My brother died on Halloween

The anniversary of my brother’s death is approaching. I am reminded of this every Halloween because he passed away on October 31, 2010.

My brother had a hard life that started from a very young age.  He had a learning disability but people didn’t know about those things back then. He was born in 1959 and grew up in the 60s and 70s.  Back then, issues such as my brother’s were ignored.  [If I had to guess,I would say he suffered from a form of what is now known as Asperger  Syndrome or something along those lines. ] Adding to this, he was also nearly blind. He wore the traditional “coke bottle glasses”. His eyesight issues went unrecognized until 1st or 2nd grade(?).  Imagine? Poor kid.  He had a hard time right out of the starting gate.  My parents were ill-equipped to handle my brother’s issues.  They paved a road to Hell with my brother.  Had he been raised by Mrs. Forrest Gump, there’s no telling how his life may have turned out. I suspect a heck of a lot different than it did.  “You’re no different. You’re just like everybody else.”  Sadly, my mother didn’t subscribe to this philosophy.  When your kid was different, you ignored the problem.  My brother was different. As a teenager and young adult, he got into a heap of trouble. Scratch that — heaps of trouble.

His life turned for the better when he got married and became a dad.  If there is one immutable truth about my brother it is: he wanted a family and stability – it was something he always craved because growing up, we never had it. Say what you want about my downtrodden brother but he loved his kids – loved them.  There wasn’t anything he wouldn’t do for them.  Most people who knew my brother hated him. That was pretty apparent at his funeral too. Those who showed, did so out of respect for my parents, checking their issues with my brother at the door.  Those are good people.  The assholes who couldn’t be bothered to show up (and you know who you are), well you can go *&^%$#@!~^&**%$

My brother was a heavy smoker. I believe he started when he was 13(?).  That’s what killed him, well sort of.  He was diagnosed with lung cancer but it spread to his brain.  Of course, had he had health insurance, he may have been able to receive better care, but he didn’t.  He also didn’t have a home. He was homeless.  He wound up getting divorced, and lost his home to his wife and 3 kids.  He didn’t earn enough money to support 2 households so he lived out of his truck.  We did what we could to help him but the thing about my brother was, if you helped him, you enabled him and he would stop trying and essentially that’s what he did, he stopped trying and gave up.  It wasn’t long after that when he was diagnosed with lung cancer which then spread to his brain. He was dead a year later.

During the funeral, it was gut-wrenching to look at my parents. I swear they both aged 20 years in just a few days.  My father and brother never got along — too much anger and resentment. Sadly, they were never able to clear the air.  The week my brother went into hospice, my dad stood by his bedside every single day. My 82-year-old Korean War Veteran father stood next to my brother’s bed, with his hand on my brother’s forehead as if he was trying through osmosis to have a conversation with my brother — who drifted in and out of consciousness. It was almost as if my father hoped via his touch, he could clear the air between the two of them. A conversation they should have had a long time ago.

The day I received the news my brother was going into hospice, was two days before I was scheduled to have major surgery.  I wound up in the ER, not once, not twice but three times in less than 2 weeks. Two days before my surgery, my brother goes into hospice – can you believe the timing?  Upon waking in recovery (after a five-hour surgery) I learned I needed to have another operation – great. [I’ll spare you the details of my health crisis in 2010.]  I didn’t tell my parents what was going on with me; I couldn’t. They were about to lose one child due to cancer. Imagine if I told them they might lose another? It would have been cruel. So as I said, my brother died on Halloween 2010 and I stood at my brother’s grave, three days post-op on a cold, miserable, rainy November day. It was awful. Not because of my condition but because I had to watch my mother, father, my other brother, an ex-sister-in-law, two nephews and one niece bury a son, a brother, an ex- husband and a father.  Brutal!

