Thursday, February 28, 2019

Stevie Appreciation Party! & Cookie Recipe!

Last weekend we had a super extravaganza Stevie Appreciation Party to celebrate our beloved pup Stevie Wonder. If you follow me on FB or Instragram, then you already know that our Stevie has cancer. We just found out last month, and it was a total shock to us. She didn't have any symptoms at all, and we were just taking her in for her annual check-up and shots... It was a whirlwind of shock and appointments and hope and sadness. In the end, we learned that her cancer was fairly advanced and has already spread to her lungs and lymph, and she also has kidney disease on top of it all. It was a really tough few weeks. Right now we have her on some cancer meds, kidney meds, and we've modified her diet. After some rocky adjustments for all of us, she seems to be tolerating her medicines pretty well, and it seems like we will be able to slow down the inevitable... and enjoy at least a little more time together.

We immediately began spoiling her and doting on her with MAXIMUM ZEAL and she has been absolutely loving all the attention. Finally!! Stevie is a special dog who really remembers people that she loves, and we had the idea to have a party to celebrate her specialness... and to do it while she is still healthy and strong enough to enjoy a party.

So, that's just what we did!
Let's get this party started! 

We started off the party with a group walk at one of Stevie's favorite parks. We planned to walk off leash... but when we arrived, the animal services truck was there, looking for scofflaws like us!! Ha ha. Luckily, after about a half lap or so, he finally took off, and we went back to our lawless ways. Doesn't Stevie look happy prancing in the grass? 

Stevie and her friend Saffron

I wasn't sure if the Stevie Appreciation Party would end up being more for us humans, or if Stevie would actually enjoy it - but my fears were put to rest immediately on the walk, when Stevie was absolutely BEAMING. Of course, she always enjoys a good dog walk, but she was about 10 times happier and more prancy-pants than usual. We tied a sparkly gold bow around her neck, and she looked so pretty. She was very jaunty and had a great time getting lots of pets, sniffing in the gopher holes, leading the pack and seeing all her friends. As you can see, we also got lucky with really beautiful weather! 

After the walk, we all headed back to our house... 
All over the house I had hung up special Stevie Wonder banners like the one on the mantle here - with all sorts of photos from her life and her activities: beach days, snoozes, forest adventures, sunbathing, and so on. I loved the way they turned out. 

Stevie Wonder Magnets! 
For party favors, I ordered a whole bunch of magnets from Shutterfly with a bunch of my favorite pictures of Stevie. I set them all out and let everyone pick out their own favorites (after I picked my own favorite for our fridge of course!). 

Stevie Wonder temporary tattoos! 

I purchased some temporary tattoo printer paper online and made two different designs - one had Stevie's pretty face with a big red heart and the other was a classic sailor tattoo kind of design. They came out super well and they were so much fun. I currently have one on each bicep! ha ha. I had a little tattoo station set up with the tattoos, and washcloth and instructions. Why are temporary tattoos so much fun? 

We had such a beautiful collection of people come to our little festivity. There were a handful of special people that I knew we had to invite (our housesitters - past and present, for example)... and then I put out an open call to anyone who self-identified as being a friend of Stevie and wanted to spend some quality time with her. It is so sweet how many friends Stevie has. 

Stevie Coloring! 

I made a few coloring sheets with different Stevie drawings and set up a little coloring station. Coloring is fun and meditative and an excellent way to reflect on how wonderful Stevie is. I loved seeing all the busy folks engrossed in their coloring! 

Stevie's friend Kendra did an extra super special coloring job that even captured Stevie's perfect little pink piglet belly. 

many busy happy hands... 

Treats for Stevie!
Of course we had some treats up on the mantle so that anyone who wanted to could give Stevie a little treat. We had a couple of her favorite (non-vegan) treats, and also some steamed green beans and steamed broccoli - which are two of her all time favorite treats. Ha ha. I think she learned that from Yummers Potatoes. In fact, this morning I put some of the leftover steamed broccoli in her breakfast bowl and it was the very first thing she ate! So cute. 

Our youngest party attendee, W. is a devout lover of cats, but even he enjoyed the Stevie party. He especially had so much fun giving Stevie pieces of the broccoli. It was extremely cute. He was dangling it around and Stevie was watching that little broccoli floret with rapt attention and finally W's mom said "you gotta give it to her, she's not a cat!" Ha ha. 

Dog Treat Decorating!

