Dirty Hippie Popcorn Seasoning

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Why be usual on Valentine’s Day? The Dirty Hippie and I have a long-standing custom of staying in on this holiday. What’s better in February than a quiet night at home on the sofa with a movie and some popcorn? So this year, if you dare, offer your love a jar of the Dirty Hippie’s Vegan Popcorn Seasoning. You can make it mild or spice it up. And it’s good on other foods too, like baked potatoes, broccoli, tofu sticks – really anywhere you want some cheesy deliciousness.

We wish you a Happy Valentine’s Day, in whatever flavor you celebrate love!

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Dirty Hippie’s Popcorn Seasoning

2 cups nutritional yeast

1/8 cup smoked paprika

2 Tbs. Old Bay

2 Tbs. garlic powder

1 Tbs. onion powder

1/2 tsp. cayenne powder (optional, or add more if you like)

 

Mix all ingredients in a bowl and stir together until well blended. Store in an airtight container, like a jar with a lid.

To make popcorn, pop about 1/2 cup of kernels in a heavy-bottom pan on the stove or use an air popper (follow manufacturer directions). Toss hot popcorn with some melted coconut oil or Earth Balance (optional, we use about 2 Tablespoons) and 1/3 cup of Dirty Hippie Popcorn Seasoning. Eat immediately!

This recipe is vegan and gluten-free. It makes enough to use on several (about six) batches of popcorn!

 

 

GF Vegan Mac n’ Cheese & the 2nd Annual #MacSmack

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Gooey, creamy mac ‘n cheese goodness. You know, it’s funny how often people assume that mac n’ cheese is not on the vegan radar. But WHY? Vegans love mac n’ cheese. And we’ll line up for it. Like at an all vegan mac n’ cheese cook-off. Yeah, there’s one coming up in Baltimore on February 18. It’s the 2nd annual Vegan Mac N’ Cheese Smackdown, produced by Baltimore Vegan Drinks and PEP Foods as a fundraiser for Thrive Baltimore, the new all-vegan community center.

You may want to go ahead a buy a ticket now, cuz this thing is epic. Last year more than 1000 people showed up to partake in the vegan cheesy goodness!

2016 Smackdown

The 2016 Vegan Mac and Cheese Smackdown!

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Alas, we can’t throw our hats into the ring in 2017 because we’re helping with the event. But gosh… it would be so much fun to compete! One of these days. If anyone would like to compete FOR us, I’m going to put it out there. This is our latest vegan mac, made entirely gluten free too.

Anyhow, hope we see everyone on February 18. Can’t wait for all the amazing vegan mac and cheese!!

 

 

Gluten Free MacGF Vegan Mac N’ Cheese

1 16-oz bag gluten free pasta (we used Trader Joe’s brown rice pasta)

2 Tbs. olive oil (or Earth Balance or coconut oil)

3 to 6 cloves fresh garlic, minced

2 cups shredded vegan cheddar-style cheese (we used Follow Your Heart)

1 15-oz can white beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 cup nutritional yeast

1 cup plain, unsweetened non-dairy milk (we used almond milk)

2 Tbs. Dijon mustard

1 tsp. turmeric

1 tsp. smoked paprika

1/2 cup corn flakes (we used One Degree Veganic)

 

Preheat oven to 425.

Boil pasta according to package directions. Drain and place back in cooking pot. Stir in one tablespoon olive oil. Set aside.

Place corn flakes in a zip top bag and crush into crumbs using your hand or a rolling pin. (This is really fun and a great way to blow off stress!)

While the pasta cooks, saute minced garlic in 1 tablespoon oil until just fragrant. Add to the bowl of a blender or food processor with white beans, vegan cheddar shreds, nutritional yeast, non-dairy ilk, Dijon mustard and turmeric. Puree to a thick liquid.

Pour cheesy-garlicky sauce onto cooked noodles and fold to coat all pasta. Turn cheesy pasta into an oven-safe casserole dish and sprinkle with crushed cornflakes and smoked paprika. Bake at 425 for 15 minutes until vegan cheesy sauce is melted and gooey. Serve hot.

