Thursday, August 21, 2014

George Michael Eats: Blueberry Yogurt Treats

My pup is my life. He's not the best-behaved nor is he the best looking dog, but he's loyal and sweet and does a lot of random cute things and he makes my heart sing. Despite my undying love for my furry best friend (whom I refer to as "my son" all the time), I buy processed dog food and processed dog treats for two reasons. One: it's a time and money saver and two: I don't always know what's good for dogs so it's easier to leave the responsibility up to someone else.

That being said, I do like to give GM some delicious treats once in a while. He gets to eat all of the cucumber butts and meat trimmings and apple peels as I'm cooking. But I like to whip up homemade treats as well. A year ago, I shared a peanut butter and cheese dog treat recipe. I hadn't made homemade dog treats since because we've been giving my dog organic treats from Whole Foods and freeze dried blueberries, which are quite healthy (in moderation). But, one Sunday morning, my sister and I were watching Barefoot Contessa and Ina Garten made dog treats for her guests' pup and it made us want to make some treats for GM too.

This isn't anything like Ina's recipe except for the fact that I sprinkled oats on top. It's just a mish mosh of ingredients that I know are safe for dogs. GM seemed to be a fan (that's quite an understatement considering he jumps like crazy and goes buckwild for these) so I'd call it a success.
Ingredients:
1½ cups whole wheat flour + more for rolling out the dough
½ cup peanut butter - I used pure ground peanuts from the little machine at Whole Foods, which is best because it doesn't have any added oil or sugar (unlike the peanut butter I used in my other treats post)
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 egg
¼ cup skim milk
⅓ cup Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ cup freeze dried blueberries

*All of these ingredients are fine for the average dog. If your dog has weight issues, treats are probably out of the question. However, if your friend is a "good boy/girl" and he/she deserves a treat, these are great!

Mix together the peanut butter, coconut oil, egg, yogurt, and milk until smooth. Dump in the flour and baking powder and mix together with a spoon or spatula until it gets really thick and then start to knead with your hands until the dough forms.
Mix in the berries and then roll out the dough to around 1/4" to 1/2" thick. Use a cookie cutter to make dog bite-sized treats.
Also, let your dog lick the coconut oil container. It's great for their skin! (It's good for yours too.)
Place the cookies onto a parchment-lined sheet pan. Brush the tops of the treats with a little milk and sprinkle with oats. Bake at 350F for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until the treats are dried out and crunchy. If you think your dog will be a fan of a slightly chewier treat, then you can bake the cookies for less time, say 30 minutes. However, when moisture is left in the treat, they won't keep for as long; just keep that in mind.
Let the treats cool before feeding them to your pup and/or storing them. I recommend keeping these in the fridge to prolong their shelf life. An airtight container or zip-top storage bag are perfect vessels. In the fridge, these kept for about six weeks. I mean, after six weeks, GM had finished eating these, they hadn't gone off or anything. These treats are super crunchy, so I feel like they do a decent job of "cleaning" GM's teeth, which is an added mini-benefit.
George Michael is a really great dog. He's got a decent amount of patience and he's a pretty good listener. I like to place a treat in front of him and tell him, "Wait!" He'll sit and alternately stare at the treat and at me until I say, "Okay," and he'll take that as his cue to chow down. It's a good test of his patience and obedience. Plus, I just think it's so much fun and it's so cute that he's willing to be a good boy.

I hope your pup loves these as much as mine!
Here's the recipe page:

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