Thursday, October 17, 2013

Ruff life

My dogs are like my kids. I won't deny it. These two rotten bastards stole our hearts the moment we first laid eyes on them. I mean, come on. How could you not love these faces?

Our sweet Cody was a hard case. Purebred perfection nearly starved to death and neglected in a small crate for the first 18 months of his life, he was a scared, skinny shadow of the dog he has become. We used to joke that he had a bellhop to cart around all his baggage. We adopted him on sight after the Big Guy's manager - who owned Cody's half-sister from the same breeder - had fostered him for a bit. Vinnie was a wandering stray who had clearly never been inside a home. He was happy enough and healthy but had zero manners and no concept of human authority. He nuzzled and cuddled with me for five minutes in his foster's home (a friend of mine) and stole my heart like the thieving bugger he is. We filled out the paperwork to adopt him from Animal Control days later. 

These guys are my heart. And yes, they're a bit spoiled. They love their "cookies", but I refuse to feed them crap food or treats. And while I can always buy treats from the local doggy biscuit bakery, I figured since I'm on this whole baking/blogging kick, why not just make them myself? Thanks to Pinterest, I found the perfect recipe to tackle two projects at once:
  1. Baking with fresh pumpkin
  2. Making homemade dog treats
The post on how to make your own pumpkin puree that DOESN'T come from a can - and what to do with it - is soon to come. Here's a teaser...

But right now our focus is on my furbabies. Here they are again while the Big Guy and I were working on their treats. They knew it was all for them.

I seriously cannot say no to those faces when it comes to yummy treats. The original author of this recipe said she started making the treats because her dog - Cleo, another lab - turned up her nose at straight pumpkin puree. I have a theory about that: it's because she was using the canned garbage! Or maybe my dogs just want anything they deem "human food," because we put a handful of fresh pumpkin puree (the homemade labor-of-love kind) in front of them, and this was the result:

I almost pulled back a nub. Here's the recipe, courtesy of I won't link you back to the original blog because, since I originally pinned it, it's now producing some suspicious voodoo, according to Pinterest and my browser. Homey don't play that. Homey goes and gets the recipe from someplace else and repins it from there. So here, use my blog to pin the recipe for yourself. 

Cleo's Pumpkin Dog Biscuits

2 eggs
1/2 cup fresh (or canned, if you want to be that dog-mom) pumpkin puree
2 Tbsp dry milk powder
1/4 tsp sea salt
2-1/2 cups brown rice flour* (you can get it in the gluten-free aisle)
1 tsp dried parsley (optional - I did not use)

Preheat oven to 350.

In large bowl, whisk together eggs and pumpkin, then stir in dry milk, sea salt, and dried parsley (if using, optional). Add brown rice flour gradually, combining with spatula or hands to form a stiff, dry dough. Turn out onto lightly floured surface (can use the brown rice flour) and if dough is still rough, briefly knead and press to combine. (Note: I did need to knead mine a bit, but it all came together nicely with a spatula to begin with. It just needed some TLC from my hands to completely meld.)

Roll dough between 1/4 – 1/2″ – depending on your dog’s chew preferences – and use biscuit or other shape cutter to punch shapes, gathering and re-rolling scraps as you go. Or, if you're not feeling so fancy (which I wasn't that night), simply use a pizza cutter to cut into long strips and then go back across to cut into 1  2" squares. Place shapes on cookie sheet, no greasing or paper necessary. If desired, lightly press fork pattern on biscuits before baking. Bake 20 minutes. Remove from oven and carefully turn biscuits over, then bake additional 20 minutes. Allow to cool completely on rack before feeding to dog.

*Brown rice flour gives the biscuits crunch and promotes better dog digestion. Many dogs have touchy stomachs or allergies, and do not, like many people I know, tolerate wheat.

The original recipe writer claimed this recipe makes up to 75 small (1″) biscuits or 50 medium biscuits. We have to go with medium biscuits in this house, because these boys need a treat they can sink their teeth into. I only got 43 out of the recipe. Close enough! Your pups will love these treats. Ours sure did!


  1. You better get a move on with that pumpkin post...because of you, I bought two pie pumpkins at the orchard over the weekend and the pressure is on you to tell me how to fix them right. ;)

    1. Thanks for the kick in the pants! The post is now published. Let me know how yours come out!