Milk Chocolate Brownies
I wasn’t always a brownie fan but now, there’s nothing like a warm pan of rich, chewy brownies with a cup of coffee! I enjoy cutting out designs and decorating them for various occasions. I used to make this recipe with semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips. Once I tried milk chocolate, I’ve never gone back.
WHERE DO I GET MY CHOCOLATE?
I’ve been asked this question quite a bit. I have tested so many brands... There can be a difference depending on what you’re making.
I used Ghirardelli Milk Chocolate Chips in this recipe and it tastes amazing!
Trader Joe's used to be my favorite but after the pandemic, something changed. The chocolate chips have a liquor taste and it distracts from the other ingredients I have tried to balance in the recipe. So, if you use your favorite chocolate and the recipe tastes different or fails, it may be a change in the supplier's recipe.
After cutting heart shaped brownies, I placed them on a pan with a rack, melted 1/2 cup of white chocolate chips, then drizzled the white chocolate on the brownies using a spoon. The drizzle lines don’t have to be perfect. Have fun with it. I made two passes over each brownie.
When done, add sprinkles.
The brownie is a canvas for different flavors of chocolate and the thousands of sprinkle options available. It’s a great gift for family and friends!
Your best bud is going to love this recipe!! It’s super easy to make, only four ingredients, and easy to store.
If your pup doesn’t like kale, you can switch out the vegetable. Make sure the pieces are small or finely chopped. These are just a few suggestions I have tried with Zu.
I used coconut oil to line the baking dish, just enough to keep the meatballs from sticking. It’s an oil that’s part of Zu’s regular diet. You may substitute with olive oil or flaxseed oil but avoid vegetable oils especially corn oil and anything with soybeans. Even though your dog may be fine with peanut butter, avoid peanut oil. The molecular structure changes in the heat and dogs can develop stomachaches...same with heated butter. You may use a non-stick metal baking pan instead.
I’ve read that vegetables need to be cooked and pureed before dogs can digest them. Wolves usually get their greens from the stomachs of their kill. It’s pre-digested. In this recipe, I used frozen uncooked kale. It’s easy to smash into tiny pieces within the bag. Zu has showed no signs of being unable to digest any of the vegetables I give him a few times a week.
Make sure the meatballs are cooked through, especially if you have small children in the house. If your dog eats a semi-raw treat then licks your child’s face, germs can easily be passed on. Always be careful when handling raw meat. Clean and disinfect your counter and utensils once the treats go into the oven.
Fig's Tuna Cat Treats
Dogs usually get all of the good stuff when it comes to toys and treats. Let's face it, cats are finicky and prefer to lie around dictating their needs. We love their independence!
Fig is super finicky about her food and it's hard to find treats she enjoys. It took a few tries but I finally made something she likes.
Use a small cookie cutter when baking and break up the treat when feeding. Cats like smaller bites.
I use oat flour in my pet recipes. Oats are a grain least likely to cause allergies. You can make your own oat flour by purchasing organic oats and blending them 1 cup at a time until they reach desired constancy.
I store my treats in the freezer and pull a few at a time. Cats can get bored with the same flavors, plus with tuna as an ingredient, it's good to keep them as fresh as possible. The treats will keep for up to 3 months frozen.
Make sure the treat is room temperature before feeding. Cold food is not good for a cats digestion.
Bacon and Pumpkin Dog Treats
From Morgan's Kitchen to Yours! Making your own homemade dog treats can be a fun reward for your dog. As conscious consumers, we all look at food labels, and try to buy the most nutritional products on the market So why not do the same for your furry best friend? By making homemade dog treats you have more control and options - plus it is a fun, family activity that your kids and dog(s) will love!
This recipe includes bacon and we know your pup will love it. Since bacon is high in fat and salt, only give your pup very small amounts. This recipe calls for just one slice finely chopped. Just enough to give the treats that tasty bacon flavor - sometimes referred to as "meat candy!"
This is a recipe from Morgan's Kitchen made especially for Zu, our mascot.
I add organic pumpkin to Zu’s bowl daily. It’s great for his digestion. Just make sure you purchase actual canned pumpkin and not the pie filling. You can exchange the pumpkin in the recipe with cooked sweet potatoes or organic canned sweet potatoes to mix things up.
You can use any cookie cutter for your treats. For this batch, I used a biscuit stamp. It’s one of my favorite cookie tools and you can find all kinds of rubber stamps, including holiday themes.
Zu is allergic to barley and has digestive issues with wheat. Oats are the only grain he gets in his diet.
No matter what grain you choose in your treats, watch for symptoms that can vary from dog to dog:
It can be hard to figure out what’s going on with our pups but it can also be a really simple fix by observing any changes after they eat and removing ingredients from their diets. If you feel your dog is in real distress after eating, please see your veterinarian right away. If something doesn’t feel right with our dogs, it probably isn’t.
Ahhh . . . Apple Pie!
