Pumpkin Dog Biscuits Recipe

Pumpkin Dog Biscuits Recipe

Pumpkin Dog Biscuits Recipe

T

hese are a super healthy and tasty treat for my dogs.  Really easy to make too.  I like to double the recipe and then share with our other doggie pals.  I’m not sure about their shelf life as my dogs love these and they are gone rather quickly.  😊🐶

  • 1/2 cup of canned pumpkin 
  • 1/4 cup of softened coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • 2 cups of whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1 egg

 

  • Pre-heat oven to 350 degree F.
  • Mix the pumpkin, softened coconut oil, and water together in a large bowl.
  • Then mix in the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and baking powder.
  • Mix until combined and then add in the egg.
  • Slowly add in water, as much as required to make dough.  Use more or less depending on consistency of dough.
  • Continue to mix until combine and it forms a dough that you can roll out. 
  • Roll dough mixture out on a floured surface to ~1/4 inch thick.
  • Using a cookie cutter, cut out treats. (I use both a big size and a little size as I have both a big dog and a little dog).
  • Place cut out dough treats on a lined or greased baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes (depending on size) or until dough has hardened.
  • Remove tray and let cool.  Store in air tight container.  If biscuits are a bit soft, store in freezer.  If they are really hard, then they are okay on the shelf.

 

I hope your dog enjoys these!  I’d love to know how they went over.  Send me a note, leave me a comment.

 

Christina xo

 

“Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.

Roger Caras
My Ossobuco with Creamy Polenta

My Ossobuco with Creamy Polenta

My Ossobuco with Creamy Polenta

love comfort food.  There is something about a hearty slow-cooked meal that just soothes me right to my soul.  Hearty does not necessarily have to be unhealthy so I’ve adapted these recipes to suit my preferences.  Both of these recipes are super easy and especially good on a busy day.  Simply prepare the ossobuco and let your slow cooker do the work through the day, then cook the polenta  just before you are ready to eat.

I have several recipes for Ossobuco that I do but I like the flavour of the added orange for this one.  I also like to do a risotto instead of polenta so keep that in mind, too.  For these recipes, I was inspired by Lidia Bastianich‘s Ossobuco and Ina Garten‘s Creamy Polenta.

 

OSSOBUCO 

1 sprig fresh rosemary

1 sprig fresh thyme

2 fresh or dried bay leaves

1 lemon

1 orange

1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup of chopped sweet onion

2 cloves minced garlic

1 cup of diced carrot

1 cup of diced celery

Salt and pepper 

2 whole beef or veal shanks, bone with marrow.  Secured with twine around whole piece.

Flour for dredging shanks (I use Gluten Free)

1 cup of white wine

1 1/2 cups of crushed/pureed canned tomato

2 cups of chicken stock 

1/4 cup finely chopped fresh Italian parsley

Zest of 1 lemon

 

  1. Take the rosemary, thyme, bay leaves and place them into a bit of cheesecloth and then secure with twine.  This is your “Bouquet Garni”.
  2. Take the orange and with a vegetable peeler, remove the zest (the orange part without white) in strips.  Squeeze the juice and set it aside.
  3. Take the beef or veal shanks pat them dry with paper towel, then season them with salt and pepper and dredge them in flour.  Shake off any excess.
  4. In a large dutch oven, heat the oil then brown the shanks (approx. 3 mins. per side).  Remove them and then set aside.
  5. Using the same pot, add the onion, garlic, carrot and celery.  Season with some salt to get moisture out from the vegetables.  Cook until onion is translucent and vegetables have softened (7-8 minutes).  Add your canned tomatoes and mix well.
  6. Place your shanks in the slow cooker pot.  Add your vegetable mixture, white wine, orange juice and chicken stock. Also, add in your bouquet garni.
  7. Cook in slow cooker, 4 hours on high or 7-8 hours on low.  

For the Gremolata:  combine parsley with lemon zest in a small mixing bowl.  If you like garlic, you can also add minced garlic to this mixture.

