Monthly Archives: February 2013

Treats for Taffy

For the past few months monsieur and I have tossed around the idea of getting a dog. We both agreed we wanted to adopt, but we were a bit weary because I have 2 small nieces. After looking at all the options, a friend directed us towards Turtle Gardens, a great animal rescue organization that specializes in stray/feral dogs from First Nation Communities and Municipal pounds. We decided we would start fostering with the intention of adopting. We wanted to make sure we found a dog that we not only connected with, but that would be comfortable and safe around children. We knew it might take us a while to find ‘the one’ but we were willing to go through the process knowing we would learn a lot and meet some great pups in the process.

This past Sunday we headed out to meet the TG van that brought the dogs down from up North. We weren’t exactly sure what to expect, but when we got there, they were already unloading the pups. There were lots of different types, sizes and ages- it was an overload of cuteness.

We had been chosen to foster Taffy, an 8 month old german shepherd cross, but were told that she already had interested adopters and that she would most likely go quickly.

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When we grabbed her she was a little reserved, pretty tired and super dirty- to be expected after a 12+ hour van ride with tons of other dogs. We loaded her up and headed home- first things first-a bath! She surprisingly didn’t mind the bath and in a few minutes she was squeaky clean 🙂

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During the day she started opening up more and more and we fell for her… HARD! There was something about her, it just felt right.

I spent the better part of the afternoon/evening trying to convince monsieur that she was the one for us, there was just something about her, I knew if we let her go we’d regret it. We decided to sleep on it and see how we felt in the morning. Monday morning he went off to work and I took her for a walk. By 8 am I got a phone call questioning the paper work for her adoption-I knew I had him :)!

That was that, we filled out the paper work, paid the adoption fee and by about noon she was all ours!

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Who could say no to that face!

We have already started training, and with that comes lots of treats. Obviously the foodie in me wanted to make my little girl some healthy, gluten free training treats.

Shocker- she LOVED them… what dog doesn’t like treats!? It definitely makes me feel better knowing she’s not eating all those crap treats- what’s even in those fake bacon treats?!

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Peanut butter oatmeal doggy treats: 1 1/4 cup brown rice flour, 3/4 gluten free oats, 2 tbsp flax seed meal, 1 cup peanut butter, 1 tbsp honey, 1 egg, and 1 cup almond milk… mix wet, mix dry, add wet to dry. Roll into bite size ball and bake at 375 for 18-20 minutes.

Our girlie really loves them, hope yours do as well 🙂

Food memories

I don’t know about you but I associate foods with different people. When I think of my mom I always think of toast with honey and tea-whenever we were sick growing up, my mom would bring us toast with honey on a little tray in bed, it always made me feel better. When I think of my older sister, I always think of banana bread- it was the first thing we made together, well, she made it and I licked the bowl but still :). And when I think of my dad I automatically think of beef B. Growing up it seemed my dad always had a pot simmering away on the stove. Even to this day, when I go visit him, I can smell the red wine, garlic and beef simmering on the stove about a mile away.

It’s funny how we associate smells with people and memories.

I have found myself walking down memory lane a lot these past few weeks, and this morning I woke up wanting to see my dad. He spends most of the winter out of town, so an actual visit wasn’t in the cards, but I went with the next best thing- I whipped up a big batch of his famous beef B. As soon as I started cooking, I couldn’t help but let my mind drift back to all those cozy Sunday nights with my dad, it was exactly what I was after.

I know everyone and their sister has a recipe for beef B, but honestly my dads is the best, most likely because of the butter and bottle + of red wine :). It is a little time consuming, but well worth the extra effort I promise.

Beef B (beef bourguignon): A large ‘cheaper roast’ cut into chunks, 3 large carrots peeled and chopped, 3 large parsnips peeled and chopped, 2 large onions chopped, 4 cloves of garlic diced, 1 tablespoon dried rosemary, 1 bottle of red wine (I went with an Argentinian malbec), at least 1 cup beef broth, butter, salt and pepper…

Heat butter in a large pan, sear the beef on each side and add to a big saucepan (I do this in batches). When done, deglaze the frying pan with some red wine, and then add to the saucepan.

