DDD #147 – Vegan Hot & Dry Wuhan Noodles

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This is not a very traditional version of this dish but – given grocery stores during the Coronavirus pandemic – I just sorta winged it with what I had available.

Wuhan was the early epicenter of this virus so I Googled it & found that their traditional dish is Wuhan Hot & Dry Noodles.  They looked & sounded great so here is my humble version.  Expect a more traditional version in the near future.

Click the image below to watch the video.

Vegan Hot & Dry Wuhan Noodles

serves 2

INGREDIENTS

9 oz dry noodles

4 TBS tahini sauce

2 – 4 garlic cloves – minced

2 TBS good quality balsamic vinegar (optional)

2 TBS sesame oil

2 TBS dark (black) soy sauce (or regular)

2 TBS light (thin) soy sauce (or regular)

1 TBS sambal oelek (or hot chili oil to taste)

Pinch Chinese 5 spice

1 tsp sugar

1-2 TBS peanut butter

GARNISH – black and/or white sesame seeds, chopped scallions

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DIRECTIONS

Cook the noodles.

Whisk the sauce ingredients together.

Drain the noodles & toss with the sauce – using a quantity to suit your taste.

Garnish – devour!

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DDD #146 – Vegan Tamales & Neil Hamburger

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OK – this episode features the awesome Neil Hamburger, local comedian, song man, magician & lounge act.  Neil happens to be vegan & so I invited him to make tamales on my channel.  Tamales have always intimidated me & I have never attempted making them myself.  Don’t let the length of this episode frighten you.  It is not long because it was hard to make tamales but because Neil is a fascinating conversationalist.

Click the image below to watch us make tamales from scratch, discuss vermin-infested chili factories, Greek cheese & serial killer yard sale finds, Tiffany Amber Thiessen – and more!


Vegan Tamales

This will make about 8-12 tamales – depending on how large you make them.  Depending on how fat they are – you might have extra stuffing ingredients.

INGREDIENTS

1 large package of corn husks (get more than you need because lots of them will be too small or torn) – soaked in warm water for an hour

4 cups masa flour

1 cup corn grits

6 cups vegan stock

1 package of soyrizo or other vegan chorizo – minced (optional)

Vegan grated cheese

1 cup (2 sticks) vegan butter

1 4oz can of diced green chilies

for mushrooms

1/2 lib sliced mushrooms

olive oil

4 garlic cloves – chopped

1 tsp ground cumin

pinch chili powder

S&P

for the black beans

1 15oz can black beans

1 bay leaf

1/2 tsp garlic powder

pinch of chili powder

GARNISH OPTIONS – rice, beans, salsa, cheese, guacamole, lime wedges, sliced avocado, pico de gallo, cilantro

DIRECTIONS

for the mushrooms

Heat a little olive oil in a saute pan.  Add the mushrooms, cumin & chili powder & saute until soft.  Mix in the garlic & saute another minute or so.  S&P to taste.  Set aside to cool.

for the beans

Drain the beans.  In a stock pan, heat them & stir in the bay leaf, garlic powder & chili powder.  Set aside to cool.

for the tamales

In a large bowl, mash 2/3 of the butter & then smoosh in a cup of masa flour.  Add 1 cup of stock & combine.  Add the remaining 3 cups of masa & 3 cups of stock – one cup of each at a time – alternating.  ! cup masa – one cup stock.  Combine.  Repeat.  When all four cups of masa & stock are blended with the butter, add the rest of the butter & the cup of grits and the can of green chilies.  Combine – only using as much stock as you need to keep it in a cookie dough consistency.  It should not be soupy.

To assemble the tamales – find a large & untorn husk and put it on the counter – small side on the bottom – wide at the top. (The video will show this far better than I can explain in words.)  Then, put a small handful of masa in it. Pat it flat & add a small amount of whatever fillings you like in any combination you prefer.  Again – watch the video to see Neil expertly assemble a few of these.  Then – fold the bottom up – folding the masa from the bottom over some filling.  Fold the sides in pressing the masa over the filling from the sides.  Basically, create a veggie-stuffed masa Twinkie, then fold the bottom of the husk up, fold one side in & then the other.  If they are overstuffed & squirting out the top, simply double wrap them but put the open end on the bottom so the bottom fold encloses the opening.  Video shows this clearly.  Then 0 you can move on & make the rest or use a strip of husk (or kitchen twine) to tie them shut.  Repeat until all the masa is gone.

