Lucy’s doing pretty great. She’s almost through her chemotherapy now, and will then go on a maintenance dose. Our experience, overall, has been much better than what we anticipated. Chemo for dogs is not as life-wracking as chemo for humans can be, because the doses are much smaller. This means side-effects are minimal-- in Lucy’s case she gets nauseous for a day or two, stays away from food, and then it’s back to getting into everyone else’s food bowl.
As for being three-legged, she does tire more easily than she used to because she is a big dog and there’s one less leg to support that weight. So long walks have to be punctuated by a few sitting-down breaks, but that works perfectly for her walking companion Opie who loves nothing more than to sit around and people-watch, thank you.
Freddie, meanwhile, has been diagnosed with what could be a soft-tissue sarcoma-- also a cancer-- under one of his front legs. This is a less aggressive kind of cancer than the one Lucy has, and given his advanced age-- he’ll be 18 in December-- and limited physical reserves, the doctor has advised we don’t try to do anything to treat it. Apparently he doesn’t feel any pain.
Freddie has been showing signs of his age over the past year, which means he’s slowed down quite a bit, and has some signs of senility. But no-- he’s definitely not ready to roll over and die. He still enjoys his drives and his treats, and he’s happy being the cute old man that he is. They say senior dogs, when adopted, get a new burst of life-- and nothing could be truer of Freddie who adopted us when he was 12. He actually came with us as a foster, and just stayed on.
Now on to today’s recipe, a simple one, but one you can make in advance and enjoy for days and days of blissful brown-bag lunches: my spicy black-bean burger.
The fat-free burger is packed with great nutrition: black beans, walnuts, brown rice, chickpea four, oats, herbs, and a few sizzling spices. What’s not to love?
Fat-free black-bean burgers
1 cup dried black beans, soaked for a few hours and cooked until tender, then drained (you can skip the soaking if you use a pressure cooker). Substitute, if you like, with 2 1/2 cups of canned black beans, drained.
1 cup garbanzo bean flour or chickpea flour or besan
1/2 cup rolled or instant oats
1/2 cup cooked brown rice
1/2 cup walnuts
1/4 cup frozen corn kernels
1 onion, chopped
1 tsp red chilli powder (reduce, for less heat, or substitute with 1 chipotle chili in adobo sauce)
1/2 cup minced savory herbs (like sage, marjoram, oregano or thyme)
2 tsp garam masala
Salt to taste
Put all the ingredients into a food processor, and process until grainy and still very textured.
Heat a cast-iron or non-stick skillet and spray lightly with oil.
Form two-inch discs with the burger batter and drop them into the skillet. The batter will be a little runnier than you’d expect, but it will set and form into firm patties as the burger cooks.
Flip over when the underside is golden-brown, and cook on the other side about 3-4 minutes.
Serve hot with salsa, guacamole, and atop a delicious roll like my soymilk pompoms.