Archive for the ‘Products’ Category

Hmm, the Holidays Taste Good

Looking for a fun thing to do with your kids, your spouse or with alcohol? My fave, Trader Joe’s is selling giant gingerbread men for $3.99 a piece. The “kit” comes with your giant gingerbread man with a tube of frosting, candy and sprinkles. I highly recommend breaking out your leftover Halloween candy though…the more candy the better. My nephews Woody and Buzz, and I had a little bit of fun last night decorating our giants, then performing surgery, then cannibalism. It would have been even more fun if I was drinking spiked egg nog but I’m still off alcohol. (7 days and counting! Woo hoo! Go sobriety!) Hope you all are having a very merry holiday season!


The Substitute Teacher Returns

A few months back some of you may remember I blogged a recipe I tried out for vegan cupcakes. They were affordable, super easy and healthy to boot. Well I did it again, only this time with chocolate chip cookie brownies! I did the same thing I did last time, just buying a premixed box but substituting the “bad” stuff for the “good” stuff. I used Betty Crocker’s Supreme Bar, Cookie Brownie mix which isn’t the healthiest, but with the substitutions a lot of fat, cholesterol and what not is eliminated, and some
good nutrients are added. When we substituted the egg we saved ourselves 80 calories of fat, and 340 mg of cholesterol! (The flax seed mixture has no cholesterol in it at all.) Plus like I have mentioned before in previous postings, flaxseed is really good for you. It contains a lot of fiber, lignans (which are natural antioxidants) and omega 3 fats. Not only did the flaxseed have no cholesterol but it also has been proven that flaxseed lowers harmful cholesterol already in your body. And obviously substituting anything for butter is going to be healthier.

For anyone who is worried about the brownies tasting different, have no fear because they taste exactly the same. The vegetable spread tastes just like butter, and the flaxseed egg substitute tastes like nothing. You aren’t missing anything by not having the egg because the egg is actually used
for taste, it’s just used as a binder. My husband ate the brownies and he definitely could not taste a difference.

You need:
Betty Crocker’s Supreme Bar, Cookie Brownie mix
For brownie batter: 2 tbsp water, 1/2 stick or 1/4 cup of Vegetarian Spread melted (I use Earth Balance), 2 tbsp ground flax seed + 3 tbsp water to make one egg substitute
For cookie dough: 1 tbsp water, 1/2 stick or 1/4 cup of Vegetarian Spread softened

1. Heat over to 325 degrees. Grease your pan.
2. Stir the brownie mix with 2 tbsp water, melted spread and flax seed egg substitute in a bowl until well blended. Spread in pan.
3. Stir the cookie dough batter with the tbsp water and softened spread. Once a dough forms, drop teaspoons (or chunks like I did) onto the brownie batter.
4. Bake. Here is what it comes out to:
8″ x 8″ (shiny metal or glass): 50 mins
8″ x 8″ (dark or nonstick): 43 mins
9″ x 9″ (all pans): 42 mins
11″ x 7″ (all pans): 40 mins
13″ x 9″ (shiny metal or glass): 35 mins
13″ x 9″ (dark or nonstick): 27 mins

I would even check it before the suggested time, just to be sure. Also follow directions. The first time I made this I used a 13″ x 9″ for 35 mins because thats what it said on the box – however I used a dark pan – and ended up making a nice brick. Sigh. It was pretty devastating. My whole house smelled like fresh treats, but there were none to enjoy since biting into the brownie may have cracked my teeth.

Enjoy and have yourself a pleasant Tuesday! 🙂


I like to read books. Especially one’s that give me useful information. As I was strolling through the library for unnecessary reading material not for school, I stumbled upon “Drink this, Not that.” I love these “Eat this, Not that” books so of course I was intrigued. Here’s some useful information I think we can all use, especially us alcoholics.

