Saturday, December 31, 2011

Home Made Dog Treats

Right now there is a big controversy over chicken treats made in China. There have been some reports in the past that some dogs have gotten some kidney damage from these treats. There is a "current" warning about this but the reporting agency says only that there "might" be a problem, no specific brand is mentioned nor are the "problems" defined.  I still do feed my dogs some treats that are not USA made, just a few and there are some real favorites that we hate to give up. So I decided this morning to try my hand at making them.
There two basic ones that I attempted.  One was yams wrapped in chicken. This is cooked to a jerky like consistency and they do look good!  The other was plain yams cooked to a chewy texture.  I decided, also, to try something with carrots.
I lined the pans with parchment paper and cut up the potatoes. Sweet potatoes are hard to cut, they are a more dense vegetable than the white potatoes.  I made "french fries" and cut those to about 2 1/2 to 3 inches long.  Then cut the chicken, and a hint, cutting it half frozen makes it work better.  I cut long fillets and then halved those.  The fries were put in water with some lemon juice, I'd hoped to keep them from turning brown.  This did work, I used about a quart of water and about 1/4 of a cup of concentrated lemon juice.  I put some of the potatoes on a pan and then wrapped the rest in the chicken.  I also put the plain carrots on one of the pans and wrapped a few in the carrots, too.

My oven is a little cool so instead of 200 degrees, I did this at about 225.  I baked this for 2 hours and checked on it. The chicken was cooked at that point but not jerky like.  The potatoes were still chewy but almost too soft.
I had an errand to do so left things to bake while I was gone.  When I came back, it had been around 5 hours total time so I took them out.

The top photo is the carrots.  A total flop.  These were the teeny little carrots, not the fatter baby carrots.  I may try the baby carrots at some point in the future, though, and cook them maybe a little bit less.  The corgis will enjoy the meat that was wrapped around them, I'm sure.
Next is the yam wrapped potatoes. They came out really nice.  There was a little grease from the meat but not much.  The yams kept their nice orange color.  But the yams are a little bit crisp.
The yams on the bottom, were too crisp.  I should have done them around 3-4 hours, I think.  I did put aluminum foil on the bottom and sprayed that with Pam spray.  I still think the corgis will like these.  I think next time I will slice into round and thicker pieces and then cut them in half to a half moon shape.
Here is what the Chinese made ones look like:
This is apple and chicken.  The chicken is the darker part and I've seen most of the treats that look like this. The apple is soft and chewy but the chicken part is pretty hard.  This isn't the most attractive photo, I could have laid them out and they would have looked a little better. But overall, my treats looked much better.
I ended up cutting up about 5 or 6 medium sized potatoes, and two rather good sized skinless chicken breasts.  And a little lemon juice and 5 hours in the oven.  It made about a pound of treats after cooking.  I charge 11.99 in the store for a pound of these treats, other stores charge much more, up to 19.99.   Four ounces runs around 3.99, so a dollar an ounce.  If you are paying 19.99, then it's probably worth it to make them yourself.  I would probably invest in a dehydrator, though, there is a lot of wasted space/heat in the oven.  I think the dehydrator would probably cost less to run.  Anyhow, say $3 for the chicken and another $2 for the yams, another 25 cents for the lemon juice.  I don't even know how much to say for the gas oven, though.  And don't forget your labor, maybe an hour of cutting up and preparing time.
If I made the apple/chicken ones, I'd also use the lemon juice mixture.  And I will cut the chicken thinner next time, too.  I'd never really sliced raw chicken before, there is a knack to it and it needs to be thinner.  Then it won't have to cook so long and the apple or the yams will be softer.
I also think I would skip the skinning of the potatoes and of the apples, too.  Just one more step that is not really necessary.
I put them in a plain plastic bag and will keep them refrigerated "just in case".  If I were to make a lot of these, I'd probably get one of the little appliances that suck out the air and seal the bag to keep air out of them. These won't last long enough, though, I don't think, to do that to.  :)
So I hope this helps everyone out on this subject.  I don't need to taste test these, the corgis will get them for a bedtime snack and will be delighted with them, I'm sure. They really do look much better than the store bought ones.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Pretty Sunset and Pretty Dogs!

This was taken a couple of weeks ago.  Just enjoy.....

And along that same line, here are updated photos of the girls that I took last weekend.  They have passed the worst of the Weasel Bitch state and are filling out a little bit, growing more hair and getting more coordinated.
Zophia Pandini:
And this is Carling, named after Aisling and showing her same traits....

Monday, December 12, 2011

Hummingbird Cake

I have never heard of this before.  It seems to be a big thing here in Kentucky, along with Derby Pie (see my post on that one a while back).  I've not actually tasted it but they have them at one of the local groceries and I will buy one and do just that.  The only thing that has held me back is that I have this awful feeling if I buy it, I will bury my face in it and eat it all.  Like a dog.  :)

You just cannot go wrong with pecans, cream cheese frosting, pineapple and banana.  So here is a recipe for this wonderful cake.....and if you show up to my house to visit, you had better have one of these with you!


  • 3 cups
     all-purpose flour 
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt 
  • 2 cups sugar 
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
  • large eggs, beaten 
  • 1 cup vegetable oil 
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract 
  • (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple, undrained 
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 2 cups chopped bananas 
  • Cream Cheese Frosting 
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • Preparation

    1. Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl; add eggs and oil, stirring until dry ingredients are moistened. (Do not beat.) Stir in vanilla, pineapple, 1 cup pecans, and bananas.
    2. Pour batter into three greased and floured 9-inch round cakepans. Bake at 350° for 25 to 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes; remove from pans, and cool completely on wire racks.
    3. Spread Cream Cheese Frosting between layers and on top and sides of cake; sprinkle 1/2 cup chopped pecans on top. Store in refrigerator.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Hay Adventures!

