Apple Fritter Blondies {Apple Fritter Week!!}

applefritterblondiesBlondies. Is there anything they can’t do?

Okay, maybe there are some things. But mostly, they’re my favorite food and are perfect in my eyes. Salty, sweet, brown-sugary. Buttery. Chewy. Fan-freaking-tastic. And these blondies in particular are even cooler than your standard blondie since they’re studded with soft, tender caramelized apples and topped with a crunchy apple cider glaze.

In short: they’re my new favorite. And they’re pretty irresistible.

#AppleFritterWeek has now come to a close and I couldn’t think of a better, apple-frittery recipe to close it off on a high note than these blondies. And assuming you race home and try them ASAP, I think you’ll agree!

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5.0 from 1 reviews
Apple Fritter Blondies {Apple Fritter Week!!}
Author: 
Recipe type: Blondies, Bars
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 15
 
Soft and chewy brown sugary blondies are loaded up with tender, caramelized apples for an Apple Fritter Blondie that's sure to impress!
Ingredients
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted, plus 2 Tbsp
  • 2 cups dark brown sugar, plus ¼ cup
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • Pinch nutmeg
  • Pinch salt
  • 2-3 smaller Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2-3 Tbsp apple cider
  • Splash hot water
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Liberally grease a 13x9" baking dish with cooking spray and set aside. Meanwhile, heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Toss in the 2 Tbsp butter, ¼ cup brown sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon and the apples and saute for about 2-3 minutes or until tender, but not quite soft. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the melted butter and brown sugar. Gently stream in the eggs, whisking constantly so as not to scramble them, and the vanilla. Stir in the baking soda, flour, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg until a soft batter has formed. Fold in the apples and their juices.
  3. Spread the mixture evenly into the prepared pan and bake for approx. 20-25 minutes or until the top is golden and appears set. Do not over-bake past the 25-minute mark as the bars will continue to cook as they cool. Cool the bars completely before glazing.
  4. To make the glaze, in a small bowl combine the powdered sugar, hot water and apple cider until glaze is pourable. Pour over the top of the blondies and allow it to set before cutting into squares.

DSC_0910ASigh. And they say nothing’s perfect :)

I hope you guys have enjoyed Apple Fritter Week as much as I have!! Thanks so much, and have a great weekend!! <3

xo, Hayley

Cheesy Cornbread Pupcakes

cheesypupcakesIt isn’t very often that I make things that my dogs can eat.  As a baker, I’m constantly working with off-limits food like chocolate, caramel, candy, tons of butter and sugar… aka, all the things my dogs wish they could eat.

…Even though that hasn’t stopped Mannie from eating brownie batter out of the garbage, but I digress.

But I decided these two knucklehead dogs needed a treat after all of their loyal begging with no return.  That, and they scare away people who come to the door, like Creepy Dad or salespeople.  And even though Winston hates me (see my Instagram for proof of that devil dog), he still brings a smile to my face even as he’s attempting to rip it off.

That and we’re celebrating.  See, my best friend Sarah has this dog named Ranger.  Ranger is a Blue Heeler and she’ll be celebrating her birthday on September 1st, so I wanted to prepare some cupcakes for Ranger, Sarah’s other doggies & my doggies for a birthday party we’re throwing for Ranger.  Why?

Because Ranger is turning 20 years old.  TWENTY. YEARS. OLD.  And I’m tempted to call Guinness because this dog is some kind of immortal being.

See, Ranger is technically Sarah’s husband’s dog.  And Sarah’s man, Jimmy, used to live on a farm and Ranger was his go-to farm hand.  Ranger wrangled up the sheep, cows and horses and worked most of her life.  In addition, she also had a couple sets of litters, got kicked in the face by a bull, was accidentally run over by a tractor, ate an entire chocolate-frosted chocolate sheet cake, and killed two dogs that had trespassed onto Jimmy’s farm, one of which was a Rottweiler easily twice her size.  All before the age of 12.

