I still have to post a few things on our trip back home, but thought I'd take a moment to share a little something I posted on Veganista:
Ever wanted to pardon a turkey, but didn't have the funds to run for president? Great news! You can adopt one!
Last year, though I was, yes, a vegetarian, I bought a free-range Heritage turkey from a local farmer. We were having family over and I felt it wouldn't be right not have turkey (then again - pilgrims didn't really have turkey at their feast!). Any who, I couldn't even cook the thing, leaving it to my mother-in-law while I secretly cried in the bathroom. The guilt!
I refused to ever have a turkey at my Thanksgiving ever again.
This year, we are an ocean away from the United States, but that doesn't mean we won't be celebrating Thanksgiving. I have SO many plans - vegan dishes, organic decorations. But there is one thing that will never be on that list - turkey.
So, if you feel the same way I do about this, please consider adopting a turkey. Just click HERE to go to Adopt A Turkey Project. Save a life, build some karma, and have a feast for which you (and a certain cute creature) are especially thankful for.
Do you really need a tryptophan (or as Matt says, tryptoleen, haha) induced nap? Or the added calories and bulk a turkey brings? Didn't think so. Instead of spending that money on a dead turkey, why don't you protect a live one?
For the past fortnight (you're welcome, Matt) I've enjoyed a delightful read named The Help. It's by a University of Alabama graduate (whom I'll forgive), Kathryn Stockett, and is based on the Jim Crow South.
The book is written in the view of a few different women. First is Skeeter Phelan. She is, in a nutshell, my hero. A fresh Ole Miss grad destined to be a writer, she moves back to Jackson, Mississippi with her parents until she lands a job, or even better, a husband. It is then that she realizes things are changing, and starts interviewing various black women that work as "help" in town, in secret.
Another of my favorites is Aibileen. She is a domestic worker in a modest Jackson home and has tended to 17 white babies. She is warm, intelligent, and courageous - everything you want in a lady. When approached by Skeeter, she helps round up ladies to help with stories for her book. She is a beautiful soul and I just want to hug her!
Then there's Minny, who you hate to love and love to hate. She is the spunky, often troublesome best friend of Aibileen. You just have to love her, especially after the way she treats the Terrible Awful, Hilly.
I've said this to everyone, but it truly is the best book I've read since To Kill a Mockingbird. It's one of those quick reads that will absolutely change your life.
AND they've made a movie about it! Even though I'm a firm believer in reading a book before watching the film (which is why I haven't seen it yet), if you are too lazy to read it, just catch in theaters. Or, buy it on DVD December 6th (no, I'm not obsessed).
Emma Stone playing Skeeter Phelan
Viola Davis as Aibileen Clark and Octavia Spencer as Minny Jackson
Last night, Matt and I hung out with the Zimas for some pumpkin carving, as well as pumpkin soup and seed making. Here are photos:
Patton eating pumpkin. He loves it!!
Mmmmm, homemade pumpkin soup with spoils from the local market :)
Matt working diligently...
Also to celebrate the amazing holiday known as Halloween, we've ordered Rocky Horror Picture Show, an oldie but a goodie. Can't wait until it gets here! We will have to make pumpkin delights that night as well.
Until then, have a ghoul one....heedles :) - Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone
Matt and I have so much to look forward to in the next month or so!
In late October we are headed back to the states. There we will visit our "home town", aka AUBURN!!, see relatives we haven't seen in over a year, hang out with the best friends anyone could ask for, and attend a family wedding.
Though I'm stoked about our sister's wedding (NOT MUCH LONGER ALISA!), I'd be remiss to say that I'm not equally, if not a bit more, excited to see my grandmas. I'm lucky enough to have three terrific grandmothers that have been dynamic in my life. And they love Matt like they do all of their grandkids. Sometimes I get a little jealous, but don't tell ;)
And our besties. Where do I start!? We base our life around when we can see Sarah and Daron Flory. It's just the truth. We consider them family, and there will be a major sob fest upon our meeting and departure. Well, from the boys at least.
But besides our trip we have other news which I have shared with you - embarking on a new chapter in life known as Masterdom! I cannot express in words how ecstatic I am to get started with school! If there were a profession known as eternal student, that would be moi.
To recap, I am working on my Masters in International Relations through the University of Oklahoma. The plan is to graduate by Spring 2013, and then complete a summer or semester long internship in D.C., NYC, Brussels, or Atlanta. At least, that's the "plan". As the saying goes, "Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars". That is my motto!
I'm lucky to have such a supportive partner in Matt. He always encourages me to better myself, which in-turn betters our bond. I joke with him that I am ahead in the race to our PhDs. He thinks I'm kidding...
My first class - Geography of Primary Production - covers resources and environmental geography. "What is the world is that?" you might ask? We will talk about mining, forestry, oil, water, agriculture, and other environmental stressors/woes. I. AM. STOKED. Particularly on the issues of oil in the Middle East and agriculture in Asia! Wow, that sounded nerdier than anticipated.
