Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Tasty Tuesday!

Mom hasn't been eating very good lately and has been having issues so she decided to make this today. She hasn't made it in a long time but she loves it. I told her to that I needed to have an in-season vegetable dish to share with everyone today but she says she's in need of protein. She always wins.

You may remember that I did a Tasty Tuesday post back in April that featured lentils so I'm not going to reiterate the wonders of them here. That post also included an ingredient featured in today's recipe, onion, so please click here to read that post.

This is the easiest recipe ever that I bet I could even make it! Even though it was hot out today, we had the air conditioning on so having the oven on was not a big deal.

Oven-Baked Lentils and Rice with Herbs
366 Low-Fat Brand Name Recipes
Serves 8 as a side dish

3 cups vegetable broth

3/4 cup lentils, uncooked

3/4 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup brown rice, uncooked

1/4 cup white wine

1 teaspoon basil

1/4 teaspoon oregano

1/4 teaspoon thyme

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/8 teaspoon pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a 2 1/2-quart casserole, combine all ingredients. Cover and bake for 1 1/2 hours or until lentils are tender. Add more liquid if mixture becomes dry.

This little lady is THE casserole option in our house. Dad loves Le Creuset and bought this for himself but Mom always uses it for this recipe. This is not technically a casserole dish but a French Oven (Dutch Oven).

Like I said Mom used to make this recipe all the time so when she felt the need to make it today she had all the ingredients on hand. The only problem was that some of the ingredients were a little old like the lentils.

What's a few months, right? Mom hates throwing good food away and figures there must be some wiggle room in the shelf life. Hmmmm. I'm sure glad I'm not having any of this stuff. Let Mom be the "expired food" guinea pig.

The lentils barely fill the bottom but don't worry because this baby will be full by the time Mom puts everything in it.

Mom struggles with rice purchases. I know, how silly but she does. I did a post last year about her trip to Green Fest and how she bought some special rice which she liked but this isn't that rice. This is some other rice she had in the pantry that she needed to use up. There are a million choices when it comes to rice but organic is what we are using today.

Oh no! This stuff's expired too! What the heck is wrong with this woman? She either needs to do more cooking or more eating. Scratch that. She needs to use what she buys in a timely manner.

Rice on top of lentils. Easy peasy, don't you agree?

Can you read what this says on the back of the rice package? This innovative package saves 35,000 pounds of plastic from landfills. How cool is that? Just by changing the packaging, less waste is being created. This is just one of many things Lundberg Family Farms does right. They have been in business since 1937 and are dedicated to caring for the land responsibly as well as sustainably. They grow organic and eco-farmed rice in addition to participating in the Non-GMO Project which is a non-profit collaboration of manufacturers, retailers, processors, distributors, farmers,seed companies and consumers. Mom's rice is non-GMO as are most of their rices.

Ahhh, the onions. Mom put a few more onions in than the recipe called for. This dish is really starting to look yummy.

I told you Mom was using up ingredients for this recipe hence this funky wine. I'm sure there are better wines to use in this recipe and Mom is going to have to buy some. Mom and Dad drink wine occasionally but is drinking wine okay to cook with? I think so but the problem is that if you only need a little wine like in this recipe, what do you do with the rest? Duh! You drink it!

This is what it looks like when the broth and wine are added. It doesn't look very appetizing yet.

All the spices just get thrown on top. Pretty, huh?

And then mixed together. Much better. Put the lid and off to the oven it goes. Phew! Just in time too because I was getting very sleepy. I took a nap while this baked and Mom did laundry. Dad came home while it was baking and could smell it even before he opened the door. He doesn't eat this stuff mostly because Mom inhales it.

After 1 1/2 hours (which is a very short nap), Mom pulled the casserole dish out of the oven, lifted the top and took the picture that is at the top of this post. She usually eats this dish as a meal or with baked tofu so it doesn't last 8 meals in our house. It didn't get eaten tonight because Mom went out to dinner with friends so it will be her lunch tomorrow.

3/4 of a cup is only 135 calories but contains a whopping 8 grams of fiber and 7 grams of protein. And with only 2 grams of fat, this dish is great to eat at any time of the day. That is if you can get it away from Mom. Good luck with that.

I threw this picture in because this is how I spent yesterday evening - riding around the neighborhood in my buggy. I can walk a lot better than I could earlier this month but there's no way I could walk more then half a block so in the buggy I went so Mom could get some exercise after dinner. I still don't like my buggy but it beats walking.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Mom's Favorite Place To Eat Just Got Better!

