mom who works

the joys and challenges of being a working mom trying to find "balance"

On being a humaneitarian July 26, 2013

Filed under: family,food — Deborah @ 11:13 pm
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Photo of pig by titanium22.

Photo by titanium22. Used under Creative Commons License.

Sometimes the paths we take are a winding road.

I’ve always been a fairly healthy eater. I even experimented once with vegetarianism in college, but in those days (pre-internet) it wasn’t easy to find information on how to make that work well so it didn’t take.

When our daughter was about 6 months old and ready to start eating solid foods, my husband and I decided to go organic with the food we prepared at home. We are lucky because one of the best organic food co-ops in the country is right here in our neighborhood – Outpost Natural Foods.

One of the things that Outpost does really well is to educate you about your food choices. I started to learn more about where the meat we ate came from, and the challenges family farms have (and conversely, the damage factory farms cause). I read books like The Omnivore’s Dilemma, and saw films like Vegucated. And once you start educating yourself about the food you eat, you find quickly there is a lot we take for granted in the US that is just plain wrong. How we treat farm animals in this country, to enable us to have “cheap” meat, is one if them.

When you start considering the REAL cost of this “inexpensive” protein, in terms of the toll on the environment, the animals, and the bodies and souls of the humans who process it, you start to look askance at deals that seem too good to be true.

I had a bit of a dilemma. We’re meat eaters. We LOVE our meat. But I also have a conscience, and learning about how mass produced meat and eggs are really produced makes you not want to support that business model. And when I realized that becoming a vegan isn’t going to be able to move the needle, because it’s too challenging of a lifestyle to ever reach mass acceptance and ultimately kill factory farming, I decided that I would instead have to find another way to put my money – literally – where my mouth is.

If you, like me, are lucky enough to have discretionary income – enough money that you can go out to eat at restaurants occasionally, buy some $3 cup of coffee at the local coffee shop every morning before work, and have high-speed internet access at your house, then you have enough money to have the luxury of making REAL choices about the food you eat. You can afford to speak for the animals, if you so choose, and that is certainly the choice I and my family have made.

Only recently did I learn that my choices had a name – humaneitarianism. The premise is simple – only eat meat when you know that the meat has been humanely raised and processed (the Humaneitarian.org web site has great information on what that means, and help for you to determine what that means for you), and if you don’t know that the meat has been humanely raised and processed, then forego meat for that meal. Spend more per pound on the meat you choose to eat (you will have to to support the local, family farms that raise and process animals humanely), but just eat less meat overall. In the end, if more people chose to be humaneitarian, the better our health would be, the better our environment would be, and the better our communities would be. Isn’t that worth it?

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Coolest product EVAH – the Handpresso portable espresso maker October 6, 2012

Filed under: food,work — Deborah @ 3:45 pm
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Handpresso WILD

Photo courtesy of amazon.com

I love good coffee.

You could say (and many have) that I’m a bit of a coffee “snob.” Now I often say (as I often have) that I’m not a coffee snob, but I really only like to drink good coffee. If they don’t care and will drink the dreck that’s in the office cafeteria, who am I to judge?

My workplace does not allow employees to have “personal appliances.” So my dream of a nice little Nespresso or other good espresso maker tucked in a corner of my desk were dashed, and I had resigned myself to mediocre, or WORSE, coffee from the office cafeteria.

Then I discovered this little beauty – the Handpresso WILD. Looks a little weird, to be sure, but it produces, WITHOUT USE OF ELECTRICITY, a very decent cup of espresso. On par with what you’d get from those stovetop Moka pots you can buy at Italian grocery stores. Which is much, much better than what I get from the office cafeteria.

It’s ingenious, really. You use the bike-pump type handle to pump up to 16 bars of pressure (minimum you need for good espresso with crema). You put hot water in the little resevoir (readily available from our kitchen coffee maker’s hot water spout), then pop on an ESE pod (pre-fab espresso tea-bag type thingies) and voila! You have in your hands a nicely poured, hot espresso to enjoy – anywhere! They have a great story on their web site about how it was invented, and it seems they are coming up with new products all the time (I have my eye on the new Handpresso AUTO – so cool!). Well made product, that makes great coffee. What more could you ask for?

 

My two favorite things – beauty and food! July 9, 2012

Filed under: beauty,food — Deborah @ 8:31 am
Farmers Market by Natalie Maynor

Farmers Market by Natalie Maynor, under Creative Commons License.

A recent post on The Daily Obsession caught my eye as I was browsing some of my RSS feeds that I had fallen behind on. Titled “Skin Loving Food List” is a refreshing reminder that it’s not just what we put on our skin but also what we put into our bodies that generate glowing skin and healthy hair and nails.

There are lots of tools available to help even busy working moms try to provide healthy meals at least some of the time. And it’s certainly worth a try, not only for the health of ourselves and our families, but our beauty too!

