Butternut Squash Garden Veg Puree

Squash from our garden

Squash from our garden

I know I recently talked about the benefits of pumpkin, and the benefits of butternut squash are not far off, but I love it so much that I had to write about it. This year we attempted (successfully I might add) to grow our own butternut squash. This magical winter squash is one of the healthiest vegetables you can feed to your dog. It is higher in Vitamin-C than any other winter squash. It is also a packed full of fiber, vitamin A and potassium. Vitamin-c helps boost your dog’s immune system while vitamin-A helps with vision health.

For the Butternut Squash Garden Veg Puree I started off by peeling, seeding and cutting up the squash. 20130930_160935[1]

I then pureed the squash in a few different batches because it quickly filled my food processor. I added olive oil to the puree to help my processor out. 20130930_161459[1]

I then separately pureed some Swiss chard, kale and a pear from my garden. I also added some apple cider vinegar and some more olive oil.

20130930_162242[1]I then mixed all the purees together. You can do this all in one batch if you use smaller quantities or if you have a giant blender…which I don’t.

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And, Voila! You have a big mixing bowl full of veggy puree. I bagged it up into six labeled and dated freezer zip locks and one small tupperware. The tupperware portion will be served up for the pups meals for the next week or so and the freezer bags will keep me stocked for a while. Of course, I still have plenty of produce  growing in my garden so I’ll probably make a couple more fresh purees before the snow really starts to fall.

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Pumpkin & Peanut Butter Biscuits

20130915_160123Ok, so I was hesitant to write this post because these treats contain wheat flour. However, while I myself eat fairly healthy the majority of the time, I feel everyone should splurge in junk food occasionally. So that is what I am doing for my dogs. Today we baked cookies!

What better way to bring in fall than baking in the kitchen. These treats made my whole house smell simply delicious.

I adapted this recipe from one I found on Pinetrest and can not unfortunately find the link again. I wanted to minimize the whole wheat flour so I cut it back and added some flaxseed.

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Mix together all ingredients. Add water as needed to make the dough workable, however it should be dry and stiff.

3. Roll the dough flat into 1/2 an inch thickness.

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4.Use cookie cutters to cut out biscuits.

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5. Place on a cookie sheet and bake until hard, about 20 minutes.

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I had a few dogs boarding at my B&B and as you can see, they were all anxiously waiting for the biscuits to be done….that and the occasional pieces of dough. They all LOVED them!

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Pumpkin

pumpkinI know August just began but I am seriously looking forward to cooler temperatures and the smells and tastes of fall. Utah temps have been way too hot for far too long! This year I planted my first ever pumpkin plant in our garden in hopes of having lots of excess to puree for the dogs. You see, my pups LOVE pumpkin. In fact, I don’t think I’ve met a dog yet who doesn’t enjoy a spoonful or two mixed in with their usual grub both RAW and kibble alike.

Besides being a favorite addition to many bowls, pumpkin helps with

  1. digestive health – Just a tablespoon or two of pureed pumpkin, without any sugar added of course, is a great source of fiber and will help with both constipation and  diarrhea. Their high water content will also help hydrate their intestines further assisting with constipation.  I give a little to my dogs when they have an upset stomach and it usually helps them feel much better.
  2. urinary tract health  – It is believed that the oils in pumpkin flesh and seeds aid in urinary tract health.
  3. weight loss – If you have been struggling with your dog’s weight and just can’t seem to get him or her to shed a couple pounds, try replacing a portion of their food with pureed pumpkin. The fiber in the pumpkin will help them feel full.

Pumpkins are also a good source of Vitamin A, beta-carotene, potassium and iron and the seeds are high in essential fatty acids which is great for your dogs skin and coat.

By the way, it is great for cats as well! That is if you can get them to eat it.

Nothing makes you loose your appetite quite like clipping the nails off of chicken feet

Owpid-20130427_113052.jpgh, the things l do for my dogs. A few days ago l picked up a couple pounds of Chicken feet or as the package proclaimed, chicken paws, for the pups. l have read that they are a wonderful source of glucosamine so l thought I’d try them out. Upon further reading, of course after l had already bought them, I discovered that you need to trim off the claws or nails before feeding them to your dogs.

