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Mango Dog’s BDay Cake! (for dogs AND humans!)

March 25, 2014

Well, it has happened! Mango and I have not quite reached the landmark of an entire year of knowing each other, but we have reached his first birthday! And boy did we celebrate! First (yes, I know, he is a dog. BUT he is MY dog and he is a wonderful dog. The best. So he gets the best) there were presents! I got him a raw beef bone. Bones are not only an excellent source of yumminess and occupation for a dog, they are excellent toothbrushes. They keep plaque away and doggy brains happy. Winwinwin. Win. I also got him a Busy Buddy treat-hiding rope toy. So he has to work a little bit, but the toy magically dispenses treats for him! He has a few similar ones so it wasn’t his first rodeo, but he loves ropes, so I got this one to add to his collection…and he carried it around all day.

After breakfast and presents, we went downstairs for a typical day of dog walking and hanging out with dogs (gosh, don’t we have it just the best?). After a handful of walks (there were 36 dogs to be exact) we had Mango’s party! Shadow, a local aussie shepherd, joined us for some hoop jumping and tunnel running. AND some cake!

While not as sweet as the human version of cakes, it make a nice breakfast treat for humans. And the dog, BEGGED for it.  But he is polite, and so he even waited on his candle to be lit and the song to be sung.

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Banana Carrot Pupcake:

2 cups flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 ripe banana, mashed

1 large carrot, shredded

1/2 cup applesauce (unsweetened)

3 Tbsp maple syrup or honey

2.5-3 cups water

Directions: Preheat oven to 375. Mix everything together and place in 9×9″ cake pan or 6 muffin tins. Bake for 35min (cake) or keep an eye on cupcakes starting at 20min. Top with Pumpkin PB icing for extra delectability!1461161_1480202528870305_2052703818_n

PS…you cannot have a birthday without icing.

Peanut Butter Pumpkin ICING!

3/4 cup pumpkin (I used canned)

1/4 cup PB

1/2 tsp vanilla

Directions: Stir well, slather generously on cake. Try not to eat it all before you get it on the cake…or just make a second batch….

All in all is was an excellent day! And the dog, who is clearly going to pretend to be a puppy forever, is wondering when we might celebrate again.563211_1480388822185009_1438316656_n 1920247_1479819232241968_1643001504_n

Enjoy!

No Knead Sandwich Bread!

February 28, 2014

It is only almost the end of February but IT FEELS LIKE SPRING! Mud is coming out everywhere and the snow is slush and then frozen ice patches in the morning. Super hazardous for dog walking, running and pretty much going outside. Is it really February? Hello, climate change. Either way, all of this warm weather gets me excited for summer!!! Woo!

Anyways, in efforts to clean up the life (cont. from New Years!) I am reverting back to my less-processed life plan and making a lot more stuff. Including my own deodorant (sorry, gross, but its way better!) toothpaste and sunscreen. I am also making my own crackers, hummus, corn chips, bread, jam, hot sauce and other typically “processed” store bought items. And I feel way better about all of it.

SO without further ado, a sandwich loaf that anyone can make. No long kneading and double rising time, no professional bakers kneaded here (baha!): just mix, wait and bake!IMG_0641

Whole Wheat No Knead Sandwich Loaf!

1 cup lukewarm water

¼ cup melted butter

juice of ½ lemon

2 Tbsp molasses (maple syrup or honey)

¼ cup warmish milk

2 tsp yeast

1 tsp salt

3 cups flour (I used WW)

Directions: Heat up water, juice, milk and butter until just about 100 degrees. Add yeast, molasses, salt and 2 cups of the flour. Stir well. Now add the last cup of flour gradually until you have a sticky, not kneadable, but also but not pourable dough. Transfer into a well greased 8×5” loaf pan and let rise for 45-60min. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350F. When dough is done rising it does not spring back when you press it with your finger (gently!). Once this finger pressing perfection happens, place the loaf into preheated oven for 45 minutes or until its 190F in the middle. If it starts to brown on the outside before the time is up, you can tent it with some aluminum foil. If you eat lots, the recipe doubles well. IMG_0647

Voila!

It is sooooo excellent. You can play with the amount of flour and dryness of the raw dough for the more dense vs. crumbly loaf (I like more dense, because you can slice it without it falling apart..). More dry dough will be more dense, less likely to fall apart bread where as wetter dough will be more cake-like and crumbly.

