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Category Archives: Food

Puppy Brittle and Pumpkin Beer Biscuits

It was a long night, but the house smells great.

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Late in the afternoon yesterday, I came into possession of about 20 pounds of spent grains from a local homebrewer.

I had been hoping to get into this situation ever since I heard that you can make dog treats from the leftover mash from beer making.

The catch is, you have to use the soaked grain mash pretty quick or else it gets moldy.

While I haven’t yet used up all 20 pounds, I did whip up quite a few biscuits, bars and cookies for my pups (and pups of my friends and family) last night.

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These biscuits, which utilize an edible product that would have otherwise been thrown out or composted, are great treats for dogs who don’t have grain allergies.

I tried the basic formula for peanut butter spent grain biscuits that is all over the internet. I also experimented a little for pumpkin and bacon beer biscuits.

My results varied in shape, texture and dryness.

The key to beer biscuits is getting them super dry (and consequently super hard) so that they have a shelf life longer than a couple days. However, to get the biscuits that dry and mold-resistant, they need to be in the oven at least three hours.

I got one batch just about perfect by spreading the batter out thin on a cookie sheet and cutting it into squares before baking. It’s so crunchy I’ve dubbed it puppy brittle. The dogs loved it, and I even tried a little with my own breakfast. It tasted peanut buttery yet wholesome.

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Apparently, granola bars for people can be made almost the same way. I’m going to try this recipe from Flying on Jess Fuel.

Have you ever made people or pup treats from spent beer grains?

Don’t have access to spent grains? Try these recipes: easy baked peanut butter dog cookies and no-bake meat and veggie treatballs.

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What’s for Breakfast?

If your name is Scooby the elderpin, today’s morning meal looks like this:

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The hand mixed contents of your dish include a heaping scoop of Natural Planet Organics turkey dinner canned food, a teaspoon of pumpkin, a tablespoon of kale and broccoli pulp and a 1/4 cup of  Acana dry kibble (equal parts Ranchland and the duck/Bartlett pear varieties).

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If your name is Scooby the elderpin, however, you aren’t much interested in this dish today.

Nor is your buddy Luke the emo dog hungry for his bowl of just the Acana.

sad golden retriever

One of you is very old and not consistently hungry. The other is very scared of the stormy weather outside.

Maybe you are both holding out for some more buffalo and elk scraps from your people’s past two evening meals.

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Maybe breakfast will just have to become lunch today at the Wayward House. Maybe it will stop raining eventually.

What did you serve your dogs for breakfast today? Did they eat it?

Have you entered my giveaway yet? Click here!

Local Treats: Porter’s Pet Pantry

Way back on Mother’s Day, I swung by the farmer’s market at City Market in Kansas City.

My goal was to pick up some fresh or potted flowers for my mama. But what I ended up with were chocolate linguine noodles, a hand-painted flower pot filled with six ounces of fudge and a bag of locally made dog treats.

Porter's Pet Pantry

The dog treats were for my pups. They came from Porter’s Pet Pantry, a local company I had not encountered before.

The family of Porter – a chocolate lab who inspired the business – makes a rather large line of wholesome dog snacks in a professional kitchen in the River Market.

Nate, who I chatted with, explained to me that the company started with liver slivers, a pure meat treat, and the offering has grown from there. What I took home for Luke and Scooby was unlike anything I have bought for them before: waffles.

Actually, these were Chicken-N-Waffles, little silver-dollar-sized waffle-shaped biscuits made with wholesome grains and real chicken. They were crunchy and, apparently, tasty.

They were eaten up before I thought to take a photograph and the packaging disappeared. Oh well, we will have to hit up Porter’s Pet Pantry again.

You can learn more about Porter’s Pet Pantry at the website and on Facebook.

Have you discovered any local treats lately?

What To Do with Dandelions

Do you hate dandelions?

I don’t. In fact, I love them.

Taraxacum officinale dandelion

Taraxacum officinale. Source: Flora von Deutschland, Österreich und der Schweiz 1885 (U.S. Public Domain)

As I inspected the garden last weekend, I was thrilled to see quite a few dandelions sprouting.

