Dairy, do. Dairy, don’t?

That is the question.  It’s been nagging at me for ages.

Sure, eat dairy.  Cows give milk.  They’re not killed…….   Right?

Well, cows only give milk after they’ve had a calf.  So, the dairy farmers have to continually keep the cows having calves.  How do they do that?  Artificial insemination.  Oh, THAT must be fun for the cows.

She has the calf, and the baby is lovingly allowed to be with Mommy forever, nursing whenever he or she likes.  Uh, no.  The baby is taken away within a couple of weeks so that Mommy can be hooked up to a machine and “milked” so we can have dairy products.

The mommy cow…..  separation anxiety.  The baby cow…… separation anxiety, and very often, slaughter.  Especially if they’re male.  Dairy farmers don’t need very many male cows with all that artificial insemination going on.

And, where do you think veal comes from?  Baby cows.  Betcha they’re mostly male, too.

I knew what veal was a long time ago, and it was the first meat I stopped eating, way before I became a vegetarian.  I became a vegetarian about 10 years ago and initially thought it was fine to eat dairy, until I learned more about what they do to the cows.

I’ve cut out about 75% of the dairy I used to eat, and will continue to work on the other 25%.  It is an on-going struggle and I continue to look for good, non-dairy substitutes and strive to do my best every day.  (Check out my “Perfect Vegetarian” blog post.  Interesting stuff!)

Now, I hear there’s some non-dairy Havarti I need to try?


Book It!

Disclaimer-  This is not my typical foodie blog post.  lol

I’ve just been talking to some Twitter friends about books.  Yup, books.  I was a book-worm.  I was reading the New York Times when I was 6 years old.  My father used to stand me up in front of guests and make me read to them!

I was the kid always in the art department, or in the band room, or rehearsing for the next play.  When I wasn’t doing that, I was reading, book after book.  That’s what gave me wanderlust.  And, that’s what led to my travels.

Its so hard to imagine little kids not being read to from a book, but from a hard, plastic “pad.”  Or hiding under the covers at night with a flashlight so you can read just a little bit more…..  from a book.  There’s something to the feel of a book, the smell of a book.

I love book stores, art supply stores, knitting stores, food stores, kitchen supply stores, and I expect they’ll always be around…..  won’t they?

Book stores have GOT to stay around.  There’s just SOMETHING about books.

What do you think?


Mature Tastes

A couple of days ago I cooked with Chinese 5-Spice Powder.  I’ve always hated 5-Spice Powder…..  until now.  Huh?

I was making “quick” Char Siu to use in Banh Mi sandwiches and as usual, I was tasting as I went along.  One of the ingredients in Char Siu is 5-Spice Powder and as I tasted the “beef” mixture each time I added a new ingredient, I realized I really liked it, and kept “tasting”!

Well, what’s not to like?  Hoisin Sauce, Oyster Sauce.  (No, there are no oysters in oyster sauce these days).  Just a few simple ingredients, including 5-Spice Powder…… which contains fennel seeds and star anise….  which both taste like licorice…..  which I’ve always hated…..  Hmmm…..  What’s going on here?

My mother loved fennel, straight out of the fridge.  I hated it.  Liked the crunch but hated the licorice-y taste.  Strange, though, I drink Ouzo in Greece, and I love Anisette and Sambucca, and I suddenly love 5-Spice Powder?

And, then there was that Mushroom-Onion Pot Roast she used to make when I was a kid.  I hated it…..  until a few years later when I suddenly loved it.   And, a vegetable dish she used to call “Mushy McGoo,” which was basically ratatouille, a tomato/eggplant/zucchini/pepper stew.   Hated it.  And, now I’m “Veggie,” and love it!

Could it be?  Am I growing up?  Or, shall we say, have my tastes “matured”?

Have yours?  Let’s compare notes!


Drink Up!

Summertime, summertime, sum… sum… summertime!

