The Sugar Shakers & Bakers were gathered in their usual spot late Thursday morning: The Rooster Room.
“It’s where they do all their baking,” said Chris Jones, activity director for The Fountains of Shiloh senior living center in Shiloh.
Decorated in a country theme with barnyard birds on the walls, the home-style kitchen includes a big oak table for workspace. The group formed last October. Every Thursday the members bake something sweet, such as cookies, brownies or fudge, to share with other residents at bingo later in the day.
But last week, the ingredients were ground beef and chicken, hard-boiled eggs, oats, peas and carrots.
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Time to make doggie meatloaf for a very special pooch.
“We’re celebrating Jax’s fifth birthday tomorrow,” Chris told the group. Jax is the center’s “emotional support dog” — a big black Lab who wears a bandana and carries his leash in his mouth. Owned by Executive Director Jules Johanson, he makes the rounds visiting residents, and took time out to pose for a photo or two as the cooks worked on his special meal.
“Have you ever made dog food before?” volunteer Diane Decker asked the group, which included Kay Hoerner, Margarite Pauley, Elizabeth Haake and Mike Quirk. They all laughed and shook their heads.
Mike wielded a knife, expertly chopping carrots. He’d been in the food business for a long time, he said, selling for Middendorf.
Margarite cracked and peeled eggs while Kay measured peas. Elizabeth got her hands into the mixture and worked the ingredients together.
“They’ve been cooking and baking all their lives,” said Chris, watching them at work.
Elizabeth grinned. “It’s natural.”
Once in the pans — they made two loaves — they’d be baked and cooled, then sliced and put in gift bags for Jax and other canine friends who would visit for the celebration.
Chris: “Everybody loves Jax, so they don’t mind giving up their sweets for a week.”
Woof-Woof Pooch Pie
1 pound lean ground beef, turkey or chicken\
1/2 cup chopped carrots
1/2 cup peas
1/2 cup oats
3 hard-boiled eggs
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a loaf pan.
In a bowl, mix meat, carrots and peas. Add oats and eggs. Mix until mixture comes together.
Place half the mixture in the bottom of the pan. Arrange the hard-boiled eggs along the center of the loaf, then cover with the remaining meat mixture. Bake 45 minutes.
Cool loaf and slice. Good for dogs and cats.