Sunday, March 26, 2017

Carrot Chips or Carrot Wafers

This is a dehydrator recipe and I'm not certain if it can be done in the oven.

Equipment needed:
Vita-Mix with the dry container or Food Processor, Vegetable Peeler, Cutting Board, Knife, 1 cup Measuring Cup, 1/4 tsp Measuring Spoon, 1 tbl Measuring Spoon, and Dehydrator

1 cup coconut water
2 tbls chia seeds
4 carrots
1/4 tsp salt

Peel, rinse, and chop carrots into ~1" pieces - just to make them easier to blend. Put those in the Vita-Mix dry container. Add the coconut water, chia seeds, and salt. Blend very well.

I actually started with the coconut water and chia seeds, then added the carrots one at a time, blending in between each, to be sure of the number I wanted to put in there. When the blending became harder to do and the mixture was somewhat thick, I stopped adding carrots.

Because I wasn't sure how this would turn out, I did the next step two different ways.

1. Pour mixture into rectangular candy molds, filling each between 1/2 to 3/4 of the way to the top. Once done dehydrating, these will be fairly thin. Shake gently to settle into flat shapes. This "filled" 24 molds.

2. Pour remaining mixture in the middle of a pendaflex/silicone sheet that fits your dehydrator. Spread out towards the edges, then shake gently to settle into flat shape. You may need to nudge it back a little from the edge. This created a semi-square 13"x13" shape.

Dehydrate at 125 degrees for about 10 hours. If you don't sleep through the middle of this time, you can try flipping them halfway through to get the color roughly the same on each side. I made these at night and pulled them as is in the morning.

If you're a raw purist, drop the temperature to 105 degrees or less and dehydrate longer.

The first way made rectangular chips about 1/8" thick. Some broke in two coming out of the mold. Some had holes in the middle. It's entirely possible that filling the molds to the top would have prevented that, but the chips would also be a bit thicker.

The second made a beautiful, very thin wafer (with some holes.) Interestingly, my wife who prefers crackers liked the chips, and I - the cupcake monster - preferred the wafer. It reminded me very strongly of the Italian pizelles our downstairs neighbor used to make starting at 4 in the morning. Ah the culinary memories...

Friday, March 24, 2017

Dog Food - Renal Care, Not Vegetarian

We tried a new renal diet for our eldest dog and the results were underwhelming. His blood work showed no improvement, and he needed his anal glands expressed for the first time in his 14+ years of life. That renal diet contained so much rice - it was listed as dry weight so the actual amount in the food once it was cooked was even more. We've gotten his stool back to normal and hopefully that means his glands will be fine.

He's on lamb, and we found out that boiling lamb removes some of the phosphorous. The old thinking was lower the protein. The new thinking is get a better balance between calcium and phosphorous and maybe lower the protein.

Disclaimer: We're not veterinarians nor nutritionists. We also have not had him on this diet long enough to see how well it does for his kidneys. I'll report back once we get there.

We start with the Honest Kitchen Preference base. For 1 day of food for a roughly 15 pound dog, we add 6 oz of boiling water to 1.8 ounces of HK Preference. Allow that to absorb the water for at least 3 minutes. Add 2.5 ounces of the boiled lamb (more on that below). We feed him 3-4 times a day, 2 main meals and 1-2 snacks. He was having some issues with his stomach being too empty prior to getting breakfast, so he definitely gets a snack right before bed.

For the 2 main meals, he also gets 1/4 tsp psyllium, 1/4 to 1/2 tsp salmon oil, and 1/4 pill of InflamAway HA which is a glucosamine/chondroitin with extra anti-inflammatory herbs.

For the boiled lamb, we get 2 pounds of ground lamb from the grocery store. That's roughly a 1 week supply of meat for him.

Take a small stock pot and fill it halfway with water. Roll the lamb into meatballs about 1/2" to 3/4" in diameter. They will shrink some. Put them in the water one at a time. Having the water in the pot will help them not stick together. Bring the water to a rolling boil, stirring occasionally to break up what forms on top and unstick any meatballs at the bottom. Lower heat as needed to maintain the rolling boil without boiling over. Boil for 30 minutes. Drain and rinse.

He likes this well enough though he has trained us to add some treat sprinkles on top sometimes. Once he gets started, he finishes his meal.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Pasta Salad Dressing

I made a bunch of quinoa pasta and some Bacon-ish Bits this weekend, and my wonderful wife cut up carrots, zucchini, and celery. The pasta got a coating of pesto to help it not clump together (which it still does but not quite as badly) before going into the fridge.

Throwing together all of these great ingredients called out for a creamier topping to make it a more cohesive pasta salad. It helps that our two avocados were showing signs of "eat me now!"

Equipment needed:
1 Large Bowl, 1 Spoon or Fork, 1 Cutting Board, 1 Knife, 1/4 cup Measuring Cup

2 Avocados
1 Lemon ice cube (previously squeezed and frozen in ice cube trays)
1/4 cup (or less) Pesto (we get dairy-free pesto - read below for other ideas and a nut-free option)
Salt to taste

Cut and peel the avocados, put those in the bowl. Add pesto and lemon cube. Stir until creamy and lemon cube has melted. You may want to add the pesto in stages to achieve the desired consistency. Salt as needed, or add whatever spices take your fancy.

The amount of pesto will change both the texture and the taste. This can also be used as a salad dressing with you controlling the consistency.

If you don't have a dairy-free pesto available, you can make your own, or add what's missing to the above individually.

So, say you decide you want a spinach pesto to go with your avocado for a pasta salad dressing. I recommend using a blender and putting in:

Avocado, spinach, onion, garlic, pepper, pine nuts or walnuts (optional), lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste. The other main ingredient is olive oil. Since the avocado could take the place of an oil, you can add olive oil as needed for texture. Optionally or in addition to, you can add vinegar for some tang in your dressing. (Future recipe posted here? Quite possibly)