Saturday, December 31, 2011

Veggie seed crackers

Nika, the little baker
Happy New Year from the now mostly Canines in the Kitchen with an occasional cat.

Can you believe my little baker, Nika, pictured above? In case you were wondering, my kitchen has gone to the dogs.  The situation is only going to get worse as the twosome, Misha (8 months) and Nika (4 months), get bigger and stronger.

 Actually, the muffin tin that Nika is removing from the counter is her new dog-food dish. I'm not exaggerating but Nika is a shop-vac when it comes to eating her food. We tried spreading her food all over the floor and she still manages to vaccuum it up without chewing in less than 45 seconds. Taking her food and distributing it in the sections of the muffin tin forces her to slow down just a bit. Now, it takes her two minutes to eat.

Hey, Mom, I love my canine buddies.
Bailey really does love all his canine pals. This picture was taken at night when they all had been sleeping together on the floor with Bailey in the midst of his rather large dog buddies.

Nika with her latest heist
Along with shop-vacuuming her food, Nika enjoys "stealing" Ridalin Boy's cup now and then. In this case, it was filled with water when she pilfered it from where he was sitting watching a football game. Instant, game intermission to mop up the mess.

Misha models his new backpack from Santa
Misha, modeling his new backpack from Santa, looks huge compared to Nika in this Christmas Day photo. Actually, Nika is rapidly closing the weight gap. Misha weighs in at 55 pounds at eight months and Nika is 35 at four months. Do you think she is going to be a bit large?

As 2012 approaches, I am still sticking with my low-glycemic diet in an effort to keep sinus problems and candida from returning. Recently, I made these Veggie Seed Crackers and saved some in the freezer for New Year's snacking.

Veggie Seed Crackers

  1. 2 T. hemp seeds
  2. 1 cup toasted sunflower seeds
  3. 1/4 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
  4. 1 T. chia seed
  5. sea salt to taste
  6. 1 T. olive oil
  7. 1/4 cup water
  8. 1 T. coconut flour
  9. 1 cup chopped veggies such as carrot and zucchini
  10. 1 tsp. cumin
  11. 1 tsp. dried cilantro
  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Spray a large cookie sheet with pan spray.
  3. Grind all the seeds to a coarse grind in a coffee grinder.
  4. Grind veggies in the food processor.
  5. Add the ground seeds and other ingredients to the food processor, containing the veggies.
  6. Pulse to mix to somewhat wet dough.
  7. Spread the dough with wet hands to keep dough from sticking on the cookie sheet.
  8. The dough should be about 1/4-inch thick and in the shape of a large rectangle about 10 X 15 inches.
  9. Bake for 20-25 minutes.
  10. Remove from oven and use a pizza cutter to cut cracker shapes.
  11. Spread the crackers and return to oven.
  12. Continue baking the crackers until they are hard and crisp. Turn the crackers over and turn the pan from time to time to facilitate crisping.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Mystery ingredient (cauliflower) truffles

Happy Holidays from dog buddies: Misha, Kona and Nika. Also pictured Sheree and son, Brian.

Here's the gang wishing you a Merry Christmas. It looks like we're ready to go on an Arctic expedition because, even though we have no snow, it's burrr cold outside.

Misha takes over the couch.

Misha looks relaxed here but he's really on Santa's naughty list. He's not supposed to be on the couch at all. Yesterday, he and Nika made our living room into a track and chased each other around and around. It's a good thing we have put off replacing our 12-year-old carpeting. Maybe that will be a Christmas present next year when the two are a little more tame.

Nika sneaking food
Nika is high on Santa's naughty list as well. Here she gets busted trying to sneak some extra food out of the container where it's kept.

My toy. No, my toy.
They're not trying very hard to get off Santa's bad list. Here they fight over a toy that actually belongs to Bailey, our cat.

Keep it a secret. These treats contain cauliflower.

I love winter, especially if it snows, but the season of being more indoors creates issues for me, healthwise. During the warmer months, I can get away with relaxing my low-glycemic diet but not so during the winter. Too many carbs and I start experiencing stomach and sinus problems. That's why I have to keep away from even low-glycemic sweeteners and grains during these months.

I'm focusing more on veggies, basically the anti-candida diet with a few exceptions. You know just a bit of chocolate here and there. I got to wondering if I could make a treat with veggies as the centerpiece but still include enough chocolate to get my fix. It worked in the form of Cauliflower cookie dough truffles. To be perfectly honest, I can't tell the truffles contain cauliflower.

