Monthly Archives: September 2010

End The Maternal Death Clock

Each year, half a million women die in pregnancy or childbirth; 99% of these deaths occur in developing nations (UNFPA). Developed countries such as  the USA are not without maternal death problems. It is most certainly a global health issue!

Two events happened on September 20, 2010 at 9:00am in New York City. The United Nations Summit on the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) kicked off and  Amnesty International (AI) launched a Maternal Death Clock. The MDG is a blueprint for the fight against global poverty through 2015. The Maternal Death Clock has been ticking and counting the total number of maternal deaths since the start of the summit.

The Summit launched The Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health. With a pledge of over $40 billion, the strategy has the potential to save the lives of 16 million women and children. It is an ambitious goal, and the tools/resources to actualize this goal are available. The etiology of these deaths are known, and in most cases, these deaths are preventable.

Knowing that the problem exists, we can help! If you have the money, give money; if you have the time, volunteer or write a letter to lawmakers; if you have a friend, spread the word about the issue. The more people aware of an issue means the more people available to help with the solution.


A Jar Full of Savings!

I had an epiphany one day! Instead of recycling empty glass jars, I decided I would reuse them. I buy a lot of beans, grains, etc from the bulk section at our food co-op. Buying  a new food item also meant the purchasing another mason jar. We save a lot of money by buying the bulk items, but we have taken our savings a step farther by reusing glass jars. I’ll take you through the steps:

  1. Soak the jar in warm soapy water. Then wash to get all dried food, etc off (you can also stick it in the dishwasher).
  2. Allow the jar to dry by placing upside down on a drying rack or towel. If you will be removing the sticker/label residue (see below), you can skip this step and just dry the outside of the jar.
  4. I don’t like the leftover residue (the sticky goo and the white paper)  from the label, so I remove by soaking in rubbing alcohol.

    I pour the alcohol on make-shift rags (we cut up old t-shirts) and place on the area of interest. I usually let it sit for about 30 minutes or longer. It probably takes a shorter amount of time, but I just leave it and go do other things. The residue can now be removed by rubbing it off with the rag. If the sticky goo needs a little more attention, scrape it with a butter knife.
  5. Wash the jars again to remove any rubbing alcohol.
  7. Let the jars dry completely.
  8. Add food: rice, beans, nuts, spices, etc.

pistachios in a reused pickle jar

garbanzo beans in a reused jelly jar

Voila! You’ve stored your food, and saved yourself some money.

What’s in a Surname?

You can have my hand, Future Husband, and I shall have yours, but you will not have my name….unless we both hyphenate.

When I marry, I will not change my last name. Call me a feminist if you like; it won’t be the first time. I do not dream of becoming Mrs. Future Husband; it really doesn’t appeal to me. I do not take issue with a woman who does take her husband’s surname if that is her wish. That would be a smack in a face to the women who fought so hard for women’s rights. What I do take issue with is women blindly accepting the formality and approaching it as something they HAVE to do. This is also a slap in the face to those amazing women who fought for the following generations. I also take issue with people giving me ridiculous excuses on the matter for why a woman should take her husband’s surname upon marriage. Let’s take a look-see, shall we?

1. Well don’t you want to show him that you love him? Well, throw me a banana and call me a monkey. All this time I thought the act of marriage was how two people showed love for one another. Silly me. This begs the question, if taking a man’s last name shows him you love him, what in the Jumping Jim Carrey is marriage for? And how is he showing me that he loves me?

2. By allowing you to take his name, he is showing you that he loves you? Give me a frickin parrot and call me a frickin pirate. I must thank Future Husband for his very kind, thoughtful, generous and heartfelt gift, but, I already have a last name. As it turns out, you can’t re-gift a last name, so I’m going to pass. But again, I must thank Future Husband because I know how much he is giving up to let me take his last name, Future Husband.

3. Don’t you want to have the same name as your children? Let’s say I do want to have the same name as my future child why must I take the man’s last name. Future Husband could just as easily take my last name. Or an even better solution, why don’t we both hyphenate?

4. You will confuse people: Really? I’m not explaining the pathogenesis of Ebola; I’m just keeping my maiden name. A simple, “we’re married, we retained our own last names” solves this one. Clearly, proponents of this argument have a lot less faith in the human race than most.

