Homemade Peanut Butter and Banana Dog Treats

He is always there. Waiting patiently. Dancing between us in the kitchen.

Eyes big, eagerly waiting for something – ANYTHING – to drop.

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We tell him to move…scoot…watch out….get…move….MOOOOVE! It doesn’t faze him.

He lies down and creates a road block between the stove and the fridge.

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We trip over him; he doesn’t care. I accidentally spill flour on him; he doesn’t flinch.

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Eyes big. Intense focus. He stays vigilant just waiting for something – ANYTHING – to drop.

His sheer determination and patience should be commended; a lesson for us all to learn.

Good things come to those who wait.

His name is Turtle. He’s our biggest fan.

Today is his day. Today we bake just for him.

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Homemade Peanut Butter & Banana Dog Treats
{adapted from recipe by Adrianna on A Cozy Kitchen}

  • 1 medium banana, mashed
  • 3 tablespoons creamy (natural) peanut butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 3/4 cup garbanzo bean flour
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats

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1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

2. In a small bowl, mix together the banana, peanut butter and egg; mix until completely combined.

3. In a medium bowl, add the flour and rolled oats; mix. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and combine until the dough comes together.

4. Transfer the dough to a piece of heavily floured wax paper. {Note: The dough will be REALLY sticky so flouring the heck out of everything (wax paper, rolling pin and cookie cutter) is important.}

5. Roll the dough to a 1/4-inch thickness and cut out the cookies using a cookie cutter of choice; re-roll the scraps and cut out more cookies. Transfer the cookies to a parchment lined cookie sheet. These cookies won’t spread so placing them close together (not touching) is okay. If you don’t want to roll the dough out, alternatively, you can scoop teaspoon of dough onto a baking sheet, flattening cookies with the ball of your palm.

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6. Bake the cookies for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown. {Note: Your level of dough thickness will determine your baking time. My cookies were slightly thinner so I baked for roughly 20 minutes.}

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7. Allow the cookies to come to room temperature on a cooling rack. Cookies will be good for up to 2 weeks in an airtight container.

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Until we bake for best buds again,

a+h

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How To Roll Your Own Sushi {Date Night}

Happy Valentine’s week, friends.

Some embrace it. Some hate it.  Some could care less.  We’re a little indifferent, but always appreciate any holiday that inspires a time to chill, connect and cook.  Instead of splurging on a fancy prix fixe menu at a restaurant, you’ll find us roaming the local grocery store menu planning on our own.  This year, we’ve been craving sushi … and beets.  So we spent a night in rolling, experimenting and playing, making loads of our own creations at a fraction of the cost of going out.

Want to make sushi for your Valentine?

A few tips:

1.    It’s all about your rice.  Carefully follow the directions on your sushi rice package.   You’re looking for a sticky texture.  Seasoning is also key.  Try creating a rice wine vinegar reduction with a four to one ratio of vinegar to salt and sugar (Example: (4) Tablespoons of rice wine vinegar to (1) Tablespoon of salt to (1) Tablespoon of sugar).  Amount will vary depending on the amount of rice you make.  Master your rice and you’re well on your way.

2.    Put plastic wrap around your bamboo mats for easier clean up and to help roll inside-out rolls easier.

3.    Have a bowl of water nearby.  Dip your fingers in the water each time you add more rice to your mat.  This keeps things a little less sticky and you won’t have rice sticking to your fingers.

4.    Roll slowly.  Roll it tight.  Roll it evenly.


5.    Don’t stick with just a few ingredients.  Have options.  Try out different flavor profiles.  You know what we’re saying … let loose!

Until we eat again,

A + H

Blueberry Pancakes with Strawberry Sauce {Sunday Brunch}

Now that he’s back to work in the restaurant putting in good 60 – 80 hour weeks, I’ve been left to my own devices.  At first I mourned the loss of his weekly brunch creations like this or this or this.  But then something clicked.  Wait a doggone minute! After years of watching him create, I HAD to have picked up a few skills outside of defrost, nuke or reheat. Right?!

So the tables have turned and it’s me, the chef’s widow that runs our little kitchen.  And Sunday mornings before he heads off to his shift have since become our new Friday nights.

This morning, I left my sleepy chef tucked in tight and went downstairs to get to work. With pancakes on the brain.  So appropriate for this particular weekend as it happens to me my grandfather’s (alias “Papa’s”) birthday weekend and it was through him that I learned how stacks of blueberry pancakes were done right.  It also happens to be our pretty little sister’s birthday today (aka Harrison step-sister, Rachel).  She too is quite the connoisseur although she likes her pancakes skinny more like these.

