Pet emergencies, holiday baking, and new ingredients…

This weekend did not go at all as I had planned.

My goal was to grocery shop early Saturday, finish up a work project for a few hours, and then bake my little heart out. I got as far as grocery shopping…. at 4pm on Saturday.

1st thing that went wrong: I forgot that Season 2 of The Crown released on Netflix Friday night. I may have binge-watched until 1:30am… so my Saturday got off to a slower start than I anticipated. The man and I had a few other errands to run, which took longer than expected, and then I had to meal plan and recipe plan for the week… add a few lost minutes in Internet Land and you have me leaving for the grocery store at around 4 pm.

2nd thing that went wrong: As I was putting away my groceries (around 5:45 pm), I turned around and saw blood all over my kitchen and living room floors. The source was immediately clear; Our dog was bleeding from one of her hind feet. Upon inspection, I realized that one of her nails was pointing away from her foot at very much the wrong angle. We bumped it wrong while inspecting it and it started to bleed even more heavily, causing her some discomfort. I determined rather quickly that this type of boo-boo needed professional attention, so off we went to the vet. Unfortunately our family vet is still a small enough operation that they don’t have 24/7 emergency services, so we had to trek all the way into Boise (30-45 minutes) to the Animal Hospital there. They were incredibly busy and just as it was about to be our turn, a man came in with his dog who had fallen out of a moving vehicle and badly injured its leg. He obviously took priority and we later found out they had to perform emergency surgery, which delayed our visit even longer. Not that we complained. We felt so bad for both the dog and his owner, who was quite obviously torn up about the situation. Anyway, the vet lightly sedated our puppy and pulled the nail off the rest of the way. They cleaned her up, wrapped the foot, and sent us home with an antibiotic, pain killer/sedative, and some anti-anxiety pills to help keep her calm and mellow while she starts the healing process. We left the house at 6 pm and didn’t make it home until midnight, at which point we all fell into bed and a sound sleep. Poor thing is moping around in a bit of a pity party at the moment, but she should be right as rain in a week or so. Needless to say, I didn’t accomplish anything else on Saturday. IMG_2358

So today I decided to do as much as I could. I have been eyeing several holiday baking recipes on my Pinterest board recently…

Side note: Does anyone else pin new recipes faster than they try them? I am so back logged, despite re-hauling all of my recipe boards earlier this year and cleaning out a bunch of recipes that didn’t sound as good as they did initially…

So I decided to try some of these recipes instead of baking something original to share with all of you. I will, however, share the recipes I ended up trying.

First recipe up isn’t a baked good at all. One of my meal plans was to make a tasty looking vegetarian chili with black beans, quinoa, and lentils. Warning: This recipe makes a massive crock pot FULL of chili. I use 7 quart crock pots at my house, and as you can see below, there wasn’t much room left over. So half the recipe or be prepared to share. I’m hoping my coworkers will help me out tomorrow. The recipe is pretty easy and you can find it here. My only criticism is that it’s more mild than I hoped, despite going heavy handed on the seasoning. My mom uses a very specific chili sauce in her recipe, so I might check it out next time I’m at the grocery store and see if it’s diet friendly. IMG_2365

Second recipe was Soft Gingerbread Cookies. ‘Tis the season after all (2 weeks until Christmas!). And this one is vegan, gluten free, and paleo. This recipe used 2 ingredients that I have never used before: coconut flour and flax meal. I have been using ground chia seeds with water as an egg substitute, because that’s what I happen to have at my house. I finally bought some flax meal though, so tried that for the first time. I have also been wanting to try coconut and almond flour but hadn’t yet, so was excited to try both this weekend. As I was making this, my first thought was that the recipe quantity was too small. On second thought, I realized it was probably a good thing since I’d never made them before and was planning to bake at least 1 other recipe. In the end, I used my Pampered Chef 1 Tbsp cookie scoop and it made 22 cookies exactly. In the end I’ve decided I’m not a huge fan of coconut flour. These cookies taste awesome, but the texture throws me off every time. I think I might try this recipe with almond flour next time and see what the result is. But at 22 cookies, I’m sure they won’t last long regardless. IMG_2364

And finally, these Vegan Pecan Pie Bars have been screaming at me since I pinned them. Besides veggies, garlic, and onions, my mom raised me with a strong love of pecans, so naturally I love pecan pie. I have a vegan recipe pinned I think, but something about these bars inspired more motivation. These were fairly simple, but I strongly recommend you read the whole recipe and instructions before launching into it. There is a time sensitive step to the process that I almost missed. This recipe called for almond flour (yay!) so I got to try that. Soaked dates, maple, and coconut oil make up the filling. It’s more of a coating for the 2 whole cups of chopped pecans… which I actually think is a bit excessive. Because of the almond flour in the crust, I think I would use half the pecans to balance out the overwhelming nuttiness. The crust is more like a blondie, which is okay with me! Overall, this is definitely going to become a staple dessert for me. It isn’t overly complicated, it’s vegan, it isn’t overpoweringly sweet, but would cut a nice cup of coffee very well. IMG_2367

Despite the derailing of Saturday, I’m glad I got some kitchen time in this weekend. It feeds my soul and makes me feel ready to face the week ahead.

Feel free to comment recommendations, feedback, or recipe suggestions!



Currently watching: The Crown season 2

Currently drinking: Twinings Holiday Berry herbal tea.

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