If you are going to drink vegetable juice or use some in your Bloody Marys, V8 is always best. V8 is actually better for you than real straight up tomato juice even. Why? Because it includes an expansive list of nutrients and an 8-ounce glass provides two servings of fruits and vegetables. This is heaven to my ears since I can’t even find it in myself to put tomatoes on my sandwich. More interesting? V8 Fusion is tastier but still good for you. It’s 50 calories per serving and each calorie comes from a blend of sweet potatoes, carrots, apples, pomegranates and blueberries. Nice. One more interesting thing? V8 Splash is bad for you. The book says it is “unfit to carry the V8 brand name. It’s made with artificial colors, high fructose corn syrup and a pathetic 10% juice.” Of course V8 Splash was the one I liked, but that’s just how my life has been going lately.

Another devastating blow? Rice milk is bad for you too. Fudge me. I don’t really enjoy drinking cow milk because I love my dairy cows but I do love the taste of cow’s milk. That’s why I love rice milk. It tastes just like skim milk and I always thought it was awesome that it was made from rice…how healthy! Nope. The book crushed all my dreams by telling me “You can’t expect the milk to be more nutritious than the grain that produced it, and that rule is best illustrated by rice milk. Rice consists of mostly starch, a carbohydrate that quickly breaks down to sugar in the body. Likewise, rice milk is the most carbohydrate-rich of all common nondairy milks.” Sweet. I’ve been DRINKING my carbs too! Wow. I’m an idiot.  So now my husband can say “told you so!” since he’s been trying to convert me to almond milk for months. Husband 1 Wife 0. Damnit.

Now, onto the important stuff: beer.

If you are going to drink Domestic beer my lovely Rolling Rock Extra is a winner! Hallelujah! It is one of the lowest calorie beers. 132 calories to be exact. You want better than that? I gotchu. My favorite grandma drink that everyone makes fun of me for drinking is Michelob Ultra. But I don’t care because it only has 95 calories and 2.6 grams of carbs. Holla! Miller Lite is pretty awesome too, at 96 calories and 3.2 grams of carbs. The lowest though is MGD 64 (Miller Genuine Draft 64) at 64 calories and 2.4 grams of carbs. How come no one has introduced us before? Now if you want your fancy imported beer, the “healthiest” beer is going to be Becks Light, which is pretty good I have to say myself and has 64 calories and 4 grams of carbs. Another good one? Yummy Amstel Light at 95 calories and 5 grams of carbs.

That was the best of the best. Here’s the worst of the worst. For Domestics, Budweiser American Ale is your worst enemy. A bottle carries 182 calories and 18.1 g of carbs. Holy guacamole. My husband’s fave Sam Adams Boston Lager comes in second at 170 calories and 18 g carbs. Ha! Husband 1, Wife 1. For light beer drinkers Michelob Light is the worst at 123 calories and 8.8 carbs. You might as well switch to my Ultra. Also bad? Bud Light and Bud Light Lime. For imports Guinness Extra Stout (176 cals, 14 carbs) and Heineken (166 cals, 9.8 carbs) were the worst. Corona also made the bad list. Sadness.

If you are intrigued so far, you should get the book because I only highlighted what was important to me. I thankfully don’t consume coffee, pop, tea or juice. Most other people do, so this book explains and compares many gazillion brands of drinks. It also goes into wine and spirits. 😉 Also important to me, but I don’t have all day to write about alcohol. Maybe if someone paid me. Anyways, get the book because it’s awesome. It runs about $20 at the bookstore or be cheap like me and get it at the library. For those of you unwilling to spend $20 on a book but have accidentally gone to the bar when it wasn’t Happy Hour and spent $20 on two margaritas, you may want to reevaluate your priorities. Not judging, just saying from one alcoholic to another.


Ugh, I’m Giving up Uggs.

I cannot lie. I love my Ugg boots. Love them. So how unfortunate that I had to do my research on them and now can no longer buy anymore of those evil boots. In reality, I do not need Uggs. I can happily get the Fuggs from Target, and now I probably will. It won’t compare in comfort, but how could it? Uggs are sheep on your feet. According to their website, “Only the finest materials are used in the construction of our products – the highest quality leathers and suedes, and of course, the world’s finest sheepskin. UGG® Australia is the world’s largest purveyor of grade-A sheepskin.”

