Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Deep breaths

Ravings: I’ve calmed down a bit since the last post and gained some perspective. I’m still angry, but I realize it could be worse and we do have options. They may not be options we like, but at least they are options. My husband is very good at keeping me level and realistic about this kind of stuff. He just doesn’t react emotionally like I do. And that makes me calm.

It’s not that he’s not angry. He is. Very. And he will rant about it. He just picks a time to do it when I’m not about to drop my basket. I honestly don’t think he does this on purpose. I truly think it’s just who he is. Because he’s not really a deep thinker when it comes to emotional reactions, especially mine. It might be that he’s terrified of what me losing it would look like, and somewhere deep down he knows that we can’t both be falling apart at the same time. Or, it could just be that he’s afraid I won’t make dinner if I’m too upset. Aren’t men driven by primal instincts? Now that I type that out, I think it’s all about the food.

We have decided to adopt a wait and see attitude. We’re waiting to hear back from the realtor with an expanded comp area, and if we still can’t afford to take the hit, we’ll wait another year and pour more money into paying down the mortgage as much as we can. I have to not think about it too much because it pushes me dangerously close to edge when I do. The fact that we are throwing money out the window because of everyone else’s bad behavior is almost more than I can take. It would be very easy to go to that dark place in my mind where I am angry with the world for all the injustice hoisted upon me, but I choose not to. I choose to be grateful for what I do have and to continue to fight for what I want.

Cravings: It’s been a fairly slow cooking week. We haven’t been home for dinner every night like we typically are. I did work up another variation for the Chocolate Cherry Bars for a contest I'm entering and I've included the recipe for those.

Venison Stiry Fry

1 lb venison back straps (could also use beef)
2 tsp homemade "Bam Seasoning" (recipe to follow)
1/3 cup Worcester sauce
1/4 sweet onion, sliced thin
1/2 sweet red pepper, sliced thin

Marinate venison in seasoning and worcester sauce for an hour or more. Saute onion and red pepper until soft. Add venison and saute for a few more minutes until cooked to desired doneness. I served it with Sweet Potato Gratin and peas.

Bam Seasoning (adapted from Emeril Lagasse on Food

2 1/2 Tbsp smoked paprika
2 Tbsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp black pepper
1 Tbsp onion powder
1 Tbsp cayenne pepper
1 Tbsp dried oregano
1 Tbsp dried thyme

Mix all ingredients and store with other spices.

Sweet Potato Gratin (adapted from the Nov/Dec 2012 issue of Fitness magazine)

3 Tbsp butter
1/2 medium onion, chopped
pinch of nutmeg
1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup smoked gruyere cheese, grated
1 large sweet potato, grated
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1/4 cup panko

Saute onion in butter until soft and translucent. Add pinch of nutmeg and flour, stir to incorporate. Add chicken stock and simmer a few minutes. Add half the gruyere cheese and stir until melted. Add sweet potatoes and stir to mix well. You may need to add a bit more stock to make sure it's on the wet side. Pour into a casserole dish. Top with the other half of the gruyere, the parmesan and the panko. Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes.

Chocolate Cherry Quinoa Bars

1/2 cup cherry juice
1/2 cup quinoa
1 Tbsp flax seeds
1 cup pitted dates

1 Tbsp almond extract
2 Tbsp cocoa powder
1/2 cup almond meal

In a small saucepan, bring cherry juice to boil and allow to reduce to about half. Mix quinoa and flax seeds together and grind in a spice grinder to a flour-like consistency. It's ok if it's not perfect. In a food processor, combine dates, almond extract and reduced cherry juice and process until it forms a paste. Transfer to a mixing bowl and mix in the quinoa and flax and add the cocoa powder and almond meal. Mix until thoroughly combined. Spread onto a baking sheet into about 1/2 inch thick rectangular shape and bake at 350 for about 15 minutes. Allow to cool a bit then cut into desired size bars.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Some serious bitching

Ravings: Let me just warn you before you read on that I. AM. PISSED!!! If you want to just skip to the food part, feel free. I’m not sure how bitter and angry this post will turn out.

Jason and I met with the realtor on Friday. We went in prepared. We are well aware of the current housing crisis and that our neighborhood is crumbling around us. We had also met with a realtor a few months ago who had given us a number that was slightly below what we owe, but we wanted to be prepared for when spring came to get out and prepared for what we thought that would cost us.