Neil steamed his tamales in his electric steamer for 65 minutes.  I steamed mine in an Instant Pot for 45 minutes.  I steamed mine upright.  I used a little terra cotta pot to keep mine upright. Neil steamed his flat.

Now – you can let them cool & freeze them for the future or eat them immediately – garnished as you like.  See?  Not hard at all!

 

 

DDD #145 – Crown & Paw Pet Portrait Unboxing

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Click the image below to watch the unboxing.

DDD #144 – Much Love Animal Rescue & BH90210 Cast

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CULVER CITY, CALIFORNIA – OCTOBER 17: Christine Elise attends the Much Love Animal Rescue 3rd Annual Spoken Woof Benefit at Microsoft Lounge on October 17, 2019 in Culver City, California. (Photo by Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images)

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DDD #143 – Cirque Du Macabre Vegan Chili for a Chili Cook-Off – for the Instant Pot or Slow Cooker

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So – this weekend, I entered a Chili Cook-off!  There were only two vegan entries of the 14 adults competing & it was meat chilis that won the chili titles but I won for best presentation.  Check it out!

Click the image below to watch this on my Youtube channel.


It was a lot of fun & it raised money for the Downtown Women’s Shelter.   Kids competed, too!

Homemade Chili Powder

2 TBS smoked paprika

2 tsp oregano

2 tsp ground cumin

2 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

Mix & store in a jar.

Cirque Du Macabre Vegan Chili 

Serves a fuckton!

INGREDIENTS

1 TBS olive oil

2 each – Anaheim, Pasilla & Jalapeno peppers (I used 3 large jalapeno peppers)

2 small sweet potatoes – peeled & cubed

3 ears of unshucked corn or 2 (15 oz) cans of corn kernels

2 celery stalks – chopped

1 large onion (I used 1/2 white & 1/2 sweet onions) – diced

2 red bell peppers

1 TBS chili powder (recipe for homemade is above)

28oz can crushed or diced tomatoes (I used San Marzano)

2 TBS hoisin or BBQ sauce

2 TBS chipotle in adobo – minced

2 TBS vegan bouillon (I used vegan beef bouillon)

1 (4oz) can hot diced jalapenos (optional)

1 (4oz) can mild diced chilis

5 (15oz) cans of beans (I used a mixture of chili beans, light red kidney beans & black beans)

3 lbs vegan ground beef

8-10 large vegan sausages (Beyond Meat are the best)

2 (12oz) tubes vegan chorizo (soyrizo)

4 cups of water

GARNISHES: chopped cilantro, shredded vegan cheese, diced onion, chopped scallions, crushed corn chips, rice, corn bread, hot sauce

DIRECTIONS

I charred all the peppers (Anaheim, Pasilla, red bell & jalapeno) on a grill until the skins were black.  I did the same with the corn.  I put the peppers in a closed container to cool & then peeled & seeded them under cold water.  I shucked the corn.  You need not roast the peppers & corn but it adds a lovely smokiness.  Cool & chop.  Cut the grilled corn from the cobs.

I cooked the sausages on an outdoor grill.  Cook yours as you please.  Cool & chop.

Heat the olive oil in an Instant Pot or on the stove.  Saute the onions & celery until soft.  Add the chili powder & saute a minute.  Add the ground beef & brown it.

If using a slow cooker, transfer the meat from the stove to it.

Now – add everything else or as much as fits in your slow cooker of Instant pot (minding the maximum capacity line).  If it all cannot fit – leave out a few cans of beans.

Slow cooker – cook on high for 4 hours.  Add remaining beans – if they fit – & heat through.

Instant Pot – pressure cook for 45 minutes.  Add any beans you have left & stir to heat them through.

Serve!

 

DDD #141 – Vegan Spicy Thai Basil Noodles with Sesame & Garlic

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2019

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This is yet another easy one.  It comes together in ten minutes & it is really flavorful.

