Dog food for people?! :)

If you have a furry companion like my Rocky Bear Smith that you love so much, it’s hard to not to share what you are eating…
Oh, that deadlocked, deep-souled stare that guilts you into giving up (sometimes too much) human food to their endearingly pleading gaze. Well, I wanted to start coming up with a solutions…
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Here’s one! A gluten free crumbley cereal “bark” that is satisfying enough for me and my doggie!

Have you seen the ingredients on most doggie cookies and treats! Mystify and gag me! yuck! But this way, I can enjoy a great at home, ingredient-controlled treat WITH my furry love.

INGREDIENTS:
1 3/4 cups soaked buckwheat groats (*make sure they are not drowning in water, just moderately wet… rinse after soaking an hour until water runs relatively clear.)
1 cup of your fav. raw nut butter (I used almond, but I get Rocky would have loved peanut! Cashew may be dreamy!)
1 Tblspoon of vanilla paste
1/8 cup of coconut sugar
2 packets of stevia
(option… you can use honey instead of stevia if you are concerned about your doggie’s digestive system and you are okay with honey’s higher glycemic index)…but that is why I love cinnamon in abundance to help offset some sugar spikes.
3 Tblspoons or Ceylon cinnamon (more if you want!)
2 teaspoon of Himalayan pink salt
I sliced dried figs (since I love them and so does Rocky. Peanut butter with dried banana bits would be delish!)
(try adding hemp seeds for more health value and protein power!)
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DIRECTIONS:
1- Put all ingredients except dried fruit into food processor…mixed until moderately pulverized… you still want some whole groats throughout and not just a mushy paste
2- Pour onto you dehydrator’s teflex sheet. if you want to “score” it for uniform breaking later, you can do so with a knife or pizza cutter a few hours into the dehyrating.
3-Dehydrate for 10 hours at 118 or so (set your machine to about 125 since enough heat dissipates and won’t reach that degree.
4- Flip onto your other teflex sheet and dehydrate some more… another 8 hours or so. Or until it’s irresistably crunchy!!! I love and hate when my dehydrator is going because I love sampling, sampling, sampling under my guise of testing… haha!
5- Remove and let cool and break into pieces or follow your scoring.

Here’s the compromise. This recipe may not be sweet enough for the average American palate, but plenty sweet enough to satisfy your doggie safely. So, you can eat this with more dried fruit when having as a cereal or topped with a banana or other sweetener of choice. Or, just train yourself to enjoy the simple tastes of simple ingredients and break the standard sugar craving needs built upon a food industry that has put sugar in virtually every food under various names. (Don’t get me started). Plus, your doggie companion would probably enjoy being able to share more of what you eat without harm…and can do so if our human food choices were more basic and deliciously healthy! Go ahead… share a bowl of this cereal (even with milk of choice)… one big bowl for you; one appropriately sized bowl for Rocky.
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I am so happy he loved it… and ate it all up! Proof that humans and dogs can really be besties and share more!
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GUILT FREE, GLUTEN-FREE LIVING WITH OUR FURRIEST FRIENDS!!!

And here’s some information on why you should incorporate buckwheat groats into your routine!!!…and it’s not a wheat!!!

It’s a fruit seed that’s related to rhubarb and sorrel, so it’s gluten-free, making it a popular substitute for other wheat-based grains. Though it is usually thought of as a grain, buckwheat is actually the seed of a broadleaf plant related to rhubarb. While it is not a true grain, it is used like one in cooking, and it surpasses rice, wheat and corn on almost every measure of healthfulness (including the fact that rice, wheat, and corn are high on the glycemic scale, thus provoking a quick spike in blood sugar levels, a proven promoter of systemic inflammation). Buckwheat, on the other hand, ranks low on the glycemic scale.

The fruit seed originated in China and spread to Europe and Russia, where it’s often eaten as porridge. However, buckwheat has found a home in the West Virginia region, where it’s been celebrated for years at an annual buckwheat festival.

Buckwheat is also high in manganese, magnesium, copper, and zinc, which are great for the immune system. It also contains all eight essential amino acids, including lysine, which plays a key role in collagen production and is not produced by the human body. Ramirez says people prone to cold sores should try eating buckwheat, since lysine helps wear them off.

How to select: Buckwheat comes in various forms, so it helps to know what you want to use it for before heading to the grocery store. For raw buckwheat, or buckwheat groats, head to the bulk bins area of the store. You can also find groats packaged.

For baking, buckwheat flour is packaged and readily available at most stores. There are also buckwheat noodles, also known as soba noodles, which can be found in the gluten-free section of grocery stores.

Buckwheat Protein’s Unique Health-Promoting Properties:
=The specific characteristics of buckwheat proteins, and the relative proportions of its amino acids, make buckwheat the unsurpassed cholesterol-lowering food studied to date.
=Its protein characteristics also enhance buckwheat’s ability to reduce and stabilize blood sugar levels following meals—a key factor in preventing diabetes and obesity.
=Like the widely prescribed “ACE” hypertension drugs, buckwheat proteins reduce the activity of angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE), thereby reducing hypertension.

Read more: http://www.oprah.com/health/Buckwheat-Dr-Perricones-No-5-Superfood#ixzz2uU8lGeXS

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Awed at Movies for Grownups Gala!!!

It was one of those times filled with moments that I could scarcely believe.

Bruce Dern... so deserving of his Best Actor award tonight!

