30 August 2011

What's for Dinner?

Last night, I made some stewed chicken. I believe there are many variations of the dish (The Trinidadian version, which I love, or the version with stewed tomatoes and spinach with spices, which I love too, but had to omit because I was also feeding a very picky small child), so I did a new variation that sent praises my way!

The recipe is a bit complicated, but the meal is rather enjoyable!

What you will need:

1 medium sized onion, cut in half
1/3 clove garlic, minced
5 scallions, chopped finely
chicken thighs and wings, cut (the thighs can be boneless or with the bone, as long as you get them cut)
curry powder
garlic powder
seasoning salt
maggi cubes
water (depends on the amount of chicken being made)
1 can tomato paste
Large stew pot
First and foremost, clean the chicken! Make sure there's not fat or skin or feathers on the chicken, and let it sit in lime juice and water to rinse off impurities, then chop the chicken up.

Next, add the curry and garlic powder, salt and pepper to the chicken, and rub them in. Set it aside whilst you start to chop up the vegetables.

After the vegetables are chopped, place the stew pot on the stove, turn the gas gauge up to 4 and add the oil. When the oil is hot, add the vegetables, curry powder and the garlic powder and let them fry for 2-3 minutes.
After the vegetables and seasonings are fried, add the chicken, stirring it around, letting it brown a bit. When it browns, crumble the maggi cube in your (clean) hand and sprinkle it on the chicken.
After the chicken is done browning, add water to the mixture. I added about 4 cups here. Let is simmer for 15 minutes before adding the next ingredients. (you see my spoon holder bunny back there? lol)
So, whilst the chicken is stewing, I made a roux to thicken the stew up. (A roux, which is a type of gravy, is a known staple down south, where I lived at for the past 5 years. It is usually made for Gumbos and etoufees and such). For the roux, I used oil and flour. I added a 250ml (1 cup) of oil to a couple of tablespoons flour, and whisked it until I received the desired thickness I was looking for. (If you know how to make gravy, I think this is the easiest step). You cannot use gravy from the stores, btw.....it will throw off the flavour of the stew. I let the roux cool down before I added it to the pot.

After I added the roux, I used a sauce pan and added margarine and the scoop of the tomato paste to it, and let it cook down for a bit, and I then added that to the stew pot as well.

I let that stew for another 10 minutes, then I add in the remaining tomato paste, seasoning salt, cumin powder and some more garlic and curry powder for taste.

I let that then stew for another 20 minutes, and while it is simmering, I put on a pot of rice. (Not Success Bag Rice...I can't stand that crap, but the kind of rice that needs a good stirring and salt)

After the 20 minutes, the rice will be done, as will the stew. And to go with the stewed chicken, I decided to enjoy a bottle of Bartenura Moscato.

Here are the final results:

27 August 2011

Of Hurricanes and sleeping charms

So, seeing as how I am living on the bloody East Coast for the time being........we are getting sloshed with natural disasters.

In a few hours, a hurricane is supposed to make its way towards my neck of the woods and do whatever it pleases. I'm just happy that it's not going to be in the 3-5 category range, just within the 1-2 range.

Seeing as how I have also lived along the Gulf Coast, I think that I am mentally more prepared for said hurricane than others....which does give me a one up.

However, this state of paranoia that people are in, is vexing me so. The most we are going to get in my town will be heavy rains and wind, and the further up the hurricane travels, it will become a tropical storm, therefore, there really isn't need for worry, as we've had tropical storms before....but wait....this is the East Coast of America.....and sometimes, Americans panic about even the most mundane thing, so maybe, they are justified....maybe.

I, however, am just annoyed. My bloody birthgiver woke me up at 7 in the bleeding morning, talking about we have to man the grill, as in, move it under the patio. First off, I don't like people waking me up. If I don't come to naturally, my wrath is surely something people don't want to deal with. Second, we didn't even do what she planned, no, in all of her ratched glory, she had me wrap an extension cord around the grill and secure it so that the propane doesn't go to spoils.....instead of just putting it in the shed.

Then, she's like, well, since you 're up, clean the house......the fuck?! I wish she would just sod off right now, because not only am I completely knackered, I'm highly annoyed at her. In all of her paranoia, she forgot a lot of shit on her list of "to get for hurricane," and wants me to get it. That's a big not going to happen, not now, not ever. I kept having flashbacks to the time she made me go and get her some damn chicken and vodka (I swear, she can be so bloody ratched at times), and she knew a hail storm was coming, and I got trapped in that shit.....it lasted soooo long, and then she had the nerve to be mad because her food was cold....-__- So, like I stated....she wants something, she shall be getting it herself, because other than for meals, I shan't be leaving my room....


