Easter Bunny Biscuits for Dogs

Easter Bunny Dog Treats | Pretty Little Pastimes

 

Before everyone found the last egg in the hunt, I wanted to share with you a recipe that is sure to please that hopping, four-legged, bushy tailed animal that is enjoying Easter right along with you. And, no, I don’t mean the Easter Bunny!

Whenever I celebrate a holiday where I plan to indulge a little, I try to whip up something for my two pups to enjoy right along with me. They share my life each and every day, so why not include them in the joy of holiday festivities? With a quick and simple recipe like my Peanut Butter & Oatmeal Dog Treats (here, with a couple of changes) your dogs will be just as excited to see the Easter Bunny … and not just because they want to chase him around the yard.

Beef & Cheddar Dog Treats

  • 1/2 cup peanut butter *
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup unbleached flour
  • 1/4 plain yogurt (optional, for bunny tail decoration)

*Be sure to not use peanut butter containing xylitol. The ingredient is not harmful to humans, but is toxic for dogs.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the peanut butter, honey, olive oil and beef broth. In a separate bowl, combine the flours, oats, and cheddar. Slowly mix the dry ingredients into the peanut butter mixture until combined. If your dough is too dry add more beef broth one tablespoon at a time.

Easter Bunny Dog Treats | Pretty Little Pastimes

Transfer the dough to a flour dusted surface and roll the dough to about 3/8″ thick. Use a cookie cutter (I used a bunny shape) and cut out your treats. Combine the scraps and keep rolling to get as many treats as you can out of the dough; I ended up with 26. Place the unbaked treats onto a parchment lined cookie sheet and bake for 13-15 minutes. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Using a small pipping bag, place a small dollop of plain yogurt as a “bunny tail” on each treat. Place the treats directly into the refrigerator until the yogurt is hardened, about 30-45 minutes. Serve chilled or at room temperature (yogurt will remain hardened).

Easter Bunny Dog Treats | Pretty Little Pastimes

My pups love it when the Easter Bunny leaves them some homemade treats in their baskets and I am sure yours will too! Happy Hoppy Easter, everyone!

Easter Bunny Dog Treats | Pretty Little Pastimes

 

 

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Pumpkin Sheet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Pumpkin Sheet Cake | Pretty Little Pastimes

Would you believe me if I told you that I have never had a pumpkin spice latte in my life? It might be hard to accept, but it’s true. I actually gave up drinking caffeine completely more than 5 year ago so I have to pass on the seasonal coffees and teas. But before you start feeling bad for me, rest assured that I make sure to get my all-things-pumpkin fix in during the fall season. I LOVE the time of year when pumpkin flavored treats line the shelves of local grocery stores and bakeries. Then again, who doesn’t?

In my last post I shared the recipe for the Nantucket Cranberry Citrus Pie that sat on our dessert table this Thanksgiving. You’ve probably guessed that there was more than one sweet treat sharing the stage and you are right. My husband loves pumpkin rolls and I love cake, so here you have it: Pumpkin Sheet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting. After all, marriage is all about compromise, right? This Pumpkin Sheet Cake is rich, moist, and has that pumpkin spice flavor no one can’t get enough of during the fall. It is definitely a keeper.

Pumpkin Sheet Cake | Pretty Little Pastimes

Pumpkin Sheet Cake

  • 2 sticks butter
  • 2 cups pure pumpkin puree
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 3/4 cups boiling water
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 1 pound powdered sugar, Sifted
  • dash of salt
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 13″ x 18″ sheet pan with baking spray and set aside.

In a medium saucepan, melt 2 sticks butter. Whisk in pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice until combined completely. Whisk in boiling water until mixture is smooth and combined. Set aside.

In a small mixing bowl, combine buttermilk, eggs, baking soda, and vanilla. Whisk and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, and salt. Pour in the pumpkin mixture and stir until halfway combined. Pour in the buttermilk mixture and stir until combined. Pour into the pan and smooth until even. Tap the tray against the counter a few times to release the air bubbles. Bake the cake for 20 minutes. Remove and allow to cool.

To make the frosting, mix together the cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, and salt until smooth. Add milk and check the consistency. You want it to be thick and smooth, but still thin enough to spread easily over the cake. If your frosting is too thick add additional milk until desired consistency.

Spread the frosting all over the surface of the cake and sprinkle with chopped walnuts (optional). Cut into squares and serve.

*If you like a very thick layer of frosting, you can easily double the frosting recipe. I actually reserved some of my frosting to top homemade pumpkin cinnamon rolls the next morning. So, so good!

Pumpkin Sheet Cake | Pretty Little Pastimes

The size of this cake is perfect for sharing with friends and family at any holiday gathering. Enjoy!

