Cricket’s Birthday Celebration with Natural Balance Delectable Delights

Big thanks to Natural Balance for sponsoring today’s post! The opinions expressed are, as always, my very own 🙂Cricket recently celebrated her 11th birthday but many people still think she's just a young pup, thanks to her grain-free diet. She is a picky eater but loves @NaturalBalance Delectable Delights! Sponsored by @NaturalBalance [https://ooh.li/668fb0c]Cricket recently turned 11 years young and she’s never looked or felt better! Geez, what is that in dog years- 77? Well this pup is one spunky granny! She’s still running, and easily clocks 8 miles on the beach with my mom (because I don’t run that far, haha!). Her coat is shiny and soft, her eyes are bright and full of youthful life, and her athletic slender shape would be the envy of all the other dogs at the park!

I came across Cricket over a decade ago at a horse show. She was a 8 week old fluffy black and white fur ball up for adoption, and I just couldn’t resist her. Her wet pink tongue licked my hand, her little milk teeth nibbled my fingers, and she stole my heart. I proudly brought her home and my life was forever changed for the better.

Cricket has been by my side ever since. We are best friends, truly. She comes everywhere with me, has lived in 6 different states and has moved with me all the way across the entire country…not once, but TWICE!

Cricket recently celebrated her 11th birthday but many people still think she's just a young pup, thanks to her grain-free diet. She is a picky eater but loves @NaturalBalance Delectable Delights! Sponsored by @NaturalBalance [https://ooh.li/668fb0c]So this year I wanted to make her birthday extra special to show her how much I love her and appreciate her. I thought of all the things she loves to do and planned a very special day for my loyal and lovable pup.

We started off the morning with some bacon, of course! She did her usual beggin’ dance while I was cooking up the crispy bacon. It’s pretty hilarious to watch. She paws the air with her left, then shifts her weight, and waves with her right paw, and back and forth she goes, all the while moaning and groaning like she can’t wait another second for that juicy bite. I mixed in her bacon with a cup of Natural Balance Surf n’ Turf Delectable Delights, which is her favorite wet food!

Cricket recently celebrated her 11th birthday but many people still think she's just a young pup, thanks to her grain-free diet. She is a picky eater but loves @NaturalBalance Delectable Delights! Sponsored by @NaturalBalance [https://ooh.li/668fb0c]We went out for our daily walk, and we took her favorite route to the park. Cricket adores this park. It’s large expansive green grass fields stretch as far as the eye can see. As we approached her tail started waging with extreme velocity and her excitement was palpable. As I unclipped her leash she darted to the nearest tree to check for squirrels and have a sniff. (She is part Beagle, so she smells EVERYTHING!) Once she checked out all the park’s various aromas she had a quick roll in the grass, and then off she went! Cricket is lightening fast, quick and agile. We played her favorite game of chase. She runs at me full speed and I’m suppose to guess if she is going to fake left, or fake right, and I’m usually wrong. Well today was no exception. I made a move to the left to attempt and interception, and she leans left to lead me on, and THEN GOES RIGHT at the very last second. She flies by me just out of reach and I then proceed to trip and fall flat on my face. Before I know she’s on me attacking me with exurbant wet kisses, so fast and furious I can barely breathe.

Cricket recently celebrated her 11th birthday but many people still think she's just a young pup, thanks to her grain-free diet. She is a picky eater but loves @NaturalBalance Delectable Delights! Sponsored by @NaturalBalance [https://ooh.li/668fb0c]After Cricket was well tuckered out we headed home to have our afternoon snack of her favorite grain-free wet food, Natural Balance Delectable Delights. If you have read my other posts about Cricket, then I am sure you know how picky she is, right? She is not your average dog that eats everything in sight. NO. NO. This girl likes her bacon, fresh grilled chicken, savory steak, and she loves Delectable Delights! She goes bonkers the minute I peel back the lid and she can smell the deliciousness.

