Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Random Updates

This is a post to update you all on what's been going on over the past few weeks.  My previous posts have not really said much about what I've been doing.  So here we go.

1) I cooked three times last week (that is one time less than the previous week) but that was planned.  We had a few dinner invitations that we could not pass up so we had to kick cooking to the curb for a few days.  Besides we knew about the dinners ahead of time so that doesn't count.

2) I've been eating more healthy.  I already eat fairly healthy (ok, sometimes I do) but there's always room for improvement.  I have to eat breakfast daily.  On days when I'm not eating breakfast with my husband (which is at least 5 days per week) I have oatmeal.  Yum!  I'm actually one of the rare kind that actually like oatmeal (you know the one without all the sugar and stuff already mixed in). 

So that I get at least a few servings of fruits per day, I mix fruits in my oatmeal.  You name it, I put it in there.  My favorites are grapes, strawberries, peach.  This is sometimes together but other times individually.  I wish I liked bananas because I think they would go well with oatmeal.  On some days I try to eat a fruit with lunch too.  

Speaking about lunch, I usually bring lunch to work with me.  I try to do it daily but on rare days I get lazy or have a planned lunch date.  I've never been a big veggie fan but I've been having veggies with dinner.  Hubby is also not a big vegetable fan (God help our kids) but we are slowly introducing new veggies in our diet.  It's been going great so far.

3) My husband's older brother spent a few days with us.  He drove cross country from Wyoming (out of his way) to visit us then drove to FL to join his parents early for Thanksgiving.  It was so much fun having him here.  He and my husband are both really goofy.  Of course they pulled me into it and we all had a great time.  By the way, my husband's brother is single and is looking for a future wife so if you know of any eligible bachelorettes let me know.  I'm half joking.  He is a great guy and he is hot {hi honey, he is not as hot as you but he does have an awesome body}. Ha!

4) As we are talking about awesome bodies, I've been working out more.  Ok, so I'm no where close to having an awesome body but I'm trying.  If you remember I'm trying to stay in shape so that I can get pregnant then become out of shape again.  Kidding.  Really though, I've been exercising regularly now for the past few weeks.  Last week I did 5 days of P90X workout videos.  Those were serious but I felt so good after then I started hurting about 2 days after each workout (but it's the good kind of hurt).

5) The P90X videos are not so bad actually.  I know, I can't believe I just said that either.  Ok they are tough.  The Ab Ripper X is the worse.  Anyway, since I'm feeling so healthy and athletic, I've decided to give the Insanity workout videos a try.  I like a challenge.  They are extremely expensive but I've convinced my hubby to get them for me as an early Christmas present. Yay!  I'll let you know how it goes.  I've got a feeling I wont still be cheering after I've done the Insanity workouts.  I'm surprised that I'm liking home workouts so much.  It's actually a lot easier for me to roll out of bed and go downstairs to work out than go outside.

6) Thanksgiving will be spent at my husband's family's house.  Christmas will be with my family.  Thanksgiving will be in north Florida and should be tons of fun.  We plan to drive down on Wednesday night.  The hubby may drop me off at his parents home then go to the "family house" where he will spend the night with some male relatives.  They will likely get up early Thursday morning to go hunting.  I'll drive to the "family house" with his mom and help get food ready. 

I don't have to cook anything but I think I want to make a dessert.  We'll see.  They'll have tons of games and other activities to do.  It will be very different from Thanksgiving with my family.  There will be no curry goat (this is what I will miss the most).  But I will have a good time regardless.  I plan to try everything but I will NOT overeat.  The feeling is just too uncomfortable.  By the way, our dog children will be taking the 6 hour trip with us. Yikes!
Hubby and I with my grandma from a past Thanksgiving
7) Lastly, not much progress with sewing.  My sweet neighbor has brought me over some books to help but they are way too advanced for me.  She is retired and has offered to donate some time to help me.  I plan to take her up on that offer after the holidays.  Also I plan to take my sewing machine with me when visiting my hubby's family for Thanksgiving so that his sister can teach me a thing or two.

Anyway, that's my little update.  I hope you all have a wonderful and safe Thanksgiving with family and friends. 

Mrs. K

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Recipe time (again)

Picture credit: This is not the exact one I used I just wanted to add a picture so you have an idea what I'm talking about.  It does not have to be Thai coconut milk. 

