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Let’s Celebrate! | Pumpkin Peanut Butter Dog Treats

22 Sep

Every family has their own little traditions or occasions to celebrate, ours included. 🙂 This post is a celebration of Ollie. We found him on Petfinder and knew that we had to give this little brown Boston Terrier, a puppy mill survivor, a proper home. A home where he always has a toy to comfort him, a brother to play with, homemade treats to snack on, and someone to cuddle.
ImageMy favorite memory from the first week Ollie lived with us, happened at my parents’ house, my childhood home, in Dracut, MA. It was my Aunt’s 60th birthday and the family had decided to go out to lunch and then have cake and ice cream back at my parents’ house. After lunch, Kate and I made sure we were the first to arrive back at the house. Then Auntie came in and called out for Stevie “Where’s my Stevie?” “Come and see your Auntie!” All of a sudden, to her surprise, this tiny little white flash came running down the hallway! She had the biggest smile and greatest birthday surprise — puppy love from the newest member of our family!
In honor of Ollie’s adoption anniversary we took him to the Somerville Dog Festival in our neighborhood on a recent Sunday afternoon. A field full of games to play, prizes to win and free treats to sample… any dog’s dream. Followed up by some homemade dog treats for the boys to enjoy. Yay!

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Pumpkin Peanut Butter Dog Treats
Recipe credit: Adapted from an original recipe by Courtney Danyelle Georg (instagram handle: triceracourt) 

Makes 40 – 60 treats (depending on the size & shape you choose)

Ingredients

2 1/2 cups of whole wheat flour
2 eggs
1 cup 100% pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
2 TBS natural peanut butter
1 TBS ground flax
1 TBS honey
3/4 tsp cinnamon

1) Preheat the oven 350 degrees

2) Line two baking sheets with parchment

3) In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment combine all the ingredients

4) The dough should be dry and come together in a ball when mixed

5) Add a few drops of water if the dough does not form a ball while mixing

6) Remove dough from bowl and place on a floured work surface

7) Using a rolling pin roll dough out to 1/2″ thickness, cut out shapes using a cookie cutter shape of your choice

8) Bake for 20 minutes, then take the baking sheets out, flip over each treat, and then rotate trays before returning to oven

9) Total bake time: 40 mins

10) Turn oven off after 40 mins and let cool in oven on the baking sheets

Stevie and Ollie loved them — they couldn’t get enough! Also, we made a little package for our dog walker to share them with her pack 🙂

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Happy baking! Enjoy the recipe — I’m sure your pups will! Below is a photo of Ollie with the prize he won at the Somerville Dog Festival. He carried all around the festival and all the way home on our walk. What a character!

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Beatin’ the Heat | Frosty Pup Treat Recipe

3 Jun

Ollie is 4!

It is hard to believe that Ollie turned four yesterday. It seems like only yesterday I found a post on Petfinder about a tiny special needs Red Boston Terrier, named Brass Monkey, when in all reality is was in the Fall of 2009. Truth is, if a good Samaritan hadn’t found a Craigslist ad posted in Texas, by a puppy mill breeder then he wouldn’t be with us today. We love our little guy, and he has brought tons of laughs, kisses, and joy to more than just our tiny little family

Kate and I  have little traditions we do to celebrate the pups and Sitar’s birthdays. Stevie always gets a real balloon that he loves, while Ollie on the other hand is afraid of balloons so each year Kate humors me and draws a birthday balloon for Ollie. We tape it above his crate on the wall! We also bake birthday treats for them, there is a great Pupcakes recipe in our blog that Kate posted and the pups adore 🙂 This year is was miserably hot in our apartment and I really didn’t want to subject any of us to turning the oven on, so I came up with a frosty birthday treat recipe for the pups that they inhaled.

frosty treat prep

Ollie’s Frosty Pup Treats
makes 8 frozen treats

Ingredients

1 – 6 oz container of Chobani Vanilla Yogurt*
1 cup of unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup of 100% pure canned pumpkin

*If you want to control the sugar content in this recipe, just substitute Chobani Plain Greek Yogurt. Dogs don’t need the extra sugar but we made these as an extra special treat so I sweetened them with the Vanilla Chobani.

