Friday, April 22, 2011

The Good, the Bad, and the Awesome. Part II.

But first...

We adopted Cooper last night! He is a 5-month old lab mix and we love him already. He has a lot of learning to do but luckily for us he is already crate-trained and mostly potty-trained. YAY!

So this post is about the challenges that I have faced after going Vegan. It has actually been much much much easier than I had anticipated. Thanks to several food bloggers, I have a ton of new vegan recipes to try, and as long as I am eating good food, I do not feel like I am missing out on anything.

The first challenge I faced was a potluck at work. The only thing that I could eat at the potluck was the fruit salad and the potato chips. I'd like to say I passed on the potato chips, but let's be honest here. Of course, I had a few. Luckily, I had anticipated this challenge and brought a lunch to work that day, but it was still kind of sad that I couldn't really participate in the potluck.

The second challenge was a work meeting where lunch was served. The lunch was a caesar salad and meaty, cheesy lasagna. Again, I had anticipated this and brought a peanut butter and jelly sandwich along in my purse. I tried to eat a little bit of the salad by avoiding the cheese and dressing as much as I could, but that did not really work for me.

The third challege was going to a sports bar with my parents to watch Butler basketball in the final four and then in the finals. We went to two different sports bars that are also italian restaurants/pizza places. There was literally not a single thing on the menu that I could eat. Not one single thing. Everthing had cheese, creamy dressing, creamy sauce, or garlic butter on it. At the first place, I invented my own salad. I asked the server if I could have just a big bowl of greens with their bruschetta topping as the dressing and NO CHEESE, our server was somewhat clueless, so I really felt the need to emphasize this part. I also made sure that they did not brush my breadstick with garlic butter. It was AMAZING! They should add it to the menu as the Erin's Vegan Salad. The second place we went was pretty much the same story. They have a hummus appetizer so I just ordered that and made sure that they did not brush the pitas with butter. It was also very good!

I want to address cravings, but I have to admit, this has not really been a major issue for me. I assumed I'd be drooling over cheese and hamburgers and chili dogs, but I really have not had this problem. I have been eating such awesome food, that I cannot say I really miss anything. When I made Mic a grilled ham and cheese sandwich, I made one for myself with veggie ham (surprisingly delish!), and daiya cheese. Would I like a juicy cheeseburger, sure. Would I enjoy a veggie and bean burger loaded with good toppings just as much and feel a lot better about it, ABSOLUTELY!

The main thing that I have learned is that I need to be prepared and not be afraid to ask questions and order exactly what I want. I have also learned that most of the time, servers are very willing to accomodate you and if they aren't, then it is not a restaurant that I'll go to again.

If you are thinking about going vegan, just try it. The challenges are easier to overcome than you would think.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Friday Tuesday Recap.

K.Mo and M.Stine sent this to me over the weekend. I had a Sunday final (yes, Sunday!) at 9:00 am. I am happy to report that my term is now done. I have two weeks off and a relatively easy summer planned. Yay! I cannot wait to get a million projects done including this blog! Anyway, here are your current events.

