A huge thank you!

A huge thank you to Happy Day for sharing this beautiful picture with me. She noticed my Weekend Coffee posts and thought I might use it for those posts. Isn’t it beautiful? Check it out:

Isn’t it gorgeous? Love it!

Update on Ocean…

A little while ago, I rambled on about our doggie Ocean who wasn’t acting like herself. One mental breakdown on my part later, we were at the vets’ inside an incredibly tiny and stuffy office. After much poking, prodding of Ocean and sweating like overcooked noodles from ourselves, the vet recommended switching her food (she might have allergies to it) and doing blood work and stool analysis.

River, super-serious as usual

I’m not one to leave things to chance. We had just switched our doggies’ food thinking this new brand might be a better quality for them but, since Ocean was obviously poisoned not reacting well to it, it had to go. Without further ado, we threw out the old and went shopping for new. Meanwhile, I cooked some oatmeal, eggs and tuna (we’re vegan but our doggies are not and they love tuna) and I made her a little get-better meal for her…though River thought it was awesome as well.

My lovely girl, not feeling her best

Since our last vet visit Ocean, who has always been on the thin side, has lost over 4 kilograms. Translated, that’s about 9 lbs…a huge percentage of her already tiny weight. It might very well be due to allergies over food, but my overactive mind created all sorts of other horrific diseases that could also be responsible for this issue. Terrified, I waited on pins and needles for the blood work and analysis results.

Finally, after calling the vet so many times I memorized the number, they came in.

This is where it can’t be easy to be a vet, but it’s also super challenging to be a patient. While the stool revealed nothing wrong, the blood work was inconclusive. Ocean has slightly elevated kidney numbers which might indicate an infection, might indicate something as dire as kidney disease (incurable, by the way), might just be a reaction to her food or might not be anything at all. I banged my head against the wall while the vet tried to calmly explain all the possible scenarios. I have to give her credit because, while I freaked out, she patiently explained everything from Leptospirosis to cancer. I wanted symptoms, outcomes (bad and good) and prognosis…and I wasn’t exactly mellow while she explained all the dire consequences that my poor, fluffy Ocean could be facing. Worse, if possible, she could be contagious and be giving some of these terrible diseases to River.

At some point, I started to bawl and became incomprehensible, so lovely hubby had to take over. I know they’re only dogs, but my silly heart doesn’t listen to reason or logic. It’s head over heels with these two fluff balls and nothing but happiness on their side will do.

Our gorgeous boy

So, what’s the prognosis? Well, unfortunately, medicine with animals is challenging mostly because they can’t talk to us. Ocean can’t tell us what hurts. The good news is that, since the last time we weighed her, she’s put on about 3lbs (that’s great news in only 7 days) and that she had almost clear results on the blood work and stool sample. But the truth is, gentle reader, that we don’t know for certain. I’m really hoping that it’s just a bad reaction to her food and things will keep getting better but we won’t know until a few weeks go by and she gets really better.

Meanwhile, I will give her extra cuddles and kisses…and River as well so he won’t feel left out.

Beautiful girl

 

Where River defends me

Just yesterday, my hubby was away doing his therapy thing and I was deep in a new book (bliss!) when Ocean barked. Now, akitas aren’t barking dogs. So, when they do, it’s important.

I left my book and peeked outside the window and there, in the middle of our front yard, was a strange car. I frowned wondering if it was in trouble but soon enough, a rather large bearded man emerged from the vehicle and it was obvious that: 1. he wasn’t in trouble and 2. he planned on leaving his car parked in the middle of our front yard.

Like most Canadians, I don’t like confrontations. I prefer to bend, be kind and go on my merry way. I’m small and slight, not exactly a threatening size. My face can do funny, kind and sad but it messes up angry. When I frown, people smile back. So intimidating isn’t my strong suit. Still, since the snow had mostly melted and the ground was soft, this car was going to do major damage to our front yard. I had to say something.

That’s when I thought of River.

At a good 20 lbs over 100, my lovely furry boy is on the large side of an akita. Add his lovely, thick fur and you’ve got a good sized dog. The opposite of Ocean who loves every two legged person she meets, River is more interested in food than people. He’s wary of strangers and very protective of yours truly. The result is he usually glares at new comers.

With River at my size, I headed over to the neighbour’s. There was a group of men, all rather on the large end of the scale, chatting, smoking and drinking beer. Giving them my best smile, I held tightly to River’s leash and asked them if there was any chance they might be able to move the car.

“I’m really sorry to bother you, I just worry about our grass,” I added.

The owner of the car turned in my direction and two small, dark eyes focused on me. Canadian or not, there wasn’t a single ounce of kindness in that stare. Then they flickered to River.