Have you guys ever been to this place? Mom loves it so much that she could eat there every day, but of course she doesn't. I've never been there because Mom tells me it's not dog friendly. I'm not sure what that means but maybe it means they serve food that I don't like. Right! There's nothing I don't like so I think maybe Mom is lying to me. Maybe she just doesn't want to share her food with me!

For those of you that are familiar with Chipotle, you know that even though it's fast food, it's fast food with a conscience. But what exactly does that mean? Great question! Chipotle just launched a new marketing campaign Food With Integrity to educate consumers about where the food they eat at Chipotle comes from. And let me tell you, this new campaign is very cool. But first things first.

This is one of our local Chipotle restaurants and yes that's a wind turbine you see behind it. This restaurant in Gurnee, right outside of the Gurnee Mills shopping mall, is one of only two LEED certified Chipotle restaurants. But what does that mean? So many things! The wind turbine provides 5% of the store's electricity and while this might not sound like much, every little bit helps. 5% from wind power is 5% that doesn't come from fossil fuels. It all adds up!

There are high-efficiency air conditioning units and that's good news because it's sooooo hot here. Rain water is collected from the roof and used to irrigate the native landscape, just like Mom does with her rain barrel. The debris from the construction of the building was sorting and recycled so that it didn't end up in a landfill.

And the greening continues on the inside of the restaurant. High-efficiency plumbing fixtures save water while green housekeeping reduces the toxic chemicals used. High-efficiency appliances save energy and an energy management system monitors ventilation and turns off lights when it's sunny outside. How cool is that? From using recycled drywall and barn metal, to LED lighting, this restaurant shows just how committed Chipotle is to sustainability.

Mom always gets a vegetarian burrito when she goes to Chipotle and most of the time it looks just like this. Sometimes she'll add a little cheese and some hot sauce if she's feeling really crazy. And did I mention how much she loves this burrito? She loves it not only because it tastes good but also because of the Food With Integrity campaign. Mom was aware of Chipotle's commitment to sustainability but this new campaign put aside any doubts she had about eating there compared to eating at their competitor Qdoba. And this commitment is what separates them from all their competitors. So go "under the foil" to find out where their food grows and where their meats come from.

They source most of their food from right here in the good old U.S.A. Some of their food occasionally comes from Mexico, Peru, and Chile but they definitely have a leg up on most fast food chains. Does Burger King talk about where their food comes from? And don't get me started about McDonalds faux locally sourced campaign. Talk about greenwashing!

Their interactive site is so cool. You can see, by region and season, where all their food comes from. Here in the midwest, everything from corn to tomatoes to bell peppers to lettuce and more are grown locally in the summer which not only cuts down on energy resources but also supports local economies. They prefer purchasing from family farms and from farmers who farm responsibly and sustainably, but aren't certified organic. But what about Mom's favorite, the black bean? 40% of Chipotle's beans are certified organic.

Most of the meat they serve is from the U.S., too. They started purchasing naturally raised beef in 1999 and 60% of their meat is from naturally raised farms. Can any other fast food chain make this claim? 100% of the chicken they serve are raised naturally, without the use of antibiotics. And if you haven't see the movie Food, Inc. yet, please put it on your must see list. Chipotle and one of their pork farmers, Joel Salatin, are featured in the movie. They have been serving 100% naturally raised pork since 2001. Oh, and don't forget to watch the cute video at the bottom of the website. It's short, sweet, and to the point.

So head on over to the Chipotle website and go "under the foil" by pulling on the cord at the bottom of the page. And while you're there, click on the investor tab to learn how you can help provide nutritious cafeteria meals to school children simply by sending Chipotle your junk mail.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Good News!

I was super excited this morning because I had an appointment to see Dr. Barcus at Canine Sports Medicine. She wanted to do a follow-up visit with me because I complete my final laser therapy session last Tuesday. I've been feeling pretty good so I was confident that she would give me two paws up!

But first things first - the scale! I hate the scale almost as much as Mom does. She hasn't been on the home scale in years and only ever gets weighed at the doctor. I don't know why I had to get on the scale. What does that have to do with my angry disc? You can see that I was very reluctant to get weighed and I even fought it a little. The scale is not my friend.

Dad and the nice vet tech Michelle coaxed me up there and then - drum roll please! 16.4 pounds! I haven't lost (or gained) any weight. I'm perfect! And I'm outta there. No more scale for me!

I was even feeling good enough to walk to the examining room. I usually get carried but I told Dad that I could walk. I wanted everyone to see that I'm on the mend and that my legs are working.

