Is no nut butter safe? Arrowhead and MaraNatha Recall.

August 20th, 2014

Peanut butter just doesn’t have a good track record for safety. If you think that sticking with a natural brand keeps you safe, maybe not! The FDA has a full list of recalled nut butters from nSpired Natural Foods.


Who’s on the list of recalled peanut butters and almond butters?

  • Arrowhead Mills Peanut Butter
  • MaraNatha Almond Butter
  • MaraNatha Peanut Butter
  • Store brands from Kroger, Whole Foods, Safeway and Trader Joe’s

Check your refrigerator and pantry for the recalled nut butters and throw them away, container and all. For a refund, call 1-800-937-7008, but you may be lucky to get through.

I had one of the recalled MaraNatha Almond Butter products in my refrigerator and couldn’t get through after calling several of the phone numbers listed, so I sent a message to MaraNatha via their contact page.

Did the recalled almond butter make me sick? I’m not sure. Maybe. Maybe not. I had a mysterious and very unpleasant vomiting episode a few weeks ago around the time I ate some of the almond butter, but I didn’t go to the doctor. I was the only one who ate some of it, and I haven’t eaten any of it lately, thankfully! I just didn’t make the connect.

Many cases of food poisoning go unreported. Right now, it’s suspected that four illnesses are linked to these recalled products.

I think I’m going to stick with just eating the nuts from now on, or make my own nut butter. How about you?

Your Dog Wants Real Meat Too.

August 19th, 2014

Stella, my 75-pound rescue dog that everyone says looks like a miniature Irish Wolfhound, barked at the FedEx guy who delivered her Bravo Crunchy Delights treats. Note: I received a free sample of Bravo treats.


But soon Stella caught on that the package was for her. Curious as always, my cat Choco had to approve of the treats first, leaving Stella to whimper patiently!


Choco licks and approves Stella's new dog treats.

We tried a couple of “leave it” commands, and Stella dutifully waited until I gave her the “get it” command.

Stella waiting for the command to eat her dog treat.

Then, she enjoyed the crunchy goodness!

Blur as she goes for the treat.

Bravo dog treats really do look like homemade dog cookies.

Oven-baked goodness!

All you want to know about Bravo Crunchy Delights treats

  • Real meat or poultry is first ingredient
  • Also feature ingredients like quinoa, celery, squash and sweet potatoes
  • Made in USA by family-owned business
  • All natural with no artificial colors or flavors
  • Available in Beef, Chicken, Duck and Turkey
  • Sold in resealable 5-ounce stand-up pouches

So, has your dog tried these?

Not Sharknado, but Barknado for Bark Week 2014!

July 30th, 2014

Barknado is here. Barknado is here. Barknado is here.

Watch the exciting Barknado video from ASPCA.

Yes, you guessed. It’s a spoof on SyFy channel’s “Sharknado” and “Sharknado 2.” Well done.

Now, watch that cuteness again, and make a pledge at ASPCA to Make Pet Adoption Your First Option.

I signed today.

Why should you sign?

More than 7 million homeless dogs and cats enter shelters each year. They need you.

Consider adoption from a shelter in honor of ASPCA’s Bark Week, August 4 through 9. Woof.

Most Important New Movie on Netflix: The Paw Project

June 26th, 2014

If you have Netflix, stream “The Paw Project,” and you’ll never see cat declawing as routine ever again. Even if you don’t have Netflix, you can still receive a DVD of the movie when you make a $10 donation at The Paw Project. Or stream “The Paw Project” on iTunes, U-verse, Dish or amazon.


When I first adopted my cat Choco more than 10 years ago, I thought that declawing was just something you did to keep cats from scratching you. Thankfully, I was set straight by fellow animal lovers, and my kitty was spared the cruelty of losing his claws. And, I’m happy to say that Choco uses his scratching post. And he submits to claw trimmings without much fuss.




Maybe you’re reading this, and thinking I’m some kind of hippie liberal cat-freak, and I don’t know what I’m talking about. It isn’t so. I’ve actually seen a cat declawing procedure firsthand, and while it looks like a quick and simple procedure, the effects can be devastating. To perform a declaw, the vet uses a tool very much like what you’d trim a cat’s claws with to cut the claw at the bone so it can’t grow back. A medical glue like super glue is applied to the tip, and the cat’s paws are bandaged.


