Twas the Friday before Christmas

Twas the Friday before Christmas,
the tree aglow,
the presents below,
Lists were checked twice
seems this year everyone was mega nice!
Plans for epic gingerbread
danced as ideas in our head.
One week until the day,
we celebrate family and open gifts, hooray!

Indeed, we have entered into the week before Christmas. And what a whoosh this month has done in moving forward. Soon we’ll be into the new year, full of resolutions and hope for a year of new “normal” to come. 

Tips for pictures of your dog with Christmas lights on a tree

The tree is decorated, with bulbs, ornaments and lights galore. How adorable would it be to capture your dog (or kids, or both) in front of the tree? MEGA adorable indeed!

Here are some tips to get those perfect Christmas light pictures:  

  1. Decide if you want a silhouette or to see your dog
    – silhouette = turn off the lights in the room minus the tree (the tree will be your light source)
    – want to see your dog = leave the lights on in the room, add light if needed!
  2. Move closer to your dog! Arm’s length or closer! This will make the light turn into adorable little dots of light
  3. Move your dog farther from the tree and move closer to him
  4. Zoom in! Telephoto lenses (should work similar with zooming in on a cell phone) will make the background look closer to your dog plus the lights of the tree will look more out of focus (dots of light). 
  5.  Using a fancy camera? Use a wide aperture! The most background blur will occur at f2.8-1.4. (If you don’t have a lens with that wide of an aperture, zoom in and move closer to your dog to get more blur and dots of light.)

Guess who was thrilled to be the model this morning? Yup that would be sir Bender.

A quick rearrange of the living room, an handful of treats and the rug moved into position (Bender doesn’t like to sit on the wood floor because he tends to slide) and we were in photography mode. 

 (Camera specs for the techy: Nikon Z6 II camera + adapter + Tamron 35-150mm f2.8-4 lens)

Sitting close to the tree.
46mm at f3 then zoomed to 85mm at f3.5. See how zooming in made a difference in the background and lights?

A little farther from the tree.
35mm at f2.8 then zoomed to 145mm at f4. See the difference in the background? Plus how Bender looks a little less like a bobblehead in the closer image? That’s telephoto compression!

Farther from the tree.
62mm at f3.3 then zoomed to 102mm at f3.8. 
* Due to where the couch was, I was a bit farther back from Bender, which is why the full body image is a little more zoomed than the first two. Also notice how dark his eyes are – he was directly under the ceiling light. Direct overhead light isn’t typically flattering. In this instance, I’d say add some light from the front, over your left or right shoulder.

Don’t have a flash? Grab a lamp! Aim it the direction you need to fill in with light. No lampshade will be a hard & bright light, while a lampshade will diffuse the light making it softer and dimmer. 

Popped over to Paynesville for a visit and brought along the Z6 II (newest in the arsenal & it’s mirrorless!).

Axle was ecstatic to see me and was insistent on being petted. He’s the dog who will use his paw to pull your hand towards him if you stop giving him chest scritches. 

Oh the greys! What a world of difference a few years makes! 2020 vs 2016. Awwww… he will be turning 10 this year!

Tootsie the moose!
Lily has the longest wiskers...
Snuggles, in classic form - ignore the camera & find the warmest place to snooze!

Onward to the vintage recipes!

A side note before we launch into a vintage Christmas dinner – we found a cookbook for dogs! It’s called “They Everything Cooking for Dogs Book” by Lisa Fortunato. It features 150 recipes that are for dogs, and sound tasty enough for people to have too! The future may have us pulling some of those recipes to share with you!

Onward! The menu for Christmas was submitted by Miss M. E. Wright of Cairo, Ill. It may be the most in depth for recipes in the 1896 cookbook, spanning from page 579 to page 581.

