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Edible Antics

Touring Wisconsin Food

Category: Fun Feeding Animals (page 1 of 2)

Wisconsin Artisan Spotlight: Navarino Elk and Buffalo Ranch

wisc-artisan-navarino-1The artisans of Wisconsin make products with pride and passion, and Terry Diedrich of Navarino Valley Elk and Buffalo Ranch is the perfect example. Today I got the chance to talk to him about his business. Terry raises elk and buffalo and sells the meat to local restaurants and farmers market patrons. He also sells jerky and summer sausage on

Terry was born and raised in Wisconsin in a family of dairy farmers. He knew he wanted to work in agriculture, but he decided to work smarter. He learned that raising elk and buffalo would be less labor intensive than milking cows, and since elk and buffalo don’t mind a few hills, he could raise his animals on rough terrain. Today Terry has over 100 elk and 200 bison on his ranch.

After a few minutes of talking to Terry you can tell there’s a deeper purpose to his business than making elk jerky and buffalo burgers. Terry is committed to raising animals without the use of antibiotics and hormones. I asked him how people feel about less common meat varieties.

“Initially people didn’t get it,” Terry said, “But more and more people have learned about the health benefits of elk and bison.”

The health benefits he’s talking about are apparent when you compare elk and bison to more common meats like beef and pork.  Elk and buffalo have less fat, less cholesterol, and  more omega-3s. Terry also raises his animals free from hormones and antibiotics. Since the details of modern agriculture are too dull for a food fun blog, I won’t get into that, but let’s just say that Terry is committed to raising animals to make the best quality meat available.

Just for fun, I asked Terry about his favorite elk or buffalo dish. He loves a good gourmet burger, especially if there’s a homemade bun and gourmet toppings involved. You can find more yummy food photos on the Navarino Elk and Buffalo Ranch Facebook page, or shop for gift baskets of elk and bison sausage and jerky on

Have you ever tried elk or buffalo meat? What do you think?

As a special gift to Edible Antics readers, you can enter promotion code FUNBLOG at checkout to get 10% off food gifts at





Homemade Dog Treats: People Crackers

I decided to make homemade dog treats after taking my dog Violet to her first training class.  Violet is adopted from the Wisconsin Westie Rescue and didn’t learn any manners in her former life so she needs lots of work. I purchased some liver training treats for her, and she seems to like them, but they aren’t tasty enough to motivate her to listen to me!  After an hour long class she was making zero progress on “sit!”.  The trainer came up to me and told me we might have to move Violet to a “special” class if we couldn’t motivate her.  She suggested trying some different treats and maybe even some people food like little pieces of cheese or hot dog.  I went home from that class on a mission to teach Violet to sit before next class.

The trainer was right, the cheese worked, and of course I would have a dog that loves Wisconsin food. Violet learned to sit like a pro.  She is even getting the hang of “down”, although sometimes when she sees me with a piece of cheese she gets so excited she sits, then lies down even before I have a chance to say anything. As a reward for being such a good dog, I decided to make her some homemade dog treats with the addition of her new found favorite food.

Doggie Delights Cookebook I used a recipe from the book Doggie Delights & Kitty Cuisine. This book contains more than 20 homemade dog and cat treat recipes with goofy names like “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Chocolate” and “Peanut Butter Pups”. I knew the treats had to be yummy because a) the author is from Wisconsin and b) all of the treats are taste-tested and approved by the author’s Golden Retriever, Cinnamon. Violet also loves the treats- I know because she will sit for one!

I wanted a fun shape for my homemade dog treats, but I didn’t have a bone shaped cookie cutter and my State of Wisconsin cookie cutter was much too big.  I settled on a mini-gingerbread man cookie cutter.  People eat animal crackers, so animals should eat people crackers, right?

Violet’s Chicken and Cheese People Crackers

Adapted from the recipe Licken’ Good Chicken from Doggie Delights & Kitty Cuisine

Yield: Made about 60 1-inch treats.  I helped Violet divide them into bags of about 10 treats each to give as Easter gifts to her doggie friends- Bob, Charlie, Paisley, Izzy, O.D. and Daisy.

2 cups unbleached flour, plus extra if dough is sticky

1 cup cornmeal

2/3 cup wheat germ

1 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 egg, beaten

3 chicken bouillon cubes

1 1/2 cups hot water

2/3 cup cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray cookie sheet with nonstick cooking spray.

