Moderate Moment | Moderate Moms

Archive for November, 2011

Should the Supreme Court hearings be televised?

The Supreme Court has a decision to make about healthcare reform even before it begins discussing healthcare reform itself.  And that is whether or not the public deserves to see the hearings on live television.  C-Span is arguing that the circumstances of this case, the length of the hearings, which are budgeted for 5 hours, along with the precedent setting issue of whether a government can order its citizens to buy health insurance, mandates a new level of transparency for the court.  The only time Americans even see the Supreme Court justices is during their confirmation hearings.  After that, they slip behind the scenes, only accessible to the average American through their writings.  What do you think?  Would you watch the hearings?

Easy Beefy Shepherd’s Pie

I thought of a favorite cousin today who once told me how easy this is to make.  Recipe comes from

Americans love casseroles, and this shepherd’s pie recipe ranks right up there for its ease, frugality, and homey goodness. Shepherd’s pie recipes are traditionally done with lamb, but are also great with ground turkey and beef.

Makes 6 Servings of Easy Beefy Shepherd’s Pie

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 60 minutes

Total Time: 75 minutes


  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 1 1/4 cup beef broth or stock
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tbsp ketchup
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 cups frozen mixed vegetables (peas, carrot, corn), thawed and drained well
  • 1 1/2 lb gold or red potatoes, cut into large chunks
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled, halved
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese


Brown ground beef in large nonstick sauté pan over medium heat, breaking the meat into very small pieces as it cooks. Stir in flour and cook for 3 minutes. Stir in the broth, and once it’s incorporated add the salt, pepper, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, and mixed vegetables. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Transfer into a 3-quart baking dish.

Add the potatoes and garlic into a saucepan, cover with cold water, and add a large pinch of salt. Bring to boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 25 minutes. Drain very well, and add back to the saucepan. Add the milk and sour cream; mash the potatoes until smooth and lump-free. Stir in the cheddar cheese.

Cover the meat mixture with the mashed potatoes, and spread evenly with a fork. Bake in a preheated 400 degrees F. oven for 25 minutes, or until golden. Allow to sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Note: If a browned top is desired, broil on high for 2-3 minutes after baking.

The Mom Vivant / Debbie Baldwin of Ladue News

All the Whos in Ladueville liked Christmas a lot.

But the Zilch who lived just south of Ladueville did not.

The Zilch hated Christmas the whole Christmas season,

Go ahead ask her she knows just the reason

It’s not the trees though she hates all the chopping

It’s not the house cleaning, the sweeping the mopping

It appears that the most likely reason of all,

Is the Zilch cannot stand to visit the mall.


She hated the mall trip. Who knows what the reason?

So she fretted and dreaded the holiday season.

One Who stole her spot, the next dinged her car.

The Body Shop ran out of the chamomile bar.

The saleswho at Nieman’s was such a huge *#%*#,

She bought the damn belt at Abercrombie and Fitch.

They actually have a store called Forever Twenty-one

For delusional cougars out for some fun.


The Zilch stopped and she rested on fake Santa’s lap.

Wondering when is the sale at The Gap?

Will the Apple store run out of their latest iPhone?

Where did she see that massage chair? It must be Brookstone.

Banana Republic, B. Dalton, J. Crew

What’s that? A Nordstrom, now there’s something new.

More options! The Zilch didn’t know what to do.

Couldn’t Santa drop the crap down the fireplace flue?


Then the Zilch thought of something she hadn’t before…

Maybe Christmas, she thought didn’t come from a store.

Maybe Christmas, she thought, would give her a lift,

With a new present tactic, namely regift!

Give Rose the bird feeder Jan gave to her

Give mom that picture frame made out of fur.

Nana will love the vase shaped like a goose

And that three-year-old fruitcake at last has a use!


The Zilch laughed as she wrapped each gift beaming with pride

Not knowing in most the old card was inside.

She cackled and hooted at her new Christmas tack,

Not knowing that next year she’d get it all back.

What the heck, it’s worth toe socks from old Uncle Max

If it means avoiding a fight at the sale rack at Sacks.

It’s a message as old as St. Nick  and St. Michael

Remember at Christmas—like always—recycle!







