Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Information overload

Hey Y'all!!!
So last week, Friday, my birthday present from my mother arrived on the doorstep. And let me tell you... I am in Love!! I have received the holy grail of culinary information. An actual Culinary Institute of America textbook! What?!?! Yes! 
This book has literally almost everything a professional chef learns tucked right inside of it. Along with some really great photos. It's huge. When I say huge, think science major in graduate school textbook huge. There are literally more than 1200 pages in this book. So it's not really a carry around and do some light reading type of book. But goodness knows I am enjoying diving into it chunk by chunk. 
There are thorough explanations of what things are from tools to spices to meat. And how to use them. 
Even all of the cuts of vegetables and meats!!! 
I am so excited about this book I don't even know where to start with it. Ha!
Once I've skimmed my way through to the end I will gather my thoughts and figure out what my first project will be. Who knows, I just may surprise myself with some new skills mastered. 
What's the best gift you have received (or given) in recent years?
Peace and Namaste Y'all 

Monday, April 28, 2014

Regroup Reorganize Repeat

Hey Y'all,
I've been attempting to get better orgasmized this past week. BUT it does not seem to be happening. Lol. Go figure. 
I haven't made many original food dishes this past week. So I don't have much to post 
But I will share a little moment of my kiddo's favorite past time. 
Since she was two years old she has loved doing her nails and the nails of others. So we spent a couple of hours painting, polishing, and decorating. Just between you and I.... She is better than some licensed nail techs that I have encountered. 
What's your favorite way to spend time your little ones? I would love to hear about what other families call fun. 
Peace & Namaste Y'all 

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Birthday To Me!!

Hey Y'all!
As you guessed from the title of this post today is my birthday! I didn't have anything other than church, food, and time with my immediate family planned this year. I've never been much of a partyer and living in my new environment has not brought any new friends to hang out with just yet. But that's okay, my old friends from back home made me feel loved even from halfway across the country. 
For Lent I chose to base my fast around land animals. So no meat for 45 days. It's not that big of a deal actually, when I'm aware of my diet I tend to eat more plant-based foods anyway. Though I did start to miss chicken after a few weeks. There are so many different types of seafood to be had, but nothing is as simple or as versatile as chicken. Because my kiddo and mother followed suit with my fasting choice we were all ready for an avalanche of meat today. Lol
The grill was fired up and so much food was had. My poppa loves me and knows how homesick I am, so he brought the big guns with a brisket. 
(He looks all professional with his home deli slicer.)
I am not really all that big on the regular vanilla or chocolate cakes with frosting. And that's what we've been having lately so I broke the birthday cake game up with a homemade pineapple upside down cake from the sweet tooth blog Averiecooks. It's a great recipe, I suggest you stop by her page and try it. I messed up by turning the pan over but leaving it on top of the cake over night. (Yea don't ask, I have no idea what made me do that) so of course the top got a little soggy. But not so much that it ruined the cake. A little air time helped it recover. 
The best parts about making my own cake this year: 
1) I got to team up with the flying panda 
2) I got exactly what I wanted
3) I was able to flex my baking skills. I mean it is my namesake after all. 
4) it's less expensive to make it yourself
It turned out lovely and tasting. Great job Averiecooks! This will be made again. 

I hope everyone had a lovely Resurrection Day if you celebrate. And if not it's still my birthday so have a slice of cake. What kind of cake will you have?
Peace and Namaste Y'all 

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Justify it with some veggies

Hey y'all,
This week's break has definitely been much needed. It always takes a few days to register just how hard you work for everyone else and how occasionally you need some time for yourself. Don't forget to take a little break sometime soon and remember to enjoy what you work so hard for.
Yesterday I spent a little time with my mommy. It was one of the best days out and about that I've had all week. I love my mommy. Yes she is a Chatty Cathy and I'm much quieter than she is often times. But when it's just the two of us doing something togetherwe're like two peas in a pod. I'm sure the fact that it just being the two of us for the early parts of my childhood has a lot to do with our bond. But also the simple fact that my mother loves me sooo much and has always shown it keeps us going. 
We did a little shopping for Easter and then I reheated the leftover pizzas in the fridge after we got settled back in at the house. P.S. people eat so much pizza around here, even the kiddo is sick of pizza. Yes, you read that right. A 10 year old child is sick of pizza. Lol
The pizza is from this place called Bella's. It's....okay....I actually prefer the shop that's closer to our house called Tony's. They have a better sauce to cheese ratio and use a delicious olive oil. Which makes the pizzas nice and greasy Lol
So these slices being leftovers meant we ate pizzas earlier this week, right? So I had to justify eating it again with some veggies and I didn't feel like making a cold salad. The weather has cooled back down this week and the wind adds a good brrr effect. Lol but at least the sun has been shining. 
So I minced up 3 cloves of garlic and threw it on top of about 2 cups of broccoli in a bowl with a pinch of red pepper flakes, kosher salt, and popped it into the microwave for 1:00minute. 
I mixed everything together well so that the garlic would cover the broccoli. Then spooned the mixture on to each of the cold slices. 
I tossed the sheet pan of slices into the oven under the broiler until the cheese was bubbling. 

