Turkey Gobblers For Nova

Last week I had half a roll of ground turkey left over from our dinner and I wasn’t quite sure what to do with it. I thought about saving it for another recipe, but I couldn’t think of another recipe that used such a small amount of turkey so I went back to my cookbooks, kept searching and found my answer in the Three Dog Bakery Cookbook. It was Nova’s lucky day.

I ended up altering the recipe because our cornmeal was expired, but she seemed to love them regardless. I even added a bit of cheese on top to some larger cookies, and mixed in about a teaspoon’s worth of cheese when I rerolled the dough. She got a few in her birthday box and I froze the rest for later.

Turkey Gobblers (adapted from Three Dog Bakery Cookbook)

-1 C ground turkey
-2 C white flour
-1/2 C quick oats
-1/2 C whole wheat flour
-1 egg
-3 T vegetable oil
-3/4 C water
-2 t parsley, fresh or dried

  • Preheat the oven to 375.
  • In a frying pan, cook the ground turkey, crumble into small pieces. Set aside on a paper towel to drain.
  • In a large bowl, combine the flours and oatmeal; in a small bowl, beat the egg, oil and water, then add the parsley.Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix well. Fold in the ground turkey and mix well again. If the dough seems a bit too dry, add a few tablespoons of water (I added about two).
  • Turn dough out on a lightly floured surface and knead until thoroughly mixed together. Roll out dough to 1/2-inch thick and cut out into shapes.
  • Placed on greased cookie sheets (or sheets lined with parchment) and bake for about 15 minutes, or until firm (reduce time if  your cookies are smaller). Cool, then serve. Store any leftovers in a sealed container in the fridge for up to one week, or freeze.

Nova got four cookies in her birthday box; the rest are in the freezer…


Birthday Cake For Nova

I was already having enough trouble coping with it being mid-January when I realized that also meant Nova’s first birthday was coming up. I couldn’t believe she was going to be a year old already….It felt like a few months ago she was still a tiny puppy, curious about the world and all chubby. Then, while I’m having a precious flashback moment, she does something naughty like steal socks from the laundry and her late teen attitude quickly reminds me otherwise while I chase her down for the sock.

Birthdays mean three things: a party with loved ones, gifts and food. Dog or not, Nova was going to have all three. It seemed only fair since my other two dogs always have parties of their own. The party would be small, probably just Mike and I, letting Nova do all her favorite things (chasing balls in the basement or cuddling on the couch) but if the weather wasn’t too bad, maybe a trip to the dog park on the weekend to celebrate with her dog park friends. Gifts were easy, too: some new treats, a toy and a chewable of some sort, either an antler or a Himalyan dog chew (if your dog is a power chewer, these are your best bets: they last for months) and a Flexi leash. But what to do about food?

Nova loves all types of foods and I love any excuse to bake so I thought it would be fun to make her a dog birthday cake. I did some searching and found one I knew she’d love: carrot peanut butter cake. I decided to bake a batch now so if they failed or weren’t any good, I still had time to try again.

I didn’t have a six cup cupcake tin so I improvised and used a standard 12 cup tin; I ended up with nine. One of the corners of a cupcake broke off and I decided to eat it. They were in desperate need of sugar to make them tasty for people, but the cake itself was nice and moist and the mix of carrot and peanut butter tasted much better than it sounded. I frosted one cupcake with a mix of cream cheese and chunky peanut butter and topped it with a chunk of apple before serving it to a very impatient Nova.

Cooling muffins

Nova sat in front of the counter the whole time they cooled, hoping I might give her one early

Cupcakes up close

Can I eat it now?!

“Foods? For me? Can I eat it now?”

To my surprise, Nova didn’t inhale it like I figured she would. Instead she licked off most of the frosting (more proof she is my puppy), then stared at it, puzzled at what to do next. I ended up cutting it into wedges for her.


Much easier to eat in wedges: nomnomnom!

