Warm Winter Veggies

My weekends are as busy as my weekdays.

I spend Saturday and Sunday shopping, planning, and often cooking for my dogs so that I don’t have to think about it during the week.

As I’ve mentioned before, even in a RAW, wHOLe food diet, some things have to be cooked. Dogs don’t do too much chewing with their semi-molars, so we need to help them break down the cellulose in vegetables by gently cooking them.

I’ve developed a recipe that admittedly takes some prep time, but yields a large quantity, freezes well, and is loaded with winter veggie goodness to supplement the protein sources I give my dogs. It’s also an easy way to add some coconut oil and sea salt to their diets.

Here’s a recipe I call Warm Winter Veggie Mash:

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium to large Butternut Squash, peeled & cubed
  • 6 large carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 4-6 sweet potatoes
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 4 oz organic chicken stock

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 375. Toss your squash & carrot chunks in 2 tablespoons of coconut oil and spread on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until tender.
  • Rinse and pierce your sweet potatoes several times with a fork. Place them on another parchment-lined baking sheet, and put them in the oven beside your squash & carrots. Bake for 1 hour or until the skin puckers and the sugar starts oozing out of the fork holes.
  • Let the veggies cool before combining them in a blender or food processor with the salt and chicken stock. The stock is really just to get things moving in the blender. You can use purified water or another flavored stock. Use more or less depending on how thick you want your mixture. Depending on the size of your vegetables and your blender, you may have to puree in batches.
  • Spoon the mixture into 6oz plastic containers, and freeze. One container will defrost over night in the fridge.

Now you have several days of delicious, fresh, wHOLe food nutrition to add to raw chicken wings, thighs, or beef!

WOO-HOO!

These warm root vegetables are so nourishing during the cold winter months and POWER PACKED. Rich in vitamins and minerals that are naturally present — not added back in artificially– including:

Vitamins A, C, E, B6, and K, Niacin, Thiamin, Folate, Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium, Manganese, Dietary Fiber, Iron, Copper, and Pantothenic Acid, but low in saturated fat, sodium, and cholesterol.

Check your bag of dog food for THAT list of goodies, then ask yourself who really loves your dog. Them or you?

This is a good mixture to have on hand if your dog develops an upset stomach, btw. You can add it to cooked ground turkey meat as a gentle, flavorful fiber to settle a runny bowel.

As with any cooked food, always add a digestive enzyme when you serve it to help your dog absorb the nutrients.

Give it a shot. Even if your dog doesn’t like it, you can put it in a pot, add some heavy cream, and presto! You’ve got yourself a delicious butternut squash/carrot/sweet potato soup!

pugs & kisses,

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To Feed or Not To Feed?

That is the question.

I’ve been talking to a lot of people about this raw, wHOLe food diet.

Everyday, after they get past the raw meat series of inquiries, the next thing people ask is:

So, in addition to raw meat, what do you feed them?

Since I’ve given you the short list of WNTF (what not to feed), I’ve compiled a longer list of what I have fed my dogs over the course of the past month. I have experienced no negative physiological reactions so far, but that doesn’t mean you won’t.

Every dog is different. Word.

Some of it they love; for some of it, they turned up a smushy-faced nose & said “Nuh-uh.” 

Disclaimer: Please feed responsibly. I am not responsible for your errors in judgment. There are risks. Consult with your vet. Proceed with caution. Make sure what you’re feeding is clean & fresh, free of contaminants & pesticides. Give your dog time to transition. She could have an allergy that you are not aware of. Try one new food at a time in case there’s a bad reaction, then eliminate that from the diet. Use common sense.

Now that’s over, here goes:

Fruits & Veggies                         Raw Meats

  • Watermelon                             Chicken tenders
  • Cantaloupe                              Chicken thighs (bone in & filets)
  • Honeydew                               Chicken liver
  • Blueberries                              Beef tips
  • Strawberries                            Beef liver
  • Apples                                     Beef short ribs
  • Pears                                       Catfish filet
  • Bananas                                  Cod filet
  • Plums                                      Tuna filet
  • Peaches                                  Tilapia filet
  • Tomatoes                                Raw, cage-free chicken eggs
  • Pineapple
  • Broccolini
  • Broccoli                                    Other
  • Bell Peppers
  • Green Beans                            Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Corn                                         Raw, local Honey
  • Lima Beans                              Organic Molasses
  • Green Peas                              Unbleached Sea Salt
  • Carrots                                     Organic Coconut Flakes
  • Cucumber                                 Organic Coconut Oil
  • Zucchini                                    Yogurt (plain)
  • Sweet Potatoes                        Cottage Cheese
  • Idaho Potatoes                         Oats
  • Pumpkin                                   Chia Seeds
  • Butternut Squash                     Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Impressive, huh?

