Greta Grahams, Homemade Dog Treats

This is my first guest post! It is brought to you by my girlfriend KB since she takes the lead on baking in our house and is the best dog mom I know. When not baking, KB can be found working towards social justice, reading, doing yoga, wrapped in fleece, hiking, drinking citizen’s cider, buying more scarves, and snuggling me/GretaSo here’s my first guest post:

Our rescue Bernese Mountain Dog Greta (#InstaGreta for her internet followers) has had chronic ear infections for the last year or so. After treatment and ruling out other causes, we came to the conclusion that she may have food allergies. For dogs, this usually means a sensitivity to either poultry or grains. She is currently eating a “unique protein” food (Taste of the Wild’s Pacific Stream Salmon) and meat & grain-free treats. Of course, these restrictions mean the treats are only found in more speciality pet stores and run $6-10 a box. So I figured I should make my own!

This is a recipe of my own creation adapted from other blogs and websites. Making homemade treats is easy and I feel better knowing exactly what’s in Greta’s diet, especially with so many pet food recalls these days. You can and should play around with different ingredients and flours and adapt it to your own pup’s diet and taste.

For example, we have some powdered peanut butter in the pantry that neither Ben nor I are very fond of. I threw in a ½ cup of that in this recipe because Greta is a sucker for everything peanut butter. Just make sure to stay away from ingredients like grapeseed oil and nutmeg which are both harmful to pups.IMG_20150322_092436

Ingredients

  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (without spices, not pumpkin pie mix) OR 1 large sweet potato, cooked and mashed OR a little of both!
  • ½ cup oil, I used canola oil but sunflower oil or coconut oil is even better
  • 2 cups chickpea flour (Bob’s Red Mill is only about $3 for 1 lb or you can blend dry chickpeas in the food processor.)
  • ½ cup Brown Rice Flour for rolling out dough and to keep the rolling pin from sticking
  • Optional: ½ teaspoon cinnamon and turmeric-  both are great for your pup’s digestion and are anti-inflammatory. That’s especially helpful if your dog has chronic ear infections like Greta.

 

IMG_20150322_094809Method

  1. In a big bowl or stand mixer, combine the pumpkin/sweet potato and oil.
  2. Add the chickpea flour, ½ cup at a time until a dough forms
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees  and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  4. Sprinkle brown rice flour on your surface. I found rice flour to be more elastic and better for non-sticking than the chickpea flour. You could make the whole recipe with brown rice flour. But I found chickpea flour to be cheaper and more nutritious.
  5. Form the dough into a ball and roll out the dough with a rolling pin until it is about ¼ inch thick. The dough may be sticky, so use more flour as needed.
  6. Use a cookie cutter to cut out treats and place on baking sheets.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes or until the edges are browned. Then turn off the oven and leave the grahams to dry out in the oven for about 40 additional minutes.
  8. Let cool and enjoy!

IMG_20150322_114510_552(makes about 2 dozen)

anxiously waiting for a warm treat

anxiously waiting for a warm treat

 

Tiux Compression Sock Review

I’ve been wearing compression socks for a few years now ever since my mom bought me some as a Christmas present when I started getting serious about running. I didn’t really know much about compression socks until I did some research, and I found that many people believe them to help with performance, as well as recovery. Although there is debate as to whether or not these claims are scientifically true I do believe that they have helped me both during hard runs, and afterwards for better recovery. I even use them some days at work since I often spend all day on my feet running around the hospital. A few weeks ago I was fortunate enough to be offered a sample of Tiux Compression Socks to try (disclaimer: this sample was provided to me for free from the folks at Tiux to review, but all opinions are mine alone). The socks arrived super fast and I insert bad pun here hit the ground running.Tiux Logo

Who is Tiux

Tiux is a start up still taking pre-orders for their compression socks to be released near the end of April. They’re able to sell their compression socks for just $35 (shipping included)!! How can they sell their socks for such a great price? Well Tiux is planning on selling strictly online cutting out all the “middlemen”, which allows them to sell their socks for about half of what many of their competitors sell for. This is a great idea and poor nursing students like myself should really appreciate this. Another great thing about Tiux is their partnership with Mines Advisory Group (MAG).  Tiux donates 1% of revenue to MAG to help save lives in communities dealing with unexploded landmines and other ordinances. As you know I love companies that also have a social conscience (like Janji) so this was a big reason I was excited to try out Tiux’s compression socks. It’s always nice when your purchase goes towards something more than just getting yourself some new gear.tiux-infographic

 

What about the socks?

Tiux featuresMy first impression was that the socks looked great. I liked the dark color, and the yellow highlight gave them a needed pop. I also noticed that they felt a lot softer than some other compression socks I’ve tried. One pair I don’t use anymore seemed kind of rough and actually gave me some pretty bad blisters. The Tiux socks were the opposite. They’re super soft, and I’ve already put a lot of miles on them with zero blisters or hot spots. I thought that after washing them they wouldn’t be so soft, but I’ve worn them a bunch and washed them each time (air dried them) and they are still super soft.  I thought the level of compression they provided was spot on as well. They weren’t suffocating and didn’t leave a big ring around my calf afterwards, but still provided that snuggly tight feeling. I wore them for a variety of runs, hiking and even to work one day. Under all conditions they felt great!

 

Would I get them again?

IMG_20150322_111520_016Definitely. I will be buying a few pairs of these since they come at a great price, are wicked comfortable, and perform great for me.  Right now I’m just starting to ramp up my miles again after coming back from an injury so focusing on recovery is huge right now. I know that Tiux Compression Socks will be part of my new routine.

