Friday, June 8, 2018

5 Food Items That Are Dangerously Toxic to Dogs


Making delicious home cooked meals is one of the many simple joys of being a parent to a dog. Most pet parents believe, and the experts agree, that meals cooked at home are much healthier than store-bought dry dog food. There are also plenty of pet-friendly recipes out there to keep those canine taste buds guessing. Now, a lot of dog parents try and add what they believe are healthy ingredients in an attempt to pack the meals with nutrients and phytonutrients. However, the problem with that approach is that a lot of human food can potentially make your dog sick. This is why it’s a good practice to seek out pet health advice from experts before adding any new ingredient to your dog’s diet. Now, we are not talking about chocolate, which is a well known toxin. If you are a pet parent, you probably have read several articles about the dangers of chocolate. In this post, we highlight the ingredients no one really talks about. So, next time you are looking for recipes for your dog be on guard for these 5 ingredients.

Avocado: Avocado toxicity in dogs is a very real threat. This completely healthy human food contains a chemical called persin. If consumed in high quantities, persin toxicity can lead to heart attack and even death.

Grapes: If you are having a bowlful of grapes and you feel tempted to toss one up to your dog then refrain yourself. Both grapes and raisins can lead to toxic reactions in dogs. As a responsible pet parent, you need to keep your dog away from food that contains grapes and raisins. This includes grape juice or mixed fruit juice with grapes and bakery items with raisin.

Artificial Sweetener: Xylitol is a common artificial sweetener and is completely safe for human consumption. While sugary food is not good for your dog, you should never to try to replace sugar with xylitol. Xylitol is a downright poison when consumed by dogs. To be safe, don’t give your dog any kind of artificial sweetener.

Garlic: Garlic is a kitchen essential and it’s also highly used in herbal remedies. While their benefits are plentiful when consumed by humans they are toxic to dogs. When consumed, garlic can lead to drooling, vomiting, abdominal discomfort, excessive weakness, and sudden collapses. Garlic poisoning damages red blood cells in dogs. Garlic in small amounts may not result in symptoms, but if your dog consumes a garlic-heavy recipe, then it’s best to rush him to the nearest vet. Apart from garlic, all veggies part of the allium family (chives, garlic, onion, and leek) are toxic to dogs and cats.

Macadamia Nuts: No one really knows why macadamia nuts are toxic to dogs. There is also a debate on how much macadamia nut a dog needs to consume to feel the toxic effects. According to ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center, symptoms may arise by consuming anything from 2.2g to 62.4g for every kilogram of the dog’s body weight. That’s a mammoth range. To be safe, it’s best to avoid giving your dog macadamia nuts all together.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Cooking’s Next Big Thing is In Your Kitchen


It’s an exciting time to be a foodie, as modern chefs are revolutionizing the industry on a seemingly daily basis, but dining out can be expensive and Canadians are expected to spend an additional $208 each this year at restaurants. Julia Child said of cooking, “this is my advice to people: Learn how to cook, try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, be fearless, and above all have fun.” That applies to the fun you can have by taking the hottest trends in dining out and learning to make them in the comfort of your own home. From elevating common foods to something greater to the excitement of performative cooking you can learn from the pros and save money at the same time by making your own chef-inspired meals.
 
Get Hot with Hibachi Grilling
A night at a hibachi grill is guaranteed to be full of entertainment and delicious foods, as chefs dazzle patrons with their cooking techniques. You can create your own hibachi experience by purchasing a portable griddle or a griddle range for your stove top. With hibachi-style cooking you cook your whole meal on the flat top allowing for the creation of tasty Asian-inspired dishes to enjoy with your friends and family.

Take Pub Food to the Next Level
No trend is currently hotter than gastropubs. Combining the comfort foods of your favourite hole-in-the-wall with the refined touch of fine dining you get delicious and unique takes on everyone’s top dishes. As Ryan Hibbert, CEO of Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row, explains, at a gastropub “the quality of the food, service and entertainment is exponentially better than what you get at other places.” To get started making your own gastropub-inspired meal, pick out your favourite late night bar order and then imagine how a Michelin Star chef would make it. Use high-quality ingredients and creativity and you’ll end up with a tasty meal that’s one of a kind.