 

POLENTA

2 cups chicken stock

1 clove minced garlic

1/2 cup cornmeal

1/2 tablespoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/4 cup milk

1 tablespoon butter

1/2 cup freshly grated Asiago cheese, maybe a little extra for sprinkling on top at serving

 

  1. Place the chicken stock in a large sauce pan.  Add the garlic and bring the stock to boil over medium heat.
  2. Reduce the heat to a soft boil then slowly whisk in the polenta (do this slowly to avoid lumps).
  3. Switch to a wooden spoon and keep stirring and then add in salt and pepper.  Simmer for about 10 minutes, until it thickens.  Ensure that as you are stirring you are scraping the bottom and sides.
  4. Remove from heat then stir in milk and butter.  Then add in the Asiago cheese, saving a bit for serving.

 

After your polenta is cooked simply plate one shank with a bit of sauce.  Sprinkle with Gremolata.  Scoop polenta on the side, sprinkled with a bit of cheese.

 

Bon appetito!!

 

Christina xo

 

“Instead of going out to dinner, buy good food.                          Cooking at home shows such affection. In a bad economy, it’s more important to make yourself feel good.

Ina Garten
Christina’s GF Cheese Shortbread Cookies

Christina’s GF Cheese Shortbread Cookies

Christina’s GF Cheese Shortbread Cookies

Cheese Shortbread Cookies are always a favourite treat at Christmas time in my home.  They are a perfect accompaniment to a glass of Proseco or another cocktail.  This recipe is adapted from “The Best of Bridge” cookbook.  I have made it Gluten Free.

Gluten-Free Cheese Shortbread

1/2 lb. Sort Extra-Sharp Cheddar Cheese (I like MACLAREN’S IMPERIAL SHARP) 1/2 lb. Butter 2 Cups Gluten-Free Baking Flour (I like BOB’S RED MILL 1-1 GF FLOUR) 2 Tbsp. Light Brown Sugar Mix everything together with your mixer.  Take a a piece of parchment paper and place half of the mixture onto it and form it into a roll that is about 1 1/2” thick.  Repeat with another piece of parchment and remainder of mixture.  Refrigerate for an hour to make it easier to work with. Slice into 1/4” pieces and place on baking sheet.   Bake at 250F to275F for 1 hour. Makes about 48 pieces.   I would love to hear from you. Send me a note, leave me a comment.

Christina xo

 

I only drink Champagne on two occasions,

when I am in love and when I am not.

Coco Chanel
Matcha Tea:  You Should Be Drinking It

Matcha Tea: You Should Be Drinking It

Matcha Tea: You Should Be Drinking It

M  atcha tea has recently become popular in North America but it was originally brought to Japan by Buddhist monks thousands of years ago.  Used in tea ceremonies before meditation, it was found to help with calmness and alertness. Matcha is the whole green tea leaf ground up.  It has 137 times more antioxidants than regular green tea. Matcha tea can be drunk hot, iced or as a latte.  You can add it to your smoothies or even to your baking. Here are some of it’s health benefits:
  • packed with antioxidants,
  • boosts matabolism and burns calories,
  • detoxifies,
  • calms mind and relaxes body,
  • enhances mood and helps with concentration,
  • rich in fibre, chlorophyll, and vitamins, 
  • provides vitamin C, selenium, chromium, zinc, magnesium,
  • lowers cholesterol and blood sugar.
As you can see, the health benefits are numerous.  If you haven’t tried it out, stop by your local tea store or coffee shop and ask them to make you a lattee.  Initially, you may find the taste a bit odd or earthy, but I encourage you to be open to it as you will get to like it.  The benefits are so worth it. I like to make it at home.  I boil water, take a tiny bit of matcha (1/2 tsp) and whisk it together with the small bamboo whisk.  I then steam some soy or other milk, add a bit of honey or vanilla syrup.  It’s a perfect afternoon pick-me-up. Do try it if you haven’t.  Let me know what you think. Send me a note, leave me a comment.

Christina xo

 

“Under certain circumstances there are few hours in life

more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony

known as afternoon tea.”

