Homemade Pumpkin Oat Dog Treats

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Ever since I could hold a spoon, I loved getting creative in the kitchen. Growing up, as one of our weekly chores each of the kids had to plan and cook a dinner for the family. My brothers would always make the fastest, easiest meals they could think of, so we had spaghetti at least once a week. I, on the other hand, never made the same thing twice. I was always trying new, complex recipes. My Mom would call be the Swedish Chef, because every time she would walk in the kitchen she would be met with a cloud of flour and little Jessica wildly throwing ingredients around.  My heart has always belonged to baking.

I love to bake!

The problem is that I also love to eat what I make. I have never been the kind of person that can eat one cookie and be satisfied. Meaning, after I taste test one cookie- several more usually follow. This doesn’t even include all the beaters that are licked and raw cookie dough tested along the way. Once I started my weight loss journey, I felt like I couldn’t bake like I used to and stay in control. This was hard for me, because baking is one of my creative outlets.

I wasn’t willing to give up my baking, so  I thought of a creative alternative, combining my love for baking and my slight obsession with my dogs. Now, when I get the urge to bake, I make treats for my furry friends, rather than my human friends. By making dog treats, there is absolutely no temptation to lick the bowl or taste test the final product.

Pleasing a Picky Pooch!

My pup Charlie has always been really picky when it comes to dog treats. I have spent so much money trying different store bought dog treats for him, almost all of them end up in the trash can. He is actually really polite about rejecting the treats. He will take the dog treat, pretend to chew it, leave the room, then politely spit it out when he thinks you’re not looking. Whenever I would take him to the pet store with me, the cashier always asks if they can give him a treat. I always reply with, “You can try.” And without fail, he politely takes the treat, but as soon as we get out to the parking lot, the treat is spit out on the sidewalk.

With such a picky dog, who I will go to extraordinary measures to please, I have made hundreds of dog treats trying to find the perfect recipe for Charlie. Through lots of experimenting, I have created recipes for treats that are Charlie dog approved. My other dog, Ella, joined our family a few years ago and she is the opposite of Charlie- she will eat anything and everything that you put in front of her. She loves my homemade treats too, but then again she loves everything.

Not, only are the treats delicious (at least that’s what my dogs tell me), they are also better for your dogs and better for the environment. Skipping all the chemicals and the plastic packaging is a win-win. Both your dogs and Mother Nature will thank you.

Charlie’s Favorite Recipe

Today, I am going to share with you Charlie’s favorite Pumpkin treat. This was the original recipe that I created and has been the basis for all my other puppy creations.

This recipe is so quick and easy to make, you can have a whole batch done in the time it would take you to go out to the store and buy a bag!

I start by mixing together ½ a cup of pumpkin puree with an egg. I then add in 2 Tablespoons of dry milk power.

To that mixture I add in 2 cups of oat flour. I read somewhere that dogs have a hard time digesting regular flour, so I always use oat flour. You can buy oat flour at a grocery store, or you can make your own. Oat flour can be pricy, so I usually just put regular oats in a coffee grinder and grind it up, until it is a flour consistency. It take a little time, but I have been know to go to extreme measures to save a few dollars.

You may have to add more or less of the oat flour to get the right consistency with the dough. It needs to be able to be rolled out and stay together without being too sticky. Then, all you need to do is roll out the dough and cut out the treats! Of course, I have a plethora of dog themed cookie cutters that I use, but any cookie cutter will work. I found most of my cookie cutters online, it just make it a little bit more fun!

 

 You can also just use a knife and cut it into squares, although I think the cuter the cookie cutter, the better the treat tastes.

Put the treats in a pre-heated oven at 350 degrees.  I bake them for 15-20 min, but my pup doesn’t like anything crunchy. If your dog likes crunchy treats you an keep them in for a few more minutes.

Once the treats come out of the oven, make sure that they cool completely before you package them. If you put them in a container when they are still warm, your treats will grow mold quickly. I keep my treats in a mason jar, in my fridge. They will keep on the counter for about a week, but will keep for 2 weeks plus in the fridge.

