not away, from those in the blast to offer a hand, those who are offering their homes to the displaced, those who are donating blood. Most people are helpers.