There are today few topics more heatedly contested than food and what, how and when one should or should not eat. Perhaps a topic even more heatedly contested however is the diet of our pets. Being a “Mom” to two lovely West Highland White Terriers (or Westies, for short), who as a breed are sadly prone to suffer from allergies, I am faced with this bombardment of information on the topic. So far I’ve tried to keep a clear head and stay relatively simple and sensible, as the dogs have not been exhibiting allergy symptoms.
We are currently testing home cooking for the dogs. It’s kind of simple, really, as a vegetables and brown rice cook easy enough in a big pot once or twice a week and can be accompanied by some meat (minced turkey seems to be fine for our dogs), fish (which they absolutely love) or cottage cheese. They also get some fish oil and biotin supplements. Actually, their diet seemed so healthy to me I recently re-started taking fish oil and zinc myself, as it seemed to work for the dogs! 😉 I suppose it is fair to say that in our society we may take better care of our dogs health than our own.
Serious stuff of doggie diets aside, though: before Christmas I really wanted to make some homemade Christmas cookies for our four-legged friends. In particular as we coordinate a monthly walk with other Westies in Seurasaari and I was hoping to surprise our Westie friends with some special Christmas treats. After some not-so-successful testing of my own, I luckily got help from a Westie-owner friend who also works at the local pet supply store. She gave us the original recipe, which was tested and found to work beautifully at the Westie walk in December (with more than 20 westies being the focus group). Since then I have done some minor fine-tuning of the recipe, mostly in order to improve the characteristics: elasticity and bakeability of the dough. Now I think it is fair to say that the cookies actually look and smell good enough to eat! I am tempted to have a taste myself in fact…
So, here goes:
CHRISTMAS COOKIES à la SEURASAARI
1 bag (300 g) of Natures Menu –dog food (we have used various types of this brand, most recently chicken and rabbit with vegetable)
2-4 dl potato or rice flour (or other glutein-free flour)
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 tablespoon natural yogurt
A handful of nuts and seeds can also be added for variation.
Mix the ingredients – the amount of flour will be appropriate when the composition of the dough resembles ginger bread dough. Use a mold of your choosing (we have two Westie-ones, not surprisingly and I recently purchased the cutest Valentine’s Day molds from the Stockmann’s Christmas sale).
Bake in the oven at 175 degrees until crispy.
Share with best canine friends!
(Photo of our cookie monsters from Seurasaari westie walk in January, courtesy of Mikael Vasiliev)
Second recipe comes from Victoria Stilwell herself. I love her and her “kindness of powerful” – approach to dogs and life. The cookies are wonderfully fragrant and very tasty.
VICTORIA STILWEL’S GINGER, COCONUT AND APPLE COOKIES
These wonderful cookies are surely good enough to share with your doggie friends and they fill your kitchen with the most delicious smell of coconut. Needless to say, the dogs absolutely love them, too. The original Victoria Stilwell recipe is available here:
I have translated the American measurements into European ones as follows:
2.4 dl rice flour
1, 5 dl grated apple
160 ml natural yogurt
1/2 teaspoon fresh grated ginger or 1 teaspoon of ginger powder
1 tablespoon coconut oil
Mix the ingredients, roll out and cut into shape using your personal choice of cookie cutters. Place on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper and bake at 180 degrees for about 20-25 minutes.
Let the cookies cool, despite the constant begging from the greedy little Westies by the stove. Once the cookies have cooled down, ask the doggies to stop fussing and do a few clever tricks instead, to get to share some of these beautiful and healthy treats.
Not so bad, a dog’s life, I would say.