Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Dog Potty Patch Idea for An Apartment Patio

When I decided to get my own apartment, I knew I would have to come up with an idea for a place for my dog to relieve herself when I was at work. I brained stormed a few ideas and everything was either too expensive or my dog wouldn't use it. My top priority was installing a dog door into the sliding door in my bedroom so Sweet Pea could have access to the sun and patio at all times. The poor construction on the apartment made the task harder than it should have been, but with enough weather stripping, I managed to secure the door. To keep to privacy, I hung up a table cloth (double layer wrapping paper works great too).



My first idea was to buy a fake grass rug. That didn't work at all, as you can see this photo:




My second. attempt at a potty patch for Sweet Pea involved sod with cardboard underneath. This came with a lot of problems. First off, hardware stores like Home Depot only have sod available early in the morning. Since I work mostly nights, waking up at 5:45 to get there before 6:30 is a challenge. I did it though and brought the heavy patch home. It was cheap, under $4, which is a plus. I decided to put it on cardboard rather than directly on the cement. I figured my dog would take to it immediately since it was real grass. Wrong. I don't know if the patch was just too small, if it smelled weird, or what. She didn't start using it until it was almost completely dead. The success was that she did use it, but only when it was time to toss it. The sod patch requires watering, which sucks when you don't have a hose. When I removed the sod patch to dispose of it, there was mold growth under the patch. I considered building a framed spot to drop in the sod patches, but that would have required a fair amount of money and time. I decided to ditch the sod idea and go for something else. The sod looked good while it was alive.


Then it dies after a few weeks.



So yesterday, I came up with another idea. My original idea was getting a child's 3 foot wading pool and filling it with mulch (my dog prefers mulch over grass), but in August, I could not find a darn pool. They stop selling them in June or July (which makes no sense). I made another trip to Lowe's and picked up a few supplies. I got a large tarp, 2 large bags of Mulch (they had different colors and even rubber), and Concrobium (kills and prevents mold). I originally purchased something to contain the mulch in, some plastic siding, but figured my dog wouldn't want to step over it to get to the mulch. If it rains regularly where you live, it's important to put siding up to keep your mulch in and create a drainage system. I'm in Southern California, we barely get any so I'm not too worried. Here's what I did.


Step 1: Spray Concrobium on the concrete, where the patch will be going.


Step 2: Cut the tarp to size.

Step 3: Spray Concrobium on top of tarp.

Step 4: Dump on mulch and spread evenly (I only used 1 bag).


The end result should look like this:



It's been less than 48 hours and Pea's used it at least 3 times. I would say I finally figured out a solution to the problem. Total cost: Under $20. I still have an entire bottle of Concrobium left, more than half of the tarp, and a bag of mulch.

This is still in its "testing" stage. If I have any issues or suggestions, I will post an update immediately.

UPDATE 1/18/2013 - It's been a success! She still uses it regularly and loves it. The only drawback is the smell, but if you toss the old Mulch, rinse the tarp well, and replace the mulch, it helps a lot. Only costs a few dollars to do too. I do that every month and a half.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

White Gummi Bear Drink Recipe















1 oz Berry or Raspberry Vodka
1 oz DeKuyper Peachtree
1 oz Sweet and Sour
3-4 oz Sprite
1 lime squeeze

Shake together Vodka, Peachtree, and S&S. Pour into glass, top with Sprite and lime squeeze. The S&S and Sprite measurements are an estimate, adjust to your liking.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Dear Abby: Vegans At Thanksgiving

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, I thought I would post this gem.

DEAR ABBY: Last year for Thanksgiving, I made a special effort to get the entire family together for the traditional meal. All 13 of us met at my mother’s home and everyone was to bring a dish or two to share.

One of my brothers has two college-age daughters. Both are vegan, and he insisted that all the dishes we brought be vegan! I did it, but I resented it because I felt that two out of 13 people should not decide the menu for the rest of us. If they wanted vegan dishes, they should bring something for themselves, while the rest of us brought what we wanted.

My brother and nieces are now asking what we’re doing this year for Thanksgiving. Frankly, I don’t want to go through that again. Am I wrong in thinking everyone should not bend over backward for the vegan meal? I don’t mind some of the menu accommodating them, but I don’t think the whole dinner should be altered. – TURKEY EATER IN TEXAS

DEAR TURKEY EATER: Neither do I. And the response you should give your brother (and his daughters) is that you’ll be serving a traditional Thanksgiving dinner this year, so they can either bring something they will enjoy or make other plans.

My response:

Dear Abby: It's nice to know you don't give a damn about vegans or respect their lifestyle, but if you can't accommodate someone, don't invite them, it's rude. Asking for an all vegan meal was pushing it, but telling the vegans to bring their own food to eat or make other plans makes you a rude host and a shitty sibling. I hope the Turkey Eater in Texas didn't take your advice or his relationship with his brother and his family will be strained.