Cricket recently celebrated her 11th birthday but many people still think she's just a young pup, thanks to her grain-free diet. She is a picky eater but loves @NaturalBalance Delectable Delights! Sponsored by @NaturalBalance [https://ooh.li/668fb0c]I am very picky about what I feed Cricket because I believe food and nutrition are one of the key elements of health and longevity. Natural Balance Delectable Delights are made with the highest quality ingredients, and it’s grain-free, so it’s my first choice in prepared dog food! You guys should definitely check it our for your furry four legged family members. They will love it too, birthday celebration or any day! Here is the link to the Natural Balance Facebook Page.

Be sure to check out the Natural Balance Instagram Page for absolutely adorable doggie pics! They will make your heart smile 🙂

Cricket recently celebrated her 11th birthday but many people still think she's just a young pup, thanks to her grain-free diet. She is a picky eater but loves @NaturalBalance Delectable Delights! Sponsored by @NaturalBalance [https://ooh.li/668fb0c]

Cricket recently celebrated her 11th birthday but many people still think she's just a young pup, thanks to her grain-free diet. She is a picky eater but loves @NaturalBalance Delectable Delights! Sponsored by @NaturalBalance [https://ooh.li/668fb0c]

Cricket’s Salmon & Sardine Chow

Wild Selections Cricket's Salmon and Sardine Dish.Cricket's Salmon and Sardine Chow is an easy, no cooking required, and super healthy meal you can make for your pup! Salmon and sardines are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids to help reduce inflammation and promote healthy joints, skin and coat! This meal takes a few short minutes to make for your pup and you can customize it using your doggie's favorite veggies!

Cricket’s Salmon and Sardine Chow is an easy, no cooking required, and super healthy meal you can make for your pup! Salmon and sardines are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids to help reduce inflammation and promote healthy joints, skin and coat! This meal takes a few short minutes to make for your pup and you can customize it using your doggie’s favorite veggies!

Cricket's Salmon and Sardine Chow.Cricket's Salmon and Sardine Chow is an easy, no cooking required, and super healthy meal you can make for your pup! Salmon and sardines are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids to help reduce inflammation and promote healthy joints, skin and coat! This meal takes a few short minutes to make for your pup and you can customize it using your doggie's favorite veggies!

As you may already know (if you frequently read my blog) Cricket is a PICKY eater to say the least. She doesn’t like kibble unless it’s dripping with bacon fat and sliced chicken. In addition, since her accident when she was just a puppy, I have chose to cook my own food for her as a way to promote better health. I have stayed away from grains in her diet, and provide her with a great variety of natural meats, and fresh veggies and some fruit (like blueberries), and she loves to chow down marrow bones.

Cricket's Salmon and Sardine Chow.Cricket's Salmon and Sardine Chow is an easy, no cooking required, and super healthy meal you can make for your pup! Salmon and sardines are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids to help reduce inflammation and promote healthy joints, skin and coat! This meal takes a few short minutes to make for your pup and you can customize it using your doggie's favorite veggies!

As you can see, she absolutely LOVES this salmon and sardine dish! I use Wild Selections canned salmon and sardines as a quick and easy base for this fancy dish. The salmon and sardines provide tons of healthy protein and omega-3’s. I also mix in a variety of veggies including kale, green bean, carrots, and sweet potatoes for lots of vitamin and minerals. You can use any veggies you’d like, just make sure they are dog-friendly (fyi dogs shouldn’t eat garlic and onions).

Cricket’s Salmon & Sardine Chow

Ingredients

  • 1 can salmon drained
  • 1 can sardines chopped
  • 2 tablespoons green beans raw or lightly cooked, diced
  • 2 tablespoons kale lightly steamed, chopped into very small pieces
  • 2 tablespoons cooked sweet potato diced
  • 2 tablespoons carrots finely chopped
  • Optional Add-in's: chia seeds flax, extra virgin olive oil, or coconut oil

Instructions

  1. Pick your veggies and cook them if you'd like. (Sweet potato is best cooked, but others you can serve raw. I prefer to lightly cook all the veggies to make the nutrients more bioavailable.)
  2. Mix the canned salmon, with the chopped sardine and veggies.
  3. Serve to your pup!

