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DIY Grain Free Sweet Potato Carrot Dog Treats ~ 4 ingredients!

Poor farm poodle, Bryony. November was such a rough month for her.

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Let me set the stage for you. 

In November:

  1. I sold the the couch and the poodle perch (i.e. the chair that the poodles claimed as their own). 
  2. I ordered a new sectional, but it wasn’t delivered until over a month later. Which meant a month with only one chair to sit in for two people. And the dogs.
  3. Bryony developed a pretty nasty ear infection that wouldn’t clear up.
  4. Which led to three vet visits.
  5. She had a laser pointed at her ears. And they were drained with a needle. 
  6. She was diagnosed with severe food allergies. 
  7. Her food, treats, chewies, etc were taken away.
  8. And a special food (i.e. expensive) from the vet replaced all of that for a little while. 
  9. She hated the new temporary food. 
  10. And last but not least, I raided the toy basket and threw away all of their old, chewed up, no-longer squeaking toys. Believe me, they have plenty of new toys waiting under the Christmas tree. 

But things are starting to look up. Bryony likes the new permanent grain free food. She hasn’t had anymore ear problems. Plus, she’s starting to enjoy car rides again, instead of thinking each one is going to end in a visit to that most dreaded place: The Vet. 

The one difficult thing: She doesn’t like the treats. I’ve bought bag after bag of grain free treats, and none of them have piqued her interest so far. 

So, I decided to make my own. Good news, she loves them! In fact, she was sitting patiently waiting in the kitchen when I took the second batch out. 

Even Sophie got in on the patiently waiting action. 

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Even the weims like them. And they are, shockingly, not treat fans. In fact, they’ve been known to spit treats out. But not these.

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How to make them:
Mix together all of the ingredients.

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You may need more or less eggs depending on the dryness of your ingredients. My puree was left over from juicing carrots for a new soap (see here), and it was very dry. I used 4 eggs in all.

Roll or pat out the dough until it’s a 1/2 inch or less in thickness. This makes quite a lot of dough, so I patted mine flat in about four batches. 

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Cut into shapes and bake in a preheated oven for about 40 to 55 minutes. 

They’ll still be quite soft and chewy (so perfect for older dogs), but if you’d like them to be harder and more brittle, try leaving them in a little longer or even turning the oven off after they’re through baking and leaving them in overnight to dry. 

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Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. 

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This recipe makes about 30 candy cane shaped treats. 

Grain Free Sweet Potato Carrot Dog Treats

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Coconut Flour
  • 1 1/2 cups Sweet Potato, baked, peeled, and mashed
  • 1/4 cup carrot puree
  • 2 - 4 eggs*
  • *Please note the amount of eggs depends on how dry your other ingredients are (especially the carrot puree). Mine was quiet dry, so I used 4 eggs in all. Use only as many eggs as you need to bind your ingredients together and allow you to be able to roll or pat out the dough.

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combing together the ingredients and mix thoroughly.
  3. Place a couple of pieces of parchment paper on a table or counter to keep the dough from making a mess. Roll or pat out the dough until it's about 1/2 inch or less in thickness.
  4. Using a cookie cutter, cut out the cookies. Place on the cookie sheet and bake for about 40 to 55 minutes.
  5. The treats will still be a little soft. If you'd like a harder treat, try baking it a little longer or even turning the oven off after baking and leaving the treats in overnight to dry out.
  6. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
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Pumpkin Butterscotch Trifle

Every fall, I make this easy (but delicious) Pumpkin Gingerbread Trifle with layers of. . . . you guessed it: pumpkin and gingerbread. 

But sometimes you need a change. And sometimes, you can’t find any gingerbread mix at the store, so you’re forced to change.

Change is good, though. Without it, I wouldn’t have discovered that butterscotch and pumpkin are even better than the original. 

Pumpkin Butterscotch Trifle

I used a pumpkin spice muffin mix baked in rectangular dish instead of a muffin pan. Other than that, I followed the directions on the back of box to bake it. 

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Once baked, allow it to cool and then cut into bite sized cubes. 

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Whip the heavy cream and sugar until firm peaks form. Set aside.

