Veggie Chip Cookies

Sometimes I come up with some pretty crazy ideas. I love it when my friends call them “creative”…! For some reason, I have really been wanting to make cookies for dogs that are as fun to look at as those popular and colourful M & M cookies! Candy and chocolate are no’s for Fido, but veggies are a must, so I thought I’d try using them instead of candy. In my mind, I had pictured plump, juicy, jewel-like veggie chips, not shrunken and dehydrated lackluster ones. A bunch of batches later, I finally have a recipe I’m pleased with. After many tests and tweaks, this is as close as I can get to what I had in mind. (Although those darned peas are still a little shrunken looking!) These dog cookies are fairly healthy in my book. You will notice that I indicated that you can use carrot juice or water – I used carrot juice because I have a big old jug of it in my fridge, and it gives the cookies a nice golden hue (in addition to all of the health benefits carrots have to offer). Plain old water is just fine. You could also use your own favorite cookie recipe and omit things like vanilla (it contains alcohol) and skip, reduce or substitute sugar with better alternatives like honey.

Ingredients:

4 tbsp. butter or margarine
1/2 cup honey
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup dry milk
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 tbsp. water or carrot juice
2 eggs
1 cup of “Veggie chips”, dealer’s choice – frozen peas, carrots, beets, potato, etc. Basically, cut up tiny chip-like pieces of dog-friendly veggies.

I used these dehydrated ones I bought from my fave Heronview Raw & Natural. This is what they look like dehydrated, you just soak them in hot water and they are ready to use. I also used lots of frozen peas (which I left frozen for additional water content).

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Begin by adding soft butter or margarine to your mixing bowl. Give it a good forking until it’s a little whipped! Then, add your carrot juice or water, and the eggs. Beat lightly. Then, add the honey, sea salt, baking soda, and stir together. Finally, in portions, stir in the whole wheat flour. Lastly, add 1/3 of your veggie chips and gently mix into the cookie dough.

Place your cookie dough balls on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Make them the appropriate size for your dog(s). Mine are huge as my dogs are of the pig variety. Then, place your veggie chips on top of the cookies and slightly press in. Leave most of them exposed as the dough will puff up a bit around them. Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes. Let them cool before letting the dogs have a taste.

I leave you with my new favourite shot of Miko and Hank, taken by my new fave photographer, Erin Campbell. She is also a doggie mama, and The Drool Brothers in front of the smeared sliding glass doors was something that really resonated with her, ha ha! Can you relate?

Please note that I’m neither a vet nor an animal nutritionist, so it’s advisable to consult with your own authority when trying new foods, and also to ensure that your dog’s home cooked diet is balanced & includes all of the nutrients that are necessary for your dog’s health.

Breakfast of Champions

My favourite breakfast is the good old fashioned “All Day Breakfast” at a greasy spoon. Home cooked breakfast for dogs coming right up! I thought I’d create a healthier version of this for The Boys. Sorry fellas – that means no sausage, bacon, home fries or toast!  Have no fear – a simple, yet beautiful Fried Egg, sunny side up, with a wee bit of spinach and a side of Doggie Granola Bars did not disappoint my biggest fans.  (watch them chow down here)

The egg on its own is a great little meal for dogs. You could also add grated carrot, small amounts of cooked veggies, shredded meat…whatever you have left in your fridge that’s safe for dogs to eat.  Go dog wild!  Or keep it simple – whatever you like, I’m just happy if you make your dog an egg sometime.  You can make the egg dish for less than 50 cents and takes less than five minutes – so no excuses, get crackin’!

Dogs love eggs and eggs have just what dogs need, protein and fat. Eggs are nutrient rich, and an egg given two to three times a week can be very nutritious for your dog! If your dog is a senior or on a low fat diet, simply discard the yolks and use the egg whites.

