Moderate Moment | Moderate Moms

Archive for January, 2012

Click here for headlines Jan. 31

Gingrich’s ties to Freddie Mac hurt him in FL

Abused women speak out in Egypt

Addictive sweet potato burritos



  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 cups canned kidney beans, drained
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 4 teaspoons prepared mustard
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 4 cups cooked and mashed sweet potatoes
  • 12 (10 inch) flour tortillas, warmed
  • 8 ounces shredded Cheddar cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Heat oil in a medium skillet, and saute onion and garlic until soft. Stir in beans, and mash. Gradually stir in water, and heat until warm. Remove from heat, and stir in the chili powder, cumin, mustard, cayenne pepper and soy sauce.
  3. Divide bean mixture and mashed sweet potatoes evenly between the warm flour tortillas. Top with cheese. Fold up tortillas burrito style, and place on a baking sheet.
  4. Bake for 12 minutes in the preheated oven, and serve.

Nutritional Information open nutritional information

Amount Per Serving  Calories: 503 | Total Fat: 8.4g | Cholesterol: 20mg

Click here for headlines Jan. 30

 Romney back on top in Florida primary polling /Florida’s Mark Rubio says some conservatives are too harsh on immigration / 10 year old arrested for pointing fake gun at woman

The Mom Vivant / Debbie Baldwin of Ladue News

            So, I was trolling the internet a couple of weeks ago when I came upon a website where you could take a quiz to see with which Republican primary candidate you were most closely aligned. So I took it. I was 99% sure for whom I was going to vote, but what the hell. Imagine my surprise when the candidate they chose for me was Michelle Bachman. Now I’m sure Ms. Bachman is a lovely person—that’s a lie—but we are not exactly on the same page politically. When I reexamined the quiz I realized there were not any questions about social issues—my more liberal arena—so that might explain the selection. The real question is how much do we really know about these candidates and do we really care?

            It seems to me that republican voters are looking for the candidate who can beat Obama. That’s not an insult or a bias, I’m sure democrats do the same thing. Would I vote for a candidate who differs with me on gay marriage, if they can beat an incumbent who differs with me about bigger things? The answer is absolutely. Moderates almost always get the shaft when it comes to big elections. The obvious reason being malaise. To their credit extreme conservatives and extreme liberals are motivated, and that motivation drives them to vote in the primary. So the moderates, like me, who were watching last week’s Project Runway marathon during the primary have to choose between opposite ends of the political spectrum in the general election.

            I can sit at a table with six friends three of whom voted for Obama and three of whom voted for McCain and yet we are all on pretty much the same page politically. The reason for choosing one or the other was simply a question of priorities. That’s why I am stunned that for the first time since Reagan, a moderate (I don’t want to jinx it) is probably going to win the republican primary. So get up off the couch moderates, there are plenty of candidates that fit the bill. I’ve chosen my candidate. I don’t care what the stupid quiz said.

The Smell test

The Smell test

From’s The Stir/Christine Doyle

Late last week, the 2012 election took its latest dramatic twist as Newt Gingrich lunged ahead of Mitt Romney in the polls. While it has seemed like Republican women have been muted by the party in recent years, there was no mistaking their voice in polling leading up to the Florida primary. Women don’t like Gingrich. According to the Wall Street Journal, support among male voters is split between Romney and Gingrich but when it comes to women, Gingrich’s support is evaporating. Kind of like when you’re at the mall and three different women are coming at you with a different scent. There’s an overwhelming array. You catch a spritz of this, a scent of that. But once the air clears, you realize which one is and isn’t you. That’s what Republican women did this past weekend. And at the end of the day, the whole Romney package –  his wife, his campaign, his promise of a stronger economy – just smells better!

After Newt’s victory in South Carolina, my website,, took the position that the era of an extra marital affair sinking a candidate’s chances had officially ended. My friends and I were joking this weekend that the Callista Gingrich’s legacy seems to be that short of doing meth, the spouse factor doesn’t seem to be a factor anymore.

Having said that, Gingrich has earned his place in republican politics. The party has been a sort of men’s country club for years, that once christened itself the standard bearer, but now sees membership is down. Newt is kind of that rogue member who has fresh ideas and isn’t afraid to speak up even though he knows he could get booted. I think that’s probably why he’s running, don’t you? Maybe to get his ideas out there? We must not forget that this is the guy who convinced Bill Clinton to reform welfare. And he’s right about extending the Bush tax cuts and slashing the corporate tax rate to promote growth. But some of his ideas, like summoning Supreme Court justices before an impeachment panel if we disagree with their rulings, are as goofy as making the moon our 51st state. And others, like bashing Romney over his15% tax rate when under Gingrich’s own plan, Romney would pay almost nothing or Gingrich’s role as a “historian” for Freddie Mac, smell a little funky.

As for Republican women, way to go ladies! Gone are the mousy grumblings about Sarah and Michelle. Instead, if the polls are right and Republican women are polling differently than men in advance of the Florida primary, that Republican woman’s voice is turning into a lioness’ roar.