Licked clean

Licking up every last crumb

In a matter of minutes, she had devoured the cupcake and licked the plate clean, which she then shoved my way and gave me a look that said, “why is my plate empty?” I told her they were all gone, but she is smart and her nose told her otherwise. I wrapped the leftovers in foil and stashed them in the freezer, clearly marking the bag “cupcakes for Nova” so Mike didn’t think I had made him muffins and have an…interesting surprise when he ate one at work. If she’s just as crazy about them on her birthday, I might make another batch in a mini muffin tin and keep them on hand when she deserves an extra yummy reward or more incentive to do something (ie: bath time).

“Mom, you liiiied, there are more cupcakes!”

Carrot Peanut Butter Doggie Cupcake (adapted from ROMP Italian Greyhound Rescue)

1 large egg
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup honey
1 cup shredded carrots
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 12 cup cupcake tin with cupcake papers, or lightly grease each cup. Combine the egg, peanut butter, oil, and honey in a large bowl. Add in the carrots and stir to combine.

Combine the flour and baking soda in a small bowl and add to the carrot mixture. Stir until fully incorporated. Divide among prepared cupcake tins. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few crumbs on it. Remove from oven and let cool on wire rack. If desired, frost tops with a little peanut butter, a mix of softened cream cheese and peanut butter, melted carob, low fat cottage cheese, wet dog food, etc.

Sweet Potato Puppy Treats

Since I’ve been back home in Minnesota with Nova, the usual feeding routine has become a little bit trickier-trying to feed three dogs at similar times in the right order (head dog to lowest dog) and make sure no one eats someone else’s is a little more time consuming.

Giving them treats (or as we call them, cookie treats) is even more problematic. Nova is still working on basic training so she tends to get a treat quite often, and will happily eat and enjoy whatever you give her. Indie and Pippin, however, are much older and only get treats for certain things, like after a good walk or as a bedtime snack. Indie is also a bit overweight so her treats are even more sparse. But, unlike Nova, Indie and Pippin are a pair of picky eaters. Between the concerns about treats made in China and looking for healthier, safer alternatives, they’ve tried many brands and flavors, but rarely like the same treat. As you can imagine finding a treat all three will eat is virtually impossible. That changed when I bought a trial pack of Sam’s Yams from our local pet store.

I gave Nova the biggest piece and to our surprise, Indie and Pippin showed a lot of interest (well, even more than they do whenever they hear a bag rattle). I figured Nova would love hers, as she likes some other treats that have sweet potatoes in them, but Indie and Pippin are notorious for ignoring anything that includes them, so I cut one of the Bichon Fries into two small chunks and handed them out. After a few puzzled moments everyone had happily eaten their piece and were looking for more! We were stunned. We were even happier because both Indie and Pippin have less than stellar teeth so finding a chewable they’ll gnaw on for a period of time is tough (although they do love the Zuke’s Z Bones), but the Sam’s Yams have patented ridges for cleaning.

At this point I was kinda bummed I didn’t buy an actual bag at the store, but they were pretty expensive for dried pieces of sweet potato. I decided I would try and make them at home in the oven, but my mom reminded me we had a dehydrator. Not only would it be easier to use, we wouldn’t have to run the oven for three odd hours-a MAJOR bonus when the temps and humidity outside are scorching.

I bought the biggest, most uniform sweet potato I could find. Even though it’d be well washed, I was going to leave the skin on, I shelled out a bit more for an organic one. It’d be easier if the slices were a uniform thickness so I tried our mandoline. Granted, it’s not a very expensive model and it’s fairly old, but sweet potatoes are dense and my slicing was fairly difficult. I switched over to a good old fashioned knife and a cutting board.

Sweet potato slices

A more uniform in shape sweet potato is easier to slice evenly

In hopes of mimicking the fries, I tried the mandoline again using a julienne blade, but they were pretty small and equally tough to do so I cut the rest into thick chunks.

Julienned pieces

The few “fry sized” slices

Chunky fries

I cut these into wedges hoping for a thicker finished product

Our dehydrator is old and doesn’t have any temperature controls, but after doing some research online, it looked like the minimum amount of time was about three hours. Some of the pieces/slices were done by then, but most of them required about five hours total.

