organic

Lola & Baxter, dog food so good even you would eat it

Have you ever made a positive change to your diet and noticed you start to look and feel better?  Your dog can also benefit from a healthier diet.  Today Iman is talking with us about Lola & Baxter, a business dedicated to providing the freshest nutrient-dense food for your dog!

Me:  How did Lola & Baxter get started?

Iman:  My mom, who loves cooking and feeding everyone, has been making food for our dogs for over 20 years.  It started when we lived abroad, where commercial dog food was not readily available.  More recently, our vet noticed how healthy our dogs were and asked what we were feeding them.  When the vet heard about the homemade human-grade recipes, they wanted to sell it to their other clients, and the idea for Lola & Baxter was born.

Mom, Iman, & Baxter  (photo credit: John Tran)

Mom, Iman, & Baxter  (photo credit: John Tran)

Me: Your company is named after your dogs Lola and Baxter.  Tell me about them!

Iman:  Lola is a sassy German Shepherd, who sometimes acts like an elegant princess and other times is a klutz.  I adopted her as a puppy, and she gallops in her sleep.  Baxter is a shiatzu with a zen Buddha personality.

Lola & Baxter (photo credit: John Tran)

Lola & Baxter (photo credit: John Tran)

Me:  What dog food recipes do you offer?

Iman: We currently have five different dog food recipes fit for dogs at all stages of life.  They are all made fresh from human-grade ingredients, and we work with a vet nutritionist to ensure the right mix of nutrients.  We are also working on our first cat food recipe and a line of dog treats.

(photo credit: John Tran)

(photo credit: John Tran)

Me:  Which recipe is your best seller?

Iman: Turkey is the most popular, and chicken is a close second.  We recommend rotating your dog’s food so that they get a variety of flavors and nutrients.  Plus who wants to eat the same thing every day?!

(photo credit: John Tran)

(photo credit: John Tran)

Me:  From someone who is addicted to the convenience of Amazon Prime, I think it’s great that you deliver.  Can you tell me more about this service?

Iman: For our subscribers, we offer delivery inside the loop, galleria, and memorial areas.  The food is delivered to your doorstep frozen – you can freeze it for up to 4 months or thaw it in the refrigerator and feed to your dogs within 7-10 days.  The temperature-controlled bags and containers are reusable, so when it’s time for the next delivery, simply put your empty containers and bag out, and we will swap for your next food delivery.

healthy dog food delivered straight to your doorstep (photo credit: Iman)

healthy dog food delivered straight to your doorstep (photo credit: Iman)

Me:  What’s your favorite thing about running Lola & Baxter?

Iman:  My favorite thing is connecting with fellow dog-lovers, their dogs, and other compassionate people we meet at the Farmer’s Market.  I also like the creative side of bringing our business vision to life.  For me, there is nothing quite like planting the business seed and watching it grow!

Me:  What tips would you give dog owners who want to improve their dog’s diet?

Iman:  Many dry kibble recipes contain preservatives and have lost valuable nutrients because of the high-temperature processing method used to cook the kibble.  We recommend introducing fresh vegetables for a more nutrient-dense diet.  Dogs are no different than people – we all look better, feel better, and perform better with the proper nutrition.  It's important to note that some people food is NOT good for your dog - refer to this ASPCA list of people foods to avoid feeding your pets.

Me:  What's in store for Lola & Baxter in 2018?

Iman:  We are finalizing our retail packaging, and soon the Lola & Baxter foods will come to a retail establishment near you!

Me:  Where can people get their hands (paws) on Lola & Baxter dog food?

Iman:  Come visit us at the Urban Harvest Farmers Market every Saturday morning, or order online at the Lola & Baxter website.

Lola & Baxter at the Urban Harvest Farmer's Market (photo credit: Iman)

Lola & Baxter at the Urban Harvest Farmer's Market (photo credit: Iman)

You can find Lola & Baxter at:

website:  http://lolaandbaxter.com/

facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/lolaandbaxter/

instagram:  http://www.instagram.com/lolaandbaxter/

in person: Urban Harvest Farmers Market (3000 Richmond)



The Doggie Express: delicious gourmet dog treats delivered to Houston

I recently visited the headquarters and kitchen of The Doggie Express and spent time with Kelly, one of the owners and CEO, and Tiffiany, head chef.  You can tell their team of ladies is a tight-knit family, and they made me feel right at home.  We talked, we laughed, and they not only fed me, but also sent me home with a doggie bag! 

