AN OGLING HAM BONE…OH, WHAT TO DO?

The holidays have come and gone. And, we are gifted a brand new year. Many of us have made resolutions. Yes, one of the common plans is to be fit and shed those pesky ‘holiday’ pounds. And, I say ‘bravo!’ to us all.

I don’t know about you; but, I’m in quite a pickle. You see, I’m a food hoarder of sort. I don’t toss food that can be transformed and rejuved into something delicious and satisfying.

Take for instance my ham bone. Every given time I prop open my freezer, it’s there. It perches in that special spot and stare at me in a flirtatious manner.It knows my culinary weak spots, so it takes advantage of same.

For sure, I know that I’ll surrender. When you think about it, the odds are stacked up against me. For instance, the cool days of January don’t help. They make you want to hibernate and devour mouth-watering stews, soups and roasts.

I know what I’ll will do. I’ll make me a ham bone soup. I’ll fetch me some winter veggies and dice, chop and add to some softened red or pigeon peas simmered in some coconut milk. Without a doubt, I’ll add some fibrous wholesome foods, like sweet potatoes/yams.

Of course, I’ll thaw and make that special drop of that tempting ham bone with pieces of ham. Will pair with a few dumplings made with a trio of whole-wheat/all purpose/cornmeal. But, who I’m I kidding? I’ll cheat with a few little pieces of oxtail. Did someone say beef?

My ham bone soup will be flavored with aromatic spices and other ingredients like crushed garlic and pimento(all spice berries), ginger, fresh thyme, and scallion. I’ll toss in a few bouillons.

So guys, I won’t apologize. Though it’s a new year, I choose to be realistic and aim for a fine balance. I won’t deprive myself. Moderation is salient. I’m no fool; I’ll certainly try to incorporate some physical activities along the way. After all, before you know it, the winter thaw will disappear, and spring will be banging at our doors.

HOLIDAY GREETINGS!!

AS WE CELEBRATE THIS SPECIAL TIME OF THE YEAR, MAY WE GAIN TREMENDOUS JOY AND PEACE THAT WILL INCREASE TO THE COMING 2017!!

DO REMEMBER THOSE WHO WOULD RATHER HAVE A VOICE ON THE OTHER END OF THE ##PHONE. YOU NEVER KNOW, THAT SELFLESS AND HEARTWARMING ACT, MAY DO A WORLD OF GOOD FOR BOTH OF YOU!!

MERRY CHRISTMAS!! HAPPY HANNUKAH!! HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT, SHARING, AND LOVE DURING 2016!!

OH, THOSE YULETIDE CAROLS AND PIES/FRUIT CAKES!

Guys, let’s face it.When it comes to the month of December, to me, it’s considered the ‘cheating month’ (well, in respect of the culinary side of things). My solution is quite simple. I think we should just surrender and enjoy. After all, this great season comes once per year.

First of all, the cool and crispy weather puts us in that relaxed and super happy mood. And when that occurs, those palates of ours have to be catered to in huge and comforting ways. Bring on the hot chocolates and cocoas. And, if you go there, may as well cut you a generous slice of pie or fruit cake spiked with your favorite spirits.

As you continuously ogle  those shiny Christmas balls and decorations on your Christmas trees, you gain that ‘fuzzy’ feeling within. Moreover, if the weather outside is frightful as they would say and it continues to snow, you can’t help but to desire warmth from a comfy throw and seek out some of those crispy holiday cookies.

You can’t escape; a  trip to the mall,  will certainly place you in a very festive frame of mind. Everyone seems to be smiling and in a joyful mood. After all, the yuletide carols are bellowing from store to store. You find yourself humming or singing the sweet refrains of ‘Deck the Halls’, ‘Twelve Days of Christmas’, ‘Joy to the World’, and the list goes on and on.

What’re you going do? Surrender I say. Indulge on that  wee bit salty, smoky and slightly sweet flavors of a roasted ham. A ham that’s baked with studded cloves, basted with a little brown sugar and maybe garnished with sweet/tart pineapple slices and cherries.

Grab that extra piece of beef roast, turkey or chicken leg. You know you can’t resist that succulent serving of chicken wings. It’s staring at you with those exotic jerk spices with your name on it.

I say, don’t beat up on yourself. Just go for it. It’s once per year. However, while enjoying, try to secure that balance. While go shopping for those gifts, take along filling snacks like unsalted nuts, fruit bars along with some H2O. After all, those check out  lines are going be very long.

You have a perfect reason to lace up those walking shoes. Explore your neighborhood and behold your neighbors’ elaborate decorations. The whole experience will make you feel quite festive and simultaneously allow you to burn a few unwanted calories. Let’s face it, you know after all that exploration, you’re going work up an appetite for more of those tempting goodies.

Guys, it’s the season for good cheer.I’m going to surrender.  I’m going to spread some joy to loved ones. And of course, I’ll indulge my dear taste buds in whatever they desire. And, you should do as well. Happy Kwanzaa! Happy Hanukkah! and a very Merry Christmas  everyone!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TIME TO HANG THOSE #BALLS!! #CHRISTMAS TIME!