Freeze these up once you've got them made and keep them on hand for your treat fix. Just pop one in the microwave for about 12 seconds and it's perfect to eat.

Cauliflower Cookie Dough Truffles

  1. 1/2 medium cauliflower, riced in food processor (just toss small pieces of your washed and trimmed cauliflower in the food processor and pulse until the cauliflower looks like rice).
  2. 3 T. unsweetened sunbutter or other nut or seed butter of choice
  3. 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  4. 2 T. cacao nibs
  5. powdered stevia to taste
  6. Options: if candida is not an issue, throw in some agave nectar and/or vanilla extract.
  7. For chocolate glaze: 1 T. coconut oil, 2 T. cacao powder, 1 T. sunbutter, stevia to taste and other sweetener if candida not an issue.
  1. Rice the cauliflower and add in other ingredients and pulse to mix.
  2. Shape the dough into balls and freeze on cookie sheets in the freezer.
  3. In the meantime, prepare the chocolate dip by melting the coconut oil and blending in the sunbutter, cacao powder and stevia.
  4. Dip the frozen truffles in the chocolate sauce. Remove to wax-paper covered cookie sheet to allow chocolate the harden in the freezer.
  5. To eat, thaw the balls out slightly or place in the microwave for about 12 seconds.
Recipe contributed to:

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Kale chips with the works

Misha and Nika workout in preparation for their assault on our Christmas decorations.
Christmas is approaching fast and we have yet to put up our tree. Do you think our procrastination has anything to do with the dynamic duo, Misha and Nika (pictured above)? I think they have been working out in preparation for their assault on our Christmas decorations. Fool you guys. The Christmas decorations and tree are going to stay safe and sound in their boxes in the garage.

"But mom, we'll be the only ones in the neighborhood without a tree."

Don't call me a Grinch. I'm just trying to save the cost of a huge veterinary bill. Seriously, our veterinarian told us that every year she sees lots of pets around the holidays who have ingested Christmas tree ornaments and other decorations. The bill for surgery can be pretty staggering. A friend's cat swallowed a glitter ball and the bill for vet care amounted to $2,000+. Better to forego the tree.

Cheer up guys. We'll spend all the money we saved on vet bills on dog treats and chew toys.

No tree? What's a fun-loving cat to do?
Where has December gone? My normally energetic hubby (nicknamed Ridalin Boy for being ADHD) and I have been sick with the cold/flu for what seems like most of December. And of course, every day is pure mayhem with Team Destructo---Misha, Nika and Bailey. Kona is the good one.

Does this mean I get some extra treats because I'm the good one?

It's really been a drag with everyone sick with a cold/flu. For me there's a double whammy because I have to worry about the dreaded sinusitis coming back. I decided my best defense would be skipping the Christmas goodies and mainly eating veggies and low-glycemic fruit, fish and seeds, and whole grains, and drinking lots of broth and herbal teas. So far, my strategy seems to be working. I've found myself healing from a cold much more quickly than those in my family who ate whatever they wanted.

Here's what I've been eating:
  • Fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants, such as Vitamin C, which support the body’s ability to resist and heal from infection.
  • Fish, nuts and seeds provide valuable nutrients, including zinc, which play an important role in the immune system. They also are good sources of essential fatty acids which may reduce inflammation and production of phlegm.
  •  Whole grains provide more vitamins, minerals, nutrients, fiber and antioxidants than refined grains. Individuals who ate more whole grains and passed on processed and fatty foods produced less phlegm when sick, according to studies.
  •  Warm fluids are recommended to fight a cold because the vapor from the liquids helps open up the sinuses and thin out mucus. Best choices are herbal teas, broth and dairy-free beverages. Skip caffeinated drinks.
What I've been avoiding are sweets and anything high in carbs. Sugar reduces the effectiveness of your immune response to fight infection. With that in mind, my series of snacks continues but the focus is on low carbohydrate.

Kale chips with the works
I loved kale in all forms but especially kale chips. I gave them a makeover and poured a veggie blend over the top before drying them in the oven. It gave them a creamy, nutty texture.

