Thursday, December 23, 2010


And just like that the holidays sneaked up on me.  It's the busy season at work, then again, when you work in an industry that is 24/7, it seems it's ALWAYS the busy season.  Anyhow, I am not done with my shopping but I figure I'm ok since I don't have to see any of these people until after Christmas so I have a little time. 

I'll be traveling to Tiny Town, Texas tomorrow and I just wanted to wish all the anonymous people reading this right now a very Merry Christmas and the happiest of a New Year. 

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Mother Ship

When I was a kid, and given that we weren't particularly close to my Grandpa, I never knew I was 1/4 Italian.  Teachers would constantly ask about my rare last name, wondering about its origins and guessing correctly from where it came from.  (I didn't know where it came from until much later in life.)  I would just shrug my shoulders and say, "Yea, I guess so."  I have always related much more to my Mexican background because we've always remained close to my Grandma.  However, that never stopped my dad from taking us to Pizza Hut every Saturday night or myself from making spaghetti and lasagna on my own.  I would like to say that the Mother Ship was calling us home.  We answered.

Changing the subject...

This is what I would like to do on Tuesday.  The only problem is the drink.  I don't drink but damnit, I love me A Christmas Story. 

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

More Chicken Please

One of the perfect meals for a cold day usually involves chicken.  So, just like last week, I made some chicken soup.  However, I'd been making the traditional chicken noodle soup.  This time, I opted for the one I grew up with-caldo de pollo.  I used both dark and white meat but rather than eat it with the bones still intact, I deboned all of the chicken pieces.  I think it makes it less messy, and certainly less work, to enjoy while you watch a little TV and talk about your office bullshit. 

Caldo de pollo is accompanied with rice which is made separately.  Adding a few mint leaves really brings it home.  I couldn't be any happier with this meal.  It was perfect for a cold Monday.  And now I really miss my Ama whose caldo de pollo is legendary.  Everything she makes is legend-wait for it-dary.

Friday, December 10, 2010

The Results Show, Part 2

Last Friday I had an appointment with my endocrinologist, endo for short, to get the results from my blood work, which was drawn towards the end of October.  (Side note:  I have visits with my endo typically every 4 months, or whenever he deems it necessary to drag me out there to talk to me about stuffs.  Usually, I don't get the results from my blood, which is scheduled to get taken after my visit, until my next 4-month follow-up.  And, unless something major shows up, which they would call me about, then I hear nothing until said follow-up.  It's sounds odd but it's been working for me and my endo for years now so no biggie.)

After the typical LONG ASS wait at the endo's, I get seen.  As I mentioned, I've known my endo for years and we've been doing this dance for a while.  However, before my official diagnosis, it was merely a yearly visit.  At this point, we should be exchanging Christmas cards and gifts.  I'm sure he'd give me a new meter or some strips.  Humfph.  Anyhow, the big reveal came and hooray if he didn't say I was doing fabulous.  My A1c is 6.4, a great number to be at, and my cholesterol is down.   It's so good that apparently my shit is better than my endo's.  What, what?!  The one thing that I have to work on, other than lose a couple of more pounds, is work on getting my good cholesterol up.  How the, what the?  I've been told adding fish to my diet would help but I'm not a big fan of it so good luck to me. 

After the awesome doctor visit, one in which I totally high fived my endo, I made plans to hit the grocery store and celebrate with a few scoops of diet ice cream.  Lo and behold, JC (one who has twarted many of my plans to cheat and eat this summer) and, just maybe the doctor, had other plans for me.

No ice cream.  Nothing.  What the rocky road?  I get it though.  So, well played, JC, very well played. 

But, then I called B and had an early dinner with him.  Apparently he had an appointment with his oncologist and he's rocking it too.  So, we celebrated on mediocre cheeseburgers at Porch Swing and made fun of the fact that only people with diseases were invited to our little celebration dinner.  It's been a week and I am still high on the news.  Actually, more for B since his blood work came back with the CML barely making a blip on the tests.  Most excellent news.  See you in April, Mr. Endo. 