In other news, Mango Dog and I started a fundraiser for Potcakes in the Bahamas. You can help by donating OR purchasing yourself a sweet shirt at http://www.booster.com/potcakelove! There is a lot of info about the Potcakes and where the money will go as well as a mock up of the shirt on that link! Go check it out! Thanks!IMG_0664

Enjoy the end of the month. Welcome to Spring!

Economy Lentil and Ham Soup!

January 29, 2014

Hello! Another January post, yep! In efforts to save mula, we went “economy style” on this soup, but you’d never know with the flavor! Super yummy. Surprisingly yummy, I’d say! Sooo give it a try. Next month I am taking on the non-processed food challenge. Where I plan to make or be able to name all of the ingredients in anything I consume. Stand-by for updates on that!

And now for the yummys.

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Lentil and Ham Soup Economy Style:

1 cup cooked ham, chopped into 1/2 inch squares

1 cup dry lentils

1 medium red onion, chopped

5 cups water

1 Tbsp Curry Powder (I used vindaloo style)

Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions: Toss everything in the crock pot on low for 6-8 hours. Enjoy! I served mine topped with feta cheese crumbles. Extra tasty.IMG_0425 I also made some biscuits to go along with it! Excellent choice. I used the Pioneer Baking Mix that is like Bisquick here in CO. Its easy and makes fluffy biscuits! Next month, during no-process Feb, Ill be making my own…booo.

In other news, while the rest of the country is under storm warnings and abnormally frozen temps, we had a mild storm last night and yesterday and are dipping well into the negatives at night, but nothing is holding us back! I feel for all of you who are getting “snowed in” for a threat of snow. I did that for a good portion of my life…its great to brave the multiple inch snow fall now though. Especially since we get to ski it!IMG_0416

Enjoy the coziness while you can!

Pan Seared Tuna with Broccolini and Sweet Potato Fries

January 19, 2014

New Years Healthiness continues! Well into January and I’d say I’m finally feeling like everything is back on track! I am participating in a triathlon in two weeks so I’ve gotten back on the bike and back in the pool and back on my feet running. Complete with a real training plan! Mango dog has also been subjected to a little training and he’s starting to build up his trail mileage as well. Mostly, he just searches for the perfect stick.

For a quick, cheeapish, healthy weeknight meal (or heck, how about a weekend!) try this:IMG_0388

Tuna Steaks with Broccolinni and Sweet Potato Fries:

Sweet Potatoes:

Heat oven to 425F. Chop sweet potatoes (I leave skin on) and toss with olive oil, salt and favorite spices. I use a little cinnamon, some old bay and some rosemary. Bake, tossing once halfway through, for 30-45minutes.

Broccolini:

Sautee broccolini (baby broccoli) with olive oil, onions, salt and pepper until soft (5-10minutes), set aside.

Tuna:Heat olive oil over medium high heat in a large saucepan. Coat tuna with your favorite spice rub (I used a citrus salt mix made locally here in Steamboat). Once the oil is shiny, place tuna in pan and don’t flip until the edges start to get white. This will leave a nice sear on the top. Flip and wait another 3-4 minutes (longer if you’d like a more well done steak) and serve.

Super great. I love tuna and fish in general and never seem to make it enough. It isn’t super expensive either. Especially if you live by the coast…which I do not.IMG_20140115_141005 IMG_20140116_143050 IMG_20140110_225735

Enjoy!

New Years Turkey Soup!

January 18, 2014

Happy 2014! I’m a LITTLE late posting, but at least I’m getting it in. For New Years, I made the traditional southern collard green, blackeyeds and cornbread and had that with a giant smoked turkey. Traditionally, its ham at the new year, but the City of Steamboat graciously delivered a 9lbs smoked turkey to me in thanks for my service with Parks and Rec this past year. So, I used Mr Turkey instead of le ham.

Anyways, I won’t post the fixins, because I have posted them in the past (see here.) BUT, after a few days of eating turkey, turkey got old. SO, I chopped it up and made a soup. The stock I used for the soup was some the Thanksgiving chicken we had. I used the turkey bones and some veggies to make another TWENTY TWO cups of stock which will soon be reappearing here in more than one recipe. Lobster Bisque, anyone?IMG_0384

Turkey Soup:

10 cups stock (I used chicken)

4 cups cooked, chopped turkey

2 zucchini, halved and  sliced

3 roma tomatoes, chopped (I left the skin on)

2 medium potatoes, chopped (I left the skin on these as well)

one small bunch kale

1/2 tsp crushed red pepper

1 tsp rosemary

salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup uncooked brown rice

Directions: Combine all ingredients but rice in a crock pot and cook on low for 6-8 hours. Add rice in the last 1/2 hour.