I used jarred ginger & this chili oil below is available at Asian markets but also at most large supermarkets in the Asian food aisle.   Fresh ginger is available in most stores, too, if you can’t find this very convenient jarred stuff.  The real key here is the Thai basil as it packs a real flavor punch & tastes distinctly different from regular basil – but regular basil will do if it is all you have access to.

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Spicy Thai Basil Noodles with Sesame and Garlic

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS

1 pound noodles (even spaghetti works)

2 TBS sesame oil

4 TBS ginger

8 garlic cloves – minced

4 TBS soy sauce or tamari

4 TBS balsamic vinegar

2 TBS agave nectar (or sugar)

1 TBS chili oil (or another TBS of sesame oil & 2 tsp crushed red pepper)

1 cup Thai basil – chopped

2 scallions – sliced

A handful of crushed nuts ( I used almonds – peanuts are more traditional) – optional

Vegetables are optional but I added 1 carrot cut into matchsticks & a dozen or so sugar snap peas.  Other options: broccoli, red bell pepper, zucchini, edamame, bok choy, or any veggies you fancy.

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the sesame oil over medium-high heat & saute the ginger & garlic for one minute. BEWARE OF SPLATTERING OIL!   If you are using sesame oil & crushed red pepper rather than chili oil – add them to the pan, too.  Stir & whisk in the soy sauce, balsamic, agave, and chili oil.

If using regular pasta – add the vegetables you are using in the final 1-3 minutes of the noodle cooking time – depending on the density of the veggies.  Drain & toss with the sesame oil mixture.

You can let these sit for an hour & really soak up the flavors & serve at room temperature – or eat them warm.  When you are ready to eat – toss in the basil & scallions & stir well.  Add nuts & you are good to go!

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DDD #140 – Violife Vegan Cheese Review (Sharp Cheddar, Feta & Parmesan)

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2019

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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DDD #138 and #139 – Trick or Treat Studios Chucky Unboxing & a 90210 Interview

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2019

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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DDD #137 – Vegan Chicken & Eggplant Casserole

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Vegan Chicken & Eggplant Casserole

Feeds 4-6

INGREDIENTS

8 vegan chicken patties (like Boca or Quorn)

1 large eggplant – sliced 1/4-1/2 inch slices & sprayed with cooking spray

24 ounce or more pasta sauce (I used Rao’s Spicy Arrabbiata) (my recipe for homemade is HERE)

12-16 ounces vegan mozzarella (at least half of it grated)

Basil for garnish

DIRECTIONS

Make sauce – if you are using homemade.

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Grill the eggplant slices on both sides on a grill or in a grill pan.

Assembly instruction is not really important – as long as you have about 1/2 the sauce & 1/4 of the grated mozzarella left to top the casserole.

Layer 1/4 of the sauce in a casserole pan.  Layer 4 chicken patties, all the eggplant & then about 1/2 the cheese.  Top with another 1/4 of the sauce & the remaining 4 chicken patties.  Top with the rest of the sauce & as much grated mozzarella as you like.

Bake for 30-45 minutes or until it is heated through & the cheese is melted.

Serve garnished with fresh chopped basil.

 

DDD #136 – Keto Vegan Sausage & Kale Soup with Spinach

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To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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Keto Vegan sausage & Kale Soup with Spinach

Serves 8

INGREDIENTS

8 or more vegan sausages (I used Beyond Meat)

1 head kale – tough ribs removes & the leaves chopped

1 pound spinach

2 TBS olive oil

1 onion – chopped

2 red bell peppers – seeded & chopped

2 poblano peppers – seeded & chopped

8 celery stalks – chopped

2 tsp dry basil

1 tsp dry oregano

1 tsp crushed red pepper (optional)

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary

8-10 cups vegan stock

S&P

Fresh basil as garnish

DIRECTIONS

Cook the sausages (removing skins if you prefer) in a skillet until browned.  Set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot.  Add the onion, bell peppers, celery, and poblano peppers & saute until soft.  Add the dry basil, cumin, oregano, crushed red pepper, and rosemary and stir to combine.

Add the sausage, kale & stock & heat through.  Season with S&P.

When ready to serve, put a handful of raw spinach in each bowl & ladle the hot soup on top.  Garnish with fresh basil.

