I’m not a regular (future) mom.

Can I not send my children to school? Because I’m not a regular (future) mom; I’m a vegan (future) mom. I don’t want them to be lied to that certain animals are born for human consumption, or that the main source of protein is animal carcass, or that dairy is good for them. I don’t want to risk them being uninformed subjects to animal-tested synthetic medicines, egg-containing vaccines, or milk supplementation programs. I don’t want them to be forced to thank large corporations for donating stuff to show that they’re good when they’re not.

I’m not a regular (future) mom; I’m a feminist (future) mom. I refuse to put them in colors and uniforms and classifications that are based on their sex. I refuse to have them indoctrinated to ideas that certain chores and jobs are for males and others are for females. Or that doing male jobs make females sexy. I refuse to have them conditioned that girls are dainty and soft, and boys strong and tough. I prefer that they all know how to change tires, or fix the plumbing, or bake lemon cupcakes, or teach others as if it was the most normal thing in the world.

I’m not a regular (future) mom; I’m an anarchist (future) mom. I want my children to govern themselves. I don’t want them to fear positions and ranks. I want them instead to see every single being as an equal – neither superior nor inferior – and they don’t have to bow to or be bowed to by anyone. I want them to judge people according not to their status or their salary grades but to their principles. I don’t want them to compete with their peers but instead compete with their past. I don’t want them to be fixed to the idea that they have to study to get a job to have money to get married to have children who will study to get a job to have money to get married to have children to have the same things over and over again. Instead I want them to study because they know there’s no room for ignorance in a free society.

Moreover, I don’t want to place them in positions where they would be bullied, questioned, and judged harshly because of their principles and coerced to abide by the status quo.  I can’t imagine seeing my future children growing up powerless over the school system.  That, for me, is scarier than giving birth itself.

You see, I’m not a regular (future) mom. I’m a (future) mom who watched V for Vendetta one too many times.

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Of Love

Let’s talk about love today.

This morning, I went to Mass, and Father L said humans are created out of love.  Thus, our nature is not to hurt but to love.

Something that’s always bothered me is why people become bitter when relationships end.  They would say mean things to their friends about the ex, smearing her or his image in the process.  Calling them names.  Why do they do that to the people they supposedly loved?

I’ve been called idealistic many times before.  (I also wonder why being one is such a bad thing.)  They meant it in contrast with being realistic.  They accused me of being ignorant of real-life experiences – because they misrepresent me as a pampered princess growing up – to understand the realities of this world.  They called me naive.

But sometimes being idealistic or ignorant or naive could be positive.  For example, today’s question: Why do they do that to the people they supposedly loved?

Having grown up without real difficulties or serious responsibilities, I had all the time in the world for thinking.  Many years ago, when I experienced heartbreak for the first time, I was surprised to discover that I cannot say any bad word about this person who hurt me.  On the second time, despite all the trash talk people who were supposedly consoling me said, I can’t get myself to say or think bad things about him.

I wondered if that was because I didn’t love them enough.  But this would be untrue because I know in my heart there was nothing more I could have done or given at that time.  I also wondered if that was because what I felt for them wasn’t true love.  But that would be wrong because the very reason I can’t be cruel even to their memories is because I loved them.

Admittedly, I’ve been bitter over some people.  I’ve had my fair share of trash talking to friends.  And that is because I didn’t truly love them.

Because to truly love someone is to set them free.  Of course, it’s almost impossible not to ask of something from the other person – I can’t imagine a truly unconditional love by a human being.  You can only hope that you’d be enough for them and they’d choose you and stay with you forever, but that is something you can’t force or manipulate them to do.  If you can’t set them free, that means you love yourself more than you love the other person.  That means you love the things you do, the happiness they give you, the emotions they stir, or the future you envision with them… more than them.

Think about God for a second.  He gave us free will.  He loves us.  He gives us everything.  He nurtures us.  But He doesn’t force us to follow Him.  That decision is up to us… because we, his beloved, are free.

To love is to place the other person’s happiness before our own.  (But take note I do not in any way condone staying with sociopaths and psychopaths.  If their happiness is torturing and destroying you, by all means, leave.)

To try to give unconditional love is a tough choice that requires hard work but it will always be worth it.  When you set them free, you are set free.

 

Now every February, you’ll be my Valentine

It’s our first anniversary month. Last year, I posted a list of things I love about you on my blog. I still love all those things but of course things change in the course of one year. So… why do I love you?

1. You sacrificed your obsession with cheese for the animals, for the Earth, and for the greater good of all mankind.

2. You’re loyal to the things you believe in. Even if that means you will not shake hands with the mayor. Or sneer at other frats. Or go into arguments with anti-Catholics. Once you even spat out the mock tapa I cooked because you thought it was for real.

