Oh boy have the Holidays made me lazy and sluggish! I’m very slowly crawling out of the cave that I’ve been in these last few weeks, and finally did some baking for the first time since New Years Eve. Albeit, a super simple one-bowl recipe. I always need a breather after all the December baking and a quick and easy one is usually my safest bet.
Have you ever tried your dog’s treats before? I’ve tasted cupcakes and biscuits from doggie bakeries and have always found them quite bland and not very easy to get down. Of course, they’re made that way for a reason. Dogs are very limited in what kind of “people food” they can digest. But what if there was a way to make a snack dogs and their humans could enjoy? Enter: Hike-N-Hound Bars from Newf and Hound. Made out of real ingredients that dogs can eat and people love, you can kill two birds with one stone when taking a bag of these trail mix bars on a long hike.
This recipe is super simple, almost stupidly so. It’s also easy to customize ingredients. Switch out the apricots and blueberries for other dried fruits (but remember, no raisins!!!) or add more oats for a drier bar with a crumblier texture. Just make sure to follow these rules when it comes to making sure the ingredients you use are OK for Fido:
a) Dogs should not be eating processed sugar, but fruit is fine in moderation. When buying your ingredients, make sure that there are no added sugars, sweeteners, or oils—especially with dried fruit. Make sure to read the ingredient list on the back of the package!
b) Make sure all dried fruits have been pitted and de-seeded. Dogs cannot digest pits or seeds and they can also obstruct the digestive tract if ingested.
c) As with anything you’re feeding your dog, these bars should be eaten in moderation! Don’t let them eat half the pan in one day. One or two squares a day should be alright depending on the size of your dog. To be honest, it’s probably not a good idea for humans to eat half the pan in one sitting either 😀
I packed up a few bars in my backpack and we headed out to hike the Makiki Valley Loop Trail. I’ve lived in the area for most of my life and had absolutely no idea this hike existed, or that it would be so pretty. We went at a leisurely pace and the hike only took about 2 hours to complete. It’s not a very difficult hike at all, but you hike past streams and small waterfalls as you make your way into the back of the valley floor. The higher you climb, you wind through trees and up twisting roots, and even get views of Honolulu and the ocean.
Towards the end of the hike, we stopped at a section of crossroads which lead hikers up different sides of the mountains and in all sorts of different directions. I gave Meli a trail mix bar and some water, and we continued on with a little boost of energy. If we lived in Hawaii, I think this hike could even become a regular outing! It was such a simple and relaxing day, made extra perfect by the gorgeous scenery.
The bars have yet to be tested on the pickiest of eaters (Steph’s dog only likes doggie-friendly beef jerky), but Meli scarfed her share down in a single bite. They’re quite tasty for us too, my human taste-buds highly approved. The dried fruits are what really make it *sing*, so make sure you don’t skimp out on them!
Trail Mix Bars – for both Pups & People!
Makes 16 small square bars. Adapted from Newf and Hound.
• 2 large very ripe bananas
• 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter, unsweetened
• 1/4 cup chopped almonds, raw and unsalted
• 1 cup dried apricots, no added sugar
• 1 cup dried blueberries, no added sugar
• 1 1/2 cup rolled oats, uncooked
• 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
other ingredient ideas:
unsweetened coconut flakes
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a square 8×8 baking pan with parchment paper.
2. In a food processor, puree the bananas until smooth. Set aside.
3. Microwave the peanut butter for 15-30 seconds until completely melted.
4. Chop the raw almonds and apricots into pieces similar to the size of the dried blueberries. In a large bowl, add the almonds, dried fruits, and rolled oats. Add in the mashed bananas, melted peanut butter, and vanilla extract. Use a spatula or wooden spoon to fold everything together until it becomes a uniform batter. If the batter is too wet, add a little more oats. If it is too dry, add a bit of banana or peanut butter.
5. Transfer the batter to baking pan lined with parchment. Use a spatula to flatten and spread the batter evenly. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Let cool completely before cutting into 16 squares.
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