Maizena and cream
Potato and ham sandwiches
Finger biscuits
Raised flannel cakes

Raw oysters with sliced lemon
Thin bread and butter
Tomato bisque
Lobster chops
Roast goose, apple sauce
Giblet gravy
Stuffed onions
Mashed potatoes
Wild cherry and almond sorbet
Celery salad with mayonnaise dressing
Grated cheese
Salted wafers
Christmas pudding – foam sauce
Kisses filled with whipped cream

Slices of roast goose – deviled
Celery salad with sandwiches

A rather robust and filling menu! Most likely dinner was served between noon & 3 pm, hence the late luncheon of a lighter meal that follows. Recipes included under the entry: Potato and Ham Sandwiches, Finger Biscuits, Raised Flannel Cakes, Lobster Chops, Roast Goose, Giblet Gravy, Stuffed Onions, Wild Cherry and Almond Sorbet, Christmas Pudding, Foam Sauce and “Devil” for Slices of Goose. 

Maizena = brand of corn starch (yes you can still get it today!)

The eye catchers for recipes: Finger Biscuits, Raised Flannel Cakes, Wild Cherry and Almond Sorbert and that lovely Roast Goose. 

Mix and sift three times one quart flour, two heaping teaspoonfuls of baking powder and a teaspoonful of salt. Stir in sweet milk enough to make a soft dough. Flour the breadboard and turn out the dough on it, touching it as little as may be. Beat to a cream two tablespoonfuls butter, one teaspoonful lard and one tablespoonful sugar. Spread this on the dough, double the dough over it, flour it slightly and press it out with the rolling-pin half an inch thick. With a knife cut the dough into strips finger length. Lay them close together in the pan and bake in a quick oven. They are peculiarly delicate. 

* sweet milk = regular milk
* quick oven = 400-425

* assumed time – try 8-10 minutes

** Share with your pupper – in moderation! All the ingredients are dog friendly!

Boil a pint and a half of sweet milk and let it stand till lukewarm. Add two large tablespoonfuls yeast and pour upon one pint flour, one-half pint cornmeal; one teaspoonful salt and one tablespoonful sugar, mixed well together. Cover closely and put in a warm place. In the morning add two eggs, beaten separately. Let the batter stand fifteen minutes, if convenient, after adding the eggs. Bake on a hot griddle. 

* sweet milk = regular milk
* one-half pint = 1 cup

** flannel cakes are similar to pancakes, give them a flip while you bake them on a hot griddle
** Share with your dog – all the ingredients are dog friendly – remember moderation!

One quart water, one pint white sugar, juice of one lemon, six sweet almonds, blanched and pounded; one bitter almond, a wineglassful of wild cherry sirup. Freeze in a freezer; when half frozen add the beaten whites of three eggs. Serve in glass cups. The yolks of the eggs can be used in the mayonnaise dressing for the celery salad. 

*wineglassful = 2 oz = 1/4 cup

* sweet almonds are the ones you snack on, bitter almonds contain cyanide – don’t eat them raw! Better to use an almond extract. Exact amount – seems it’s better to err less with the extract.
** DON’T SHARE with your dog! Almonds aren’t good for dogs!

Select a young goose, which can be told by a brittle windpipe, white skin, plump breast and yellow feet; the web should tear easily. An old goose is known by its red feet. Singe, draw, wash and wipe the goose. Beat the breast flat with a rolling-pin, draw up the legs and skewer both legs and wings close to the body. Stuff with the following dressing: One pint stale bread crumbs, two medium-sized onions boiled and mashed, one-half teacupful boiled rice, one teaspoonful powdered sage, one half teaspoonful salt, one-fourth teaspoonful pepper, one tablespoonful melted butter and one-half teacupful milk. Roast in a covered pan, allowing rather more than twenty minutes to the pound. Baste frequently with the following mixture: One teaspoonful made mustard, a saltspoonful salt, a dash of cayenne, a large tablespoonful melted butter, a teacupful hot water, a teaspoonful vinegar. This basting is a great improvement. 

