everyday food made simple

My little boy turned FOUR yesterday! Can you believe it? I can’t. I can’t believe we’ve had this little rascal for pretty much four years already.

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He may be the best decision both Brian and I have made together. Even though him and I had a little rough start during his first year (there was a alpha-struggle in the beginning as well as a minor anxiety attack that almost made me give him back to his breeder), he has grown into such a loving happy boy that we can no longer imagine our lives without him.

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He has so much personality, bring us so much joy, makes me look forward to coming home after a long day of work, pushes our limits at times, tests our patience, and has taught us how to be good, caring, loving parents. Our love for him really is unconditional, and there’s no doubt in my mind that he’s going to be the best big brother for our little nugget.

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So to keep up with tradition, I’ve decided to make him some yummy homemade treats to celebrate his birthday.

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Bentley was not shy at helping himself to a couple of these during the photo shoot…

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You can find treats (and other dog-friendly treats) from previous years here.

He also got two brand new toys that has kept him occupied for two days straight.

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(yes, he’s spoiled…)

Just like all the other dog treats I’ve made in the past, these pretzels don’t contain any butter, sugar, artificial flavors, or preservatives of any kind. It’s cheap, easy to make, and you know exactly what goes in it. Not to mention they’re almost cute enough for people to eat! And I bet you probably have most of the ingredients sitting around in your pantry already!

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So go ahead and make these for your beloved four-legged friends, even if it’s not their birthday. Shouldn’t their constant companionship and unconditional love for you deserve something as tasty as homemade dog treats?

peanut butter, apple, and oats dog pretzels
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Ingredients
  1. 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more if needed
  2. 3/4 cup quick cooking oats
  3. 1 large egg, beaten
  4. 1 cup all natural (no sugar added) applesauce
  5. 3 teaspoons peanut butter - make sure it does NOT contain xylitol
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicon baking mat. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour and oats and mix well. Add in all but 1 tablespoon of the beaten egg to the flour, reserving the rest of the egg for later. Then add in the applesauce and peanut butter.
  3. Mix everything together with a wooden spoon until the dough starts to come together (I actually found it easier to use my hands to incorporate all the ingredients). The dough should not be sticky to the point where it sticks to your hands. If it is, add in a few tablespoons of flour and mix some more until the dough is pliable and not sticky.
  4. Scoop the dough using a medium cookie scoop (~1.5 tablespoons) and roll the dough into an approximate 10" rope. Shape the "rope" of dough into a U shape, then take the ends of the "U" and fold it back down, cross-crossing it in the middle to form it into a pretzel. Repeat for the rest of the dough.
  5. Once all the pretzels are made, brush the tops with the remaining 1 tablespoon of beaten egg. Bake for 25-30 minutes until pretzels are hard and golden brown on top. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes before transferring them to a wired cooling rack. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
  6. Makes 18 pretzels
Notes
  1. * Some dogs may have allergies to certain ingredients - consult your veterinarian prior to making these if this is the case.
Adapted from The Cookie Rookie
Adapted from The Cookie Rookie
Simple Everyday Food http://www.simpleeverydayfood.com/
Recipe adapted from The Cookie Rookie

© Simple Everyday Food. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use any of my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or kindly link back to this post for the recipe.

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fluffernutter donuts

My coworker Katie, who’s from Massachusetts, recently informed me that their state sandwich is the fluffernutter sandwich (do you think they say it with an accent? Like a “fluffanutta” sandwich?). She told me that creamy peanut butter + marshmallow fluff sandwiched between two pieces of white bread was what her mom made her for an after school snack growing up, and it was basically the best thing ever.

I’ve never actually had a fluffernutter sandwich before and boy was I missing out.

These donuts are soooo good!

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The peanut butter-based donuts are soft and fluffy and bursting with rich peanut butter flavor. One bite into and I bet you’re going to be all like OMGthisissogoodcanIhaveanotherone. I probably could’ve taken a whole dozen of these pre-frosted donuts and been happy about it. But this is a fluffernutter donut after all, and no donut is ever complete without a sweet sticky glaze on top… especially one that’s made with marshmallow fluff that transforms the entire donut from a peanut butter donut into a fluffernutter donut.

A fluffernutter donut you guys! It can’t get any better than this.

