Whenever we get a huge butternut squash in our Greenling local box I like to roast and purée it on the weekend, in preparation for the week ahead. The entire process takes less than an hour, and I can use the ready-made squash purée in recipes like Macaroni and Cheese and Coconut Curry Pumpkin Soup on busy weeknights. If there’s any leftover purée, I like to make these fast and easy treats for my dog Barclay. That way none of my local produce goes to waste, and Barclay gets to enjoy the squash, too! Update 10/30/10: Tara over at Let’s Talk Cookies tried these and found that baking the treats at 250 degrees for 2 hours results in a crunchier biscuit. I haven’t tried this myself, but it sounds like a good idea!
Tip: the process for roasting pumpkin, butternut, or delicata squash is the same. These hard squash are interchangeable in most recipes, and you can even substitute sweet potatoes in a pinch. A great demonstration of how to cut, roast and purée a butternut squash is found here.
Butternut Squash Dog Treats
3/4 cup squash purée
2 Tbs. peanut butter
2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour for rolling
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix eggs, squash and peanut butter in a large bowl. Incorporate flour until you have a stiff, dry dough. Knead with your hands if necessary. (This dough is much drier than cookie dough for humans, about the consistency of pie crust.) Roll the dough out with a rolling-pin on a floured surface until it is 1/2 inch thick. Cut with the cookie cutter of your choice, or just use a knife to cut the dough into 1/2 inch squares. I found this one by one-half inch bone-shaped cookie cutter at Zinger hardware for 50 cents.
Bake the treats on greased cookie sheets until hard, about 25 minutes. Move to a wire rack to cool.
These treats make great Kong puzzlers and are much cheaper than commercially-packaged dog biscuits. Barclay likes to give packages of these treats to his friends for birthdays and holidays.
Of course, you should check with your vet if you have any questions about your dog’s diet. These treats are vet-approved for Barclay!
*This post is sponsored by Greenling Organic Delivery and also appears on their blog, “Eating Out of the (Local) Box.”
Almost a year ago, I adopted my dog Barclay from the Austin Humane Society. His name was Ringo then, and he was terrified of most things. He hated busses, cats, and his crate. He couldn’t really walk on a leash without trying to eat it. He was even scared of cameras, so this was one of the best pictures I could get of him during that first month. (I snuck up on him ninja style while he was sleeping.)
Today Barclay is a healthy, happy dog. He gets along great with our cats Chloe and Cannonball Adderley, and with his cousin dog Spirit.
Barclay still struggles quite a bit with separation anxiety when he’s locked in his crate during the day. Besides an hour-long walk each day, the best tool we’ve found for Barclay’s mental health is a kong (the red, hive shaped toy pictured to his right). Each day we stuff it with tasty treats and he licks and plays with it all day until we’re home from work.
The only bummer is that pre-made Kong fillings can be kind of expensive and gross (liver paste is the seventh of 30 ingredients in the liver paste flavored commercial product) plus it doesn’t work that well. We’ve taken to cementing his regular kibble inside the kong using various homemade purees. These use up our leftover local box ingredients and give us a cheap, fun way to keep Barclay entertained. Here’s one of my favorites:
Homemade Kong Filling
1 big sweet potato, cut into chunks
1 apple, cored and sliced with all seeds removed
1/4 cup peanut butter
Cut up the sweet potato and core and slice the apple. Be sure to get all the seeds out of the apple since the seeds contain trace amounts of cyanide which can be toxic to dogs in large amounts over time.* Microwave the sweet potato and apple for several minutes until tender.
Combine cooked apple and sweet potato with 1/4 cup peanut butter in a food processor or blender. Puree until smooth. Store in the fridge in an airtight container until you’re ready to feed to your dog. I layer about a tablespoon of Kong filling with a tablespoon of kibble in Barclay’s kong until it’s full, making sure the puree creates a plug in the top. For extra long days I prepare the kong the night before and freeze it overnight so Barclay has to work extra hard to lick out all the goodies inside. This recipe lasts us about a week in the fridge.
*Please talk to your vet about any food allergy or health concerns you may have about your dogs. This recipe is vet-approved for Barclay!