So what does that mean? It means they skin sheep (not shave, skin) and then buff up both sides for you, making the nice soft outside and the comfy furry inside. “Twin-face sheepskin is used in many of our core products. A piece of twin-face sheepskin has been treated on both the fleece side, and the skin side, providing the soft comfort UGG® Australia is famous for.”

The Animal Liberation Movement has been criticizing Uggs since the beginning and have been trying to get them to stop using animal hides, but since they are so successful and popular, it just isn’t going to happen. Pamela Anderson who used to sport Uggs all the time, when finding out it was sheepskin, she posted on her website encouraging everyone to stop buying Uggs. A few other groups and people have been trying to stop the production of animal hides by Ugg but little has changed. The Princeton Animal Welfare Society have also held huge protests against the Ugg industry on their college campus, only getting the message across to some fellow students.

Obviously my blog isn’t going to stop anything either, however, for anyone out there who really cares about these poor animals, just stop buying animal hide/fur/leather! Is it really worth it? The faux stuff looks just the same anyways. Yes, I love my Uggs. And I’m not going to lie, I’m not going to toss out the ones I own…but I can promise that I will never knowingly purchase another pair again! See ya Uggs! It’s been a good run!

A Fur-ry Situation

As a member of PETA, I get information mailed to me about new and shocking, (or not so new and shocking) information about anything animals related from around the world. The information I got recently, put me over the edge! I’m not a huge pet person, actually I don’t want pets at all, but I know many people out there who don’t really give a thought to animals unless it is their dog or cat. Well read on pet lovers because this will shock you!

As many of you know PETA is not just about not eating animals, it’s also a huge activist against wearing animals. Of course, I support this but really don’t ever think about fur. Fur has never been an issue to me because I never really thought I wore it, so I’ve never really given much thought or done much research on the topic. Well after reading the information sent to me, it made me think more. Fur can be found on anything…I usually just think of big luxurious fur coats, but they are collars on coats, lining in gloves, lining in our boots (I’m guilty!), rugs, trinkets, even kids clothes and toys. Well it so happens that fur is not what we think it is. Fur is usually labeled as anything from “Asian jackal” to “rabbit” but it doesn’t stop there folks! Disney knew what they were talking about with 101 Dalmatians…because a lot of that fur out there is dog!

PETA did an investigation and found that cats, dogs, and puppies are routinely used to make fur products. Here are some disturbing facts:

  • Trucks transport up to 800 animals in tiny cages to fur markets, and some of them are still wearing the collars that their former owners had put on them!
  • Dead and dying dogs and cats are crammed into the cages along with the living animals.
  • Many of the cages are tossed 10 feet from the top of trucks to the ground below, killing or injuring some of the animals inside during the process.
  • “Kinder” killing methods cost money or damages the fur so methods like anal electrocution, kicking, strangling with wire nooses, drowning and skinning live animals are used on a normal basis.
  • PETA got actual footage of cats and dogs hung up by their legs and tails and had the fur peeled from their flesh while they were alive! Once they were stripped, their bleeding bodies are tossed into a pile with other bodies, where the animals’ hearts were still beating and they were still gasping for life for up to five minutes! And the other animals awaited their turn in the cages where they were covered in feces and urine. Omg!

So what can we do? Well first off, stop wearing it. Anything labeled “fur” could be dog, cat, fox, coyote, lynx, rabbit, sheep, lamb, raccoon…no animal is spared. Anything that even looks like fur, don’t do it because it turns out there is a lot of consumer deception going on when it comes to fur labeling. Turns out if the fur value is less than $150, there is no requirement from the company to label it! Great huh? The Truth in Fur Labeling Act was passed in 2008 and is slowly closing all the loopholes. (For more information on that you can go to is the Humane Society of the U.S.)

This jacket, with no mention of fur on the label, was sold in a U.S. store in January 2007. The fur on it was later identified by mass spectrometry as raccoon dog.

