Posts Tagged ‘Horse Rescue’

I won’t lie. Baking makes me feel good. Just thinking about baking actually makes me feel good … looking at yummy recipes, the photos that make me want to drop everything and run to the kitchen, considering the ingredients … all part of the process. (And I like to blog about baking!)

OBars-Ingredients2First, we gather the ingredients together. You might, (correctly), surmise that I collect recipes for eons, as this one, in a copy of Woman’s Day, carried a 2/3 page cigarette ad!  You won’t be finding
that in its recent history.

I committed to making a dessert for a volunteer picnic this Sunday for the local equine rescue I help. I wanted to also make something vegan, in keeping with my own direction, and also because when a bunch of people gather who are committed to the mission of rescuing horses, often from slaughter, (and becoming horse meat), there’s always a fair amount of vegetarians, and some vegans. I went searching OBars-Flour2through my recipes, and selected one without eggs and where I could easily replace the butter with Earth Balance vegan margarine. All other ingredients are vegan.

All you eagle-eyed bakers may have noticed something missing in that top photo – flour. NOW I have all the ingredients.

I’ve made this recipe before, but with butter and different flavors preserves. This time I also mixed it up and used brown sugar for half the sugar, as it’s such a natural with oats and cinnamon.This recipe is incredibly simple and whips up in no time.


After mixing the margarine, flour, sugar, baking powder and oat mixture together, the next step is pressing the mixture into the bottom of the pan.


Next, spreading the preserves to within a half inch of the edges.


Sprinkle top with reserved crumb mixture and coconut.


Voila – Done!

One of the things that is most difficult for me is the concept of baking vegan. I don’t have a problem with not eating meat. I know enough about what happens to animals, particularly in the factory farming system, to not want to participate in it. But eggs and dairy, particularly when it comes to baking? Now this is rough.

OBars-OnePiece2Established vegans say that once committed, you won’t miss the eggs and dairy in food. Maybe not in some food, but in baking … I don’t know. As I go through my many clipped recipes and cookbooks, I can envision making a vegan version of some, but others? Simply not possible. I am in a quandary.

But for today, I made something simple and vegan, which, of course, I had to taste to make sure it’s safe for consumption.

Because I have modified this recipe significantly, I am including it here, should you want something fast and easy, vegan or not, (just use butter.) Enjoy!

Strawberry Oatmeal Bars

3/4 C. butter or margarine
1-1/4 C. each rolled oats and flour
1/2 C. sugar I used half cane sugar, half brown sugar)
1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 C. strawberry preserves (or peach, apricot – anything seedless)
3/4 C. flaked coconut

In 13 x 9″ baking pan, melt butter while oven is heating to 350˚; cool.
Stir in oats, flour, sugar, baking powder and cinnamon until blended. It will be crumbly.
Reserve 1/2 c. crumb mixture.
Press firmly onto bottom of pan.
Spread preserves to within 1/2″ of edges.
Sprinkle with reserved crumb mixture tossed with coconut.
Bake on center rack for 25 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Cool in pan on rack. Makes 36 bars. (per bar – 12 mg cholesterol with butter, 0 mg cholesterol with margarine.)

And now for me … back to the picture book I’m working on.

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No, that’s not a bundt cake, though she sure is sweet.
That’s Livy, a rescued Belgian draft horse.

Each year Mylestone Equine Rescue holds its annual Open House. As Mylestone is a private farm, this event is their big annual fundraiser and the chance for visitors to come and meet all the rescue horses, learn more about the rescue, participate in a silent auction and … buy goodies from their bake sale tent. As one of 20+ volunteers, I spend the day educating visitors, discussing the need for horse rescue, introducing the horses and their histories to people, and functioning as photographer for the day. I also bake.

Unfortunately, last Sunday, the official date, had to be postponed due to rain and cold weather, and is being held today, October 14th. And unfortunately, I had previous plans and am not able to be there. However, as always, I baked something for their bake sale.

I’ve made this chocolate chip bundt cake once before and chose it again because it is so unbelievably moist and delicious.  It’s all butter with plenty of dark brown sugar and buttermilk. What makes it extra tasty is a blend of chopped pecans, butter and sugar which are mixed together and spread in the bundt pan before the batter is spooned in. It adds a just-right, sweet crunch that complements the dark chocolate mini-morsels.

Of course, I had to taste a very small sliver before packaging individual slices just to make sure it was safe for human consumption!

All packaged up,  ready to go and be enjoyed by Open House visitors. In a world where baking from mixes seems to have become fairly common, that little sign saying the cake is all-butter and made from scratch always turns out to be a great selling point!

You can find this chocolate chip bundt cake recipe at myrecipes.com.

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It only happens once a year … Mylestone Equine Rescue’s Annual Open House – your chance to meet all the rescued horses personally.

Mylestone, located in Pohatcong, NJ, rescues the horses that most other rescues won’t take – from the auction, the kill pen, from hoarding and cruelty situations, and more.  Some, once recovered, may be ridable, but most can only be placed as companion horses. Many have sufficient medical issues that they will remain at Mylestone as sanctuary horses for the rest of their lives due to required treatment.

But don’t believe for a second that these horses aren’t living the happiest and most amazing lives possible in Mylestone’s care. If you need some good news, perhaps have a hankering to hear about a miracle or two, come to Mylestone’s Open House this Sunday, October 9th from noon to 4 pm. Meet the rescue horses – their lives have been changed forever … yours might be, too.

Read more for complete details and directions.

