Quick and Easy Homemade Doggie Treats

With all the news about recalled dog foods and dog treats lately I have been thinking about making treats for the dogs, but I’ve never gotten around to actually doing it. Visit the American Veterinary Medical Association to find out about US FDA and manufacturer animal food recalls and alerts or follow them on Twitter @AVMARecallWatch

Recently, my Miniature Schnauzer began having allergy issues to the point that he scratched and bit himself raw.  After months of vet visits and steroids to no avail, I finally had him allergy tested.  Turns out he is allergic to beef, wheat, and milk.  A dog allergic to beef??!! I thought I was doing good feeding him a grain free food of beef meal but I was only aggravating his allergy. I’m glad I finally had him allergy tested! So, at that point I was on a quest to make some inexpensive, dog treats that weren’t full of things that I couldn’t pronounce and he couldn’t eat or at risk of being recalled.

I have no idea how to make dog treats, but what I do know is baking!! Figuring that I would approach it like I was making cookies but without all the good stuff (like chocolate chips), I started mixing and adding and baking until I came up with something that resembled a recipe!  This was a test run recipe but it turned out so well I wanted to go ahead a share it.  As I tweak the recipe I will post updates and please feel free to share your recipes for dog treats!  I know Cosmo and Echo won’t have any problem taste testing!!Homemade Doggie Treats

(I know it would have been cute to have a photo of them actually eating their freshly baked treats, but they woofed them down so quickly I couldn’t get a picture!)

Homemade Peanut Butter Dog Treats

  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup honey (honey is said to help dogs with GI issues and allergies.  You can read about the health benefits of giving your dog honey here)
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup soy flour
  • 1 cup coconut flour (you can use regular flour or wheat flour if your dog isn’t allergic to wheat)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (325 if you are using a dark coated, non stick pan). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl.  Mix wet ingredients together in another bowl.  Place dry mix into the bowl of wet ingredients and mix until dough forms.  If it’s too dry, add a little more chicken broth or some water. Or add a little more flour if the dough is too sticky or wet.  Place dough on wax paper and roll out.  I rolled the dough to about 1/4 of an inch thick.  Cut out the dough with cookie cutters or use a pizza cutter to cut strips or squares.  Place the cut out dough on the parchment lined cookie sheet and baked about 15-16 minutes.  Let cool completely before giving them to your pet. Store in a air tight container.

These are not crunchy like the dog treats you buy in the store but I think that may be due to the soy and coconut flours.

**Please remember to ask your vet if you are unsure about what is safe for your pet to eat!  

Want to know an easy way for the family to get in all of their daily servings of veggies? Just bake this delicious Carrot Cake from Gimme Some Oven!

My boyfriend’s birthday was this past week and I asked him what kind of cake he wanted me to bake and he decided on Carrot Cake.  I have a good, simple recipe for carrot cake but there isn’t much spice to it so I was browsing around for a good carrot cake recipe…you know; really moist with a lot of carrots and a little spice.  I came across a great recipe from Gimme Some Oven.  It was just perfect!  First of all there’s a whole pound of carrots in this recipe, so depending on how much you eat you could probably get in your daily requirement of veggies!  Hey, I can totally justify eating this delicious cake and not feel guilty at all!  And the cream cheese icing…a dairy serving! Bonus!! 🙂  

Oh my goodness!  This cake was so good!  The whole family loved it.  Wes said it was the best Birthday Cake he’s had all year.  I told him that was not a compliment, but he insists it was.  Whatever, it was pretty darn good and when the 11 year old and 14 year tell you how good it is and nearly lick the plate clean then you know it’s good!  Too bad I didn’t take a photo before they (ok, we) tore into!

Ingredients:

Carrot Cake Ingredients:
    • 1 1/2 cups + 2 Tbsp. vegetable or canola oil
    • 1 cup granulated sugar
    • 1 cup brown sugar
    • 6 eggs
    • 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
    • 3 1/4 cups flour
    • 1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
    • 2 tsp. baking soda
    • 2 tsp. salt
    • 1 tsp. baking powder
    • 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
    • pinch of ground cloves
    • 1 lb. finely-grated fresh carrots
Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients:
  • 3 (8 oz.) bricks cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 6 cups powdered sugar (more if needed to thicken)

How To:

Make The Carrot Cake:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour three 8-inch round baking pans. Or two 9-inch round baking pans.

In the bowl of a large stand mixer, mix together oil, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until combined and smooth. Add in the eggs one at a time, then the vanilla, and mix until smooth.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the remaining dry ingredients (flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, baking powder, nutmeg and cloves) until combined. Add the dry ingredient mixture to the mixing bowl, and beat on medium-speed until just combined, scraping down the pan at least once to be sure that everything is well mixed. Then fold in the grated carrots by hand, and stir until combined.

