Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Birthday Bone

How do you celebrate your pet’s birthday? Do you bake a cake and enjoy it? Get them a new tug toy? Or, perhaps you create an event just as if they were human - nice dinner, balloons, gifts? This year, after baking a ham and making chowder, I wrapped the bone up and set it aside for our golden retriever, Rudy. Today is his birthday. He turns 5 years old! Being the alpha male of his liter, Rudy takes his job as yard patroller very seriously. We refer to him as being “on duty” when he bolts at rapid speeds across the yard to howl at the neighbors who dare to take a stroll passed our home, or the wayward deer nibbling on a treasure found, or the fox creeping out from under the pool deck. And you can forget about the wild cat – who we’ve heard cry out for almost getting caught by his mighty jaws - more than once! Heaven help the birds in the sky, who have been known to deliberately dart toward him then away just to tantalize his imagination of a ‘live catch.’ Oh, yes, our Rudy is not the docile, silly, overly-friendly golden you may have met in other yards. He has a job he has been hard-wired for, a purpose that overrides everything else. And he’s ready to perform for us at a moment’s notice. If anyone deserves that ham bone, it’s him. In the meantime, I’ll share with you the secret to my ham chowder, and how we honored our ‘little guy’s’ special day. Let me know how you celebrate the milestones of your favorite pet and if you liked the chowder.

Rudy’s Ham Chowder
Sauté 1 small onion with 1 cup diced celery and 1 clove garlic
Add the ham bone and leftover diced ham
Add 1 quart low-sodium chicken broth and 1 tablespoon parsley
Add 1 cup+ diagonally sliced carrots

1 cup prepared navy beans
Pass over twice with Mrs. Dash Onion and Herb (salt-free) seasoning
A shake of pepper and Penzey’s Dried Shallots
One hour before serving, add 2 diced potatoes and a handful of instant potato flakes (to thicken)
About a half hour before serving, add a heaping ½- cup barley and a sprinkle of chicken bouillon to taste
Serve with thick slices of Tuscan bread or garlic toast with homemade applesauce on the side.


  1. yummmmmmm sounds like i might have to make this dish !!! Happy Birthday Rudy !!! Savor the flavor :)

  2. You cannot beat sitting down at the end of the day with your dog/dogs, it's the best time of the day for me now that my kids are grown up and busy in their own lives. It's brings me a sense of peace with my best friends and their unconditional love!


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