Monday, January 31, 2011

Modern Day Explorers

"There is NOTHING to do in [Insert your city here]..."
For some of you living in larger cities like Atlanta (cough cough Ms Fashionista Next Door ) or New York, you may not have this complaint. But I live in Huntsville, AL...

What? You never heard of it?

EXACTLY!!!

So I hear that complaint all the time. There's nothing to do in Huntsville. "Huntsville is soooo boring" they say. To which I typically respond, only boring people get bored. (Someone told me that in high school once and I never forgot it.)

But it's true.  Your experience anywhere is only what you make of it. Sometimes you gotta get out there and look.

***

Like Columbus, the great explorer, I too "discovered" a new place.  You know, except, it was already inhabited. Last night when I couldn't sleep I took to playing on my still-new-to-me phone. I started messing with the navigation and stumbled across a function to find places near you. Gas stations, restaurants, bars, coffee shops. So, I decided that since I was craving breakfast food, I'd look for a new breakfast nook and coffee spot (After staying up all night I was going to need to be caffeinated to stay up all day). I stumbled upon Olde Towne Coffee Shoppe.

A full review will come in a later blog, but an abbreviated version of what I found was a portal to the "undiscovered" world that's been right in my face the whole time. Not just that Old Towne Coffee Shoppe was that great (which it was pretty fabulous) but it offered me a peek into other inconspicuos places in huntsville just roaring with culture.  I'm soooo excited to check out the food scenes, music scenes and everyday life scenes that Huntsville has to offer.

I only say this to challenge EVERYONE... Treasure is rarely on the surface. To find anything worthwhile, you have to look for it, so get out there and become a modern day explorer.

Happy Hunting

~M~

Sunday, January 30, 2011

So, occasional I'm an insomniac... Tonight is one of those occasions. I'm lying here in bed and just can't quite drift off. And guess what my brain is doing ever so actively... That's right. Planning breakfast menu ideas. Weird huh?

New and Improved??

So I was looking for a nice template to update my blog with, but all the nice ones had preinstalled picture slideshows that I couldn't figure out how to change (because I have NO idea of the intricacies of HTML)... So I went with something close to what I typically blog about... What do you think about the new look?



Thursday, January 27, 2011

Where the heart is

My state citizenship is a topic of an ongoing joke amongst many of my friends. I'm from Oakland, CA. Born there and lived there until I was twelve. At which point I moved to South Bend, IN and lived there until I was 18. Now I live in Huntsville, AL. So when asked where I'm from I say California; My friends like to joke on me and say I'm from Indiana, though in reality I identify more with Alabama than I do any of the other places I've lived, even though I lived in Cali for the longest out of any of them.

I don't have ties to any city. I could move today and not feel any kind of way. I think when my mom uprooted me from all that was familiar and tried to replant me, I learned not to let my roots grow too deep. I have a few friends here that I'd miss, but not enough to tie me down.

Sometimes, I feel like I have no home. I feel like a constant visitor...

That is, until I log onto facebook and see the life that my family is living while I'm away. Or when I hear the news that one of my cousins passed away. When my cousin has a baby and I'm not there to hug her. When my sister is feeling low, and I'm not there to hold her.

And then it hits me...
My family is my lifes blood, the central beat of my soul. Wherever they are, is where I want to be.
Where my heart is, that's home.

~M~

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Touch Me

Social Networks...

What can I say. In this day of twitter, facebook, phones that are abut 500 MB away from being computers, etc., human beings are in constant contact... Which would seem like a good thing, except, now... instead of talking we text. Instead of visiting, we skype. So when it comes to real communication and effective relationships, we fall short. We can't have deep discussions, because there is a character limit to our thought processes.

UNPLUG.

If you're thinking about someone, don't pull up your browser and chat them. Call them. Visit them. Humans were made for intimate contact and connection. We crave it. And somehow we think that increasing our number of friends or followers will satiate our desire. Au contrair darlin...