23 August 2011

Natural Disasters

So, the East Coast got hit with an Earthquake today.....shocking, I know.

It scared me a bit, because we are more than ill equipped for the likes of a fucking earthquake!

When I saw the table and myself shaking, I thought it was a divine spirit or some shit, but nope, when the china closet and the pots hanging above the sink started to shake, all hell broke out in my mind! I just knew it was an earthquake!

I walked outside, towel on my head, half of my locs braided and the other half in a sloppy ponytail, and others confirmed my suspicions......

Apparently, it started in Virginia, 5.8 to be exact. People from South Carolina-Massachusetts felt it, and as far west as Ohio felt it.

Scary, huh?

There are supposed to be after shocks too.......Let's see how I deal with all of that!

22 August 2011

Languages! Oh Joy!

You see, I have quite an affinity when it comes to different languages......and I have quite an obsession when it comes to actually learning different languages.

I have already mastered English (well, it is my native tongue after all), French is my second language, Spanish is my third language, and Sign Language is kinda my fourth language (I only say that because I am still learning).

I think that everyone should have a firm grasp on at least one language other than their native, but that would just be wishful thinking, now wouldn't it?

Well, this post is really to plug learning a language. Learn one! If not with Rosetta Stone, then some other language tool (I have used Byki, which has helped me retain a lot of information with the various spoken languages), and for sign language, I use an on-line tool which has animations and pictures that make sure that you can assess the word as good as possible.

There are also language blogs out there to help as well!
Transparent language has great blogs with various languages (sans sign language), and they have great activities as well. http://www.transparent.com/french/

For sign language, I use http://www.lifeprint.com/ and it has been really, really helpful.

I suggest you get up and start learning! It can enhance your life greatly!

20 August 2011

Phoenix Rising

It has been a while since I've posted.
Many life changes have been occurring.
My step-fathers funeral was this past Tuesday, closed casket, awaiting his cremation as I type.

The day of the funeral, I was there physically, but mentally, I wasn't. My mind wandered like there was no tomorrow on the horizon. I had long ago accepted his death, and I cried the day he died, but the days leading up to his funeral, I felt no sadness, no remorse, I literally felt nothing towards the man.

The day of his funeral, I was told that I was uncaring, like I didn't want to be there, as if I were bored, because I showed no emotions. I honestly don't care what people say about me, usually, but I can honestly say when I heard those assumptions, I was vexed! How dare someone judge me for my emotions?! I judge no one for there emotions, so the same should hold in my court, but then again, that would be asking for too much, wouldn't it?

Well, now that this is over and done with....I come to realise that it's not over and done with. I have been feeling cosy with the fact that my mum is finally getting rest, only to find out she wasn't, because with him being ill, a lot of the household responsibilities fell by the wayside.

It got to the point where......I may have to stay up here for and indefinite amount of time in order to get some-things straightened out with financial and familial issues. I am making myself feel like I won't regret it....because I can't regret it, since I've long ago coined the moniker "I have no regrets."

But, with all of this, I feel like I can become a new person, be a stronger me. I feel like I can rise from the ashes (hence, the title), and I can accomplish something totally wicked that I've not even thought of as of yet.....but it's looming on the horizon.

Maybe I'll stop feeling so knackered and finally start on the book that I've been itching to write.....or maybe I'll finally start my cookbook, or my own internet run crochet shop....maybe I'll use my major and keep pursuing a career with that.....just maybe.........

But for now, with all emotions played out, with people on my side, I am finally rising into something spectacular!

13 August 2011

When Things Fall by the Wayside

As you all know, my step-father departed life on Tuesday of this week. I have accepted that he was going to depart from his life soon a long time ago. Others.....not so much.

People having been yelling.....let's be more specific...they have been yelling at me. What did I do? I have done nothing. When my mum ask for things, I'll do them, but she has no shame in yelling at me. Honestly? She really needs to bugger off! She makes it seem like I wasn't there for her the whole time and I'm not mourning.

I am mourning. just in my own way, and I would greatly appreciate it if she would understand that.

Not to mention, my sister ain't shit. They are prats, pricks, arseholes, motherfuckers....whatever derogatory word you can think of, that is what they are in my book at the moment.

Not only are they so consumed with their lives to pull it together and get along, they blame me for everything as well. Like, what the fuck?

Things are going to be rough for us all for the next couple of months, and instead of seeing that, and trying to get it together, bitches want to bitch and moan, as if we are doing this for shits and giggles.

Shit is real, and they need to realise that.

