Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Like Father...

Last night, Anna and I sat on the couch, ate chips and guacamole and watched politics on MSNBC.

I know, I know, I know, she's only 19 months old and she shouldn't be watching TV yet. We don't let her watch a lot and when we do it's always harmless television, mostly mom/dad-approved kid shows and maybe some travel channel stuff (the pretty scenery shows, not the nasty food shows).

My only fear was that she would start crying when Pat Buchanan was on screen, but she stayed strong.

She loooved the guacamole, by the way. Even the raw red onions. Loved it. I think she ate more than me. She would just eat it off of a chip and hardly ever actually eat the chip (which is good, because they were too salty). When she was done with a bite she would lean over on my lap and just look at the bowl of guac, every now and then saying, "tomato."

So many of my childhood memories center around the television. I don't feel that this is a bad thing. Most of those good memories were because of the people I was watching TV with, not because of the actual TV (we never let Anna watch without one of us sitting right there with her). And for any of you out there who see television as an evil in the world that has no practical purpose, I strongly suggest you read the book, "Everything Bad Is Good For You" by Steven Johnson. It's illuminating.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Anna. Photos. Photos of Anna.

I got a new flash for my camera! Unfortunately, I bought it only a couple weeks ago, and the photos below are from January. So you'll have to wait until the next photo post for the flashy goodness.

The Minnesota Children's Museum is becoming our go-to place when we have a free weekend. They have a Sesame Street exhibit there now.

And Anna loves dancing on this blue-screen stage. She gets to watch herself on TV. Whenever we look at this photo at home, she starts to dance (then again, she always dances).

I look at this next photo, and the previous one, and I kick myself for waiting so long to get a new flash. I mean, they're OK, but with the new flash they would have been a lot better.

The Changing Landscape of Religion in America

I suggest everyone read this Associated Press article that details the changing face of religion in America. It's an interesting read with some pretty suprising statistics. Did you know that atheists in America outnumber Buddhists, Muslims and Jews combined?

Here are a couple paragraphs that relate directly to me:

The majority of the unaffiliated -- 12 percent of the overall population -- describe their religion as "nothing in particular," and about half of those say faith is at least somewhat important to them. Atheists or agnostics account for 4 percent of the total population.

The Roman Catholic Church has lost more members than any faith tradition because of affiliation swapping, the survey found. While nearly one in three Americans were raised Catholic, fewer than one in four say they're Catholic today. That means roughly 10 percent of all Americans are ex-Catholics.

I knew there were a lot of ex-Catholics out there, but 10 percent of all Americans? Wow.

Oh, and if you want to check out a couple stories about the increasing atheist presence (if that sounds ominous to you, then you probably don't know much about atheism) in the US and Europe check these out.

The first paragraph at that link is just down-right silly, but the rest of the story is pretty good.

Thursday, February 21, 2008


Isil over at Veggie Way and Pixie at Half Pint Pixie have both given an award for excellence to This Little Piggy Had Tofu. Thanks Isil and Pixie!

So here are the rules:

By accepting this Excellent Blog Award, I have to award it to 10 more people whose blogs I find Excellent Award worthy. I can give it to as many people as I want, but I'll award at least 10. Thank you out there for having such great blogs and being such great friends! You deserve this! If chosen, you agree to the same information above. If chosen, also feel free to award people who have already been awarded…

So, here are eleven awards, in no particular order:

1. What I Killed Today - I recently discovered this blog and every new post gives me pause. It's written by a vegan veterinarian who has to sometimes euthanize companion animals. The writing is minimalist, sad, bleak, and yet somehow touching.

2. Britta Trygstad's Photo Page - Amazing photography from my friend Britta. An onion has never looked cooler.

3. The Joyful Vegan - This blog is full of real accounts of real everyday people (like you and me!) going vegan. It's inspiring and makes me proud to be vegan (or, more proud, I should say).

4. By Other Means - Vegan home education in the UK. There are a bunch of great photos on this blog and fun posts about their home education adventures. Makes me want to home school.

5. Veggie Way - A great blog about vegansim, parenting and vegan parenting.

6. Half Pint Pixie - Another great blog about veganism, parenting and vegan parenting. I believe hers was one of the first blogs I ever subscribed to, and it was the first blog to ever link to mine.

7. Mindy Does Minneapolis- And now for something completely different, the sometimes-sordid, sometimes-mundane, always-funny exploits of my friend (and recent veg*n!) Mindy. Always good for a laugh.

8. The Sisters Vegan - I love the design of this page. They just started the blog less than a month ago and it's already one of my favorites. Good content will do that, I guess.