Make the butterscotch pudding according to the directions on the back of the box. Allow the pudding to cool and set it up. Then, add in cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, vanilla. I also mixed in a half cup of pumpkin puree, but feel free to omit it. I only added in the extra pumpkin because I had it on hand for making Pumpkin Gingersnap Truffles

Fold in about a half cup of whipped cream. 

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Place a layer of the pumpkin spice cubes in the bottom of a trifle dish or a clear bowl. Top with about half of the butterscotch mixture, spreading it evenly. On top of that, spread about half of the remaining whipped cream. 

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Repeat once more, ending with a layer of whipped cream on top. Sprinkle crushed gingersnaps on top. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving to allow the flavors to meld together. 

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Pumpkin Butterscotch Trifle

Ingredients

  • Pumpkin Muffin Layer:
  • Pumpkin Spice Muffin Mix, baked according to directions
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 2 packages butterscotch instant pudding mix
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 5 Tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • Gingersnap Cookies, crumbled (optional)

Instructions

  1. Prepare and bake the pumpkin spice muffin mix according to directions on the box, with the only difference being to bake it in a square or rectangular pan. Once it's done, remove from the oven and allow to cool. Then, cut into cubes.
  2. In a medium bowl, whip heavy cream and sugar until firm peaks form. Set aside.
  3. Prepare butterscotch pudding according to the directions on the box. Once it has set up and cooled, mix in vanilla extract, ground cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and pumpkin. Fold in a 1/2 cup of whipped cream.
  4. In a trifle dish or clear bowl, place a layer of the pumpkin spice cubes. Top with about half of the butterscotch mixture, spreading it evenly. Then, about half of the whipped cream spread out evenly. Repeat once, ending with a layer of whipped cream on top. Garnish with crumbled gingersnap cookies.
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How To Dry Herbs In The Oven.

My little herb garden has done really well this year. Especially the chocolate mint. . . . that stuff is practically trying to take over the whole bed. 

In fact, I’ve been using it as the background for a lot of product photos lately. . . . 

Herb Garden as background

I love using fresh herbs in soap making and DIY beauty treatments (like the rosemary ACV hair rinse here) and of course cooking, but sometimes you have to turn to dried herbs. And while, we haven’t had any really cold weather, yet, and the herb garden is still going strong for now, those frigid temps are on the way. But before it gets here, I wanted to dry some of the herbs.

Now, there are a few different ways to dry herbs. . . . there’s drying by bundling the herbs and letting them air dry over several days, oven drying them, and even microwaving. If you live in humid areas (like I do – even in the Fall, it’s still humid). then air drying is going to take a lot longer. So, for me, that means oven drying the herbs. 

How to

First, some tips that I have quickly learned:

Pick the herbs in the morning when the essential oils and flavors are stronger. 

If they need it, rinse them immediately. 

For smaller leafed herbs, wait until after they’re dry to pick them off the stems. It’s much easier and quicker.

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Preheat the oven to a very low temperature setting (under 200F degrees).

Spread the herbs out on a cookie sheet, making sure they’re not touching each other as it’ll take longer to dry if they are.

Place in the oven, leaving the door cracked. Leaving the door cracked ensures that they dry instead of bake. 

After about 20 to 30 minutes, check the herbs. When they’re through drying, the leaves will crumble in your fingers. If they need longer to dry, leave them and recheck them every 10 minutes. 

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I dried my basil and chocolate mint with the oven at 180F degrees, and it took about 30 – 50 minutes in all for each batch. 

Store whole or ground in a jar. 

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Sweet Potato Cream Cheese Pie

For me, Fall is all about sweet potatoes, and the many ways to eat them. 

