The Dog Days of Summer

When many little people in many little places do many little things then the whole world changes….

-Michael Franti, Gloria (The Sound of Sunshine)

It is Christmas Eve and I should be wrapping and cooking and probably taking my daughter to the doctor (who is barking like a dog, no pun intended) but thought I would sneak in some time to finish posting about my volunteering with PEACE and my trip to Mexico.  This will be my last post for 2010 so that I can spend time with my family, write resumes, take the Praxis exam, get my grad school application submitted and do some research for my January volunteer spotlight.  Oh yeah, and finish a 7000 word  non-fiction excerpt that was due last week (my instructor is very patient with me).  Yes, all next week!  Make sure you at least skim to the bottom where I have added our Christmas Eve dinner recipes – I am calling it Christmas around the world (do to the international meal choices).

I would also like to give thanks and credit to the ladies who took most of the pictures (since I am in most of them) from my series on PEACE – Katherine Fisher, Michele Kinnon and Kay Walten – I really enjoyed working with these ladies and learning about the different work that they do in Mexico.


dog up for adoption

A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself

-Josh Billings (Henry Wheeler Shaw)


On our third and final day of working with peace, we found ourselves at the Isla Animals dog shelter and spay/neuter clinic.  It was cloudy and gray and a steady drizzle of rain stayed with us all day.  The clinic is tucked away on the North end of the island not far from the white sandy beaches of North Beach.  I was shocked when we opened the enormous wooden gate to find puppies and dogs running around everywhere.

Kay was a little tied up

The island (as well as many parts of Mexico) has an epidemic of stray animals who were not spayed or neutered as well as household pets who are allowed to roam free.  PEACE offers free spay and neuter clinics to families.  If the animals are picked up and found not to have a home then they are altered and put up for adoption.  We had the opportunity to give the animals some love, take them on a walk and then finish by bathing ALL of them (even the two who had returned after their earlier escape that day).

We derive immeasurable good, uncounted pleasures, enormous security and many critical lessons about life by owning a dog

-Roger Caras, president emeritus, ASPCA (A Celebration of Dogs)

American couple who stopped to play with the dogs

Along our walk, we were stopped by an American couple who were curious as to why we were walking this eclectic set of dogs. The couple was  honeymooning on the island and told us that they had adopted a dog from the Bahamas while there on a recent trip.  In lieu of gifts for their wedding, they had asked their guests to send donations to the animal shelter on the island where they had adopted their dog.

Canadian Woman who fell in love with this little guy

As we continued on our walk, we were stopped by a Canadian woman who instantly scooped up the little guy I was walking and loved on him for a while.  She was very interested in the adoption process and was surprised at how relatively easy it seemed.  Of course, shipping a dog to Canada might be a little more expensive but these little guys could probably fit under an airplane seat.

getting a much needed bath - the dog, not me!

When we finished walking the dogs, we returned to the shelter to give them all a bath.  Since we were already soaked from the rain, this process was a piece of cake and we left smelling like oranges.  This was work that all the volunteers at the shelter do on a daily basis.  It was nice to get to see what a difference they are making and how much work goes into these animals. Thanks for doing what you are doing PEACE.  You are making many little changes – one day at a time.


The Davis International Christmas Feast Menu

Korean Beef Short Ribs (Korea)

Mushroom Bisque (France)

Mashed Potatoes (South America)

Asparagus (Greek)

Boston Cream Pie (Boston, USA, DUH!)



1/3 cup soy sauce

1 TBSP Sesame oil

1TBSP Rice Vinegar

1/3 cup brown sugar

3 tsp ginger root

3 tsp garlic

1/2 tsp red or cayenne pepper

1/4 cup corn starch

1/4 cup water

42 oz short ribs (ours came from our cow, Fred -RIP Fred)

Put All ingredients except cornstarch and water in a dutch oven or slow cooker and cook on low for 10 hours.  Once ribs are done, remove from crock pot and skim excess fat from liquid.  In separate bowl, mix corn starch and water and pour mixture into reserved liquid to thicken for sauce. Pour over ribs. Serves 8.


1 lb fresh mushrooms

3 TBSP butter

1 & 1/2 TBSP flour

2 bottles clam juice

1/2 cup cream

2 TBSP Sherry

Saute mushrooms in butter, reduce heat and sprinkle with flour.  Stir for 3 minutes.  Add clam juice and cook until mushrooms are tender.  Blend in blender until smooth (reserve a few whole mushrooms for soup).  Add cream and sherry and simmer until hot.  Serves 3.



1 cup flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

2 large eggs, room temp

1 cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla

1/3 cup boiling water

Preheat oven to 350.  Butter the bottom of 9 inch round cake pan.  Sift flour, baking powder and salt together.  With an electric mixer, beat the eggs and sugar until fluffy.  Beat in the vanilla.  Fold the flour mixture into the egg mixture with a rubber spatula.  Pour the boiling water down the side of the bowl and carefully fold into the batter trying not to deflate the batter.  Pour batter into the pan and bake until golden on top – approx 30 minutes.  Cool completely.


1 cup milk

1/4 cup sugar

3 TBSP flour

1/4 tsp salt

4 egg yolks

2 tsp vanilla

2 TBSP unsalted butter

Heat the milk until hot but not boiling.  In a bowl, combine sugar, flour and salt.  Stir in hot milk slowly.  Pour the mixture back into the pan and cook over low hear until the mixture becomes thick and smooth.  Remove pan from the heat and beat in the egg yolks.  Return pan to the heat and boil for about a minute – stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and add vanilla and butter.  Stir until butter is melted.  Scrape custard into a bowl and cover the surface with plastic wrap.  Refrigerate until cooled completely.


3 oz semi sweet chocolate

4 TBSP unsalted butter, cut into bits

1 & 1/2 TBSP corn syrup

Combine all ingredients in a small sauce pan over low heat until melted and smooth.  Remove from heat and cool until thick enough to spread.


Split the cake horizontally with a serrated knife.  Place the bottom piece on a cake plate.  Spread the custard over the cake layer and cover with the other piece of cake.  Spread the chocolate glaze over the top and allow some glaze to drip over the sides – YUMMY!!


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