 

Bite of Gluten Free Mac

 

 

Easy Baked Blueberry Lemon Doughnuts

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Everyone’s been feeling a little off lately. The USA seems upside down, we’re all biting our nails to see what pops up next on the news.

We say, what the world needs now is DOUGHNUTS. I means, seriously, why not? Nothing like some baked comfort to put a smile back on your face, at least for a few minutes. This recipe is easily made gluten-free and/or nut free, and has no added salt or oil. If you omit the glaze, I’d argue it’s borderline “not-bad-for-you” as doughnuts go. And because we all need things to happen fast, we used Bisquick as the base, so you can pick any kind of Bisquick (regular, heart-smart or gluten-free) at your local supermarket. Don’t have a doughnut pan? No biggie, make these in a muffin tin. The recipe is flexible, so if you don’t have blueberries, use chopped strawberries, blackberries, raisins or dried cranberries. They’re all tasty!

Go ahead, indulge in some doughnuts. We all need a delicious reason to smile right now.

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Easy Baked Blueberry Lemon Doughnuts

2 cups Bisquick (any kind, we used gluten free)

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp. ground ginger

1/2 tsp. ground cardamom

pinch ground nutmeg

1 1/2 cups unsweetened non-dairy milk

1/3 cup maple syrup

2 tsp. vanilla

zest of one lemon

1/3 cup fresh blueberries

 

Glaze (optional)

1 cup powdered sugar

2 Tbs. lemon juice

1 Tbs. unsweetened non-dairymilk

 

Preheat oven to 425. In large bowl, combine all dry ingredients: Bisquick, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom and nutmeg. Stir and make a well in the middle. Add all wet ingredients, non-dairy milk, maple syrup, vanilla and lemon zest. Stir until smooth and fluid. Fold in fresh blueberries.

Spray a 12-doughnut mold (or muffin pan) with non-stick spray. Divide batter evenly and bake 16 to 18 minutes, until doughnuts are puffy and baked through. Allow to cool in molds for 20 minutes before flipping out onto a cooling rack.

If using glaze ~ When doughnuts are cooled to room temperature, combine glaze ingredients, powdered sugar, non-dairy milk and lemon juice in a small bowl with a whisk. Pour glaze evenly over doughnuts and serve immediately. Store in fridge, if you have any left!

 

Gorgeous Green Muffins

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Ready to get more greens into your diet? Us too! After seeing kale doughnuts out there in the world, we figured we could make a green baked good of our own. Something easy and nutritious with plenty of phyto-nutrient awesomeness to fuel us through these dreary winter days.

This recipe is easy to make swaps in ~ for example, any plant-based milk works (soy, cashew, rice, etc.). Trade maple syrup for agave or brown rice syrup if you prefer. Not into gluten free flour? Just use whole wheat! You can use kale instead of spinach, too.

Gorgeous Green Muffins

Gorgeous Green Muffins

2 Tbs. egg replacer with 4 tbs. warm water (we used Ener-g)

6 oz. bag fresh spinach

1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk

1/4 maple syrup

2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 banana

2 tsp. baking powder

2 tsp. green powder (we used Sunfoods Sun is Shining Supergreens)

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. baking soda

pinch ground cloves

pinch nutmeg

2 cups gluten free flour mix (we used Bob’s Red Mill 1:1)

Preheat oven to 375. Line 12 cupcake tins with liners or coat with non-stick spray.

Mix together egg replacer and warm water. Set aside.

Combine all wet ingredients in a blender or food processor (spinach, applesauce, almond milk, maple syrup, vanilla); puree until spinach is well broken down. Add banana, baking powder, green powder, cinnamon, baking soda, ground cloves and nutmeg. Mix until creamy. Then add two cups of gluten free flour and pre-mixed egg replacer. Puree again until smooth, scraping sides at least once to incorporate all ingredients.

Pour into muffins tins equally and bake 20 minutes at 375 until a toothpick comes out clean. Makes 12 muffins.