5. You children will be confused: Again, I don’t believe that people or children are this simple-minded. If Future Husband and I are unable to get our future children to understand we didn’t take each other’s last name, I’m afraid we will have bigger fish to fry. Like all the money we will have to spend on private tutoring and private school so the future children can get the extra attention they will clearly need. We’ll also be spending a lot of money on couple’s therapy because Future Husband will definitely be blamed for our future simple -minded children.

6. Its tradition: Well since you put it that way…I have no choice, but to concede. We could get into the who-sits and what-sits  of the tradition, or we can talk about the important issue. Tradition is not synonymous with must!  Thank you, society, for telling me what you feel I should do, but I have a say in the matter and I choose to keep my  name.

This list is not exhaustive, but it certainly hits the high points. Society expects women to take the man’s last name. When confronted with the idea that it isn’t something  women HAVE to do, men and most women alike, look at me as if I have cursed their mother and their first-born child. I assure you, I have not. I’m just questioning a societal norm that I disagree with.

TOMS: Shoes for Change

image via this site

My TOMS are my favorite, most comfortable pair of shoes. TOMS are cute, stylish and did I mention comfortable. The most impressive thing about TOMS is the company’s one-for-one deal. For every pair of shoes purchased, the company donates a pair of shoes to a child in need. That’s a deal I can get down with. I’ve been called a hippie once or a million times in my life, but I really think the only change we will see in this world is if we make it ourselves. We have to show compassion and we have to care, not just for ourselves, but also for those less fortunate. I realize this reads like an ad campaign, but I’m a sucker for real people making real change in the world.  Here’s a link to the TOMS website. Check it out!

Name Change!

The blog name has officially been changed. The new name is, All You Can Think Buffet: A Smörgåsbord of Things! It is downright corny, but I love it. I think it speaks more about the blog than the original name. I am sad that the URL doesn’t match, but alas, it’s not the end of the world. Happy blogging everyone!

Vegan Black Bean Soup

mmmmmm Avocado!

The weather is starting to cool down here in Pittsburgh. To get myself ready for fall, I decided to make some vegan black bean soup. Yum! I used a modified version of the recipe found here. It’s a pretty easy recipe that can be made vegan or non-vegan (switch the broth and sour cream). The hardest part is chopping the veggies. That task was given to my boyfriend; he’s so helpful. I apologize because I don’t have pictures of the entire process. It didn’t cross my mind to blog this recipe until after the cooking was finished.


  • 1.5-2 c black beans (this is after preparing dried beans, not sure of the canned equivalent)
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • ½ of an onion, chopped
  • ½ of green pepper, chopped
  • ½ of jalapeno pepper, chopped
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp cilantro (add this at the very end)
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • dash of taste
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (no salt added)
  • 2 c water
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • frozen corn
  • avocado
  • sour cream

Ready, Set, Cook!

  1. Sauté the onions and green peppers in olive oil. I let them carmelize because the flavor is amazing.
  2. Mix in the tomatoes and jalapeno peppers.
  3. Add the black beans.
  4. Transfer everything to a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce and let simmer for about 45 minutes
  5. I like a thicker, yet still brothy soup, so I spooned out 2/3c and pureed it in a blender then returned it to the pot.
    Repeat once. Let cook for the remaining 45 minutes.
  6. Add the frozen corn.
  7. Add the cilantro ( I use the frozen cilantro cubes from Trader Joes).
  8. Garnish, Serve, Eat & Enjoy!

    Garnished with avocado and vegan sour cream

Changing the Blog Name?

Lately, I’ve been thinking about changing the name of my blog. What the new name will be is a mystery to me.The current name does not really capture the content of the blog. The blog started out as one thing, but has morphed into something different. This must be what Trent experienced with Mystik Spiral (yes, I loved Daria!).

I’m not sure if WordPress allows you to change the name of a blog, but I will find out…eventually. I’m not holding my breath on a name anytime soon. Daria was on for 5 seasons, and Trent and the gang never changed Mystik Spiral to anything else. I wold love to name the blog Mystik Spiral, but I’m sure there is some copyright infringement law I’d be violating.

For now, ‘Who Raised You’ stays.