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How To Make Sweet Potato Chews (Guest Recipe)

Peanut butter often gets the glory, but most dogs love delicious sweet potatoes, too.

Charlie Machete begs for a treat.

More sweet ‘taters, please!

The recipe I recently shared for no-bake sweet potato treats was well-received by readers – and, I hope, your dogs. Here’s another super easy sweet potato snack you can make for your pups. The recipe comes from another blogger and dog lover.

Many store-bought dog treats are the equivalent of doggie junk food. There’s no nutritional value, and some of the ingredients are better left on store shelves. So what’s a concerned dog parent to do?

Homemade sweet potato chews are an easy, healthy alternative to traditional treats. They’re packed with natural goodness and don’t require any special equipment to make.

All you need for these treats are:

–          Sweet potatoes

–          A cutting board

–          A sharp knife

–          A cookie sheet

–          An oven

Instructions: 

1)      Pre-heat your oven to 250 degrees.

2)      Wash and peel the sweet potatoes.

3)      Using your sharp knife, cut the sweet potatoes into slices 1/3 to 1/2 an inch thick. I recommend aiming for the low end, as thicker slices don’t turn out as well.

4)      Lay the slices on your cookie sheet about an inch apart. Be sure to use a light coat of cooking spray or olive oil if your cookie sheet isn’t non-stick.

5)      Cook for 90 minutes.

6)      Flip the slices, then cook for an additional 60 minutes. Cook in additional 10-minute increments if necessary.

Dehydrated sweet potatoes

Before. After.

Ideally, the treats will turn out as dehydrated strips. Thicker slices will need to be baked longer and will be slightly chewy; thinner strips should be baked for less time or they’ll crispy. Once cool, refrigerate to preserve their freshness.

These are treats you can feel good about giving your dog. Sweet potatoes are high in too many vitamins and minerals to list, plus they have anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties. This easy method of preparation maintains their health benefits which unnecessary processing reduces.

The other benefit of sweet potato chews is that they are a safe alternative to rawhide chews. In the past, rawhides have been found to pick up contaminants like salmonella during processing, leading to risk of illness. Many dogs get really excited about rawhides and chew off small pieces, which can be a choking risk. Rawhide is not easily digested, so if your dog swallows small pieces, it could lead to stomach blockages. Yikes. These sweet potato chews, on the other hand, are not made in a factory assembly line and are easily digested.

Sweet potato dog treats are healthy, safe, and easy to make. Your dog will love them. The first time I made them for my dog, she got excited every time I opened the fridge for a week, hoping her cuteness would earn a sweet potato chew.

Bon(e) appetit!

This guest post comes from Sonia Charry, who writes the Big Dog Blog at PawPosse.com. She’s constantly trying out new, healthy recipes for her family, which includes her dog Nala. Here, she shares the recipe for one of Nala’s favorite home-made treats.

Would your dog enjoy sweet potato chews?

Sweet Potato Peanut Butter Blueberry Frozen Goodness

This is a recipe for master estimators.

It is the only kind of recipe I can follow. And it’s for dogs, who will never tell me, anyway, if there’s a smidge too much cinnamon.

No bake sweet potato cookies.

No bake sweet potato cookies.

Sweet Potato Peanut Butter Blueberry Frozen Goodness

Ingredients:

1. What’s left of last year’s sweet potato harvest. Or, as many sweet potatoes as you feel like cleaning, chopping up, boiling and pureeing in the blender – minus the amount of mash you decide at the last minute to save for yourself. Because mashed sweet potatoes are so awesome to eat they require no condiments (although a dash of salt and butter can’t hurt).

Chopped sweet potatoes.

Chopped sweet potatoes.

chopped sweet potatoes in a Blendtec blender

Will it blend?

Pureed sweet potatoes

It blended.

2. Peanut butter. As much as you feel like spooning into the pureed sweet potatoes, but probably not an equal amount or the batter will get so voluminous that you’ll be at this all day.

3. Oats – regular or the instant kind. Really, the dogs won’t know the difference.

4. Cinnamon. Put the container on the sprinkle – not the dump – setting, and use your judgment.

Pureed sweet potatoes, peanut butter, oats and cinnamon

This is basically what your mix should look like before you stir things up.

4. Dried blueberries. For topping.

Directions:

As the photos above indicate, you will mix all ingredients together. Be patient – the potatoes are light and fluffy, and the peanut butter is thick and heavy. Feel free to keep adding oats, since they seem to help stiffen up the taters.