Steps

1. Whisk all of the ingredients together in a medium size bowl

2. Place cupcake liners in a muffin pan.

3. Spoon the batter into the muffin pan, filling cups a generous half full. (I got 8 frosty treats out of my batter.)

4. Place in the freezer, our treats were frozen solid in 2 hours.

frozen treat unwrapped

Notes

  • These treats are great for pups with allergies, Stevie is intolerant to all things poultry, they are vegetarian, wheat, and soy free.
  • If you have difficulty removing the frozen treats from the muffin pan, just flip the pan over and run warm water on it for a few seconds.
  • The cupcakes wrappers are easy to remove and just peel off, no need for non-stick spray.
  • If you opt to use the Chobani Plain Yogurt, add some sweetness using molasses approximately 2 teaspoons should do the trick!
  • If you are looking for other flavors to mix it up for your beloved pups, try subbing the pumpkin out with an equal amount of sweet potato, peanut butter, or banana.

patiently waiting

This was the easiest birthday recipe I have created in a long time.

frosty treat massacre

On the other end of it, I think these birthday treats were gobbled up the quickest as well, ha! Stevie & Ollie devoured and approved.

Simple Side Dish | Roasted Sriracha Brussels Sprouts

6 May

One of my favorite places to eat locally is Highland Kitchen. Highland Kitchen is a family owned neighborhood restaurant and bar located in the heart of Somerville. They serve American comfort food, local craft beer, creative cocktails and great service. Recently Kate and I had an impromptu date night there, and this is when I remembered one of their famous side dishes, buffalo brussels sprouts. As we walked out, I brainstormed with Kate about making a riff on that buffalo brussels sprouts recipe at home for us one night the following week. Kate in all of her genius, then exclaimed… it would be tasty if you used Sriracha instead of Franks Red Hot Sauce. Done and done.

sriracha brussels

Sriracha Brussels Sprouts
serves 2

Ingredients

 1 lb brussels sprouts (cleaned and cut in halves)

3 TBS melted butter

1 tsp – 1 TBS Sriracha (hot chili garlic sauce) 

salt and pepper to taste

cut brussels

Steps
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees

2. Lightly coat a baking sheet with nonstick spray or olive oil
3. Place the cleaned and halved brussels sprouts in a medium bowl
4. Combine melted butter and Sriracha, pour over brussels sprouts, stir to combine, make sure they are coated evenly.
5. Place coated brussels sprouts on to the prepared baking sheet in a single layer.
6. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper.
7. Bake 20 – 30 minutes depending on the roast level you desire. Stir brussels half way through to ensure even browning.
8. Remove from oven, season before serving with salt.

Notes
1. Sriracha is a sweet hot chili garlic sauce, 1 tsp will give you a slight heat factor, feel free to increase the Sriracha in this recipe to increase the heat!
2. This recipe could be used with roasted cauliflower too. Y-U-M!
3. If the brussels sprouts are particularly large, cut them into quarters.

Keepin’ it local | Dave’s Coffee Syrup

1 May

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Keepin’ it tasty, keepin’ it local…

Dave’s Coffee is a small family owned craft coffee roaster based in Rhode Island. They are certified organic and do everything by hand, the old fashioned way. I bought some of this coffee syrup at a food show Kate & I went to last December and have been tinkering with different uses and recipes for it.

All in all Dave’s Coffee Syrup is just that syrup, a thick sticky bottle of deliciousness. Hand roasted in small batches, cold brewed organic coffee and simmered with natural cane sugar. Yum!

Here are three ideas I have tried, tasted & approve… enjoy!

