This has been a bit of a tough week for me as my Gracie has been sick again. In addition to running from the snake, I also came home from the mountains as Gracie started to squint in her eyes again. About two months ago she had to have two non-healing ulcers removed from her eyes – one on each eye. We almost lost her that day as the surgery completely stressed her out and she couldn’t get her breath. We ended up with her at the emergency vet on oxygen for several hours.
Sunday night, I was fighting the blues as I was worried about Gracie and what the eye doctor would find on Monday. My husband and I were trying to find something light and mindless to watch on tv and there was nothing – until we turned to Animal Planet. There was a show on called Too Cute that followed the birth of three litters of kittens – Persians, Bengals and Abyssinians. The Persian kittens made me laugh. I love their names – the black and white one is Reginald and one of the calico kittens is named Gizmo. The mama cat’s name is Truly Elegant. Poor pugs – especially Harley. The look on his face at the end of this video is priceless. It was the perfect thing to relax me. Be assured – no animals are hurt (you will never see anything unpleasant in that way on this blog). I have laughed about this clip all week.
Thanks to Animal Planet, I slept on Sunday night.
The eye doctor and his wonderful staff worked Gracie in on Monday at a time when no other dogs would be there, to keep her from getting stressed. Also, I enlisted my sweet dad to come with me and stay with Gracie in the air-conditioned car so that I could pull her out when ready, and then deposit her back in the cool car immediately after we were done. The eye surgeon found two new non-healing ulcers on Gracie’s eyes (in different places) and did the surgery – this time with my holding Gracie. The procedure went smoothly and she did not get panicked and hyperventilate like last time. It breaks my heart that I cannot explain to her why she has to go through the pain – and that it will eventually be better than before.
As I was taking Gracie out to my dad and the cool car after the surgery, I noticed a beat up car parked near us, with a chocolate lab mix hanging its head out the car window. I was immediately a little concerned that (a) he was going to jump out and come after us and, at the same time, (b) that it was too hot for him to be there without air conditioning, something it did not look like the car had. I went back into the vet to pay our bill and as I was leaving for the final time, the young couple from the car came into the vet eye clinic, with the man carrying the big dog. I could see now that something was severely wrong with the dog’s eyes. I held the door for him and I went to get into my car. I was very moved. It was clear that these were not people of great economic means, and they were preparing to spend significant money on their precious dog. I was very tempted to go and anonymously pay their bill after they had gone back to the examining room. What stopped me, though, was a concern that it would have been insulting. I am still debating that decision in my head. I have a tendency to over think decisions; at times I wish I would listen to my emotions instead.
I have been working from home this week to be with Gracie as she recovers – and she is doing wonderfully. Since I am home, I have been cooking. I found a recipe for vegetarian taco salad on the internet that looked good.
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 1/2 cups fresh corn kernels or frozen, thawed
4 large tomatoes
1 1/2 cups cooked long-grain brown rice
1 15-ounce can black, kidney or pinto beans, rinsed
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano, divided
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/3 cup prepared salsa
2 cups shredded iceberg or romaine lettuce
1 cup shredded pepper Jack cheese
2 1/2 cups coarsely crumbled tortilla chips
Lime wedges for garnish
- Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and corn; cook, stirring, until the onion begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Coarsely chop 1 tomato. Add it to the pan along with rice, beans, chili powder, 1 teaspoon oregano and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until the tomato cooks down, about 5 minutes. Let cool slightly.
- Coarsely chop the remaining 3 tomatoes. Combine with cilantro, salsa and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon oregano in a medium bowl.
- Toss lettuce in a large bowl with the bean mixture, half the fresh salsa and 2/3 cup cheese. Serve sprinkled with tortilla chips and the remaining cheese, passing lime wedges and the remaining fresh salsa at the table.
I adapted this a little – I used both black beans and kidney beans, and cut out the cilantro (we are not cilantro fans). For two of us, I used about a third of the rice, corn and bean mixture and saved the remainder. The salad was delicious. My husband added grilled chicken to his meal. We enjoyed the rice, corn and bean mixture again the next night as a delicious side. It would also be good as burrito filling.
I served the taco salad with homemade cornbread and guacamole. I will definitely make this again – it was a perfect summer meal.