I made a promise to myself that every year on the anniversary of my brother death; I would write a post in his memory so as to remind myself that none of us knows how much time we have on this planet. We all think we have oodles of time and often live for the future instead of enjoying the present. Some people sadly enough, live too much in the past. Since my brother’s death and my health crisis I try to focus on the now. I no longer put things off for the future.  If there is something you want to do/try/experience, you should do, whatever it is, NOW – don’t wait. And lastly, if there is someone you want to clear the air with, you should definitely do that now. Don’t put it off, for you may not get the chance. Learn from my father and brother.

GiRRL_Earth October 28, 2012


An Open Letter to Ann Coulter

If you are a Liberal like me, well then you probably share the same feelings I do about Ann Coulter:  Ms. Coulter  is a thorn in my slightly left of center Liberal BACK SIDE! On soooooo many occasions, I have wanted to send Ms. Coulter a letter, blasting her (especially after seeing Ms. Coulter on HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher). I never followed through because I knew, by writing such a hateful letter, I was stooping to her narrow-minded level and who would want to do that?
Mr. Stephen’s eloquent post sums up how I feel about Ms. Coulter, as well as anyone who feels the need to bash people by calling them names. What Ms. Coulter says, reveals more about her than the person she is slinging mud at. I have such little respect for mud-slingers who use words like the R-word, or the L-word or H-word or my all time favorite: He/she is “in the closet”. To me, people who sling insults like these are truly small-minded idiots!
Mr. Stephens is my hero!

The World of Special Olympics

The following is a guest post in the form of an open letter from Special Olympics athlete and global messenger John Franklin Stephens to Ann Coulter after this tweet during last night’s Presidential debate.

Dear Ann Coulter,

Come on Ms. Coulter, you aren’t dumb and you aren’t shallow.  So why are you continually using a word like the R-word as an insult?

I’m a 30 year old man with Down syndrome who has struggled with the public’s perception that an intellectual disability means that I am dumb and shallow.  I am not either of those things, but I do process information more slowly than the rest of you.  In fact it has taken me all day to figure out how to respond to your use of the R-word last night.

I thought first of asking whether you meant to describe the President as someone who was bullied as a child…

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$35.00 for this?!?!

…That’s how much money I spent for this [see photo below].   I know I said that I disconnect on weekends but I just had to tell someone that I just paid $35.00 for a bottle of pure Grade B Mutha F*cking syrup!  I must have been outside my head!  Yeesh!

$35.0 worth of pure Grade B Mutha F*cking SYRUP!

So why did I buy such expensive syrup? There’s a story there, and not a very good one.  I am planning on doing the Master Cleanse.  1.) when I moved, I happened upon the book about the Master Cleanse — a book I bought ages ago but never tried; and 2.) As I read through Bonzai’s retired blog, I see that she has done the The Master Cleanse. Well, if my idol BA can do it, well so can’t I. Shaaaa! Right.  My plan was kick off The Master Cleanse (heretofore: TMC) today, Saturday, October 20. However, when I woke up this morning I realized there is no way in H-E_double hockey sticks I was giving up coffee. Not today, oh hell no!  I did, however, mix up some TMC and drank it down before my coffee. I had a 2nd glass about 2 hours after my coffee. Granted, it’s not quite the same. The core basics of any cleanse/fast  is to ixnay on the caffeine — easier said than done when you are a coffee addict like me. Another thing dawned on me. I work long ass days in an office, with other people. How the hell am I going to pull off a cleanse/fast while commuting and working with other humans? How????

I will admit, I’m long overdue for a cleanse. I haven’t done a fast since 2005 – yah, it’s been that long.  Sometimes I do mini-weekend fasts where I subsist on my Mediclear (Dr. Prescribed) but I haven’t done a real honest to goodness clean-out-the-ole-bowels-cleanse and it is too long overdue (notwithstanding the 2 surgeries I had in 2010 that required me to do a bowel cleanse drinking that oh-so-nasty GoLitely stuff. YUCK!).

