Nov 25 2009

From The Vegan Kitchen: Thanksgiving


Many newer vegetarians can be a little frightened by the thought of Thanksgiving without a Turkey, but there are numerous substitutes on the market that are much more animal friendly (and health friendly and environmentally friendly, but I digress).  I enjoy a Celebration Field Roast, but many people also turn to the Tofurkey.

I know Tofurkey is a funny name and the roast is actually kind of funny looking, but they are quite tasty and you can do numerous things with them.  You can prepare a Tofurkey according to  the package directions (with soy sauce and orange juice) or you can coat them with melted margarine and poultry seasoning, a la the non-vegetarian turkey. You can baste with Cajun seasoning and olive oil, use margarine and curry, or use an injector and marinate with whatever liquid marinade suits your fancy.

Experiment, try new things and just think about what flavors you like.  I may use the same seasonings as I do in chili recipes and see how that turns out.  Or, I may make it with Italian seasoning…or maybe I’ll do a maple glaze…mmm, so many options…

Roasted Curry Sweet Potatoes

2 pounds sweet potatoes-peeled and diced
1/4 stick of butter
2 tablespooons curry powder (more to taste)

1. Preheat oven to 400 F. 
2. In a small sauce pan, melt the butter and mix in the curry powder.
3. Place diced potatoes in a casserole dish and pour butter mixture over to coat.
4. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 25 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

Mushroom Gravy

1 medium onion
3 cloves garlic
1 package sliced mushrooms (baby Bellas work well)
2 tablespoons tamari
1 teaspoon sage
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth (or water)
3 tablespoons olive oil
Fresh black pepper
2 tablespoons of cornstarch dissolved in 3 tablespoons warm water

1. Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat. 
2. Add the garlic and onions. 
3. Cover and cookuntil soft-about 5 minutes. 
4. Add the mushrooms and cook for another 2-3 minutes. 
5. Stir in the vegetable broth, tamari and sage and bring to a boil. 
6. Allow to simmer for a few minutes and then add the cornstarch.  Allow to thicken and add black pepper.
7. Take off heat and blend until desired consistency with an immersion blender ( or pour in to a food processor).  If  wanted, you can add some browning liquid to give the gravy a darker brown color.

Roasted Winter Vegatables

2 leeks cleaned and diced (can also use 2 large onions)
2 pounds red potatoes cubed
1 pound of carrots sliced
2 pounds Brussels’ Sprouts cleaned (cut in half if large)
3 cloves of garlic, diced
Olive Oil
Fresh rosemary (though dry will work)
Pinch or two dry sage
Black pepper (to taste)
Pinch of salt

1. Preheat oven to 450 F. 
2. Spray a casserole dish with olive oil or coat with olive oil. 
3. Add the leeks to the bottom of the dish and then add the remaining vegetables. 
4. Coat with olive oil and then season with the garlic, rosemary, sage, black pepper and salt. 
5. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for about 1 hour (check after 45 minutes) or until soft.

Contributed by Joe Hinkle
Manager of Behavior & Admissions at Wayside Waifs

Nov 23 2009

From the Vegan Kitchen

Maple Brown Sugar Cranberry Sauce

2 c Apple Juice
2 c Brown Sugar
3/4 c Maple Syrup
1 Granny Smith Apple- diced
1 tsp Vanilla

Cinnamon (to taste; start with 1 tsp and go from there)
Nutmeg (to taste; start with 1 tsp and go from there)
Ginger (to taste; start with 1 tsp and go from there)
All Spice (to taste; start with 1 tsp and go from there)
24 oz fresh Cranberries (2 bags)-rinsed and picked through

1. Mix first 9 ingredients in a saucepan over medium high heat.
2. Bring to a boil and add cranberries.
3. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.  As the cranberries start to burst, mash them to side of the saucepan.
4. Let cool, then put in a dish and refrigerate for at least 3 hours (preferably overnight).  Serve Cold.

Green Bean Casserole

1/2 c Margarine (Earth Balance sticks work well)
1/2 c Flour
1 1/2 c Veggie Broth (or faux chicken broth, if you can find it)
2 T Tamari
1 T Garlic Powder
1 T Vegetable Oil
1 c Nutritional Yeast
4 cans French Style green beans-drained
1 large can French-fried onions

1.  Preheat oven to 350 F
2.  In a large saucepan, melt the margarine over low heat.  Slowly add the flour while whisking it     continuously until it forms a roux.  Add the broth, tamari and garlic powder and continue whisking  for 3-4 minutes until the sauce is thick and bubbly. 
3. Add the oil and nutritional yeast and whip again until smooth (it may help to add the nutritional yeast a little at a time).
4. Add the green beans to a casserole dish and pour the mixture over the top.  Stir to coat well.
5. Cover with foil and bake for 10 minutes.  Remove foil, top with fried onions and bake, uncovered for  10-15 minutes, until browned and bubbly.