Alright so another lovely reader expressed interest in my coconut milk curry chicken so this is another attempt for me to try to remember what I did.  When it comes to cooking, I'm more of an artist rather than a scientist.  I just do what comes natural to me and deal with the consequences later.  Thankfully this meal came out good.

Note: This is not necessarily a Jamaican dish.  Many Jamaicans (and other people from different cultures) cook curry chicken but I decided to add some things I found tasty from other cultures (particularly the coconut milk).  Coconut milk is added to "rice and peas" (a staple item in Jamaica) but coconut milk is not normally added to our meat dishes.

-4-5 pieces of boneless skinless chicken breast (cubed).
-1 onion (chopped)
-1tbsp garlic (minced)
-1 tsp black pepper
-1tsp thyme
-salt (maybe 1 tsp) ?
-1/2 tbsp ground cinnamon
-1/2 tbsp ground ginger
-1/2 tsp cumin
-2 tbsp curry powder
-1/2 tsp chili powder
-Optional: I also used a pepper cocktail mix that my grandparents made from peppers and herbs in their garden because hubby and I like spicy foods.

-1 can coconut milk
-1 cup water

Directions: Place all the ingredients above in a large bowl (except water and coconut milk) and mix together.  Pour this mixture into a crockpot.  Add the coconut milk and water, then stir.  Cover crockpot and cook on low. I believe I let it cook for about 7-8 hours.

And that's it!  Hope you find this useful.

Mrs. K

Monday, November 22, 2010

Backed by Popular Demand

Ok, so maybe it wasn't that popular.  A handful of people asked me to share the recipe of some of the meals I cook so this is an attempt to do so.  I love sharing but I don't measure ingredients when I cook and I add things as I go so this makes it difficult.  Regardless, I will try so bare with me.

I will first post the Callaloo chicken recipe.  Callaloo is slightly similar to collard greens (meaning they are both greens).  Besides that they are completely different (I think).  They taste different and I think they are cooked differently (I don't know how to cook collard greens).  Callaloo is usually eaten with salt fish aka cod fish aka bacalao.  My husband introduced me to adding chicken to it a few years ago and now this is the only way we eat it in our household.  Here is a link to a website so you can see how callaloo is normally cooked (there's also a video).  Here's what I do (note that the amounts are estimates):

Ingredients for callaloo:
-1 bag of chopped callaloo (from my grandma's garden). Canned callaloo is also available online
-1/2 tomato (diced)
-1/2 onion (chopped)
-1 tsp chopped garlic
-1 tsp black pepper
-1 tsp salt
-1 tsp thyme
-1/2 cup water
(I also added an unknown amount of a pepper mixture.  It's something my grandparents make from the peppers and herbs they grow in their backyard.  My husband and I both like spicy foods so we add this to give a kick to most of our meals).

Ingredients for chicken: 
Let marinate for a few minutes:
-4 boneless, skinless chicken breast (cubed)
-1/2 tomato (diced)
-1/2 onion (chopped)
-1 tbsp garlic
-1 tsp black pepper
-a little salt

1) For callaloo: Saute` onion, garlic, tomatoes, thyme in a pot.  Then add chopped callaloo, salt and pepper. Add water.  Cover pot and let cook for about 20-30 minutes (until soft)--stirring occasionally to prevent sticking to the bottom of the pot.
2) For chicken (while callaloo cooking): Add all ingredients in another pot, including chicken. When chicken is cooked, pour over callaloo and stir together.

This is commonly served over white rice but you can also eat with it fried dumplings or "food" (a combination of boiled dumplings, green bananas, yellow yam, etc.

                                                                   Picture Credit
Fried Dumplings
Pre-cooked fresh cut callaloo

OK, so this is the best I can do with reproducing the recipe.  Hope it's helpful for anyone willing to give it a try.

Mrs. K

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A naive lady's take on the movie "For Colored Girls"

Picture credit
I have decided to post about my reactions/thoughts on the movie "For Colored Girls."  Before I proceed I will caution you that the opinions presented here are my own and are influenced by my knowledge and experiences.  Also, I'd like to give the disclaimer that there will be multiple "spoilers" in this post so if you intend to watch the movie (and haven't yet), you may want to read this at a later time. 

