Miss A Columnist

Denise Willard has over a decade of experience transforming the homes of clients in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Northern Virginia. Her work has been showcased on ABC Affiliate, News Channel 8 and published in The Washington Post, Home and Design Magazine, Washington Home & Garden, The Washingtonian, and Elan. She writes a regular design column for Viva Tysons, and has a blog where she shares her interior decorating insights, DreamDesignLive.com .

Denise specializes in creating simple, but elegant transitional interiors that are reflective of her clients' personalities and lifestyles. The combination of her southern roots and urban lifestyle can be seen in her personal design style, which combines the comfort and hospitality of the South with the flair of the big city.

Homemade Dog Treats: A Great Gift Idea

It’s common practice to make your neighbors a baked good during the holidays, but, have you considered their four-legged family members? They like treats too! As the new year approaches, why not make some treats for your neighbors’ dogs as a way of saying thank you for all that they do throughout the year or a way of wishing them and their furry friends a very happy 2012!  Here’s a recipe I recently used that was a big hit for my canine friends.

Here's the finished result! I bought specialty cookie cutters in the shapes of snowflakes, dog bones, Christmas trees and candy canes to give them as Christmas gifts, but you can buy cookied cutters to celebrate ringing in the new year, or any other special occasion.

Dog Biscuits (recipe from allrecipes.com)

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup margarine
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 3/4 cup cornmeal
  • 2 teaspoons white sugar
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter
  •  1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 3 cups whole wheat flour


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). In a large bowl, combine rolled oats, margarine, and boiling water. Let stand 10 minutes. Grease cookie sheets.
  2. Thoroughly stir in cornmeal, sugar, chicken broth, peanut butter, and egg. Mix in flour, 1 cup at a time, until a stiff dough has formed.
  3. Knead dough on a lightly floured surface, mixing in additional flour as necessary until dough is smooth and no longer sticky. Roll or pat out dough to 1/2″ thickness. Cut with cookie cutter (we used holiday shapes), and place 1 inch apart onto the prepared cookie sheets.
  4. Bake 35 to 45 minutes in the preheated oven, until golden brown. Cool before serving. Store in a loosely covered container.

My dog taste testing the treats!

So, the next time you want to thank your neighbors, create a special treat for the family dog.  It will surely be a hit with the canines and their owners.

Happy New Year!


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