by: BARB RANDALL Barb Randall’s dog, Daisy, appreciates good food. She is known for helping herself from the family fridge. Randall hopes by upgrading Daisy’s food to homecooked fare Daisy will wait for dinner to be served instead of helping herself as is doing below.

Daisy has a pretty refined palette for a beagle. I can only blame myself; when we rescued her years ago I 'enhanced' her human-quality kibble with specialty canned food or tidbits from the table before presenting her supper dish.

She has been very appreciative of her deluxe cuisine so I guess I shouldn't get mad when she helps herself to food in the fridge. Yep, this dog believes whatever is in the fridge is fair game for her dining enjoyment.

She doesn't usually go for the fruits and vegetables. It's the meat-based foods the little rascal prefers. We have lost whole crock-pots of chili intended for Super Bowl parties, flats of bone-in chicken breasts - yikes! - marinating flank steaks, pork chops, eggs, two-pound bricks of cheese, tortillas - the list goes on. She simply opens the fridge and helps herself.

I've had engineer friends and relatives suggest methods to keep her out of the fridge. Nothing works. When she wants in, she figures a way, even into the fridge concealed behind a sliding door in a closed room.

Did I mention that she is doggedly determined?

All in all, she really is a sweet little doggie. She enjoys long walks, though her days of walking around the lake have passed. She doesn't chase cars, escape very often or dig holes under fences, so I can't stay mad at her very long. She has developed some sort of tumor or edema on her neck and her arthritis is worsening so we are extra determined to take good care of her.

That is what led me to the Dog Food Dude.

The Dog Food Dude, aka Rick Woodford, is a fellow instructor of cooking classes at In Good Taste. His specialty? Cooking for canines.

'Fresh food makes a difference to dogs and people,' he said. 'There is not just one way to feed your dog. There are many ways to feed them, just as there are many ways to feed people. And not everything works for all dogs.

'If you want to learn to prepare just a little bit (of homemade food for your dog), I can show you how. If you want to learn to make homemade dog treats, I can show you how. If you want to make homemade meals for your dog, I can show you how. If you want to learn how to feed a sick dog, I can show you how.'

Feeding sick dogs is Woodford's specialty and stems from his experience feeding his best friend, a Lab-mix named Jackson.

When Jackson was diagnosed with lymphoma and given a year to live, Woodford comforted his pet and encouraged his appetite with homecooked food. When he saw Jackson's health, energy and appetite dramatically improve as a result he made it his mission to investigate the healing power of nutrition for dogs. From his research he invented healthy recipes that helped kick the cancer into remission and added healthy, happy years to Jackson's life.

'It's my true passion to feed sick dogs,' he said. 'When you can get them up and running around again and waiting by the fridge at 4 o'clock for their dinner and tearing around their food bowl, that is great. I've fed dogs with bone cancer - a very aggressive cancer - I didn't get to feed them for very long, but their owners said, 'You don't understand. You made their last couple months happier and healthier for them.''

Woodford says that feeding dogs half commercial food and half homecooked food is actually the 'best of both worlds' for dogs and most convenient for their owners.

'I want them eating small chopped-up rosemary, parsley, green beans and carrots,' he said.

And if you simply want information on selecting a better commercial food for your pet, Woodford can help with that.

Woodford, who lives in Portland, has written 'Feed Your Best Friend Better,' which will be released April 10 at area bookstores. The book includes 85 recipes Woodford created with nutritional values and recommended portion sizes. It also includes information on 'superfoods' to incorporate into everyday meals, tips for overweight and underweight dogs and strategies for stocking your pantry for low-budget meals and maximum convenience.

The book also includes information of particular interest to me: A special section on correcting behavioral issues and 'Warm Nose Meals' - recipes tailored to dogs with conditions like arthritis, diabetes, allergies, cancer, sensitive stomach and more.

Woodford's next Cooking for Canines class is April 21 at 11 a.m. at In Good Taste, 6302 S.W. Meadows Road in Lake Oswego. Cost is just $25. During the class he will share recipes and talk about safe foods for your pets. Sign up online at . Copies of his book will be available.

If you are still looking for spring break activities, check the IGT website for spring break cooking camps for children and teens.

I just got word that our friend David Gabbe in West Linn will be teaching 'Vegan Cooking with Greens' on April 10 from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Gabbe is a much-celebrated vegan author and lecturer on plant-based gluten and cholesterol-free foods. In the class you will see how easy it is to select, prepare and use leafy greens. The class is offered through West Linn Parks and Rec at the adult community center in West Linn and the cost is $29. Register by calling 503-557-4700 or online at west


The Dog Food Dude was kind enough to share a couple recipes with us. Whip up a batch as a treat for your dear doggie.

Bon Appetit! Eat something wonderful!

Soft Oatmeal Cookies

Makes 48 cookies

Here's a nice soft cookie for senior dogs with more sensitive mouths or dogs who have just returned home after a dental cleaning. With two sources of apples and sweetness from blackstrap molasses, these cookies are full of flavor and vitamins, plus they have a healthy dose of fiber to keep your pup full between meals.

Nonstick cooking spray

1 egg

½ cup unsweetened applesauce

2 tablespoons canola oil

2 tablespoons blackstrap molasses

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup quick cooking oats

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 red apple (braeburn or red Rome), cored and finely chopped

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.

Combine the egg, applesauce, canola oil and molasses in a large bowl and stir to blend. Add the flour, oats, baking powder and apple to the egg mixture and stir with a spoon until well blended.

Using two spoons, scoop 1 tablespoon of cookie dough and use the second spoon to scrape the dough onto the prepared baking sheet. Place the cookies 1 inch apart.

Bake for 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack and allow them to cool for 20 minutes.

Because these are soft cookies store them in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 2 months.

Allowance per day: 1 cookie for a 10-pound dog, 2 for a 20-pound dog, 3 for a 40-pound dog, 4 cookies for a 60-pound dog, and 5 for an 80-pound dog.

Salmon Patties

Makes 6 patties

Although your dog is thinking it's just a treat, it's really a snack that provides protein, vitamin D, selenium and a nice helping of omega-3 fatty acids. If you would like to make the same recipe for yourself, add the following to the salmon mixture: 1/3 cup minced onion, plus salt and pepper as desired. Be sure to set aside your dog's portion first to prevent your dog from getting the onion-laced bits.

14.5 ounce can salmon

2 large eggs

1 ¼ cups panko bread crumbs

1/3 cup minced fresh parsley

2 tablespoons olive oil

Empty the canned salmon (with juices) into a medium bowl. Flake with a fork to separate and remove any bones.

Add the eggs, bread crumbs and parsley and stir until well combined.

Form patties by packing the mixture into a ½ cup measuring cup and tapping gently into the palm of your hand. Press lightly into a 3 ½ inch patty.

Heat the oil over medium heat and cook the salmon patties for 4 to 5 minutes per side, until they are nicely browned.

After the patties have cooled slightly, break up and serve. Store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 3 weeks.

Allowance per day: ¼ patty for a 10-pound dog; 1/3 patty for a 20-pound dog; 2/3 patty for a 40-pound dog; ¾ patty for a 60-pound dog; 1 patty for an 80-pound dog.

Recipes from Feed Your Best Friend Better by Rick Woodford 2012.

Randall welcomes your food questions and research suggestions. She can be reached at 503-636-1281, ext. 101 or by email at bran

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