Cabbage Pad Thai

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Time to trade in your take-out! Everyone wants to lighten up after the holidays. Our Cabbage Pad Thai will get the job done. It’s gluten-free and very filling because of a high fiber content from all the veggies.  We took out the noodles and dramatically lowered the fat and sugar content from traditional Pad Thai. Go ahead – have a second plate! All the veg is so good for you!

Cabbage Pad Thai
Cabbage Pad Thai

1 block firm or extra firm tofu, drained and cubed

Sauce

2 Tbs. coconut sugar

2 Tbs. rice vinegar

2 Tbs. peanut butter

1 Tbs. tamari sauce

2 tsp. powdered ginger

2 limes, juices, 1 zested

1 tsp. green curry paste

pinch red pepper flakes

2 cloves minced garlic

Stir Fry

2 bags pre-shredded cabbage

2  whole carrots, peeled and shredded

2 bell peppers, seeded and slivered

4 green onions, white and green, chopped, plus more to garnish

1/2 cup chopped peanuts (garnish)

1/ 4 cup fresh cilantro (garnish)

 

First make the sauce by stirring all the sauce ingredients together in a shallow dish. Add cubed, drained tofu to dish with the sauce. Toss and allow to marinate for 30 minutes or up to several hours.

To prepare stir-fry, toss tofu and all extra sauce into a wok or large pan. Saute over medium-high heat for several minutes until tofu cubes are lightly browned. Then add cabbage, shredded carrots, slivered bell peppers and green onions.  Saute, stirring often, about 8 to 10 minutes, until veggies are soft.

Serve with chopped peanuts and cilantro and extra green onions, as desired. Serves six as a main course.

Cook’s Note: If you’re allergic to peanuts, you can sub in sunflower butter or soynut butter in the sauce, as well as sunflowers, pepitas or soynuts for the chopped peanuts.  Want extra chewy tofu? Freeze and thaw tofu ahead of time, it will retain it’s shape and have a firmer bite.

 

Pumpkin Pie (or why I married my husband)

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Every family has their own holiday traditions. Some traditions are very specific, others are broadly accepted and personalized by everyone. Pumpkin pie is one of the latter for sure. Everyone has a memory of pumpkin pie, right?

Nathaniel’s family, most of whom are in Tennessee, have this wonderful tradition of pies. His grandmother gave him pumpkin pie and home made crust recipes when he was in high school.  It became the dish everyone asked him to bring for the holidays. His secret to heavily requested pumpkin pie: using fresh pumpkin.  There was a 3-acre pumpkin patch on his  family’s farm, so he started using fresh pumpkin.  Not the canned stuff you buy at the grocery. But real, fresh pumpkin.

I think this is one of the reasons I married Nathaniel. His off-the-hook pumpkin pie. No joke! A million years ago, he walked into the college photo lab carrying a homemade pumpkin pie he baked himself. Schwing! And I mean seriously homemade ~ the crust was hand-rolled; the pumpkin was grown at home and baked to the perfect sweetness. Nathaniel’s pies are the real deal. Until you have a real homemade pie with non-canned pumpkin, you just haven’t lived a full life.

As I type this, Nathaniel is in the kitchen right now toiling over his annual batch of Thanksgiving pumpkin pies. In addition to the ones he makes for us, he now has to make several for my grandmother. She adores his pies. She starts asking for them in August, except she calls them “punkin.”

So for the first time ever, here is Nathaniel’s pumpkin pie recipe. It is not difficult, but it is time-consuming. And worth every second! Makes two pie fillings. Recipe is gluten-free and there are gluten-free pie crust recipes listed below.

pumpkin pie

Nathaniel’s Pumpkin Pie

4 cups fresh cooked pumpkin**(see notes below on cooking pumpkin)

8 tsp. Egg Replacer in 12 Tbs. warm water (we used Ener-G)

1 cup sugar (we use Florida Crystals)

1 pint vegan vanilla creamer (soy, almond, coconut)

2 Tbs. arrowroot starch

2 tsp. vanilla extract

2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. ground allspice
pinch ground cloves
pinch ground nutmeg

2 pre-baked vegan pie crusts (**suggestions below)

Mix egg replacer and warm water. Combine pumpkin, sugar and non-dairy creamer in a large bowl. Add all dry ingredients and mixed egg replacer. Mix together in a blender, with a mixer or by hand, and pour into pie crusts. Bake for 15 minutes at 425 degrees. Turn oven to 350 and bake for an additional 30-35 minutes, until crust is golden brown. Sprinkle cinnamon on top and chill before serving!  It sets up best if you chill 8 hours or overnight.

