Pumpkin Pupcakes

pumpkinpupcakeOur dog Tucker turned two this week. He’s a very sweet boy who loves going for walks (especially hiking at the park), playing with various squeaky toys, and snuggling up to us for quiet time. Tucker  came to us from a rescue in Ohio and he didn’t have the easiest start in life, but he’s settled in with us very well. Despite having tons of energy, he can chill out like a pro. He’s napping as I write this.

These pupcakes – dog-safe cupcakes – were incredibly easy to make. I found the recipe at A Saucy Kitchen, then adapted it to use pumpkin instead of apple, and my batch made three adorable pupcakes. I chose to use baking powder, which is listed in the original recipe as optional, and I’m glad I did. These baked beautifully and have a lovely texture, kind of spongy and light. Tucker loved them.


  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 3 tablespoons peanut butter*
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

*Don’t use peanut butter with artificial sweeteners like xylitol, which can be toxic and even deadly for dogs. I used Jif creamy peanut butter, because Tucker and I are Jif loyalists.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin tin with three paper liners.

In a small bowl, stir together pumpkin puree, peanut butter, egg, and baking powder until smooth. Spoon into muffin tin, dividing batter evenly.

Bake for 18-20 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Remove from oven and remove pupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely before serving. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for 3-4 days. Makes 3.


Pumpkin Peanut Butter Dog Treats

pumpkinpbdogtreatMy soulmutt, Millie, passed away back in July. To say that her loss broke my heart is an understatement of epic proportions, but I’m also just incredibly grateful to have had such an amazing dog for as long as we had Millie. She lived to the astonishing age of 17, beyond ancient for a Rottweiler/lab.

Our house was far too quiet without a canine companion, and so this fall Mike and I adopted Tucker, a German shepherd/pit bull mutt. Tucker is about 20 months old; he is full of energy and kisses, believes he’s a lap dog despite being 64 pounds, and has provided us with a significant increase in activity. Tucker needs two to three walks a day, and so out into our neighborhood we’ve gone, meeting neighbors we’ve lived near for more than a decade and yet not met until now. These pumpkin peanut butter dog treats are gifts for Tucker’s neighborhood dog buddies, the local pups helping socialize him and learn his doggie manners.


  • 2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Water


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, stir together flour, pumpkin, peanut butter, salt, and cinnamon. Add water about 1 tablespoon at a time, kneading the dough together with your hands – it will be very stiff and dry, but you don’t want to add too much. I think I added about 3 tablespoons, maybe 4, before it came together.

Roll out to about 1/4 inch thick and cut using your desired shape; we chose trees for the season in celebration of the second day of winter and soon-to-be Christmas. Re-roll any scraps and cut, using up all of your dough.

Place on cookie sheets and bake for about 40 minutes, until treats are hard. Remove from oven and cool; store in an airtight container. Treats will keep for a few weeks according to various internet sources – being homemade, they don’t have as long of a shelf life as store-bought biscuits. Makes about 28, depending on your cutter.

Meet Tucker

tuckerTucker is a German shepherd/pit bull mutt we adopted from Every Dog Matters, a rescue in Ohio. He enjoys walks in our neighborhood, hikes at North Park, playing tug-of-war and keep-away, snuggling, and barking at random things in the middle of the night. He has beautiful golden eyes and vampire-like fangs that appear whenever he lies on his back, is fascinated by deer, and wants to be a park ranger when he grows up.

Peanut Butter Bacon Dog Treats

pbbacontreatsDog treats, while available in many varieties in convenient boxes at your local store, are very easy to make at home. These treats have only five ingredients, many of which we have on hand in any given week (yes, that includes the bacon grease).

There are healthier versions, for sure, but these make a nice occasional treats. I found this recipe at Hardly Housewives, and next time, I might add just a bit of crumbled bacon to make them extra-special.


  • 1 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup bacon grease, in liquid form so it’s easy to mix
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup water


In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients. Mix with a wooden spoon, then knead together with your hands to form a soft dough.

Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for about 1 hour, until dough is firmer and easier to handle.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line two baking sheets with foil.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to about 1/4 inch thickness. Cut into desired shapes; I used a medium bone-shaped cutter.

Place bones on prepared baking sheets and bake for 20-22 minutes, until treats are golden brown and firm. Allow to cool, then serve to your favorite canine friend.

Basic Dog Treats

basic dog treatsThere are many kinds of dog treats out there, but it’s very easy to make your own with some of the most basic ingredients you’re likely to have in your pantry. In most cases, you’ll just need some flour – usually whole wheat – and other dog-friendly items like peanut butter (make sure it doesn’t contain xylitol), broth, pumpkin, banana, and so forth.

Dog treats bake for a while so they can harden, which helps them keep for longer than a traditional cookie. But since these are homemade, keep an eye on them to make sure they don’t look or smell like they shouldn’t.


  • 2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cups chicken broth


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil.

In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients and stir together, then knead with your hands until a sturdy dough forms; I recommend starting with 1/2 cup of chicken broth and adding more to make the dough easier to handle as you go along.

Roll out on a very lightly floured surface and cut into desired shapes. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until golden. Cool completely on a wire rack.

Meet Sukey

IMG_1867Sukey is a charming dog who enjoys laying on the sofa and begging for table scraps not necessarily at the same time. To maintain her girlish figure, she eats green beans mixed in with her kibble, but she’d never turn down a slice of bacon.

In this photo, Sukey waits behind the baby gate in Mo’s room during the party. One of the little girls in attendance sat down on the other side of the gate and read to Sukey while the other kids played…one of the cutest things I’ve ever seen.

Peanut Butter Dog Treats






Millie is our dog.  We adopted her from a local animal shelter less than a month after we moved into our house four years ago.  I’ve never loved anything more than I love Millie.  And yes, Mike is fully aware of that.

Millie and I get along so well because we share an appreciation for meat, cheese, and carbs.  She is an effective beggar, so I admit that Mike and I give in, often sharing a strip of bacon, a bite of turkey, or a slice of cheese at the sight of her sweet, I’m-a-good-dog face.  Nothing rivals Millie’s love of carbs, though.  She likes to steal pizza crust off of plates and once snatched a loaf of challah from the counter, ate half, then left the other half shoved under the cushion on the living room chair.  She has eaten the top crust of an apple pie, an entire platter of rugelach cookies, and, most recently, the remainder of a peach cobbler.

Because I bake for the ones I love, I can’t leave Millie out.  These treats were adapted from larger recipe, which I cut in half to make a smaller batch; this yielded 15 treats.  I used a four-inch bone-shaped cookie cutter, but you could use any shape you like or roll the dough into balls and flatten them with the tines of a fork, the way you would for peanut butter cookies.


  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 5 ounces hot water (just below the 2/3 cup line on a glass measure)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, stir together flour and oats.

Add peanut butter and water and mix with a fork until combined, then knead together with your hands to form a very pliable dough.

Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and roll to 1/4 inch thickness.

Cut with a bone-shaped cutter and transfer to a cookie sheet using an offset spatula to prevent them from breaking.

Bake for 40 minutes; treats will be hard to the touch, like any store-bought treat.

Cool on a wire rack and store at room temperature for up to one week.

Treats can be kept in the fridge for up to three weeks or frozen for up to six months.

Meet Millie

Millie is a seven or eight year-old Rottweiler-Lab mix who enjoys napping, snuggling, barking ferociously at the mail man, and digging large holes in Mike’s garden beds.

Below, Millie snuggles with her Grandma Genny (my mom) on our sofa.