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fluffernutter donuts

But wait! It totally did… you know what I did? Yep, I drizzled more peanut butter on top. Gooey, creamy melted peanut butter that I could’ve just slurped up with a straw.

fluffernutter donuts

fluffernutter donuts

And if you’re going to eat half a dozen donuts for breakfast, you might as well eat donuts that are healthier, right? To keep the cake soft and fluffy, we’re using protein-packed Greek yogurt, so naturally these are good for you. At least that’s what I’m telling myself.

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Don’t worry, I won’t judge if you eat the entire pan – I almost did. #sorrynotsorry

After we demolished these donuts, I made myself fluffernutter sandwiches for breakfast for about a week straight. #truestory

baked fluffernutter donuts
Print
For the donuts
  1. 1 cup all-purpose flour
  2. 1 teaspoon baking powder
  3. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  4. 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
  5. 2 tablespoons low-fat plain Greek yogurt
  6. 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  7. 1 large egg, at room temperature
  8. 1/3 cup skim milk
  9. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the frosting
  1. 1 tablespoon butter, at room temperature
  2. 1/4 cup marshmallow fluff
  3. 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  4. 1-2 teaspoons heavy cream
  5. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  6. A few extra tablespoons of peanut butter, melted, for drizzling (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Generously spray your donut pan with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set that aside, too.
  2. Using an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the peanut butter, Greek yogurt, and brown sugar on medium speed, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl with a spatula if necessary. Add in the egg, milk, and vanilla and beat for another 1-2 minutes until combined. Slowly add in the flour mixture and mix on medium-low speed until batter comes together. Bake for 9-11 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean (mine took exactly 11 minutes). Remove donuts from oven, let cool for 3-5 minutes in the pan, then transfer to a wired cooling rack to cool completely.
  3. While the donuts are cooling, make the frosting: using an electric mixer, beat the butter, marshmallow fluff, powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon of heavy cream, and salt on medium speed until smooth. If the frosting looks too thick, add another teaspoon of the heavy cream. Dip the tops of the donuts in the frosting, letting the excess drip off, then place the donuts back on the rack for any extra frosting to run off. Drizzle the melted peanut butter over the tops. Donuts can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
  4. Makes 9 donuts
Adapted from Buns In My Oven
Adapted from Buns In My Oven
Simple Everyday Food http://www.simpleeverydayfood.com/
Recipe adapted from Buns In My Oven

© Simple Everyday Food. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use any of my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or kindly link back to this post for the recipe.

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Warning: lots and lots of cute puppy pictures ahead! :)

 My baby boy turned THREE (!!!) a few days ago! Oh man, where did the time go?!

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It’s been a fun-filled year for Mr. Bentley. He discovered the tastiness of blueberries, popcorn, cheese, and ice cream.

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He still loves to be outside in the summer – I think if it were up to him, he’d be outside every single minute when it’s at least 60 degrees. But he did realize how wonderful it is to just lay outside and soak up the sun, and that not every single minute needs to be about running around.

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He’s mellowed out a bit since last year, but there are still days where all he wants to do is be goofy and crazy.

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He loves looking through Sur la Table catalogs that we receive in the mail…

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He loves staring at us while we eat at the dinner table…

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And his new (annoying) naughty habit involves trying to rip socks off of our feet. For some reason it has to be dirty socks. You can throw a pile of clean, fresh-out-of-the-dryer socks at him and it wouldn’t phase him. But a pair of socks on your feet? He’ll rip those off and run around the house with them like it’s some sort of game. I’ve even caught him multiple times with his head in my hamper, digging for socks.

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Considering how much I love this boy of mine, it only made sense that I made him something (with love!) for his birthday. These turned out more like muffins instead of the cupcakes I initially envisioned, so I scratched the frosting idea. I don’t think Bentley minded, because he snatched one off the baking sheet right in front of me as I was taking pictures of them!

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This recipe is super simple to make and only requires a few ingredients that you probably already have sitting around in your house. It also only requires a few mixing bowls, a whisk, and a spatula… Add ingredients in bowl, mix, spoon into muffin tins, and bake – no rocket science here!

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The batter only yields 6 muffins, which is a perfect amount! Bentley’s sharing a few with his friends, because he certainly doesn’t need all 6 muffins to himself, and it’s always more fun to share food with friends. And like I said last year, if your dog has certain dietary restrictions, please consult your veterinarian before making these.

