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Peanut Butter Cranberry Dog Treats

Peanut Butter Dog Treats
Yup, you read it right… dog treats. What? You don’t think dogs deserve homemade treats too? Well my dog definitely does. In fact, I think he expects them. Oh, you’re making cookies…are they for me? (You have to read this sentence in a dopy dog voice) Many years ago I used to make my own dog treats all the time. I made this really complicated recipe that included things like bone meal, protein powder and all sorts of other hard to find and expensive ingredients. Then I discovered Buddy Biscuits bake at home dog treats and all that difficult ingredient collecting went out the window. Buddy Biscuits are kind of like Betty Crocker brownie mix for dogs- except they use really healthy ingredients- and the box comes with a dog bone shaped cookie cutter!

I got of out of the habit of making them though, and it’s probably been at least 3 years since I made any sort of homemade dog treat. Well, lucky for my dog about a month ago I stumbled upon this recipe for Cranberry Oat Dog Treats and decided that it was time to give them another try. Since I already had quite a few baking projects this week, and I’ve been a a roll with the human treats,  it seemed only fitting that I should expand my baking repertoire to include something special for my canine friends.

This is Phineas waiting patiently for his treat

And here he is eating his treat – he’s very gentle for such a big guy

I didn’t end up following the recipe that I had discovered exactly, in fact I didn’t really follow it at all. Instead I found another recipe from this website that was similar except that it included peanut butter. I ended up with a kind of combination of the two recipes using peanut butter and cranberries. I had my heart set on including the cranberries because I really liked the way they made the treats look. Also, dogs need antioxidants too- right?

I’ll be back in a few days
with more treats for
humans but until then
give your dog some
love and make it a
special homemade
holiday this year.

Oh, and one final note- a certain non-canine member of my household thought these looked good enough to eat. The verdict? Dry and bland…very dry and bland. For dogs only!


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Roasted Squash Cinnamon Rolls

Squash Roasted Rolls

As promised, the squash journey continues. This week I  have taken on the ominous Blue Hubbard Squash. This beastly, bumpy, blue –tinted behemoth can be a bit intimidating because of its size. However, once you get past the monstrosity factor and figure out how to crack this baby open, the reward is a sweet, smooth dark yellow flesh that is oh so yummy.

I have been making this recipe, formerly called “Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls” for years. While they were good, some would even say delicious, I decided to mix it up a bit this year and substitute squash for the pumpkin. I’ve heard that the Hubbard squash is a great alternative to pumpkin because while it has a similar flavor the consistency is far smoother. Anyone who has even cooked a pumpkin and tried to mash it knows just how stringy it can be. Don’t get me wrong, I still think that pumpkin is great for cooking, and I will definitely be posting a pumpkin recipe or two sometime soon, but in  this recipe the Hubbard squash simply blew the pumpkin away. Blue Hubbard Squash

Before we start in on the recipe I feel obligated to give a bit of a disclaimer here. This is a long post…and this is a time consuming recipe. Stick with me though, because in the end when you are rewarded with the  soft, pillowy squash-filled dough oozing with an ohhhy, gooey, cinnamony filling you simply won’t care that you spent an entire afternoon making them. Besides, if you go all out like I did and roast up an entire 11-pound squash, as a bonus you will have delicious leftover roasted squash that you can turn into a whole bunch of other recipes!

I am getting a bit ahead of myself though. The first step to cooking with a Blue Hubbard is to get that thing open. Despite their beastly reputation, a Hubbard does not have to be..well, a beast. This recipe only calls for one cup of squash so if you want to make your life easier go ahead and get the smallest one you can find. I even saw a variety called Baby Hubbard while I was at the farm stand. Most of those probably only weighed a very manageable 3-4 pounds. However, if you are a squash lover like me, or just feeling adventurous, go for it and get the big one! The leftover squash can be used in so many ways. And besides, wrestling with this beast was kind of fun. I decided to use the time honored tradition of dropping the squash on the ground to crack it open. I put it in a plastic bag, lifted it above my head, and let it fall (I did this outside on the deck because we have ceramic tile in our kitchen and I was afraid I might crack it ). Sure enough, after one fall the squash split in two. They were still two pretty big pieces though so I threw it down again and this time it broke into a bunch of manageable size parts. The next steps were simple-  scrape out the seeds, peel off the skin, cut into roughly 1-inch size chunks and roast in a 375° for about 40 minutes or until tender. Once your squash is roasted to perfection, you can use a potato masher or food processor to turn it into a smooth purée. Set aside one cup of the mashed squash for the cinnamon roll recipe. If you went whole hog, or rather whole squash, and got yourself a big boy here are a few ideas for how to use your leftover squash:

  • Mash it up, add a bit of cream or milk, throw in some spices (rosemary, cayenne pepper, or sage would all be good ) and you have a soup.
  • Use the roasted cubes in a chicken pot pie!
  • Add the puréed squash to mashed potatoes for an autumn twist on a classic favorite.
  • Substitute the roasted Hubbard for Butternut in this recipe for squash Mac n’ Cheese (Omit step number two).
  • Mix the roasted cubes with wild rice, caramelized onions and a bit of sausage for a super quick meal.
  •  Make a squash pizza! Roasted squash makes an amazing pizza topping. Use a base of ricotta cheese, garlic and a bit of mozzarella. Top with squash, sautéed shallots and a bit of crispy bacon or pancetta.
  • Package the leftover squash in freezer bags and save for later.

There’s so much more you could do with the leftover roasted squash, but for now let’s get busy and make these rolls! Squash Cinnamon Rolls

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