Saturday, July 25, 2009

My latest obsessions: chick peas and platform heels

I've been on sort of a frenzy with cooking with chickpeas and wearing platform heels. Chickpeas, also called garbanzo beans, are a semi-soft and have a nutty flavor to them. There is a good amount of protein and fiber in them, and they add great substance to vegetarian dishes.

Here are a couple of recipes that I have personally tried that turned out great! I highly recommend Chana Masala which is an Indiana dish that looks like this:

Chana Masala

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large clove of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon curry
1 tablespoon tomato paste
15 oz can chick peas, drained, reserving 3 tablespoon liquid
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
fresh black pepper
crushed red pepper, optional to taste
1 tablespoon vegan margarine

Heat oil on medium high heat. Fry onions until slightly browned. Reduce heat to medium. Add garlic, curry, and paste. Stir and simmer about 2 minutes. Add chick peas, liquid, lemon juice, salt, and black pepper. Simmer 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add red pepper to taste. Add margarine, stirring through to melt it. Stir and simmer for 5 minutes more or until peas are softened and dish is hot. Serve over rice

And another recipe....

Southwestern Vegetarian Pasta

• 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
• 1 onion, chopped
• 1/2 green bell pepper, diced
• 2 cloves garlic, chopped
• 2 tablespoons chili powder
• 1 teaspoon ground cumin
• 1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice
• 1 (15 ounce) can chickpeas
• 1 (10 ounce) package frozen corn kernels, thawed
• 1 (12 ounce) package uncooked elbow macaroni
• 1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

1. Heat oil in a large, deep skillet. Saute onion, green pepper, garlic, chili powder and cumin. Stir in tomatoes, chickpeas and corn. Reduce heat to low and simmer 15 to 20 minutes, or until thickened and heated through.
2. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add macaroni and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.
3. Combine pasta and sauce. Sprinkle each serving with Monterey Jack cheese

I've also really been digging platform high heels. They add a lot of drama to an outfit because you can get away with a higher heel, and they make your legs look amazing. These are just like a pair that I have recently purchased from Charlotte Russe (they don't sell ANY leather shoes!)

I recommend buying these as long as the platform isn't too tall on them--you don't want to venture into the stripper shoe territory....

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Congratulations Zach and Dana!

Aaron and I attended Zach and Dana's wedding this past Saturday, and it was B-E-A-UTIFUL! What I liked so much about it was that it was very traditional, but it was still SO them. Dana looked stunning, and Zach was absolutely beaming with happiness. Congratulations you two!

We had a great time catching up with friends that we had not seen in a while, and the food was delish! Thank you Jonathan Bryd's for some great mac n' cheese and seasoned potatoes!

The wedding was productive too! It was getting great advice from my friends who have already gone through the wedding planning process. We got some advice on cake bakers as well as honeymoon destinations. Thanks Emily and Caleb!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A happier blog post!

Have I told you about the most recent addition in my life? Although we haven't given her a name yet (we just haven't thought of the perfect one!), Aaron and I are fostering a small rabbit. She's such a cutie! Her colors are white with orange spots, and she's got a brown mouth. We've set up her cage to share a wall with our bunny Mimzy who is not at all cool with another bunny in HER house! We are hoping that we can adopt the rabbit out to a loving family that will take good care of her.

I think the Humane Society expresses it well when it says: "Rabbits may be easy to love, but they're not quite as easy to care for." I've learned so much with welcoming Mimzy in our life. We began buying pellet food and wood chips for her litter (yes! rabbits can be potty trained!) because it they were cheap and readily available. We learned later on, however, that pellets are really only for meat rabbits, that we should have been feeding her Timothy hay all along, and that wood chips (no matter what kind of wood), are not good for litter because of her fragile repiratory system.

I'll be updating about the bun if anything should change with her status.

Aaron and I also volunteered at FACE last night for the first time. We cleaned out the cages and got to know the staff a little bit. It's been a while since either of us have volunteered, and it felt great. I'm really looking forward to going back next week, and I hope that the little assistance we can give them.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Meet your meat

At the risk of being redundant in my blog material, I'd like to post a video called "Meet your Meat," narrated by actor Alec Baldwin. As a disclaimer, it is very graphic. However, it's a look into the cruelty of the animal products industry.

So here goes:

If you've watched the video up to this point, you might understand why I feel so passionately about helping animals. I realize that animal welfare is a topic that I frequently post about, however, I just can't ignore the atrocities. I hope blog readers understand!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Fun, fun, summer!

So, Aaron and I finally took the plunge....and became official volunteers at the FACE low-cost spay/neuter clinic!


We're starting Monday, and we cannot wait! Our job will be cleaning out the cages that housed the animals who have been spayed and neutered. So, although it's not the most glamorous job and really will not involve hanging out with any animals, we really admire those who work at the clinic for all that they do. (I've never been so excited to clean up poo and pee in my life!) Usually, the surgeons and vet techs arrive at 7am and leave at 7pm. Aaron and I are hoping that we'll be able to alleviate some of the stress on the staff by going in a couple of days a week after work.