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A novel? Really? A couple years ago, Sheri, from our children’s writer’s group, said, “You have a novel in you.” I didn’t find that to be something impossible, yet didn’t see it as highly likely at the time, either.

Aside from one story of mine which hasn’t yet found its proper genre – picture book, chapter book or middle grade – I have been focusing on picture books. I read novels all the time, but had not really thought about writing one of my own. The meager story beginning I had written for a First Page Session was a starting point, and even then, I wasn’t all that focused on it. Until I got a critique from two editors on my storyline, and things that did and didn’t work for an MG reader.

Since that time, I’ve had a unique experience. The story is writing itself.

I’ve read online, and seen among my fellow writers, how some novelists just write it all down straightaway, while others make an outline, map it out, etc. This is not what’s happening. The story is telling itself to me … at odd times, when I’m relaxing, working, whenever it pleases. I mentioned this to my friend, Linda, who told me I’m channeling my story. Well, that’s kind of exciting, and makes sense. Although I envisioned a most basic structure for how the pattern of the chapters would go, beyond that, it just keeps coming.

I’m not writing anything down; there’s no way I’ll forget it. I’m allowing it to just come through. I cry, I laugh, I see who’s becoming a character. This is very new to me. Some ideas require some of my attention – for ex., should that character enter my heroine’s life in the same chapter as another? Why IS my character like that? And I let it go. The answers come back in a fairly short time.

I don’t need too many facts at this time – I can fill in the realities of horses, riding, racing, later. But I realize I can also feed my storywriter within, so am reading Taming the Star Runner by S.E. Hinton, and perhaps returning to other horse related books I have here or reading some new ones or checking out some videos. I am fortunate to have friends involved with horses who can help me with facts, as well as one of the sources for this story’s inspiration … the horses of Mylestone Equine Rescue, for whom I volunteer and help in other ways.

Perhaps the best part of all – is I’m not in a rush. It comes as it comes, and I’m quite grateful for that.

At top left is a photograph I took of Calvin, one of Mylestone‘s rescued horses.

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The following is a story from Mylestone Equine Rescue, New Jersey’s oldest all-breed horse rescue. They work tirelessly saving lives, rehoming horses and providing education about the problems faced by horses today. Please visit their site, sponsor a horse, or even send a special Valentine Sponsorship. All help is greatly appreciated.

Once upon a time, there were 2 horses named Josie and Clyde. They were very different horses … in almost every way. They were different breeds – he a big Tennessee Walker, she a Quarter horse. Clyde was a dark bay with many signs of age in his body and graying face; Josie was jet black and rather flashy. Clyde had worked hard all of his life, most recently at a hack stable, and not been treated kindly; Josie had belonged to someone who rode her and showed no signs of having been mistreated in any way. He tended to be a bit grumpy; she was gentle and grateful.

The one thing they did have in common was that no one wanted either one of them anymore. Clyde was in the kill pen facing a trip to slaughter, and Josie was abandoned at the farm where her owner had boarded her, and faced going to auction.

Clyde was rescued, and when he arrived at Mylestone, the telltale kill pen sticker was still affixed to his rump. He was unused to being outside on his own and enjoying open space. He hung back, lonely and afraid, preferring the safety of his shed. When turned out, he ran the fence line.

And then came Josie. Like an angel on a mission of love, she reached out to Clyde. When first turned out with Josie, Clyde decided to simply ignore her, like a child putting his fingers in his ears – lalalalala, I can’t hear you!

But that was not acceptable to the patient Josie. She stood next to him and nudged him, as if responding to a pain he felt but couldn’t express. It was as if Josie knew. She stood close to him, insisting he let her be his friend. And little by little, he did. Soon, he settled down. The fence running became pacing, the pacing became walking, and the walking became standing still … next to Josie. Soon they were grazing right there — right smack in the middle of the once-feared paddock — together.

Josie and Clyde soon became best friends. Each eagerly awaited their being taken to the field to while away the days together, their friendship a balm to the scars of difficult days in their pasts. All was well.

Then one day, Susankelly and a volunteer went out to take some pictures of the two lovebirds for the Valentine Gift Sponsorships*. Susankelly shook a treat jar, and that’s when the fighting began.

“Me first!” insisted Clyde.
“Why not me?” demanded Josie.
“Get out of my way,” said Clyde, as he lightly body slammed her.
“Hey!” said Josie, “stop being so pushy!”

Their ears lay flat, and there was huffing and puffing and much snorting, and many disparaging remarks bandied about. (We won’t repeat the nature of these comments; they were just terribly rude and hurtful. And terribly unlike the accepting and sharing relationship Josie and Clyde had developed.) What just happened?

At Susankelly’s insistence, Josie and Clyde finally settled down for a nice photo or two. They were too embarrassed by their own behavior to not look nice for their Valentine’s picture, especially because you would be able to give that photo as a gift to someone special! Soon the two women were gone, and so was the jar of treats. The jar of treats that started the fight.

Josie and Clyde walked back to the center of the paddock together, side-by-side, happily bumping against one another, and nuzzling each other’s faces.

“What just happened back there?” asked Josie.
“I don’t know,” said Clyde. “Do you think we have food issues?”
“I didn’t think we did,” she said. “Maybe we should just stick to grazing and our hay and grain.”
“Good idea” said Clyde, and they wandered off as happy as they once had been, secretly hoping their photos came out so wonderful that you would just have to send one as a Valentine Gift Sponsorship* to someone you love.

Because chocolate … might just start a fight.

* The deadline for Valentine’s Gift Sponsorships has passed, but you could still sponsor Josie or Clyde separately with a standard Gift Sponsorship at any time of year!

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