When life hands you lemons…..chew the heck out of them 

  Molly: my humans all seem a little stressed these days. Only the little boy seems to have understood how good it feels to chew something. I wish I could teach the rest of them. I like to snuggle with them to make them feel better too. Apparently I am not allowed to chew the best things though. I keep having the Lego, paper and plastic taken away from me. When will dog toy manufactures understand that there is no satisfaction toys if you can’t destroy them? I would also like to convey as a PSA I do not like having my sleep disturbed after 8 pm unless you are offering a trip outside, and even then if I could hold it I would pass on this offer, do not disturb my slumber. 

I’m a pretty popular pooch around here (cuteness and all) but for some reason the humans don’t appreciate it when I bark at them on my walks. I made new friends this week though. I went to “daycare” since boy puppy needed surgery and I met some pretty crazy dogs but some Nice ones too and I got to hang out with the humans. 

  Then yesterday they opened the big hospital and 10,000 people walked past us. I was so glad no skateboards were on the walk. We practiced giving 5. I am not sure why the humans like to hold my paw but it gets me treats and peanut butter so I’m not complaining. I’m getting really good at stay and come when treats are involved. Not very fun when there aren’t  any offered. 
The best: belly rubs 

  

When it rains……I cook

When it rains it pours, a nice euphemism but right now, when it rains it becomes a hurricane very quickly.

  I won’t air all our dirty laundry on my blog but suffice it to say I am a little pissed off right now. I ranted and raved yesterday and today I needed to do something. It was actually raining out (pouring for real, all day) so a run, a nice long walk with Molly, a trip to window shop, all out. Next best thing, make something delicious. I decided to try my hand at easy vegan date squares, using medjool dates…. yum…  I was on hold with a customer service department, so I stuck the phone on speaker, and got to work. I personally love graham, so I decided to take a shortcut and make my bottom layer from graham crackers, This I am now convinced was brilliant. not only did it save time, it adds a whole new dimension to what is usually essentially a date sandwich.

  For the filling I pitted and chopped 3 cups of medjool dates (about 2 cups when chopped and pitted) with some vanilla for some warmth. I want to try with other extracts, as I have had them made with orange juice concentrate and with almond and have been delightful, if you try please share how it worked!

  I topped it with a pretty classic crumble but with a little extra fiber in the form of wheat bran. I find working with my hands relaxing so I made the crumble with my hands which is a bit messy but so much fun. Molly, who very wisely stationed herself at my feet got to discover the joy that is brown sugar!

Just a heads up though, these fiber rich date squares could also be called date with the bathroom tomorrow squares if you eat too many so be sure to wash it down with a big class of your favorite milk (I vote any vanilla flavoured milk), or in my case a rose apple cider.

  The best part: I accidentally doubled the amount of brown sugar so had to make a double recipe of the crumble which meant I got to put an extra thick layer then mix the rest with some other ingredients for a bonus granola.

Stress-Relief Date Squares
Prep time: 15min        Bake time: 30min
    Serves 8

Ingredients:
3/4 cup oats
1/4 cup flour (whole wheat or white is fine)
2 tbsp wheat bran1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup vegan butter, softened
2 cups pitted chopped dates (about 3 cups whole medjool dates)
1/4 cup warm water
1 tsp vanilla, almond or other extract
8-10 graham crackers

In an 8in square pan (or larger if you want thinner squares, mine were made in a 9in square pan) lay graham crackers to cover bottom (break as needed)

In a bowl combine oats, flour, wheat bran, brown sugar and salt. add the softened butter and combine well using a fork or your hands. set aside

In another bowl combine dates, water and vanilla, with a fork or your hands spread the mixture across the graham crackers with a spatula or again your hands. if working with your hands I recommend you moisten them with warm water before handling the dates, will help keep it from sticking to your skin and stay in the pan where you want it. its a useful trick for the spatula too.

The oat mixture can now be put on top of the dates, put about half of it in and press it down firmly, then do a second layer giving it all just a light tap to set together but remain crumbly. (unless you want to be able to eat these on the go in which case, push it all in firmly.)

in a 350 degree pre-heated oven bake for 30 min (20min if using a 9in pan), allow to cool in pan before cutting, cuts best when cold, so I allow it to cool completely in pan, score it  then put in fridge for about an hour before cutting to serve.

Bonus Granola
follow oat mixture instructions above. add the following:

1 tbsp PB2 (or natural peanut butter)
1/4 cup mixed dried fruits (or favourite dried fruits)
2 tbsp pumpkin seeds
1 tbsp chopped roasted cashews
1 tbsp chopped almonds
1-2 tbsp honey or corn syrup

toss together all the dry ingredients before adding any wet ones. add the wet, and with wet hands mix it well but not completely (leaving clumps and loose pieces) if it doesn’t clump well add more honey/syrup spread on a lined baking tray and bake at 300 for about 40 min until toasted, stirring once or twice.

if you prefer a less sweet granola, use only 1 tbsp of syrup but add another tbsp of vegan butter.

The many laps of Molly 

  Molly: Being only 10lbs I am naturally a perfect lapdog. I can even curl up into the smallest human lap here. I don’t understand why when I climb in and get settled the human has to do something. It tough having to get comfortable again. The other upside is I can climb into their lap at the dog run and the snappy little dogs can’t get me. I much prefer the big dogs. But sometimes, just when i want to play they jump on the picnic table. I can’t get up. It’s not fair. I also met my vet, he was really nice and gave me treats. I didn’t get to sit in his lap.   

 Human: we’ve had an amazing week! Molly is the best cuddle buddy especially when you need a nap. Though we’ve had to negotiate bed space.  

 For some reason a 10lb dog takes up a lot of room. She also discovered the lake. She didn’t swim but I don’t blame her, it was cold. I didn’t go in either. But she got her feet wet.  

 

Bagel and a salad 

I am a montreal bagel addict. There is just no two ways about it. Do not give me a New York bagel that’s just bread. My favourite is pumpernickel closely followed by cinnamon raisin. There is a restaurant that serves montreal bagel sandwiches and salads and they make this great artichoke salad. After exploring the options in my fridge for lunch today I found plenty of salad ingredients including olives and artichokes. And this salad was born. Delicious with a buttered bagel (I use earth balance, I love it ). 

I’ve gotten lazy on the pictures. Mostly because I never think about posting a meal until after I eat it. 

  1. I started with a bed of micro greens (pea) from Lufa farms, chopped up some grape tomatoes, orange pepper, green onion, a little green jalapeño, tossed in some artichoke hearts, and sliced green olives and topped it with a scoop of lightly smashed chickpeas and a tad of nayo with a little sea salt (would work with tuna or salmon too if you eat fish) and dressed with a Red wine vinegrette. I wouldn’t call the salad beautiful, but it sure was tasty. It requires a toasted bagel for eating some of the salad on like a cracker. A dog to Hoover up the floor of bagel seeds always helps too. Personally a nice glass of ice tea makes a perfect match and I enjoyed yogurt with granola as a dessert. 

There is no recipe exactly because this is one of those things that gives well to what’s on hand and the salad dressing is simply equal parts oil and red wine vinegar and some salt and pepper. The chickpeas are literally just smashed with a potato masher salt mayo and a little garlic if you like. Super easy. Works well with any leftover sandwich spread actually. I enjoy hummus with these flavours. Experiment. Trust me you will be rewarded. 

