Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Guest Blogger: I Love My Dog (so I cook her) Food--by Cherie Takemoto

This is my friend Cherie. We've been friends all our lives. You may remember her from our Peanut Butter & Jam Mochi post as well as my Umeboshi and Shiso Pesto post. As I've said before, this is my favorite photo of Cherie because I think it captures her perfectly. She always says, 'When you go to the ocean, you always have to go in and dip your toes!'

Cherie makes her dog Allie's food. She sent me these instructions because she was worried about my dog Dixie's health issues. Cherie says that making Allie's food has really improved Allie's health and she wanted to share her recipe. I thought it would be nice to share it here on FOODjimoto.com. Today, Cherie is our Guest Blogger.

I Love My Dog (so I cook her) Food--by Cherie Takemoto

I’ve turned into one of “those people”. You know, those people who pay way too much attention to their dogs. Our dog Allie, just turned 13. About a year ago, she was a mess. Her hair was falling out and she was lethargic. I tried all kinds of things with no success. I wondered if she might be allergic to the dog food. Even though it was high quality, I didn’t really know what was in it. When she even turned her nose up at the premium meat stuff, I wondered if her diet of all that mystery meat was bothering her. I decided to try making her food to see if it would make a difference. The base for my recipe is from Dr. Fox's recipe.

We got Allie when Pete was going to middle school and Margaret was going to high school. Dogs make the best friends. They will listen and seem to understand, even when nobody else does. Margaret would take Allie for long, long walks and Pete would read books to her.

Our neighbors, Tabby, John, Tommy and Michael watch Allie whenever we are out of town. Their dog, Clyde is also 13 years old. When Allie comes, Clyde tries to frolic more, but with his arthritic old bones, sometimes he is so miserable that he doesn’t even want to eat. Tabby has begun to mix some rice and beef into his food, but with our hot weather, that wasn’t even doing it for him. I brought over some of Allie’s semi-frozen food and the coolness and yumminess perked him right up. When Tabby asked me for the recipe, I didn’t have it because I often don’t measure things.

So this week, I’ve taken the time to figure out quantities and ingredients.

The night before, put 2 cups of brown rice and 2 cups of dried beans in a pot. Rinse them with cold water a few times and leave them overnight. Then add the barley, lentils, quinoa, konbu and prunes. Pour the oil on top and mix everything together.

Note: the proportion of rice, grains and beans is not that important. I heard that beans and rice make a complete protein, and whole grains are good for us so I like to mix a variety of things. When I started making her food, I added rinsed and drained canned beans along with the raw stuff so you can do that too if you don’t want to mess with starting from dry beans.

Add 9 cups of soup stock. I will often cook chicken stock with the leftover chicken carcass and use the stock. You can also just use boxed chicken or vegetable stock. I prepare the cooked mixture in the rice cooker set for brown rice. The beans may still be a bit crunchy for my tastes, but I think dogs like texture. You can cook it in a pot until the beans and rice are tender.

In another large pan, I start the raw things. First I wash and grate about 4 cups of carrots (leave the skin on). Then I’ll add a handful of dried fruit like cranberries. Today I used cherries. I’ll also throw in a couple of bananas.

I grind up the calcium and probiotics with a mortar and pestle. Then add the large can of pumpkin, 2 cups of yogurt, 4 T of apple cider vinegar and 4 T of honey. After that is mixed in, I’ll add 4-6 T of brewer’s yeast and 4-6 T of flax seed meal. I’ll add some scrambled eggs and about 4 cups of meat to the mixture and top it all off with frozen blueberries if I happen to have them.

When the rice is done I open the lid and toss in 1½ - 2 cups of oatmeal. I add this last because if you cook it with the beans it turns all gooey.

Now comes the messy part. I put both the hot rice/bean mixture in the sink next to the cool mixture. Then I mix things back and forth until it is pretty much mixed. It isn’t imperative that everything is completely mixed – a little variety in texture keeps it interesting for the dog. I have saved up quart yogurt containers and this recipe makes about 6 quarts. Start filling the containers leaving room for about 1 cup mixture at the top. You can also put them in portions in baggies or use 1 pint containers. Your choice.

I cut squares of plastic wrap, to place over the nearly-filled food. Then I fill the containers to the top. By doing this, you can lift out a semi-frozen portion later that your dog can eat cold or you can defrost it in the microwave. Allie likes hers semi-frozen.

Keep whatever you will use in the next couple of days in the refrigerator and freeze the rest. You can take them out as you need them. Allie eats just about 1 cup in the morning and 1 cup in the evening so a quart container lasts for 2 days.