My first stop in the examining room was the treat drawer. I felt like I deserved a treat for being a good boy on the scale and for walking to the room. "Um, down here people! I need a treat. It's been almost two hours since breakfast. I feel faint!" I didn't get a treat but I told the doctor that she better give me one after my examination or else. Nobody messes with Stubby!

The best thing about this facility is that there aren't any examination tables in the rooms. There's simply a padded mat on the floor and some chairs for the parents to sit on. Dr. Barcus and Mom sat on the mat and then I walked over to them to get examined. It's very comforting and I don't freak out because I hate those cold, metal tables at the other vet.

That contraption in the background is the laser therapy machine. Pretty cool looking, huh? Dr. Barcus put her hands on my hips and her thumbs on my angry disc. It didn't hurt even when she pressed down on my disc.

Dr. Barcus is very smart and she could tell lots about my hips and disc just by feeling them. I was a little squirmy but that's just because I was so excited. I've been cooped up in the house for so long, leaving only to come here. I wanted to walk around, check things out and smell everything but I had to stand still so the doctor could check out everything on me.

It may look painful but Dr. Barcus is very gentle. She knows that I'm old and very fragile so she only puts pressure on the spots that she needs to. I trust her and know that she has my best interest at heart.

Dr. Barcus also checked my elbows but Mom was too busy talking to take pictures while that was happening. Next time I'm going to hire a proper photographer to document my visit. Maybe Puglet's human could fly to Chicago.

When the doctor was finally down examining me I hit the road. I can only take so much and then I run (okay, walk) and hide. Under a chair is the perfect spot for me because no one can catch me. This is also my signal to Mom that I'm ready to go - like right now!

So what did the doctor say? Well, she said my angry disc is still angry but it's less angry than it was. The swelling has gone done around it but it's still angry and it will always be angry unless I have surgery. The Prednisone took care of the swelling and while I'm still on it until Sunday, she said that she's not going to refill my prescription because it's not good to be on it for a long time.

She also said that my hips and elbow were better. But of course there's a little bad news. My right elbow, which was my good elbow, is now worse than my left elbow. I guess all that laser therapy whipped my left elbow into such good shape that my right elbow got jealous. Go figure. She recommended continuing my treatments on my left elbow and adding my treatments to my right elbow. Dad bought me 6 more sessions and my first one is next Tuesday.

I didn't get the treat I wanted at the doctor's office so I walked over to the pantry as soon as I got home. I stood there and stood there and waited. And waited. HELLO! Hungry Stubby in the house! Mom told me that Dad would soon be making my eggs so I decided to catch up on my sleep while I waited.

Mom took me up to the beach house for my nap. She finally turned on the 'puter because I told her I had to update my bloggie. Every pug wants to know how I'm feeling, right? I really thought I would be able to do a post before my nap but that was not to be.

Like my good friend Tweedles always says, nitey nite my friends. Zzzzzzzz!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Salinger Was In Da House!

When Mom told me my good pal Salinger was coming to see me on Tuesday I couldn't believe my ears. My Salinger? Salinger from Indy? Get out of town! But sure enough, Tuesday rolled around and first Karen and then Salinger and his beautiful mom Laura rolled up to our house. Yippee!

As soon as Laura saw me she scooped me up. She just loves her some Stubby! Salinger was checking out my front yard with Mom as she took this picture. I was so excited, smiling from ear to ear. I had big things planned for Salinger's visit and I couldn't wait to take him inside and show him around my house.

I told you Laura couldn't get enough of me. She knew that I had to be carried around but she took it upon herself to rock me like a baby. I loved every minute of it!

Salinger couldn't get enough of Karen. She gave him full body massages and he loved it. I thought he was going to ask to go home with her but I knew he wouldn't be able to live without his big cloud bed. Silly Salinger!

Karen wanted to hear all about my angry disc. Even though she's not a doctor she totally understood what I'm going through. She gave me a very gentle massage on my back and even talked to my right leg. She told it exactly what I've been telling it but maybe it will listen to her, you just never know.

We played in my backyard and Salinger ran around the house but soon it was time to get down to business. Lunch business. What's a Stubby to do but serve Popeyes for lunch? YUMMY!

Dad so graciously offered to get the Popeyes while we anxiously waited for his return. I couldn't stop pacing because I just knew how good it was going to be. Can you believe that Salinger had never had Popeyes? That guy just didn't know what he was missing!

I'm here to tell you that Salinger loved Popeyes. He's totally hooked and will never be the same again. He couldn't get enough of it and stood paws up on Laura to get all he could get.

