Monday, May 1, 2017

Throwing Stuff Together


I didn't stop to measure much this weekend, so I don't have "recipes". What I do have is what I threw together, and what I experimented with.

All measurements are approximate:

Round 1:
1 tbl ground ginger
1 cup coarse ground walnuts
1 cup coarse ground cashews
1/4 cup chia seeds
6 pitted dates
2 cups water
Almond meal - sufficient to make a dough (2-3 cups?)

Round 2:
2 tbl baking chocolate
1 package dark chocolate chips
1 package frozen cherries
1 banana
6 pitted dates
2 cups water
Gluten-free rolled oats - sufficient to make a more liquid dough as the oats need to absorb the moisture while cooking (2-3 cups?)

Round 3:
After making coconut milk:
Medium pyrex bowl of coconut pulp
1/4 cup chia seeds
1/4 cup low sodium tamari (contains soy)
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
This needs time in the fridge to gel as much as possible


Except for the coconut milk, I blended everything as needed in the Vita-Mix with the dry container. These all went into the dehydrator at 105 degrees for a long time (~16 hours).

The first set makes ginger cookies. Spread flat on dehydrator sheets and cut after flipping.

The second - breakfast bars for the sweet tooth. Spooned into mini-muffin molds and rectangular candy molds. The remaining bit was spread out flat on a dehydrator sheet and cut after flipping. The candy molds were flipped and emptied after about 7 hours. They were not very cooperative in the process. The mini-muffin molds were flipped and emptied after about 14 hours. That went fairly well.

The third is my second shot at what to do with the leftover coconut pulp from making coconut milk. My first shot at it was ice cream and that became an inedible ice cube - not enough fat or whipping in of air. The texture is somewhat like popcorn chips. It's a little on the dry, powdery side of things for my liking.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Nut-Free Oatmeal To Go


Building off the Banana-based Muffins, this is a nut-free version that is more along the lines of a breakfast bar.

Two sets of ingredients below for two different flavors.

Equipment needed: Vita-Mix with Dry Container or Food Processor, Spatula, Large Bowl, Dehydrator

Raspberry - Dark Chocolate

5 Bananas
1 package frozen Raspberries
1 package Dark Chocolate Chips
3 cups coarse ground Gluten-Free Rolled Oats
1 cup coarse ground (raw, unsalted, shelled) Sunflower Seeds
1 cup Gluten-Free Rolled Oats

In the Vita-Mix dry container, grind the rolled oats and the sunflower seeds. It helps to grind when combining a wet ingredient (seeds) with a balancing dry ingredient (oats.) Use the spatula to scrape this into the bowl.

Next in the Vita-Mix dry container, blend the bananas with the package of frozen raspberries. Probably best to blend the bananas first until they liquify. This might require some tamping as the raspberries may freeze into a bit of a mass. Scrape this into the bowl.

Stir in the package of dark chocolate chips and the whole rolled oats. You can use the spatula to stir which will also help with scraping the sides of the bowl as you stir.

Place half the mixture in the middle of a dehydrator silicon sheet and spread to an even depth. This should fill 2 sheets approximately 12" square.

Dehydrate at 125° for about 5-6 hours. Flip directly onto the dehydrator grate, score into squares, and continue dehydrating for another 5-6 hours or until they reach the desired texture. Spreading the squares apart will help them gain a crispier edge.

When peeling off the silicon sheet, some mixture may cling to the sheet. If you like little crispy bits, put this sheet back in the dehydrator.

I was asked about the calories for this bar, so I did the calculations from the raw ingredients.

40 ~2.5" Square Bars: Nutrition Information per bar:

                                 measure*                %**
Calories                      103.8
Calories From Fat       37.4
Total Fat                        4.4                      6.6
Saturated Fat                2.8                      9.3
Trans Fat                       0.0                      0.0
Cholesterol                    0.0                      0.0
Sodium                           0.1                      0.0
Total Carbohydrate     16.1                     5.6
Dietary Fiber                 2.8                     11.4
Sugars                            6.3
Protein                           2.6

Vitamin A                                                 0.3
Vitamin C                                                 3.8
Calcium                                                    0.9
Iron                                                          10.7
Potassium                   64.4                      1.9

* g/mg/calories
** percent of daily value - 2000 calorie


Apple Cinnamon

3 Bananas
2 single serve (4 oz @) Applesauce
2 tbl Ground Cinnamon
2 cups coarse ground Gluten-Free Rolled Oats
2 cups coarse ground (raw, unsalted, shelled) Sunflower Seeds
1 cup Gluten-Free Rolled Oats

In the Vita-Mix dry container, grind the rolled oats and the sunflower seeds. It helps to grind when combining a wet ingredient (seeds) with a balancing dry ingredient (oats.) Use the spatula to scrape this into the bowl.

