Thursday, April 26, 2012

Kitchen Tips: pets & scraps

Everyone drops food while cooking, and some like the idea that the living vacuum cleaner is always right there to suck it up. But keep in mind that some foods are harmful to certain pets. For example, garlic is said to rid dogs from fleas and ticks, but it might be toxic to cats.

Pets should avoid:
- all grapes, raisins, currants, etc. are potentially hazardous and shouldn't be given to your dog.
- of course, chocolate is toxic to dogs in large amounts...
- onions, chives (& some people say garlic should be avoided too)
- caffeine
- tomatoes
- avocados
- seeds and pits from fruit (they contain cyanide, thus the grapes)
- sugar and corn syrup
- nutmeg
- all nuts (their levels of phosphorus are said to cause bladder stones) exception: peanut butter - that's good for dogs (just use salt and sugar free peanut butter)
- cold cuts in large amounts are bad for dogs due to nitrates and salt content
- alcohol
- Xylitol - a sweetener used in gum and baked goods.

Of course if you drop a small piece of onion here and there, or garlic or any of the above you're not going to harm your pet, but I find it to be useful information nonetheless.

There's a lot of info out there on this subject > click here for a google search on the subject if you'd like to learn more.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

mashed cauliflower

It's very rare that I actually enjoy eating cauliflower - never mind making sure I get every last bit of it off my plate like I did with this dish! A good friend, a while back, made me mashed cauliflower one day when we were over. And while I was thrilled and excited to have found a way to enjoy the white veggie it was because it was loaded with cream cheese and parmesan... this is just a bit better health wise but tastes better thanks to a little experiment that worked out well...

1 med. head of cauliflower
1 - 2 cups chicken stock
1 tbsp ground almonds
1 tbsp earth balance* or butter
1/2 tbsp cream cheese
fresh shredded parmesan to taste

I know, I know - there's still cream cheese and parmesan - but it's a lot less than the original I assure you.
The almonds give this so much flavor - it's so good!

> Cut up your cauliflower and place in a pot with the stock... cook until the cauliflower is very tender.
> Pour excess into a cup and save in case you need it later when mixing.
> Using an immersion blender (or reg. blender) mash/puree the cauliflower.
> Mix in the butter, almond meal, cream cheese, and parmesan... adding more parmesan if needed.


* note: make sure if you use a butter substitute to use one that has non-hydrogenated oils as these are very bad for you according to many sources... When substituting butter I use organic or soy free Earth Balance

Friday, April 13, 2012

photo friday

On our first camping trip together, we fed this family of ducks. This is my favorite shot of the mother. 

Monday, April 2, 2012

berry orange julius

My husband came up with this, it's really good.

> 3/4 cup milk
> 1/4 cup berry juice or 1/4 cup frozen berries would work too and make it thicker
> 2 - 3 tbsp orange juice concentrate depending on how sweet you want it

Blend  till smooth. Drink. Smile.

Specifically, we used: organic raw cow's milk (from a farm I go to in NY), Northland blueberry, acai, and blackberry juice, and Trader Joe's organic frozen orange juice concentrate.