Not a fan of Pumpkin Spice? Fancy trying something simple, yet seasonal you can make with your girls’ eggs? Try out these delicious ginger cupcakes, with a nod to Fall on top!
To make 12 delicious ginger cupcakes, you will need…
- 12 cupcake liners (we have gone for orange to stay on theme!)
- 2/3 cup margarine or unsalted butter (softened)
- 2/3 cup light brown sugar
- 2/3 cup self raising flour
- 1 – 2 tsp ground ginger (to suit your taste)
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tbsp golden syrup
For the buttercream, you will need…
- 1 cup margarine of unsalted butter (softened)
- 2 cups icing sugar
- ½ – 1 tsp ground ginger (to your taste)
For the pumpkin decoration, you will need…
- Ready to roll fondant icing sugar-paste – orange
- Ready to roll fondant icing sugar-paste – green
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and line a muffin tin with 12 cupcake liners.
- To make your ginger cake mix, start by creaming together the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl. Sieve the self raising flour into the mixture with the ginger. We used 2 tsp of ground ginger but you can use less if you prefer a more subtle taste.
- Lightly whisk the eggs in a bowl and add them to the mixture. Mix everything together carefully.
- Once mixed add the golden syrup and give a final stir.
- Fill the 12 cupcake cases with the ginger cake mixture as evenly as possible.
- Place in the oven for 15 – 20 minutes.
- Leave to cool on a cooling rack before making the buttercream icing.
- For the buttercream icing, add a small amount of icing sugar to the butter at a time and cream together. Once smooth, add up to a tsp of ground ginger to the icing.
- Put the icing in a piping bag. We used a large, star shape nozzle for the piping. Start in the middle and circle around leaving some space at the edge of the cake. Then spiral up on top and pull away to leave a peak.
- Once you have iced all 12 cupcakes, you can decorate however you wish! We decided to make little pumpkins out of ready to roll icing. Simply roll the orange icing into small balls, no more than a cm in diameter. Then use a sharp knife to carefully draw lines down the pumpkin.
- Roll a small amount of green icing a long strip then cut into tiny pieces to create the stalks. Press the stalk down lightly onto the pumpkin, and place on top of your cakes.
This entry was posted in Food
You might be aware that pumpkin is really good for us humans, but did you know that your pets will also benefit from having some on a regular basis? Most dogs love the taste of this autumnal squash, and it can help with everything from getting rid of nasty worms to making the coat super glossy.
It is important to mention that if you think that your dog is ill, you should take him or her to the vet before you try treating them at home. Pumpkin has amazing health benefits, but you will need to get your dog checked by a professional. If they’re all clear, here are some reasons to spoil your pup with some pumpkin:
Pumpkin is an amazing source of fiber, as well as essential vitamins and minerals that your dog’s health depend on. Fiber adds bulk to the dog’s stool, which slows down digestion. Canned pumpkin is therefore great as a natural diarrhea remedy.
You might find it a bit odd, but as well as helping when your dog has diarrhea, pumpkin can also be used for the exact opposite problem – to ease constipation. In this case the fiber in the pumpkin makes things in the intestines move along nicely, and the high water content helps lubricate the stool, making it easier to pass.
Unlike pits and seeds from most fruits, which are normally a big no-no for all pets, raw pumpkin seeds do not contain cyanide, and can therefore be fed to your dog as a treat. Give them whole, or grind them up and mix with the dog’s normal food. Not only do most dogs love the nutty taste of the seeds, but they can also work as an effective natural deworming agent, and have the ability to eliminate intestinal parasites.
Apart from their deworming properties, pumpkin seeds also contain plenty of antioxidants and fatty acids that help promote a healthy urinary function. If your dog struggles from recurring and painful urinary tract infections, you can feed them pumpkin to ease symptoms and prevent future problems.
Aging dogs who struggle with incontinence, overactive bladder and kidney stones can also benefit from pumpkin seeds.
OTHER GENERAL HEALTH BENEFITS
Canned pumpkin is loaded with vitamin A, C, E, potassium and iron, which all have great range of health benefits. Among other things, vitamin A helps with vision, and vitamin C boosts the immune system. Additionally, vitamin C protects joints, which is especially important as dogs get older.
As if that wasn’t enough, the healthy fats in pumpkin seeds have inflammatory properties, and gives your pup a healthy, shiny coat.