9. Read My Mind - Speaking of content, Elaine Vigneault is one of the most prolific bloggers out there. I swear, she has ten posts a day. And they're almost all enlightening (and the ones that aren't are at least entertaining). She writes a lot about feminism and veganism and rights and the places where those meet (everywhere, in case you didn't know). I suggest perusing the archives on this blog. There's a lot of great stuff. She also writes for Vegan Soapbox, which is very cool.

10. Kris Kerzman for President in 2024 - My friend Kris Kerzman's blog. His welcome blurb says it all: "You've decided to waste your time reading about a guy who wants to be president in 17 years, so he started this blog in order to drum up support for himself, which would eventually lead to the amount of legitimacy needed to be seriously considered for the presidency. Congratulations."

11. The Friendly Humanist - Insightful posts about Humanism, atheism, science and, yeah, there's one post where the author realizes that dining on animal flesh is morally indefensable. I have to quote part of that post here, because I found it so refreshing to read:

"My Humanist values draw no neat lines to box out that which is superficially different. My right to be free from torture derives from the fact that pain is an evil. Humans are not the only animals that experience pain. My right to liberty derives from the fact that I have consciousness, a will. I cannot pretend that my baby daughter has consciousness but an animal with whom I might communicate (for now) more readily - a trained pig for instance - has not."


I could list another eleven or twenty blogs worthy of an award for excellence, but I'll leave it at that. Feel free to pass on the award if you'd like. Or not. That's cool too.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Vegan Food Survey

Here's a lovely little survey that started over at Food Snobbery is My Hobbery and is already making the rounds on the vegan blog circuit. Fun stuff.

1. If you have to choose between locally grown or organic, which do you usually choose?

Local (but luckily, we split a Community Supported Agriculture share in the summer with some friends and that way we get local and organic.

2. Favorite way to prepare potatoes:

In curry with bok choy, carrots, and rice. Or fried with tofu, Gimmie Lean mock-sausage and peppers. I can't decide.

3. Do you press your tofu before preparing/cooking it (if you eat soy)?

Always, but not very throughly.

4. Name your favorite recipe that is a tradition in your family:

Tater-tot hot dish! Easily veganized, believe it or not.

5. Any food allergies?

No. Thank genetics!

6. When you want to go to a fancy dinner, where do you go?

The Ecopolitan in Minneapolis.

7. When you have a cold, what do you crave?

Amy's No Chicken Noodle Soup ... and to be left alone in my misery.

8. What kind of water do you drink? (Filtered, spring, tap, etc.)

Either out of the tap or the Britta pitcher.

9. Name a flavor of soda you'd love to see:

Chocolate peanut butter (I'm not saying I'd like to drink it, but I would like to see it).

10. If the recipes you ate as a child were compiled into a cookbook, what would the title be?

One Hundred and One Ways to Prepare Meat and Potatoes

11. If you were allowed to grow one food that can't grow in your climate, what would it be?


12. Favorite type of mushroom?

Portabella, but I'm not a huge shroom fan.

13. Most frustrating part of your kitchen?

Pots and pans! Pots and pans everywhere! So, the fact that it's impossible to be organized given our cabinet set-up, I guess.

14. Last food you burned?

A-J Mish-Mash (recipe to appear in an upcoming blog post)

15. Usual response to a veg*n's favorite question, "But where do you get your protein?"

There is protein in almost every food. I'm getting enough. Most Americans get too much (hello osteoporosis!).

16. If you were baking your own birthday cake today, what flavor would it be?

Chocolate mint with caramel and vegan Heath bar shreds on top.

17. Favorite brand of chocolate chips?

Whatever Mississippi Market sells in bulk.

18. You have $200 of your tax return reserved for Williams Sonoma- What do you buy?

New knives and/or a cast iron frying pan.

19. Do you plan your menus in advance? Any tips to share?

Depends. We try to keep a grocery list that includes ingredients for a few favorites and maybe a couple new dishes out of cookbooks. Mostly though, I just decide while I'm at the store and go crazy with buying waaaay more than what's on my list.

20. You have 3 minutes before you have to leave the house and you're starving- What do you eat?

Chips. Probably bring a LUNA bar with me on the way out. (I don't care that LUNA bars are marketed as "The Whole Nutrition Bar for Women". I'm secure in my manhood. Also, I just found this on the LUNA website: "Men too can enjoy LUNA bars! There is nothing in a LUNA bar that is not good for men. However, LUNA bars are specifically formulated to provide women with the nutrients that are often harder for them to get." So take that, voice in my head!!)

21. If Martha Stewart, Paula Deen, and Rachel Ray got into a fight, who would win and how?

The American people, because the three might be off the air for a couple weeks to recuperate.

22. If you eat oatmeal, what do you add to it before serving?

I don't eat oatmeal.