Imagine that. You’re a cat.

You’re dropped at the vet’s office by someone you trust. You’re put under. You wake up without the ends of your toes. And it hurts to walk. And you can’t do things the same way anymore. You feel like you have a pebble on the bottom of your paw when you walk or stand. And the feeling never goes away. You may become lame or arthritic. You may lash out and develop behavior problems. You may start eliminating on the floor instead of the litter box. You may lose your life in a shelter because no one wants you anymore.

  Continue reading »

Siggi’s! Finally, yogurt without so much sugar.

June 26th, 2014

When I’ve attempted to shop for yogurt, it has usually ended with me putting everything back and walking away frustrated.

Why? Why? Why?

do you yogurt makers of America have to put so much

sugar in your yogurt?

And also, triple-why, do you have to put so many artificial ingredients in there too?

Isn’t it supposed to be healthy? Ah, that’s what makes me most angry of all: Thinking about the consumers who put sugary, artificial something or other in their shopping carts thinking they’re doing something good.


Well, the people at Siggi’s decided to make a good yogurt. One of the few good ones around, no doubt. Pardon my photos of Siggi’s Vanilla yogurt. I just can’t photography white things.

I like….

vanilla-yogurtthat this Icelandic-style yogurt tastes good.

that it has simple ingredients (pasteurized skim milk, organic agave nectar, Madagascar bourbon vanilla, live active cultures).

that it doesn’t have artificial sweeteners or growth hormones.

that it has a tab you can pull it make it easy to remove the paper wrapper to recycle separately from the plastic tub.

that it doesn’t taste like it’s non-fat yogurt.

that a 5.3-ounce container has only 100 calories and 9 grams of sugar.

What do you like about Siggi’s yogurt?

Hug a Polar Bear, Take the Thermostat Challenge

February 9th, 2014

I know. I know! It’s a very yuck winter to be thinking about turning down the trusty thermostat, but will you do it in honor of International Polar Bear Day?

#PolarBearDay is February 27, and Polar Bears International is challenging you to take a not very icy plunge to lower carbon emissions.




All you have to do is lower your thermostat a couple degrees. If you live in a hot climate, adjust your thermostat so that the room temp is just a bit warmer, and if you live in a chilly climate, adjust your thermostat so that the room is a bit colder.




Are you observing International Polar Bear Day?

Valentine’s Day Hints: Help Your Pet and Partner Get Along

February 5th, 2014

What better time to talk about love and pets than around Valentine’s Day?

Have you ever known a couple to break up over a pet? It happens more than you might think.

And sometimes it’s complicated. For example, one partner may be allergic to the other partner’s pet. That can be tough, but when it’s just a case of a pet and partner not getting along, well that’s a completely manageable situation!


If a pet is coming between you and the love of your life, try these helpful tips from the ASPCA, and have a happy Valentine’s Day:

One: Ask your partner to be the bearer of all good things for your pet whenever possible. That means that your significant other should do the feeding and dispense treats. And, if your pet is up for it, your partner should also engage in play sessions with your pet.

Two: Ask your significant other not to force interaction with your pet. Pets tend to see the approach of someone they fear or distrust as a threat, so it’s best for your other to play it cool and let your pet make the first overture of friendship.

Three: Reward your pet with treats for every step it takes to investigate your girlfriend or boyfriend. Reward positive behaviors like sniffing, approaching or rubbing.

How have you solved problems between your pet and partner?

Thanks: Image via Maura Teague’s flickr photostream.

Merry Christmas with Alternative Holiday Trees

December 23rd, 2013

Merry Christmas to you, and happy end to 2013. It’s been a pretty good year.

Here’s a look at my Christmas trees this year. I bought a tree made from wood scraps. It was created by a local artist, so no, I don’t have the DIY for it, but if you’re imaginative enough, I bet you could figure this one out!




I love the colorful wooden ornaments! I see now that my old ceiling tile wasn’t such a great backdrop for the pic, but it will have to do.




