Thursday, June 22, 2006

Where my dogs at?!

The weather is warming up, and we all need some refreshing treats. I personally have taken to making my nightly Orange Julius-type beverage that I become obsessed with during the warmer months. But as I have already shared that recipe, let me share one for all of my doggie friends to help keep them cool this summer.

There is a a wonderful ice cream stand that we sometimes travel past in the summer after camping trips along the St. Lawrence in southern Ontario. And if the dogs are with us, we always have to get a doggie-sized scoop of beef-flavored ice cream for them. (They sell this doggie ice cream for $0.50 a cup. Not bad, and the dogs adore the stuff!) But this place is 45 minutes from where we live in Malone, NY, so we don't get there too often. Thus, I decided that I needed to come up with my own recipe for frozen doggie treats. Now, if you don't mind taking out a second mortgage for Frosty Paws, then go right ahead and buy those instead and disregard this post. But for the frugal dog-lover out there, may I suggest the following economical substitute...

For a meaty ice cream (and who among us hasn't longed for that?), take a 32-ounce container of plain yogurt, a small container of beefy dog food (I used a package of Cesar's "Beef in Meaty Juices"--yum, yum!), add about a teaspoon of granulated garlic, and blend it well with a stick blender (or in your regular blender or food processor if you prefer). You could freeze this mixture in ice cube trays and then transfer the frozen cubes to a large Ziploc freezer bag to dispense as needed. But I was worried about having the lingering stench of Cesar meatiness on my ice cubes after this project, so I just filled some tiny plastic Solo cups with the yogurt mix. After they are frozen, I simply pop them out of the cups and then throw the frosty treats to my puppies who just love them. This "recipe" made 15 servings, and the cost of ingredients was less than three bucks. So I think at $.20 a treat, that's much more economical than Frosty Paws, plus I know exactly what's in it. (I may market this under the name, Hoggin' Dogz...ha ha!)

You can also do a vegan variety with peanut butter and honey. Use a 32-ounce container of vanilla yogurt, then add about a half a cup of peanut butter, and about a tablespoon of honey. (I haven't tried it yet, but you might also like to throw in a mashed banana for good measure!) Blend this well, and once again, fill little cups of the stuff and freeze it. Without the banana, this yielded 16 Dixie-sized cups, which is about $.18 a treat. And I'm not sure that the dogs don't like this flavor better than the beefy variety! Give these ideas a try, and help your doggie friends stay cool this summer. :-)

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