Banana & Yogurt Dog Treats


                           Roscoe                                                                       Riley

Last winter I made a ton of dog treats. When making home brew we always have a lot of spent grain from the mash so I use it in dog treats. Well, I have been a little lazy and haven’t been saving any grains from our recent brews but now that it is cooler out I wanted to have the oven on for awhile. When making dog treats it is important to keep them in the oven for an hour or two to make sure they get nice and crunchy. I got the idea to make these yummy smelling banana and yogurt treats from the fancy dog food brand Blue.

The other day I picked up a couple over ripe bananas at the co-op because they seemed to be the perfect fit for my treat recipe. Besides the bananas we had everything else at home. I used regular sized cookie cutters and ended up with 50 treats! The batter smelled so good that I almost tasted it, and I could have, but they were for the dogs.

Banana & Yogurt Dog Treats

  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 1 cup yogurt
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 3 cups flour
  • Mix all ingredients well and then roll out and cut out any shape. Pre-heat oven to 325. Bake for 12 minutes, turn treats, bake 12 more minutes. Then lower oven temperature to 200 and leave for 1-1/2 to 2 hours to harden.

Stuffing Hops into a Keg

This past weekend was barely nice enough for us to brew beer in our backyard. And by barely I mean the wind was howling, leaves were floating by but luckily a light jacket and sweatshirt made the temperature bearable.

To start the weekend off right we dry hopped our beer “Hop Yard.” This beer got its name because it was made only with hops we grew in our yard over the summer. Dry hopping occurs when you are almost ready to carbonate and drink a beer. We accomplished dry hopping by filling a mesh bag with a bunch of our whole hops and then shoved it into the keg. This will add a nice aroma to the beer. And it worked! We snuck a little taste tonight just before hooking the keg up to the CO2.

Dry hopping took place in the house but we had to face the elements and brew a milk stout outdoors. A milk stout is smooth, creamy, and perfect to drink when the temperatures begin to fall. Dan formulates all the recipes for our homebrew and I provide moral support and what ever other assistance is needed. I made sure to keep watch of the brew kettle and keep flying debris out! At the end of the boil cooling of the wort needs to take place. Wort is essentially water that grains have been steeped in and with the help of yeast will turn into beer. Cooling of the wort involves a LOT of stirring while cool water runs through a coiled copper tube called a wort chiller. Thankfully we got done just as it was getting dark!

Fig Flatbread

Fall is in the air. The wind is brisk and the leaves are changing. Even with the cooler temperatures we spent a nice amount of time out of doors this weekend. Saturday was the last Mill City Farmer’s Market for the year and I had to go! We picked up some delicious local goat cheese, granola, garlic, and squash. After that we enjoy a nice hot cup of coffee on a park bench. 

I also ended up picking up some fresh figs. We love fig jam so I figured we'd like fresh figs too. Well I tasted one and felt it needed to be incorporated into a dish with big flavors. For pizzas I usually make dough from scratch but this was a lunch so I cheated with a pre-made flatbread. Lunch was ready in no time with the little amount of prep needed and quick cooking of the broiler. 

This flatbread was tasty and I enjoyed some for lunch today too! The flavors included the sweetness of apple, bite from the cheeses and a smooth balance provided by the figs. The only thing I may try differently is to smear the figs all over the flatbread instead of the pieces we used.

Fig Flatbread

  • 1 apple
  • 6-7 fresh figs
  • 4 oz blue cheese
  • 4 oz parmesan reggiano
  • flatbread
  • olive oil
  • honey

Preheat broiler. Slice apple and figs thinly, shave parmesan, crumble blue cheese. Broil flatbread for 2 minutes, remove, flip and brush with olive oil. Arrange all other ingredients, broil for 5 minutes and then drizzle with honey. Enjoy!

Iron Fork 2011


Iron Fork was somewhat of a knock-off of the Food Network show “Iron Chef.” On “Iron Chef” a celebrity chef (ie. Bobby Flay) competes against a chef from a classy restaurant. They each need to create a delicious, nicely plated dish using a secret ingredient. At Iron Fork there were 5 local chefs that competed and their secret ingredient was peppers. Essentially this ingredient needs to be incorporated into their dish and they found out what it was right as the time started to count down. I forgot to mention they only get one hour!
Let’s talk food. While the competition was going on, guests waited in line to sample beer, wine, and food from 15 local restaurants. There was everything from lamb to falafel to sushi! The lines were long but worth the wait. My favorite sample was the butternut squash cheesecake…yum! I’m probably going to make that soon.
My only disappointment was at the end of the competition. Each chef had their food plated and 4 judges went around to taste and look at presentation, but the cameras were positioned poorly so I couldn’t see. In addition I had a hard time hearing because the announcers didn’t hold the mic close enough to the chefs. All in all it was fun and I left with a full tummy.