Keep It In the Neighborhood
The value of fresh ingredients cannot be understated, and from that principal has developed the hyper-local cooking movement. At a hyper-local restaurant, not only will you be guaranteed that all of your food is being made fresh, but also that it contains only ingredients grown right on the premises. Hyper-local cooking is something you can do at home, too. If you have a yard with some free space you have the ability to begin cultivating your own source of hyper-local ingredients. From tending to your home garden to raising animals like chickens for meat and byproducts, there is a special level of satisfaction which comes from cooking a meal and knowing that you made it all on your own.
 
There are so many options available to a home cook looking to incorporate new tips and tricks, and the only limit is your willingness to push your limits and try something new. Find a cooking style that speaks to you and sounds fun then get started. The sooner you make your first hyper-local, hibachi or gastropub style meal, the sooner you can taste it, learn from it, and get to work thinking about the second and third ones. Give yourself the gift of a delicious dinner by taking your favourite restaurant home with you, and enjoy the tasty fruits of your labour.

This is a sponsored post approved by Sarah Reid

Monday, May 28, 2018

Cabbage and Pepper Thai Curry

This gluten free, vegan red Thai curry is packed with veggies and soy protein, all flavoured to the hilt with coconut milk, garlic, ginger and red curry paste.

Cabbage and Pepper Thai Curry

I'm going to preface this with a "wow, it's been a long time since I've posted". I keep meaning to, really, but as we all know that thing called life gets in the way all too often. This time of the year is always packed for us teachers, between report cards, trips, tournaments and plays, and with a new semester of university upon me the workload is just as high.

On a serious note, my health has (again) been up and down so days when I could be writing, editing photos, etc I was sleeping or watching TV with glazed-over eyes. If I haven't mentioned it before on here, I've been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, which affects both my joints (especially those in my feet and shoulders) but the connective tissues and digestive system. As a result, my legs and feet swell up like balloons and I threw out both my shoulders in a period of 3 weeks - one time putting on a coat, the second warming up in a gym class. I can take solace in the fact that this autoimmune condition is likely the cause of all my stomach and digestive issues, and my skin definitely responds well to a gluten free, mostly vegan diet (I have fish on occasion), so I'm not simply one of the freaks of nature. Well, I am, but now I'm an explainable freak! The drug trials I'm on do take their toll on my energy though - they're immunosuppressants so I do get sick more easily and have to watch myself, especially around the kids. Lots of handwashing! I do have to thank my lucky stars that (at least for now) the Ontario government has a program in place to cover the absurd cost of the medication, because otherwise I would be 120% out of luck!

One thing I haven't stopped doing, though, is getting into the kitchen any chance I can. Not only have I spent the last few weeks pulling Medieval and Egyptian recipes for two of our school plays, but I decided to take on a version of "The Grey Stuff" from Beauty and The Beast for the third play as well. As with last year, making recipes for school events is never a small feat - often it means scaling things up 3-4 times (in the case of "The Grey Stuff" we had to make enough for 120 people!). I'm in the process of purchasing ingredients and within a few weeks you should be seeing some Instagram posts on the subject, so stay tuned.

Cabbage and Pepper Thai Curry

At home, weekly lunch prep for Mom continues, and knowing her penchant for Thai style food I knew it was time to make her another curry. I was inspired by a recipe for dumpling filling found on Healthy Nibbles and Bits and decided that rather than mess around with trying to beautifully fold a billion dumplings, I would toss the curry over rice and call it a day. We love our veggies here, and with cabbage being perpetually cheap and common, not to mention a great bulking agent, It was a perfect choice. Being a red curry, I capitalized on colour and used red bell peppers as well. For protein, I used TVP, one of our staples here since it is so versatile. Everything came together quite quickly and (as with most curries) tasted better the day after. Even reheated from frozen, my mom declared that it was definitely on the hit list - and it must have been since I've made it three times already! I used tamari since its what I had, but if you don't have gluten issues use standard soy sauce. Don't skip on the veggie sautee time either, and definitely use a big pot - that cabbage is bulky before it cooks down!

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

District 13 Bread #BreadBakers

Two loaves of multigrain bread are made with no refined sugar and packed with sunflower and pumpkin seeds for good measure. You won't "hunger" after this!

