Sunday, January 31, 2010

Special K

Ok, so it might as well be Christmas Eve around here.  The suspense is killing me.  I know that somebody will win the Vita-Mix.  Hopefully me.  I'm avoiding the urge to check CCV's page every second to see if the winner has been posted.  For the record, as of 11:01pm it has not been posted.

Thankfully I saw one of my very favoritest people in the whole wide world today.  That was so wonderful.  I adore my bestie! :)  Plus we always eat when we're together, and you can't beat good food and good company.

Today I tackled another very special K.  Kale already took my k-card yesterday, but kabocha wasn't far behind.  In my infamous cooking style of finding things and throwing them recklessly at each other in hopes that I find success, I tackled a kabocha soup in exactly this manner.

I had Irish cut my kabocha for me, then I wedged positioned it into a casserole dish.  The trusty sticker told me to cook it at 375 F for 45 min, so that's exactly what I did.

When the timer sounded, I checked for some squash goodness.  (Note: I DO occasionally find a use for the oven!)

Mmm, looks delicious....
In my head, I had a perfectly delicious and nutritious thick squash soup.  I just had to get from point A to B.  I've never really made a soup from scratch before, so I figured it would be wise to google and get a general idea for what I was doing.  I think that was a very wise idea, and I thanked my lucky stars for picking up some low sodium veggie broth when it was on sale the weekend after Thanksgiving.  Now fully fearless, I attacked the soup.

Kabocha Apple Soup

  • 1 kabocha squash, roasted (375 F for 45 min)
  • 2 red delicious (or similar) apples, blenderized
  • 7 oz (1/2 a can) of organic coconut milk
  • 8 oz of low sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/8 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • Optional: For a heartier veggie-style soup, consider adding carrots, onion etc.  For a cozier soup, consider adding sweet potato and increasing the coconut milk and spices.
  • Blenderize everything together.  PLEASE remember to vent it well because the kabocha is still hot!  In my experience here, it worked well to cover with a paper towel and hold it in place loosely with the lid (with the hold removed from the middle).

This will result in creamy goodness with a thick baby food consistency.  I like the ultra-thick squash soups, so that worked well for me.

This makes a big batch of soup.  It nearly filled the 52 oz blender, so I'd guess 8-9 servings. 

I fixed a bowl for Irish and for me, and I had 40 oz left.  Plenty of leftovers to enjoy all week!

I have to say that it was delish.  As I eat leftovers throughout the week, I may try out some of the optional versions and report back on how well they work.

First a kale fan, now a kabocha fan.  These K foods are certainly earning a place in my heart.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Taking my k-card

Forget the v-card, I lost my k-card tonight.  That's right, I was a kale virgin before today.  Not anymore, and I didn't approach it timidly either.  I figure you ought to fully immerse yourself in the good stuff, so I jumped in with both feet.  (Ok, so sex will always be better than kale, but I do agree with everyone else that kale is mighty tasty.)

So as you know, I often have to eat something as I cook.  I tend to wait until I'm staaaarving, so I have to get some instant gratification.  Tonight it was one heck of a winner!

What is it, you ask?  Why it's organic Tikka Masala sauce on a whole grain flax english muffin.  Could that be good?  Oh heck yes.  Drool-worthy good!

The stats, in case you're interested.  It's vegetarian, but not vegan.
I'm sure if somebody wanted to veganize a tikka masala recipe (and mail me a jar), it wouldn't be that hard to change the cream to an alternative (coconut milk perhaps?).  


So on to the other part of my dinner.  A massaged kale salad of my own making. So here we go...
About 4 servings worth of kale.  Seriously, whole hog would be an understatement.  I massaged the stuffings out of it.  There was so much that I had to massage in several batches to get it all wilted.


I threw a few ingredients together from the fridge and pantry to create a single serving of dressing.


Olive oil, balsamic vinegar, sesame seed oil, lemon juice, dijon mustard, minced garlic.  Plus a few dashes of spice for good measure.  I had heard that kale can be very tart, so I figured that a strong dressing would help me cope if the kale was hard to handle.  I forgot how very little I like sesame seed flavor, so I added extra lemon, vinegar, and garlic to compensate.


I tossed in chopped broccoli, carrots, and a handful each of dried cranberries and sliced almonds.


I drizzled the top with the dressing, then hand tossed it for even coverage.