 

 

DDD #135 – Vegan Shepherd’s Pie with Mashed Cauliflower

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To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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Vegan Shepherd’s Pie with Mashed Cauliflower

Feeds 6

INGREDIENTS

12 ounces soyrizo (or other faux meat)

14 ounces Beyond Sausage (or other faux meat)

4 cups mixed veggies (I used a combination of frozen corn, peas, lima beans)

1 med-large head cauliflower – cut into florets

2 medium red potatoes (optional)

8 oz mushrooms – sliced

1 leek – white part sliced

1/4 onion – diced

vegan butter (2-4 TBS)

vegan milk (1/4 cup or more)

S&P

DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Boil the cauliflower & potatoes (if using) until soft.  Drain & set aside.

Heat a TBS or so of vegan butter (or other oil) and saute mushrooms & onion until both are browned & soft.  Set aside.

Melt a TBS or so of vegan butter (or other oil) and saute the leek until soft.  Set aside.

Saute the faux meats together until heated all the way through (primarily to cook the Beyond Sausage & drain some grease).  If you are using other meats than Beyond sausage – there is no reason to precook them.

Mix the faux meat with the mushrooms & onion.

Mash the cauliflower & potato mix with the leeks & about 1/4 cup of vegan milk & 2 TBS or more of vegan butter.  Season with S&P.

Assemble the shepherd’s pie by putting the faux meat mix on the bottom of a casserole pan (I divided mine between two smaller pans (see above).  Top with whatever veggies you are using & then top with the mashed cauliflower.

Bake for about 30 minutes or until heated through.  Serve!  I plated mine as double-decker stacks so it looked prettier & more substantial.

 

 

DDD #133 – Vegan Keto Curry Soup with Cauliflower Rice & Kale

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Vegan Keto Curry Soup with Cauliflower Rice & Kale

Feeds 6 very well

INGREDIENTS

1-2 TBS olive oil

I onion – diced

1 head of kale – ribs removed & chopped

1 head of cauliflower

8 carrots – chopped

5-6 ounces coconut milk

8-10 cups vegan stock

4 garlic cloves – chopped

2 TBS curry powder

1 tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp turmeric

1 tsp crushed red pepper

DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 400 degrees.

Cut the cauliflower into florets & spray with cooking spray (or toss in a little oil).  Roast at 400 for about 30 minutes.  Once cooled, rice the cauliflower by pulsing a few times in a food processor or using the grater blade.  Or – grate the cauliflower manually.  Set aside.

Heat 1-2 TBS olive oil & saute the onions until soft.  Add the garlic & spices & stir for a minute.  Add all the other ingredients & bring to a boil.  Simmer until the carrots are tender.  Season with S&P.  Add more water or stock if it gets too thick.

Serve!

 

DDD #132 – Hearty Vegan Beef & Vegetable Stew

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To watch the video – click the image above.

There are about an infinity of ingredients in this stew – most of which can be eliminated without a negative impact on this dish.  I happened to have all but mushrooms, an onion & carrots on hand.  If you are missing an ingredient or two (or three) – I think you will still like the results.

I used those vegetarian bouillon cubes above but I am going to stop buying them.  They contain palm oil & an obscene sodium content so – I will be moving on to Better Than Bouillon, when my supply of these runs out.

I served my stew over mashed cauliflower.   When I was done eating – I mixed the leftover mashed cauliflower directly into the stew.  This had the effect of making it seem thicker & denser – but it is just cauliflower – so it actually lightens the dish up.

**NOTE – I made this in a slow cooker (on high) while I hiked.  It was pretty much done when I returned 2 1/2 hours later.  You could make this just as easily stove top – maybe in less time.  Just bring to a boil & simmer until the veggies are cooked.  To thicken it – return it to a boil.  Whisk 1/4 cup cornstarch into some hot water & add to the boiling stew.  It should thicken nicely.  If not – do it again.  Add water if it gets too thick.