I realize there are groups of people out there who do not believe in fasting or a cleanse. You either believe or you don’t. I’m a believer.  All these so-called experts say we should eat 6 small meals every 3 hours. And yet lately, every where I turn, I seem to be seeing articles by experts saying people are gaining weight as a result of eating every 3 hours.  Why? because they don’t know what a snack or a small meal  looks like. Furthermore, what may be a snack to me, is a meal to you or vice-versa. How do we define *snack* and/or a *small meal*? It would look different to each person, right?

Back in my mid-20s (the 90s)  I was into bodybuilding. I trained with a guy and everything. He taught me how to eat so as to strip the fat from my body, while building muscle.  I kid you not, I looked freakin’ AWESOME! People would stop me on the street and comment.  I felt good about how I looked. Now ask me how I felt? In a word: Awful.  All that protein, and so little carbs, made me one unhappy woman. I ate more egg whites and chicken than any human should (I had given up red meat/pork in 1986).  I lived that lifestyle for 2-3 years and couldn’t maintain it. It didn’t suit me. Here’s the thing: A lot of time has passed since my body building days —  I’m 45 years old, so that’s how much time has passed.  I’ve always eaten a balanced diet but no *diet* has ever made me feel as good as a vegan *diet*. With that said, the other reason I feel so darn good is because I’m not constantly throwing food down my throat. I love that feeling that hunger gives me. I especially love the feeling I get when  it’s 2 pm in the afternoon and the last meal I had was the night before.  The only way I can explain is I feel euphoric when I go long periods without food.  People I know have come down on me about this. They say I’m ruining my metabolism. Perhaps. Let me say this. My friend who is a Marine said that during his training, the recruits are purposely kept underfed so as to keep them “sharp”.  He said the last thing you want is a platoon of overstuffed, bloated, Marines suffering from a food coma.

Now lets talk about my Italian father. He only eats 3 meals a day. He eats at the same time every day and he never eats between meals.  Consequently, my father has never had a weight issue. He is forever commenting that we Americans eat too much and too often and eat the wrong foods —  foods we deem healthy —  he deems as unnecessary borderline junk (like granola).


Back in 2005, I worked with a French Pastry Chef, who like my father, never ate between meals – never. She also did not subscribe to the “eat every 3 hours” philosophy.  In her words, “If you eat every 3 hours, you’re never hungry and your never satisfied.”  I never once heard her complain about her weight or her body.

Recently I read an article about this very topic.  The writer who was the guinea pig for the article was trying to lose weight. She was working with a nutritionist who did not believe in the eat-every-3-hours-philosophy either. The nutritionist asked the “writer/guinea pig” when was the last time she felt actual hunger.  The nutritionist wanted this woman to go all day without food. She could have as much clear liquid as she wanted: herb tea, diluted juices, etc… but she could not have  solid  food.  The writer thought she would lose her mind. The nutritionist  did tell the writer that she could call her any time, for support, especially if she thought she was going to give in to her hunger and eat something. As the writer chronicled her experience, she realized she did not, in fact,  know what real true honest to goodness hunger felt like.  The writer was assured that the body knows what it is doing and the feeling of hunger will pass if she would allow it to. Sure enough, to the writer’s surprise, the hunger passed and she honestly couldn’t believe it.  She was then taught to eat only when she is hungry and to learn to manage going without food for extended periods.  It wouldn’t be as detrimental as she had been led to believe.  In the end, the writer lost weight and it didn’t require a fancy program – she cut out the snacks and ate 3 meals a day versus 6.

I realize this post has become larger in scope than I originally planned when I first sat down to complain about my recent purchase of $35.00 maple syrup. So allow me to wrap up this rant by asking, when was the last time you felt true honest to goodness hunger? If you cannot recall, try fasting and see how you feel, you might actually like it. I know I do.