If that beautiful salad doesn't take your breath away, I don't know what would.


I did manage to save half of my tikka masala muffin to eat with dinner.  It was all so d-e-l-i-c-i-o-u-s!  Gotta say, I love kale.  Even though I really don't like sesame seed oil and tasted it on almost every bite, it worked.  It was tamed with the lemon and all the textures.  A little ping of sweet cranberry or creamy almond in the mix of it all was decadent.  This is now one of my new favorite salads.  I'd have to compare it closely to my Thanksgiving salad to decide which was the best.

I ate it all.  By the last bite, I wasn't even sure if I could chew anymore, but I did and it was good to the last drop bite.  Kale virgin, no more!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Back in the saddle again

House guests are a funny thing.  I really get the overstaying your welcome thing now.  For so long, we desperately wanted to host out of town guests and weren't in a position to do so.  (We lived as newlyweds with a dog in 600 sq ft... oh and we had lived in separate apartments pre-marriage, which means twice the stuff!)

Now we can host and we've had guests out the wazoo for this prolonged holiday season.  I loved getting to visit with each and every one of them, and I was glad that I could put them up in comfortable homey digs.  They all said they felt welcomed and loved the feeling of staying with us, and I loved being able to provide that.  So please don't get me wrong.  BUT... the flip side is that your own personal world is kind of turned upside down.  I would work long stressful hours, then go home and host until I couldn't do it anymore.  Then I'd have to excuse myself to get ready for bed (which this past week 3 times was falling asleep across the bed still in my clothes because I couldn't even make it through the bedtime routine first).  They would still be up laaate into the night.  Then I'd have to get up extra early and slip into the kitchen to get stuff prepared that I normally would have prepared the night before, clean up the little messes that accumulated so that I continued to host with a clean house, and repeat.  Exhausting.

Like I said, I loved getting to see everyone, but I'm kind of really glad we're done for awhile now.  I can change into PJ's when I get home.  I can concoct crazy snacks for one.  I can take pictures of my food.  I can eat vegan dinners.  I can read and write blogs.  I can eat at home.  I can watch the TV shows I want when I want.  The dog follows commands.  I can go to bed when I'm tired.  I can take off my bra.  Heck, I could wander around in my undies if I wanted (although it's a little chilly for that)!  I can live a politics-free life.  So, life is good with or without house guests.

I don't have anything new and delicious to share.  I came back from a long day at work to heated up canned soup for dinner with a side of coffee (my request).  I have some dessert left over from the Long Visit, so I'll polish that off before bed.  Boring, not all that healthy, still vegetarian at least, but not a photo op.

One super exciting thing I want to share with you before I go.  I consider it a big victory.  Lunch was catered in for us today at work.  It was a surprise and I was told to come fix a plate after it was delivered.  I walked in and saw meat of every shape and size.  I felt a little anxious.  I had just congratulated myself for eating fully vegetarian for a few weeks now, even WITH the house guests!  I grabbed a plate and surveyed.  I strategized a way to get only the grains and veggies without getting meat.  I was successful and got a bellyful.  That was a major victory for me.  I felt so proud that I figured out how to make it work.

Thank you Marla of Family Fresh Cooking for the Coach's Oats!  I can't wait for them to arrive so I can try them :)  Now if only I could win the Vita-Mix too, I would be the happiest girl on earth!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Still around

So sorry I haven't been posting lately!  I'm still around and still trying to get everything done!

My out of town guests requested to stay... another... WEEK!  Overall it's fine, but it does mean that my free time, my personal time shrunk down to zero until sometime late in the week.  I'm not doing my crazy concoctions for meals, taking pictures of them, etc, so my posts that I can squeeze in will be pretty bare bones.  I promise that I'll be back up and running soon, though!

Still eating vegetarian and getting lots of practice finding veggie meals in restaurants with them here.  I'm so proud of Irish too; he's getting bolder about being veggie and has even requested substitutes for meat on his meal items.  Ok, I've got to run to work.  Hugs and kisses to everyone and I promise I'll see you again soon!

