Monthly Archives: May 2008

Purse for Cameryn

Purse for Cameryn
Originally uploaded by marleah

I made this bag for my little sister. She picked out all of the fabrics and trim, of course selecting horse-themed items! This bag is reversible – it reverses to the same material as the straps. I used a tutorial from Chocolate on My Cranium, and it was really straightforward. I did not include a pocket this time around – maybe next time. But I’m really proud of it, because this is the first bag I have made! I’m still planning on adding some trim to this, and I have so much fabric leftover, I’ll probably make her a big tote too, since this bag is kind of on the small side. I can’t wait to give it to her!


Mexi-Potato Casserole

Mexi-Potato Casserole
Originally uploaded by marleah

What do you make when you have (almost) nothing but potatoes and beans? A wonderful Mexican-style casserole, of course! This is another one of those meals that is really too easy for a recipe, but here you go:

(Oh … this recipe made a huge batch – TWO 9×13 pans! So halve it unless you’re feeding an army.)

Mexi-Potato Casserole

2 1/2 lbs potatoes
3 cans beans (I used black, kidney, and pinto), drained/rinsed
2 cans corn
2 cans diced tomatoes and chiles
1 cup (?) taco sauce – or however much looks good
1 cup non-dairy sour cream
Good sprinklings of cumin and cayenne
2 cups (approx.) crushed tortilla chips/taco shells

Cut the potatoes into small chunks and boil until tender. While those are boiling, combine the beans, corn, tomatoes/chiles, taco sauce, sour cream, and seasonings in a large bowl. Mix well. Put the tender potatoes into a 9×13 baking pan (or two pans, if you’re crazy like me), then top with the bean mixture. Bake for about 20 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove from oven, then top with crushed tortilla chips and bake for another 5 minutes or so.

Spicy Chickpea Stew

Ok, not the greatest picture, but this turned out really yummy. It’s modified from a recipe I found somewhere online – if I think of the source, I’ll post it. The recipe is for the stew itself, and it can be served over couscous or rice, or in pita bread. Here I served it over couscous with grape tomatoes and walnuts.

Spicy Chickpea Stew

2 cans chickpeas
2 heads cauliflower
1/2 cup olive oil, divided
some onion powder (maybe 1/2 tsp?)
8 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp cumin
2 tbsp turmeric
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp curry powder
1 tsp to 2 tbsp cayenne, depending on preference
2 lemons worth of juice
salt and pepper to taste

Cut up the cauliflower and toss with 1/4 cup olive oil and a couple sprinkles of the different seasonings (NOT the whole amount). Roast in the oven at 400 degrees, or until tender.

Heat 1/4 cup olive oil on stovetop. Add onion powder, garlic, cumin, turmeric, cinnamon, and cayenne. Stir rapidly, about 30 seconds. Add chickpeas and some water; simmer. (I found it easiest to just let it simmer on low heat until the cauliflower was done, maybe 10-15 minutes). Add the cauliflower and lemon juice. Allow chickpeas to soften slightly; add salt and pepper. Serve!

Vegan Very Berry Bran Muffins

Vegan Very Berry Bran Muffins

Originally uploaded by marleah

These muffins are simply delectable. I got the recipe from my friend Amy, and the recipe is posted on her blog ( I like to add in a little bit of ground flaxseed for an added health boost. I also use a mix of blueberries and raspberries, which is pretty tasty. They tend to go over pretty well with other people too.

I absolutely love vegan baking, considering there is no egg or dairy, so you don’t have to worry about endangering your health every time you take a taste of the batter.

Pintucked Skirt

Pintucked Skirt

Originally uploaded by marleah

Look what I made! Well, I just did the pintucks, but still! I loved this skirt at the store, and it was on sale – but it was too big. Well, I remembered this technique from Sew Subversive, so I now have a cute skirt that fits me.

Excuse the weird picture, but it is really tough to take a picture of a skirt that you are wearing. I love this picture though, because my dog is looking right at the camera, and my hand is just hanging out there randomly.

I baked muffins today! I will post pictures in another post soon …

Kieran’s Favorite Rice

Kieran’s Favorite Rice
Originally uploaded by marleah

This recipe is from How It All Vegan, a cookbook that I am thoroughly enjoying! As you can see, I am using chopsticks for more of my meals, and I’m really liking them. It makes me slow down a bit and savor the food more, although those stray bits of rice when I get to the bottom of the bowl can be a little frustrating.

I was also very pleased with how the tofu turned out in this. I used firm tofu, froze it overnight, then thawed it the next day, pressing it to get as much of the water out as I could. Freezing it gives it a chewier texture, which is more appealing to me.

Also, I am aiming to use Flickr more (and I blogged this photo through Flickr), so I joined some photo challenges, and one of them is to take a photo every day! Hopefully that will help me take pictures of more meals, because I know that food info has been a bit sparse lately. And … finals are nearly over! So I think I’ll be able to blog more soon. Promise!

APA: Chimpanzees experience PTSD, too!

Original Story Here

According to an article recently posted on the American Psychological Association’s website, chimpanzees kept in laboratories experience the same symptoms as humans diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder: “hypervigilance, dissociating, violent self-attacks, insomnia, ritualistic behaviors, inability to tolerate touch and limited social skills”.  The article states that this points to the idea that “[i]n the face of suffering and fear, trauma is common to us all.”  Lab chimps undergo multiple traumatic experiences, such as confinement, loss of agency or power, physical injury, as well as the fear and stress of being in such an unnatural environment.

This news really does not surprise me, considering chimps and humans have many similarities.  And it doesn’t surprise me that living in laboratory conditions could result in PTSD, no matter which animal species experiences those conditions.  The fact that some people will be surprised by this information simply furthers the species-ist attitudes that currently exist in our culture.

I think the article is really well written, and I hope that this leads to more awareness about what animals in labs are experiencing.  Hopefully people will understand that experimenting on animals is not the answer, and there is rare occasion that it is justifiable, if it ever really is.

However, I fear that this will lead people to only be aware of the damage we are doing to those that are the most similar to us, namely chimpanzees and perhaps other members of the primate family.  Emotion, fear, and suffering is experienced by many animal species, possibly all of them.  Where do we get off saying that we are somehow special?  We don’t have to look really hard to see that we are more like non-human animals than we are willing to admit.

The article cited a website, Release Chimps, that is worth a look.

What do you guys think?  Do we have too much of a narrow focus?  Do we need to address this issue for animals outside of the primate family?