K.Mo: As another week draws to a close, I am thankful that there are only eight days left in this Lenten season. Eight days separate me from a mass amount of refined sugar in the forms of: bumpy cake, Cadbury Crème Eggs, jelly beans, Starbucks cake pops, and Crumbs cupcakes. So while I sit and add to my list of sweets I plan on eating come Easter Sunday, you can get caught up on the ever exciting world of current events!
M.Stine: As someone who gave up nothing for Lent (self-control? Never heard of it!), let me just say that those Starbucks cake pops are AMAZING!
1.       Kobe Bryant
K.Mo: I have never liked Kobe and this just further fuels my dislike. There are lots of fun and profane words and phrases you could yell during a professional sporting event: sh*t, f*ck, son of a b*tch, etc., but Kobe decided that those words just weren’t going to cut it. When you are such a superior athlete, every day profanity just won’t suffice! You have to use the most hurtful and negative words you can think of. Maybe someone should remind dear Kobe that professional basketball games are actually televised. It’s crazy, but there are cameras feeding the game lives to households around the world! I like that Kobe apologizes and says what he did was inappropriate, but then also tells us he’s appealing the ruling. Man up, pay the fine, and watch your language!
M.Stine: Normally I would probably love anyone named after a type of beef, but not this guy. I will never be purchasing a Kobe Bryant jersey for a variety of reasons, such as; the fact that he beat the Celtics in Game 7 last year, his adulterous/alleged sexual assault encounter in Colorado, and his tutu wearing wife. Kobe just seems arrogant, cocky and entitled, and he is high on my list of least liked athletes along with: LaDanian Tomlinson, that Uruguyan soccer player who handled the ball in the World Cup quarterfinals & ultimately led to Ghana being defeated, and anyone associated with the Yankees, Jets or Giants. The punishment for Kobe’s derogatory comments fits the crime, but I also think he should have to do some type of PSA or community service project for an anti-bullying campaign. Different words are hurtful to different people, and I don’t think enough is being done to combat hateful rhetoric.
2.       TSA and Youngsters     
K.Mo: When the new TSA scanners and pat-down guidelines were introduced, Melissa and I actually had a spirited conversation (over BBM) about the new regulations. We came to find that we were both in favor of them! For starters, you can’t trust anyone these days and I’d prefer not to be on the plane that is blown to smithereens, thankyouverymuch. And although children are in the low-risk group, you never know what crazy people are planning on doing. It’s probably just a matter of time before kids are used to house bombs that are meant to be detonated on planes! Crazy people are nothing if not crafty. I think that if you decide to fly and you purchase a ticket, you are agreeing to the terms and conditions of security, and it applies to kids too! Don’t like it? Take the train. They let anyone/anything on those things!
M.Stine: Natch it was over BBM, our main form of communication! I feel very sorry for Anna Drexel…not because she is 6 & got a TSA pat-down, but because her parents felt the need to post it on YouTube and tell everyone with a microphone what happened. What happened is exactly what should have! Every person who flies on an airplane is subject to TSA security procedures. Now little Anna will be known (at least for the immediate future), as the girl in the YouTube video. Maybe her little kindergarten classmates saw it & will tease her…kids are vicious like that! I don’t care what the ACLU says about civil liberties being violated, 6 year olds (and all age groups) should be screened in the same way. No one is forcing you to go through airport security & fly!
  1. Jerry Seinfeld and the Royal Wedding
K.Mo: Those are some fighting words Jerry Seinfeld is using! I don’t care what Jerry Seinfeld says, I love the royal wedding. I will be watching replays of it at a sane hour/a time when I’m not getting ready for work or at work. This article sort of makes it sound as if Jerry thinks he’s pretty damn special. Has he even done anything noteworthy since “A Bee Movie” (and I’m using the term “noteworthy” loosely when also referencing a movie about bees)?
M.Stine: As a lover of all things British (particularly shepard’s pie, Cadbury Flakes, & Wimbledon), I am 100% obsessed with the Royal Family & am eagerly awaiting the Royal Wedding. I plan on streaming it on my laptop at work, while enjoying some scones & a spot of tea…perhaps I’ll even wear a fascinator! I’m sure that Jerry is not alone in his thinking that the Royal Family is kind of useless, and that wedding is going to be a big charade. But it was kind of a jerk move on his part to openly mock them. The Royal Family & monarchy is very much a part of their culture & history, and to belittle them in public just makes you look like an arrogant American.