As for me, sometimes... I just want to touch.
To feel the electrifying tingle of a brush against my skin.
To LOL and not have to tell because you hear me.
To really SMH and let you see me.
To be me.
You know what I like because you know me,
Forget a thumbs up...

UNPLUG

Come cuddle up with me, lets have a meal.
And to all my homegirls, come on, let's chill.


~M~

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Empty calories

I'm so hungry I could eat that proverbial horse and not feel any kind of way about it. It feels like I haven't eaten today. But I did. 5 hours ago.

PAUSE

Oh you say that's a long time and I should be hungry? Well, that is very true BUT, it's atypical for me. See, what I've learned is that food with substantial nutritional value actually keeps you full longer. And that is not just information that I read or heard and am now spewing off, that's experiential. And it's free for you today. :)

Anytime I eat even just a small homecooked meal like a piece of chicken and some rice or even some Potato Soup , it lasts me MUCH longer than the BIGGEST meal I can supersize up to from the fast food joints.


This is what I ate today

And let's talk about how clear the camera on my phone is.  This picture looks exactly like the food looked in front of me! LOL

But I digress.

Eating nutrional food is not just good for your body, it's good for your pocket. I bought this meal (with lemonade that was too sweet... not pictured) for $7.25 today and yesterday. That's $14.50 and I'm HUNGRY!

That $14.50 would buy me 2 whole chicken legs, a bottle of white wine, some butter some parsley, some angel hair pasta and some green beans; enough to make 4 meals (look out for upcoming recipe for that menu) and there'd prolly be enough money for a small dessert.

All in fast food is just empty calories. They give you just enough energy to think you can do something then you crash and burn at the most inopportune times. :(

So Hungry.

~M~

Monday, January 24, 2011

If they say why, why...

... Tell em that it's Human Nature



It is in my daily commute that a very simple fact is validated in my mind...

HUMANS ARE NATURALLY SELFISH!!!


We do whatever it takes to acheive our own agenda, most times to a fault. The fact of the matter is that in many cases, collective work actually helps you to acheive your bottom line far better than placing your needs or wants above others.

Yeah, it's human nature... But just because poop is natural doesn't mean it's good for you.

~M~

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Best Potato Soup EVER!

So my parents came down for Christmas and I made a special meal that included roasting a few chickens and I needed some fresh rosemary. Only thing is, the store was out of the individual packs of fresh rosemary. So I was forced to buy a rosemary plant. Now mind you, prior to this, I had purchased TWO rosemary plants, both of which died within a week of me having them. So, I wasn't very interested in buying a new plant, but I was DESPERATE for some rosemary. So I bought it, and figured, at the very least I just payed 2 dollars more than normal for the same amount of rosemary.

One Month Later...

Rosa Maria (the name of my Rosemary plant... get it!! lol)

She's still alive and very much kicking. WOW! I water it every two days and leave it on the windowsill in the day time so the sun can hit it and it's great. If you're into fresh herbs... Invest. it only costs 3.99

But I digress...

The parentals also overstocked my house with food that either I hate or ended up going bad (I'm only one person. I can only eat so much at a time). One thing that didn't go bad, but I STILL have a lot of are potatoes. I have a drawer full of potatoes... and that's about ALL I have to eat in my house right now, LOL.

Well, I had been searching and researching meal ideas to utilize this beautiful rosemary that I have sitting in my house, when it dawned on me... Besides chicken, one of the best foods EVER to combine with rosemary is... You guessed it

POTATOES!!!

So I decided to make potato soup.

THE BEST EVER POTATO SOUP... EVER

Ingredients:
4 Medium sized Idaho Potatoes
1/4 of a medium sized yellow onion
3 cloves of garlic
2 TBSP olive oil
1 TBSP Kosher Salt
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 sprig fresh rosemary
4 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
Olive Oil and Rosemary Sprigs for garnish

Sidebar: For those of you that normally read my blog you're prolly thinking, WHAT?? Measurements? I NEVER measure the ingredients in my personal recipes, and I never follow the measurements when I use someone elses. LOL. But this time I thought I'd create a recipe that can be repeated precisely so I measured EVERYTHING I used.