All Vegan Thanksgiving, 2009

Sunday, June 6, 2010

BBQ Chik'n Pizza

Who needs take out pizza when you can make your own in about the same amount of time, for less, and covered in toppings you just won't see at your local pizza shop? This is my absolute favorite pizza recipe, my family has been using it for about 15 years now. The crust recipe came from Food.com. A pizza stone is a MUST, you can even buy them pretty cheap at grocery stores and other retailers (I purchased a giant one for $15 and it included a rack and pizza cutter). Having a Stand Mixer or Bread Machine will make this recipe 100 times easier.

Serves 2-4

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 package active dry yeast (about 1- 1 1/2 tsp)
Sprinkle of sugar
1/2 cup warm water
3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1/4-1/2 tablespoon olive oil
Cornmeal, for sprinkling

1-1 1/2 cups BBQ sauce
1 cup Quorn Chik'n Tenders, thawed (or faux chicken of choice)
2 cups Mozzarella Cheese (Daiya is a good vegan version, so I've been told)
1 Tablespoon Cilantro, Chopped
1/8 cup Red Onion, sliced (optional)


DIRECTIONS:

1. Stir sugar into warm water, then top with yeast. Allow the mixture to get foamy, about 10 minutes. Pour into a large bowl.

2. Add flour, salt, and oil. Combine. Kneed for 6-8 minutes until you have a moderately stiff dough that is smooth and elastic (add a bit more flour if you need to). Cover and let rest for 20-30 minutes.

3. Preheat oven at 450 F (Place pizza stone in cold oven, if using). Pat or roll out dough on a floured surface. Sprinkle cornmeal onto the hot pizza stone, carefully transfer dough, poke holes all over (prevents it from puffing up), and bake for about 5 minutes. Pre-baking the crust will insure that the crust cooks all the way through.

4. Remove crust from oven. Cut up thawed chik'n and toss with about 2 tablespoons of BBQ sauce. Add toppings, return to oven, and bake until cheese is melted, about 5-7 minutes. Remove from oven and cool a few minutes before slicing.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Leek & Bean Cassoulet with Biscuits

This is the ULTIMATE comfort food. The only modification I made was changing the cubed carrots to shredded… the cubed have a harder time cooking. Don’t let the huge list of steps scare you, it’s best if you have help, but honestly, it’s not that bad.

From Veganomicon.

Serves 6


INGREDIENTS:

2 Yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch dice
3 cups vegetable broth
3 Tablespoons cornstarch
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 leeks, washed well and sliced thinly (about 2 cups)
1 small onion, cut into medium-size dice
1 1/2 cups shredded carrots
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 heaping Tbsp chopped fresh thyme, plus extra for garnish (or 1 tsp dried)
Several pinches of freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup frozen peas
1 (15 oz) can navy beans, drained and rinsed (Or Great Northern)

3/4 cup plain soy milk
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup non-hydrogenated vegan shortening

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat the oven to 425F. Place the potatoes in a small pot and cover with water. Cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, let cook for about 10 minutes, until the potatoes are just tender enough to be pierced with a fork. Drain immediately so they do not overcook. While they are boiling, you can prep the rest of the veggies and start preparing the biscuits – the potatoes should definitely be done by the time you are.

2. Now, prepare everything for the biscuits. You’re not going to make them yet, but it’s good to have everything ready when it comes time to top the stew. Add the vinegar to the soy milk in a measuring cup and set aside to curdle. Mix the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium-sized bowl.

3. Now leave that alone and start the stew. Mix the cornstarch into the vegetable stock until dissolved.

4. Preheat an oven-safe skillet, preferably cast iron, over medium heat. Saute in the oil the leeks, onions, and carrots until very soft and just beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. Keep the heat moderate so that they don’t burn.

5. Add the garlic, thyme, freshly ground black pepper and salt, and cook for 1 more minute. Add the cooked potatoes and frozen peas, then pour in the vegetable stock mixture. Raise the heat just a bit; it will take a few minutes but the liquid will start simmering. Once it does, lower the heat again. Let it simmer for about 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, but no longer than that. If you need more time for the biscuits, then turn off the heat under the stew.

6. Back to the biscuits: Add the shortening to the flour in small slivers and work it into the dough with a fork or with your fingers until large crumbs form. You don’t want to cream it in; there should be clumps. Drizzle in the soy milk and mix with a fork until everything is moistened (some dry parts are okay).

7. Wash and dry your hands, then lightly flour them and get them dirty again. Gently knead the dough about ten times right in the bowl, just so that it is holding together and not very sticky. If it seems sticky, as in sticking to your fingers, then gently work in a little more flour. Set that aside and check on your stew. The stew should be simmering and slightly thickened. Mix in the beans. Now, let’s add the biscuits. Pull off chunks of dough that are about slightly larger than golf balls. Gently roll them into balls and flatten a bit; they do not have to be perfectly round. Add them to the top of the stew, placed an inch or so apart.

8. Transfer to the preheated oven. If you are worried about spillover, place it on a rimmed baking sheet, but we’ve never had that problem. Bake for about 15 minutes. The biscuits should be just slightly browned and firm to the touch.

9. Remove from the oven and use a large serving spoon to place some of the stew and a biscuit in each shallow, individual bowl. Sprinkle with a little chopped, fresh thyme.

