PictureHealthier Lower Carb Enchilada Casserole!
I've never been a fan of enchilada casserole, most likely because I don't like corn tortillas, and most of the recipes I've seen are laden with fat, calories and excess bad carbs. I decided to give it a try again, but to create a healthier version with all my favorite spices (there's a lot!) and after a few tries, I came out with the most delicious casserole that has since become our family's favorite! This enchilada casserole is warming, flavorful and delicious, without all the fat and calories to weigh you down. Serve with light sour cream or non-fat Greek yogurt and a salad. I'm sure once you try this recipe, it will become one of your favorites too! If you are gluten free, it's easy to substitute with your favorite gluten free tortilla. Enjoy!

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Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 lbs. lean ground turkey
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 sweet red pepper, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt (or less)
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon oregano
  • 1-8 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1- 4 oz can diced green chilies
  • 1 cup low salt chicken stock
  • 1-8 oz can low salt organic diced tomatoes
  • 6-8" multi-grain "carb cutter", "low carb" tortillas or your tortilla of choice.
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Mexican style cheese
  • Cooking spray
Garnish:
  • Green onions, diced
  • Light sour cream or plain Greek yogurt.


Instructions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350°. In a large saute pan, heat olive oil.
  2. Over medium high heat; saute turkey, onions and red pepper until turkey is browned.
  3. Add garlic, cornstarch and spices. Add black beans, green chilies, chicken stock and diced tomatoes, raise heat until boiling, then lower heat and simmer for about 10 minutes until sauce thickens.
  4. Spray a 9-14" casserole dish with cooking spray. Place 2 tortillas on the bottom, cutting one tortilla to fit with the other tortilla so that they do not overlap.
  5. Place 1/3rd of the turkey mixture over the tortillas, then sprinkle 1/2 cup of cheese. Repeat x 2, ending with cheese.
  6. Cover with foil and cook in 350° oven for 20 minutes, uncover and cook an additional 10 minutes.
  7. Sprinkle with green onions and serve with sour cream. Enjoy!
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PictureIt's January, and I ate these on my front porch!
If you don't have the patience to flip french toast, then french toast muffins might be your answer! I don't usually have good luck in the morning with traditional french toast or pancakes, I am easily distracted and almost always burn one side! However, I can manage muffins very well! I make these french toast muffins quite often and they are so simple and delicious. I vary the bread, sometimes I want a grainier texture and choose a dense bread with seeds and nuts or a softer bread, like potato or oat (which the kids prefer!) These are great for breakfast, brunch or a snack. Make ahead: prepare mixture the night before, cover and place in refrigerator. In the morning, fill the muffin cups and bake as directed. Serve them right out of the oven with syrup or jam, YUM! Enjoy!

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Ingredients

  • 7 cups bread, cut into small pieces
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup syrup (maple or other)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a standard muffin tin with cooking spray.
  2. Cut your choice of bread into small squares and set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine eggs, milk, vanilla, syrup and cinnamon. Wisk until blended.
  4. Pour egg mixture over bread, stir and let it soak in, about 1-2 minutes.
  5. Fill each muffin cup almost to the top. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes. (Mine are done at 25)
  6. Serve alone, or with more syrup or jam. Enjoy!
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Rich and decadent...those are the two words that describe these mocha brownies! The photo to the left is a perfect example of "do what I say, and not what I do!" I didn't wait until the brownies were cooled and added the frosting....only to watch it melt down the sides. That's ok though, because this brownie was SO incredibly delicious...I enjoyed every bite! Coconut oil and apple sauce replace the butter in the entire recipe (hence the "healthier" title) but add a subtle taste that is out of this world! Placing the brownie pan in the freezer after baking speeds up the cooling process (if you're impatient like me!) Add the frosting to the completely cooled brownies and let it set up nicely in the fridge if you want neat squares, otherwise enjoy warm! I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as my family does!

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Ingredients

Mocha Brownies
  • 1 teaspoon instant coffee (I use decaf), mixed with 2 tablespoons hot water.
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 cup apple sauce
  • 1 1/4 cup cane sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs, 2 egg whites
  • 2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 2/3 cups cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
Coconut Chocolate Frosting
  • 1/2 cup coconut ( DO NOT MELT)
  • 2 cups confectioners sugar, divided
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 4-5 tablespoons milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray an 8x8" glass baking dish with cooking spray. 
  2. In a mixing bowl, add coffee and water, melted coconut oil, apple sauce, sugar, vanilla and eggs. Mix for 2 minutes on medium speed until blended.
  3. In a separate medium bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, cinnamon, baking powder and salt.
  4. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix together until blended.
  5. Pour brownie mixture in the prepared baking dish and bake at 325 degrees for approximately 45-50 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  6. Meanwhile, add solid coconut oil to mixing bowl and beat until smooth. Add half of the confectioners sugar, vanilla, cocoa, milk and beat until blended. Add remaining confectioners sugar and beat until very smooth and fluffy.
  7. This frosting melts quickly, so wait to add to top of brownies until brownies are completely cooled (unless you can't wait, then the frosting will be soft and drip down the sides!) YUM! Enjoy!
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Daring Cooks' January Challenge - Arancine

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January’s Daring Cooks’ challenge was a ball! The lovely Manu from Manu’s Menu brought our taste buds to the streets of Sicily and taught us her family tradition of making arancine – filled and fried balls of risotto. Delizioso!