Next in the Vita-Mix dry container, blend the bananas with the applesauce and cinnamon until it liquifies. Scrape this into the bowl.

Stir in the whole rolled oats. You can use the spatula to stir which will also help with scraping the sides of the bowl as you stir.

Place half the mixture in the middle of a dehydrator silicon sheet and spread to an even depth. This should fill 2 sheets approximately 10" square.

Dehydrate at 105° for about 5-6 hours. Flip directly onto the dehydrator grate, score into squares, and continue dehydrating for another 5-6 hours or until they reach the desired texture. Spreading the squares apart will help them gain a crispier edge.

When peeling off the silicon sheet, some mixture may cling to the sheet. If you like little crispy bits, put this sheet back in the dehydrator.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Oat Milk


Equipment needed:
Vita-Mix with the wet container, 1 cup Measuring Cup, 1 tablespoon Measuring Spoon (optional)

Ingredients:
1 cup Gluten-Free Rolled Oats
5 cups Water
2 Pitted Dates
1 tbl Cocoa Powder (optional)

The Coconut Milk recipe calls for 1 cup flakes to 2 cups water, so this started with 1 cup rolled oats and 2 cups water in the Vita-Mix. Blend on high for 3 minutes. This becomes a very thin oatmeal. Good to know for making oatmeal in the future.

Add 3 cups of water to make it more of a milk texture and the 2 pitted dates for a sweetener.
Blend on high for about 20-30 seconds to get the dates totally mixed in.

Since this made a lot more milk than I had planned for, I poured half into a container, then added the cocoa powder to the other half and blended that in. Nice to have both in the house.

This doesn't require straining like the coconut milk. I tried to, but it passed through the strainer with ease. One less step is always welcome.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Banana-based Mini-Muffins


I once saw a meme that was a pancake recipe using bananas as the base ingredient. Unfortunately, that meme didn't credit the origin of the recipe.

These were very popular with my taste testers at work. Because they are sweet, adding something on the bitter side to balance that out might be very nice - like cocoa nibs or chopped up/ground hazelnuts.

Equipment needed:
Vita-Mix with the Dry Container or a Food Processor, 1 cup Measuring Cup, Bowl, Spatula, Spoon, optional Scissors, Dehydrator or Oven

Ingredients
5 Medium Bananas
1 pkg Frozen Blueberries
1 pkg Dark Chocolate Chips
2 cups Flour

In a food processor or Vita-Mix with the dry container, blend the bananas until creamy and the mixture rises with added air. Add ½ package frozen blueberries and blend until well mixed. This may need a little tamping to get started.

Pour this mixture into the bowl. The spatula helps get as much out as you can. Stir in ½ package frozen blueberries, 1 package dark chocolate chips, and 2 cups flour (I used almond meal - next time I plan on grinding 1 cup gluten-free rolled oats with 1 cup sunflower seeds instead.) I used the spatula to stir as the blueberries and chocolate chips wanted to stick to the sides of the bowl. Add more flour if the mixture seems too runny. It should clump.

Spoon into mini-muffin molds and tamp down. This filled 46 molds.

Dehydrate at 125° for about 10 hours. Take a knife around the edges of the molds to release any muffins stuck at the top edge. Flip the muffins directly onto the dehydrator grate. You may need to pop the bottom of each mold to get them out. Continue dehydrating for another 3 or 4 hours.

If you don't have confidence in the flip, use a second dehydrator grate on top to make a mini-muffin mold sandwich and then flip it all before removing the mold.

This can probably be baked at a low temp - like 200° - but I don’t know for how long offhand. Experimenting with time can be fun as you have to pop one out and eat it to test it each time you check.

These can also be placed in the freezer after dehydrating/baking to become mini-ice cream cakes.

If you don’t have molds, you can shape them however you like - cookies, bars, etc.

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

Ingredients
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 21, 2017

Coconut Milk


Trying to find a substitute milk with no sulfites, no carrageenan, no xantham gum, etc can be difficult. And that brought me to the following:

Vita-Mix Coconut Milk recipe

Or

Coconut Milk recipe that's similar but involves a little cooking

Making this in the Vita-Mix will heat it up - it only takes 2 minutes on high to get warm and this recipe calls for 3 minutes.

I used unsweetened coconut flakes from Let's Do... Organic since they contain no sulfites. Also used a fine mesh strainer and sifted the mixture with a spoon to get the liquid through. The leftover pulp has no flavor to speak of. Whether or not that gets used is a recipe for another day.

If you prefer your milk sweet, you can add pitted dates or sugar of your choice.

This will have a slightly thicker texture than the store variety. The aroma and flavor are excellent.