Friday, June 01, 2007

Camping, Pets, and Food (oh my)

We are back from our three day camping vacation. We "rough it" in the wilderness with nothing but our tents, air mattresses, propane cook stove, port-a-potty, battery operated DVD player, modern shower houses, firewood and mother nature. I did leave the laptop computer at home :). We drove approximately 2 hours to get to RATHBUN LAKE on Friday night and spent the evening setting up, starting the fire, and having a snack before watching Pirates of the Caribbean 2 DVD.

Saturday morning we woke up and it was raining ... most of the morning and again in the middle of the afternoon. We were not "water proofed" in our cozy eating area yet (we realized) and were in no mood to cook or eat breakfast outside so we took a 15 mile trip into town. I brought along a box of KASHI organic promise Autumn Wheat cereal and small asceptic (refrigeration not needed) box of soy milk with a pkg of raisins and ate inside with others at a not vegan friendly restaurant - the coffee was good. :) I did not expect to find much to eat in this area other than the local Hy-Store (a mid west chain grocery store) where I could get the soy milk, some smart dogs, etc in the organic refrigerated vegetable section. While there we decided to shop a couple of stores for "stuff" and purchased a Dora the Explorer cloth key holder type necklace to hold my room keys, a mini twist out pen to sign passes, and some lemon pepper. We were having a good time with the kids so we splurged on toys and a couple of stuffed monkeys that screeched like two girls in a tent having a grand time thinking about all sorts of scary things.

For lunch the rain had stopped long enough for DH and I to extend our canopy covering with a tarp over the picnic table so that we could have a dry place to sit if the rain continued. I ate guiltless gourmet corn chips with salsa, a vegan genisoy protein bar, and washed it down with some cold herbal "sun" tea before heading into another town the opposite direction 25 miles away. My son's girlfriend camped with us this weekend and on Saturday we had to make arrangements for my daughter to see her favorite beau for a few hours. While Melissa was off with her guy friend I went with my son and his girl friend to an antique store, watched Shrek 3 in this town's one screen Victorian style opera house, and checked out various restaurants looking for some vegan friendly options for supper. We found one that served pasta with a vegan garden veg mushroom pasta sauce, vegan Parmesan style cheese (on hand due to a request by other customers), a nice very veggie green salad with Newman's own balsamic vinaigrette, and a piece of strawberry rhubarb pie (crust made with Crisco which is vegan). I was pleased that they were familiar with my request (I'm not the only one in the rural part of a rural Midwestern state who eats "funny") and when I started asking questions the waitress knew what I was after and could tell me options.

When I asked for the ingredients to the pasta sauce, she replied with ,"Will the recipe work?" Awesome I said. I write it here for blog land to see also, I really enjoyed this meal! The recipe was a print off from recipe search. I left an excellent tip and they have no "trade secrets" going on here, just a simple desire to please a customer (SCORE!).

4 Tbsp olive oil
2 cups chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 cup chopped green pepper
1/2 cup shredded carrots
28 oz can diced tomatoes, juice and all
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 jar garden veg style Ragu
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp basil
Fry first 5 ingredients until golden. Add remaining ingredients and simmer an hour, serve over spaghetti. Add a second jar of Ragu to leftover sauce to make another meal.

At supper, I had a strange sensation that my kids were growing up when my daughters friend paid her bill, my son paid his and his girl friends bill and I paid my own ... wow I thought to myself is this what it feels like to watch my babes grow up?! Last night I was checking out their my space pages and I see my sons new name is "I love K***" and her new name became "I Love My Matt!" I also see my daughters young man friend is seeking out what he wants to be when he grows up so he can earn enough money to provide for a place to live one day for his future wife (hopefully my daughters name). After a moment of breathless silence, I realized I liked the thought of more in my family. I do like these extra kids around me ... my babes are growing into fine people. Part of me wants to resist and cling to the old and familiar and part of me yearns to see what's next.

