It’s late. In fact, 8:30pm late and I’ve finally poured myself that glass of wine.
I have been working on recipes and formulations for my biscuits all day long. And, should I decide to really face reality, it’s actually been weeks. I mix, I stir, I cut out the dough. I bake the biscuits.....and repeat. Austin’s in heaven: he’s my CTT (Chief Taste Tester) and he’ll try literally anything I create when it comes to treats and food.
The other day I actually had to ask Siri “Can dogs eat red peppers?” The answer, thankfully, is a resounding yes; red peppers contain high levels of vitamins A, C, E and lots of antioxidants. (Just be careful with the spicy ones, as those can lead to mild [to severe] digestive issues.) I won’t even begin to explain how Austin got a hold of a red pepper, but trust me he did.
So - back to recipe formulation. When I began making CBD treats for Brady, my daughters were still in high school. As a stay-at-home mom, I was in the kitchen a lot. I loved creating interesting dishes from the many cookbooks I’d accumulated over the years, but honestly, nothing was more exciting to me than rolling up my sleeves and just “winging it” as my husband Tim likes to say.
Sometimes, the recipes were amazing; sometimes, we went out to dinner. But, the creative part of what I was doing became so instrumental in the ritual of cooking and baking that it defined me and became part of who I am.
So fast forward to today, or tonight I should say. I’ve immersed myself in a new world, learning about spices and herbs, as well as supplements that can be combined with CBD to create delicious, wholesome and nutritious treats that people actually think taste good too. I've been learning so much about what our dogs need to eat (and what they don't); but I've also learned about label candy.
Label candy? Yes, it’s a thing…..and an all too common thing at that. It's those ingredients you see in a product that -in theory- are amazing! But unless just the perfect amount of said ingredient is added, it soon becomes label candy, meaning their inclusion in a recipe doesn't do much of anything to help your pet (or you). So I do a deep dive into understanding what needs to be included, how much of it is needed to be effective, and how to be cost effective for both me (the baker) and you, the consumer.
It’s important for me to understand every ingredient and why I put it into what you’ll be giving to your pet. I received a note from a customer the other day telling us that when she opened the package of “dog treats,” her daughter commented that they smelled better than some of the things they buy to put in the pantry. Then upon reading the ingredients, she told her mom “they’re actually healthier than some of the things we buy.”
EXACTLY! What you feed your pet, should be good enough for you to eat, too!
So back to the drawing board I go. To do this, I’ve been spending a great deal of time with Noel, our bakery team leader. She’s creative and smart and of course, she has a dog. Noel has become a sounding board for me. She “gets” what will work and what won’t and we are having great success with the newest formulations.
While things don't happen overnight, we are getting there, and in a couple of months we will have new recipes available to our customers. But for now, I'll continue with my glass of wine, and continue dreaming about packaging designs, colors, and product launches.