Although we don’t use weedkillers, we don’t get a lot of dandelions.

That’s probably because I like to pull them. And when I do, I try to yank out the whole plant, root and all, well before their heads turn into those fluffy seed puffs. That helps keep the overall population down.

In addition to removing them where you don’t want them, pulling dandelions provides a seasonal treat that’s packed with minerals and nutrients.

If you have been reading this blog long, you know I’m a fan of wild edible plants.

I’m especially fond of dandelions, which are plentiful and trending for foodies. Over the past year, I have seen bags of dandelion greens on the shelves at Whole Foods and dandelion salads on the menus at restaurants. (I tend to gulp at the price.)

According to Whole Dog Journal, dandelions can also be beneficial for dogs.

Last weekend’s dandelion haul wasn’t massive – just about 15 young plants, none of which had flowered.

But that was enough. Cleaning dandelions takes a while, especially if you don’t plan to throw anything away.

The entire dandelion plant is edible, although the greens can be a little bitter.

I cleaned mine by soaking them three times in water and then scrubbing all of the dirt from them.

Then, I snipped their roots for roasting and gathered the greens in a bowl.

I haven’t turned my roasted roots into a liver-cleansing tea just yet, but I have gotten use from the greens.

dandelion greens

Last night, I snuck some greens between layers of cheese in a batch of nachos. I called ’em Dandy Nachos.

And on Easter, I used the greens to garnish a batch of deviled eggs.

As promised, see below for the deviled eggs recipe. It’s one of my famous, inexact recipes, so you won’t need any measuring cups.

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Deviled Nest Eggs

What you’ll need:

As many boiled eggs as you want (Remember, each whole egg makes two deviled eggs)

  • Wasabi mayonaise (Available at Trader Joe’s)
  • Your favorite yellow mustard
  • A handful of fresh dandelion greens
  • Capers
  • Paprika
  • Bowl and spoons for mixing

Directions:

Carefully peel your boiled eggs – I find it’s best to do this while they are still warm. Slice each egg in half and separate the yolk from the white. Gather all of the yolks in a bowl. Once you have separated all of the eggs, you can mix up your filling. Simply add the yellow mustard and wasabi mayo and begin stirring. Start with a small amount of the condiments at first – no more than a teaspoon – and taste as you go along. You will know when the taste is right for you. Garnish each egg with two or three shreds of dandelion green and one or more capers. Each egg should resemble a little bird nest with very tiny eggs. Sprinkle paprika lightly over the whole batch.

Have you ever eaten dandelions? What did you think?

Sowing the First Spring Seeds

It’s been quiet around here lately.

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No lie – I’ve been trying to cut back on the daily computing.

I’ve been needing to get outside.

Luckily, the weather was warm over the weekend, so we headed out to the garden for some peace – and hard work.

To be honest, I wasn’t sure if I would plant much this year. I’ve felt so bad about neglecting last year’s garden that I haven’t even started any seedlings yet this spring.

But when I knelt down by our carrot patch, where that crisp orange smell still lingers in the soil, I knew I had to raid our little seed bank.

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As usual, I sowed ’em thick – two rows of traditional carrots, one row of purple carrots, one row of beets and one row of root parsley.

Over the past couple of years, our gardening experiments have taught us that root vegetables – from sweet potatoes and carrots to turnips and radishes – are easy.

And the dogs tend to love tasty roots as much as we do.

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I’m hoping for a bumper crop of root veggies this summer.

In the meantime, the fruit trees are full of buds and dozens of onions are just begging to be trimmed as garnishes or dug up for roasting.

And there are wild things to harvest.

Come back tomorrow to learn about the weeds we’ve been eating and a recipe!

Have you begun gardening yet this spring?

How I Spent My Spring Break Staycation

Today, I clock back in at the office after a whole week off.

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As much as I love my colleagues and enjoy my job, leaving Zach and the dogs at home is going to be extra hard this morning.

Our first “vacation” of 2013 did not involve a plane ride to the Pacific Northwest or even a bike ride through Missouri’s wine country.

