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A Meatless Meal For Animal Lovers

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…

Gone To The Dogs

I promise not to be one of those dog owners who does nothing but post pictures and videos of my dog. But… you’ll cut me some slack for today, right?

It’s just me and Buster for a good chunk of the day hanging out at the house together. Between our walks around the neighbourhood and naps on the couch, we’ve got to entertain each other somehow!

Anyways, here he is reacting to a video of a dog “singing” to some song. I’d never seen him perk his head like this before and it was just too much!

I should also probably mention that the picture of Buster and I in my last post was taken before my oncologist kind of freaked out about having a new puppy in the house. I mean, I guess they are not the cleanliest of creatures to have around while my immune system hovers just above zero. But the emotional boost is worth it…right?

My mom then freaked out and said Buster and I have to cut back on our cuddle time. I’m trying to teach him to sleep in his own bed. We both suffer from separation anxiety.

I’ll make sure he’s the cleanest dog ever. Even if that means dressing him in fancy-boy booties.

I’ll be back eventually with a post that isn’t about my dog. In the meantime, enjoy your Saturday!

Disappearing Act

Hi! Remember me? I pulled a disappearing act over the weekend because I decided to take my own advice. I haven’t been feeling all that well – temperature a little high (but just under emergency room high) and a dry cough. In order to keep it from getting any worse I did nothing but rest all weekend. That included not blogging, not answering e-mails or comments, and completely zoning out to multiple movies on Netflix.

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Highlights included taking Buster for his walks in the 25C heat. It’s like summer up in here!

I also made a giant dessert.

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My dad kind of freaked out that I made such a giant dessert while I was supposed to be resting. In my defence, I needed to get off my butt for a while, and what better way to do that than with the lure of chocolate? The layers go as such: brownies, chocolate peanut butter cup pieces, chocolate pudding, whipped peanut butter cream cheese, whipped cream. My oh my, let me tell you, this dessert is off the charts. I know all the layers seem time consuming, but I used a boxed brownie mix (I’m sick remember!) and whipped up the rest in the 35 minutes that the brownies baked. The taste is ridiculous. So many good things happening in there.

It’s also the dessert for today’s Thanksgiving dinner. I loooove big dinners as it’s an excuse to make dishes that don’t always fit into the everyday lineup. Today however I’ll be taking it easy again. I see my doctor on Wednesday but I’m debating on going in on this holiday day. I definitely need to have a chest x-ray to see if my cough is a symptom of lung toxicity, which is basically when the chemotherapy poisons your lungs. I may pull another disappearing act until I know I’m better. If cancer is teaching me anything, it’s that my health always comes first. Obligations are never as important or demanding as being alive and well. Take care friends!

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