Wednesday, March 7, 2018

The Dog Eats Healthier than I Do

Hi Peeps!

I'm in the middle of cooking the dogs food and it reminded me that I have intended to do this post for awhile.   When I'm around other dog loving people we often end up talking about dog food and the fact that I cook for my dog usually comes up.  My family and friends sometimes laugh at me but have you seen the price of GOOD dog food lately?  When we calculated it all up it ends up being significantly less expensive for me to cook for the dog than to buy dog food.    Now I know some of you are gonna say "why don't you feed him raw food, it's better for him" or give me other ideas for what to cook.   Believe me it's been a long trial effort to get to where we are and honestly, this is what works for my big boy Winston.  Now in all fairness if I threw him a steak every night he'd be the happiest dog ever but chicken is a more affordable option and he LOVES chicken.  I mean like really LOVES chicken to the point if we happen to be grilling chicken the dog will flat plow you down if he thinks he can get the plate out of your hands.  So let's go ahead and get started with food prep and I'll try to answer some questions I usually get along the way.

First item we need is chicken!  I buy this from Costco and it's perfect. It comes with 6 packs and I use 2 each time.

Q1-- I understand I could buy whole chickens or other less expensive cuts but for me and the time I'm willing to spend this works well and I hated picking the bones out of the chicken when they didn't completely disintegrate.  

That chicken and a cup or two of water go in the Instant Pot on the Poultry setting. Do not add anything other than chicken and water. It generally takes about 40 minutes to cook.

Q2: Do you have to use an Instant Pot?  You could use a slow cooker it'll just take a lot longer.

Once the chicken is removed from from the cooker I pour it into a colander with a bowl underneath.   Do NOT toss that broth we are going to use it multiple times.  
After the chicken cools a bit then use a fork to shred it, it will basically fall apart.

You'll then portion it out into little plastic bowls.   My Winston is a big boy and he gets ½ cup of chicken meat.  I usually get 7-8 days of chicken out of those 2 packages which means I cook for the dog about every 7-8 days.  

Next up we add our veggies to the Instant Pot along with the broth that we saved from the chicken.
(If you accidentally tossed just use water NEVER canned broth as it has too much sodium for pups)

We use Sweet Potatoes, Carrots and Green Beans, cook those on the Steam setting.  It's about 36 minutes.  

I buy frozen green beans from Costco.  I know there's no extra sodium in these and the bag will last me the three rotations with the chicken and that's allowing for us to snag some too occasionally. 

I buy sweet potatoes and usually use 3 large ones per batch.  I also buy my baby carrots in this huge  5 lb bag at Costco too.  It's more than enough carrots for Winston and us for 3 weeks.  
Don't skimp on the good clean veggies for your hungry pups either.  They can't get too much of those!

Q3:  Are these the only vegetables you can use?  Certainly not but PLEASE do your research, there are tons of online sites regarding what foods can and cannot be given to your dog.  Dogs are also like people, you have to find what they "like" for instance mine doesn't really appreciate the green peas so we don't use those any longer.

When those veggies come out you are going to pour them through the same colander and bowl.  We're not done with that broth yet!

While those are cooling off a bit I take this time to put some hot soapy water in the Instant Pot pan and put away the pressure cooker.  

After the veggies have cooled a bit I use a fork and just smoosh them and mix.
That way each container is getting a good distribution of each of the veggies.

Now I use my ½ cup scooper again and give each container a full scoop of veggies and don't be shy, like I said extra veggies never hurt nobody.

Next up is the rice, use a brown rice (don't let that pup talk you into white rice either, it's no good for either of you) add that veggie chicken broth and pop in the rice cooker because I cannot get rice to turn out in my Instant Pot.    I use the quick rice setting, which is 35 minutes, and then I finish cleaning up my kitchen.

While my rice is cooking I'll answer a couple of questions you may have:
Q4:  What kind of container do you use?
I use a Rubbermaid 2 cup plastic container, I picked them up at Wallyworld
Q5:  When do you feed this to Winston?
This is Winston's dinner only, he gets fed twice a day.  Breakfast will be below.
Q6: Does he eat this cold or do you heat it up?
I heat it up for 45 seconds to 1 minute in the microwave.
Q7: Does Winston like this food?
Is Chicago windy? Does it snow in Alaska?  YES, he loves it.  It has chicken and chicken is Winston's love language.  Mine is pizza in case you wondered.
Q8: What time does Winston eat dinner?
6:30 PROMPTLY, he's a 90 year old man in a dogs body. 