Mix flour, cornmeal, wheat germ, garlic powder and salt together in a large mixing bowl.  In a separate bowl, dissolve bouillon cubes in the water.  Add egg and bouillon mixture to flour mixture; mix well. If the dough seems sticky add extra flour, a little bit at a time until the dough is easy to work with.

Roll dough to a 1/2-inch thickness.  Cut or form in desired shapes using cookie cutter or hands.  Place treats on prepared sheet. Bake 20-25 minutes. Remove treats from oven and cool on a wire rack.  Store in an airtight container or plastic bag and place in refrigerator or freezer.

For another homemade dog treat recipe visit Tao the German Shepard’s blog post- Homemade Dog Biscuit Recipe For Easy Dog Training; Healthy Treats Help In Puppy Agility Class

What’s your pet’s favorite treat? Do your pets prefer homemade treats over the store bought one?

Homemade Dog Biscuit Recipe For Easy Dog Training; Healthy Treats Help In Puppy Agility Class

Today’s guest post-writer is Tao, a 10-month old German Shepherd dog.

Here I am running the puppy agility class course at Badger Kennel Club. It’s the last dog training class of the session and I’m showing my stuff. These hoops, these tunnels, these weaving poles are a piece of cake for SUPER DOG! Here’s a picture of me with the agility class instructor. He thinks I’m listening to him. I’m thinking about the homemade dog biscuit he’s holding. Keep reading for more of the story, more pics, and a recipe for healthy treats made with whole oats, wheat germ and cinnamon. YUM!

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Dog Questions Crazy People Who Make Tasty Cat Treats But Lack Cat

Tao Is Today’s Guest Post-Writer. Tao Is An 8-month-Old German Shepherd Dog.

I live with crazy people. I’m not asking for rescue, yet, – they’re definitely affectionate and make great food. But the lot of them have one large screw loose and it will take all of my burgeoning shepherd skills to operate crowd-control on this group. Last night was a case in point.

Yesterday, the mom asks the 10-year-old girl to go get the kitty cat. Kitty-cat? My ears perk up. I didn’t know we got a cat. Getting a cat would be a good thing. They run fast and are exceptionally fun to chase. So I follow the girl into her room and she pulls a cat out of a basket. I cock my head. That’s an awfully small cat, I wonder. Maybe it’s still a kitten. It doesn’t smell like a cat, but then again this girl has a penchant for bathing animals against their will, so maybe this cat recently suffered such abuse and now smells like soap. I follow her back to the kitchen.

The mom then announces that it’s National Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day. Huh? -Who knew? So she and the girl start asking the cat(?) about what questions it wants answered. Now I have exceptionally good hearing, – did you notice my ears? But I don’t hear that cat say a sound. But these people act as if the cat’s answering. Telepathy, I wonder? I try to read their human minds, but it’s all mush. Somehow they start believing that the cat has asked them to bake tasty cat treats. Seems reasonable, I suppose. At least the cat’s not crazy.

So the mom gets out her cookbook, – my favorite. It’s called Doggie Delights and Kitty Cuisine co-authored by Martha Ward and her golden retriever, Cinnamon. Click on “continue reading for more of the story and Martha’s recipe for “Happy As A Clam” cat treats.

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How To Make Great-tasting, Healthy, Homemade Dog Biscuits – Nutritious Treats For Dog Training

Homemade “gourmet” dog biscuits seem to be the in-thing. A friendly gourmut-chef sold her homemade dog biscuits at the McFarland Farmers’ Market on Saturday. Sunday, several vendors at the 21st Annual Wisconsin Dog Fair at Madison’s Alliant Energy Center were selling multiple varieties of homemade biscuits baked especially for beloved pooches. The exceptional nutritional value of the biscuits, their super-healthy ingredients, such as flaxseed and wheat germ, were the primary reasons vendors gave to encourage the several thousand passer-bys at the fair to pick up a bag of biscuits. Of course, vendors also said that dogs love these biscuits.