Apple pies or tarts have been around, in one form or another, since the Middle Ages. Before the Pilgrims set sail for the New World, Asia and European cultures had already incorporated apples into their cuisine thousands of years earlier. The first written mention of the apple is that of Alexander the Great in 328 BCE: he noted Kazakhstan’s apples appeared to be ‘dwarfed,’ before bringing them back to Macedonia to be cultivated. By the late 14th century, sweet and savory pies were already an important part of the food culture in England, and so it comes as no surprise that apples made their way into these pastries; however, they traditionally were made without crust due to the high price of sugar. It wasn’t until the 15th century that Dutch bakers transformed the crust-less apple pie into the lattice-style pastry we commonly see today. Just a century later, the pies could be found across Europe.
It wasn’t until the mid-1600s through complex sea trade routes, that edible apples made their way to North America. Even then, they came in the form of trees, and required extensive pollination to bear fruit; as such, the fruit didn’t flourish until European honey bees were introduced decades later. Only one type of apple -- the malus, or “crabapple” -- was native to North America prior to this, and it was incredibly sour and foul-tasting.
According to the American Pie Council, Americans consume $700 million worth of retail pies each year -- and that doesn’t include those that are home-baked, or sold by restaurants and independent bakers. Of those who responded to surveys, 19% of Americans -- some 36 million people -- cited apple is their favorite flavor. That’s a lot of apple pie.
Though we’ve made the case here that apple pie isn’t so American after all, one could argue that just because something originated somewhere else doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t become a source of national pride elsewhere. America took the apple pie to heights it had never seen before -- elevated it as a treasured part of its lore and history. And though it wouldn’t be fair to call apple pie “American” without acknowledging its past, the baked good seems to be just at home here as anywhere else in the world.
I love to try new recipes from other bakers and I've fallen in love with this buttery pie crust from simplyrecipes.com! Let us know what you think by leaving a comment or tagging us on Instagram.
Doggie Birthday Beef Cake
I can’t believe it was seven years ago I picked up this little 19 pound teddy bear and brought him home. Zu was so adorable. A friend was driving us back so I could bond with him in the back seat where he eventually threw up all over me. I knew in that moment, he was mine.
If you follow our doggie adventures, you know I feed Zu a raw food diet. However, he does get the weekly cooked food treat like hamburgers or turkey, plus a cake on his birthday. His favorite doggie “cake” is beef with sweet potato frosting. The recipe is super easy and it’s fun to watch your pup dive in. Because it can be a lot of food, even for Zu’s tummy, I use a round cookie cutter to make the patties smaller before building the cake. Zu gets the leftovers during the week.
I found 4-inch mini cake pans at Home Goods for $2 each. They are also available at Amazon. You can also bake this recipe like a meat loaf in one pan. Just watch your baking time so you don’t overcook.
You may use a potato masher or fork to mash up the sweet potatoes. I used a small icing spatula to spread the sweet potatoes evenly onto the cooked beef cake.
Using frozen peas makes it much easier to decorate.
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Real Hot Chocolate
There’s hot chocolate, and then there’s hot chocolate. Some of us who grew up in the 70s became used to packaged mix with dehydrated marshmallows, which is actually hot cocoa. So, it wasn’t until I was an adult that I discovered real, creamy hot chocolate made from scratch.
What’s the difference between hot cocoa and hot chocolate? Hot cocoa is usually made with cocoa powder, milk and sugar. Hot chocolate is just melted chocolate with milk or cream. Sugar is not added but I have added it into this recipe since I’m using dark chocolate.
It’s very easy to make but requires a little patience to allow the milk to boil without scorching and the chocolate to melt completely. The real secrets are using a whisk and boiling the mixture a second time.
Try some of the flavor tips in the recipe notes. I love mine with crushed peppermint!!
Jalapeño Goat Cheese Cornbread
This was a really fun challenge for me as a recipe for the magazine. I don’t eat spicy food so I choose peppers that are mild when I need them. It was time to break out my hazmat suit and tackle jalapeños. This is a basic cornbread recipe but with the goat cheese, and a touch of cheddar, it’s really moist with a wonderful taste and texture.
First, we char the jalape os. I placed my cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat and added coconut oil. You can use other oils but coconut is a great high-heat oil. Use “refined” otherwise, the peppers will taste like coconut. To char on a stove, one must have a powerful fan. If not, not only will the smell of jalapeños be in the house but also some of the sting. I will say that my eyes hurt a little for the rest of the day until I could air things out. I highly recommend charring them on an outdoor grill. Whatever you decide, don’t skip this step because it’s totally worth it.
I cut the peppers in lengths for thinner slices, using the largest middle slices for the top of the cornbread. The peppers may be cut in half and charred on each side, if preferred.
Once you have some of that great charred jalapeño oil in the skillet, add 2 more teaspoons of oil and place in the oven while you mix the rest of the ingredients.
