Sunday, July 8, 2012

Cheater Homemade Dog Food

Hey Everyone!

I hope ya'll are having a wonderful weekend! My DH and I have had a really quiet weekend, thank goodness! We mowed our lawn yesterday and  then just lazed around the house. It was wonderful! I think we really needed it after working so hard on our flooring.

Anyways, I spent Thursday riding the river with my mom, aunt, and cousin. My cousin just got a puppy, Rihanna. She is SUPER cute, so sweet, and laid back!! (It's the dog everyone wishes for!!!)

She is adorable!!

I was telling her my recipe for my dog food that I make. I call it a cheater method because I used canned dog food as well.

I ended up making it because my DH and I were literally spending over $50 a month on dog food and that's a conservative number, since getting Scarlet. Zoey and Scarlet go through 2- 28 pound bags of Rachel Ray's Nutrish. (We had a REALLY hard time finding a dog food for Zoey that she wouldn't get sick on. We went through about 5 choices and FINALLY found this one that she LOVES! Yes, it's a lot. But most of the money goes to rescuing animals.). Zoey would eat a half of a can of the big Pedigree dog food. Scarlet eat's a half of the small Pedigree Puppy canned food. (I think the can says that they should eat WAY more, but we just could not afford it!!) We'll say that the big canned dog food is $1.15 a can and the small one is $.68. This equals $17.82 for Zoey a month and $10.54 for Scarlet. This is $28.36 a MONTH before taxes!!! This doesn't include their dry food either! Which I think is about $35 a bag (and they go through 2 a month!!)

Here's the Recipe:

-White Rice
-Vegetables (I use peas, carrots, and broccoli)-Canned/frozen/fresh
-Canned Dog Food

1.) Cook the rice. I usually cook 6 cups at a time. This equals 12 cups water and 6 cups rice. Bring your water to a boil, add the rice, and simmer until its finished. I usually add bullion to this as well. Either Chicken or beef, whatever you have. Let this cool. I only use half of this at the beginning, I freeze the other half so I have it ready to go.

2.) Put the rice in a bowl, and add 1/2 can of each the big can and the small puppy can. (Since I half the rice, I use 1/2 can of large dog food and 1/2 can of puppy dog food in each batch.) Mix in 1/2 cup of each of the veggies, or more if you'd like.

I give Zoey 1.5 cups a night and Scarlet 1 cup. They LOVE it!

That's it! That's all I do.

But let me explain a few things:

-I only use white rice because I read on a dog website that it is easier for dogs to digest. Brown rice is harder for them to digest, so some of the nutrition is wasted. 
-I used canned dog food (right now) in the recipe, because my DH bought bags of the food before I told him that I was switching over to homemade dog food. The Pedigree dog food has vitamins/oils that are healthy for the dogs. So, if you want to spend less money and feed your dog more without doing all the work, this is a great recipe. I will eventually add chicken and stop using the canned dog food when I run out. I have bought roasting chickens on sale for about 3-4 dollars a piece. You could also use canned chicken. I heard that you could give them tuna as well, just do it once a week as the mercury could hurt them if you use it more often.
-Veggies: You can use frozen, canned, or fresh. I prefer frozen because then they don't get smashed as much. (Imagine using canned peas, their food would be green from smashed peas!) Also, DO NOT USE corn or beans, this is very hard for them to digest and again, cannot get the nutrients from it. This is a waste of money. Green Beans are great because of the fiber. I will start adding green beans, but I didn't buy them this time. Also, frozen veggies are cheap! I get the $1.00 bags and they probably last 2 weeks! Also, I will say that I already have 2 of the gassiest pets (3 if you count my cat!), so I cannot say that the broccoli makes my dogs gassier. I would just try it. I think it adds a lot of vitamins, so I use it.
-Vitamins: You could probably add vitamins in the dog food, if you're not using canned food. But the veggies also have lots of vitamins, so you might not need to add them! It's your preference!
-Meat: If you decide to use meat instead of canned dog food, I would recommend chicken or turkey. I have read that beef is harder to digest as well. I would buy this when you see it on sale, if you have the freezer room.

Cost Break Down (Per Month):
Rice- $2.29 for 12 cups- $4.58 a month. I estimate that I use 2 bags a month. (I did think this was three, but my dogs go through half a bag a week.) This would be cheaper if you bought in bulk. My DH and I will be buying this at Costco from now on. We needed to see if they liked it first though!
Frozen Vegetables: $6.00 (I use probably 6 bags a month!)
Canned Dog Food: $5.50 I probably use 6 cans (3 small/3 big) a month.

Total: $16.00 a MONTH!! (This is a rough total.. so it might be a little different for you. I also have 2 Weimaraners, which are big dogs- My 4 month old is like 45 pounds and my 5 year old is 65 pounds.) This is over a $10 savings a month! I know that might not mean a lot to you, but say that you times that by 12 months. That's a $120 savings over a year!

Sorry this was a long post! I hope this helps you decide to make homemade dog food, even if its the cheater method! If you're going to try this, make sure to only buy a little at the beginning to make sure your dog likes it.

Good luck!! :)

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Homemade Chicken Stock

Hey Everyone!

   My DH and I are getting ready to work on our new floors! (We bought the Harmonics Flooring from Costco when it was $16 off a box. I am so excited for hardwood throughout our house!!!) Anyways, while he's out at the gas station getting a Red Bull, I thought I'd quickly post my recipe for my chicken stock.

   Now, I really don't have measurements, I just throw stuff into a pot and let it simmer for a while.

Chicken Stock:
Bones from a roasting chicken (Including the stuff that comes inside the chicken.. the heart, gizzard, etc.)
3 bay leaves
1-2 tsps thyme (or sprigs of thyme, probably 3-5)
1 onion, chopped into 4 pieces
3 stalks, chopped into 3's-Don't worry about tearing the leaves off of the stalks, this adds more flavor.
2 carrots, peeled and cut into 2's or 3's
Some peppercorns (probably 10-15)
Salt to taste
Enough water to cover all of this, I usually put a LOT of water in it to where it's almost to the top of the pot. Some of this will evaporate.

1.) Put everything into a dutch oven, or a big pot, and let it cook for about 2 hours. You could probably go longer if you wanted to.

Yep, that's it! It's that EASY!!

I will tell you, one of my DH and I's favorite dinner is roasted chicken. Anytime I roast a chicken for dinner, I throw everything left over in a bag and put it in my freezer for homemade chicken stock. It is SO easy and tastes REALLY good! (So much better then the canned stuff!) And again, YOU CONTROL what goes in it! I think this is what really drives me to home cook everything. There are so many preservatives in some foods that you get at the store.

Well I hope you all had a wonderful 4th of July!

Thank you to all the brave men and women, past and present, that serve our country. I am eternally grateful!