Darling Little Things: DIY Dog Treats

With 2 fur babies of my own at home and a natural inclination to lean towards DIY things, I’ve found my newest [slight obsession] hobby! I’m sure it’s pretty common knowledge, but did you know how EASY it is to make your own dog treats??! And, bonus: way healthier! I tried a couple different options that I wanted to share.

Make at home dog treats

dog treat ingredients collageThese were my items of choice for my first batch of dog treats. You’ll need whole wheat flour and baby food. The original recipe I used called for TWO four oz. containers of baby food and 2 cups of whole wheat flour. Mix together to form a stiff dough and then roll out to a 1/4 inch thickness, and cut out with cookie cutters as desired. In keeping with the season, I chose to buy a few holiday themed cookie cutters and later, on the second batch used smaller cookie cutters.. because they came out a little too large for my 2 pups who are about 25 pounds and 40 pounds. Also, make note when choosing baby food selections to choose flavors that are dog friendly. (See arrows.) Anything with onions or onion powder is NOT dog friendly, so avoid any flavors with onion. Carrots and sweet potato are pretty big favorites in our house, so I went with those.

Roll out your dough and cut out your favorite shapes

Roll out your dough and cut out your favorite shapes

After you’ve rolled out your dough and cut out some shapes, add some wax paper to a cookie sheet and pop those babies into the oven at about 325. Bake 20-25 minutes.

First batch: sweet potato and chicken and carrot flavored

First batch: sweet potato and chicken and carrot flavored

Unfortunately, I did not store this first batch properly, or the carrot flavored ones just don’t have a very long shelf life.. still trying to determine which factor, or if both did me in with these. I let them cool [although maybe not enough] and placed them into mason jars and put the caps on. About 4 days later, every single one of those dog cookies had mold growing on them. Since making a second batch not using baby food, I think it may be the baby food that causes the dog cookie to be so moist that it cannot harden all the way. In this case, maybe adding a bit more flour to the dough would help, or letting them sit out overnight would aid in storage. I let them sit out all of last night and while my second batch is harder than the original, they’re still a little springy. I’ll leave a couple out for the next day or two and the rest will be kept in the freezer and taken out as needed, because they can be stored for up to two months in the freezer.

Third batch: Completely different. I perused different websites for new ideas. After reading a few, I noticed that there are a few ingredients that are interchangeable: flour (different kinds, usually wheat), rolled oats, egg, milk, water. For the third batch I used 1 1/2 cup wheat flour, 1/2 cup rolled oats, 1/4 cup peanut butter (warmed in the microwave to help with mixing), 1 tbsp vanilla extract, and drizzled honey throughout. I did half to add some water to get the dough to hold together. I baked these for a minute or two longer (about 24 minutes) and these came out much harder to begin with, and as they sat out hardened even more and are rather crunchy for my dogs to munch on. That said, I don’t think they’ll grow mold like the baby food ones, but I might still freeze them to be safe.

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Making these DOES make a mess. 🙂 It’s completely worth it though to make 100 treats using $4 worth of cookie cutters, a $3 bag of wheat flour and $3 worth of baby food. The rest of the ingredients, I had on hand. I made extras to freeze and store for later, but these might be great little gifts for the dog lovers in your life. Besides being totally inexpensive, you can control what ingredients your pups are eating and be a bit healthier all around.

Check out my Pinterest board for some of the other homemade dog treat recipes that I found.

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Darling Little Things – DIY Cinnamon Ornaments

Tis the Season! Although in Florida it’s not completely feeling like Christmas time.. our weather is so confused. Today we’re featuring an overcast, although rather balmy 70 degrees day today. Nevertheless, the stockings are hung, the tree is fully lit & the number of presents under the tree is growing daily!

I participated in a fun activity with my mom, grandmother and sister recently – we made cinnamon, rustic type ornaments for the tree. It was super easy, made the house smell like heaven & was lots of fun!

Cinnamon Ornament

Make your own rustic style cinnamon ornaments.

The recipe came from cooks.com  and calls for 2 main ingredients: applesauce and cinnamon. We tripled the recipe I think and made quite a few. Why not make some for your tree and some for friends? You can also pick up bottles of cinnamon at the dollar store, so this is a fun and frugal project to take on.

Ingredients:

3/4 – 1 c. of applesauce

1 (4.12 – normal size bottle) bottle of ground cinnamon

Directions:

Mix applesauce and cinnamon together to form a stiff dough. The easiest way to do it is just to get your hands dirty. Roll the dough out with a rolling pin to about 1/4 inch thickness. Cut with cookie cutters & make a hole (with a straw) for ribbon or a hook to hang on the tree. You can bake them in the oven at 150 degrees for 5-6 hours, or do like we did and let them sit out for a few days to harden.

Get your hands dirty and mix up the dough. My sister was particularly good at this activity.

Get your hands dirty and mix up the dough. My sister was particularly good at this activity.

Look at her go!

Look at her go!

Our assortment of cookie cutters

Our assortment of cookie cutters

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Since we had such an assortment of cookie cutters, we started to play with different sizes and created lots of different ornaments.

FxCam_1353715170510Cover a cookie sheet with wax paper and set those babies some place they can dry or pop them in the oven. The cinnamon will waft through your home and even if it’s 70 something degrees where you are, like it is here – you’ll feel the Christmas spirit!

How do you decorate your tree? Do you have any tricks like this one to personalize your tree? I’d love to hear if anyone has fun ideas like this one!

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