Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Guest post from my pal Alison Pace with a giveaway!

Hello Chickens-  

Stopping in to introduce you to my dear friend Alison Pace.  Alison is the author of such fab books as Pug Hill and A Pug's Tale, and her latest book of essays, You Tell Your Dog First I had the joy to read early, and it is a wonderful series of funny and heartwarming stories about the dogs she has known and loved.  I told her that she could stop by here to tell you about it and give away a copy, as long as she also brought a terrific Fall recipe for all of us.  And she has obliged.  Comment below with either your fave dog story or your fave fall recipe by 11:59PM CST Friday and we will pick one randomly to receive a signed copy of You Tell Your Dog First.

Ali-  Take it away!  Your Polymath

Hi All,

Alison Pace  here.  I’m a fellow writer and good friend of Stacey’s.  And because Stacey is such a good friend, she invited me to be a guest here in celebration of the publication of my new book, YOU TELL YOUR DOG FIRST  Yes, the book is about dogs and life lived with dogs. It’s also very much about family and friendship and finding your place in the world.

In YOU TELL YOUR DOG FIRST, I write a lot about all the dogs I remember from my childhood.  Another thing I remember, vividly, from my childhood is the Hungarian chicken my mom (who shows up a lot in the book) makes.  It’s up there on my list of favorite things to eat and it’s also one of the things I most love to recreate in my own kitchen.  This is a great cold-weather dish, hearty and comforting and fills the house with old-world smells and warmth.  And it’s really pretty easy to make:

HUNGARIAN CHICKEN (Chicken in Red Sauce)

4  Chicken breast half’s boned with the skin on
            2  Large Spanish onions
            3 TBS  Extra Virgin Olive Oil
            2 TBS Butter
            3 Small cans of tomato puree
            Salt and Pepper

Melt the olive oil and butter in a heavy pot.  Dice the onions, add to the butter and oil, generously add salt and pepper and sauté until just starting to brown, scraping up the brown bits as you go.  Add the boned breasts with the skin, mix with the onions and stir until the chicken looses its raw color.  Add the tomato puree and 1 and ½ cans of water.  Bring to a boil, lower to a simmer and cook for 1 hour.  Peel off the chicken skin and discard (or feed to your dog*) taste for salt and pepper.

Serve over egg noodles.

*NB: my dog, Carlie, who also shows up quite a lot in the book, is a big fan of Hungarian Chicken. 

If you’d like to read the first chapter of my book, just click here

And if you’d like to enter to win a copy, just leave a comment.  Stacey will pick a winner!


  1. Love both of your books! Thanks for the contest Stacey! I am not much of a cook, but I love to make pumpkin bread in the fall! It's the perfect fall breakfast to me!

  2. I will try this recipe. Sounds good and looks easy to prepare! Thanks for the giveaway, Stacey.

  3. Ooh, this recipe looks delicious, and like something even a not-so-great cook like me can prepare! Can't wait to read the book! :)

  4. What I'm making right now (due to the still over-producing zucchinis in the garden):

    Zucchini Bread (from SimplyRecipes)

    2 eggs, beaten
    1 1/3 c sugar
    2 t vanilla
    3 c grated fresh zucchini
    2/3 c melted unsalted butter
    2 t baking soda
    pinch salt
    3 c all-purpose flour
    1/2 t nutmeg
    2 t cinnamon
    1 c chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)
    1 c dried cranberries or raisins (optional)

    Preheat the oven to 350. Butter two 5x9 inch loaf pans. In a large bowl, mix together the sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Stir in the grated zucchini and then the melted butter. Sprinkle baking soda and salt over the mixture and stir it in. Add the flour, a third at a time, stirring after each incorporation. Sprinkle in the cinnamon and nutmeg over the batter and mix. Fold in the nuts and dried cranberries or raisins if using. Divide the batter equally between the loaf pans. Bake for 55 minutes (check for doneness at 50 minutes) or until a wooden pick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in pans for 10 mins. Turn out onto wire racks to cool thoroughly.

  5. I want to read all your books, Alison. My nine year old daughter worked for a year to rescue her pug, Oliver. I told her about "Pug Hill" and she didn't actually say, "I want to go to there!" ala Liz Lemon, but it was implied. Is there really such a place?

