Going Vegetarian with Homemade Veggie Bones

Yesterday, Tallulah and I joined our human mommy/personal chef in the kitchen to whip up a batch of Veggie Bones. Tallulah supervised as Mommy assembled the ingredients:

  • 3 cups minced parsley
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped carrots
  • 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella or parmesan cheese (we went for the parmesan, and Mommy gave it a fine chop)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2-3/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 tablespoons bran (we used oat bran)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 to 1 cup water

In one bowl, Mommy combined the parsley, carrots, cheese, and olive oil. In another, she mixed the whole wheat flour, bran, and baking powder. Then she poured the dry ingredients into the veggies, gradually added 1/2 cup of water, and mixed to make a moist but not wet dough. If you’re trying this at home, you might need to add a little extra water. We eventually used just a bit over one cup.

Then came my second favorite part of any dog treat recipe: cleaning the mixer beaters.

I even let Tallulah get in on the action. When we’d finished, Mommy could have put those beaters right back into the drawer¬† . . . but she didn’t, opting instead to let them take what Tallulah and I thought was a totally unnecessary spin in the dishwasher. But back to the actual baking process.

Mommy kneaded the dough for about a minute and put half of it onto a surface sprinkled with some whole wheat flour. Then she rolled the dough out to 1/2-inch thickness and cut it into little bone shapes before placing the cut-out treats onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. (Mommy wrapped the remaining dough in plastic wrap, sealed it in a ziplock bag, and popped it into the freezer so that we can make more treats another day.)

At this point, I will admit that I was super excited that I do not have opposable thumbs. You see, if I did, I might have had to do the whole kneading, rolling, and cutting thing. Instead, I enjoyed a nice little nap. I even left the pre-baking quality control duties up to Tallulah. She seemed pleased with the work that our mommy had done and gave her the ok to place the cookie sheet into the oven, which was preheated to 350F. Then my little sister and I sat back and waited about 20 to 30 minutes for our Veggie Bones to come out. We knew they were ready when they were browned and slightly hardened.

Remember just above when I told you that cleaning the mixer beaters is my second favorite part of any dog teat recipe? Any guesses what my favorite part might be? Yep . . . it’s tasting the final product. After the Veggie Bones came out of the oven, we let them cool and harden just a bit more. While I was happy to let Tallulah cover pre-bake quality control, I took full responsibility for guaranteeing the quality of the post-bake product. After all, being the older sibling does come with some advantages. And my verdict? Simply superb! If you’re looking for a healthy homemade treat, these Veggie Bones are just the thing. BONE appetit . . . and try to keep the drool to a minimum. ūüėČ

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Minty Fresh Breath Treats

Someone in our family has dog breath. (I’m not naming names, but if you lean into your screen and sniff, I think you can figure it out on your own.) So my human mommy/blogging assistant/personal chef turned to our friends at Pinterest in search of a tasty remedy. She found quite a few recipes. Some were for frozen treats. They looked super yummy and perfect for summer. We’ll definitely try them another time.

But we wanted something we could share with our friends, so Mommy and I settled on DIY Doggy Breath Mints from SkinnyMs.com. The list of ingredients is simple:

  • 2-1/2 cups of old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup of fresh parsley finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup of fresh mint finely chopped
  • 1 large egg (substitute 1/4 cup of unsweetened applesauce for dogs with allergies to chicken products)
  • 1/4 cup of water plus 1 teaspoon
  • 3 tablespoons of coconut oil (olive oil may be substituted if you can’t find coconut oil)

While Tallulah and I watched, Mommy added the old-fashioned oats to the food processor and let the machine do its thing until the oats had the consistency of flour.

Then she combined the chopped parsley, chopped mint, egg, water, and coconut oil in a medium bowl and whisked them all together.

Under Tallulah’s watchful nose, Mommy poured the processed old-fashioned oats into a large bowl, made a well, added the whisked¬†liquid ingredients into the well, and then blended with a spoon. (She added a bit of water to get the consistency she wanted.)

At this point, because I am the senior dog in our family, I did the quality-control taste-testing duties. I pronounced the treat dough perfectly perfect. I would have been totally happy diving into the raw dough, but apparently actually baking the treats is important to humans, so Mommy continued with the process.

