Recipe: Stir “Fry” and Rice Noodles with Spicy Peanut Sauce and Adzuki Sprouts

December 1, 2010

You may recall my assertion that Ellie does not like leafy greens. In an eager effort to prove me wrong, Ellie has decided that she LOVES bok choy. So I came up with this healthy stir “fry” to stuff some veggies into her. I put “fry” in quotations because this recipe has no added oil, save what’s naturally present in the peanut butter. Because Ellie likes her veggies crunchy, I served hers raw. If you think that your parrot would prefer cooked veggies, just toss them all in the wok together and omit the soy sauce. Reserve this salty ingredient to sprinkle on the humans’ portions once served.

You’ll need:

  • 1 package brown rice noodles
  • 1/4 cup all natural peanut butter (only ingredient should be peanuts)
  • juice of one lime
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger, or to taste
  • 1 tsp chili flakes, or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 c shredded holy basil (or any sweet basil will do)
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 4-5 large leaves bok choy, with whites, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 2 cups sugar snap peas
  • 2 carrots, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup adzuki beans, sprouted
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced

Prepare rice noodles according to package directions, omitting any salt. Decide how much of the vegetables your parrot will eat and set aside to be served raw.

In a large wok on low heat, melt peanut butter. Remove wok from heat. Stir in lime juice, ginger, chili flakes, garlic powder, holy basil, and 1/4 cup water. Set aside a tablespoon or so of this sauce for your parrot’s veggies.

Return wok with remaining sauce to heat. Add humans’ vegetables, soy sauce, and another 1/2 cup water. Toss to coat. Turn heat to high and cook until vegetables are tender-crisp and bok choy leaves are wilted, about 3-5 minutes, . Divide noodles among plates. Top with vegetables and adzuki sprouts. Top parrot’s plate with reserved sauce. Garnish humans’ plates with green onion.

Serves two very hungry humans and one or more hungry parrots, with leftovers.

A perfect parrot-sized portion.

Recipe: Sweet Potato Chili

November 11, 2010

This hearty, spicy-sweet dish is packed with vitamin A and other goodies for you and your parrot’s health.

You’ll need:

  • 3 to 4 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled and roughly cubed
  • 1 large beefsteak tomato
  • 2 to 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 an organic lime
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, or to taste
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced
  • 2 to 3 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 to 2 cups cooked black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder, or to taste
  • 1 Tbsp ground cumin, or to taste
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • dash ground cloves
  • 1 cup diced onion (for humans only)
  • sea salt to taste (for humans only)

There are two ways to prevent the onions from getting into your parrot’s meal. The first is to divide the ingredients between two pots, one with onion and one without. The second is to cook everything but the onion together, then set aside your parrot’s portion, add the onion to the remainder and cook a little while longer. I used the second method for convenience’s sake, but the first way might produce a richer flavor.

Directions:

Place the sweet potato in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Meanwhile, puree tomato, garlic, lime (peel and all) and jalapeno in food processor until saucy. When sweet potatoes are soft enough to be broken with a fork (about half an hour), bale out approximately half the water from the pot (reserve to make veggie broth or discard). Stir in tomato mix and remaining ingredients (except for salt and onion if using method 2). Simmer approximately half an hour longer, or until sweet potatoes are very soft and flavours have melded. If using method 2 of onion adding, now is the time to do it. Season the humans’ portion with sea salt to taste.

This makes quite a large pot of very thick chili, and tastes even better as leftovers. Enjoy!

Recipe: Green Apple Zinger Smoothie

November 8, 2010

Like many six-year-olds, Ellie is sometimes adverse to eating what’s good for her, particularly when it comes to leafy green things. So I’ve taken to disguising such nasties as spinach, dandelion, chard and kale into uber-delicious recipes such as this green smoothie. Green smoothies are pretty much the ultimate healthy breakfast for humans too – the nice hit of fruit and veggies will balance your blood sugar and make you feel like eating healthily all day. And you’ll be amazed at how delicious and just-the-right-amount-of-sweet they are.

You’ll need:

  • 2 apples (I like royal gala)
  • 1 1/2 cups pineapple juice (100% juice, no sugar added)
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 1 generous slice fresh ginger (peeled), or to taste
  • several large handfuls dandelion greens

Quarter, core and de-seed apples. Peel if not using organic. Place all ingredients in blender, filling almost to top with loosely-packed dandelion. Blend on high until smooth, with as few little bits as possible. Depending on your blender, you may have to stop the blender and let it rest a few times to prevent the mixture from heating up. The pectin in the apples makes for a pretty thick smoothie. If too thick, blend in a little more water. Enjoy with your parrot!

Makes 2 pints.

Recipe: Easy Porridge

October 25, 2010

Mornings are a busy time at my house. the two humans have to wash, dress, eat and leave for work while making sure that all the non-humans are clean, fed, watered, and have something to occupy their attention. For this reason, breakfasts are usually simple – a smoothie, or some fruit and granola. But now, as the weather cools down, nothing beats some hot cereal to get me going for the day. And Ellie loves it too. Here’s the easiest recipe ever. You don’t even have to measure.