* one-half teacupful = 2 oz = 1/4 cup
* saltspoonful = 1/4 teaspoon
* teacupful = 4 oz = 1/2 cup 

** If you don’t wan’t to singe, draw (remove the insides), wash & wipe the goose, you can opt for a ready to go goose. There’s a company in South Dakota that produces geese for eating – 
Schiltz Foods. A young goose is going to cost $95-150ish, pending size. They also offer smoked and preroasted geese!

We hope you will have a wonderful Christmas filled with cheer, love and family (in a safe way). Kris, Bender, Axle and I send our love to you (if you want a Christmas card, its more likely you’ll get a winter greetings vs Christmas card! Hahaha!).

If you want to send us a card drop us an email – or text us at 320-428-0135 and we’ll send you our address!

Have a wonderful week before Christmas!

Two Fridays before Christmas…

Two Fridays before Christmas, egads when did the time traipse so quickly by?

We’ve hit the marker of 14 whopping days before Christmas (the song 12 Days of Christmas could kick up on Sunday, though the 12 days actually occur the 12 days AFTER Christmas), a smooth two weeks before we tear into gifts and celebrate with eggnog and Christmas lasagna.

Additionally, Hanukkah starts today!

This year has been quite a cluster and it has impacted a bazillion small businesses. See if you can aim towards local businesses for your gift purchasing this year.

Understandably the investment for a session with About A Dog Photography is a bigger one than buying handcrafted socks, but there are other ways to help us out. Sign up for the Beyond the Barking Basics course, snag The Dogs of Minneapolis (plus help out rescues!), or pop over to Atomic Collars and snag some swag. 

If you missed it, we created a massive collective list of local and other dog businesses that would love the extra boost this year. Need a refresher? Find the list here!

Sweet butter lettuce, there are two weeks to create a gingerbread house from scratch! Eons of time until you realize how booked solid your schedule has become, plus the part of figuring out which gingerbread recipe to use! (Construction gingerbread will get your miles ahead, though the taste tends to be lackluster.

In curiosity, the 1896 was consulted. In its own subheading of GINGERBREAD, just after cookies (which interestingly are found under the CAKE AND CAKES subheading), there are 3 recipes for gingerbread and 12 variations from fairy to World’s Fair. 

Afterwards is found Jumbles to Yolk Rings (17 entries), though they seem to be the misfits categories, not falling under cakes, gingerbread or desserts and puddings. 

History of gingerbread: a simpler variation of it was consumed by ancient Egyptians and ancient Greeks, though it didn’t arrive in Europe until the 11th century when Crusaders brought back ginger from the Middle East. Add a transition of breadcrumbs to flour, then the popularization of gingerbread men from Queen Elizabeth I (she made them into the likenesses of the visiting dignitaries!). 

Gingerbread houses don’t show up in popularity until the Brothers Grim crafted the witch’s house in Hansel & Gretel in the 19th century! (Germans were making gingerbread houses as early as the 16th century). 

Current times have us baking records and competing in competitions! (Google: national gingerbread house competition and prepared to be wowed!)

The aim for this year is neither a record or a competition, but instead a crafting of vision (Santa’s house over a reindeer stable… ambitious much?) Not sure I’ll use any of the very vintage recipes, but perhaps. Below is the trio of the gingerbreads, plus a trio of ones that caught the fancy. 

One-half cup of molasses, one-half cup of sugar, one-third cup of milk, one-third cup of butter, one egg, one teaspoon of soda in the molasses, one teaspoon each of ginger, salt & cinnamon, two cups flour. Bake in flat pan and cut with heated knife. Very good on a cold day with a glass of hot milk into which a trifle of salt has been put. 

Warm one-half scant cup of butter, one cup of molasses, one-half cup brown sugar, one-half teaspoonful mixed cinnamon and mace, one tablespoonful ground ginger, slightly together, and stir to a yellow brown cream; add half a cup of milk, two beaten eggs, and one level teaspoonful of soda dissolved in the milk, and two and a half cups of flour; beat well and bake in a large shallow pan. 