Moms are talking back!  Check out this survey from

Moms are talking back! Check out this survey from

Did you ever wonder why Moms seem so turned off to current events and politics?  Maybe because they feel they aren’t being heard by the decision makers.  The #1 parenting site on the web,, decided to ask mothers across the country, and across a spectrum of racial, economic, political and socioeconomic backgrounds, how they’re feeling leading into 2012.  More than half of the mothers surveyed, 1850 of them, said they truly believe the average American mother could do a better job as President than Obama. Ouch. As a moderate who has voted mostly Republican, two key points jump out at me that bode well for the Republicans.  The first is that 34% of Moms reported an overall conservative change in their perspective since the last elections.  The second is that 59% believe the presidential elections will make a difference for their families personally.  Moms are tilting right and expect the presidential elections to be a turning point. And more than two-thirds would like to see the government cut spending before enacting new taxes as a way to tackle the deficit.

The numbers are eye opening: 55% of our nation’s moms said they believe our best days are behind us, 49% of moms believe the American Dream is dying or dead and 77% say their family’s financial situation has stayed the same or become less secure in the last 3 years.  55% of the women surveyed said they think the next President needs to focus on improving their family’s financial situation, 58% of moms want to hear about job creation, 37% want politicians to ease the pressure on the middle class and 39% want to hear about healthcare costs and quality.

Here’s a look at one section from the survey:

Overwhelmingly, moms’ worries are dominated by two very practical day-to-day economic considerations: paying the mortgage or rent on their home (55%) and spending on groceries (36%) … followed by one very long-term concern:college tuition for their children (31%).


For a population that is normally focused on the future, an overwhelming 71% of moms may believe our short-term challenges matter more this election than our long-term ones, but when they think about their kids, they’re still looking ahead to a brighter tomorrow. It may be too late for America, but they haven’t given up on their kids.”

There is so much more good information in this survey.  Take a look for yourself at


Click here for headlines as of 11/30


Herman Cain says no way is he quitting after alleged 13 year relationship /

Can Newt shed baggage from the past /

Lieberman asks Google to block terrorist content

Fish stew (because you’re sick of turkey!)

From FineCooking:

Halibut and Mussel Stew with Fennel, Peppers, and Saffron

by Ivy Manning

This seafood stew, brimming with some of Spain’s most celebrated flavors, is easily adaptable to serve meat-lovers and vegetarians alike: see the variation below to serve one vegetarian, or check out the completely meatless version of the stew.

Serves four.

2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil, more for the bread
1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced (2 cups)
1 medium fennel bulb, stalks and fronds removed, quartered lengthwise, cored, and thinly sliced crosswise (4 cups)
1 medium carrot, peeled and thinly sliced crosswise (3/4 cup)
1 small red bell pepper, stem, ribs, and seeds removed and discarded; flesh thinly sliced lengthwise (1-1/2 cups)
3 Tbs. tomato paste
2 medium cloves garlic (1 minced, 1 whole)
1/2 cup dry white wine, such as Albariño
One 15.5-oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
1/8  tsp. pimentón (smoked paprika)
2 pinches saffron
1 bay leaf
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 baguette slices, 3/4 inch thick
11 oz. skinless halibut fillets or other firm white fish, cut into 1-inch chunks
13 mussels, scrubbed and debearded

Heat the oil in a 5-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, fennel, carrot, and bell pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and minced garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until the garlic is fragrant, about 45 seconds. Add the wine, bring to a simmer, and cook until the liquid has reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Add 3-1/2 cups of water, the chickpeas, thyme, pimentón, saffron, and bay leaf. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook until the vegetables are tender and the stew has thickened slightly, about 25 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Position a rack 6 inches from the broiler and heat the broiler on high. Put the bread slices on a rimmed baking sheet and brush both sides with oil. Broil, flipping once, until both sides are golden-brown, about 4 minutes total. Remove from the oven and rub each slice with the whole clove of garlic.

Gently stir the halibut and mussels into the stew, cover, and simmer until all the mussels have opened and the fish is cooked through, 4 to 8 minutes. Discard any mussels that do not open. Ladle into wide, shallow bowls and serve with the garlic toasts.


To serve 1 vegetarian and 3 meat lovers: Reduce the halibut to 8 oz. and the mussels to 10. Just before stirring the halibut and mussels into the stew, transfer 2 cups of the stew to a wide, shallow bowl, cover and keep warm while you cook the fish and mussels in the remaining stew. Sprinkle the vegetarian stew with 2 Tbs. grated Manchego and serve with one of the garlic toasts.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 470; Fat (g): 14; Fat Calories (kcal): 130; Saturated Fat (g): 2; Protein (g): 34; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 7; Carbohydrates (g): 48; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 3; Sodium (mg): 770; Cholesterol (mg): 40; Fiber (g): 13;

Click here for headlines as of 11/28

 Arab league enacts sanctions against Syria /

Obese third grader taken from mom and placed in foster care

The rising tide of Latino Republicans

The rising tide of Latino Republicans

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez is forced to research and clarify her late grandfather’s immigration status. Marco Rubio, Florida’s GOP Senator, is accused of embellishing his family’s immigrant story. A Republican congressional candidate in California puts on his website that he is the great-grandson of an illegal immigrant.