P.S. Some of you may receive some severely belated comments on your posts as I get time to catch up after this week. xoxo

Friday, January 22, 2010

A life in 180

Sorry I went postal postless yesterday.  We had out-of-town guests come in last night.  I didn't think to preset a post, but had one brewing so here it is:

I had a possibly Vegan Thursday yesterday.  I was out and about all day yesterday, so I was at the mercy of what I could find at a restaurant.  It was also a Mexican food day, which can be a bit of a lard challenge, so let's see how I did.  I had an avocado and black bean burrito in a spinach tortilla.  Black beans rather than refried beans kept the high risk of lard at bay.  Spinach tortilla seemed like a pretty good choice.  It included rice, spinach, black beans, avocado slices, onion, and pico de gallo.  I don't feel like I can know for sure what's vegan if I don't fix it, but I figure this had a fairly good possibility of being vegan.


Growing up, I was raised Catholic, so we had to follow meatless Friday protocol during Lent.  At that time, I found it so difficult and so restrictive.  I hated it and would sometimes eat meat and feign that I forgot.  Of course then I felt guilty because God knew I hadn't forgotten and he would reckon with me later.  Now that I'm trying to eat vegetarian or vegan, I enjoy the challenge.  I'm getting more and more comfortable with the lifestyle, the label, and following it in any setting. As I see the benefits first hand for myself, I'm gaining momentum.  I'm excited about the decision now more than ever.  So now I revel in having a string of days without eating any meat (I'm not counting because I don't want a slip up to make me feel disappointed with myself) and I enjoy the challenge of looking at restaurant menus and figuring out how to get a meatless meal.  I also think that meatless options must have greatly expanded in recent years, which is another big help for me.


In other quick news for tonight, we can all help Haiti relief through the big Hope for Haiti telethon.  You can offer your donation through them, Red Cross, Oxfam, and many other places.   Also, say goodnight to dear Conan.  He will be missed.  (Fair warning, that link may be dead pretty quick!)


So what do you think, did my meal sound like it was vegan?  What are your tricks for getting vegan food in a less-than-perfect restaurant?  Do you think there are more vegetarian/vegan options available now than a decade ago?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Gentle hoss

Being gentle on yourself

This is an important belief for me.  It's also a relatively new one.  I used to beat myself up when I didn't accomplish or achieve what I set as my goal.  Inevitably, I set very lofty expectations and almost always managed to fall short.  One of the potential pitfalls for being in tune with yourself is that you can make a list as long as your leg for what you know you need to improve for your health and your well being.  The responsibility that accompanies this knowledge is that you also need to know how to be gentle on yourself.

To me, you can have a good self esteem and be happy, optimistic, and maintain a good attitude and still be harsh on yourself for not meeting your goals.  However, it is not optimal.  If you are kind to yourself, you will end up much happier, and I believe that you'll also come much closer to meeting your expectations for yourself as well.

If you want to keep a cleaner house, donate everything you don't use anymore, exercise every morning before work, cook nutritious meals every day after the 8-5 grind, devour a new book each month, spend quality time with your loved ones, meet new friends, and maintain a fabulous and successful blog all at the same time, you will not achieve everything all at once.  The problem I think most people face is that these goals are competing for your time and often are things that you consider to have relative equal importance.  You may feel like you need to calm the chaos in your life by exercising, eating better, cleaning up the house, and reconnecting with family.  Those would be equal goals in your life that all serve the one greater purpose.  Unless these goals become your new full time job, you won't reach a point of completion for them simultaneously.  (And if you approach them like they're a job, you won't be happy anyway.)  Jump in and do something.  Something is better than nothing.  In these life goals, there's no all or nothing.  There's no wasted effort.  You may get to schedule time with friends once a month after work, but that's once more than you did before you set your goal.  You may squeeze in 5 min of exercise before you hit the hay, but it's 5 min better than nothing.

As an added bonus, this attitude toward your goals helps you to be happier and more content with what you have accomplished.  You'll get to cross things off your list some days and you'll feel better than when you thought these tasks were unachievable.  Be gentle on yourself.  Be kind to yourself.  Be your own friend.

I know I know, enough with the cheese cheeze.  But now you know why I say that I'm gentle on myself.  Because something's better than nothing, and I celebrate each baby step toward a better, happier, healthier life.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The potato and the pi(ta)

Always be prepared.

I started planning dinner in my head while I was still at work today.  On my way home, I called Irish to see if he'd be home for dinner or not.  He had a work dinner, so it was just me.  Noooo problem!  I can fix a meal for one, and honestly couldn't wait for it!

