Category Archives: Pets
I have always been an “animal person.” You know the type. The kind of person who grew up worshipping the family dog, who wanted to be a veterinarian as child, and who declared vegetarianism in some stance of teenage defiance.
Since becoming an “adult,” one of my top priorities has been to get a dog. The responsibility is something I never took lightly, so I continually put it off. I never had the money, the time, or the space. I wanted to move and travel too much. Even when I moved back home for good, I continued to put it off because I couldn’t find “the one.” The dog I wanted to spend the next 10+ years of my life with.
Well, we all know what happened. I got cancer and found myself with a lot of time to spend all by myself at home. Then one day I stumbled across the dog. During this dark time in my life, I suddenly have a bright light brought to me every day in the form of my new pet.
I love my little Buster Bartholomew to pieces. But a recent Globe and Mail article called “The problem with loving your dog too much” got me thinking.
I already frequently joke that I don’t want to be “one of those” dog owners. The type that posts pictures of their dog all the time (okay, I already do), the kind that talks about their quirks all the time (I do that too), or who constantly speaks to them in a high pitched voice (oh, dear…). Well, at least I didn’t dress Buster up for Halloween! Although, I secretly really wanted to put a King Charles crown on him.
The article got me thinking about how there are a lot of dog owners out there who don’t treat their dogs like… Dogs. It reminded me that not everyone is a head over heels dog person like I am, who will stop strangers on the street just to talk about the dog they’re walking.
But at the same time, it got me wondering, to what detriment is there to loving your dog too much?
Buster does more than just give me something other than myself to think about for once. He does more than keep me company all day, and keep me active by wagging his tail by the front door every afternoon. He doesn’t care that I’m sick. He isn’t nicer to me because of it, nor does he ask me how I’m feeling every hour.
So what if dogs are a children replacement? Because of chemotherapy there is a decent chance I will be infertile when all of this is over. Maybe loving and caring for a dog is the closest I’ll ever get to being a mom. Sounds a lot easier too.
The article, while a worthwhile read, unfortunately only skims the surface and doesn’t really get to the heart of the matter. There’s a decent conversation that opens up on the comments over how “dog people” should socialize with their dog-weary counterparts. Because lets face it, dog people and non-dog people really do exist, and there really is a difference between the two.
I guess the take home point would be that it’s good to remember that dogs are not people, nor can our relationships with them replace the ones we should have with humans. But at the same time, I admit that I have no shame in loving my dog a little too much sometimes. So what if I love him like maybe I could love a child? Or jump over hoops to keep him happy? It’s all because he keeps me just as, if not more happy. To me, it’s all worth it.
In honour of our animal friends I’ve got an incredible meatless meal to share with you today!
Chickpea Pot Pie with a Whole Grain Crust
I used this recipe, making the following changes:
- 5 cups broth instead of 6
- 3 cans of chickpeas instead of 1
- omitted noodles
- omitted parmesan cheese
- made my own crust!
While there is nothing wrong with a little puff pastry, I really wanted to get nutritional value out of all components of this dish. I opted for a whole grain crust from this recipe, choosing that particular one simply because I’d had success with it before (using canola oil).
I just made the dough and flattened it out to the dimensions of a 9×11 baking dish, then let it chill in the fridge until I was ready to place it over top. As for the filling, I noticed that there was too much of it to put into one pot, so I ended up layering the frozen peas and beans with the hot contents in the dish to avoid having to switch to a larger pot and it worked perfectly.
The results were fantastic! I wholeheartedly recommend this recipe. I didn’t miss the chicken at all and thought the flavour and texture of the chickpeas blended in really well. I was also quite pleased by how the whole grain crust held up. Not quite the light pastry you’re used to, but definitely helped this meatless dish keep my belly satisfied for the remainder of the evening.
Now if only I could convince my puppy that he isn’t a human and his dinner is the crunchy stuff on the floor…
A friend of mine shared this story the other day, and it’s something I’ve thought of every day since.
If you’ve got a few minutes, I encourage you to go read it. If not, I will fill you in!
It’s something called “The Spoon Theory,” used to describe what’s it’s like living day-to-day with an illness. What it’s really like. I mean, we all know that sick people are tired and weak all the time, but it’s still hard for a healthy person to wrap their brains around that. Trust me, I know, I used to be a healthy person too.
The author of the story explains it as such: each day we wake up with a certain number of spoons. Each activity we do over the course of the day costs us a spoon. So a healthy person can hop out of bed and easily not use up a spoon until they arrive at work. Whereas it requires one spoon for a sick person to get out of bed, one spoon to shower, one spoon to find a pair of pants to wear, etc, etc. Basically, small things that we all do over the course of the day aren’t as easy for some people as they are on the rest.
What really interested me about this story is not how it influences the perception of healthy people, but it gave me something to refer to as I used up my spoons over the course of the day. It put into words something that I hadn’t yet been able to explain.
Each day, I wake up with a certain number of spoons. That number depends on how long ago my last chemotherapy was, how well I slept the night before, or how many spoons I have left over from the day before. I never really know how many spoons I’m waking up to, so how many I have to use up for the day is always a surprise.