Doesn’t seem to exist… Possibly a typo from 124 years ago? None of the recipes around that date have gingerbread. Odd…

* Assumed oven temp: try 350
** Assumed bake time: for cookies 8-10 minutes, for the shallow pan try 45 mins

Gingerbread pg 20 is DOG FRIENDLY! (Moderation of course!)
Gingerbread pg 72 is only dog friendly if you OMIT the MACE! (Mace comes from the same family as nutmeg which is toxic to dogs!)

One cupful of butter, two of sugar, one of milk, four of flour, one-third teaspoon soda, one tablespoonful ginger. Beat the butter to a cream; add the sugar, gradually, and when light, the ginger; the milk in which the soda has been dissolved, and finally the flour. Turn baking pans upside down and wipe the bottoms very clean. Butter them and spread the cake very thin upon them. Bake in a moderate oven until brown. While still hot cut into squares with a cake knife and slip from the pan. Keep in a tin box. This is delicious. With this quantity enough for several days may be made. Remember to spread it as thin as a wafer and cut it the instant it is taken from the oven. 

Good gingerbread can only be made of the dark New Orleans or Porto Rico molasses. The following is a Dixie recipe and infallible: One-half cup butter, warmed till soft; one and one-half cups molasses, three-fourths cup boiling water, three level cups sifted flour, one slightly heaping teaspoonful of soda, one and one-half heaping teaspoonfuls ginger, on and one-half teaspoonfuls cinnamon, one saltspoonful cloves, one saltspoonful nutmeg, and a pinch of salt. Put molasses in one bowl and add melted butter, spices and soda. When thoroughly mixed together add the boiling water, the the flour, beating until all lumps are gone. Bake in moderate oven. As anything made with molasses burns easily, the pan must be lined with thick double paper, or, the easiest method is to use two pans, the same size, putting one inside the other. 

Here is highly spiced gingerbread that will keep for a long time and makes a fine cake for travelers’ lunch. Thoroughly sift two quarts of flour and one even teaspoonful of saleratus together in a pan. Rub into it one cupful of butter and one pound of good brown sugar; add to the mixture one pint of New Orleans molasses, of the purest quality, six well-beaten eggs, one after-dinner coffee cupful of ground ginger, one tablespoonful of cinnamon and a teaspoonful of salt. This makes a soft dough, too soft to roll. Lift it on to your board with a knife and spread it to an equal thickness with it. Cut into small cakes, lay them far apart in buttered pans and bake in a quick oven. 

* Moderate oven – Fairy & Warren: 350-375° 
* Quick oven – World’s Fair: 375-400°
** Assumed bake times: 16-20 minutes for Fairy,  25-35 minutes for Warren (as a cake), 8-10 minutes for World’s Fair as they are cut into small cakes

* World’s Fair – saleratus = sodium bicarbonate = baking soda
* World’s Fair – one after-dinner coffee cupful = approx 3 ounces = 6 tablespoonfuls 

Fairy is DOG FRIENDLY / Warren IS NOT dog friendly (cloves and mace are a no no!) / World’s Fair is DOG FRIENDLY!

Regular scheduled vintage recipe time!

We harken back to 1896, a Saturday. The menu submitted by Mrs. Mary L. Cavanagh of Iowa City, Iowa. 

Wheatena and cream
Pork tenderloins
Sanded potato cakes
Apple gems

Veal toast
Home-made rye bread and butter
Potato rusks
Boiled apples

Beef stew with dumplings
Scalloped tomatoes
Vegetable oysters
Cucumber pickles
Cranberry shortcake

Wheatena is a cereal, started in 1879 and made from toasted, ground, wheat cereal. Indeed it still exists to this day, under the same name making it a long standing 141 years old! And we’ve never heard of it, have you? 

