Saturday, April 28, 2012

Two kinds of vegan ice cream sandwich cookies

Misha and Bailey enjoy some slumber time
I just watched the youtube video called,  "Unusual animal pairings."

This video brings tears to my eyes. It also got me thinking I've got some unusual animal pairings of my own. What do you think?

Do not disturb!

Bailey was sound asleep until I started snapping pictures of the sleeping duo. He seemed somewhat indignant as if to say, "Do you mind. We're sleeping here!"

Napping time: Nika and Kona style
Here we have two canines in a very unusual sleeping arrangement. Okay, I admit my pets are a little on the weird side.

Two kinds of vegan "ice cream" sandwiches
I wonder what dogs and cats dream about while they are sleeping. I'm guessing food! In my case, I dream about chocolate. This week I dreamed about two enormous chocolate ice cream sandwiches. They were bigger than Texas. Oh, wait a minute. That wasn't my dream. That was my food-obsessed malamute, Nika, dreaming about food. (She just got into trouble for stealing an energy bar from my husband's bikepack. She tried to eat the wrapping and all.)

Back to my ice cream sandwiches. I tried out two different kinds of ice cream sandwich cookies which were chocolate and no bake of course! And when I say ice cream, I actually mean frozen dessert since I don't eat traditional ice cream.

In the photo above, the ice cream sandwich on the left is made with Chocolate Quinoa Sandwich Cookies. Sunbutter freezer cookies were used for the one pictured on the right. I used a simple frozen concoction made with chocolate, avocado, protein powder and blueberries for the filling.

Chocolate Quinoa Sandwich Cookies
ACD Phase 2
(makes about 12 medium-sized cookies)

  1. 1/2 cup tahini
  2. 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  3. 1 tsp. vanilla
  4. 1/4 cup ground sunflower seeds
  5. 1 cup quinoa flakes
  6. 1/4 cup cacao powder
  7. 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  1. Line a cookie sheet with wax paper.
  2. Put all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until the dough comes together.
  3. Remove mixture to a bowl.
  4. Drop by heaping spoonfuls onto the prepared cookie sheet and flatten with wet hands.
  5. Chill in the freezer or fridge.
  6. Cookies store well in the freezer and maintain their chewy texture right out of the freezer.
  7. To make an ice cream sandwich, simply spoon your favorite frozen confection between two cookies and enjoy.
Sunbutter Freezer Cookies
ACD Phase 1 if using carob and omitting cacao nibs
(makes 6 medium cookies)

  1. 3 T. sunbutter
  2. 1/4 cup water
  3. stevia to taste
  4. 2-3 T. cacao powder
  5. 2 T. vegan rice protein
  6. pinch of salt
  7. 1 T. chia seeds
  8. 2 T. cacao nibs
  1. Mix all the ingredients in a food processor until dough comes together.
  2. Remove to a small bowl.
  3. Drop by heaping spoonfuls onto a cookie sheet covered with wax paper.
  4. Use wet hands to flatten the cookies.
  5. Chill in the freezer.
  6. Note: These cookies do not have that "out-of-the-freezer" chewy factor. They need to be defrosted a bit before making into ice cream sandwiches unless you have teeth of steel.
Chocolate Avocado Blueberry "Ice Cream"
(Makes enough for two ice cream sandwiches)

Blend 1 avocado, 1 cup frozen blueberries, 3 T. cacao powder, 1 T. rice protein powder, stevia to taste in a food processor. Add more blueberries if necessary to get an ice cream-like texture. Stores well in freezer. Thaw slightly before dishing out.

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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Quinoa-blueberry breakfast cookies

Misha turns one year old
It's hard to believe but Misha, our handsome husky-malamute, has been a part of our lives for one year now. Sometimes we call him "Psycho Boy" or the "Ritalin Dog" but we always call him our loveable fur pet.

Misha at two months old
Here he is at two months old. Can you believe how small and adorable he was? He's still adorable but more regal.

Gluten-free carrot dog treats
Of course, as a fur parent, I had to make him some gluten-free birthday treats.


Gluten-free Carrot Dog Treats
  • 1 cup applesauce, unsweetened
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1/8 cup water (if needed)
  • 1 1/2 cup amaranth flour (keep some handy for rolling)
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Spray a cookie sheet with pan spray
  • In a medium bowl, combine all the ingredients until dough forms. Add water if needed. Or if too sticky, add more flour.
  • Dump the dough onto a floured surface and knead with your hands.
  • Once the dough is not sticky, roll it out until it's about half-inch thick.
  • Use cookie cutters or the rim of a small glass to cut into dog cookies.
  • Place the treats on a the cookie sheet and bake for 25+ minutes until they are crisp.
Got some more?

