Hi! I am an Eclectus parrot owner and I love to cook! Why not be able to share your meals with your fids? I hope these ideas will encourage you to eat healthier as well as enrich the lives of your parrots. Enjoy and happy cooking!!

These recipes are designed to be made for you and your family AND be safe to share with your parrot. Special consideration has been given to the unique Eclectus diet. Please be aware that, where noted, some ingredients should be added ONLY to the human servings. If you have questions or suggestions feel free to add them in comments for that recipe!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Cornbread & Apple Stuffing

Ingredients


·        Wholesome Cornbread, (click here for recipe)
·        1 T extra-virgin olive oil
·        1 large stalk celery, diced (1/2 cup)
·        2 red apples, such as Cortland, diced
·        1/2 C golden raisins (unsulphured)
·        2 cloves garlic, minced
·        1 T chopped fresh sage, or 1 teaspoon dried rubbed sage
·        1 T chopped fresh thyme, or 1 teaspoon dried
·        1 C reduced-sodium chicken broth, or vegetable broth, divided
·        1/4 tsp salt
·        Freshly ground pepper, to taste
·        1/2 C apple cider, or apple juice

1.      Prepare Wholesome Cornbread (click here for recipe).
2.      When the cornbread has cooled, crumble into rough chunks (you should have about 6 C). Spread the chunks and crumbs out on a large baking sheet. Toast in the oven at 350°F, stirring occasionally, until crisp but not browned, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool.
3.      Meanwhile, heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add celery; cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes.
4.      Add apples, golden raisins, garlic, sage and thyme; cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.
5.      Add 1/2 C broth and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated, 5 to 6 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a large bowl.
6.      Preheat oven to 350°F, Coat a 3-quart baking dish with cooking spray.
7.      Add the toasted cornbread to the apple mixture and toss to mix. Drizzle cider (or juice) and the remaining 1/2 C broth over the mixture and toss until evenly moistened.
8.      Transfer the stuffing to the prepared baking dish and cover with foil. Bake at until heated through, 35 to 45 minutes. For a crisp top, remove the foil for the last 15 minutes.

Fun Facts:  It is not known when “stuffings” were 1st used, however the earliest documented evidence is a Roman cookbook in which stuffings were made of vegetables, herbs, nuts and, frequently, chopped organ meat.  In the late 1800’s the Victorian English replaced the term with “dressing”.  It is thought that the Pilgrims likely used herbs and nuts to stuff their birds.  **Shhhhh - we'll not mention that to the fiddies!!**

Monday, November 17, 2014

Wholesome Cornbread

Ingredients

·       1 1/4 C yellow cornmeal
·       3/4 C whole-wheat flour
·       3 T sugar
·       1 tsp baking powder
·       1/2 tsp baking soda
·       1/2 tsp salt
·       1 large egg, lightly beaten
·       1 1/4 C buttermilk
·       2 T canola oil

1.      Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat an 8” square baking pan with cooking spray.
2.      Whisk cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda & salt in a large bowl.
3.      Whisk egg, buttermilk & oil in a separate bowl. Add to the dry ingredients & stir until just combined.
4.      Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, spreading evenly.
5.      Bake the cornbread until the top springs back when touched lightly, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for at least 5 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

**This recipe has a bit of sugar.  If you're concerned about offering regular sugar, you can substitute coconut sugar!  And the oil can be subbed with applesauce, though you may need to reduce the buttermilk so it doesn't come out too wet.