While Ranger doesn’t practice farming now, and while her hips have since been as strong as they once were, she’s still kicking!  She’s a happy girl who always greets me when I visit Sarah, who still loves to boss the other dogs around, and who enjoys having her head scratched.  So to celebrate this immortal dog (also because if she is immortal, I do not want her to curse me with her witch-like powers) I figured I’d throw her a birthday party.  Being kicked in the face by a bull kinda deserves a cupcake, don’t you think?

To make these Pupcakes, I used these Silicone Cupcake Molds from The New York Baking Company after I was generously sent a dozen liners to review.  I’m always apprehensive about silicone because I’m a greasing freak — meaning, I grease everything with nonstick spray.  I was wary that these pupcakes would be completely torn up on the inside, so it was to my amazement that the cupcakes popped right out with such ease and effortlessness.  It barely looked like I’d baked them in the liners!

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gsfgAs a result, the cupcakes baked just as evenly as if they were in a muffin tin with a sturdy shape, even & consistent cook, and no crumbs stuck to the sides of the liners — hallelujah!  Plus, if we’re being honest, who really cares about paper cupcake liners anyway?  Sure, they’re adorable and I love their patterns, but they always fade or get wonky after baking and no one stops what they’re doing, drops everything and admires a cupcake’s liner.  Especially hungry canines.  So if you’re looking for an inexpensive, reliable and recyclable alternative to paper liners, look no further — I highly recommend this set from The New York Baking Company!

Now let’s eat!  Ranger hasn’t been waiting 20 years for us to chit chat :)

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5.0 from 2 reviews
Cheesy Cornbread Pupcakes
Author: 
Recipe type: Cupcakes, Dog Food
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
 
These adorable Cheesy Cornbread Pupcakes are meant for man's best friend! Made with a handful of simple ingredients, you could frost them with a dollop of cottage cheese or leave them plain for a simple snack.
Ingredients
  • 1 box (8.5 oz) corn muffin mix (I used Jiffy)
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ¾ cup milk (I used skim)
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • (If Frosting...)
  • Cottage Cheese
  • Miniature bones or treats
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place 12 silicone cupcake molds onto a baking sheet or lightly spray a 12-cavity muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the corn muffin mix, brown sugar, egg, milk and cheese with a spoon and stir until a soft batter has formed.
  3. Pour the mixture evenly among the baking cups, filling about ¾ths of the way full. Bake for approx. 13-15 minutes or until the tops are domed and golden and a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool the pupcakes completely.
  4. If frosting, top with a Tablespoon or so of prepared cottage cheese and garnish with a dog treat. Serve frosted cupcakes immediately. Unfrosted cupcakes will last at room temperature in an airtight container for about 4-5 days.

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DSC_0233AMannie freaked out over the cottage cheese-frosted pupcakes because that dog eats cottage cheese like no other, whereas Winston preferred the unfrosted pupcakes since he has quite a beard that tends to get messy.  Meanwhile, Ranger was just happy to make it to 20 years old :) Happy Birthday, Ranger! [here’s Ranger partying with her sister, Gerilyn!]

rangerMake these easy muffins in minutes for YOUR dog!  I guarantee she’ll appreciate being noticed for all his hard work, begging, protection services and all that unconditional love! <3

Have a great weekend!

xo, Hayley

In the interest of full disclosure, I was generously provided with a set of NY Baking Company Silicone Liners to review.  All opinions are 100% my own and I was not otherwise compensated for this post. Please consult your vet before introducing any new foods to your pets. 

Peanut Butter Cornmeal Dog Biscuits

pbdog

Okay, so even though I don’t have a real-life human baby, I have a canine baby. One I love super duper much and one that deserves Christmas presents, too.

And so far, Mannie has taken a serious liking to Christmas which is ironic since the dog hates everything and is the most feisty and neurotic little thing ever.