Nantucket Cranberry Citrus Pie

Nantucket Cranberry Citrus Pie I Pretty Little Pastimes

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays for many reasons. For one, I was born on Thanksgiving, so I kind of think of it as a second birthday (a celebration my parents really never got on board for). Secondly, it’s a day devoted to spending time with family and friends and reflecting on what we are truly thankful for. And, of course, it’s a day where we can wear our stretchy pants and eat all day long without guilt. I LOVE Thanksgiving!

I know some people dread the prep work and cooking, but I actually enjoy it. Since moving away from family, my *now* hubby and I have spent the last three years perfecting our own little Boston Thanksgiving dinner and testing new dishes to put on the “it’s a tradition, we have to make it” list. The main course is pretty solid, so dessert is really where I get to experiment.

One thing missing from our table is cranberry – anything. Walking through the grocery store right before Thanksgiving, cranberries are everywhere! On this year’s pre-Thanksgiving trip I decided to see what all the fuss was about and tossed a bag of fresh cranberries in the cart. I had no idea what I was going to make with them at that point, but was certainly up for the challenge.

I adore extra-tart treats, so this Nantucket Cranberry Citrus Pie definitely hit the spot for me. The crust, which is more cake-like than a traditional pie crust, will really stand out against any apple or pumpkin pie at the table. The addition of citrus zest compliments the cranberries and adds an unexpected pop of flavor. If you prefer sweeter-sweets, just add some whipped cream, ice cream, or honey to the top of the pie before you dig in. Just as the pilgrims would have wanted.

Nantucket Cranberry Citrus Pie I Pretty Little Pastimes

Nantucket Cranberry Citrus Pie

  • 2 heaping cups fresh cranberries
  • 3/4 cup pecans, chopped
  • 3/4 tablespoon orange zest (I used the zest from one clementine)
  • 1 and 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted + extra for greasing the pan
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar for sprinkling (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Generously butter a pie pan. Add whole cranberries to the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle chopped pecans over the cranberries, followed by 2/3 cup of sugar (it is going to seem like a ton of sugar, but the cranberries are very tart so sprinkle, sprinkle).

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, 1 cup sugar, orange zest, melted butter, eggs, almond extract, and salt. Stir gently to combine.

Pour the batter slowly and evenly over the surface of the cranberry, pecan, and sugar layer. Spread out gently if needed.

Bake for 45-50 minutes. 5 minutes before removing from the oven, sprinkle the surface with 1 tablespoon sugar for a little crunch (if desired).

Cut into wedges and serve with fresh whipped cream or a honey drizzle.

Nantucket Cranberry Citrus Pie I Pretty Little Pastimes

And there you have it, a quick, easy, and most importantly delicious cranberry dish for your fall table that isn’t shaped like a can. Enjoy!

Happy 4th of July!

Raspberry Blueberry Scones I Pretty Little Pastimes

Happy Birthday, America; you don’t look at day over 200!

If you are anything like me, than not only do you love a good themed part, but you also LOVE themed baking! I couldn’t resist baking up a little red, white, and blue breakfast to start our Fourth of July celebration. This was my very first attempt at making a homemade scone and it will certainly not be the last. They were flavorful, flakey, and just the right amount of sweetness for me. With a dollop of fresh whipped cream, I would also gobble one of these up for dessert. In fact, I am already thinking about different flavor combinations I can bake up in the future … orange blueberry, cranberry almond, chocolate-anything … yum!

Red Raspberry & Blueberry Scones

  • 2 cups all purpose flour (reserve a little extra for work space)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup sour cream (or Greek yogurt)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
  • 1/2 cup of fresh raspberries, halved
  • 1/2 cup of fresh blueberries
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest (optional)
  • natural honey drizzle (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add the butter and cut into mixture. I use two forks to break up the butter and then my hands to further knead it in. Don’t worry about catching every small piece of butter, some larger pieces are just fine.

In a small mixing bowl wish together the egg, sour cream (or Greek yogurt), vanilla extract, and almond extract until smooth. Pour the wet ingredients over the flour mixture. Fold until just combined, being careful not to over mix. Gently fold in the berries and lemon zest.

Sprinkle flour onto your work station and turn the dough onto the surface. Knead it into an 8-inch round. If the dough is too wet to work with, add a little more flour. If it is too dry, add a small splash of milk.

With a large knife, slice the dough into 8 equal sized pieces (like a pizza). Using a flat spatula, transfer the wedges to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Make sure dough is at least 2 inches apart to allow for the dough to spread while baking.

Bake for 15-18 minutes or until very lightly golden. Allow scones to cool for 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire cooling rack. Once cooled (if they last that long), drizzle with a little all natural honey and enjoy!