Pour the batter evenly into the prepared cake pans. Then bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cakes comes out clean. Remove pans and let them cool on a wire rack until the cakes reach room temperature.

Then remove them and use a large knife to level off the tops of the cakes so they are level and even.

Layer the cakes with the cream cheese frosting, and then frost the outside of the cake as you desire. Serve that day or store, covered, for up to 4 days.

Make The Cream Cheese Frosting:

Using an electric mixer, cream together cream cheese and butter on medium speed for 1 minute or until smooth with no lumps remaining. Add in vanilla extract and salt, and continue mixing until combined. Lower speed to medium-low and gradually add in powdered sugar. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until combined.

If frosting is too thick, you can add in a teaspoon or two of water. If it is too thin, you can add in more powdered sugar.

Marshmallow Fudge

Quick and tasty fudge like Grandma used to make. I made this fudge today after coming across Lori’s blog, A Pinch of Glitter. I love this fudge and it reminds me of being a kid. Since I had all the ingredients on hand I decided to whip up a batch and step back in time to a much more simple era. In the few minutes I enjoyed a few pieces of this fudge I forgot about being an adult and reverted to a little girl old who’s only worry was where her cowgirl boots and red cowgirl hat were!
This fudge is a wonderful smooth chocolate flavor without being too sweet or dry and it’s just so easy to make!
Thanks, Lori, for taking me back to a moment when things were a little more sweet and easy!

Peanut Butter Cups

The boys making Peanut Butter Cups

The boys making Peanut Butter Cups

What’s better than eating a peanut butter cup? Making them yourself!!  This recipe is so easy the kids made them with very little help from me. Seriously, all I did was set out the ingredients and clean up when they were finished.

I found this recipe on Hoosier Homemade.  It looked simple and yummy.  I love peanut butter and chocolate and I can’t wait to eat one. Right now they’re in the fridge and I can hear them calling me! I did eat a little bit of the peanut butter mixture that was left over, it was so good!  Perfect peanut butter taste with just the right amount of sweetness.

Homemade Peanut Butter Cups

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Creamy Peanut Butter, divided in half
  • 1 & 1/2 tablespoons softened butter
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 2 cups Semisweet Chocolate Chips or Milk Chocolate chips
  • 4 Milk Chocolate Candy Bars (1.55 ounces each), coarsely chopped

Instructions

  1. Fill mini muffin tins with mini paper liners.  I just lined the muffin liners up on a baking sheet and it worked fine.
  2. In a small bowl, combine 1/2 cup peanut butter, butter and confectioners sugar and salt until smooth, set aside.
  3. In a microwave safe bowl, melt the chocolate chips, candy bars and remaining peanut butter, stir until smooth.
  4. Pour a teaspoonful or so of chocolate mixture into paper liners.
  5. Top each with a teaspoonful of peanut butter mixture.  We rolled it in a little ball and flattened it some then put it in the paper liner.
  6. Spoon chocolate mixture over  to cover the peanut butter mixture.
  7. Refrigerate until set.

You could also use dark chocolate morsels if you wanted.  After we had them all made I thought we should’ve added an Oreo cookie to some of them.  There are so many things you can do with this simple recipe; use crunchy peanut butter, put pretzels in it, add a whole peanut to the top…you get the point.

Now I’m going to peek and see if they’re ready to eat yet!

UPDATE:  We tore into these last night.  These Homemade Peanut Butter Cups are by far better than any store bought brand.  If you are one of my family members, these will be in your goodie bag this Christmas!

Vanilla Extract

I have a confession…I’ve always bought vanilla extract (once, when I wasn’t paying attention, I even bought imitation vanilla)! Shhh…don’t tell anyone.  But not anymore!  Have you ever looked at ingredients in vanilla extract?  The main ingredient is alcohol!  So I decided I’d make my own!  It is so easy to make, the hardest part is waiting the four weeks or so before it’s actually ready to use.

I used a sealable bottle (you can use a small jar).

Split 2 Vanilla Beans lengthwise and scrape out the seeds.  If you are using a quart or large mason jar you might need 4 or 5 vanilla beans.

Put the seeds and vanilla beans in the glass container.

Pour Vodka in (you might want to use a funnel if you’re filling a bottle) enough to cover the beans.

Seal the container and shake.

Place in a cool dark place and shake every week.

The vodka will begin to darken in color over time and after about 4 weeks you will have homemade vanilla extract!