As it is, he is thoroughly enjoying laying on top of wrapped, pointy, cardboard boxes under the tree. He especially enjoys laying on an oddly-shaped box addressed to my Mom, and more often than not you can find his little head perched by the corner. Whyyyyy that dog lays in THE most uncomfortable positions imaginable, I have no clue. It’s not like our house is 2×2″. I mean, there’s plenty of room to stretch out and stuff, but he must find the darkest, crampiest corner ever to sleep.

Anywho, he makes me smile super big and has been doing a pretty decent job of informing me when UPS arrives every three seconds in our neighborhood, so I figured I’d treat him, our family dog Oreo and the neighbor dogs with some homemade treats. After all, when he isn’t informing me of UPS’ arrival or sleeping on my mom’s present, he is in the kitchen while I bake and is hoping one of those treats is for him. This time, he lucked out!

DSC_0004I actually found this recipe at Target in their dollar bin attached with a miniature dog cookie cutter. When I saw it, I wanted the cutter and totally lucked out with the attached recipe. I had all the ingredients on hand, and it was a cinch to make. Plus, it yielded quite a few bones–about 30–which was plenty to spread around to the neighbor dogs :)

Oh, and just in case you were wondering, they’re Mannie approved.

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Peanut Butter Cornmeal Dog Biscuits
Author: 
Recipe type: Cookies
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 24
 
Fido will FLIP for these puppy-friendly cookies!
Ingredients
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 Tbsp smooth peanut butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup cornmeal, plus more for dusting
  • ½ cup oats
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Line two cookie sheets with foil and mist lightly with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients. In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Slowly incorporate the dry ingredients into the wet mix until it forms a ball of dough.
  3. On a clean, flat surface, lightly dust a bit of cornmeal. Roll out and shape the dough evenly into shapes. Place on the cookie sheets about 1" apart and bake for approx. 20 minutes. Turn the oven off and allow the treats to cool and harden in the still-warm oven, about 30 minutes, or until crisp and hard. Store airtight, up to a week or so.

 

DSC_0007These treats were super simple to make and they actually smelled pretty good! I like making dog treats that aren’t just healthy, but easy too. Sometimes, you’ll find crazy, organic or strange ingredients on dog treats that I just never have on hand, but I was pleased with the ease and quickness it took to whip these bones up for Mannie! In fact, I’m making another batch this weekend for him and Oreo yet again :)

Happy Friday!

xo, Hayley + Mannie

The Cinco de Mayo/Mannie Birthday/Friday Roundup

Hola, pinquitos!

Today is a very special, very LARGE Friday Roundup. If a little is good, a lot is better… right? I heard that on a reality show somewhere. I’m assuming it was RHOC in regards to plastic surgery or something but whatever.

So, as you know (and should!), Cinco de Mayo is like, a week away. I’m STOKED. I seriously love any holiday where stuffing my face isn’t expected, it’s required. Hello, Thanksgiving and Christmas, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Valentine’s Day (where expensive eating and copious amounts of chocolate are consumed), birthday(s), Easter, St. Patty’s Day, Halloween, and any other holiday worth EATING.

You know the saying “eat to live or live to eat”? Yeah, let’s just say I’m tipping the “live to eat” scales like A LOT.

But seeing as next Saturday you’re basically required to eat Mexican food (like that’d be a problem), I decided to round up some yummy dessert-related recipes in regards to Mexican traditions. Or no Mexican traditions at all, just my biased opinion that these treats are good and somewhat Mexican-inspired, if nothing else, and you should make them anyway.

First up: Classic Margarita Cupcakes. But for these lime-y cakes, I added some candy tacos on top. They’re SO cute. You have to make them. Let me reiterate: CANDY. TACOS.