Ever since she has been eating this diet, she is more energetic and her hair has grown back.

I Love My Dog (so I cook her food) Recipe

Hot stuff
2 cups brown rice
2 cups dried beans
1 cup barley
1 cup lentils
3/4 cup quinoa
A little konbu seaweed (none if your dog has thyroid issues)
5-6 prunes cut into pieces
4 T grape seed oil,
safflower oil and/or coconut oil
9 cups soup stock

1½ - 2 cups uncooked oatmeal

Cold stuff
3-4 cups grated carrots
2 bananas
Handful of dried cherries, cranberries or raisins
1 - 22 oz can pumpkin
2 cups yogurt
4 T apple cider vinegar
4 T honey
6 calcium tablets with vitamin D
5 probiotic tablets.
4 T brewer’s yeast
6 T ground flax meal
Handful of blueberries
4 cups cooked meat (chicken from stock, hamburger, ground turkey, leftover meat)
3 scrambled eggs

Directions: Soak rice and beans overnight. Drain water and add the rest of the “hot stuff” through the chicken stock. Cook it in a rice cooker set for “brown rice” or cook it on stove until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is done. When finished, stir in oatmeal to the “hot stuff”. Next, grate the carrots, slice the bananas, grind up the calcium tablets and probiotic tablets. Mix the “cold stuff” together. When the “hot stuff” with oatmeal are finished, stir them into the “cold stuff”. Put dog food in six 1 quart plastic containers such as a carryout, large yogurt, or cottage cheese container until there is room for 1 portion at the top. Cover the food with plastic wrap and add the final portion on top of the plastic wrap so that you will be able to lift out a portion if it is not yet defrosted. Freeze until ready to use. Note: This recipe is my modifications to one suggested by a syndicated pet advisor named, Dr. Fox. My additions are the types of things that he often advises pet owners to add for pet symptoms. But everything is pretty healthy. In addition to Allie’s recipe, I give her a pet multivitamin and a small Omega 3 pill daily.

Dr. Fox’s recipe for dog food can be found at: http://drfoxvet.com/library/qanda/post/2012/04/29/i-have-two-small-dogs-i-feed.aspx.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Spam Musubi with Shiso

Shiso is one of my favorite herbs, right up there with basil. Here on FOODjimoto.com, I've added shiso to pesto in my Umeboshi and Shiso Pesto post, and to my mother's recipe for Stuffed Chicken Rolls with Shiso & Umeboshi.

This time, I've added shiso leaves to Spam Musubi.

For several years I've tried to grow shiso with no success until this year. I bought several packages of seeds from the Kitazawa Seed Co. I've included the links to the Kitazawa Seed Co.'s pages for the different varieties--take a look if you'd like to know more about shiso.

This is the green variety, above, called Ao Shiso. I couldn't grow it before, but this year I soaked the seeds in water for two days, drained the water and let the seeds sit until they cracked and a root formed. Then I planted them and they sprouted nicely! This variety is the one I've most seen in sushi bars.

The red variety, or Aka Shiso, is the variety used to color umeboshi (Japanese pickled plum) and also found in some tsukemono (pickled vegetables).

This variety is called Hojiso. The leaves are green in front and red in back. I haven't seen this one before and thought I'd try it. It grows fast, like basil.

This is Ayako. She is a relative visiting from Osaka, Japan. Ayako tried spam musubi for the first time at the Higashi Obon.

You may remember Ayako from the Chocolate Cupcakes--Magnolia Bakery's Recipe post that had some photos of Rick & Jessica's honeymoon trip to Japan, and their visit with Ayako's family in Osaka.

We decided to make some spam musubi the next day, since Ayako liked it so much!

Basic instructions on making spam musubi can be found on our Spam Musubi post.

To add the shiso leaves, simply place them on top of the rice before adding the spam. If you're really a fan of shiso like me, you may want to add them on top of the spam too.

Ayako made hers without shiso--turns out she is not a fan.

She took them to Auntie Tsuyuki's 98th birthday party.

It was fun making spam musubi with you, Ayako!


When we picked up Ayako at the airport, she saw our sign, came up and introduced herself and greeted us with a big smile.

Ayako's father went to college in the US and lived here for several years. One of the things he wanted Ayako to try was a Tommy's burger, one his favorites.

She also tried a double-double from In-N-Out. Afterall, if you come to Southern California, you have to have an 
In-N-Out burger, right?

We had a good time at the Higashi Obon with Bill and Nancy.

Ayako and Nancy even danced the bon odori.

Ayako leaves for Japan soon.

It was nice meeting you, Ayako. We had a lot of fun! Hope to see you again!

No printable recipe.