IT'S ALL OUT THERE IN HERE...







Sunday, September 22, 2013

"DOG NOSH" -- HOMEMADE HIGH ENERGY DOG TREATS

Dogs.  Without a doubt, are my most favorite animal.  My husband and I have two very hard working, high energy dogs.  We are bird hunters.  Our dogs play a huge role to our success in the field.  They are tools just like our shotguns.  And like motorized tools, they need fuel.  During heavy training days or a hard weekend in the field, they need fuel, a LOT of fuel.  After long exhausting hunts, our dogs are always taken care of first before we do anything else.  Watered, fed, rubbed down, pampered.  They work very hard for us and they deserve every bit of it.  They run mile after mile to find 'the prize'; the game bird.  There is no human on earth that could keep up and do what they do.  But like humans, dogs eventually become extinguished of energy from exertion.  With that in mind, like a well tuned athlete, I am always looking for ways to help maintain the high amp performance of our four-legged athletes.

Bird season kicked off this month and I recently started thinking about ways to help our dogs in the field.  After visiting a few local retailers, I took notice as to how many different varieties of performance supplements and products there were for the human athlete...but very few for dogs.  I wanted something that I could make at home, is easily transported in the field, and will help maintain the performance of our bird dogs. After doing quite a bit of research these past few days, I came up with some key ingredients that should work well together in a "doggie energy bar", or what I dubbed as "Dog Nosh". 

Definition of "Nosh":  'to eat a snack or light meal'.

Here are the ingredients I came up with:

  • PUMPKIN:  A fantastic source of fiber.  Aides in constipation and diarrhea and supports urinary health.   Excellent source of vitamin A, beta-carotene, potassium and iron, and helps reduce cancer risks.
  • DRIED BLUEBERRIES Antioxidants, fiber, and phytochemicals (chemicals in plants beneficial to health).
  • DRIED BANANAS Rich in vitamin C and potassium and acts as a natural antacid.
  • DRIED MANGOES:  Loaded with antioxidants and enzymes.  High in fiber, pectin, and vitamins A and C.
  • DRIED APPLES Rich in pectin and can aid in digestion.  High in vitamins B and C.
  • UNSWEETENED SHREDDED COCONUT:  Great source of fiber, protein, iron, zinc, and good fat. 
  • CHIA SEEDS A power food!  Filled with protein, beneficial fat, fiber, omega 3's and 6's, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, manganese, zinc, and copper.
  • RAW UNSALTED SUNFLOWER SEEDS Rich in vitamins E, B1, and B6.  Manganese, copper, magnesium, selenium, phosphorus, and folate.
  • HOMEMADE OAT FLOUR (oatmeal ground up in coffee grinder):  Another power food.  High in protein and carbohydrates, omega 3's and 6's.  Includes vitamins E and K, thiamin, niacin, folate, choline, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, and more.
  • ORGANIC EGGS:  Protein, omega 3's and 6's, vitamins A, E, B6, and B12.  High in calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium.
  • RICE MILK:   Fortified with niacin, iron, and vitamins B12, A, and D.
  • SEA SALT:  Iodine


RECIPE:
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 C:  canned pumpkin
  • 2 T:   rice milk
  • 1/4 t: sea salt
  • 1 T:  raw unsalted sunflower seeds, chopped
  • 2 T:  dried banana chips, chopped
  • 2 T:  dried blueberries, chopped
  • 2 T:  dried mango, chopped
  • 2 T:  dried apple, chopped
  • 2 C:  oat flour
  • 1 t:   chia seeds
  • 2 T:  unsweetened shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  • In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, pumpkin, sea salt, and rice milk until smooth.  Fold in the remaining ingredients except oat flour and stir well.
  • Add oat flour gradually.  Use a spatula to fold in flour.  Dough should be stiff and dry.  Add more flour if necessary.
  • Turn dough onto floured surface.  Roll dough to 1/4"-1/2" thick.  Use a cookie cutter of your choice to cut out biscuits.  Save the scraps as you go to reuse and make more.  Place the biscuits on a cookie sheet.  No oiling or spraying should be necessary.  If desired, use a fork to create a pattern on the biscuits.
  • Bake for 20 minutes on one side.  Remove cookie sheet from oven and flip biscuits to other side.  Bake an additional 20 minutes.  When done, place biscuits on a cooling rack.

