Quick and Easy Dog Treats

It’s been a little over two years ago that Matthew and I took the plunge and became puppy parents. Looking back, we had absolutely NO idea what we were getting ourselves into. We imagined relaxing snuggles on the sofa, off-leash playing in the park, and a mild tempered dog. We quickly realized that our reality as puppy parents would be something completely different.

I’ll never forget the day that Maya peed on my lap, while I was sitting on the sofa. The puppy months were rough for everyone in our household. There were the 3am potty breaks, that Maya seemed to assume were playtime. There were the accidents in the house, which usually occurred right after a long walk around the block. There was the destruction of the laminate tile in our kitchen. There was puppy training class number one… and number two. The list could go on for quite a while.

Fast forward to two years later and the landscape of dog ownership has changed drastically for both of us. I remember reading that dog training is more about training humans than the dog. I couldn’t agree with this statement more. Matthew and I have been fully trained and as a result, Maya is doing quite well. I now get those relaxing snuggles on the sofa and Matthew gets his off-leash playtime in the park. As for a mild-tempered dog? Well you can’t get everything you wish for, right?!

Baking doggie treats is literally the easiest thing you can do in the kitchen. I like this recipe because it only takes three ingredients and you can customize it however you’d like. This recipe is perfect for your own doggie, or as a gift for a dog lover in your life. I got the dog shaped cookie cutters at a fun boutique store with my parents when they were in town last fall. I even found some cute ones on Amazon when I was perusing for baking items.


Quick and Easy Dog Treats
Makes approximately 48 small sized treats 

Ingredients
2 cups of whole wheat flour
2 four ounce jars of baby food
1/2 cup chopped meat

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place a rack in the middle of your oven.

Combine flour, baby food, and chopped meat together in a bowl and mix until the dough becomes stiff. You may need a little extra flour or water depending on the consistency of your dough—this recipe isn’t an exact science.

On a rolling mat or floured surface, roll out your dough until it’s 1/4 inch thick. Use your cookie cutters to cut into your desired doggie treat shape. As an alternative, you can also use a sharp knife to cut the dough into squares.

Line a cookie sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper and place treats 1/2 inch apart. Bake the treats for approximately 20 minutes or until you see the edges begin to brown slightly. Remove from the oven and allow to cool before removing from cookie sheet. Once completely cooled, you should store your treats in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.

Heather’s Helpful Hints
When adding food to your dog treats, remember that there are some foods which are off limits to our furry friends as they are toxic. Be sure to keep onions, grapes, raisins, and of course chocolate far from your doggie treats!

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All Day Apple Butter

An important requirement of fall is apple picking. When I was younger my mom and I would take multiple trips to the apple orchard to stock up on apples in the fall. It’s a tradition that I’ve enjoyed continuing throughout the years.

There are SO many things you can do with apples when it comes to baking. If you need a little inspiration, check out my Caramel Apple BarsCountry Apple Galette, and Apple Tarte Tatin!

My love of apples aside, this post is also about canning. Can you believe that it took me almost 30 years to try my hand at canning?! If you are truly dedicated to getting the canning process right, it will require a little research and reading before you head into the kitchen. I spent about 30 minutes on the phone with my dad, who I consider to be a seasoned expert in the art of canning. I’d also recommend the Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving as wonderful guide and instruction manual. I’m going to save some of my canning tips and tricks for another post, and today I’ll share my amazing apple butter recipe with you.

Did you know that apple butter actually has NO butter?! I was somewhat surprised when I first discovered this. Apple butter gets its name because you basically cook apples down to the consistency of butter so your sauce is spreadable. Apple butter is a highly concentrated form of apple sauce produced by slow cooking of apples to a point where the sugar in the apples caramelizes, turning the apple butter a deep brown. All you need are apples, sugar, and some spices. It doesn’t get any simpler. I really like this recipe because you cook the apples in a crock pot for an entire day which means that your home will smell simply divine.


All Day Apple Butter Recipe
Makes approximately 8 half pint jars

Ingredients
5 1/2 pounds apples – peeled, cored, and finely chopped
3 1/2 cups white sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions
Place the apples in a slow cooker. In a medium bowl, mix the sugar, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger, and salt. Pour the mixture over the apples in the slow cooker and mix well. Cover and cook on high 1 hour.

Reduce heat to low and cook 9 to 11 hours, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is thickened and dark brown. Uncover and continue cooking on low 1 hour. Stir with a whisk, if desired, to increase smoothness.

Spoon the mixture into sterile containers, cover and refrigerate or freeze.

Heather’s Helpful Hints
If you want to ensure your apple butter is free of lumps, use an immersion blender to puree the sauce before the final hour of cooking. I tried this and was very pleased with the smooth and creamy texture that resulted.

Red White & Blue Swirled Berry Popsicles

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It’s that time again… my favorite summer holiday is here! For me, the Fourth of July means a fun filled day of barbecuing, watching fireworks, and visiting with family and friends. No matter what you have planned, be sure to kick back, relax, and enjoy this great American holiday!

How are you celebrating the Fourth of July? Let me know in the comments below!

