Heidi Biesterveld

Guest blogger Heidi Biesterveld is a certified canine nutritionist. She is the author of Bone Appetit Bistro, a blog dedicated to canine-friendly recipes. She lives in Dallas, Texas, with her husband, son and a chocolate Lab named Duncan.

News: Guest Posts
Gluten-free Pumpkin Pie
Thanksgiving dessert that’s dog-gone good

The thought of making homemade pie is intimidating. No question about it. This recipe doesn’t involve a rolling pin or fitting crust into a pan. It’s made with a food processor in one simple step. A light crust is formed from the flour when the pie bakes. This pie is every bit as delicious as a traditional pumpkin pie, which is loaded with calories, fat and sugar. Pumpkin is great for us and dogs because it’s rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.


Preparation time: 10 minutes Cooking time: 50-60 minutes Serves: 8-10   Ingredients: 1 14-ounce can pumpkin (I prefer organic pumpkin. It tastes sweeter.) 1 1/2 cups plain, unsweetened coconut or hemp milk (Do not use rice, soy or almond milk as it is thinner and will ruin the consistency of the pie) 2 teaspoons good quality vanilla 2 tablespoons olive oil 1 large egg 3/4 cup brown sugar 1/2 cup buckwheat flour 2 tablespoons tapioca flour (also called tapioca starch) 2 teaspoons baking powder 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum (Xanthan gum is used as a thickening agent and is available in the baking section of most markets or on the Internet) 1/2 teaspoon Celtic sea salt (Celtic sea salt is a secret ingredient in successful gluten-free baking. While regular salt may be used, Celtic sea salt produces a better result. It can be found in the spice section of most markets and on the Internet.) 1 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice   1. Align baking rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat to 350 F.  2. Lightly grease a 9-inch glass or ceramic pie plate 3. Place all ingredients in a food processor, or in the bowl of a large stand mixer. 4. Mix until smooth and creamy, scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally to incorporate all of the dry ingredients. 5. Pour into the prepared pie plate and smooth over the top with a spatula. 6. Bake for 50-60 minutes. When the pie is done is will be firm, but will still be a tiny bit soft to the touch in the middle. The center should not be wet. 7. Remove the pie and cool on a rack. It will fall a bit as it cools. This is normal. 8. Cover and chill in the refrigerator until serving.   NOTE: Do not vary the ingredient list without doing research to ensure the safety of your pet. My recipes are safe for the majority of dogs. If you have concerns, consult your veterinarian. Also, see my tips about sharing Thanksgiving with your dog in moderation.


News: Guest Posts
Mashed Potatoes a Dog Can Love
Another recipe for a dog-friendly Thanksgiving

We continue our dog-friendly Thanksgiving cooking with a twist on mashed potatoes.


Preparation time: 10 minutes Cooking time: 20 minutes Serves: 8-10   Ingredients: 5-6 large Yukon Gold potatoes, washed, peeled and cut into large cubes 1 head cauliflower, washed, peeled and cut into large pieces, slightly larger than the potato pieces 6 tablespoons unsalted butter 1 teaspoon kosher salt   1. Place potatoes and cauliflower into a large kettle. Add enough water to cover vegetables.  2. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium high and simmer for 20 minutes or until potatoes and cauliflower are fork tender. 3. Carefully drain the water.  4. Add butter and salt to hot vegetables and mash with a potato masher, or using a hand-held mixer, Kitchen Aid mixer or food processor to achieve the desired consistency. I like whipped potatoes, so I prefer to use my Kitchen Aid and whip the vegetables until they are smooth.  5. Either serve immediately or place in a 2 quart buttered casserole dish and refrigerate to serve later. 6. Prior to serving, heat the potatoes in the casserole dish in a 350 F oven for 40 minutes.    NOTE: Do not vary the ingredient list without doing research to ensure the safety of your pet. My recipes are safe for the majority of dogs. If you have concerns, consult your veterinarian. Also, see my tips about sharing Thanksgiving with your dog in moderation.


News: Guest Posts
Dog-friendly Stuffing Recipe
Gluten-free and Crock-Pot-easy

Moist and flavorful, this recipe is prepared in a Crock-Pot to save space in the oven, and includes a variety of traditional ingredients. I’ve lived in the Midwest and in the South and have had delicious stuffing made from both bread cubes and cornbread. My personal favorite incorporates both. If you are fixed on one or the other, feel free to use equal amounts of one in place of the other.

