Sunday, August 28, 2011

A Walk Through NoDa

A few weeks ago, Nate and I met up with some friends at Growler's Pour House, in NoDa (North Davidson). NoDa is a very eclectic part of Charlotte. This is how the NoDA website describes this historic district: NoDa is now the home to the City's best collection of galleries and performance venues; some of the funkiest full service restaurants including authentic Cajun cooking, Southwest cuisine, a Creative pizza eatery and more. When we got there, it was 15 minutes before Growler's opened! Here are a few pics from the walk we took, while waiting for the bar to open.
Then Growler's opened!
I was glad I had brought along my camera- it kept me well occupied!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Doughnuts, Puppy Party, & Back to School

This last week has been crazy busy for me. First and foremost, my cute little pup turned five! We celebrated with some puppy cake and doughnuts at our favorite dog-friendly bar in Charlotte, Thomas Street Tavern. Dogs are allowed in their large back patio area. There is plenty of seating, as well as some outdoor games! Think ping pong, corn hole, and a ring and hook game. We mostly stuck to my favorite activity, relaxing with a drink in hand... and a dog on my lap.

I baked blueberry doughnuts, for the people at the party.
I made two batches of blueberry glaze- the darker one just has more blueberry juice in it.
They were yummy, but slightly "healthy" tasting, due to the small amount of sugar in the recipe. The blueberries added a nice juicy burst in each bite.
The remnants of frosting the doughnuts, made a very pretty piece of waxed paper!
Pretty and tasty!
We got Lilly the dog cake at Canine Cafe
She loved it!
So did Lacey!
Sydney ate hers too fast for me to get a picture!
The pups took home pumpkin muttins as their party favors.
Then, before I knew it, we had our first day of school!! 
My new class seems wonderful so far, it will just take me awhile to get back into this routine! A few of my little darlings brought me teacher gifts: a blanket from India, an "I will miss you when I move in four days" card (yes, she's only in my class for 4 days), an apple for the teacher, and a freshly picked cucumber. They are too cute.

My kitchen and I are going through withdrawals, due to my lack of cooking lately. Hopefully I will be able to get back to it again sometime soon!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Intermingling of Summer and Fall

I got my first taste of Fall today! Literally. We got Honeycrisp apples at the farmer's market. From what I have observed, these apples are only available in the Fall (In North Carolina anyway). They are appropriately described as "explosively crisp" on the Honeycrsip website I checked out today. While it still feels like summer here and there are still plenty of summer fruits and veggies available, I was pleased to dip into this Fall flavor I love so much!

We got cherries and Honeycrisps at the market today.
A beautiful combination of Summer and Fall flavors.
Simple. Pretty. Colorful.
After tasting this apple, my mind has been in complete Autumn mode the rest of the day. My little sweetheart Lilly turns five tomorrow! I decided to make her "Pumpkin Muttins" as a birthday treat. The entire house smelled of pumpkin goodness.
These muffins are so good- I tried a piece, and people can not only eat, but enjoy these! This recipe is much sweeter than other dog treat recipes I have made, so give them sparingly to your pet!
Pumpkin Muttins
(Print Recipe)
Adapted from Organic Dog Biscuit Cookbook

1 cup oat flour
1 cup brown rice flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
3 flax eggs (3 tablespoons flaxseed meal, mixed with 1/2 cup water plus one tablespoon water)
3/4 cups honey
1/4 cup safflower oil or canola oil
1 15 ounce can pumpkin
pepita seeds for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a mini muffin pan with cupcake liners. Mix the flax egg and set aside. Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Make a well in the dry ingredients. Pour all wet ingredients into the well, including the flax egg (make sure it has thickened up first). Mix the wet ingredients together, then begin mixing in the dry ingredients until everything is well combined. Pour into cupcake liners in the mini muffin pan. Fill all the way to the top- these will not rise much. Stick one pepita seed into the center of each muffin, so it is showing half way. Bake 15-17 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffin comes out clean. Let cool completely. Store in a sealed container in the fridge or freezer.