  1. Murder in Mexico?
K.Mo: Melissa suggested this article and I’m so glad she did! I’m not sure she even remembers, but we placed a bet on this particular story when it was first being reported six months ago. I think we bet a cupcake (we bet an unhealthy food…shocking…) on what really happened. Melissa thinks the wifey killed her husband, but I have to disagree. I think the drug cartels got to him. What I still don’t understand is why they were even out on that lake. How boring must you think your life is before you come to the conclusion that riding Jet Skis on a lake known to be frequented by scary drug lords is a hot idea?
M.Stine: I totally forgot about our bet!! I can’t wait for my Hillary Clinton steak dinner & Mexican lake murder cupcake. And yes, I do still think that the wife is somehow involved. From reading about the violence in Mexico I know that these drug lords are not particularly nice people, and I just have a hard time believing that they “let her flee” after they killed her husband. Um, hello?! These are trigger-happy, merciless human beings, who kill for a living. You surely cannot expect me to believe that they decided they “made a mistake” & let her go...they don’t make mistakes & they don’t leave witnesses!! But my bigger issue with this story is also the fact that they were even out on that lake. This story reminds me of the jailed American hikers in Iran, in that it also involves people who clearly failed to fully see the dangers/consequences in the places they were visiting. Certain places in the world (Falcon Lake, Iran/Iraq border) are just not safe for vacation!!
5.) Waco Anniversary
K.Mo: Where do I even begin? David Koresh, I have no doubt you are chatting with Jim Jones right now in the blistering depths of hell. Like Jim Jones and Charles Manson before him, David Koresh was able to manipulate people and prey on their weaknesses and then wind up being the reason many of them are killed. Sick, sick, sick. Oh you think you’re Christ come to life? Yeah, I think you just wanted to justify your disgusting love of young (I’m talking 12 years old young) girls.
M.Stine: Reading a story like this makes me happy that my parents are far too lazy to have ever uprooted our family & moved to a religious cult’s headquarters. In fact, we were the kids that BARELY made the attendance requirements for Sunday school. I’m all for religious tolerance and acceptance, but I’m not for brainwashing & manipulation, a la David Koresh.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Friday Recap...on Monday.

First -  Happy Birthday Mama Mills!

Sorry everyone. This is finals week for me. I may be even more absent this week than I was last week.

Let me tell you about law school finals...At least at Cooley, our finals are 100% of our grades. I remember when we started, they told my class that we basically have 3 hours each term to prove why we still deserve to be there. Welp. They are usually at least half essay. Anyway, this week I'll be spending every free moment that I am not at work with my studies.

I had a final today, one tomorrow, one Saturday and one on Sunday. I'm glad they are spread out, not so glad I have weekend finals for weekday classes, but oh well.

KMo and MStine sent me these current events on Friday, and I am just now posting them. Sorry about that. Enjoy!

The wait is over....time for your weekly Current Events re-cap!! But first I have to give a shout out to my home state UConn Huskies on their 3rd NCAA National Championship in 13 years!! (If you’re reading this Kemba Walker, I’m single.) Let’s also give a congrats to Butler for making it to the championship game for the 2nd year in a row…no easy task! And while you may be 0-2 in titles games, you’re winning in the “Hottest Coach in All of College Basketball” category, so let’s turn those frowns upside down!

1.)  More debris from 2009 Air France crash found 

M.Stine: Reading about plane crashes is a (morbid) fascination of mine, so this is right up my alley. I really just love all things having to do with flight/space exploration/etc. Who went to Space Camp & played a role in the failure of her group’s shuttle mission? You’re looking at her. Now obviously I don’t want any type of disaster to happen, but unfortunately they do & how investigators are able to piece together what caused them has always interested me. Did you know, it was 1 little piece of rubber that caused the Challenger explosion?…insanity! Finding remains of the Air France crash 2 years later was miraculous, but unless investigators are able to find the ‘black box’ (which are actually bright orange); we may never know what caused the crash.

K. Mo: I never knew that Melissa went to space camp. I’m actually pretty jealous. I always wanted to go, but instead I spent my summers attempting to swim and snorkel in the little Jacuzzi we had on the back patio. It seems pretty crazy that something as small as a piece of rubber or one little crack in a plane can cause mass destruction. It’s like a fun little reminder that humans will never be as smart as they think they are! I hope they find the black box because nothing annoys me more than an unsolved mystery!

2.) Government Shutdown

M.Stine: My hatred of politics just grows by the second. This whole budget fiasco is not actually about the dollars and cents (ha!); it’s about ideological differences…despite what Mr. Too Tan Boehner & the GOP want you to believe. The main reason this has not been solved is because Republicans have attached riders to the budget bill repealing federal funding for Planned Parenthood, which annually gets around $330 million dollars. Cutting the funding for PP would eliminate a grand .0087%, so this move was not to ‘trim the budget’; it is because PP provides abortion services. And let’s just remember that PP cannot use any federal dollars towards abortion services. By eliminating their funding, you’re cutting their ability to provide other basic health care services for women, as PP is the primary health care provider for many women across the country. So how about we save this culture war for another day, and get a budget passed to avoid a shutdown.

