Sunday, March 2, 2014

An Oscar Worthy Evening!

So it's Sunday night in southern California and the stars are out - literally - as it's Academy Award night...that special time of year when celebrities don their best and show up in force to vie for that golden statue!  You may think that every good Southern CA born and bred girl celebrates Oscar night with a party, fun foods, fancy clothes -but not this girl! If the truth be known - there was a time when I did just that!  We had a local non profit organization that had an Oscar night fundraiser and everyone dressed up, entered on a red carpet, and helped raise money for a domestic violence shelter and program.  It was great fun and very festive.

But that was then and this is now.  I am in my pjs and slipper socks and baking in the kitchen.  So are you imagining delectable delights being prepared to munch on while I drool over the jewels and gowns parading across the TV screen???  Well, you are wrong.  I am baking dog treats.  Yes, you read that right -  homemade treats for my dogs.  Just one more glamorous evening in sunny (yes the sun did come out today) southern California!

I knew nothing about this clever contraption until a friend of mine visited me a couple of weeks ago and brought me a surprise.  Little did I know the gift was really for Roxy and Honey, my faithful companions. And if they had known the true value of what was in the box, they would not have let it sit on the kitchen table for even a day without whining at me until I put it to work!!

I am the first to admit that I am a sucker for kitchen gadgets. I love them.  But I doubt I would ever have bought this for myself.  It just didn't seem practical.  But getting it as a gift shed a totally different light on it and made it fun to play with and experiment.  And that I did!

So...let me introduce you to...... BAKE A BONE!!!  Yes - it does exactly what it says it does - it bakes bone shaped dog treats for the canine in your life!!

The only con I can find is that it only bakes 4 at a time. But the positives so outweigh that small negative.  The treats cook in 5-10 minutes.  They easily slip out of the best non stick surface I have ever seen.  They smell delicious.  It comes with 30, yes THIRTY assorted recipes and you can tailor them to your pets needs/allergies. Once done they cool for 30 minutes and have a biscuit like soft interior.  You can make them crunchy by putting them in a a preheated oven, turning off the heat, and leaving them in there for 4-6 hours.

We all know how much dogs love peanut butter, so that was what I decided to make first. Just 4 ingredients - flour, milk, peanut butter, and baking powder. Does it get any easier than that?? And because I have one dog with a lot of food sensitivities, I used all oat flour and coconut milk.  I love being able to choose what ingredients are in their treats.  You do have to follow the directions and overfill the mold.

 My first few batches were not as high so did not have the details that future batches did.  
Just a little learning curve!!

 I attempted to fill the molds with a spoon or spatula as suggested, but found that difficult.  So I made the batter a little thinner (about the consistency of thick pancake batter) and used a plastic dispenser to squeeze the batter into the molds.

This was a Wilton candy/frosting dispenser - just cut off the tip to make it larger for the batter!

So much easier.  You can see the "rows" of batter in the top picture but the fill out  
and puff up once baked!   Success!!

This recipe made about 34 treats and they were large - 3 inches each! 

I clearly have something they want.....

I had their FULL attention!

 Honey and Roxy were eager to taste test the soft treats and they loved them. They must have been good as  not a crumb of evidence remained!  The anticipation was almost better than the actual treat!  Love how eager they were to get those bites.

If you are interested, you can find it at the link above or on Amazon. The company also makes four different treat mixes for the machine, but honestly, it is so simple to make and provide your own fresh ingredients, that I don't find them necessary.

So.....this was my exciting Oscar evening.  The girls are now snoozing on the couch with tummies full of peanut butter treats and I am quite comfy in my pjs knowing that, in their eyes, I won the Oscar tonight for best culinary performance by a dog owner!  And that makes me quite happy and content......

Hope you had a wonderful Academy Award evening too!

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