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Pepper is TWO!

So apparently I only post when my dog has a birthday. This year there’s a lot going on – global pandemic, civil uprising (overdue!), the new normal of working from home, we got married(!). All that being said, my focus has not been on sharing what’s going on with us, because in the grand scheme of life right now, there is so much more going on that needs to be amplified and supported. But a dog mom’s gotta do, what a dog mom’s gotta do. And so let’s take a few minutes to celebrate the wins, share some joy, and make a batch of pupcakes!

Pepper’s Pupcakes 2020 edition

Makes: 12 pupcakes
Active time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

Pupcake

*Be sure to use unsweetened, unsalted ingredients here. We look for organic or all-natural whenever possible. Xylitol, a common human sweetener, is poisonous to our beloved pups.

  • 2 large carrots, grated
  • 1/3 C peanut butter*
  • 1/3 C apple sauce*
  • 1/3 C pumpkin puree*
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 C coconut flour
  • 1/4 C whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 C ground flaxseed
  • 1/4 C rolled oats

Frosting

  • 3/4 C nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 2 T pumpkin puree*
  • 3 T peanut butter*
  • Optional: MilkBones

Instructions

Preheat your oven to 350. Grease with coconut oil, or use cupcake liners, a standard 12-muffin pan.

Mix dry ingredients (coconut flour, whole wheat flour, flaxseed, rolled oats) in a small bowl and set aside.

In a large bowl, grate 2 carrots (no need to peel), add the rest of the wet ingredients and mix well. Add the dry ingredients and stir until completely combined. The mixture will be more like a dough, and thicker than your usual cake batter.

Divide the dough into the 12 muffin/cupcake cups, and press gently to shape into the form.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until the tops are relatively firm but springy when pressed, or a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Let cool in pan for ~10 minutes, and then pop out the pupcakes and let cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.

While the pupcakes are cooling, mix your frosting. Combine all ingredients together in a bowl and mix until fluffy and combined. If your yogurt is a little watery, you can add a tablespoon of coconut flour to help thicken. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

To serve, frost the pupcakes to your liking! I felt like our little girl deserved that extra touch, so I piped the frosting, but you could easily smooth it over top as well. Top with MilkBones if using, and let your pup devour! (We let her lick the frosting off, and then cut the pupcakes into smaller pieces, otherwise she’d literally gulp the whole thing!)

Dog, Recipes

From zero to dog mom in 60 seconds.

Hello again! It’s been a while, how are you?

I’ve been MIA the past several months… Most of my excuses are tired: “Work was crazy,” “I started a new job,” “We were traveling,” “We had guests in town,” and the like. But the best reason, and the one that’s taken up the bulk of my time is: “WE GOT A PUPPY!

That’s right friends, after years of being that person that would run up to strangers and ask, “Can I say hi to your dog?” Jon and I are now those people who say “Of course, she’s super friendly!” Her name is Pepperoni (also called Pepper, Pep, Roni, and a bunch of other sillyisms).

Yesterday we blinked and somehow that little puppy turned one. It’s unbelievable how much she’s turned our lives around in the 10 months since she completed our little family.

To celebrate our little girl turning one, I did what any over-the-top dog mom would do, and I baked my baby a cake. But not just any cake! After Googling about a dozen recipes (no, I’m not kidding) I found three that seemed promising and not too complicated. And instead of just choosing one and making it, I decided to test making my own recipe, so we could have some honest-to-dog Pepperoni Pupcakes that were special for our pupperoni.


Pepperoni’s Pupcakes

Serves 1 very spoiled pup, or 9 individual pupcakes
Active time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

Pupcake

  • 3/4 C coconut flour
  • 1/4 C whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 t baking soda
  • 1/4 t baking powder
  • 1/2 C mashed banana (1 whole banana, mashed)
  • 1/2 C unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 C peanut butter
  • 1/8 C coconut oil, melted
  • 1-2 T honey (optional)

Frosting

  • 1/2 C plain greek yogurt
  • 1/4 C peanut butter

Instructions

Preheat your oven to 300 and grease an 8-inch baking dish with coconut oil.

Mix your dry ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

Combine the wet ingredients in a medium bowl and mix well until the mixture is uniform. Add the dry ingredients and mix until fully combined. The mixture will be about the consistency of playdough rather than a cake batter.

Gently press the dough into your prepared baking dish, and spread into an even layer.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, turning once, until the cake springs back when lightly pressed, or a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Let cool completely before frosting.

While the cake bakes (or while it cools), mix the yogurt and peanut butter together until fluffy and creamy. Set aside in the refrigerator until ready to use.

To serve, cut the pupcake into individual squares, or use a cookie cutter to make your shapes. Frost the pieces and serve immediately. Feel proud of yourself for being an awesome dog pawrent!

Notes

Make sure that all your ingredients are whole, and without any artificial ingredients. Specifically, make sure there is no xylitol in any of the ingredients. It’s an artificial sweetener that is toxic to dogs.

You can also make the cake and frosting ahead of time and store separately in the fridge. When ready to serve, frost the pupcakes and watch your dogs devour them in delight!

I plan on making these again in the future, testing variations: adding shredded carrot, mashed sweet potatoes, and/or pumpkin puree!

Recipes

Summertime Salad

We’ve had a heat wave in Seattle. At least, I’m calling it a heat wave, but does it count as a wave if it’s been going on for over a month? In any case, the days have been long and hot, ranging in the 80’s-90’s. As a result, our stove (and oven!) have been getting minimal use, and grill and no-cook recipes reign supreme. These PNW summers are taking some getting used to!

Last week, my Imperfect Produce box included a gorgeous selection of citrus and a giant head of fennel. Friday afternoon neared 90° and turning on any heat source seemed insane. So for lunch I whipped up a little Fennel Friday salad and I’m sharing it today for Meatless Monday (see what I did there?).

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Fennel & Citrus Salad

Serves 1-2
Active time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 head fennel with fronds attached
  • 1 grapefruit
  • 1 blood orange
  • Queso fresco
  • Olive oil
  • Maldon sea salt

Tools

Mandoline

Instructions

Rinse your fennel to remove any grit or dirt – taking care to let some water run between the root segments. Trim the fronds and reserve for garnish, and trim off the bottom of the root, trying to keep the bulb as intact as possible.

Shave the fennel thinly on your mandoline and tumble onto your serving plate.

I prefer to supreme my citrus, though if you wanted to keep it simple, you could simply cut away the pith and slice yours into rounds across the fruit to keep the cross-section pattern. Arrange your citrus supremes around the fennel and then squeeze the excess juices over the salad.

Crumble your queso fresco over the salad, and then drizzle generously with olive oil. Add a sprinkling of fennel fronds, flaky sea salt, and fresh-ground pepper to taste.

Serve immediately, and stay cool!

Notes

This is another “no recipe” recipe, so feel free to tinker with your ingredients to accommodate whatever you have on hand. Fennel and citrus are a classic pairing, but it would be great with watermelon and tomatoes for the fruit, or with a fresno chile (or other mild chile) for a little heat.

I only had queso fresco on hand, but this would also be good with another fresh cheese.

Some other combos:

  • Cucumber ribbons, assorted melon, mint, ricotta salata (add prosciutto?!)
  • Watermelon, fresno chile, fennel, and queso fresco
  • Shaved beets, peach, cucumber ribbons, basil, and burrata