Pet food option #2

Our First “special needs” pet was our Kitty, Chloe. At 10 years old she started throwing up multiple times a day. She was still eating and drinking normally but the amount of cat puke was ridiculous. I figured, Cat’s throw up hairballs, and that’s “normal”, right? So we didn’t give it too much thought, although it was a daily occurrence and we had to spring for a carpet cleaner to take care of the ever-growing stains throughout the house.

Should have been a red-flag, but ignorance is bliss…right? It’s not as if we didn’t try to address the problem, though. We did try a couple different dry foods, we tried wet food only, and used Dr.Google to try and find some other suggestions. Nothing seemed to really “fix” the problem, and we eventually gave in to putting up with the puking.

Fast-forward to about 2 years ago – we’d recently moved to the mountains and a vet-change was in order. We had liked our old vet, but wanted a local vet. We looked for recommendations from neighbors and eventually tried out one close to home. This particular vet didn’t offer many suggestions when we brought our kitty in for throwing-up issues. They suggested a daily pill (of which was $1 per day), but that didn’t do much to change the puking issue. I asked about dietary options, but wasn’t given much feedback, and left feeling pretty defeated. I was sure there was some way out there to make Chloe’s life, and ours, easier.

Luckily, I found a Vet focused on Holistic treatments in addition to standard Vet practices. My first appointment was enlightening. I left feeling like there was hope for our poor kitty.

Enter Home-Made food! Out Vet has written articles about home-made and vegan based diets for pets. (Original post here) It seemed like such an easy answer. Less processed items, more veggies, natural proteins, and no/limited meat – which I found out can be very hard for kitties with intestinal issues to digest. Why not give it a try?! What could it hurt?!

So onward I delved into making home-made food for the Chloe and her brother, too. He wasn’t showing any signs of issues, but it sure didn’t hurt to feed him the same diet and it kept Chloe from sneaking her “old” food. We also decided to do a supplemented diet, with wet food being added to the home-made so that we were sure both kitties would be getting the vitamins & minerals that are added to commercial pet food. Our vet believes in the healing abilities of a vegan diet, but it is also important that our pets get all the nutritional value they require – and the easiest way to do that is by supplementing with a commercial food of some type. Since Chloe seemed to be specifically sensitive to dry food, we chose to add some canned wet food to the home-made for these vitamins.

If you’re worried about jumping into home-made pet food, let me put your mind at ease. This method is really easy, quick and uses items that you likely have in your house already. There’s so many options for ingredients that you likely could make up a batch with what you already have in your pantry. In our case, I make 1 batch of food for the kitties once every 8-10 days. Total cook & prep time is about 30 minutes, then I put it in a Tupperware and keep it in the fridge. Our kitties get 1 large scoop of home-made food, and 1 small scoop of wet canned food mixed together, twice a day.

Kitties Favorite Meal

Ingredients:

  • 2 large Sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 box chicken or veggie stock (4 cups)
  • 3 cans garbanzo beans, drained & rinsed
  • 1 1/3 cup dry Polenta

Directions:

2. & 3.

4.

5. Allow to cool, then store in containers in the fridge for about a week. You may choose to add water to the mixture throughout the week as the liquid content will decrease as the polenta continues to absorb liquids in the fridge. We do this to increase the amount of liquid in Chloe’s diet as well, just to make sure she’s staying hydrated.

Easy, right?! And the combinations are endless. We found that our kitties prefer a blended combination, as opposed to larger chunks. Some pets may enjoy more of a “dog food” style as mentioned in my previous post with chunkier ingredients. Our kitties also prefer Polenta as opposed to oatmeal or quinoa, and they like sweet potato over peas or carrots. The beans used don’t seem to make much of a difference, although the light colored ones do make for a more pleasant appearance in the container. But really, the sky is the limit for options and combinations. If you start out with a few smaller batches – think 1 can of beans and reduce the rest to match – you’ll find your pets preferences pretty quickly.

Happy pet food making 🎉

Dear spouse, the bathroom is not a time warp…

Like clockwork…

As soon as dinner is on the table *ding* “I have to poo”

When we are walking out the door for errands, which we’ve been rounding the kids up for for the last 15 minutes for *ding* “restroom”

When it’s time to put away laundry or clean up dinner *ding* “be back in a bit”

Each time, 15-25 minutes pass before you vacate The Time-warp. I’m not the first, and certainly not the last to experience this sudden time-suck.

