April 07, 2011

desires...and Hoisin sauce...

One of my favorite things to order from the Chinese restaurant is chicken fried rice. They always ask if I want “small meat” or if I mean the veggie kind with a slab of fried chicken leg on top for protein. I always say “small meat”. Something about all the veggies and salt and rice combined makes for a very delicious, if insanely unhealthy treat.

Now, I am NOT a health freak, but last Thursday, I got so sick it lasted through Sunday morning. Everything in my system was in an uproar – and I made sure to document and beg for sympathy on Facebook the entire time! LOL. Anyway, at the end of the nightmare, I was only allowed certain foods: crackers (ew), soup (okay) and rice. My first full meal was a nice big bowl of rice soaked with the goodness of a chicken lime soup. My energy level was instantly boosted, and I knew that rice and I were destined to be best of friends.

Scratch to Wednesday. After three days at work, I’ve definitely earned the right to enjoy something other than a grilled chicken burger with no cheese or mayo (kill me). I woke up Wednesday with a craving for Fried Rice. I remembered during my lowest moments, as my sweet Pookie soothed my brow and gave my tummy lots of cuddles and kisses, I turned to him and in a low, growly voice said…”I swear I am so hungry I could murder a fried rice…I don’t care if I spend all night on the potty!”

Well, I finally decided to murder one. And oh. Boy. YUM. Of course I didn’t BUY one, I made one. It’s easy! Ch-ch-check it out!

Lots of yummy veggies. It’s really a stir fry – and that can mean peppers, onions, garlic, cabbage, scallions, carrots, broccoli – but Pookie hasn’t graduated to broccoli, so I traded it for cauliflower instead. I had some corn on the cob, so those were put to cook in some salted water – some kernels would be sliced for the stir fry and the rest would be eaten on the side. One of my most memorable moments with a friend in Cayo was when she headed home from work and went straight to their freezer and pulled out a bag of frozen leftover rice to throw in a stir fry. I thought it was a nifty idea. I’d been putting rice away for a while, and the morning of the great stir fry, I looked in the fridge, threw out stuff (as one is wont to do) and saw the rice. I decided ick ick ick…threw it out and well, it was fresh rice for the meal. (Best idea ever)
While the yummy fresh rice cooked over low heat, I chopped a beautiful rainbow of peppers (speaking of which, I buy red and yellow peppers at the greenhouse from the discount section…one piece of the pepper goes bad, so they cut it out, bag two together and instead of $12 a pound I pay $3.50 for two decent peppers). Anyway, chop gorgeous green, red and yellow peppers. Chop some onions and garlic. Chop up some cabbage, and while you’re at it, guess what? Chop some cauliflower too! I use my vegetable peeler to “peel” off slices of carrot and it works just great. The carrot ends up nice and thinly sliced, and it cooks at about the same time as everything else.
After all the veggies are done, and ready, turn to the chicken. I took about 3 halved chicken breasts (Pookie is a big boy and he loves meat, lots of it) and chopped it into nice chunks. After washing and rinsing with lime juice, I poured a nice ¼ cup of teriyaki sauce plus about a tablespoon of soy sauce. A lot of this was measuring by eye. After mincing two cloves of garlic, I threw in a few bits in the chicken, mixed the whole lot up and let it marinate for a bit. The next time I make this, the first thing I’ll tackle will be the chicken, so it marinades and soaks up even more of the sauce.

I heated up some oil, about 1 tablespoon on a hot frying pan. I have no wok, or extra large fancy schmancy special stir fry pan, but my non-stick frying pan worked just fine! :) The first veggies I saut̩ed were the peppers. While still crisp tender, I took them out and added the onion and garlic and bits of sliced scallion Рthose got the same treatment, and I followed suit with the cabbage, the carrots and then the cauliflower, adding a few extra drops of oil as needed.