While we see pumpkin as an autumnal treat, the fact is that you can feed your dog pumpkin all year around, as long as you get the right type. Buy plain, canned pumpkin (preferably organic), with no added salt, sugar or spices. If you want to give your dog pumpkin seeds, make sure you buy them unsalted. If they haven’t yet been roasted and shelled, it’s a good idea to do this before feeding them to your dog.
To start with, give your dog 1-4 tablespoons of pureed pumpkin, mixed in with their normal food. Most dogs will love the taste. If you want to you can slowly increase the amount over approximately two weeks, depending on the size of your dog. Don’t overdo it or increase the amount too quickly, as changes in food can lead to an upset stomach, and that’s the last thing you want.
This entry was posted in Dogs
Try out these delicious homemade frozen treats that dogs will go crazy for! These are super quick and easy to make, and kids will love getting involved with different fruity creations…
You will need…
An ice cube tray – (moulds to make larger ice cubes are available on Amazon)
500g Greek Yogurt
200ml of water
A selection of dog-safe fruits, such as apples, bananas, blueberries, mango, peaches, raspberries, strawberries, and watermelon.
We used an ice cube tray which makes large 2 inch square ice cubes. This quantity made approximately 8 at this size ice cube.
Prepare the fruit and cut up into smaller bite size pieces.
Depending on the size of ice cube tray, fill the molds up to a third high with yogurt, followed by a small splash of water. Pop a few small pieces of fruit into the moulds, before continuing to fill the molds with yogurt, splashes of water up and pieces of fruit up to the top.
Pop in the freezer for at least 4 hours depending on the size of the ice cube moulds.
Allow the treats to thaw for 5-10 minutes before feeding to your dog.
Other Frozen Treats…
If your fruit bowl contents are on their way out and unlikely to be eaten by the humans in the house, you can also freeze cut up pieces of the fruit, like apples and bananas, to give to your four-legged friends directly.
Remember to give your dog treats in moderation, alongside a healthy diet. Supervise your dog when eating these frozen treats and remove at any sign of distress. These frozen fruit cubes should be given to your dog as a treat, with other solutions in place to keep your dog cool, such as access to shade in the garden and the coolest room in the house, fresh water, walks at the coolest time of day etc. Consult your vet if your dog is showing signs of distress or potential heatstroke.
This entry was posted in Dogs
For most pet dogs meal time isn’t very challenging time of the day. Typically owners only put the food bowl down and leave them to it. If this suits you and your dog that’s absolutely fine, but they would without a doubt not have been served food in this way in the wild. Instead they would have had to scavenge and hunt for their meals, keeping both mind and body active. If you feel like you would like to challenge your dog and enrich their daily routine, then making some changes to their meal times can be a good start.
Adding more mental stimulation to your dog’s life can have several benefits. It keeps them busy and tires them out in a similar way to a long walk. Many dog owners forget about challenging their dogs mentally, and when they encounter problems with boredom and linked behavioral issues like chewing, pacing, jumping and barking, they just presume they need to increase the physical exercise. This helps, but it doesn’t satisfy your dog’s hunger for mental stimulation.
Mentally stimulated dogs are not as hyperactive, and they tend to adapt more easily to stress. This is useful if you’ve got a very worried pup who shows aggression towards other dogs walking past the house, struggles with separation anxiety or gets stressed during thunderstorms or fireworks.
Brain games are therefore a brilliant way of tiring your dog out for the evening, or before you leave for work in the morning. By combining this with their normal feeding time, it won’t take much longer than normal, and your dog will love the extra challenge. Additionally you don’t have to worry about giving your dog too many treats as they are rewarded with food they would have eaten anyway.
So what are some fun ways of mentally stimulating your dog during meal times?
The aim is that it should take your dog 10-15 minutes to finish their food. Make sure you supervise your dog the first few times you’re trying a new way of feeding.
Our first tip is nose work. Using their nose comes naturally to dogs, and searching for their food will definitely add stimulation to their daily routine. Scatter the food in the garden so that your dog will have to sniff around to find it. You can also do this indoors, but it might be good to choose a room that’s easy to clean and where the pieces of food won’t get stuck under furniture. If you want to make it even more challenging you can hide little heaps of food under a bush, on a window sill or behind some flower pots. If your dog doesn’t get the game, start with something that smells a bit more than their normal dry food.
