Saturday, January 15, 2011

Oh - do I have a blog??....

I have no excuse.  Well, actually I do:  summer was crazy with compressed classes and sports.  Fall found me on campus 49 hours every week (tutoring and classes only - no studying), my class load increased to 21 units, I began tutoring individually in addition to the group sessions of the spring.  I was elected as President of the campus Student California Teacher Association, attended conferences, was inducted into Phi Theta Kappa National Honor Society, was a girls soccer team manager/asst. coach, senior Booster Club member, School District Site Council member, and - oh yeah- mom.  Whew....I think I may have left out a few things, but I'm trying desperately to block out the fall semester.

So, please, forgive my absence.  I've had the last few weeks off and it's been utter bliss...  One more week and I'm back in the game - although I've significantly reduced my crazy schedule.  Definitely need some "me" time.  The million dollar question is "am I still a veggie"?  Well, yes and no.  Have I cracked and eaten meat?  Yes - but limited amounts and infrequently.  A girl can only go so long, carry so much stress, before convenience creeps in.  However, I have kept the rest of my health choices pretty consistent.  Lots of water, no soda, never fast food (of course - YUCK), lots of fruit and veggies.  However, this last 3 months has really worn me down.  I am in need of a new gym membership where I can simply zone out with my music, get some much needed exercise, and release stress.  Either that - or a boyfriend, lol..

My girls are happy though, mom actually buys them meat!  Of course, they usually have to cook it - but who said life was perfect?  As I write this, I am full of peace, very much at ease, happy and feeling very alive.  My meals lately have included a lot of salads (butter/romaine lettuce, tomato, sliced almonds, crumbled blue or gorgonzola, dried cranberries, raspberry vinagrette), some delightful imported cheese, fresh fruit and water, water, water. 

I will make a concerted effort to blog again before yet ANOTHER year passes!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Valentine's Wish: Take Care of Your Pets...

Ok, I'm sure you've figured out by now that I'm an animal lover.  After all, I give my dogs full props for my new dietary choices (although I'm pretty sure they DON'T understand WHY I would want to give up meat, for heaven's sake!).  What I have failed to do was mention my beautiful pain in the ass sweet tempered, vicious loving cat, Snickers.  She is making great strides and trying to support my new lifestyle.  I'm not sure, but I think she's given up the notion of beef, lamb and even fish for a new tasty treat:

When I scolded her for being so mean and a bully rambunctious, she just stared at me.  I know she understands...and means well.

And then she simply turned away, ignoring me completely.  While leaving some of her fur on my beautiful white bed.

What can I say?  I'm devoted to these animals.  Snickers has the most incredible, soft, thick fur that would make a great coat that is wonderful to cuddle with.  Did I mention she barks?  Yeah, and growls too - for no apparent reason.  The few times I've actually heard her purr, she quickly ran away - as if embarassed to be caught acting so cat-ish.  In my house, it's the cat who chases the dogs.

So why do I bring this up?  Yes, I do have a reason...  If you happen to be fond of animals, take the time to read whats in their food and do some research on the internet.  Dog/cat food tip:  there is NO food sold at Wal-Mart, Target, Safeway, etc. that is good for your dog.  None.  But you can get cheap food there.  Just do the research, you'll soon find yourself at Petco, Petsmart or your local feedstore.  The ONLY thing I feed my dogs and cat is "human-grade" food.  None of those weird animal parts (by-products), euthanized animals from the shelter, fillers (corn, wheat), or sugar.  And no, I'm not exaggerating.  My pets eat Blue Buffalo and Natural Balance.  It is a little more expensive, but they eat less of it, so it last longer and they are soooo much healthier.

So that is my wish for Valentine's Day:  pay attention to not only what YOU eat, but what your pets are eating too.  And watch out for those dog treats!  If it doesn't say "fit for human consumption" or something similar, why would you feed it to your dog or cat?  Ewwww...  Now you've received the benefit of all my hours obsessively researching pet food, in short form.  Use the knowledge well.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Cape Verde meets Ireland - Two Islands Unite

Tonight was International Night. Totally by accident, of course - I don't usually plan that well. I've talked about the Cape Verdean rice dish - Jagacita - in a previous post and once again, managed to make a splendid replication. I'm so proud... My daughters are 1/4 Cape Verdean from their father so I feel I owe it to them to just enrich their little complaining, teenage lives with some culture. Whether they like it or not. And just to round things out, I made some steamed cabbage to represent a 'wee bit o' the Irish' from their mom. The Irish are a simple folk: boil some water, throw in cabbage, put a lid on it til soft. Period. Pour me another pint, mate!