Sunday was all that we hoped for! Sunshine, sights, boats, camping food, water. The swimming areas were closed due to high water, but the kids found a way to play anyways, although in the water they were obedient and did not swim (I didn't ask then to define the word swim though). My absolute favorite new food from this weekend. Dave sliced some red potatoes into 1/3 inch round slices, dipped them in olive oil, sprinkled with lemon pepper, and grilled them until cooked and had beautiful grill lines. I ate these with grilled cabbage (made in foil) mixed with some natures seasoning, a little ketchup, and a couple of ice cubes with a sliced up vegan Yves Italian sausage link as well as a little vegetarian baked beans. I also enjoyed that I had some DREENA COOKIES to snack on throughout the weekend along with gala apples.

Monday we packed up in a light rain and had to set up at home again for everything to dry out. Although DH said that it is less work without the kids, I agree, we had a great time together and it was worth the work. Matt is home for the summer now, sis's school is out and today was my last day also - meowza summer is really here now. DD and I were able to stop at the farmer's market today and my favorite vendor had wonderful flowers just as I hoped. She picked this bouquet which has a beautiful fox glove in it.

While we were camping I must have been feeling those mothering hormones rise again because we saw a dog that looked a lot like our old previous faithful named PUP at the marina. We all could not resist scratching his sides and telling him what a beautiful dog he was. Later in the day the marina manager found us and said we had been reported loving up a puppy. She wanted us to know that the puppy was a stray that someone dumped last week, she had been caring for it a few days hoping someone would come by and claim it, but as skinny as he was .... he's definitely a stray. Well, longer story short the poor stray puppy is now RICKY and joins our other loved one LUCY at home with us now. Ricky is maybe 4 months old and goes in for neutering this coming Wednesday. We are filled up now with two dogs and two cats now. Fortunately we live on an acreage and can handle this. Ricky's story is having a happy ending .... many stray's and breeder "dumps" do not.

I encourage everyone to check out their local animal rescue shelter, many great "best friends" are waiting to give you much love.


Emmy said...

How lucky you were able to find a vegan meal and that the waitress actually knew what a vegan was. I'm glad the weather cleared up for your camping trip on the last day. That is so sweet that you adopted that puppy!!! :)

laura jesser said...

What a camping trip! I loved reading about your children "growing up"... and that they both seem to be making good decisions. And I love the waitress giving you the recipe for the spaghetti sauce, too! How lovely to adopt a dog... I can't wait to do that too, as soon as we get out of this apartment...

Dori said...

Hi Emmy, tanks for that addy of the community garden awhile ago. We were glad for the one great day also!

Laura, so far the kids are making age wise decisions, but they are still very "teenager" and learn from their mistakes as we all do. Fortunately the mistakes thus far are not life threatening or ones that will take the next many years of their lives. I think the statement, "Parenting is the toughest job you'll ever love" says alot.

Urban Vegan said...

Sounds like you had a wonderful time--nothing like communing with nature, especially with your loved ones.

And what a happy, happy ending for Ricky. Congratulations--he's adorable. And you are an angel for the animals.

You're right--there are so many wonderful pets waiting to be adopted at shelters. I find it hard to get excited when people tell me they are buying purebred dogs or cats.

At PACCA [a Philly shelter where I volunteer], even though they and many volunteers and sister organizations try so very hard to find homes for all the abandoned and homelesss pets, they have no choice but to euthanize many. Numbers are down, put they put down nearly 1600 cats and dogs in the first quarter of 2007. And this is just one shelter. In one city. Think of the sheer volume--if only people would properly all care for and spay/neuter their animals.

So let's all celebrate Ricky's wonderful success story. Here's to another fabulopus addition to your family. You're the best, Dori.

Anonymous said...

what a great trip!(well even with the rain) im happy for the new puppy!

Anonymous said...

Your trip sounds like a great way to start off summer. I would have been so excited to find such a wonderful vegan meal in a non-vegan restaurant. Bittersweet I guess - to watch your children turn into adults. I hope that you are blessed with many many more additions to your wonderful family. Ricky is one lucky pup. What a happy ending to his story.

