Sunday, March 26, 2017

Spring Break: Dog House, Taco Tuesday, General Tso's Tofu

We are finishing up spring break in our part of the world. This doesn't mean vacations for us, it means dogs! We had five dogs this week (counting our lovely old greyhound, Gracie) and two cats at a neighbor's house to care for. I love action time for others because it equates to a full canine house for me. We'll take our vacations later. We're pretty flexible since we homeschool. The weather here has been an even crazier than normal for Midwestern US so below freezing to almost 80 in just a couple days. The weather was fine for walking the dogs though. Most days with the five dogs were 6-7 mile days. Nothing makes a pack of dogs happier than lots of walks together.
Full grown beagle mix puppy, Zoe, on Rob's feet and big youngish greyhound pretty new rescue from the track, Wish Bone.
 I was so happy with all the dogs and how well they got along. I believe working with dogs is similar to working with kids. Things go best when you get to know the dogs and set them up for success. I always introduce new dogs to each other on long walks, while I keep a close eye on their body language. I don't let dogs, like greyhounds, out in the yard to run with smaller dogs. I don't want the prey drive to kick in with sight hounds. I try to keep our house as similar to home with the same rules so there is no confusion. Two of the dogs were first time boarding with us, Zoe and Wish Bone, and they were an unlikely playmates with the huge difference in size, but they loved each other. When their families picked them up, we found out they are friends (small town) so they might be able to set up regular playdates. So fun!
This is how my husband, Rob, multitasks. Zoe is a total snuggle dog and if there is a lap to be had, she was in it.
Zoe was just adopted a few days before she came to stay with us for break, but she was so eager to make new friends (human and non-human) that the transition was easy for her. She is still getting used to being house trained so I made sure we were outside a lot and she had long walks to get some of her puppy energy out.
My amaryllis is finally blooming, which always make me happy.
 When we weren't walking dogs, feeding dogs, grooming dogs, or petting dogs, we were sleeping. No, just kidding, we did have a bit of time to get started on some spring cleaning and I optimistically put some harder plants outside.
Josie working hard on Khan Academy.
No rest for homeschoolers. Josie loves to work on math via Khan Academy so she doesn't mind doing bit of homework during "spring break".
Example of the kids' daily smoothie with our reusable glass straws.
When you get a new kitchen gadget, like the Instant Pot, it is easy to forget about your old standbys. My Vitamix wasn't feeling the love, but about a month ago I started making morning smoothies for the kids again. I used to add veggies in every smoothie, but lately I've been concentrating on the fruit. I noticed my eldest, Parker, was great about getting vegetables in his daily diet, but fruit wasn't as big a priority for him. He prefers savory over sweet so when he does eat fruit it is apples or bananas with peanut butter. I start out with soy milk (something else the kids don't really eat/drink on a regular basis if I don't cook with it or put it in smoothies), dried barberries, ground flax seeds or hemp seeds, some type of nuts (usually cashews or pecans), and then different fruits. This day it was whole kiwi (I leave the skin on after I was them), frozen strawberries and acai smoothie packs I found in the freezer. I don't drink the smoothies because I don't need the calories, but the kids love to start their day with one. I came down with a pretty bad cold and even with tech week for a production, which means late nights, Parker was fine. I like to think it was partly to do with a healthy dose of anti-oxidants in his morning smoothie.
Pinto bean and chorizo seitan vegan tacos.
I think we had our first taco Tuesday ever and now the kids want this to be a regular thing. Usually, we eat burritos at least once a week, but Josie asked for taco shells on a whim. I made them on a Tuesday because party took pity on my cold and cooked us dinner on Monday. I started with diced red onion sauteing in the cast iron skillet, then added Uptons Natural Chorizo Seitan, pinto beans, turmeric, black pepper, nutritional yeast, red pepper flakes, diced jalapeƱo peppers, and taco seasoning. Rob made guacamole and I cut up some lettuce and the kids added Daiya pepper jack shreds. I made a soft taco with a whole wheat tortilla, but the rest of the family when for the taco shells.
Parker's General Tso's Tofu.
I mentioned Parker made supper Monday evening. His schedule has been much lighter during spring break and Rob and I were feeling particularly run down from this cold Monday evening, so Parker came to us and asked if he could make dinner. He said he felt bad about not doing more around the house lately and asked if we wanted him to make a mock duck curry. Well, none of us have made that at home before so I suggested he look up a vegan recipe for General Tso's. It turned out a bit salty so I won't link to the recipe, but now he has an idea on how to make it so he'll tweak it to match our tastes. Served over brown rice, it really hit the spot.

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