Sunday, September 30, 2012

"Almost the Same As Starbuck's Coffee..."

My Mom actually figured this "recipe" out, but I thought I'd share it with everyone else too.  A while ago I posted about how I had taken to making my own flavored coffee creamer using half & half, cream, and DaVinci's coffee flavors.

I generally stick to the single flavor choices (Butterscotch, Coconut, Praline, whatever I happen to have on hand in the way of flavors), but my Mom figured out you can mix Cinnamon and Dulce de Leche at about 50/50 to get close to the same flavoring as Starbucks does with their Cinnamon Dulce flavored latte!

To achieve this one you need...
  • 14 ounces of Half & Half or Cream (I like to mix the two, but only had Half & Half tonight)
  • 1.5 ounces Cinnamon DaVinci's
  • 1.5 ounces Dulce de Leche DaVinci's (You can fusge a little on these depending on your tastes
  • Old Creamer Container (this fills a small Coffeemate brand container)
Pour in your half & half and/or cream (the more cream you add the thicker your end "product" will be), I use a little 2 ounce measure because then I only have to dirty the one "tool".  Add your flavorings, pop on the lid and give it a gentle shake!  Gentle, you can never be "sure" you got the lid screwed on properly after all!

Another option to go with the half & half and/or cream would be Coconut Milk (which I just remembered I have open in my fridge).  I really like using it in my coffee, but not sure how it would work here because it does separate and needs some vigorous shaking before each use!  I suppose if you want to keep your creamer in a glass jar and shake it every time, this might be an option for getting a "thick and creamy" version.  I'll have to give it a try sometime!

There you have it, your very own bottle of Cinnamon Dulce coffee creamer ready to go when you are, no guessing the right amount of each flavor for each cup you have!  For a cup that matches Starbucks' "perfectly", I think a bit of Splenda in your cup may be needed.  Also, a sprinkle of Cinnamon over top with some fresh whipped cream would be "ideal"!  

Of course, if you just want the flavor and not the "money saving" of making it "could" go to Starbucks' website and just order yourself a bottle of the flavoring!  But, it's $9.95 and you still have to add the "milk" of your choosing to it.  I like my way better...we get the flavors for $3.87 at Cash & Carry ($7.74 for the two needed) and end up with a total of three flavor combos, not to mention twice as much total syrup!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Dentyne Split2Fit - A Review

A while back (about a month or so), I received my BzzKit in the contained two three-packs of Dentyne's new Split2Fit gum and my BzzGuide.  Each package contained three flavors, Peppermint (the blue one pictured), Spearmint (green package, not my favorite), and Arctic Chill (a black package).  It is also available in Spicy Cinnamon and Mint Frost (but, I did not get either of these to sample).

The idea behind the "new" gum is all in the packaging.  First, you get 16 pieces in each package, rather than 12, so you get 33% more gum in each package.  Next, the packaging is meant to be ripped in half, making it two 8-piece packets.  The smaller packaging then fits more easily into a pocket, purse, bra, where ever you may need or want to stuff your gum supply!  The back of each half has a funny little saying on it too.  The Peppermint in my purse says "for your wild side", while the other half said "for your mild side".  Each half also contains the slogan "Practice safe breath" somewhere on the packaging...always good advice!

The only thing I'm not really in love with in the packaging is how easily the little blister packs slide out of the cardboard shell.  When I first opened the three-pack of gums, I happened to be driving during a long car trip.  When I went to figure out how to get the gum out, the other half slid right out and onto the floor under my feet!  Of course, the moral to this story is "don't open packages while driving", but still...I find that I have to sort of bend in the edges of each half to keep the blister pack from sliding out whenever it wants to.

The gum is otherwise unchanged as far as I can tell...honestly though, I have spent more time chewing Extra's dessert flavored gums than I have any of the "minty" brands.  But, that's because I couldn't have things like "Apple Pie" while on a low-carb diet!  As far as fresh breath goes though, I am certain the Dentyne is doing a better job of keeping me "smelling fresh" than those flavors are!

Since I'm in the middle of packing my hospital bag for the birth of our little guy next week, I'm going to throw in the remaining packs of gum I still have to share with visitors and hospital staff (there's always that one person you wish you could stuff a breath mint down their throat)!  I may keep the Arctic Chill just for me's my favorite!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

One or Two more Projects to Go...