Dear Spouse, guess what?! Time outside of the bathroom, life outside of the restroom, chores and cleanup continue on. It doesn’t slow down, stop, or hold still until you’re done pooing and surfing craigslist for everything under the sun. Yup, I know that’s what you’re really doing in there. The pooing probably lasted 2 minutes, but your cell phone or tablet turns this “quick trip” into a half-hour endeavor!

I know what you’re going to say…”when I gotta go, I cant help it” or “I can’t help that it takes so long”…blah, blah, blahhhhhh. Sorry, not sorry. As a Mom I’m lucky to pee with the door closed, so take your “alone time” at the office and when you’re home, do us all a favor and leave your electronics outside of the potty.

My 5 year-old yelled at me for a half-an-hour today…and I let her.

Have you ever had a day where you are exhausted, over worked, overwhelmed and feel like not one thing you’ve said or needed all day has been heard by anyone? I’ve had these days. The days when all you have energy for is frustration. When the one thing you want to and need to express doesn’t have an appropriate space or time in the day. When I have these days, my “safe” space is the shower. That’s where I find I can just release all of the strain and stress of the day and let my feelings overflow, following the water down the drain and off of me.

Yesterday, I picked C up from daycare like usual. She was in good spirits and hugged her friends as we left. She was laughing and talking and telling me about her day…BUT the minute she buckled into the car seat, something else snapped and a 5 year old blonde Dr. Jekyll appeared. All kids (and esp. sassy pants 5 yo girls) have their moments of attitude, power struggle, and fits. But this…THIS was a whole other animal.

Have you ever hear Tom Segura’s bit about little kids being story tellers? (Skip to 2:55 to hear the bit in the clip below)


Basically, until they’re old enough to verbalize a single thought into a sentence, their stories consist of multiple overlapping and incomplete pieces of sentence that all run together without any punctuation or pauses other than to breath…

Ok, so take that rambling and incomplete mob of words and translate that into a FULL YELL at the TOP OF YOUR LUNGS…

THAT is what came flying in my direction from the 30 lb blonde in the backseat.

I want to watch TV you don’t let me stay home i’m mad at you for making me stay home I want a snack you will open this now I will make you open this snack you didn’t open my snack at school so i’m not going to stay home with you i will only watch TV in the car, I will sleep in the car I’m not going to live with you unless you open this snack i will not eat dinner unless i can have a cookie i only eat cookies you are mean and i don’t like you i want to stay home i need water i’m mad…

I’m not kidding when I say this went on for a full 30 minutes…

After trying to reason with her and rationalize why a snack right before dinner wasn’t happening, asking her to stop yelling and ask for what she needed, it dawned on me. She just needs an outlet. So, I let her have it. In the safe space of the car, with me as an ear and nothing more. I let her get it alllllll out. And you know what, after 30 minutes of all.out.yelling…she stopped.

And the next thing she said, in a perfectly normal volume was “Mommy, when we get home can I have a snack and watch TV until dinner’s ready?” Dr. Jekyll had left the building!

5 years old or 35 years old…Sometimes. Sometimes we all just need a minute, a safe space, to let it all out.

Chilly day, chili dinner

In the last 48 hours its snowed about a jillion feet at our house. Ok, maybe not a jillion but nearly 3 feet, and its safe to say our backyard, which is north facing, wont be seeing dry land until sometime in June.

One of my favorite meals for a chilly day is Chili. Easy to make, you could put it in the croc-pot, or cook it on the stove and have it ready in 30 min if needed. I do prefer to cook it for at least an hour when possible to let the flavors meld. Luckilly, today thats exactly the kind of thing I have time for. So while the fam is out basking in the snow, I get to cook and have a few minutes of quiet!?

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 lb ground turkey (beef works here, too but I prefer the leanness and flavor of turkey)
  • 2 cans beans (I almost always include kidney beans, and the other is whatever I have in the pantry)
  • 1 small can tomato sauce
  • 1 can corn
  • Chili spices (I have been using the brand in the photo because that’s what I have on hand, but there are lots of DIY recipes out there if you prefer)
  • 2 tbs. Olive oil
  • Garlic (to taste)
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • Optional ingredients- diced tomato, green chili, etc.