Raspberry Blueberry Scones I Pretty Little Pastimes

Raspberry Blueberry Scones I Pretty Little Pastimes

Wishing each of you a very Happy Fourth of July!

Pitaya Superfruit Smoothie

Pitaya Smoothie I Pretty Little Pastimes

If you are lucky enough to pass by fresh pitaya at your local grocery store or market, stop immediately! Grab one of those vibrant beauties and put it in your basket! This superfruit is not only packed with antioxidants, it also carries a slew of vitamins and minerals. And don’t let the color or prickly skin fool you, the taste is actually quite mild (think kiwi) and is perfect to add to your favorite smoothie/breakfast bowl recipes.

When shopping for pitaya, commonly referred to as dragon fruit, choose a fruit that is vibrant and gives slightly to pressure. It can be a little tricky to find, but is usually kept in the exotic fruit section in the produce department. Similar to acai, food markets are now selling frozen packs as well. Keep an eye out!

Pitaya Superfruit Smoothie

  • 1 ripe pitaya
  • 1 small ripe banana
  • 1/2 cup mango
  • 4 ounces pineapple juice
  • 4 ounces coconut milk
  • drizzle of natural honey (optional)

Place all ingredients in a high speed blender (liquids first) and blend until smooth. Yep, that’s it! Transfer to your favorite glass or tumbler and serve immediately.

*If you prefer a thinner smoothie, simply add additional pineapple juice. If you like it thicker, add another handful of fruit.

There is nothing like feeling energized and refreshed after nourishing your body with something healthy AND tasty. Whether you add it into your breakfast routine or use it to recharge after a long workout, this pitaya smoothie is a must try. Enjoy!

National Peanut Butter Lover’s Day 2015

Peanut Butter Chia Overnight Oatmeal I Pretty Little Pastimes

It’s that time again! The day is here that we get to set aside special time to celebrate the creamy (or crunchy) wonder that is PEANUT BUTTER! I was scratching my head Saturday night thinking of a way to incorporate my favorite all-natural peanut butter into my breakfast routine. So I decided to mix it into some oatmeal and voila! Peanut Butter & Chia Overnight Oats. Enjoy!

Peanut Butter & Chia Overnight Oats

  • 2/3 cup skim or almond milk
  • 1/4 cup steel cut oats
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey
  • fresh blueberries or banana

Mix together the milk, oats, chia, vanilla and one tablespoon of peanut butter and place in the refrigerator overnight (or at least 4 hours). In the morning stir to incorporate and top with remaining peanut butter, honey and fresh fruit. I packed mine in a mason jar so it I could grab it on my way out the door.

Pumpkin Butterscotch Snickerdoodles

Pumpkin Butterscotch Snickerdoodles

Pumpkin Butterscotch Snickerdoodles

Happy first day of October everyone! If you are like me, than you try to hold on to summer just as long as you can. Unfortunately, for us on the East Coast summer came late and fall didn’t follow in suit. But now that it is officially October (and fall) I am gearing up for my favorite season, full of baking, decorating and holiday celebrations! I thought it would be appropriate to kick off the season on Pretty Little Pastimes with a pumpkin cookie recipe. While the lines grow longer for PSL’s, non-caffeine drinkers like me have to get their pumpkin fix in other ways. So, I present to you the Pumpkin Butterscotch Snickerdoodle! Fluffy, sweet and full of fall flavors, this has to be one of my top five cookies of ALL TIME! I hope you love them as we do. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Butterscotch Snickerdoodles

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 and 1/4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 6 tablespoons pumpkin puree
  • 1 and 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 cup butterscotch chips

In a medium bowl, whisk together the melted butter, brown sugar and 1/2 cup of sugar together until no lumps remain. Whisk in the vanilla and pumpkin puree until smooth. Set aside.

Pumpkin Butterscotch Snickerdoodles

In a large bowl, toss together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, 1 and 1/2 teaspooons cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix together with a rubber spatula. Fold in the butterscotch chips. Cover the dough and let chill for at least 30 minutes. This is an important step, so don’t skip it!

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Take the dough out of the refrigerator. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.

Roll the dough into balls (about 1/2 tablespoons each). Mix together the remaining 1/2 cup sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Roll each of the doughballs generously in the cinnamon-sugar mixture, coating all sides. Arrange on the two baking sheets. Slightly flatten the dough balls, as the dough will not spread much while cooking.
pumpkin butterscotch snickerdoodles I Pretty Little Pastimes

pumpkin butterscotch snickerdoodles I Pretty Little PastimesBake for 8-10 minutes. Remove from oven and allow the cookies to cool for at least 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack. You can store at room temperature for up to one week … but they NEVER last that long!

Pumpkin Butterscotch Snickerdoodles

 

Follow along for more fall-inspired treats this season!