Sweet Potato Chew Toy for your Dog

Posted on

Chew ToyA friend of mine found this recipe for me. She knows I look for interesting homemade treats and toys for my dog. She also knows my dog is slightly insane. This Chew Toy was touted as “Indestructible.” However, I can assure you that is not the case! Not by a long shot. It’s super easy to make though, and your dog will love it. At least for a little while.

All you need are a couple of big sweet potatoes and some hemp rope. Wash the sweet potatoes and cut them into 1/4″-1/2″ slices. (See above photo.) Then use a small cookie cutter to cut out the inside. You’ll need a large enough opening to fit the rope through the hole. (I saved the sweet potato insides, we’re going to cook them up this week and have a nice side dish of roasted sweet potatoes!)

dog2

Then bake the heck out of the sweet potatoes. You’ll want to put them in for 2 1/2 hours at 250º F. Then flip them over and repeat. Yes, that’s another 2 1/2 hours at 250º F. So that’s 5 hours total. That’s a long time to be baking something!

dog3

This is what they will look like after they’ve been baked to death. They should be hard as rocks. Because they are so hard, there are some dogs (Chihuahuas maybe?) that will probably not be able to chew through them. We have a Corgi. She wasted no time ripping these apart. So just beware, they do kind of make a mess. We tried to keep Jenny in the kitchen for an easy cleanup.

Chew Toy

This is what the finished product looks like. I got the rope at Lowe’s for 49 cents per foot. You could get a thinner rope and quadruple it up to make it thicker.

dog5

Jenny was pretty hesitant at first when I gave her the toy. She didn’t really know what to make of it.

Chew Toy

But it didn’t take her much time at all to start chewing those sweet potato rings right up!

Chew Toy

I ended up having to take it from her. She probably would have devoured the entire thing in one sitting. Which probably wouldn’t have been good for her digestive system! This entire project cost me around $3. The rope was $1.50 as were the sweet potatoes. It was a fun little project and Jenny loved the outcome.

* * * On a side note, if you were wondering how Jenny has been enjoying the Peanut Butter Pumpkin Dog Treats I made for her last week, she LOVES them. As a matter of fact, she might have an addiction problem. She sits in front of the pantry where she knows they are stored and whines. A lot. She’s never done that for before for anything. They must be good!

One Pot Dinner

Posted on

One Pot Dinner

I love a dinner you can cook in one pot. Less clean up is a very good thing! This recipe was inspired by Martha Stewart and my need to use up the mushrooms, broccoli and chicken I had in the fridge. I never thought of cooking a meal like this, and it might very well be life changing for me!

One Pot DinnerThe idea of this recipe is to throw everything into the same pot and cook it all at once. I had to use up some chicken that was already cooked, otherwise, I would have thrown in the raw chicken as well. But since it was pre-cooked, I didn’t want to dry it out. So I added it at the end, just to heat it up.

One Pot Dinner

Here is the recipe for this fabulous dinner.

Ingredients:
8 ounces of pasta
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 cup cubed chicken
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
3 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup half and half or heavy cream
Salt & pepper to taste
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions:
Place the pasta in your pot, along with the chicken, broccoli, onions, and mushrooms. Pour the chicken broth over the top and add the olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.

Bring the pot to a boil over high heat. Reduce to medium heat and cook. Stir the pasta frequently with a wooden spoon to break it up and prevent it from sticking to the pan. Cook the pasta for about 9-10 minutes. Most of the liquid will have evaporated. Add the half and half and heat until warm. Remove the pan from the stove and garnish with grated Parmesan cheese before serving. Enjoy!

One Pot Dinner

Roasted Red Potatoes

Posted on

Roasted Red Potatoes

Roasted Red Potatoes are a perfect side dish for pretty much any meal. I love them because they not only taste good, but they’re healthy and easy to make. Plus the clean-up is simple. Who doesn’t love a quick clean-up after cooking?

Roasted Red Potatoes

All you need for this perfect side dish are red potatoes, olive oil and some salt & pepper. You can use small red potatoes, cut in half, or use larger ones cut into bite-sized pieces. After you cut up the potatoes, spread them out in a 9×12 pan lined in parchment paper. (That’s where the easy clean-up comes in!) Pour a few tablespoons of olive oil in a small bowl and use a basting brush to lightly spread the olive oil over the potatoes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place the pan into a preheated oven (set to 400º), and bake for 30-35 minutes. Rotate pan once during baking to ensure even cooking.

French Bread Pizza

Posted on Updated on

French Bread Pizza

Are you looking for a quick and easy weeknight meal for the whole family? Well, here you go! Everybody loves pizza, right? I mean, really. Does anyone NOT like pizza? Well, this is not only simple and inexpensive, but everyone can create their own pizza to their own taste.