Kale Chips with the Works

  • 1 bunch of kale, washed and dried
  • 1/2 red bell pepper
  • 1/2 unpeeled carrot
  • 1 T. raw tahini
  • 2 T. Bragg's amino acids
  • 2-4 T. lemon juice
  • Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
  • Spray a large cookie sheet.
  • Remove the washed and dried kale from the stems. Break the leaves into small pieces. Place half the kale pieces in a large bowl and set aside.
  • Prepare the coating by blending the red bell pepper, carrot, tahini, Bragg's, lemon juice in a food processor. (Note: This makes enough for another batch of kale chips the next day.)
  • Spoon several large tablespoonsfull of the coating over the kale in the bowl. Toss to distribute the mixture and coat the leaves.
  • Spread the coated kale on the cookie sheet.
  • Place in the oven and bake until dry but pliable.
  • Once the first batch is done, repeat with the remaining kale leaves.
This recipe has been entered in:

Friday, December 9, 2011

Sweet nori crisps

Nika waits for the snow while I spin indoors.
Snow...that's probably what Nika is dreaming about as I pedal my legs off on my indoor trainer. Can you believe she can sleep this close to a spinning wheel that sounds like a jet taking off? If only the rest of us could sleep this soundly.

I think I'll nap while you spin.
I'm looking forward (the dogs too) to going snowshoeing or cross-country skiing but instead the dogs and I are spending more of our time indoors. We've got an inversion or high-pressure or something. The explanation by the weather people changes every day. In the meantime, it's freezing outside but no snow. I have to put on numerous layers just to take the dogs outside for their many daily walks.

The bundling up is one of the things that I don't like about winter. I also suffer from chronic pain which is made worse by excessive cold.  The only thing that helps with my pain is myofascial release.

Fascia is the soft tissue component of the connective tissue that provides support and protection for most structures within the human body, including muscle. This soft tissue can become restricted due to psychogenic disease, overuse, trauma, infectious agents, or inactivity, often resulting in pain, muscle tension, and corresponding diminished blood flow. In my case, the problem has been caused by injury and overuse.
Irritation of fascia or muscle causes local inflammation which in me shows up as knots in the fascia or muscle. These knots don't go away with inactivity or stretching or even massage. That's where my husband comes in. My physicial therapist, whom I see from time to time when I have severe flareups, has taught my husband how to do some basic myofascial release treatment, which involves sustained pressure over the affected areas.

Bailey joins in giving me "myofascial release" treatment.

Myofascial release can benefit just about anyone but for me, it's a lifesaver. It's the only thing that keeps me able to walk my dogs and ride my bike. Several years ago, before myofascial treatment, I wasn't able to do these things without severe pain. And it's a good thing I can keep on walking those dogs. Instead of bouncing off the walls, they are relaxed and sublime (ha ha).

Nika looking all relaxed.

The holidays, cold weather and winter usually take their toll on my waistline. This year I have decided to snack smarter. I have made up a list of 30+ snacks for those like me who must eat free of gluten, dairy, egg, nuts, legume and some other food allergens. I will be sharing these snacks in the weeks ahead. The first one on my list is Sweet Nori Crisps.

Sweet nori chips

4 sheets of nori
raw sesame seeds
1 T. coconut syrup or agave syrup
1 T. olive oil
sea salt

Begin by preheating the oven to 250 degrees. Lay two sheets of nori side by side on a cutting board. Lightly spray or paint water on the sheets, just enough to make them a little sticky.

Sprinkle the dampened sheets with salt. Cover each dampened nori sheet with a dry one so that the two sheets fit together. Use kitchen shears to cut the sheets into rectangular-shaped chips.
Lay these strips on a cookie sheet.

Combine the coconut syrup and olive oil in a small bowl. Using a pastry brush, brush the strips with the mixture. Sprinkle lightly with sesame seeds. Place in the oven for 15-20 minutes. Remove the strips when they are slightly crisp. They will continue to crisp up while they are cooling.

More healthy ideas at:

Friday, December 2, 2011

Vegan chocolate-sunbutter pillows

Bailey loves our drippy faucet
It seems like my world has gone to the dogs lately but yes, there still is a cat in the kitchen, pictured above. Bailey loves our drippy kitchen faucet. It delivers just the right amount of water with every drip to keep him fascinated.

Nika and Misha wait eagerly for me to get clumsy and drop food
Bailey enjoys the faucet while the canine kitchen helpers prefer waiting underfoot to see if anything is dropped by accident during food prep. I feel like I am cooking in a tank of sharks waiting to pounce. I am surprised by how fast they can scoop up a dropped piece of lettuce or carrot peel. Veggies aren't their favorite but they will force them down just to keep the other one from enjoying the spoils.