When the rice has finished you only need  a scant ¼ cup added to each container.  
He doesn't need any more rice than that, I only use it to help keep him satiated until breakfast the next morning.   

Here you go:  a weeks worth of dinner for Sir Winston

Let's move on to Breakfast because my rice is still cooking.  I make Winston breakfast as well.  I used to make it every other morning until I wised up and realized I should just be making it all at once like dinner.  Plus it's easier because Winston gets and egg and a half every morning so I make it 3 eggs at a time and split it.    I have no photos but it is super simple and really needs no pictures.

I put a big scoop of Coconut Oil in the skillet and let it melt.  I then add in 3 eggs and scramble those all up, I also mix in a pinch of shredded cheese.   Once scrambled I divide in half into small containers to be stored in the refrigerator. I zap these in the microwave for about 30 seconds before mixing with 1 heaping cup of his dry dog food.   

I usually make up about 8 containers at a time of this as well.  That way I spend one day cooking for the dog and I'm done for 8 days. 

Taste of the Wild High Prairie Grain Free
Roasted Bison and Roasted Venison formula
30lb bag runs about $48

This is what his breakfast looks like.

Q7: Why do you still feed him dry dog food?
Nutrition, I'm never sure if he is getting all of his nutritional needs met from the food I cook so by getting a cup of dry dog food every day I don't have to worry.
Q7: Do I have to use coconut oil?
There are only about 5 different oils that a dog can ingest and Coconut Oil works best for me.  I use a ton of it anyways and I buy it in bulk at Costco.  Make sure you are only using an organic unrefined oil.    I'm not lying when I tell you this dog has an amazing coat.  He's soft and has very few, if any, skin issues.  If you know anything about English Bulldogs then you know that's not the norm.  
Q8:  Why do you feed him a grain free food?
Let me tell you, when we first got Winston he gave us a run for the money on a food that didn't upset his sensitive digestive system.  The first thing our vet said was "he needs to be grain free" so that set the criteria for his food and this is literally the second brand of dog food the dog has had in the five years we've had him.  The first was too hard to find after we moved and someone suggested Taste of the Wild and we love it.  We tried the other flavors but this one is his favorite so that's what we use.

After those cool just pop them in the refrigerator.

Q9: How much does Winston weigh?
He runs 75-80 lbs.  Right now he's running on the low end of that and he really needs to drop down to about 70 lbs.  Bulldogs are hard because breathing isn't something that comes easy for them so you can't run them like other dogs.  Weather is also a big factor, he can't be too cold and if it is over 80 then he gets to go outside to do his business and that's it.  If you know Texas then you know from about late May to September he is outside VERY little except early, early mornings.  

Winston LOVES to eat!

Q10: Is this how much I should feed my dog?
I have no idea, really dogs are like little kids.  You have to know your dog, know what he likes, know how much energy he expends and if he needs to gain or lose weight.  Talk with your vet and do your own research.  Just like our children we have to be the voice of our fur babies.  

I should also mention that Winston really doesn't get treats much either.  They usually occur when we need to bribe him to come inside.  

We do give him a "treat" when he comes in from his final potty break of the evening.  Between 10:15 and 10:30 PROMPTLY (I told you he's an old man) he gets to go in the front yard to tinkle then we walk to the end of our street and back.  Once back inside he gets these:

Don't stroke over the price....they aren't cheap.  When I first started giving them to him we had to give 2 a day to get him "dosed up" but after that it's one a day.   So this bag lasts us at least 84 days, if he's at the kennel then he doesn't get one or if the kids or the dog sitter are watching him then he might or might not get one.  I'd rather spend the money on these than face an ACL repair or hip repair down the road.   English Bulldogs are not for the faint of heart when it comes to expense so keeping him as healthy as possible is my goal with this lovable mutt.

But seriously....look at Mr. Squishy Face and tell me he's not worth it!!

That's all for today peeps and if you are still with me then bless you! Who knew a post about making food for a dog could get so long?!

