Banana berry crackers

I made this wonderful and very simple to make crackers for my two parrots, since they’ve so good lately. You can add or substitute any of the ingredients, it’s that simple to make ūüôā

Ingredients needed:

1/4 cup of flax seeds * (optional)

1 tbs of chia seeds* (optional)

1/2 cup of water* (optional)

1/2 cup of berries ( I used goji berries and blueberries)

1 cup flour ( I used 1/2 cup of spelt flour and 1/2 cup of millet flour, but any will do)

1/2 cup of coconut flakes 

1/2 of a banana ( or one smaller banana)

1/2 cup of buckwheat

1 tbs of Pura Vida ( or any herbs you like, for eg. chamomile, hibiscus, etc)

some Cayenne pepper  ( or cinnamon or any other parrot friendly spice)

First, you soak chia and flax seeds in water. It doesn’t take that long for both chia and flax to turn into a gooey mix. Once they have gelatinized, put them, coconut and banana into a blender and pulse it until you have a smooth paste. I blend coconut flakes because this way little bits of coconut get evenly distributed in the dough. That being said, you don’t have to do that, you can add it later on.

In your flour add the banana paste and mix it all together, than add the rest of ingredients. Mix them well!!! Don’t be alarmed if your mix is sticky. It’s supposed to be, though. Just spread it onto a baking sheet, place another on top, roll the dough out and put it either in your dehydrator or in the oven.

If you dehydrate them, it will take 12 hours or in the oven for a few hours. If you are going to bake them, than you should bake them at 130 Celsius until firm…cca 30 min.

You can form different shapes, than roll them into seeds if you like it that way more. You could substitute banana for any other fruit, since flax and chia combo are creating a gooey enough mix.

If you don’t have flax or chia seeds, you could make these crackers just with a banana. I’ve made them before with only a banana and dried fruit and it works equally good and to be honest, I think they like it more with only banana and berries in it. ¬†I think I’ll make my next batch without flax and chia.¬†If you decide to use a more “watery” fruits like an apple, than just remember to add a bit more flour.

So, you see it’s that easy to make homemade crackers ūüôā

Happy baking everyone!

A new (and much improved) homemade Avicake recipe

I posted my Nutriberrie/Avicake recipe that I created without any liquid sweeteners. I was very pleased with results  even though it is only a treat.

One thing I wasn’t happy about (and part of the reason my nutriberries are only a treat around here) was that I had to use dates. Dates ARE healthy, BUT also loaded with sugar. So, even though I did take molasses and corn syrup out of the equation, I was still left with quite sugary dates. I wanted to make something similar, since they seemed to love them so much, but make it less treat – like and more day-to-day type of a snack.

That got me thinking, if it would be possible to make homemade Avicakes without dates. It turns out it is. Only thing you should keep in mind is that you really should be mindful about amounts of water in the mixture. For eg. if you are using fresh veggies, be sure to dry them as much as possible, since apricots are not as sugary as dates and will not “hold” everything together as well as dates. That being said, once dry, my Avicakes are solid.

Let’s get baking!!

Base of my Avicake recipe was:

1/4 cup of flax seed (soaked overnight in 1/2 cup of water)

1 apple

1/3 cup dried apricots 

Blend all of the above ingredients in a blender until it makes a consistent mix. Don’t add any additional water!

Add ins were:

1 1/2 cup of Chop (or any vegetables you have at home)

1/2 cup rolled oats

1/3 cup coconut flakes

1/2 cup of various seeds and grains

Extras added were crushed chili pepper, Pura Vida, chamomile flowers and ginger.

After you mix everything very¬†thoroughly¬† grease a pan with parrot friendly oil (I used coconut oil) and either dehydrate it (that’s what I did) or bake in the oven at a lower temperature until firm. After it’s done, cut it into squares.

I would like to¬†clarify¬†one thing-you could use both chia seeds and/or flax seeds. Why I used flax and not chia? Simply because they get chia seeds in their diet and I like to offer as much as diversity as possible, offering them a lot more this way. Second reason would be that flax seeds get a lot more gooey, hence is a better “glue” for this mixture.

They smelled amazing!! I love how they turned out, I really do.

Happy baking everyone!!

Homemade Nutriberry/Avicake recipe

Firstly, ¬†why I said Nutri-berries/Avicake is because I experimented with shapes of the dough to see how it works. If you look at the ingredients list of Nutri-berries and Avicakes, you’ll notice that they are pretty much the same. What I wasn’t happy about were the corn syrup, peanuts, soy,…

I wanted to make an organic, much more healthier version of them. I used to feed them, but quickly stopped once I’ve read what they were made of. Never the less, my IRN LOOOVVVEEDD them. So, I set on a mission to make them as good as they get.