Ok....that just helped me blow off some serious steam! Thanks for reading!

10 August 2011

Fall of a Man

Yesterday, I awoke at 5h35, to find that my sister was standing over my step-father. I had awoke at that time because it was almost time for my shift to make sure that he made it through the night.

He indeed made it through the night, but he ceased to keep on living that morning. My youngest sister was standing over him, and that was because he had passed silently through the night.

I really didn't know how to feel. Of course, I shed a couple of tears, but after that, I couldn't. I remember standing on my deck, looking out at the rising sun and shedding tears, and I saw this old man, doing his morning run, and I realised that no matter what, life goes on. With that new attitude, I stopped the tears and continued on with my day, greeting grievers, making food for grievers and family, cleaning, making sure my sisters were all ok and escaping.

It's not like I'm cold, because I'm not, and I surely don't have the emotional range as a grain of salt, but showing any sign of weakness has never been big to me. I couldn't break down in front of people, so I acted nonchalant about the whole ordeal. Did I get a few odd looks and odd conversations? Of course, what those people don't realise is that this is the only way I can deal with grief.

What they also don't understand is that he wasn't always the best of fathers to me (He loathed my biological father so much, and the fact that I look like my father doesn't help much either), and he often treated me as a red headed step-child, but I still can't forget the good times, for if I did, I would only dwell in the darkness and remain ignorant of the times he actually did help me out.

Do I miss him? Of course, but I knew that this week would be his time. I felt it months ago that it would be this week, and I've accepted it, especially after seeing his dead body lying next to our heads in the morning.

Will the upcoming months be rough for my sisters and mum? Of course, and the only thing that I can do is help them. It's not that I'm unfazed by the events, I just realise that these events make me a bit stronger and able to withstand things a bit more than the normal person.

05 August 2011


A friend from a forum that I frequent sent me instructions on proper etiquette when hosting or attending any type of formal party. (Think dinner party, tea party, luncheon, etc.).

Here, I'm going to insert the basic instructions of the guest and how the tea party should go, so one doesn't seem uncouth or barbaric if ever to be graced with an invite to such an occasion.

Tips for Tea Parties

Since it is a tea party, it's okay to eat with fingers. However, if an item is particularly messy (has a runny filling), then use a fork. If you have on gloves, remove them.

Tea Parties are usually not big meals (unless it is a High Tea) so you should be mindful that it is a light snack. Do not overfill your plate .

For scones or muffins, break off a bite-size piece, then put a small amount of jam or butter on it. If Devonshire or clotted cream is available, a small amount can be dabbed on after the jam. This thick cream is for scones, not for the tea.

Take bites of the tiny sandwiches. Never stuff the whole thing in their mouth, even though it's small.

If using sugar, be careful to not dip the sugar tong or sugar spoon into the tea.

Stir sugar and/or milk with their teaspoon, then place the teaspoon on their saucer. Stir slowly and quietly to avoid clinking or making too much noise.

When drinking the tea, they can hold the cup and saucer near their chest, then take the teacup off the saucer and bring it up to their mouth to drink. Hold the teacup normally. Do not stick the pinky out when drinking tea, it is actually considered BAD ETIQUETTE.

If the tea is hot, leave teacup on the table to cool. Do not blow on the tea.

Hopefully, the tea will be served from teapots, rather than having individual tea bags, which can get very messy. If there are tea bags, then there should be a small dish at her place setting on which she can place the used tea bag.

Being a Good Guest

Respond promptly.  Your host needs to know numbers so she can arrange for enough food/drink/tickets/whatever for the event.  If no one on her list is going to be able to make it, then she needs to know to pick another date or cancel.  Every day you hold up your response, you’re making her planning more difficult.  Do you want to wait awhile to see if a better offer comes in?  Remember:  You are not special.  Just like everyone else needs to decide on an event when they are invited, so too do you.  Holding out for a better invite is rude, and trust me, your host will notice every day that goes by with silence. If you do arrive a little early, you may offer to help. Offering to help is great, but if the host says "no thanks," stay out of their way, especially if it is in the kitchen! Do not insist. Do always offer some help at the end of a meal. Just another set of hands for 10 minutes will be a great help.

If you say you’re coming, then come.  If you say you aren’t, then don’t.  So you wake up the day of the party and you’re just not feeling like it, huh?  Well, the host probably won’t even notice one person missing, will she?  Wrong.  She’ll notice.  She’ll notice when her food has been sitting out for an hour and none of her guests have shown up and she’ll be very aware of the work and money that went into the uneaten food and undrunk drinks.  Remember that there are always going to be people out there who act rudely and don’t show up—you’ll only be adding to those numbers. 

