As an NPR addict, I love that Tiffany Mauch’s “eureka” moment was inspired by something she heard on public radio. Of course, her vision for becoming a pet caregiver really began further back, with years of passion for animals along with study and work in the field. The exciting part about the path she later chose is that she realized a need that many pet owners were clamoring for and was able to step up to serve what has become a growing business. You’ll love hearing Tiffany’s backstory and learning more about her services for furry family members.
I’ve not owned a pet for a while, but have noted the remarkable advances in veterinary medicine that afford owners so many options to treat the needs of their pets. It does get more complicated, though, because with this care come important questions and concerns of how best to treat chronic conditions.
Not everyone has the abilities (or the stomach) to do ongoing support that their pet may need. The care required can be overwhelming if it involves multiple medications and special treatments. This the situation where Tiffany is ready to step in with her expertise.
THE SLOW COOKER
I recently met Tiffany at another great coffee through FemCity Des Moines, and she talked about her system for purchasing food when it’s in season and priced well—and how she sources her collection of cookbooks for recipes. Her setup seems ingenious for those of us whose cookbooks are sitting somewhere collecting dust.
For some reason I had the idea that the crock pot was an invention of the 1970s, which it turns out is not true. Over at HuffPost the article, “A Brief History of the Crock Pot, The Original Slow Cooker” by Alison Spiegel, I learned that the slow cooker was an invention of Irving Naxon in 1936, inspired by his Lithuanian Jewish mother who told him of a bean stew she would regularly make prior to the Sabbath.
Naxon’s mother would place the stew in the pre-heated ovens of the bakery where it would continue to cook, even after the ovens were turned off, due to the retained heat. Irving called his invention the Beanery, and for years it sold successfully under that name. In the 1970s, Naxon sold his invention to Rival Manufacturing where it was rebranded and called a Crock Pot.
I remember what a big deal it was to have a crock pot as a kid—and that invariably we always made the roast in it, or beef stew or chili. Tiffany is here to tell you that you can make practically ANYTHING in a slow cooker, however, and she has the stories and recipes to prove it.
Tiffany’s passion for slow cooking is authentic and her memorable meal story is a perfect example of why she loves to cook meals this way. You’ll want to hear her story yourself on this #thedeliciousstory interview.
THE COMFORT OF SOUP
Hands down, I agree with Tiffany that when it comes to comfort foods, nothing works as well as soup. And how perfect for her that she is a slow cooker by design, because soups are perfect for the slow cooking method.
Tiffany is so passionate about her favorite slow cooking cookbooks that she has a unique and generous way of sharing the recipes and books with others. If you are seeking creative gift ideas, this one might work for you, too.
I asked Tiffany for a good comfort soup recipe, and here is one she shared. The recipe comes from Stephanie O’Dea’s cookbook, but it is tested and approved by Tiffany. Her comments are below in parentheses.
TRADITIONAL MINESTRONE SOUP SLOW COOKER RECIPE
8 cups beef (unsalted and low-sodium) broth
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes-whole can
1 cup dry beans: I used a combo of pinto, black, lima—rinsed in hot water (I recommend soaking for 8 hours, then precooking a bit, as the beans aren’t done in 8 hours but everything else is)
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup sliced celery
1 tablespoon dried minced onion or 1 small onion, finely diced
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
½ (1) cup uncooked pasta—to add later, I used brown rice fusilli
(1 tablespoon kosher salt)
Parmesan cheese, optional garnish
Use a 6-quart slow cooker. Pour broth into your cooker, and add tomatoes and the beans.
I rinsed my beans in hot water, but didn't soak because of the high volume of liquid in this dish. If you live in a high altitude area, you might want to soak overnight, or do a quick soak by bringing the beans to a boil for 10 minutes, then letting them sit in the hot water for 1 hour. (I recommend soaking the beans in a container with water two inches above the beans in the refrigerator for 8 hours. After 8 or more hours, throw them with fresh water in a 1-2 qt slow cooker for a day or overnight or more. They're beans, it's hard to overcook but easy to undercook. Don't overthink it, they'll be fine :-D )
If you are using any variety of red beans, YOU MUST do this rapid-boil to kill a possible toxin that occurs naturally in red beans.
Add vegetables, seasoning, and thawed spinach. Cover and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours, or until the beans are soft. Add dry pasta, and cook on high for about 30 minutes, or until pasta is bite tender. (I cook my pasta separately. This is a great use for left-over pasta or a cook ahead step) Serve in bowls with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.
My kids love this soup. It's simple, it cleans out the cabinets and the fridge, and it really loads an awful lot of fiber and vegetable-goodness into each bowl. I use beef broth for flavor and color. If you're a vegetarian, use veggie broth, but maybe add a bit of balsamic vinegar or A-1 sauce to amp up the flavor just a tad.
Freezes well---but the pasta will swell. You'll need to thin it a bit with more broth or water when reheating.
SOUP AND FURRY FINISH
All this talk of soup and furry family members sounds like the makings of a wonderful evening with the comfort warm soup and a pet by your side. Of course, as I write this, we are dealing with a Midwest heatwave, so I think I’ll pocket that idea until January of 2020.
In the meantime, it is the season of vacations when you might find yourself in need of help caring for your pets—and if they have medical issues, you might especially need help from Tiffany. Here is a link to contact her here.
Alexandra and Sherry, 2016
Sherry is the founder of Storied Gifts a personal publishing service of family and company histories. She and her team help clients curate and craft their stories into books. When not writing or interviewing, Sherry spends loads of time with her grandchildren and lives in Des Moines, Iowa.
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