23. If you got to travel to one country and learn all the traditional dishes there, where would you go (ignore commitments in your current place of residence)?


24. Favorite late night snack?

Peanut butter on saltines.

25. Favorite springtime food?

I'm drawing a blank. Peas? Maybe fresh peas, straight out of the pod? Are those considered springtime food?

26. Favorite food-related magazine?

I don't read food magazines. Does Herbivore count? The title suggests it's about food, at least.

27. Which do you prefer: shoyu, tamari, conventional soy sauce, or Bragg's Aminos?

Tamari, though I don't have much experience with shoyu.

28. What vegetable or fruit do you dislike the most?

Cabbage (though if prepared right, anything is edible).

29. Name a holiday food you look forward to all year long:

Mashed potatoes.

30. If you could convert anyone to veganism with your magic wand, who would you convert?


Friday, February 15, 2008

My Daughter, the Self-Absorbed Couch Potato

So, Anna really likes to watch herself on You Tube. Here's a video of her watching the Happy Birthday Britta video from a couple posts ago.

She's saying "kids" after the video ends, because she wants me to find videos on You Tube of kids playing and doing silly things. Yeah, she's already a You Tube addict. Seriously. When I shut the laptop and tell her we're all done, she throws a fit. We've created a monster.

And yes, in case you're wondering, I have considered shooting a video of her watching the video I shot of her watching the Happy Birthday Britta video.

Excessive? Or ... GENIUS?

Yeah. Excessive. You're right.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Loving Liz Lovely on Love Day

You're more than likely reading this on Valentine's Day. So... happy Valentine's Day.

My wife and I ordered a box of Liz Lovely's Lovely Oh's and ooooooooooh are they good. We broke into them today and, well, let's just say our first tasting experience was not rated PG. There was much moaning and positive cursing. As in, "Holy fu**ing s**t these are f**king good."

Anna was taking a nap.

All hail Liz Lovely.

Then Anna woke up and played with the packaging.

(Yeah, I'm kind of disappointed with the quality of this video, pixel-wise. I'm still new at putting video on-line. I'll figger it out eventually.)

So all in all, Liz Lovely rocks. Her Oh's and packaging will provide days and days of enjoyment.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Yay! Technology! Video of the Little Nugget!

It was our friend Britta's birthday last week, so Anna and I recorded a birthday video for her. It's pretty quiet at the beginning, but she actually says, "happy birthday Britta," a couple times. Of course, each word was prompted by me and I edited it together in post-production.

Did you catch her little poop-grunt at the end?

Yeah, pretty sure she's going to make me remove this video from the internet some day.

Oh, and she usually runs in place for longer than a few seconds. She goes crazy. I'll have to get more video of that and post it later. In fact, I'll have to do more video posting in general. This is fun.

Friday, February 8, 2008

A Lot of Us Don't Like PETA

I feel the need, at times, to remind non-vegans and non-vegetarians that PETA does not speak for a lot of us.

PETA is an easy target for those who want to belittle animal rights people, and rightfully so.

Crap like this is one reason I don't donate to PETA. It's one of many.

Why do they do this? Why waste valuable resources holding a Sexiest Vegetarian contest? I'm pretty sure this blog right here is the reason. I'm writing about PETA. Part of me feels like I should just ignore them.

But I'm not ignoring, because I feel that calling them out is more important right now.

So, what's wrong with this contest? Let me list a few ways (it's by no means a complete list):

--The money that went into this contest could have been better spent on things like no-kill animal shelters, farm sanctuaries, and vegan education.

--Oh, wait, did I say vegan education? What was I thinking? PETA isn't really a vegan organization, are they. If they were, then the contest would be for the Sexiest Vegan. (Yes, I know they advocate veganism, but you wouldn't know it from their marketing and their "happy meat" campaigns. They do not project veganism as the moral baseline for animal rights. This should infuriate anyone who knows anything about egg and milk production.)

--This contest (and PETA in general) perpetuates sexism. Sure, they have a Sexiest Vegetarian contest for men too, but that's not really the point, is it? It's all sexism. It's using sex to sell. It detracts from the message (would you know what PETA's message is by looking at the linked page?) and it allows people to disregard the animal rights movement (of which many people see PETA to be the official spokespeople) as a bunch of soulless marketing wankers who have nothing better to spend their time and resources on.

Like I said, it's not a complete list. Feel free to list more grievances in the comments.

Now here's where I have to say that there are some good resources on the PETA website, and I think I've even linked to them before. But to view these resources, you need to first go to the PETA website and look for them. The average omnivore is so turned off by the crap that PETA does in the public sphere that they'll never even consider visiting the PETA site.