She rolled the dough out to about 1/8-inch to 1/4-inch thickness¬†and cut the treats into bone and heart shapes. (You could just use a knife to make little squares. Trust me, dogs don’t care.)¬†Then she placed the hearts and bones onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet, popped the cookie sheet into the oven, which she had preheated to 325 F, and set the timer for 35 to 40 minutes. Tallulah and I decided that this would be a good time for naps.

Boy am I ever glad we woke up in time to taste these minty fresh breath treats as soon as they came out of the oven. They are yummmm-meeeeeee!

And they’re good for us, too. Here are some of the health benefits:

  • Old-Fashioned Oats–Oats are high in protein, soluble fiber (the kind of fiber that keeps cholesterol low), and levels of iron, manganese, zinc, and B vitamins. They’re low in gluten and genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Oats act as a digestive aid to calm the intestinal tract and they have anti-inflammatory and skin-soothing properties. They have a calming effect, so they’re a good addition to the diets of nervous dogs. Finally, oats strengthen the spleen, pancreas, bones, heart, and immune system.
  • Parsley–In addition to fighting bad breath, parsley is an anti-inflammatory, which can benefit dogs with arthritis and cancer. It’s also a¬†diuretic so it’s good for¬†dogs with urinary issues. Parsley boosts kidney function, which¬†in turn helps the heart, lungs, and other organs. Parsley also helps with GI issues because it strengthens intestinal muscles. One word of warning: Parsley should not be given to dogs during pregnancy because it stimulates the uterus.
  • Mint–Mint can¬†sooth upset stomachs and reduce gas. It also reduces nausea, so it’s good for ¬†travel sickness. And mint is a natural breath freshener.
  • Egg–Eggs are a great source of protein. They help build muscle, strengthen hair, and repair tissue.
  • Coconut Oil–Because coconut oil contains antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral agents, it helps to prevent infection and disease and may even reduce the risk of cancer. It regulates and balances insulin (which can help to prevent or control diabetes), promotes normal thyroid function, and increases energy levels to help control and reduce weight. Coconut oil builds strong bones and helps decrease arthritis discomfort by reducing inflammation. It also helps to improve bad breath.

So here’s to good health and good breath. . . and really good treats. BONE appetit!


A Couple of Sparklers for Your Fourth

Happy Independence Day! My little sister, Tallulah Bee, and I have had a pretty great day so far . . . except of course for having to put on silly outfits and have our pictures taken. That part was slightly torturous.

But we cooperated because we got a couple of our favorite red, white, and blue treats. Mommy froze whole blueberries in our star-shaped ice-cube tray and then dumped the frozen treats into our outside water bowl. I was a dainty drinker.

Tallulah, as usual, lacked restraint . . . but definitely had a good time.

Next we headed inside for some frozen yogurt and crushed¬†strawberry bone-shaped delights. After a challenging-but-successful “Leave it!” command, Tallulah and I dove in like a couple of hotdog-eating contestants at Coney Island.

Sending you sweet kisses and best wishes for a safe and happy Fourth of July!

 


Play Ball!

Last Thursday, my little sister and I joined our humans at the Shrine on Airline to watch the New Orleans Baby Cakes minor-league baseball team take on the Iowa Cubs, an affiliate of the World Series champion Chicago Cubs. The Baby Cakes host Dog Day at each of their Thursday-evening games. Every Thursday also happens to be Thirsty Thursday with $2 12-ounce domestic drafts, which comes in very handy for all the humans who are stressed about ensuring that their four-legged family members behave themselves for nine innings.

Technically, this wasn’t my first¬†time at¬†the ballpark.¬†I concluded last year’s A to Z Challenge with a trip to Zephyr Field, as it was known them, but I only got to see the outside that day. (You can click here to¬†read that post.)¬†And back then, our Triple A Miami Marlins affiliate team was called the Zephyrs. Then they had a big contest to change the name and, in a bit of a controversial move, they became the Baby Cakes. It’s a play on our Mardi Gras tradition of placing a little plastic baby in¬†our king cakes, but it’s a little odd because no one ever says “baby cakes” around here.¬†Nevertheless, the¬†new name has grown on us and the logo is pretty fabulous, so we’ll give our hometown team a pass. But I digress. Back to the game.