K.Mo: I’m loving the news sites coverage of this possible shutdown. I think many would agree that a government shutdown is a pretty serious event (I qualify serious as anything that will cost the tax payers $$), and yet the news sites are marking the occasion with countdown clocks on their websites. You know, like the ones Dick Clark uses while hosting his “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve Party.” I only started following politics within the last few years. Up until then, I lived in a blissfully ignorant world where I didn’t even bother to look at my pay stubs to look at how much money was being taken out for taxes; what I didn’t know couldn’t hurt me. I sort of wish I could go back to that life. But sadly, there’s no turning back now. Here’s a quick summary about what I have learned: Politicians are in it for their own good, no matter what other nonsense they may spew about being “for the people.” Do they really care about a balanced budget? I’m going to go with no. They care about arguing, nitpicking, and making the other side look bad. Well, congratulations Republicans and Democrats, you have both succeeded in making yourselves look like whiney children that would be picked last for dodge ball. Your mother’s would be proud!

3.)      Beer fast for Lent
I know Erin is loving going vegan for Lent, but this plan sounds so much better! Bud Light for breakfast, lunch and dinner and a bonus weight-loss? Count me in! I love that J. Wilson’s boss is so supportive & lets him drink at work, it would never happen in my office (though it really should.) But let’s say I decide to attempt this for Lent next year (because I’m so good at restricting myself from food), would I be able to have extra beers when I went out on the weekend? Or am I only allowed my “dinner” beer? I should write J-Wil to see what the rules/regulations are for a beer fast, because obviously I would want to be authentic like the German monks.

4.)      Rio shooting
As “” devotees (Hi, Caitlin & Alicia) may have noticed, many of the stories we pick are just awful & destroy our faith in humanity and this one is no different. Honestly, how do school kids even get on the bus in the morning anymore? School is supposed to be for learning & goofing off! It’s obvious that this Wellington Oliveira had psychological issues his entire life, but did not receive the treatment he should have. Sadly, this is not the first time someone with mental health problems turned murderous, and (not to be the pessimist!) it won’t be the last.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The good, the bad, and the awesome! Veg style.

Sorry, no pics in this post. You'll just have to read, but I hope you'll keep reading anyway.

I've been doing the vegan thing for about a month now, and I have to say that I really like it! It has been much much much easier than I thought it would be.

This is the first of three posts. The other two will talk about the bad and the awesome! things I have discovered about going vegan. I am definitely do not have MD, PhD, RD, or any other initials after my name...yet. I'm working on a JD, but that won't really qualify me to talk about nutrition and health anyway. I'm just going to tell you about my experience.

Let me start by saying that the words "I LOVE CHEESE" and "I could live on cheese alone" have often come out of my mouth. Cream cheese, goat cheese, cheddar cheese, fresh mozzarella cheese, havarti cheese, cheese fondue, cheesecake, cheese sauce, etc. I love it all! I knew going into this whole vegan thing that cheese was going to be the hardest thing for me to cut out of my diet. It turned out to be not that hard.

On the first day of lent, I threw away all the dairy in my fridge (sorry, Mic) and I went to the health food store and bought vegan cheese and non-cow's milk and all sorts of yummy proteins that don't come from animals - mostly beans and tofu!

So here is the good thing...You. Can. Do. It. The number one thing that I've heard when I have told people that I went vegan for lent is "oh, I could never do that". Yes, you can. I promise. There are a few challenges - which I'll talk about in the bad post, but you can do it. And you can do it while eating delicious plant-based food and improve your health while doing it.

I have been so focused on trying all these new vegan foods and recipes that I have not even really noticed that I'm not eating meat.

This week the front page of the Health section of our newspaper had an article about going vegan. You can check it out here.

Also, this week started a program by Dr. Neal Barnard called the 21-Day Kickstart. It is a 21-day challenge for people to try being vegan. Just try, no commitment necessary. It includes grocery lists and meal plans. It makes things very simple for you.
I'll tell you all about my favorite recipes and blogs and resources in the awesome! post.

After Lent is over, I will not keep eating a strictly vegan diet, but I will keep eating a primarily plant-based diet. The benefits far outweigh the struggles!

Stay tuned...