But the time spent together, in our own city and with our beloved dogs was pretty amazing.

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Staycation 2013 highlights:

1. Replenishing our supply of homemade, non-toxic household products, including DIY laundry detergent, dryer sheets, dishwasher detergent and citrus-scented all-purpose cleaner.

2. Warming ourselves by the fire of tree branches and twigs that fell down during Kansas City’s recent big, bad snowstorms.

3. Taking time to explore Red X, a big store in Riverside, Missouri, that is part hardware store, part grocery store, part liquor store and part purveyor of antiques and weird animal statues.

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4. Having Zach’s sister and brothers over for dinner and taking an extra plate to our neighbor, who brought us a lovely bouquet of flowers to say thanks.

5. Challenging one another to consume the super hot sauce and dried pepper flakes that Bethany brought us from her trip to the Philippines.

6. Going to a movie – Oz the Great and Powerful – on a weeknight.

7. Getting into the St. Patrick’s Day spirit over Irish eats and a Bloody Molly drink at neighborhood dive bar Swagger.

Have you ever stayed home for your vacation? What did you do?

Dog Food Scandal: What If They Were What They Ate?

When the recent horse meat scandal erupted, I knew it was not the last we would hear about deceptive meat substitution on a large scale.

Then, a relative forwarded to me this story from an agricultural industry trade journal:

Pretty disgusting, huh?

According to the full version of the story by the Daily Mail, it is suspected that stray dogs were picked up off the streets in Spain and stolen from animal sanctuaries. Then, their bodies were processed into animal feed.

Everything about this story is disturbing.

And that should be true for you whether or not you are a dog person.

It’s amazing how little we really know about any of the food we buy.

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Whether we are getting kibble for our pets or enjoying a fancy meal out, we make our decisions based on what the label or menu says.

We trust stores, manufacturers and restaurants to tell us the truth. We have to.

For while we might know what a hamburger tastes like, our senses cannot tell us if the meat is composed of something more than beef.

Who’s to say about that filet of fish, either?

According to The Atlantic, 59% of the “tuna” eaten by Americans is not tuna at all.

As with the horse meat and tainted pet food, the fish findings are based on genetic testing. Without whistle blowers and a scientific investigation, no one would know the truth.

Considering the precarious economic state of the world right now, I fear there may be more disgusting new like this to come.

So, what do we do – as humans and pet caretakers?

  • Whenever possible, consume food that is grown and distributed locally.
  • If that isn’t practical, pay attention to the labels. Buy the highest-quality pet food you can for your pets, preferably with ingredients sourced in the United States or Canada.

What advice would you add to this list? Do you worry about where your food – and your pet’s food comes from? What are you currently feeding your pets?

The Wayward Dogs currently eat Petcurean grain-free kibble that we get from the Boutique at Kennel Creek Pet Resort.

How to Eat Leftover Birthday Cake

My mama made me a two-layer German chocolate cake for my 31st birthday.

I eat it for breakfast.

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You know what tastes great with absolutely any chocolate cake? Coffee!

In case you’re wondering, the specific coffee in question is coarsely ground fair trade Guatemalan coffee from Kansas City’s own the Roasterie. I French-pressed it myself this morning.

I also eat my leftover birthday cake after dinner.

kona brewing company beer

You know what goes great with German chocolate cake in the evening? Hawaiian beer!

I am totally obsessed with this beer right now. I discovered Kona Brewing Company back when my friend Kenton and I visited Maui in 2008. In just the past month, the brand has become available at our neighborhood liquor store.

There are three other varieties available, but the Aloha Series Koko Brown is my favorite. It is brewed with toasted coconut.

Clearly none of the decadence on this page is suitable for canines to share.

But the non-screw beer caps do require the help of party dog Luke and his super handy bottle opener DIY collar accessory.

golden retriever with bottle opener

At your service!

What sort of decadence are you indulging in today?

Canine Hearts from Canada

I don’t typically buy a lot of things for myself. But I do like to spoil my dogs.

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Last night, as I was replenishing the kibble supply with a purchase from Brookside Barkery, a deal on treats caught my eye.