FRIED EGG:

Ingredients:
One Egg
5-10 baby spinach leaves
Sprinkle of dried Kelp (*optional)

 

I’m assuming most of you know how to fry an egg…right? Well, fry your egg sunny side up. I got fancy and did a chiffonade with the spinach, but you could simply give them a little chop chop. Turn off the burner, remove the egg from the pan and let it cool in the dog’s bowl. Drop the spinach into the still-hot-but-cooling pan and let it wilt for about 15 seconds. Add the spinach to the egg.  Sprinkle some Kelp on the egg. Looks like black pepper but it’s not!  (don’t recommend feeding pepper to dogs) Kelp is rich in vitamins and minerals.   I’m a big fan – so I add a sprinkle to most of my dogs’ meals on a daily basis.

I saw a recipe on a dog training site that inspired me to create my own version of these go-to treats.  They made a great substitute for a side of toast.

 

 

 

 

DOGGIE GRANOLA BARS:

2 cups of flour (rye or whole wheat)
1 cup of rolled oats (not instant)
1 cup of wheat germ
½ cup of cooked quinoa or other seeds such as pumpkin
2 TBP of dry milk powder (*optional)
¼ tsp salt (*optional)
1 egg
1 cup of no salt or low sodium chicken brother
½ cup of water
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

2 mixing bowls
Rolling pin
Baking tray
Parchment paper (optional)

In a large mixing bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients.

 

 

 

 

 

Break the egg into another mixing bowl. Add the water and the chicken broth and stir together until blended.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir. Let this mixture set for about twenty minutes to half an hour.

Cut a large sheet of parchment paper to the size of your baking sheet. You don’t have to use parchment paper, you can use a large cutting board or your counter surface, but I don’t like to have a sticky mess to clean up afterward, so I do this on the parchment and then just toss it into the garbage afterward.

Sprinkle some flour on the parchment and rub some on your rolling pin. Drop your granola ball onto the surface and start rolling it out. You want them to be about a ½ inch think or so. Cut them into bars or smaller pieces depending on your breed of dog/preference.

Somehow, I ended up with the United States of America. As you can see, there’s no need for silly things like perfection and precision when cooking for dogs!

If you want them to be a bit shinier, you can brush on some egg wash before you bake them.

Place them directly onto your ungreased baking sheet and bake them at 325 degrees for about 45 minutes. A trick with this kind of treat or kibble is to turn off the oven, but leave them inside the oven for about 4 or 5 hours to make them a bit harder if you like.

These treats are so simple and dogs love them. The chicken broth helps to attract even the pickiest customers. Yes, these bars have grains, but they are good grains. The other ingredients, such as toasted wheat germ, rolled oats and quinoa are very nutritious.

The ingredients on the list are items that you probably have in your pantry all the time. (if not, you should keep them stocked!)

SUBSTITUTIONS/ADDITIONS:
I do want to include some substitutions or additions in case you want to adapt this recipe with other ingredients that you have or things that your dog loves.

1. You could try flax seeds or pumpkin seeds instead of quinoa. Speaking of – did you know that quinoa is actually a seed, not a grain. It’s true! Full of protein and amino acids. I learned that while researching it for the show.
2. You could try spelt flour or even use unbleached all purpose flour if you like. A homemade treat made with AP flour  will still be healthier than store bought ones with preservative and Dog knows what else.
3. You could use veggie broth or beef broth instead of chicken – just try to minimize sodium and check the ingredient list for onions – onions are not for dogs.
4. You could add very small amounts of dried fruits/berries that are safe for dogs.

I love these as part of a meal or as a treat. That’s a double whammy!

$$$ Factor: An egg costs less than 30 cents. A couple leaves of spinach – negligible. Doggie Granola bars – I used about 25 cents worth (each) of flour, rolled oats, wheat germ. Plus 30 cents for the egg, 25 cents for the quinoa, 75 cents for the cup of broth…what’s that $2.05 for the batch? A whopping 10 CENTS PER GRANOLA BAR!

The breakfast in the picture rings in at 50 cents.
I rate this some serious CHEAP EATS FOR YOUR DOG.

I’m neither a vet nor an animal nutritionist.  This recipe is not meant to replace a proper and balanced diet for your dog.  You should to speak to your own vet before trying new recipes or feeding any home cooked foods to your dog.

sp