Disclosure: This post is brought to you by Rachael Ray's Nutrish brand pet food. I was compensated for creating this post, but my opinions are my own.
I grew up in a house full of pets. In fact, I can't remember ever living in a house without animals. From the time I was born I was sharing my life with a parade of goofy Labradors and sassy house cats. It seems like my parents were always coming home with a new friend. One of our first pets, Muffet, was found in a snowbank in Maine when she was just a few hours old. That sweet little kitten was never quite right in the head, but she was loving and patient - the perfect companion for three little girls. Muffy would let us dress her in costumes, take her for rides in doll carriages, and lug her around the house like a teddy bear. I have never met another cat like that!
Our first family dog was a spirited yellow lab named Beau. Even though Beau would sometimes snack on our toys we loved him dearly. My parents hadn't planned on getting us a dog. You might say that it was Beau's idea. One afternoon my father and sister were walking through the local mall when they heard a big commotion coming from the pet store. Out burst the cutest little yellow lab puppy with a shop girl in hot pursuit. The pup was determined to make his escape but forgot to look where he was going and promptly ran head first into a cement wall.
My dad ran over to scoop the little puppy up and make sure he was OK. He nuzzled his pink little nose into his shoulder and it was pretty much all over. Whatever resistance my father had left was swept away when the shop keeper started complaining about how they would NEVER be able to sell him. Not only did Beau have a big fat shiner thanks to his little adventure - he had been born with a pink nose - a trait which the woman considered a defect in a pure bred lab. Terrified for the little guy's future my Dad paid the shop for the puppy and took him home then and there.
My Mom brought home Desi, a spunky little black kitten after she arrived one evening on the patio of the restaurant where she worked. Dad found Toonces the brown tabby, gravely injured after being hit by a car. Tori and Rascal were a mom and baby pair that my sister lobbied for after visiting an animal shelter. T.C. was a cranky old tuxedo cat left behind after a friend moved to Boston. We found Flane, an enormous frost-bitten tom cat under our back porch in the middle of a snowstorm. These, and so many others, were brought in from the cold to join our ever growing menagerie of creatures over the years.
These days my family only has three pets - which still seems like a lot most days! Gracie is a collie-mix that found herself in the ASPCA's care after her owner couldn't afford the costly hip surgery she needed. Ziggy was discovered with his litter-mates in a garbage can in Waterbury, CT. Pickles, the youngest of the bunch, was orphaned along with two siblings and bottle-fed by volunteers at Austin Pets Alive. Each of our furry friends has a story that began before we ended up together and we'll always be grateful to those individuals and organizations that helped give those stories a happy ending. Our forever friends are in their forever home - and that's a beautiful thing.
With three pets dinnertime can be quite an event. The cats become living slinkies, wrapping themselves around our legs, pleading "meeeeeooooowwwww" at the top of their little kitty lungs and pawing at the pantry door. Gracie has better manners, but not by much. She sits in her bed crying and covering her face with her paws if dinnertime is delayed by so much as thirty minutes. We make a point of feeding our pets well. We're known to pamper them with selections like Nutrish Real Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe.
Simple, healthy food is a priority for the humans in our family as well. These simple wraps are easy to make and packed with tasty protein and veggies. I love the combination of sweet squash, creamy avocado, and spicy chile sauce. This is a great way to use up leftovers or put together quick lunches for the week. Feel free to swap out the greens with anything from spring mix to swiss chard. The squash can also be traded for sweet potatoes or carrots. Substituting tofu, beef, or pork is another way to add variety to this basic meal idea.
Spicy Chicken Avocado Wraps
- 2 cups diced butternut squash
- 6 ounces cooked chicken breast, sliced
- 1/2 cup brown rice, cooked
- 1/2 cup baby kale (or baby spinach)
- 1 avocado, sliced
- 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons sriracha
- 2 teaspoons furikake or toasted sesame seeds (optional)
- 1 tablespoon cooking oil (I used coconut)
- 2 burrito-sized whole wheat wraps
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Preheat the oven to 400 F. Toss the squash with the cooking oil, then sprinkle on a little salt and pepper. Spread the squash over a baking sheet lined with parchment. Roast for 30 minutes.
- Lay out two tortillas. Divide the fillings between each burrito, placing everything in a small pile in the center. Fold the sides of each burrito in, then roll it shut from bottom up. Slice in half.
This post was sponsored by Rachael Ray's line of premium pet foods, Nutrish. For Rachael, food equals love — whether she's cooking a meal for friends or working with pet nutrition experts to create delicious recipes for your furry companions. She also believes that everyone — even your dog or cat — should be able to enjoy meals made with simple natural ingredients like real meat and wholesome veggies.
Because we all know mealtime is better when you share it with someone you love, Nutrish has paired some of Rachael's favorite recipes with their companion Nutrish recipes. If you love to share mealtime with your favorite furry companion these recipes can help make that really fun.
Speaking of fun, how does a trip to New York City sound? Nutrish is hosting a sweepstakes where the lucky winner will be sent to the Big Apple and a seat in Rachael Ray's studio audience!
Cook, Share and Win:
- Cook one of the delicious recipes provided on the #ChefTails website (or one of your own) and share a Nutrish product with your pet.
- Share a pic of you and your pet enjoying mealtime using #ChefTails on Instagram or Twitter for a chance to win.
- Win an all-expense paid trip to NYC where you can enjoy a day in the studio audience of the Rachael Ray Show.