Click here for latest headlines Jan. 23

Successful stem cell transplant appears to partially restore vision in the blind /

9 year old girl outsmarts kidnapper

Chris Christie court nominees reflect diverse backgrounds


The Mom Vivant / Debbie Baldwin of Ladue News

             For years I have been at odds with my mother. While that may not sound shocking to many of you who lock horns with a parent or a child, the reasoning here is a tad unusual. I have always maintained that if you, say, inadvertently hurt someone’s feelings, you ought to feel badly about it. My mother thinks it’s feel bad. She elaborates that if you feel badly you have a poor sense of touch. I argue that feel is a verb regardless. She then argues that if you help an old lady across the street, you don’t feel well about it. So it goes. Back and forth. And everybody I ask not only has a different answer but a different explanation for that answer. So I had to end it. It was time to bring the mountain to Mohammad. I emailed Richard Lederer.

            For those of you who haven’t heard of him Richard Lederer is one of the foremost grammarians in the U.S. and author of dozens of books on the subject including the hilarious Anguished English. He was also my husband’s English teacher at St. Paul’s School. Here is what he had to say:


The adjective BAD, meaning “unpleasant, unattractive, unfavorable, spoiled, etc.,” is the usual form following such linking verbs as look, smell, sound, and taste: After the rainstorm, the water tasted bad. The contents of the refrigerator smell bad. After the linking verb feel, BAD is the most common adjective, although feel badly is frequently seen and heard, especially with the meaning of “I regret”: I feel badly that I let you down. Although this represents an admirable attempt to differentiate physical ill being (I feel bad) from emotional ill being (I feel badly), much in the manner of I feel good vs. I feel well,  feel badly has been criticized for more than a century. Ask the offended why they object, and their voices will slip into the tonal groove that the century-old explanation has worn for itself: “If you feel badly, your finger tips must be numbed, or you’re wearing thick gloves.” Har har – but for a great number of people this disapproval is very real. You might attempt to explain to the finger waggers that the badly in feel badly is not an adverb but an adjective, in the manner of costly, elderly, friendly, kindly, sickly, and more than a hundred other adjectives that wag –ly tails, and they will still feel strongly (ahem!) that feel badly is somehow wrongheaded. That’s in part because BADLY is not a fully integrated adjective: If you are sickly, you are a sickly person, but if you feel badly, you are not a badly person. At this juncture in the winding way our language travels, you will communicate more effectively if you feel bad, rather than badly.


            So there you have it. My mother was right but not for the reason she thought she was right. So ha, take that. I was wrong but I don’t feel bad about it.


Florida is next – January 31

From Wikipedia: The 2012 Florida Republican primary will be held on January 31, 2012, on a winner-take-all basis.[1] The Republican National Committee removed half of Florida’s delegates because the state committee moved its Republican primary before March 6.[2] It is a closed primary.[3] There are 4,034,914 registered Republican voters as of November 20

The X factor that wasn't much of a factor in South Carolina

The X factor that wasn’t much of a factor in South Carolina

Well, it looks like we can safely say the ex-wife factor is no longer a factor in politics today. Otherwise, how can you explain Newt Gingrich taking, not just South Carolina, but the conservative Christian base there, after his ex-wife buried him on ABC News just days before the primary? Personally, I am thoroughly confused. Mitt Romney fell in love with his wife when they were still in high school. But he is wealthy, which last week in South Carolina, seemed to be a harder sin to forgive. What do I know, though? I went to bed thinking Romney won Iowa one night last week only to wake up the next morning and find out it was Rick Santorum. (Maybe there are a few missing straws out there somewhere that can give Mitt back his victory. The way this year has gone, nothing would surprise me.) I think it’s time for a new campaign slogan for Mitt, “No Apology.” (That was the name of his book) And a new campaign song, too.   How about “I’m successful and I know it” to the tune of “I’m sexy and I know it.” Seriously, why would anyone think they have to apologize for being successful? Is taking a tax break worse than being brought up on ethics violations?

So, what’s ahead? Florida. January 31st. With the way this year is going, I’m worried all those retirees might be charmed by, dare I say it, Ron Paul!

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Shrimp with grits

This recipe came from our local Schnuck’s grocery store in St. Louis and I can tell you from firsthand experience, it is the ultimate comfort food. And it’s a cinch to make!

Ingredients: 1 can (14 1/2 ounces) low sodium chicken broth, 1 1/4 cups milk, 3/4 cups instant grits, 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, 1/2 fresh ground pepper, 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese, 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided, 1 1/4 pounds raw peeled and deveined 36-40 count thawed shrimp, 2 large garlic cloves, minced, 2 lemons, 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped parsley leaves.

Directions: In a covered 2-3 quart saucepan, heat broth and milk to boiling over medium-high heat. Slowly whisk in grits, salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Reduce heat to medium – high heat and cook about 5 minutes or until mixture thickens, stirring occasionally. Stir in Parmesan cheese and 1 tbsp. butter. Remove saucepan from heat. Cover to keep warm.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter over medium-high heat. Add shrimp, garlic and remaining 1/4 tsp. pepper and cook 3-4 minutes or until shrimp turns opaque. Remove skillet from heat, squeeze juice of lemon halves over shrimp, sprinkle with parsley and toss to combine.

Divide grits in 4 shallow bowls, top with shrimp and sauce. Serve with lemon wedges.