Until then, your’s truly,

GiRRL_Earth, $35.00 poorer with hopes of having a super clean body.  😉

A Thank You for Bonzai

I owe a heartfelt thank you to my blog hero Bonzai Aphrodite.  What can I say, I worship this girl!   Yesterday Bonzai made me aware of a blog infraction.  I had copied content from her blog and reblogged on my site. Granted, I included the source link but still… What I learned is, it is a blog no-no to copy entire content from someone else’s blog. The reason is, [in Bonzai’s words] “Duplicate content can mess with search engine functioning, with user’s ability to find original work, as well as with my [her] site’s SEO.”  She went on to say, “…it is ok to excerpt the post, or lead with the introductory paragraph or whatever, as long as you provide a link back to the original post (which I see you did – thank you!).” 

I have always been a believer of ignorance is no excuse for a defense; however, in my case, it is my defense.  What can I say, I’m a blog Noob. In fact, in the past, I have commiserated with Book Peeps about my blog ignorance because she can empathize.   I used to have a manager who used to tell me to learn from my mistakes and move on. Well, in this case, I have definitely learned something. It is all any of us can do, right?

To that end, I am grateful to Bonzai for being so gracious about my lack of blog protocol.  She was very sweet and friendly about my infraction and she didn’t have to. This whole thing could have gone the other direction. Thankfully, it didn’t.  This also says something about her character. That is to say, she is clearly good people.

Sadly, I discovered Bonazai’s blog after she retired it (Full Disclosure: I owe Alicia Silverstone’s The Kind Life credit for introducing me to Bonzai’s blog).  Yesterday, I Googled Bonzai trying to find a way to get in contact without using her now retired blog and discovered she is on Twitter, Tumblr, Circle of Moms. Unfortunately, due to my employer’s firewall, I am unable to access these mediums. I do have a computer at home (as well as an iPhone) but when I leave the office I officially disconnect from everything.  My job requires me to be on-line 10 hours a day, so disconnecting is crucial to my overall well-being. Trust me, you wouldn’t like me if I didn’t disconnect. This includes disconnecting on the weekends. Oh sure I may send a text or make a phone call but computers and the like are off-limits. [My hope is Bonzai will check back to see if I have removed the content and  this message.]

In closing, I aspire to have a blog as informative, fun, witty, and interesting as Bonzai’s.  I don’t know if I’ll ever get there, but dammit, I’m going to try.

Bonzai, thank you for your kindness.  Also, before I sign off, just to let you know, when I Googled you I found the following question being asked about you: “What happened to Bonzai Aphrodite?” at and from what I could glean, you are embarking on a new journey and to that, I wish you boat loads of happiness and success with your new adventure.

All the best,




Back to Basics: Heinz White Vinegar. It’s all you need.

Could we get back to basic and to the premise of this blog? Every day we are inundated by chemicals, pollutants, and toxins. Chemical companies are working very hard to convince us that we need air fresheners and Febreze to make our homes smell good. They are also trying to convince us we need for harsh chemicals to keep our homes clean.  Did you know that most homes contain higher amounts of indoor air pollution than the air in a major city? Well it’s no wonder with all the chemicals being push onto us at every turn.

Enough already!

Got a house to clean? Call on Heinz White Vinegar to do the job — it’s all you need.

Scrap those expensive so-called “green” and/or toxic cleaners. Instead, fill up a spray bottle 2 parts vinegar, 1 part water and what you’ll have is a multipurpose cleaner for:

  • The shower: After each use, spray your shower down with the vinegar-water solution I mentioned above and honey, call it a day. The vinegar will keep the soap scum build up at bay.  Although, due to the fact I am anal (natch) I like to squeegee my shower after I spray it down.
  • Floors: Use the solution to spray and wipe up spills off the floor. My cats are infamous for pushing food off of their dishes so when they are done eating, I spray the area and wipe.
  • Better yet, how about mopping your floor? Fill a bucket with water, add 1-2 cups of vinegar mop your floor and feel good knowing your kids and pets will not be walking through or smelling harsh chemicals disguised as manufactured floral essence.
  • Windows:  Spray, wipe with a damp cloth, squeegee and fughedaboudit! Oh and lose the Windex!
  • Toilets:  Pour 1 cup of white vinegar and 1 cup of Arm & Hammer’s Baking Soda into the toilet bowl, watch the concoction bubble up, scrub toilet, flush and voila! Clean toilet with no harsh chemicals or fumes. Do the same for the bathroom sink, but ah, don’t use the toilet brush, be sure to use a sponge.    😉
  • Laundry: If you read my recent post: Could we chat about laundry detergent? Well then you know I use Charlie’s Soap to clean my laundry. And to make my towels oh so fluffy soft, I will add 1 cup of white vinegar to the wash.  Who needs fabric softener? Puh-lease!
  • Mold: Have you noticed mold on the vinyl siding of your house? Spray it with straight white vinegar and watch it disappear.
  • Kitchen sink: Sprinkle Arm & Hammer Baking Soda all over the sink, spray with your Vinegar/Water Solution, let it bubble up,  scrub with the rough side of a sponge and then rinse and enjoy staring at  your reflection in the stainless. Awe…
  • Clogged drain? Forget Liquid Plumber that stuff is caustic!Instead, pour 1 cup of baking soda down drain and 1 cup of vinegar —  allow to sit. After about 10 minutes, pour boiling water down the drain.  If this doesn’t clear your clogged drain, repeat until it does. I used this method to unclog  the drain in an old house that had sat unoccupied since 2010. Ya baby, that’s right.

Oh but the smell, you say? Get over it, seriously!  If the smell bothers you that much, add a few lemon rinds or essential oils.  Quite frankly, I don’t even notice the smell any more.   Besides, which would your rather have, the smell of vinegar or harsh chemicals which contain neurotoxins dressed up as lavender or vanilla?…

Oh and if your home smells, open up some G.D. windows and air it out.  I do this religiously every weekend, throughout the year – even during the coldest of New England months.

Lastly, if the fabric of your couch, drapes, throw pillows et al. smell, place these items outside for a few hours or all day.  I love nothing more than the smell of my comforter, bed pillows, throw pillows and furniture cushions after they have spent and entire Saturday outside in the fresh air.  Lawn and patio furniture isn’t just for lounging ya know — use it to place the aforementioned items.   I like to drape my comforter and throws over my clothesline, which is another topic I have been meaning to blog about…my clothesline, oh do I love thee? Let me count the ways…


So many GiRRL_Earth topics to blog about and so little time…

A Vegan Bakery in Arlington, Massachusetts! Can I get a WOOT?

Hear ye! Hear ye!

Today, one of my fellow vegans, entrepreneur extraordinaire and founder of informed me that we have a vegan distributor right here in good ole’ Puritanical Massachusetts.  Wahoooooooooo!  🙂

check it out: Totally Sweet Baking Company 

I cannot wait to try some of their goodies.





Onigiri Japanese Rice Ball – Made with Toasted Sesame Salt by Carla DeLangre

This is a great macrobiotic dish that I am copying/pasting from Selina Naturally, to which I am a member.

This is simple, easy to make and oooh so healthy.



  • 2-3 cups cooked organic brown rice or millet
  • 2 tablespoons organic wheat-free tamari
  • 1 organic scallion minced
  • 4 organic umeboshi’s (salted plums) pitted and smashed
  • 1 teaspoon organic rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon ground sesame seed salt (gomasio) in a small bowl
  • 1 cup cold water


    With clean hands or a spoon mix together umeboshi, vinegar, and scallions then incorporate the umeboshi mixture to the rice. Roll 1/4 cup of rice into a ball. Dip fingers into tamari and roll the rice ball around hands to coat with tamari. Lightly roll or dust the rice bowl in the ground Toasted Sesame Salt.

    Garnish with nori and greens and serve warm or room tempurature.

    Makes 8-12 rice balls.

    Recipe created by Carla DeLangre.


