Sunday, September 1, 2013

A LOT has happened ... and a Southwestern Tofu Scramble

So much has happened in the last year.  I had some serious issues, my first foster dog had serious issues, but I made it through to the other side.  So, it's back to cooking.  Actually, I've been cooking all year, but it's back to blogging a bit.
I decided to use some of the tofu I bought a couple of weeks ago.  Both packages expire within days of each other and their time is about up.  One will be frozen and one was cooked today.  I haven't made a tofu scramble in a year or so and thought it would be a perfect "brunch" item for me.  
From my container garden ... yellow pear tomatoes, banana pepper, poblano pepper, red tomatoes, and jalapeno peppers.
I had some vegan breakfast sausage in my freezer that I had made.  Four little sausage patties was the perfect amount for the scramble.  The sweet white onion was from a farmer's market, and the poblano pepper and tomatoes (red and yellow pear) were from my container garden on my deck.  I have to say, I just LOVE walking out on my deck and picking peppers or tomatoes or snipping herbs!
My poblano pepper plant.
I wasn't sure what I was going to do because I didn't have all of the ingredients (or didn't want to put out the required effort) for some of the recipes I reviewed.  So, I kinda did my own thing. My inspiration came from Tamasin Noyes' American Vegan Kitchen.  If you don't have that cookbook, I swear, you must get it.  Every single recipe I've made from that cookbook has been fabulous!
I microwaved a couple of russet potatoes, peeled them, diced them, and then browned them in a couple of teaspoons of canola oil until they were crispy brown on a couple of sides.  I used some of the potatoes to make my son a couple of breakfast burritos. :)
While the potatoes were browning, I chopped up some red and yellow pear tomatoes, a poblano pepper, a sweet onion, and my vegan sausage.  My tofu had already been squeezed in my Tofu Xpress (love that thing) for about an hour, so all I had to do was crumble it. 
I sauteed the sausage, onion, pepper, and potatoes (again!) for a couple of minutes before I added a few spices (chile powder, cumin, garlic powder, oregano, and Kala Namak also called black salt). I stirred it all up, then added the tofu, some nooch, water, lime juice, and Cholula Chipolte hot sauce.  I let it cook for about 10 minutes.
To serve, I threw about a tablespoon of Follow Your Heart Mozzarella Shreds and some Herdez Salsa Verde.  It was quite tasty.  Probably cheddar or monterey jack shreds would have been better than mozzarella, but that's all I had.

Here are the ingredients and measurements I used.

1 medium potato (microwaved, peeled and diced)
1 teaspoon canola oil
Saute the potato until browned and crispy on a couple of sides in a big skillet.

4 small vegan breakfast sausages, diced (was about a cup total)
1 small sweet onion, diced
1 poblano pepper, seeded, veins removed, and diced
 Add diced sausages, onion, and pepper to skillet.  Saute a few more minutes (2 or 3).

1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon chipolte chile powder
1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
1/2 teaspoon or so Kala Namak (black salt ... I found it locally and it was pretty cheap)
1/2 teaspoon regular salt
pepper to taste
Sprinkle spices over sausage mixture.  Then immediately add the following to the skillet:

crumbled tofu (14 oz. package firm tofu, pressed and crumbled)
1-2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon Cholula Chipolte Sauce
Cook on low for about 10 minutes.  Add 1 cup diced tomato and cook for a few more minutes.

Serve with salsa, avocado, fresh chopped tomatoes, vegan cheese shreds ... whatever toppings you like on your southwestern dish.  This would be excellent as a breakfast burrito filling.

OK, now onto my foster pups.  I began volunteering for a rescue group, It's a Pittie Rescue (Chicago, IL area) on April 7, 2012, which was Easter weekend.  I started by going to their boarding facility and walking the dogs.  One dog I walked was Gumbo or Gumbino as he was known to our family.
Gumbo, Kobe, and Jordan in September 2012.
As you can see from the picture above, Gumbo was a natural in my girls' pack.  Gumbino had other issues and we had to keep him away from most visitors.  Gumbo had actually bit a visitor to our home.  We don't know what happened to him before he joined It's a Pittie Rescue, but I would venture to say it traumatized him and made him distrust people.  We fostered Gumbo from May 12, 2012 through September 23, 2012.  I had surgery on September 24, 2012 so Gumbo went back to boarding while I recovered.  Unfortunately, Gumbo had aggression issues towards strangers and he bit a walker on September 28, 2012 and the decision was made to put him to sleep. This was a very traumatic time for my sons and I.  Gumbo came to see us one last time that day before he was put down.  It still brings tears to my eyes because I blame myself, in part, for sending him back to boarding.  
Gumbo wore worry on his face sometimes.  It was a product of the hard life he had lived.  September 2012.
Gumbo may have had fear of strangers and aggression toward them, but he would have never hurt our family or my girls.  Gumbo would have protected us to his death.  I still love this handsome boy and I still miss him.  I do take some comfort in knowing that for the last months of his life, from May to September, he knew what it was like to be a beloved member of a family.  Rest in peace, Gumbo.  
Frost LOVES laying in the sun. He regularly sunned himself on the deck.  This was in June 2013.
It took us a month before we fostered again.  I saw a plea from Reach Out Rescue, NFP for a foster for Frost or Frosty Frost in our world.  I thought he was beautiful and I thought it would be a short foster, as he already had an application for adoption pending (it fell through).  I applied to foster, was approved and have been fostering for Reach Out Rescue, NFP ever since.  They are a great rescue group that rescues all dog breeds and a lot of kitties. 

