Have-a-Hearty Hound Loaf & 4th of July pics

Saturday, July 11th, 2009

Update, 7/15/09:

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Here’s a photo of the loaf. It actually held up much better than I expected; even though the center isn’t fully cooked, the beans and peanut butter are sticky enough to bind it together. And the dogs love it! Once this dish is finished, I think I’ll try another loaf concoction, but with mashed tofu instead of beans.

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In the days before delicious and vegan dog food blogs, I collected my favorite recipes in a three-ring binder. Two of ’em, actually: one for the humans, another for the dogs. The dogs’ binder is literally twice as large as the humans’. Priorities, people, priorities.

(Sadly, Ozzy doesn’t get any home-cooked food, let alone a binder, since I’m not at all comfortable cooking for a cat. Technically, he’s “Shane’s cat,” as the husband adopted him well before I came into the picture. Thus, I can all-too-conveniently delegate/relinquish all food- and health-related decisions re: Ozzy to the Mr. Consequently, Ozzy is the only omni in the house. End tangent.)

Anyhow, I’ve been wanting to mix their menu up a little lately, so last night I pulled out the doggeh binder in search of recipes. Instead of following any one recipe verbatim, I decided to veganize the “Hearty Hound Loaf” from the Three Dog Bakery Cookbook. Naturally, I also had to rename the dish; “Have-a-Heart(y) Hound Loaf” struck my fancy since, unlike the original recipe, mine does not include the corpses of other animals (in this case, turkeys).

Actually, to say that I merely veganized the recipe isn’t wholly accurate; more like I used it as a starting point to develop my own loaf-like dish. Here, the cooked and mashed beans act as a stand-in for “ground turkey”; the peanut butter replaces the tomato paste (though this is optional); and Liquid Smoke is the main spice, as opposed to sage and garlic. And did I mention that I quadrupled the original?

I considered adding some Vegedog to the mix – but it’s got an awfully strong smell, and I wasn’t quite sure if/how it would change the taste of the loaf. I purchased a small trial size of the Vegedog a few years back, and it’s been sitting in the back of my cupboard ever since. I haven’t a clue what to do with it, and the accompanying recipes aren’t much help.

For starters, the serving sizes are huge! The Soy Kibble recipe, for example, calls for 33 cups of whole wheat flour, 14 1/8 cups of soy flour, 2 3/4 cups corn meal, 1 cup yeast powder, and 1/3 cup baking powder! Who has that much flour on hand!? Plus, I already have vegetarian (possibly vegan; DelMonte has yet to return my emails) dog kibble – I don’t need to make my own. The food I do make, I use to “dress up” the kibble and add some variety to their meals. So crazy massive serving sizes of diy kibble, not so helpful.

Readers, help a doggy mama out! How do you use Vegedog?

And I know I’m probably rambling at this point, but a word on dried beans. For a long time, I refused to use them, opting instead for the canned stuff. I assumed (wrongly, it turns out) that 1) dried beans would be a huge pain in the ass to prepare; and 2) they couldn’t be all that much cheaper than the canned stuff.

In point o’ facts, dried beans aren’t all that much of an inconvenience; really, they just require a little foresight. (I soak mine the night before I plan to use them.) Price wise, 16 oz. of dried beans cost roughly the same as 16 oz. of canned beans. But when you do the math – a 16 oz. bag of dried beans yields 6 cups of cooked beans, while a 16 oz. can of beans equals a mere 1.5 cups of beans (!) – the dried beans are a steal!

Plus, no added salt, which is a huge plus, as Kaylee was diagnosed with a heart murmur on her last trip to the vet. He can’t say for sure that a low-sodium diet will keep her ticker from getting worse, but if there’s even the slightest chance it’ll extend her life, I’ll do it. (We switched to dried beans the next shopping trip after her diagnosis.) She’s like a second mother to me – my canine mom, if you will. Sweetest old lady you could ever hope to meet. I only wish we could have adopted her earlier, before she became elible for an AARP membership, and before her old “owners” did such a number on her. But I digress. Yet again.

Moral of the story: dried beans, not so bad.

Anyway. The husband went to Vegas for TAM7 this weekend, taking my good camera with him. The backup’s on the fritz, so unfortunately, I don’t have a photo for y’all. Sucks. I’ll try to snap one on Monday, though it probably won’t be very pretty. (I expect the loaf to crumble when I transfer it to a storage container.) Next time, maybe.

Instead, I leave you with pictures of Kaylee, hiding in the bathroom cabinets during the 4th of July fireworks display/Armageddon. (That’s what it must have felt like for the dogs, anyway – doubly so since the park where the display is held sits only two properties away from our place.) Peedee’s in a few of the pictures, too, but I think he was just keeping the old lady company.

(More below the fold…)