I leave you with a quick and easy Fourth of July themed popsicle recipe. These popsicles are good for you, sugar free, low fat and super tasty. You can use any fruits and berries you have on hand. Also feel free to play with the white stripe. You can use coconut milk, greek yogurt, heavy cream or anything else you can dream up. Enjoy!

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Red White & Blue Berry Popsicles 
Makes approximately 6 popsicles

Ingredients
2 cups fresh blueberries
2 cups fresh strawberries
6 ounces fat free Greek yogurt
15 drops vanilla stevia drops

Directions
In 2 separate saucepans, bring berries to boil with 1 tablespoon of water in each pan. Partially cover pans and reduce to a simmer for about 5 minutes until berries are saucy. Remove from heat and purée each sauce separately in a blender. Transfer the strawberry sauce to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator.

Fill pop molds 1/3 of the way with the blueberry sauce. Freeze for 3 hours or until frozen. Sweeten the Greek yogurt or coconut milk to taste. Fill the pop molds with 1/3 of the yogurt or coconut milk. Return to freezer for 3 hours or until frozen. Fill the molds, leaving 1/4 inch at the top with the strawberry sauce. Cover molds with tin foil and insert sticks until they reach the white layer. Freeze for another 3 hours or until solid. Carefully remove pops from molds; you can run some warm water over the molds to make this easier.

Heather’s Helpful Hints
You will end up with more berry sauce then you need for these pops. This is great to top pancakes, French toast, for mixed berry yogurt parfaits, oatmeal, cake ice cream, smoothies, shakes and more!

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Rainbow Fruit Kebabs

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This past weekend was jam packed with activities and flew by way to quickly. On Saturday morning I participated in a 5k Color Run which was an absolute blast. In the afternoon our race team had a celebratory BBQ. I was torn on what we should bring with us to the BBQ. It was a pretty healthy group of individuals and I wasn’t going to be the person that brought 400 calorie cupcakes. No thank you. So I raided Pinterest boards on Friday for some healthy ideas. Sometime around 45 minutes later—after ogling pictures of adorable bulldog puppies and discovering exercises “guaranteed” to shrink my belly in 10 days—inspiration hit. I was going to make fruit kebabs. I mean who can argue with anything that Martha Stewart posts on her Pinterest board?

Since the BBQ was after the Color Run I decided to go with the rainbow theme and make rainbow fruit kebabs. These are hands down one of the easiest side dishes you can imagine. All you need to do is dice up some fruit, arrange the pieces on a skewer, and VOILA! You can get creative with the types of fruit you chose depending on what is in season.

Aside from making these spectacular kebabs, we had a few other fun activities over the weekend. On Saturday evening Matt and I saw D’Angelo in concert. I’ll admit, prior to the concert, the only D’Angelo song I remember was this one from high school. Wait until about minute 1:00 AND… drool. Then on Sunday we went to a lovely outdoor wedding for our apartment building neighbors.

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Rainbow Fruit Kebabs Recipe
Makes approcimately 20 fruit kebabs

Ingredients
10 large strawberries, halved
1 pound apricots, halved
1 pineapple, cut into chunks
5 kiwi, sliced
1 pint blueberries
1 cup grapes, seedless
20 skewers

Directions
Thread the strawberries, apricots, pineapple, kiwi, blueberries, and grapes alternately onto skewers, placing one to two pieces of fruit on each skewer. Arrange the fruit skewers decoratively on a serving platter.

Heather’s Helpful Hints 
Don’t feel that you have to stick to the fruit in the recipe. Feel free to get creative and swap out anything that you prefer. Maybe peaches instead of apricots or watermelon instead of strawberries. Have fun with whatever fruits are in season!

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Holiday Stove Top Potpourri Mix

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Happy Holidays to everyone!

This year Matt and I are finding ourselves fairly relaxed during the holiday season. Instead of traveling or hosting we are spending our first Christmas together with just the two of us! Our plans for the day are still TBD, but we’re looking forward to relaxing with each other.

The Sweet Precision kitchen has actually been bustling the past few weeks with the smells and sounds of holiday baking. Between baking cookies for several holiday parties and making candies for Christmas gifts, I’ve hardly had time to document everything to share with you! Instead of sharing another cake or cookie recipe, this post is all about stove top holiday potpourri. I love this recipe because it uses all natural ingredients to leave your home smelling wonderful for days.

I tried this recipe out for the first time two weekends ago when Matt and I traveled to the Gunflint Lodge with my parents for our annual holiday weekend. We started the potpourri boiling on Saturday and it left our cabin smelling fragrant until Monday when we left. I’m thinking about doing another batch on Christmas so we can enjoy it in our apartment!

Recipe for Holiday Stove Top Potpourri Mix
Makes one medium pot of potpourri

Ingredients
1 whole orange
1/2 cup cranberries
1 tablespoon whole cloves
3 sticks of cinnamon

Directions
Quarter the orange. Put all the ingredients into a saucepan. Fill pan with water. Place on the stove on the smallest burner, on the lowest setting. Refill water as needed.

Heather’s Helpful Hints
One batch of this potpourri can stay good for about 3-4 days. Don’t fret if the mix turns brown as you continue heating it on the stove. It will still smell delicious! Just make sure that you don’t allow the water to completely evaporate. A good rule of thumb is to add more water each time you turn on the stove.

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