Second? You can join PETA and donate money (anything helps) so that they can continue to organize demonstrations, protest at fashion shows, produce media so more people can be educated, and so forth. PETA as been successful in converting top designers and companies to becoming fur-free. Polo Ralph Lauren went fur-free after meeting with PETA and seeing footage from fur farms, and recently PETA has won over Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein as well. They are slowly gaining ground so help!

Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss sporting real fur. 😦

Nicole Richie and SJP sporting faux fur. 🙂

This is DOG.

Fast Food Nation

Last night I had the extreme pleasure of viewing the movie Fast Food Nation for the very first time. Let me tell you, if you haven’t seen this movie, you must! I was only a tad reluctant because the movie got very mixed reviews. Many of the reviews I read on my beloved Netflix were terrible. People we’re complaining that the movie should have been made into a documentary instead but I disagree. I thought the movie was well made. In defense, the way I see it is that not many people enjoy documentaries. I in fact, love them, but I know that many people find them to be boring, slow, long, etc. Therefore taking the matter of slaughterhouses, the fast food industry, the meat industry, immigration and activism and putting it into a fictional plot seems like a good idea to me. I find that people who cannot bear to sit and watch documentaries can watch a movie that has a plot, storyline and characters that they can identify with.

For anyone who hasn’t seen the movie, it is a movie following a few different people’s lives who are all somehow affected by the meat/fast food industry. We follow around a business man who works for Mickey’s, a fast food chain, a high school girl who works at Mickey’s while becoming friends with college activists, and an illegal immigrant couple who come to America and end up working at Mickey’s beef supplier. It stars many people, including Patricia Arquette, Ethan Hawke, Catalina Sandino Moreno, Wilmar Valderama, Avril Lavinge and Bruce Willis.

For whomever out there that wants to see this movie in documentary form, there is a version, called Food, Inc. This documentary is great, and was one of the first movies I saw that really concreted my decision of giving up meat. It shows you a behind the scenes look at slaughterhouses, worker conditions for immigrants and nonimmigrants, and also describes all the preservatives and hormones that you are consuming when you eat industrialized meat.

The book that both films are based off of is New York Time’s bestseller, Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser. The book takes you behind the scenes to what we are really eating when we eat beef from our favorite fast food restaurants. It goes into detail about the “flavorings” that make our beef taste “cajun” or “smoked,” shows us what ingredients are in our foods, where our food comes from, and who touches our food before it gets to us. There are insights, interviews, and so much more…I love it. Because of this book, which I read many years ago, I no longer consume McDonald’s strawberry milkshake-it has over 30 ingredients and 50% of them are chemicals. Yum!

For anyone who either doesn’t have the time or patience for reading Fast Food Nation, Schlosser (along with Charles Wilson) wrote a second book, called Chew on This, which is a tamer, shorter version of Fast Food Nation. It was made to aim at teenagers and younger people, but with the same concept-to educate people on the fast food industry. I have yet to read this but plan on doing so soon.

So in conclusion, I have to recommend both films, the fictional Fast Food Nation and the documentary Food, inc. Both will broaden your horizon and knowledge on the meat and fast food industry. I feel better just knowing where meat comes from, and it helps me remember why I don’t consume it. For anyone who is reluctant because they do want to consume meat, don’t fret, just go organic. Food, Inc. will show you how a chicken is killed in a slaughterhouse versus how they are killed on a local farm. Good stuff folks.


Other good, similar films to check out:

PSMF; Day 10

Alas! Finally there is some improvement. My giants have deflated, my scars are starting to fade, and new breakouts are far, far less frequent! Hallelujah! What can I really contribute to this success? Well, I tried to eat more leafy vegetables and salads, I washed my face 2x a day (morning with Clearisal face wash, nighttime with Clearasil Nighttime Wash) and applied benzoyl peroxide nightly (Clean & Clear 10%). I totally ditched the Tea Tree Oil. Too stinky and ineffective. I still have a long ways to go though…need to up those veggies, down the water and cross my fingers that working from the inside out will help improve my skin even further! (I still look like crap, but hey, not breaking out is a good start!)