Sunday, August 26, 2012

August Catch-Up (Part2)

Food!  I know I've strayed way away from anything "food" related in the last several months...partly because I just don't have the energy to really "cook" or "create", but also because we aren't low-carbing right now.

I did have a thought a few weeks ago.  I love my coffee...decaf, regular, whatever, I love it.  What I don't find particularly appealing with each and every cup is mixing my flavoring and cream in...I know, I'm lazy like that.  So, my idea?  Well, I haven't done it much, but I have twice bought pre-made creamer (the flavored kind) since I got pregnant.  Most recently, I got a small bottle of Peppermint (my fave) I was finishing the bottle off, I mused about how nice it would be if I had a low-carb version!  So I did what any lazy low-carber worth a grain of salt would do...I washed the jug out and removed the label!  Then, I left it sitting on my counter for several weeks (we're talking like a month or better).  But, today while making dog food, I finally had all the necessary parts to give my recipe thoughts a whirl!

I started with what I had left in a pint of Heavy cream (a whopping 3 ounces, or 5 Tablespoons), I used a small funnel to get it into my bottle, but if you trust your pouring skills better, you can skip the funnel.  I then added 4 ounces of Half & Half (6 Tablespoons) and 1.5 ounces of Butterscotch DaVinci's Coffee Flavoring.  You can use more or less flavoring, this is just where I liked this particular flavor...I didn't want it too strong or sweet.  With my measurements, it actually half-filled my little creamer jug, so I think I can safely double the recipe for a full bottle.  For a creamier creamer...add more heavy cream and less half & half.

As I mentioned before, it's dog food making day!  I usually get 13 or 14 bags of food out of a batch, or 6 to 7 days worth of food for our old dog.  She's also been getting a can of "puppy" food for lunch each day to help add calories that she was missing out on (to help keep her weight up since she has lost all she can "afford" to), for that, she gets canned food that we buy at the was easier than trying to figure out what to add to her food and it was recommended by her vet's office.

Today's batch started like any other batch of food...rice in the rice cooker, followed by 3 bags of frozen vegetables on top in the steamer basket!  A few weeks ago, I upgraded her "dog food making apparatus" to a 28-cup rice cooker I picked up at Ross' for just $30!  It has cut the time it takes to make the dog's food to about one-third the time it used to take!  Today, I started with 7 scoops of rice (14 cups once cooked).  Once the water was added, I topped the cooker with the steamer basket that came with it (I skipped the divider today) and tossed in a bag of Carrot rings, a bag of Broccoli cuts, and topped the whole thing with a bag of French cut Green Beans!  Then, I popped the lid on and set the cooker to go...easy!  I then talked Garrick into cooking the 2 pounds of Hamburger for me...I just can't stomach the smell of cooking hamburger!  Once it was cooked, I added a 3 cup container of Chicken stock (it had gone passed it's sell by date) and a bag of pasta from a very old Hamburger Helper that I threw the rest of in the trash (saved just the pasta).  Then, I realized the pan we were cooking in was too small for everything and dumped the whole thing into the big "dog pot".  I made the low-carb creamer while the pasta boiled with the meat and stock (and an additional 6 cups of hot water) for a few minutes, until the pasta was cooked.  Then, I took the pot off the heat, or rather, turned the heat off, and started adding in the vegetables and cooked rice.  I love how vibrant the color stays when I steam the veggies rather than boiling them!  At this point, the whole thing needs to cool for several hours (which it is still doing).  Once cooled, I'll add the yogurt (and any other "cold" items).

For today's batch, I have yogurt "mix-in's" in the form of two extremely overripe bananas and three "well beyond people consumption" apples.  I used a whisk to break up the bananas and get them incorporated into the yogurt (just over a quart today to use up what I had left in the fridge).  Then, I diced the apples up really small!  I didn't bother coring the apples, I just diced them up and picked out seeds if I saw them.  Apples and bananas are two of Rosie's favorite "treats", so this is a special treat for her and she knows it's there!  She spent the time it took me to dice the apples up at my feet catching tiny bits of apple when they happened to fall off the cutting board!  After a good mix, I put the whole thing back in the fridge to wait for the rest of the food to cool. 

In a while, I'll mix the cold and cooled portions together and start bagging...this is the messiest and most time consuming step of them all!  We portion roughly 2-cups into Ziploc sandwich bags for easy to control meal sizes, then we seal all the bags, removing most of the air.  The bottom drawer in our refrigerator is now home to the dog's generally takes up the whole drawer!  She appreciates the food and I really appreciate knowing what I'm feeding her!  Also...there is an added benefit to not giving her all that corn "filler", smaller poops that generally "wash away" with a good hosing!  She still has a few "monsters" because of the puppy food, but in general, her piles don't take up large portions of the yard anymore...bonus!

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