Homemade Coffee Soda

Ingredients

12oz seltzer water

3 TBS Dave’s Coffee Syrup

Steps

1. Fill 16oz mason jar or pint glass with ice
2. Pour in seltzer water, you can make your own with a Soda Stream or use bottled seltzer
3. Stir in coffee syrup

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Vegan Coffee Egg Cream (adapted from Babycakes NYC)

Ingredients

2 TBS Dave’s Coffee Syrup

3 TBS vanilla soy milk

5oz seltzer water

Steps

1. Pour soy milk and coffee syrup into a tall glass and stir well to combine
2. Continue to stir vigorously while adding seltzer

Notes
1. For the best results, make sure the seltzer and soy milk are well chilled.

ImageSlow Cooker Marinated Pork Tenderloin
serves 2

Ingredients

1 – 24oz frozen pork tenderloin

1 medium onion roughly chopped

1 32oz box chicken broth

1 12oz bottle of ginger beer

1 TBS Dave’s Coffee Syrup

1/2 TBS Sriracha (hot garlic chili sauce)

1 TBS apple cider vinegar

1/4 c Trader Joe’s Soyaki (equal parts soy sauce & teriyaki sauce could substitute)

1/4 c ketchup

1/2 TBS smoked paprika

1 TBS grill seasoning

5 – 6 garlic cloves (peeled and smashed)

Steps

1. Roughly chop the onion and line the bottom of the center of the crock pot.
2. Cover your pork with salt and pepper and place on top of the onion, this will keep the bottom of your pork from getting chewy during the cooking process.
3. Whisk together the rest of the ingredients in a medium sized bowl and pour over the pork in the crock pot. The liquid should almost completely cover the pork.
4. Cook on HIGH for 2 hours, then reduce the cooking temperature to LOW for 4 hours.
5. Once the cooking time is complete, remove the pork from the crock pot, slice and serve.

Notes
1. If you need more pork for your meal, then double the amount of pork and use the same amounts of liquid in the above recipe.
2. To adjust the heat level, add more smoked paprika and Sriracha.
3. The outcome was a really moist, tender and flavorful protein.

For more info on Dave’s Coffee or to order some coffee syrup follow this link to Dave’s Coffee online shop.

Braving the Storm | Blizzard Survival Tips

8 Feb

The predicted blizzard of 2013 is supposed to rival the blizzard of 1978 where friends report to me that they had no school for weeks and that people were lined up for miles to stock up on gas. In January of 1978 I was 2 years old and don’t remember anything, other than a photo that my family has of me, well the Jess toddler version, bundled up and propped up on a mountain of snow that was higher than my Aunt Katie’s ranch style house.

Fast forward to modern-day me, boss by day, happily married and mildly obsessed with my cat and two boston terriers. Kate is out-of-town in Arizona on business and she was supposed to fly home tonight.. mid-week she realizes that this is not going to happen. Logan is closed, there are no flights going into Boston, so instead of being trapped in an airport in Arizona all weekend, she is going to be here…
kate

Well, not exactly in San Francisco, but in Los Angeles to stay with our friends Addie & Channing since she couldn’t get a flight to the east coast. This leaves me to brave the storm alone, well not exactly alone I have to take care of our little fur family on this solo mission. So this post is dedicated to my plans to remain sane and occupy myself and the pets during this blizzard in between getting to and from work tomorrow.

Survival tips and/or preparation suggestions:

1) Rations: be sure you don’t wait until the afternoon of a snow emergency to get back up food and supplies. In the event that it has come to that, you will find that everyone in your city is in the same supermarket and that all of the milk, every single last drop will be gone. The best part about being a bachelor in a blizzard you can get supplies to make home-made pizza, Italian subs, and even double stuffed Oreos in order to help comfort you through the storm.

2) Pets: Make sure you have enough food and litter to last you 3 – 5 days. Provide them with plenty of blankets for warmth and added coziness during snuggling times. (see photo below)
stevie blanket
2) Pets Continued: Peanut Butter is your best ally. Place peanut butter in a Kong toy or hollow bone chew toy and this will keep your pup occupied for hours!
bone
3) Electric Devices: These days no one has a home phone, so be sure to charge your cell phone. This will prove to be useful in two ways, communication obviously, I mean Twitter, Facebook, Words with Friends, but also how else are you going to Instagram those cute photos of all the pets snuggling through the storm?