Me:  Tell me about The Doggie Express.  What do you offer and what makes it unique?

Kelly:  We offer a variety of organic, gluten-free, dairy-free, preservative-free gourmet dog treats.  We deliver within the Houston area and can ship anywhere in the contiguous United States.  We have spent years creating the perfect recipes that dogs (and humans) can enjoy.  Our recipes are all vet-approved and certified by the State of Texas.

the doggie express gourmet dog treats

Me:  What made you start The Doggie Express?

Kelly:  I have a background in nutrition and was always looking for a healthier dog treat to feed my dogs.  One day while driving down the road, I saw an Edible Arrangements truck, and I got the idea that we could create something similar for dog treats.

Me:  So how did you turn that initial idea into the current company?

Kelly:  Well, it took some time to convince my partner to go for it, then we started building a team, and I traveled all over the country researching and taste testing dog treats.  I am very picky about our recipes - not only must the treats be nutritious for dogs, they must also taste AND look good.  If they have bacon in them, I want to see the bacon!  And I won't sell treats that I wouldn't eat myself.

Crunch cookies, pupcakes, and woofins

Crunch cookies, pupcakes, and woofins

Me:  How do you come up with the recipes?

Tiffiany:  I graduated from culinary school, started experimenting with gluten-free recipes way back before gluten-free was a "thing", and opened Kozy Kitchen in Dallas, which is a restaurant serving fresh, gluten-free gourmet meals.  All our dog treat recipes are modified from human recipes, and over the years I've refined our special flour blend.  We are continuously tweaking the recipes to use better ingredients and to improve the nutritional value, taste, texture, and look of our treats.

making icing for the decorated cookies

making icing for the decorated cookies

Me:  What are your favorite or best-selling flavors?

Kelly:  My top three favorites are the cranberry carrot almond crunch cookies, carob chip pupcakes, and the morning glory woofins.

[Ed note: My favorite was also the cranberry carrot almond crunch cookie!  The crunch cookies, pupcakes, and woofins are all about the size of a golf ball - the perfect treat size in my opinion. The DEX decorated cookies are unbelievably beautiful, and come in a regular and mini size.  They also offer Bones Day cake, ice cream, and jerky, which I haven't tried yet.]

DEX decorated dog cookies

DEX decorated dog cookies

Me:  What is the shelf life for your treats?

Tiffiany:  The crunch cookies can last up to a month, the pupcakes/woofins up to 1.5 weeks, and the decorated cookies can last up to 3 months (longer because they are dehydrated).  Our treats are packaged in a resealable bag, and we recommend storing them in the refrigerator or a cool, dry place.

Me:  What's your favorite thing about your job?

Kelly:  I love delivering the treats and spending time with our clients' dogs.

Tiffiany:  [laughing] Yes, we don't let Kelly near the kitchen!  And every time she makes a delivery, she texts us pictures of the happy dogs with their treats.  My favorite thing is getting to do something that I love with the people I love.

Me:  What's your least favorite thing about your job?

Tiffiany:  I don't typically like the first time I test a new recipe, because often we end up throwing it away, and I hate to be wasteful.

Me:  Do the dogs have a job around here?

Tiffiany:  Yes, they are in charge of quality control.  Ethel is the pickiest eater, so if she likes it, we know we have a winner.  And... occasionally they get into trouble.  During the Christmas rush, Ellie opened the door to a room she wasn't supposed to be in and ate an entire tray of decorated candy cane cookies.

Kelly:  The dogs also make an appearance on our packaging boxes.

isn't this the cutest packaging?!

isn't this the cutest packaging?!

Me: What exciting things do you have planned for The Doggie Express in the next year?

Kelly:  We are looking into moving to a commercial kitchen.

Tiffiany:  [jumping up and down with excitement] And I'm getting a new BIG mixer!!!

bigger mixer coming soon!

bigger mixer coming soon!

Me:  Where can people get your delicious dog treats?

Kelly:  They are sold at several doggie daycare and grooming salons around Houston, and we make appearances at local festivals and markets.  You can also order online at The Doggie Express website.  Orders placed by 11am can be delivered same-day, orders placed after 11am will be delivered next-day.  If you don't see exactly what you're looking for on the website, we can also make custom cookies for your special event or business.

Dexter, quality control team

Dexter, quality control team

Thank you Kelly and Tiffiany!  You can find The Doggie Express at:

website  |  facebook  |  instagram

And don't forget Valentine's Day is right around the corner - gourmet dog treats would be a perfect gift for your doggie valentine!