Or if margs aren’t your cup of tea (who are you and why are we friends?) try these crowd-pleasing Churro Cupcakes. Sweet and cinnamon-y, they’re reminiscent of Cinnamon Toast Crunch (hence the topping) but taste like a churro. Mmmm

If you’re a sane human being, you’ll make these bars because you know what’s right for you. And also, don’t be shocked if my boyfriend shows up on your doorstep; he NEVER shuts up about these. EVER.

These are still one of the BEST cookies I think I’ve made. Seriously. You really need to experience the best chocolate/cinnamon combo ever.

The jury’s still out if pina coladas are truly “Mexican”, but anyway, if you haven’t made these sweet pineapple & coconut cupcakes… I don’t want to know you.

Since I go psycho for the cookie-version (above), I thought making a cupcake version would be the healthy, logical thing to do. So I did. And I was right. That’s a given, though.

Last but not least, if you like fruit, booze and cupcakes, I’d like to introduce you to your new BFF. While these are totally sober cupcakes (only inspired by margs themselves), feel free to get a little wild and throw some tequila in the batter or frosting. I won’t tell.

Oh, and I wouldn’t be a good friend if I didn’t share my favorite-ever homemade pico de gallo recipe with you, now would I?

Quick & Easy Pico de Gallo

2 medium or 3 smaller tomatoes, chopped in a large dice
1/2 white onion, diced
1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
1/2 bunch of cilantro, roughly chopped
Juice of one lime
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
Sprinkling of black pepper

1. In a large bowl, combine the chopped tomatoes, diced onion, diced jalapeno and chopped cilantro. Squeeze the lime juice over the veggies and sprinkle in the sugar, salt and pepper.
2. Stir the mixture to combine, cover and allow to sit for about an hour to meld the flavors. Store airtight in the fridge up to 2 days. Tastes amazing with chips, stirred into guac, on top of fish tacos or enchiladas… it’s seriously so good.

Alright, amigos… time to set down the sombreros for a second and talk about my favorite thing in the world:

Mannie’s birthday was Wednesday! My sweet babe turned six years old and I got a little emotional. I mean, who wants their sweet child growing up so fast? Especially when, in dog years, your child is older than you by like twenty years. WTF.

Anyway, I wanted to make his birthday special, so he got eggs and cottage cheese in the morning for breakfast (his favorite), an extra-long walk, cookies, and a doggy massage/long belly rub while watching Cats 101, his favorite show.

But Mannie’s a smart boy–he knows what’s up. He knows his mom works in the kitchen a lot, producing sweet-smelling treats only the humans can enjoy. And I didn’t want my Jenkins feeling left out, so I whipped up some SUPER easy pupcakes for him and our Lab, Oreo.

Here’s my picture of me tormenting my dogs with a blurry cupcake. And as you can see, Mannie’s usual, intense stare.

Of course, that didn’t last too long. He kept jumping up and jumping + holding food + taking pictures resulted in this:

Him literally jumping up, snatching the pupcake from my hand while I took the blurry evidence.

He’s too smart, I tell you. But he knew what he wanted and took it. Just like his mother.

These dog pupcakes are super simple to make. I made Mannie a cake last year, so this year, I wanted to do cupcakes. The flavors are pretty versatile in this cake, so use what you have on hand (just make sure you avoid raisins, chocolate, onions & garlic, and the like, as they’re lethal) and make your poochie proud!

Carrot & Pumpkin Pupcakes *inspired by this recipe 

1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup oil
1/4 cup pumpkin baby food or peanut butter
1 egg
1/3 cup honey
1 cup shredded or chopped carrots (I chopped mine for more texture, but shredded them would make it kinda like carrot cake)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin tin with about 8 liners and set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder and set aside. In a large bowl, mix together the oil, baby food, egg, and honey until blended. Gradually add the flour mixture, about 1/2 cup at a time, until combined. Stir in the carrots.
3. Portion evenly among the muffin tins, about 2/3 full, and bake for approx. 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely.
**Note: I didn’t frost mine, but you could use remaining baby food to frost, or consider using a low-fat cream cheese that’s been softened. Just do not add any sugar, salt, extracts or anything to it–just plain cream cheese. Garnish with beef jerky or dog kibble as sprinkles if desired!**

Obviously Mannie loved his pupcakes, and Oreo did, too!