Once you are satisfied that the mixture is sufficiently even, you will 1) wonder why you mixed things by hand instead of putting it all in your ridiculous $400 Blendtec blender and 2) proceed to the next step.

“The next step” is easy but messy: Use your fingers and a spoon to deposit little lumps of batter onto wax paper. How big you make these lumps is entirely up to you. How big are your dogs? I made two sizes – tablespoon-size for big dogs and teaspoon-size for my elderpin.

When you get sick of spooning out lumps, or when you realize you’re running out of containers to store them in, you might grab the nearest Kong toy and stuff it with this delicious-to-a-dog mixture. Just don’t drop it, or there could be a fight.

A pit bull mix, golden retriever and a miniature pinscher lust after a Kong toy stuffed with sweet potatoes, peanut butter, oatmeal and cinnamon.

Three handsome beggars, Part Deux.

Once the Kong is stuffed, go back to the gooey lumps. Tuck a dried blueberry into the center of each, because it makes them look cuter. And, blueberries are good for dogs.

Small no-bake sweet potato dog treats.

Scooby-size sweet potato snacks.

Finally: Freeze everything. Including the few sweet potato chunks you skimmed for healthy “training” treats.

Frozen sweet potato dog treats.

Not as many snacks as it seems.

Like everything else I make (including yesterday’s basil mint tea), this recipe is adapted from a more specific version. When you don’t have sweet potato mash and blueberries on hand, make the simpler No Bake Peanut Butter Oat Treats by For the Love of My Dogs.

What homemade goodness do you make for your pets?

Letting nature take its course on the garden

Embarrassing truth: Gardening just wasn’t a priority at Wayward House this summer.

This fact disappoints even little Scooby.

“You ought to be ashamed of yourself.”

Although I began the season with great seedy intentions, weird weather and my tendency to overcommit led to a very poorly managed garden in 2012.

There was much death, underproduction and waste – of money, water, plants and time.

Fortunately, a few species persisted in spite of my neglect. There was that bumper crop of mutant squash.

And my uncaged, untied, laying-down-on-eachother, half-mowed-over tomato plants managed to produce a bounty that, while very modest, dwarfs our total tomato failure last year.

image

At least three varieties of cage-free, homegrown red and yellow tomatoes.

The tomatoes are so sweet, delicious and few that we have been careful to savor every single one.

A few other plants in the garden still show promise.

Some of the healthiest things seem to be the ones I didn’t even plant. Lots of basil self-seeded from last year.

Volunteer lemon basil.

Volunteer Thai basil

A rosemary seedling we bought at the Waldo Farmers’ Market seems rather robust.

Fragrant, green rosemary.

The only eggplant that remains from my own starts is struggling to survive at the foot of our sad, dead pear tree. The bright purple blooms give me hope.

An optimistic eggplant blossom.

If the weather cooperates, we could get some sweet potatoes this fall. These vines were started from last year’s huge sweet potato harvest.

Sweet potatoes ready for a watering.

Although there are signs of life, this summer’s garden will not go down as a success. I allowed it to get truly wayward, in the bad sense of the word.

So, what’s the takeaway for next time? Simple:

  1. Focus on fewer species and overall quantity of plants.
  2. Plan out the design instead of planting willy nily.
  3. Figure out how to make watering easier so that I don’t get lazy and skip it for too many days in a row.

“This was a depressing garden tour. Leave me in the house next time.”

What brings you success as a gardener? How is your plot looking at this time in the season?

First sprouts of spring

If you follow Wayward Dogs on Facebook, you already saw our first little Hansel eggplant seedling, stretching out of its egg carton toward the light.

Last night, two more Hansel seedlings sprouted.

After spending a couple of days on our kitchen counter, our spring seedlings are now upstairs in our makeshift greenhouse. I outfitted the four-shelf baker’s rack with plant lights screwed into clip-on light fixtures. These fixtures let me point the artificial rays in the direction I want.

In an attempt to slow down the rapidness with which the soil in the egg cartons dries out, I have now covered everything with a thin layer of plastic or a clear glass container that helps trap moisture.

Now added to the variety of peppers and eggplants seeded last week are several varieties each of melons, squash, pumpkin and lettuce, plus cauliflower and Black Beauty eggplants.

We also suspended some of last summer’s sweet potatoes in a mason jar filled with water. In that sunny — and faux sunny — room, we hope that they will start slips (aka shoots) that we can plant later in the spring.

Are you a gardener who is starting plants from seeds this year? Have any of your babies sprouted yet?

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