Fun Facts:  The Native Americans learned early to dry and grind corn into corn meal, the basic component of cornbread. When mixed with eggs and corn flour, the easiest and simplest of cornbreads can be made.  Many types of cornbread, from corn pone to hushpuppies, can be found in wide range of American cuisines!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Sweet Potato Biscuits

Ingredients:
  • 1 medium sweet potato (about 5 oz)
  • 1 1/4 C whole-wheat biscuit mix
  • 2 T chilled unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1/2 C lowfat buttermilk
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice
1.   Wrap sweet potato in a paper towel. Microwave on high  until soft, 4 minutes.
2.   Scoop flesh into a bowl & mash; set aside.
3.   Place biscuit mix & butter in a bowl; “cut in” butter until large pea-sized crumbs form.
4.   Add sweet potato, buttermilk & allspice; mix until just combined. Transfer dough onto a baking sheet & form into a 12" x 4" rectangle. Cut into 8 rectangles with a serrated knife & separate slightly.
5.   Bake at 400° until biscuits are firm to the touch, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
6.   Once cool, store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Fun Facts:  Allspice is commonly mistaken for a blend of cinnamon, nutmeg & cloves.  It is, however, a spice derived from the Pimenta dioica tree.  Not to be confused with pimento, the unripe fruit of the Pimenta dioica is picked & dried to give us allspice.  Allspice was encountered by Christopher Columbus in Jamaica & introduced into Mediterranean & European cuisine in the 16th century.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Pumpkins - A Super Food!!!

I thought this would be the perfect time to get to work on this blog again - just in time for the Fall season when squashes and gourds of all kinds are hot decoration - and MENU - items!  Pumpkins come in many varieties and are not only fun to carve, they are nutritious.  The fruit is low-calorie, free of saturated fats and cholesterol... RICH in fiber, anti-oxidants, vitamins (lots of vitamin A!) and minerals.  The seeds are high in fiber, protein and heart-healthy amino acids.

When selecting, look for fully-developed pumpkins that sound "woody" when tapped, are heavy in the hand and have a stout stem.  Avoid those with wrinkled or bruised skin.  You can store them for weeks in a cool, well-ventilated area but once cut, should be refrigerated and will only last a few days.

Since you're probably getting ready to carve up a jack-o-lantern or two for Halloween, be sure to share a scoop of seeds, guts and all, with the fids - mine love it! - and here's how to make a tasty toasted snack that everyone can enjoy!

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

1. Clean your seeds - annoying but necessary!  Try dumping them in a bowl of water and use your hands to get the stringy pumpkin "guts" off.  Pat them dry on a towel.  Return to a clean bowl.
2. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.
3. Give your seeds a very light drizzle of olive oil (or coconut oil) - doesn't take much!  Toss to coat then spread out in a single layer on your baking sheet.
4. Bake for 8-10 minutes then stir.  After another 5 minutes, test one to see if they're done.  The shell should be crispy and easy to bite through and will be just slightly golden.  The seeds inside will burn if you bake too long so keep a close watch!
5. That's it!  But keep reading for some tasty flavor ideas!

After the olive oil step you can add some flavor if you wish.  My favorite is salt but I don't share those with the fiddies.  Just remember to use bird-safe ingredients for the seeds you intend to offer your parrot.

*Sub coconut oil above and toss with cinnamon.
*A splash of pure maple syrup and a bit of pumpkin pie spice and ground clove.
*Spice them up with with a little cayenne pepper.
*Go Italian with parmesan and oregano.
*Try a blend of equal parts ground cumin, cinnamon, ginger, plus a pinch of cayenne.  (Add a couple tablespoons of sugar to a batch for humans with a taste for sweet and spicy!)
*Sweeten them with cinnamon and sugar for humans only!

KITCHEN TIP: Use tin foil to bake separate flavors on the same pan.



Do you have a favorite flavor?  Please comment and share!!


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Zucchini Boats with Quinoa Stuffing


There is nothing tastier than zucchini, any way you cook it - if you ask ME.  I love it grilled, sauteed, stuffed...  so here's a healthy spin on stuffed zucchini that you can share with the fids!  Enjoy!