I had to go and pick up some hay today from a local farmer.  My other hay guy was out of hay for the year and I felt I needed a few more bales, so off I went, to inspect and then perhaps to buy.  I had Googled the directions to the farm and ended up in quite a pretty valley to the south of here.
The farmer had a small horse facility but he farms 600 acres of hay.  The hay was stored down the road a couple of miles from his house, so he hopped in the truck and off we went.
It was nice hay so I agreed to buy some.  That was where the good luck ran out.
The ground is saturated from all the rain that has fallen over the past two weeks and the truck is a short bed and not four wheel drive.  Wheee!  We slipped and slid and then got stuck.  I couldn't get us out and so said to the farmer "you give it a try".  I got out and stood up on the hill a little ways and he worked on getting the truck moved. At one point, he hopped out of the truck, which was sitting on a slight incline side to side, to see what the back wheels were doing and how deep the rut was becoming from spinning wheels.  Did I mention it was on a slight incline?  We heard a "thunk" and he looked at me with an expression I cannot even describe.  "Did I just lock us out?" he said.  Uh...yeah.  In the middle of nowhere, at least a mile from any house.  "Do you have your phone?"  The poor man looked like he was going to cry.  No, it was in the truck.  I "had it with me" but it wasn't on my person.  The door locked automatically because he had left the vehicle in reverse when he hopped out.
I remained calm and he was, too, amazingly enough.  No point in getting upset although I felt the fringes of that emotion for a short time. We were stuck.  No tools.  Nothing.  So I prepared myself for a walk down the road, thanking God that I had on a warm jacket.  It was 39 and sunny but there was a bit of a sharp breeze.  And there were lots of trees and hills to block the breeze.  I'd be all right.  I figured if someone could call a locksmith, I could be out of there in a couple of hours and please, God, may there be enough gas to get to a gas station since the engine was still running.
The farmer went up to the barn and rooted around a bit, came back with two bits of broken thin board and some baling twine.  He was determined to get us out, so I thought what the hell, let's give him the benefit of the doubt.  He got a bale of hay to stand on.  Then he worked on prying open just a smidge, the top of the driver's side door. The original plan was to snag the keys I had sitting on the console, with the baling wire, but I explained I had only brought them along because they had the post office key on them.  So plan B was to open the door handle.  I positioned myself on the passenger's side to give encouragement and directions to help him since he was really doing this blind, unable to see straight down and where the handle was.
Now you have to understand that all modern vehicles are designed to thwart people like me and the Farmer to get inside and steal the radio or the vehicle itself. So the handle is recessed under the arm rest on the left (on the driver's side) .  Damned if he didn't hook it.  This impressed me mightily!  I still can't believe he got the wire over the handle firmly.  And gave several good pulls and then when the door didn't open, we decided it was because it was still in gear. Running.  And burning gas.  Crap.
Plan C was to send another bit of wire through the steering wheel and attempt to get the gear shift lever back into park, so he secured the wire on the door handle and attempted to do that.
Then I got the bright idea to suggest that if we had a piece of thin rebar or something strong, maybe he could just shove it through the little crack and hit the button to unlock the door. So off he went to root around in the barn again.  Which, for a barn, was amazingly clean and free of debris and crap that usually ends up in there.  Which means there wasn't anything there to scavenge to help us out.  He came back with a long thin stick, very straight.  A little fiddling around with it and finally he hit the button and we heard the strong CLICK that meant the doors unlocked.  I threw open the door and flung myself across the seat.  "I got the phone!" I cried!  :):):)  We were in.  But still stuck, however, things were looking up.
He got back in after I insisted that we unroll both of the front windows.  He agreed heartily!  And he got us turned around and back to his house.
So that was the adventure of the day.  It only took us abut 30 minutes to get back in and to get out of the place.  Not too bad really.
I take my hat off to farmers.  They can fix anything.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Fire Taxes

This subject has been on the news a couple of times in the past few months.  In many places, and also in Summer Shade, we have fire taxes.  The fire department is all volunteer and it costs money to run the department.  So instead of having this included in property taxes, they send out a bill each December for your fire taxes.  In many places. if the house is on fire and the fire department arrives and discovers you have not paid your tax, too bad, so sad.  That's why this has been in the news. Someone "forgot" to pay or just didn't care and took a chance and then they got mad when the firemen came out and did nothing.  I guess I'm on the side of the firemen, this is established policy down here and everyone knows it.  They told us three times at the house closing "be sure and pay the fire taxes for the year".
Now the Summer Shade department is a bit more progressive. They will come out and put out the fire but you have to pay them $500.  Seems fair to me!  Much easier to pay it in the first place and help to support the department!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

A Redneck Christmas!

And I want one!  Oh, I think this is wonderful!  I didn't find it in Kentucky, I swiped this off of Facebook.  But oh, how I want to put one of these up!
I'm so jealous.  I wish I'd thought of this first....

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Rabbit, rabbit, rabbit

Well, this is an interesting legend!  So, "Rabbit, rabbit, rabbit!".  :)

In some areas of the Southern United States, such as Tennessee and Mississippi and Maryland, campers will say "I hate white rabbits" in response to campfire smoke blowing into their face, hoping the smoke will go elsewhere.