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Hearty Vegan Beef & Vegetable Stew for the Slow Cooker

Serves 6 or more

INGREDIENTS (VERY flexible – both in what you use & quantity)

Olive oil (or the cooking oil of your choice)

1 (9 oz) vegan ground beef (or more) – I recommend Beyond Meat

1 package (or more) of Gardein Beefless Tips (or your favorite vegan cubed steak)

1 onion – diced

2 Portobello mushroom – cut up (or whatever mushrooms you prefer)

4 carrots – sliced

2 jalapenos – diced (optional)

1-2 cups cubed white-fleshed potato of any variety (I don’t peel my potatoes)

1 small sweet potato – cubed (I don’t peel my potatoes)

2 celery stalks – chopped

4 radishes – cubed (I only used them because I had them so they are very optional)

2 tomatoes – diced (or a cup of canned diced tomatoes)

2-6 garlic cloves – minced

5 cups vegetable stock

1 cup dry red wine (optional) – or another cup of stock

6 oz lima beans (I used frozen)

1-2 cups peas (I used frozen)

1 cup corn (I used frozen)

1/4 cup pasta sauce (I used Rao’s but you can use your favorite or omit it)

1 TBS Bragg’s liquid aminos OR soy sauce OR tamari

1 TBS dry mustard

1 TBS vegan Worcestershire sauce

1 TBS Kitchen Bouquet (seasoning available in the spice aisle or near gravy ingredients)

Few squirts Maggi  (seasoning available in the spice aisle or near gravy ingredients)

1 tsp smoked (or regular) paprika

2 bay leaves

6 whole coves

1 tsp agave nectar (or sugar)

1/4 cup chopped parsley

1/4 cup nutritional yeast (optional)

1/4 cup corn starch (or more)

S&P

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DIRECTIONS

I really prefer slow cooker recipes that require ZERO prep.  Recipes where you just dump the shit into the cooker & go away.  But – I really wanted a stew-like flavor here so – I thought cooking the onions & bringing their flavor – & the flavor of the sauteed mushrooms were important.  Also – browning the steak cubes assists in the visual presentation.  You could certainly just dump it all in & would probably be just as happy with the result.  Your call.

So – heat 2 TBS or so of oil & saute the onions & the beef cubes.  When the onions start to brown.  Add the garlic & saute one minute.  Add the wine (or stock) and quickly deglaze the pan.  Put this into the slow cooker.

In the same pan, add another TBS or so of oil & saute the mushrooms until they begin to sear.  Deglaze the pan with a tiny bit of water & add the mushrooms to the slow cooker.

If you are going stove top – do the steps above & then put those things & the rest of the ingredients (EXCEPT THE CORNSTARCH) into a huge stock pot, bring to a boil & simmer until the vegetables are tender – not more than 1/2 hour.  To thicken it – return it to a boil.  Whisk 1/4 cup cornstarch into some hot water & add to the boiling stew.  It should thicken nicely.  If not – do it again.  Add water if it gets too thick.  Season with S&P.

If you are slow cooking it – dump the rest of the ingredients (EXCEPT THE CORNSTARCH) into the slow cooker & leave it covered & on high for 3 hours or so.   To thicken it – remove the lid. Whisk 1/4 cup cornstarch into some hot water & add to the boiling stew.  It should thicken nicely.  If not – do it again.  Leave the top off until it thickens.  Add water if it gets too thick.  Season with S&P.

If you have am Instant Pot or pressure cooker – Cook for 15 minutes.

Serve over rice or mashed potatoes or – as I did – over mashed cauliflower.   When I was done eating – I mixed the leftover mashed cauliflower directly into the stew.  This had the effect of making it seem thicker & denser – but it is just cauliflower – so it actually lightens the dish up.

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DDD #131 – Luvo & Hodo Vegan Thai Curry Food Review (Nuggets & Coconut Curry Rice)

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2019

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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Click the image above to watch the video.