As more Latino Republicans seek and win elected office, their families’ backgrounds are becoming subject to increased scrutiny from some Latino activists, a reaction experts say is a result of Latino Republicans’ conservative views on immigration. It’s a new phenomenon that experts say Latino Democrats rarely faced, and could be recurring feature in elections as the Republican Party seeks to recruit more Latino candidates.

“It’s a trend and we are seeing more of it,” said Alfonso Aguilar, executive director of the Washington, D.C.-based Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles.

For years, most Latino elected officials were largely Democrats, except in Florida where Cuban Americans tended to vote Republican. But recently, a new generation of Latino Republicans has won seats in Arizona, Texas, New Mexico, California and even Idaho. Those politicians have come under fire from some Latino activists for pushing for laws targeting illegal immigrants and for opposing efforts for comprehensive immigration reform — views that are in line with most Republicans.

And the immigrant advocates are pointing to the GOP Latino elected leaders’ own family histories in an effort to paint them as hypocrites. Ignacio Garcia, a history professor at Brigham Young University, said it comes from a long tradition by liberal activists of portraying Latino Republicans as “vendidos,” or sellouts, since the majority of Latino voters tend to vote Democratic.

For example, Martinez tried twice in the New Mexico state legislature to overturn a state law that allows illegal immigrants to obtain state driver’s licenses. Then earlier this year, various media outlets reported that a grandfather of Martinez may have been an illegal immigrant. The reports sparked immigrant advocates to protests outside the state Capitol with poster-size photos of Martinez on drivers’ licenses.

Martinez, a Republican and the nation’s only Latina governor, ordered her political organization to research her family’s background and found documents that suggested that her grandfather legally entered the country and had various work permits.

The episode drew criticism, even from those who opposed Martinez’ efforts on state driver’s licenses. “This has nothing to do with her views and how she governs,” said Michael A. Olivas, an immigration law professor at the University of Houston who also is aiding in a lawsuit against a Martinez’s administration probe over the driver’s license fight. “I don’t think it’s fair for people to dig around in her family’s past.”

In Florida, Rubio’s official Senate website until recently described his parents as having fled Cuba following Fidel Castro’s takeover. But media organizations reported last month that Rubio’s parents and his maternal grandfather emigrated for economic reasons more than two years before the Cuban Revolution.

Somos Republicans, a group dedicated to increasing Latino Republican voting numbers, immediately attacked Rubio over the discrepancy and for holding harsh views on immigration. “We believe it is time to find out the complete history of his parents’ immigration history,” the group said in a statement. “It is also time for Rubio to be a leader and help Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) fix the broken immigration system.”

Patricia Montes, executive director of Centro Presente, an immigrant advocacy group in Somerville, Mass., said voters need to know a politician’s family background for clues on how they will respond to people with similar stories. “It’s very important to voters,” said Montes.

Montes said most Latino and immigrant voters don’t simply Latino Republicans as “vendidos” but rather as politican leaders who don’t share their views. “I don’t care if someone is Latina or not,” said Montes. “I care if they believe in the same things I do, and if their policies will affect the immigrant community.”

Garcia said the current tension also is a result of a new breed of Latino Republicans finally winning high profile seats after years of being largely ignored or dismissed. Garcia said there have always been Hispanic Republicans, through their numbers have been typically small and they have often faced heat from the largely Democratic Latino population.

In New Mexico, for example, the colorful lawman and lawyer Elfego Baca helped established the Republican Party just after New Mexico became a state in 1912 and actively tried recruit the state’s mutigenerational Latino population to join the party. Baca won a number of local offices, including district attorney, but lost bids for Congress and various statewide offices.

In Texas, civil rights activist Felix Tijerina, a Mexican-American Houston restaurateur and former national president of the League of United Latin American Citizens in the 1950s, remained committed to Republican Party despite a backlash from fellow activists who disagreed with his laissez faire, pro-business views. One Texas civil right leader, John J. Herrera, called Tijerina “a white man’s Mexican” for his support of Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower for president over Democrat Adlai Stevenson.