Suffice it to say, we have a busy couple of months planned out. But every day I think about it all and can't help but smile. We are going to end 2011 on a fantastic note!
I heard at school last week that there was a pumpkin festival this weekend. Seeing as Autumn and I are like peas and carrots, I had to find out where.
In a little farm town of Hitscherhof we found pumpkiny fun! There were pumpkin brats, pumpkin breads, nuwine (YUM!), and the most delicious pumpkin soup EVER!!! I sincerely hope we don't have to wait until next year to taste that scrumptious soup.
We perused the grounds, weaving in and out of vendors as we looked for potential holiday gifts. I'm happy to say we found some :)
So here are some pictures of Matt, me, and our friend Shawn (miss you Brett!):
I'm putting this on Veganista, so I thought I'd share with you, too!
Sometimes Matt and I catch flack for our diet choices. When most people find out that we eat a plant-based whole foods diet, they think we're stinky hippies. That, and they don't understand why we do what we do. But always, there is the inevitable question that makes me want to scream: "But, if you don't eat meat, how do you get enough protein?". It's not their fault, they have bought into what years of Western overeating has preached. This is extremely annoying to Matthew and me.
I was told by someone who had never researched or done so much as to read one article about plant-based diets that I was unhealthy. Really? Every time my blood pressure is taken people are astonished, I'm not skin and bones, heck, I eat a TON, and my body glows from the inside out. I'm perfectly fine. Maybe you should read a little more...
And there is always the, "What are you going to do when you get pregnant?". Ummm, DUH. If I think this diet is best for me, and I want the best for my child, I'm going to continue eating healthy. Maybe a little more soy ice cream than normal, but what gives? Vegan moms produce healthier birthweight babies and typically have an easier birth (especially if moderate exercise was included during pregnancy).
As for my children, ah, yes. This is tricky. You want the best for your kids, right? But you also want them to make their own choices. So we've decided on raising our children as vegans. When they procure their own money they may spend it on whatever they want. If it's a cholesterol filled burger, so be it. That's their money, not mine. They are affecting their own health, not mine.
My Twink, aka Sarah Flory, recently posted this infographic on Pinterest, and it actually led me to the post. Click HERE!
A big shout out to my parents who laughed when I became a vegetarian in high school, rolled their eyes when I joined PETA, but always supported my decision. Thanks for putting up with me when I won't eat things you labored over (the roast and veggies looked and smelled great, but they were marinated with the meat...sorry!), and for listening to me when I rag you about a plant-based diet (Dad). But most of all, thanks for being proud of me for daring to be a little out there. LOVE YOU!
I'm going to be a master!!! At least, that's the plan.
A few weeks ago I sent transcripts and an application to he University of Oklahoma. I am pleased to say, I will soon be a student in their Masters of International Relations program.
My long-time dream has been to work for an NGO, think tank, or the State Department. Without a Masters, these dreams are merely that. Especially with the government, even at GS level. After all, a Masters degree these days is more the equivalent of yesteryear's undergrad.
So I'm on my way. It's official. I start a grant writing class in October and couldn't be more stoked!!
Though I guess I'm now a Sooner, you best believe I'll ALWAYS be a Tiger!
Well, hello there! Sorry it's taken so long for me to blog. Life has become INSANE.
Incase you didn't already know, I am now working at Ramstein Elementary School as a paraprofessional. I work with Special Ed students in a Kindergarten classroom (yay for 18 five year-olds!) as well as the lunchroom from 10:30 - 1:05. Talk about CRAZY!!!
I adore kids, and my job is fantastic. Watching children learn and grow is such a rewarding experience. To have the smallest part in that means the world to me. Plus, kids are HYSTERICAL! You never know what's going to come out of those little mouths. When you're having a bad day, they can always cheer you up. There is nothing like five year-old word vomit...
There are so many stories I could tell. Some sad, some just precious, and so many stinking hilarious!!! Melt your heart moment of the day: Kids were screaming because there was a bee in the cafeteria. As I was about to give my "leave it alone/don't hurt it" spiel, a little voice squeaked, "Ms. Cole. Please don't kill the bee. He doesn't know any better. He smells something sweet and just wants a taste. If we don't hurt him, he'll fly back outside".
OH. MY. GOODNESS. I almost teared up. Oh, what we can learn from the children...
I went on to explain the little boy was right, and we wouldn't want someone hurting us because we were lost. We catch and release critters at our house...
Changing gears, I am SO excited about tomorrow! Saturdays we do a bit of morning shopping at the market, come home, watch football and grill. Going to the market is always the highlight of my week. There is nothing better than fresh veggies and fruit! And I cannot WAIT to get some more pickles from the pickle dude tomorrow!!! How will I sleep with such excitement ahead?
There is another new development, but I'd rather wait a little longer before divulging. Call me superstitious. No really, do.
