Sunday, February 19, 2012

Homemade Dog Food

I have some wonderful frozen boneless skinless chicken breast in my freezer. The problem is that they have been there too long and are beginning to show signs of freezer burn. I couldn't help but think it is a horrible waste to thrown them away. As I was bemoaning the wastefulness of it all, Louise and Joey came padding into the utility room.  Then it came to me - dog food!

I boiled the chicken breasts and set them aside to cool. I added rice to the broth and let it cook. Near the end of the good time, I added some frozen spinach that had turned itself into a nice hard ball. I kinda figured that dogs eat grass to keep themselves regular so the spinach should add a bit of roughage for them. As the rice was cooking I shredded the chicken and added it to the mixture. While I was in the fridge, I noticed the eggs were a couple of days from the expiration date so I stirred three of them into the mixture.

The result was I had a batch of  dog food using ingredients that were still good but not something I would probably eat! I let it cool before letting the dogs sample it. They loved it! I put about 4 days worth of food into a plastic container and refrigerated it. The remainder was scooped into service size containers for the freezer. I can let them thaw in the fridge before serving.

My plan is to continue serving dry food for one meal and the home cooked food for the other in a day. My dogs seems happy and I have salvaged food that was destined for the landfill!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Pearl Cabin: Antique Door Made Into Pot Rack

Pearl Cabin: Antique Door Made Into Pot Rack

Antique Door Made Into Pot Rack

My small kitchen has limited cabinet space so I have to use every inch of space as efficiently as possible. The pots and pans have been stacked inside a lower cabinet. Every time I want to cook its an exercise in moving stacks from front to back and stacking and unstacking to get what I want. Also, the stooping and bending is harder than it once was!

In the last and smaller house I had placed an old shelf board over the tops of the cabinets so it hung over the sink and fashioned a pot rack. I so miss having easy access to cooking vessels! So I started thinking about ways to make once suitable to this house.

I was down in the basement one day and came across an old closet door that had been removed from the antique house. I loved that house! I have now repurposed it into a pot rack.

The first step was to securely attach the door to the wall. I had help with this step. We found and marked the studs in the wall then attached a cleat (simply a scrap of wood) at the level where I wanted the bottom of the door. We sat the door on the cleat and as I held it there so it wouldn't fall, my friend attached it to the wall using four lug bolts. This was a very important because the door weighed what seemed to be 25 pounds or more!

Yep, that's a door hanging sideways on a wall! I left the paint in its shabby chic condition to preserve the character of the door. The decorative switch plate came with the house.

I bought cheap pine boards at the home improvement store for the shelves. They cut them to size for me which saved time. The top shelf runs the entire length of the door and is 10" wide. I had them cut the 8" board into three 24" lengths so I could stagger them to add interest. I brought them home and washed them with some leftover wall paint.

This was a great snowy-day project! I sprayed water on the boards, poured a little paint on them and spread it around with the sponge brush then wiped it down with a damp rag. That is my rubber glove I wore to keep my hand clean. I did both sides and all edges of the shelves.

Once they were dry, I measured and drilled holes into the boards. I put a row toward the back of the shelf and then staggered more holes to the front. Predrilling made attaching the cup hooks and eye hooks so much easier! The next step was to attach the shelves to the door. For this, I used shelf brackets for the longer top shelf and L-brackets for the shorter lower shelves. This door was solid so I just used the screws provided with the brackets.

At this point, I was beginning to wonder if my vision wasn't better than reality! I'd gone this far so decided to proceed. I have some pretty blue wine glasses I like to display so I attached a rack to the ceiling to hold them. I used anchors to make sure the rack was secure and wouldn't fall.

I fashioned crude hooks from wire because I wanted to keep the shabby chic look. Now to load the pans! I just started hanging them randomly and this is what I got. As time goes by, I rearrange them so they look and work better!