I finally got around to packing the diaper bag for our imminent trip to the hospital to meet our little one!  As I mentioned the other day, I was super excited about finding my Skip Hop bag for only $6.99.  However, it is just too small!  With four disposable diapers (newborn size samples just to get us home...we have a whopping 10 disposables, lol), a sample pack of Pampers wipes (six whole wipes), 2 sample packs of "throw away" nursing pads just in case I need them at the hospital...also samples), two receiving blankets, one SwaddleMe (in case it's super cold, but we're still getting 90 degree day time temps here), two pairs of socks and mittens (babies have razor sharp talons and I don't want him scratching up his face), one pacifier (in case of emergency), three or four outfits to wear at the hospital (mainly to get his scent on them to send home for the cats and dog to get used to him before he gets here), and one coming home outfit...the bag was stuffed so full I couldn't get the Velcro to stick half the time! 

I was worried but decided that maybe, just maybe, I had over-packed and wasn't going to say anything about it...after all, the bag is $58 brand one would charge that for a teeny tiny bag that is totally useless, right?  Well, Garrick had no problem commenting on the small size of the bag, lol.  In fact, he actually suggested we go out and buy a bigger bag!  Since I was out and about doing a little shopping yesterday, I searched every place i went (Target, ShopKo, WalMart, even Carter's) and only came up with smaller bags!  On to plan "C" then...I've been eyeballing a diaper bag pattern I had printed out from someone's blog for about a week, I had actually thought it would make a good, large, purse for when I travel and cram everything but the kitchen sink in my purse!  I was pretty sure that the dimensions were going to be too small for a diaper bag (even though it was a diaper bag pattern), at least for me, but I was willing to give it a try.  I knew that I needed 1.25 yards of the exterior fabric and 1 yard of a lining fabric (or reverse the quantities if you want your interior pockets to match the interior of the bag).  Also, I knew that my "real" diaper bag was going to need to be a little more "heavy duty" than plain old Cotton.  So, I went to the Home Decor section of the fabric department at WalMart and found a really pretty material for under $7 a yard and bought 2 yards (planning on needing to make the bag bigger).  I then went to the Apparel section of the fabrics and picked out a coordinating cotton for the lining and got 2 yards of that too.  I also thought it would be nice to have a "built in" wet bag, so I picked up an invisible zipper as well (planning ahead for pattern alterations) and thread to match the exterior fabric.

After a day full of shopping, I headed home to make my "test bag" using the pattern just as it was written and fabrics I already had at home (remember, I did say I hoard fabric a "little bit")!  The only thing I bought specifically for this project was a set of magnetic snaps, they come in a two-pack and I actually bought these last week thinking I was going to make a purse for myself.  The first thing I did was cut out all my pieces (well, the ones I planned on using anyway), that took a few hours, but mostly because I did a lot of ironing as well!  I was able to get the exterior bag fabric pieces sewn as well as the straps last night before it was time to hit the hay for the evening.  This morning I got up and went straight to work on the bag!  I made my own double-fold bias tape rather than buying any, this was I was able to use the same fabric for it (I did not use my bias tape maker though...I didn't want to mess with getting it out for only one piece of bias tape that was 26-inches long (I actually needed two of them, but I digress)!

This morning I also discovered an error I had made when cutting out my pieces...  I had cut the corners out on the wrong side of my lining fabric!  To make matters worse, I did not have enough material left to re-cut the pieces!  After staring at my fabric for a good 10 minutes, I finally decided I could use scraps of the exterior fabric to make a pocket where I was "missing" fabric and re-cut the corner notches where they belonged.  Of course, when it came to sewing the whole thing together...this made for some tricky measuring!  The interior pockets have pin-tucks in them as well...these always fight me, but I did finally figure out the "easy way" of keeping everything straight and therefor easier to deal with (on the second side).  Of course, the first piece of elastic also gave me a bit of trouble, but nothing ging fishing down the sewn bias tape tube with a safety pin couldn't cure!

