Dog Treats and Different Beats

 

Adopting Bro’Ham and the new administration are running simultaneously with my need to clear space mentally, physically and emotionally. I’ve been in a constant state of flux for almost two weeks. It’s draining and energizing at the same time. My life is taking a new path.

I used to want to be the person that was a catalyst for big change, but I’ve moved away from that. Big is a subjective word. Right now, a big change is making sure that The Kid is sane and safe and that The Girl understands her role as a citizen in one of the most opportunistic countries on the planet before she’s eligible to vote. Big is knowing what’s happening at city council meetings, what bills are moving through the state legislature and how they will affect our civil rights and economic viability. Big is realizing that what’s happening is shrouded in race and there is a lot of work to be done there, but economics plays a major role in creating unity. Big is encouraging people to realize new opportunities instead of expecting ones from the past to return. Big is starting local and fighting for the rights of all people to be financially independent. At the end of the day, it boils down to scarcity: not enough jobs, not enough money, not enough room. Not enough. And not enough is a lie.

These thoughts are sometimes overwhelming, but you know what? Bro’Ham has been very soothing. He doesn’t care about any of this. He cares about us. He’s happy to have a family. His in-the-momentness is relaxing and therapeutic. I can see how pet parents live longer.

So to salute Bro’Ham, I motivated and made the dog treats. I found a simple recipe because I don’t want to introduce too many things to him in case he has allergies. We already had two incidents, so I’m leery. Anyway, the recipe is simple: oats, egg, salt and beef broth. I can live with that, but no snack is complete without bacon in some form. I mean… why even eat it? Bacon grease for the win.

Now I’m sure you know that I had to try the dog treat. Um… it was like eating that Matrix protein. Next time I’ll eat one: the apocalypse. But apparently Bro’Ham was all in. I had to make him go lay down so he’d stop sniffing my hands for treats.

Dog Treats

Ingredients

  • 2½ cups ground oats, divided
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup beef or chicken broth
  • Bacon grease, melted

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line cookie sheet with foil and generously grease with bacon grease. Set aside.

Add 2 cups oats, salt, broth, and egg to a large mixing bowl. Combine well. Add remaining ½ cup oats and combine.

Knead dough for about 3 minutes. Press to ½” thickness. Cut with cookie cutter or knife and place onto a prepared pan. Drizzle bacon grease over treats.

Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely. Store in an airtight container or in the freezer. Thaw to use.

recipe from Add A Pinch

Verdict

Bro’Ham likes them. At least that’s what I tell myself. I had to feed him three just to get this collage. I think he did it on purpose.

brocollage

Food Inspiration: Dog Treats Made with Love

brohamtreats

Um… so yeah… there’s no recipe. I promise this isn’t click bait. I was really going to make some treats for Bro’Ham until The Hero said that he would hate me for all eternity if I made him any treats with peanut butter. I couldn’t tell if The Hero was disgusted, horrified or downright surprised that I had even considered this. But I didn’t want to leave you hanging, so the photos above are for inspiration.

Now being a Google pro, I did find some dog treats that didn’t have the dreaded peanut butter in them. They did however have some other ingredient I don’t ever want to put in my oven for any living creature: liver. Good gawd! Nixed.

Seeing that I’m somewhere between the Comic Sans bloggers and the uber perfect bloggers with bone cookie cutters, I couldn’t do a half-assed job on my first doggie treats. And sadly enough, it’s The Hero’s and my house so I didn’t have the appropriate meat on hand anyway. After another battle with the dog hair (I WILL win this war!) and a slew of other crap-hitting-the-fan events, I’m too tired to go back to the store to buy it.

I am still not going to buy the bone cookie cutters because I don’t think Bro’Ham really cares about the shape  as long as he can eat it. Plus, he chewed the buttons of our sofa cushions so I may be a little in my feelings right now. As a matter of fact, I’m so in my feelings, that’s why there’s no recipe. Let’s just go with that until Friday.

Chicken Quinoa Casserole

Chicken Quinoa Casserole

Don’t let the picture fool you. This tastes fantastic.