The other curiosities: Sanded potato cakes (they aren’t listed in the recipes and none are listed in the index either), home-made rye bread (no recipes given, only one listing, pg 180, the entry right above brains), and potato rusks (they seem to be potato cakes with yeast). Vegetable oysters are made from salsify, a root veggie related to parsnips. Quite interesting!

Next week we’ll skip ahead a week to give you ample time to craft from the Christmas menu, featuring a late luncheon (we feast at the midday dinner!).

This weekend should be the assembly and decoration of the Christmas tree. That means we can talk about getting epic holiday images with your dog plus the holiday lights indoors! Of course Bender will be thrilled…

Until we meet again next week, keep you jolly spreading (safely of course!), give your dog tons of love, and get out into those non December weather temp days!

If you need to get ahold of us (chit chat, scheduling your session, baking success or fail, etc) email:  / text or call 320-428-0135 / Facebook & Instagram

Black Friday Small Business Love

The day has arrived, though the classical context of the Black Fridays of our youth (lines for the elusive doorbusters, the chaos and fending off the old women for the very last Tickle Me Elmo) has fizzled into a month long celebration of holiday spending and deals. Additionally, web buying allows us to be cozy in our robes and slippers without the hassle of parking, people and getting up at the ass crack in hopes of the thing might be available. 

This year is mega important to support our local small businesses. The pandemic has been rough, and small businesses have been hit quite hard. Be sure to show them ample love!

Below is a compiled list of local to Minnesota & beyond:

Local to Minnesota:

  • Atomic Collars
    – upcycled collars, scarves and hoodies for bigger dogs 
  • Sidewalk Dog
    – an awesome resource for everything dog in the Twin Cities plus they have awesome swag!
  • CuddleMutt
    – collars, bandanas & cozy blankets 
    * If you buy a CuddleMutt blanket, they give a CuddleMutt blanket + 20% of profits for all other accessories to a shelter!
  • Grey Duck Art
    – paint by numbers of YOUR dog!
  • Val & Co
    tasty treats from recycled brew grains, bowties, scarves & matching human sets too! 
  • Dog Love Repeat
    – classy and upscale accessories
  • Lucy & Co
    – coats, bandanas, harnesses & more!
  • Bubbly Paws Dog Wash
    get your pupper squeaky clean – self service, full service and grooming available! Find them in the Twin Cities!
  •  Kovered Up
    – crate covers, bandanas, collars & leashes and more! 
  • Miss Sophie Bowtique
    – adorable dresses & clothing for small to medium sized dogs & cats.
  • Nelli Designs
    – memorial candles, candles & gift boxes
  •  Riverrun Acreage LLC
    – collars, bow ties and face masks!
  • ZoZo & Co
    – adorable bandanas
  • Rescued Hearts Clothing
    – clothing for people with dog themed graphics – perfect for dog moms & dog dads!
  • Finley’s
    – mega tasty dog treats
    * Finley’s creates paid employment opportunities for people with disabilities while dedicating 50% of net profits to initiatives providing employment training, accessibility, health & wellness, and advocacy platforms for people with disabilities.
  • Carver County Chiropractic 
    – not only chiropractors for people – they adjust animals too!
  • Wilson Customs 
    – custom dog kennels that become pieces of furniture as well as a homey place for your doggo!
  • Loon & Beau
    – bandanas & bow ties oh my!
  •  Fuzz Butt Boutique
    – bandanas, face masks, matching sets and more!
  • Leashes by Liz
    – handcrafted leashes, collars & harnesses made from paracord
  • Curtis Collars
    – stunning embroidery collars & paracord ones too!
  •  The Bark Bars
    – soaps and bath bombs for dogs!
  • Fairly Odd Dogs Apparel
    – unique, fun and classy collars plus bandanas & more!
  • Peace Love Local
    – dog tags, bandanas and more!
  • Wet Lab Creative
    – custom portraits of your dog!
  • Northern Wick
    – they create candles, but their fall dog box is utterly adorable!
  •  Lauren Boatner Art
    – awesome portraits of your doggo! Check out her Instagram to see examples!
  • Pawfectreasures
    – Bandana holders for your dog’s bandana wardrobe
  • Stashios
    – wrap ups to turn pills into treats plus tasty dental treats!
  • Kannis Kreations
    – hand stamped dog tags
  • Black Dog’s Art Studio
    – watercolor portraits, face masks and dog bed sheets
  • Doodles and Loons
    – mega cute dog bandanas