The pocket I ended up adding to the pattern is roughly 7.5-inches wide and is located 4.25-inches from the top of the bag.  Maybe a little deep for dropping my keys into, but we shall see!  I maybe should have made two smaller pockets here instead of one big one, since it goes over the side seam (where the elastic bands are stitched together), but I didn't notice the "sag" from the elastic-topped pockets until after the bag was stitched closed.  So, I did the "next best thing" and added a snap!  From the outside, there is a simple pearl snap face and the interior is secured shut, but still easily accessed if you need to dig in the pocket (which is about 5-inches deep).

Finished size of the bag is approximately 18-inches tall with 8-inch sides and a 12-inch front (and back).  It really sounds small, doesn't it?

But, what does it hold?  Everything from the other diaper bag and this one isn't even half full!  I went with a simple four-pocket design for the interior because I was unsure of how the cloth diapers would fit, but after seeing how my receiving blankets fit, I could have easily gone with six-pockets!

Changes coming for the "real" diaper bag...adding a zippered wet bag in the back panel (between lining and exterior), one or two pockets on the exterior (one or both pockets just like the inside, just on the exterior of the bag), key fob (or a loop at any rate so I have an easy spot to go with my keys), and a few smaller pockets to hold items like my spray bottle of wipe solution (not yet purchased), a handful of cloth wipes, maybe a pee-pee teepee or two.  As a general rule, I don't plan on having this much clothing in the bag, so the middle section is most likely where my "purse" items will go, but I do want to add a few small pieces of elastic to the side higher up to hook my insulin on so it doesn't get lost in the great abyss!

Rest assured, this bag will not go to waste just because it was a "tester", it matches the sling I made!  The matching set will get used often, I imagine!  And see the little "Pooh" thingy on the handle?  That's a pacifier clip that my sister gave me (she made the strap that is actually holding the pacifier on the other end of it)!  I thought it went well color-wise, lol.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Update on the 1600 Quilt...

Okay, so I never actually got around to posting about it, oops!  But, the quilt in question is the one I mentioned in this post, the one I made that started the entire nursery set!  I'm not sure if the jelly roll I started with was smaller than "normal" or what...but there is no way I could make my single jelly roll turn into a full (twin sized) quilt!  I decided I would have needed four of them to make a "normal" quilt!  However, I have managed to find out where the original pattern came from (or at least who is claiming it as their own) and wanted to share that with you.

First, I saw the blanket idea on someone's blog, I bookmarked it, ran to the nearest store (WalMart), and bought myself a jelly roll!  I then stared at the blog (Happier Than A Bird Quilts) for a week or so, and at my newly purchased jelly roll that sat on my desk, before finally deciding I had studied the directions long enough to not really screw it up.  I'll be honest with you...part of the reason I never got around to writing a post about it was because the other blog site was down and I could not reference back to it!  But, it is back up and running this morning.  She took "liberties" with the original and I then took some more when I used her "pattern"!

With her site back up and running, I was able to answer a few questions (asked on my personal Facebook page) about the quilt pattern.  First, "Why is it called a 1600 quilt?"  Well, looking at Heirloom Creation's page regarding their quilt pattern...(found here) it is called a 1600 quilt because it starts off "life" as a 1,600 inch strip!  You start with a jelly roll (or stash of pre-cut strips of your choosing) that are all 2.5-inches by 40-inches and you use 40 strips.  40 times 40 is...1,600!  Ingenious, I tell ya!  I believe my jelly roll only came with 32 strips though, so I guess I actually made a 1280 quilt?  Next time I make one of these, I'm going to buy my fabric off the bolts and cut my own strips (2.5-inch cuts the width of the fabric of your choosing).  I may or may not choose to do mitered corners (the angled seams on the ones at Heirloom Creations), but doing straight seams is sure easier to keep even!  I also did not cut off 18-inches before I started like the original says, or even half a strip like she did over at Happier Than A Bird Quilts, I simply cut off 8 to 10 inches.  It seemed to work out very nicely.

Next time I would like to have more than 8 patterns in my fabric choices...I may start just asking for an extra 1/4 yard of everything I buy to build up a stash of strips!  Of course...I "could" also go through my boxes (and boxes) of fabrics and just start cutting them up too...but most of those are "special" prints that I want to find the "perfect" use for (another way of saying I'm a fabric hoarder).