“Sure. I’ll move it right away,” he grumbled.

Have I mentioned that I love my dogs? They’re the best!

Where hubby has a fit

After our switch to a plant-based diet, I decided to go to a dietitian and make sure we weren’t missing anything vital for our health. I should add that my lovely hubby, in his wisdom, has taken a much more relaxed approach to the entire plant-based idea…(His version includes the odd cheese burger).

The dietitian looked to be about 15, super cheerful and typed at the speed of light. She inspected everything in my 3-day food journal and declared I was off to a good start. However…she did make some recommendations.

Some were easy, like adding ground flax seeds to meals to get Omega 2 and 3. Some were not so easy and some were…well tough. Namely, she said we shouldn’t drink coffee or tea before or after a meal. 1 to 2 hours before or after a meal (apparently those drinks stop the absorption of nutrients from your body).

When lovely hubby heard that particular recommendation, he nearly had a heart attack. Being British, tea is akin to having a heartbeat for him and he flat our refused to do it. He quoted his elderly mother who drinks at least 8 cups of the stuff a day and is alive and kicking today, he then said tea is actually good for your health and where did she get her information and what credentials did she have and where did she do her research and he’d like to talk to her supervisor….Everything in moderation, he added before saying he had to protect an entire nation of tea drinkers as it’s their national drink…ahem.

Instead of tea, the dietitian had suggested drinking warm water with lemon. So, I tried it…and it was disgusting. Well, not completely disgusting but more like a medical cure than a drink to enjoy after dinner. It smelled and tasted like NeoCitran…I almost felt sick at the end of it. Certainly nothing like a lovely cup of tea or coffee.

The very next day I had a cup of coffee in protest…it was delicious.

However, I did go online and found that the very young dietitian was right, at least about the lemon water. Here and here and here…and the list could easily continue. Apparently, warm lemon water is the best thing for you. Sigh.

 

Where my blender dies…

Our blender died. Yeap. Our super especial, royally cheap blender died. Lovely hubby immediately decided it was my fault even though it died while he was using it. Apparently I didn’t put enough water in it (right) and the thing died because of it. Sure.

Anyway, we headed to Costco where we stared at the appliances wondering about buying a new one because we’re totally addicted to our fruit smoothies. But the things on the shelf there were at least $400 and looked both massive and super serious. Knowing our ability to break things, I said that’s ridiculous and nope. Then lovely hubby found a strange contraption for $99 and he immediately thought that was the thing to get. I wasn’t so sure.

The thing he had found wasn’t a blender…it was some sort of blender-wanna-be thingy that managed to look both new and super dodgy. So I said, nope and, since I never say no, we left and headed to our trusty appliance outlet.

The outlet is super odd and dodgy. The ceiling leaks, the door is broken and only one till works. Still the deals there are awesome, so in we went. There we got a new blender for $39. Delighted, we headed home…where we found out our new blender was…well, not so new and it was rusty, dirty and smelled…

That’s also when I remembered that our outlet doesn’t give you your money back. It only gives you credit in the store IF you have the original receipt AND you bought the item within 7 days.
And that’s when lovely hubby threw a hissy fit.

So, today we have to head back to the Costco outlet to see if we can get credit in the store. Go back to Costco (where we have been on a daily basis since Friday) and get that bullet-blender-wanna-be thingy.

I’m pretty sure that thingy is not going to work. But, having witnessed one hissy fit, I have no desire to see another. Who knows that contraption might work.

Obviously an update is coming your way soon.

Where I judge others

I’m going to be honest here, I judge people. I know I should not make passing judgements, but the truth is, I judge them. Worse, I have criteria.

1. You have a pet.

If you have a pet, you’re already my friend. We might not know each other, but you’re already in my circle of people I like and trust. Everything counts in my book, from a mouse to an exotic bearded dragon, if you have a pet at home, I like you–even if I don’t know you.

2. You have a dog.

Of course, if that pet should happen to be a dog, you’re among the few and friendly best. There’s no logical reason for this discrimination, but I find that dog owners (and cat owners are included in this category) are super kind, friendly people who happen to know what it’s like to wake up in the middle of the night because your best furry friend just puked up their dinner.

3. Your dog is massive, drools or you have several dogs.

These are a rare kind of people that must be cherished. They know what it’s like to have drool everywhere, to have many, many towels to hand to a guest as soon as they walk in the door. They understand what it’s like to try to pet your dog but your arms don’t reach around his girth. They know what it’s like to have such dog try to get on your lap because they don’t understand that they’re not a puppy and weigh around 150 lbs. They understand about being outnumbered at walk-time and know that the couch is theirs only for periods of time.