Until a few years back, l couldn’t even bring myself to touch raw meat much less Chicken feet. Needless to say the “paws” sat in my fridge for several days. I would pull them out a couple of times each day with the resolve to finally get the trimming done. Then I would “chicken out” and put it off for later. wpid-20130427_112348.jpgFinally this morning l did it! l had to call my best friend in the process so we could chat about boys and keep my mind off the task at hand. When the job was done I put a few in the dog’s bowls and the rest into freezer bags. Now here it is a little past noon and l still have not been able to eat anything today. Not only did the chicken feet contribute to my lack of appetite but l decided to give the dogs some full sardines that l purchased from Primal as well. These are not the canned kind that I often feed to the dogs and Nakia at least quite enjoys. They are full on frozen fish.

Watching the dogs crunch into a whole fish did me in. Surprisingly enough though, I may have found something Nakia doesn’t like. She crunched into the fish bodies opening the carcasses, then left them for Rose to roll in. So, that is how my morning went, chicken paws, fish guts and bath time, all on an empty stomach.
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Family Dinner

wpid-20130418_2112210.jpgFor Christmas, my grandmother gave me a cookbook with a collection of her recipes. My grandma has always been a fabulous cook. Tonight I decided to try a new recipe from the book, Salmon Bake with Pecan Crunch. However, I did not have a few of the ingredients so I improvised. My version was made with a Walnut Crunch. I also decided tonight they animals would share in my bounty.

For Sensi, just raw sockeye salmon. He ate most of it which I am very happy about as he won’t touch the elk, deer, or pork I have tried to give him in the past.

The girls’ dishes looked so good I could have eaten them.

Human, dog and cat dinners

Human, dog and cat dinners

They had:

  • Raw sockeye salmon
  • Boiled asparagus drizzled with salmon oil
  • Finely chopped walnuts
  • Raw honey
  • and some raw pork chops left over from this morning, with bone for Nakia.

They loved, loved, loved their dinners tonight! I didn’t think Rose would eat her veggies but low and behold, they were one of the first to go.

Lucky dogs. What are some of the meals you guys prepare for your four legged kiddies? Share in the comment section below.

So why not cook my dogs food?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHuman evolution included learning how to cook foods like meat to make them more easily digestible. So why would we not do the same for our dogs? Well for one heat destroys many of the vitamins in the food, especially many B vitamins and Vitamin C. One reason we cook our food is because enzymes begin breaking down the raw product causing it to spoil. If we cook it, the enzymes are destroyed, stopping this process and allowing us to store food more effectively. When cooking food for our dogs, the enzymes which control chemical reactions are destroyed. These enzymes are important to your dog because they help aid in digestion as well as slow the aging process. Without these enzymes, your dog’s pancreas is force to work harder thus resulting in health problems like Pancreatitis and Diabetes. Antioxidants, another anti-aging nutrient, are also destroyed when heating food. This can lead to degenerative diseases during old age such as cancer, heart disease and arthritis.

When you cook your dog’s food two essential amino acids are lost with the heat: Lysine and methionine.  The loss of these essential amino acids can lead to growth problems, skin problems, reduced resistance to disease and more.

IMAG1599Basically, when you cook your dog’s food all the major nutrients, the fats, the proteins, the carbs are all changed. Dogs were not designed to process a steady diet of cooked foods. So, while just like everything, it is ok in moderation, cooking food is just not the best option for your pooch. Think about this as well: when you provide homemade cooked meals for your dog they are usually deprived of the chewing, ripping and tearing that accompanies raw meat. That means that not only are they not getting the best nutrients but they are also being deprived of the exercise when eating their meal. It also means that their teeth are not being cleaned while they eat. Meaning you have to do more brushing, bleh. (Those of you who follow my blog know I HATE brushing my dog’s teeth.) So more brushing and more work cooking, that alone is reason enough for me to feed my dogs RAW!

The Chronicles of Sensi the Cat

Twelve years ago this Mother’s Day a grey little fur ball whose life would be forever entwined with mine, was born. I guess I should start at the beginning though. I was 18 years old and enjoying my youth. I was in no place to take on ANY responsibility. I worked as a ticket checker team leader at a local ski resort and was enjoying the snowboarder bum life style. One of my co-workers had been kicked out of her house and was living out of her car with two Russian Blues in the dead of winter. I couldn’t stand seeing the cats huddled up together for warmth, peering out her rear window while she was on the hill at work. So when she asked me if I could watch them for a few days I couldn’t refuse.