Salinger even hit up Karen for some Popeyes! What you don't see in the photo is me sitting on Karen's left. Okay, I'm not sitting but laying on the floor. I can't really sit and there's absolutely no way I could stand, paws on someone's lap, like Salinger does. I so wish I could because I would probably get more food. Karen fed Salinger with her right hand and me with her left. She's the best!

We even had some watermelon because Dad made a fruit salad. Salinger ate just as much watermelon as he did Popeyes. He told me that he likes to have a balanced diet. I get it Sal!

You guys know what happens after you eat a lot - food coma! Salinger decided to just plop right down on the kitchen floor and chill out. Mom wants you to know that the nasty looking runner thingy that Salinger is laying on isn't normally on the floor. It's just there because I can't get my footing on the tile floor because of my leg and disc. I mostly walk on the runner but unfortunately it doesn't cover the entire house so I'm primarily confined to the kitchen from my bowls to the table. Not the most ideal places to be but sometimes I get brave and tip toe over to the stove where there's always something good cooking.

Salinger and I had such a great time! I didn't want him to leave but I knew he couldn't stay all day/night. I'm so glad Mom took a picture of me, Dad, Salinger, and Laura because it shows just what a great time we had. In case you're wondering, this is how I spent most of my days - in someone's arms, being carried to and fro. Ahhh, the life of Stubby!

Would you look at this silly group shot? I can hardly keep my eyes open because the Popeyes made me so sleepy, Salinger is looking for more Popeyes, and Laura is holding my brother buddy Dog! Three hot babes and 2 1/2 tired pugs!

I can't thank Salinger, Laura, and Karen enough for visiting me. I kind of overdid it when they were here which is why I'm just blogging about it now. I've been recovering from their visit since they walked out the door. Mom was so afraid that I took a couple steps back in my treatment because I could hardly walk when they left. I told her not to worry, that I just needed time to recover and that's exactly what I've been doing. I'm back to where I was Tuesday morning and am still eating leftover Popeyes!

Thank you to everyone for checking on me, both here and on FB. I had my last laser therapy treatment Tuesday morning before my guests arrived and I have to go back to the vet on Monday for a follow-up visit. The doctor will evaluate my progress then and let me know if I need additonal treatments. I'm still taking my Prednisone and everyone thinks it's a combination of that and the laser therapy that is making me better. I'm still on restricted exercise, which is okay with me, but some days I just want to go for a walk. Hopefully soon I can walk to the park and even visit my girl Josie.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Sweet Sunflower Sisters!

Wilma asked all of us to pay tribute to two of our favorite Sunflower sisters, Sequoia & Tuni. I planned on doing my tribute last week like every other pug but I got kind of busy. So forgive me, Sequoia & Tuni but know that I love you guys!

I'm not really sure how I met these sisters or how long I've known them. This is what happens when you get old - you forget everything! Suffice it to say, it doesn't matter how long we've known each other or how we met, the important thing is that I consider these gals my sisters.

This is Seqouia. She is such a girlie girl and I just love her in her pearls. Even though she's younger than Tuni she's the big sister. She loves Tuni to death and would do anything for her. Her heart belongs to Anakin and I couldn't be happier for them.

This is Tuni Woons. Isn't she the cutest thing ever? I love this picture of her in her pj's. What is it with pugs and jammies? No pug wears them like Tuni!

Tuni is a senior pug (like me) and she is constantly providing me with encouragement as I work out my walking issues. She tells me that it's okay to be carried out to pee and that it doesn't matter if I wobble when I walk. This gal has made me see that being gimpy is okay and I love her for it.

Even though I'm not part of the Sunflower Club, I feel like all the girls (including Sal) are my sisters. I love you guys!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Look Who's Walking!

A big THANK YOU to everyone for continuing to send positive healing vibes. I'm getting all of them and the power of the paw is working its magic on me. I'm feeling better every day and am continuing my laser therapy. In fact, I'm going to an appointment this morning.

I asked Mom to take some pictures and videos of me when she took me out yesterday evening. I still have to be carried to my "business" destination but when I get there I can walk! We went to see if the poodles were home last night because for some reason I like to poopie on their lawn. I know - TMI - but what can I say? Inquiring minds want to know!

Look at me go! I'm cruising all over the lawn! This is me on our lawn after we got back from the poodles' house. They weren't home so Mom took me back to our house where I refused to go potty. You can see that my right leg and foot don't work that great but they are starting to cooperate. I had a long talk with them yesterday while Mom was out and explained to them that I need them to do what I want them to do.

Even though I'm still on restricted exercise I can walk a little. A little today, a little more tomorrow and before you know it I'll be able to walk to the poodles' house! Yipee!