If you’re interested in buying your own you can find all the deets on the Tiux site HERE!

PS they have this cool little message inside the collar

PS they have this cool little message inside the collar

 

Ohyo Collapsible Water Bottle Review and Giveaway

The past few weeks I’ve been testing out the Ohyo collapsible water bottle. The folks at Ohyo were nice enough to send me a sample of both their 1000ml bottle and their smaller 500ml bottle. Ohyo is based in the UK and was started by environmental scientist Guy Jeremiah. Part of the companies goal is to get people to stop using single use plastic bottles, and to start utilizing perfectly safe tap water that most people have access to already. The bottles are BPA free, carbon neutral after two refills, and top rack dishwasher safe. Here’s a little video from Ohyo that sums things up pretty well:

Here’s what I thought:

What I liked

Portable! I really liked how compact the bottles were when collapsed. Most days I’m carrying a lot of stuff when I leave the house because I bring everything I need for school, lunch, work, the gym, etc. My messenger bag runs out of space pretty quickly and trying to carry a large water bottle can be a challenge sometimes. Being able to collapse the bottle for transport was a big win, and I found that clipping it to the side of my bag was nice and it didn’t swing around too much. I brought the bottle with me on my trip to North Carolina last week as well. It came in pretty handy when my flight got delayed and I spent an extra few hours at the airport. Luckily I didn’t need to spend money on buying a drink since I had my Ohyo stashed away in my carry on.

saving me at the airport

saving me at the airport

collapsed

collapsed

It fits

It fits

What I didn’t like

The only thing I didn’t like was the feel of the bottle. Since it’s collapsible the material is kind of soft. I just worry that one day I’ll snag it on something sharp, or it will get impaled by a pen or something in my bag. It hasn’t happened yet but it’s my only real concern with the Ohyo bottle. According to Ohyo they’ve tested it by doing 10,000 open/closes and it still worked like new.

Will I continue to use it or recommend it

I will definitely continue to use the Ohyo bottle. I loved how convenient it was, and it saved me from dehydration at the airport last week. I would recommend it to anyone who travels a lot or people who often run out of space in their bag for their water bottle. If you’re interested in getting one they’re only available on Amazon for US customers, BUT two lucky readers could win their own. Ohyo has been generous enough to offer up one of their 1000ml bottles and one of their 500ml bottles for a giveaway! (first place gets the 1000ml and second place gets the 500ml) JUST CLICK ON THE RAFFLECOPTER LINK BELOW

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Favorite Things Part 4: Chia Bars from Health Warrior

Health_Warrior_Logo-0Recently I’ve become addicted to Chia Bars from Health Warrior.  I think I first heard about them from Jonathan Levitt on twitter, but never pulled the trigger. Then they had a great deal from Abe’s Market to try two for a buck each so I figured it was worth a try. A few days later two Acai Chia Bars showed up and I was hooked.

The first thing I liked about them was the taste. They were sweet, but not overly sugary, chewy, and a had a little crunch from the chia seeds themselves. When I first pulled them out of the package though they looked a little small and I thought they weren’t worth the cost. Here’s where I was wrong. Don’t let their size fool you they will keep you pleasantly satisfied. Since chia seeds are hydrophilic they absorb 10x their weight in water. I usually eat them with some water and they tend to satisfy any mid-day runger sneaking up on me. I also like that they don’t sit like a rock in your stomach. I’ve found them easy to digest, and don’t give me any GI issues when I’m running. I also like that they’re compact so I can tuck them into my shorts or UD waist pack for longer runs. I’ve found them to be an excellent source of on the go energy. They’re also really good for you! All the nutritional details are laid out on their website but here’s the highlights for me:  100 calories, 5g sugar, 4g fiber, 3g protein, 1060mg Omega-3, and are gluten/soy/GMO free, and are 100% Vegan. Many people call chia seeds a “superfood” and I would have to agree. They offer big benefits in a small package.chia bars

Health Warrior not only sells Chia Bars, but also sells bags of chia seeds in bulk. They even have a recipe section of their site to offer some suggestions on what else you can do with chia seeds. One of my favorite things is to make “chia pudding” using a little almond or coconut milk and some oats. It’s an easy breakfast that I can prep the night before if I know I’ll be out the door early the next day. This year I know I’ll be a regular chia bar eater and plan on using them more during long runs in place of some gels. I hope you’re all as pumped up on chia as I am because Health Warrior has been kind enough to offer some samples to one lucky reader! Just enter via the Rafflecopter below and a sample pack of chia bars could coming your way!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Trail Running Film Fest coming to Concord!

Trail Movies, Beer, Friends! What could be better than that?!?! (except maybe peanut butter?)Film Fest Photo

 

This week I’m going to be attending the Trail Running Film Fest being put on by Rainshadow Running.  I first heard about this online from The Ginger Runner, and I was pumped to find from my local running shop that the festival was making a stop in my area. This Wednesday night you can see a ton of films all about trail running! The films start at 6pm at Red River Theaters in Concord.  Runner’s Alley will be there raffling of some gaiters, gift cards, and  giving $5 coupons to each person attending.

If you want to know more about the films being shown head over to The Trail Running Film Fest website here, and you can buy your ticket in advance here. I’m pretty excited that they’re making a stop in NH (which can sometimes be a pretty boring place) so check this out Wednesday night cause it should be a great time! Who wouldn’t have fun with movies about running, beer, raffles, and friends!