French Bread Pizza

Normally, I like a “less boring” pizza than cheese and pepperoni. One of my favorites is a garlic pizza with broccoli. I’m also a fan of black olives and sausage. All of these options would be fantastic on a french bread pizza. But tonight, we all had pepperoni. But that’s ok, it was delicious! I bought some fun “mini” pepperoni and loaded them on the pizza. (Which was a good thing, because they shrunk considerably during baking!) 

French Bread Pizza

All you need for this is some french bread (I got ours at Walmart for $1!), some shredded mozzarella cheese ($2.50 for the package), a small jar of pizza sauce ($1.50), and whatever other toppings you would like. I set the oven to 400 F and baked the pizza for about 15 minutes. (Maybe a few minutes more if you like it crispier, just keep an eye on it.) And that was it. A simple and fun weekday dinner for the entire family, for around $7.

Sh!t on a Shingle

Posted on

Sh!t on a Shingle

I blame my husband for this post. And his mother. (Although I love them both dearly!) This is a recipe that my husband loved growing up and on occasion requests that we have it for dinner. In a weak moment this weekend, and a need to use up the leftover ham, I agreed. It’s a fairly simple recipe, and gets its origin from the military. The military used chipped beef, because it was readily available. Often it was called “Chipped Beef on Toast,” and through time got its colorful name “Sh!t on a Shingle.” (Or S.O.S., or “Save Our Stomachs”, etc.)

Sh!t on a Shingle

We stayed close to the original recipe, although we substituted ham for the chipped beef and added chopped up hard boiled eggs. (Again, not my idea, I was just doing as was requested!) We also used buttermilk biscuits instead of toast. Just to add some nice buttery flavor. Here is our variation of the recipe:

Ingredients:
1 cup chopped ham
2 hard boiled eggs, chopped
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour
1 cup 2% Milk
Ground Pepper
Buttermilk biscuits

shingle1

Instructions:
Cook the biscuits as directed on package. While the biscuits bake, melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, along with a few dashes of ground pepper. Don’t let the butter brown. As soon as it is melted, add the flour, and whisk it in. Let cook for a minute, then whisk in half of the milk. As soon as it has been absorbed, whisk in the remainder of the milk. Stir in the ham and eggs, then set the heat to low. Once the biscuits are finished, slice in half and place them on a plate. Spoon the ham/egg mixture over the top of the biscuits. Sprinkle with black pepper. Enjoy! Really, it isn’t that bad, but beware, it is very filling!

Pumpkin & Peanut Butter Dog Biscuits

Posted on Updated on

Pumpkin & Peanut Butter Dog Biscuits

Our sweet dog, Jenny, loves a good treat. I thought it would be fun to make some homemade treats for her. I found a ton of recipes for dog biscuits, but this one caught my eye. Plus I had all the ingredients in the pantry, so it won.

Pumpkin & Peanut Butter Dog Biscuits

They were so simple to make, and the cost was minimal. Dog treats aren’t cheap, so this might very well be something I do often. Here are the ingredients & instructions:

Ingredients:
3 cups brown rice flour (I used regular white flour, it seemed to be fine for my dog)
1 can unsweetened pumpkin puree
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter (use natural peanut butter for a healthier treat)
2 large eggs
A pinch of salt

Pumpkin & Peanut Butter Dog Biscuits

Instructions:
1 Preheat oven to 350º F.
2 In a large bowl, mix the pumpkin, eggs and peanut butter until smooth. Add the flour and salt. Mix well. (I am so thankful I have a Kitchen Aid for these types of recipes!)
3. Sprinkle flour on your counter. Place the dough on the counter and knead it into a ball. Roll the dough out with a rolling pin, to about 1/2 inch thick. Use cookie cutters to make the biscuits. (I found the bone shaped cutter at Walmart.) Re-roll and repeat, until you’ve used all of the dough. (I made indentations in the biscuits – see photos – with the back end of a small paint brush, you could also use a fork.)
4 Place the biscuits onto a baking sheet with parchment paper. The biscuits can be placed close together, as they won’t get any bigger. Bake for 20 minutes. Flip each biscuit over and place back in the oven. Bake for another 15-20 minutes or until completely dry. Let cool before giving your dog a treat. Woof!

Pumpkin & Peanut Butter Dog Biscuits

Jenny knew I was up to something, so she was awfully good about sitting still, waiting for her treat…

Pumpkin & Peanut Butter Dog Biscuits

Wait for it…

Pumpkin & Peanut Butter Dog Biscuits

Yes! She got it. Well deserved. She “woofed” that treat right down, I’d say these were a huge success!