3. You can make fresh coconut milk using your hands. I can only imagine the endless possibilities in homemade plant milk career

4. You have this enchanting public speaking voice that turns my knees to vegan jelly all the time.

5. You put God first… just almost everytime, because on some days we oversleep.

6. You’re so adorable when you show appreciation for yummy food.

7. You’re my type of funny.

8. You don’t shy away from correcting my mistakes, but only do so in private.

9. You think highly of your mom, which is always very important.

10. You cook better vegan kaldereta than astigvegan. And you don’t use boullion. Hahaha.

11. You’ve seen my Sleeping Ugly before yet you still chose to love me.

There’s still a lot more, you know. Don’t think for one second this is all. But I’ll reserve the other elevens for the next gazillion anniversaries we’re spending together.

I love you.

Cat post

Mama found our kitten Kutingting dead outside our gate this morning.  Ants were already eating her eyes and nose, and she was already cold and hard.  But when I cleaned her up and embraced her and showed her to her mom, I swear she became warm and soft.  I’m really sad.

Kutingting was the third kitten who lived with us and died.  I’m beginning to think there are evil people lurking around the neighborhood waiting for cats to poison.  I’m beginning to believe humans are evil.  Why kill an innocent animal?  I would always reprimand Kutingting for going out of our yard.  I was afraid they would kill her.  And now she’s gone.  Humans are bad.

My dear Kutingting, we love you and you know that, right?  Thank you for making us all happy.  We’ll take of your mom from now on.

My Brother Turned Vegan

I’ve been trying to contain my happiness these past few weeks.  My brother Joey has turned vegan!  I don’t want to look really happy because Sherry Argov said so but inside I’m jumping and dancing with happiness.

This is him working hard for his milk.  For his soy milk, that is.

I have no idea what happened, but I’ll try my best to write the narrative.

Among the four of us Castillo kids, Joey, 25, has always been the fitness enthusiast.  (Needless to say, we three ladies are lazy.)  He’s the reason we have dumbells around the house.  He also cycles.  He limits his white rice and junk food, and counts his macros.  But back then he didn’t yet believe that being vegan could be healthy.  I was, after all, his only image of vegetarianism (and later on veganism).  In fact, he used to hate me for refusing to cook animals for them.

Then, in early October, I reposted this poster by Gary L. Francione on my Facebook timeline:

On the comments, he asked if fruit diet was okay.  I said yes and dismissed it.  I really didn’t give it any second thought.  After all, I’ve been vegetarian since 2012 (and vegan since December 2016) but I haven’t had any progress with my family.

The next week, I learned he was only eating fruits and fresh vegetables.  He was literally sick.  He can’t move, he had colds.  But he didn’t touch meat.  When I saw him before they went to Cebu, I commented on his glowing complexion.  He said, “Seven days vegan diet, baby!”

I was overjoyed, but I tried not to show it.  I thought he would go back to eating animals soon, and his weeklong vegan “diet” was just out of cutiosity or a challenge.  But when I saw him again this All Saints’ Day holidays, he was cooking his own ginisang munggo (which is so delicious).  He was really lean!  And he called himself a “vegan.”

Apparently, he had been following vegan athletes online, which made him consider and try veganism.  In particular, there was this hilarious guy called Infinite Waters who made veganism fun and easy.  I don’t know him but man, I love him already.

He’s also feeding the ex-stray cats now residing at home.  A few months ago, he wouldn’t even if I bribes him.  He also cannot stand the thought that our pig, Piggy Oink, will be killed for the Christmas Party our parents are organizing.  Huhuhu.

He seems really happy and into it, not for fitness but for the animals.  Aside from that he’s also feeding the ex-stray cats now residing with us.  And he’s not planning on going back to eating dead animals.

Ate is just sooooo happy. 😍

Francis’ 25th + Salad, Pasta and Cake Recipes

I’m on a celebratory mode.  Francis finally turns 25!  Haaay.  The pains of being the older woman.  But after twenty-three days of waiting, our age gap is now down to four years again.  I’m probably happier than him right now.

Unfortunately for him, November 2 isn’t a holiday this year, so we both have to show up at work.  I took on the dutiful girlfriend role to make a simple birthday lunch.  (He was on emo-mode last night after his mom joked of cooking instant noodles.)  Thinking of the menu was hard since we are still on our week-long detox after eating a total of twenty four cups of white rice last weekend at the convivence.  I decided to just stick to the basics: a green salad, our one-pot pasta, and a chocolate cake.