And here’s a look at something I experimented with this year. I have a lot of ornaments that have been gifted to me over the years. I keep explaining that I don’t put up a big Christmas tree because it’s just too much hassle with my two cats. I have no idea how my dog would react, and I don’t want to find out.




But I have ornaments anyhow, so I thought it would be nice to display them in a nontraditional way this year. I remembered the trusty old pasta drying rack, which hasn’t seen much action lately. I angled the ornaments to come to a point, and really it was kind of a fun project! The picture isn’t so great though, so forgive the blurry. Ah, maybe Santa should bring me photography talent. Or I should use my digital camera instead of my iPhone…

Once again, Merry Christmas. And, please have a charming 2014.


Are reusable bags dangerous to grocery cashiers?

December 21st, 2013

I’ve heard a new one about reusable bags.

Placing my items and bags on the conveyor belt at one popular chain store I won’t name, I was greeted with “I’m not allowed to touch those. You’ll have to bag them yourself.”

Well, I’ve used my own bags at this store many times, so I was confused. The way that the check-out area was configured, it would have been awkward for me to bag my own groceries. So, I ask, “Is this a new policy?’

“No. I had a reaction and now I’m not allowed to touch the bags,” she said.


Image from when I forgot the garlic in my reusable shopping bag! Found it not so intact in the dryer.

Image from when I forgot the garlic in my reusable shopping bag! Found it not so intact in the dryer.


The cashier couldn’t say exactly what it was about the bags she had handled that made her sick, but there was fear in her eyes. If she had some sort of specific allergy, she wasn’t aware, but there was just something about the bags that had made her sick, she said.

I believe that. It could be that the cashier has some specific food allergy that she’ll soon discover isn’t related to reusable bags. However, I think it’s totally plausible that someone’s bags may have made her have a reaction.

Always Wash Your Bags

Reusable bags, like anything else you use again and again, should be washed to remove contaminants and allergens. Never buy bags for grocery shopping that are surface wash only. That’s not healthy. Think about it for a minute: You bags carry ready-to-eat foods like produce that can easily become contaminated by dirty grocery bags.

For your health, and your cashier’s, wash your reusable bags often. Visit the American Cleaning Institute for tips on how to safely store and clean reusable shopping bags.


How often do you wash your shopping bags?

It’s OK. Gift a Pet This Christmas!

December 15th, 2013

Choco is very soft and vocal. He’s a pink-nosed wonder of a cat who forever changed my husband’s feelings about felines in general. A tuxedo cat, he’s never underdressed.

Choco and Oscar

And he was my Christmas present in 2003.

Choco wasn’t just any Christmas present, but my favorite gift ever. (There he is on the scratchy pad with his partner in crime, Oscar.)

For years, you’ve probably heard the myth that giving a pet as a gift is a bad idea.

Well, the ASPCA is busting that myth. And they say that yes, it really is fine to give a pet as a gift at Christmas, or another time.

Here are the numbers from the ASPCA research:

  • Ninety-six percent of people who received pets as gifts thought it either increased or had no impact on their love or attachment to that pet.
  • Eighty-six percent of the pets referred to in the study are still in the home.
  • There was no difference in the recipient’s attachment to the pet based on whether the gift was a surprise or known in advance.

These study findings are encouraging, and should help to ease any feelings of guilt you have for giving a pet as a gift. However, it’s also a good idea to gift pets only to people you know well and trust. After all, you need to know that the recipient’s schedule allows for the care of a pet. And, when gifting a pet to a young child, remember that the parent will be the caregiver. Yeah, you should ask the parent first!

The ASPCA recommends giving pets to those who have shown a sustained interest in having a pet, and who have the ability to care for a pet responsibly.  And, of course, you’re encouraged to adopt the pet from a shelter or rescue group.


Do pets change people?

Yes! As I mentioned, my husband never liked cats before Choco came into our lives. I never considered myself a dog person until we adopted Stella, my 70-pound rescue pup, last year.

Pets help us learn more about ourselves, and when we have the time and patience to put into the relationship with our pets, the rewards are great. Pets are a lot of work, but they add soul and character to a home. And a smile to your face.

Are you giving a pet as a gift this Christmas?

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