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Tag Archives: Cooking

Got Cookin’… Or At Least Tried To

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I’ve been working on goal # 14 of my Bucket List, which is basically aimed at my feeling more comfortable with my cooking skills.  I have conquered a handful of dishes, although I surely tried many more.  Just in case my friends (who know I am not a kitchen queen) don’t believe me, here’s proof.  Below are some of my tryouts accompanied by a very brief outcome report. You will notice that some of the dishes are very simple; my aim is not to become a gourmet cook, but to be able to create family meals by mastering certain dishes and being able to recreate them time and again with the same quality and flavoring.   Since I am being very picky as to accept any dish into my mastered list,  I am also  giving myself credit for every single dish I conquer, no matter how simple 🙂

    

 

HOW ABOUT YOU; WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN COOKING? 

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‘Tis the Season to be… Productive?

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Fall 2011:

 After reading some of Paul’s posts on  his blog, 101 things in 1001 days, I’ve come to realize it would be useful to slap some timelines on some of my goals.  Paul’s approach was to give himself 1001 days to conquer all of the items on his list, and he has a countdown to day zero in order to keep him on track.  I must say he’s accomplished some neat things, such as Bungee Jumping, Reading all of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes Stories, Scubadiving, and Skinny Dipping in the Ocean.  This got me to thinking…. How could I make this timeline thing work in my favor?

I got it.  My timelines will be seasonal, meaning I will pick a handful of items on my list to tackle every season. So here you have it people, my bucket list items to tackle this fall:

#2 Taking Salsa Lessons – I have put the word out looking for suggestions on a good instructor. I will also look into local clubs that offer free lessons earlier in the night before their regular programming starts.

  • I would like to take lessons once a week
  • By the end of the season I would love to be confident enough to dance in public without loosing the rhythm 

#4 Raising Happy, Healthy, Confident, Cooperative, Responsible, and Faithful children – Of course this is one of my ongoing goals, and one in which I am involved every single day.  This season, I will concentrate my efforts towards this goal as follows:

  • By keeping up with our Special Dates
  • By working with each of my children to develop their own life lists
  • By providing more structure for them (see goal #23)

 # 5 Growing in Faith  – Another ongoing goal, my plan is to seek a deeper level of connection with God during my prayers.

  • I want to engage in a deep prayer and meditation session at least once per week

  #11 Completing my Bachelor’s Degree – Happy to report that my fall class has already begun, and it is very interesting; which is a great thing since this is a night class. 

  • By the end of December I should be 3 credits closer to getting that degree.
  • And enrolled for at lest 3 more credits for the Spring semester

 #14  Mastering a Few Signature Dishes  – So far I have mastered 1 dish: Chofán.  During the summer I cooked much more than my usual, and most of it was pretty good, but not as good as I would like it to be.  So I will be cooking some more, repeating dishes I cooked this summer until I have them down pat. 

  • The goal is to completely master 3 dishes during this fall.

 #20 Becoming an Accomplished Writer  –  This will be a long process that I plan to enjoy every step of the way, so no rush here. These steps are next:

  • Translating my first short story, Lo Mal Hecho (Bad Deeds), into English
  • Making improvements to my Blog

# 23 Leading an Organized Life  – You might recall me posting about how this is the goal I feel would make the biggest impact on the rest of my list, and my life.  Now, this is much more time and energy consuming than one might think, at least for me.  So far there’s been some progress in terms of decluttering certain areas of my apartment, and creating routines to help my kids, and myself, get through the day with a bit more ease.  Here’s what I want to do next:

  • Completely implement our household routines and tweak as necessary 
  • Create and start to follow a Budget

# 24 Exploring RI from A to Z – I made some progress on this one this Summer, and I plan to keep on discovering the nooks and crannies of my cozy state this season. 

  • I want to cross of 3 RI cities/towns from my Little Rhody list

 #34 Volunteering/Donating –  This one is a fairly recent addition to my list.  My efforts in this area will be concentrated on:

  • Making one blood donation
  • Finding a one time volunteering opportunity that I both care about and can fit into my schedule (easier typed than done)

 #35 Reading More  – Another fairly recent addition to the list.  I have committed to reading 10 books per year.