Vegan chocolate-sunbutter cookies
Here's something I'm not planning to drop, vegan chocolate-sunbutter pillows. These are so scrumptious I'm glad the recipe only made eight cookies, otherwise I'd be tempted to keep on eating when I should be stopping. These combine my two favorite ingredients: chocolate and sunbutter. Before food allergies and candida, chocolate and peanut butter used to be my sweettooth craving. Sunbutter fills in perfectly for the peanut butter.

Vegan chocolate-sunbutter pillows
(makes 8 large cookies)

Ingredients for chocolate outside:
  1. 3/4 cup quinoa flour
  2. 6 T.  raw cacao powder
  3. 1 tsp. gluten-free baking powder
  4. 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  5. 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  6. 1/4 cup coconut syrup
  7. 2 T. coconut nectar
  8. 3 T. unsweetened hemp milk
  9. 3 T. olive oil
Ingredients for sunbutter filling:
  1. 1/4 cup unsweetened sunbutter
  2. 1/4 cup dry soy milk (unsweetened)
  3. 2 T. hemp milk
  4. 1 T. coconut syrup
  5. stevia to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a cookie sheet with pan spray.
  2. For the chocolate cookies, combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add in the wet ingredients and mix to combine.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the filling ingredients.
  4. Use about a tablespoon of dough for each cookie. Form balls and then flatten on the cookie sheet.
  5. Place a teaspoon of sunbutter filling in the center of each cookie and fold up the sides of the dough to encase the filling.
  6. Bake for about 10 minutes.
Note: These say nice and soft even when placed in the freezer.

I have entered this recipe in Weekend Wellness at:

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Vegan pumpkin pie brownie

Misha and Nika have a pillow fight.
Ever since these two were added to our menagerie, there has never been a dull moment. In fact, I can safely say I never sit around for very long. I'm sure I am following the new guidelines of never sitting for more than 30 minutes at a stretch. I'm usually grabbing a leash to head outside for a walk, romp or something. I'm not advocating getting a pair like this to keep you moving but it definitely works unless you want your house in shambles.

Nika tries to snatch a muffin.
Even your breakfast might get snatched if you are not vigilant as my husband found out while checking his e-mails.

Child's pose with help

 I turn to yoga to try to destress from all this doggie activity but even that is not canine-free.

Too much yoga help

Yoga is not always relaxing. This is where the dynamic duo get sent outside to their pen.

Bailey and Kona do the relaxation pose.

Why can't the other two be more like these guys? The look so relaxed I wish I could join them.

Vegan pumpkin pie brownie

Amidst all the doggie activity, I still had time to experiment with a recipe for Thanksgiving. I've never been a fan of pumpkin pie which my hubby dearly loves. It's got to have a chocolate or what is the point of consuming the extra calories in my book. I thought why not combine my favorite with his and Vegan Pumpkin Pie Brownie was born.

Vegan Pumpkin Pie Brownie

Ingredients for Brownie Layer:
  1. 2/3 cup cacao powder
  2. 1/2 cup amaranth flour
  3. 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  4. 1/4 tsp. salt
  5. 1/4 cup coconut sugar plus stevia to taste
  6. 1 cup pumpkin puree
  7. 1/4 cup olive oil
  8. 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  9. 1 flax egg (1 T. flax mixed with 3 T. hemp milk)
Ingredients for Pumpkin Layer:
  1. 1 cup pumpkin puree
  2. 1 T. flax
  3. 1/2 cup non-dairy milk, such as hemp
  4. 1/4 cup coconut sugar plus stevia to taste
  5. 1/4 tsp each cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon
  6. Optional: cacao nibs for garnish
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an eight-inch square pan.
  2. Make the pumpkin layer first by mixing all the pumpkin layer ingredients in a food processor. Pour the mixture into a small bowl and set aside.
  3. Don't bother rinsing out the food processor before moving onto the brownie layer. Mix all the brownie layer ingredients in the food processor.
  4. Pour the brownie layer mixture into your prepared baking pan. Pour the pumpkin layer on top and smooth it out to the sides.
  5. Bake for 30+ minutes until the pumpkin layer looks firm and has cracked at the edges.
  6. Let cool before decorating with cacao nibs or chocolate drizzle.

Misha takes a break but not for long.