But love them as much as a dead mole in the backyard? Or maybe  a decaying rabbit? When I have to lure my dogs away from succulent roadkill, I have to use treats maxed with dog-attracting flavor. Pieces of hot dog or bacon work best, but unfortunately they make my pockets greasy. Plus, even dogs can over-do it on the pork fat. You have to consider if what you’re using as a lure is actually healthier for the dog than the disgusting thing it wants. Moles are pretty lean prey, -the bones, a good calcium supplement.

So for me, biscuit flavor and nutrition are both major considerations. I use biscuits to train my dogs, and since I train them daily I have to be pretty careful not to feed them dog junk food. Also, cost is a consideration. Those homemade dog biscuits at the farmers’ market and Wisconsin Dog Fair were priced reasonably when you consider the labor involved to make them. However, the cost is in the labor, not the ingredients. I can make the same great-tasting, healthy dog biscuits at home, and I do. For me, it’s been much more cost-effective to use Martha Ward’s Doggie Delights and Kitty Cuisine cookbook and bake dog biscuits that my dogs will actually do tricks for. And if I give them a lot of biscuits at one training session, it’s not a problem. I can cut back on the dog food and know that my dogs are still getting the nutrition they need. Click on “continue reading…” for one of Martha Ward’s great-tasting and nutritious dog biscuit recipes and for more about the WI Dog Fair.

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Recipe For Yummy Dog Biscuits For Puppy Class: Training People To Give Treats

I’m back! And I’ve been to puppy class! This 5-month-old German shepherd pup has been busy training people to give treats to dogs. I’m happy to report that my humans are doing exceptionally well. Initially, we got off to a rocky start when my girl thought the homemade peanut butter biscuits were for her. Her mother made them for me! Her mother says that we’re spending enough on puppy class, we’re going to save money by making our own homemade dog biscuits, – biscuits which will be of superior nutrition and taste compared to the majority of those commercially available. But I think she shouldn’t be saying these things so loudly. The result is her children, my girl and boy, are sneaking the biscuits out of my treat bag. That’s why we have to go to puppy class. These children need to learn my signal to give the biscuits to me!

We started out the class with the people learning how to look into our eyes. It’s called the “watch” command, and it’s the first step in any proper training of people. All dogs know how to give that special droopy-eyed, doggie stare that says, “I’m so good and so hungry that you will feed me extra-yummy treats now!” But the difficulty is getting the people to look at us. That’s why in puppy class the humans learn to hold a treat near their eyes, say, “Watch”, and then when we stare them in the eyes they give us the treat. It’s a very effective training technique which my people need to practice more often.

Next we train them from a distance to look into our eyes so that we can tell them to give us a treat. At class, my girl was sent a few feet away, then told to look at me so I could tell her I wanted a treat. My steady focus and alert demeanor got her to call, “Come” at which I ran to her for my treat. I’m very good at this; she needs the practice. Sometimes she calls me but forgets to give me the treat. We’ll be back to puppy class next week to work on this. Meanwhile, if you want a recipe for homemade dog biscuits that will make your dog happy click on “Continue reading…” for the recipe for homemade dog biscuits.

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Kitchen Ingredient Home Remedies To Remove Skunk Odor From Dogs; Plus A Carrot Salad Recipe

Yesterday Dr. Sandra Sawchuk of the University of Wisconsin Veterinary Teaching Hospital gave me a home remedy recipe for removing skunk odor from dogs. The recipe calls for ordinary kitchen ingredients, is easy to mix, and highly explosive (if stored improperly). Precisely because it is so explosive when sealed in a closed container it is not easily marketed in pet stores. But Dr. Sawchuk swears it works. Her assisting resident questioned if the peroxide ingredient would bleach the pet’s hair. Dr. Sawchuk wasn’t sure but didn’t think so. And what’s worse, skunk odor or bleach blond hair? Here’s the recipe:

Mix: 1 quart 3% hydrogen peroxide, 1/4 cup baking soda, and 1 teaspoon liquid soap (hand or dish soap). Instructions: Bathe animal in ordinary pet shampoo and rinse. Pour on skunk-off mixture and leave to air dry.

I haven’t tried this skunk odor remedy yet. In the past I’ve fallen back on the traditional recipe for removing skunk spray. If you’re curious about this older recipe, why I used it and want a cold carrot salad recipe that smells a whole lot better than skunk and wet dog, click on “Continue reading…”.