Before I start explaining the recipe, I would like to stress that this was a test batch, just to see would it be possible to make them without any honey or molasses and how would they be formed into various shapes. It turned out, my dough is pretty amazing. Ready to get baking?

Base of my Nutri-berries recipe is made of:

5 dates

1 apple (or a small jar of apple sauce)

1/2 cup of flax seed

a little bit of water

You’ll need a blender to blend, all of the before mention ingredients, together. Add a little bit of water to make it all come together in a sticky mixture. I forgot to measure how much water I’ve put in, but will do it next time. Promise. Making the base is the¬†crucial¬†part! Blend everything together very well! It has to form a consistent mix.

Next step is adding extras to make our Nutri-berries that more appealing and nutritious :

1 carrot, grated

1/2 cup each of millet and rolled oats

1/4 cup each of sunflower seeds and sesame seeds

1/4 cup of coconut flakes (I used a blender to crumble them up)

1/3 cup of raisins

As I mentioned before, this was a test batch, so I used all the stuff I know they like. So, these will be more a treat than a regular thing. I have a few ideas how to make them more healthier and less treat-like, though. You could use sprouts, if you have a dehydrator, instead of seeds I used in this batch. You could make quinoa clusters and use them, too. Adding nuts is also a good idea. More healthy greens, like watercress or kale.

I’ve also added :¬†1 tbs¬†of each¬†Pura Vida ¬†¬†¬†(A wonderful product by Avian Organics)¬†and chamomile flowers and some nettle leaves, too. I added Avian Organics apple powder, also. Final thing that went in was a 1 tbs of chili flakes.

I suggest you mix thoroughly each time you add a new ingredient, so everything is evenly distributed.

Next step is to grease your hands with a parrot friendly oil and get to making balls or any other shape you want. I used coconut oil.

If you bake them there are 2 options. One is to bake the for a few hours at the lowest temp your oven works at. They are done when they get nice and firm. Other option is to bake them at 130 celsius for 30 min.

Second option is to dehydrate them for 10 hours. This way and baking them at the lowest temp. helps you conserve valuable nutrients as much as possible.

Happy baking everyone!

Parrot apple logs

I’ve decided to make a special treat for my two parrots as I was super busy lately and thought they deserve a praise for how good they’ve been.

This is a super easy recipe that you can customize to your liking. Whole idea behind these cookies is to use what you have already at your home and to use in season fruits. It’s apple season here, so I used apples. The rest of the ingredients listed below I’ve had at home.

Lino anxiously waiting for the logs to be done already

What you’ll need is:

One apple pureed or a small jar of apple sauce

1 tbs of chia seeds, gelatinised. (you can use 1 egg instead of chia)

1 cup of flour (I used spelt and chickpea flour, but any will do)

1/4 cup of various dried fruits (I used apricots and raisins) and dried coconut.

1/2 cup of seeds and grains (I used quinoa, millet, sesame and flax seed)

I also put Avian Organics Pura Vida and Pear’ngs mixes for extra nutrition and some of their apple powder, for extra apple-tines. You could use some cinnamon, too. It would go nicely with the apple.

For finishing you’ll need a bit of coconut oil and some seeds/grains to roll the logs into. I made half of a batch with sesame-millet-flax coating and the other half with millet flakes-old fashioned rolled oats-sesame coating.

Lino enjoying an apple log he stole from my backing sheet. I didn’t even make it to my oven, before he stole it.

Here’s what you do; in a blender make the apple puree if you don’t have apple sauce. After that’s done, add dried fruits and coconut and¬†coarsely chop them. Put everything a bowl, add chia, than mix everything well together. After that add seeds/grains than flour and mix, mix, mix until everything is formed into a nice batter.

After that’s done grease your hands with coconut oil, take small pieces from your batter and form it into logs, by rolling it between your hands. I have smaller birds, so I made them palm sized and relatively narrow. Adjust the shape and size of your logs¬†accordingly¬†to the size of your parrots. ¬†After you have logs, place them into a dry mix of seeds/grains. They will stick to your logs without a problem. Bake them in the lowest heat you can or use a dehydrator if you have one.

Logs waiting to be put into oven.

A bit of everything bread

I wanted to make a little treat for my parrots. Something simple and easy that didn’t require going outside in the rain to shop for ingredients.

I always keep a small stock of dry, organic, parrot safe ingredients for days like today.