Bruce Dern… so deserving of his Best Actor award tonight!


At an awards gala called Movies for Grownups, the overflow of encouragement and openness, honest to goodness conversation, and inspired words from the podium by artist after storied artist moved me. The AARP has been combating ageism in media portrayals of our older Americans and last night’s event is just one part of their ongoing advocacy to recognize the more experienced and “wiser” part of our society as wonderfully human and deserving of dignity as any hot-bod in their prime of youth. I applaud their efforts and celebration of life…and felt so awed that I was even invited to be a part of this special evening.

This was an event so different than many others I have attended… yes, there were celebrities; yes, there were the requisite media and photo opportunities; yes, there was the glitz of a glam location, but what made this night fill my soul was the distinct absence of pomp and circumstance. Perhaps it was because the award recipients were already known prior to the event, or perhaps because it was such a very tightly monitored guest list and an impeccably sound production… No. I am certain that the difference came from the undercurrent of lives well-lived and that these talented household “names” (basically the entire room!) were simply there to glory with one another’s successes and lovingly support the journey toward more. …throughly satisfied in what life has garnered them already with no need to please or be concerned with much more than seeing promises fulfilled in their own, as well as the lives of their peers. No pretension anywhere to be felt–just heartfelt conversations and encouragement aboundingly shared…especially with the next generation including a wide-eyed and deeply touched me.
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Speaking of awestruck… this was quite a memorable red carpet walk for me. As I walked, posed, smiled, etc… halfway through the media step and repeat wall path, I notice Michael Nouri ahead, followed by June Squib, (then me), and then it’s Susan Sarandon, the winner of this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award just steps away. If I ever felt out of place, it was now! … then I laughed–at least I was providing some ethnic diversity to the red carpet!!! What the heck was I doing here in the midst of greats like Morgan Freeman (I wish I had the chance to hug him!) I realize I was there to see the possibilities ahead, not for a season, but for many many seasons and to be reminded to embrace the standard of ego-less excellence. Oh my word, in my heart and soul, I was humbled and so grateful that a dear friend and mentor on the Board of AARP asked me to attend… Thank you Fernando Torres-Gil!!!

As lively Kathy Griffith entertained us all while moving us along the program full of a dizzying array of A-listers presenting and receiving awards, knowing words of wisdom poured into my heart. Many spoke of honor. The loving kind of honor by which you never let your parents and grandparents stop dreaming. In fact, dreaming and the pursuit of that fleeting passion should be kindled and nurtured by the younger generation–what a joy and priceless gift it is to be a part of and witness the fullness of life and joys during such rare moments of dignified bliss.

There is always another chapter. No matter who you are, where you are, where you have been…there is another chapter to unfold and more life to share.

Enjoy the photos!
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almost savory VEGAN GRANOLA

GRANoooooooooOLA a la Husband?

My husby just got back into town after a couple weeks and he mentioned that he would love some granola, so while he’s sleeping, I thought I’d concoct something that suits his taste buds (and mine, too, of course…)

a less girlie, very earthy gift package

a less girlie, very earthy gift package


This is what will start off our Lunar New Year week–healthy, full of fiber food!
mixed up and ready to bake/dehydrate

mixed up and ready to bake/dehydrate


INGREDIENTS
2 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup quinoa flakes
1/2 cup raw soaked and dehydrated pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup raw soaked and dehydrated sunflower seeds
1/8 cup chia seeds
1/3 cups moderately chopped dried figs (or fruit of choice)
2 tbsp ground Korintje cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp organic Aztec sea salt
1/8 tsp fresh ground nutmeg
1/8 cup dates of choice, soaked and pitted
1/4 cup warmed coconut oil
drizzle of water
2 tsp pure vanilla paste
1/2 cup of apple/apricot sauce
1/4 palm sugar (optional– add more dates and/or stevia if you prefer)
This granola is not sweet in my opinion, so add honey or molasses as you need if glycemic balance is not a concern.

MIX IT UP
1. In a large bowl, stir together the oats, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg.
2. In blender or food processor, mix your apple/apricot sauce, dates, palm sugar, vanilla paste, and coarse Aztec salt into a medium thick paste
3. Pour paste over the dry ingredients, mix, then drizzle the melted coconut oil as well…continue to stir until all the dry ingredients are well coated. YUMM… this already tastes good.

If you want TO BE MORE RAW–USE A DEHYDRATOR
4. Transfer the granola to a Teflex-lined dehydrator tray and spread into a thin (about 1/2 inch thick), even layer. Dehydrate for 8 to 10 hours at 110F. The aroma will warm up any house and heart! 🙂

or… do a classic granola with your OVEN (I am going to do half and half for me and my husby!)
4. Preheat the oven to 300F. Transfer the mixture to a baking tray lined with parchment paper and spread into a thin, even layer. Bake for 25-30 minutes, gently stirring every 10 minutes. Let cool. Keep the clusters or make loose…your texture preference.

Note on taste… I found the dehydrated version tasted “lighter” while the baked version had a bit more full of a earthy flavor.

And for those wondering about the title of my blog… this granola is almost savory in flavor because the Aztec sea salt lends such a rich, almost-umami-like taste. Definition of umami here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Umami

Plus, I found the Korintje cinnamon has a more earthy, deep, rich flavor than my usual Ceylon I use in sweeter recipes.

Here’s where you can find out more about why I added more salt that you may come to expect! Look up Aztec Sea Salt or click this link!