Seriously, do your research, talk to your vet and let your instinct guide you.  It may take a while to get your ideal routine down with your fur baby but I hope I've given you a starting point at least.  I'm no expert but don't hesitate to ask me any questions, I'll gladly share my experience with you.

I've got a book post that needs to happen this week know before it gets crazy long.  We need to cover January, February and I'm on my second book of March so stay tuned!

Peace, Love & Chicken Pizza 

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Where to Find Books

Hey Everyone!

I just dropped in to do a quick post about books and where to find them.   I know some of you may be wondering after my last post "geezum, how much does she spend on books?".    Well, let me tell you right now, not that much!  I really don't and sometimes that is also why you'll find my reading list a little heavy on the cozy mysteries because I can find those for free most of the time.   I also do the Kindle thing....I know, I know it's not the same as having a book in your hand but 1) I really don't have anywhere to keep all those books 2) eBooks are much cheaper and 3) how else do you think I can read 10 books on vacation??  Honey airline baggage fees would kill me!!

This is not all encompassing but a start:

Hands down where 95% of my books, digital and hardback, are purchased.  I have Amazon Prime and besides all the free shipping it leads to the next source.

Amazon First Reads:
Every month you get to choose a book from 6 Editor picks to be released the next month FO FREE!  Sometimes I have a really hard time choosing just one and occasionally I haven't even selected one.  They are a mix of genre's and it's a good place to read something outside your norm.  This month the categories were: Psychological Fiction, Historical Fiction, Thriller, Contemporary Fiction, Mystery and Literary Fiction.   I had a hard time choosing this month because they had so many of my favorite genre's but I ended up with the Psychological Fiction Selection but almost got the Thriller.   One tip: wait until a little later in the month to make your selection when some reviews have been posted.  Tip #2: always skim over the reviews sometimes publisher descriptions are misleading.

I'll use their description for you:
BookBub is a free service that helps you discover books you'll love through unbeatable deals, handpicked recommendations, and updates from your favorite authors. BookBub doesn't actually sell books. We simply introduce you to books you'll love that are available on retailers like Amazon's Kindle store, Barnes & Noble's Nook store, Apple's iBooks, and others.
You sign up for the email and you tell them what categories of books you are interested in seeing deals on and then every day you get an email with books from the genre's you've selected.  Prices will range from Free to 2.99 as a general rule and they have a different link to click on to take you to each version depending on the reader you are using.

Pretty much the same as BookBub, you fill out an email request, choose your genre's and then get a daily email.  Oddly enough I rarely see the same books in the two emails and I do get both everyday.  A quick glance is usually all I give either email to see if anything catches my eye.
This is also a daily digest that gets emailed but everything guessed it, Cozy Mysteries.  They have just recently changed their email lists and instead of one I get two, one is strictly free cozy mystery books and the second is bargains.  Bargains are $2.99 or less.   I usually do click over to Amazon to check out longer descriptions and reviews before downloading these.

Second part of the post "How do I find my next book"?
Hey, I get in book ruts just like everyone else but the number one place I figure out what I'm reading next is FRIENDS.   We're social people and we all like to share on FaceBook and fortunately my reading friends do the same.   I also add books to my Wish List in Amazon so when I'm ready for the next book I go to my wish list and pick something. I also have a Want To Read virtual bookcase on GoodReads.  You can tie your Amazon account to your GoodReads account and my yearly reading goals are set on GoodReads as well.  When I see a book that is Free that I might want to read I go ahead and download it so normally I have several books on my Kindle waiting for me then I don't feel bad about deleting it and not finishing it if it's really bad because it cost me nothing.   The next place is Sam's and Costco. I always go through the books because sometimes holding the book and flipping through it will change my mind about reading it.  I probably won't buy it there but instead come home and download it or add it to my reading list.   Here's another hint:  Bestsellers are more expensive when they are first released say 12.99 but often drop to 9.99 after a couple of months.   I also read quite a few blogs about books and new releases to keep me current on what's coming out.  If all else fails, just go to Amazon's Best Sellers list and start scrolling, chances are you'll find something that grabs you!

That's it for today, nothing earth shattering but it's cold and some of my friends are about to see some snow and well, you might as well curl up under a warm blanket and read when that happens!


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