I think it's important for you to have some basic knowledge about me for you to fully understand my review.  As you can probably tell (from this post title) I grew up very sheltered, thankfully not exposed to most of the horrifying acts that occurred in this movie.  I was born in a third world country and partially raised there until I moved to NY.  I humbly confess that I have never lived in the projects and have spent most of my US years in the suburbs.  I grew up in a culturally strict Caribbean family which definitely influenced my views of myself and the world.  With this being said, although I may not be your home girl from the block I've interacted enough with others (friends and patients) to be able to give my two cents.

I will start out by saying that I feel the movie was well done.  I won't say that I hated it but I also can't say I loved it.  I enjoyed the poetry and the creativity.  All the actors played their characters very well and made an impression on me in some way (good or bad).  I must admit that I almost used up a whole roll of toilet paper by the time the movie was over.  I did not know much about the movie (shameless confession) prior to seeing it so I entered it bright eyed and bushy tailed but came out with big frightening eyes and mouth wide open. 

Now, since I have not seen the play or read the book, I don't really know how closely Tyler Perry portrayed the original story (therefore I cannot comment about that).  Anyway, a fault that I have with some of Tyler Perry's movies and others is the negative light that males are portrayed in.  From the married men who intentionally sought out sexual pleasure by cheating on their wives, to the successful husband who ends up also being a cheater and a man who enjoys having sexual relations with men, to the cheating loser who repeatedly goes back to the woman who hurt him, and finally to the father with mental health issues who abuses his children's mother and murders his children.  The only male with any redeemable qualities was the supportive, understanding husband played by Hill Harper.  This was very disappointing.  Another disappointing point about the story in my opinion is that it provides no hope.  

I was blown away by the stories of all the women in the film.  The female characters were powerful women that were all beaten down by life in some way.  But, I wished the movie would have been more triumphant.  I guess I kept looking for the hope in the movie but could not find any.  Some strong points about the movie is the emphasis on sisterhood and the importance of women supporting each other.  But again, it went back to the same thought --does it have to take being badly treated by males for women to bond together?  I guess there was a little hope in Tessa Thompson's character (Nyla)...meaning even if you come from messed up beginnings it's still possible to go to college and hopefully become successful.  I wish their could be a part 2 that showed how these women overcame their individual barriers.  I guess I like happy endings but I know that for some there is no such thing. 

At the end, I couldn't help but think that: Crystal will never be at peace and will forever be haunted by guilt, Jo will continue to live a long bitter life, Juanita's moment of self confidence will be only short-lived, Tangie's self hatred as a result of being a victim of incest will last for generations, Yasmine will continue to have post traumatic stress symptoms despite the death of her attacker and she will probably have a difficult time trusting men, Kelly may continue to feel guilt and possible hopelessness as she continues to work in a system that she cannot change, Tessa will have to live with the guilt of having an abortion and may never be able to have children because of the unsafe abortion practices.

Now, I have not walked in any of the characters shoes but I was able to understand them and the struggles they faced.  I was not the innocent  dance instructor who's rights were sexually violated. I was not the stoic, successful businesswoman who gained a heart after witnessing a traumatic event or contracting HIV from her spouse.  Neither was I the young teenager who almost died from unsanitary practices from receiving an abortion.  I was not the woman who finally gained confidence to stand up to a cheating partner and realized how powerful she was.  I have never been the woman so scarred by incest that she cannot define who she is.  Lastly, I hope to never be the woman that will be forever tormented by not being able to flee from a situation that placed both her and her children in danger.  Yet, I was moved to the core by their stories.

With all this being said, I don't believe that one has to walk a mile in someone else's shoes to be able to empathize and have one's own heart break for them. What do you think?

By the way, I saw this movie with a few lady friends.  My husband wants to see the movie also but I hate seeing movies twice and especially not one that is so emotionally draining as this one.

Mrs. K

Sunday, November 14, 2010

My Best Cooking Week in a Long Time

Woohoo!  I am so excited that I cooked several days last week.  For a while there it felt like I cooked more when I was single compared to while married.  Although I know this is probably not true, it felt like it.  My husband and I were eating out almost daily for a while.  We never turned down a dinner invitation.  

