Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The cowardly lion...

 This is John. John is the new lion at the Cincinnati Zoo. He's 2 1/2 and he just got a brand spankin new exhibit in the Africa section which was newly opened this June. He was scared to come out though, understandably. So the first time I went to see him...well...I didn't. Ever the proactive bunch, the zookeepers had put up brown paper around his exhibit for everyone to write words of encouragement:

So everyone did. And pretty soon....John found his courage...

He's cute, no? But here's the thing: since John's been hanging out in his yard with all his new found pride...I haven't been able to go to the zoo. :( So I've yet to see him in all his glory. I made plans to go next Saturday and then this morning....THIS happened:

*sigh* I'm coming John. I promise. 

Monday, July 8, 2013

Zoo Rat

So this past May my local zoo had a bunch of advertisements for Zoo Babies.  For those of you who might not know what this means, it means...babies. LOTS of babies. Cute, fuzzy, snuggly (sometimes) baby animals and let's face it, who can really resist that? Not me. It's been awhile since I've been to the zoo...probably about two years if not more so I was excited at the prospect of going back. First I made a point of visiting another zoo, which is about two hours drive from me.  I'm glad I did because our zoo is a SUPER SUPER awesome lacks one important thing:

Kangaroos.  Well, really almost any Australian animal. Yes ladies and gentlemen, our zoo is devoid of cute outback creatures like wallaby's and dingos and wallaroos. Not even a Koala to be seen. :(  That said, two non-local zoo trips later and I'm not entirely sad about it anymore because what it lacks in Australia it makes up for in...well just about everything else. Like this:

Baby Pallas cats. SO CUTE. And this:

Our baby giraffe, Lulu. Did you know there are nine subspecies of giraffe? We only have one sadly, the Massai Giraffe. Also these:

That's a baby skunk in the upper right corner! And baby flamingo in the lower left. Cuteness overload. And more importantly, THIS:

This is our traveling rhino. So named because there are five...FIVE rhino exhibits in our zoo. Yet somehow there is only ever ONE rhino on display. Somedays it's the Indian Rhino and other days maybe the Black Rhino or the Sumatran Rhino...but only ever one. I'm convinced they simply shuffle him from exhibit to exhibit. A clever ploy to keep us on our toes. I've even gone to the zoo in the rain. Like....serious RAIN

And the snow, but no pics of that just yet! It's official guys...I'm a zoo rat. And I like it...

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Doritos Chicken

So the other night I was hungry but lacking on ideas and since I'm going to be on vacation in a week I haven't really bought much in the way of groceries lately.  We literally NEVER have crisps in the house and I can't remember the last time I even ate a Dorito but since we attended a Fourth of July party at my sisters recently (pics soon!), we have a bit of junk food on hand. Since I had some veggie chicken cutlets and about a quarter bag of cheese Dorito's* I thought I'd do some simple breading. Recipe below!!

***DISCLAIMER: Nacho Cheese flavoured Doritos are made with Romano cheese which is not strictly vegetarian. If you are a STRICT vegetarian who avoids rennet you will want to choose a different flavour. I used them because I had them but would generally avoid them.***

You'll need:
One box your choice of vegetarian chicken (I like Quorn Naked Cutlets)
1 egg (you could use a vegan sub like soy milk but my Doritos weren't vegan so I didn't bother)
1/4c flour
1t salt
1/4c crushed Doritos

What to do:

Preheat your oven according to box instructions. I used Quorn Naked cutlets so I preheated to 350.  Mix the salt and flour and then dredge the cutlets through it. Then through the egg and last roll in the crushed Dorito mix. Bake them on a lightly greased baking sheet for about 15 minutes, turning them once. Eat and enjoy!!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Vegan Corndogs

Well summer is officially here!  After a few weeks of ninety degree heat it's pretty much irrefutable at this point!  Over the weekend I went to the zoo with a friend and on the way we spotted this! The Oscar Mayer Weinermobile.  This is actually my second spotting of the Weinermobile and neither time I was able to go inside. Lame I know. But it reminds me that the fair is quickly approaching and that got me thinking of fair food which got me craving a corn dog.  Normally I stay away from pre-made veggie treats.  I do like Quorn 'meat' products and use them here and again but you really have to watch for soy based items and many of them are no better for you than any standard frozen boxed fare.  Since I didn't have any premade corn dogs on hand, but  I DID have some LightLife Smart Dogs, I decided to try to wing it for myself!

They came out fairly well!  One thing I didn't anticipate was how deep the oil would need to be. You can fry them by rolling them in oil apparently but let's face it, someone as klutzy as myself should not be attempting that! So I had to tilt my oil a bit. You could probably fry them without a stick or just use oil deep enough to accommodate your dog! I also did not have any actual corn dog sticks but I used bamboo skewers left over from summer barbeques last year!  They're sort of long but worked like a charm!  Here's the recipe!

For the batter:
1/2c yellow cornmeal
1/2c flour (plus a little extra to roll dogs in)
1/8t salt
1/2c sugar
2t baking powder
1 flax seed egg* (or the equivalent of one egg in your choice of substitute)
1/2c unsweetened, organic soy milk

In addition:
One package LightLife Smart Dogs (or 8 vegan dogs of your choice)
Oil for deep frying
8 Skewers 

*Flax seed egg can be made by pulsing flax seeds in a coffee grinder until fine. Add 1T flax seed to 3T water and let sit a few minutes until it thickens

How to make the corn dogs:

Preheat the oil.  Mix the batter ingredients in a bowl until well combined. Skewer the hot dogs and roll them lightly in flour. Then batter them and fry for about 2 minutes or until crispy and brown. 

Eat and enjoy!!