  6. The night we brought our girl Samoyed home, she was so tired but didn't want to fall asleep. She did the "bob and weave"...almost asleep, but no! Poor thing. I got down on the floor with her to make her more comfortable. She was the best girl and I miss her terribly.

  7. Thanks for the giveaway - The recipe looks great and I think I will try it this weekend. JillFay

  8. Sounds like a very sweet book! I would be lost without my dogs:)) Recipe sounds awesome too.

  9. My favorite fall recipe is peanuts and candy corn. Throw a little of each in your mouth and enjoy. Tastes like a Payday.

  10. My poodle, Bob, not once, but twice, went up to a child at the dog park and lifted his leg and PEED on them! Never had any other pee accidents, just with those kids! Marking his territory, I guess! :)

  11. Holy macaroni! That recipe looks good and sounds simple enough to throw together after a long day of work! Can't wait to try it!!! I also would LOVE to read your books!!! :)

    1. I meant to post my recipe!

      Lasagna Bake (anytime of year)

      6 oz rotini pasta, cooked
      1 lb ground beef
      1 bell pepper
      1 jar spaghetti sauce
      2 cups mozzarella
      Parmesan to taste

      Brown ground beef and peppers, drain.

      Layer all ingredients except parmesan (sauce, noodles, sauce, meat mix, cheese, noodles, sauce, rest of cheese, sprinkle with Parmesan.

      Bake at 350 until it's melted and headed through. Yummy! Both of my kids liked it too!

  12. With a Hungarian grandmother how could I not try this recipe despite my aversion to cooking? Dog story? I was two and thought my parents' cocker spaniel needed a cold drink on a hot day. When he thought otherwise, I shoved his head in the water to help. Still have the scar on my hand.

  13. Stacy, you rock, and thanks Alison, for guest-blogging, and the giveaway.
    My dog story is about my daughter and her shih tzu, Oreo. My sister's dog had 1 litter, and there were 3 puppies. One was buff & white, one black & white, and one mostly black, except for a white tummy. Yep, he was born last, was the biggest, and he was called Oreo, or double stuffed! And he has the most unGodly high pitched yipping howl.
    The night he came home, my daughter, Julia, took Oreo's crate in her room because she couldn't stand his crying. We wanted him crate-trained. As her last resort, she stuck her thumb in the crate to quiet him. We have a thumb-sucking dog. He only wants to do it now if he's really stressed. And he's 4 years old. Crazy, right? If that isn't enough, he has species confusion. He thinks he's a cat. He adopted a kitten 3 years ago, and thinks he's her momma. Gender AND species confused!
    Well, that's my story. I hope I win.
    Also, my favorite fall dishes are soups or chili. My daughter is very creative in the kitchen, and has made Mexican veggie soup, Stuffed pepper Veggie soup, and she's always coming up with more!

  14. Our best dog story has to do with our then 4 year old. Our babysitter's dog had puppies and she called for us to come visit to witness the event. Becca, the older of our daughters was asking questions and very intent on the whole process while Elizabeth was seemingly not interested. Fast forward a few days...I heard this grunting noise and saw Elizabeth pulling little stuffed animals from underneath a large stuffed animal dog. Never know what catches the attention of a four year old.!!

  15. My boyfriend's family had a dog named Bob, who was loved by all of us. Well, long story short, Bob got stranded in the remote woods of Mono County in California for two months. He had to survive on his own. Someone eventually got him to trust them and turned him in to the local shelter. Since he was chipped, they got a hold of my boyfriend's family and my boyfriend and I drove six hours round trip to retrieve him. Three years later and he is currently snoring away peacefully, curled up next to me on my bed and I couldn't be happier to have him back.

  16. Love the title of your book... it is so true... I had so many heart to heart talks with my dog... she was the best listener... kept all her opinions to herself!

  17. This was a great first chapter. I'm going to have to get this book. I feel the same way. I was a cat person my entire life and then I got dogs. It makes you much more open. You also see people who are not dog people. They are typically not friendly and well, in my experience scared of my Lab since she is a big dog.

    Although, I admit that I'm bad about remembering the owners' names. I always remember the dog names.