One of my goals was to change this and eat at home more.  I wanted to do this for several reasons including: eating more healthy, saving money, getting practice for when we have kids, having more intimate dinners at home, etc

I have slowly been doing this (cooking more) and it was very helpful to have a house full of people this past summer because we could no longer afford to pay for eating out daily.  After the summer we went right back to our old habits.  Now we are re-training ourselves.  Since I'm so excited I will post what I cooked this week.  I must also say that on the days that my honey got home before me he started dinner (which was very helpful).  So here was last week's plan:

K-Family Weekly Dinner Plan--Week 1
SUN: crab cake, red potatoes, edamame. Was so delicious.  Quick and easy to make.
MON: coconut milk curry chicken over orzo pasta (from Miracle Noodle), french cut beans on the side.  Done in crockpot.
TUES: shrimp taco with salsa, fresh spinach, shredded cheese. Homemade guacomole on the side. Triumph: I got my husband (and myself) to eat spinach, tomatoes, avocado, green peppers, onions.
WED: Callaloo with chicken over brown rice.  Fried plantains on the side. Callaloo is normally eaten with saltfish (at least in Jamaica) but I guess we put an American twist to it.

Picture credit with callaloo recipe
THURS: Ate out with friends, celebrating one of the guys taking his Board Exam (a big feat for him). Had Pad Thai @ Pan Asia.
FRI: Planned on eating something that hubby was supposed to cook but ended up eating left overs.
SAT: Ate out with a friend--Japanese buffet.  The sushi was awesome but I ate too much.  I promise myself I will never do that again.

My goal is to plan the dinners for the week on Sundays (ahead of time).  I hope to be successful at cooking more at home by doing this.  I plan to write down my daily dinner menu on the board in our kitchen and cross it off as I cook each day's meal.  I've never been this excited about cooking before.  I will let you know how it goes.

Mrs. K

Monday, November 8, 2010

Weekend Review: Hodge Podge of Stuff I Did

This weekend was laid back.  I didn't do anything terribly exciting.  Hubby was out of town and I chilled with my dog children again.  Here's a recap:

-Went to work as usual and watched in shock as one of my colleagues get annihilated by one of the head physicians.  Was difficult to watch but I couldn't really do too much about it.

-Ate crackers (with "raw milk" cheese) and canned soup for dinner while catching up on reading other people's blogs.  I was too lazy to cook for one.

-Hung out with dog children

-Partial house cleaning while listening to music and jamming out.

-Hung out with pet children

-Called a few special people (family mainly)

-Went shopping: bought hair "stuff," a brown leather pleather skirt and black pleather pants from New York & Company.  These two purchases are out of character for me (meaning I've never worn leather before, except for shoes).  Also bought a pair of black denim Jeggings from Target. 

-Had eyebrows threaded.  Had to nicely ask the threader to change gloves after I'd witnessed her using the same gloves on multiple clients.  She didn't seem bothered by it.  At the end she used the same brush to dust away the hair from my face before I could tell her not to.  Once she started  I just let her continue then washed my face when I got home.  I'm curious, have you ever had to tell someone that their practices weren't sanitary?  How did you do it?  Although I said it nicely to her, I still felt like a meanie.

-Spoke at a church function at Cool Water restaurant (not my church).  It was the woman's group annual breast cancer awareness function (was postponed to this month although last month was breast cancer awareness month).  Was nervous but made it threw. LOL.  I was one of the youngest women in attendance but I still had a great time with some lovely ladies.  By the way, I wore my brown pleather skirt to this church function with my hot pink blouse.

-Wore this hot pink Pashmina (see below) scarf as an accessory to my all black outfit to the movies.  The woman's group gave me this scarf as an appreciation for my speaking.  They were so sweet.  I was so excited because I love scarves!
Picture Credit

 -Saw the movie: For Colored Girls.  One word: WOW! I may talk about this more in a later post. 

-Attended church 

-Went food shopping.  I hate going to the supermarket.  When I go in there I go straight to what I want and try to hurry out.  It's like what guys do when they go shopping.  I don't check out deals or anything.

-Hung out with dog children and kittie

-Cooked dinner: Baked red potatoes, edamame, crab cake. Yummy!

-Went running for about 45-50 minutes

-Made out my menu for the week (something new that I'm trying out).