Pumpkin Cheesecake

1 container Silken Tofu
1 container of Non-Dairy Cream Cheese (Tofutti makes a great one)
1 can of Pumpkin
1 c Turbinado Sugar
3 T Flour
1 t Ginger
1 t Nutmeg
2 t cinnamon
1 t All Spice
Dash of salt
1/4 t baking soda
2 T Dark Rum (optional)
1 Graham Cracker Crust

1. Preheat oven to 350F
2. Puree all of the ingredients in a food processor (except crust)
3. Pour mixture in to crust and smooth evenly
4. Bake for 50 minutes or until lightly browned and the edges are set
5. Allow to cool for 30 minutes
6. Cover and chill in refrigerator for at least 8 hours.

Contributed by Joe Hinkle
Manager of Behavior & Admissions at Wayside Waifs

Nov 13 2009

American Cocker Spaniels

Though originally bred to hunt game bird in England, since gaining popularity in America, the American Cocker Spaniel has been bred to be the perfect family dog.  And who could resist?  Like the models from romance novels, Cocker Spaniels have looks that make you melt, glorious flowing locks, and the kind of personality girls wish they had in a boyfriend.  Known for their huge brown eyes and cheery dispositions, they come from a larger spaniel family of dogs: including the Brittany, Springer Spaniel, English Cocker and their smaller toy cousins, such as the Cavilier King Charles and English Toy.  What sets American Cocker Spaniels apart from the rest of their spaniel relatives is their ability to be an active outdoor-sy type and equally as comfortable inside snuggling with their human pack. 

They tend to be 15-30 lbs and need regular exercise and playtime with their humans.  And while some Cockers enjoy hikes and runs, others are quite all right with a walk in the neighborhood or time at the bark park.  And their looks are as versatile as their athletic abilities.  Their longs coats come in a variety of colors: parti-colors (dog speak for partially colored or spotted), tri-colored, and solid varieties.  Due to their long hair, that never seems to stop growing, there is a lot of grooming involved to maintain their perfect coif.  But, as with many other long-haired breeds, they look just as cute with an easy to manage “puppy cut.”  In addition to regular trims, they tend to have watery eye’s whose tearstains need to be wiped every other day and long drooping ears that need to be kept clean.  Although this sounds like a lot for one doggie to go through, they get quite use to being combed, cleaned, clipped and bathed. 

And that is really what a Cocker is all about; they live to please their family.  You want to comb their hair?  Go ahead.  Give them kisses?  Absolutely!  Take them on a walk or run?  They’ll do it, because that’s just the kind of dog they are.  They are always sweet, responsive, loyal and don’t mind being silly if it will make you laugh.  For the most part they are great with other dogs, cats and even small animals.  They will tolerate kids that have been taught to be gentle, but they are good at leaving when they are uncomfortable.  They tend to be at ease with all of their family members, and love to follow their people around the house, “helping” in any way they can.

It isn’t hard to see why the Cocker Spaniel has been such a popular breed.  Unfortunately, popularity has come at a cost to the Cocker Spaniel.  When a dog is over-bred for certain characteristics, some other traits fall by the wayside and become problems for the breed.  For the Cocker, their personality and temperament was sacrificed for their looks.  Some Cockers are overly submissive or aggressive.  Submissive urination and un-provoked outburst has become synonymous with the Cocker Spaniel.  Although these are characteristics suiting for some Cockers, for the most part they still remain the merry jester that lives to please.  The best remedy for this problem we humans have created is to adopt not just for looks, but understanding their personalities, socializing them and giving them opportunities to exercise and learn commands and tricks.  Above all else, understanding that with any dog, each has their own personality, like and dislikes.

The Cocker Spaniel has a special place as one of America’s favorite breeds.  Because of their popularity in America, there are many Cockers, from puppies to seniors, waiting for adoption in shelters and rescue organizations.  When looking for a smaller dog with a big personality and looks, consider the American Cocker Spaniel for your next family dog.

Written by Emily Mallot
Vet Clinic Technician at Wayside Waifs
& Mom to an American Cocker Spaniel, Duke a Wayside Alum

Nov 10 2009

From Heartache to Hope


Lollypop is one of 90 dogs rescued from a breeder in Camden County, MO and brought to Wayside Waifs. She is now looking for her forever loving home.

Most of us would do anything it took to ensure the health and safety of our beloved pets.  They are our best friends.  Sadly,  that is not the case for countless non-reputable breeders in Missouri- also known as one of the leading puppy mill capitals in the nation.  It is the greed for a dollar that drives these breeders.  It is the appetite for green that makes them blind to the reality that these dogs are living, breathing creatures capable of feeling sadness, anxiety, fear and a longing for something different in their lives.