  • Will read 5 books in order to complete this year’s quota. 

How about you, care to share your upcoming plans?

Dinner with Friends

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My shot was for a laid back weekend, and cooking some dinner for a few close friends.  Must say, I was very pleased with the results, which included spending time with friends (#16 on my list), furthermore decluttering my apartment (# 23 on my list), and cooking Chofán for the 2nd time  – if I may, let me brag about mastering this dish 🙂 ( #14 on my list).

It was a casual Sunday Evening; conversation over dinner with a few dear friends, and of course a good selection of music playing on the background.  The occasion was Yadira and Leona’s Birthday, for which Pezuzu made a delish Pina Colada cake, yumms and thumbs up to Pezuzu for making the cake in such a short notice.

I am starting to gain more confidence in my cooking skills; the more I cook the better I feel about it.  Plus it helps when guests rave about the meal and ask to take the leftovers home!

The Results are In…

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Disclaimer: I am not an alcoholic; not a regular drinker either.  I hardly ever drink alcohol, and when I do, it is usually 1 or 2 drinks the whole night.  Glad we got that out-of-the-way 🙂

Now to My Progress Report

On Cocktails:
Last week I posted a poll asking readers what their favorite cocktail was, and the results are in:
* Piña Colada snatched the first place
* Closely followed by the Martini (in different variations)
* Honorable mention goes to a glass of water (love it!)

For all of you Piña Colada lovers, here’s Paula Dean’s recipe:

Ingredients  

  • Ice cubes
  • 1/2 cup rum
  • 1/2 cup coconut cream
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup pineapple chunks
  • Sliced pineapple, for garnish, optional
  • Maraschino cherry, for garnish, optional

Directions
Fill blender halfway with ice cubes. Add rum, coconut cream, coconut milk and pineapple chunks. Puree.

Serve, garnished with a slice of pineapple and maraschino cherry, if desired.

On # 14 Mastering a Few Signature Dishes:
No new dishes have been mastered as of yet, but have been cooking more often and am close to mastering Steak with Onions, Fried Okra, Yellow Rice with Corn, and Sautéed Pork Chops (Dominican Style)

On # 24 Exploring RI from A to Z:
 I crossed off visiting the Museum of Natural History and Planetarium at Roger Williams Park.  The visit lasted about 2 hours; of which the Planetarium show took about one hour.  The price was right at $3 per person, including the show. 

They have nice Native American Exhibits, a Victorian Era furnishings and artifacts  display, and my favorite, preserved animals that look so much alive. 

I will recommend this for a family outing with kids 4 and up; younger children aren’t allowed in the Planetarium show. 

Mission Accomplished… For the Most Part

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As I had a long weekend coming up, I decided to jot down some action items to tackle in order to advance on my list.  Here are the results:

Having Fun (#33)
definitely accomplished this one by going to the Go Karts, where I took the slippery track for the first time and laughed with all of my lungs; also played in the arcade there.  Watched a couple of movies, and surprisingly I liked both (not Oscar material but fun to watch): No Strings Attached and The Adjustment Bureau.  Enjoyed the company of a few good friends; special thanks to Antonia for giving me my first gel manicure.  Lastly, went to Karaoke Night at a local bar with a few friends.  No, I didn’t sing, but I danced; plus during this outing I took care of my next item.

Crossing One Goal off My List
Fulfilled Item #37 by Having a Martini during Karaoke night.  I am far from being a cocktail expert; tend to stick to Margaritas and Wines when it comes to alcoholic beverages.  However, I’ve always been curious about Martini’s since characters such as James Bond make it look so glamorous, so I ordered one.  Did not love it – too dry for my taste. Mine was garnished with a lemon wedge which was a surprise.  I asked the waitress about the olive and she replied that they only put the olive in Dirty Martinis; and they also serve an Apple Martini. I had no clue. Sipped it very slowly; that was the only drink (other than water) I had all night.

Work on # 23 – Getting Organized
I was shooting for making some order out of the piles of paperwork resting on my desk table, and bookshelf, which I did not get to.  However, I made some progress on de-cluttering, as well as tackling some neglected household chores.  Not bad at all.  Big shout out to Kiara for helping me with this; that’s true friendship I tell you 🙂

Knock out One Rhode Island spot from #24
Didn’t Get to this one.

