Visit with a friend, Vegetarian Meals, and a Missing Dog

Ever have one of those days when you have it all mapped out but things just seem to fall apart?  That was my day today.  I was ahead of myself with the cooking that needed to be delivered this morning and my friend even asked if I could wait a little later to come so I didn’t have to be out of the house as early as I planned.  So I got dressed to work out – thinking I would squeeze that in before I really got going.  Then… life happened, as it always seems to do.  Between a little girl who is not-quite-there potty trained and what can happen with that and getting beds made, laundry done, and reading 3 or 4 dozen books, alas, I didn’t work out.  But, I was still in the game and planned to do it later.  I got to have a great little visit with my dear friend Amanda (who by the way is one of my heroes these days!)  She looked great and just made my day to be able to see her smile this morning.  I made the ever important trip to Edward McKay  because Jake was certain he did not have a single book left in the house that he wanted to read.  I was feeling ever efficient as I chose new books for him while waiting for our trade in credit.  I was reading to Maddie May when I got the call that would turn my productiveness upside down…

“The dog is out, he is at our neighbors house but they are going to take him back and put him in the yard.”

Seems like good news, but still I rushed out of there as soon as I was able and still had to run into the grocery store for things I needed to cook for tonight, but I was still right on track to get food on, MM down for a nap, and get on the elliptical to work out.  And that’s when it all went wrong.  I got home, laid MM down for her nap because she was seriously needing one.  I went to check the yard and once again he was gone.  Apparently the gate on the opposite side was not latched so when our neighbor brought him back, once Tae was alone he just slipped right back out!  I dragged Maddie May back out of bed and looked for that dog for 2 hours!  All the while needing to get back because I had meals to make for my friend.  And one of those meals was red beans and rice that needed to be started early in order to be ready.  Long story shortened, the same neighbor found him and lovingly brought him back to me.  I thought I would cry from relief.  I was terrified he had gotten out to the main road, but my silly little (big) dust mop looking puppy was home and I was relieved.  But I still had to cook 4 meals plus dinner for us, get Maddie May down for a nap (never happened fyi), bake sourdough bread, deliver it to church, help kids with homework, and get Jake to Tae Kwon Do. All before 4:45.  It was 2:30 at this point by the way.

It all worked out, we are all still alive and well and my puppy is back where he belongs and VERY TIRED from his big adventure.  And it is 10:40 and I am still in my workout clothes and never broke a sweat today.  It’s the thought that counts, right?

So what all was I cooking you ask?  I made fat-free potato breakfast casserole (I will post the recipe after I get a report on how it tastes!), 3 different vegetarian pasta dishes, and vegetarian red beans and rice that was a million times better than the recipe I posted before.  I found it at Fat Free Vegan Kitchen , I made some changes though so I will post my version below.  The picture won’t load right now for some reason.  I will edit once I get it loaded.

Fat Free Vegetarian Red Beans & Rice (see original recipe inspiration here) – My version is spicy.  If you prefer a milder dish you can add less cayenne, black pepper, and chipotle.

1 lb dried red kidney beans (soaked over night)

4 large cloves of garlic finely chopped

1 large onion finely chopped

4 celery ribs finely chopped

1 green bell pepper finely chopped

2 tsp dried oregano or 1 tbsp fresh oregano chopped

1 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp black pepper ground

2 tbsp chipotle pepper in adobo finely chopped (find it in the canned items in the mexican food aisle)

2 tbsp Texas Pete hot sauce

Salt Generously to taste (make sure you check.  I felt like I needed to add a lot)

Cooked Brown Rice

How to make it:

Rinse and drain beans after soaking over night.  Place beans in a large pot and cover with water to about 2 inches over the beans.  Begin cooking over high heat while you prepare the other ingredients to be added.

Add chopped veggies (make sure they are all finely chopped) and next 5 ingredients.  Bring it all to a boil, cover, and reduce to a simmer.  Stir occasionally.  After about 30 min, taste and begin to add salt to your taste preference.  Cook for 2-3 hours.  At this point, remove about 2 cups of the bean mixture and puree in a food processor or blender and return to the pot.  Cook for 30 more min.

Serve hot over rice – it is delicious!  Thanks Fat Free Vegan Kitchen for the great recipe!