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And if you want a little frosting on top of these for your furry friend, you can definitely use the easy frosting recipe I used last year.

It’s been a great three years and I can’t imagine life without him. Thank you for being such a great puppy, Bentley! We love you!

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peanut butter & carrot doggie muffins
Print
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup all-purpose flour
  2. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  3. 1 large egg, at room temperature
  4. 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  5. 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  6. 1/4 cup honey
  7. 1 cup shredded carrots
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 6 muffin tins with cupcake liners and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the flour and baking soda. Set aside. In a medium bowl, combine the egg, peanut butter, vegetable oil, and honey. Whisk until thoroughly combined, then stir in the shredded carrots. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until fully incorporated.
  3. Divide batter evenly between the prepared muffin tins and bake for 25-27 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool prior to serving. Muffins can be stored in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
  4. Makes 6 muffins
Notes
  1. * If your dog has certain dietary restrictions, please consult your veterinarian before making these.
  2. ** And please do not feed your dog all 6 of these muffins in one setting! :)
Adapted from Romp Rescue
Adapted from Romp Rescue
Simple Everyday Food http://www.simpleeverydayfood.com/
Recipe adapted from Romp Rescue

© Simple Everyday Food. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use any of my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or kindly link back to this post for the recipe.

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Whenever I tell people I’m a vet tech, it’s always inevitable that someone will say, “I’m so jealous! I wish I could play with puppies and kittens all day!”

I always smile at their response because:

  1. Contrary to public belief, vet techs do not play with puppies and kittens all day.
  2. As a matter of fact, I actually do not see puppies and kittens all that often.
  3. It’s really not all rainbows and unicorns – there’s actually quite a bit a lot (I mean A LOT) of poop, pee, vomit, and blood involved on a daily basis (that’s if you’re lucky).
  4. There’s also a lot of sadness and death that we see on a regular basis. However, at the end of the day, we love what we do and we wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.

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The past few months, my coworkers and I have been taking care of a particular patient whom we have all grown attached to and fallen in love with. He stayed with us to get his medical condition under control while his loving parents dealt with some family issues themselves. They trusted us to take care of their baby boy, and we gave him all the love and attention he deserved: extra long walks, lots of ear and butt scratches, and lots of treats and cookies. He was such a happy dog that it was just too easy for us to fall in love with him. However, just earlier this week when I was about to go to bed, my coworker texted me and told me his family had ultimately decided to let him go, just a few hours after I said good-bye to him at the end of my shift.

I was devastated. I think we all were. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I realized I was attached to that boy more than I knew.

So how do we cope during times like this?

Well, some people curl up on the couch and cry into a pillow. [check]

Some people like to talk about it. [uh yeah no thank you]

Some people lay in bed and watch TV for hours on end.

Some people go for a run to temporarily forget the pain.

Some people reflect through writing. [check]

And some people sit down with a pint of ice cream and eat until they feel better. [check]

This peanut butter cup ice cream with brownie bits, to be exact.

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If we took a poll of America’s favorite flavor combo, peanut butter + chocolate has got to be in the top 3. That’s why this ice cream is the epitome of comfort food. Chucks of chopped peanut butter cups and brownie bits generously sprinkled throughout the ice cream – every bite is sweet, chocolatey, decadent, chewy, and crunchy. Oooooh yeah. It’s pure heaven, I tell ya.

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What’s even better is that this doesn’t require tempering of eggs, which means no risk of getting scrambled eggs! Just blend, chill, churn, freeze (and wait for what seems like eternity), and enjoy! And let me tell you right now – waiting for the ice cream to freeze overnight is pure torture!

The peanut butter ice cream base is so good that I could’ve slurped it all with a straw! I had to refrain myself from pouring it into a glass, topping it off with the mix-ins, and drinking it like a milkshake…

So go do yourselves a favor guys, and go make this right now. I promise you won’t be disappointed!

