I’ve written many recipes for loved ones over the years: sister, daughter, son, husband, mother-in-law, best friend and so on. However, there is one very special friend I’ve yet to write for, even cook for—until now.
This furry friend came into my life at what should have been a hard—very hard—time. In the midst of 2020, while preparing to send my oldest off to college, sheltering in place and all that came with that, I found the support I needed in my sweet Boo Boo Baby, or as most people know her, Stella, my cavapoo (cavalier King Charles spaniel-miniature poodle).
Those who know me well were beyond shocked when I brought Stella home with me. I’ve said over and over that I’d never have a pet in my house, to the point where my 14-year-old son once didn’t speak to me for two days. But, 2020 changed all that, and I actually came to deeply understand the concept of therapy dogs. She’s one loved little baby and is always there whenever any of us needs a snuggle, a walk, a chat or—my favorite—a nap. In the last two years she’s grown from a tiny pup to grown-up Stella Bella.
I’m particularly fastidious about what Stella eats. She doesn’t get table scraps of any kind—and we’re picky about her food and treats (more so than I probably was with my actual children). But, in return for all Stella has given me and my family and to celebrate her second birthday on June 6, I finally created a recipe just for her.
My recipe for Stella Snacks is really simple, made from clean, dog-safe ingredients that I know she loves (carrots and apples, with a little sweet potato mixed in). I make them in dog bone-shaped silicone molds, but Stella wouldn’t care if they were hearts, fish or teddy bears; you could even roll them out and use cookie cutters. Baby food makes them super easy to prepare, but you can certainly purée your own combination of dog-safe vegetables or fruits and use either whole wheat or oat flour to create a custom snack for your own fur baby.
- 2 cups gluten-free whole grain oat flour (or whole wheat flour), such as Bob’s Red Mill brand
- 14 oz. puréed all-natural baby food, such as pumpkin, apple, sweet potato, banana, carrot, or a
combination of these
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour and baby food; stir to combine, creating a sticky
3. Spoon and press dough into silicone molds; level off the top to create evenly shaped
pieces. (The number of treats will depend on the size and shape of your molds. A mold
about 1 ½ x 1 ½” thick will yield about 5 dozen snacks.)
4. Place molds on a baking sheet; place the sheet in the preheated oven and bake until snacks
are light golden brown on the edges (20–25 min.).
5. Turn off the oven; leave the snacks in the oven until it cools down completely.
6. Remove snacks from molds and let sit at room temperature for two hours.
7. Transfer snacks to an airtight container; store in the refrigerator for up to three weeks.
Note: Check with your vet to confirm the ingredients you are using are safe and healthy for your dog.
Rachael Perron is the culinary and brand director for Kowalski’s Markets, where she specializes in product development and selection, culinary education and communications.