The Cape Verdeans, on the other hand, are a tad more complex. Peel, chop. Peel, chop - said the onion and garlic. Sizzle went the pan as the olive oil heated up - all together now - SAUTE! Lets do the carmelize dance and throw in some dark red paprika for color and flavor. Oops, did someone send Little Will out to pick some fresh Bay leaves? Go ahead, toss them too. Add some water, some lima beans and rice. Cover and relax for a bit. Or just go ahead and keep dancing. Dinner with a Cape Verdean is always a party!

So there you have it. And you're wondering if the cranky, demanding, volitile teenage girls willing ate this veritable 'island' feast? The surprising answer is YES. Of course they poked around trying to find the MEAT...and grumbling that they just can't get full from these crazy veggie dishes I insist on making. Interesting side note: they practically licked their plates clean and are in bed as I type this - sleepy from full tummies... Dontcha just love kids?

Now it's recipe time (the cabbage is pretty self explanatory so I won't insult you by explaining how to boil water or cut a cabbage in half!):

1 medium onion
3-4 cloves of garlic
2 tablespoons Paprika
1/2 cup frozen lima beans
2-3 tablespoons Olive Oil
3-4 Bay Leaves
1 1/2 cup Uncle Ben's Rice
3 cups hot water

Peel onion and garlic. Heat heavy pot on medium-high stove, add olive oil. Slice onion and chop garlic, add to hot oil and saute until soft. Add Paprika and Bay leaf, stir. Add hot water and lima beans. Bring to a boil, add rice and stir to prevent sticking. Cover with lid and turn heat down to low. Simmer 15-20 minutes until water is absorbed. Enjoy! (don't forget to remove Bay leaves before eating!)

Note: I use the same pot for everything and almost always double the recipe - this is a favorite dish in my house. The leftovers are wonderful! And while I've used other rice, this dish always turns out PERFECT for me when I use Uncle Ben's Rice. I don't plan to risk my rep with this recipe! Also, don't skimp on the Paprika - that and Bay leaf really make this dish. Many Cape Verdeans will use other beans (kidney, pinto, etc.) so feel free to experiment if you have a preference. There are many recipes available online for Jag, but they are essentially the same. Every family is just a touch different.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


Ok, have you ever wondered how people eat those Boca Burgers? I mean, they look kind of disgusting - right? Lol - I discovered how just yesterday. I was looking for more variety and a good source of protein while grocery shopping yesterday and found myself looking at that section of the frozen food (you know, the soy replacement - "pretend" food). I decided, what the heck! I'll give it a shot, and just for good measure I also bought some portobella mushroom veggie burgers (by Garden Burger). Well, surprise surprise... I do believe I'm a convert!

I made the most fabulous late lunch/early dinner: a cheddar/avocado Boca burger with grilled onions! It was very, very good! And extremely filling. Apparently I can no longer make fun of "those people" who eat Boca, et al. Darn.

P.S. In case you didn't notice, I've added some revelations to my Easy Tips: Subway and Panda Express menu options that are actually quite good! I've noticed that since I stopped eating meat, I have become more sensitive to the flavors of vegetables and what I may have thought of as bland before is now very flavorful and tasty! What really had me laughing was my newly revised opinion of a veggie burrito: previously, I thought ewww...why bother - it's so bland! After having one a few days ago, I'm now thinking what did I ever see in that meat anyway? Lol, anyway the good news all around is that generally speaking, it is cheaper to order menu items sans meat! Woo-hoo! More money to spend on my bedroom...

Which reminds me, I'm thinking of changing my lamps to white box shades and hanging my mosquito net canopy back up. Perhaps even recovering the long bench at the foot of my bed - and maybe even making my own padded headboard with a piece of plywood, batting/quilting stuffing, heavy cream and plum fabric (to match my bench), a staple gun and some fabric covered buttons. Mrs. Chic does inspire me so.