Arancini
or arancine originate from Sicily in the 10th century. Traditionally, arancine is arborio rice shaped into a ball, filled with meat and tomato sauce, mozzarella, and peas, then coated with breadcrumbs and fried. Today, there are many variations of arancine with different fillings, even chocolate!  According to Wikipedia, The name derives from the food's shape and color, which is reminiscent of an orange (the Italian word for orange is arancia, and arancina means "little orange").

This was a real challenge for me, as the process of filling the rice balls was quite cumbersome.  I stuffed about 4 balls the proper way before I decided to just mix the rice with the turkey! The process went quite smoothly after that and I got all the balls in the oven very quickly.  I decided to bake them, because I'm just not a fry kind of gal!

My family loved my recipe for arancine, we dipped them in spaghetti sauce...YUM! I will definitely make them again! Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 5 1/2 cups arborio rice, cooked
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 rib celery, chopped
  • 1 carrot, shredded
  • 1 1/2 lbs lean ground turkey
  • 1 cup sherry
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • 1 teaspoon basil
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt (or less per taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon rosemary
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 cup frozen petite peas
  • 5 eggs, divided
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan, shredded
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 2 cups whole wheat bread crumbs
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Spray a large cookie sheet with cooking spray and set aside. Cook rice in water per package directions, about 20 minutes. Drain, then rinse with cold water and set aside.
  2. Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium heat and saute onion, celery and carrot until slightly softened. Add turkey to vegetables and cook until no longer pink. Add sherry, chicken stock, tomato paste, corn starch and all the dry spices, stir. Raise heat until boiling, then lower heat and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, until all the liquid is reduced and thickened. Add fresh parsley and peas, stir.
  3. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  4. In a small bowl, beat 2 of the eggs and add to cooled rice. Stir in Parmesan cheese and mix well. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Place a spoonful of the rice mixture in your palm (I used a small cookie scoop), pack it lightly and make an indentation in the center. Place a teaspoon of the turkey mixture in the indentation. Cover the turkey mixture with another spoonful of rice, sealing it in the center. Pack firmly into balls about 2 inches in diameter.
  6. In a small, deep bowl, beat the remaining 3 eggs. Put the flour and bread crumbs into separate small, deep bowls. Coat each rice ball with flour, then with egg and then crumbs. Place arancine balls on prepared cookie sheet and drizzle with olive oil, bake at 425 degrees for 12 minutes, then turn each ball to assure even browning. Continue to bake for 12 minutes until browned. Serve immediately with your choice of dipping sauce. Enjoy!
 
 

Bread Baker's Apprentice Challenge!

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I have started (and sometimes completed) many challenges in my life, most of which have been physical; 100 push-up challenge, various ab and core challenges, squat challenge, The 30 Day Shred (I only got through 2 arduous weeks and sustained 3 injuries!) but the challenge that I am most proud of is qualifying for the Boston Marathon, which I FINALLY did last spring!  It's January now, and I should be increasing my mileage and getting prepared to run the the race I've always dreamed of in a few months, but I didn't get into the race...I was just too slow. That is a risk that many marathoners take when trying to qualify for the Boston Marathon. Just because you qualify, does not mean that you will actually get into the race. The BAA chooses the fastest qualifiers first, then if there are any spots left, the runner is very lucky to make it in. I was devastated even before I knew I didn't get in. 4,000 runners signed up on the first day, it didn't look promising. I signed up, then after a couple of very long weeks of waiting, I got the email I had been dreading.  These past months have been difficult, I just can't seem to get past this Boston Marathon thing, I am sad that I'm not going, and there's nothing I can do about it.....well, except....make bread! Cooking and baking make me happy, very much like running. I have been baking A LOT. I was perusing recipes one day and came across a baking challenge. The Bread Baker's Apprentice Challenge hosted by Nicole from Pinch My Salt.  Although the challenge started in 2009, it is still offered to anyone who wishes to participate. The rules of this challenge are easy, just purchase Peter Reinhart's book, The Bread Baker's Apprentice - Mastering The Art Of Extraordinary Bread, then start with the first recipe and bake yourself through the entire book! No time restrictions, start any time and work at your own pace. Perfect! And I don't even have to do a push up! My dad gave me the book for Christmas and my husband gave me a Kitchen Aid mixer (usually I get running stuff!) I am looking forward to this challenge and hopefully I will have built some patience to help me through the final miles in my fall marathon!