“The difference now is that these new Latino Republicans like Martinez and Rubio are better prepared and are being groomed as national figures,” said Garcia. “Meanwhile, the Democrats are falling behind. They have no equivalent and they aren’t giving Latinos the same opportunity.”

Garcia said there’s also a new factor — the millions of new independent Latino evangelicals who could be potential GOP voters. This population is new and unpredictable, he said.

Still, some Latino Republicans want to use the new attention around them in the party to change what they see is damaging rhetoric around immigration. Tony Carlos, who is seeking the GOP nomination for California’s 3rd Congressional District, is running on a platform to push comprehensive immigration reform and believes if other Republicans follow, more Latinos will vote with the GOP.

On his campaign website Carlos says his great-grandfather came to Arizona from Mexico “without papers.” Carlos said it’s all about showing that his family is part of an ongoing American story and that political leaders need to honestly attack today’s problems

“I’m putting my family history out there. And once Latino voters hear that I support immigration reform, I find that they are open to other issues that appeal to conservatives,” said Carlos. “My argument is that they are just as conservative. They are just in the wrong party.”

The Mom Vivant/ No stubble left behind or beauty tips from the Real Housewives

By Alexandra Gekas Posted November 09, 2010 from

Whether it’s for antiaging creams, acne medicine or exfoliating scrubs, American women spend a bundle on maintaining their beauty. In fact, a 2008 YWCA report found that U.S. women dole out around $7 billion—roughly $100 per month—on cosmetics and beauty products. But there’s a select group who prefer to go the old-fashioned route, choosing cheaper skincare methods that use household goods. From removing makeup with vegetable shortening to dabbing hemorrhoid cream under the eyes, discover eight of the most bizarre ways women bolster their beauty routines.

No Stubble Left Behind


Reality TV star Caroline Manzo brought shaving to light on an episode of Real Housewives of New Jersey. She swears that shaving in the shower every day helps exfoliate her face, and is the secret to her flawless complexion. But, according to Joshua Zeichner, MD, director of cosmetic and clinical research at The Mount Sinai Medical Center’s dermatology department in New York City, it’s probably not an ideal method for most women. “It isn’t my first recommendation for exfoliating because it can cause irritation, which outweighs the rewards,” he says. Whether you try it in the shower, like Manzo, or dry with cold cream like some bloggers suggest, just be sure to use a sterile, disposable razor. Photo: Shutterstock


Get Basted

And here we thought cooking spray was for our skillet! We stumbled across a beauty blog that suggested using the foodstuff—unscented, that is—after fake tanning to make your skin glow. According to Dr. Zeichner, people prone to skin irritation and allergies should be wary of this kind of at-home treatment. However, he does believe oil can improve the quality of your skin: “Modified oil and oils are commonly used on the skin to help moisturize and improve the integrity of the skin barrier,” he says. “When your skin barrier looks good, the skin will have a more even tone and glow.” Photo: Thinkstock


Wipe Away the Puffiness

In addition to dazzling eyeshadows and lustrous bronzers, every makeup artist has hemorrhoid cream in her arsenal. Yes, you read that right! Believe it or not, the cream is said to quickly reduce undereye puffiness and dark circles—and Dr. Zeichner agrees. “Hemorrhoid cream and nasal sprays contain chemicals that constrict blood vessels, so using those products is a trick you can use not only for circles under your eyes, but also for red marks such as pimples,” he says. Simply squeeze out a pea-size amount and dab under each eye, rubbing the cream in gently with your ring finger—then, before leaving home, rehearse a vague reply for when people ask how you got so gorgeous! Photo: iStockphoto


Jolt Cellulite into Submission

Sorry, Marilyn—on most busy days, coffee is actually a girl’s best friend. And it turns out it could be good for our lumps and bumps as well! Although a foolproof solution to cellulite remains elusive, Dr. Zeichner says coffee might help. “What caffeine does is it pulls water out so it can make cellulite appear less apparent rather than plumping up everything around it,” he says. “It may also help reduce the number of fat cells. ” Applying the coffee can be messy, but it’s worth a whirl: Mix ¼ to ½ cup coffee grounds (used ones from your coffeemaker are fine) with approximately 2 Tbsp of extra-virgin olive oil and massage into the affected areas, trying to get as much to stick as possible. Cover the area in plastic wrap and let it sit for 10 minutes before rinsing with warm water. Photo: iStockphoto