Finished treats

As you can see, the thinner ones were quite crispy while the slices were slightly crisp on the edges and chewy in the middle

They didn’t have the same ridges as Sam’s Yams, but they felt and looked pretty close. I gave one to each pup (again, Nova got a large slice while Indie and Pippin each got a fry) and waited for the results. Having already tasted them, they were less skeptical and they went down even quicker. Success!! I even tried one and was pleasantly surprised. I’m usually not a fan of sweet potatoes, but dehydrating them made them much sweeter and the crunchiness made them seem more like a potato chip than a veggie.

While they’re a bit more time consuming than just running to the store and grabbing a bag, making them myself is sooooo much cheaper, I know exactly what’s in them and I can control the size and texture to fit each dog’s needs.

Sweet Potato Chews for Puppies

1 large sweet potato, washed well and dried (you may also peel it, but our pups liked the crunchy skin)


  • Preheat the oven/dehydrator to 250
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
  • Cut off one side of the sweet potato lengthwise, as close to the edge as possible, allowing you to have a flat surface to make cutting easier, or slice using a mandoline, making sure slices are no smaller than 1/4″ (most treats are about 1/3″ thick)
  • place the slices on the baking sheet in a single layer
  • Bake for 3 hours, turning slices halfway through (this is optional if using a dehydrator, but you might need to rotate the trays–consult your dehydrator’s manual for more information)
  • Cool completely on a wire rack
  • Store in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 3 weeks, or in the freezer for up to 4 months

Tips & Tricks:

  • Try to pick a sweet potato as uniform in size as possible. This will aid in the drying process. Look for a potato with fewer blemishes or bruises.
  • You can experiment cutting the potato into different sizes and shapes to suit your dog’s taste. In my case, Nova likes larger, thicker chews, but Pippin, who has a small mouth likes thinner, softer chews
  • Baking for 3 hours results in a soft, but chewy treat. For a crunchier treat, bake for an additional 20 to 30 minutes, but check on them often.
  • When the pieces come out of the oven, they may appear to be too soft, but once cooled, you’ll be able to tell if they need to be baked longer or not.

**UPDATE** Well, it turns out Indie and Pippin are back to their picky ways; we’ve offered the sweet potato treats again at various times (and various sizes and textures), but neither one will eat them again. On the bright side, Nova is quite thrilled to eat their leftovers!!

Cookie Treats for Nova

Now that we have our precious, very enthusiastic for life puppy, Nova, I’ve temporarily stopped making goodies for us and instead am making treats for her.

Nova is pretty food oriented and since she’s a corgi, it is very easy for her to become fat quickly and because of this, Nova is restricted on the people food she can have.

Since the weather has been more like summer than spring, I wanted to find something frozen for her to enjoy. Plus, she’s teething so I knew it’d feel good on her gums. I browsed the web and found lots of ideas, but one from the Best Bully Stick website seemed like it could easily be altered to fit her tastes and moods. I had all the ingredients on hand: plain yogurt, unsweetened applesauce, peanut butter and honey.

Nova tasting the unfrozen mix

I did add a fourth of a banana to the mixture for extra yumminess. You can freeze the mixture in an ice cube tray (handy if you have a little dog) or in plastic cups. I did two larger ones in the now-empty yogurt cups, but since I couldn’t find our ice cube tray, I put dollops on a piece of wax paper and stuck the tray in the freezer.

Nova had a tough time waiting for her treats to freeze (she has learned that the big, tall, black box thing is the keeper of her water and other tasty bits), so when I went back to check on them, she quickly reminded me of her good manners and sat down. The moment of truth:

Nova loved them! She actually spent time enjoying it instead of gulping it down.

“Why is my bowl empty?”

I found the dolloped ones froze more evenly and were easier to store in our freezer. I think when I make them again, I’ll try to pipe them into neater shapes and I’m sure my fuzzy taste tester will love “helping” me decide what other flavors to make.