Recently a lot of people have been asking me how they can make their own dog food at home. Here is the recipe that I use. Its very easy, healthy and actually costs less than store bought, mass produced dog food. This diet is based on the BARF diet.

I’ve been the lucky and proud mom to a Bichon Frise named Winston that I rescued from Happy Tails Dog Rescue about 5 years ago. Since then its been a match made in heaven and I’ve enjoyed every minute of having him.

Strangely, around the time of the pet food recall back in 2007 Winston went off of eating his dog food. At the time I was buying him the best food I could buy but it was made by Menu foods (like most dog foods) and I don’t know if there was something wrong with it… but after several days of not eating I got scared and decided to start making my own dog food. I read a lot of web-sites and books about what I can and can’t feed my dog and finally came up with a diet that suits his needs and palette.

Recently a lot of people have been asking me how they can make their own dog food at home.  Here is the recipe that I use. Its very easy, healthy and actually costs less than store bought, mass produced dog food. This diet is based on the BARF diet.

One of the deciding factors that this diet was healthy for Winston in general was the fact that he had started to develop a small tumour under his left leg (in the arm pit area) and after a few months of feeding him his new diet the tumour completely disappeared! His health also improved as did his energy level. He seemed like a much happier dog overall.

Some people have commented that their dog tends to beg a lot now that they make his own food. I’ve never had that issue with Winston. He is eager to eat and often sits with me while I put together his food.

Hint – if you feed your dog 1 cup of dog food kibble, the equivalent is to feed him/her 1 cup of fresh food packed down.

Recipe: (makes about 14+ portions of food based on feeding Winston 1.5 cups of food a day, divided into 2 meals)

In a large slow cooker pot set to Low to cook overnight combine the following:

1kg of frozen mixed vegetables (contains peas, carrots, corn, beans, etc.)
1 cup of dried cranberries
1/2 cup ground flax seeds (also called flax seed meal)
1 3/4 – 2 cups of Brown California Rice
1 apple cored and sliced (be sure to remove all of the core as it is poisonous to dogs)
1 can of pure pumpkin
1 tin of Bean Medley (thoroughly washed and drained)
2 fresh carrots sliced and chopped thinly
6-8 small potatoes sliced and chopped
2 cups of chicken or beef broth

Mix together in the slow cooker bowl all of the above until all ingredients are spread evenly throughout for cooking.

Add 1-2 cups of water poured over the top to ensure adequate moisture
Add 2 chicken legs (with backs attached) to the top of the above ingredients

Cover with lid and cook overnight (approx 6-8 hours on low)

When the food is done cooking remove 2 cooked chicken legs from the top of the meal (using tongs or a fork) and de-bone them (be sure to get the small bones too).  Add chicken meat back to food and discard bones.
Take 1 pound of lean ground beef and brown it in a frying pan. Drain excess grease. Add browned ground beef to the rest of the food and mix together.
Allow food to cool and done!

From here we usually portion out the entire batch into several small plastic containers with 1 days worth of portioned food in each. We then freeze them all and remove from freezer to fridge 1 day in advance (to thaw) as needed. I usually put the food in the microwave for about 40-60 seconds to warm before serving. Be careful it is not too hot for your pet to eat to avoid burning his/her mouth.

Winston loves it! He gave it 4 paws up!

If you have any questions – don’t hesitate to contact me or leave a comment.

Here are also some handy lists of foods not to feed your dog:
Foods to Avoid Feeding Y0ur Dog
Dangerous and Toxic foods to Dogs
25 Human Foods Toxic to Dogs


I found this great article on and wanted to share it. Sleep is so important and it’s great to know there are foods that can help us sleep rather than keep us awake! The article also includes a great recipe that I am looking forward to baking tonight. Enjoy!

Top 10 foods for a good night’s sleep

What is the secret to getting a solid 7 to 8 hours of sleep? Head for the kitchen and enjoy one or two of these 10 foods. They relax tense muscles, quiet buzzing minds, and/or get calming, sleep-inducing hormones – serotonin and melatonin – flowing. Yawning yet?

Bananas. They’re practically a sleeping pill in a peel. In addition to a bit of soothing melatonin and serotonin, bananas contain magnesium, a muscle relaxant.

Chamomile tea. The reason chamomile is such a staple of bedtime tea blends is its mild sedating effect – it’s the perfect natural antidote for restless minds/bodies.

Warm milk. It’s not a myth. Milk has some tryptophan – an amino acid that has a sedative – like effect – and calcium, which helps the brain use tryptophan. Plus there’s the psychological throw-back to infancy, when a warm bottle meant “relax, everything’s fine.”

Honey. Drizzle a little in your warm milk or herb tea. Lots of sugar is stimulating, but a little glucose tells your brain to turn off orexin, a recently discovered neurotransmitter that’s linked to alertness.

Potatoes. A small baked spud won’t overwhelm your GI tract, and it clears away acids that can interfere with yawn-inducing tryptophan. To up the soothing effects, mash it with warm milk.

Oats are a rich source of sleep – inviting melatonin, and a small bowl of warm cereal with a splash of maple syrup is cozy – plus if you’ve got the munchies, it’s filling too.

Almonds. A handful of these heart-healthy nuts can be snooze-inducing, as they contain both tryptophan and a nice dose of muscle-relaxing magnesium.

Flaxseeds. When life goes awry and feeling down is keeping you up, try sprinkling 2 tablespoons of these healthy little seeds on your bedtime oatmeal. They’re rich in omega-3 fatty acids, a natural mood lifter.

Whole-wheat bread. A slice of toast with your tea and honey will release insulin, which helps tryptophan get to your brain, where it’s converted to serotonin and quietly murmurs “time to sleep.”

Turkey. It’s the most famous source of tryptophan, credited with all those Thanksgiving naps. But that’s actually modern folklore. Tryptophan works when your stomach’s basically empty, not overstuffed, and when there are some carbs around, not tons of protein. But put a lean slice or two on some whole-wheat bread mid-evening, and you’ve got one of the best sleep inducers in your kitchen.

What if none of these foods help you get your zzz’s? Check out your sleep habits with this quick RealAge test to find out what’s keeping you up at night.

For an extra treat, here’s the ultimate sleep-inducing snack…

Lullaby Muffins

Makes 12 low-fat muffins
Between the bananas, the whole wheat, and the honeyed touch of sweetness, these muffins are practically an edible lullaby.

· 2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
· 1/2 teaspoon salt
· 1 tablespoon baking powder
· 2 large, very ripe bananas
· 1/3 cup applesauce
· 1/4 cup honey
· 1/2 cup milk or soymilk

Preheat oven to 350F. In a large bowl, combine the flour (make sure it’s whole-wheat pastry flour or you’ll produce golf balls, not muffins), salt, and baking powder. In a blender, puree the bananas; add the applesauce, honey, and milk. Blend well. Pour the banana mixture into the dry ingredients and stir until just moistened. Line muffin tins with paper muffin cups, pour in batter, and bake 30 minutes or until tops are lightly brown and slightly springy.

Nutrition Facts
Per serving: 119 calories; 1g fat; 2.5g protein; 27g carbohydrates; 10g sugars; 133mg sodium; 3g fiber; 35mg magnesium


  • profileLisa Bassett is a Digital Marketing and Social Media professional from Toronto, Canada.