 

Meal planning made MUCH easier! March 1, 2012

Filed under: food,organization & productivity — Deborah @ 5:23 pm
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PlanToEat.comI’ve been on a quest to try to simplify meal planning, as it is critical for getting my family to eat healthier (otherwise it’s burgers and pizzas all week kids!). There are tons and tons of resources out there, but one that has been really useful for me is this great web site – PlanToEat.com.

Add or upload your recipes. Then select what you want to eat that week (or 3 days, or month!) and the site automatically generates a shopping list from your ingredients. Now I know there are plenty of software programs that do just that (I think I have 2 or 3 of them on my Mac at home right now), but what is GENIUS about PlanToEat is that it’s cloud-based, so you have access to your recipes, planner and shopping list from ANYWHERE. At the store and there’s a great sale on eggplant? Pull up your smartphone and search “eggplant” and get a list of your recipes that include that ingredient, then select the recipe you want and voila! The ingredients are added to your on-the-fly shopping list.

Another great feature is the “Save Recipe” plug in (I have it for Firefox, not sure if it’s available for other browsers). Find an interesting new recipe on a site like allrecipes.com or epicurious.com? Just hit the Save Recipe link on your bookmark bar and PTE automatically loads it into your recipe database. Like I said, GENIUS, and it works really really well. I’ve been using it now for about 6 months and I have to say that I am a permanent re-subscriber. Just the amount of money I save from the unplanned restaurant trips (because there’s nothing at home for dinner) more than pays for the $39 annual subscription (or $4.95/month).

PlanToEat.com has a 30-day free trial so you’ve got nothing to lose by giving it a whirl. I’m all about making it easy for the peeps out there … plan away!

I am not sponsored by PlanToEat.com (or anyone else for that matter), and received no compensation whatsoever for this post. PlanToEat doesn’t even know who I am!

 

The Midwest or …. London? June 21, 2011

Filed under: food,home & garden — Deborah @ 8:21 am

We have had a very unusual June here in the upper Midwest. Typically, our spring looks something like this … snow, 40-degrees and cloudy, then 90-degrees and sunny with 90% humidity … all in the space of about 3 days. That’s our typical spring – we go from winter straight into summer.

But not this year. June has been consistently in the 50s and 60s, and rain, rain, rain. I have a feeling that the battle with the mosquitos this year will not be won by mere garlic juice alone.

My lettuce is loving it. My basil and tomatoes, not so much.

 

Affogato! June 12, 2011

Filed under: food — Deborah @ 9:04 pm
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Photo courtesy of SavorySweetLife.com

I have been on the lookout for new ways to justify my new coffee maker (besides drinking LOTS of coffee – ZING!), and have recently discovered this amazing dessert called affogato. It’s Italian (certo!) for “drowned” and it’s when you “drown” a scoop of gelato with espresso and/or other liquid goodies.

We just experienced a heat wave here in the Midwest, and we went from 50-degree weather to 100+ degree weather in the matter of a day (welcome to Wisconsin!). Suddenly, turning on the oven to bake some biscotti did not seem like a good idea.

We were browsing our neighborhood Italian market to pick up some antipasto makings, which just recently remodeled itself from a hole-in-the-wall to a more upscale version of itself, including a gelato bar. There was a sign for this “adult” dessert which seemed simple enough.

It’s literally as easy as putting a scoop of gelato or ice cream into a glass, and drizzling fresh hot espresso over it. Seriously.

Some sites recommend Frangelico, Kaluha or other alcoholic libations (check out the post on The Bitten Word on Tipsy Affogato – BTW, my drag queen name would be Muffin Fennimore), but I was so impressed with the simple original that I’m not inclined to go the Tipsy route just yet.

Try it today – you’ll love it.

 

coffee coffee coffee coffee May 5, 2011

Filed under: food — Deborah @ 7:38 pm
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Jura Z7 One Touch

Image courtesy of cognacguy.blogspot.com

I recently had a business trip to Germany, and when I visited our European headquarters, I was introduced to what has turned out to be a little bit of heaven on earth. It’s called a Jura superautomatic coffee maker. Basically, you push one button – ONE BUTTON – and it will create for you the most delicious cappuccino, latte, or espresso you have ever had.

I could not believe this. I took photos with my blackberry and started texting my husband about it. I had about 100 cappuccinos in the space of 3 days. I obsessed.

Thankfully, hubby was equally obsessed. As soon as I sent the first photo he jumped into super shopper mode, and found not only the best brand, model and make of “superautomatic” (I had never even heard of this before or knew they existed) but also how to get the best deal on one.

One week after I returned home we opened up our very own Jura Z7 One Touch. I am obsessed.

Now I am not one to normally talk in casual conversation about the things I buy. But did I say that I’m obsessed?

When I wake up in the morning, I press one button and presto, delicious cappuccino. When I get home from work, I press one button and presto, instant espresso.

I am in heaven, and I am obsessed.