The cooked corn drained and cooled, then I sliced the kernels off two half cobs (1 full ear of corn), and that gets mixed in the pan as well. After all the yummy items were mixed up and cooked, I put those aside and added fresh oil to the pan. When it got to almost smoking heat, it was time to drop in the chopped chicken. Oh the smell!! Heavenly! :) I didn’t stir or mess with it, instead opting to let it caramelize on one side, before using a spatula to flip it to caramelize the other side. The teriyaki and soy sauces did a beautiful job of adding color and so much flavor to the chicken.

After cooking the meat through, about 7 minutes of proper cooking, I took the chicken out of the pan and into the veggie mixture. And next, it was time to deglaze the pan. I made a small liquid mix of more teriyaki, a splash more of soy, and the best part – I had Hoisin sauce in the fridge. Two tablespoonfuls of those got thrown in the pan as well, and on the medium flame, magic started happening. All those delightful asian flavors melded together, thickening slightly of their own accord, and then, it was time to make the real mix.

The cooked fluffy rice was added to the veggie and chicken mix, and gently tossed and mixed through. After, I poured the Hoisin/Teriyaki/Soy sauce all over the stir fry, and then, for added measure, a few remaining bits of chopped scallion went in.

The end result? Pookie sat, took a bite, and smiled his happy smile. “Booboo, you found yourself a winner with this! It’s delishy!!”

Case closed; time to open up my Food Shoppe. I think I’ll call it Pookie’s. “Fry rice? Small meat?”

March 04, 2011

Spring...new growth

I know I don't write in here as often as I really should. I have no excuse! ha. (I am busy? - hee) Things at home have been fantastic, to the point that there had to be a breaking point. Anyone cynical enough would always question if Pookie and I are truly happy.
Well, we are.
I look forward to the day when I no longer have to work a "regular' job, when I can be home to cook for him in the mornings, when I can take him breakfast, when lunch is an occasion that he can come home to. And when dinner is either waiting for him hot on the table, or we go out to indulge.
I can't wait to see what his babies would look like, and how they would grow to be just like him - sweet, loving, kind-hearted, patient, strong, emotionally available - with his toes, lashes, eye color, hair and overall sunny disposition. I wouldn't want my children to be like me. I am selfish beyond compare. I am finicky, short-tempered, impatient, emotionally a mess - I have major issues. My poor kids would have such an unhappy life dealing with their emotions! Plus I have hideous toes.
In the meantime, I am enjoying being his baby. And I was a big baby a couple days ago.
I was emotionally drained, he was tired, in essence, I snapped - and for the first time ever, I can see clearly that I need to focus on my emotional and mental issues. Something has to change. I am not able to handle the crying and sniveling and the "woe is me" attitude - and if I have a child or two, I have got to get myself in gear - because it will no longer be about me.

In the meantime, we're enjoying cuddling on this beauty of an addition to Casa de Pookie! Isn't he dreamy? I am thinking of calling him Mr. Snuggly - that beats the name of that other couch we had, one I could say was named Mr. Stinky! ha...
One of the things I truly enjoyed when I was at the other apartment, with the original landlords, was planting. Betty imparted a love for plants in me that no-one had. She was fierce about her plants, loving them, weeding, cleaning, raking - keeping the whole place super clean. I fell into it with her, helping her bit by bit, but not really investing any emotion. When my mother died, I turned to it with a passion.
I will never forget how one day, my dad, in a fury, chopped down ALL my mother's plants. He macheted through them, then hoed the roots, burning them all. I'll never really know why, although now that I'm older I think I have an idea. Whatever the case, my mother cried over her rosebushes. When she went back to the house with her second husband, she grew pink, white and red roses. She never could get the hot pink ones to grow though. But, believe it or not, I could! When I started planting, all of a sudden, the one that stuck was the hot pink. I grow plants now in memory of her. And no man will ever chop them down, unless they want to be chopped down too... :D
Anyways. These pictures are of my new start. Spring is here, time for plants to start growing.
I've planted tomatoes, Celosia, sunflowers, zinnias, carnations, larkspur, a hummingibrd vine, passionflower, and of course, the rosebush that only bloomed once. The one I had growing at the other apartment was going nuts...I shall go get my clippings from there this weekend.
Here's hoping I grow more than grass!!