Humans and their canines have the option of enjoying the game from two different locations. Most of us sat beyond¬†the outfield in an area of the ballpark called the levee. The nice people with the Baby Cakes set up water bowls and kiddy pools for the pups to enjoy, and there’s plenty of room to stretch your legs . . . all four of them.

Dogs are also invited to join their humans in certain sections of the stands along the first base side of the ballpark. We decided that Tallulah probably wasn’t quite ready for that level of sophistication, but we did stop by to enjoy the view.

And speaking of Tallulah, her mind tended to wander during the game. She was far more interested in the dogs around us and the hotdogs and Cracker Jacks their humans were enjoying than she was in the action on the diamond.

My big round eyes, on the other hand, were glued to the game . . .

. . . except for when I dosed off briefly. Turns out baseball is pretty conducive to napping.

My humans, Tallulah, and I say cheers to the Baby Cakes. We had a fantastic time and our hometown team won the evening we were there. We definitely plan on¬†attending another Thursday evening Dog Day game this season. Here’s hoping we catch a homerun ball or at least have a little¬†taste of a hot dog on our next visit.

Have you ever gotten to join your humans at a sporting event in your hometown?


Celebrating Summer’s End . . . for Some

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Many of our friends across America celebrated the end of summer a couple of weekends ago. Here in South Louisiana, we’ll still be looking for ways to beat the heat and humidity for at least another month. That means my little sister will have a few more opportunities to perfect her watermelon-eating skills.

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When we first introduced Tallulah to a watermelon, she was a bit confused.

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It was as if she thought the little spot where the stem used to be was some sort of wondrous watermelon key that would magically unlock this mysterious green thing. Goodness knows she tried and tried that approach, but to no avail.

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It was time for the seasoned watermelon eater to step in and show her silly little sister a thing or two about this summer delicacy.

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“First of all,” I told Tallulah, “you don’t just bite into the watermelon. You let the humans cut it into nice little slices for us. The humans love preparing our food and serving it to us. We mustn’t deny them this great pleasure.”

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Obviously, one of us has a better grasp on patience and manners than the other. It becomes more and more clear every single day that I have many, many lessons to teach Tallulah. But back to the watermelon-eating tutorial.

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I tried to show Tallulah the proper watermelon-eating style: dainty little lady-like bites.

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Tallulah had something completely different in mind: putting the entire slice into her mouth all at once. And by entire slice I really mean entire slice. Tallulah devoured that watermelon slice . . . rind and all.

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I’m becoming more and more convinced that my little sister is part pig. Check¬†out that nose–and that full mouth–and tell me what you think.

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Tallulah¬†has a lot to learn about eating watermelons, but under my watchful eye¬†I think there’s a chance¬†she’ll catch on. I guess it’s a good thing we have a little bit of time before summer’s end.


BONE Appetit: Country Breakfast Two Ways

Audubon Park Willow Tree // May 30, 2016

Audubon Park Willow Tree // May 30, 2016

My sister and I are city girls. We love our visits to New Orleans’ Audubon Park, but most of our outdoor adventures involve leash walks along busy urban streets and evenings at boisterous dog-friendly establishments. So we were both super excited when our humans told us that we would all be spending a weekend in the country. They said¬†the location would be a big surprise, but the preparations for our getaway¬†would start¬†in the kitchen . . . which I think is the all-time best place to start preparing.

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Mornings in the country need to begin¬†with a hearty breakfast–for dogs and humans–and any hearty country breakfast needs to include three key ingredients: eggs, bacon, and cheese. My human mommy¬†turned to¬†The Organic Dog Biscuit Cookbook from the Bubba Rose Biscuit Company,¬†and that’s where she¬†found a quick and easy breakfast treat recipe with just six simple ingredients: oat flour, rice flour, shredded cheddar cheese, cooked bacon, eggs, and water. You’ll notice from the photo above that the bacon we used was 100% natural with no preservatives. My human mommy must admit that she has never ever made this healthy choice when preparing bacon for humans. But the people from Bubba Rose suggested it for pups and people and, Mommy said, nothing is too good for Miss Harper Lee and Tallulah Bee.

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Mommy combined all the ingredients . . .

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 . . . while Tallulah and I watched. I was well-behaved and supervised from a respectable distance. Tallulah was a little more . . . shall we say . . . eager.

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We let Mommy roll the dough and cut the treats into pretty flower shapes. Tallulah and I would have helped with this step, but our lack of opposable thumbs and need for a little mid-morning  doggy nap prevented our assistance.