I used flours I had at home- chickpea, spelt and¬†whole wheat¬†flour. I tried to use them in equal amounts. Any flour can go, really, it just depends on what you have on hand. I didn’t have many fresh vegetables at home today, as I didn’t have time to go shopping, BUT I had a lot of ¬†other things to make it a more healthy treat.

I used- raisins, millet, Avian Organics Pura Vida and¬†Pear’ngs, millet flakes, chopped up almonds and Avian Organics Craving Carrots. This is a mix of dried carrots, goji berried and mango, made for adding to homemade mashes, breads or muffins. Unfortunately, at the moment they are not selling it. I also added some seed mix I had and¬†Cayenne¬†pepper, ground ginger and fresh, cut up apples.

Not everything I added is pictured, though. I also added some organic apple powder I purchased from Avian Organics awhile ago. I added a teaspoon of extra virgin coconut oil, too. Instead of using eggs, I used chia seed that I allowed to gelatinize before adding to the mix. To make it form a batter, I added water as I was mixing it.  I could have used a bit more apple powder, though. Maybe next time.

After baking bread turned out pretty nice. It smells AMAZING!! It’s dense, doesn’t fall apart easily and looks really nice if I may say so myself.

On the menu this morning ….

…are blackberries, carrots, peppers, parsley and kohlrabi¬†greens!

Carrots, blackberries and peppers, along with my favorite topping for their food- Avian Organics Pura Vida and Pear’ngs I’ve placed in their bowls. I haven’t chopped them, just used as is. I think they really enjoy shredding whole vegetables and it seems to be very enriching for them, too. I do, however, feed them Chop through out most of the year. Summer is exception to that, because there are so many fresh, in season items that it would be a shame not to take a full advantage of them.

Blackberries are truly a superfood, not only for parrots, but for humans, too. They are high in vitamin C and fiber, a combination that has proven to be very helpful in fighting certain types of cancer. They have, also, the highest antioxidant levels of all fruit regularly tested. Blackberries are  high in gallic acid, rutin and ellagic acid, a known chemopreventative, with anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties.

Ringo enjoying a carrot. Both of them really like carrots and I’m glad that I don’t need to be a¬†magician¬†to get them to eat fresh foods.

Parsley,¬†kohlrabi¬†greens with addition of lavender and petunia flowers were made into small buqets for them to shred and chew ūüôā Over the years, I have come to a¬†conclusion¬†that even though they do shred their fresh foods, some, it not most of it does, in the end, get eaten.

Unfortunately, summer will end soon, so if you have the opportunity to offer your parrots fresh foods, do it while you still can. Soon enough fall rains will come and before we know it, it will start snowing. 

Eating breakfast outside

Today’s breakfast was baby carrots, zucchini and nectarine topped with Avian Organics Pear’ngs and Pura Vida mix with some Mango Ginger Minis.

It such a warm, sunny day with little wind so I rolled out Ringo’s and Lino’s cages so they could enjoy lovely weather and a nice breakfast!

Lino enjoying a zucchini! They really like to be able to hold their food. Simple, yet so enriching ūüôā

Ringo on her little balcony enjoying veggies ūüôā

A balanced diet

I believe in a well balanced diet. Honestly I do. When it comes to parrots it’s very difficult to pin point what exactly is a well balanced diet. Maybe in a ten years we’ll have a better understanding of what they eat ¬†in the wild and how to incorporate that in what we feed them in our homes. For now, we have to work with what we’ve got.

These days every magazine you open, every show you watch is screaming- “Eat healthier! Eat more fruits and vegetables”. I don’t know about you, but I always thought there’s a bit more to a healthy eating than going after a bowl of fruits like there’s no tomorrow.

My father is a¬†chronic heart patient, he had a massive heart attack a decade ago. I was with him in the car when it happened. I was just kid. With that one blow, it left only 30% of his heart working. Soon after that, he was diagnosed with diabetes. Few years after the heart attack, I was with my mum talking to my dad’s cardiologist while my dad was being prepared for yet another heart stent surgery. That was his third and to knock on wood, his last to date. ¬†She was all teared up asking how is it possible his health just isn’t improving when though we are all eating healthy. She was right. We were eating more greens than your average rabbit, only ate hole grains, chicken and fish. I really don’t like fish. Never did. Never will. The doctor answered ” If only eating healthy would be enough to get healthier, I would be out of a job!” His answer did help her, she was no longer all teared up, she was confused. He said that we should eat things our body needs, more than just items labeled heathy. Not everyone has same¬†deficiencies, not everyone has same needs. We do, how ever, all have to eat better and listen to our body while doing it.