So in honor of everyone and in celebration of the acceptance that I too can get down and cook, today we’re devouring maple syrup drenched blueberry pancakes.  The recipe just so happens to be one of our own that I retested myself which you can find here.

Andrea’s Addition:
Strawberry Sauce
(from Better Homes & Garden’s Fresh & Easy Meals)

– (2) cups of fresh or frozen unsweetened strawberries, thawed
– (1) tablespoon sugar
– (1) teaspoon of vanilla

Directions:

1. In a blender container or food processor bowl combine strawberries, sugar and vanilla.

2. Cover and blend or process until smooth.

3.  In a small saucepan heat sauce until warm, then pour over your pancakes.

Until we eat again,

A + H

T-bone Steak, Cheese, Eggs And Welch’s Grape

Today was Harrison’s last day of his culinary class, Art of Cuisine.  It has been three weeks of creativity, big new words (for moi) and interesting artistic expression.

Take one of his recent assignments for example.  He was told to select a song or style of music and then interpret it into a dish. 

What does he, a.k.a. the oldest guy in the class, choose?  The 90’s east coast hip hop classic “Big Poppa” off Notorious B.I.G’s debut album, Ready to Die. (Ok, yes I too am a fan.)

Big Poppa - Notorious BIG Read to Die

Seriously. I can't make this stuff up.

When he pitched it to me I looked at him sideways and said “I hope you’re not having to play that song for your presentation.”  He darted back, “Babe, this is college.”

Oh yeah, that’s right.  Pardon me.

So, without further a’do… H-dog’s interpretation of the notorious line 
“… a T-bone steak, cheese, eggs and Welch’s grape…”

Steak, cheese, eggs, grape

Medallion of beef with grape and madeira demi, mushroom potato with candied shallot, poached egg with quinelle of goat cheese and a rustic cracker.


Until we freestyle again,


A & H

Sunday Brunch – Pancakes for Brooke

Happy Fourth of July weekend y’all!  Our dear friend Brooke is quite a pancake connoisseur.  She can’t get enough she says.  Since this weekend just so happens to include both her one year wedding anniversary AND her birthday, we thought we would put together a recipe just for her (and share with you!).

White Chocolate, Vanilla, Fresh Blueberry and Orange Zest Pancake Recipe

You know you want to make some...

Lets let loose on some white chocolate, fresh blueberry and orange zest pancakes, shall we?


Basic Pancake Recipe:

  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/4 cup of low-fat organic milk (although H dog recommends whole)
  • 1/2 teaspoon organic vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cup of organic flour
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder 
    (Important note:  If you’re going big with additional acidic ingredients as we are down below, then you will want to substitute baking soda for your baking powder.  Acidic ingredients include orange zest or juice, molasses, brown sugar, etc.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
White Chocolate, Vanilla, Fresh Blueberry and Orange Zest Pancake Recipe

Mise en place. French culinary term for "everything in place."

1.  In a medium bowl, beat eggs, milk and vanilla.
2.  In a separate medium bowl, mix your above dry ingredients.  Once mixed, create a well in the center of your dry mixture.
3.  Add your wet mixture to your dry mixture.

Mixing your wet ingredients with dry to create your pancake batter.

Creating a well in your pancake mixture helps you mix your batter together more evenly.

Pancake Batter Mixture

Here is the consistency you're looking to achieve if you're planning to add in extra yummy ingredients. If you would prefer to stick with the basic recipe, continue mixing until a few less lumps remain.

Additions (the fun stuff!):

  • 1 and a 1/4 cup of fresh blueberries
  • 1/3 cup of white chocolate chips
  • 1 tablespoon of orange zest

6.  Add in the above yummy ingredients. 

Pancake batter with yummy additions

Orange zest, fresh blueberries and decadent white chocolate... oh yeah!

Pancake batter

Lookin' good. We're ready!

7.  Now we’re ready to cook these puppies.  Add 1/2 teaspoon of vegetable oil (or olive oil or grape seed oil or go southern and slap down some butter!) to a 9 inch saute pan. 

8.  Turn your heat on medium low and heat your pan.  You can drop a little water to test once ready… does it sizzle?  If yes then we’re ready to cook these cakes!

Cooking temp - medium low

A peek at our setting . We currently have an electric range (and are still missing our gas from NC).