-Unsuccessful attempt to read some sewing books my neighbor brought over.

-More blogging!

-Researched a bunch of pre-pregnancy topics.  I've got Baby Center app. on iPhone, signed up on some fertility website.  Mr. K and I are not trying to conceive right now but we plan to in the near future so I'm trying to get more edu-ma-cated.  I figure that the more educated I am the less stressful it would be.

Told you my weekend was uneventful.  Nothing wild and crazy here. 

Mrs. K

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Do you know what a Bean Fruit is?

If the answer is no, that is expected.  Don't feel bad.  I did not know what Bean Fruit was until a few months ago because it didn't exist before then.  Ok, I will end the suspense. 

Bean Fruit is the name of my neighbors coffee company.  There's a whole interesting history behind the name which you can check out on their website.  Besides finding out what Bean Fruit is, I've also been recently highly educated by my neighbors about coffee (well at least based on my standards).

For the past few months while outside or inside my home, I could smell the lovely aroma of several types of coffee beans being roasted including some from Ethiopia, Costa Rica and Brazil.  Now I must admit that the hubby and I are not coffee drinkers but this stuff smells so good it makes me want to eat even the freshly ground coffee.  Bean Fruit's coffee (roasted and ground) smells very differently from the average stuff that is carried in stores.  No offense but the ones already packaged in containers smell like cigarette smoke.

I've had friends attend a cupping (similar to wine tasting but for coffee) of Bean Fruit's coffee and they love it.  I've even brought some to work for the coffee addicts to try and they have said things like "this is quality stuff."  Which is exactly what Bean Fruit's goal is.

A friend enjoying a cupping session
Anyway, based on some complicated math and chemistry equations (I may be exaggerating a tad) the owner has managed to roast the perfect coffee.  Our friends and a few locals have had access to this quality coffee but now you all have access to it also.  Drop by, check it out for yourself and tell them I sent you :).

Now we may not drink coffee but the hubby and I plan to purchase a few bags for some of our coffee-addicted family members as holiday gifts.  Shhh! Don't tell our family, you'll ruin the surprise.

In addition to clicking on the link above, you can also check out the website of the Bean Fruit Coffee Company by clicking on their icon located in the sidebar on the right on my homepage.  When you do try it I would love to know what you think about it.

Did I mention that a portion of what they make goes towards both a local charity and also an international one from the area that the beans were grown.  How awesome is that!

*By the way, I do not get any rewards, etc for writing this post.  My neighbors are just great people who are doing awesome things and I think they deserve to be recognized.

Me pretending to know what I'm doing--using a French press to brew coffee

Mrs. K

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Halloween 2010

Remember that Halloween party I mentioned about in a previous post.  Well I had a blast.  Almost everyone wore a costume.  One of my fellow co-workers had it at her beautiful home.  I called her the Pakistani Martha Stewart.  She decorated so well and the food she cooked was awesome. It was potluck so everyone brought food but I must confess that the host's food was by far the best.  It was even better than my food.

I made fried sweet plantains.  I made two types: salty and cinnamon sugary.  They were OK.  The best was the meatball biryani, no the lamb kabab, no the thai chicken.  I can't decide.  My co-workers and I are a diverse group and I loved tasting everyone's food.  The punch was great too and was accessorized with gummy worms.  Yum!

Halloween 2010
So for the costume.  I told you guys before that I did not want to spend too much money on a costume so I pieced a bunch of stuff together.  I came up with the idea that my husband and I should switch roles.  My husband was dressed as a Jamaican Rasta (with dreads and all and a fake blunt made out of a brown lunch paper bag).  I was dressed as a Redneck.  I guess we were dressed as the exaggerated/stereotypic version of each other.

I had a mullet wig, plaid shirt, billy bob teeth and some extra padding (I wrapped some bed sheets around my entire abdomen so I could look like I had some belly fat).   With all this garb, my colleagues did not recognize me. 

My outfit was definitely not attractive (actually it was hideous) but it was funny and cheap.  It was definitely unique compared to the other costumes that were witches, devils, hippies, etc.  What was confusing to me and others is whether I was a man or a  woman.  I just told them that I was confused.  So much for a sexy Halloween costume-- maybe next year!

One holiday down, two to go!

Mrs. K


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