Eat to the Beat: Peanut Butter Dog Treats & Queen

Wednesday, October 10th, 2012

 

The song: “You’re My Best Friend” by Queen (lyrics)

The foodstuff: Peanut Butter Dog Treats from The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur

The connection: Ralphie turns the big ONE-FIVE today!

 

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Veteran mofoers! Maybe you remember Ralphie the wiener dog? Since his birthday almost always falls during Vegan MoFo, he’s made at least one appearance every year since I started participating five years ago. And the one year Vegan MoFo was observed in November? He had his eye removed that month! Naturally, mom plied him with delicious foods to ease the pain.

(For those not in the know: Ralphie had what turned out to be a benign melanoma in his right eye; as it grew it obscured his vision and would eventually start to cause him pain, so we made the decision to have his eye removed. While he did pretty awesome in the year following the surgery, he’s unfortunately experienced age-related degeneration in the remaining eye and is not-so-slowly going blind. He gets around okay considering, but a bout of vertigo earlier in the year kind of sapped him of his confidence. He’s a happy guy, in great health otherwise, but also much more dependent on his humans than he used to be. But still, he’s 15 and loves to dig for critters and go on hour-long walks! Focusing on the positive over here!)

 

Peanut Butter Dog Treats from The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur (0020)

 

In honor of my little guy, this edition of Eat to the Beat is dedicated to Sir Ralphie. With a serenade by Queen, ’cause he and the other dogs are totes my BFFs, and a batch of Peanut Butter Dog Treats from The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur because birthdays are for spoiling! (I actually considered making him a full-on cake, but thought it might be too messy and difficult to divvy out. I mean yeesh, some of the smaller dogs can’t even down a biscuit without trailing crumbs on the freshly vacuumed floor!)

Though The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur is 99.999% people treats, Kelly Peloza was thoughtful enough to provide a recipe for our canine friends too! These Peanut Butter Dog Treats are super-easy to make and consist of just a few wholesome ingredients (namely, whole wheat flour, oats, peanut butter, and water).

 

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The dough isn’t really meant to be rolled out for cookie cutters – it’s kind of thick and not very stretchy – but I just bought a few new sets that I was dying to use, so I gave it a try anyway and guess what? SUCCESS! For three go-rounds, then I threw in my rolling pin and shaped the rest into little discs by hand. Which is really better for tiny dog mouths, but not nearly as pretty for pictures.

 

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I mean, look! I was able to spell out Ralphie’s name and his age, throw in a few hugs and kisses (xoxo), and even make some hearts, stars, and bones. Adorable right?

 

Ralphie, enjoying some early birthday treats (0010)

 

I tried taking some pictures of Ralph with his giant platter o’ biscuits, but he wasn’t in an especially cooperative mood. Not surprising, since there was food on the table. I snapped a few quick shots before he grabbed the one and only “H,” effectively ending the photo shoot.

 

Ralphie, enjoying some early birthday treats (0027)

 

I mean, “Ralpie?” Who the eff is that?

In keeping with our new birthday tradition, here are Fifteen Little Ralphie Things, one for each year of his life on this marble we call Earth. There are so many more things I love about him – try kajillions – but these are just the first fifteen to come to mind.

I love you, little guy. Now and forever.

You, you’re my best friend.

(More below the fold…)

Peanut Butter Cup Banana Ice Cream

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

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Hands-down the most decadent banana ice cream ever to grace my food processor, this peanut butter cup-inspired dessert is remarkably similar to the soy milk version I made last year – but healthier and simpler, with no ice cream machine required. A chocolate banana ice cream base is dressed up with chunks of chocolate and sweet peanut butter, like an explosion of peanut butter cups. Yum.

Serve cold in a waffle cone or drizzled with homemade chocolate or peanut butter sauce for an extra-special treat. Go on, the bananas make it a health food!

 

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Peanut Butter Cup Banana Ice Cream

(Makes about a quart of ice cream.)

Ingredients

3-4 overripe bananas, peeled, sliced and frozen
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
sugar to taste (optional)
a splash of non-dairy milk or creamer, if needed
1/4 to 1/2 cup chocolate bark
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup powdered sugar

Directions

1. At least several hours prior to making the ice cream, prepare the sweet peanut butter “filling.” Put the peanut butter in a microwave-safe bowl. Fold in the sugar; mix as best you can. Microwave for 30 seconds and stir until the sugar and peanut butter are one. Cover and place the bowl in the fridge for two hours or more to chill.

2. Once the peanut butter is cold, make the ice cream! Put the bananas in the food processor and pulse until smoothly blended. Most likely you’ll need to stir them by hand several times, as the frozen chunks tend to gather and become “stuck” on one side of the bowl. If necessary, add a splash of non-dairy milk or creamer to get things moving!

Alternately, you can allow the bananas to defrost on the counter top for 30 to 60 minutes beforehand, so that they’re easier to work with. Before putting them in the food processor, break them up into smaller chunks with a butter knife.

Note: Since introducing extra liquids (such as non-dairy milk) into the mix results in a slightly icier finished product, I prefer defrosting to non-dairy milk. If you’re in a hurry, pop the bananas in the microwave for 20 to 45 seconds instead.

3. If the bananas aren’t sweet enough for your taste (sometimes this happens if you freeze them before they’re sufficiently ripe), add a bit of sugar to taste. Any sugar works fine – white, brown, etc. – but I find that powdered sugar results in a smoother blend.

4. Add the cocoa powder pulse until well-blended. Add the chocolate bark and pulse several times, until they’re broken up into smaller chunks. Add the peanut butter batter in large spoonfuls; pulse several times, just enough to mix the chunks into the ice cream.

5. Transfer the ice cream to an airtight container. Enjoy immediately as soft serve, or pop the ice cream in the freezer for an hour+ for a firmer dessert. Store any leftovers in the freezer in an airtight container. If the frozen banana ice cream proves too hard to scoop, microwave it for ten seconds to help loosen it up (or let the container sit on the counter for ten to thirty minutes prior to eating, depending on room temp).

6. Serve topped with chocolate sprinkles; warm, melty chocolate; peanuts; and/or homemade chocolate sauce. You can’t go wrong!

 

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(I took so many pics of this, y’all! It’s so amazaballs that I was convinced that no photo – or none of mine, anyhow – would be able to capture the awesomeness of it all. 100+ pictures later…

On the plus side: I got to eat three bowls in one day. Tummy ache be damned!)