Sunday, January 24, 2010

Homemade Dog Food

A few weeks ago, we had to make a batch of homemade dog food. Our local pet store took a longer holiday than we expected, and poor Monsteress ran out of food.

She is a 3-year-old American Staffordshire and is pretty small: 40lbs. We feed her what we consider the best food available (and I'm happy to support a family-owned Canadian company!): Orijens dog food. We usually feed her one cup of kibble for breakfast and one cup with dinner. Dinner is supplemented with fresh veggies (her favourite treat) or the occasional raw egg.

I started with this "basic dog food" recipe (on the right sidebar) but tweaked it for greater portions of meat and veggies. Here's what I ended up making:

Monsteress's Mash
9 cups water
4 cups uncooked brown rice
1/4 cup oats
275 grams ground lamb
500 grams ground beef (medium leanness)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 head broccoli, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1 small sweet potato, diced
2 carrots, diced
1-2 tablespooons peanut butter

Combine water, oats, rice, and sweet potato in large pot. Bring to a rolling boil, then reduce heat to low-med. Add meat, oil, and half of the broccoli, green pepper, and carrots; put the remaining veggies in a sealed container to use as fresh garnish. Continue cooking approx 30 minutes or until the liquid is all absorbed. Stir in peanut butter and let cool. Keep refrigerated.

NOTE: the medium ground beef and the lamb were nice and fatty. If using lean beef or poultry, you'll want to add a bit more oil.

It was tempting to add some flavour so it would smell good while cooking, but I reminded myself it was for the dog, not me. Chicken broth would probably make it really yummy, but it would add salt that she doesn't need.

This made a large batch which lasted almost a week. We fed her 1.25-1.5 cups of the mash, topped with the fresh veggies or a raw egg for each meal. We of course also mixed in the remaining kibble for the first few meals, and added a bit of fresh kibble to the last few meals of the batch -- didn't want to switch her diet too suddenly. She ate every last bite!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

FO: Laura's Felted Bowls

My sister was not-so-subtly admiring some felted trinket bowls on Etsy this fall, so I made her a set for Christmas. This was my first dyeing project, and first felting project.

The knitting was very straightforward, and took only a few days to do all four bowls. The dyeing was the most difficult step -- I could not find Kool Aid anywhere in Montreal! I did manage to get some on a little trip to upstate New York, so I was happy about that. I usaed grape, cherry orange, and lemonade. The cherry took the fastest; lemonade had the least effect.

I was planning to felt by hand, so I had an idea to make the job a bit easier. Felting is caused by shocking wool (immersing it in very hot, then very cold water) and applying friction -- so I bought a pair of exfoliating gloves from the dollarstore. They're meant to be used in the shower, but why not use them on the bowls? It did go fairly well, but jeez, hand-felting is tiring! It took two sessions to fully felt the bowls and I worked up a sweat within the first two minutes.

After the two felting sessions, the largest bowl was still a bit floppy, so I sprayed all of the bowls with starch while they were drying. It is still a lottle wobbly, but the three smaller bowls are fine.

Yarn: Garnstudio DROPS Alaska, natural/undyed (3 skeins)
Needles: 6 mm
Pattern: Felted Nesting Bowls by Alice Themla

Overall, I'm very pleased. And my sister loved the bowls!