4) Bake: Most people have gas stoves these days, so kill two birds with one stone: bake something delicious to make someone elses day or enjoy baked goods during those 6 episodes of Grey’s Anatomy that you will probably get sucked into. Baking will also help keep your apartment or home warm too!

5) Netflix: Catch up on your Netflix instant queue, with a decade of Law & Order Special Victim’s Unit, or a documentary made by the former drummer of Hole, or the BBC Sherlock series on-line what else does one need?

So here’s to hoping we all stay warm, calm and collected during the storm. I know Kate will! Miss you 🙂

Tiny Bites, Big Flavors | Turkey Sliders

4 Feb

Saturday afternoon at work I had thought of the perfect idea for dinner on Sunday night, Super Bowl Sunday night. I knew I would have to do some convincing when it came to getting Kate on board, but I was up for the challenge. You see neither one of us are sports fans, so I knew I couldn’t approach it from that angle. Quite frankly I know I was more excited in Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl, especially since it features adoptable dogs that need homes and uses this event to promote adoption. P.S. We didn’t get to watch that much of the Puppy Bowl because Ollie was so into it, he kept standing in front of the TV on his hind legs and barking along with the puppies, cute, but not conducive to apartment living, ha!

My goal Super Bowl Sunday menu was going to feature all game day themed appetizers. Yes! As I had predicted Kate wasn’t into it, but as she often does she humors me and my crazy themed meal ideas. On one condition, that the menu items had to be healthier versions. Got it, the challenge was on.
I found this amazing hot spinach and artichoke dip recipe on Skinnytaste.com it was amazing. We paired it with Stacy’s Simply Naked Pita chips that were on sale at Shaw’s yesterday, bonus. As an added tip, because Kate had her contribution to the meal cooking in the oven, we made the dip and baked it in the toaster oven my parents gave us for Christmas and it came out perfect.

Kate wanted to make her Mom’s stuffed mushroom recipe, so we had those as well. Upon returning home from grocery shopping she realized that she didn’t buy the French Onion Soup packet that her Mom’s recipe called for, to substitute she finely chopped some shallots, sautéed them and added some garlic salt to the recipe and they were amazing.
On to our main course…
sliders
Turkey Burgers with Sriracha Aoli

Ingredients
1lb Ground Turkey

1/4 c Panko breadcrumbs
3/4 small white onion grated
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp grill seasoning
3 dashes of Worcestershire Sauce
1 egg
2 TBS Dijon mustard

Steps
1) Place ground turkey into a medium size bowl

2) Grate the white onion directly into the ground turkey in order to get all of the onion juice into the mix

3) Add the remaining ingredients

4) Combine with your hands

5) On medium heat, heat a medium-sized skillet drizzled with 1 TBS of olive oil or sprayed with non-stick spray

6) Form the slider patties, make them approximately 3″ in diameter and 1″ thick

7) Cook for 3 minutes on each side, a meat thermometer should read the internal temperature as 165 degrees.

Sriracha Aoili

Ingredients
1 tsp Sriracha (hot garlic chili sauce)

4 TBS light mayonnaise
juice of 1/2 lemon
dash of salt

Steps
1) Combine the Sriracha, mayo, and lemon juice in a small bowl

2) Season to taste with a dash of salt

Notes:
1) We used Sara Lee dinner rolls for buns and they were the perfect size

2) To melt cheese on your sliders, once the burgers are done cooking, remove the pan from the heat, add one half of a slice of your favorite cheese to the top of each burger and place a sheet of aluminum foil over the pan, be sure to fold the foil in half so that it looks like a tent prior to covering the pan, this will keep your cheese from sticking to the foil.

3) The portions were two sliders per person and there was a little more than half of the ground meat mixture left last night, so tonight we are having ground turkey soft tacos in order to make our leftovers count.

4) For best flavor spread the aoli on each side of the bun, the bottom that the meat will sit on as well as the top to help anchor the greens.