Vegan Cold Process Soap Pictorial Method, Recipe and Giveaway

In light of my recent post about soap, Somer (my favorite vegan blogger) commented that she makes her own soap and shared with me, the link to her recipe, which I am in turn sharing with all of you. If your like me and have been thinking about making your own soap, to use and to give as gifts, now is your chance. And please, please, PLEASE, be sure to thank Somer and give credit where credit is due.

Thanks Somer!
-Susan a.k.a. GE 🙂

Good Clean Food

Did you know that most commercial soap on the market contains sodium tallowate? In case you don’t know, sodium tallowate is basically beef tallow, or fat that comes from cows, and a by-product of the meat industry. I find commercial soap pretty drying to my skin, especially in Utah, where if you forget to apply a heavy duty moisturizer, you can look like an alligator. So I’ve been making my own cold process soap for over a decade. Wanna join me?

The equipment you need

An accurate kitchen scale, 2 glass or stainless bowls (not pictured above), a wooden spoon, a stick blender, Soap Mold (a rectangular glass container is used here), 3 or 4 tupperware containers of various sizes for measuring lye, oils and water into (not pictured above) Plastic Wrap, Candy making thermometer (not pictured above), Long Chemical Resistant Gloves, dishwashing variety gloves will do fine in a pinch, cuff…

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Did you just take a shower with animal fat? Oh I bet you did. Ewwwww!

Part of being a vegan means analyzing the other areas of your life to see if the products you are using (and wearing) are vegan and earth-friendly.

Before I became a vegan, I used to have these little red bumps on the back of my upper arms. No matter what I did, I could not eliminate these bumps.  I made repeated trips to the doctor who prescribed Rx after Rx. Some were topical creams, others were to be used in the shower but none were successful at removing the bumps.

That was then, this is now.

When I became a vegan, I switched to Dr. Bronner bar soap.  (I also switched my laundry detergent which you can read about in this post).  I cannot say for sure how much time passed but at some point I realized the bumps on my arm disappeared.

Yesterday afternoon I met up with two of my fellow vegan co-workers: Greg and Thomas.  Greg is the expert amongst the three of us (and the most accomplished!).  During our conversation, I learned that Greg makes his own vegan soap, which he sells on  (my favorite site).  He calls it *Man Soap* (adorable!).  I also learned that most soaps, including the one I used to use (Read: Dove) contains Tallow.   So what’s Tallow you ask?  In a word (or two): Animal Fat.

Mmmmmmm.  Not!

I knew most of the commercially sold soaps are not vegan, but I don’t think I ever really thought about what these soaps contained.  Maybe I didn’t want to know.

Animal fat? Gross!

Is time to reevaluate your soap? Um, yah, I think so.

I’m not saying you have to be  vegan to use vegan soap, but we are not Pilgrims and this aint 1620 so why would you bathe with soap made from rendered animal fat?  I mean hell, save yourself a buck or two and use the fat from that last batch of breakfast bacon you cooked.  Imagine smearing that all over your body while you shower?  It’s not the same thing you say? Well what’s so different about it?  The soap you are using contains rendered animal fat and added fragrance. If that doesn’t wig you out, noodle on this: Greg said, (and I’m paraphrasing), “Your skin is the largest organ of the human body. What you put on your body is the equivalent of putting in your mouth.”

If you wouldn’t put rendered animal fat with added fragrance in your mouth, why would you use it on your body?

Do me and my fellow vegans a favor, take a trip on over to, man up, and buy yourself some Man Soap!


P.s.  Sorry about the Oxford Comma Book Peeps!



The Perfect Brown Rice

This morning I was reading an article by the Environmental Working Group about Arsenic in our rice and rice products. It was a fairly disturbing article.  As someone who consumes  cubic yards of brown rice, I was pretty disturbed by the article. If you’re interested in reading about it, please click here.

That being said, I noticed there was a link in the article about how to make perfect brown rice. Intrigued, I clicked on the link and read the following article and recipe which completely blew away everything I thought I knew about cooking brown rice.  Well, as the proverbial “they” say, “You’re never too old to learn.”