So when I say we were prepared, I mean I truly believed we knew what we were dealing with and had prepared for the worse case scenario. We’ve payed down the mortgage as much as we could and saved enough to cover what we thought we be the difference, including closing costs. We knew we were going to lose money. We had NO IDEA it would be this much!!

Here’s the down and dirty. Everything in our immediate neighborhood that has sold within the last year has been repossession or short sale. And the highest sale price is less than half of what we still owe! Now we were prepared to take a hit, but that’s a knockout bunch. We just don’t have the cash to do that.

Jason left shortly after the realtor for the weekend, so I was left to my own bitterness for the weekend, and I took full advantage! I have worked myself up into full blown rage. I am angry with everyone! I am pissed at the idiots who bought houses they couldn’t afford. I am pissed at the banks that preyed on people by offering unpayable mortgages. I am pissed at the government that allowed it all to happen and then bailed out the idiots and the banks, while leaving those of us who did it right with the check.

I did not buy a house I couldn’t afford, even though the bank said they would loan me the money for one. I got a good loan with a good rate by doing my homework and knowing my reality. I have faithfully paid my mortgage payment in full or more on time every month. So why am I the one getting screwed? Why am I then one who has to try to sleep in a neighborhood that feels like a war zone while the bank execs still have vacation homes? Why do I still feel horrible at the thought of even being late on a payment when no one cares that I’m still faithfully throwing money away every month paying for a house that is currently worth less than my car? Why do I feel like I still owe the system something when they have done everything to bail out all the irresponsible people involved in this while turning their backs on us responsible citizens?

Where is my bail out? I don’t even want that much. I just want out of this neighborhood so that I can sleep without fear of death!

Cravings: Given my above rant, I deserve some huge kudos for sticking to my sugar fast. Saturday, sitting at home alone, feeling sorry for myself was torture. I just wanted to sit on the couch eating ice cream and chocolate and watching bad tv, but I didn’t! Well, I didn't eat the ice cream and chocolate, but I did sit on the couch for a while and read magazines and watch 5 episodes of Chopped: All Stars. It made me feel a little bit better. Not as much as ice cream and chocolate, but I made a commitment and I have been faithful to the no sugar for 2 weeks plan.

I was able to get somewhat ambitious and tried a practice recipe of chocolate cherry protein bars for a girlfriend of mine and made Shadow some new dog treats. I really liked the bars, but CJ tried them and said they were just ok. I think he was expecting a brownie because they kinda looked like that. And yes, I totally forgot to take a picture of them. I haven't gotten a review back from Michelle (she's who I made them for) because I had to give them to her through her sister. Shadow loves his new treats however, which sort of surprised me because I forgot to add the egg to the recipe and they ended up being softer treats, but he's asking to go outside every 20 minutes so he must like them!

I also have a Seafood Stew (Cioppino type) recipe to share. I thought it was yummy, but Jason the reluctant fish eater put it in the "it's ok if you don't make this again" category.

Chocolate Cherry Protein Bars

1/2 cup cherry juice
1 cup pitted dates
1 cup walnuts
1 Tbsp vanilla
1/4 cup ground oats or oat flour
1 Tbsp ground flax seeds or flax meal
1 scoop protein powder (I used vanilla because it's what I had)
2 Tbsp cocoa powder (use the good stuff!)

Put the cherry juice in a small saucepan and boil until reduced to about 1/4 cup. Then add the juice, dates, walnuts and vanilla to a blender or food processor and process until mushed up and well blended. I used a blender and had to push the mixture back down the side several times. It won't get runny. Then put the date mixture in a bowl and add the rest of the ingredients. Stir until well blended. Mush the mixture into a rectangle shape on a sheet pan (I used a small stone baking pan with sides) about 1/2 inch thick. Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes. Allow to cool a bit then cut into desired size bars. I also coated half of them with more of the oat flour to make them a bit less sticky.

Shadow's Meaty Dog Treats

1 cup rolled oats
2 Tbsps flax seeds
1 cup meat (I used the giblets from the roast chicken I did and some of the leftover chicken)
1 cup cooked butternut squash
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp dried mint
1 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

Put the oats and the flax seeds in the spice grinder or just use oat flour and flax meal. Put the meat and the butternut squash into a food processor and process until ground up and well combined. Put the oat mixture and the meat mixture into a bowl and add the salt, mint and parsley. Stir until well combined and dough like. My dog biscuit cutter suffered a tragic garbage disposal accident, so I just rolled the dough into small balls and smashed them to make tiny little circle biscuits. You can make these with a cookie cutter though to whatever size is desired. Bake on 350 for 30 minutes. Allow to cook completely.