EDIT:  My brother has appointments with his doctor every other month and while his CML is barely showing up on his tests, it's still present and will remain so until...well, we'll figure it out when we get there.  He also has to do a yearly bone marrow biopsy.  So, there you go.  Let's cue NBC's The More You Know music and graphics.  ;)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Keller Method

I finally tried a modified version of the Thomas Keller version for roasted chicken last night and, let me tell you, it was amazing.  I jotted down the major cooking points from The Amateur Gourmet's version of the recipe last week in preparation for one of this week's dinners.

My handwriting was horrible this day.  Oopsies.

After the hour was up, as well as the required resting time (while I roasted broccoli), we were ready to devour the chicken.  Dudes, it did not disappoint.  The white meat was so moist and juicy while the dark meat slid of their bones with no effort.  The skin was so crispy.  The only drawback is the smell.  I woke up in the middle of the night to the smell of chicken still hanging in the air like a gently woven tapestry.  (I wonder if it will hang over Lake Michigan in years to come.)  I love the smell but it permeates everything.  I kept my bedroom door locked while the chicken roasted so the smell wouldn't attach itself to my bedsheets and my clothes.  This morning though, the chicken smell greeted me with a slap in the face.  As I type, it's still in my nose. 

Regardless, the recipe is surely going to be reused over and over with very minimal changes.  It was absolutely yummy. 

Cause I Can

I truly love the cats.  They're my babies.  Many people will say that it's not the same as having children but others say it is.  I have no children so I can't compare.  I just know that my pets rely on me to feed them, clean up the box for them and, most importantly, get them their much deserved treats.  That's like having a child, right?

No?  Then getting them a stocking solidifies it, eh?

I knew it. 

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Food Talk

Over at Serious Eats, this thread is racking up the comments.  The topic revolves around what you are tired, or not, for 2010 and what you are looking forward to in 2011 all concerning food trends.  It's an interesting read and they all are valid.  For me though, I'm over the following:

  • Bacon - I love bacon as much as the next person but wrapping a meatloaf in it just doesn't make it look appetizing for me.  I just want it next to my over medium eggs, maybe on some potatoes but that's it.  Personally, I find the taste can overwhelm your dish which is why I seldom use it outside of a typical breakfast meal.  You will taste nothing but the bacon. 
  • Offal's high prices - It used to be a secret, the yumminess of oxtails and its cheapness, now suddenly, they're $7 a pound and it's sad.  I'm happy that the animal, as a whole, is being used but holy moly, it's bordering on a luxury item. 
  • Gourmet burgers - Just give it to me straight with cheese and some good fries.  Oh, with the grease (at least a little) running off the side.  Yea, that's the ticket.
What I am most hopeful for is and happy that it's getting some notice is:
  • Improvement of school lunches - I still remember the menu for my school lunches a long, long time ago and they were decent.  None of what Mrs. Q is chronicling over at Fed Up with Lunch.  If the children of today decide to lock me up tomorrow because of the shit they are eating this morning, I would totally understand.  For realsies.  During my early 20's, I worked as a reading tutor for elementary children.  I enjoyed my job, loved those children and ate lunch with them a lot just to develop that trust with them.  However, those lunches were crap.  I'm sure, 10 years later, they are worse.

  • Making time - Monday, I took a day and rather than not lift a finger, I cooked all day long.  I made a batch of beans to freeze for future meals as well as made some chicken soup for that evening's dinner.  It was a little difficult because in the middle of it all, I really wanted to take a nap but the fear of waking up to that distinct stench of burnt beans was enough to get me to power through.  Yes, I would LOVE to take the easy route and eat some ramen on a cold day BUT that stuff is super bad for me.  Besides, my caldo was yums and love really is the secret ingredient;  Love for body and mind, that is.  I know life can be hectic but even if you put in a little effort, such as after you come home with your groceries, prep them, marinade, etc., it really will make it easier during the week when the last thing you want to do is trim the fat off the chicken after dealing with workstuffs. 
  • Experimentation - I know what I like and what I don't like but not before trying it myself.  For example, last night I tried moroccan food.  How I manage to live this long, and in Houston, without trying it is beyond me.  I would like to say I came into my own during my late 20's.  I started trying all sorts of food and discovering exactly what meshed and didn't with me.  I'm hopeful that more people will give unknown foods a whirl.  You never know.  Besides, in your late 30's, things change drastically.  Gone are the Jack in the Box/McDonalds days, replaced with a turkey breast sandwich on whole grain wheat and light mayo because the aforementioned make you feel lousy afterwards.  No one wants to feel lousy after eating.  You want to feel nourished, energized and happy.  Jack makes me hate myself.   