If you own a sewing machine (or have access to one), you really should make one of these quilts!  The size I ended up with is just longer than a standard crib mattress is wide (the stripes should run horizontal, not vertical like they do on my finished quilt) and as for width (length on mine), I have it tucked under the mattress by about 4 inches in the photo above and the folded over part at the top reaches just to the top of the mattress!  Perfectly sized to lay across the end of a twin bed or over the back of a chair or the couch.  If I had had the entire 1,600 inches to start, it probably would cover the top of a twin bed (like old style handmade quilts were supposed to).

It really is easy to make!  After you sew all the short ends together (into a super long strip), you take your two ends (the start and finish of you strip), sew them together, cut the end so it can open up, finish your end (so your stitching doesn't unravel), fold again and repeat!  Follow the directions on either link above!  I ended up using a low loft batting with my finished quilt "top", originally I purchased a super high loft one (for uber fluffiness), but was talked out of using it.  I suggest quilting it to your top now rather than waiting like I did!  We (my Mom helped me put the backing and batting on this quilt) had to piece together the flannel I used for the backing on this one as well.  When I purchased it (for another use originally), I bought what they had left, which was two one-yard pieces.  That just means there is a seam on the back...but it is hardly noticeable and I believe it is toward the "foot" end of the quilt  anyway.  Once we got the backing sewed on, we then put the batting in (like I said, do this before you do your backing...much easier that way).  To keep the batting from shifting with washes, I simply sewed "in the ditch" down every other strip (the batting directions said to quilt ever 4 to 6 inches, since the strips were 2.5 inches to start and I used a 1/4-inch seam, the stitch "lines" were 2-inches, making every other one at perfect 4-inch intervals).  I could have also gone the other direction and quilted the now striped backing into squares, but I think that's a little bit of overkill and then my "imperfections" would have really shown up!  I should mention I also top-stitched around the outside edge of the quilt, to help keep the batting in place and also to give the quilt a nice, crisp edge.

So, there it is...the project that started the "theme" for our little boy's room!  What came after finishing the quilt was a set of curtains (which I have semi-detailed in this post here) and was finished up with a little pillowcase (here)!  The curtains were made using a "pack" of fat quarters that matched the jelly roll and the pillowcase was made using another "pack", this time of pre-cut 5-inch squares.  I especially like the curtains because they can be taken down, washed, and re0hung however I feel like hanging them!  They are pocketed at the top and bottom exactly the same!  I can flip them over, trade positions, anything I feel like doing (except sideways)!  I may even take this idea into our "office" space once I get the curtain rods up down there...because I will eventually be sharing that space with Garrick (or he will be sharing with me since he has taken over the entire area right now), I'll even concede a bit and use some black in the curtains (backing counts, right?).  Those windows will only require a single curtain each, but, I also need to get curtains made to cover a 12-foot space to separate the office area from the living room space!  I have the curtain rod...just need to get it put up and get to sewing!  We semi-measured and I'll need 2 yards to reach from floor to curtain rod (4 yards really since they'll be seen from both sides, need to look nice coming and going) per curtain and I think I figured out I would need at least 6 curtains!  Yup...that's a winter project for after I find a killer deal on fabric (I'm talking 60 to 75% off or the $1 per yard sales)!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

More Baby Stuff...(Again!)

We are officially in countdown mode!  15 days from today we have our C-Section scheduled!

So, what else would I be doing but finally getting the last few things done in the nursery.  (Pardon the "non-baby" items in the the drill and empty soda can.)  I got curtain hooks up to hold the curtains back when our little man gets old enough to start grabbing at them (they dangle at the edge of the changing table).

I have all of the wall decals put up...though I do still need to get the boat moved from where it is now (not where it's pictured). Again, pardon the mess!

I'm really happy with how the truck and car decals came out...  We're just missing the monogram letter my Mom sent us!  I plan on putting it up sort of between the vehicles.

We have cleaned up a bit since I took these photos, I promise!  The pile of newborn sized clothes is out of the crib, the pack 'n play has been slid into a corner (waiting to go in our room as soon as we get the bed moved a little and for the baby to actually get here, so the cats don't think it's a new bed for them), the blanket on the back of the chair is still there (but will get it at least folded), and the breastfeeding pillow has been taken out of the plastic (washed and now has my other cover on it).