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peanut butter cup ice cream (with brownie bits)
Print
Ingredients
  1. 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  2. 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  3. 2 and 2/3 cups half-and-half
  4. A pinch of salt
  5. A dash of pure vanilla extract
  6. 1 heaping cup (unwrapped) mini Reese’s cups, frozen and chopped
  7. 1 cup roughly chopped brownie bites (optional)
Instructions
  1. In a blender, combine the peanut butter, sugar, half-and-half, salt, and vanilla extract. Blend until smooth. Place in refrigerator and chill completely.
  2. Add mixture to ice cream maker and churn according to manufacture's instructions.
  3. Once churned, gently fold in the chopped peanut butter cups and chopped brownie bites with a spatula. Transfer to storage container and freeze overnight.
  4. Makes 1 quart
Adapted from Annie's Eats
Adapted from Annie's Eats
Simple Everyday Food http://www.simpleeverydayfood.com/
Recipe adapted from Annie’s Eats

© Simple Everyday Food. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use any of my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or kindly link back to this post for the recipe.

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Warning: if you’re not a big dog person, this post might not be for you…..

My baby boy turned TWO today! And I made him cupcakes to celebrate.

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….please tell me I’m not the only one who makes cupcakes for their dog’s birthday…..

It really seemed like not that long ago we were making the trip to Hutchinson to bring our first ever puppy home… he was so tiny! Brian and I never owned a puppy before, so we weren’t really sure what we were getting ourselves into. Despite a few rough patches along the road, we are extremely pleased at how great of a dog we have raised together.

Bentley was only 7 weeks when we brought him home, and a few of his favorite things included sleeping…

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…sleeping, sleeping, and more sleeping.

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And during the rare hours he would be awake, he’d be busy playing with his toys.

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Fast forward two years later, the little sleepy boxer puppy we once had has grown into a petite 55-lb dog with endless energy with a cheerful happy attitude, a protective instinct, endless curiosity, and the desire to play for hours.

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He does his best to be my little helper in the kitchen when I’m cooking and baking, so today I wanted to make something special for my little guy to celebrate another year of being part of our family.

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These cupcakes are super easy to make – it only requires one bowl and a whisk. Add everything in the bowl in no particular order, whisk until combined, spoon into cupcake liners, bake in the oven, and you’re done. It’s that easy. This recipe only makes 5 decent sized cupcakes, which is great because 1. no dog in the world needs to eat that many cupcakes at once, and 2. it’ll be easier to store them later on. I usually just share the treats I make with Bentley’s puppy friends so there will be less of it sitting around the house.

Oh, and please please please don’t feed your dog all 5 cupcakes in one sitting – it can cause tummy upsets and can potentially make your dog very sick (just think of the last time you inhaled 5 cupcakes in a row… I bet you didn’t feel too good afterwards). And if your dog has certain dietary restrictions, please consult your veterinarian before making these :)

Bake these in the oven for about 15-17 minutes, and make the frosting while you’re waiting. It is important that the cupcakes and the frosting get stored separately. The frosting contains Greek yogurt, which cannot be left out in room temperature for long, so store it in the fridge, while the cupcakes can be stored at room temperature. Simply frost the cupcakes right before serving – your dog will love you forever…. I promise.

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doggie cupcakes with peanut butter frosting
Print
For the cupcakes
  1. 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  2. 1 teaspoon baking powder
  3. 1/3 cup no sugar added applesauce
  4. 1/3 cup canola oil
  5. 1 egg, at room temperature
  6. 1 tablespoon honey
  7. A pinch of cinnamon
For the frosting
  1. 3 tablespoons low-fat plain Greek yogurt
  2. 1 and 1/2 tablespoons peanut butter
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 5 cupcake wells with cupcake liners and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine all the ingredients and whisk until thoroughly mixed. Spoon cupcake batter into the cupcake liners, filling each well about 3/4 full.
  3. Bake for 15-17 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let cupcakes cool for at least 10 minutes, then remove onto wired cooling rack to cool completely.
  4. While the cupcakes are cooling, make the frosting by mixing the yogurt and the peanut butter together until smooth.
  5. Store cupcakes and frosting separately*, and frost cupcakes right before serving.
  6. Makes 5 cupcakes
  7. *store cupcakes in an airtight container in a dry cool place for up to 5 days. Store frosting in a separate airtight container in the refrigerator.
Adapted from The Scrumptious Pumpkin
Simple Everyday Food http://www.simpleeverydayfood.com/
The hardest part of this recipe is listening to your dog whine as these cupcakes cool. It’s seriously like they know these cupcakes were made specifically for him.

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Happy birthday Bentley! Thank you for being such a great puppy the past two years – we sure are lucky to have you in our lives!

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Recipe adapted from The Scrumptious Pumpkin

© Simple Everyday Food. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use any of my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or kindly link back to this post for the recipe.

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