Saving: Cook your own pet food

April 29, 2009 12:38:03 PM PDT
Medley the pit bull is waiting to be adopted... But for now, she's happy, because she's enjoying a home-made meal.

Cooking for a pet may seem excessive to some people, but dog-lover Charlotte Reed and her husband Chef Matthew Babbage say home-cooking for your pet not only shows how much you love them, it can also save you money.

Reed and Babbage will be teaching a class on Cooking for your Pet at Foster's Urban Homewares in Center City (399 Market Street) on Thursday, April 30, 2009 from 5 - 7 p.m. The cost for the class is $25, including light bites and wine, and the cooking demonstration.

They gave us a preview of a simple stir-fry, which can be made from left-over cooked chicken (or even beef or pork, whatever's on sale), along with fresh -- or frozen -- vegetables.

Here is the recipe:
2 cups shredded poached chicken, you can white or dark meat or a combination
1 large carrot peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons low sodium chicken broth
2 cups fresh spinach
1 cup frozen peas
1 cooked sweet potato diced
2 scrambled eggs
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 take-out container of steamed white rice
Heats the oil in a large sauté pan until it is almost smoking add the carrot and chicken and cook for two minutes. Pour the chicken broth in the pan and add the spinach and cook until it wilts, put the peas, sweet potato and egg in the pan and gently toss until it is hot.
Microwave the rice until it is warm; put the rice in the dog dishes and then the stir fry.
You must be careful that it is not too hot when it is served or it will burn the dog. This can be used for several feeding but follow the same food safety guidelines you would for any leftovers. Always use good quality ingredients and practice safe food handling.

Home-made pet food is also great for dogs with allergies, since you control what goes in it.

You can also make treats. Reed and Babbage's "Luv'm Peanut Butter and Banana Cookies" are a great way to use up over-ripe bananas. Some pet owners are willing to pay $5 for a bag of twenty treats like this. For that price, you make more than one-hundred of them.

Here is the recipe:
· 2 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour
· 3/4 cup of milk
· 1 tbsp. baking powder
· 3/4 cup peanut butter
· 1 ripe banana
· 1 heart shaped cookie cutter
Preheat oven to 350F. In a mixer, combine wet ingredients (milk, peanut butter, banana). In a large bowl, combine flour and baking powder. Fold in wet mixture into dry. Place dough on a lightly floured surface and knead. Roll dough to 1/4 inch thickness and use a cookie cutter to cut out heart shapes. Bake for 10 minutes on a greased baking sheet until lightly brown and turn over for another 10 minutes. Cool on a rack, then store in an airtight container.

Some items that should NEVER be included in dog food are:
grapes
raisins
onions
avocados
chocolate

For information on adopting a dog from the Pennsylvania SPCA, click here.

More money-related links:

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