Cricket's Salmon and Sardine Chow is an easy, no cooking required, and super healthy meal you can make for your pup! Salmon and sardines are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids to help reduce inflammation and promote healthy joints, skin and coat! This meal takes a few short minutes to make for your pup and you can customize it using your doggie's favorite veggies!

Cricket’s Easy Valentine Cookies

Crickets Heart Cookies2These easy heart shaped cookies are grain-free and healthy, making them the perfect treat for your furry pup!

Valentine’s Day is almost here and I have three valentine’s this year! My hubby, my little one, and my pup Cricket! These three make my life extra special and bring me so much love and joy!

Crickets Heart Cookies1

I love holidays, and I like to make sure everyone gets something special whenever there is an occasion to celebrate, and this includes my dog Cricket. She is a special and unique member of the family. She keeps us laughing with her funny quarks and antics all the time. We love how she has to circle each way 5 times and “fluff” the covers with her nose before laying down on her much improved spot. We love how she raises her ears and twitches her nose at the excited spotting of a deer or squirrel. And to watch her play in the snow is like watching true and pure joy. If you didn’t see the video of her playing in the snow from my post last week here it is:

We had taken her out to go sledding but after a few trips down the hill we just watched her fly around the snow-laden field until she was tuckered out. It was so much fun!

And guess what? She’s 10 years young, almost 11! She has arthritis in her hind leg due to an accident she had as a pup and the leg would bother her often. It always hurt me to see her hop around on three legs when she was in pain, but her mobility has GREATLY improved (as you can see on the video!) thanks to a superior diet of healthy meats, veggies, bone broth, flax, and other super foods.

Crickets Heart Cookies3

I include homemade bone broth in these cookies because it is a natural source of collagen, something both humans and dogs don’t get enough of anymore sustaining on processed food. Collagen is great for many things including gut health, skin, connective tissue, and joints.

I will have a post on bone broth soon, but until then you can check this one out:

http://www.shape.com/healthy-eating/cooking-ideas/8-reasons-try-bone-broth

These cookies are easy and quick to make, so treat your dog this Valentine’s Day!

Crickets Heart Cookies4

Cricket’s Easy Valentine Cookies

These easy heart shapes cookies are grain-free and healthy, making them the perfect treat for your furry pup!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 10 cookies

Ingredients

  • Âľ cup ground flax meal plus extra for rolling out dough
  • 1 pasture-raised egg
  • ÂĽ cup chicken or beef bone broth preferably homemade
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • optional- natural red food coloring India Tree Brand

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Mix all the ingredients, except the food coloring.
  3. Once thoroughly mixed form a ball with the dough and place between two sheets of parchment paper, sprinkle with some extra flax meal to ensure the dough doesn’t stick.
  4. Roll out the dough until it’s about ¼” or thinner.
  5. Use a heart-shaped cookie cutter to make the cookie shapes.
  6. Place of a cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes.
Nutrition Facts
Cricket’s Easy Valentine Cookies
Amount Per Serving (1 g)
Calories 0
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Crickets Valentine Collage

 

Kelley and Cricket Pledge to Support the ASPCA

I am so excited to share my New Year’s Resolution with all of you! Kelley and Cricket pledge 10% of all our blog proceeds to the ASPCA!

I am an avid animal lover, always have been, always will be. Animals hold a special place in my heart and are treated like family members in my home. My dog Cricket was the inspiration behind this blog. We spend so much time together and she is always by my side in the kitchen as I cook away.

This year I’d like to give back to all the animals in need out there, who aren’t as blessed as Cricket. I have worked with the ASPCA in the past and they are truly an amazing organization. They need donations to provide shelter, veterinary care, and food to pets they have rescued from homelessness or from inadequate conditions. They had an amazing year in 2015:

ASPCA 2015-highlights-infographic

Let’s help them to continue to build upon these amazing number and save even more animals this year!