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¬†Tallulah and I had a tiny¬†taste test, and let me tell you that we definitely approve of these bacon, egg, and cheese breakfast treats. Mommy quickly stored them in an air-tight container and told us that we’d get to enjoy more on our country getaway. The anticipation nearly did us in.

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And for everyone who thinks that my human mommy only makes doggy treats when she’s in the kitchen, I present to you a human breakfast treat that she made for our country weekend: Breakfast Bake Recipe. She used the leftover ingredients from the dog treats she made. Wait a minute: Don’t the dogs usually get the leftovers? Not at our house. ūüėČ

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Here’s the human breakfast recipe:

4-1/2 cups seasoned croutons (about 10 ounce)

2 cups (8 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese

1 medium onion, chopped

1/4 cup chopped sweet red pepper

1/4 cup chopped green pepper

1 jar (4-1/2 ounces) sliced mushrooms, drained

8 eggs

4 cups milk

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground mustard

1/8 teaspoon pepper

8 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled

  1. Sprinkle the croutons, cheese, onion, peppers and mushrooms into two greased 8-inch square baking dishes. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, salt, mustard and pepper. Slowly pour over vegetable and sprinkle with bacon.
  2. Cover and freeze one casserole for up to three months. Bake the second casserole, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.
  3. To use frozen casserole: Completely thaw in the refrigerator for 24 to 36 hours. Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.

Yield: 2 casseroles (6 to 8 servings each)

So you’ll just have to wait to see the human breakfast casserole finished product . . . just like Tallulah and I had to wait until we got to the country to enjoy the rest of our doggy breakfast treats. Any ideas where we went for our getaway?


HL Does NOLA from A to Z: S is for STREETCARS & SISTERS

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S is for streetcars and sisters. Today our tour of New Orleans takes a little detour. This¬†is my sister Tallulah Bee’s first birthday. Woo hoo! So we’re throwing a NOLA-sized party¬†. . . and in a city that’s known for partying, that’s a pretty big party.¬†The pictures above were taken when Tallulah was about four¬†months old. We were spending the afternoon in the Warehouse District (which is also called the Arts District) and Tallulah decided that she wanted to take a streetcar ride. Shhhh . . . don’t tell her that it’s just a bench made to look like the real thing.¬†Streetcars in New Orleans date back to the 1830s, and at one time¬†they¬†ran from one end of the¬†city to the other. (You can read more about New Orleans streetcar history by clicking here.) But buses began to overtake the streetcars in the 1960s and–with the exception of the St. Charles Avenue streetcar–the lines all but disappeared. Today the New Orleans streetcar is having a renaissance. There are several lines operating throughout New Orleans, with more lines¬†being added. The streetcar (which is run by the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority) is a great way to see New Orleans. You can buy a pass–called a Jazzy Pass–that allows you to take multiple trips on the streetcars (and buses) over a set number of days.¬†Check out the streetcar lines and schedules here and click here for more information about Jazzy Passes.

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Now back to my sister, Tallulah Bee. She looks like she’s ready to get this birthday party started, doesn’t she. (Or maybe she looks like she’s already been partying a little too much. It’s hard to tell.)

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Because no birthday party is complete without a birthday cake, we joined our human mommy in the kitchen to do a little baking while our human daddy served as the official party photographer. As you can see, Tallulah is a little rule breaker. I know that feet are not allowed on the countertops, but sometimes she “forgets” this rule. We both know that licking the beaters is the best part of baking, and I will be the first to admit that Tallulah showed great restraint as Mommy decorated the cake.

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And here’s the final product. Trust me, it didn’t look like this for very long. If you’re interested in the recipe for this dog-friendly cake (made with banana and peanut butter . . . yum!) and the dog-friendly icing, click here. I promise you it will be a hit!

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So happy, happy first birthday sweet Tallulah Bee. You’re a little rule breaker, and sometimes you’re a whole lot of puppy and a really huge pest, but you’re a precious little girl¬†with a heart of pure Golden love. We’re so happy that you’re a part of our family¬†. . .¬†and we¬†wish for many, many, many more happy years to come. Love you, Tallulah Bee!

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This post is part of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. Please click here for a link to the challenge homepage and a list of  the bloggers who are participating.