  18. Can't wait to read this.

    My husband and I foster rescue dogs so we always have a new adventure when a new dog enters the house. Well, our first dog, Chiquita, was a super smart pit/boxer mix who we could train to do just about anything. And apparently we could teach her words. I'm a big baker and we had her during the holidays when I was baking a ton of cookies. From the kitchen, I asked my husband, who was in the living room, if he wanted a cookie. Chiquita scampered into the kitchen immediately. As my husband said, "Sure, I'll have a cookie," she ran back to him. We spent the next few minutes taking turns saying the word "Cookie" and watching Chiquita go back and forth wondering who was going to give her this elusive cookie. Finally, my husband said, "Great, you broke our dog and taught her the word cookie."

  19. My favorite dog story is when my one-year-old yellow lab, Oscar, ate my wedding rings off of my ottoman. My husband was deployed to Afghanistan at the time, and I was in Germany (where we were stationed). I took them off to put lotion on, got up to get something and came back. I tend to be forgetful, so I didn't notice until the next day when I was getting ready for work. Running late, I had to run out the door without my rings. I put Oscar in the crate and went to work. While at work, I wracked my brain, where could I have put them? A tiny thought pushed through my mind, "What about Oscar?" which I quickly dismissed. I came home, and took him out to do his business. Sure enough, glinting through the feces, was my carefully crafted, handpicked-by-my-then-fiance engagement ring. I ran inside, using several ugly words and Oscar slunk under the dining room table. Wearing two pair of rubber gloves, I fished out my engagement ring and soaked it in as much vinegar as I could find. Upon further inspection of my dining room, I also located my wedding band, now flat and missing three diamonds. The band had to be replaced, but yes, five years later, I am still wearing the ring that has been through my dog's GI tract.

  20. Here is a recipe for all of the dogs out there!

    Peanut Butter Dog Cookies - adapted from http://www.rusticgardenbistro.com/

    1 cup peanut butter
    1 cup beef stock
    1 ½ cups oatmeal
    1 ½ cups all purpose flour

    1) Combine ingredients in a stand mixer and mix on low and then medium-low to form dough (mix just until combined).

    2) After dough has been combined, turn off mixer and knead by hand to make sure everything is incorporated.

    3) Put dough on clean, well floured counter, and roll out to about ¼ inch thick.

    4) Cut out desired shapes and put on cookie sheet covered with parchment paper.

    5) Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes.

    6) For crisper cookies, turn oven down to 250 degrees and bake cookies for up to 40 minutes longer, depending on size of cookies and crispness desired.

  21. I have a sweet 80 lb male black lab. He is a master escape artist. His nickname is "Houndini". Him and our female(40lb) lab sleep in our garage at night. We leave the garage up/cracked about 2-3 inches- 4 at the most!!! However, he manages to escape at least once a week. WIthout setting off the alarm, without making a single noise and no damage to the garage door! It is like magic. Then we awake in the morning to take them for a walk and he is chilling out on the front porch. He acts all like "what?"! It is hilarious! He doesn't bother our neighbors, we all are dying to catch him in the act and video it. (c: Dogs are something else!

  22. My dog story is a tale (get it!) of two dogs.

    When my son was younger he wanted a dog so badly so he could name it Duke. One day, while working in the garden, he picked up a bug and exclaimed that he now had a pet named Duke. Suffice it to say, I drove him to the no-kill shelter the next day and we picked up a Black Lab puppy that we named Duke. That was in July 2004. Unforutnately, Duke liked to chew things he should not and in December of 2007 right before Christmas, Duke passed away due to a blood infection from eating something he should not and puncturing his belly. We were not sure about getting another dog but realized that our house was too quiet and empty without one so off we went to the no-kill shelter. We found and fell in love with another Black Lab who was a little more than a puppy. When trying to decide what to name him, my 7-year old son said that we should name him Knight because a Knight looks after a Duke's family when the Duke is gone. So, here we are 5 years later being watched by Knight who, although has a few more grays in his beard, still acts like a puppy.

  23. I was going to make enchiladas this weekend, but that chicken sounds MUCH better.

    Jen In IL- I loved your story! Your son sounds like one smart cookie, and that was a perfect name.

  24. I cannot wait to read this newest book, and would love to win a copy. (Thanks for the recipe, too).

  25. I make a very similar recipe that has a teaspoon of paprika in it and my kids always wanted egg noodles for the sauce.