My first bread was Anadama Bread, a traditional dark yeast bread from New England.  I have never made bread like this before. The process was quite involved, it required 2 days, 3 rises and LOTS of waiting! The final product was a slightly dense bread with some texture from the cornmeal and a slightly sweet flavor from the molasses. Served warm with a bit of butter and honey...YUM! Here is my labor of love! --->

I will be posting my breads here, but not posting the recipes, as we were advised not to do that. The book is enjoyable to read, with lot's of great information for a beginning to advanced baker. 
Anadama Bread
Soaker, Proofing, !st Rise, Kneading, 2nd Rise.
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The final rise!


 
 
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The kids just went back to school this morning after a LONG winter break! I made this coffee cake late last night in preparation for a busy morning. Trying to peel tired kids from their beds on a cold and snowy morning is not easy! This cake softened the blow... just a bit! My kids said it didn't taste like coffee, so I went into a long explaination about coffee cake! I decided to call it a streusel cake, so that there's no misconseption!

I'm ok with giving my kids cake for breakfast, when there's healthy stuff hidden inside! Whole wheat flour, eggs, Greek yogurt, low fat cream cheese, apple sauce, flax seed, almonds and cinnamon make this cake delicious and healthy too! No one will EVER know it's healthier! Enjoy!

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Ingredients

Streusel Filling:
  • 1/4 cup cane sugar
  • 1/4 cup nuts, coarsly chopped (I use almonds, and walnuts)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
Cake:
  • 1 1/2 cups cane sugar
  • 4 Tablespoons butter, melted
  • 4 ounces neufchatel cream cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 cup Fat free Greek yogurt
  • 1/3 cup apple sauce
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup ground flax seed
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a 12" bundt pan with cooking spray. 
  2. Combine sugar, chopped nuts and cinnamon, set aside. 
  3. Beat sugar, butter and cream cheese in a mixing bowl on medium speed until combined. 
  4. Add eggs, one at a time and beat well after each addition. Add Greek yogurt, apple sauce and vanilla, stirring until combined. 
  5. In a medium bowl, combine whole wheat flour, all purpose flour, flax seed, baking powder and baking soda. 
  6. Add flour mixture to wet ingredients and stir, just until combined. 
  7. Spoon half of the cake batter into the prepared bundt pan, then sprinkle with the streusel filling, then add the remaining batter. 
  8. Bake at 350°F for 40-45 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for 5-10 minutes. Remove from bundt pan carefully onto wire rack. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Serve warm. Enjoy!

Please feel free to comment below if you visit this page, I will be happy to reciprocate! Also, if you are interested in joining in on a weekly cooking challenge...check that out HERE
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Vegetables A-Z Cooking Challenge!

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A is for Asparagus! Let's hear it for asparagus! YAY! Lol! This dish was inspired by my cooking challenge! This weeks challenge is to cook a vegetable starting with the letter A! I chose asparagus because it pairs nicely with fish, and that's what I had on hand. Hake is a thicker fish, similar to mahi mahi (without the expense) and our family really likes it. It is easy to cook, and it turns out perfectly every time. 

If you haven't ever tried this method of cooking, you should definitely give it a try. The prep time is minimal (3-5 minutes) and cook time is 20 minutes! The result is a perfectly cooked fish and tender, but not mushy vegetable. ENJOY!

Servings: 4
Total time: 25 minutes

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Ingredients

  • 4 Hake Loin fillets
  • 24 spears asparagus
  • 4 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1/2 cup white cooking wine or chicken stock ( I like wine)
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste
  • Garlic, to taste
  • Parsley, to taste
  • 4 (10 inch) sheets aluminum foil

Instructions

  1. Preheat the broiler on high setting, line a baking tray with foil and place about 5 inches from the broiler to heat. 
  2. Place the foil squares on the counter and center the fish on each piece. Add 1 tablespoon of butter to each piece. Add 6 spears of asparagus next to each piece of fish. 
  3. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic and parsley, then pour 1/8 cup wine or chicken stock on the top of each piece. 
  4. Fold the edges of foil together, make sure they are tightly sealed to keep from leaking. 
  5. Place the pouches on the baking tray and broil for 20 minutes with the oven door closed. 
  6. Be careful when removing fish from tin foil, as the steam will be hot. Enjoy!
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Shepherd's Pie (or Cottage Pie - used synonymously) originated in the late 1700's in Scotland, Ireland and Northern England as a way for frugal housewives to utilize leftover meat (mutton or beef) and a new emerging edible crop, called potatoes! The original recipe included celery, carrots, stock, peas, and meat for the filling and a potato topping. 