Extra virgin olive oil was drizzled across the top just like on a white pizza. Mostly because like I said, the sauce to cheese ratio on a Bella's slice isn't to my liking. 
The result, a garlicky hot slice of pizza with great added texture, fiber, and justification. Lol
I know not everyone would think to add broccoli to their pizza. But don't knock it until you try it. It's nothing like the over cooked mush that is so often served as broccoli, giving it a bad name. Plus there are three things that can make pretty much anything taste amazing: deep frying, cheese, and of course Bacon. 

Either way we enjoyed our renewed leftovers. How do you like to revamp leftover pizza? 

Peace & Namaste Y'all  

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Taking liberties with science

Hey y'all,
Today was the day of the kids. Lol 
It's spring break around here and the kiddo has an itinerary for nearly everyday this week. Today's agenda:
1. Have cousin spend the night 
2. Visit the Liberty Science Center
For a few hours we milled around the building interacting with exhibits and trying to not step on small children. 
The building has four floors of exhibits. Everything ranging from environmental resources, to communicable diseases, to native and exotic animals, and robotic surgery. 
It was slightly over priced, but most things here are, and at least the building is well maintained. So no real compaints this time on that. 
The liquid rises into the tubes from the warmth of your hands.... The kiddo's hands were too cold. 
We took the elevators up to the fourth floor then walked back down as we went through the exhibits. 
If you've gotten a feel for me at here I'm sure you know the fact that the renewable energy exhibit was so large really made my heart smile. I honestly believe in diversifying our energy sources and lessening our dependency on crude oil. 
Showing how tides can create energy
This was new information for me and I'm always glad to learn something new y'all. 
This little machine in the middle measures radiation emmissions by clicking faster and louder as more radiation is detected. Sort of like a metal detector 
I learned that the old school Fiesta ware was full of radiation. I set the detector off louder than the fragments of decaying uranium. 
For all of you countertop snobs out there. Granite outs out small constant amounts of radiation. I knew there was a reason I'm more drawn to butcher block. 
Fortunately Fiesta got their act together over the years and the dishes post late 1980's are safe and sound. No uranium, no lead, no melamine. It's good stuff now. Lol
I'm finding that I am quite happy to just watch animals of various kinds these days. 
Turtles of some sort....sorry I forget

This toad was almost the size of my mother's Yorkie. 

Poisonous Dart Frog they are so beautiful. The sign stated they lose their poison when in captivity because of their diets. I don't think I'll test fate. But thanks
THIS is how you watch your kiddo learn how to virtually operate a robotic surgeon arm 
She did really well too
The jacks have to be dropped into the Petri dish with the corresponding color. 
In the gift shop I found this book. I didn't buy it. But it did make me think....there aren't lines of Charming running around looking to save anyone. So why are we still teaching our daughters to prance around doing nothing but looking pretty? She can still be a princess and enjoy building her castle with her own hands. And I would be exceedingly proud if she did. Or if she didn't. As long as what she did was want she loved. 
Happy Spring!!!
Peace to you and Namaste y'all 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Sometimes we just don't think

Hey y'all,
So, today there were some DIY home projects going on around the house. My kiddo and her GrandDude got up bright and early today to paint and accent wall in the family room for my mother today. 
Well, let's just say that by the end of the project my kiddo remembered why painters wear smocks when they work. Lol
You see any other time she would have been wearing shorts, an oversized t-shirt, and bare feet around the house. But today of all days she decides to be fully dressed in decent clothes and her favorite pair of boots. What the child was thinking, I have no idea. So of course she ended up with paint, Red paint, splattered across her boots. 
Fortunately, being the daughter of a solider I still have access to some really good stuff. Although I have no idea what this stuff is made of, so I doubt the ingredients are very environmentally friendly, but they work in a serious pinch like this. I initially tried hydrogen peroxide and failed miserably. But this stuff 
Is pretty amazing. Leave it to the army to figure out how to make one thing work for just about everything. Apparently this is the 800mg ibuprofen of boot cleaners. (Fellow military brats will know what I'm talking about if you've ever been to the doctor for anything Lol)
So of course the cleaner worked and her shoes are almost back to normal. Which was a life saver, because she almost lost it when I told her I didn't think red paint was going to come off. I can't blame her though, I love my boots too and I am exceedingly sad that one of my favorite pairs is in need of either a cobbler or replacement. I felt her pain. And I'm glad we were able to save the boots. 
Now off I go to turn an old button down shirt into an art smock for the little one. Then a down dog for myself before bed. 
Have you ever done something and then realized you knew better and should have taken better precautions? 
Peace and namaste y'all 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Beating the sugar blues

