The Grind

The nice thing about a blog is that it serves as badly needed life documenation.  Our RAW'ish diet for the dogs is going well.  We have finished three weeks (date calculation courtesy of being able to look back at the blog!). We are 75/25 RAW/Kibble for 3 out of 4 dogs.  Daisey is on 100% kibble as that is all that she will eat.  All the dogs get Nupro gold to ensure appropriate supplementation.  They love the Nupro, even pickster, Daisey.  She eats all of her kibble when mixed with the gravy.

The Weston grinder (#22) is a workhorse.  It makes short order out of the anything that I grind in it.  I did jalepenos--with the Kitchen Aid, I had to work for 25 minutes to grind 9 lbs of yield.  I had to push every pepper through.  The Weston?  6 minutes, and just a few pushes of multiple peppers.  Time and energy saver.

We have  Restaurant Depot in Richmond, VA.  I shopped there with another's card.  As I have a business license, I was able to secure my own.  They have all manner of things.   AS with anything, you have to know your prices.  Ten pounds of leg quarters at the Food Lion are 79 cents per lb.  I bought 40 lbs of leg quarters for 59 52cents per lb.  (or FL leg quarters cost 52% more).

I did my grinding of the chicken and chicken parts yesterday.  I had Wyatt and Minnah (cats) and Ella and Angel (dogs) keeping me company.  A slipper quarter fell the the floor.  Angel was on it.  That dog--she's a lumbering old thing unless food is involved.  Food transforms her to Flash Gordon!  With the Weston, grinding 40 lbs of meat is nothing.  I also had picked up some gizzards and hearts marked down and bought a container of chicken livers. Overall, I had 9% (v. 10% preferred) organ meat to non-organ bone/meat.

I have to admit, that it is a little bit daunting to tackle this project. But there is lots of good information and lots of specious information out there.  Always find the former and eschew the latter!   I DO NOT buy that dogs are obligate carnivores.  However, in battling the allergies of Angel Marie, I do know that grains can be a problem, and it is unlikely that dogs ate grains (except corn which I've witnessed with my own eyes).  But anything in the garden is up for grabs, to include fruits/berries.  So, I'll stick with what I have observed.  The Nupro is may insurance for any errors that I make in feeding.  I'm particularly mindful of Dexter as he is under a year.  He still gets puppy food with his RAW. 

Next year when the garden is inundated with squash, you know what I'll be grinding up in the dog food.  Both Ella and Angel are squash lovers.  I have been grinding up green beans and carrots in their dog food.  I will be adding pumpkin as well.  I'm sure that I should have other protein sources.  For now, I'm want to get everyone's system used to the chicken and the accoutrements that I've added. 

So far, all is well. However, Angel had a severe bout with diarrhea over the last couple of days.  I think it was from her eating the cat's food.  All the other dogs were fine and they are all eating the same food.  No RAW food get left out, and it is frozen in advance, or eaten fresh within a couple of days of grinding.  I am meticulous on the grinder, pan and counter hygiene.  So, I don't think that anything untoward happened from the RAW stuff.  Dexter's poop is very well formed.  I've been having trouble with him since we got him.  ONce going to RAW his stool's are very firm and well formed.

In addition to the 40 lbs of chicken, I bought 20lbs of Boston Butt (bone in).  I plan to make breakfast sausage.  The yield was 17.5 lbs of ground pork.  It will save a trip to Nahunta--a 5 hour trip one way.  I'm intrepid in the kitchen, and I'm confident that I can make a sausage recipe that we will like just as much.  Plus, their Italian sausage is not very good (to our tastes).  I have found several sausage recipes on line.  I'll give a report on the turn out of this project.

However, with making this sausage, I have to replace my FoodSaver which I killed in a misguided attempt to marinate in an inappropriate way.  That FoodSaver was the best I had owned...outlived several others with a spotty record.  I have missed this machine mightily.  Though this FoodSaver I killed fair and square, but I cannot find one that I think is as good.  I'm making the switch to the Weston.

As soon as I wrote this, I snagged a damaged box deal at Amazon and saved 20%.  I don't mind paying for good equipment because it saves me time and money.  We don't go out to eat often, I fix nice meals for my family, so why not enjoy the convenience using quality equipment in the home?  Plus, vacuum sealing preserves expensive cheeses and gives worry-free freezer storage (think sausage!). 


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