I think so.

pugs & kisses!

HOL lotta Orange

Orange is the new … well, it’s the new black, of course, but it’s also def the color of right now.

I mean this time of year.

Fall.

Orange is everywhere.

Orange leaves. Orange candy. Orange football jerseys. Orange home decor.

My neighborhood Rite Aid puked orange all over an entire aisle.

And in my weekend food-prep adventures on Sunday, I realized why orange is the color of autumn. All the veggies I’m working with right now are ((… drum roll…))

ORANGE!

Pumpkins, butternut squashes, sweet potatoes, carrots, bell peppers.

Beta carotene as far as the eye can see! (and we need it in order to see, so there you go. Complete circle).

The body converts beta carotene into Vitamin A, which we (dogs included) need for healthy skin, eyes, vision, and immune system. When it comes from dietary wHOLe foods, the body only converts as much as it needs.

But wait! There’s MORE!

The veggies I mention are also full of FIBER and other nutrients that are vital for good health.

Even if you’ve not gone wHOLe raw for your dog, add a little pureed pumpkin to her kibble and watch her suck it down. Especially if you’ve got a dog that needs to shed a few LB’s, adding some extra fiber can help with that.

Warning: your dog may come down with a good case of the toots after all this fiber. Granddaddy called sweet potatoes “music roots” for a reason. Good news, tho. There’s an app for that. Apple cider vinegar normalizes stomach acid levels, and helps reduce intestinal gas, but that’s a topic for another day.

Recipe Alert!

Bake 3 sweet potatoes in the oven for 90 minutes at 350-degrees.

Let them cool & peel the skins off.

 Dice a 1.5-lb butternut squash and 3 large carrots

Toss in coconut oil and roast in a 375-degree oven for 40 minutes.

Dump everything in the blender together, add enough water or broth to get it going & puree till smooth.

Orange orange bo-borange, banana fanna fo forange, me mi mo morange. Orange! (Ok. I’ll stop singing).

Pugs & kisses,

It’s Not All Raw

Fall officially arrives next week. And the produce offerings at my local farmers’ market are starting to change. Apples, pears and muscadines are replacing the peaches & blueberries. Peppers of every color are everywhere.

Today, I stocked up on heirloom peppers, apples, the last of the okra, the first of the autumn squashes (and a beef liver. More on that tomorrow).

I’ve gotten faster at chopping, freezing & bagging in the past couple of weeks. But what about these squashes?

Pearl & Truman ate raw summer squash, but they were small and tender. Butternut, spaghetti & acorn squash don’t come in the “small & tender” variety. Pumpkins do, but peeling those little suckers? I’m not up for it.

— Save ’em for cute seasonal home decor —

Some vegetables do have to be cooked before you feed them to your dog, making the term “raw diet” a bit of a misnomer.

Potatoes, for example, should be thoroughly baked. Beans & peas shouldn’t be served raw. Uncooked okra is slimy & gross when sliced. Generally, dogs don’t sufficiently breakdown the rigid cell structure of green plants because they don’t chew things up as much as we do. So they have to be cooked-roasted, steamed, baked.

(I can’t figure out how to drop a footnote here. This isn’t Word. It’s WordPress. Anyway: footnote 1- supplement cooked foods with a digestive enzyme to aid in absorption of essential nutrients. I found Prozyme at my local pet supply store.).

In exploring this new way of feeding my dogs, I’ve tried to focus on healthy ways to prepare the cooked items. Roasting works well for most things and is a good way to add a healthy fat like coconut or olive oil.

Roasting and pureeing a beautiful butternut squash is simple, and the dogs LOVE it.

(Psst…take part of the puree and make yourself a soup!)

Recipe alert: Peel & dice the squash, toss in a tablespoon of coconut oil, spread it on a cookie sheet with sides & roast in a 350-degree oven. I cooked a 1-lb squash 30 minutes. Let it cool. Twirl it around in the blender with a splash of chicken broth. Scoop it into a plastic container and you’ve got yourself some homemade baby food/dog dinner/soup starter!

Enjoy!

pugs & kisses,