Seafood Stew

1 sweet onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup diced tomatoes
1 cup dry white wine
3 cups chicken stock
1 Tbsp fresh oregano, chopped
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 fillet wild alaska halibut, cut into chunks
1 lb raw shrimp
1 lb mussels
Chopped Fresh Parsley to garnish

Saute onion in a bit of olive oil until soft. Add garlic and saute a minute more. Add tomatoes, wine, stock, oregano and red pepper flakes and bring to a boil. Turn heat down and simmer for about 10-15 minutes, covered. Add the halibut and cook, covered, for another 10 minutes. Add the shrimp and mussels, recover and cook another few minutes until shrimp is done and mussels have opened. Garnish with parsley to serve. I served this with some sourdough bread spread with olive oil and roasted garlic and a glass of the dry riesling I used in cooking it.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Take me away....

Ravings: This week has been a flurry of activity trying to get the house prepped and staged for putting it on the market. It’s been hectic and stressful and has created quite a bit of tension in our home. It’s amazing to me the stuff you see wrong with where you live when you are really looking. But it’s as good as we can get it and we have a meeting with a realtor scheduled for tomorrow afternoon. Keep your fingers crossed that we have a chance of getting at least what we still owe on it!

There are a million reasons to wait, and I have reviewed them all. We can easily afford this mortgage. We are likely to get less than what we still owe and will still have to come up with closing costs. Jason recently lost his job and other than some soft leads has nothing lined up for the near future. I could realistically be laid off at any moment because of all the cuts to education and mental health. (I do think the probability is low on this point.) If the house does sell we will probably have to move into an apartment until Jason finds another job.

But the final decision to make the move now was based on the need for sanity. While the past week of getting the house ready has created some stress, living in the neighborhood creates an even greater and sustained amount of stress. It is shocking to me that my neighbors’ behavior has such a profound effect on our moods, and therefore on our relationship and everything else in our lives. Almost nightly throughout the warmer months, one or both of us is awakened in the middle of the night to yelling, motorcycle engines revving, or loud screeching cars. I sometimes feel like we live in the ghetto. In fact I frequently refer to our street as the ghetto. The crime rate in our community is astonishing and two months ago a man murdered his girlfriend on their back porch, about a block from our house, and then fled on foot looking for a place to hide. Needless to say, I was terrified!

We have to get out!

And so here we are, hoping and praying we can get out with minimal damages, but willing to take a few risks to save our sanity. Wish us luck!

Cravings: I found this missing recipe from last week. I can’t believe I forgot it because it was so yummy and incredibly easy to make! It’s one of those “what can I make tonight” go to meals. I adapted the recipe from a gluten free recipe I found on Pinterest. The original recipe is a gluten free tart shell but I just used a store bought whole wheat pie crust.

Asparagus and Pea Quiche (found on Pinterest and adapted from Tasty Yummies)

3 eggs (local free-range are the best)
1 1/2 cups frozen peas
1 1/2 cups fresh asparagus, chopped smallish
2 Tbsp fresh mint, chopped
2 Tbsp fresh chives, chopped
2 cups organic half and half
6 oz goat cheese, crumbled
salt and pepper to tast

Thaw peas. Wisk eggs in a large bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Pour into the pie crust. Mine was extremely full, so you might want to put a sheet pan under it just in case. Bake for 35-40 minutes at 375. Serve with a side salad. This one contains mixed greens, chopped walnuts, red onion, orange segments and more of the mint and chives. We used an orange juice, oil and vinegar dressing. This could be my new comfort food.

Tuesday was a roasted beet salad with the rest of that creamy delicious white bean dip. This photo does not do this salad justice. It was beautiful and filling. I promise one of these days I will improve my photography skills!

Roasted Beet Salad
4 roasted beets
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup sliced red onion
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
Mixed greens
Dressing of choice (we used some Ken's Raspberry and Walnut)
To roast the beets, cut the tops off and save them for later use, then cut the "tails" off and discard. Wrap each beet in aluminum foil and place on a sheet pan. Roast at 450 for about 20-30 minutes. Take them out of the oven, unwrap the foil a bit and allow them to cool. Once cooled enough to be handled, use the aluminum foil to scrape the skin off. This is very messy so do it over the sink! Cut the beets in half and slice.
Assemble salad and serve.