Salt and peppery, she is! And a lover of all things food, garbage and sleeping, too.

Since this recipe makes 8, I saved four for our two dogs and passed the other four around to the neighborhood dogs, including Dorothy’s fluffball, Ginger, who excitedly lunged at me when I delivered her cupcake. See? I’m convinced baking blog dogs KNOW what we do and are excited when they get something from the food room, too!

Anywho, this concludes my outrageously long Friday Roundup. I am exhausted from a long week and stoked to have a weekend of sunshine and no homework! Or, at least, the first part.

Have a great Friday!

xo, Hayley

Peanut Butter Pup Cookies

Remember when I said I love my dog?

Yup, I love my dog!

Seriously, he is my pride and joy. Mannie sleeps in my room, and I just adore when I wake up and see his sweet face every morning. However, I do not adore (as much!) when he wakes me up at 5am thinking it’s his 6:30am feeding time. That is not so sweet. But I love him nonetheless.

Mannie is what I’d like to call a special dog because unlike other dogs, he does special things. Like watch TV with me. NO, really, he legitimately watches TV with me. Like stares at the boob tube and absorbs the information. He really enjoys Cats 101 on Animal Planet, but he also enjoys some Law and Order.

And Mannie has been known to hang out in the kitchen and check out what I’m cooking. While most people would find this undesirable, he actually doesn’t beg, so therefore it isn’t a problem. Unfortunately, our Lab cannot partake in these in-the-kitchen-cooking sessions since she is known to produce more drool than I produce cupcakes. It’s gross.

Since I’ve been cranking out my fair share of human baked goods, I figured it was only fair I made some sweet treats for my sweet pups. Yeah, Mannie just celebrated his birthday on Monday and both he and the Lab enjoyed some yummy dog-friendly bday cake, but these soft, chewy cookies are good to have on hand when I’m rewarding them for being good, and you know, cute.

Admittedly, going into this dog-cookie-baking thing wasn’t ideal. Have you ever researched dog cookie recipes? They have oddball ingredients I don’t have on hand and require some serious work. While I love my pups, I don’t know I want to slave over their treats more than I would my own, so I was pleased to find this super duper easy recipe that’s a cinch to make and even quicker to double, if you wanted to treat the entire neighborhood or your local shelter.

AAAAND I had these ADORABLE dog-shaped cookie cutters I picked up at my local Sur La Table store. They were $1 each so I got every breed available. For this recipe, however, I used the fire hydrant, a Schnauzer, a Border Collie (of course), and a poodle. If you don’t have a Sur La Table near you, a) I pity you, and b) you can find dog cutters here.

Best of all, your house won’t smell like chicken gizzards or anything weird. If anything, you’ll have a nice peanut buttery aroma. Who doesn’t like that?

Peanut Butter Pup Cookies

2 cups flour (I used all-purpose but you could use whole-wheat if desired)
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 cup peanut butter (I used chunky but creamy works)
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup quick cooking oats

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease and pat two baking sheets. In a large bowl, stir together flour and baking powder. Then add remaining ingredients and stir with a spoon until well blended and all of the flour mixture is combined in the dough.
2. Lightly flour a cutting board or work space. Roll out dough onto floured work space and flatten with the heel of your hand until it is a generous thickness, about 1/4″-1/2″ in thickness. Using floured cookie cutters, cut dough into shapes. Place cut out cookies onto your greased baking sheets and bake, 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Make sure you alternate the pans halfway during baking time to ensure an even baking process for each batch. Cool cookies completely on wire racks, then store in an airtight container on the counter at room temperature. I’d say these last about a week.