This is before I baked them. Notice how much I filled them.
And here they are all ready for pups to enjoy!
Happy birthday Lilly!
Enjoy your pumpkin muttins!
And I'll enjoy the intertwining flavors of Summer and Fall!
And maybe... just maybe, I'll have a pumpkin muttin too... don't judge me. You'd eat one if you knew how good they were :)

Monday, August 15, 2011

Oatmeal Carrot Dog Treats

I feel like I have had a pretty productive day today. With summer coming to an end, I realized all the things I hadn't gotten done yet, that I was so sure I would find time to do during my vacation. The procrastinator in me prevails every time. So today I decided to follow through on some of my goals, before my spare time dwindles into almost nothing.

I baked Lilly some treats! (Recipe to follow)
I organized my closet.
I donated old shoes and clothes! It had been awhile since I had gone through my closet!
I Organized/sorted through my jewelry.
My sister made this earring holder for me a few years ago- I LOVE it!
Can you tell where I take Lilly's bows off at night?

I organized the pantry (well, started to).
I'd call that enough for today. The closet was the biggest task- it was actually a two day process. 

I of course found a little time to browse pinterest and read new posts from my favorite blogs. I also read a heartbreaking article about starving dogs in rural India. I am so glad that The Karma Dog Project is trying to help them and I wish there was more I could do! They obviously need donations to fund this project so if this tugs on your heart strings at all and you are able to donate, they would put it to good use (I'm donating what I can with my very limited funds right now). Every little bit helps!

Lilly loves her vegetables. We often give her leftover veggies mixed in with her dinner and as treats. Can you guess what was mixed in with her breakfast this morning?
Beets :)
I decided to make her some dog treats based on another of her favorite veggies, that won't stain her face blood red. Carrots! She absolutely loves these oatmeal carrot treats and they are healthy for her!
Oatmeal Carrot Dog Treats

1 mashed banana
1 cup food processed carrots (until coarsely chopped)
1/4 cup applesauce
1/8 cup water
1 cup oats
1 cup brown rice flour
1 cup oat flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Pre heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl, until the right consistency to roll out. Add a little extra water if too dry, a little extra flour if too sticky. Roll out dough on a floured surface until 1/4 inch thick. Using a cookie cutter, cut out into pieces and place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake about 20-25 minutes. Allow to cool before serving. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for about 10 days, or freeze for longer lasting treats!

I processed my carrots until they looked like this.
You can put the treats close together on the cookie sheet- they do not spread or rise while baking.
Your dogs will love these healthy treats!
Lilly found a comfy shady spot in the backyard and watched me take pictures of her treats.
While I was out there, I noticed our tomatoes have dwindled. The ones that are left look like this. I wonder if it is because they need more water? Or they are getting too much sun? Or it is the end of their growing season?
Lilly likes these as treats too! She is a good little veggie eater :) She also highly suggests you make these oatmeal carrot goodies for your dogs and dog friends!
Now I'm headed back to the kitchen (where I belong, as my husband likes to joke. I think he's joking...) to make farmer's market quinoa for dinner. We have tons of farmer's market veggies so this a great way to use them up!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Fall Wish List

With the start of school just around the corner and the fall collections all displayed in the stores, I can't help but start to crave that cool crisp fall weather again. The change of seasons always tends to spur me into shopping spree mode. Most of my shopping has been limited to window shopping so far... but I'm going to have to break down eventually and buy something on my list of things I love and want.

This pretty much sums up what I am looking forward to...
Credit: Tiny White Daisies
Along with some of the items on my fall wish list.
Chan Luu wrap bracelet

Frye harness boots
French Press
I want make french press coffee and cozy up in a warm sweater... and recreate this photo! Doesn't this just scream Fall?
Photo from We Heart It
Handmade Mug
Knit fingerless gloves
Cozy comfy hoodie
Is anyone else looking forward to a slight chill in the air?
Penelope Illustration
I'm also looking forward to new options in the recipe world! Root veggies, soups, breads, and everything pumpkin will surely be making an appearance here!
Now the wait begins for some cooler weather in North Carolina, which won't make a showing until late October. Stay tuned for more summer recipes until then!