We served the salad with the leftover White Bean Dip with Rosemary, some red pepper slices, cucumber sticks and pita chips.

Last night we tried to use up some of the left over roasted chicken. I still have enough for at least another two meals so that will go into the freezer at this point. I also saved the giblets and boiled them last night to add to my next round of Shadow treats. The dog bone cookie cutter ended up in the garbage disposal and got all mangled so not sure what shape these will be. It's on my to do list for the weekend. We did an open faced chicken club sandwhich and lemon rice soup, which much to my surprise Jason loved! He's not a fan of cooked lemon so I was bracing myself for the thumbs down, but he said it was really good.

Open-faced Chicken Club (adapted from the Jan/Feb 2012 issue of Cooking Light)

1 ripe avocado
1/4 cup greek yogurt
1 tsp salt
4 slices cooked bacon
1 tomato, sliced
1 roasted red pepper, sliced
mixed greens
1 cup shredded chicken, rewarmed in the same pan as you cook the bacon
2 slice sourdough bread, toasted

Make the avocado cream by mixing the avocado, greek yogurt and salt in a bowl until creamy. Assemble the sandwhich by spreading the avocado cream on the toasted bread and piling up all the other ingredients. Jason ended up eating a second one and added a top piece of bread for ease of eating.

Lemon Rice Soup (also adapted from the Jan/Feb 2012 issue of Cooking Light)

1/2 sweet onion, chopped
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
6 cups chicken broth (or veggie broth)
1/4 cup brown rice
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (I used meyer lemons, which I adore)
2 tsps corn starch
1 egg
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
Chopped fresh parsley to garnish

Saute onion in a bit of olive oil until soft and translucent. Add garlic and saute for another minute. Then add broth and bring to a boil. Once boiling add rice, turn heat down and simmer for 20-30 minutes until rice is cooked. When rice is cooked, combine lemon juice, corn starch, egg, salt and pepper in a small bowl and wisk together. Drizzle this mixture VERY slowly into the soup while constantly stirring. If you drizzle too fast or don't stir you will get scrambled eggs in your soup. Sprinkle with parsley to serve.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Catching up by rambling.

Ravings: So the minor sickness from last week turned into 2 days of staying home from work, lying in bed feeling sorry for myself. I’m really good at that when I’m sick. I almost went to the doctor. That’s how bad my throat hurt. I did very little eating and therefore, very little cooking. I’m not even sure what Jason ate. Thinking about eating hurt my throat!

My 2 days of bed rest led right into a 4 day weekend, which would have been really cool if my throat hadn’t been on fire for like a week. I started to feel a bit better by Friday, but still wasn’t really up to eating normal food. By Saturday though, I was ravenous, which was a good thing because we spent the day at my dad’s celebrating Easter. My step-mom cooks for a 3 day wedding banquet no matter the occasion, so I was able to catch up on all the calories I’d lost while being sick. Seriously, there were 6 adults and 2 kids. My nieces are 7 and 5 years old and combined ate 1 noodle, 2 tomatoes, and 4 strawberries for dinner. They also ate about 400 lbs of candy, but I’m not counting that in the amount of food that was prepared. There were enough leftovers to feed a small suburb!

The rest of the weekend was spent trying to ready our house for meeting with a realtor. Thanks to Jason’s untimely lay-off, he has completed his entire list of projects and my sister came over on Sunday to help with cleaning and staging. I called the realtor this morning and am just waiting for a call back to set up the appt. Keep your fingers crossed for us!

Oh, and I started the sugar fast yesterday. Jason already caved. Big surprise right? CJ brought Pepsi home from his Easter party and Jason just couldn’t resist. So far, I’m doing pretty well, not even really craving it, which is surprising. I’ll keep you posted on how I’m feeling. Basically, I’m trying to avoid any added sugar. No brown sugar, white sugar, honey, agave, maple syrup, etc. We eat so few processed foods at this point, I’m not too concerned about that, but I did choose not to buy almond or coconut milk yesterday at the grocery store because of the added sugar. I opted for the rice milk. Just keep the chocolate away from me!!!

Cravings: I’m fairly certain there was at least one other meal that I took a picture of for the blog, but I must not have emailed it to myself, so if I find it I’ll add it to the next post.