 

Dexter – RIP – December 5, 2005 – January 3, 2019

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All Photos copyright Christine Elise McCarthy 2019

Once again, for the 4th time in ten years, my home is plunged into grief by the sudden loss of a family member. Last week, I lost one of the best friends I have ever had in my life – my sweetest, sweet boy, Levi Dexter Gordon. My Dexter. He came into my life a little under 13 years ago – to help me recover from the devastating loss of my pug, Dempsey. Dexter started & ended his life very frail. He was a very sick puppy but, together, we got him right & robust & as muscular as you would expect a Frenchie to be. He cuddled my then senior pit mix, the very cantankerous Girl Friday, from behind so she could not bite him & he was there to comfort me when we lost her. In his prime, he was an only dog, and he was a huge personality – uber-protective of me, playfully tearing the pants at the ankle of many of my guests, unapologetically trying to bite anyone who dared approach me if he was in my lap & terrorizing veterinarians. Together, we drove to Michigan in the winter of 2007/8. He was my companion & comfort during my brutal month there & then spent 3 cold, winter months in Boston with me. He crossed country with me in a car twice. When Sarah MacLaughlin ads guilted me into adopting another dog – I took in twin pugs, Ella & Grisbi. I was afraid he would be jealous & unaccepting but he adored them both immediately. He was there for me when 11-month-old Ella died of a bee sting. When I adopted TEENY Moxie – he was wise & gentle enough to let Grisbi cuddle her until she was resilient enough to handle his enormous energy & enthusiasm. He was there for me when Grisbi died suddenly at the age of three. He welcomed Memphis as family immediately and gave him long & loving ear & face baths. He was there for me when we lost Memphis, suddenly. He graciously welcomed competing Frenchie, Hayden, into our home & even seemed to grow younger in the presence of her youthful enthusiasm. As important as his generosity was to the dogs I adopted into the family without consulting him – the generosity of his soul in accepting & nurturing about 15 foster dogs I have taken in and adopted out over the years was of equal impact. I could never have been a part of Road Dogs & saving doggy lives – if Dexter had not been so totally on board.

Just over 5 years ago, Dexter was diagnosed with an untreatable pinched nerve in his back which left him increasingly lame and, eventually, incontinent. My home became a labyrinth of yoga mats & rugs for traction for him & my bed was a patchwork of waterproof blankets – so he could still sleep with us each night. He handled his failing health with dignity & courage & forgave me every time I got frustrated with what felt like a life of endlessly cleaning pee & poo. I am so incredibly ashamed of ever letting him experience my sometimes frustration with something so out of his control. I am sure he was far more frustrated than I. But – he was a king among dogs & I know he understood.

Dexter was the man in my life for the last 13 years. He was my friend, my confidant, and my protector. I feel anchorless in his absence. Truly. Despite his frailty, he was all heart & bravado until his last days.

Dexter – I love you even more than you loved me. I still see you everywhere and it will take a long time for me to forget the routines that were ours. I miss your love of fashion & your pride in wearing any outfit. I miss you barking in impatience if I left you downstairs & the steps were too much for you. I miss carrying you around and looking at your face as I did so – seeing the total trust there & the blind acceptance of whatever it was I was carrying you toward. I miss your wonky, wobbly run toward me whenever I knelt on the floor & called you to me. I miss the slow & deliberate placement of your stinky kisses on my face. I miss your snoring. I miss how it feels to see you looking back at me. I miss all that trust & faith & love – directed at me. I thought we had more time. I knew it would not be enough time – but I thought we had more – measured in years – if we were lucky.

That is not what happened. You decided it was time & all I can do is accept that. You went in your sleep, on a freshly cleaned bed in a new outfit from your grandmother, Gail. And you decided to go while I was not here. I am torn about that but this was your choice.

Know I loved you completely – from the moment I saw you. I went to the breeder (first & last breeder visit of my life) meaning to choose a cream boy Frenchie from a litter of 5 cream pups & one brindle. I went home with the brindle – the boy with the biggest ears I had ever seen & the giant tummy. I was nervous because I understood the responsibility you represented – but it is a responsibility I am forever grateful to have taken on.

I loved you then & I love you more now. You are one of the very best things that ever happened to me. I am honored to have been your friend. So are all the dogs here and elsewhere who had the great opportunity to know you. None of us here could possibly have loved you more than we do. You were our patriarch.