Unfortunately, many dogs that have been rescued from puppy mills and brought to our shelter have lived in situations most people could not even begin to dream up!  What should be fur covering their bodies is nothing but piles of matted clumps attached to the skin.  Many dogs have severe skin infections from flea and/or lice infestation.  Eye infections, ear infections and urine burns from living in their own filth are also very common.  Sadly, many of the dogs have no idea how to respond to a human because throughout their lifetimes they have rarely, if ever, been touched by a gently hand.  All of these conditions fall blindly on the eyes of those who are charged to “care” for “man’s best friend.”

Lucky for our furry friends, Wayside Waifs has been a sanctuary for over 360 dogs rescued from puppy mills in Missouri since January 2004.  We look into their eyes and we see something very special.  We see eyes that offer forgiveness, and hearts longing to love.  Our outstanding medical team and saintly foster parents help us nurse these deserving animals back to health, teach them how to trust people, and get them fast on their way to finding loving, forever families. 

It is hope we give back to these deserving animals…something I am confident they lost a long time ago and thought they would never regain.  Nothing is more rewarding for our staff and volunteers than to look back at the pictures of animals we could hardly identify when they came in, and compare that to the pictures forever painted in our hearts when they are matched with a family to call their own. 

Help us end the life these animals once knew, and ensure that those after them never have to experience such dreadful conditions.  Support our life-saving efforts by encouraging everyone you know to adopt their next companion!  See all of the wonderful animals awaiting families of their own at

Watch our latest webisode, The Journey, Part 1 about 25 dogs that came to us last week from a puppy mill in Camden County, MO.

Written by Courtney Thomas
Director of Operations at Wayside Waifs

Nov 4 2009

Kitty Communication

Are You Listening to Me?

Are You Listening to Me?

I recently heard that 73% of pet owners believe their pet can truly understand what they are saying. While I talk to my pets constantly, and they move their cute little heads from side to side as if they completely understand what I am saying to them, I wish I could truly understand what they are trying to tell me.  So I did a little research to get some answers!

Some people feel pretty silly talking to their kitties, while others have no problems doing it in front of others.  Cats do receive information from these conversations: comfort, a sense of security and even praise.

You can get information too!  The more cats are talked to the more they will “talk” back to you.  You can learn a lot from their vast vocabulary of meows, chirps and purrs.  You will learn when its time to get up, when there is someone at the door, and when its time to eat.  You can also learn when your kitty is feeling sick or scared.  Not all conversation is urgent, sometimes that meow from across the room is simply to remind you they see you.

Paw language
You can learn a lot about what your cat is thinking or wants by their reaction to things around them. When I speak to Boo (my 10 year old calico) she twitches her ears to let me know she is catching every word. Does your cat ever arch their back to meet your hand when you pet him?  This means your kitty is enjoying contact with you and usually wants more.  If your cat shrinks or ducks your touch, well this means they have more important things to do and maybe later.  If your cat stops and hunkers down low to the ground, this means they are feeling uneasy and scared.  My cat likes to stand up on her hind legs and stretch up and I know this means she wants me to pick her up.  When a cat has their hair raised on their back and their tail is puffed this means they were startled and on the defense. Most every cat owner knows that a quick thrashing tail means a shift in the mood and watch out!

Be Paws-itive
Kittens are so adorable but they can be very mischievous!  Undesirable behavior can easily be corrected with a gentle, firm tone and a demonstration of the right way to do things.  Always give praise for good behavior, like using the scratching post and litter box.

Older cats can be a little more challenging but it can be done!  A lot of patience and kindness can go a long way to help your cat learn the rules.  I find that a spray bottle filled with water works well to dissuade scratching the furniture.   The key is to catch them in the act so they associate the behavior with the experience of gently being sprayed with water.  Then give your cat the scratching post to let them know what they should be using, instead of your favorite couch.  Again, paw-sitive praise goes a long way.

Watch the signals!
If your cat suddenly stops using the litter box this might mean they are feeling ill, or perhaps the litter box needs to be cleaned.  There is probably a good reason for the behavior.  Tootie (our eleven-year-old tuxedo kitty), stopped using the litter box and starting squatting in the laundry room.  I watched her go in and noticed that nothing was really coming out.  I took her to the vet and she had a bladder infection. Cats will associate the litter box with pain they feel and stop using the litter box.  This is what Tootie was doing.  As soon as she started her medicine she began using the litter box again.

Other things that could be stressing your cat have to do with your behavior.  If you are under a lot of stress, feeling ill or have changed your routine, your cat will react to these things.   Cats’ behavior can alter with any change in their routine or environment.  If the behavior persists, be sure to check with your vet to rule out any medical reasons. If the vet doesn’t find any medical reasons, use the Internet to find chat rooms with other pet owners who may be experiencing the same behaviors.

Every cat is unique but there is a common cat code of communication, a set of signals to help you better understand your cat.  Take the time to have some cat chat.  Once you start, you will learn new things about your kitty.

Written by Trish Stinger
Web Marketing Manager at Wayside Waifs

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