Step 1: Peel Your Potatoes
Step 2: Chop them into approx 1-2 inch sized pieces

Step 3: Slice or chop your garlic and onions (it doesn't matter the size. We're gana blend them down later)


Crocodile Tears
Onions always make me cry
Step 4: Saute onions and garlic in olive oil over medium high heat, stirring frequently. And keep your eyes on it. Garlic burns quickly. Keep cooking until onions are starting to soften and turning translucent.

Step 5: Add Potatoes, Salt, Rosemary and Red Pepper flakes. Stir and cook until potatoes start to soften.


I take the leaves off and put them in and also I put the stem in. I will fish it out later.
Step 6: Add Chicken Broth. Turn the heat up to high and bring to a boil. Once it starts boiling, turn the heat down to medium low and cover. Simmer for about 20 mins or until potatoes are tender.

Now fish your rosemary stem out.

Step 7: Get your Immersion Blender (or magic wand as I like to call it.)

Step 8: Add Parmesan Cheese and Whipping Cream


Step 9: Time to blend!!!
Blend your soup to desired consistency. You can leave some potato chunks for more heartiness or blend it comepletely smooth. I left some chunks.

FINITO!!!

Serve with a garnish of Olive Oil and Fresh Rosemary Leaves

Now, about this soup...
Okay, so I cook like ALL the time. And out of all the things I do, cooking is prolly what I do the best. I love my food and all of my friends love it and compliment it all the time. I very rarely cook food that is not good so I don't really get surprised when my food comes out good. But this soup... IT WAS PHENOMENAL!!! It shocked my life!!! I challenge you to eat just one bowl of this soup. I couldn't. I went back for another bowl and even after as I was preparing dinner I kept sneaking to the pot for more spoonfulls (as if I had to sneak... lol) I haven't licked a dish in YEARS, but this bowl... I licked clean.



SEE!!!



And best of all, I actually measured ingredients so I can reproduce this soup with the same results. I'm ecstatic!!

Happy Eating

~M~

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

I heart Kitchen Stuff

Part I
I spent so much money this past week... Bought lots of stuff I wanted, needed, and wanted to need.

I'm most ecstatic about my Cuisinart Hand Blender (Also called an Immersion Blender). So far I've made smoothies :)
Strawberry Kiwi Smoothie


Pina Colada Smoothie (non-alcoholic)

Making Smoothies is sooooo easy with my hand blender. I just use 1 cup of crushed Ice, 1/4 cup of liquid, 1/2 a cup of fruit and 4 oz of yogurt. What Liquid, Fruit, and yogurt you use is up to what flavor smoothie you're making.


Pina Colada Smoothie
Fresh Coconut
Fresh Pineapple
Vanilla Yogurt
The "milk" in the fresh coconut
The juice from the pineapple
Crushed Ice (I buy mine from Sonic)

THAT'S ALL!! Blend and enjoy.

Part II

I've been DYING for a Cast Iron Skillet. Well, I can now live! My parents bought me one for Christmas! :D(that's my kool-aid smile).

Easy Baked Chicken
Whole Chicken Leg, skinned
Dried Basil
Dried Oregano
Dried Parsely
Paprika
Dried Minced Onions
Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
Black Pepper
Kosher Salt
Olive Oil
Balsamic Vinegar
Soy sauce
Step 1: Clean your Chicken!
Get rid of all the extra slimy stuff and skin and trim off excess fat. Unless you like that sort of thing. Then by all means... Keep it on. Then pat dry with paper towels.

Step 2: Make your dry rub.
You can choose how you want to blend it. When it comes to herbs and spices that's very much about personal preference. A good tip tho... The more onions you use, the less salt you'll need (In case you're on a low sodium diet, or hate the prospect of having high blood pressure when you get older)

Step 3: Rub your chicken with Olive Oil and then with your dry rub until completely covered.


 Then place it in your Cast Iron Skillet (or any pan that can be used in the oven.