I grew up in a small village southwest of London, and have fond memories of enjoying the smell and taste of Shepherd's pie made by my Granny and my Mom. I have carried on the tradition in my own family, but have altered the ingredients slightly. The taste is similar, very flavorful and comforting, but with a lot less fat and calories. Enjoy!

SAVE & PRINT RECIPE

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Ingredients

Filling:
  • 1 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 lb lean ground turkey
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 tbsp corn starch
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp parsley
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • Paprika
Topping:
  • 1 1/2 lbs potatoes, peeled and cut into 1" pieces
  • 2 tbsp sour cream
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup sharp cheese, shredded (optional)

Instructions

  1. Boil potatoes in water until cooked and soft. Drain and mash with chicken broth, sour cream, salt and pepper.
  2. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  3. In a large saute pan over medium-high, add 1/2 tbsp olive oil and brown turkey. Stir in peas, corn starch, chicken stock, tomato paste and spices. Lower heat and simmer for 10 minutes. 
  4. Meanwhile in another pan, add 1/2 tbsp oil and melt butter. Add onion, celery and carrots and cook until softened, about 5 minutes, add garlic and sauté on medium heat about 2 minutes. 
  5. Combine vegetables to turkey mixture and spread on the bottom of a 11 x 7 baking dish. Top with mashed potatoes and cheese (if using), and sprinkle with paprika. 
  6. Bake covered for 20 minutes, then remove foil and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes until cheese is melted and slightly golden. Enjoy!

http://futureexpat.com/2013/12/required-ingredient-onion/

Tags: Shepherd's Pie, Cottage Pie, Healthy, Lean, Turkey, Potatoes, Peas, Carrots, Herbs, Comfort Food, England, Scotland, Ireland.
 
 
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The December Daring Bakers' Challenge had us all Cheering - the lovely and talented Bourbonnatirix of Bourbonnatrix Bakes was our hostess and challenged us to make fun, delicious and creative whoopie pies! 


I don't know who was more excited when I found out what we were going to be making...me, my husband, the kids or the dog!! I spent a long time perusing recipes, but none of the flavors appealed to me. Then I got to thinking...almond poppy seed birthday cake with cream cheese frosting is everyone's favorite. I couldn't find a recipe specifically for this flavor of whoopie pie, so I created my own cookie recipe and used Martha Stewart's cream cheese frosting recipe. I am very pleased how these turned out, they were absolutely sinfully delicious! Enjoy!

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Ingredients

FOR COOKIES:
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tablespoon good quality almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons poppy seeds

FOR CREAM CHEESE FILLING:

  • By Martha Stewart
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 3 cups confectioners' sugar

Instructions

FOR COOKIES:
  1. PREHEAT oven to 350° F. Lightly grease or line four baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl; combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, set aside.
  3. In a mixing bowl; beat together butter, coconut oil and sugar in on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add egg, beat well. Add almond, vanilla extract and milk; beat until smooth. Add poppy seeds, and stir. 
  4. Stir in flour mixture until combined. Drop by small cookie scoop onto prepared baking sheets.
  5. Bake for 10 to 13 minutes or until springy to the touch. Cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.
FOR CREAM CHEESE FILLING:
  1. Beat cream cheese, butter and vanilla extract in mixer bowl on medium speed until fluffy. Gradually beat in powdered sugar until light and fluffy.
  2. SPREAD a heaping teaspoon of filling onto flat side of one cookie; top with flat side of second cookie to make a sandwich. Repeat with remaining cookies and filling. Store in covered container in refrigerator.
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I got a new Kitchen Aid mixer for Christmas! I couldn't wait to make something...anything with my new mixer! I found a dog biscuit recipe on Pinterest and doctored it up with flax and herbs. Just to be safe, I Googled "safe herbs for dogs" and  made sure the other ingredients were safe too. These were a blast to make with my daughter's dog shaped cookie cutter she got from Santa! These cookies smelled great and, our black lab loves them! Enjoy!



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Ingredients

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1/4 cups flax seed
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp basil
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth/stock
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick spray and set aside. 
  2. In a medium bowl; combine flour, oats, flax, salt, basil and oregano. 
  3. In a mixing bowl; beat egg, chicken broth and peanut butter until combined. Add dry ingredients and stir until combined. 
  4. On a floured work surface, place dough and roll out with a rolling pin until 1/4 inch thick. Cut dough with fun dog shaped cookie cutters and place on prepared baking sheet. 
  5. Bake at 350°F for about 30 minutes or until bottoms start to brown. Remove from oven and place on wire rack until cooled. Enjoy!
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Tags: Dog Treats, Dog Biscuits, Healthy dog, Herbs for dogs, Flax for dogs.