Perfect Brown Rice

1 cup short, medium, or long-grain brown rice
Kosher salt, to taste

1. Rinse rice in a strainer under cold running water for 30 seconds. Bring 12 cups water to a boil in a large pot with a tight-fitting lid over high heat. Add the rice, stir it once, and boil, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Pour the rice into a strainer over the sink.

2. Let the rice drain for 10 seconds, then return it to the pot, off the heat. Cover the pot and set it aside to allow the rice to steam for 10 minutes. Uncover the rice, fluff with a fork, and season with salt.


Science Fiction Made Me a Vegetarian

I am re-posting a Freshly Pressed post from The Flex Generation, that I feel aligns quite nicely with my beliefs (and blog) about why animals should be off the menu. I think this blogger makes a compelling argument. Wouldn’t you agree? I especially enjoy the quote from Jonathan Safran Foer, on Eating Animals, when he says, “If we were to one day encounter a form of life more powerful and intelligent than our own, and it regarded us as we regard fish, what would be our argument against being eaten?” Excellent question Jonathan!

Food Trek – The Flex Generation

We no longer enslave animals for food purposes.
– Will Riker, Star Trek: The Next Generation, “Lonely Among Us”

What do science fiction and going vegetarian or vegan have in common? Science fiction scholar Darko Suvin has coined the term novum (latin for ‘new thing’) in order to describe the (scientific) innovations and novelties distinguishing science fiction from fantasy fiction. To put it briefly, novum is an element by which the work is shown to exist in a different world than that of the reader or the spectator. It must be validated by cognitive logic, which means that the audience must be able to  extrapolate it of today’s science – if  the novum in question is the warp drive, for example. However, a novum can be something completely different that a scientific innovation: it can also be an idea, like elimination of gender in Ursula K. Le Guin’s…

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Can you stand it?

Look what I just purchased on Etsy:


Isn’t she a beauty?

As some of you know, I am a fan of vintage clothing, not just because the clothing tends to be well made with textiles that used to be manufactured in this country, but because as part of my GiRRL Earth mantra, purchasing vintage clothing is a great way to Re-use  and Re-purpose existing items rather than supporting the “throw away” clothing that is made today.

This past weekend, I had a rather lengthy conversation with my dry cleaner/tailor about the textiles that used to be made in Fall River, MA. What prompted the conversation were the Youthcraft coats I purchased on Etsy.  We also swapped stories about the way our grandmothers and mothers use to dress. Back then, women (or families) didn’t have the means to shop the way we do today. There was no such thing as *retail therapy*.   My grandmother made all of her and her children’s clothing. Growing up, my mother used to make her and our clothes.  Making your own clothing is a dying skill (or perhaps it is already dead?).  Most people can barely sew a button.  I can sew a button, but I wouldn’t slap a frame around it, that’s for sure.

Nowadays, women rack up credit card debt in an attempt to “keep up with the Jones’s” so-to-speak.  They are driven by media to keep up with the latest fashion or trends. Meanwhile, they toss their no longer desired items into a bag for Goodwill or the like.   It’s a shame most of us barely know how to sew.  It is something I have considered taking up. I found someone who teaches private classes not far from where I live, but the cost associated with said classes is more than I want to spend right now, especially given the fact my house is a priority. In the meantime, I will continue to shop Etsy in search of well-made vintage items.

I hope the next time you are in the market for a new outfit, you’ll consider a new *used* item from

Have a good day everyone!

Yours truly,



Red Lentil & Chickpea Stew with Rice & Rye Berries (not Wheat Berries!)

Those of you who follow my blog might recall from previous posts that I cook all of my meals on Sundays so that I have lunch and dinner for the entire week.  Eating this way allows me to control what I am putting into my body as well as control my spending.  I work in Boston and quite honestly the food offerings around the vicinity of my office aren’t that great. We do have one vegan food truck which is terrific in a pinch. But quite honestly, I prefer to cook my own food as I don’t like a lot of people touching/prepping my food.  This probably stems from my days working in the industry as a Garde Manger and then Pastry Cook.