With deep gratitude for your support,

Cricket’s Schweddy Balls

Crickets Svetty Balls3Cricket requested a special holiday dish this year- Schweddy Balls! Have you seen the SNL skit with Alec Baldwin? It’s on of my all time FAVORITES!

If you haven’t, well, here it is. You’ll have a good belly laugh…

These turkey meatballs are actually very healthy for your furry family members. They are made with all-natural ground turkey, ground flax, carrots, and kale, making them high in protein and packed with antioxidants. They are also super easy to make and cook in the slow cooker- just set it and forget it!

Crickets Svetty Balls1

Crickets Svetty Balls2

She ate them all. Every. Single. Last. One.

And best yet- this was just the test batch (which she said turned out perfect) so she gets to indulge on Schweddy Balls once again on Christmas Day!

Cricket’s Schweddy Balls

Ingredients

  • 1 lb all-natural ground turkey or beef
  • 1/4 cup ground flax
  • 1/4 cup of carrots finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup of kale finely chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon of celtic sea salt or Himalayan salt

Instructions

  1. Combine the turkey, flax, carrots, kale and salt in a bowl and mix well.
  2. Form 1.5" balls with you hands and line the bottom of your slow cooker. (No liquid needed)
  3. Set to high and cook for 3 hours, or until done.
  4. Make sure they are cool before you serve them.

Cricket’s Bacon and Peanut Butter Biscuits{Grain Free}

Crickets Bacon PB Biscuits

Your dog will love these healthy Bacon Peanut Butter Biscuits! They are grain free, only contain 4 ingredients, and are they are super easy and quick to make.

If you visit my blog regularly you may be familiar with Cricket’s picky eating habits 🙂 She is a princess and turns her nose up at many tasty treats and dog chow that any other pup would devour in an instant. This makes my job extra hard. Developing healthy recipes for her that she actually enjoys is difficult, but it’s a challenge I enjoy. Also, now that she is a senior dog I want to make sure she is eating healthy treats and chow to support her health.

These Bacon Peanut Butter Biscuits were a huge hit with Cricket, as you can see:

Crickets Bacon PB Biscuits2

The biscuits are primarily made with ground flax, which is packed with omega’s- great for immune system support. It also may help to reduce arthritis symptoms and progression due to its anti-inflammatory properties.

You can feel good about giving your pup these treats!

Crickets Bacon PB Buscuits3Crickets Bacon and Peanut Butter Biscuits Collage

Cricket’s Bacon and Peanut Butter Biscuits{Grain Free}

Your dog will love these healthy Bacon Peanut Butter Biscuits. They are grain free, and only contain 4 ingredients, making them super easy to make.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 10 biscuits

Ingredients

  • ½ cup ground flax
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons natural peanut butter
  • 1 strip bacon cooked and diced
  • extra ground flax for rolling dough if using cookie cutter

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Line a cookie sheet with parchment.
  3. Combine the flax, egg, peanut butter and bacon; mix well.
  4. Sprinkle the extra flax onto the counter and roll out the dough with a rolling pin.
  5. Use your cookie cutter to make dog bone shapes (or other shapes).
  6. Bake for 15 minutes on parchment lined cookie sheet, remove and let cool.
Nutrition Facts
Cricket’s Bacon and Peanut Butter Biscuits{Grain Free}
Amount Per Serving (1 g)
Calories 0
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Cricket’s Chicken Jerky Treats

Crickets Jerky4

Cricket is a picky pooch with a refined palate! She turns her nose up at many kinds treats that any other dog would wolf down in one second flat!

Beggin Stips? Cricket gives it a weary sniff and  says “no thanks.”

Pupperoni? “I’m not hungry!”

Milk Bone? “No way Jose!”