Grilled Salmon

The weather in Minnesota has been unseasonably warm lately. I think it was this same day last year when snow first fell. Right now I am out by the grill and comfortable in just shorts and a t-shirt. To go along with my pretending that it is still summer I had my man grill while I sat near by sipping on a beer. Since, it gets dark at 6:35pm we had to use a flashlight to take our meal off the grill. Overall it was a delightful evening and our dinner was amazing! The marinade gave the salmon a hint of sweet and sour while keeping the interior moist. After dinner Dan said “why haven’t we been eating more fish like this!” I was flattered and a bit sad that grilling season is probably over.

Grilled Salmon


  • juice of one lemon
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • 1-1/2 lb. salmon fillets

Approximately 2 hours before grilling mix all ingredients together and place in a bag to marinate. Then grill for about 6 minutes each side. Enjoy!

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bar

3/4 pound of butter never tasted so good, so good that I had to make this dessert two times in a row.  This decadent dessert will satisfy a craving, and have you craving more the next day. I knew that a 9″x13″ pan of this had way too much butter and sugar for just the two of us, so I gave some away. I try to not eat too much sugar as I am trying to keep the “junk in my trunk” to a minimum. 😛

After my sharing spree, when there were only two small pieces left, I realized the mistake I made.

Earlier in the week we discussed visiting family this weekend and I thought what a perfect excuse to make this dessert again. We shared it with family and everyone loved it! I couldn’t help leaving them some but I made sure to bring a nice portion back home.

When I use recipes I follow them pretty closely but I also like to add my own little touch. Every recipe that calls for flour will have approximately 1/2 of it as whole wheat. This can make the texture a little more dense but I like the slight nutty flavor it adds. For this recipe I used more cinnamon than called for. I used a local tart apple in place of the Granny Smiths that were in the original recipe.

I found this recipe on one of my favorite food blogs: Mel’s Kitchen Cafe. She and I have a very similar food philosophy and that is to make wholesome food from scratch. Enjoy!

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened

Cream Cheese Layer:
2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and finely chopped
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Streusel Topping:
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup quick cooking oats
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened

1 cup caramel sauce (homemade recipe below)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a small bowl, stir together chopped apples, two tablespoons sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine all the streusel topping ingredients and mix until crumbly. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine flour and brown sugar. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or two forks until mixture is crumbly but combined. Press evenly into a 9X13-inch baking pan lined with aluminum foil. Bake for 10 minutes or until lightly browned.

While the crust is baking, in a large bowl, beat cream cheese with 1/2 cup sugar until smooth. Then add eggs, one at a time and then the vanilla. Mix well. Pour over the warm crust.

Spoon the apple mixture evenly over the cheesecake layer. Sprinkle the streusel topping over the apples. Bake for 30 minutes until the filling is set.

Cool the bars to room temperature. Drizzle with the caramel topping (or plate individual slices and drizzle with topping one by one).

Caramel Sauce:
4 tablespoons butter
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
½ cups half-and-half or cream
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon vanilla

Mix butter, brown sugar, half-and-half or cream, and salt in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook while whisking gently for 5 to 7 minutes, until thickened slightly. Add the vanilla and cook another minute to thicken further. Turn off the heat and pour the sauce into a jar. Refrigerate until cold. If the caramel sauce has cooled in the fridge long enough to harden, warm slightly before drizzling on bars.

Recipe Source: Mel’s Kitchen Cafe, caramel sauce from Pioneer Woman


The brew in the recent photo is our first attempt at a pumpkin beer. We had to try and make one this year because I am in love with Southern Tier Pumking.
Our Pumpkin Juice brew is still two weeks premature but tasted great! We added a tiny bit more spice and will hopefully be kegging it soon!
With this blog it is my plan to add more detail as I go. Please leave questions and comments 🙂