Such as:

Sweet Potato Cheesecake

Sweet Potato Cream Cheese Bread

And the latest dessert. . . . Sweet Potato Cream Cheese Pie!

sweet potato cream cheese pie

I made this very same pie last year for Christmas dinner, and it was such a hit, that I’ve promised to never make another sweet potato pie unless it has the cream cheese with it. And I haven’t 🙂

In fact, I’ve already made this pie five times this Fall, and I’ll most likely add a sixth and seventh time before long.
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Sweet Potato Cream Cheese Pie

Ingredients

  • Cream Cheese Layer:
  • 1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • Sweet Potato Layer
  • 2 cups of baked, cooled, and peeled sweet potatoes
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 unbaked pie shell

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
  2. Cream Cheese Layer:
  3. In a medium bowl, mix together the cream cheese and sugar. Add the egg and vanilla extract and mix until combined. Spread evenly in the bottom of an unbaked pie shell.
  4. Sweet Potato Layer:
  5. In a large bowl, mix together the sweet potatoes, sugar, eggs, milk, butter, vanilla, orange zest, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and salt. Spread evenly on top of the cream cheese layer.
  6. Bake for about 50-60 minutes or until an inserted knife comes out clean. Allow pie to cool before serving.
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Pumpkin Icebox Cake

I’ve been the “cook” in my family for years now, and I love it. All the planning and preparation and trying out new recipes = right up my alley. But it wasn’t always like that. Let me tell how that came about.

When I was 18, my mother and grandmother were both sick with a cold during Thanksgiving, and I was basically told, “If you want turkey and all the trimmings, you gotta cook it yourself.” Now, in previous years, my contribution to the meal was opening up the can of cranberry sauce and slicing it and setting the table. Not a lot. But that year? Trial by fire.

The gravy was the consistency of jello. The dressing was from a box. And the turkey? Burnt to a crisp.

 In fact, the only halfway edible thing was the pumpkin pie. . .  and that was all thanks to Mrs. Smith. Hey, at least I did turn on the oven and put it in. 

Somehow (still not sure how), my mother and grandmother both loved the meal and raved about it.

Yeah, I think it had less to do with my skills as a cook and more to do with the fact that they were getting a little vacation from cooking. And somehow (I”m even more unsure about how this happened), I became the designated family cook from there on out.

It’s been many Thanksgivings, Christmases, and Easters since then, and I think I’ve learned a thing or two. Well, hopefully more than a thing or two.

This year, though, I’m getting my own little break (no more flour everywhere or waking up before dawn to put the turkey in). No, this year we’re eating out for Thanksgiving.

But it I were cooking this year. . . this is what I’d be making for dessert. 

Pumpkin Icebox Cake

Pumpkin icebox cake. Which has some of my favorite things in it: Pumpkin? Check. Whipped Cream? Check. Cream Cheese? Spices? Check check.

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Pumpkin Icebox Cake

Ingredients

  • For the crust:
  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/4 cup of granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons of butter, melted
  • For the pumpkin filling:
  • 1 pint of heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup (add more or less depending on how sweet you want it) of confectioner's sugar
  • 2 (8 oz) packages of cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup (add more or less depending on how sweet you want it) of confectioner's sugar
  • 1 (15 oz) can of pumpkin puree
  • 1 Tablespoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 cup whipped cream

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F degrees.
  2. In a large casserole dish (mine was a 12 x 9, but any dish of a similar size should work), combine the graham cracker crumbs, granulated sugar, and melted butter until the mixture resembles wet sand.
  3. Press into the bottoms and sides of the dish.
  4. Bake in the preheated over for about 10 - 15 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
  5. Filling:
  6. Whip the heavy cream and 1/4 cup of confectioner's sugar until soft peaks form. Set aside.
  7. In a medium bowl, mix together both packages of softened cream cheese, pumpkin puree, 1 cup of confectioner's sugar, pumpkin pie spice, and vanilla extract.
  8. Once that's completely combined, remove about a cup of the whipped cream you made earlier and fold into the cream cheese/pumpkin mixture.
  9. Pour on top of the now cooled crust, using a spatula to spread the mixture out evenly.
  10. Top with the remaining whipped cream.
  11. To finish it, sprinkle pumpkin pie spice on top of the whipped cream.
  12. Let dessert chill in the refrigerator for about an hour or until it's set, then enjoy.

Notes

Other great toppings to sprinkle on to the whipped cream besides pumpkin pie spice, are crumbled gingersnap cookies, chopped pecans, chopped walnuts, grated chocolate, or graham cracker crumbs. The amount of sugar is really just a suggestion. Feel free to use more or less depending on your tastes. If you want, let the dessert chill overnight. To me, it was so much better the next day after the flavors had had time to meld together more and the filling had set up even more.

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