I used to dread cooking for one.  I had many an evening of microwave popcorn as dinner once upon a time.  It was the old mindset from my parents that you needed a complete meal with several items and each food group to actually consider it a dinner.  It paralyzed me.  I HATED the thought of handling raw meat, so I wasn't going to whip up anything that started as salmonella's and e. coli's playground.  Steamed veggies neatly piled into their respective corners of the plate got so boring so fast.  Blah blah, cut to the chase, I broke free of that finally.  I realized that dinner is a filling and nutritious meal, not a five-item, four-color checklist to fulfill.

So tonight I had it all planned out.  My pita stash was replenished, my hummus was begging to be finished, and I had an oh-so-lonely sweet potato.  Beaut!  I washed and stabbed the sweet little tater and tossed it in the microwave for eight minutes.  I swaddled it with a moist paper towel to help the moist cooking mojo.

Whipped cinnamon butter sounded sooooo good, so I put some vegan butter in a little dish, heated it for a few seconds, and doused it heavily with cinnamon.  Whip it.. whip it good by stirring the heck out of it with a butter knife.  In the small little bowl, it has nowhere to go and blends quickly and easily.  Plus you don't overestimate your butter intake.  Possibly the best part-- who can't handle a two ingredient recipe?!

 I then laid out my pita and lined the inside with hummus.  I stuffed that sucker to the brim with spinach, chopped carrot slices, and broccoli slices.  I thought it was going to be the less messy version of my salad pita, except I stuffed it so full that the pita split.  It apparently missed the memo that it was supposed to be pocket-like.  Oh well, I'm used to eating pita contents off my bare hands at this point anyway, so why stop now.

Last step, I slathered the insides of my baked sweet potato with the whipped cinnamon butter.  I like to deconstruct the insides before I eat it so it's basically mashed sweet potatoes.  It evens out the butter to tater ratio.  I still swear I'm not OCD.

Dinner was a delectable masterpiece.  Sooo good and so filling!  I fully expected to have plenty of room for a few fudge babies, but surprisingly there was no room at the inn.  They'll have to wait for breakfast instead.

Do you like cooking (or uncooking) best for small or large groups?  Do you usually plan your meals ahead or do you shoot from the hip based on your tastes?  Do you usually follow recipes/ plans or do you get flashes of inspiration?  I often have a mix-- I knew a couple hours in advance what I'd fix, but the cinnamon butter hit me as I started the microwave.  I'll sometimes check out our spice or condiment stashes to decide what I think would mix well.  Thankfully it usually turns out pretty well!  Till tomorrow!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Old, new, but not feeling blue!

Something old and something new

So despite MLK Day today, the UPS folks still rocked out a full day's work.  Just like me.  I'm so grateful for them because they brought my new pair of adorable vegan tall boots to my doorstep.  (Apparently brown really can do something for me.)  I was lamenting (that would be the kind way to say cursing) that USPS got the day off today because it meant that I could miss a Wednesday deadline for something I mailed early this morning.  See? Tried to be on top of it, but the (post)man kept me down.  Just to check, I asked Irish if any packages were waiting for me, and he said yes.  I squealed because it meant either my kitchen scale or a pair of cute shoes were waiting, and either one was cause for celebration.  I love shoes.  I honestly adore them.

(Feel free to ignore the bone-defying contortions of my noodle legs.)

Ok, so I digressed quite a bit.  Veering back onto the path, though, new cute boots.  To try them on, I felt like I needed an appropriate outfit.  Perusing my closet, I settled on what I was fairly certain would be impossible.  A very cute pair of khaki legging pants from the last go-around when they were popular.  (End of high school if memory serves correctly.)  I was sure they couldn't fit, and simultaneously wondered why on earth I still had them if that was the case.  Ladies, spandex is your friend.  I could still wear the pants!  Not just for giggles either.  Like I could honestly zip, button, stand, sit, and breathe in these pants.  They are perfect to wear with boots, too, because the one thing that did change slightly was my height.  Tuck those babies in and nobody's the wiser.

(Look, I'm fashionable now... it's a miracle!)

