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.

Healthy Banana Bread

Healthy Banana Bread

I guess by nature banana bread could be healthy with the nuts and bananas, but, come on… let’s not fool ourselves. The serving size is about as thin as a cracker and besides those beasty people who have some innate portion control (the ones who can eat one serving of chips without being tempted to eat the whole bag… you know them), the average person doesn’t eat a true serving.

That being said… you’re welcome because you’re going to thank me when you eat this. It’s pure deliciousness and you don’t have to worry about being overly tempted to have another piece. Plus, you get to use up those gross bananas sitting on top of your microwave. In addition to good-for-you bananas, this recipe has ground oats, whole wheat flour, Greek yogurt and honey. Yes, there’s sugar and eggs and butter, but I mean, everything in moderation, right?

A word about the bananas: they need to be RIPE. Like mostly black ripe. Trust me, you’ll rob yourself of the full-bodied banana flavor if you try to use them before they’re black.  I bought the bananas that were on sale at the store for like $1 per ton and let them sit an extra two weeks on top of the microwave. That’s what I mean by ripe. Not a moment before, people.

The recipe is for two loaves of bread, each cut into 8 pieces.  Each serving is 241 calories, with 8 grams of fat and 4 grams of protein. It’s a pretty good way to start the day.  If you love nuts, feel free to add 1/2 cup to the recipe with the flour and oats. It will change the nutritional value, but in a good way.

Healthy Banana Bread
adapted from King Arthur Flour

  • 1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) butter
  • 1/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup brown sugar, light or dark, firmly packed
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon banana flavor, optional
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6-7 very ripe medium bananas (24 ounces), mashed
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 cups ground oats

Preheat your oven to 350°F. Lightly grease two 8 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ or 9″ x 5″ loaf pans.

In a large bowl, beat together the butter, yogurt and sugar until smooth. Add the vanilla, baking soda, salt, and bananas, beating until well combined. The mixture will be fairly smooth, with some scattered small chunks of banana.

Beat in the honey and eggs.

Add the flour and oats stirring until smooth.

Spoon the batter into the prepared pans, smoothing the top. Let them rest at room temperature for 10 minutes.

Bake the bread for 50 minutes, then gently lay a piece of aluminum foil across the top of each loaf, to prevent over-browning. Bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, then remove the bread from the oven; a knife inserted into the center should come out clean.

Allow the loaves to cool for 10 minutes; then remove them from the pan and cool completely on a rack. Store wrapped in foil.

Healthy Banana Bread

Pretzel Buns

Pretzel Buns

There’s nothing like the SuperPretzel hard-on-the-outside-soft-on-the-inside, non-bready pretzels you heat up in the oven. Something about the outer layer makes anything that happened during the day unimportant and insignificant. They are one of my favorite snack foods.

Every time I get a pretzel recipe in my inbox though, it always turns into a version of the Auntie Anne’s creation. Don’t get me wrong: I don’t have anything against Auntie Anne’s, but when my mouth is tuned up for not-Auntie Anne’s, it’s quite a letdown, especially after devoting two hours to the process. Still, I keep the recipe on hand when the mood hits.

I think i found one though that reminds me of the SuperPretzel version. I wanted to make my own pretzel buns for breakfast sandwiches (that’s what I told myself going in and then ate three immediately out of the oven). This recipe is as close to SuperPretzel as I’ve gotten. I think if I had added an egg wash, it would have been spot on. They are still delicious though. Next time, I’ll skip the whole swirling process though. Makes me feel like I’m eating elf hats.

Homemade Pretzels
adapted slightly from King Arthur Flour

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons (one packet) quick-rising yeast
  • 1 cup warm water

For the topping

  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 2 tablespoons baking soda
  • coarse, kosher or pretzel salt, optional

Place all of the dough ingredients into the bowl of a stand mixer. Attach the dough hooks and beat until well-combined. Continue to knead the dough for about 5 minutes, until it’s soft, smooth, and quite slack. Oil the bowl, turning the dough to coat and allow it to rest for 30 minutes.

While the dough is resting, prepare the topping: Combine the boiling water and baking soda, stirring until the soda is totally dissolved. Pour the baking soda/water into a shallow dish. Set the mixture aside to cool to room temperature.

Preheat the oven to 475°F. Prepare a baking sheet by spraying it with vegetable oil spray, or lining it with parchment paper and set aside. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased work surface, and divide it into eight equal pieces (2 1/2 ounces, each). Allow the pieces to rest, uncovered, for 5 minutes.

Roll each piece of dough into a long, thin rope (about 28″ to 30″ long). Roll the dough from one end to the other, creating a spiral. Working with 4 pretzels at a time, place them in the pan with the baking soda/water, spooning the water over their tops. Transfer the pretzels to the prepared baking sheet, placing them on the baking sheet about 1″ to 2″ apart. Sprinkle them lightly with coarse, kosher, or pretzel salt, if desired. Allow them to rest, uncovered, for 10 minutes.