Friday, April 1, 2011

Friday Recap: Four is the New Five.

It’s finally Friday and that means it’s time for the weekly current event briefing!
1.       Help the FBI crack this code!
K.Mo: I must admit that I have a deep fascination when it comes to true crime stories. Um, you want to me read the entire Charles Manson Wikipedia page? Done. I found an amazing book filled with 500 of the most notorious crimes in December. My mother told me I was “sick.” And then a day later I found her leafing through the book and reading about John Wayne Gacy. I’ll probably spend my weekend attempting to crack this code so I can help out the FBI. You know, a normal weekend.

M.Stine: Once upon a time I took linguistics, and I really wish I had learned something that might help me this crack code. Nope…instead all I got from it was a C- & a $1500 tuition charge. But really, the FBI hasn’t been able to solve these codes in 11 years?? Who does the hiring there? If we’re somehow able to solve these notes, I say we demand full-time jobs at the FBI, with health/dental/vision, paid sick days, ample vacation time & an office…a cubicle will not suffice!

2.       Sexting
K.Mo: First, did the world learn nothing from Vanessa Hudgens?? Second, I’m a little confused about these naked pics that teenage girls are sending. I thought there was a serious self-esteem problem due to looking at too many skinny models and actresses on magazine covers? What happened to that? Perhaps we have done too good a job of raising self-esteem and this why girls think it’s a legit idea to text a pic of boobs. We clearly need to knock this girls down a few notches to they can feel self-conscious of their bodies and hide them behind 85 layers of clothing. And dear God, can someone tell Saif that “everyone does it” is actually not a good defense when the police come knocking on your door trying to arrest you for child porn!
M.Stine: This is just further evidence that each generation is a little bit dumber than the one before it. No, Rachel, your boyfriend is not different & he’s going to show everyone he knows that picture of your boobs you just sent. And who does things like that at 8th grade sleepovers?! I’m fairly certain I was still playing Ouija board then. If these girls are fine with these pictures of their bits & pieces being viral forever, go ahead and snap away. But I don’t want to hear your sob story on “Oprah” when someone starts a nasty Facebook group about you!
3.) Kangaroo Pet
M.Stine: How cute is Irwin?!? On the surface this is the quite possibly the most heart-warming story I have read in a while. A disabled kangaroo who loves Cheez-Its, becomes fast friends with a depressed woman from Oklahoma is the stuff TV movies are made of! But then I’m instantly reminded of a little incident we had here in Connecticut a few years back….It involved a depressed woman’s pet chimp (who she also dressed & fed lobster), and his savage mauling of her friend, who lost both her hands and the majority of her face. As someone who is fond of animals (except dogs), I believe that pets can be highly therapeutic, but I kind of think we need to draw the line on wild animals. Why can’t you just get a cat, give it a stripper name & call it a day?
K.Mo: I love kangaroos just as much as the next gal, but come on! Irwin is not special; he’s a kangaroo! Is “animal sanctuary” a fancy name for zoo? How did this kangaroo even come into this situation? And why does Christie insist on dressing the kangaroo in a shirt and pants? How does the kangaroo go to the bathroom? Also, who are the people with tigers mentioned at the end of article?? Stop trying to domesticate the outback/jungle animals of the world!
4.) Snooki paid more to speak than Nobel Laureate
M. Stine: Despite the fact that reading (okay skimming) Beloved, for AP English made me want to remove my own eyeballs, I’m a little horrified that Toni Morrison, a Nobel Prize winning author, is receiving less money than Snooki, a drunken tanorexic, to speak at a university. I love killing brain cells watching Jersey Shore as much as the next gal, but it’s sad that the gorilla juicehead loving clowns are receiving higher appearance fees than people that have made meaningful contributions to society. Get your priorities in line, Rutgers!
K.Mo: Maybe if Toni Morrison spent some time boozin’ at the Jersey Shore she would become more popular with the college set. Maybe we are looking at this all wrong. I think we should all just be impressed that Snooki has such mass appeal. One day she’s speaking to Rutgers students and the next she’s wrestling in Wrestle Mania! I think the bottom line is this: we can’t expect the same kids that are apparently sending nudie pictures of themselves in compromising positions to also appreciate classic authors.