Amazingly, they've performed almost 7,000 surgeries this year, and to date, they've performed about 109,000! I wish that Indianapolis required spaying and neutering. It would be wonderful if were were a "no-kill" city by becoming a "no-birth" city through legislation. Hamilton county already enacted this law, and I'm sure there is still no shortage of companion animals there either.

Please practice your ABC's: animal birth control!

For a change of pace, I've been really inspired by one of our staff members. There's a guy who works for us named Ricky who stops by our office a couple of times a week after he gets off of work to get more work. He's never missed an event that I know of, and he's always excited to accept work that we offer to him. We've also never had a complaint about his perfomance. This week, when he stopped by our office, we told him about the event that we are working in Lexington, KY, and he was so genuine in his excitement. He was so eager to work a lot of hours that this event would promise, and he also perceived this event as a vacation!

This staff member makes my job enjoyable, and he makes me feel guilty for grumbling and complaining about working a lot. I really think we should take this guy out to lunch to say thanks for the attitude adjustment.

Friday, July 3, 2009

A great rescue story, and how you can help unloved animals this summer

I thought this story was wonderful, and I wanted to share it:

Actor-model Julie-Anne Younghans couldn't turn away from an abused dog in her town ... and Magic changed her life:

In September, I was paged by a man I had met on a movie set a few weeks before, who told me of a dog who was in very bad shape in south central Los Angeles.

Go and rescue the starving, stinky, dying, elephant-looking dog who needs to be put out of his misery, I was told.

I drove to south central L.A. the next morning to rescue Magic, the 8-year-old German shepherd mix from the hellish yard in which he had been chained all of his life. Magic stood sorrowfully in front of me, and I placed my hands on his bloody body to give him the comfort of knowing somebody was there to touch him without harming him.

His fragile, bald skeleton body trembled as he did his best to climb into my car. I then cried the entire way to the veterinarian.

In the weeks that came after, I watched this beaten-down, malnourished, flea-infested, ringworm infected, scabby, yet gorgeous, bright-eyed, perky-earred, tail-wagging, trusting soul go through an amazing transformation. Magic began to grow fuzz on his now clean skin, and he quickly gained weight, thanks to the food my vet shared with him as they buddied around the office.

At this very moment, Magic is lying here chewing on a snack next to his best pal, Mohammed, my black Lab. He is the kindest, gentlest, sweetest, most loving dog on the planet.

I later learned that his "owners" used slingshots on him, kicked him, starved him, and when he was lucky, ignored him. Once they dumped him in a parking lot and he sadly, but loyally, found his way back to the only "home" he had ever known.

Now he has a real home, with a family who loves him. But I'm the lucky one. Magic has taught me never to turn my back on an animal in need, and I'll always be grateful for his lesson of love.

I thought this was a wonderful story, but the sad reality is that this circumstance is all too common. The summer months can be especially difficult for animals who face the dangers of heat stroke, flea and tick infestation, heartworms, and overpopulation. Please help out in your own community by giving a voice to these unwanted, unloved animals.

If you see a dog chained constantly without shade, food, or water, get to the know the owner and ask if you can play with the dog. A scratch behind the ears, food, and a clean bowl of water could make a world of difference for a neglected dog.

If you see a cat with wounds or desperately seeking food, don't look the other way. He needs you to care for him by cleaning or feeding him. Just because the animal is owned by another person does not mean that he/she is well cared for.

Finally, never assume that someone else is already on the case. Many onlookers will do and say nothing, even when they wish something could be done. Please do more than feel sad or sorry about neglected animals. Take action—you could very well be their only hope.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Happy July and Kitten Season

I can't believe it's already July! I'm looking forward to my 4th of July plans. During the day, I am planning to go downtown and do an "Independence Day for Dogs" event where I'll bring a doghouse and a collar on a chain, and I'll offer for people to try out wearing the collar. For social animals, there is no crueler punishment than solitary confinement. I'll be handing out free sparklers to those who will talk to me and will take the flyer about the dangers and cruelties of chaining dogs.

Later on in the day, Aaron and I will be meeting my family at our office to watch the fireworks with some vegan hot dogs. Yum! I do love compassionate cooking : ) We'll be camped out in front of the building in the parking lot with a great view of the skyline. I love working downtown!

There's an office here in the building on the 4th floor that has access to the roof of the building, and they constructed a really cool gazebo for their company parties and other events like the fireworks display downtown. I sure wish I could join them!

The only hesitation I have is with Bella and the fireworks. She shakes like a leaf when it storms, so I'm nervous that she will be upset with the fireworks. If so, then I'll be hanging out with her inside while the fireworks are on display....

To change the subject, I tried trapping a feral kitten that is near our house, and while I failed to catch her, I did catch one of the father kitties. I was like-Score! I just caught the source of the problem! As an unneutered male cat, he fights a lot for females and for his territory, so he had a lot of bad cuts and scrapes all over his face and body. I took him to the FACE clinic (Foundation against companion animal euthanization), and to my surprise, they were not doing surgery all this week! Aaron and I decided to take him back to my parent's house until I could secure an appointment with him at a later date at another clinic.