As I mentioned in my post: Cutting the Cord with Cable, well almost, I have friends who cannot make time to cook, and yet seem to have ample time to watch their favorite reality TV line-up (go figure).  I receive so much enjoyment from cooking that I would prefer to cook than watch TV.

Also, due to the hours I work (plus my commute in/out of the city), I don’t have a lot of time during the week to prep and cook a meal, which is the other reason I cook meals (usually two or three) on Sundays to cover me for the week.

Anyway, yesterday I made Red Lentil & Chickpea Stew with Rice & Rye and I thought it might be nice to share this with my followers.

In case you are wondering about the Brown Rice & Rye Berries, let me say this:  Brown Rice and Rye Berries cooked together is the best! I love it and eat it with everything and so good for you. 

Chick Pea and Red Lentil Stew

(FYI: This is a great recipe for a Crockpot!)


  • Crockpot, Soup or Stock Pot
  • EVOO (or whatever oil you like)
  • Celtic Sea Salt ~ eyeball it. I think I used 1 heaping tsp
  • Yellow Onion (or whatever onion you like) ~ rough chopped
  • 1-3 large carrots ~ cut on the diagonal
  • Chile pepper(s) ~ Fresh (use whatever kind you like. I used Serrano) ~ chopped
  • 1 Green Bell Pepper ~ rough chopped
  • Garlic (use as many or as little cloves as you like. I used 5)
  • Garam Masala ~ eyeball it. I don’t use exact measurements as I use the palm of my hand
  • 2 cans Garbanzo Beans (a.k.a. Chick Peas) drained/rinsed
  • 1 package of red lentils (I used Goya brand)
  • 1 can of Tomato Puree (I used Cento brand)
  • 2 cups of vegetable broth
  • ¼ – 1/3 cup of black pitted olives ~ eyeball it, I didn’t use exact measurements

Method of Prep:

Gather all of your mis-en-place

  • Pre-heat pot
  • Rough chop: Onion, chile pepper and green bell pepper
  • Slice carrots on the diagonal
  • Drain/rinse Chick peas ~ set aside
  • Open can of crushed tomatoes ~ set aside
  • Add EVOO to pre-heated pot
  • Add onions, carrots, green and hot peppers and salt.  Cover and sweat the vegetables until translucent
  • Remove lid & Add Garam Marsala, leave lid off and cook until you can smell the spices.
  • Add a little water and scrape bottom of pan
  • Add Chick Peas, Red Lentils, and Tomato Puree, plus 1 can of water from puree can, vegetable stock and olives.
  • Give a good stir and simmer , slightly covered,  (unless using Crockpot) until cooked through.

Serve with Rice & Rye



Important: MUST SOAK OVERNIGHT (Best cooked in Rice Cooker and/or Pressure cooker, or you could even use Crockpot)


  • 1 cup Brown Rice
  • 1 cup Bob Red Mills Rye Berries (NOT: Wheat Berries)
  • 4 cups Water
  • 1 TBSP of Wakame Seaweed ~eyeball it
  • ¼ cup Shoyu

Method of Prep:

1 large pot

  1. Measure: 1 cup of Brown Rice, 1 cup of Rye Berries and add to pot.
  2. Add 4 cups of filtered water and Wakame
  3. Cover and soak overnight 

Next day:

  • Remove lid
  • Add 1/8-1/4 of tsp of Celtic Sea salt
  • Bring Rice/Rye to a boil ~ DO NOT STIR OR DISTURB, otherwise the rice/rye will turn out mushy.
  • Reduce to low heat
  • Cover and allow to cook.  PLEASE DO NOT DISTURB

After an hour or more, check to see if all the water is absorbed. Turn off heat, add Shoyu, cover and allow pot to sit on burner (w/out heat).

Be sure stir before serving. Rice and Rye goes with everything!