I don’t know what dog wouldn’t enjoy these–or what human wouldn’t enjoy making them!

Bon appetit, pupperonis!

xo, Hayley

Mannie’s Birthday Pupcake!

It’s no secret that I love my dog.

No, really. I’m one of those people who are super addicted to their pets. Like, crazy addicted almost.

Sometimes I let Mannie do things he probably shouldn’t, only because I love him too much to say no.

I know, that’s like, Parenting 911, but it works for dogs 90% of the time but human children 0% of the time–that’s the difference.

And at least I know I’d be a horrendous human parent. I mean, kids aren’t nearly as adorable as dogs are, so I’d be way stricter to my kid than my dog. Also, I’d probably want to spend more time with my dog than my child, and you can’t really get away with telling that to CPS and having them be okay with it.

So alas, I’m not a parent to a human kid.

But I am a happy, VERY proud parent to an amazing Border Collie, Mannie.

If ya’ll didn’t know, I rescued Mannie three years ago from the Sacramento SPCA. He had been shot and lost his leg and needed someone who’d give him lots and lots of love.

I’d seen Mannie on the SSPCA’s website, but it said he was in foster care. So I kind of gave up on the idea of getting him. Actually, it was my crazy ex-boyfriend who was hell-bent on getting a dog; I was just the person to help pick the new pup out.

So when we went to the shelter to look at pups, I was pleased to see Mannie there! He smiled and jumped up in his kennel, eager to meet us. And the rest is pretty much history.

Long story short: the ex is an ex for a reason, and after a custody battle, Mannie is now mine, 100%. And I couldn’t be happier. He’s my best friend, the light of my life, and has been by my side during some really tough times. The saying that “dogs are a man’s best friend” is completely true, as far as I’m concerned. Dogs don’t gossip excessively, they don’t judge you, and they don’t ask you if they look fat in a hideous outfit when you go shopping with them.

Thank god for the latter.

So Mannie’s fifth birthday was yesterday and I wanted to do something special for my special little man. I contemplated making some dog biscuits, but I decided on a cake instead. After all, I am the cake queen.

But as you know, dogs can’t eat the same human goodies as we can. So I had to make some modifications. I got my recipe for Mannie’s Birthday Pupcake here, and surprisingly it was quite hard to choose which one to make. But with the ingredients I had on hand, I chose the Peanut Butter Carrot Cake.

Actually, it smelled like a giant peanut butter cookie… so definitely not bad. But remember, it’s for your dog, not you. So put it down on the ground for Fido and watch him dig in on the sweets for once :)

Peanut Butter Carrot Cake

1 c flour (I used all-purpose flour)
1 tsp  baking soda
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup shredded carrots
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup honey
1 egg

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a small cake pan (I used a 6 inch round pan by Wilton). In a large bowl, combine flour and baking soda and mix. Add remaining ingredients and stir until well blended. Pour into prepared pan. Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack.

I also made a cream cheese frosting safe for dogs to ice Mannie’s cake with.

Dog-Friendly Cream Cheese Icing

8 oz cream cheese (I used light) softened
1/4 cup milk
1/4 tsp vanilla

1. Blend together all three ingredients with a mixer in a medium bowl until well combined. Refrigerate until ready to use.

As you can see, Mannie couldn’t even wait to pose for a picture before digging into his yummy cake–I even decorated the sides with milk bones!

Awh, ain’t he a doll?

Of course, don’t feed your pup the whole cake at one time–I gave each of my dogs a quarter and popped the other two slices in the fridge for tonight. They loved it!

And just think, you can get creative with any dog treats you have on hand as well. You could chop up softer dog treats for “sprinkles” or make a lattice-topped cake with Beggin Strips. You could even use Pupperonis to spell our words. Honestly, it’s about celebrating your puppy’s birthday more than the aesthetics, so do something nice for the animal in your life who does something amazing for you every day.

Happy Chowing, Pups!

xo, Hayley

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