 I even got some sewing done in the last few weeks!  I finished up the nursery/bedroom set I've been working on (with the help of my Mother) by making this pillowcase.  My original plan had been to put the matching fabric squares around the solid blue ones (leftover from the curtain backing and crib sheet), but the sizing wasn't quite right.  So, I pieced together the fabric squares until I was done to the last two squares.  Of course, I didn't have quite enough to reach the entire pillow (a travel pillow), so I cut the remaining solid squares in half, sewed the ends, and then sewed them to the squares.  The pillowcase only has a 1/2-inch trim at the open end, but then I added three snaps to help keep the pillowcase on the pillow and closed.  Normally I make more of a "sham" pillowcase where the opening in centered in the back of the pillowcase, but I really liked how this turned out.
 Another sewing project that I finally got started (and finished in one evening) is a sling!  I basically used the pattern over at Mamma's Milk, but I did change it a little bit.  First, I did not cut my fabric in half length-wise, I left it at the full width of the material and simply hammed the edges together (making a long tube that was 22-inches by the full 2-yard length).  Then, I ironed the seam open and turned the whole tube right side out.  I then ironed it again, this time centering the seam on what would become the interior (or wrong side) of the sling.  By doing it this way, I ended up with a fully-lined (and even reversible in a pinch) sling that is twice as strong as it would have been if I had simply followed the directions, it does use twice as much fabric as the original though, so if you really must have two slings...just follow the directions!  Once I got the material to this point (step 4), I followed the directions as given.  I made this one in the XL size, planning on it being the one Garrick uses (but, I don't think the sizing is quite right and will most likely make one even larger for him to use once the baby is here to really test with).  The directions were really easy to follow (especially if you're familiar with sewing, but simple enough that you really can use this as a "first time" project), right down to the French Hem!  I have the fabric to make two to four more slings, depending on how I end up making them, if I do the same as I did for this one, I can make two slings (a striped one and one with little stars) or I can "mix & match" and line one fabric with the other...Or, I could just follow the directions and make two of each fabric!  But, honestly, do I really need four more slings? 

Not only do I have this one I made, I have also collected a Ring sling, a Snugli-brand sling that I have been able to find almost no information on since I bought it!  It looks just like the one pictured here, just more "well-used"!  It's an Evenflo Pouch Sling, but I don't think they make these anymore...I picked it up for $8 at a local consignment shop.  I have another Snugli-brand carrier, more the "Baby Bjorn" type, but much, much Mother used it when my sister was a baby (26+ years ago)!  It looks like Denim and has gold-colored metal zippers on it and padded shoulders (giant blocks of padding...), this one we're going to use at home only.  Finally, I picked up a dark purple Moby Wrap!  I got the wrap for $15 at Sweet REpeat, my favorite consignment shop!  As you can probably tell, I've gone a little "baby wearing" crazy!

Yet another quick sewing project...this time, wet bags!  I started by making one with a zipper in it, I'm not really thrilled with how it turned out though.  The second bag I just put a button hole in and made a casing.  Then, I ran some 1/8-inch ribbon through it.  To keep the ribbon from getting "lost", I found some really pretty beads.  I got the small metal ones (23 of them) for $2 and the other four beads were a "set" for only $1, both at WalMart.  The fabric for the bags is PUL (PolyUrethane Laminated) fabric, which is a fancy way of saying "waterproof".  There have been some "issues" with this particular brand of PUL fabric (Babyville, available at JoAnn's, Hobby Lobby, etc...), but I have yet to get a "bad batch" that has come de-laminated, so I still like it!  I really love the prints...

We recently got the baby's "coming home" outfit too!  One of Garrick's aunts gave us the perfect outfit!  Now to just get the diaper bag packed.  Speaking of our diaper bag, I finally got one on my last trip to Central Oregon!  I have been really dragging my feet on this purchase, mostly because they are just so danged expensive!  I managed to find a Skip Hop bag at a resale store in Bend for only $6.99!  It looks a little "better used", but is in great working order.  The same bag (in the same color and everything) at, is $58!  The one I picked is is missing the shoulder pad on the strap and didn't come with the changing pad, but that's what receiving blankets are for (right?).