District 13 Bread

I have a confession: I am a horrible 30-something when it comes to keeping current with TV and movies. I completely lack the ability to focus on something as long as a typical feature film (my brain is just too busy with everything else these days) and I miss too many weekly serials to really get involved with their plots - exceptions being The Good Doctor and Law & Order SVU which always seem to fit with my schedule. Since the bulk of my day is reading for school, when it comes to decompressing books are not high on my list these days either. So it should not come as a surprise that I have not read, nor seen, The Hunger Games. It's not that I think the franchise sucks - I like to reserve judgement until I actually experience something like Waiakea volcanic water - but I haven't had the time or willpower to devote to the series. Perhaps when I finish school... in 2021...

District 13 Bread DoughAnyways, just because I haven't experienced the original stories doesn't mean I haven't been able to connect with the food in the books. I had borrowed an e-copy of The Unofficial Recipes of The Hunger Games from the library and the recipe for "District 13 Bread" caught my eye. I know that the land of the Hunger Games is supposed to be rather spartan and generally horrible, but the composition of the loaves definitely appealed to me and my chief bread-eater at home, so I couldn't wait to make them. Dense and low-rising, the dough is filled with hearty, rustic grains you don't normally see in today's storebought loaves: buckwheat, barley, rye and oats make up a good chunk of the volume, while ground flax adds body and a great nuttiness as well as helping keep the loaf moist and tender. As if that's not enough, soaked barley, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds get kneaded in too, each lending their own bite to the bread. The finished loaves aren't sweet (even with the molasses and honey in them), and are delicious alongside soup or stew as well as lightly toasted and smeared with butter or (my longtime favourite) cream cheese and cherry jam. The best part is that a small slice is plenty filling, so you won't get the refined-carb crash an hour after breakfast, nor will you feel bloated or weighed down with 6 ounces of bagel with schmear on your stomach. Not that a good (Montreal style) bagel and schmear isn't warranted some days... but this is perfect working-day food that tastes so much better than the supermarket stuff, not to mention you know what's in it!

The #BreadBakers are making BREAD WITH SEEDS this month, and I can't wait to see everyone's creations! #BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. You can see all our of lovely bread by following our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated after each event on the #BreadBakers home page.

We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient. If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send Stacy an email with your blog URL to foodlustpeoplelove@gmail.com.

BreadBakers

District 13 Bread

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Vegan Churros

These crisp-chewy churros are baked - not fried - and coated head to toe in cinnamon sugar. Even better? They're vegan and nut free!


Happy Cinco de Mayo! While I've never been to Mexico (it's on the bucket list) I do appreciate "real" Mexican food when I can get it. The one exception that I will always make is guacamole - don't hate me, but I can't stand avocado in any form (except perhaps as a cookie or brownie). Mole, arroz negro, cajeta or fideos though- those are fair game, especially when paired with the gorgeous fresh fruit that is so abundant there. One of my all time favourite treats is the churro, and growing up there was a Mexican bakery near the mall that made them in a few different styles. The "basic" sticks, simply coated in cinnamon-sugar, were perfect for on-the-go munching and were never greasy or prone to weighing you down. For more immediate enjoyment, they served the sticks filled with either jam, dulce de leche or Nutella - if that isn't Heaven on a plate, I don't know what is. They had dipping sticks too for the rich, thick hot chocolate, all alongside some of the best, freshest tasting smoothies I ever had. 

Fast forward 20 years and I'm now making them with my Home Ec classes. Churros are, in their very essence, an extruded sweet-ish choux paste, and while they are usually fried to delicious golden perfection, I have a deep-seated fear of deep frying and opted to try a baked version. One of the cardinal rules about choux dough is that it is so temperamental in poor weather, and our egg-and-dairy originals fell flat and doughy by the time I got them into the oven. Not having any extra eggs on hand, I quickly scoured the 'Net for a way to approximate the recipe without the key ingredient (ludicrous, I know, but it was 8PM and I didn't feel like going to the store). Finally, armed with a few well-reviewed recipes, I concocted a slightly modified version of Nature's Emporium's. I didn't need to keep things gluten free, so regular flour fit the bill just fine, and I added a touch of nutmeg for that doughnutty flavour.

Vegan Churros

Out of the oven and rolled in that classic cinnamon sugar, these tasted amazing, and the dough smelled a heck of a lot better than the standard choux paste I'm used to (I can't stand the smell of eggs). These held up to storage a bit better than their pastry cousins as well, keeping crisp for at least a day. I would suggest, should storage be your aim, refrigerating or freezing these "naked", then reheating and sugar-coating them as needed. Of course, a caramel or chocolate dunk is purely optional, although delicious!