  Many grocery stores now carry gluten-free breadcrumbs and gluten-free cornbread. If you can’t find them or want to make your own, you’ll find my recipes for each (which are later dried and used for stuffing) at BoneAppetitBistro.com.   Preparation time: 25 minutes Cooking time: 5-7 hours Serves: 8-10   Ingredients: 8 cups gluten-free bread, crumbled into 1-inch cubes 6 cups gluten-free cornbread, crumbled into 1-inch cubes 1 pound ground turkey or pork sausage 2 sticks unsalted butter 2 cups celery, diced 1/2 cup parsley sprigs, finely chopped 1 large Granny Smith apple, cored and diced 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning 1 teaspoon kosher salt 1/2 teaspoon dried sage 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme 1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram 1/4 teaspoon black pepper 4 cups chicken stock 2 large eggs, beaten   1. Pour breadcrumbs into a very large mixing bowl and set aside.  2. Brown sausage in a large skillet over medium-high heat until cooked through. 3. Drain off any fat. Set aside.  4. Into the same skillet, add butter and melt over medium heat. Add celery and parsley and sauté for 6-8 minutes.  5. Add Granny Smith apples.  6. Sauté for another minute. Pour over bread cubes. 7. Add poultry seasoning, salt, sage, thyme, marjoram, and pepper to the stuffing mix. Toss lightly to combine. Pour in chicken broth to moisten. Gently combine ingredients. For a softer texture, add more broth. Taste the seasonings. Add more salt and herbs if needed. 8. Add sausage and beaten eggs. Mix together well.  9. Grease a large Crock-Pot with butter or nonstick spray. Pack stuffing into the Crock-Pot and cook on high for 45 minutes. Reduce heat to low and continue to cook for another 4-6 hours longer.   NOTE: Do not vary the ingredient list without doing research to ensure the safety of your pet. My recipes are safe for the majority of dogs. If you have concerns, consult your veterinarian. Also, see my tips about sharing Thanksgiving with your dog in moderation.


News: Guest Posts
Planning Your Dog-friendly Holiday
T minus 5 days: Plan ahead

Over the next few days, I’ll be sharing my recipes for gluten-free Crock-Pot stuffing (on Saturday), mashed potatoes and cauliflower (on Sunday), and gluten-free pumpkin pie (on Monday)—all suitable to share with your pup. (Remember, my feeding guidelines from yesterday.) If you’re like me, you’ll want to plan ahead. Today, I’m suggesting a schedule for your holiday preparations.

  5 to 6 days ahead: Purchase any specialty ingredients. You will need the following gluten-free flours: buckwheat and tapioca. Tapioca flour is also called tapioca starch. (Gluten-free flours have a shorter shelf life than white processed flours. Extra flour will keep for seven months if stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.) You will also need xanthan gum, Celtic sea salt and plain, unsweetened hemp or coconut milk. If your market does not sell the products you need, planning ahead leaves time for Internet ordering and delivery.    2 days ahead: If you want or need to bake your own the gluten-free breads for stuffing, you’ll want to get started 2 days early. Once baked, tear bread into pieces and allow to dry overnight on a cookie sheet.   1 day ahead: Make the pumpkin pie (allow to cool, then cover and store in the refrigerator). Prepare the stuffing but do not cook; store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. (You’ll place it in the Crock-Pot 5 hours before serving for final preparation.) Prepare mashed potatoes and cauliflower. (Place in a buttered 2 quart casserole dish, refrigerate. Heat through before serving.)   Thanksgiving Day: Cook your turkey in your favorite way. Remember not to season with garlic or onion. When making gravy, do not use regular flour to thicken the gravy as it contains a type of gluten that, if dogs sample it, may upset their digestive system. Instead, use cornstarch or a combination of cornstarch, tapioca starch/flour and oat flour. 
News: Guest Posts
Dog-friendly Thanksgiving
Turkey trimmings you and your dog can enjoy

Thanksgiving has long centered on sharing a delicious meal with family, friends and those who mean the most to us. It is a time when we give thanks for the companions in our lives for which we are the most grateful. When the list of favorite friends comes to mind, dog lovers automatically include their four-legged companions. And what better way to show our appreciation for our pets’ devotion than with turkey and the fixins?


Preparing a traditional Thanksgiving meal that is satisfying, delicious and digestible for most everyone (canine companions included) is easier than you might think. My family will be sharing a little of several dishes, including turkey, with our chocolate Lab and our neighbor’s Lab. A dog’s digestive system is similar to ours, with some variation. For the purpose of preparing this meal, think of your pet as a lactose intolerant celiac with high blood pressure (i.e., needs to watch his or her salt intake) and with allergies to onion and garlic.


If your companions’ routine diet doesn’t include human food, please keep a few things in mind. 


Sharing a meal with your pet for the first time is a lot like taking your mother to a new ethnic restaurant—a little goes a long way. When introducing any new food into your dogs’ system for the first time, do not exceed more than 25 percent of his or her normal total food intake. For example, if your dog regularly eats 4 cups of dog food per day, on Thanksgiving, he or she would get 3 cups of dog food and one cup of assorted Thanksgiving dinner.


If you wouldn’t eat something, don’t give it to your pet. Ladling rich gravy over dog food only promotes overeating and is upsetting to the digestive system. Most dog foods are already coated with fat for palatability. Adding extra gravy isn’t necessary. Adding gravy to commercial kibble is the equivalent of pouring ranch dressing over potato chips. 


Keep cooked bones out of your dog’s serving. They can splinter and cause injury.


► Check in with Heidi Biesterveld’s posts on The Bark blog for the next four days for planning suggestions and recipes for a happy dog-friendly Thanksgiving.