My Cast Iron skillet! Isn't she beautiful! :)

Step 4: Pop into the oven and bake for 20 mins. Then flip your chicken and bake for 20 more minutes. Take your chicken out of the oven. It should look like this....

... or something close.

Step 5: Remove your chicken from the pan with a some tongs (or your hands if you're daring) and immediately pour your balsamic vinegar into your pan followed by your soy sauce.

This process is called deglazing your pan. Stir with a wooden spoon scraping all drippings and leftover seasoning up from the bottom of the pan. You will end with a beautiful glaze.
... like this.

Step 5: Pour glaze over top of your chicken and ENJOY!!! :)



This recipe is great because it is soooooooo easy. If you don't feel like cooking there isn't much to this and it's so FLAVORFUL! I promise you will have a food-gasm. The potatoes are easy too. Simple wrap a potato in foil, pop in oven, cut in pieces and put on a plate. Take about 1 TBSP of salted butter and 1 clove of garlic minced and cook over low heat on the stove until the garlic is toasted and pour over top of the potatoes. Prep time for this meal is about 10 minutes. Food is done in about 1 hour.

Happy Eating
~M~

Monday, January 3, 2011

BUCKET LIST

Image Courtesy of Google images (plus a little of my altering it)
I never make New Years Resolutions... But this year is gana be a semi exception. But instead of one resolution, I'm making a 2011 Bucket List.

MEANING...

Before 2011 kicks the bucket I shall have accomplished these things... I thought I'd share my bucket list with you all and give all of my followers an opportunity to create one of their own. It'd be even more incredible if every interested party would email me and let me know if they're down for it. These things are so much more fun when you do 'em together. Just E-mail me, letting me know you're gana be a part of the challenge. All I need is your name and blog address. I will compile a link list soon after.

Official "Rules"

1. Post a new blog letting all your followers know you're gana start a Bucket List 2011. Your list can be as extensive or as brief as you want it to be.
2. Post a link back to this blog so that anyone of your followers interested in starting will be able to look at the "rules"
2. Any blog you post having to do with the Bucket List, just label it Bucket2011.
3. You can join the Bucket List 2011 challenge at anytime during the year, of course it'll be better to join as early as possible.

I hope more than me is just interested in this thing. It'll be fun I promise! ;)

Happy Blogging
~M~



Where have all the {recipes} gone!?!?!

I noticed I had a lot of commenters and readers when I had more recipes and food based things in my blog. I bet you all are wondering, WHERE ARE THE RECIPES???

Well the truth is, I haven't cooked since Christmas, and even then I was soooo swamped, I didn't have time to take pics and remember my recipes like I normally do when I cook for myself. So I don't have much to tell you all...

Except, I'm working hard on my hair business... I'm a licensed cosmetologist, but up until now I haven't been very consistent doing hair and I'm trying to pick it up, only thing is... I'm working out of my apartment.

Which is usually cool for friends and family, and one of the clients I had when I was in a salon is still coming to me at the house. But now that I'm trying to build my business and I've started a few marketing ideas, the question comes to mind, will anyone be interested in getting their hair done at my house????

So i ask you, if you received a postcard mailer in your mailbox for specials and discount offers for a hairstylist that was working out of her house, would you be prone to checking it out, or would you write it off as inferior. (BE HONEST!)

~M~

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Happy New Year!!!

I like to blog. Yep. I do. I like doing it, and I like reading blogs too. About stuff I'm interested in...

Yeah.

But I also like when people read my blog. I dunno. Somehow it makes me feel like what I have to say is important. I love it.

But I only have 8 followers. And I am TOTALLY grateful for all 8 of you. But I think maybe what I have to say is not as interesting as I think it is. :) so I decided since EVERYONE else in the blogosphere is changing up for the New Year I will too...

But I'd like to hear from you guys. What kind of content do you think would improve my blog? Is it boring? Lack of interesting subject matter? Wack layout? lol. Help me out here. Or maybe I'll just update my blog and hope that eventually the world hears my voice. I dunno.

~M~