Well, I'm off to continue working on other sewing projects I still have up my sleeves (changing pad covers, more crib sheets, maybe a "backup" diaper bag...)!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Luster Premium White - A Review

As you know, I'm a BzzAgent!  What that means is that I occasionally get chosen to receive items (for free or at a reduced cost) in order to try them and help spread information on the products via word of mouth, or in this case, "word of blog"!

I while ago I received Luster Premium White...both the 1 hour white "at home tooth whitening light system" and the Power White7 Daily Fluoride Toothpaste.  It has taken me a while to remember to ask my doctor about using this (since I'm pregnant and it carries a warning to do just that, but also because the toothpaste contains "active dental Peroxide" and I'm allergic to Hydrogen Peroxide).  I must admit that I still have not asked my doctor, but decided to give this a go anyway.

So, this is what my teeth looked like prior to using the light system...pardon the crooked grin!  Not terrible looking here, but on the included "tooth color chart", my color is off the chart in the "icky" direction!

With limited time and an aching back, I only did five of the recommended 20 treatments, but my plan is to follow the "weekend treatment" over the next few days to get the rest of the treatments in (5 treatments each in the evening, morning, evening, and once more in the morning).  I also went ahead and brushed after the treatments with the flouride toothpaste that is also supposed to improve tooth color in 7 days.

The results so far? try to take a decent photo of your own mouth...  The results so far (one-quarter of the way to whiter teeth) are pretty good!  I realize in the photos, they look about the same, but trust person there is a noticeable difference!

Now to the "how do you do it" potion...  The light system "kit" comes with a bottle of rinse (think mouthwash but only for your front teeth and it has almost no taste to it), the whitening gel, the light "thingy", and a stand for said light "thingy"!  It also came with a 4-pack of batteries for the light.  First off, make sure your teeth are clean...this isn't in the directions, but I chose to brush mine prior to starting.  Then, you take the rinse, pour out 10 mL into the accompanying cup (like the kind you use for liquid cold medicine), and swish away for 10 seconds!  This stuff really has almost no flavor and has the consistency of thick water.  It's kinda nasty actually.  By the time you're ready to spit it out, it does have a slightly minty flavor to it, but it is almost undetectable.  Next up is "painting" on the gel!  This you do one tooth at a time, re-dipping your applicator after each tooth (it looks like a bottle of nail polish, same applicator too).  The directions say to make sure the gel doesn't get on your lips or gums for at least 20 seconds while it dries...that is easier said than done while painting all your front teeth!  I accidentally painted my lips twice!  It does get very uncomfortable if you leave it sit on your lip, so make sure to get it off ASAP!  Then comes the light...I really enjoyed this part, but I'm weird like that I guess.
You push the button, it beeps, and turns the light on for 2 minutes.  Once your 2 minutes are up, it beeps and turns the light off!  How easy is that?  Be over the sink when you unwrap your lips if you're like me...I drooled all over the place!

The toothpaste is kind of nasty in my opinion...but, if you like the "all natural" kind of toothpastes, you may like this one.  It has an "earthy" flavor mixed in with the minty one it's supposed to have.  I'll continue using it to see if it grows on me, and works to help whiten my teeth (of course)!

Well, that's all I have for now on this subject...stay tuned for an update in a few days though...I have all day Monday and Tuesday morning to go on my "treatment schedule".  Then, I have a day full of doctor's appointments on Tuesday as well (an ultrasound to check on little man, followed by a visit with my OB, then off to the Endocrinologist to go over my blood sugars...oh what fun).

In the meantime, if you just can't wait for me to finish up...head over to Luster's website, here, and use the code LusterBzz to stock up on supplies to whiten your own teeth and get 20% off at the same time!  Also, in their "Special Offers" link, there's coupons too!  The code is only good through September 30th though, so you may want to hurry on that one.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

My Latest Adventures in Dog Food Cooking...

I'm late this week in getting my batch of dog food made...I have really been trying, but my energy level seems to come in very short bursts.  So, here we are at Thursday and her food for the week is still in "pieces"!  She actually ran out of pre-made portions Monday, but we've been feeding her "scraps meals" and last night I scooped out a cup of rice, a cup of Veggies, and a big handful of chicken (previously all were cooked and the chicken was de-boned), then I poured some Chicken broth on top and popped it in the microwaved (because she won't eat it cold).