Henry James
Benefits of Olive Oil

Benefits of Olive Oil

Benefits of Olive Oil

What is EVOO you may be asking me. Extra Virgin Olive Oil is the first cold press, meaning there is no heat involved during extraction, and the oil is of highest quality:  below 1% acidity. A producer uses fresh olives in good condition.  The olives are then crushed by mechanical means without the use of any solvents, and under temperatures that will not degrade the oil.   EVOO does not have a long shelf life.  Even in optimal storage conditions, the oil will degrade over time so it is best to enjoy it before the typical two year shelf life. EVOO can taste fruity like the taste of fresh ripe or green olives.  Ripe olives yield milder aromatic, buttery or floral tasting oils.  Green (unripe) olives yield pungent, bitter herbaceous or grassy tasting oils. When we refer to bitter and pungent, those are actually good things in olive oil.  Bitter comes from fresh olives and you’ll notice a sort of pleasant acrid flavour sensation.  Pungent is like a peppery sensation in your mouth or throat and denotes an abundance of nutrients in good, fresh EVOO. The health benefits of Olive Oil are amazing.  Olive oil has been found to be effective in preventing some diseases and improving other conditions such as:
  • cancer
  • heart disease
  • liver disease
  • high blood pressure
  • diabetes
  • obesity
  • rheumatoid arthritis
  • osteoporosis
I use fresh EVOO in most of my cooking.  In salads, for sautéing vegetables, over steamed vegetables, and even just for dipping bread with a bit of good balsamic vinegar.  This is one thing that my kitchen is never without. I frequent my local Olive Oil Store where they seasonally bring in fresh EVOO from all over the world.  You walk down the aisle and you’ll see little vats full of oil from Spain, Italy, Greece, Australia, to name a few, depending on the time of year.  Each region has characteristic flavours resulting from where the olives were grown (soil conditions) and climate. What you must always know when buying good EVOO:
  • the Harvest/Crush date
  • the Chemistry of the Oil (Acidity, Polyphenols, Oleic Acid & Peroxide Value)
If you haven’t tried out buying olive oil from a shop like this, I highly recommend it.  If you are unfamiliar with the process, initially the tastes can be a bit overwhelming but I assure you that you will develop a taste and a preference for certain oils then you too will find yourself craving some good EVOO.  Be sure to look up your local stores and try them out.  Check out a couple here in my area: Let me know what you think.  

 Christina’s Bruschetta

  • 3 medium sized ripe tomatoes
  • 1 large garlic clove minced
  • 1/4 cup EVOO (or more, as per taste)
  • Handful of fresh basil chopped semi-fine
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
Cut tomatoes in half and scoop out seeds, then dice remaining tomato. Mix together all ingredients then let sit in fridge for about a half hour for flavours to meld. Serve over fresh or toasted baguette slices. Bon appétit!! For further information, check out: https://www.oliveoiltimes.com https://www.olivethisandmore.com/process http://www.tommueller.co/extravirginigy I would love to hear from you. Send me a note, leave me a comment.  

Christina xo

 

Good olive oil, good butter, milk – they give food taste and depth and a richness that you cant reproduce with low-fat ingredients.

Nigella Lawson
Garden Tomato Pasta Sauce

Garden Tomato Pasta Sauce

Garden Tomato Pasta Sauce

I was shown this way of making pasta sauce by an Italian friend ages ago.  She made it frequently and I remember remarking to her that making sauce was so much work.  She laughed and said watch this.  She took five ingredients and in 15 mins, the sauce was simmering and in an hour, dinner was served.  Easy peasy. I use my garden tomatoes from the freezer but you can substitute fresh ripe or canned tomatoes.  I like to remove the skin from the fresh or frozen tomatoes but that is optional.  The flavour of the tomatoes really comes out in this recipe so I only use salt & pepper to flavour.
  • 1/3 – 1/2 Cup Good quality olive oil
  • 1 Medium Sweet Onion Chopped Up
  • 2 Cloves Garlic Minced
  • 6-8 Medium Ripe Tomatoes (Chopped Up if Fresh, Just throw them in if frozen)
Heat olive oil in sauce pan over medium heat.  Add onion and cook until softened.  Add garlic and cook for another minute. Add tomatoes.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Allow to cook for 30 – 40 minutes until the tomatoes are stewed and most of the liquid has evaporated, whatever consistency you like your sauce.   Serve over your favourite pasta. Let me know if you try it and how you like it!! I would love to hear from you. Send me a note, leave me a comment.

Christina xo

 

“You can buy a good pasta but when you cook it yourself, it has a different feeling.”

Agnes Varda