You’ll need:

  • rolled oats
  • fruit of your choice
  • optional: nuts, cinnamon, real maple syrup, honey, or agave

In a microwave-safe bowl, dump as much rolled oats as you think you and your parrot(s) will want to eat. Add water until the oats are just covered. Microwave on high for 2-3 minutes, or until water is absorbed. Spoon parrots’ portion into their own dish. Top each portion with fruit (banana, berries, apple, or even unsweetened applesauce are all good choices), and if you wish, nuts and cinnamon. For the humans, maple syrup, honey, or agave are all healthier sweeteners than the standard brown sugar.

Recipe: Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

October 13, 2010

Stuffed peppers make a fun, fully edible foraging toy for your bird(s) and a healthy, hearty meal for you. You can vary the size of the peppers to suit the size of your parrot; a large bird like a macaw may be able to handle a bell pepper, as might two or more smaller birds who don’t mind sharing. For my pionus, I used (very spicy) scotch bonnet peppers. This recipe freezes well.

Makes 6 peppers for humans and 12 peppers for smaller birds.

You’ll need:

  • 6 large green bell peppers
  • 12 scotch bonnet peppers (wash hands immediately after handling and don’t touch your eyes, nose or lips!)
  • 2 cups quinoa (red, white, or a mix)
  • 1 cup kidney beans, soaked overnight, cooked & drained
  • 2 small summer squash, diced
  • 1 roma tomato, diced
  • 3/4 cup onion, diced
  • 3 tsp garlic powder, or to taste
  • salt & black pepper, to taste

Directions:

- Cook the quinoa according to package directions. I like to do it in my rice cooker.
– Remove the stem from each pepper and scoop out the seeds and membranes. These can be reserved for your parrot to eat another time, if you like.
– Set out two bowls, one for humans and one for parrots.
– In the human bowl, mix approximately two thirds of the the quinoa, kidney beans, summer squash, and tomato, and ALL of the onion. Season with two tsp garlic powder, and salt and black pepper to taste.
– In the parrot bowl, mix the remaining quinoa, beans, squash, tomato, and garlic powder. You may wish to mash the mixture a bit to break up the kidney beans.
– Divide the humans’ mixture among the bell peppers and the parrots’ mixture among the scotch bonnets. Any leftover mix is tasty on its own.
– Bake the humans’ bell peppers at 400 degrees Farenheit for 45 minutes in a deep casserole dish with a lid and a 1/2 inch of water in the bottom. Serve hot.
– Serve the parrots’ peppers raw or gently warmed.

*If you’re into a raw foods diet, you can substitute sprouted quinoa for cooked, and sprouted adzuki beans for the kidney beans. Warm in the dehydrator before serving if desired.

Eating Like A Bird 101: What kind of crazy person cooks for their parrot?

October 13, 2010

 


Ellie enjoys a home-cooked meal as much as the next gal.

 

To the average person, cooking for your pets may seem bizarre, and even over-the-top. After all, the vast majority of pet owners feed their pets store-bought diets from bags or cans. But when it comes to your companion parrot, relying wholly on a ready-made diet may not be the best option. If you’re reading this blog, you probably already know that a seed-only diet does not provide all the nutrients a parrot needs, and even the best pelleted diets are rarely species-specific, and do not offer the variety of shapes, colours and textures that stimulate a parrot’s senses and encourage foraging behaviour. The solution to all of these problems is to prepare some food yourself!

It doesn’t take a crazy parrot lady (or man) to want to cook for your feathered friend, and there are lots of recipes out there to help you feed your parrots. The recipes here are special because they are meant to be enjoyed by both your parrot AND you – the human!

Here’s a few reasons you might like “eating like a bird”:

  • Maybe you’re trying to get more fruits and veggies into your parrot’s diet. Sharing a meal with your bird is a great way to encourage him to try new foods.
  • Maybe you’re happy with your parrot’s current diet, but now and again just want to do something “special”.
  • Maybe you have a parrot (like mine) who doesn’t do well on a conventional commercial diet and needs all her food specially prepared for her. Making meals you both enjoy can cut your time in the kitchen in half!
  • Maybe (like me) you one day looked at the gorgeous array of foods you’d prepared for your pet and wondered why you didn’t treat yourself that well. You can!

And here’s a huge bonus: by encouraging your bird to eat healthily with these recipes, you’ll be encouraging YOURSELF too! Because what’s good for the psittacines is good for the homo sapiens as well.

That said, there are a few common ingredients we humans have developed a taste for that can be detrimental to our parrots’ health. The biggest offender on this list is salt, and even what seems like a little to us is much too much for a bird. Another potentially hazardous ingredient is onions – there’s a lot of debate over whether onions are actually harmful to birds, but I’m of the “better safe than sorry” mindset, so even though I love onions, I don’t offer them to my birds.

To keep things both safe for the birds and appetizing for the humans, some of these recipes have two versions – one for the feathered diners and one for the hominid ones . Both versions can be made simultaneously, just in separate bowls or pots. It’s only one extra dish at cleanup time and it keeps everyone safe and happy. Of course, there is no reason that humans can’t eat the parrot versions. In fact, this might be a great idea if you’re trying to cut back on sodium – or if your parrot likes to steal from your plate.

One final note about the recipes: like many parrots I know, I myself am a flinger, meaning that I prefer to toss ingredients together rather than measure them carefully. Therefore, all measurements in these recipes are approximate, and a little more or less of anything won’t hurt. Let your eyes, nose and taste buds guide you, and feel free to to add, subtract or substitute ingredients to suit you and your parrot’s likes and needs.

Bon appetit!


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