On days where I have a lot of spoons, I’ll go for walks, visit with friends and family, go to a restaurant. Some days activities require more spoons than others though. I may wake up with 8 spoons, but walking the dog could take up 5. So I’m left being stingy with my spoons for the rest of the day.
One of my favourite ways to use my spare spoons? Creating in the kitchen.
My family are always at me for using up my spoons in the kitchen, but it’s how I choose to use them! Maybe they are just annoyed I don’t use my spoons doing dishes…
I’ve been baking exclusively with apples since apple picking last weekend. Here are some recipes to share:
Apple Crumble Bars using this recipe. Shortbread cookie base and crumble with a just-tart-enough apple filling. My Nana loved these and they are great with a cup of tea!
Apple Butter, naturally. I based it off this recipe using a dozen apples and half a cup of pure maple syrup. It took about 7 hours of simmering to get it really thick. I ended up with four jars, three of which I gave away. One of which I kept so I could have apple butter on pork.
Finally, Apple Oatmeal Muffins! Made in a mini muffin pan because I still don’t have a regular sized one. I based my version off of this recipe and subbed the flour for whole wheat, the oil for almond butter, and the buttermilk for almond milk curdled with one tablespoon of lemon juice. If I were to make these again I’d add more cinnamon, more almond butter, and more apple! Otherwise, they’re great slathered in some homemade apple butter.
All enjoyed next to a purring cat…
My mom and I have traded dogs for a few days. We finally diagnosed why Buster wasn’t feeling well and I can’t care for him until he’s better. Cashew the cat strongly dislikes Buster, but for some reason loves Archie the poodle. Cashew has come out of hiding to rub up against Archie and purr loudly in his presence.
Archie in turn is scared of other dogs, but seems to be okay with the cat. I think the two of them could actually be great friends.
It’s all very entertaining to watch go down as I stand in the kitchen using up my spoons in an apron stained in applesauce.
If I were to add my own twist to the spoon theory, it would be to mention that I don’t think it’s exclusive to sick people. Everyone has a certain number of spoons to use up over the course of the day, just not everyone has so many or uses them up so easily. So while I’m recklessly using mine by chopping up a gazillion apples, might I suggest you use some spoons doing something you love today too. Perhaps eating funsize candy bars? After a week of mostly rest, I’ve got a few spoons to spare, so I’m changing out of my peejays and into my spy costume. Happy Halloween!
Hello! I am back after a day off from blogging yesterday. Weekends are always low-key around here anyways, but I got a dog on Friday and he sucked up every ounce of my attention over the weekend!
I did manage to tear myself away from the puppy long enough to attend a 100 Mile Dinner with my sister on Sunday. I’ve been intrigued by the 100 mile idea ever since watching the “100 Mile Challenge” show on the Food Network Canada. Basically, a group of people in British Columbia committed to eating only food produced 100 miles from where they lived. It was a lot harder than they expected it to be! One hundred miles isn’t very far if you think about it…
Eating locally is not really something I’ve done a whole lot of until this past summer. Namely because local goods are often more expensive than the imported stuff in the grocery store. But when the cancer diagnosis came, I shifted around my priorities. Buying quality food, and knowing where it’s grown, became important to me and the healing process. No fancy green elixirs here, just straight up, close-to-home food.
Plus, the dinner was a fundraiser! We started off with whole wheat biscuits. Very soda-y, just the way I like them. I’m curious as to how many of the ingredients were local. Every last one of them? The journalist in me needs to get to the bottom of this…
Our soup course was a delightfully spiced cabbage soup. I was expecting it to be bland by the looks of it, but it was quite the opposite.
The main course stole the show for me. Beef with a mushroom ragout, mashed potatoes, and roasted root veggies (beets, turnip, parsnip, carrots). The beef was soft and full of rich flavour. The mushrooms added a wonderful heartiness to it. The gravy mixed in with the buttery potatoes was to die for. Of all the local foods out there, beef is one of my favourites to splurge on. You can really taste the difference and it’s the kind of meat that leaves you feeling good and energized after.
Finally, dessert! Apple crumble. A little predictable, but always a crowd pleaser. The dishes were all served in the cafeteria at the local community college and prepared by the culinary students there. I was quite impressed by how good everything tasted for such a large event and at the speed of the service. Despite feeling kinda crappy on Sunday, I’m happy my sister and I were able to pop out of the house to experience it.
I wouldn’t have predicted my diagnosis would spark a local food lover in me. One would probably guess a health-nut like me would have gone for seaweeds and veganism. But there’s something about the idea of meeting the people who grow my food, seeing the soil it’s grown in, and knowing it only took 20 minutes to get to my plate. It gives me more piece of mind than something that was handled a million times flying across an ocean to get here.
Don’t take that the wrong way though. There will always be room for Guatemalan coffee ;)
The dinner was also my first time away from Buster since I got him on Friday. He was at his Nana’s the whole time (ie my mom’s). We’re already quite attached and it took everything I had not to text my mom every 5 minutes to see how he was doing.
Archie the poodle is my childhood dog who lives with my mom. He is quite offended by the new addition. Buster just wants to play and Archie is all like “What are you doing here?” Archie is 14 years Buster’s senior and my mom keeps comparing it to bringing a new baby home to an only child. Poor Archie!