Moving My Old Blog Here

I will be moving my vegetarian recipe blog over here soon, one recipe at a time. It's overwhelming to have so many to update.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Lentil Loaf

This is one of my favorite meals. Healthy, low in calories, low in fat, and the fiber in the lentils will keep you full. The lentils are loaded with molybdenum, folate, fiber, tryptophan, manganese, iron, protein, phosphorus, copper, B1, and potassium.

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup lentils
1 small onion, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
1 cup quick-cooking oat
1/2 cup grated regular or soy cheese (cheddar, jack, or mozzarella)
1 egg, beaten (or Ener-G egg replacement)
4 oz spaghetti sauce (or tomato sauce) and BBQ sauce (50/50 mix)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon seasoning salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Ketchup

DIRECTIONS:

1. Add salt to water and boil in a saucepan.

2. Add lentils and simmer covered 25-30 minutes, until lentils are soft and most of the water is evaporated.

3. Meanwhile, saute celery and onion in small pan until softened (I use a non-stick pan and no oil).

4. Remove lentils from fire. Drain and partially mash lentils. Scrape into mixing bowl and allow to cool slightly.

5. Stir in onion, celery, oats and cheese until mixed. Add egg, tomato/BBQ sauce, garlic, basil, parsley, seasoning salt and pepper. Mix well.

6. Spoon into loaf pan that has been generously sprayed with Pam (non-stick cooking spray) or well-greased. Smooth top with back of spoon. Top with ketchup.

7. Bake at 350 degrees for 30- 45 minutes until top of loaf is dry, firm and golden brown. Cool in pan on rack for about 10 minutes. Serve with ketchup or gravy.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Man jailed for not supporting someone else's child

I haven't been blogging for quite some time, probably because I haven't been inspired. After reading an article on Yahoo! today, my inspiration is back.

ADEL, Ga. – A Georgia man spent more than a year behind bars for failing to pay child support for a child that wasn't his, but he was released after DNA tests showed he wasn't the father.

Frank Hatley, 50, had been jailed since June 2008 for not making payments, but two separate DNA tests in the last nine years showed he was not the father of the boy, who is now 21.

Southern Center for Human Rights attorney Sarah Geraghty won Hatley's release at a hearing Wednesday in Superior Court. A court order has also relieved him of his financial obligation to the Georgia Department of Human Resources.

"State child support officials have shown extraordinarily poor judgment in Mr. Hatley's case," Geraghty said.

Although Hatley was freed from making future payments after a 2001 hearing, Superior Court Judge Dan Perkins had ordered him to continue making $16,000 in back payments. He paid $6,000 of that before being laid off from his job.

Perkins ordered Hatley's immediate release Wednesday after determining that he was indigent. Although he was released, Hatley's paternity case is still unresolved. No future hearings are scheduled.

"Out of it all, I just feel like justice should be served for me in this case," Hatley told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution shortly after his release. "I shouldn't have to keep being punished for a child that is not mine."

Hatley had a relationship with Essie Lee Morrison, who had a baby in 1987 and told Hatley the child was his, according to court records. The couple never married and split up shortly afterward.

In 1989, Morrison applied for public assistance through the state Department of Human Resources. Hatley agreed to reimburse the state because he believed the boy was his.

Documents show Hatley paid at least $9,500.

But in 2000, DNA samples showed the two were not related, according to court records. A test earlier this month confirmed that.



This is not the first time I've heard of a judge ordering a man to pay for a child that wasn't his. Why? Why punish the innocent? If my memory serves me, DNA testing has been accessible since the early-mid 1990's, it's pretty damn accurate (except in cases of Chimera where a person has 2 sets of DNA, VERY rare though). There's no logical reason why a man has to pay for a child based on the word of the mother. The first DNA test in this case should have let this guy off the hook. A judge may decide to rule in favor of the mother, even when the man is proved not to be his because it's in the "best interest of the child." So let me get this straight... my neighbor is a single Mom, because I'm friends with her, it's perfectly fine with the judge ordering me to pay this woman because it's in the child's best interest? What about my best interest? I didn't make the child.

I've never been a fan of people going sue-happy, but this man is completely justified. The woman should be ordered to repay this man and face possibly jail time, remember that she lied in the courtroom about the paternity of her son, and the judge in this case should lose his job. This is America, I thought we had a justice* system.

* Justice: The quality of being just; fairness. Conformity to truth, fact, or sound reason.


Friday, January 9, 2009

Military Duty Calls

My boyfriend, Mark, just got his orders for his military training. Since he'll be driving, he'll probably be leaving the day of our 4th anniversary on January 27th (his training starts on February 1st). The next 3 months are going to be very difficult as I will not be able to see him the entire time. I likely won't be able to even speak to him on the phone for the first month or two. Updated coming soon.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

America's Next Top Model Cycle 11

The 11th Cycle of America's Next Top Model has officially begun and I am pleased to announce that we have a vegan in this cycle! Contestant Elina Ivanova, 19, is an animal rights activist from Seattle Washington. This cycle also has a Top Model first: A Transgender contestant. Isis was actually in last cycle's homeless photo shoot as an extra. I look forward to seeing how far both Elina and Isis go in the competition.

UPDATE: Elina made it to the top 5 before being eliminated.