Hope you have a happy Thanksgiving and try to enjoy some relaxation time, just like Misha, above.

This recipe is entered in Weekend Wellness at:

Friday, November 18, 2011

Vegan chocolate kiss, cookie dough cookies

Misha underfoot

Kona blocking door

Misha and Kona blocking yet another door
 I guess you can see from the pix above why one of the No. 1 accidents around the house is from tripping over a dog or dogs. So far, no injuries have occurred in our household, probably because this has been going on since we added Kona, now 13, to our household. We have acquired the skill of stepping carefully about the house.

 Kona was the first one to perfect blocking doorways and being underfoot. Now, she has passed this "skill" along to our newbies, Misha and Nika, and even our cat, Bailey. We have tried to train this out of our brood but they are so darned pack-driven they just keep coming back to their favorite spots which happen to be in the way.
Vegan chocolate kiss, cookie dough cookies

Do you think I can blame all these dogs underfoot for my chocolate attacks/obsession? It works for me. I have been a lover of cookie dough since the beginning of time. Cookie dough balls, dipped in chocolate, fly out of my freezer. The last one I devoured recently was delicious but also an inspiration for another chocolate treat. As I savoured the last bite, I thought why not put the chocolate on the inside. That didn't work but instead Vegan chocolate kiss, cookie dough cookies were born. The name is a mouthful to say but who cares about the name, just eat 'em.

Vegan Chocalate Kiss, Cookie Dough Cookies

1 cup ground raw or toasted sunflower seeds
1/3 cup quinoa flakes
2 scoops rice protein powder
1/4 cup cacao nibs
1 T. chia seeds
Pinch of salt
1 T. coconut nectar or agave nectar
Powdered stevia to taste
2 T. hemp milk or enough to make every stick together
Chocolate protein seed butter (make your own by combining 2 T. melted coconut oil with 1/2 cup unsweetened sunbutter or other seed/nut butter of choice, stevia, 2-3 scoops rice protein powder)

For the cookie dough: mix everything but chocolate protein seed butter in a food processor. Scoop out tablespoonsful of the cookie dough and place onto a wax-paper lined cookie sheet. Pick up one hunk at a time and make a small indentation on top with your fingers. Fill the indentation with chocolate protein seed butter which serves as the "chocolate kiss." Place the cookie dough cookies in the freezer to firm everything up. Snack on as desired but be careful, these are dangerous!

More good stuff at:

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Vegan pumpkin seed bars with coconut glaze

Dogs in the kitchen as usual

Bailey and Misha investigating food ops in kitchen

Vegan pumpkin seed bars with coconut glaze
The dogs are still overtaking my life and my kitchen but they are adorable especially when sleeping. The rest of the time it is pure chaos. Bailey and Misha offer a glimpse of what it's like getting anything done in the kitchen in the photo above where they are investigating what's on the stove.

The new kid in the house, Nika, loves food like nothing I have ever seen. She is literally a shopvac when it comes to eating her food. She could easily enter a professional eating contest if they had such a thing for canines.

The best time to prepare anything for the humans in the house to eat is when all the dogs are sleeping which actally works part of the time. I had a nice one-hour window of tranquility to prepare the vegan pumpkin seeds bars.

Vegan Pumpkin Seeds Bars

  1. 3 cups of quinoa flakes or rolled oats
  2. 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  3. 1/4 cup coconut syrup
  4. stevia for additional sweetness
  5. 3 scoops rice protein powder
  6. 2 cups of seeds (or nuts) of your choice ground in a coffee grinder.
  7. 1/4 cup unsweetened sunbutter or use other seed or nut butter of choice.
  8. 2 T. coconut oil, melted
  9. 1 T. cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice
  10. 1/4 cup unsweetened hemp milk (or other alternative dairy beverage)
  11. 1 + cups of pumpkin puree
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spray a large cookie sheet.
  3. Process all the ingredients in a food processor.
  4. Add enough pumpkin puree and hemp milk to get the mixture to hold together.
  5. Spread the mixture onto the cookie sheet. It should be about 1/3-inch thick.
  6. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes or so.
  7. Cut into bars and spread them apart on the cookie sheet.
  8. Return the bars to the oven for 10 minutes.
  9. Remove them again and flip them over
  10. Continue baking until the bars are firm. Remove those that get done sooner as needed.
  11. When done, place the bars to cool on a rack.
  12. In the meantime, prepare a simple glaze of 1-2 T. coconut butter melted with 1 T. coconut oil.
  13. Drizzle on the cooled bars and allow to harden.
  14. Store the bars in the fridge or freezer.