All varieties of Holistic Blend Canine Biscuits (8.29 oz package), regularly $9.99 each, were buy-one-get-one-free.

Of course, I picked up a pair: 1 bag of  Pumpkin Spice Hearts and 1 bag of Sea Hearts.

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These Canine Biscuits are all wheat-free and also do not contain artificial preservatives, additives or salt or sugar. The ingredient list is short and include good grains, like barley and oat flour. In each case, the flavor indicated in the product name (salmon for the Sea Hearts) appears about halfway down the list. But I’ve learned that is just the deal with most baked dog treats.

Holistic Blend is a Canadian company. The information on the packaging appears in both French and English. To ensure products of the highest quality, the food and treats are made to standards that exceed FDA guidelines for human consumption.

This human didn’t try one, but I did offer a couple heart-shaped biscuits each to Luke and Charlie Machete.

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Of course, they approved!

Although I’d like to think I will regularly make my own dog treats, realistically, I don’t always have time for that. Holistic Blend Canine Biscuits are definitely seem to be the type of product I would purchase for my pets again.

If you’re in Kansas City, I recommend hitting up Brookside Barkery and taking advantage of this deal before supplies are gone!

In addition to the varieties I bought this time, there are also Cinna Hearts and Yogurt Hearts.

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The heart shapes also make Holistic Blend Canine Biscuits perfect treats to have on hand for Valentine’s season!

Have your dogs tried any new treats lately? Where were they made?

I have no affiliation with Holistic Blend. I bought these treats with my own money. 🙂

Best DIY and Food Posts from Last Year

I know we’re already three days into the New Year, and I should be thinking ahead.

But, darn it, I’m still feeling nostalgic over 2012!

I love dogs so much that I blog about them nearly every day. But in between networking for adoptable dogs and taking infinite photos of the canines in my house, the fellow residents of Wayward House (both dog and human) and I also enjoy tasty foods and beverages and the thrill of making things ourselves.

I try to post about these experiences in the hopes of inspiring my lovely readers.

Memorable food and DIY posts from 2012:

homemade barking dog stopper

1. Homemade Barking Dog Stopper  – Charlie Machete’s new worst enemy went viral on Pinterest and generated the most single-day hits ever for this blog.

speedy stitcher sewing awl

2. Sew Your Own Dog Beds – Zach’s solution for sturdy, cost-effective and comfortable (as far as we can tell) dog beds involved the use of a nifty tool I have still never used – the Speedy Stitcher Sewing Awl.

No bake sweet potato cookies.

3. Sweet Potato Peanut Buttery Frozen Goodness – This no-bake dog cookie recipe is super healthy and helped me use up some sweet potatoes leftover from the 2011 harvest.

Image copyright Stacy Ideus Photography 2012.

Image copyright Stacy Ideus Photography 2012.

4. Don’t Shop, Swap! – I like looking good as much as the next girl, but I hate to spend on fashion. Whenever possible, I trade clothes with my friends.

diy household cleaner

5. DIY Citrus-Scented Household Cleaner – I followed another blogger’s lead on this and managed to give up Windex forever.

diy detergent

6. DIY Laundry Detergent – We pass up the harsh chemicals of the commercial stuff and save money by mixing up our own sudsy soap for our clothes (and stinky dog beds).

gentle leader dyed with RIT dye

7. DIY Dye Project for Collars and Leashes – Zach turned a pink gentle leader into a macho camo green for Charlie Machete.

Volunteer lemon basil.

8. Basil Mint Tea – This refreshing recipe helped me deal with extra herbs from the garden and put an old pickle jar to good use.

king louis

9. Remedy for a Good Time in Kansas City – I was stoked when a new restaurant that values homemade and homegrown food opened up in my neighborhood.

Lemon Vodka Gingerade and Ginger Syrup

10. Lemon Vodka Gingerade – After my friend Lisa the DIY Gourmet gave us her homemade ginger syrup, we put our first two homegrown lemons to tasty use.

Have you tried a DIY project recently? Tell me about it in the comments!

Come back tomorrow for one more post full of 2012 reflections. After that, I promise to get on with 2013!
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