 

I find these are rare, precious individuals who have loving, warm hearts and aren’t afraid of a little dirt. They may not keep up with current fashion trends, but they know everything about trying to keep a house from smelling of dog and giving up during spring when said dog (or dogs) are perpetually wet.

Dog people understand like few can.

So, if you find yourself watching the beautiful parabolic arch of drool going from your furry friend’s mouth through the air into your cup of tea…don’t scream in frustration. Come and tell me all about it.

Trust me. I’ve been there.

 

 

Animal compassion

This one is self-gratification at its worst. It really shouldn’t be on the blog and I should be more disciplined than to add this on. But I just couldn’t resist.

What I eat in a day…

Before I started eating vegan, I wondered how people did it. What do they eat for breakfast? How do you think of what to eat for lunch? What about dinner? Now, after a couple of months of doing this, it’s becoming pretty regular and routine for me.

I thought I’d share what I eat in a day. Please keep in mind, I’m very new at this and certainly no dietary genius. I like it, it’s easy to make and it’s vegan. Those are my requirements. We’re not talking Martha Stewart here.

Breakfast

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This is my breakfast. Oatmeal with almond milk, with hemp hearts, walnuts, blueberries and a dash of maple syrup. Yum!

Coffee is the best part of breakfast!

Coffee is the best part of breakfast!

Of course, there’s a large cup of coffee in there as well. 🙂

 

Lunch

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This is going to look a bit odd because I added nutritional yeast before taking the picture but there are roasted peppers in there, with roasted chickpeas, roasted portobello mushrooms, corn, spinach and rice…oh and a banana for desert!

 

Supper

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This one is my fruit smoothie and it’s so yummy, it’s like a treat.

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This is my rapini soup. It’s super healthy and really tastes awesome…if you like rapini.

 

That’s what I ate today. If you want any of these concoctions, let me know and I’ll share my recipes!

Warning: feral dog ahead

Here’s my protective, watch-dog, River busy guarding our home.

River hard at work

River hard at work

Here’s a close up of the dangerous fiend.

Notice the eyes are half-closed....

Notice the eyes are half-closed….

He’s sadly neglected as well as vicious…

That's my hand trying to wake him up...and not working.

That’s my hand trying to wake him up…and not working.

Yeap. He’s super-dangerous, this one.

More healthy cooking

The last healthy recipe was such a success, I thought I’d share two that I’m loving right now and are super easy. One is a lentil stew and it’s actually so delicious I keep eating it over and over. More to the point, my suspicious hubby tried it and absolutely loved it.

Aaaannndddd…it’s super easy to make. Only 3 steps!

There’s no link for this one. I got the recipe from my European ancestors, so if you try it, you’re tasting European goodness.

Lentil Stew

Ingredients:

2 carrots (cleaned and peeled)

1 large onion (peeled and diced)

2 bay leaves (Don’t skip this one. It’s magically important)

2 cups of green lentils

6-9 cups of water (you can change this for your favourite broth and it’ll work even better)

1 tablespoon of garlic (Don’t be shy with this one either)

salt and pepper to taste

 

Steps:

1. In a large pot add the onion, carrots, lentils, garlic, bay leaves and broth (basically everything but the salt and pepper).

2. Bring it to a boil and let it simmer for 40 – 50 minutes or until the lentils are soft.

3. Check it during the process and give it a loving stir. If it looks like it’s sticking, add more water or broth. Add salt and pepper in there some time.

That’s it! When it’s done, it’ll look something like this.

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It might not look it, but it’s super yummy and awesome for you. Lentils are a superfood. They’re great sources of iron, protein and fibre!

Super Yummy Smoothie

This one is another of my favourites that I just keep eating. It’s basically a fruit smoothie. Sooo good. You can do all sorts of things with the results, like freeze it and have it for kids as super healthy ice cream, or just as a refreshing snack. I love it and love even more all the vitamins I know I’m getting with this one.

Ingredients:

3 oranges (I love these, that’s why I add so many)

1 ripe pear (my favourites are D’Anjou pears but any will do)

1 apple (I use MacIntosh but any will work)

4 spoons of frozen strawberries (super good…so add a couple more!)

3 spoons of frozen blueberries (berries are another super food, so feel free to add more)

 

Steps:

1. Cut up and peel all the fruits

This is just the start with the fruits all in the blender

This is just the start with the fruits all in the blender

2. Add the oranges first (it makes it easier on the blender). Then the rest of the fruits. If you find they don’t fit (like mine didn’t) then blend away to make room.

 

After blending to make room

After blending to make room

In go the frozen strawberries

In go the frozen strawberries. And I didn’t add a picture but don’t forget the blueberries

This is the final product...so good!

This is the final product…so good!

3. Enjoy!

If you try these, give me a shout and let me know how they worked out for you!