The Dirty Hippie reminds me to tell you all that it’s also good with crushed & toasted almonds on top or the coconut whipped “cream.” Or to mix things up, add a handful of chocolate chips into the batter before baking. If you can’t find pumpkins to bake, you can also use butternut squash or sweet potatoes in the same ratios for this recipe.

**How to Cook Fresh Pumpkin: For two pies, you will need 3 sugar pumpkins or a large baking pumpkin, such as a cinderella or cheese pumpkin. Scoop out the innards of the pumpkin and slice flesh into palm size chunks. Place flesh side down in baking dish half full of water. Bake in the oven for 60 minutes at 350 degrees. Let cool, then peel off the skin or scrape out flesh with a spoon. You are ready to make pie or you can freeze the pumpkin and use it later! We use freezer bags with 4 cups each. Leftover cooked pumpkin is great in soups, curries and smoothies. Oh – and don’t forget to save and roast your pumpkin seeds! They’re a great source of protein, fiber, calcium and magnesium.

**Vegan Pie Crust: Baking a crust before the pie is called blind baking. You can use a pre-made crust from the grocery store for this recipe. (Be sure to check the ingredient list for lard.) You can also make a homemade crust. Here are links to some vegan pie crust recipes. Choose any one you like and be sure to blind bake it before you start the pies!

Minimalist Baker

Savvy Vegetarian

Oh  Ladycakes

Gluten Free Girl

The Blender Girl

 

Cornbread Dressing

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Preparing for the Thanksgiving feast? We’ve got a great dressing (aka stuffing) your family and friends will adore. It works well for potlucks, too.

This is a southern American tradition, Cornbread Dressing. We never tried making it before and it’s SO YUMMY! You’re going to want to embrace this tradition!

You will need to make vegan cornbread one or two days in advance. There are some recipe links at the bottom you can choose from. Sweet to neutral cornbread works best in this recipe, and once you make it, cut the cornbread into cubes and allow it to get stale on the counter. Really ~ you can munch on a few cubes as well!

To make this gluten free, use the gluten-free cornbread recipe at the bottom of the page, and sub in your favorite GF bread for the multi-grain. To make this recipe SOS-free (no salt, sugar, oil), use the Forks Over Knives cornbread recipe below, and omit the coconut oil/salt from the recipe. Nut free? Don’t add the pecans – you can sub in pepitas or sunflower seeds or nothing at all!

Enjoy – and Happy Thanksgiving!

Corn Brea Dressing

Cornbread Dressing

1 recipe vegan cornbread** (see recipe suggestions at bottom)

6 to 8 slices bread (we used multi-grain)

2 cups vegetable broth, warmed

1/2 cup flax seed meal

1/2 cup dry hard apple cider (regular non-alcoholic will be fine, too)

1 cup diced onion

4 stalks celery, chopped

4 carrots, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 Tbl. coconut oil (or earth Balance or olive oil or extra broth)

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1/2 cup vegan breadcrumbs

2 Tbl. fresh parsley, chopped

2 Tbl. fresh sage, chopped

2 tsp. poultry seasoning blend

1 tsp. dried basil

1 tsp. dried thyme

1/2 tsp. dried rosemary

1/2 tsp. turmeric

1/4 tsp. white pepper

1/4 tsp. smoked salt (optional, regular salt or no salt is fine, too)

1 cup pecans, finely chopped

 

Cube cornbread and multi-grain bread and allow to sit on the counter for 24 to 48 hours to get stale and crunchy. Alternatively, if you are short on time, cube both breads and toast in the oven at 200 for about 10 minutes, then stir and toast another 10 minutes, until outside of bread is crisp. Set stale/toasted bread cubes aside.

