Thursday, September 2, 2010

Doggie Stew 2

In this post I was explaining that we feed our dogs home made stew. I just thought I'd mention, with the addition of the Wonder mutt, our now 5 month old lab/bouvier cross, we are going through a pot of stew about every 5 days!

Serving doggie stew to four large breed dogs is kind of expensive. Probably still cheaper than crappy commercial dog food, but still, we all need to cut corners where we can. The dogs have been getting a little fussy of late too, not cleaning their bowls.

The starch is the most expensive part of our stew at the moment. It's mostly rice these days, since I don't shop as often through the summer (kid's schedules), and pasta doesn't seem to be on sale when I do. The pasta cupboard is actually looking pretty bare right now for human consumption, and who knows what will happen with the wheat situation this fall. The crops haven't been looking good.

So I thought I'd mention a few other ingredients that I've been using and storing for doggie stew.

Rice- the usual suspect.

Pasta- cheap when on sale.

Bread crusts, crumbs, and loaves that didn't turn out right in the oven. From time to time when we get busy doing other stuff and the bread gets over risen before we roll it out. We bake it anyway. These loaves are usually flat and hard, but the chickens peck away at their share, and the dogs don't complain once they're softened up in the stew.

Potatoes. It occurred to me after my last visit to the potato man that I've been kind of silly about using potatoes in doggie stew. The potato man is a local farmer who sells small and medium sized potatoes for $7 per 50 lb bag. We eat a lot of potatoes, so even at that price they're kind of an expensive part of our diet. But compared to the price of rice/pasta/commercial dog food, they make some pretty cheap doggie stew. Not to mention adding to the thickness of the broth. I'm now using 3 or 4 medium potatoes for every fresh pot of stew, in addition to the peels and leftovers that they used to get.

Dandelions are free and completely edible. They're making up the bulk of the summer veggie portion, as well as going into the freezer for winter stews. I've frozen dandelion greens for us before as well, but it's a lot of work and we tire of them quickly. Laziness, and part of living in a world where if we don't have enough food to survive the winter, there's always the grocery stores... It's easier with the dogs because they don't need to be cleaned. I just pick them in the yard and put them straight into the bag, then straight to the freezer.

Lettuce. Since it's growing so well in the garden this year, I've been freezing what we don't eat fresh for winter stews.

Pea pods. I've been tossing the pea pods into the stew as I shell the peas.

The end of the jar. Since our recycling company has decided to be uber picky about the cleanliness of our recycling, I'm filling all cans and jars with water to soak as we cook. No point in wasting the water or the remnants afterward.

Raspberry/Blueberry pulp. I juice my berries for canning, so the leftover pulp and seeds go into the doggie stew and chicken bowl.

Veggie trimmings. Potato peels, carrot peels, tomato tops, pepper centres, broccoli stems, etc... all get divided between dogs and chickens.

Butcher bones. As we butcher, I keep the leg bones with some extra meat on them, or in the case of the rabbits we just did, the rib cage and back bone. We currently have about thirty bone bags in the freezer. I also keep the heart & liver.

Eggs. The chickens are now producing enough eggs that 3 or 4 in a fresh pot of stew aren't missed from my family's diet.

Beans & lentils. Cleaning out the cupboard, I found an odd assortment of various beans and lentils that we've tried & didn't like, or are now so old that I don't think they'd soften up very well. I've been adding about a half a cup full to each batch.

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