Bang Bang Veggies (found on Pinterest and adapted from That's so Michelle)

For the sauce:
1/8 cup greek yogurt
1/8 cup mayo
1/4 cup sriracha
1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 Tbsp sugar

Mix all ingrendients together and set aside until ready to serve.

For the veggies:
1 head cauliflower
1 head broccoli
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 eggs
1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
Salt & pepper
Combination of olive oil and coconut oil (about 1/4 cup total)
Green onion to garnish

Cut cauliflower and broccoli into bite sized florets and put them into a large bowl. Add the cornstarch and toss to coat the veggies. Then add two eggs. Stir until all veggies are coated again. Then add the bread crumbs and salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large skillet and saute the veggies for several minutes until the desired doneness. I still wanted them kinda crunchy, so it only took about 5 mins. Top with desired amount of sauce and green onions to serve.

I served this with the white bean dip with veggies and some assorted olives.

White Bean Dip with Rosemary (from Meal Planning 101, found on Pinterest)

2 cups frozen white beans
4-5 cloves roasted garlic (recipe follows)
juice of one lemon
2 Tbsp fresh rosemary
1/2 tsp cumin
enough oil to get it creamy (I used about 1/4 cup olive oil)
Salt and pepper to taste
Green onion to garnish

Combine all ingredients through cumin in a food processor. Process while drizzling in oil until creamy. Add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with green onion and serve with raw veggies.

Roasted Garlic
4-5 cloves garlic, not peeled
1 Tbsp olive oil

Wrap in aluminum foil and roast at 375 for about 30 minutes or until soft. The garlic will mush out of the peel when squeezed.

Yesterday I made another one of the giant Thanksgiving turkey sized chickens that are in my freezer. This will be enough chicken for at least 3 meals! I recommend finding someone who raises chickens for the local fair. They are so good.

Roast Chicken
1 whole chicken, thawed
1/4 cup butter
1 cup beef broth (I used beef only because that's what I had and it turned out great!)
1 large sprig of fresh rosemary
1 large sprig of fresh thyme
4-5 potatoes, chopped
4-5 carrots, chopped
Put half the butter and the herbs inside the cavity of the chicken and the other half of the butter dotted over the top of the chicken. Add the beef broth to the pan and roast uncovered at 450 for about an hour. Cover the chicken and turn the heat down to 350 and cook for another 3-4 hours. This will vary depending on the size of your chicken. Add the chopped potatoes and carrots. I had to remove liquid at this time, but I reserved it to make some gravy. Roast another hour uncovered at 350. Serve with mushroom gravy. Jason said it was the best roast chicken he's ever eaten!
Mushroom Gravy
1 package sliced mushrooms
1-2 cups reserved cooking liquid
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1/2 Tbsp fresh rosemarry, chopped
1/2 Tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
Saute mushrooms in a bit of butter until begining to soften. Add the cooking liquid and boil for a few minutes, reducing the liquid a bit. Turn heat down to med-low and sprinkle in 1 Tbsp of cornstarch and mix well, breaking up any clumps. Add herbs and turn off heat while chicken rests for a bit. Serve over roast chicken or anything else!

Monday, April 2, 2012


Ravings: Considering I was sick all weekend, you would think I would have a ton to rave about, but I don't really. Let's be honest...this scares you as much as it does me. It must just be because I am writing this in the morning after only one cup of coffee!

So I will just talk about the new section of the blog! I hope you noticed that I have completed the index of recipes. If you didn't, look up! It's labeled Recipes. I know, genius, right? It was surprisingly difficult and I'm not sure I'm in love with the categories, so if you have any suggestions, please send them my way! I'm wondering if I should cross-catergorize, specifically.

Cravings: I have several recipes to share today. I did a bunch of baking on Sunday, so I'm including those recipes, and two dinners from last week. I made another one of the Bob's Red Mill gluten free pizza crusts and added dried basil to it. I'm still not in love with the texture, but it is growing on me.

Margherita Pizza

1 package Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free pizza crust mix (makes 2 pizzas)
2 tomatoes, sliced
Fresh mozzarella, sliced
large bunch of basil, chopped
Salt and Pepper to taste

I'm not sure you really need a recipe for this. It's such a classic, but it is so yummy! Just make sure you use fresh mozzarella and fresh basil. It really makes a huge difference! I also wait to add the basil until the pizza is cooked.