I’ve always had those words of wisdom in the back of my head and the same principle can be used when feeding our birds. It’s not only about the food we give them, it’s also about enriching their lives. A balanced diet and enrichment are not two¬†mutually exclusive terms, they go hand in hand, making our feathered companions healthy.

Different species of parrots = different habitats = different nutrition

Some parrot species in the wild eat seeds as a part of their diet. Indian Ringnecks are one of those types of parrots; along with flowers, fruits, nuts they also eat seeds and seeds should not taken away from their diet. Budgies and Cockatiels also eat seeds in the wild, along with many other “grass parakeets”. Now, when I say seed I do not mean your regular garden¬†variety seed mix you get from your local pet store. These parrots eat grass seeds. I have read many studies that all suggest the same thing- grass seeds are very beneficial for health of our feathered friends.¬†¬†I will discuss this topic in detail in my next post.

I always try to feed my parrots a lot of fresh foods. This is why I love summer so much- a lot of fresh items, readily available, locally grown. No need for chopping or any other preparation. I love seeing them shred¬†jalapeno peppers and carrots to little pieces. Very enriching for them.¬†¬†I’m also a big fan of the Chop movement and I¬†applaud the work Patricia Sund has done and is doing, trying to teach parrot owners around the globe how to feed their parrots better, on daily basis. She has made wonderful how-to videos that are super easy to follow. Sharing¬†information¬†is vital to help other parrot owners provide the best care possible to their parrots. Knowledge you do not share¬†is dead¬†knowledge.

Fresh flowers, herbs and branches are a wonderful addition to parrots diet. I know not everyone has an opportunity to get fresh branches from bird safe trees, but many safe and healthy flowers you can grow on a balcony. Flowers and herbs have so many benefits, not only for their physical health, but they also provide a stimulating and enriching environment.

A balanced diet, in my book, first and foremost means trying to educate your self on what do your parrots eat in the wild. From there you can build up and create a wonderful¬†pallet¬†of healthy items, knowing in what direction to go. It really isn’t that difficult. Just take it one step at a time.

Fresh picked from the garden

One of many perks of having a garden is that you’re able to grow what ever you like; from fruits and veggies, to beautiful flowers and trees.

This morning I went down to the garden and I’ve cut a few roses, lilies and willow branches, as well as harvested the last of my strawberries.

When it comes to parrot safe plants, please take into consideration¬†that some of many lily species are not safe, however day-lilies (hemerocalis) are safe for your parrots. Lilies you see in the picture are not safe for parrots!¬† I’ve cut it, so I could put it in my vase. ¬†Roses, on the other hand, are parrot safe.

Some parrot species, like indian ringneck, in the wild eat flowers as a part of their diet, so if you have a chance, offer parrot safe plants to your pets. If you are not sure if a certain plant is safe for your feathered companion, I found a wonderful list on Kitchen Physician.

Both Lino and Ringo enjoyed strawberries! I’ve placed them in a bowl on my kitchen counter and allowed them to pick what ever they liked. I think this is another very easy form of enrichment and they really liked it.

Strawberry season is coming to an end, so it’s good that everyone made the best out of it! Strawberries are easy to grow in a pot and they produce just as well, so you can plant them on your balcony if you don’t have a garden!

Coconut oil breakfast!

I love coconut, I really do. It is very healthy and has a wonderful taste. You can use it in so many different ways; from cooking, baking to making your own skin care.

Recently I bought a new jar of organic, cold pressed extra virgin coconut oil, both for my self and my parrots. If you’re buying it, try to find extra virgin coconut oil, because it’s a much better quality, nutrient vise. I can’t speak for the price, but here, difference between extra virgin and regular coconut oil (both were organic) was a little less than 3$. Usually, coconut oil is readily available at health food stores.

Today, I made breakfast for my parrots using coconut oil. I used coconut oil, Avian Organics fruit Apple fruit powder, Avian Organics Pear’ngs and come cinnamon. I used a spelt cracker/ toast to place all the ingredients on it. I’m not sure in what category it exactly goes under, but it’s made only out of spelt flower and some water. You can buy them at any health food store. Hopefully, you can tell from the picture.

¬†I make this for myself, also. If I’m making it for myself, I sprinkle some flax seed on top. This is Lino’s favorite snack and he’ll gobble it down! Ringo isn’t too sure about it, but I keep offering and maybe she’ll start to like it in the end. Coconut oil is sticky, meaning parrots can’t pick out just seeds without some coconut oil and fruit powder getting stuck to them. Pear’ngs is a wonderful blend made of sesame seeds, puffed amaranth, chia, hemp, bee pollen,…