Stop Sagging Before It Stops You

Antidiarrheal medicines can play an, ahem, important role in your digestive life. But did you know that the liquid pink-colored kind can also help tighten your skin and shrink pores? At least that’s the claim by some beauty bloggers who swear by the stuff, applying it straight from the bottle with a cotton ball. Dr. Zeichner says the idea isn’t completely far-fetched, because these over-the-counter meds contain bismuth subsalicylate, which can be found in a slightly different form in cosmetics. Even so, Dr. Zeichner would shy away from using it on your face. “There are much better clay masks available commercially and inexpensively on the market,” he says. Photo: iStockphoto


Make Fat Your Friend

This beauty trick is one of the oldest in the books—and for a reason: It works! Vegetable shortening as a makeup remover “has been used commonly, especially for patients with dry skin,” Dr. Zeichner says. “It’s helpful for patients with more mature skin who may be looking for something with a bit more moisture,” he says. Just be forewarned: Given its greasiness from the soybean oil, you’ll sport your fair share of shine throughout the day! Photo: Lisa Fain/Getty Images


Buy Your Body a Drink

According to The Black Book of Hollywood Beauty Secrets, actress Teri Hatcher uses red wine in her bath water to soften her skin. While it certainly sounds decadent, Dr. Zeichner questions its effectiveness: “Red wine is full of antioxidants that we know are beneficial to our overall health, but the challenge is making sure these antioxidants are actually absorbed into the skin,” he says. “So putting a little red wine in the water won’t hurt, but it’s about getting the antioxidants where they have to go.” Enough said—we’ll drink to that advice! Photo: iStockphoto


Baby Your Zits

New mothers aren’t the only ones who are stocking up on diaper rash cream—it seems this product is catching on as an adult acne treatment as well! According to the site, diaper rash cream helps zap zits quickly when it’s applied like regular pimple cream. Dr. Zeichner says new studies are showing this may be true. “There is recent evidence out there that diaper rash is caused by both irritation to the skin and by yeast, so most diaper creams contain antifungal medicines that are actually effective at treating the bacteria that causes acne.” However, for the time being, Dr. Zeichner advises acne-prone individuals to stick with over-the-counter products that contain benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid. Photo: Jupiterimages

The Mom Vivant / Debbie Baldwin

What does your choice of pie at Thanksgiving dinner tell you about your personality? With Thanksgiving just around the corner The Mom Vivant thought we should turn to our favorite fictitious psychological consultant to learn what choosing a pie flavor says about your personality. Let’s dive in. Oh and in case you were wondering there is absolutely no scientific evidence to support there conclusions.


You are a traditionalist. You love comfort food and hate change. You like a lot of flavor but not too much spice. Given a choice of vacation you choose the beach. It takes a lot to make you angry and you are loyal to a fault. You think yoga is for the birds. You won’t associate with people who drive foreign cars.


You’re a quirky kind of person. You are never happy with your hair and are constantly changing styles and even colors. You hate lima beans and secretly think your behavior at home—where you sit, when you go to the bathroom—affects your favorite sports team’s performance. You have a winning smile.

Lemon Meringue

You are a little bit sassy and a little bit sweet. You love antiques and contemporary things as well. You secretly think the government faked the moon landing. You have a small social circle but your friends are like family, which is why your cell phone plan is Verizon Friends and Family. You question whether cow tipping is an actual thing.

Chocolate/Coconut/Banana Cream

You commit at least two of the seven deadly sins on a regular basis. Indulgence is your middle name. You have dozens of acquaintances, but the only person you would say truly understands you is your lover. You hate black licorice. You love roller coasters but hate Ferris wheels. You love pea soup but hate peas. You always seem to be looking for something—usually your keys.


You have an abnormally high number of cavities and possibly an ant problem. When people talk about you behind your back it’s almost always positive. You are an open book but would never hurt another person’s feelings. You are trying to stop biting your nails. As a child you had a disapproving father and as a result are constantly looking for validation. You shop on Black Friday. You don’t understand America’s fascination with the Kardashians.


You are an all around terrific person—nearly perfect. You exercise and eat right but you’re not cocky about it or rub it in people’s faces. You were a leader in school, possibly in student government or the Greek system. You find gum chewing offensive. You have a fear of birds and clowns. You married your first love and only occasionally regret it. You question whether bananas are, in fact, a good source of potassium.

Happy Thanksgiving pie people!