Maybe you thought you would have other plans, but now you don’t—surely the host would like a nice surprise guest?  No.  No, they won’t.  Unless this is a college party and no one cares how many people show up, showing up to a planned party that you have not RSVPed for (or have previously sent your regrets) is just as rude as not showing up when you said you would.  You’re going to throw your host into a frenzy of trying to figure out where to get enough food to cover the extra mouth and may be causing other problems where numbers are a concern.

If you need to cancel prior to the party, do so as promptly as possible and with a good reason.   Every day that passes from the point when you said you were coming and the point when you say you’re not, is another day that the host has made plans or bought supplies.  While it may seem completely reasonable to you to decline a week before the event, for a well-prepared host that is already deep into their prep time.  If you know you’re not going to make it, tell your host as soon as you can to save her money and work. 

 Giving a valid reason increases the chances that she will not permanently delete you off her list of future guests for being unreliable (yes, it is more than possible to lose out on future invites simply by not showing up to one event—haven’t you ever noticed that the number of invites you get decreases every time you don’t show somewhere?).  Quick hint—be honest.  If you can’t be completely honest, be reasonable with your excuse.  

Attending the Party/Event

Arrive promptly and do not arrive early.  There are few things worse than having a guest show up early.  What seems like a tiny little extra hour to you seems to the host to be the horror of having people show up before her house is cleaned, her shower is taken, or the food is cooked.  Please remember that all the things that you take for granted at a party/event—that the host is welcoming and warm, that there is food aplenty, that things run to schedule—are all being set up behind the scenes by your host.  Making her work harder by throwing off her schedule is mean and you will definitely be remembered for all the wrong reasons.

Show up with a small gesture of thanks from the offset.  The host is not trying to pay her rent off of the backs of her guests, nor do you need to empty your pockets to provide host gifts.  But a gesture of appreciation for her work and hospitality is still expected and will go a long way towards making her feel that her effort and expense was all worthwhile and appreciated.  Fresh flowers, a simple bottle of wine, chocolates, or small household item such as candles are all safe bets for small gifts that will be appreciated. 

If you’re travelling or otherwise don’t want to have something to carry, arrange to have something delivered in advance.  When the party is small, casual, or with a friend who you have previously hosted, it is sometimes acceptable to forgo the gift—though you should err on the side of coming with a small gift if you’re not one hundred percent sure.  There is really no acceptable reason for showing up empty handed if you’re spending the night or multiple nights at someone’s house, however.  None.

Being offered refreshment is not your opportunity to make special requests.  If your host asks if you would like water, juice or punch, then asking for a soda will be one quick way to see a look of frozen awkwardness.  Take what is offered with graciousness and gratitude.  A good host will do her best to accommodate a guest who has a special request, but considering the first principle of you are not special and if you have special needs and simply cannot go an evening without your soda, then bring it with you—and make sure you have enough to offer the host and other guests.

When you attend the party/event, attend the party or event.  You thought    you would be up for it, but on the day you’re just not in the mood.  It happens.  You know what you do?  You fake it.  You put on your jolliest smile and get in there making good conversation and mingling because we have the second principle to follow:  The host is not your parent.  It is not your host’s job to jolly you out of a bad mood.  It is not her job to figure out how to make a room full of miserable people talk to each other or have a good time.  Of course she will do her best—it’s what hosts do—but sending out invitations did not gift her with magic. 

    It is unreasonable to expect a party to bring your mood up if you’re the one in the room bringing everyone else down.  I know that the tendency is to think of social events as being something we’re given, but they’re not—socializing is something in which we must take an active part.  In the same way that going to a job interview with a headache will see you still putting your best foot forward, so too should you go into a party doing your best to make conversation and take part.  If you spend the entire party sitting in the corner sulking because the you lost your soccer game earlier, you will forever brand yourself as a Bad Guest who shows up and ruins the party for everyone else. 

        Shake it off and take part—it’s the very definition of being a good guest.  If your host has events or activities planned, be up for it—why else go to a party or social event if you’re not willing to take part?

Basic Table Manners

Electronic devices

Turn off or silence all electronic devices before entering the sitting down at the table. If you forgot to turn off your cell phone, and it rings, immediately turn it off. Do not answer the call. Do not text, and if you have a Blackberry or iphone, do not browse the Internet at the table.


Place the napkin on your lap after being seated. As needed, use it to gently wipe or dab your mouth. Before drinking from a glass, dab your mouth. Lip marks on glasses is unsightly, but can be avoided if the person wearing lipstick, lipgloss, or lip balm first blots their lips with the napkin before drinking from the glass.