Snickerdoodles

Posted on

Snickerdoodles

Snickerdoodles are my all-time favorite cookie. I was brought up with a love for cooking and baking, and used to make these cookies when I was a young girl. I would use my mom’s Betty Crocker Cookie Book from the 1960s.

Snickerdoodles

As a matter of fact, I still use it, as she has passed the cookbook on to me. This page has many years of cooking stains and even notes about how to cut the recipe in half. (I did those fractions, back in grade school!) 

Snickerdoodles

Here are the magical ingredients for my favorite cookies. Enjoy!

Ingredients:
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/2 cup shortening
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsps cream of tartar
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsps ground cinnamon

SnickerdoodlesDirections:
1. Heat oven to 400º F.
2. Mix 1 1/2 cups sugar, the butter, shortening and eggs in large bowl. Stir in flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt.
3. Shape dough into 1 1/4-inch balls. Mix 1/4 cup sugar and the cinnamon. Roll balls in cinnamon-sugar mixture. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet.
4. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until set. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack.

Snickerdoodles

Bourbon Chicken

Posted on

Bourbon Chicken

One of my husbands favorite “Chinese” food dishes at the fast-food Chinese place at the mall is Bourbon Chicken. When I came across a recipe for it on Pinterest one day, I wanted to try it. I never thought to make it myself. And did you know, Bourbon chicken isn’t really of Chinese origin, it’s named for Bourbon Street in New Orleans. It’s most commonly found at Cajun-themed Chinese restaurants. Who knew?!

Bourbon Chicken

INGREDIENTS
Marinade
1/2 cup Bourbon
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup water
1 tsp minced garlic
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp ground ginger
2 tbsp white wine
1 tsp sesame oil
Chicken
4 chicken breasts, cubed
2 tbsp olive oil

Bourbon Chicken

INSTRUCTIONS
Mix the marinade ingredients together in a large container or bowl. Add the chicken pieces and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for about 4 hours. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook until the meat is done. Drain excess oil and water. Add half the marinade to the chicken and continue cooking until the marinade thickens. (I added a little extra brown sugar to help thicken the sauce.) Serve over rice.

Bourbon Chicken

The restaurant at the mall uses dark meat chicken, and I imagine that would be excellent with this recipe as well. We prefer white meat in our house, so I used that. But honestly, you could use either. I added some green onions on top, they added a nice flavor.

* The inspiration for this recipe came from the Jo Cooks website. Please check out their site for more recipes! 

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Posted on

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Our 2 favorite cookies in this house are peanut butter cookies and chocolate chip cookies. When I saw the recipe for these Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies on Pinterest, I was sold. I had to try them. They did not disappoint.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients:
1/2 cup butter, softened at room temp
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
2 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 3/4 cup flour
1 cup chocolate chips

Instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 375 (F). Mix the butter, peanut butter and sugar in a bowl. (Using a Kitchen Aid mixer works very nicely.)
2. Once it is mixed into a creamy texture, add the egg, milk and vanilla. Mix well.
3. Add the flour, baking soda and salt and mix until well blended. Stir in the cup of chocolate chips.
4. Put tablespoon size drops of cookie dough on to a cookie sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes.
5. Cool on wire rack. Eat and enjoy! Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

* Recipe inspired by the Creative Savings Blog.

Citrus Vinaigrette Dressing

Posted on

Citrus Vinaigrette Dressing

I’m not sure why, but I’ve never made salad dressing from scratch. I guess I’ve never really thought to do it myself. It’s so easy just to pick up a bottle at the store. I saw this recipe on the Taste of Home website and thought I’d give it a whirl. It seemed easy enough and I actually had all the ingredients on hand.

Citrus Vinaigrette

Ingredients:
1/4 cup orange juice
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons honey
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon olive oil

Instructions:
Put all of the ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Put in a container for storage in the fridge, or use it all at once. If you aren’t going to be using it immediately, keep it chilled until use.

Citrus Vinaigrette Dressing

I ended up doubling the recipe, I probably should have tripled it. I really liked it. Also, if you have a Magic Bullet in the house, USE IT! I just put all the ingredients in one of the Magic Bullet cups, put the chopper blade section on tightly and whipped it up. It worked really well, especially with the honey, which can can difficult to mix.

I found this recipe in an article on the Taste of Home website, feel free to check them out for more salad dressing recipes. They had 15 other recipes listed in the article. They all look so good! I can’t wait to try more of them out. I’ll be sure to post them here when I do!