Time to drink up!  It’s hot out, its miserable out, and you want to cool down, right?  Well, drink up!

Grab that bottle, grab a nice, iced glass, and pour yourself a……..  glass of water! 

Ok, ok, I know what you thought I was going to say, and some of that is ok, but when we’re talkin’ summertime it’s even more important to drink water.

If you’re like me, you don’t drink enough water EVER.  I sure don’t.  But, here are a couple of tips.

Drink through a straw.  No kidding.  I tried it and it works.  You drink more through a straw.  Remember bendy-straws?  Kinda fun and come in all sorts of colors.  All sorts of crazy straws out there.  Get some cool ones and give yourself a giggle.

Also, I cannot stand plain water, even filtered.  I HAVE to flavor it.  There’s SO many kinds of flavorings, just stay away from the one’s full of junk, and sugar.  (Look at the ingredient list).  I like “Ocean Spray Cran-Lemonade,” but my FAVE is “True Lemon.”  It’s made from lemon, and a couple of little packs of that and a bit of sweetener in a bottle of water…. and I’ll actually drink water!

(“True Lemon” can be tough to locate in the store.  Sometimes it’s near the other water flavorings, sometimes it’s in the baking section.  Weird.  Bright yellow box and it also comes in orange.)

If you’re wondering, no, I still don’t drink 8 glasses of water a day.  But, I do drink more than I used to!

Oh, and whatever you were thinking when I said, “Drink Up!  Time to drink up!”  Everything in moderation!   :)


4th of July in Europe

So, if you’ve read the “About Me” type pages listed under the heading above (if you haven’t…. read them first.  lol),  you know I’ve lived and worked in a number of places around the world.

This isn’t foodie related, but it’s about one of my escapades while living in Europe, and its kinda funny.

While living in Europe a friend and I were on a British military base trying to find the U.S. Squadron.  The base was NATO-related and had many squadrons, and being American, we were trying to find “our” squadron.

We drove around and around, back and forth.  We thought we were in the right area of the base but it seemed to be pretty quiet for a “work” day, and we couldn’t find anyone to ask for directions, so we continued to search on our own.

After an hour or so of driving around in the same general area, we decided it was about time to extend our search in order to find someone to help us with directions, and we came across the BRITISH post office on this BRITISH air base, and we went in.

“Hi, can you help us with directions, please”

“What are you looking for?”

“The U.S. Squadron.”

“Where have you been looking?”

“Here are the directions we have.  Is that the right place?”

“Yes, that’s the right place.”

“Well, it’s really quiet and no one is around.  Is that normal?”

“No, not really.”

“It’s not?  Then, why would it be so quiet and the Squadron closed up on a work day?”

“Isn’t it a holiday for you?  (Giggle.)  INDEPENDENCE Day?  Independence from US?”  (BIG giggle.)

“OMG.  You’re right!”

Funny, and a little embarrassing, but we all got a laugh out of it, and it still makes me smile when I think of it.

Happy 4th of July!




OMG, I’ve turned into a smoothie-a-holic!  The weather has been hot and I’ve been making smoothies.  Unbelievably easy, and really delicious, especially if you’re looking for something filling and sweet.  Don’t bother with freezing bananas to keep in the freezer for smoothies.  I’d rather have them fresh.  (Buy a few that are just about ripe, and a few that are still green, and you’re set for the week.)  Keep frozen fruit, berries, strawberries, whatever you like, in the freezer, for the frozen element.  MUCH easier, and gives you more options.  I also LOVE a dab of almond butter in the smoothie, but it does add a lot of calories, so I’ve been using cocoa powder and a bit of sweetener, along with almond milk, the frozen berries, and a nice fresh banana….  all of which are in the smoothie sitting right in front of me.  Yes, you can throw in some kale.  And, yes, adding chia seeds would be great, and healthy.  Think of all the options!  Smoothies are not as fancy-shmancy as you might have thought.  Experiment…  and enjoy!  YUMMY!