I bought 2 vanilla beans at Trader Joe’s for about $3.  I know I could get more for my money by ordering off the internet but I was impatient (remember, I told you all that in my “about me” section!) and I wanted them now.

My extract is going on week 2.  I did pop it open to smell it and it smells really good.  I cannot wait to try this in something!

You can also make lemon extract and other extracts this way!  It’s way cheaper than buying ready made from the store and some of that store bought stuff has additives and preservatives in it.

And a bonus….Once you use up the extract you can throw the vanilla beans in a bag of white sugar and make vanilla sugar out of it!

I ‘d love to hear some of your tips for homemade extracts and what you use them in!

One Minute Self Saucing Nutella Mug Pudding for One

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Warm, Chocolatey & Yummy

Oh my gosh!! This is heavenly and so simple!  I came across this recipe on Lick The Spoon (I love that title!).  Her pictures of the treat looked so good I couldn’t wait to make it and I had all of the ingredients on hand so it was like warm gooey destiny! And it only took about 5 minutes from start to finish.  You just can’t go wrong with this treat!

All you need are a few simple ingredients!

1 egg
4 tbsp self rising flour
4 tbsp sugar (I used Splenda and it was still great!)
3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
3 tbsp Nutella
3 tbsp milk
3 tbsp oil

Place all the ingredients in a large mug. Mix well with a fork. Microwave on high, for approximately 1-1.5 minutes. Stick around and watch it rise up over the mug like magic. It can be served with cream or ice cream or enjoy it by itself like I did.

The finished product will look like chocolate cake with a gooey chocolate sauce in it.  It makes a really large serving and I couldn’t eat the entire thing by myself (this time).  So easy even the kids can make it and if your watching what you eat it’s a quick one serving fix for that chocolate craving!

LIEBSTER AWARD

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Imagine my surprise when I woke up the other morning to a message from  a fellow blogger, goodfoodseeking, letting me know my blog had been nominated for a Liebster award!  Being a newbie at this whole blogging thing I’m always just thrilled to get a comment or new follower, but a nomination for an award…wow, I was really excited.

But wait…What is a Liebster Award?  I dunno, sounds German though and hey, it’s an AWARD!

After a quick search I learned that the Liebster Award is given to new bloggers who have less than 200 followers.  I have 10 followers but one is my mom so I don’t think that really counts since it’s kinda mandatory that she has to follow my blog (but she isn’t allowed to post gushy, motherly comments about how great I am or “Remember when you were little and you ate dog food and shared your suckers with the dog..” posts).  And just in case you were wondering, I don’t remember doing those things so they never happened.

Ok, I get side tracked easily at times…Back to the Liebster Award…The rules for receiving the award are:

Answer the questions that the tagger set for you & create 10 questions for the people you’ve tagged to answer.
Choose 10 people and link them in your post.
Go to their page and tell them.
No tag backs.

Here at the questions goodfoodseeking has asked along with my answers:

1. What is your favourite film? That would be Shawshank Redemption. Red: “Get busy living, or get busy dying.”

2. What is your most memorable meal? My grandmother’s fried catfish.  No one & I do mean no one makes fried catfish like that woman!

3. What ingredient could you not do without? Probably garlic powder.
4. Do you have a favourite Christmas recipe? Monkey Bread.  I usually make it Christmas morning for everyone to pick at when they aren’t unwrapping presents.

5. If you could visit anywhere in the world right now where would you go? Italy

6. Would you like to be on board the first flight to the moon? Nope, I’m happy with my toes dug down in the dirt!

7. Salted chocolate – love or hate? Love it!

8. Whats the first thing you remember cooking/baking? Making fried donuts with my mom when I was about 3 years old. And my Easy Bake Oven.  I loved that thing!

9. Do you have a favourite restaurant? Volare in Louisville, KY.  Super delish and the co-owner is fab and has a really great accent 🙂

10.What made you start your blog? I needed something to do.  I wasn’t working and I had started baking and cooking a lot and people were always asking for my recipes so I figured it would be fun to start a blog.  Now it’s like my baby, I want to nourish it and watch it grow.

Here are the blogs I nominate:

pepperminting

justhomemade

southern kissed

Dixieland Sweets

Miss Foodie

The Table Blog

Take Two Tapas

Top Ate On Your Plate

The Kitchen Getaway

Teaspoon of Life

Now here are the questions the blogs I have nominated must answer:

1. What is your favorite animal?

2. If you were dropped off on a deserted island and  you  could only have three items with you what would they be and why?