To make dressing, preheat oven to 375. Spray a 9×12 casserole dish with non-stick spray.

Mix together warm vegetable broth with flax seed meal. Allow to congeal, this will be the binder.

In a large pot over medium heat, saute onions, celery, carrots and garlic in coconut oil until soft and fragrant, about 2 to 5 minutes.  Add dried cranberries, bread crumbs and all herbs (parsley, sage, poultry seasoning, basil, thyme, rosemary, turmeric, white pepper, smoked salt).  Cook a few more minutes, stirring often, Add all bread cubes (cornbread and multi-grain) and carefully fold together.

Add hard cider to broth/flaxmeal combo. Pour all liquids over the bread cubes/vegetable mixture, add chopped pecans. Again, fold together carefully.

Turn dressing into prepared casserole dish and cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 20 minutes; uncover and bake another 20 minutes.

Serve hot as part of your holiday feast!

 

**Need ideas on making vegan cornbread? Try these recipes…

Isa Chandra

Brand New Vegan

Food 52

Texan Erin (Gluten Free option)

Forks Over Knives

 

 

 

Sweet Frogger

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It feels like there are a lot of memorials on this blog lately. We don’t mean to be so sad. But it’s truly been a period of time marked by loss for us. I promise to get back to recipes and good news very soon; today though, I want to remember Frogger.

frogger-1_lrFrogger was an African Dwarf Frog. We got her in a very tiny box at the mall with a snail, some bamboo and a companion male frog. Well, the snail died the next day. And we did some reading – only to discover how insane and cruel it was to keep all these sea animals in such a small box. Frogger and her guy got an upgrade to a larger tank with plants (and their bamboo), rocks, as well as a small castle to hide in and a tank filter. The fella didn’t last long. We are fairly sure Frogger ate all the food and starved him.  They fought all the time, anyhow. So we went to an aquarium store and got her another male and another snail. The next male frog lasted even less time – but she liked the snail. We called him Mr. Snuffles.

Frogger and Mr. Snuffles hid around their tank together for years. We often saw her with a frog-hand on him, and they would rest that way for hours. The day Mr. Snuffles passed, we found her with one hand on the front of the tank and the other on a lifeless Mr. Snuffles. After we cleaned him out (he is buried in our yard by the roses, along with the male frogs and now Frogger,  as well), she hid for days until we got a new snail friend. Again, they became buddies and were in the same part of the tank all the time. She never rested a hand on this one, though.

frogger-2_lrEvery day I would check in on Frogger and her snail pal. Actually, several times a day. When I put my laptop by her tank, she usually would sit at the glass, watching me. I’m not sure how much awareness she had of me or the world beyond her tank, but I believe she knew we were friends.  I’ll confess, when we were out of town even one day, I had a pet sitter come in and check on Frogger.  I wanted to always be sure she was comfortable – or as comfortable as we knew how to make her. After reading What a Fish Knows by Jonathan Balcombe, I suspect Frogger had a good deal of awareness, honestly. (You should read it!)

It’s impossible to guess how many times she made me smile. I’d find her floating in “Zen position,” enjoying her tank sometimes. She was an aquatic frog and lived in water, but breathed air via lungs not gills, and would float, all “Zenned out” on the surface to breathe. It was awesome to see her happy and floating, or find her hiding in her castle. Like I said, we were friends. She was part of life here.

Late Sunday night I checked on her before bed, as I do every night. And Monday morning, she had passed, bringing to a close seven and half years with our little family.