{This time around I didnt have any onion in the house, so it was omitted. Theres lots of options with this recipe to gear this towards your families tastes, too. For example if you are a vegitarian group, omit the meat and add in tofu or sweet potato cubes. If you prefer more meat, double the ground turkey and use only 1 can of beans. }

Chili Directions:

  1. In med/large pot or dutch oven ( I use a medium size 4-5 L unless I’m making a double batch) add 1 tbs of olive oil and 1-2 tbs of chopped garlic. Saute for a few minutes, or until the smell makes you drool.
  2. Add thawed ground meat. Cook until browned. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Add tomato sauce.
  4. Mix 2 cups of water with chili seasoning (about 2 tbs per cup of water) and add to pot. (If you need dinner to be ready sooner, add less water. If you intend to simmer the chili for 30-60 min, the excess water will cook out.)
  5. Drain corn and beans. (I use this handy dandy Pampered Chef can strainer….its a fav of mine.) Add to pot. Salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Stir everything together and cover. Turn heat to low. Simmer until ready to serve.

Hand in hand with Chili, a favorite of mine is Marie Calendar Corn Bread. I remember my mom always having this stuff in the pantry. Its soo easy to whip up, you only need to add water to the mix, and 30 min later you have fresh, fluffy corn bread. Load up a slice with butter and a mouthful of chili…ahhh heaven!

CORNBREAD:

  1. Prepare per instructions on the packaging.

This time I decided to try out the “double corn” recipe. I used 1/2 of the can of corn from the chili and added it to mix before pouring into the baking dish. Im not sure how the fam will reaact…ive got a few picky eaters in the house (ahem…hubbs) so I may end up responsible for the entire tray myself 😁🤣

Garnish your Chili with shredded cheese and a dollop of sour cream, add fresh onion or green onions, or all of the above. Perfect chilly- weather, warm-belly meal that the entire family will eat. Win!

Home-made pet food made easy!

Have you heard wind of the newest pet food fad? Home-made, vegan, vegetarian, or raw food diets are all the rage these days…but for your PETS?! Who knew!

About 18 months ago I was introduced to the idea of home-made food for a few of our pets. Our Vet, who focuses on Holistic treatments whenever possible, has a formula for vegan (or mostly vegan) based pet food, with as few as 3 ingredients. Most of which you probably already have in your pantry or fridge.

Our 7 year old lab-mix was diagnosed with Lymphoma in January of 2019, giving us a big push into making home-made food for her to help keep her feeling her best while we treated her holistically alongside our Vet. Since we were going to be making food for her, we also supplemented our other pup (Mo) with the same diet to help keep his weight under control (more on that later).

Below is an example of a super easy recipe that we have used. This recipe follows the proportion formula our Vet recommends (and uses herself,too). You can find her Blog post on this formula here for more information and background. Here’s another post about Vegan Dog food, there’s some great additional info here as well! Of course, always talk with a Vet before changing your pets diet.

Easy peasy Home-Made Pet Food

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups (1 box) chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 cups dry old fashiond oats
  • 3 cans beans
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and chopped
  • 2 large carrots, sliced

Cooking Directions:

  1. Pour stock into large pot, add chopped veggies. Cover and bring to a boil.
  2. Add 2 cups dry oats to the pot and stir. Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Drain & rinse beans. Add to pot.
  4. Mix all ingredients together, store in air tight containers in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Total prep + cook time was about 20 minutes. And you don’t have to baby-sit it the entire time, so it’s easy to do while you’re throwing in a load of laundry, or prepping dinner for the family.

FUNNY FACT – When I made the first batch of this food, my Hubbs and both kiddos thought it looked delicious and ended up eating about 1/4 of the mix before I could get it packaged up and in the fridge for the dogs! Pretty silly, and entertaining when I told them it was actually DOG food they were raving about. They asked me to make that mix for us sometime for diner HAHA!

If you plan to feed your pet only home-made foods, consult with your Vet as you may need to add a supplement for additional minerals/vitamins etc. Since we use home-made as an addition to commercial food, we know our pets are getting all the nutrition they need. You don’t need much commercial food to get the needed value out of it, so we do a 50/50 ratio of home made/commercial food for our pets currently. When/if any of them are needing additional health support, we up that to 80 home-made/20 commercial.

Best part about this home-made formula is that it’s very wallet friendly. A box of chicken or veggie stock is under $2.00, cans of beans are under $1 each (I usually buy whichever is on sale – The Kruners we used were $0.88 each), many of us already have quick oats on hand in our pantry, and you can use any veggies you have in the fridge or freezer. Each batch of this costs me around $5. When I looked into The Farmer’s Dog – who delivers “farm fresh” meals for your pup to your door – it was going to cost an average of $40 a week for 1 meal a day for just 1 dog.

We also started both our cats on a home-made diet similar in ingredients to the one above, but I’ll do a separate post on that next time I have to whip up a batch of food for them! Until then, Happy cooking!