There's more at:

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Cauliflower-pumpkin (cheesecake) spread

Take a look at my kitchen floor. There's nary a cat in sight but the dogs are wall to wall as my menagerie grows yet again. This time the new addition is two-month-old Nika, a red malamute pup.  I think I should have called my blog, "Dogs in the Kitchen," because it looks like they have taken over. 

Here's some shots of the new dog in the kitchen.

Well, you can probably guess this new little "floor rug" has been keeping me busy, almost too busy to cook. The first few days I had no life other than getting Misha, Kona and Bailey, the cat, to embrace their new sister, Nika. There was lots of protesting in the form of howling and whimpering from Nika, and snarling and snapping from hyper, alpha boy, Misha. Kona was good with whatever as long as she got her food while Bailey hid under the bed.

Fortuntely, most of the kinks have been ironed out in the past three days; well, all but the potty training. That's a whole different issue. I continue to spend most of my time at the end of several leashes as I take the wee one (16 pounds), accompanied by her new pals, on endless walks to get the "deed" done outside.

I managed to pull together a nice veggie-protein spread, "Cauliflower-pumpkin (cheesecake) spread," that keeps my snacking, hunger-pains at bay and tastes delicious too, almost like pumpkin cheesecake, but much healthier! It's super easy too which makes it a lifesaver right now.

Cauliflower-pumpkin spread

Cauliflower-pumpkin spread with chocolate topping

Cauliflower-pumpkin (cheesecake) spread

  1. 1/2 medium cauliflower, washed, trimmed and riced in food processor
  2. 2 T. unsweetened sunbutter, tahini or other nut or seed butter
  3. 1 cup pumpkin puree
  4. 1 tsp. agave nectar plus stevia
  5. 1 tsp. cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice
  6. 2-3 T. rice protein powder
  1. Rice the cauliflower in a food processor
  2. Add the nut or seed butter, pumpkin, protein powder and sweetener
  3. Process until you have a smooth spread
  4. Add more pumpkin puree or bit of water if spread is too thick
  5. Serve on crackers, rice cakes
  6. Extra stores well in fridge for up to a week
Don't forget to take a gander at more recipes at:

Friday, October 28, 2011

Celebrating Halloween candida-style

Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays even though environmental and food allergies (and now candida) prevent me from enjoying some of the traditional festivities, such as hayrides, corn mazes and eating lots of goodies. The trick to having a good Halloween and other holidays, despite your issues, is to stick to foods you can eat and create new traditions.

Replace traditions that won’t work with new ones. The past few years I have been growing a huge pumpkin patch. When the pumpkins are ready, I invite friends with their kids over to pick a pumpkin or two for their Halloween jack-‘o-lanterns. The extra pumpkins are donated to the Salvation Army for families in need.

Some others Halloween activities I’ve tried are a scary movie night with “safe” snacks and goodies, going out to a favorite restaurant and movie, and hosting a gathering at my home (this can be with or without costumes). For a child with food allergies, plan a Halloween scavenger hunt instead of trick or treating.

Don’t wait until the last minute to make "safe" treats, or plan a Halloween menu if you or family members have food concerns. This year, I've already tried out a few "spooktacular" recipes.

Sunflower-seed encrusted apples
For a healthier take on candied apples, I made sunflower-seed encrusted apples. If nuts work for you, try almonds in place of the sunflower seeds.

1/4 cup toasted sunflower seeds
1 tsp. apple pie spice
1/4 cup coconut sugar
2 gala apples, halved and cored
1 T. coconut oil
1 cup water

Grind the sunflower seeds in a coffee grinder. Combine the ground seeds with spices and sugar in a small dish. Wet the apples lightly and press into the spice mixture.

Heat the coconut oil in a heavy skillet. Brown the cut sides of the apples in the oil for 1-2 minutes. Turn the apples over, and add the water and extra spice mixture. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 45 minutes, or until the apples are tender and sauce is thick.

Place an apple half in a small dessert dish and top with extra sauce and vegan yogurt.

Vegan pumpkin squares

I also tried Vegan pumpkin squares.