I'm amazed at how complicated food has become.  The labels, the government's half-assed involvement, the high cost of eating well preventing low income homes from doing so, the high cost of prescription drugs causing low incomes homes to make tough choices on eating well or purchasing their meals thus compromising their health (an issue that bothers me immensely) and a slew of other items.  I love food, I love that in the past year, I have evolved much more than I thought I would.  I have broaded my horizons, investigated food ideas and cut out things I knew were bad for me but ate them regardless.  What was I thinking?  However, today I am.  Today I look forward to going home and making my dinner and enjoying the effort I  put into it and I hope so many people feel that way. 

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

What's a day off?

"Geez, Mom.  Get out the kitchen and come and check out the neighbors with me."

Cooking, simmering, cleaning, laundry, Dexter, Top Chef All Stars, errands and kitteh scratches.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Take That

Papas con huevo y frijoles con chorizo.  Even a simple meal can take a while to make.  The beans, for example, were frozen but they came from a big batch of slow cooked beans on a Sunday solely so I could reheat, mix with chorizo and eat before Thanksgiving because hells no am I hitting up the grocery store with the cray-cray people who finally got around to buying a turkey and all the extras.  I wonder if it's the same Black Friday shoppers who camp outside of Best Buy.  Speaking of, yea, I did it.  I hit up Target at 4a, got my punk ass God children their scooters and then I went home and was a hermit for the rest of the day. 

Thursday, December 2, 2010


Get off my lawn, you crazy kids! 

They may as well put up No Smoking signs behind the electives wing of the high school which I totally didn't partake in.

Ok, I totally did.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

New Sensation

The day before Thanksgiving, I was having visions of childhood cartoons.  Suddenly, the above image popped into my head.  It was a fuzzy image but the basic colors were there yet I couldn't remember the name of the character.  All I knew, other than the colors and general appearance, was that the name of the character was also the name of the show.  I asked the BNC who is awesome at remembering stuff like this but he was at a loss.  B couldn't remember either.   Some days passed when I finally got around to asking Chapa.  Without skipping a beat, he told me; Freakazoid.  It was then that I started a little trip down memory lane (fine, I do it a lot) starting with cartoons to TV shows to music.

For example, I LOVED the Dungeons & Dragons cartoon.  As a matter of fact, I think they would make excellent Halloween costumes.  I choose Dungeon Master.  I never played the RPG version of Dungeons & Dragons though I'll admit it, I always wanted to learn.  I did play Pokemon and Heroclix with my nerd friends and was really good at it.  Just saying.

Then, Monday, my last day in a 5-day weekend, I visited my favorite music store and found old, used CDs I've been trying to get for years.  They included Oasis, Pearl Jam and some Madonna compilations but it was the INXS greatest hits CD that got me.  Michael Hutchence was awesome.  His charisma, his talent, his voice, everything, is something that doesn't come around too often.  I miss his music terribly and his passing was upsetting. 

Lead singers with IT are rare.  Freddie Mercury had it better than anyone.  His Live Aid performance of Radio Ga Ga, with such command of the the audience as they clapped in unison, still takes my breath away.  His death brought me to tears.  Michael Hutchence had it, of course, and it's a damn shame what happened.  Much like what happened to Tupac.

After Thanksgiving, while the BNC and B napped together, I stumbled upon Tupac: Resurrection and was captivated.  Tupac has always rocked but to know so much more by listening to him tell his story, watch the footage of his interviews, etc. was a treat.  And, just like that, I miss the 90s a great deal.  I miss the music my generation grew up with.  I miss it more since many of the artists that still move me are gone. 

And now I'm feeling old.