New isn't always better

Then for dinner we tried the gardein that we bought at our WF scavenger hunt

We tried to use Katie's technique of NOT trying to believe it was really chicken, but it still wasn't enough.  Shockingly, Irish was a better trooper about it than me.  He ate both of his little chick'n cutlets.  I ate a bite, then created a topping.  Italian dressing, balsamic vinegar, dijon mustard, and a splash of lemon, just in case anyone wants to recreate.  I smothered the sunnuvabeetch like it was on fire.  It still wasn't enough.  At that point I ate all the brown rice on my plate and left half of my second cutlet on the plate.  I couldn't finish it.  I would much rather have nothing resembling meat than something that tastes gross but looks vaguely meatish.  I haven't missed meat, so I don't think I'll try to replace it.  Not with that, at least.

Wanna know what "new" would definitely be better?  The Vita-Mix that Katie's giving away!

I managed to fill my belly with everything I was willing to eat, wash that down with almond milk, wash that down with fudge babies, and now I'll go dream of cute outfits that will appropriately show off the boots.  With any luck, the scale will arrive tomorrow!  I love happy days like today... this Monday rocked out!  :)

P.S. If anyone cares to know, I'm sore from my mega workout yesterday.  I'm trying very hard to power through and move normally because that seems to limber up the muscles again.  I only did light stretching today, but I'm hoping to be back at it tomorrow morning.  WMM2 is a powerhouse workout for the core muscles.  I love when my core feels strong!

What's your favorite fashion item?  Mine, clearly, is shoes.  Any tips for looking trendy with my new boots?  What new food item did you try that you hated and/or that you unexpectedly loved? What exercise leaves you feeling most satisfied? (Clean answers only please!)

Sunday, January 17, 2010

A fresh start

The cleanse.

So it may be gross, but this weekend certainly gave me a fresh start.  The lighter, easier to manage period has now come and gone.  I did a peroxide wash for mine and Irish's ears.  I used the neti pot again.

I got some extra sleep.  I worked out.  I ate up all our leftovers.

(Leftover spaghetti squash with tomato basil sauce. Soooo good!)

I cleaned the kitchen.  I removed all science projects from the fridge.

(Yes, sadly we have the fake wood counter top.  It's a rental, don't judge!)

I'm feeling so much better detoxing off meat.  I have been more energetic this weekend.  Happier.  Felt healthier.  I'm definitely hoping this is heading toward my new norm.  I hated feeling so sluggish and worn out all the time.  Cross your fingers for me!

So this afternoon, I took BB on a walk.  Then I did WMM2, some light yoga (nothing like her crazy amazing poses!), and a few butt busting moves.  I may be sore tomorrow, but it just felt so great to get moving again!  That's part of what I like about working out.  When you call it a day, you can do something totally different tomorrow!

Then I got down to biz-nass.  The business of baby making!  Yes, that's right, my mother's dream may come true... no wait, never mind... I don't think this is what she had in mind.  To satisfy your voyeuristic cravings, I took pictures of the action.  (Fair warning, not all the pics are fantastic.  My camera was literally dying in the process.)
First, I prepared.

I laid out all the pretty red measuring utensils.

And then the 4 easy peasy ingredients.

Then I fortified myself with a small salad so I didn't eat all the dough immediately.  Plus, I was feeling the need for some potassium for my muscles.  Hey, it's not a commercial kitchen.  I'm allowed to eat while I cook if I want to!

So it took some effort, and two appliances to get the job done, since I don't own a Vita-Mix (yet, that is!).  My Kitchen-Aid blender complained at a certain point, and was unable to finish.  So then I had to split the "dough" into two runs through the food processor.  If only I had my own Vita-Mix from Katie's giveaway, I could have whipped this out in no time! 

Nevertheless, I'm a trooper, so I prevailed.

I shaped my babies using a tablespoon.  Despite what you may think, I am not OCD.  So my utensils match my George Foreman.  And I laid out the ingredients with the appropriate measuring cups in front of them.  And I tried to keep my balls uniform using the tablespoon then carefully rolling the balls in my hand (TWSS!).

My beautiful babies.

Genuine original fudge babies.

They're beaming with hope that their future generations will be made with a Vita-Mix.

But it didn't end there.  I made FIVE green monster breakfasts in preparation for the upcoming busy work week.  This week's smoothies included lots of spinach, broccoli, almond milk (that's right, and I LOVE it! I'm a convert), protein powder, chia seeds, flax seeds, carrots, a little cocoa powder (hey, why stop now!), a few clementines, a pear, an apple, frozen blueberries, cherries, mixed berries... Phew, it was quite the concoction!  I had to blend it down a couple times to fit it all in one huge batch.

