Saturday, January 10, 2015

Home Brewing: Spent Grain Dog Biscuits

Spent Grain Dog Biscuits

We finally got around to making another batch of beer... almost 2 years after our first batch! This time we tried out a wheat beer.  Right now it is fermenting away and awaiting bottling day.  My dad gave me the idea to use the spent grains in dog biscuits.  I loved the idea of using the spent grains instead of throwing them right into the compost pile, so I looked online for a good recipe.  I found an easy recipe and followed the method described on the 17 Apart blog. 

Spent Gain Dog Biscuits
4 cups spent grains
2 cups flour
2 large eggs
1 cup peanut butter

Mix ingredients.  Roll out on a floured surface.  Cut with cookie cutters, a knife, or make rounded drop cookies with a teaspoon.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 225 degrees and bake for an additional 2 hours.

Eventually I'll buy cute dog bone shaped cookie cutters, but for now I only have 2- one shaped like the state of Virginia and the other shaped like the continent of Australia.  Our grains were drained,  but still quite wet, so the dough was very sticky.  Because of this, the cookie cutters didn't work out very well.  I quickly found that just cutting them with a knife was my best bet and I found that it was easier to cut if I floured the knife between cuts.
Dog biscuits ready to go in the oven

Australia turned out pretty good, but Virginia is a little wonky.  I'll stick to rectangles!

The dog biscuits turned out great, and our boxer, Timber, loves them!  I even tasted one and it wasn't that bad; like a very very bland and crunchy peanut butter cookie.  I think I'll leave them to the dog though!
Timber, really laying on the cuteness to talk me into giving her more dog biscuits.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Green Walls in Tokyo

Living Columns in a Retail District in Tokyo
I recently took an amazing, two-week trip to Japan.  I was blown away by the gardens, the people, the history, and the food.  It will be hard to summarize the trip, but I thought I would start with a few photos of something that I have always loved- green walls.  In Tokyo, we saw some impressive green walls in public places like retail districts and train stations.  They were wonderful patterns of color and texture, which focused mostly on foliage rather than flowers.
Part of a Flower Show Exhibit
Ferns and Heuchera

Living Wall Planters

Green Walls with ferns, grasses, heuchera, and other foliage plants. Shannon is about 5'6" for scale.

Fancy traffic island.  I think that is mostly hakonechloa, but I didn't run out in the street to check!
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