 I thought we won’t have guests but our officemates from the Division Office came.  I was afraid we won’t have enough but God is good.  Everybody was able to eat and they – at least they said – the lunch was delicious.

Honestly, I’m starting to get confident with my cooking.  My brother Joey joked I can cook better now because I put in effort and love since Francis would be eating.  Hahaha.  Maybe.  I’m just happy that I got to cook for him.  It’s his first birthday with me.

Throughout the meal they were asking me about the recipes.  I’m so happy I got to inspire them to make healthier food.  Indeed, it’s not hard to prepare vegan food at all.  Here are the recipes:

Basic Green Salad

For the salad (I just used anything available in the pantry; you can absolutely use anything):

  • Romaine lettuce, torn into bite-sized pieces
  • Green olives, sliced
  • Cucumber, sliced and deseeded
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, minced

For the dressing:

  • 3 parts olive oil (or any oil)
  • 2 parts red wine vinegar (or any acid)
  • 1 part minced garlic (or any add-on of your choice)
  • Salt and pepper

Combine in a jar with lid and shake vigorously to emulsify.  Douse on the salad just before serving.


One-pot Penne in Tomato Sauce

  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 head garlic
  • 1 cup eggplants, diced
  • 1 14-oz can sliced button mushrooms
  • 2 tbsp olives
  • Salt and pepper
  • 6 cups water
  • 500 g penne, or any pasta of choice
  • 1 14-oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • Italian seasoning
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)
  • Chili flakes (optional)

Directions:

  1. In a pot, heat oil and garlic at the same time.  This is called cold sauteeing.
  2. Add in eggplants and cook for about a minute.  Add in mushrooms and olives and cook for another minute.  Stir in tomato paste.  Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Add water into the pot and let boil until vigorous.  Add in pasta and cook until al dente.  Penne took about 12 minutes.
  4. Halfway through the cooking time of the pasta, add in the tomato sauce.  Reduce heat to medium.  Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.
  5. With about two minutes left, stir in Italian seasoning, nutritional yeast and chili flakes, if using.
  6. Remove from heat and serve warm.

Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting

For the cake:

  • 2 3/4 cup unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1 cup raw turbinado sugar
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp coffee granules
  • 2 1/4 cup soymilk
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 2 tbsp vinegar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract

For the frosting

  • 2/3 cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • Shavings of dairy-free chocolate

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line two 9-in round cake tins with parchment.
  2. Mix the dry ingredients together.  In a separate bowl, mix the wet ingredients.  Do not combine until the oven reaches the right temperature.
  3. When the oven reaches 350, stir the dry and wet ingredients until just combined.  Do not overmix.  Quickly pour into the lined cake tins and bake immediately for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Remove from tins and cool completely before frosting.
  4. In a bowl, stir in peanut butter and powdered sugar together, adding a little soymilk at a time until the desired consistency is reached.
  5. Carefully place one of the cakes on a cake plate.  Put half the frosting and spread evenly just until the edges.  Very carefully put the second cake on top.  Put the remaining frosting on top and spread evenly.  Decorate with shaved chocolate.

So, there go three very simple and quick dishes you can make any day.  All vegan and all healthy.  Enjoy!

P.S. It’s my best girl Jena’s birthday yesterday, November 1, and tomorrow will be my favorite boss’.  Isn’t November the best month ever!  Happy birthday to all you celebrators!

To Inoo, My Prince

You should’ve turned eight yesterday, my love. I should’ve made a cake for you. I was saving the carob for yesterday, because dogs can’t have chocolate, and Chloe Coscarelli has this recipe for pupcakes I was dying for you to try. But I didn’t bake. I didn’t even cook your favorites. I don’t know, my prince. Not a lot of things interest me anymore since you flew to heaven. Most of the time I dread going home because you wouldn’t be there to welcome me. Or waking up because I wouldn’t be seeing you anyway. Truth is, I also find it hard to pray because I’m still secretly angry at God for not letting you live for 200 years when that’s all I was asking for. I hate our resident priest, too, you know, because he said dogs can’t love so I shouldn’t love you. The only beautiful thing that’s happening now is Uncle Francis. He takes care of mawmaw as you asked. He still includes you in our prayers. Does God tell you? The rest I don’t really care about.

I’m wondering, my love, when do I move on? But more importantly, do I really want to move on? Do I want that, to not miss you anymore? To slowly forget? I remember someone saying how our pain is self-inflicted. This could be. But I wouldn’t want this any other way.

I want to remember you forever. If that means I’d mourn for you forever, I want that, too. I love you.

Do you remember these pictures? These were when you jumped on the bed and let me hug you until I fell asleep. For the last time.