Since Vito’s brush with death, I swore off commercial soft dog foods. True to my promise, I trash my kitchen on a regular basis, preparing nutritious delectables that are intended not just for the kids who needed soft foods, but as a little kick to add to the kibble of the others. (I know! There is quite a bit of hypocrisy boycotting commercial soft foods and not kibble. Let’s not go there for now.)
In my effort to give variety to the kids, I have experimented with different ingredients, keeping with only meats, organ meats, eggs, oatmeal, blueberries and the few veggies dogs can actually somewhat digest.
Previously, I posted the recipe of my Crazy Dog Lady’s Special Feel Better Food. If you have attempted it, and I’m pretty sure no one has, good for you! Now delete it from your memory banks. If you intended to attempt it, burn the recipe. There are errors in that formula discovered in my subsequent months of research. That recipe certainly won’t hurt your kids, but it wasn’t giving them as much good stuff as it should have.
For example, in my attempt to make sure no microbe survived the cooking process, I melted away too many nutrients. Also, when dealing with meats with fats, there should be 2 rinsings; the first should go down the drain, the second one can be used as the water source at mixing and as the bonus gravy for future kibble boosting. Finally, it usually took a week or so to use up the left over water (gravy). Not cool. Live, learn and improve.
Here is the updated beef version, preferred by Maude, (Who, incidentally went on a hunger strike over my Thanksgiving Medley Mix) incorporating safe food handling with the ability to retain nutrients:
Unfortunately, this recipe is for the 13 dog household. You can either make the entire batch and feed one dog for a very long time, or find yourself a math wiz to reduce it to a normal dog house ration.
6 pounds beef
2 beef livers
1 pound chicken livers
12 large carrots
1 pound peas
4 cups oatmeal
1/4 pound blue berries
1. In 2 large pots, boil the beef for 5 minutes. If using whole beef cuts, chop into small pieces. If using ground beef, break it up. Start your timer when the water is boiling. This first boiling will melt off a huge chunk of fat.
2. After 5 minutes, drain and rinse.
3. Re-boil beef for another 8 minutes. Ground beef will be slightly pink at this point. If using cut beef, chop a few pieces to make sure it’s mostly cooked, but still a little pink.
4. Drain beef. If there are still a lot of oils floating in the water, rinse it twice, reserving the water from the second rinse. If there is only a little, reserve the first rinse, then rinse again.
5. Put rinsed beef back into cooking pots.
5. Boil or scramble eggs. Scrambled is preferred, but it only works if you have a true non-stick pan. Do not use butter or oils.
6. Break up eggs and mix with beef in pots.
7. Rinse, then rapid boil beef and chicken livers for 10 minutes. Chicken livers will have to be halved so they are finished at the same time as the beefs. If you are too grossed out to cut the chicken livers and prefer to cook them separately, boil whole chicken livers for 15 minutes.
8. Scoop 1 cup of water from the livers and add to the reserved beef water, then rinse livers.
9. Mix livers in with beef/eggs
10. Cut carrots into slices, combine with peas and steam for 10 minutes. Scoop 1 cup of veggie water into the meat/liver water.
11. Cook oatmeal per package directions, using reserved meat/liver/veggie water for 1/2 the oatmeal water.
12. When oatmeal is set, add carrots, peas and blueberries, and mix in well.
Now for the mix: Scoop from both pots into a blender or food processor until it’s all gone. Add water from the ‘reserved’ water to help with the blending/food processing if needed.
If there is any reserved meat/liver/veggie water left over, pour into ice trays, cover and freeze. If you ever need gravy, thaw a cube.
Storage containers should be sized to use up the mix in 2 days. Freeze the rest in similar sized containers.
In the past, I scooped from multiple bowls and pots. Not only did it completely trash my kitchen as I scooped into the food processor, but the end result was pretty heterogeneous. Notice how despite the multiple ingredients, we are only scooping from 2 pots this go around. Much easier and the finished product is more homogeneous.
The results so far in feeding homemade over commercial foods has been astounding, but that is for another post.