August 13, 2008|Comments (15)
We LOVE our dogs and have a great deal of fun spoiling them. Treats are part of that equation but buying them in the store is costly and sometimes dangerous. First of all: when were those commercially produced treats manufactured? What is even in them (most recently, rat poison!)? Why don’t they ever seem to expire? They appear to have the shelf-life of Styrofoam! Regardless of the vitamins and yummy stuff companies may claim to put into those treats, I can promise you that none of them are as good for your dog as food you have in your kitchen right now. I’m including (at Aunt Julie’s and Uncle Raul’s suggestion) one of the recipes I use for our dog treats. Just a quick note about using garlic in treats: I like to put a little bit of garlic in the treats to discourage fleas. It’s probably a good idea to consult a vet before giving garlic treats to puppies. You can always leave the garlic out. WARNING: these treats will eventually grow fuzz so just throw them in the compost bin and make fresh!
1 cooked boneless, skinless chicken breast
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup organic wheat germ (I use Bob’s Red Mill)
1/2 cup Bob’s Red Mill Mighty Tasty Cereal or steel-cut oats
1/2 cup organic, no sugar added applesauce (I use homemade)
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup warm water
1.) Mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl and add the applesauce.
2.) Grind the cooked chicken breast and add to the mixture. Oh, you knew I was going to pull out that old grinder!
3.) Crush, mince, and use your knife to make a paste of the fresh garlic cloves. Add to mix.
4.) Add water and mix until you have a nice pliable dough. Knead on a floured surface them roll to 1/4 thickness. Cut into shapes and place on floured or lined baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Turn off oven and do not remove until morning (or until cooled and hardened).
Be sure you take some breaks or get the kids involved with all those little cookie cutters. Gosh, I can’t wait to have kids to take over this step.
Quick story: My neighbor and a guy that my husband works with came over a few months ago and saw these babies out cooling on the island and being schooled in the ways of our home… they both grabbed up some cookies and began hoovering them. My neighbor made a funny face and said (still chewing), “These cookies taste funny.” When Josh and I told them what they were eating, we expected them to spit them out — instead they both finished their cookies and grinned. Classic.
January 29, 2008|Comments (7)
We are not ready for spring. Very simply put: this is crunch time. We have seeds to order, potting soil to mix, bird netting to find, row covers to locate, and kitchen windows to clear for a landing. Of course, the prep work for the garden is great fun! A seemingly simple question like, “What sort of tomatoes do we want to plant?” sparks a passionate discussion about the mistakes we made in the garden last year, articles in Grit, Victory Gardens, salsa ingredients, and the joys of yellow tomatoes. By the time we tire of talking, we may not have even made a decision. Ahh… but it is fun to think about. Don’t worry, we’ll figure it out soon and then flood this blog with pictures of seedlings. Until then, here is some money-saving advice on starting seeds that needs no debate:
- Pick varieties of plants/seeds that will actually succeed in your area. Find a sunny spot (or use artificial light) where your new babies will not be disturbed and where the temperature stays between 65 and 70 degrees.
You can start seeds in all sorts of containers (yogurt cups, etc). Simply disinfect them, poke a few little holes in the bottom, and fill them with potting soil.
Make your own potting soil by mixing one part perlite, four parts vermiculite, and four parts peat moss.
While I’m chatting away about excitement… you just haven’t seen excitement until you’ve greeted chickens with a plate of homemade suet. Our Gabor sisters crowd the doorway to the coop (they are still cooped up because we only just got them and we want them to know that the coop is where they bed down at night once we let them free-range). The girls gracefully walk the edge of the nesting boxes like runway models and then dive for the suet. Here’s how I make my suet:
- 1 cup chunky peanut butter (could use smooth)1/4 cup lard or bacon grease
1 cup wild game bird feed or chicken feed
1/4 cup rolled oats
a few tablespoons of corn meal
Mix all the ingredients together, scoop the mixture into a container, and then freeze it until I want to give the birds a treat. I use old store-bought suet containers but you could use muffin tins lined with wax paper. Serve suet to your birds once it is nice and firm.