Stevie's friend Kendra had the brilliant idea that I should make dog biscuits that everyone could decorate for the party. "It's just what you do at your other parties but for dogs!" Ha ha. After lots of looking around I decided to make this very simple and appealing Pumpkin & Peanut Butter Dog Biscuits from It Doesn't Taste like Chicken. This recipe was really wonderful - it only has oats, peanut butter, and pumpkin! It was easy to make and the doggies really love these treats. We left some of the decorated cookies on the table after the party, and while we were out the doggies breached the "no dogs on the coffee table" rule to eat them all! A good sign! 

For the Doggie "Frosting" I used a recipe I found on YouTube: 1/2 c unsweetened yogurt, 1/2 cup tapioca starch. I used 1 tsp each of beet powder, spirulina, and turmeric for the food coloring. Special thanks to Connie for bringing me some of her homemade yogurt when I realized at the last minute that mine had gone bad! 

Connie also brought along a big tray of adorable Peanut Butter PupCakes! Cupcakes for pups! I didn't get a proper picture until after several of them had been enjoyed or taken home for other pups... but you can see them on the right there. Oh my gosh the dogs love these! After the party, I've stored the extras in our fridge and every morning I split one for the pups to share with breakfast. They love it! Here's the recipe that she used. 

*reserved for Stevie Wonder*

This part of the sofa is by far Stevie's favorite place to rest. When we have parties, we usually force the doggies to just accept their fate and surrender their sofa zone to our human guests. But, not this time! We made a special sign for our guests to know that this spot was reserved for Stevie. Looks like someone can't read! *cough* Snoopy! *cough*

In the end she was too busy enjoying her own party - eating treats, taking selfies, and being appreciated to spend much time in her favorite spot! 

Stevie Selfie Frame!

I made a little selfie frame for folks to get pictures with Stevie, if they could be lucky enough to convince her to sit still and look at the camera! I think Connie got one of the best pictures with Stevie! I also love this cute picture of my mom and dad in the I Heart Stevie frame! <3 cuties.="" frame.="" p="" stevie="" such="">

Human Treats!
You might be wondering if there was any food involved in this festive gathering... there sure was! But, to be honest, it wasn't my main focus. I made a big batch of homemade hummus, topped with toasted sesame oil and dukkah. I also ad-libbed a batch of some white bean and pesto dip, which turned out really well. I had several kinds of crackers, including some GF rice crackers, some baguette slices, and the requisite fresh veggies. 

I also had some Bitchin' Sauce - Have you ever tried this stuff? My aunt Sara got some for us and it's really rich and super savory. It packs quite a punch and I really like it.

The Cashew Cheese is the original flavor from Treeline. I love their cheeses, and clearly other people do because this was totally gone in no time at all. I should have bought two of them! 

My friend Connie brought these super cute (and classically delicious) sugar cookies in the shape of dog biscuits.  Ha ha, I loved that these human  treats were in the shape of dogs treats. We had all the dog treats carefully displayed on the mantle, and the human treats on the table... just so there would be no confusion!! 

Scottie Dog Licorice

I love licorice and one of our little nicknames for Stevie is "Licky Licorice" because she loves to lick our hands for as long as we will tolerate it. So these licorice scottie dog candies were one of the first things I thought of for our party. They are SO good. I'm happy that there are still a bunch left in the bag... 

I didn't get great pictures of the whole set up, but we also had Chocolate Bark (get it??), and I even got black paper plates and black napkins from the party store - in homage to Stevie's beautiful black coat. 


Mr. VE&T and I have wanted to invent a cookie recipe called "Stevie Paws" for the longest time. The thing is, Stevie has PERFECT little paws. They are tidy and adorable and irresistible... and they are also completely off-limits. No one is allowed to touch them. Back when she was a youngster, this was the single element that caused her to fail her Canine Good Citizen Test. She did everything perfectly but absolutely refused to let that lady touch her paws. No Way. 

So, we've been thinking about this mythical cookie for so long... but nothing quite sounded special or "Stevie" enough. It couldn't just be another chocolate and peanut butter cookie, because Stevie is not just another cute dog. You guys, she is SO SPECIAL. It's hard to explain. So the cookie had to be special too. Well, leave it to Mr. VE&T... all of a sudden he's like "What about Mushrooms?" and I was like "YES." I knew Stevie Paws were finally going to happen.

Why Mushrooms?? There's something wild and earthy and Stevie. She almost seems like a wild dog. When you take her to the forest, she just comes to life - she puffs up and rushes around and sniffs and moves with clarity and purpose. It's so beautiful. Also, Stevie is unique! And have you ever heard of a cookie with mushrooms in it before??? The mushrooms were just RIGHT. So here's the recipe, featuring Porcini Mushroom Powder, Black Cocoa Powder, Dried Figs, and Hazelnuts. These are fancy cookies because Stevie is fancy and worth it. No apologies!! 