I leave you with a picture of an Osprey nesting. How fitting. I am nesting at home too, making everything comfortable. She's in a precarious position, so close to the electrical wires, but she knows there's no chance of anyone trying to get to her nest. Smart bird that one is! Smart bird!

January 12, 2011

How funny...

...life is strange - I have had ups and downs the past couple of months - to the point where interest in anything re: blogging and even decorating at home was moot...Christmas was rather dull and dreary this year. Financial strains meant I didn't get to spoil my Pookie with goodies. I don't even think I baked a cake! :( I cooked a ham, baked some bread that I swear the next day had turned to bricks - and "tried" to make scalloped potatoes (I forgot to add milk!)...grrr...nevertheless, we bought presents for my sweet nephews, no-one else got anything, except my in-laws, who got to go enjoy a nice long weekend in Cayo* (deets on that further below).
Pookie was very upset that he couldn't get me my KitchenAid mixer. I did tell him that my hand mixer is just fine, but men are funny that way - if they can't be the big man and provide, they just feel bereft. He did get me a bottle of yummy Bailey's Irish Cream. I almost think he got it for him as much as for me - we'd both have a "nightcap" - White Russians while watching drivel on TV. Teehee...I even added Bailey's to the mix when I made a him a "get-well-soon-please-cheer-up" tres leches cake.
Only problem with that cake? ummm, anyone who ate some ended up running to the bathroom. haha...three of us survived, but I don't think I will be adding Bailey's to tres leches anytime soon. Maybe a Bailey's whipped cream on top, but not part of the liquid...you live, you learn...
yea, needless to say, cooking for the past couple of months has been touch and go. I guess we all have those weird moments...

Anywhos...so we also had a bit of a confusing time during the holidays, where we thought we were going to move out and take residence elsewhere - we've since ironed out details and it looks like we'll be staying put. Still haven't gotten the bed for the spare room, but I did spend a great afternoon huffing and puffing and installing vinyl flooring in the bathroom.
The floor of the house we're in is super icky - not appealing at all, so the first step was to get the bathroom up to snuff. (Welcome to previously lived-in DFC homes right?) We do have a 'Kohler' toilet, so everything else around it needs to be brought up to par. I have also discovered Tilex. That thing made the tub GLEAMING WHITE. I swear I saw a sparkle (or maybe it was the tear in my eye-ha!).
I saw while reading up on Facebook that having seashells in the home is bad luck. Well, to heck with that. Seashells are fabulous, I have even added a couple in the tiny shower windowsill - along with a pumice stone...every time I look out while showering, I see one of the things I love most...and I feel so happy to have a place to stay in, in a location that is near and dear to my heart...I may not make it to the beach often (though with my new bike, I may just) - so any reminder of what a gorgeous place I live in is good I say! :)
This picture was up by Grand Belizean Estates. Say what you want about the development. It sure beats the heck out of San Pedrito, San Mateo and DFC. I am hopeful there will still be some property available when I'm out of debt by the end of this year so I can buy a piece for me too!

Speaking of gorgeous places. I have always maintained that when I retire, hopefully after I get a million dollar book deal (teehee), I will have a place in the Cayo District. Maybe not necessarily in my old village (too many memories) - but I envision a fabulous little hideaway with all the creature comforts I DON'T have right now! =) My mother-in-law (MIL) pines for Cayo as well...so for Christmas, the kids had all planned to put $$ together to send them off for a weekend. Well, we all know best laid plans usually go awry, and luckily, Pookie came into some spare cash and with a little bit from my account and the kids last-minute creative financing, we got to send them off on their merry way.