(See, this could have been much easier to make with a... yep, Vita-Mix!  I know, broken record.)

And still, it didn't stop there.  I also pulled together a huge batch of vegan lunches so I can get at least 3-4 days worth.  (I'll have a few lunches out this week, so I planned accordingly with my proportions.)

(This was the point when the camera really started to die.  It couldn't even manage to focus, so I'm sorry.  You aren't going blind, it's the picture.  This was the best of several.)

So this is my great base for vegan lunches.  I was so excited that I made it into an exclamation point!  Cutesy.  Anyway, from here I can eat a salad, fruit, almonds, babies, or whatever else with it to finish out the meal.  The base is brown rice, black-eyed peas, green beans, squash, zucchini, peas, a little onion, and a hefty dousing of just 3 spices (amazing for me!)-- garlic pepper, zesty salt-free all purpose, and dark chili powder.  It required restraint not to eat half the rice right then and there because it was the perfect combo.  Can't wait for lunchtime tomorrow.

I then cleaned up the kitchen again and devoured a few more of my babies.  I feel quite satisfied with myself.  Job well done!  Now I'll nurse my dishwater hands and cuddle with my hubby.  G'night!

I call ...

Smells like a pack 'o lies.

Wow.  So you may have seen the "booya" style ads from Sweet Surprise on high fructose corn syrup (HFCS).  It made even my husband, who generally just absorbs his nutritional education from me, call B.S.  I felt like I'd just seen a skeezy political ad.

I also kind of felt like their comparison of HFCS to refined white sugar was like saying slave labor was just as good as sweatshops.  Neither one is good, people!

It's highly refined, a bastardization of corn.  I started laughing at the last point in the myths portion.  It was supposed to reassure that genetically modified corn, that may or may not be in HFCS, wouldn't matter because you couldn't even find any corn DNA in the HFCS.  How is that a good thing?  You know, other than possibly not ingesting pesticides.

I just find it sad that they're trying to defend this crap.  Sorry people, but I'm not falling for it.  I'll continue to find alternatives to HFCS and avoid the biggest culprits like soda.  All this really does it help people who eat a highly processed unhealthy diet feel better about their poor choices.  So let's just call it what it is.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Vita-Mix Wannabe!

I'm definitely a Vita-Mix wannabe.  With any luck, I'll win one from the fabulous Katie!

I have a Kitchen-Aid blender from our wedding registry.

When we got it, we thought that was the best blender on the market, the greatest thing ever.  Then I started researching vegetarian/vegan eating, and discovered the whole new world of the Vita-Mix.  I turned green with envy.  All those recipes that could be made better with the help of the Vita-Mix.  Oh, if only!

So now, this is my chance!  Cross your fingers that I'm the lucky one!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Gummed up

I stumbled upon an important vegetarian/vegan question.  So I popped a piece of gum earlier today and noticed "glycerol" on the label.  I was curious... wonder if glycerol is anything like glycerin, which is made from animal fat.  So where to turn?  Why wikipedia of course!  I was shocked to find out that it was, in fact, basically the same thing.  I thought, "I bet nobody even knows this!" but then realized I'm new to this and many others are not.  So I looked up info about whether gum was vegan.  Apparently most of it is not, and really, being animal fat, it's not even vegetarian.  (And on Vegan Thursday, too!)  How sad.  I've got quite the stash, too!  Any tips out there from the more experienced?

So this may be a little TMI, but I tentatively think that going vegetarian has helped my, uh, monthly visit from Aunt Flo be a little less brutal.  That's all I'll say here.  Feel free to email or comment if you actually care to discuss my cycles.  My site or not, I won't make anyone endure that unwillingly!  Is this a common occurrence or possibly just a fluke?

Also, I met a lady today who is vegetarian for ethical reasons, but thinks it's stupid for people to be vegan because there's nothing wrong with eating the animal products.  Really?  I was shocked that she could be so uneducated about it. 