Also, believe it or not, they turned out SO WELL and they are so interesting and delicious. You can't quite taste the mushroom, but the cookies have an elusive earthiness about them that is so lovely and perfect with the hazelnuts and figs. The black cocoa is entirely optional, but gives a more delicate flavor and a MUCH darker color for a satisfying cookie that looks more like a real Stevie Paw!

Stevie Paws
Makes 12 cookies
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup hazelnut meal
2 Tbsp regular cocoa powder
2 Tbsp black cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
3 T chopped roasted hazelnuts
3 T chopped dried figs
3 T chocolate chips
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp porcini powder*
1/4 tsp black pepper
*note: my porcini powder wasn't brand new, so it's possible that if you have strong, fresh porcini powder, 2 tsp could be enough. 
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp almond extract (or hazelnut extract if you can find it!)
1/4 cup canola oil
2 Tbsp chocolate chips

Preheat your oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together the all purpose flour, hazelnut meal, regular cocoa powder, black cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, chopped roasted hazelnuts, chopped dried figs, chocolate chips, sugar, salt, porcini powder, and black pepper.

In a smaller bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, vanilla extract, almond extract, and canola oil.

Add the wet ingredients into the dry and use a rubber spatula or wooden spoon to integrate the ingredients all together. Scoop walnut-sized balls of dough and place them on the lined baking sheet, a couple inches apart. Use the back of a spoon to gently flatten the globs just a little bit. Use the extra 2 Tbsp of chocolate chips to press a few chocolate chips into the top of each cookie.

Bake for 11 minutes. Allow to cool for a few minutes on the cookie sheet before transferring to a cooling rack. Enjoy! And think of Stevie!

*I'd like to thank Dreena Burton for her bajillions of excellent cookie recipes. I used an old recipe of hers as the foundation for this recipe, and tweaked it from there. Thanks Dreena! 

When Stevie is very happy and very excited she spreads her cute little toes.
Otherwise, she keeps them all very close together, each in their proper place! 

This is Stevie getting some love from her very first human friend, Toni. I've known Toni all my life, and it just happened that we both got new dogs around the same time. Back when Stevie was our only dog she and Toni's dog Lily were in dog training class together. For a while, Stevie and Lily were friends and had play dates. Eventually, they both became less interested in playing with other dogs, and the playdates came to an end, but Stevie has never lost her abiding love for Toni! 

For now, our sweet Stevie still seems so happy and healthy, it's hard to actually fathom that she has this disease inside her beautiful and perfect little body.  Who knows how much time we will have together with her? In the meantime, we are determined to let her have lots of fun and get as much love and snugs as she wants!! Our Stevie party was so wonderful, and by the end of the evening, she was absolutely sated with treats and activity and attention... standing in the middle of the room, just barely able to keep her eyes open. It was so cute! 


  1. Aw, such a sweet post! I love the "prancy-pants" reference. Thanks for letting me come and celebrate Miss Stevie Wonder! 💖

  2. Sara Querbes7:17 PM

    That is absolutely the cutest party I have ever heard of. The coloring pages were a really special touch! I love your drawings-- they really capture her personality! The care and love this party shows brought me to tears. What a lucky pup to have you...and how lucky you are to have such a special dog. Hugs to Stevie, from a long-time reader. May all her days left be filled with treats and love and no feet touching...but plenty of feet admiring. <3

  3. What a wonderful party! I have been thinking about doing one for Tungsten when the weather gets nicer and you've given me some great ideas.

    It looks like Stevie had a wonderful time.<3

  4. This post made me tear up! I feel like I know Stevie after so many years of reading about her! What an amazing, beautiful, sweet party for such a sweet pupper. <3

  5. This is so incredibly cute and touching, I love it! What a wonderful idea.

  6. Wow, what an amazing party for Stevie; it sounds like she really enjoyed her special day! Sending lots of love! <3

  7. What a gorgeous tribute & superman doggy heaven party!

  8. Stevie is such a sweet puppy and you are such an amazing human!!! I absolutely love the idea for this party, and the execution made me tear up. What a perfect day for everyone!

  9. Oh Amey, this is the most beautiful party I've ever seen. I love every single Stevie aspect of it. You certainly made it the best party a doggo could wish for.

  10. Amey, this is beautiful, heart-warming, and so inspiring. I'm sorry to say that I've been honestly avoiding your Stevie posts because I find the implications so completely overwhelming that I can't process them through my emotionally stunted mind. Regardless, Stevie is very lucky to have you. <3


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