I came up with this as an alternative to the usual chicken, rice and broccoli casserole. I’ve never made that casserole and honestly, I like quinoa better. As I laid around thinking about dinner Sunday, this dish came to mind. The colors from the green onions, red pepper and orange pepper made it visually appealing. Chicken broth makes everything taste better, especially when you make it with the little chicken buillion cubes in the Hispanic aisle. Fantastico! And since The Hero bought institutional-size bags of vegetables, I’m always looking for ways to use them up. Making the cream of chicken soup from scratch is also

What’s also great about this is you can make it to your particular tastes. Vegetarian? Skip the chicken and use vegetable broth. House of Meat? Double the chicken, reduce the veggies. Not a fan of cream soup? Thicken it with corn starch. Whatever you do will be fine. Trust me.

Chicken Quinoa Casserole

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • ½ cup milk
  • 4 ounces cooked chicken, shredded
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, diced
  • ½ bunch scallions, sliced
  • 1 16-ounce container mushrooms, sliced
  • 1½ cups Normandy blend vegetables

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

For the cream of chicken soup: Melt the butter in a saucepan. Whisk in the flour. Remove the pan from heat and slowly whisk in the chicken broth. Add the milk and return to the heat, whisking continuously. Cook until the soup thickens. Remove from heat and set aside.

For the casserole: Cook the chicken. Allow to cool, shred and add to a casserole dish.

In a small saucepan, add the chicken broth and quinoa. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low and cook for about 15 minutes. While the quinoa simmers, saute the vegetables. Add a little salt, pepper and garlic powder to the mixture (the salt pulls out the water from the mushrooms, which will help reduce the amount of liquid in the casserole). Add the cooked vegetables to the casserole dish with the chicken. Meanwhile, heat the Normandy blend in the microwave for about 3 minutes. Drain any water and add to the casserole dish. Add the quinoa and cream of chicken soup to the casserole dish and stir. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Let the casserole rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Chicken Quinoa Casserole

Cheesecake Cookies

Cheesecake Cookies

I’ll admit up front that these didn’t turn out the way I expected. I will also admit that I didn’t fully finish the recipe I adapted them from. So that being said, you know going in.

How did these come about you ask? Well… I got them in an email from Cupcake Project. The original recipe is for Turtle Cheesecake Cookies, but I didn’t feel like doing the turtle part after baking cakes, making lunch and dinner and working on the blog. Laziness prevailed.

I was actually excited to find a cheesecake cookie recipe. I love cheesecake, but I’m the only one who eats it in the house and with my lack of self-control and unwillingness to share, I’m sure you can see where that’s a big problem. The cookies would solve the problem of eating a whole cheesecake in two or three days (it gets serious) and drastically reduce the quantity of the servings. Twelve smallish cookies is significantly better than 12 slices of cheesecake.

Anyway, I was underwhelmed with the plain version of this recipe. I really expected cheesecake in cookie form when it’s really more like cookie with a hint of tanginess. Sigh. Make the full version. You can find the recipe here.

Cheesecake Cookies
adapted from Cupcake Project

  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 ounces Greek or regular cream cheese, room temperature
  • 4 ounces Greek yogurt
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, mix the butter, cream cheese and yogurt until fully combined. Mix in sugar and vanilla.

Mix in flour until just combined. Use a cookie scoop or spoon to make balls and drop dough on prepared cookie sheet. Space the cookie balls about an inch apart. Flatten the top of each ball.

Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the edges of the cookies just begin to brown. Transfer cookies to a cooling rack.

Cheesecake Cookies

Cinnamon Baking Chips

Cinnamon Chips

This has been on my list of projects for months. After actually making them, I’m ashamed that it took me this long to get it done. It literally took 10 minutes and that included measuring the ingredients. Shame on me.

Of course, this was born out of necessity. I love Bob Evans’ cinnamon pancakes. Like… love them. I remember going in to get said pancakes and they weren’t on the menu. What the…? Thinking that my poor eyesight finally caught up to me, I asked the server. She verified that said cinnamon deliciousness wasn’t on the menu anymore. Ever see a toddler having a tantrum in a store? That was me. In adult form. Hissy fit because I couldn’t get pancakes. We left.

