Homemade dog food gruel

Anyone would agree that dogfood can get pricy, especially if you go for anything other than cheap-o name brand.The fact is, dog bodies aren’t meant to eat corn byproducts (nor are livestock for that matter), which is what most big-brand dog food is these days. This stuff causes myriad health effects; everything from digestion problems, tumors, and shorter lifespans. Corn’s (the cheapest) filler material, which is why big brand dog food has a ton of it in there.

We generally feed our dog a mix of dry kibble and some sort of wetter food mixed in. This wet addition has been everything from pureed pumpkin, leftover people food, canned dog food, or occasionally a raw egg.The dry kibble we use is decent, from Nutro. It’s middle-of-the-road. It’s still got lots of grains, but no corn. It’s not organic, but it’s cheap. We’ll occasionally mix up the flavor, but it’s generally the same brand.

 

One thing we also started recently, is to make our own dog food.This is something that anyone can do, and if you follow these quick suggestions, you might even enjoy doing it, as well as justify the time and cost. I’ll list my tips first, and our exact recipe will follow:

  • Leftovers! Most dogs will eat everything including the kitchen sponge. If you have dinner leftovers, institutionalized canned food in the pantry, barely overripe produce… throw it all in. Obviously be conscious about dog allergies/toxicity. Avoid chocolate, avocados, and all those no-no food items. If you’re curious, just google the food to see what vet’s say.
  • Shop in bulk. Rolled oats, rice, and other stuff is incredibly cheap from bulk bins.
  • Plan to make the food in a single pot; easy to clean up

 

Now for our recipe, and price breakdown. Obviously your exact concoction can be anything you want. This is what we put together for the most recent batch:

  • 2 cups of rolled oats (these puff up like 4 times their volume when cooked) bulk: $.40
  • Broth and water. (our broth was made from a chicken carcass weeks ago, and frozen. I don’t recommend canned/boxed broth, as it’s often very salty) broth/water: $free
  • 2 russet potatoes, 1 big sweet potato, 1 butternut squash. These were are from cupboard, starting to spud-out and get rubbery. The butternut squash had been hiding for like 3 months. $1
  • Bacon grease…so tasty. This was the drippings from a pack of bacon, maybe 3-4 tablespoons. $free
  • 1 cup of apple sauce. Again, old fridge leftover. $.50
  • 1 cup de-shelled spanish peanuts. These were leftover from x-mas baking $.25
  • Other ideas: rice, ground beef/pork/turkey, peanut butter, canned pumpkin, stale cereal, carrots and veggies, pasta, egg, etc.

Total cost for a huge pot of dog food: $2.15

Cut up the starchy things into 1 inch cubes. We baked/roasted them in the oven, as we were making some seasoned taters for ourselves too. You can also boil. Roasting will make the texture less slimy though.

Make the rolled oats per instructions in a large pot. You can also do rice instead of (or in addition to) oats. I believe for either, the ratio is 2:1 liquid to grain. Once the oats are cooked and steamy, dump in all the other ingredients except the tater chunks. Cook everything for 10-15 min until it’s hot and consistent, then gently fold in the potato chunks. The idea is to maintain some texture…otherwise everything can quickly turn into just a pureed paste. I like to think Jaeda enjoys the chunks, heh. In the end, it should be thick grey gruel. Go ahead and try it. It won’t taste terribly appetizing by people standards…but have you ever tried to eat dog food? 😉

 

Let it cool, then portion out into either freezer containers or ziplock bags to store. We keep one pack in the fridge to use, and pull one from the freezer when it gets low. We mix a few spoonfulls of the gruel in with half a cup of her dry kibble, and she looooves it, nosing around and eating the gruel bites out first.

 

Cleanup is a breeze: one pot, one mixing spoon, one cutting board (and a cookie sheet if we decided to roast the taters).

homemade dog food
Frozen and stocked up for the next month. The orange chunks are squash and sweet per-tater.

 

 

 

MOYP Night

We haven’t had a make-your-own-pizza night for a while, but we had a lot of fixins, so last night we made it happen!

I make the crust following this easy recipe:

  • 3 cups of unbleached flour
  • half a packet of yeast
  • tbsp of olive oil
  • tbsp of salt
  • water (about 1.5 cups)

Put the flour, yeast, salt and oil in a bowl. Add water a bit at a time, stirring constantly. I use a large dinner fork to stir, anything else just becomes too gooey. As far as consistency, I always eyeball it. The dough should keep its shape (for a little while), but still be very sticky to allow for perfect air bubbles.

Cover the bowl loosely with a damp cloth and leave it on the count. Let sit for as long as 4-5 hours. The yeast will do its thing, making the dough bubbly and perfect.

Preheat oven to 450. When ready, roll dough out on a well-floured counter (or toss in the air if you’ve got mad skills and want a round pizza). I also dust my pan with cornmeal, so the pizza doesn’t stick and has crisp morsels. Dry flour works as well, or get a non-stick pizza pan/stone. Put on toppings. You can also brush butter or olive oil on the crust. I personally put some garlic powder, paprika, and salt together, to make a buttery crust glaze, then brush it on. Bake on 450 for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.

Mine (right): Homemade Pesto sauce, Mozz, marble jack and parm cheeses, fresh spinach, sliced tomato, mushrooms, artichoke hearts.

Wifes: Homemade Pesto sauce, Mozz and parm cheeses, fresh spinach, fresh zucchini, roasted butternut squash, ham.

 

Chef Geof – eggy goodness

Breakfast this morning is a delightful concoctions that I call “mystery scramble”. It features pretty much anything I have in the fridge at the current moment, with a bunch of eggs dumped ontop and loosely scrambled.

Ingredients:

  • 1 small onion
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • swig of olive oil or chunk of butter…or both
  • a cup of eggplant cut into cubes
  • a cup of zucchini cut into cubes
  • handful of spinach, frozen of fresh
  • 8 tiny red potatoes, or around 2 big ones
  • 4 eggs
  • a little heap of chives and scallions
  • handful of goat cheese, crumbled
  • salt, pepper, etc.
  • Cholula, motherfucka!

For prep, you should precook the potatoes to get them fairly soft. I just threw them in the microwave for 3 minutes, in two batches, since I had a million little tiny ones. I’m sure you can pre-cut them to make them cook faster, boil them, whatever.

Get yourself a big-ass frying pan and throw in everything from the onion down to to the potatos. Crank up the heat to medium-high. We want this stuff to be crispy and browned, so make sure there’s enough oil/butter. I probably don’t recommend a lid, as everything might get soggy/steamed.

Once you’re happy with the golden crispness of the potatoes and zucchini (the two items that require the most time to brown up), you can kick the heat up to high, and crack in the eggs. Just pour or crack them right in there, don’t whisk or scramble first.

Give the concoction a few pokes or stirs, breaking the egg up into chunks the size of the potatoes/zucc. Some egg will also coat things like batter. This is okay, and makes the potato bites taste extra eggy and flavorful. Don’t beat the dish to death, keep a light touch when you’re stirring, combining.

Throw in the chives, salt, pepper, maybe crushed red pepper, whatever toppings. Give the pan a flip to mix everything, then turn off the heat (or take off heat if electric range). Crumble the goat cheese ontop.

Serve and enjoy. Oh, and now might be a good time for the Cholula to pay a visit.