Makes about 20 large 4" biscuits.

"The goods"


Eggs, pumpkin, rice milk, and salt.


The first four ingredients blended smooth.

To help speed up the chopping process, I used a food chopper.









I started to use the food chopper with the blueberries, but I would highly suggest using a sharp knife instead.  The blueberries were too sticky and kept sticking to the chopper.


Dried mango




Dried apple




Located in Milwaukie, Oregon, Bob's Red Mill makes high quality products including flours, grains, cereals, and granola.  http://www.bobsredmill.com/



Mix the remaining ingredients

Thick, heavy batter before flour is added



If the dough has some sticky spots, its ok to use flour liberally, otherwise it will stick to the counter and the rolling pin.  

Just remember, this isn't grandma's secret biscuit recipe that you're trying to keep them light and fluffy...I'm pretty sure the dogs aren't going to care.




Using a spatula helped lift the slightly sticky biscuits off of the counter.


Ready to go in the oven




The homemade ground oat flour adds texture

Finished product



We haven't been able to try these in the field yet but they love them at home!  And because they are made of pure natural human ingredients, both the dogs and my husband and I can eat these!  Update as to how these performed to follow soon.


"C is for cookie and cookie is for me"  -- Cookie Monster

Saturday, September 7, 2013

FOWL WEATHER - RUFFED GROUSE HUNTING

The season is here...and my most favorite!  College football, the start of bird season, the crisp morning air, and change of color in the hills.  What more could you want?

Oregon offers some of the best upland bird hunting on the west coast.  The upland species include:  blue grouse, sage-grouse, pheasants, chukar, valley and mountain quail, Hungarian partridge, wild turkey, and ruffed grouse.  Last weekend marked the opening of bird season.  One of our favorite birds to hunt, and one of the tastiest game birds to eat, is the ruffed grouse.  Also known as "bird of the edge", these elusive birds are not always easy to find.  Their habitats include edge of meadows and clear cuts, and  wooded forest areas where they can feed on berries and various seeds and grasses.  Since they are typically a challenge to find, like a fisherman, a grouse hunter is often cautious about revealing their secret locations!



Laying on the gun case, 
Kate made it clear that leaving her 
behind for this trip was not an option.

Elsie's first hunt at five months old.  
Overwhelmed with what was going on, she soon figured out after getting the first grouse, she was going to like this new lifestyle.


Kate and Elsie on the the trail in search of ruffed grouse.


Super proud of my little hunters for
getting their first grouse of the season.


A happy girl with some of the grouse we got for the day.


Although our dogs are still very, very young, both the dogs and us shared a special moment and marked the beginning of a very special bond.  Before I met my husband, I had never bird hunted.  Hunting with a bird dog is a very rewarding experience.  It's not at all about the hunt.  It's about the time and effort that you've invested into the dog; the hours of training and molding them into what they were bred to do.  It's the sweet smell of the forest and the feel of the shotgun in your hands.  It's the intense anticipation of that one second when the birds burst out of the ground at your feet.  But perhaps the most rewarding moment of all, is to see the smile on your dogs' face and the wag in their tail when they bring you the downed bird and look up at you as if to say, "Did I do it right?", "Can I do it again?"  You know then, life is good.


After you find your game birds, it is best to dress them almost immediately.  Here is an efficient (and lawful) way to dress your bird:
http://treadoutdoors.blogspot.com/2012/11/flipping-bird-how-to-clean-your-game.html 


"Now then, please take your gear, your quiver and your bow, and go out to the field and hunt game for me;"  --Genesis 27:3