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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Pumpkin Peanut Butter Dog Treats

When the pumpkins came home Troy (the pup) started licking the outside and biting at the skin to open up the pumpkin to eat as much as he could get. I saved the pumpkin before he got inside, and roasted it a few days ago. So it was finally time to make something with my bounty of roasted pumpkin.

Pumpkin Peanut Butter Dog Treats
prep time: 15 mins
cook time: 30 mins
oven temp: 350 degrees
yield: 35 cookies (various sizes)

1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup pumpkin
2 Tbsp peanut butter
1 Tbsp oil (you can use canola, vegetable, etc.)
1 tsp cinnamon

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Meanwhile measure out all of your ingredients and place them in a bowl. Mix until all of the ingredients are incorporated. It will form a stiff dough that you can then roll out and cut out your shapes. Don't forget to flour your board and rolling pin.

Place cut out treats (mine were fish, frogs and flowers) on a nonstick cookie sheet. Place in the oven for about 30 minutes. I like to flip them about half way through to make sure they are browned evenly on both sides. Let the treats cool a bit before handing out to the pups.

Store in an air tight container for a few weeks. I already know I'm wont last that long because Troy has been drooling over these treats since I made them. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

evol Veggie Curry Review

Last night I was tired. Sitting in my freezer are a bunch of frozen meals that at some point I bought because I thought they would be worthy of a trial. The evol veggie curry wrap had ended up in that dark cold place waiting to be microwaved and eaten. So last night I took it out, wrapped it in the obligatory paper towel and popped it in the micro for just under three minutes.

And the, it was just ok.

evol Veggie Curry wrap

I had a few major disappointments with this wrap, but I wanted to like it so much. I gave it points for being vegan, and made with mostly organic products, but the image on the box, has nothing to do with what the actual wrap looked like. I loved it for the taste, but the texture, and my inability to identify any of the ingredients inside was disappointing. There were no cubes of tofu, sticks of carrots, and other veggies, all I could see was a mash of what looked like and felt like pre-chewed tofu and brown rice, and some green stuff (what veggie was that?) Every once in a while there was a piece of orange or a different green color that would show up when I took a bite, but those sitings were few and far between.

I wanted, more veggies, less rice and more tofu in this wrap. The wrap boasts that it has 11 grams of protein but for vegan, who needs to bulk up on non-animal protein this just wasn't enough in my eyes. Also 4 grams of fiber?? my sugary terrible for you cereal has more fiber than that in it. The entire wrap was 340 calories, so basically it was a lot of wrap a lot of rice and little of the things that are actually good for you. I think this wrap needs a re-do. Keep the flavor, boost the tofu, and the veggies. All in all it would increase the goods on the nutrition, the fiber and protein and end up reducing the calories, by removing some of the unneeded fillers.

evol, i want to love your products, but this one just doesn't do it. Sorry.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Roasted Pumpkin

It's pumpkin season and after roasting the largest pumpkin that would fit in my oven I'm ready to make as many pumpkin recipes as I want.

I would totally recommend everyone who is planning on making a few pumpkin recipes this season to do this. Roasting your own pumpkin instead of using the canned stuff just brings your recipes to the next level. It's pretty easy to do just takes a bit of time and then you can make pumpkin muffins, bars, cookies, anything and everything you want. Pumpkin is also a great addition to your vegan recipes, as a binder instead of eggs.

Roasted Pumpkin
prep time: 10 minutes
cook time: 40 minutes
oven temp: 400 degrees
yield: varies (depends on size of pumpkin)

1 pumpkin
olive oil

Make sure you wash your pumpkin before beginning. If you're working with a small pumpkin (which i was not) just go ahead and cut the pumpkin in half. across the middle. If not just cut into manageable size pieces. Scoop out all the seeds and insides. (Rinse the seeds and roast the seeds for a great snack.)You want to take the stem off completely before roasting.

 Place skin side up on your baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil. Place into your 400 degree oven for 40 minutes. Once finished in the oven you want to take out and let the pumpkin cool before handling. The skin will just peal off, and can be thrown away. Using a Cuisinart pulse the pumpkin into a puree. The one thing that you should do is remove some of the water that will pool at the top of the pumpkin puree. The easiest way to do this is to place in a container and use paper towels. Just gently push the paper towels onto the top of the puree and you will see the paper towels start to absorb the excess water. You can use the pumpkin right away in another recipe or place in Tupperware and store in the freezer.

Pumpkin is also great for dogs and mine loves it. I'm thinking I'll be making some pumpkin dog treats later this week!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Apple Cinnamon Dog Treats

Today we were all out of dog treats...again. So instead of getting in the car, driving to the store and paying for dog cookies, I decided I would experiment with making a new recipe. And in about the same amount of time it would have taken me to pay for buying dog treats, I had them warm and fresh from the oven.