1 cup amaranth or quinoa flour
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup coconut kefir milk
1 T. chia seeds with 4 T. of water
1 1/2 tsp. gluten-free baking power
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
2 T. coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup coconut sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8 X 8-inch baking pan. Mix all ingredients in food processor. Pour into the prepared pan and bake 20 minutes or until fork inserted comes out clean. Cool slightly and serve with dollop of vegan coconut yogurt.

Pretty spooky: a dog with a cone head

3 more days with hood

My pup, Misha, will be celebrating Halloween in an extra special way---cone-free after 15 long days. It's been a long period of confinement for not just Misha, but all of us. You can see from the pix above that Kona will appreciate the cone-less Misha more as well. We were thinking of dressing Misha up as a megaphone for Halloween but somehow I don't think he would appreciate it!

More great recipe ideas at:

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Herbed flax-quinoa crackers

I'm just a little hooded husky!

I can't get this cone off no matter what position I'm in.

I feel so trapped!

My husband and my husky, Misha, have a common bond. They are both ADHD! Now, imagine putting one of them--the six-month-old husky--- in a cone for two weeks while he recovers from surgery. I've been called a saint for putting up with my husband but this is really testing my mettle.

Misha is usually bouncing off the walls but the cone has added a whole new dimension. He reminds so much of my husband after he has been concentrating on something for a few hours. He's like someone ready to come out of his skin.

He (the animal ADHD'er) can't chew any of his toys or play with his animal buddies, Kona and Bailey. He has no peripheral vision which means he can't be allowed to have any unstructured play. His lack of vision also makes him a total klutz when it comes to chasing a ball or even sniffing for a bathroom spot. I wish I had a time machine to transport him 10 more days into the future when he gets his sutures out.

I've noticed a stronger bond between my human and animal ADHD'ers since Misha had his surgery. I think my husband can empathize much better than I can because he feels trapped like Misha does in the cone. But his human entrapments are the constraints of job, time schedule and other demands. He really comes to Misha's defense when I'm about ready to phone for doggie day care (not really).

There are certain advantages of having to provide only structured activities for a hooded husky. The biggest one is all the walks I've been taking the pooch on. I call this an advantage because all of the delicious recipes I've been trying recently have packed on the pounds.

I guess that's one of the problems of being a recipe blogger. You are constantly experimenting with and trying new recipes, many of which are desserts because after all, what do we all love. But, I need to get real. There are only so many desserts any human who wants to maintain or lose weight should be eating.

Another problem is no one else in my family wants to eat vegan, no-gluten desserts. You guessed it. I have to finish all of it which is not a good plan. This is why I have challenged myself to try only one new dessert or snack recipe each week. I guess what I am saying is we need more low-calorie vegan options out there. I would challenge all of you (who are fellow bloggers) to rethink what we are putting on our blogs. Are we contributing to obesity or does everyone out there have self-control?

This week I made some healthy crackers, instead of a dessert. They are lower calorie but not calorie-less. I'm guessing a serving would be about four crackers (120 calories). That's assuming you cut 48 crackers. Mine are extra thich because I am not good at rolling stuff out. I only got 24 crackers.

I also made a sweet, low-calorie chocolate spread to go with the crackers but my human ADHD'er snagged the camera before I could snap a picture. (He put the camera out in the car because he was going to need it the next day. It's one of his ADHD memory tricks. Put things in the car or in your backpack the night before.)
Flax-quinoa crackers

Herbed Flax-Quinoa Crackers
(makes 4 dozen if you are good at rolling out the dough)

  • 1/2 cup ground golden flax
  • 1 1/2 cups quinoa flour
  • 2 tsp. gluten-free baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 2 T. melted coconut oil
  • 1 T. dried cilantro or parsley (your choice)
  • Optional: other dried herbs
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened hemp milk
  • pan spray
  • ground black pepper
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Put flax, flour, baking powder, salt and coconut oil in a food processor and mix until mixture resembles a coarse meal.
  • Stir in herbs. Pour in milk and mix until dough comes together.
  • Divide dough in half. Roll out each piece on a lightly floured surface to a nine-inch square. Transfer to sprayed baking sheets. Cut each square into about 24 crackers with a pizza cutter.
  • Spray with pan spray. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  • Bake until slightly firm about 20 minutes.
  • Flip crackers and continue baking until firm and brown. About 10 more minutes.
  • Check often to account for differences in oven temperatures.
  • Transfer to wire racks to cool.

I am submitting this recipe to Weekend Wellness at: