Reposting: Using Spent Grain from Craft Beer Making In Dog Biscuit Snacks

Reposted from 2014:

My husband enjoys making craft beers but we both feel guilty throwing out the spent grain after it cooks so we find creative ways to use it.  While composting it works and you can use 1/2 c to 1 c increments in homemade breads - I have started to use it primarily just for dog biscuits.  Our dogs know them as 'snacks' and you have to s-p-e-l-l out the word because yes, they know it and yes, they will immediately run to the laundry room door and wait for their human to go get them their 'snack'.

If your dogs like peanut butter, this has a faint peanut butter smell and taste as they do use about a cup of peanut butter.  My dogs love garlic and I like to give them garlic foods as a natural flea and tick deterrent so a garlic, pizza sauce flavored biscuit is a hit in our house.  I wouldn't use things like cheese in them though, as I assume they would go rancid... although I'm quietly asking myself if a cheese powder would work ok... hmmm.  I may have to play around with that idea!  But for now I use items I can incorporate that can be baked a long time, to a hard, crisp biscuit without going bad, molding or going rancid.  This one works great!

Why are they round?  Because it was easy.  Shape them however YOU want.  Your dog doesn't really care.

Dog Biscuits

4 c 'spent grain' from homemade beer brewing
2-3 c flour
1 c peanut butter or 1 c pizza sauce
2 T fresh minced garlic (optional with the pizza flavor)
2 eggs

Mash everything together (I use my hands) and add more flour a little at a time until it comes together to form a nice ball of dough.  Roll out and cut into shapes or use a scoop and shape into flats with your hands, roll out and cut into squares with a knife... etc.  Completely up to you how you want to shape them.  NOTE:  About 1/2 inch is about as thick as you want to make them as thicker biscuits take longer to bake.

Bake about 30 minutes at 350 and turn your oven down to 225.  Let the biscuits bake a couple hours until completely dried and crisp - the centers need to be crisp and dry like a Milk Bone biscuits or the snacks will go bad if stored at room temperature.  I baked mine about 4 hours, turned off the oven and went to bed, leaving them in the hot oven all night. 

Spent grain

Form a dough ball

Roll out or shape as you and your dogs like best

Bake and bake and bake until completely dry and crisp all the way through

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Reposting: Chocolate Zucchini Bread with Cream Cheese Icing (SUGAR FREE OPTIONAL)

Reposted from 2014:

If you follow on Twitter, you already know I made chocolate zucchini bread this week to use a lonely little green zucchini in the refrigerator.  He was supposed to be sauteed in olive oil and garlic for dinner but he wasn't enough for a family side dish so he became a deep, dark chocolate zucchini bread instead!  I made mine sugar free simply by substituting Just Like Sugar Sweetener for the sugar.  I also used a portion of Natural Almond Meal Flour for some of the flour.  Feel free to 'play with your food' if you wish.  I only had one small/medium zucchini so I halved the recipe and made just 1 loaf.

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

1 3/4 - 2  c sugar or substitute equivilant
3 eggs
1 c oil (I used a mixture of sunflower, safflower and olive)
1 T vanilla
2 c zucchini - grated
3 scant cups flour
1/2 c cocoa
1 1/4 t salt
1 t baking soda
1 t cinnamon
dash baking powder
1/2 c mini chocolate chips

Mix the sugar, oil, eggs, vanilla and zucchini in a bowl.  Mix the flour, cocoa, salt, soda and baking powder with the cinnamon in another bowl.  Add the dry to the wet, blend til uniformly moist. Stir in chocolate chips if you are using them.   Pour into two greased and lightly floured loaf pans.  Bake approximately 1 hour at 350 degrees until center is done.  Let cool 10 minutes in pan, turn out and let cool completely.  I like to wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerator overnight for the best flavor and texture.

This is great as is, but to make it a sweet dessert, you can mix up a simple cream cheese icing and serve with a smear.

Cream Cheese Icing Spread

3 c powdered sugar (or sugar substitute, Swerve, Just Like Sugar, etc. powdered version)
6 oz. cream cheese
5 T butter
1 t vanilla extract

Mix with electric mixer till smooth.

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Quick and EASY Oven Baked Chicken (and buttered cabbage sidedish)

This is another one of those times where I don't actually have a 'recipe' but this is a quick throw together at the last minute dinner idea that WORKS.  So it's worth posting.  Because sometimes you have days where you are so busy time flies by and suddenly you realize you have a couple chicken breasts in the refrigerator but that's about it.  And no idea what to do with them.

Baked Chicken Breasts

Boneless, skinless chicken breasts (as many as you need)
Mayonnaise OR prepared Ranch Dressing
Bread Crumbs (seasoned, unseasoned, store bought, homemade - whatever!)
Seasoning of choice if your bread crumbs are unflavored (Salt & Pepper is fine but a mixture of herbs/spices is best)

Preheat oven to 350.  Lay the breasts on a greased baking sheet.  I use foil for easy clean up.
Spread a layer of mayonnaise or dressing on the chicken breasts.
Sprinkle with crumbs - heavy or light up to you.
Season.  I like to use any random "chicken" seasoning spices I have in the cupboard.  I have some pre-made store bought like McCormicks and Lawry's but I also sometimes just grab random spices like;  garlic powder, onion powder, parsley, black pepper, salt, paprika, cayenne.  Bake in the oven about 45 minutes until done and golden.

In typical 'me' fashion I AGAIN forgot to take a picture of the finished product until I was half way done eating it.  I just have to repeat what I always say;  this blog isn't about the pretty pictures and using a $800 camera.  It's about good tasting FOOD.  If I remember to take pictures at all they are on my cellphone.  :)   So I put down my fork long enough to snap a photo.  And then I gobbled the rest of it up.

You could make any side dish but this is another OMGOSH LAST SECOND dish that you can throw together and serve in a variety of ways.

I buy really LARGE bags of shredded cabbage at Sam's Club as we use them not only to make cole slaw, but we add a handful or two to our lettuce salads, as well as use them in sandwiches in place of lettuce (a better crunch), I stir fry it with bacon and we use it in shrimp taco's, etc.  But as a child I loved (loved loved loved) boiled cabbage with just a simple dab of butter and some salt and pepper.  Of course when my Dad made it, he would just chop up a head of cabbage - and I rarely have a head of cabbage on hand but I almost always have a bag of shredded.  And it works just fine.  Better actually as it cooks in a couple minutes - literally.

This is a childhood comfort food to me.  Sometimes I make it into a cheesy cabbage dish by adding some cream cheese, cheddar and American cheeses it (which everyone seems to love) but I honestly love it just as my Dad made it.  Butter, salt and pepper.

Buttered and Seasoned Cooked Cabbage

Cabbage - chopped or shredded
Salt and Pepper
*cheeses optional but good with a bit of cream cheese, American and Cheddar.
*onions optional - sometimes I slice some onions and add them to the fresh cabbage before cooking.

In a saucepan on the stove place about 1 inch of water.  Add some cabbage depending on how much you need.  I usually pour in about 4 cups.  Over medium high heat just stir while it starts to boil.  Shredded cooks quickly and will be tender in about 3-4 minutes.  Chopped may take about 10.  Drain well.  Add a dollop of butter, salt and pepper.  Stir in and serve.  If you want to add cheese you can add it as soon as you drain it, stir until melted smooth. I usually add the cheese, pop the dish into the microwave for about 2 minutes to melt the cheese, stir and serve.

I hadn't stirred in the salt and pepper yet...  those little pepper flakes sure catch your eye don't they?  Ha ha.

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MCT Oil Infused Coffee (using Caveman Coffee Co.)

Thanks to Caveman Coffee Co. for the coffee, and MCT oil used in today's post.  Find them at:

If you listen to what we thought we knew about coconut oil in the 70's and 80's, it's all false data.  It turns out this was due to studies using hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated coconut oil. That form of coconut oil does contain trans fats, and also contributes to a rise in serum cholesterol levels. That is not the coconut oil of today.  When you know better, you do better; and today we know more about coconut oil.

Coconut oil has about 119 calories and 13 grams of fat per tablespoon, similar to olive oil. It contains medium and short-chain triglycerides which break down in the body and are used primarily for energy production, not stored as body fat. Typically it’s recommended you consume one tablespoon of 'healthy fats' a day and if you are opting to use a coconut oil as that healthy fat (as many on Paleo diets do) then this is a great way to do it and even better way is to use a pure MCT oil derived from coconut oil.

MCT oil is liquid at room temperature and is tasteless. It's a great choice for those who don’t like the taste of coconut oil or who need a liquid oil at room temperature and not a solid.  (Look for MCT oil sourced only from coconut oil because many are sourced from palm oil, which is responsible for the destruction of the rainforest and has destroyed the natural habitat of the orangutan and Sumatran tiger.)   MCT's are easily digested, absorbed, and used as energy for the body.  MCT oil is colorless and virtually odorless.

When I found out Caveman MCT is made from coconut oil and is sustainably raised. I was happy to try their product in my "healthy fat infused" coffee trial. From their site:  "Caveman Coffee Co. MCT oil is sourced sustainably and is derived 100% from coconuts. We have made a choice to cut out Palm Oil MCT entirely. We believe in sustaining our environment and preserving the life in our rain forests."

This past week I've been trying a new morning coffee.  Coconut Oil (per MCT oil) infused coffee.  Using Caveman Coffee Co. Compostable coffee capsules and Caveman Coffee MCT oil.

Done right, I think you'll like this!

Do not just add oil to your coffee cup and expect to like it and drink it.  Well, you might, but it's kind of gross.  You know oil and water don't mix.  So you'll have a cup of coffee with a layer of oil floating on it.  Instead, blend it.


I know a lot of people use a blender to blend their coffee and MCT oil.  

Those people obviously like to clean their blenders more than I do or have more time to clean their blenders than I do.  

I suggest a stick blender.  I own a Cuisinart brand stick blender.  It's QUICK and EASY and FAST and works right in my coffee cup.  NO MESS.

I do have to say I like my coffee dark.  And strong.  And black.  Probably stronger than most of my readers.  So I opt more for an 'espresso' sized brew of the coffee capsule (k-cup).  I brew at 4 ounces but of course you can brew at the normal 8 oz. or whatever size you wish.

Add your MCT oil (I'd start with just 1 teaspoon and slowly work your way up after you see how you do.  It can have a laxative effect for some in larger doses.)  Now use your stick blender, placed into your cup, hit the button and blend for about 5 seconds and you get a creamy, frothy, amazing 'latte' style drink.  And if you wish to make a flavored latte drink, just add a splash of your favorite sugar free coffee syrup or sweetener!

It's heavenly.

A creamy, foamy latte style drink

Here is another thing I like about the Caveman Coffee brand... eco-friendly coffee pods!  Bypassing the plastic that is quickly filling our landfills, by producing packaging for their coffee and their k-cup style pods with materials that can be composted and used in your garden.

The coffee used in this coconut oil infused coffee trial is Caveman Coffee Co. Sabertooth Roast.

The Sabertooth Roast is smoky on the nose, with notes of campfire marshmallows, vanilla pipe tobacco, and toasted hazelnuts. It touts a balanced smoothness with a hint of lemon peel on the finish.

Thank you Caveman Coffee Co. for providing the ingredients for this post.


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The Best Low Carb - Flour Free Bread I've Found.... (so far in about 14 years of various recipe tests)

I hate pretty much all homemade low carb breads.

I've tried numerous different recipes, trials, tweaks, etc. over the past almost-14-years and blech.  Sorry but true.  The cream cheese and egg cloud versions, the carbalose versions, etc. Yuck.  And although the psyllium husk powder versions have been the closest in look and texture they still aren't 'great' but good.  Because I rarely eat bread, instead of continuing to make and choke down versions I don't love, if I'm craving it, I typically either buy a loaf of low carb bread from an online source like Netrition (expensive though) or I just use a small Sandwich Thin (one), or 1 slice of Nature's One brand bread (because they have the lowest sugar grams at 2 g) or use a slice of my regular homemade bread. (We don't eat low carb & sugar free for any medical issues or weight issues - we just eat this way to be healthy so we can add bread or any foods if we 'want' to.)

But I have found one loaf I'm 'ok' with if I'm desperate to quell my craving for bread - and I'm still tweaking it for taste but so far it's the top of the trials in over 13 years of trial and errors.  It looks great, it cuts and toasts beautifully.  The taste is fine although it's still got that low carb 'taste' that regular bread eaters would find unappetizing but those of us who eat low carb all the time are just so excited to eat a slice of 'bread' that we are good with it.  Plus - if you toast it, it helps the flavor.  The texture is still a bit spongy like most psyllium husk based breads, but it's ok.  Not as bad as most I've tried.

Low Carb Bread

10 oz. quality, fine grained, blanched Almond Flour
3 oz. quality, fine grained golden flax seed meal
100 grams NOW psyllium husk powder
1 1/2 T baking powder
1 t salt
8 oz. egg whites
3 oz apple cider vinegar
14 oz. boiling water

Using a scale to measure exact amounts, mix the dry ingredients into a bowl.  (Almond flour, flax seed meal and psyllium husk powder, baking powder and salt.)  Put the water into the microwave and turn it on so it will be boiling in a minute or two (or you could use a saucepan or tea kettle - you just need boiling water). Mix the egg whites with the vinegar.  Add the egg mixture to the mixing bowl with the dry and mix on high speed briefly just to get it mixed.  Do not mix over about 10 seconds total.  Start to pour the boiling water into the mixture and turn the mixer up to high speed to mix for about 10 seconds more.  Do not over mix.  Start to gather it up out of the bowl with your hands and shape it into a loaf shape in a regular sized greased loaf pan.  Bake at 350 degrees until the center is done.  I had to bake mine about 1 1/2 hours and I think it still could have gone about 6-7 minutes longer.  Like 'regular' homemade bread, let it cool about 5 minutes before turning out to cool completely, starting by laying on one side and after about 5 minutes turn to the other side and then 5-10 minutes later turn it right side up. 

I happened to have exactly 100 grams of NOW pysllium husk on hand!  EXACTLY and then it was gone.  That was funny.

Don't over mix.  As soon as you start to gather the dough with your hands it will come into a ball shape

Starting to gather it out of the bowl it forms a ball shape.

Ready to bake!

Ready for toasting or sandwiches

I bought my little kitchen scale dirt cheap from Amazon a few years ago.  I also order my NOW psyllium husk powder online as well as numerous other ingredients. 

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Homemade Pumpkin Bread - Flour Free, Sugar Free & made with healthy Flax Seed

Re-posting:  I have guests coming tomorrow to stay for 3-4 days and I currently have this bread baking in the oven; a perfect tasting and moist pumpkin bread that we love because it's flour free and sugar free but guests love because it's just plain GOOD.  They don't even know it's 'healthy' unless they ask or we tell them.

There are two ingredients I like to cook with because I know they make almost anything they are added to moist, and will probably (more than likely) always turn out.  Cocoa and pumpkin.  Cocoa powder in cookies always makes the most delicious and chewy never-dry-out cookies and pumpkin does the same in breads and bars.  I'm a fan of quick breads - from zucchini to pumpkin and everything in between.  On my pumpkin bread I like to smear it with a bit of cream cheese icing as it is then just like a yummy pumpkin bar.  But the bread is so good and so moist, you don't need to top it with anything if you don't wish to.

This bread is also very, very healthy!  Ground flax seeds have a nutty taste and are a noted health-giving digestive aid. They are also high in fiber and are powerful natural cholesterol controllers. In a 2 Tablespoon serving size (13 grams) the fiber content is 1.33 grams of Soluble Fiber and 2.67 grams of Insoluble Fiber. Ground Flax seeds are a good source of Omega 3 Fatty Acids, with 2 Tablespoons having 2400 mg of Omega 3. 

Pumpkin Bread

1 1/2 c Golden Flaxseed Meal
1/3 c coconut flour
1 c almond flour
1/4 c brown sugar substitute
1/2 c Erythritol
1/3 c whey protein powder (unflavored or vanilla)
2 1/2 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1 t Xanthan Gum
1 1/2 t pumpkin pie spice (or use 1 t cinnamon, 1/4 t ginger and 1/4 t cloves and dash nutmeg)
1/2 t salt
1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin
5 eggs
1/4 c coconut oil
1/3 c almond milk (unsweetened)
15-25 drops liquid sweetener
1 t vanilla

In a bowl place the dry ingredients;  flaxseed meal, coconut flour, almond flour, brown sugar substitute, erythritol, protein powder, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, spices, salt.  Stir well.  In another bowl place the wet ingredients;  pumpkin, eggs, melted coconut oil, almond milk, vanilla and sweetener.   I used about 25-30 drops of liquid sweetener but do a taste test and use what you prefer.

Combine dry and wet ingredients.  Stir well with mixer or by hand.  Place in a greased 9X5" loaf pan and bake at 350 for about 55 minutes or until the center is set and comes clean when you insert a thin knife or cake tester.  Let cool in the pan at least 10-15 minutes before removing to cool completely.  If you can wait 1 more day to eat this, I suggest wrapping in plastic wrap, then in foil, and refrigerating 24 hours.  I love the flavor and texture pumpkin breads have when you do this - although it's not necessary.

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Shrimp Scampi with Riced Cauliflower - (low carb if you need it to be and delicious even if you don't!)

Here is something I whipped up earlier this week for dinner and luckily I did snap a picture quickly on my phone of this one so I could put a picture on the website.

The only problem with putting a recipe here is that I don't actually use a recipe when I make Shrimp Scampi - I mean, it's just shrimp, garlic and butter with some parsley and a dash of Italian Seasoning!  I just throw stuff together. But I will type out a guesstimate and go from there.

Shrimp Scampi with Riced Cauliflower

1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 T olive oil
2 T fresh, minced or chopped garlic
1 stick butter (1/2 cup)
1 t dried italian seasoning
1 T parsley
1/2 head fresh cauliflower

Cut and clean the cauliflower.  Put large pieces or chunks of it into your food processor with the S blade and pulse until it's the size of rice.  Depending on the amount of cauliflower and the size of your processor you might want to do this in 2 or 3 batches.  Do not over mix.  Keep it rice sized.  Place into a microwave safe bowl and pop it into the microwave to cook about 4-5 minutes.
While the cauliflower is heating, in a pan on the stove, heat the olive oil; add the shrimp and garlic.  Cook for about 4-5 minutes until the shrimp turns from gray/white to pink.  Add the butter and seasonings.  Quickly stir over medium high heat until the butter is melted and the seasonings are mixed through.  By now your cauliflower should also be done.  Serve the shrimp scampi over the cauliflower.  

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Spicy Chicken Sausage with Spinach

I make this dish fairly often because it's so good but also because it's so easy - and easy to use what's on hand to substitute.  Originally a year or two ago I made it with cream cheese and salsa.  One day I decided to leave those out and discovered a whole new dish.  I've been making it this way ever since.

Sometimes I have yellow and red peppers on hand.  Other times I have one or the other.  I often use yellow squash zucchini in this dish.  Another option is when I don't have fresh peppers on hand, I always have freeze dried peppers in the pantry so I simply reconstitute about 1/4 cup in warm water for 5 minutes and add them. 

One of other reasons I love this dish is that it's a great idea to use up chicken sausage if you've grown tired of your 'regular' way of eating it.  Back when I used to buy it about 10 years ago (I make all ours from scratch now), I remember wondering what in the heck I could use it in.  Many times store bought chicken sausage has little or not real flavor; this is the recipe for that!

Chicken and Spinach

4 links of chicken sausage (I use homemade chicken, feta & spinach sausage)
10 oz. pk. frozen spinach, thawed
1 c red and/or bell pepper, chopped
1/2 c celery (optional) diced
1 medium sweet onion, chopped
1 T minced, fresh garlic (cut back if you aren't a fan of garlic, we love it)
1 T butter
1/2 c jalapeno slices (canned) or 2 small jalapeno's fresh (increase, decrease, leave out; to your own taste)
14 oz. can diced tomatoes
1/2 - 1 T dried red pepper flakes (more/less on how spicy you want it)
1/2 t ground cumin
1/2 t chili powder

If you need to cook your chicken, do it first or just use leftover chicken from another meal or frozen/cooked chicken of choice.   Saute' the onion, celery and peppers in butter until tender either remove the chicken or do it while it's in the pan. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer.  Cook until it's warmed throughout and all vegetables are tender.

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Using your Food Storage: Healthy, All Natural Peanut Butter - Homemade from Peanut Powder

This post is sponsored by Valley Food Storage

There is a good feeling that comes with making your own foods from scratch; not to mention knowing just what is IN your foods.  No preservatives, chemicals or artificial anything!

One of the items I always have on hand is peanut powder.  I keep this on hand not only in our emergency storage, but I use it my daily cooking - (My Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Bars - yum!)

Valley Food Storage is a company specializing in long term storage food.  Most of their items are packaged for up to 25 year storage in optimal storage conditions; but their foods are also terrific for every day use, traveling and camping or hiking.  They are always adding new products to their line and reached out to me to test a couple of their freeze dried items as well as their peanut powder.

What I loved right off the bat was the really long ingredients listing.

Ingredients: Peanuts

That's it. Peanuts.

Opening the package I really loved how finely ground it was! Unlike another brand I've used in the past (and no longer buy) that was grainy, this is fine grained and smells so fresh!

The true test of any peanut powder isn't how it works in things like smoothies or baked goods because the flavor and texture can be masked by other products.  No, the real test is to see if it makes a good everyday peanut butter!  I need it to be smooth, fresh tasting, delicious and so good I could eat it with a spoon, not just on a sandwich.

To re-hydrate into peanut butter you use equal portions of powder and water to start.

Here is 2 Tablespoons of Valley Food Storage Peanut Powder mixed with 2 Tablespoons water....  quickly mixed with a spoon.  Wow.  It was mixing so quickly and easily, but best of all?  Smooth!

After you have it mixed, you can leave it as is with nothing else in it for a really healthy version but you will probably want to add a couple items to make the flavor 'pop' and taste more like the peanut butter we Americans are all accustomed to.  Our regular 'off the store shelf' peanut actually adds a number of items including corn syrup (sugar), salt, oils, etc.

I suggest adding just two items;  salt and either a natural sweetener or honey!   You will want to do taste tests on how much you want to add but a good starting point for 2 T powder mixed with 2 T water is a shake (dash) of salt and about 1/2 teaspoon honey or sweetener.  Mix.  Let it set for a minute or two for the flavors to meld together a bit.  Now taste test.  Add a little more sweetener if you wish or a few more grains of salt.  Again: the normal American is used to peanut butter that has a lot of sweeteners in it so you may have to teach your body what true homemade, healthier and less sweet versions taste like.

I found this peanut powder to be so good!  I actually ate it all with a spoon and didn't even make it into a sandwich or anything else. 

Not only did I think it was really good, but it's now my current #1 favorite brand for purchasing.  It blows my previous brands out of the water in fresh taste and texture.

If you like crunchy style peanut butter so chop up some dry roasted peanuts with your food chopper or your food processor (just PULSE quickly do not let it run!) and add the amount you wish to your homemade peanut butter.

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Cheese Filled Wontons - this one is Pepper Jack Cheese Wontons

If there are only two ingredients can you really call it a 'recipe'?   You don't even have to measure anything for these yummy snacks -you just use as much or little as you want, depending on how many you want to make!

Our family makes these with all different kinds of cheeses - you can try whatever kinds of cheese you have in your house.  Mainly, I'd say we love these with cream cheese - with or without jalapenos.  But if you have some Pepperjack cheese on hand, it's a super quick way to make an incredible little spicy bite.

Pepperjack Wontons

As many wontons as you want
Pepperjack cheese to equal about 1" square for each wonton
oil to fry
water to seal

Lay out your wontons
Use a finger dipped in water or a pastry brush to brush the edges with water
Lay a cubed piece of cheese on half of the square
Fold over to form a triangle
The water you brushed on the edges will seal the wonton
Heat the oil to about 350 degrees
Cook the wontons until golden brown, turning over as needed
Drain on paper towels
Serve as is or with a favorite sauce if you wish

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