Now, it Is time to make your doggie’s day! I promise, they will love these treats! Even my picky eater gobbles them up! My cat Carlton has even been know to beg for these treats- they are that good!

You can create so many different variations of this recipe. I have made peanut butter, peanut butter bacon, sweet potato, blueberry, apple and carrot- the list can go on and on. Get creative and share your recipes with me!

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Print Recipe
Pumpkin Oat Dog Treats
Prep Time 10 min
Cook Time 20 min
Servings
small treats
Ingredients
Prep Time 10 min
Cook Time 20 min
Servings
small treats
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F
  2. In a large bowl mix together pumpkin pure and egg, until well combined. Stir in the dry milk powder.
  3. Add in the oat flour. Knead the mixture until the dough comes together. Add more oat flour if the dough is too sticky to roll out.
  4. On a clean, dry work surface roll out the dough using a rolling pin. Add flour as needed to prevent the dough from sticking to the counter or rolling pin.
  5. Cut out desired shapes and place on a baking sheet. Bake the treats for 15-20 minutes.
  6. Let the treats control completely before storing in an airtight container.

How to Make Slow Cooker Non-Fat Yogurt

I’ve always loved flavored yogurts but unfortunately, I am allergic to sucralose so many of the flavored low smart point yogurts we off limits for me.  My husband, and fellow weight watcher, loves those individual yogurts and they were a staple in his packed lunches. Those yogurts, although delicious, come in individual plastic packaging and are filled with artificial sweeteners. We were also paying $1 per individual serving

Then, the new weight watchers freestyle program was introduced and non-fat plain yogurt was added to the zero smart points list, which changed my relationship with yogurt forever.

To be honest, I hate the taste of plain yogurt, but at zero points, I was willing to give it another try. The scientist in my came out and started experimenting. I found countless ways to doctor up non-fat yogurt for little or no smart points. By adding a little stevia and fruit or other flavoring, you can have delicious zero point (or 1 point) yogurt.

Here are just a few yummy add-ins that I have used in my yogurt:

Stevia

Fresh fruit

PB2

Chocolate PB2

Sugar Free pudding mix (Chocolate, vanilla, pistachio, cheesecake, banana cream)

Sugar Free Jello mix

There are many scrumptious combinations you can make. Just this evening, I discovered the heavenly combination of sugar free banana cream pudding mix and PB2- my husband calls this combo “The Elvis”.  I also will sometimes combine the yogurt with some lite whipped topping, which makes a delicious mousse like dessert. Yogurt + Cheesecake pudding mix + Whipped Topping is a must try!!

This new love of non-fat plain Greek yogurt, resulted in buying several big containers a week. Each one of those containers is almost $4 and my recycling was filling up with the plastic containers.

I decided to start making my own! Let me tell you, BEST DECISION ever! I can now make a ton of yogurt for less than $2! And it tastes better than the store bought stuff.

All you need is skim milk! I’ve seen a lot of yogurt recipes using fancy equipment, but that is unnecessary. I was able to make delicious creamy yogurt only using my slow cooker, a thermometer and the light in my oven.

The whole process is very easy. It does take time, but 90% of that time is just waiting. I would say the total active time for this process is less than 10 minutes.

You start by adding a gallon of skim milk to a slow cooker. You can also use whole milk, or 2%, it just won’t be non-fat if you use another type of milk.  I’ve seen some recipes where they also add dry milk powder. I’ve tried it with and without the dry milk. I couldn’t really tell a difference so I stopped using the milk powder. The main reason being, I am a penny-pincher and that that is one less expense on my grocery bill.

Turn on your slow cooker and start heating your milk.

Heat until the milk reaches 180 degrees. The first time I made it, I heated it on low and it look forever! I had no idea how long it would take to reach the correct temperature, so I was checking the temp at least once an hour. If you decided to heat on low it will take about 6-8 hours before it reaches 180 degrees. If you heat it on high it take about 3-4 hours. It will also depend on the slow cooker that you use, so the first time you make it I suggest periodically checking the temperature. I just used a digital thermometer that I had. It is the same one that we use on Thanksgiving for the turkey. They have lots of fancy instant read thermometers out there, but as long as you get a semi-accurate read, just use what you have.