Mediterranean Venison Stew

1 lb venison tenderloin (backstraps)
1/2 onion, chopped
4 carrots, chopped
3 cups beef stock
1 Tbsp cumin
1/2 Tbsp coriander
1 Tbsp star anise (mine were all broken so it's the equivalent of 1 Tbsp)
cinnamon stick
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tomato, chopped
1 cup spinach
fresh mint and parsley to garnish

Briefly brown the tenderloin. (You could substitute any other meat if you don't have venison.) Then add the tenderloin and the rest of the ingredients through the garlic to a slow cooker. I used a tea infuser for the star anise, but you could also use cheesecloth, or leave it whole, but you have to fish it out at the end. Cook on high for about 7 hours, then add the tomato and the spinach, turn down to low and cook for another hour. I served this over a mashed potato and parsnip mixture and garnished with the mint and parsley.

For the mashed potato and parsnip mixture, just chop equal amounts of potato and parsnips. Boil until soft. Mash and add butter and/or cream. However you make your mashed potatoes will work.

Gluten-free Banana Bread Muffins (adapted from Dashing Dish, found on Pinterest)

1 small banana
2 eggs
1/2 cup greek yogurt
3/4 cup rolled oats
2 scoops protein powder (I used vanilla whey)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon

Mix all ingredients in a blender or food processor and mix until smooth. I used a blender and had to push the dry stuff down a few times to get it to mix in. Pour into muffins tins lined with silicone liners or spray your tin well. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. These are a bit denser than traditional muffins, but they are very moist and the banana flavor is pretty mild.

Homemade Luna Bars (adapted from Chocolate Covered Katie)

1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp peanut butter (or any other nut butter)
1/2 cup sticky sweetener (I used a combination of honey, agave and maple syrup...long story)
2 tsp vanilla extract (use the real thing!!!)
1/2 tsp salt
3 cups rice crispies
2 scoops protein powder (I used vanilla whey)
1 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 Tbsp butter

Mix together the peanut butter, sweetener, vanilla extract and salt. Then melt it in the microwave or on the stovetop and mix until creamy. In another bowl, mix together the rice crispies and the protein powder. Then pour the peanut butter mixture over the rice crispies and mix together really well. I ended up using my hands. It helps to spray them with cooking spray first. Then spread them into a pan lined with wax paper or parchment and smash it all down really well. Then melt the chocolate chips. I ended up having to add about a tablespoon of butter to mine to get it creamy. You may not have to do this. Then spread the chocolate evenly over the rop of the rice crispies and put it in the freezer for about 30 minutes or until the chocolate has set. Slice and enjoy! I'm storing them sliced in a plastic container in the fridge.

And finally....the homemade dog treat review. Shadow said these are yummy and crunchy and filled with love! I speak dog, so I know exactly what he says! So you know that Jason and I have completely changed the way we eat, and for those of you who know me, you know that I would never leave Shadow out of this. Suprisingly, it has been a bit more of a challenge to find healthy organic dog treats. He loves the dried lamb ears, but they are super expensive and he doesn't need an entire lamb ear every time he goes potty. He would completely disagree with this statement, but I control the food and he doesn't have thumbs, so it restricts his ability to open the containers! Anyway, part of this switch is to limit the amount of grain he gets. Dogs don't naturally eat grain, but it tends to be the first ingredient of most dog foods and treats because it's a cheap filler. So here is my first attempt at a wheat free dog treat. It's not completely grain free because I didn't know how to get it crunchy without any grain. It was surprisingly easy and he really does seem to like them. Oh, and yes I did buy a cute little dog bone shaped cookie cutter! I didn't get a baby, so cut me some slack!

Shadow's Dog Treats

1 cup rolled oats (Put through the food processor to make it a more flour like consistency, but you could just buy oat flour)
1/2 cup flax seeds (I also put these in the food processor, but you could also just buy flax meal)
1 Tbsp dried mint
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup cooked butternut squash
1 egg

Mix all ingredients together until it forms a stiff dough. I did have to add a couple tablespoons of whole wheat flour to get the right consistency, but next time I will just use more oat flour. Then knead for a minute and roll or flatten with your hands (I used my hands) to about a 1/2 inch. It doesn't have to be perfect. Then use the cookie cutter to cut out the shapes and then put them onto a tin lined cookie sheet. Gather up the unused dough, knead it back together and roll it out again, just like you would cookies, until you've used all the dough. Bake at 350 for about 15 mins, more if you are making bigger biscuits. Turn biscuits over and bake for another 15 mins, or more for bigger biscuits. Allow to cool completely before feeding to your dog!