Monday, January 18, 2010

Housing wanted: must be connected to a Flat Top Grill

I can't believe I haven't mentioned Flat Top Grill yet. This Illinois-Indiana-Wisconsin chain is pretty much my dream come true: they let you pick out your favorite veggies, maybe throw in a few noodles, put a little sauce on it all and one of the cooks heats it up. The finished dish is brought to your table. I'm not sure why I don't do this for every meal. I'm currently searching for a new apartment and one of my new requirements is proximity to FTG.

For $8.99 I was able to put together a bowl of white noodles, water chestnuts, bamboo shoots*, mini corn, bean sprouts, spinach, peanuts, potato chunks, tofu and faux chicken meat, topped off with a combination mushroom sauce and lemongrass water. The restaurant is extremely vegan-friendly, and is great for people with allergies too. All the sauces are listed on a giant chalkboard detailing relevant nutritional information. Vegan sauces are marked with a "V." Could dining out BE any easier??

(Sorry for the lack of camera is not getting along with Picasa at the moment.)

*Always stop eating bamboo shoots when you are about half-way full. I once ate an entire plate of bamboo shoots and later that night thought about giving myself a stomach-ectomy. I'm pretty sure these guys expand in your stomach.

Product of the Day: Giovanni Touch Body Butter. I got the idea to try this based on a blog post at The Girlie Girl Army and ordered the Lavender Vanilla Snow body butter. I've never been much into body butter but this stuff is affordable, cruelty-free and feels fantastic. Sometime in my late teens/early twenties I unknowingly trained my skin to hate cheap products. This means that I spend most of my disposable income at Sephora (no really, I have recently become a "V. I. B." at Sephora which, given my income, is probably not something I should be proud of). Giovanni also has several lines of natural and affordable hair care products, most available on, which I plan to try out one at a time. Good thing I have Amazon Prime...and a serious online shopping habit. Does anyone know where to find Giovanni in stores? In Chicago?

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Compassion for Haiti

Veganism is all about compassion. I don't know why this particular disaster really got to me, but I am pretty worked up about the Haiti earthquake. I know you are probably overloaded on reports from Haiti, but there is a reason for that: the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere just suffered an enormous natural disaster that shattered their unbelievably inadequate infrastructure.

If you are able, please make a donation to the relief efforts.

Help for Haiti: Learn What You Can Do

Or visit the donation sites of the American Red Cross or Habitat for Humanity. Or Wyclef's organization Yele Haiti. I know I'm a little slow to to post this, and I'm sure my compassionate readers have already made some donations.

In a week or two, this disaster will fade from the headlines, but millions of Haitians will still be living a nightmare.

Some statistics via the Huffington Post:

Current death estimates: The Red Cross says 45,000 to 50,000 people have died. The Pan American Health Organization puts the number between 50,000 and 100,000.

Bodies collected for disposal so far: 9,000. An additional 7,000 corpses were reportedly placed in a mass grave.

People needing help: 3 million.

Percent of buildings damaged or destroyed: Up to 50 percent.

Hospitals or health facilities in Haiti damaged, forced to close: eight.

Patients treated by Doctors Without Borders initially: more than 1,500.

Search-and-rescue teams on ground or en route Friday: 38.

Homeless people in Port-au-Prince: at least 300,000.

Water needed daily: 6 to 12 million gallons (enough to fill 18 Olympic sized swimming pools a day).