Ingredients:
1/2 C quinoa, rinsed
4 medium zucchini
1 15-ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed
1 C grape or cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/2 C almonds, chopped (about 2 ounces)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
3/4 C grated Parmesan – the real stuff, preferably!  Grated cheese topping is generally too salty for the fiddies.
3 T olive oil

Directions

1. Heat oven to 400° F. In a large saucepan, combine the quinoa & 1 C water, bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, simmer until the quinoa is tender & the water is absorbed, 12-15 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, cut the zucchini in half lengthwise & scoop out the seeds (your fids may enjoy them as an appetizer!). Arrange zucchini boats in a large baking dish, cut-side up.

3. Fluff the quinoa & fold in the beans, tomatoes, almonds, garlic, ½ C of the Parmesan & olive oil.

4. Spoon the mixture into the zucchini boats. Top with remaining ¼ C Parmesan. Cover with foil & bake until the zucchini is tender, 25-30 minutes. Remove the foil & bake until golden, 8-10 minutes.

Be sure to let the fiddie's portion cool before serving!

NOTE:  For other tasty stuffing ideas for the humans in the house, try adding Italian sausage, pepperoni, onions, bell peppers... just about any pizza topping is delicious!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Romeo’s Quinoa Salad

Romeo is my friend Kathleen's beautiful little Ekkie & he LOVES his mama's cookin'!!  Here is a recipe they'd like to share with everyone:

Ingredients:
3/4 C quinoa
3 lg limes
1/2 C red bell pepper, minced
1 tomato, cut small
2 Persian cucumbers (or other cucumber - 1/3-1/2 English cuc), cut small
1/4 C cilantro, minced
1/4 C flat leaf parsley, minced
1/4 C olive oil, or drizzle in amount desired
1/3 - 1/2 C frozen corn
1/4 C canned black beans, rinsed (Westbrae has the best tasting beans)
1/4 C minced red onion (omit in parrot's portion)

1. Cook quinoa (2:1 ratio, water to grain) for 15 minutes. When done, add in frozen corn.
2. To a medium sized bowl, add all ingredients (except for onion) then add cooled quinoa & corn & toss.
3. Carve out a portion for your parrot. To the remaining people portion, add minced red onion.

Season people portion with sea salt to taste.  Enjoy!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Kasha, Yam & Carrot Soup

Fall is finally approaching Houston.  It's not over 100 degrees everyday - yay!!  When I think Fall, I think squash, soups, comfort foods and Thanksgiving.  So here's a very low fat, high fiber soup made with one of nature's superfoods... the sweet potato.  Hope you and the fiddies enjoy!  Recipe courtesy of Bob's Red Mill.

Ingredients:
1 C cooked buckwheat kernels (Kasha)
4 lg carrots, cleaned and trimmed
2 lg yams, peeled and cut into 1" cubes
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
6 C vegetable stock (homemade is best!)***
1/4 tsp sea salt (for the people)
1/8 tsp black pepper
1 C plain yogurt

1. Dice 1 of the carrots & place in a small saucepan with 1/2 C vegetable stock.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat & simmer 10 minutes, until carrot is tender.  Drain, reserving liquid in a large saucepan, and set carrots aside.

2. Dice remaining carrot. Add carrot, yams, kasha & remaining stock to the large saucepan.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat & partially cover. Simmer until all veggies are tender, about 30 minutes.

3. Strain soup into a large bowl & set aside.  Then puree the veggies in a blender or food processor, returning puree to the large saucepan.  Add reserved soup to the puree and heat through, adding the nutmeg, cayenne & black pepper.

4. Serve, garnishing with a dollop of yogurt & reserved diced carrots (from step 1).  **Be sure to let the fiddie portions cool well before serving to them!

Kitchen Note: ***Storebought vegetable stock is often high in sodium.  To make your own, simply add a variety of vegetables - carrots, celery with the leaves, potato peels, brocoli & cauliflower stems, green bean ends, quartered onion, smashed garlic, fresh parsley, bay leaf - to a large stock pot.  (This is a great way to utilize veggie scraps!  Freeze scraps as you have them and throw into stock when you're ready to make it!)  Cover with water and let simmer for 1-2 hours.  Strain out the solids and discard.  Freeze what you don't need right away!