Greenies????? “What the heck is that and WHY is it green!?”

After much trial and failure, I finally did come across a treat Cricket does love and they cost $9.99 for a bag of 6! It’s basically just dried chicken, or chicken jerky. So I decided to get smart and protect my wallet and make my own of course! These treats are so easy and simple to make and if Cricket loves them then your furry family members will love them too!

Cricket's Jerky 2 Crickets Jerky5

5 from 1 vote
Print

Cricket's Chicken Jerky Treats

Easy Chicken Jerky treats
Course Dog Treat
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 24
Author Kelley

Ingredients

  • 1 lb chicken breast
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt celtic sea salt or Himalayan salt is a good choice

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.
  2. Cut the chicken breasts into long thin strips about 1/4" wide. (You can partially freeze the chicken for a hour to make it easier to slice.)
  3. Place the chicken in a ziplock bag with the oil, apple cider vinegar and salt, and give it a shake.
  4. Allow to marinate overnight or for a few hours at least.
  5. Lay the chicken strips (not touching!) on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
  6. Bake at 250 degrees F for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until dry (if browning too much turn tempature down) and then turn the oven off and allow them to cool and fully dry out in the oven for an additional 1/2 hour.

 

Cricket’s Favorite Dog Chow

Cricket Dog Chow2

My dog Cricket is a picky eater. Cricket would win the award for finickiest dog, if there was a contest! She is the equivalent to the child that only with eat chicken nuggets and macaroni and cheese, except her taste leans toward steak, and fresh grilled chicken! I’ll pour her a bowl of high quality kibble and mix in some meat and she will gingerly pick around each and every kibble to get the good stuff! If she happens to get a singular kibble in a particular bite she will expel it quickly like she just tated the most disgusting thing in her life!

Cricket1

Her picky taste in foods isn’t the reason I started making her homemade dog food- it is for health reasons primarily (and she does enjoy it!). The average canine kibble is made with fillers and byproducts (although there are many brands now that avoid these) and other ingredients that just aren’t the best for producing optimal health for your hooch. I want my dog to live as long as possible and have a healthy vibrant life, so making a well balanced, whole-foods dog chow is a great way to ensure I know she is eating well. (I do supplement the homemade dog chow with a high quality kibble, mixed-actually mushed-in well to make sure she is getting all her vitamin and minerals, as they are fortified with the all necessary nutrients.)

I make a few different varieties of dog chow, and I do think it’s good to change up the ingredients and use different proteins from time to time. This recipe is a basic chicken and brown rice recipe. You can throw all the ingredients into a crockpot and cook it on low for a few hours, just make sure there is enough water. I make mine on the stovetop in a large saucepan, and that works just fine as well.

I would love to hear about your furry family members and get their feedback on this homemade dog chow, so comment below!

Cricket Dog Chow closeup

Cricket's Favorite Dog Chow

Healthy homemade dog chow
Course Dog Chow
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 6
Author Kelley

Ingredients

  • 2-3 cups of low sodium chicken broth or water start with 2 cups and as more as needed
  • 1 cup brown rice or cauliflower pulsed in a food processor Grain-Free
  • 3-4 chicken breasts you can use other cuts, just be careful not to include bones, skin and fat is actually good!
  • 1/2 cup carrot finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup broccoli finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup kale or spinach finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup sweet potato finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fish oil or 1 can of sardines- omega's!, coconut oil or olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

Instructions

  1. Place 2 cups water/broth, rice and chicken into your pan or crockpot and set on a low temperature.
  2. Allow to cook until rice is almost fully cooked and chicken shreds easily, mix well.
  3. Add more liquid if needed as you go, just give the mixture a stir every few minutes.
  4. Add the carrots and sweet potato and cook another 5 minutes until the veggies are fork tender.
  5. Then add broccoli and finally the kale/spinach, and cook until they are bright green.
  6. Remove from heat and let cool.
  7. Mix in the oil and apple cider vinegar.