More small businesses to love:

Etsy has way more than a ton of options. Collars, leashes, blankets, coats, dog everything. Here are some searches to get you into the rabbit hole:



FRIDAY November 27th – MONDAY November 30th ONLY!
– When you invest in a session your session investment turns into a PRINT CREDIT of $250!

– BIG BONUS: Friday get an additional print credit of $100
– BONUS: Saturday-Sunday get an additional print credit of $50

EMAIL to:  
or you can snag a session here:
to snag the Black Friday SESSION to PRINT CREDIT!


Additional savings with About A Dog Photography: 


BOGO! Buy one, get one FREE on collars and scarves!
*Coupon is valid until November 30th. Excludes hoodies, crewnecks & sale items. 


We will be doing giveaways for December featuring: Atomic Collars, Val & Co, CuddleMutt, Nomadic Tails, & Dog Love Repeat!

Keep an eye on our Instagram @AboutADogPhoto to get your chance to win some awesome holiday swag!

Merry shopping and may the season be full of sparkle & love!

Thanksgiving means PIE! And pie for DOGS!

The turkeys are being bought, the stuffing stuffed, the cranberries are singing, being de-canned or compoted, while potatoes prepare to be mashed and smothered in matching turkey gravy. The end of the meal has released the belt at least two notches,  a statisfied sign, a burp then the wafting goodness as the last element of classic Thanksgiving is pulled from the oven.


Around here pumpkin pie with an over generous heaping of whipped cream caps off the meal.

Which got us thinking, could dogs delight in the same pie goods as us humans? In a way yes.

Traditionally pumpkin pie is made with nutmeg which very very BAD for dogs! Which means dogs can’t eat our pumpkin pie, but we can always MAKE them their own pies!

Here’s a handy recipe to make your dog his own pumpkin pies!

Pumpkin Pie For Dogs

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 8 minutes
  • Total Time: 13 minutes
  • Yield: 24 Mini Pies
  • Category: Special Occasion


  • Oat flour (pulse rolled oats in a food processor to a floury consistency)
  • Unsweetened applesauce
  • Banana
  • Unsweetened pureed pumpkin
  • OPTIONAL: Low-fat plain yogurt for topping


Preheat oven to 350º

For the topping:

You can thicken the yogurt by placing it in a mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth or a large coffee filter,

Set the strainer over a bowl to catch the whey.

For the crust:

In a mixing bowl, stir together the flour and applesauce until a nice dough ball forms.

Divide the dough into 24 equal sized pieces

Place a ball in each well of a mini muffin tin and press to flatten.

Bake the crust for 8 min or until just starting to color

Let cool before removing from pan.

For the filling:

Peel and mash the banana in a large bowl.

Add the pumpkin puree and stir to combine.

Divide the filling among the pie crusts and top with yogurt.

(Found on

Want to try a different type of pie? Substitute out the pumpkin and whip up:

  • an apple pie
  • a banana pie (mix in some peanut butter for an Elvis vibe)
  • a blueberry pie
  • a cranberry pie
  • a peach pie
  • a pear pie
  • a raspberry pie
  • a strawberry pie (or mix all the berries!)

All the fruits listed above are dog edible. If you make any of them just be aware of too much added sugars that could upset your pup’s tummy. 

If we were crafting a dog pie, we’d aim towards a blueberry or peach (perhaps a blueberry peach one!).  What kind of pup pie will you create for your dog this Thanksgiving?