She figured that the chickens would produce eggs no matter what, the cows would produce milk, and nothing got harmed by it. Live and let live.  This really shocked me.  I mean, I fully understand that people will believe and do what they want.  I can't say that I'm 100% vegetarian yet, and certainly not vegan yet.  And I know the harm and abuse that is caused.  Food is an essential part of our lives, but it's also become an emotional and sentimental experience for us as well.  We tie memories to food, which makes it much harder to change.  It can also mean that it's that much harder for us to allow our thoughts about the cruelty of the meal ingredients to trump the emotional memories of the dinner. (Hello Thanksgiving turkey!)  Anyway, I was just very surprised that she could be so uninformed about the sister of vegetarianism.

What are the sneaky ingredients you look to avoid to know that the item is vegetarian or vegan?

P.S. Averie is giving away chia seeds!  Cross your fingers that I'm the lucky one, so I can get past my monstrous chia fail from earlier this week!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Don't breed hate

My name is Trail, and I have a confession.  My stomach churns when I hear about people who prostitute pimp breed their dogs.  There are too many rescue dogs, shelter dogs, hoarded dogs, stray dogs out there.  They are sweet, wonderful, loyal, loving dogs, and they all need good, loving homes. I hate knowing that these people are intentionally putting more dogs out in this world that have to be paired with a forever home.  I also hate it because I know it means one more shelter dog won't get a home.  I can't even think about what happens after too many days without finding a new family.  I hate that as well.

So I'm going to introduce you to my daughter, Baby Bear.

She was a three-time rescue pup.  She was abandoned in a parking lot and found by a family that was willing to take her into the store and request that they call the shelter to pick her up.  The shelter saved her from homelessness and put her in the adoption lineup at the shelter.  When too many days passed and she was headed for death row (that phrase still makes tears well up in my eyes), she was saved yet again by a small dog rescue league.  I LOVE them.  They socialized her, trained her, fed her, SPAYED her, vaccinated her, kept her in a home setting, and are absolutely no kill.

So after all these rescues, I went to at an adoption event, and it was love at first sight.  In all honesty, BB found me, and I can promise you that she knew I would be her forever home.  She stared deeply into my eyes with her dark chocolate brown eyes and told me she was mine.  I hunted the not-so-accessible adoption coordinator until I finally got her cornered and told her I found my dog.  I purchased all the doggie necessities on faith so that I could be prepared for the adoption.  I took off work early to meet the adoption coordinator for a home visit.  And finally, at the end of this meeting, she was mine.  We have been inseparable ever since.

Here's what she has to say about dog breeding:
If my mommy had gone to a breeder, I wouldn't be with my family.  Who knows what would happen to puppies like me who get abandoned.  I'm not a purebred, but my love is pure.  Some of my friends at the shelter were purebred, though, if you like a more uniform look.  I hear that lots of people are not created on purpose, and that happens to us too.  Accidents happen and we all need good homes.  I know most shelter supporters say that responsible breeders are ok, but there are only so many good places for us all to live.  I kinda think that we should all get to call dibs on homes before people make their dogs have more puppies.

If I had come from a breeder, I would not have been taught all those neat tricks that make my mommy so happy, like only peeing and pooing outside, sleeping in my crate while she's at work, coming when she calls my name, and sitting when I'm annoying her I'm told.  Getting spayed wasn't bad, and I like that now I know the frisky little neighbor dog can't knock me up.  I know my mommy and daddy would never pimp me out, but I think it's a nice reassurance for other dogs who can't be so sure.  So in conclusion, from your source from the inside, shelter dogs can be your bestest friends in the whole wide world if you'll just give us a chance.

It's me again now:
I know that everyone who owns a dog thinks it's the greatest, sweetest, most adorable dog ever.  I also know that times are hard and people are trying to get creative with how to make money.  Neither is a valid reason to purposefully create more puppies.  Take lots of pictures of your dog and cherish the several years that you have together with her.  And if you really need money, get creative in other ways.  Sell pet rocks; they're bound to make a comeback some time soon, and I don't think they'll have an over crowding problem!

Now we're both going to step down from our soap box and get laaaaaaid back! And please understand that I'm not judging others.  I feel strongly about this because I want to see all homeless pets find good homes and because I know that shelter pups can be the greatest thing on earth.  This is just my own visceral reaction to learning that somebody breeds their dog and sells the offspring.  If you bought your dog from a breeder and treat them like royalty, then I'm truly extremely happy for you.  xoxo