I'm so happy and I can't stop smiling. I wouldn't be where I am today without all your thoughts and prayers. I'm forever grateful for all the wonderful bloggy friends I have. You guys are the best!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy Birthday America!

Even though I'm still not 100%, I'm going to celebrate Mom's second favorite holiday. We don't have anything big planned since I'm still on restricted exercise plus it's going to be hot and humid today. I'll probably spend most of the day in the house loving the air conditioning but I'll make a special appearance in the car later to go here:

That's just how I roll. Every holiday is a Popeyes holiday! I hope you guys all have a fun and safe 4th!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

I Scream, You Scream

We all scream for sunscreen! The EWG released it's 2010 Sunscreen Guide last month and not a moment too soon. Lest you think that sunscreen is only a summertime product, think again. It should be worn year round because let's face it, you go outside every day, don't you? Did you know that the majority of sun exposure your face receives is from driving? It's true. Mom learned this the hard way when she went for a skincare consultation with a dermatologist. The technician took a 3-d picture of the left side of Mom's face and when Mom asked why the left side and not the entire face the technician explained that the left is exposed to the sun more than the right side because of driving. Who knew?

You guys already know the EWG from the post Mom did last month on beauty products. The EWG Sunscreen Guide is the most comprehensive guide you'll find anywhere. It not only provides you with ratings on sunscreens but also exposes 9 surprising truths about them. I want you to read the truths because the information is really important and will surprise most of you. You can also read the full sunscreen report which includes a letter to the FDA. And don't forget to check out the hall of shame where the EWG exposes products and players that are just wrong for the sunscreen business.

The guide has a list of the best sunscreens or you can search for your sunscreen. Each sunscreen has an overall score in addition to ratings from excellent to low on the following components:


The sunscreen ingredients are listed along with a sunscreen UV absorbance chart. All the other ingredients in the sunscreen are also listed with scores. I think it's great that there's a link to buy each sunscreen right under its picture. You can even tweet a sunscreen or share it on Facebook. How cool is that?

These are the sunscreens that Mom currently has. I say has and not uses because some are not so desirable, like the Burt's Bees. I know, I know, everypug thinks Burt's Bees products are the bomb but apparently this sunscreen doesn't really live up to it's name. It contains, hold onto yourself - fragrance! Yikes! What the heck is Mom doing with this stuff? I can tell you what she's not doing with it and that's using it. The EWG gave this stuff a score of 4 and that's enough to permanently scare her away from it. Sorry Burt's Bees.

But what about the other sunscreens? Mom uses the Kiss My Face stuff religiously, especially the Face Factor. She hadn't always been so religious about using sunscreen on her face until after her accident. The plastic surgeon told her that her incision would definitely scar if it got sunburned so on went the sunscreen and a hat on top of her fro. She's never looked back. The EWG gave Face Factor a rating of 3 which is not great but is okay for now. Unfortunately she just bought 2 containers (before the guide came out) because she remembers it scoring much better last year. She will use it up and then move on to something better. The Kiss My Face Oat Protein sunscreen fared a little worse than its facial counterpart with a score of 4. Bye bye Kiss My Face!

The best news came from Badger. If you aren't familiar with this company you have to check them out. They make a whole host of products for your well-being and they are committed to a safe and healthy environment. Check out their mission statement:

To create fabulously pure and effective products of the highest natural quality, based on simplicity and thoughtful preparation, with the intention to soothe and heal.

To run a business that is fun, fair and profitable; where money is fuel, not a goal; and where our vision for a healthier world finds expression through the way we work and through the way we treat each other and the people we serve.

I love it! The proof of their mission is in their sunscreen which received a score of 1. YAY! And it's for the body and face so it's what I call one-stop-shopping. The worst ingredient in it is zinc oxide and while this isn't ideal, it receives a score of 4 which isn't that bad.

So often people think that for something to work it has to cost a lot of money. Nothing could be further from the truth with sunscreens. While the Badger sunscreen costs more than the brands you'll find at your local drugstore, it's far less expensive than the brands you'll find at department stores. You may have to go out of your way to find good products but it will be time well spent. Your body will love you for choosing products that won't harm it.

Summer is here and the holiday weekend is almost upon us. Check out the EWG Sunscreen Guide before you hit the stores so that you know what to buy. Educate yourself before you spend your hard earned money on sunscreen. The good stuff is out there once you know what to look for.

Personal note: I am doing much better today. I have been walking pretty good and my laser therapy went very well. The vet even said I'm walking better but stressed that I'm still on "restricted exercise". That means I still get carried around a lot which isn't such a bad thing. Thanks to everyone for sending all those healing vibes. The power of the paw is totally working!