cooking optional

If you would rather read a good cook book instead of cooking from it here are a few you shouldn’t miss…

Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook

The New Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison

Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation by Michael Pollan
Although it does contain four recipes, Michael Pollan’s new book Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation is not a cookbook, but it is an excellent food book.

Cooking Confidence by Joanne Weir

to friend or not to friend?

Ask mom, I just started a new job and I got friends requests from people that I work with, but I don’t know if I want to be friends with them on Facebook. What should I do?
This is a pretty tricky question. On one hand you want to be part of the group, but on the other hand it’s really ok to keep ‘your work’ and ‘your life’ separate and in lots of ways separate is good. It’s a very personal decision. Make sure that you would be happy to have your grandmother read whatever you post or don’t post it!

love the earth day

my assistant and I are busy saving the planet- be back tomorrow


do you know what’s really going on here?

dear mom, I set up a fake Facebook account to find out if some of my friends went to a concert and didn’t invite me. I found out that there was more than one time that I was not included in stuff that they did. My feelings are really hurt. Should I say something?
You must have suspected that you have not been included or why would you try to find out? Instead of confronting the people that you thought were friends try to use this experience to figure out what’s really going on…were you invited in the past and never joined in? were the things they did things that you’ve said that you never want to do? was it very short notice and you weren’t there when the opportunity popped up? are these friends that are just “work” friends and not “social” friends and they made the distinction, but you didn’t? this will also help you remember that you can hurt people without intending to, but the result is the same…


shared wisdom

Dear Ask Mom- along with asking for advice, so many of you offer suggestions for dealing with life day by day and I’m happy to pass along your wisdom…the best suggestions are the simplest:
  • read a books about people who have overcome hardships with grace and dignity and learn from their life experiences
  • try to see things from someone else’s point of view and practice empathy generously
  • there is more than one right way to solve a problem
  • it’s more important to be kind than to be right
  • remind yourself that ‘it could always be worse’
  • never be harder on yourself that everyone else


if you’re a Mexican food loving vegetarian this will make your day…check out

Baked Black Bean and Avocado Burritos

Makes 8 burritos
2 chipotles in adobo sauce, finely minced
1 cup light or regular sour cream
2 (15-ounce) cans low-sodium black beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups corn kernels (fresh or frozen)
2 medium avocados, cut in 1/2-inch dice
8 (8-inch) flour tortillas
2 cups salsa
1 cup shredded light cheddar or Monterey Jack

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Coat an 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray.

Combine chipotle and sour cream in a bowl. Purée half the beans in a food processor; add to the sour cream mixture. Stir in the whole beans and corn until well combined. Gently stir in the avocado.

Warm the tortillas according to package directions. Working one at a time, spoon one-eigth of the bean mixture down the center of each. Roll the tortillas closed and place seam-side down in the prepared baking dish. Spoon the salsa over the tortillas and top with the shredded cheese. Cover and bake 20 minutes until cheese is melted and burritos are warmed through.


Mom, I don’t know what I want to be or do for the rest of my life. I feel a lot of pressure to make decisions that I don’t feel like I can make right now. What should I do?
Take a break. It’s one of those things that you can’t figure out just by thinking about it constantly. You can also try to back into it by figuring out what you don’t want to do first. There is no right or wrong way to do this. Just don’t do nothing. Pick somewhere you’d like to live or something you’d like to do. If it works out that’s great, if not go somewhere else or do something else, no harm no foul…the only rule should be don’t  hurt yourself or someone else.

trust yourself

Mom, every time I make a decision I’m afraid that I made the wrong decision. How can I stop feeling like I always make the wrong decision?
This isn’t about the decisions you make, it’s more about your lack of self-confidence. Make a decision stick by it and you’ll gain confidence from the good ones and learn from the bad ones.  By doing this you’ll make many more good decisions than bad ones.

letting go isn’t easy

Mom, my mother still tells me what to do and I’m over 25. How can I tell her to stop telling me what to do?
Tell her that when you were a little kid she did such a good job helping you learn how to make good choices that she can stop now. The problem is I’m pretty sure that it won’t work. On the bright side, be glad that she cares enough to still want to “help” you. Since you don’t have any control over your mother you have to let her talk but, it really doesn’t matter what she says because you’re old enough to do what you want to do.

better to give than to receive?

Dear Ask Mom- It seems like everyone has forgotten that it’s good manners to say thank you when I give them a gift. Sometimes I think that I should stop giving gifts to anyone who has not thanked me for gifts in the past. What do you think?
Does it make you happy to give gifts or do you do it to hear people say thank you? I hope the reason that you give gifts is because it makes you happy to give gifts and the gifts make your friends happy- that’s almost as good as a thank you.