Friday, October 21, 2016


Hi, Friends.

TGIFFF. Thank Goodness it's Furry Friday Feature. Welcome to the newest edition of Furry Friday Feature. Once a month I introduce you to a four-legged runner and their favorite human. We have a very special feature today. If you like dogs and treats (aka everyone) you're gonna love this one!

I am excited to introduce you to my new friend Rita (and her 9 dogs)!  I met Rita on Instagram (go follow her awesome inspiring Yoga page now @ritazyoga).

This story began because I posted a picture on Instagram of Ollie with his nose in a pumpkin. I mentioned that I just bought the pumpkin because it was cute, I had no idea what I was going to do with it. 

Rita commented that her dogs loved fresh pumpkin treats and it sparked a whole conversation. I realized Rita had created something great and I knew I wanted to introduce her to you so that she could share it with all of you. I asked her if she would guest post on the blog and share her doggie biscotti treats and she graciously accepted. Let's get to it...Hi, Rita. Take it away...

Hi, everyone!

I’m excited to be sharing some doggie and family fun with you today.

My name is Rita. I am a Yoga based fitness trainer and an amateur runner. I live on a farm with many animals; amongst them are a lot of dogs. Keeping treats in the house was just about impossible and “good for them” treats can be expensive! My dogs absolute favorite treat was a cranberry, pumpkin biscotti. So after constantly running out, I decided I should try to make them myself. I started researching both human biscotti recipes and homemade dog treat recipes. After a few trial runs, I came up with a yummy and healthy doggie biscotti recipe that everyone loves. I do quite a bit of canning & preserving so I use homemade applesauce & homemade pumpkin puree. You can make them too or use store bought…but, try to buy all natural with low sugar.

These treats are small, about 1 inch by 1" x 1.5". They are perfect for any size dog. If you’d like them bigger divide the dough into thirds or in half and make the logs fatter.

Also note: This is a very large recipe (because I have 9 dogs) so feel free to cut it in half.

You may need to be careful when the loaves are cooling…My boyfriend likes this stuff after the 1st bake, when it’s nice and warm. I often catch him sneaking some of it! I think it would be yummy with a nice cream cheese dip, after the 2nd bake.

Doggie Biscotti (for humans too)

This recipe is from the kitchen of: Rita Zwicky (@RitaZYoga)

6 cups of whole wheat flour (white flour or a combination may be used)
¾ teaspoon of baking soda
1/3 cup of chopped, dried cranberries
1 egg
*½ cup of applesauce
1 ripe banana (mashed)
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ - 1 cup of bullion (chicken or beef) 1:1 water to bouillon cube
**1 cup of pumpkin puree (I use homemade but you can use pumpkin pie filling if you’d like.).
If you don’t have pumpkin, substitute: seasonal squash (steamed, like the pumpkin), shredded carrot or shredded zucchini.
Note: Zucchini can add a lot of moisture, making the dough sticky. To avoid this, add more flour (small amounts at a time), as needed or cut the amount of zucchini to 2/3-3/4 of a cup.


Preheat oven to 325°
Cover a large cookie sheet with foil - grease & flour or use a non-stick spray - set aside.
In a large bowl (I use the bowl from my Kitchen Aide) combine flour, baking soda & cranberries – set aside.
In a small bowl combine egg, applesauce, mashed banana, vanilla, ½ cup of broth and pumpkin puree – pour into dry ingredients.
Stir until combine well & forms a ball (use the dough hook on your mixer, if you have one).
Add more broth, as needed… only a few sprinkles at a time. DO NOT ADD TOO MUCH broth/water! The dough should be very thick and only a tiny bit sticky.
Place dough on a flour coated surface, sprinkle with a small amount of flour & kneed for a few minutes, until no longer sticky.
Form into a ball and cut into 4 equal sections.
Roll each section into a log about 8” long and flatten to about ½ inch thick.
Flip the flattened log & place on the foil lined, greased/floured (or use cooking spray) cookie sheet.
Bake at 325° for 30-40 minutes. Use the middle rack & be careful to not burn the bottom of the loaves.
Remove from oven & let cool for about 15 minutes.
Decrease oven temperature to 300°.
Slice loaves into thin slices (about ¼ - ½ inch thick). Use a meat slicer or an electric knife if you have one. Try to keep the slices as uniform in size (thickness) as possible.
Put slices on a cookie sheet in a single layer (do not overlap) and bake at 300° for 15-20 minutes or until hard and crunchy… like a cracker. Careful not to burn it but make sure the moisture is gone or they won’t keep well. If your slices are thick, you may want to lower the oven temperature and increase the baking time.
Let cool before serving.
Store in an airtight container. Or better yet… divide into equal portions and seal them using a vacuum sealer for maximum freshness and shelf life.

If you want to make your own applesauce and pumpkin puree, here’s what I do. Please be careful when canning and preserving! If you have never done it, it’s important to do some research and KEEP THINGS SAFE!

*For the applesauce: I use the classic recipe from the “Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving”. Use brown sugar at a rate of about one quarter to one half the amount of sugar called for and also add a bit of ground cinnamon.

EXTRA FUN FOR THE FAMILY: This applesauce is great for the kiddos too! You can make a batch using 4-ounce jars (perfect for lunch boxes) and a batch using pint sized jars (perfect for family dinners). They’ll last a year and make great holiday gifts that all my friends and family love to receive. Don’t forget to give their doggie friends some of the biscotti! You can get creative with your gifts by adding labels to your jars of applesauce and ribbons to your bags of biscotti. You can even put them all together in a beautiful basket… BOOM! Enjoy 💜

**For the pumpkin puree: Cut a small pie pumpkin (or 2) into wedges and remove seeds (clean & bake the seeds… they are yummy and good for you too!). Steam the pumpkin wedges until VERY soft. The meat should be easily removed by placing a spoon between the rind and the meat. Mash meat with a fork or potato masher. Freeze any unused puree, in recipe sized portions, to use any time. If you don’t have a steamer: use a metal colander over a pot of boiling water (don’t let the pot run dry). If you don’t have pumpkin, check the recipe for some special substitution ideas! Have fun!

Thank you so much Rita for taking the time to share your doggie biscotti treats with us! These look amazing. As if Ollie wasn't spoiled enough as it is...

You can follow along with Rita and her amazing Yoga practice and her 9 dogs on Twitter @RITAZHEALTHYFIT and Instagram @RITAZYOGA.

If you are looking for other creative ways to use a pumpkin, check out my pumpkin workout over on Lea Genders Fitness!

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