Well, that's about it for me. On an ending note, be kind to everyone you encounter, for you know not their struggles. SMILE. Be compassionate to everyone and thing - you don't want karma to come back and bite ya where it hurts. And avoid negative people/energy. But most of all...ENJOY YOUR WEEKEND!!!
As I previously blogged, Matt and I spent the weekend in Palma de Mallorca, Spain. It's the cutest little island, and we have been positively dying for some beach weather. We flew down Friday, spent a good part of the day on the beach, had a nice siesta, then went to dinner and played trivia.
Correction. I played trivia. Matt is really socially awkward when we are in a country where we don't speak the language (coughourcurrentsituationcough). So it took him a couple of beers to feel comfortable chiming in on the movie questions.
That night we met some Frenchies. This is cool. So, we don't speak Spanish (understand it, ehhhhh), we do not at all speak French, and we try our darndest to speak proper English. So, here I am, trying to converse (yes, converse Matt, not conversate. GAH.) with people that only speak their language while we only speak ours. Sangria helps, though. There was a lot of "parlez vous francais?", "Je t'adore", and the standard one through ten in the language.
From their side it was "Britney Spears!" or more accurately, "Britnay Speeeahs!". For some reason when I tell Europeans my name, they undoubtedly must scream the pop princess's name like it's special or something. Listen all you Euros out there, it's one of the most popular names in the US, and yes, I know "Hit Me Baby One More Time".
But my point is, I talked to them for at least half an hour, neither of us spoke the same language, and we had a swell time! Gesticulate, smile, and laugh, and you're sure to have a great time with Europeans :)
Back to our evening, we ended up chatting into the night with our new Slovakian friends, Alex and Chris. They are two smart guys, and actually headed to University at Edinburgh, Scotland in a month or so. That's on our "to visit" list, so we hope to meet up with them again there.
On Saturday we did a bit of the same. I didn't remember it was Matt's birthday until halfway through the day and felt terrible!! But, it's OK, because we found a pretty amazing sushi restaurant and Matt was able to eat his weight in assorted fish and rice rolls.
Sunday we spent the majority of the day on the beach. After the standard siesta (LOVE them by the way!!) we headed back out to the beach where we bronzed and drank one fabulous banana something or another...
And let me tell you, these people hang out on the beach until after the sun goes down. I'm talking, 9 or 10 o'clock. But the absolute BEST part of European beaches is the "clothing optional" rule. In the Dominican Republic I was a little hesitant because I'd never been anywhere like that before. American ladies are taught to keep their tops on.
Not in Europe! You see younger ladies, women carting naked children around, and grandmothers all sans tops. But it is so fantastic. No one ogles, you aren't made to feel shameful - it's the norm! Probably one of the most liberating experiences a woman can have. I mean, guys go topless all the time. Why can't we?!
Off the soap box and back to the beach...yes, it was fabulous. We eventually ate dinner, enjoyed a couple of orange fanta's and rum, and hit the sack. It was exactly the break we needed!
For the past few months, Matt and I have been trying to track down some reasonably priced organic vegan dog food. The task proved a lot harder than we anticipated. But we found it! And it just came in yesterday :)
It only cost a couple of dollars more than what we were feeding him, and there is free shipping! It only took a week for the food to get here. How awesome is that!?
It's called V-Dog, and I actually found it via PETA's website.
In addition to the food change, I've switched Patton from his daily Fish Oil to Flax Seed Oil.
He loves it! He always thinks vitamins are candy, anyways.
As always, Pup adores his veggies. He'd do anything for a sweet potato, red bell pepper or banana. We are so lucky to have such an accommodating and healthy pup! - Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone
Yesterday, Brett and I went to the local market. Kaiserslautern's Farmer's Market is on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Saturday is the standard day for us, and they have more vendors then. But we were out of town this weekend and needed veggies stat, so we headed downtown.
Let's start with the artichokes. Aren't these simply gorgeous?!
Then I picked up some random beans. They were pretty, and I love beans, so I thought, why not?
And of course, I got a kilo and a half of tomatoes. You can never have enough!
This is what our kitchen looks like after a market day:
So my mother and mother-in-law make this FANTASTIC dessert called a Derby or Kentucky Derby Pie. It is basically a chocolate chip pecan pie, and tis the best thing that ever came out of the South (besides collard greens, of course).
Most desserts I try to veganize fail the first few times. I often give up or just wait a few months to try it again because I'm not a dessert person, and if I have sweets lying around, I or my darling sweet tooth of a Hubby will devour them within a couple of days.
This confection, however, is a family favorite. And because it's been so long since we've had one of mom's famous Derby pies, we decided to make one ourselves.
I cannot give out our family's secret recipe, but if you are interested, I'm sure Google can appease you.
To veganize, simply substitute Ener-G for eggs and Smart Balance vegan substitute for margarine.