Frost is an extremely handsome, make that beautiful American Bulldog mix.  I picked up Frost on Halloween 2012.  We fostered him until August 21, 2013, almost 10 months. Frost was starved to the point of being a skeleton dog.  He was kicked in boarding and his hip was broken and he had to have surgery.  This was in February 2012 way before I met him and even before he joined the rescue group.  The broken hip was when the rescue group stepped in and took Frost under its wings.

From February 2012 to Halloween 2012, he was fostered by a former official of his rescue group.  The woman was wretched to all of the foster dogs in her possession as she kept them all in cages that were too small.  She made them stay in the cages for 24 hours a day, only letting them out to go outside to potty, and I'm not even sure how much that happened.  She made them eat in their cages and gave them rawhides in the cages.  She quit the rescue group and dumped the dogs in her possession at the vet's office on Halloween 2012.  It was the absolute best thing she had ever done for the dogs.  They were finally free of her torture.

Frost during his first week with us ... skinny and stained from life in a cage.
Frost had urine stains on the back side of all of his legs.  In the picture above, you can see the stains on his front and back paws. His tendons had shortened from inactivity and being confined 24 hours a day, so he "high-stepped."  He didn't know what toys were for, he didn't know how to catch a treat, he couldn't walk on my kitchen floor (ceramic tile) without slipping and sliding.  He didn't know how to walk up or down stairs.  It was heartbreaking. The first time I scratched his back from his neck to his tail, he actually shivered because the act of giving him back scratches was completely foreign to him.  How sad.  Back, side, and belly scratches and rubs quickly became one of his favorite things.
August 17, 2013, a couple of days before Frost left ... no more stained paws for this boy!
Frost flourished with us. Frost is an extremely loving dog.  I don't think I've met a more loving dog who craves human attention and affection more than Frost. Frost was a reluctant pack member with my girls at first.  He had a little food aggression (which he got over) and was jealous of the attention we gave our girls.  Over the months I realized that while Frost became a good pack member with my girls, he really wanted to be an only dog who got all of the attention.  
August 21, 2013, Frost's last day with us, sunning himself on the deck.
It took a long time to find the perfect family, but Frost is finally home with them.  He is the only dog in a family of four, Mom, Dad, brother (age 10), and sister (age 4), plus a cat, who he is still trying to get to know.  It was so sad for us to lose Frost (I still miss him a lot), but he is being so pampered and loved that I can't help but be totally happy for him.
Sadora, now Keegan - June 29, 2013
We fostered Sadora only for a night.  I got her on a Saturday from the vet's office.  Someone else had been fostering her and boarded her when they went on vacation.  I offered to pick her up to do a house check and adoption contract for her, but her new family couldn't meet on Saturday, so we kept her overnight.  She was adopted on Sunday, June 30, 2013.  Her new family named her Keegan. She has a furry brother to keep her company and is doing well.
Nacho Libre - August 31, 2013
That brings me to our current foster dog.  Nacho is a pure bred Boston Terrier.  He is a trip.  He's about a year and a half old and weighs 16 pounds, but he acts like he is a big dog.  He chases Kobe Bean (my black lab) and Jordan (my rottie/shepherd) like he is their size.  He's a good boy.  His family didn't have enough time for him, so they surrendered him to Reach Out Rescue, NFP.  I picked him up on Friday, August 23, 2013.  Nacho has an approved adoption application and I will be doing a home check and taking him to his forever family this week on Wednesday, September 4, 2013.  Even though Nacho is a short-term foster, he has made a big impact on us. We'll miss his crazy, frantic energy!
I am already thinking ahead and have offered to foster a couple of puppies.  They were born on July 13, 2013 and are a rottie/shepherd/chow mix.  I think I'll be getting them on September 13, 2013.  I don't expect them to last long here, either.  Puppies go fast.  But, I'll keep fostering.  Fostering and adoption saves lives.  I'm giving back and I feel good about it.