An Ode to Tuck

Now that I’m officially on maternity leave from work, I’ve been able to spend a lot of quality time with my first (4-legged) baby – Tucker.

cute dog

He is my heart and soul and has taught me so much about life, love and responsibility in his short 2 1/2 years with our family.

When Tucker was only 6 months old he was diagnosed with a very serious disease, polyarthritis. My poor baby was on heavy medications for almost one year straight – meds that made him have to urinate every 2 hours, made him groggy, dehydrated and essentially killed his little spirit. I was heartbroken. My husband and I would have to wake up with him every 2 hours during the night and let him out to go to the bathroom and make sure he had enough water. We’d also have to cook special meals of chicken and rice for him because his stomach couldn’t digest dog food with all of the harsh medications in his system. During this time I remember thinking, this is what it must be like to have a newborn baby! With a ┬álot of love and patience, Mike and I successfully nursed Tuck back to health and he hasn’t had a flare-up of this awful disease in 2 years! He is now happy, energetic, thriving and he melts my heart everyday!

Since I’ve been pregnant, Tucker has taken on a new responsibility as my little nurse. I call him my little furry E.T. because I think he seriously feels everything that I’m feeling – he’s so in tune with my emotions. He’s also my little shadow – waiting for me when I get out of the shower, one step behind me as I walk up and down the stairs, curiously watching what I’m doing in the baby’s nursery and curled up next to me on the couch with his head resting on the baby bump. It recently dawned on me that he’s taking care of me just like I took care of him when he was sick.

caring dog

His love for me and the baby on the way is unconditional. I couldn’t have imagined a better dog to prepare me for motherhood and show me how to be selfless when caring for another being. Our baby girl is so lucky to have the best big brother, Tuck.

They say dogs are a man’s best friend, but I can truly say Tucker is more than that – he’s family.

cute dog

The Dish: Chicken, Mozzarella, Tomato & Basil

Now that I’m officially on maternity leave and have some extra time, I’ve decided to start cooking new, healthy meals every night. I’m a huge fan of mozzarella cheese, tomato and basil anything, so this chicken dish was very appealing – not to mention easy for this rookie chef!

Ingredients:
– 2 Organic Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
– Mozzarella Cheese – enough slices to cover the chicken breasts
– Handful of Cherry Tomatoes, halved
– 1/2 Red Onion, chopped
– 3 Garlic Cloves, minced
– 1 Bunch of Basil, chopped
– 1 Tbl Olive Oil
– 2 tsp Balsamic Vinegar

Directions:

  • Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Chop tomatoes, onions and basil and add to a mixing bowl:

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  • Mix vegetables with olive oil, balsamic and minced garlic (I buy the pre-minced garlic from Sprouts):

Combine vegetables and mix

  • Brown chicken breasts in skillet on the stove top, adding salt and pepper to each side
  • Place browned chicken breasts in Pyrex dish and place mozzarella cheese on top:

chicken dish

  • Add tomatoes, basil, onions, garlic and oils mixture on top, place in oven and bake for about 30 minutes or until chicken is cooked:

chicken mozzarella recipe

  • Dinner is ready! Bon Appetite!

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