RIP, Dexter – my baby, my boy, my man. I will forever love you as much as you loved me – times infinity. xoxoxoxox

DDD #130 – Just Egg Review & Personal Loss

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2019

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Once again, for the 4th time in ten years, my home is plunged into grief by the sudden loss of a family member. Yesterday, I lost one of the best friends I have ever had in my life – my sweetest, sweet boy, Levi Dexter Gordon. My Dexter. He came into my life a little under 13 years ago – to help me recover from the devastating loss of my pug, Dempsey. Dexter started & ended his life very frail. He was a very sick puppy but, together, we got him right & robust & as muscular as you would expect a Frenchie to be. He cuddled my then senior pit mix, the very cantankerous Girl Friday, from behind so she could not bite him & he was there to comfort me when we lost her. In his prime, he was an only dog, and he was a huge personality – uber-protective of me, playfully tearing the pants at the ankle of many of my guests, unapologetically trying to bite anyone who dared approach me if he was in my lap & terrorizing veterinarians. Together, we drove to Michigan in the winter of 2007/8. He was my companion & comfort during my brutal month there & then spent 3 cold, winter months in Boston with me. He crossed country with me in a car twice. When Sarah MacLaughlin ads guilted me into adopting another dog – I took in twin pugs, Ella & Grisbi. I was afraid he would be jealous & unaccepting but he adored them both immediately. He was there for me when 11-month-old Ella died of a bee sting. When I adopted TEENY Moxie – he was wise & gentle enough to let Grisbi cuddle her until she was resilient enough to handle his enormous energy & enthusiasm. He was there for me when Grisbi died suddenly at the age of three. He welcomed Memphis as family immediately and gave him long & loving ear & face baths. He was there for me when we lost Memphis, suddenly. He graciously welcomed competing Frenchie, Hayden, into our home & even seemed to grow younger in the presence of her youthful enthusiasm. As important as his generosity was to the dogs I adopted into the family without consulting him – the generosity of his soul in accepting & nurturing about 15 foster dogs I have taken in and adopted out over the years was of equal impact. I could never have been a part of Road Dogs & saving doggy lives – if Dexter had not been so totally on board.

Just over 5 years ago, Dexter was diagnosed with an untreatable pinched nerve in his back which left him increasingly lame and, eventually, incontinent. My home became a labyrinth of yoga mats & rugs for traction for him & my bed was a patchwork of waterproof blankets – so he could still sleep with us each night. He handled his failing health with dignity & courage & forgave me every time I got frustrated with what felt like a life of endlessly cleaning pee & poo. I am so incredibly ashamed of ever letting him experience my sometimes frustration with something so out of his control. I am sure he was far more frustrated than I. But – he was a king among dogs & I know he understood.

Dexter was the man in my life for the last 13 years. He was my friend, my confidant, and my protector. I feel anchorless in his absence. Truly. Despite his frailty, he was all heart & bravado until his last days.

Dexter – I love you even more than you loved me. I still see you everywhere and it will take a long time for me to forget the routines that were ours. I miss your love of fashion & your pride in wearing any outfit. I miss you barking in impatience if I left you downstairs & the steps were too much for you. I miss carrying you around and looking at your face as I did so – seeing the total trust there & the blind acceptance of whatever it was I was carrying you toward. I miss your wonky, wobbly run toward me whenever I knelt on the floor & called you to me. I miss the slow & deliberate placement of your stinky kisses on my face. I miss your snoring. I miss how it feels to see you looking back at me. I miss all that trust & faith & love – directed at me. I thought we had more time. I knew it would not be enough time – but I thought we had more – measured in years – if we were lucky.

That is not what happened. You decided it was time & all I can do is accept that. You went in your sleep, on a freshly cleaned bed in a new outfit from your grandmother, Gail. And you decided to go while I was not here. I am torn about that but this was your choice.

Know I loved you completely – from the moment I saw you. I went to the breeder (first & last breeder visit of my life) meaning to choose a cream boy Frenchie from a litter of 5 cream pups & one brindle. I went home with the brindle – the boy with the biggest ears I had ever seen & the giant tummy. I was nervous because I understood the responsibility you represented – but it is a responsibility I am forever grateful to have taken on.

I loved you then & I love you more now. You are one of the very best things that ever happened to me. I am honored to have been your friend. So are all the dogs here and elsewhere who had the great opportunity to know you. None of us here could possibly have loved you more than we do. You were our patriarch.

RIP, Dexter – my baby, my boy, my man. I will forever love you as much as you loved me – times infinity. xoxoxoxox