Gluten-Free Dog Treats

In honour of Ruby’s first birthday, Cait and I got together and concocted some fabulous dog biscuits for her and Gren.  Being a corgi and therefore very food-obsessed and prone to obesity, Gren only took home a few to try, but they were still enjoyed by all.  I even had one, as I won’t feed my dog anything I wouldn’t eat myself.

Ruby murders Gren

Fortunately, we were able to easily find a dog treat recipe online that conformed to our philosophy of feeding our dogs biologically appropriate food.  That means most definitely no corn, no wheat, and no soy, and none of those other things that people seem to think dogs need, like salt, sugar, and artificial flavours or colours.  This recipe from Sandra over at dog-nutrition-naturally.com totally fit the bill and was easy to do.  We tripled the recipe so that there would be plenty of birthday treats for everyone.

First, peel yourself a large sweet potato.  And I mean LARGE.  Cut that sucker up.

Plop the potato pieces in a pot and boil them silly until they’re mashable.  Then of course mash them.

Preheat your oven to 350°F and lightly brush a rimmed baking sheet with olive oil.

In a large bowl, plop in 1lb ground meat.  We used extra lean ground beef, but you can use turkey, chicken, pork, or lamb — or really, whatever you want.

Add to that 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder (not garlic salt) and a large egg.  Drop in 5 tablespoons large flake rolled oats as well, just for cohesion purposes.

Chuck in the mashed sweet potato and mix it well.

Spread it flat on the prepared cookie sheet and smooth the top.

Bake for about an hour.  The cookie will shrink and pull away from the sides.  Now you can score the cookie into smaller pieces, or use a cookie cutter to make fun shapes.  A pizza cutter is handy about now too.

Reduce the oven heat to 250°F and pop the cookies back into the oven for another hour or so to dry out.  Keep an eye on them so they don’t burn.

Tada!  That’s it.  Now SIT.

Good dog.Make sure to store your treats in an airtight container, and of course remember that treats should never be used as a substitute for your dog’s regular diet.  Yum yum!

Twice-Baked Puhdadoes

This is a fantastic Friday-night (or Monday-night) comfort food meal for the middle of winter (sorry in advance for the dark photos), mostly because it’s super-quick, super-good, and full of starchy goodness.  It’s also super easy, though we made ours a team effort.

Cait grated the cheese.

I cut the tomatoes.

Even Ruby helped.  Mostly by sitting in the middle of the floor.

So get yourself some potatoes.  You want these to have a decent skin on them, like jacket potatoes, or russets.  Give them a good scrub.

You can pre-cook them a bit first in the microwave if you wish.  Just make sure to poke some holes in them first.

Pop the in the oven (no pan is necessary) at about 400°F and cook them for a long time, until the skins are slightly wrinkled and crisp, about 45 minutes to an hour.  You can tell if the potatoes are ready by sticking a fork into the potato and waggling it back and forth.  If you don’t encounter much resistance, they’re defeated done.  Take the potatoes out of the oven but leave the oven on.

Slice the potatoes open on one side in a large X pattern.

Use a spoon to scoop the cooked potato into a large bowl.

Grab yourself an electric mixer (because it’s late and you’re lazy).  If you must, climb up on the counter to reach your tallest cabinet.

Start mixing the potatoes with enough milk and butter to satisfy you, then add more grated cheese than you really think is appropriate.  We also chucked in diced tomatoes, for colour and vitamins.

Then of course we added bacon.

Spoon this magic mixture back into your potatoes.  They will be rather overstuffed at this point but that is very much okay.

Place them on a pan and bake them again until the mixture is crusty and golden on top, about 15 minutes.

Garnish with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of chives.  They are good cold and also reheated the next day, so I hear.

We had our potatoes with rectangular chocolate cake and a good evening was had by all.