I’m a fan of the show Shark Tank. I watch a few episodes here and there on Hulu, and a few months ago I saw an episode that featured an entrepreneur who made protein bars with cricket powder. I was completely intrigued. The business owner talked about the benefits of crickets and how insects are incredible sources of protein. I immediately went online and ordered some of the protein bars. When they arrived, I was not able to bring myself to take more than one bite. They tasted just fine, but I just couldn’t get over the fact that there were bugs in there.
But, a recipe idea came to me. Catherine doesn’t care what she eats, as long as it tastes good. I can sneak healthy bits into her treats and she doesn’t even realize.
I found a place online where I could order cricket powder – basically roasted and crushed crickets. It was relatively expensive for the small amount that I ordered, but I figured I wouldn’t use very much in a treat recipe, so it would last me a while. Today I finally had the chance to whip up some treats using the cricket powder, and Catherine loves it!
Why crickets, you ask? Well, they are packed with nutritional goodness, high in protein, and take less resources to grow than typical protein sources. It takes a lot of land and water to raise livestock, whereas insects take much less space and resources to produce the same amount of nutrition. Per pound, it’s up to 20 times more efficient to raise insects as opposed to beef.
What nutrition is in crickets? Here’s some data from “Insects Are Food”:
There are 1,462 recorded species of edible insects. Crickets are the most popular. Here’s why: 100 grams of cricket contains: 121 calories, 12.9 grams of protein, 5.5 g. of fat, 5.1 g. of carbohydrates, 75.8 mg. calcium, 185.3 mg. of phosphorous, 9.5 mg. of iron, 0.36 mg. of thiamin, 1.09 mg. of riboflavin, and 3.10 mg. of niacin. Compare that with ground beef, which, although it contains more protein, about 23.5 g. to be exact, it has 288.2 calories and an enormous amount of fat, 21.2 grams worth.
The recipe we came up with is packed with nutritional goodness. I ran the numbers, and each piece of these treats contains: 20 calories, 1 g carbohydrates, .5 g fat, and 1 g protein. They are packed with Vitamin A, Vitamin B12, Vitamin B17, calcium, iron, niacin, thiamin, phosphorus, riboflavin, and manganese.
Yorkie Cricket and Liver Treats
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1 Tablespoon flaxseed meal
2/3 cup brown rice flour*
1 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup cricket powder
*You can substitute 2/3 cups of whatever flour you have on hand.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a cookie sheet or jelly roll pan (preferably with coconut oil) and dust with flour. Puree the beef liver and egg in a blender until liquefied.In a large bowl, add all the ingredients to the pureed beef liver and egg. Mix well. The mixture should be a thick concrete consistency.
Spread the mixture evenly onto your prepared pan. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 – 20 minutes.
I got about 150 various sized squares out of this batch. This represents about 1/4 of the total batch.
The nifty little container I am using for these treats is called “Pupperware” and they are totally awesome. I have a couple of these and they are bone shaped and stack together. You can get yours online for just $3.99. They come in clear with lid colors of clear, pink, red, and black. Click here to get some for yourself: Bone-shaped Pupperware to store your dog treats.