Molly gets a haircut and other stories 

IMG_8075Molly’s version: dog run = awesome;  Walks = awesome; running = the bomb but the humans are slow; haircuts = not bad but really? Why did they make me smell so bad? I had rolled in all these beautiful smells just the day before! New purple collar = pretty but I’m not a huge fan of my tags around my neck. I’m really good now at staying alone. But I still like to eat a face or two when the humans return. I do believe girl puppy thinks I am a doll however. I need to establish that this is not the case, however I am not sure I am quite large enough to assert my authority over her… IMG_8118

Human version: Molly has had a really great couple days her personality is shining through. Eating really well now she has lots of energy and runs Fast. Particularly if it’s to catch a pigeon. She never ceases to amaze me with what she can do. One thing I’ve discovered though is she has no idea how to entertain herself. So will be working on that so that when I’m cooking dinner she isn’t prowling around putting Lego in her mouth.  Or eating dirty laundry. I am so proud of her for the groomer. IMG_8100She was a champ. We had her professionally groomed short for the summer she definitely looks like a poodle now. Today no one stopped to ask “what is she” all stopped and said “what an adorable poodle” I think because you can see the pointy poodle muzzle better with a short cut.  I can’t thank her previous owners enough for raising such an amazing puppy. Yesterday I was exhausted. So tired I fell asleep at 4 pm on the couch. She slept with me. On my stomach. Was such a pleasant nap. She now only barks or whines to communicate or if startled which is so nice. We are out often so she hasn’t had to bark to go out but fairly sure she would. And she whines/talks to wake up girl puppy who sleeps later than Molly and boy  puppy. This I find adorable and since she doesn’t protest if I take her out of the room it doesn’t bother us at all. Only hiccup has been her appreciation of gourmet cat poop.  We also got her a new harness, but she likes to chew it, so her tags are now on a collar and the harness is just for walks. I just have to learn not to lose the leash. IMG_8120Making puppy dog eyes, for some dog treats during fetch training.

A noisy meditation 

  What I wouldn’t give for a few moments to breathe. A minute even 30 seconds where there are no sirens, no trucks, no pitter patter, no fans or air conditioners, no squirrel squacks or the call of seagulls (who brought seagulls into my hood? Oh yeah that great big medical installation in my backyard.) just silent meditation retreat caliber silence. But living on a main thoroughfare in a major city means this is just not an option. So I need to take a new look at these noises, this constant stimulus and find my own peace. Be aware and acknowledge the sounds without judging them without letting them cause suffering. This however is easier to say than to do. It’s easy to ignore sounds to tune them out. But that usually leads to tuning everything out. So tonight I am enjoying the silent sounds of my oatmeal. I recognize the kids talking rather than sleeping. I hear the buses, I hear the traffic and the fan but I am attending to the sound of the spoon against the bowl, the oat bran mixing with my saliva and the squishy pop of the juicy raisins. It may be a strange comfort food but a bowl of hot cereal with raisins late at night is a symbol of relaxation for me. I like a certain texture in hot cereal and prefer oatbran or cream of wheat to actual oatmeal. here is my recipe for a good sized bowl of oatbran

Cinnamon Raisin Oatbran

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup oatbran
  • 1 cup milk of choice (plain or vanilla)
  • 1 cup (more as needed) water
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1-2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • Pinch of brown sugar

Method:

Mix all ingredients into a small pot and turn heat to medium. Stir occasionally until it starts to bubble then stir consistently until desired consistency. I promise you, in our instant oatmeal world, the effort required to make this is beyond worth it. My daughter also adores this as a breakfast or before bed snack. Takes about 10 min total about 4 once boiling. 

 Same recipe works with regular 3-minute oats too. With steel cut oats you need a lot more time. Cream of wheat use 4tbsp  and up milk/water a bit. 

  

What I like. What I hate. By Molly

I fit well in my new home, like its members I have strong feelings about things. Alpha Mommy strongly believes that I should stay in my crate when she leaves the house and that the human puppies have to eat at the table (I like this, it means crumbs fall right into my waiting mouth). Boy puppy believes he absolutely has to watch Wild Kratts every morning and Girl puppy believes I belong exclusively to her.

So what about me, Molly?

Things I hate:

  1. Sewer and manhole covers
  2. Transparent food bowls.
  3. Wet grass
  4. Being alone
  5. Dog toys

Things I like:

  1. Having a spot on the couch
  2. Sleeping with Alpha
  3. Running
  4. Licking
  5. Dirty laundry

Working mom cooking healthy and mostly vegan for rambunctious young children. Pre-school twins to be precise!