Veg-a-Nut said...

What a wonderful time! We use to camp every year with the kids, but now that they have grown it is rare. We talked to Brandie and her sweetheart about going camping this summer and they both thought it would be the bomb. Yea!

It is so hard when they grow up. I miss my little ones. Well, you have a new fur baby, what more could you ask for. I am happy for you and your family.

Anonymous said...

Dori - Your camping trip sounds lovely. I can totally empathize with watching your child(ren) grow up. You want them to become adults but it is very hard to have the mothering part of your life change gears. My daughter's 21 now and it's really hard for me to not interfere with her decisions.

Ricky couldn't have found a better home -- it's so nice that you adopted him.

Have a great week.

Jackie said...

Love the new template.

Glad Ricky found such a loving home and that you had such a wonderful camping trip. Went to the link and see it is a beautiful place.

Funnily enough the Spaghetti Sauce is the same recipe I evolved myself over the years except I don't use Ragu sauce just tomato paste. I once had some grated carrots over, put them in my sauce and found they really made the difference.

Mikaela said...

Now that's my kind of camping! :)

erica said...

Camping season!! I'm going in a few weeks for a week.

I'm glad Ricky found a home. Ah, kids growing up... I can't wait to get started on my own in a year or two (or three; have to get really healthy first, have my "silver" filling replaced with non-toxic ones, etc etc).

Vicki's Vegan Vice said...

Congratulations to your family and Ricky - he does look a lot like Pup & I bet just as sweet! Your family camping trip sounds like so much fun and I enjoyed reading about your adventures! You sure have great kids, Dori. :o)

aTxVegn said...

I love your camping story. You found a great accommodating restaurant and cooked up some great food, including one of my favorites too - grilled potatoes.

Congratulations on adopting Ricky! I know he's thrilled with his new family.

Carrie™ said...

I was reading along about your camping weekend and it sounded great (despite the rain), but then the ending was the topper! Yea to you and your family for taking Ricky! He will be VERY happy in such a special, loving house. Way to go Dori!

Candi said...

Your trip sounds like fun! I love hearing about your children and your take on them. You have such a good attitude about watching them grow up. I find it sad at times seeing how big Britty has gotten, but I'm also excited, like you said, to see what is next!

Oh, Ricky!! You are all lucky to have found one another. I remember reading about the loss of Pup. :( How strange that this dog that reminded you of Pup happened to need a family!

b36Kitchen said...

I loved reading about your camping trip, your growing up kids and favorite part though was the end when you ended up taking Ricky home with's a wonderful end to what sounds like a nice weekend minus the rain.


KleoPatra said...

Dori, you are so wonderful! I wish i could hug you for adopting Ricky. God bless you tenfold, my friend.

Love the camping story... glad you got some sun for a while and had family time and good food and memories that will last a lifetime.

Life is about change and how wonderful your children are growing into such wonderful adults. You've got to be incredibly proud and they're so lucky to have such a great role model in you...

Great pix, too. Your family is beautiful; your love for one another makes my heart sing.

Back from camping myself!


P.S. HUGS to Ricky!! "Oh Ricky yer so fine, yer so fine you blow my mind hey Ricky! Hey Ricky!"

Tanya Kristine said...

you're so good and Ricky is one lukcy dog! thank you for saving his life... : ) i wish we could all do more...

Melody Polakow said...

Welcome Home, Ricky!! You will have a wonderful life.

I hate that people dump dogs. uugghhhh.. it makes me throw up.

I got all teary eyed when you were talking about your children.. it is shocking how fast they grow up..

bazu said...

Yay for Ricky! Dori, you and your family rock for taking him in. I feel good knowing there's people like you in the world.
And I loved reading about the camping adventures! It's been too long since I went camping...

Mikaela said...

That top photo and accompanying story is adorable - poor guys!