The momma and the poppa, Corona and Sadel.

The momma and the poppa, Corona and Sadel.

She promised to bring by food and kitty litter for their stay. I told her it was only for a very short time because we lived in an apartment with a strict NO PETS policy. She assured me it would not be long. Several weeks went by and while I saw her at work often she would say, “Just another day or two…” By this time I had already picked up kitty litter and food from the store. She stopped by once a while later when we were having a party and dropped off a can of wet cat food. I want to say at least a several more weeks if not a month or two went by with the same excuses and lack of food or even care of the cats from my co-worker. So, when she finally said, “mmkay, I want those cats back”. I told her, “no way in hell.” I couldn’t in good conscience give them to someone who wouldn’t take care of them. I told her that if she had actually cared for the cats she would have at least given me some food or money for the food I was providing for them. So, I suddenly had two very young cats.

IMAG1946Did you know that cats can start having babies around 4 months of age? Before you could say Jack Robinson, I had seven cats living in a two bedroom apartment that didn’t allow pets, living with three young, irresponsible (and messy) party girls and cockroaches that scattered to the filthy recesses and trash piles when you switched on the lights. Hey, don’t judge! When the kittens were old enough we found homes for the puffy balls of fur. The very last guy to go was the grey male I mentioned in the very first sentence of this post. He was adopted by my boyfriend at the time, Dave. He would name the little Russian Blue, Sensi.

After about a year, Dave would decide to make the move back to his home town in Florida. He drove across country but having a very small car and a very big pit bull as well he could not take Sensi with him this trip. He asked me to watch him for a short period and just like Sensi’s mom and dad, Dave basically forgot about him. He then asked me to keep him. In no place to keep yet another cat, I told Dave I would try to re-home him. My room mate at the time had a friend who was interested immediately but while I was at work he showed up to take Sensi home. However, he took the wrong cat. Instead he left with Sensi’s mom who looked almost identical, Corona. When I arrived home from work, I panicked! Corona was a very sensitive soul and my room mate’s friend had suddenly disappeared of the face of the earth. It took us nearly a week to track him down and by the time he brought sweet Corona home they were both so ridiculously attached to one another I could not break them apart. So, Sensi again became my cat.

IMAG1941Nearly ten years go by and I find myself in a situation where I need to find a place for Sensi to stay for a month or two. My sister’s boy friend at the time, Jake stepped up to the plate. However, circumstances changed and 2 months turned into 2 years. This ended up being a very wonderful thing for Sens. He had always been a very skiddish cat with very low confidence. The boys who lived in Jake’s house built up his confidence and now he is a very well balanced cat.

You’re probably wondering why I even bothered telling you this story on a blog about feeding dogs a RAW food diet. Well, because about a week and a half ago I received a call from one if the guys who had become Sensi’s caretaker. They were all moving out. After much discussion it was decide that Sens would be happier living with me again even with all the dogs. So, now I have a cat again. My beautiful cloudy, Indy Sens. I thought, why should the dogs be the only animals in the house eating the way nature intended? We know I don’t. I mean a Mountain Dew a morning isn’t really what nature intended. But hey, I’m an addict , ok? Again, don’t judge!

Sensi adjusting to the new house

Sensi adjusting to the new house

So in my research I have come to the conclusion that cats are easier when it comes to RAW on the one hand and on the other, they are harder. Let me explain. I think feeding Sensi raw will be easier in that cats don’t really need the vegetable matter and stuff. They require a lot less variety. Cats unlike dogs are pure carnivores. They eat all meat. They even get most of their water/moisture from their meals. It’s sounding to me like I won’t have to worry as much about the different components. I want to keep going on this but it really is another post in itself. So, I think you’ll have to wait until I can write a “Why feed your cat RAW?” post. Just know that after that long story, what I am going to start doing is slowly making the transition from the bag marked only “cat food” with a healthy, raw species specific diet for the “new” addition to my pack. I hope to chronicle the adventures of feeding a cat raw and will be posting about it on here. So keep an eye out for new posts on RAW CAT EATS!

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