How funny motherhood is...I know nothing of it, but I do have a very maternal affection for Pookie's little brothers and sisters and nephews...MIL was worried that her son who was on the island from college would starve while she was gone. After promising to feed her brood on Sunday before she got home on Monday, she went off. And I had to stick to my promise.
I made burgers...I think they're still digesting them!!

Burgers a la Pookie

2 parts meat: 1lb ground steak, 1lb ground beef
teriyaki sauce - I use at least 3tbps of the stuff
soy sauce - 1.5 tbsp
finely minced garlic (if you have a garlic press, even better)
finely minced onion (or grate it into meat)
grill seasoning for steaks
fresh cracked black pepper
1 slightly beaten egg
squeeze of lime
1 tsp complete seasoning (you're already using salty soy)

diced pepperoncini (greek peppers) & cubes of pepper jack cheese (though any cheese will do...mmm, blue cheese would be good!!

With bare hands, mix and incorporate all ingredients. Don't overmix.
form four round balls (yes, I make them HUGE)
make a hollow indentation and place some diced pepperoncini and few cubes of cheese.
roll and form a nice patty, so that the filling stays inside meat, then flatten to thick disks
repeat with remaining meat mixture

heat about a teaspoon of olive oil (or canola) in a heavy bottomed frying pan, and when good and hot, place patties and let sizzle and caramelize. Don't move around, let it brown nicely (without pressing down on it either)!! After about 2 minutes on one side, flip gently and let sizzle and cook for another 2-3 minutes ...
at the last minute of cooking, place sliced cheese on meat and the heat will make it yummy and melty...

I like to slice big thick onion rounds and quickly saute it with a dash of soy sauce in a hot pan. This caramelized onion goes on top of the melted cheese, and then of course, the usual, lettuce, tomatoes, and if you're really looking to keel over from a heart attack, throw in some crispy bacon slices and avocado!!

place cooked meat on toasted sesame bun, slathered with your favorite condiments, and enjoy!!

November 28, 2010

My office space...

has been cleared and de-cluttered. I finally have a spot that is mine...to focus on what I love - writing. Yay - or like Pookie spells it...yey...
I am very proud of my use of thumbtacks to keep the curtains up...when in need of curtain rods, thumbtacks will do! :)
a before picture...and one of my favorite shots
loving that I finally get to use my purple sari...:) it's too beautiful to let it go to waste!
where will all my shells go?! well...let's start with the windowsill!
lots of shells and pumice stones that need to be displayed...where can I find a cheap bookshelf/buffet table?

I also heard from the landlord that he'll be bringing in a king sized bed for the spare bedroom. um...HELL yes?!! Thank god...no need to BUY a bed for my guests, I can now focus on prettifying it instead! well...I'll wait and see when the bed is brought over...but hopefully before the Xmas holidays, as it seems people tend to come over and visit around that time! :)

November 15, 2010

Naughty Pookie

Pookie tends to come home wasted and passes out on the kitchen table, usually with condiment bottles fallen to the wayside as he happily slumbers away. He's a big bear, so lifting him to drag him to bed is a chore. Slapping him awake seems to harsh, though I often have to smack his arm to wake him up. He then mumbles gibberish and promptly brings his head down to sleep again.
This usually occurs during my favorite sleeping hours. Me? Not happy.

Nothing compares to having to strip him down and showering him, towelling him off, then dressing him again. I don't need a child. I have a 6'3", 275lb baby of my very own. He's cuddly, loves to snuggle, and well...he's very handy to have around, let's just keep it at that! :)

He passed out on Thursday and I took pictures....I'll ask his opinion before posting, but they sure are cute/funny. Whenever I wake up before he does, I love watching his lips as he sleeps. He pouts in his sleep...

This Saturday/Sunday morning, I found him passed out again at the table. This time, I found him pouting with a smear of ketchup drying away on his face. ahhhh...bless...my slumbering baby...