Her snail friend is still moving about the tank and I know I’ll need to find a friend for him soon. But at the moment, my heart hurts every time I look into the tank and Frogger’s sweet little eyes don’t search me out and come to the glass. I can’t bear to think of buying another frog, knowing what I do now about the sea life as pets industry. It’s a messed up thing. Yet, I don’t want the snail to be alone, either. Sigh… dilemmas. Time will bring us the answer, I know.

frogger-3_lrIn memorial to Frogger, we made a donation to Fish Feel, a small 501c3 organization dedicated to promoting the recognition of fish as sentient beings deserving of respect and protection. Despite fish constituting the largest category of animals used for food (including as farmed animal feed), and despite huge numbers of fish harmed for research, “sport,” and aquaria, their well-being receives very little attention, even from the animal protection community. After all these years with Frogger, I have no doubt she was a sentient being.

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It was our privilege to be her guardians.

Hatched… unknown. Joined our family April 2009; died September 5, 2016.

We will miss you, sweet Frogger!

Frogger

Mom’s Gazpacho

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August means the garden is in full bloom. And there are loads and loads of tomatoes, cucumbers and basil. No garden? Try the Farmer’s Market. Once, we were at the Farmer’s Market when they were closing up and a vendor literally gave us a huge basket of tomatoes simply because she didn’t want to carry them home!

When tomatoes and cucumbers are in season, you’ll almost always find a batch of my Mom’s gazpacho in our fridge. On a hot August day, a bowl of chilled gazpacho is so refreshing! And it reminds me of my parents’ garden being flush with tomatoes too. I used to love wandering the backyard, between tall tomato cages and bushy herbs just before the start of school. This soup brings back all those memories!

The recipe makes about 6 portions and comes together really fast in a blender or food processor.  Ours is processed to be fairly smooth, but feel free to leave your veggies chunky if you like. We usually eat it with crackers or a slice of toast. Serve cold and sure, you can drink it from a mug – we do sometimes!

Mom's GazpachoMom’s Gazpacho

2 pounds fresh tomatoes

1 cucumber

2 stalks celery

1 red onion

1 cup tomato juice

4 Tbs. fresh basil

3 Tbs. red wine vinegar

2 Tbs. lemon juice plus zest of one lemon

1 Tbs. vegan worcestershire sauce (such as Annie’s Organic or Wizard- please note, both contain gluten)

1 Tbs. balsamic vinegar

2 tsp. Old Bay-style seasoning

salt/pepper, to taste as desired

 

Core and roughly chop tomatoes. Trim cucumbers and celery, roughly chop. Peel and trim onion, roughly chop. Add all veggies to a food processor or high speed blender with tomato juice, fresh basil, vinegars, lemon juice and zest, Old Bay and Worcestershire sauce. Process together until as smooth a desired.

Terri Ann’s Carrot Salad

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Along the way, we make friends all over the place. One such friend is TerriAnn, who used to be a vet tech at the Animal Wellness Center where our hounds go for their health care needs. Everyone there is a pal – Doc Scott Sanderson, his manager Ani, and the rest of the team. They were amazing when we lost Lochrima, and have helped out with foster dogs since.

We were delighted to find out that TerriAnn was vegan! She brought her delicious Carrot Salad to share at one of our parties. Everyone loved it so much, we asked for the recipe. Now, we’re passing it along to you.

The flavor depth of this simple salad will surprise you! There’s no actual dressing, but it’s so bright and refreshing, it doesn’t need to be weighed down by even one more ingredient. The contrast of the sharp lime with the naturally sweet carrots and coconut are perfectly balanced. Not a fan of cilantro? Use parsley instead.

 

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TerriAnn’s Carrot Salad

6 carrots, grated

1/2 cup coconut flakes, unsweetened

1/4 cup currants

2 Tbs. sesame seeds

1 tsp. ground coriander

juice and zest of one lime

fresh cilantro, chopped, to taste (we add about 1/2 cup)

salt and pepper, to taste (optional)

 

Grate carrots into a bowl. Add all other ingredients and toss. Serve cold, adding more or less lime juice as needed to dress the salad.

This recipe is vegan and gluten-free. Feeds two to six, depending on portion size.

 

And we want to add – thanks TerriAnn, Doc, Ani and the rest of the crew at Animal Wellness Center. We have known you for more than a decade and you all have ALWAYS given our dogs the love and care you would give your own. 🙂