Sorry, Misha. How about a little something for the humans.
Quinoa-blueberry breakfast cookies

Quinoa-Blueberry Breakfast Cookies
  • 1 1/2 cups quinoa flakes (or substitute gluten-free rolled oats)
  • 1 T. chia seeds
  • 1 T. ground flax
  • dash of salt
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. gluten-free baking powder
  • stevia
  • 2 T. pumpkin seeds (or substitute seeds or nuts of your choice)
  • 2 T. dried blueberries (or substitute raisins or other dried fruit)
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1 T. tahini
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Put 1/2 cup quinoa flakes, chia and flax, cinnamon, salt, stevia and baking powder in a coffee grinder and grind until it resembles a coarse powder.
  • In a medium bowl, combine ground quinoa mixture with 1/2 cup unground quinoa flakes (or oats). Add seeds or nuts, blueberries or other dried fruit.
  • In a small bowl, mix tahini with almond milk.
  • Mix together the quinoa mixture with tahini-almond milk mixture.
  • Add more almond milk if necessary to bring the dough together.
  • Scoop batter onto a sprayed cookie sheet.
  • Bake 15 minutes.
  • Makes 3 (2-cookie) servings.

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Saturday, April 14, 2012

Artichoke Pesto Spaghetti Squash

Misha and Bailey enjoy nap time on fluffy sleeping bags and pillows
I am one of those 75 percent of the population who is chronically dehydrated. After reading Your Bodies Many Cries for Water (by F. Batmanghelidj, M.D.), I am working to get more energy and feel better by simply drinking water. Chances are you are dehydrated too as three out of every four people are.

Dehydration is one of the greatest health issues facing the western world, according to Batmanghelidj.
Your body responds to inadequate water consumption by rationing whatever water is available. The result: some body functions are disturbed in order to maintain others. With chronic dehydration, some persistent health issues may arise. Drinking sufficient water may actually make some chronic illnesses get better or even go away, Batmanhelidj writes in his book.

Looking back, I developed bad habits of  not drinking water when I was a fourth-grade teacher. I avoided drinking because the "pee" breaks were few and far between. By the end of the school day, my body was crying for water but I misinterpreted my thirst as hunger. And worse, I grabbed a diet soda or coffee for stress relief.

My teaching days are past but I still have had a reluctance to drink water because of having to go to the bathroom too often. As a cyclist and avid exerciser, I seldom pass the pee test (your urine should be clear and pale yellow).

I guess I should have been following my fur babies' examples. They drink water like water buffaloes. This week I have been working to change my hydration habits. Following Batmanghelidj's plan, I have been drinking half my body weight in water every day. I don't count any other beverages, and if I drink any caffeinated beverages, I need to add more water (10-12 ounces of water per 6 ounces of caffeinated beverage or alcohol).

I wasn't expecting a miracle by drinking more water. I was hoping my plugged-up nose from seasonal allergies would maybe unplug a bit. After just five days, I have more energy; my digestion has improved; and my nasal congestion due to allergies has gotten better. If you are one of the dehydrated ones, Batmanghelidj's book is worth taking a look at.

Bailey and Misha really take their napping seriously
I'm pretty proud of myself. I've actually been sipping on water rather than tea while writing this blog. So, remember drink more water as mild dehydration is the No. 1 trigger of daytime fatigue.

Artichoke and Pumpkin Seed Pesto on Spaghetti Squash

My supply of spaghetti squash from last year's garden is getting smaller but I still have a bunch. This week I had spaghetti squash with Artichoke and Pumpkin Seed Pesto and Kale and Avocado Pesto.

Artichoke and Pumpkin Seed Pesto on Spaghetti Squash (serves 2)
  1. 1 baked spaghetti squash
  2. 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
  3. 1 15-ounce can artichoke hearts, drained
  4. 1/4 tsp. roasted ginger powder
  5. Optional: 1 large garlic clove
  6. 1/4 cup olive oil
  7. 2-3 cups baby spinach
  8. 1 T. pumpkin seeds for topping
  9. 2 T. fresh cilantro or parsley
  10. 1-2 T. lemon juice
  11. salt and pepper
  1. In a food processor, combine the seeds, artichoke hearts, optional garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, herbs, spices, salt and pepper. Pulse until ingredients are chopped and have a thick, pastelike consistency.
  2. Toss spinach leaves with hot spaghetti squash noodles. Serve topped with artichoke and pumpkin seed pesto and a dash of pumpkin seeds.

Kale and Avocado Pesto on Spaghetti Squash
(1-2 servings)
  1. 2 cups kale leaves
  2. 1 avocado
  3. 2-3 T. lemon juice
  4. 2 T. pumpkin seeds
  5. 1 T. hemp seeds + 1 T. for topping
  6. salt and pepper
  7. spaghetti squash noodles
  1. Pulse everything except spaghetti squash in a food processor.
  2. Serve pesto over spaghetti squash noodles with additional hemp seeds on top.
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    Saturday, April 7, 2012

    Vegan carrot cake and crunchy sunbutter eggs

    Veggie dogs love kale
    The Tale of Peter Rabbit is a favorite Easter story of mine because one of my pups helped provide an updated version. The Tale of Peter Rabbit's Canine Partner in Crime begins when carrots began to go missing from our vegetable garden.