So, once again the Christmas season has sprung upon us. And, you can’t help but to wonder, “What the frankincense has happened!” Who knows? Maybe, a few among us may have just boxed up last year’s decorations. Shame on you!!As a matter of fact, this good pal of mine recently revealed that she just stowed away her tree.

But, we can all concur that time has flown considerably and is still rapidly going.Things seem to occur in a nano-second. I liken it to today’s dating/relationships. One moment you’re swiping Tom or Sally’s face, and suddenly you find yourself  a picket fence with a couple of bambinos and fido.

Okay, perhaps I’m  a little over the top; but, I’m telling you, sh..t happens. And, I’ve decided to take control of this festive season. I’m not going to allow it to work by default. I shall arm myself with my balls and other Christmas decors.

I’ll not toss my turkey and chicken bones. I will bring those ‘hard boys’ to a simmer with assorted root veggies, spices and herbs. Now, why should I purchase store-bought when I can concoct home-made?

And, you may wonder what backbones have to do with Christmas balls. Well, I reckon this is the perfect time (NOW!) to seize the opportunity. Well, in my head, I figured that while my backbones are being transformed to a delicious broth, I would retrieve those balls. Those sturdy, colorful, and shiny balls. I paid big ‘bucks’ at the Dollar store. After all these years, they still have ‘legs’.

I will string them up, pair them with other decorations, and allow those balls to beam with delight. And, what’s Christmas without those traditional and contemporary carols? I can never grow weary of, “Twelve Days of Christmas, The First Noel, Jingle Bells, etc.”

The fact is, Christmas is ‘a coming’. I really don’t know about geese, but I know I’m not going sit back and watch it go by. It’s time to shop for and make  those holiday beverages, secure those Christmas tokens, gather with loved ones. It’s time to get in the mood. After all, ready or not, it’s Christmas time.

Happy Holidays!

 

 

TURKEY CHILI

SERVED UP SOME TURKEY CHILI!!

When the snow birds come calling, I take it as a cue to comfort my palate. With falling temperatures, it’s important that I find the right dish to warm this stomach of mine. Could have gone a myriad of ways; however, I chose to pay a visit to a familiar dish of mine.

Can’t go wrong with a pot of turkey chili. Oh, it’s so simple to whip up. Moreover, it’s chock full of amazing flavors that excite my anticipating taste buds. In fact, I often tend to forget that it’s healthy because of the deliciousness within each bite.

That’s what I call a dish with a fine mouth-watering balance.

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CURRY GOODNESS!! #CURRIED DRUMSTICKS/THIGHS

This is a well-trodden culinary path for yours truly. And oh, what beautiful and delicious path it is. As a result, I was overjoyed to return and savor all the aromatic and mouth-watering flavors. All it took was a few  chops of  drumsticks and thighs (skin off/bone-in) and the infusion of one of my favorite spices, curry powder.

In addition to curry powder, other pantry and fresh ingredients were included:

  • cumin
  • salt and black pepper
  • turmeric
  • paprika
  • soy sauce(splash)
  • vinegar(splash)
  • coconut oil
  • fresh thyme
  • scotch bonnet pepper
  • scallion
  • onion
  • celery

Marinated chicken overnight. Curried chicken drumsticks and thighs were braised and simmered under low to medium heat to a fork tender finish. I was ecstatic with the finished dish.

 

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BARLEY/LEEK SOUP WITH PAN-SEARED SHRIMP

Kicked up my lunch to a satisfying and nutritious notch. Went with one of autumn’s popular vegetables, leeks. These sweet and subtle flavors were excellent to pair with barley.

PREPPING FOR LEEK AND BARLEY SOUP
PREPPING FOR LEEK AND BARLEY SOUP

Did it my way by adding other fresh/pantry ingredients like:

  • onions
  • carrot
  • celery
  • veggie bouillon cube
  • salt/black pepper
  • dried oregano
  • fresh thyme
  • veggie broth

After sauteing fresh veggies including leeks in a drizzle of olive oil, rinsed barley was added along with dried seasoning. Veggie broth and cold tap water were added along with a sprig of thyme.

Barley/leek soup simmered under low to medium heat until barley was tender. Then, this was pureed to a thick consistency. Barley/leek soup was topped with pan-seared shrimp with a garnish parsley.

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1-2-3 EXPRESS #CHICKEN/VEGGIE STIR-FRY

When you’re tired and quite spent, there’s no need to sweat for a long period over a hot range.  Supper can be had in just a few precious minutes. Did just that and reaped a nutritious and delicious dish.

Without a doubt, leftovers never tasted that good. Added a few leftover bite-size citrus chicken legs/thighs to an assorted bed of stir-fry vegetables. With the squeeze of Chinese duck sauce and a sprinkle of dried oregano and other seasonings, stir-fry became quite a succulent treat.

Combined same with  al dente linguine pasta and a perfect match was made in my pot. I’m still salivating with my match.