I'm trying to get ahead on her food...mostly because in three, very short weeks, we're going to be a little preoccupied and I don't think it's very fair to ask my Mother to cook food for the dog!  So, I started this week's food by boiling 12 pounds of Chicken leg quarters and 2 pounds of Chicken Gizzards (and hearts).  To the larger pot, I added some Parsley, Nutmeg, and Black season the chicken a little but also to help with the smell of the cooking chicken (which smells horrible by the way).  Once the chicken was done (Tuesday...I bought it on Monday), I poured the liquid into three containers, cooled it and put it in the fridge to help separate the fat from the broth.  The next day, I skimmed the fat and filtered the "bits" from the broth (I got enough filtered broth to use it to make 20 cups of rice and fill a 2-Quart pitcher along with half of another pitcher).  After I filtered the broth, I warmed up the fat and ran it through a paper towel to get the particulates out of it.  I ended up with 2 cups of purified fat!  Which, I plan to warm it up and pour it over the mix when I add the yogurt, gravy, and such.  But, once I got the broth filtered, I started the rice in the big cooker (I had 10 cups of rice, so I just made all of it).  Yesterday, I cooked up five large bags of veggies (Cauliflower/Broccoli mix, French cut Green Beans, Broccoli Cuts, Carrot Coins, and a bag of Peas and Diced Carrots).  But, by the time they cooled enough to mix, I was exhausted!  So, today after shopping, I made up 3 cups of Brown Gravy (not exactly "healthy" I'm sure) and added about one-third of a jar of Creamy Peanut Butter while the gravy was hot.  The PB really thickened the gravy, so I also added about a cup of Chicken Broth to thin it back out.  Then, I tossed the whole thing in the fridge to cool for an hour before mixing it into 64-ounces of Plain Yogurt (I buy Nancy's Organic for her...).

Rice & Veggies!
Brown Gravy & Peanut Butter!

And since I have now mixed everything together...the dog is currently chowing down on a serving of this new batch!  To mix this huge batch of food, I broke out my big Turkey Roasting Pan (pictured on the left with the Rice and Vegetables in it)!  With everything in it, this batch filled it to the brim!  Of course, 14 pounds of meat (without the bones) filled one and two-thirds gallon-sized Ziplocs, 5 pounds of Veggies filled another, and roughly 20 cups of Rice filled one and a half bags!  Top it off with 3 cups of Gravy, half a jar of Peanut Butter, and 64-ounces of Plain yogurt...and there's a lot of dog food that's been made!  My hope is to put half of it in the freezer for after the baby's born!

Actual "recipe":

  • 10 cups of Rice (as measured by the scoop that comes with your cooker)
  • Chicken Broth to fill Rice Cooker to the fill line (if cooking rice without a cooker, it's 1 cup rice to 2 cups liquid)
  • 12 pounds Chicken Leg Quarters
  • 2 pounds Chicken Gizzards & Hearts
  • 5 pounds Frozen Vegetables (I used Carrot Coins, a Broccoli/Cauliflower Mix, French-cut Green Beans, Cut Broccoli, and a Peas/Diced Carrot Mix)
  • 3 cups prepared Brown Gravy (which is 9 tablespoons dry mix & 3 cups Water)
  • 1/3 to 1/2 Jar Creamy Peanut Butter
  • 64-ounces Plain Yogurt
  • 2 cups Chicken Fat (microwaved to liquify)
  • 4 to 6 cups Chicken Broth

Optional Additions:
  • Hard-Boiled Eggs
  • Scraps (Meat & Veggie)
  • Leftover Pasta
I still need to get it all bagged up and in the fridge or freezer, but that is just gonna have to wait until I have help.

On the dog front...Rosie just turned 11 years old yesterday!  She was born September 12, 2001 and was given to me in mid October of 2001 (when she was 7 to 8 weeks old, I forget the exact date I got her).  She didn't have a name until close to Christmas though!  My childhood Lab was named Licorice (as in Black Licorice...), so I had wanted to keep the "color-theme" in naming this new puppy, but nothing I came up with really "fit".  She was almost named "Shady", but it reminded my partner at the time of Shady Pines (the retirement home on Golden Girls).  Which is how Rosie got her name!  She was named after Betty White's character on that show!