    The radishes, lettuces, cucumbers, zucchinis, tomatoes were still in their rows but some of the carrots had been neatly plucked from the ground. Every day a few more carrots disappeared. It was time for some detective work. Was my husband doing a lot of snacking on carrots? Nope.

    I was beginning to think it was a raccoon or other wild animal. That's when my masked bandit, Niki, a malamute mix, strode into the garden and started digging up carrots right in front of me. Just like Mr. McGregor, I yelled, "Stop thief!" Niki ignored me and kept on munching on carrots. I grabbed my rake to emphasize that I meant business. Niki decided to make a break for it. I don't think Niki had ever seen me that mad as I chased him down carrying and waving that rake. I nabbed him shortly afterwards, gave him an earful and put him in his pen as punishment.

    The carrot thievery stopped after that; at least, so we thought. Turns out the "Masked Bandit" had found new opportunities in the form of our neighbors' garden. Niki had to learn his lesson the hard way when our neighbor fired a shot over his head. Niki came running back home faster than Peter Rabbit. He never went into "Mr. McGregor's" garden again and we did a lot of apologizing.

    It's been many years since Niki was part of our lives but he still remains one of my favorite, all-time pooches. He was mischievous, loveable and a real carrot lover.

    Misha eagerly grabs some celery

    Misha and Nika, my current snow pups, are following in Niki's footsteps as veggie lovers but they have broadened out their veggie preferences beyond carrots. Kale is at the top of their list of favorites but just about any other veggie is fair game. Hopefully, they won't have any run-ins with the neighbors over helping themselves to garden veggies.

    Nika and Bailey scope out some carrots
    Even my cat Bailey likes to nibble on a veggie now and then. Okay, he mainly just likes to bat them around and off the counter to his partners-in-crime Misha, Nika and Kona. Yes, even Kona loves veggies.

    Vegan Carrot Cake
    When it comes to veggies, we humans love them too. What can be better than carrots in a Vegan Carrot Cake? (Note: This recipe is lower in carbs than traditional carrot cake recipes. You could cut the carb content even more by using stevia as the sole sweetener, replacing the OJ with water and subbing coconut flour or almond flour for part of the sorghum flour.)

    • 4 T. ground flax
    • 3/4 cup orange juice
    • 2 cups sorghum flour
    • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
    • 2 tsp. gluten-free baking powder
    • 2 tsps. ground cinnamon
    • 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
    • 1/4 cup coconut nectar
    • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
    • 1/2 cup coconut oil
    • 1/4 cup olive oil
    • 2 cups shredded carrots
    • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened applesauce
    • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
    • 1/2 cup chopped pumpkin seeds or walnuts
    • 1 cup tofu
    • 2 T. additional coconut oil
    • 2 T. lemon juice
    • 3-4 T. agave nectar
    • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
    • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a bundt cake pan or 13X9-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
    • In a small bowl, stir together ground flax and OJ or water. Set aside.
    • In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg.
    • In a large bowl, beat together sweeteners and oil until well combined. Beat in the flax mixture.
    • Slowly add the flour mixture, beating on low until just moistened. Stir in carrots, applesauce, coconut, seeds or nuts. Pour batter into prepared baking pan.
    • Bake for 50 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
    • Place the cake on a wire rack and cool completely.
    • Meanwhile, combine the tofu, lemon juice, additional coconut oil, agave and vanilla in a high-speed blender for the "frosting" which is more like a pudding.
    • You can pour the frosting on the cooled cake or better yet, spoon some on a plate and place a piece of cake on top. Trust me. It's delish this way because you can dip each bite into the "frosting."

    Crunchy sunbutter Easter eggs
    Okay, these Crunchy Sunbutter Eggs don't contain any veggies but you've got to have chocolate for Easter.

    • 1/2 cup unsweetened sunbutter
    • 2 T. coconut nectar or agave
    • 1 tsp. flax or chia seed
    • 2 T. rice protein powder
    • 2 T. popped amaranth
    • 2 T. cacao nibs
    • pinch of salt
    • 1/2 cup Enjoy Life chocolate chips
    • 2 T coconut oil
    • 1 tsp. vanilla
    • Pop the amaranth by placing in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Shake the pan back and forth to prevent burning. Once the amaranth has popped, remove from the heat and place in a small bowl.
    • Prepare the sunbutter mixture in the food processor by combining sunbutter, protein powder, chia or flax, vanilla, sweetener. Mix in the nibs and popped amaranth.
    • Drop teaspoonsful of sunbutter mixture on a wax-paper lined cookie sheet. Shape into eggs.
    • Place in the freezer to harden.
    • Meantime, microwave the chocolate chips and coconut oil. Stir in the vanilla. Option: Make a sugar-free chocolate coating using 3 T. cacao powder, 1 T. coconut oil, vanilla and stevia. 
    • Once the eggs are chilled, dip them in the chocolate coating. Return to the wax paper to set.
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