9.  We recommend you use a 1/2 cup to measure out each pancake. 

This give you a great approx. 5 inch pancake and helps keep your yield more consistent.

This measurement gives you a lovely (approx) 5 inch pancake and helps keep your yield more consistent.

10. Cooking on each side will vary with each pancake.  The first few will take longer per side while your pan continues to heat. 

When cooking pancakes, look for bubbles to form on top and then burst.  Once this is actively going, you're ready to flip!

When cooking pancakes, look for bubbles to form on top and then burst. Once this is actively going, you're ready to flip!

11.   Another tip:  Be sure to add another 1/2 teaspoon of oil to the saute pan between each pancake to ensure your pancakes do not stick and that each cooks more evenly.

Pancakes will cook faster as you go because your pan is tempering at a faster rate.

Pancakes will cook faster as you go because your pan is tempering at a faster rate.

12.  This recipe yields approx. (5) to (6) pancakes with additions, and approx. (4) if you just make the basic pancake.

Ta-da!  Birthday brunch for Brooke!  Enjoy!

Top your fluffy stack with a little powdered sugar and pure Vermont maple syrup... sooo good!

Top your fluffy stack with a little powdered sugar and pure Vermont maple syrup... sooo good!

A patriotic twist:  Reduce your milk to 1 cup, reduce your blueberries to 3/4 cup and add 1/2 cup of pureed strawberries for red, white and blue pancakes!

Turkey Three Ways – Cupboard Challenge

When we moved, we knew money was going to be tight 1) because the hardworking husband is now a hardworking student (paycheck not included) and 2) because rent in New England is no joke (well actually, the joke’s what you get for your money.  Our lovely rental by the river excluded). 

So as much as we hated to admit it we knew we would have to REALLY scale back on one of the things we love the most – dining out and doing it big.  Wah wah waahhh…

On the flip side however, this change has opened our eyes to something we have missed for years.  The simple pleasure in planning meals together, taking time out to cook together, and best of all finally getting creative together. 

What we figured out? We’re pretty freakin’ good at stretching our grocery dollar.  Only downside uncovered – it does get tricky trying to stay local and on budget. But, the challenge continues (and ideas are most welcome!).

In the meantime, here’s a sampling of last week’s menu incorporating our hot buy of the week, ground turkey. Bet you can’t guess the rookie’s plate up (aka mine)…

Roasted Jalepeno and Onion Turkey Burgers With Sprouts, Spring Lettuces, Avocado and Cilantro Garlic Aioli

Roasted Jalapeno and Onion Turkey Burgers With Sprouts, Spring Lettuces, Avocado and Cilantro Garlic Aioli

 
Brown Sugar Glazed Turkey Meatloaf with Brown Butter Gnochi, Fiddleheads, and a Spinach Salad with Fresh Cheese Curds, Bacon and Blueberry Vinagarette

Brown Sugar Glazed Turkey Meatloaf with Brown Butter Gnocchi, Fiddleheads, and a Spinach Salad with Fresh Cheese Curds, Bacon and Blueberry Vinaigrette

Garlic, Onion, Sage and Rosemary Turkey Meatballs with Homeade Classic Marinara Sauce, Fried Hartwell Polenta Over Sauteed Spinach and Cremini Mushrooms
Garlic, Onion, Sage and Rosemary Turkey Meatballs with Homemade Classic Marinara Sauce, Fried Hartwell Polenta Over Sautéed Spinach and Cremini Mushrooms
Until we eat again,
A & H

Finally… Here We Are.

It has been a long time coming this blog.  After 27 going away parties, seemingly hundreds of boxes packed and a million concerns expressed, we have finally made it to our new home and are ready to embrace our new adventure as student and writer. 

For those who don’t know us… ehem… here’s the quick summary –
We’re southern newlyweds who just hit 30 (well one of us), sold our first house, packed up our dogs, left our hometown (Winston-Salem NC) and have headed out on a little new england culinary adventure. My husband is fulfilling his goal of finally attending culinary school after many, many years working in his family’s catering business, and I, well, I’m documenting the ride.  I guess you could say we’re cultivating our curiosity… one bite and one adventure at a time. 

We hope you’ll join us.

What’s in store.  Recipes, rants, and randomness I’m sure…and in the meantime we’re on a mission to embrace sustainable agriculture, eat well and local on a one income budget, and learn a little more about ourselves outside the bubble of our hometown.

So, without further ado – here’ goes…