I used to be the gal that really got excited by going to Dick’s Drive-in with Mom and Dad because they always gave me bites of their hamburger (which, by the way, was really delectable). Buffy, my sister who I only met once, got to go all the time and she got her own burger. I even heard that our Uncle Petey used to take her through the drive-thru at another (not-to-be-named) drive-thru and get her her own burger when he pup sat for her in the “old” days. They were tight. I was led to believe that I would get my own burger too, but it turns out that Mom and Dad decided to become more healthy in their eating habits since I’ve been around, which coincidentally, trickled down to me and my prescribed eating habits. I never got excited about eating the food they called my “prescription diet”, whatever that was suppose to mean. They thought I would love it because it was made with duck and potato but I found it to be uninspiring and bland. Who can honestly get excited about dry, hard nuggets of duck and potato, processed so intently that it tastes only of smelly, vile chemicals, in a “healthy” way. I tasted Mom’s duck and her potatoes, and I can say for certain that my food tasted nothing like hers.
This led me to become a (bad) beggar, or at least that is what they called me. I know it was annoying, but how would you feel if you had to watch someone cook every night, creating wonderful aromas, and all you got to eat was fake-tasting duck nuggets? I was constantly asking to join the family for dinner, because, well, I am part of the family, and I too care what my food tastes like!
But that was a long, long time ago. One day, the bag that was kept in the cabinet above our eating area (containing our fake nuggets), suddenly disappeared (!) and our bowls were instead filled with a much more palatable meal. This pleased me very much. Buddy became a ravenous (and noisy) eating machine, and I was happy to go along with it. Instead of ignoring my old food put out in the morning until hunger got the better of me at night, I too began waking up, wanting to be fed our new food. In fact, I’d wake my parents up with my textbook snarfing to get them to the kitchen asap!
After the initial euphoria wore down, I started to realize we were eating much better food, and I must admit, we have a pretty civilized set-up for dining, but (and this is a big “but”) it still wasn’t as good as the stuff Mom cooked. I still smelled those tantalizing aromas each day and yearned for the food that they ate. Yes, I got to taste it, but that was just like dangling a carrot in front of my nose (but oh how I do love my carrots; sometimes they dangled carrots and I would dance on my back legs).
Then, it happened. Something good came out of something bad, which in turn made it good again (did that make sense to you?). It might sound confusing, but hang in with me here. Last year Buddy stopped eating his food. I mean, like seriously, stopped! At first, I helped him out by eating his portion too, but then I got a little suspicious that something might be wrong. I decided to stop eating so much too. There were a lot of visits to Doc, but she didn’t even poke me a lot of those times, just him, and then there was a lot of coddling of Buddy that went on, which I didn’t like so much. He didn’t seem very good and I started to wonder if it was something he ate? Uh oh, I was eating it too! Hmmm, I was feeling okay? I threw-up a few times but other than that, I was just fine. Within days of his not eating, there was a big change in the kitchen. The food that was cooking and those incredible smells I was smelling, were for us. Before I knew it, Buddy was eating again. I was definitely eating again, and this time I was eating the kind of food I wanted to eat.
Our Mom is a very good cook. I now know what it feels like to have a home-cooked meal every day. I understand how earth-shattering it is to be able to have variety in my meals. I am on top of the world! I am so glad to be alive! The best part is that Buddy is alive too!! He has been better ever since (and even though he gets other things done to him that I am glad I don’t have to endure), I know he likes being around too! Keep it coming Mom!
The moral of the story is that food matters to us all. Eat well, live well, be well.
Doggy Turkey Delight
Stacey here: I admit that sometimes I was a distracted Mother and ran out of my stash of food for the pups. I know they think I cook for just them every night because they do have a home-cooked meal every day and night but the truth is, I often have help. Along with my creations, I also buy custom made-for-them food from Paws Custom Pet Foods to have as filler for the times I can’t (or don’t have time to) cook for them. I buy the nutrition bottle or kit plus an herbal supplement specifically for kidney disease from Paws, so that I can cook for my pups myself. I try to mix up the ingredients and recipes to make it more interesting for all of us. This rendition of pressure-cooked turkey breast, sweet potato, quinoa and peas was a particular pup pleaser (there were some other ingredients too).
I use a pressure cooker to make this but if you don’t have one, you could cook in all together in a slow cooker (I am guessing for 3-4 hours on high) or braise it in the oven at 350 degrees for 2 hours or so until turkey is cooked through and shreds away from the bone.
It comes together without as much effort as it sounds and makes the house smell like a Sunday dinner at Mom or Grandma’s house. It was so good that I found myself eating it too, which is quite the point; why feed something to the “family” that you wouldn’t eat yourself…yum!
1.5 lbs bone-in turkey breast (I got a Kosher breast from Trader Joe’s), most of the skin removed
3 cups water (or more as needed)
16 oz shelled English peas (you can buy a bag of these at Trader Joe’s)
12 oz green beans, cleaned and diced into 1/4″ dice
8 oz sweet potato, uncooked, skin removed and diced into 1/4″ dice
6-8 oz peeled baby carrots, diced into 1/4″ cubes
1/4 cup uncooked quinoa (I use red quinoa)
1 egg yolk (optional)
4 tsp Paw’s Custom Pet Foods nutrition (optional but highly recommended)
4 tsp Paw’s Custom Pet Foods detox supplements (optional)
Put the water into the vessel of a pressure cooker (I use an electric Cuisinart pressure cooker) and add the turkey breast. Cook on high pressure for 10 minutes.
When all the steam has released, remove the meat from the bone, discard the bone, shred it and chop a little bit. Add the meat back to the vessel. Add the remaining ingredients, (except for the nutrition and supplements). Add a little water if it has evaporated (it should not cover all the way but be enough in the bottom to add steam).
Cook on high pressure for 10-minutes more. When all the steam has released, check the ingredients to be sure everything is soft. If you want it to be softer, cook for 2-3 minutes more on high pressure. This is personal depending on your dog’s size and ability to chew.
Transfer the contents of the vessel to a sheet pan to let it cool. At this point, I use a potato masher to just smoosh it a bit to break up the peas.
Once cooled to room temperature, add the nutrition and supplements (if using), and mix well.
Transfer to containers for storage and to freeze. I used ones that were recycled from food bought at Paw’s Custom Pet Foods that held 1 1/2 lbs each.
Ginger and Buddy combined, eat 1 1/2 lbs per day, so I froze two containers and left the others fresh to feed for the next several days. If you have questions about feeding size recommendations for your pup, contact Shelly at firstname.lastname@example.org. She is very approachable and loves to make sure your dog is eating well.