3. What is your favorite kitchen gadget?

4. What was your favorite cartoon when you were a kid?

5. Do you know what Underoos are, if so what were your favorite?

6. What is the grossest/weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten?

7. What would you like your last dinner to be?

8. What is one holiday tradition your family has passed down to you?

9. What do you think has been the single worst fashion trend?

10. What is your favorite gift you’ve ever given someone?

Happy bloggin’ y’all!!!!

Mocha Cupcakes

Last week I whipped up a batch of Mocha Cupcakes with a mocha ganache filling and mocha buttercream icing. YUMMY

They certainly did not last long around here…coffee and chocolate are two things we love! I even took some to my CASA training and gave them out to the ladies I volunteer with. BTW, if you’re interested in volunteering or donating to a wonderful organization that helps children and families involved in the court system check out CASA.

These cupcakes were well received by everyone but be warned…they are very rich!! I will probably leave out the ganache filling when I make them again.

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The chocolate cake recipe is from the Jan/Feb 2012 edition of Food Network Magazine.

Ingredients for Chocolate Cake:

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups sugar

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

3 large eggs, at room temperature

3/4 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup sour cream

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions:

Preheat over to 350 degrees and line cupcake pan with liners.

Whisk cocoa powder and 1 1/2 cups of boiling water in a medium bowl until smooth. Set aside.

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Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, vegetable oil, sour cream and vanilla and beat with a mixer on medium speed until smooth.

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Reduce mixer speed to low and beat in cocoa mixture in a steady stream until just combined, then finish mixing with rubber spatula.

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Divide the batter between 24 lined cupcake tins. Bake 15-17 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Ganache Ingredients:              

8 1/2 oz semi or bittersweet chocolate

2/3 cup heavy cream

2 tbsp butter, room temp

2 tsp instant coffee granules  (more or less depending on how strong you want it)

Ganache Method: 

Chop the chocolate and place in heatproof bowl and add instant coffee granules. Heat the cream until simmering and pour over chocolate. Let this sit for a minute, then stir until smooth.  Add butter and stir until combined.

Set aside to cool.

While the ganache is cooling, use an apple corer or pairing knife to cut the centers out of the cupcakes.  

Once ganache has cooled, spoon into a piping bag or ziplock bag and cut off the end.  Squeeze the ganache into the holes and fill to the top.

Frosting Ingredients:

6 cups powdered sugar (I know, That’s a lot!!)

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature

1 (about 1 ounce) shot of espresso, cooled (you can also use strong brewed coffee)

Frosting Method:

Whisk butter in bowl of electric mixer until fluffy. Slowly add powered sugar a few tablespoons at a time.

Once the frosting looks thick enough, drizzle the espresso in and whip to combine it.

If the frosting is too thin add more powdered sugar.

You do not have to use all of the powdered sugar, just add enough for it to be thick enough to spread. I ended up using all of the powdered sugar and more because I didn’t let my espresso cool enough (Remember I told y’all I’m very impatient at times).

Ice the cupcakes and decorate with a chocolate covered espresso bean!

 

Banana Bread with Bourbon Sauce

Over ripe bananas are only good for one thing…Banana Bread! I had a few bananas that were past the point of being edible on their own so off I went baking, but I wanted a little more than just banana bread.  I wanted something to top my banana bread…BOURBON!!! Hey, bourbon is good on just about anything and in Kentucky we can think of some pretty creative ways to use it!

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Ingredients for Banana Bread:

1 stick butter, room temperature (use the wrapper to butter the loaf pan)

1 1/2 c. all purpose flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

3 very ripe bananas

1 c. white sugar

2 large eggs

1/2 c. sour cream

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter and flour 9x5x3 inch loaf pan.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder & salt.

In a separate bowl, mash the bananas with a wooden spoon (leave some small chunks).

In another large bowl, use a mixer to cream the butter & sugar together until fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time.  Stir in the bananas, sour cream, vanilla and beat until combined (you can add in nuts or chocolate chips at this point if you want).

Stir in the dry ingredients and pour batter in loaf pan.

Place pan on a baking sheet on middle rack of oven.

Bake for 1 hr & 10 min.  Cool 5 min in the pan then turn out onto wire rack to cool completely.

Bourbon Sauce

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Ingredients:

1/2 c. brown sugar

1/4 c. white sugar

1/2 c. bourbon ( I probably use more than this)

1/2c. water

Bring brown sugar, white sugar, bourbon & water to a boil over high heat. Turn heat to medium-low and continue to reduce until it is syrupy (about 6 min or so).  Stir it occasionally to prevent it from burning.  Cool for 5 minutes and serve over banana bread.

The bourbon sauce can be stored in the refrigerator.  Just warm it up and stir before serving. I have no idea how long it will keep because it really doesn’t last that long around here.