Finish Reading the Book (#35)
This one is part of my goal to Read More. I had read about 2/3 of Paulo Coelho’s book  La Quinta Montaña and I wanted to finish it over the weekend.  I did!!!

Cook Something! (#14)
Mastering a few Signature Dishes is one of my goals into which I have put little effort. The truth is I hadn’t done some real cooking for almost 2 months.  So this weekend I was supposed to master Moro de Habichuelas Rojas (Rice with Red Beans) and Bistec Encebollado (Steak with Onions).  The bad news is that I do not have this one under my belt yet.  The good news is that I did cook it and it was decent; I just want to fine tune my personal sazón on this dish a bit more.

So, how was your weekend?  Also, Please Vote for your Favorite:

Summertime Bucketing

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Taken by Ada and Carlos Alves

According to The Old Farmer’s Almanac, this year Summer officially started on June 21st and will officially end on September 23rd.  Going by that account, 6 weeks have already passed and there are 7 weeks left of Summer.  On the other hand, if we are talking about school vacation, which for my kids started on the week of June 20th and will end on August 30th, there are 4 weeks left of “Summer” before they go back to class and I go back to working full-time.

 This is relevant to me because I had loosely made up my mind to work on a few specific goals from my bucket list during this Summer.  I have worked on some of those goals, but I now realize that if I want to make more progress I need to make it official by writing it down and committing to doing so here, so that all of you can hold me accountable. Following are the specific list items I am working on this Summer, and the actions I have taken so far:

 #11 – Completing my Bachelor’s Degree: I committed to taking a Summer class towards my degree.  Happily I accomplished this by enrolling on Studies in Narrative; a course which I really enjoyed and has also help me advance on goal # 20 Becoming an Accomplished Writer.  Passed it with a B+.

#14 – Mastering a Few Signature Dishes : So far I have mastered 1 dish: Chofán.  The plan is to work on a few more before fall.  I will keep you posted.

# 23 – Leading an Organized Life (Ongoing): I have made little progress on this one. Since many areas of my life would benefit from being better structured, it would probably be a good idea if I further define this item and section it down in order to make it more doable.  Things I have done so far include using a personal agenda, work on and implement a morning family routine, started working on an evening family routine.

# 24 – Exploring RI from A to Z : Since my budget has been tight; I figured local traveling would be a great way to enjoy the Summer while crossing off a few RI spots from my list.  Here are the places I have visited so far: McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket, RI; The Swan Ride at Roger Williams Park, Providence, RI; Coggeshall Farm Museum in Bristol, RI, and Easton Beach, in Newport, RI.

Other RI spots I would enjoy seeing before the change of season include: The gondola ride at Waterfire in Providence; Another Newport spot, perhaps the Cliffwalk or the Mansions; Downtown Bristol Waterfront; Roger William Park’s Greenhouse in Providence; as well as Prudence Island in Portsmouth.

How is your Summer going / What plans would you like to accomplish before it ends?

Progresando

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Progress Report:

 On # 11 Completing my Bachelor’s Degree
Happy to report that I have completed my Summer course on Studies in Narrative with a final grade of B+, which puts my overall GPA at a 3.33.  I am very excited about the fact that completing this course contributed towards 3 of the items on my list: #11, #20, and #35.

On The List 

Ready, Set, Go

 I have recently added 3 new items to my list #33, #34, & #35, and I am up to a good start on each of those goals.  In addition, some of the other objectives on my list have been further defined, which has helped me in advancing on those areas as well, for example: #4, #14,  #20, and #24.

 

Facing Challenges:

On #5 Growing in Faith
From the 5 steps I had commited to in order to move towards this goal, I have found one of them especially challenging: Praying everyday.  Although I do it most days,am  finding myself still unable to reach a deeper level of connection with God.  My friend Michael recommended a book, which probably will be the next book that makes it to my Read 2011 list.   On the other 4 basic steps towards this goal, I am doing mostly good, but not 100%.