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Add chopped onion and garlic to frying pan with rosemary and stir-fry for a few minutes until softened, add to the saucepan. Add the rest of the wine to the saucepan and let simmer. After 20 minutes or so add the chopped carrots, parsnips and mushrooms, season with salt and pepper (not too much because the sauce will reduce and you can always add more), you may need to add more wine or beef stock here. Let simmer for about 30 minutes and then turn off heat and let it cool.

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The trick to my dad’s beef B is to cook it a day or 2 ahead of time and let it sit, he always cooks and simmers it for 20-30 minutes, then another 20-30 minutes the next morning and again simmers before serving, it keeps cooking as it cools down which intensifies the flavours and makes the beef super tender!

This is great served atop a big pile of mashed potatoes, but these days I prefer a big pile of mashed cauliflower.

Hope you enjoy 🙂

Lent challenge

Today marks day 1 of lent, I am not a religious person per say, but I really love a good challenge. My understanding is that lent is a time when many Christians prepare for Easter by committing to fasting or giving up certain types of luxuries as a form of penitence for 40 days. Every year I like to choose 1 indulgence to temporarily give up, in the past I have given up: chocolate, alcohol, pop, and chips. This year I have decided to give up refined, processed sugar/sweeteners. I don’t consume a ton of processed sugar but it does sneak into my diet via canned/jar sauces, the occasional frozen yogurt trip, a little gluten free treat while out and about, sushi rice, any gluten free bread…

I want to use these next 40 days to experiment with more homemade sauces, dips and dressings– things I tend to buy instead of make (due to pure laziness and convenience).

I will definitely be eating at home more these next 40 days, as it is often too hard to determine if sugar is added to you meal when eating out. When I do have to eat out however, I will be sure to avoid most sauces and dressings, opting instead for olive oil, lemon, salt and pepper.

I have admitted in the past that sugar is a problem for me and i’m hoping this challenge will help me cut down on sweets and quell my always-screaming sweet tooth.

One treat I am not giving up is my occasional glass of red wine, I don’t drink often, but I do enjoy the occasional glass of wine after a long week.

Seeing as I do have a pretty intense sweet tooth, I will be experimenting with lots of sugar free treats. To start off with, a few items that will become staples in my diet are: 

Dates stuffed with raw almond butter rolled in unsweetened unsulfured coconut;

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Warm coconut milk with a sprinkle of cinnamon; 

Banana and date sweetened puddings (chia/avocado puddings);

Roasted sweet potato topped with almond butter (don’t knock it till you try it!);

And my latest experiment, a cinnamon, vanilla, banana pancake cooked in coconut oil topped with almond butter (recipe coming soon)

Is anyone else taking part in a lent challenge? Any tips out there to hold yourself accountable?

For me, i’m hoping that by just putting it out on the blog i’ll feel more pressure to stay honest.

What a weekend

Been a while since i’ve checked in… I was out of my kitchen for 2 weeks house/dog-sitting, but i’m back now and more than ready to make up for my cooking/baking hiatus.

This past weekend, one of my besties was in town visiting from Ottawa. Our weekend was jam packed- lots of delicious food, drinks, treats and little adventures.

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Its amazing what a weekend with good friends does for the soul :). I feel like a different person- my face still hurts from laughing and smiling so much :). She was the first house guest i’ve had since I moved into my place over a year ago, and wanted to make her a little something special. I whipped up a batch of muffins thinking, who doesn’t love a blueberry muffin to start the day, especially on their holiday.

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Blueberry streusel muffins:  1 cup blueberries,

1 cup rice flour,
1 cup Almond flour ,
1 tsp baking soda and 1tsp baking powder.
1/2 cup apple sauce,
1/2 cup maple syrup,
2tbsp flax meal mixed with 6 tbsp warm water (stir and let thicken), 1 tsp vanilla…
Mix wet together, mix dry together. Add wet to dry, fold in blueberries. Scoop 1/4 cup into each muffin tin and top with streusel.
Streusel:

1/2 cup gluten free oats (could sub quinoa flakes),
1/4 cup coconut sugar,
1tsp cinnamon,
1 tsp vanilla, 2
tbsp melted coconut oil… mix well and top muffins.
Bake at 350 for 35-40mins (clean toothpick test).
These were super yummy and kept very moist throughout the weekend, please please give these a try and let me know what you think.
Hope everyone else had a great family day long weekend 🙂
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