Our second suggestion is puzzles and food dispensing toys. The Classic Kong is the most well known food dispensing toy, but you can also find treat balls and complicated puzzles that provide your dog with a harder challenge before they are rewarded with food. The idea with most of these is that your dog will have to move the toy around the floor or press certain parts of the toy to make the food fall out. Dogs absolutely love this, and as they get rewarded again and again it can keep them entertained for hours.
If you don’t want to buy toys you can make some yourself. Try putting the food in a cereal box and taping it shut, in a toilet roll with folded sides, or in a plastic bottle with some holes cut out where the food can fall out. This can get a bit messy, and definitely noisy, but it’s worth it when you see your dog running around trying to get into the box, tail wagging with excitement.
You can also use mealtime as an opportunity to practice tricks and teach your dog new ones. Don’t ask your dog to do the same tricks every meal time, as it will just become a part of the routine, and not challenging or mentally stimulating. By using this time for training you are able to give your dog more than just the one treat at a time, as it’s the food he or she is supposed to eat anyway. This will form a stronger positive association, and your dog might learn faster.
Another thing you can do to change the daily routine is to change the texture of the food. If your dog normally gets wet food, try freezing it into little discs or cubes that they will love crunching on. If your dog gets dry food you can mush it up with a bit of yogurt or water. It’s all about novelty and enriching your dog’s daily routine!
This entry was posted in Dogs
Christmas is a time that all members of the family should enjoy, including your pet pooch. The problem is that if you are not careful, the festivities can turn out to be not so great for your dog. Giving them the wrong food, or inviting them into a busy kitchen, can cause things to take a turn for the worse, very quickly.
Foods that your dog should not eat
Starting with the basics, your furry friend should never be encouraged to join in with Christmas drinking. Even a small amount of alcohol is bad for them. There are also several traditional festive food goodies that you should not share with your pet:
- The bones and skin from the turkey.
Bones from any bird can be dangerous. They are delicate and can break into small pieces making them a serious choking hazard. The skin of turkeys and chickens is full of fat which can cause problems with your dog’s pancreas.
- The gravy you have with dinner.
You may think that gravy is delicious and completely harmless. However, it’s high in salt and fat; both of which can be dangerous to dogs.
- Onions and other bulb vegetables.
Onions are the main cause for concern when it comes to bulb vegetables. They are poisonous to dogs, so your pet should be kept away from them. It’s also a good idea to not feed them other bulb vegetables like garlic. They are not as immediately toxic but a build-up of them can cause serious problems.
- Christmas cake ingredients, raisins, currants and sultanas.
All of these items, together with grapes, are poisonous to dogs. In fact, if your pet does eat even a small amount, you should seek help from a vet as soon as possible. For this reason, Christmas treats such as Christmas pudding, Christmas cake and mince pies should never be fed to dogs.
- Chocolate in any form.
Chocolate is a favourite in most homes over the holidays. This is fine for humans, in moderation, but it’s not good for dogs. The theobromine that is present in chocolate can be deadly to your furry friend, so do not let them have any,, no matter how much they give you the sad eyes treatment.
These are a few of the festive food treats that you should not share with your dog at Christmas, or any other time of year. However, it’s not all bad news, there are some favourites that your pet can enjoy.
Christmas food that your dog can eat
Before you start feeling mean about depriving your pooch of all the food that they want, but is really bad for them, there are several favourites that pets and people can all enjoy. It’s important to remember that all of these foods should be given to dogs in moderation; keep portions small.
- A few slices of turkey.
You can give your pet some white turkey meat, as long as the skin has all been removed.
- Boiled and mashed potatoes.
Dogs enjoy a little potato that can be boiled or mashed. Remember that you should only ever feed your pet plain potato with no salt or butter added.
- Mixed and green vegetables.
As with any other food items, do not give your dog a pile of vegetables, but it’s fine to let them have a few selected items such as carrot and swede mash, sprouts, parsnip and green beans. Do not add any seasoning or sauces before you give the vegetables to your pet.
- Fruit with pips or stones removed.
Aside from rhubarb, which is poisonous to dogs, you can share fruit bowl items with your pet. However, you need to make sure that pips and stones are removed. You should also remember that fruit is acidic and contains sugar so can cause stomach problems in dogs if they have too much.
Making sure your furry friend has a great Christmas is important. Keeping your dog out of the kitchen, and making sure they eat and drink the right things, can help make this happen.
Written by Ella Hendrix.
Image Credit: Stonehouse Furniture
This entry was posted in Dogs