Remember that a REAL napkin is not discarded like a tissue or paper towel, so try not to do things that would stain or ruin the napkin. Your should not have to replace them after you are gone.

During a restroom break, place the napkin to the left of the plate. This lets your server or host know that you intend to continue the meal when you return. At the end of the meal, the napkin is placed neatly to the right of the plate (not refolded, but not crumpled either). This is a sign to your server or host that your plate may be taken away, as you are finished eating.

If the dinner includes a sit-down meal, wait until everyone is served before eating. If you are a guest, wait for the host to begin. If dining at a buffet, then you do not have to wait for all the guests at your table to be seated. However, you should wait until at least a few guests have seated themselves at your table before digging in.


If unsure which utensil to use, remember "outside in." The outer most utensil is used first. Once used, the utensil does not go back on the table, but is placed on the plate. When finished, the knife and fork are place side by side (parallel) on the plate with handles at the 3 or 4 o'clock position. Soup spoons are placed on bowl's service plate when finished; teaspoons placed on the saucer.


You can place your wrists or forearms on the table, or hands on your lap. REMEMBER no elbows on the table.


Keep legs next to your chair. Do not stretch legs out or cross your legs as they may bump others under the table.

Bread or rolls

When eating bread tear off a bite-size piece of bread before buttering.

Sit up straight, do not hunch over your plate.

Chew with your mouth closed.

Do not overfill your mouth with food. Wait several seconds before taking the next bite.

When removing items from your mouth it is best to take it out the same way you put it in (fork or fingers). Do no spit food into a linen napkin, as it will have to be washed.

If you need to remove gristle, bone, or an olive pit from your mouth, then remove it the way it had entered (i.e. fork or fingers), and place it discreetly on your plate.


Avoid uncouth conduct such as talking with mouth full, burping, nose blowing, picking at teeth, grooming or putting on makeup at the table. Instead, excuse yourself from the table and go to the restroom.

Always say thank you when served something. Do not double dip. When appetizers are served, everyone should have their own small plate on which to place any dip, chips, crackers, cheese, nuts, etc. The host should have serving spoons for condiments, which should take care of any double-dipping.

Don't make any rude comments about any food being served. It will hurt someone's feelings. Always try a little of everything, even if you don’t THINK you’ll like it. The exception is if you do not eat something because of allergies or religious/cultural beliefs, or dietary restrictions. If you don’t like something, finish that bite (if you can) and then just leave it on the plate. Do not make a big deal by making a noise, telling someone else you don’t like it or making a face. When eating at someone's home or a guest of someone at a restaurant, always thank the host and tell them how much you enjoyed it. At least say that you liked the dinner or mention a specific item that was particularly tasty, i.e. the dessert was great. Again, someone took time, energy, and expense to prepare the food, so show your appreciation.

Sorry for the long read, but there will be even more to come in future post!

01 August 2011


I love tea.

A nice cuppa is all I need to keep me interested during the day, but at times, my mum thinks I go overboard. (She often tells me I need to go live in England, that's how much I love it)
I have to have it with brekkie, in between lunch, for lunch, in between dinner, for dinner and one before I head off to bed. 6 cups of tea keeps my energy levels up during the day.

I drink tea, not only because it's good, but because it has plenty of health benefits.

Here are some benefits of tea:
Oolong tea helps with aging (If you're as vain as I am about aging and such)
Green tea is full of antioxidants that protect against heart disease and cancer(Black tea fights against cancer as well). It can also help fight allergies and arthritis.
If you drink up to 5 cuppas a day, it can help lower cholesterol (But you must also have a good diet with it as well).
Green tea also aids in weight loss.
White tea has more qualities that help fight cancer as opposed to green tea and black tea.

The best kind of tea is loose leaf tea, because there are more antioxidants than bag tea.

Green tea is actually my favourite type of tea. It can be infused with Jasmine, lavender, citrus....it's just yummy! I've tried tea from all over, but not everyone can make a good cuppa. (Trust me, I've endured some nasty shit).

This one time, when I wanted some Earl Grey Milk Tea, my friend made me some. Only thing is, instead of soy milk (lactose intolerant over here), she used whole milk and added sugar. SUGAR! Sugar diminishes the flavour of tea, and it taste like I'm drinking hot arse! Disgusting. I believe that the best thing to go with tea is honey...honey...HONEY!

Sure, there are other types of tea, such as pomegranate, chamomile mango, peppermint, detoxing teas, pms tea, black raspberry tea, fruit tea, you name it, they have probably created.

Tea......what a wondrous drink! (Except for Mexican Hot chocolate of course!)