Bake the pretzels for 8 to 9 minutes, or until they’re golden brown. Eat the pretzels warm, or reheat them in an oven or microwave.

Spiced Chickpeas

Spiced Chickpeas

About a month or so ago, The Hero and I had a family pow wow. We realized that we needed to make some changes individually and as a couple so we could move to the next level of our togetherness. He decided in order to fulfill that promise, he needed to complete an accelerated graduate program, which translated to us living off one salary for a year. No problem. But change is a coming.

One change is what we eat. Despite me never having all the ingredients I need for a recipe, our food purchasing habits needed to be revamped. One change was instead of cans and cans of beans at about $1/can (as much as $6 if I’m making chili) I’d learn how to cook dried beans and save about $4/batch of chili. Considering how often we eat chili, that’s a considerable savings over a year, people.

I bought four bags of beans and to be honest, I have NO idea why I bought a whole bag of chickpeas. Like, I really don’t even know what people do with chickpeas besides put them on salads and make hummus. But, then I saw this recipe on Fat Girl Trapped In A Skinny Body and had to try it, with a few modifications because I had to make substitutions.

A few notes. The original recipe calls for baking the chickpeas for 40 to 60 minutes to get the crunch of a corn nut. Well… I hate corn nuts, so I adjusted the baking time to 20 minutes, turned the oven off and let the chickpeas stay in the oven about 10 extra minutes. They turned out perfectly crispy without chipping my teeth.

Also, the original recipe calls for 2 cans of chickpeas. I will say I used about a cup of chickpeas and most of the seasoning mix, but that’s because I liked the seasoning mix. I would suggest doubling or tripling the seasoning mix recipe. If you don’t use it all, store it and use it when you’re cooking. I’m going to try it on smashed potatoes some time this week.

Spiced Chickpeas
adapted slightly from Fat Girl Trapped In A Skinny Body

Ingredients

  • 1 cup chickpeas
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • Spice mix (recipe below)

Spice Mix

  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1½ tsp ground cumin
  • 1½ tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp ground allspice
  • ½ tsp salt (I used lemon salt)

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil.

Drain and wash the chickpeas.  Place the clean chickpeas on a layer of paper towels and gently rub the tops with another paper towel. The goal is to get the chickpeas as dry as possible.

Make the spice mix.  Pour all of the spices into a bowl and mix well or add to a food processor and pulse for 5 seconds.

Place the dried chickpeas in a bowl and toss them with the canola oil.  Once coated add the spice mix and shake to cover the chickpeas. (I used most of the spice recipe for about 1 cup of chickpeas.)

Place the seasoned chickpeas on the prepared baking sheet and put the sheet in the oven for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, give them a shake, turn the oven off, place the chickpeas back in the oven and continue to let them bake for an additional 10 minutes or so. As the chickpeas cool they will become crunchier. When cooled to room temperature, store in a sealed container.

Spiced Chickpeas

Energy Bites

Energy Bites

My Facebook friends love food. There are more pictures of food than anything else on my timeline at any given time of the day. They are people after my own heart. Sometimes the recipes posted are too rich or sound a little more strange for my tastes, but to each his or her own.

I couldn’t pass this one up though. It hit my timeline at the right moment a couple of nights ago. I was trying to think of what I could pull together with the stuff in my cabinet (a hodge-podge of things no one wants to eat alone). Surprisingly I had almost everything on hand. Who has maple, but no vanilla extract? Me.

I’ll warn you now: these are sticky so your hands will be gooey. Just lick your fingers. Really…. they’re good for you so it’s totally okay.

Energy Bites
adapted slightly from Facebook

  • 1 cup dry oats
  • ½ cup chocolate chips
  • ½ cup crunchy peanut butter
  • ½ cup ground flaxseed
  • ⅓ cup honey
  • 1 tsp. maple extract

Mix ingredients together in a large bowl. Roll into one-ounce balls and place on waxed-paper lined cookie sheet. Refrigerate overnight to set.

Energy Bites

Cilantro Almonds and Sunflower Seeds

Cilantro Almonds and Sunflower Seeds

Yes. More cilantro. I TOLD you I loved it. I made this on a whim when I wanted a snack, but didn’t want to go to the store to drop $4 for lime tortilla chips.

You can make it without the sunflower seeds. Or with only sunflower seeds. The focus is, of course, the cilantro salt. It’s what makes this snack worth eating.

Cilantro Almonds & Sunflower Seeds

  • 1 ounce almonds
  • 1 ounce sunflower seeds
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • cilantro salt (or cilantro and salt), to taste

Heat a small pan over medium heat. While the pan warms, mix the almonds, sunflower seeds and olive oil together in a small bag or bowl. Add the cilantro salt. Shake or stir to coat the almonds and sunflower seeds with salt.

Add the mixture to the heated pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the almonds and sunflower seeds just begin to brown. Remove and let the almonds and sunflower seeds cool on a paper towel. Serve warm or room temperature.

Cilantro Almonds and Sunflower Seeds