Apple Cinnamon Dog Treats
prep time: 10 minutes
cook time: 30 minutes
oven temp: 350 and 200 degrees
yield: 30 multi-size cookies

1/4 cup natural apple sauce
1 tsp cinnamon
1/8 cup peanut butter
2 Tbsp melted butter
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground flax seeds
1/4 cup corn meal
1 cup all purpose flour

In a bowl mix apple sauce, cinnamon, peanut butter and butter together. I use the natural apple sauce for my pup because he doesn't need the added sugar that are usually in the original flavor. I also use regular peanut butter, but you can use chunky (if you know that your dog digests nuts well.)

Mix in the baking soda, flax seeds and corn meal. Slowly add in the flour. I usually add 1/4 cup at a time, to make sure the cookies get to the correct consistency. I also used another 1/8 cup of flour to flour the board and rolling pin for cutting out the dog cookies. You don't have to cut these out, but they make the cookies so much fun. Just remember to flatten down if you scoop the cookies, because of how they bake.

Roll out the dough and cut using fun cookie cutters. I used doberman, paw print, heart, moon, and shark cookie cutters. You can place these fairly close on the baking sheet, they hardly grow at all. Place them in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes, turning them over once. Bring the oven temperature down to 200 degrees, and bake for another 20 minutes. This step is meant to dehydrate the cookies to make them last longer.

Cool and enjoy with your pup. :) Troy loved them!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Vegan Coffee Rolls

I've been on an eggless/vegan kick recently. Honestly the idea of eggs is freaking me out slightly. I never really enjoyed making or eating eggs, but now I'm more inclined to bake without them than with them if I can.

We have a family recipe for Coffee Rolls, that is similar to this recipe. However I wanted to work with a separate recipe than my families, because I wanted these rolls to not be a vegan version of something great, I wanted this recipe to be great on its own.

Vegan Coffee Rolls
prep time:  3 1/2 hours
cook time: 15 minutes
oven temp: 400 degrees
yeilds: 35 coffee rolls

1 package dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1 cup soy milk (I used light soy because that is what I had.)
3 cups flour plus 1/4 cup flour for kneading
1/4 cup earth promise vegan butter
3 Tbsp sugar**
1 Tbsp ground flax seeds
3 Tbsp water
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 Tbsp earth promise vegan butter
1 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

 It does say that this recipe will take 3 1/2 hours from start to finish, and yes that is true but a lot of it is resting and rising time. This recipe is not as intense as it seems from first look. So I'd definitely recommend trying it.

Dissolve the entire package of dry yeast in warm water, then add the soy milk and stir. Add 1 cup of flour to the yeast and soy milk mixture-you are making a yeast sponge. Let sit for 30 minutes.

Cream the vegan butter, and sugar. Microwave the flax seeds with the 3 Tbsp water for 30 seconds until it forms a gummy texture. Add the flax seeds to the creamed butter and sugar, stir in the salt. 

Once the yeast sponge has sat for 30 minutes mix in the vegan butter, sugar and flax seed mixture. Add 2 additional cups of flour to make the dough soft. Turn out onto your kneading surface. I needed an extra 1/4 cup of flour to get my dough to the correct consistency, but just work your dough slowly until it is soft and no longer sticky.

Place the dough into a greased bowl, and put in a warmed oven, let the dough rise for about an hour. The oven should not be on. You can warm the oven prior to placing the bowl in by having the oven on 100 degrees for about 5 minutes. The dough should about double in size.

While the dough is rising you want to make the filling. Fork the 1/2 Tbsp vegan butter, sugar and cinnamon in a bowl. It will end up being the consistency of sand.

Punch the dough down, and let it rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Roll out the dough into a rectangle, should be about 12 inches by 18 inches. Spread the cinnamon mixture over the entire surface. Roll the dough tightly. Cut into about inch width pieces and place into a greased muffin pan. Let the rolls rise in the muffin tin for another hour.  

Bake at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes until golden brown. Let sit in the muffin tins for a few minutes then turn out onto cooling racks, and let cool.

**Please note that if you are making this recipe for someone who is vegan you should either check with them on if they eat refined sugar, or buy vegan sugar.

Recipe variations: The coffee rolls that my mom makes have raisins in the filling, so if you like raisins you could always add this to the filling. I prepared half the recipe without raisins and half with. I added 1/8 cup of raisins to the filling ingredients. You can also top these rolls with icing, but I don't think they need that extra sweetness.

Be careful, as you can see above. One of mine stayed in the oven for a minute or two too long, and these ended up going down the drain. The caramelizing of the sugar and cinnamon creates this sticky goodness, but it will burn if you leave the rolls in too long.

I really liked these coffee rolls, just enough sweetness paired with the yeast dough, makes them perfect for a snack or breakfast.