Voila! I love soups…and their easy variations. Basically, veggies, protein, some starch or grain and a good stock. Winner. Feel free to mix it up as you’d like! I decided to go with current veggie drawer options only for this soup…but carrots and onions would be a good addition. Or pasta instead of rice. New Year, New SOup!

Meanwhile, while the rest of the country is in polar vortex, we are getting dumped on. Snowwwwww. I swear we’ve gotten two feet in the last day. So nice.IMG_20131231_081621 IMG_20140101_164424 IMG_20140106_195454 IMG_20140109_202513

Enjoy!

Peanut Butter Pumpkin Pie Doggie Biscuits

December 19, 2013

Merry Christmas! Unfortunately, while I have been cooking a lot, I haven’t been very good about photographing things. New New Years Resolution! Blog more, eat less—OR, just eat after the documenting has happened…

But I thought since ’tis the season, I’d share one of Mango’s favorite things, PB Pumpkin Pie Treats! Super easy. We actually made them into jar mixes for gifts at the RK Ranch this year. See also, some great photos from the RK Ranch Holiday Dog Biscuit Exchange and some recent winter hikes the dog and I have adventured on. Yep. So here we go:IMG_9934

PB Pumpkin Pie Doggie Biscuits:

2 1/2 cups flour

1/2 cup Pumpkin

2 eggs

2 TBSP PB

1/2 tsp cinnamon

Directions: Preheat oven to 325F. Mix everything together and knead until it is the texture of playdough. Roll out into 1/4″ and cut into desired shapes. Or, use a fork to flatten tsp size balls on a greased cookie sheet (pb cookie style). Bake 15-20 min or until golden and kind of hard. They will be crunchy when cooled.

*If you’re giving them as jar gifts, half the recipe for each jar and I used powdered PB (PB2 is what we have in the grocery here) and added a few extra Tbsp pumpkin to the mix.IMG_0059 IMG_0314 IMG_9938 IMG_9946IMG_9848 IMG_9813 IMG_9698

Enjoy!

Banana Bread (Gluten Free!) and South Dakota Fun

November 19, 2013

It is almost Thanksgiving and the snow has fallen in Steamboat! We are hoping it is here to stay. But before Thanksgiving celebs… This weekend I am looking forward to heading down to Austin to celebrate Alden and Scott’s wedding, drinking lots of good Texas beer and of course, eating lots of BBQ! I am super excited for them and can’t wait to help them celebrate their togetherness. Standby for updates on that. Probably lots of pictures of the entire pig Scott plans to roast…

Meanwhile, with the colder weather, I have been baking a lot. Baking for the dog (yes, I know) and baking for myself! Check out this super tasty gluten free banana bread. I think the almond flour was a huge flavor addition. Points for GF baking, people!IMG_9580

GF Banana Bread:

1 1/2 cups flour * I used oat and almond about half and half of each

4 eggs

3/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup butter (or oil)

3 bananas

1 tsp vanilla

3/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground cloves

3/4 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup pecans (any nut, really)

1/2 cup coconut (also, you can use chocolate chips or more nuts)

Directions: Preheat oven to 350F. Mix flour, baking powder, spices, nuts and coconut or chocolate chips (mixing these in with the dry keeps them from sinking in the batter) in a large bowl. In a medium bowl, cream sugar and butter together, add eggs and mashed banana. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry and then pour into a greased 9×5 loaf pan. Bake for 55 minutes to an hour or until a knife comes out clean. (you might need to cover with aluminum foil half way through baking to avoid burning the top of the loaf)

Sooo yum. I cant get enough banana bread in my life, I don’t think. I am always trying different recipes and I thought this one was pretty great! Especially with a little butter on a toasted slice. Breakfast. Heaven.

AND, check out Mount Rushmore below!! We celebrated Halloween in Chicago (see Mango’s great costume, also below) and drove through the Badlands and the Black Hills on our way home~ Checks off the bucket list right there. I highly recommend road tripping through South Dakota as soon as you can. Mostly just the South West corner of it. IMG_9554 IMG_9525 IMG_9509Enjoy!

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