Cool the Milk.

Once the milk reached 180 degrees just turn the slow cooker off and take off the lid to let it cool. Let it cool until it is about 100 degrees. You may get a skin on the top of the milk as it cools, just remove it before you go on to the next step. If you don’t you will end up with little rubbery bits in your finished yogurt.

Add the starter.

Once the milk is cooled down to about 100 degrees, take out about 1 ½- 2 cups of the warm milk and stir in the live culture yogurt. You can use plain yogurt you buy from the store as the starter, or once you get going just save ½ cup from each batch to use as the starter for the next batch. I have a container set aside labeled “starter” and I take it out right away. If I don’t, I forget and all of the sudden I am out of yogurt with no starter! Make sure the starter is fully mixed in, then add it back to the slow cooker and stir to combine.

Now it is incubation time!

I turn on my oven for a few seconds to warm it up and turn on the oven light. Be careful not to heat up the oven too much. If it gets too hot, the live cultures in the yogurt will die. I usually let it incubate overnight. In 10-12 hours you will have plain non-fat yogurt.

Want Greek Yogurt?

At this point you can chill and eat it, but I prefer the taste and texture of Greek yogurt. To transform your yogurt to Greek yogurt all you need to do is strain it. I line a colander with a double layer of cheese cloth, place it in the sink and pour in the yogurt. Let the colander sit in the sink for a minute or two, then place it in a large bowl or other container to catch the liquid.

Then cover it and place it in the refrigerator while it is straining. The liquid that is strained off is whey. You can pour the whey down the sink or save it for another use. Whey is packed with protein, vitamins and minerals, so if you are feeling ambitious there are plenty of uses for the whey. I personally have never done anything with my whey, but someday I will experiment with it. If you are looking for ideas you can check out  36 ways to Use Whey for some inspiration.

Pour off the whey

For me, I usually pour out the whey a few times during straining just because the bowl I use is not very deep. Almost every time I make this yogurt, I end up stealing some yogurt from the colander before it is finished straining, because I cannot wait to eat it!

Once the yogurt is fully strained- you have Greek Yogurt!

Package and Store your Yogurt.

At this point, it is time to store it. I usually have a few large mason jars of the plain Greek yogurt. Then I mix together some different flavor combos and keep the in the small jelly mason jars so we can pack them in lunches. That way we can just grab and go!

I also use this yogurt to make the bagels that are currently taking the internet by storm. (See recipe here:  Easy Bagel Recipe I make mine in my air fryer)

I don’t think I will ever go back to buying yogurt

I want to hear if you try this process and what your experience is like. Give me ideas for other flavor combinations that I can use to doctor up the yogurt- I’m always looking for new ideas!

Want to know more about me and my journey? Learn more HERE

Print Recipe
Slow Cooker Non-Fat Yogurt
Save money, eat healthy and reduce your waste with this delicious, creamy non-fat yogurt recipe.
Servings
quarts
Ingredients
Servings
quarts
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Pour the milk into a crock pot. Heat on low, checking the temperature periodically until it reaches 180 degrees. This takes a while (6-8 hours). You can also heat on high for about 3-4 hours.
  2. Once the milk reaches temperature, turn off the crock pot and allow the milk to cool to about 100 degrees
  3. After the milk has cooled, remove 1-2 cups of the warm milk and add the live culture yogurt to the removed milk. Mix in completely. Add the milk mixture back into the crock pot with the warm milk and mix well.
  4. Place the warmed milk mixture in containers and place in the oven with light on. Let the yogurt sit for 10-12 hours. At this point you have regular non-fat yogurt. You can chill and eat at this point or if you prefer Greek Yogurt move on the step 5.
  5. Place a colander in the sink and line it with a double layer of cheesecloth. Pour the yogurt in to the base of the colander. Let it drain for a minute or two.
  6. Put the colander in a large bowl or other container to catch the whey, then place it in the refrigerator covered. Let the yogurt strain for about 8 hours.
  7. Transfer your yogurt into containers and enjoy!
Recipe Notes

Weight Watchers Smart Points: 0