I looked up the recipe for cinnamon chips, but you know who I am: I had cinnamon and sugar, no shortening or corn syrup. I wanted to cry because by then I’d eaten two Snickers, a short stack of non-chip cinnamon pancakes with bacon and a piece of chocolate cake to try and satisfy my cinnamon chip pancake void. After the binge, I surrendered to my laziness, mourned Bob Evans’ annihilating their menu and gave a moment of silence to all previous cinnamon chip pancake dates I took for granted. Sigh.

Then, months later, something miraculous happened: I had everything to make the cinnamon chips AND time to make cinnamon chip pancakes. It’s a celebration (in my Dave-Chappelle-as-Rick-James voice)!

I’m not a fan of shortening, but I figured that it 1) helped with shelf life and 2) stabilized the chips in a way that butter couldn’t. At heart though, I’m a butter girl, so, you know, it’s in the chips. And the corn syrup had high fructose corn syrup in it so I kinda didn’t feel all that great about using it (after the bottle was almost empty of course), so I made my own sugar syrup. The results were stellar. If you’re a perfectionist, go ahead and cut the chips evenly. I’m not though and it just prolonged making cinnamon chip pancakes.

Cinnamon Baking Chips
adapted from Confessions of a Bright-Eyed Baker

  • 2/3 c granulated sugar
  • 3 tblsp cinnamon
  • 1 tblsp vegetable shortening
  • 1 tblsp butter, softened
  • 2 tblsp sugar syrup (recipe below)

Sugar Syrup

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water

Combine sugar and water in a small saucepan. Heat over medium high heat until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and cool. Store remainder in an airtight container in the fridge.

For the chips

1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Grease lightly with shortening or spray with cooking spray.

2. Combine all the ingredients together in a medium bowl and stir until crumbly. Spread on prepared baking sheet. Flatten with another baking sheet or other large flat surface.

3. Bake chips for 35 minutes. Remove from the oven and cut or break into pieces. Allow to cool to room temperature. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dark place.

Cinnamon Chips

Black Bean Soup

Black Bean Soup

I’ve only had black bean soup a couple of times in my life and let me say that none of them were memorable. Not a single one. That led to me never considering it as a serious soup option as a starter course or a meal.

Last week though, we were down to the barest basics. There were bags of beans still plentiful in the cabinet so I figured I’d give the old Test Kitchen recipe a go. I had all of the ingredients on hand. The Hero, in true Hero fashion, gave me the once over when I said we were having black bean soup for dinner. At that point, I’d already decided no matter what, I would eat it all if necessary.

Even though I’m a change the recipe kinda girl, I didn’t modify this one too much. I happened to be drinking a Heineken at the time and would sporadically pour some small amounts into the pot when it was looking a little dry. If I had to guess, I’d say it was around an ounce of beer. Not enough to make a difference, but just enough to keep The Hero from fussing at me about pouring out beer.

I also cringe when I see ‘water’ in a recipe. Instinctively, I use broth because I like the flavor it adds. It made all the difference in the world. And if you like leftovers, the soup gets better with time. On day 3, it was fantastic!

Black Bean Soup
adapted slightly from Cook’s Illustrated The New Best Recipe cookbook

Beans

  • 1 pound (2¼  cups) dried black beans, rinsed and picked
  • 1 medium bell pepper, cored, seeded and quartered
  • 13 cups chicken broth
  • 1 medium onion
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1½ teaspoons salt

Sofrito

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 1 red, orange or yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded and minced
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin

Finishing the soup:

  • About 2½ cups chicken broth
  • 4 tablespoons flour

Place the beans, bell pepper and chicken broth in a large pot. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, reduce to low, simmer  and skim the surface for any scum that rises.

Stir in the onion, garlic and salt and bring back to a simmer. Cook, partially covered, until the beans are tender, but not splitting, about 2 hours.

For the sofrito, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, and salt and saute until the vegetables soften. Add the garlic, oregano and cumin and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add 1½ cups of beans and 2 cups of cooking liquid or chicken broth to the sofrito pan. Mash the beans until smooth. Simmer, uncovered, over medium heat until the liquid is reduced and thickened, about 5 minutes. Return the sofrito mixture to the bean pot. Simmer, uncovered, until the flavors blend, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, stir together 4 tablespoons of flour (or 2 tablespoons of cornstarch) with 2 tablespoons of broth to form a smooth paste. Stir the paste into the soup and simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes. Season to taste.

Black Bean Soup 1