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{Recipe Redux} Flynn’s Beef Stew (made in treasured Le Creuset)

21 Apr

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I had this idea to create my own, homemade version of canned dog food. Most dogs love it, and I use it as a topper to Flynn’s dry kibble. It’s often hard to find wet food without preservatives or all-natural ingredients. And when you find those products, they are often very expensive. I figured that making my own version, using ingredients that Flynn enjoys, would be a cool idea. Make a large batch and freeze it in small portions. If you’re like me, a little will go a long way, as it just serves as a nice compliment to kibble. I feel better knowing what’s in it, and it can be tailored many different ways, using various meats, vegetables and fruits! I used coconut oil, rich in Lauric acid (a medium changed triglyceride), which is known for anti-bacterial/anti-fungal properties. I have been using it, drizzled on dry kibble, for nearly a year. Flynn loves it, and I am convinced that it has helped his skin condition. I used millet here, but you could add whatever grains you like: quinoa, amaranth, millet, brown rice, barley (not gluten free), etc.

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Remember, these foods are unsafe for dogs: grapes, raisins, persimmons, avocados, onions, garlic, chives, rhubarb, mushrooms (wild), tree nuts, peanuts (peanut butter is OK), nutmeg, raw/uncooked yeast dough, cocoa/chocolate.

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Mr. Flynn’s Beef Stew

2 slices bacon, diced
2 Tablespoons virgin coconut oil
1lb chuck roast, cubed into small 1/2″ pieces
3 carrots, peeled and diced
2 apples, peels on, diced
1 cup frozen peas
1 sweet potato, peeled and diced
1/3 cup millet, rinsed
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
1/4 cup parsley, chopped

Cook bacon in a skillet or dutch oven on medium high heat until it crisps. Remove and allow to dry on a plate between paper towels. Add coconut oil to the pan. Next, add cubed beef in batches. Do not crowd pan. Remove each batch to plate with cooled bacon. When all the beef has been browned, add carrots and, and allow them to soften slightly. Add sweet potatoes and saute for 4-5 minutes. Add chicken broth and millet. Cover pan or dutch oven and allow mixture to simmer for 30 minutes.

Add beef back into stew, and stir well. Add apples and peas. Simmer for another 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cooked bacon, parsley, and Parmesan cheese. Allow to cool completely before transferring into glass containers.

Keeps in fridge 4-5 days, and in freezer 3 months.

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Mr. Flynn’s Signature Squirrel Cookies

5 Feb

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Delectable homemade dog treats with carrots, parmesan, & peanut butter

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Many of you know that our dear Flynn is a rescue westie, who came to us neglected and with a terrible skin condition, called malassezia dermatitis (MD). While common in westies, MD is an opportunistic fungal skin condition, most frequently associated with allergies.  Like many chronic diseases, it can be managed with an appropriate diet*. When we first adopted Flynn, his skin was leathery, thick and black; he was nearly hairless. It’s taken much rehabilitation through trial and error to get him on a good track. Deviations from his diet are particularly detrimental when combating this ongoing condition. Measuring successful treatment is based on the ability to control the conditions and allergies. We try to avoid topical and oral antibiotics via routine medicated baths and apple cider vinegar rinses, we avoid wheat, corn, barley, rye, which have yielded good results.

You could add up to 1/4 cup of fresh, chopped parsley to this recipe for a breath-freshening effect.

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Mr. Flynn’s Squirrel Dog Cookies (makes 36 2×3 inch cookies)

1 cup buckwheat flour (+ more for flouring surface when rolling out)
1 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup gluten-free old-fashioned oats
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup creamy peanut butter, at room temperature
1 cup grated carrots
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line baking sheets with non-stick silicon mats (like Silpat), parchment paper, or with non-stick spray. Set aside. In a large bowl, combine flours, oats, carrots, Parmesan and baking powder. Stir in broth and peanut butter and mix well. Note: I used my KitchenAid mixer for this.

Form dough, and knead for a few minutes on a floured surface until a ball forms. Flour a rolling pin, and roll dough out into 1/2 thickness. Use floured cookie cutter and place treats onto baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, or until light golden brown. Transfer to wire rack and cool completely. Store in air-tight container for up to one week, or freeze for up to 3 months. I like to freeze about 2/3 of the batch and take out as needed.

Bark for heart health

14 May

dogs final“A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.”
Josh Billings

 

We’ve known for a while that dog owners are more likely to be fitter humans, however we’ve never seen it as a prescriptive antidote for chronic diseases, like heart health…until now.  The U.S.’s largest cardiovascular association, the American Heart Association (AHA), published a scientific consensus last week, after years of data and discussion about the cardiovascular effects of pet ownership.  The group concluded that owning a dog, in particular, was “probably associated” with a reduced risk of heart disease. “Probably” in the land of research speaks volumes.

“We didn’t want to make this too strong of a statement,” said Dr. Glenn Levine, a professor at the Baylor College of Medicine and head of the committee that provided the message. “But there are plausible psychological, sociological and physiological reasons to believe that pet ownership might actually have a causal role in decreasing cardiovascular risk.” “Several studies showed that dogs decreased the body’s reaction to stress, with a decrease in heart rate, blood pressure and adrenaline-like hormone release when a pet is present as opposed to when a pet is not present,” Dr. Levine said.

Source: O’Connor, A. Heart Disease and Dogs. NY Times. Published 9 May 2013.

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This one’s for the dogs

9 Jan

Many of you know how obsessed I am with my dog Flynn. He is, after all, my heart on four legs. When we rescued Flynn, he was in bad shape in the sense that he had a raging episode of malassezia dermatitis (MD). MD is a common fungal skin issue among Westies, and is a manifestation of underlying chronic allergy issues. Thus, a poor diet (which Flynn had prior) can be a culprit of ongoing skin condition. With years of rehabilitation and allergen-limited, Flynn’s coat has never looked better. Like us, dogs are what they eat: don’t fill them with junk!

Like me, Flynn loves sweet potatoes and these sweet potato (or yam) chews are a healthful alternative to conventional rawhides. The concept of the rawhide is to increase jaw strength, minimize anxiety, and keep teeth clean. However, rawhides are notorious for several drawbacks: contamination, potential choking hazard, and digestive irritation. And as pet obesity is (sadly) increasing, adding too many extra calories from treats and bones should be minimized.

So, what is a dog owner to do, short of sifting through the aisles and aisles of dog treats? Answer: sweet potato chews. These starchy tubers are my favorite for dogs because the orange color means the powerful antioxidant vitamin A, which helps in overall skin health and cell turnover. In addition, sweet potatoes have gut-friendly fiber which dogs need, too!

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Doggie Sweet Potato Leathers

3 sweet potatoes (or yams)

Preheat oven to 250° F.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (or Silpat mats).Prepare potatoes: cut off one side of the sweet potato lengthwise, as close to the edge as possible. Continue cutting the potato lengthwise in strips, as if you were going to make french fries. There’s no right or wrong “look”, it’s a rustic attempt! Just ensure that the rest of the strips are no smaller than 1/4″. Place slices on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 3.5 hours, turning half way through. Cool completely on a wire rack. They will keep for up to 3 weeks in the fridge; up to 4 months in the freezer.

flynnster

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