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New Puppy Games And A Healthy Recipe For Homemade Dog Biscuits

Hi. I’m Tao. I’m an 8-week-old German shepherd puppy. I joined the family last week. Normally Cristie would be writing this post, but she’s sleeping.puppy-1 The poor woman is exhausted. For days now, we’ve been walking outside twice in the middle of each night and she’s still not used to our new schedule. She should sleep during the day I tell her, but she goes off to work at and plays on computers. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook, but she should really be following me. I know how to have fun!

And I’m learning new games all the time. So is Cristie. Cristie’s friend and coworker, Vicki, suggested we watch episodes of The Dog Whisperer. These shows are teaching us lots of new ways to play. We watch dogs chew things up, dive incessantly into swimming pools, chase small animals, and bite people when they try to sit on beds. The dogs are having a super time until, every episode, this guy walks in and tells the dogs to sit down. They should really cut him from the show….But I have games of my own. To read more and get a healthy recipe for homemade dog biscuits click on “Continue reading…”

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Wisconsin Celebrates the Dairy Industry With Cows at the Capital

Saturday Madison, WI saluted the dairy industry by inviting cows, dairy farmers, agricultural students, veterinarians, and cheese masters to the streets around Wisconsin’s state capital building. Children pet the cows as “Moo experts” from the dairy industry answered questions about raising cows, milking, WI’s artisanal cheeses, and WI’s reliance on the dairy industry for our state’s economic vitality.cows-1

Along with the information came a whole lot of fun on the capital concourse. Bands played music as kids played games. Families ate ice cream and grilled cheese sandwiches grilled right in the street. One of the more comical highlights was the ice cream eating contest. Two children, two dads, one dairy farmer, and the dairy queen of Belleville, Wisconsin competed to see who could eat a plate of ice cream the fastest (no hands; no utensils). Click on “Continue reading…” to see a video of the ice cream eating contest and more pictures of Wisconsinites playing with their food.

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Cake Decorating, Raising Animals, and Carnival Rides – Ways We Teach Children Life Skills

I think we trick our kids. We lure them with sweet flavors, bright colors, and creamy, soft textures to make them learn the hard skills life requires. At least, that was my impression after seeing the fun, elaborately-creative cake decorations on display at the Dane County Fair in Madison, WI. cake-decorating-1Children in 4-H clubs throughout the county competed for prize ribbons in cake decorating by artistically coating pieces of Styrofoam with colored frosting. The designs they painted on their simulated cakes, cookies, and cupcakes celebrate our life-changing moments and major holidays, -birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, Valentine’s Day, Easter, 4th of July, Halloween, harvest time, Christmas, and even April Fool’s Day -that day we play tricks on each other and laugh.cake-decorating-2

Recalling my own efforts to make King Lingonberry and a spiced nose cake made me appreciate the skills these children exercised in creating their masterpieces. First, the children had to choose the occasion they wished to celebrate and then look inward to tap their unique creativity. They needed to imagine, in fine detail, each colorful image they wished to paint. Then they had to plan exactly how to re-produce that image in frosting. Construction of the imagined final product had to be translated backward into a step-by-step series of actions. The tools needed to be gathered, – the workplace organized.

Then, for most, the hard work began. Any ease in seeing something gave way to the challenge of making it. Eyes, brain, muscles, hands, -the whole body had to coordinate its movements to precisely layer the frosting. Mistakes inevitably happened. Frustrated emotions were curbed and problem-solving practiced. How could the mistake be fixed? If it couldn’t, then how could the design be changed to turn the blemish into an asset? Distractions occurred and had to be ignored, -attention continually redirected to the task, hour after hour. Each child gave a day of his or her life to creating the Styrofoam cakes on display at the fair.

Elsewhere in the Exhibition Center and outside in the fairground barns, children were practicing other life skills. They were grooming and showing the animals they had spent months raising. Some children showed their pet cats, rabbits, and guinea pigs. Others showed commercial livestock, -their beef and dairy cattle, pigs, sheep, lamas, goats, and poultry. The children were tested not only on the physical condition of their animals, but on their own skills in showmanship.

I watched the nervous intensity that the children focused on their animals,-readying them in the stalls, and showing them in the ring. This was serious business. Months of daily labor would be judged over the course of a few minutes.

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