Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Doggie Gruel 1.0

I am a woman of Action! (kapow!)

I stopped by the store last night to investigate the pieces and parts of the would-be homemade dog food. Me being me, I also got busy at work and forgot to print out (or email myself) the recipes I'd found. But, I mean, how hard can it be? Make stew...skip the onions, mushrooms, corn and avocado. Ok!

My recipes are generally in the wing-it family, but I think it went something like this:

1 potato, chopped into little bits
1/2 sweet potato, chopped into little bits
1 yellow squash, chopped into little bits
some carrots and celery, also chopped into little bits
A GIANT can of kidney beans
2 packages of ridiculously cheap stew beef (~$2-3 per package)
A few cups of chicken broth
Maybe another 6 cups of water
A cup or two of quick cook oatmeal
Some olive oil, Worcestershire sauce, garlic and a little salt

Chop all the choppy things into a microwave safe container, throw a little chicken broth and a sprinkle of garlic (you can use fresh -- just mind how much) on top and steam to soften a bit (~2 minutes?), then let sit. Cut the meat into dog-mouth-sized chunks and stir fry it in a little olive oil and Worcestershire sauce in your enormous stock pot until it's browned a bit on the outside. Throw some chicken stock over it and water to fill the pot to ~3/4 full and let it start cooking.

Meanwhile, dig out your food processor and puree the vegetables and kidney beans into something rather uniform in texture (i.e. Goo). I tested Marshall with a kidney bean and he seemed to like it, but just in case, I figured a uniform texture to the gravy bits would be better. Add the vegetable puree to the stock pot and let the whole thing simmer for a good long while (2 hours-ish).

Toward the end of the simmering, thicken the stew the old fashioned way with flour and/or by adding in some oatmeal. I wound up doing both. Mine was still fairly runny...kind of like a chunky gravy. Let it cool completely before feeding. Keeps in the fridge for 3 days and in the freezer for longer.

I gave it a test drive this morning by dumping a cup or so over 2 cups of kibble before we went outside for the morning sniff-n-poo. When we came back in, he gobbled down just about all of it, so I'm calling it a success!

I figure the vat I made last night will top off his kibble for a little over a week if I don't decrease the kibble-to-gruel ratio....longer if I do. I haven't done a lot of math to see if/how much money I'm saving (though I suspect I am). The fact that I'm not going through 2-3 aluminum cans of food a day, plus the peace of mind that comes from knowing WHAT I'm feeding him, is savings enough.


towwas said...

That's totally cool! And sounds like something that, you know, wouldn't be gross to eat. Do dogs like olive oil, worcestershire sauce, and garlic?

I Blog, You Blog said...

Well, assuming the internet doesn't lie, they definitely dig on some garlic. They need some oil for the essential fatty acids to keep them looking all shiny and stuff (fish is also recommended for homemade dog food, but I haven't figured out how to manage that yet).

The Worcestershire sauce? Well, in my experience, Worcestershire sauce makes everything taste like meat...and dogs like meat!

He seems to be loving his food, so version 1.0 is a hit!

towwas said...

Ooh, fish is a good idea. Iffy, though, 'cause so many fish are so dang environmentally unsound. The bones would probably be good for him, too, right? Calcium? Someone mentioned calcium.

I have no idea what I'm talking about. But I like your project!

I Blog, You Blog said...

I'm thinking of trying a chicken gruel over the weekend...assuming I can find some dirt-cheap chicken meat. Thighs, I think...maybe I can debone them myself if that's the cheaper route? We'll see...

I'll actually need a recipe to do fish. I'm not a fish expert in any of my cooking. Beyond baking salmon in a dish with some italian dressing and some butter, I'm kind of lost on the fish-front.