Fortunately, after leaving some messages, I got a call back from the Hamilton County Low-Cost Spay/Neuter clinic. We drove this cat all the way up to Noblesville from Greenwood to get him neutered! While I burned through half a tank of gas that day, it was so worth it. He's neutered, and the clinic treated him for his cuts and scratches. He looks soooo much better than before he went in to the clinic. I stayed up with him most of the night after he was neutered to make sure he was ok, and I have to say, we bonded a little. For a feral cat, he's a good guy. And by the way, his name is Morris.

If you don't know about the FACE clinic or the Hamilton County low cost spay/neuter clinic, you should certainly check it out! The fees are so cheap, and they do such a great service for the cities they service. Did you know that 3-4 million companion animals are euthanized each year because they are born into a world that does not have enough homes and hearts for them. Millions of animals sit lonely in solitary confinement waiting for their forever home. The best thing to do to combat pet overpopulation is to spay and neuter your own companion animals..

Here is more information on FACE and the Hamilton County Low Cost Spay/Neuter Clinic. They are wonderful places will treat your pooch or kitty well! They also have some great t-shirts at the clinic with their logo on it so you can spread the gospel of spaying and neutering!

And finally, some resources from the FACE website:

Why spay (female animal) or neuter (male animal)?

Peace of Mind. A spayed or neutered (sterilized) animal is better behaved:

Males - Neutered cats and dogs focus their attention on their human families. On the other hand, unsterilized, unsupervised males roam in search of a mate, risking injury in traffic and in fights with other males. They mark territory by spraying strong-smelling urine on surfaces. Indoors, male dogs may embarrass you by mounting furniture and human legs when stimulated. Don't confuse aggressiveness with protectiveness; a neutered dog protects his home and family just as well as an unneutered dog, and many aggression problems can be avoided by early neutering

Females - While their cycles vary greatly, most female cats exhibit the following signs when in heat. For four or five days, every three weeks, they yowl and urinate more frequently - sometimes all over the house - advertising for mates. Often, they attract unneutered males who spray urine around the females' home. Female dogs in heat also attract males from great distances. Female dogs generally have a bloody discharge for about a week, and can conceive for another week or so.

Good Medicine. A spayed or neutered animal will live a longer, healthier life:

Spaying a female (removing the ovaries and uterus) or neutering a male (removing the testicles) are veterinary procedures with the same general anesthesia used in human medicine. Both surgeries usually require minimal hospitalization.

Neutering a male cat or dog by six months of age prevents testicular cancer, prostate disease and hernias. Spaying a female cat or dog helps prevent pyometra (a pus-filled uterus) and breast cancer; having this done before the first heat offers the best protection from these diseases. Treatment of pyometra requires hospitalization, intravenous (IV) fluids, antibiotics and spaying. Breast cancer can be fatal in about 50 percent of female dogs and 90 percent of female cats. With an older, seriously ill animal, anesthesia and surgery are complicated and costly.

Responsible Care. You can help prevent the suffering and death of millions of animals:

Conservative estimates state that every low-cost spay/neuter prevents on the average four unwanted births in each of the next three years. Almost everyone loves puppies and kittens, but some people lose interest when these animals grow up. As a result, millions of cats and dogs of all ages and breeds are euthanized annually or suffer as strays. Rarely surviving for more than a few years on their own, strays die painfully by starvation, disease, freezing or being hit by cars.


Common myths about spaying and neutering:

Myth. A female cat or dog should have a litter before she is spayed.

Fact. The sooner you spay your female, the better her health will be in the future. As long as a kitten or puppy weighs more than 3 pounds and is 4 months old, he or she can be neutered or spayed. The likelihood of developing mammary tumors or uterine infections increases the longer a female goes unspayed. In fact, a female spayed before sexual maturity (6-9 months of age) has one seventh the risk of an intact female of developing mammary cancer.

Myth. Spaying or neutering (sterilization) will alter my pet's personality.

Any slight changes will be positive. Regardless of the age when spayed or neutered, your pet will remain a caring, loving and protective companion. Neutering will reduce the need to breed, and that has a calming effect on many animals. Both neutered male canines and felines tend to stop roaming and fighting and lose the desire to mark their territory with urine.

Myth. Companion animals will become fat and lazy if they are neutered.

Absolutely not! Lack of exercise and overfeeding make pets fat and lazy - not neutering. Your pet will not gain weight if you provide exercise and monitor food intake. Neutering is good for your pet, since sterilized pets tend to live an average of two to three years longer than unsterilized pets.

Myth. Sterilization is a dangerous and painful surgery for my pet.

Spaying and Neutering are the most common surgeries performed on animals. With a minimal amount of home care, your pet will resume normal behavior in a few days.

Myth. Children should witness the miracle of birth.

Countless books and videos are available to teach your children about birth in a responsible manner. Letting your pet produce offspring you have no intention of keeping is teaching your children irresponsibility. Anyone who has seen an animal euthanized in a shelter for lack of home know the truth behind this dangerous myth.