Enjoy!

Two For One | Shredded Chicken & Enchilada Sauce

28 Jan

Make it count Monday, two recipes in one blog post. My ever thrifty self has been trying to meal plan on my day off and make the majority of our meals at the beginning of the week in order to have stress free healthy meals during the week when work is in full gear.

I’ve been using these simple principles:
– Cook at least one protein in the crock pot. Why you ask? Here are my tips… I can stretch one protein such as pork tenderloin, boneless spare ribs, chicken breasts, steak tips, etc. into about 2 -3 meals for Kate and I. Of course I get creative mainly because I can’t stand having the same thing over and over. One week we had steak tips cooked in the crock pot that we had with mashed sweet potatoes and kale chips, which then turned into asian spiced steak tacos with corn soft tacos and fresh lime juice.
– Save your money! Using the crock pot to cook at least one meal a week will save you money on utilities. One of my favorite crock pot recipe blogs, A Year of Slow Cooking, listed that there is documentation that suggests that a slow cooker uses approximately $0.02 of power per hour and that the monthly cost of using a slow cooker is $1.17. The slow cooking method of crock pots lends itself perfectly to less expensive cuts of meat that can be tough if not cooked using the low and slow method.
– Save your time! I only make slow cooker meals that require little to no prep ahead of time. That means less prep time, less dishes, and more time to spend with Kate and the pups 🙂

This week I made the recipe below originally posted on The Honest Company Blog.

Easiest Slow Cooker Shredded Chicken
serves 4

Ingredients
3 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts (fresh or frozen)

1 16oz jar of your favorite salsa
1 onion finely chopped

Steps
1) Pour 1/3 of the jar of salsa covering the bottom of the crock pot

2) Layer the chopped onion over the salsa

3) Nestle the chicken breasts into the onion and salsa that is covering the bottom of the crock pot

4) Cover the chicken breasts with the remaining 2/3 jar of salsa

5) Cover and cook fresh chicken breasts on LOW for 7 hours. If you used frozen chicken breasts cook on HIGH for 6 hours.

Notes:
1) I used fresh chicken breasts and came out amazing, super moist and tender. Yum!
2) The salsa I used was Spike’s Salsa and it was the medium variety, but feel free to use whatever suits your heat level. I discovered Spike’s Salsa one week when it was on sale at the grocery store, it is really good and costs a fraction of the other bigger named salsa brands.
3) I removed the cooked chicken from the crock pot and shredded it using two forks, it basically falls apart on its own so you could use your hands if you want.
4) To store it, I placed the left over shredded chicken in a food safe storage container, we use these Anchor Hocking True Seal glass containers, then I added about 1/2 – 3/4 cup of the reserved cooking juices that were at the bottom of the slow cooker. Only use enough to mix into the shredded chicken to keep it moist.

sauce
Tonight I’m turning the left over shredded chicken into an Enchilada Casserole using a homemade enchilada sauce I made this afternoon.

Here’s the recipe:

Roasted Tomato Enchilada Sauce
inspired by America’s Test Kitchen

Ingredients
1 TBS canola oil

1 14.5oz can of Organic fire roasted diced tomatoes
1 onion diced
3 garlic cloves minced
1 Fresno chile finely diced, seeds and ribs removed
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp smoked paprika
2 tsp sugar
2 TBS salsa
1/2 c water

Steps

1) Heat oil in a 1.5 – 2 QT sauce pan using med/low heat.

2) Start to cook onion, garlic, and chile in the heated oil to soften about 5 mins.

3) Add remaining ingredients and stir.

4) Bring sauce to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer.

5) Simmer covered for 15 minutes.

6) Remove pan from heat, using an immersion blender submerge into sauce and blend until smooth. If you do not have an immersion blender a food processor or blender would work just as well.

7) Enjoy!

Notes:
1) The enchilada sauce recipe is totally vegan and low-fat!
2) It will freeze well in a freezer safe storage container, try using a canning jar just remember to leave approximately 1 inch of room in the jar before screwing on the lid.

 

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