January 8, 2016

Making: Dog and People Friendly Chewy Sweet Potatoes Treats + the weekend

Before finding out the state of Piri's infected tooth and growth, I had wanted to buy a food dehydrator to make him homemade treats. With his kidney disease, he is limited in what he can eat and while we have been finding commercial treats that have low protein levels, I thought it would be nice to make him something right from our own kitchen.  I played with the idea of homemade treats for about a month and kept this dehydrator on my Amazon "save for later" list. And when I still felt compelled to do this, I bought it as soon as the new year came around.

Piri has been on and off with sweet potatoes. He once loved them steamed but then got sick of them. I started to bake them, which made him love it again and so I thought a soft and chewy kind would also be up his alley. 

The dehydrator arrived the day I found out about his tooth and growth. I thought hard about whether the soft and chewy snack would be good for his teeth. Perhaps he would have a hard time biting into it. I had my doubts, but instead of returning it, I thought to still try it out. Maybe it would be ok for his teeth and maybe he would really like it. 

We always have sweet potatoes around the house. Oh and for some reason I feel like I have to emphasize that they are Korean(?) sweet potatoes {I say Korean because I can only find them at the Korean grocery store}. They look a bit different than the ones sold at Trader Joe's which is more orange-ish in color.

I filled a large pot with some water and inserted a steamer inside. I took a handful of sweet potatoes, washed them and sliced them in half. They steam a little faster this way. 

I checked in between 10-15 minutes into steaming and stuck a chopstick inside to see if they were ready. Once it goes in smoothly, they are ready to be taken out. Don't steam them too softly otherwise when you cut them they'll lose form and break. 

After letting them cool, peel off the skin {it should just slide right off} and cut the sweet potatoes into long rectangles pieces. Thickness, I'd say, maybe the size of your finger. 

Load them on your trays {mine came with 4 trays} and start dehydrating.

My dehydrator doesn't have an on and off button {you plug in to turn on and take the plug out to turn off} and doesn't have an option to put in your own timer and heat setting {the model above the one I got is digital and has these options}. It is set at one temperature, 165 degrees.

I let my sweet potatoes dehydrate for about 7 hours {checking in on them every now and then from the 5th hour and sneaking in a bite to test softness and chew level}. And they came out great.

Piri had a couple of treats. At first he did drop them - I am assuming because he thought they were too hard to chew or the texture felt a little foreign to him - but he did eventually eat them. I cut them up into bite sizes, which I think helped him. 

I had some too. They are TASTY! But I also realized that they stuck to my teeth a whole lot, and I imagine would stick to Piri's teeth, which isn't good. 

This treat would be great for dogs and for people. But for the sake of my dog and the state of his teeth right now I decided to go back to baking sweet potatoes for him, which are much softer and doesn't stick to teeth, and continue to making these for me and Yangkyu. We plan on also drying our herbs and fruits as well and making this Korean side dish, which is one of my favorites. 

Our kitchen isn't big and we have limited storage, which was one reason why I thought long and hard about buying a dehydrator. I have to be honest and say that it still bums me out that Piri can't have them - the main reason we got the dehydrator. I don't think we would've purchased one if it was just for our use to dry herbs and things. 

But we have it now and so we will have to make the most of it. 

What are you doing for the weekend? 

I have a couple of meet and greets with new dog clients on Saturday and I hope to get some reading and crafting done. I have a fun DIY I want to do and the perfect doggy guest to help me out.

I've stopped doing DIYs for the DogVacay blog - it was super great working with them in the beginning where my voice was kept in tact in the posts I submitted, with minor edits here and there, but the last two posts, I had started to work with a new person and had my blog posts edited heavily, which I understand, but wasn't all too comfortable with. In the end, the posts didn't really feel like mine or my voice {even though they were being signed off with my name} and they weren't exciting to do anymore. And so I decided to stop and bring the DIYs back to my space. It's been a long time since I've done a doggy DIY here {or any DIY for that matter}, but I'm very excited to be doing them again for our space. I am also grateful for the chance to have contributed to the DogVacay blog and it has certainly been a really great experience.

Here's to new adventures, friends! Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

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