Hey y'all,
As of today I have 6 days until my birthday and I am super close to a personal goal. And well in order to hit that goal I need to stay really focused on my daily routines and my eating habits. But of course this week I am having an influx of emotions that trigger some old habits with food. 
But fortunately for me I am so muchore aware of myself these days. Mostly because I am not trying to hide from the world or from myself anymore because of my fears, disappointments, or shame. So in light of my ability to acknowledge my feelings and the courage to do something about them I  choosing to drink as much unsweetened herbal tea as my heart desires. Rather than raiding the freezer for this year's thin mint haul. 
Celestial Seasonings has been a long time favorite of my fruity herbal tea selections. Although I have grown found of many other brands, including loose leaf teas. Although I find that when I'm being lazy I just want to pop a bag into hot water wait a minute and sip. 
I know it doesn't take much more with loose leaf teas, but the clean up of the leaves afterwards is what I think about when I'm wanting to put in little effort. Lol. I know. I know. Judge me if you dare, but I'm sure you have a little idiosyncrasy of your own. 
What helps you curb your sweet tooth? 
Big trouble, I also have a ton of time on my hands this week and I feel like baking. Uh oh
Peace and Namaste Y'all 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Haven't made these in awhile

Hey Y'all,
So I was reminded that I had been slacking off on making my famous fish tacos. (Well famous to my kiddo anyway) So today I obliged the brood and made some great food. (See that, I'm a rapper Lol) 
I have a lot of photos and tonight I chose to not venture out in making yellow rice from scratch. But that's okay, every now and then we choose to have a little extra help in one way or another. 
4 fillets of Mahi Mahi
2 Altufa Mangoes
1/2 Avocado
1 8oz container of Greek Yogurt (sour cream will work too I just like yogurt)
1 TBSP red onion
1 jalapeño with seeds and ribs removed
2 TBSP chopped cilantro
3 Limes
2 cans of Black Beans
1 family sized box of Goya Yellow Rice
1 bag shredded cabbage 
Southwest seasoning (or taco seasoning)
Salt pepper 
Sazón seasoning
Favorite salsa
I chose to make the mango salad and the line crema first so the flavors had a chance to meld together better. Dice the mangoes and scoop out the insides into a bowl. Add 1 1/2 half TBSP of the cilantro. The juice of one lime. The diced jalapeño. And the minced red onion. Season with a little salt. Stir and place in the refrigerator. 
Scoop half of your avocado into a container with the yogurt, remaining cilantro and the juice of two limes. Mash the avocado until smooth and and well blended with the yogurt. Give a quick season with salt and pepper then cover and refrigerate. 
While the mango salsa and lime crema chill make your rice according to the instructions on the box. Then take both cans of black beans. Rinse thoroughly and pour into a pot. Just barely cover the beans with water, a TBSP of butter, add a couple tsp of the Sazon tropical seasoning. (If you do not have this seasoning then feel free to season with salt, pepper, garlic, and onion just to add flavor) 
Create an aggressive simmer in the beans. Not a rolling boil that will quickly burn the beans. 
Mahi Mahi was the fish of choice for the night. It is thick and fleshy and able to stand up to big flavors like a southwest seasoning. You do want to keep an eye on it, or you may overcook it cause large dry chunks as opposed to moist flakes. 
This is the southwest seasoning I used. Be warned, my kiddo proclaims that it is a little spicy. But she survived it with a glass of chocolate milk. (Almond milk to be exact Lol)
A pan fry in olive oil with no batter is my preference for this particular fish in the taco. 
The flesh colors well and doesn't fall apart when time to flip like certain more delicate fillets might do. 
So I toon the shortcut way out on my tortillas this time and gave these white corn tortillas a try. They were pretty good. Of course not as good as freshly made tortillas always are. But good none the less. Take two tortillas and warm them over a flame until softened. 
In the end all of the elements come together to make a plate that could easy say "I want you to sit with me for awhile". Mostly because you'll end up stuffing yourself until you no longer have desire to move. Lol
If you like fish and you like tacos, why not put the two together? Especially when there's mango salsa involved! Test this one out, plan around with your own adaptations. The next round I'll make a battered and fried fish taco and see if I can top the one I had at Surf Taco.....I'm pretty sure I can. Lol
Time to plan the next meal. This weekend is going to be crazy! I'd better stay on top of my tasks while I still can. 
Stretch and lights out!

Peace and Namaste y'all