When adding goat cheese, leave small bits unmixed.
Top cornbread slices with pats of butter and drizzle with honey.
This is a great recipe for a family meal. Using a large 12 inch cast-iron skillet will give the cornbread more flavor with a moist center. You may cut this recipe in half and use a smaller skillet but watch your cooking time to retain moisture in the center.
Bourbon Pecan Pie
Nothing says “holiday” like pecan pie. The taste of rich flakey crust, a gooey, sweet pecan filling with a touch of bourbon brings back childhood memories. Maybe not the bourbon part, but you get the idea. It’s a fairly easy pie to make and a big hit with family and friends.
For the crust, I used a recipe that is super close to the crust my Nana used to make. The difference is the egg. I've never added an egg before but I really like it! It’s been a fool-proof crust for me for the last year. Not that Nana’s recipe isn’t close to perfection. This recipe makes two 9-inch crusts but I used all of the dough in the bottom of my pecan pie.
Once you’ve made your pie filling, use pecan halves to make a design on top. I like to start with a cross in the middle and continue to add…like cutting a pizza. You can also start with a circle around the pie’s edge and continue in a circle (spiral) until you reach the middle. Just make sure you have extras on hand. The two cups in the recipe will be in the filling. You do not have to make a design. That’s just something extra.
I used local Georgia grown pecans. Check your own local growers. There are many types of pecans and flavors.
Hang on to any leftover dough. If you have leftover filling, you can make a mini-pie and get a taste before the family gathering. Pie dish sizes vary so I usually have extra.
Nothing like getting together with friends and family for homemade pie and hot coffee.
I could hardly contain myself during this shoot, and yes, I ate this piece when it was over.
Pumpkin Apple Dog Treats
Treat your pup to some home made goodies this Thanksgiving. Of course, you’ll be very busy roasting turkey and toasting the marshmallows on the sweet potato casserole, but these are really easy and with some cool cookie cutters, a fun project to keep the little ones busy.
When finely grating a fresh apple, it can turn in color and look more like apple sauce. This is fine and will not affect the final results. I used a Gala apple.
MAKE OAT FLOUR
Make your own oat flour by placing 2 cups of organic rolled oats in a food processor and pulse until ground. Small bits left in the flour are fine as dogs don’t mind it. For a finer flour, add 1 cup of rolled oats to a blender. Process in small batches for better results.
If you need to freshen your dog’s breath, split the dough in half before rolling and add 1 tablespoon of fresh mint leaves and 2 tablespoons of fresh parsley leaves to one of the halves. I think mint can be overpowering and I would only feed my dog 1 – 2 treats each week. I’m lucky, being that Zu eats a raw food diet, he doesn’t have bad breath.
One of my favorite things to make for Zu are these dog treats. He loves my Peanut Butter and Oat recipe a LOT but I had to limit them to control his weight. He’s a large bone, 125 lb. German Shepherd so keeping him as trim as possible is a must for his joints.
In this recipe, the ingredients are very basic…sweet potatoes, carrots, oat flour and egg. All organic. I used to buy oat flour but the price was up and down so much and sometimes I couldn’t find it in the stores at all. So, I started making my own in a food processor. Process 1-2 cups at a time until powdery, then sift to separate any larger left over pieces. It has really taken the stress off of searching for it when I get a large order. I prefer to use oat flour in all of my dog recipes because it seems to be a flour that causes the least allergic reactions. Zu is allergic to barley flour and it’s in almost everything out there. He also doesn’t do so well on whole wheat flour.
With Zu, I keep things simple. Like many German Shepherds, he has a sensitive digestive system. He really loves the crunch in these treats, too, so give it a try and see what your pups think.
Peanut Butter & Oat Dog Treats
These are Zu’s favorite treats! He loves peanut butter and fortunately, neither of us have a peanut allergy. They are super easy to make, very basic recipe...oat flour, rolled oats, peanut butter and water.
As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, I make my own oat flour. The price of organic oat flour fluctuates and there have been times when I couldn’t find it on the shelves at all. I use a food processor and process about two cups at a time. For the dog treats, I leave the bigger bits in the flour. If I were making cookies for friends and family, I would sift it so the dough is smoother.
I separate the ingredients in the bowl just like in the photo above. I pour the 1 cup of hot water over the rolled oats and peanut butter. The oats will soak up the moisture and the peanut butter will melt a bit. Instead of a mixer, I use a Tovolo Dough Wisk. I really love this kitchen tool. It’s so easy to combine the ingredients and super easy to clean. The oats and oat flour should soak up the water completely but if it’s too dry, add a little more hot water. If too wet, add more flour. The final step before the oven is to egg wash the treats. Scramble a raw egg in a bowl and brush on to each cookie.
After baking for 40 minutes, I like to turn off the oven and let them cool inside for an hour. It makes them very crunchy. This step is not necessary but Zu seems to like that super crunch.