A SMOOTHIE TO RUSH HOME TO ##BANANA/STRAWBERRY SMOOTHIE

Had a few extra calories I had to drop. Once again, I was a bit naughty the previous night. So, I took a trot around the block. You would think it was the beginning of summer. But, it was just a taste of things to come. After all, its South Florida with its humidity nudging its way while we’re still in winter.

Yours truly didn’t mind, I was dressed to handle all sticky and above normal temperatures. With mission accomplished, I returned to base (well, home) and decided to replenish which I had lost with some good calories.

I grabbed my handy blender and tossed in half of an over-ripened banana, three strawberries, the juice of an orange and a few splashes of cold water. In a few Florida minutes my banana and strawberry smoothie was ready to drink. With the cool temperature of my smoothie I was able to guzzle down much-needed nutrients like potassium, fibers, vitamins, and more.

Guys, I’m happy!

 

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WHOOPIE!! IT’S THE WEEK-END, AND, I THINK I DESERVE A SCREWDRIVER!

INGREDIENTS/APPARATUS FOR SCREWDRIVER
INGREDIENTS/APPARATUS FOR SCREWDRIVER

Ready or not, the week-end is here. Guys, it’s Friday. And, I do think I’ve the right to let loose just a wee bit and let down my hair(well, my weave). What’s a week-end if one cannot enjoy a cocktail?

Been sometime since I’ve gone here. Used to be my fave. What brought me here? Have no idea; but, sometimes odd things just ‘pop’ in my mind. For heaven’s sake, it’s TGIF! Thought I deserved a stiff glass of screwdriver. Gosh, used to chug down quite a few of these ‘back in the days.’  But, yours truly have evolved and moved on to wine once in a while. Love me a glass of pinot grigio, cabernet sauvignon, merlot, etc.

A screwdriver drink is basically, vodka and orange juice. I understand the drink got its name from stirring with a screwdriver. Can’t say if it’s the flat head or slotted screwdriver. I made a dash for my screwdrivers. You never know when a gal needs a few of these tools.

FLAT HEAD AND SLOTTED SCREWDRIVERS
FLAT HEAD AND SLOTTED SCREWDRIVERS

There was no way I was planning to stir my screwdriver with these tools, but, I wanted to nab the inspiration. Then again, you never know.

Some drinkers chase their screwdrivers with orange soda. However, that wasn’t in my plan when I had perfectly good and wholesome juicy oranges from the sunny state of Florida. I fetched me a glass (well, it is more of a stemless wine glass). I rubbed the rim with a combination of sugar and salt after wetting the rim with orange juice. Rubbing the rim with citrus juice allows the sugar/salt to stick.

Guys, it was time, I stacked my glass with some ice cubes, juiced an orange and fished out the pits. I took a taste; oh, it was so sweet!  I poured the golden and smooth juice in my glass and topped it with a couple of shots of vodka. Then, it was time. Instead of my screwdriver, I went for my fancy stirrer.

Guys, I took I sip. My screwdriver tasted quite smooth and ‘virtuous’. I thought of adding an extra shot, but then I remembered that this drink is a ‘creeper’. I was quite comfortable with one drink.

Shortly after that, I made my way to ‘lala land’. I do think I’ll revisit this drink every once in a while. Salud to this  ‘old pal’, screwdriver.

 

DARK CLOUDS/THE SOUTH-BOUND BIRDS DID IT!…#CARROT/SWEET POTATO WAFFLES

I knew it all along that nature plays a huge part in my diet. You see, just the mere sight of a flock of birds heading south and the presence of dark gray puffy clouds, sent my palate on overdrive.

So, I went for my trek around my neighborhood to keep my dear mind and body in physical and mental shape for the day. As the beads of sweat made their way down my brow, (yes, today, humidity is high and temperatures are heading to the eighties), my mind was on the culinary side of things.

Without a doubt, precipitation was on the way. As soon as I returned to my small kitchenette, I knew what I had to do. So, gathered the following for some comforting carrot and sweet potato waffles. A wee bit out of ‘whack’, but, I thought the combination would be awesome. And, bingo! I was right.

MAIN INGREDIENTS FOR CARROT/SWEET POTATO WAFFLES
MAIN INGREDIENTS FOR CARROT/SWEET POTATO WAFFLES

Ingredients:

  • Carrot (1 medium size)
  • Sweet potato (1 small)
  • whole-wheat flour (3/4 cup)
  • All purpose flour (1/3 cup)
  • Sour cream (1table spoon)
  • Cinnamon (1/4 teaspoon)
  • Vanilla (1/4 teaspoon)
  • Milk (1/2 cup)
  • Salt (pinch)
  • Dark sugar (1/4 cup)
  • Canola oil (1 tablespoon)

Method:

  1. Sweet potato was cooked in microwaved for approximately 3 minutes. Every microwave is different. Then potato was mashed and set aside to cool.
  2. Box grater was used to shred carrot and set aside
  3. Wet ingredients were combined and dried ingredients were added.
  4. Then, carrots and smashed potato were added to batter.
  5. Pam spray was added to waffle iron before batter was placed on iron.
  6. Each waffle iron is different. After light went off on mine in about 5 minutes, waffle batch was cooked; crispy on the outside and perfectly cooked on the inside.

As I watched the trees meandered to the blustery breeze on the outskirts, I cut into my delicious and warm waffles. I served these with fresh strawberries and a squeeze of light pancake syrup. Guys, I was in heaven!

JOYFUL BERRIES ##CRANBERRY DRINK WITH A HINT OF GINGER ROOT

FRESH CRANBERRIES AND GINGER ROOT
FRESH CRANBERRIES AND GINGER ROOT

Yes, I still have some. Over the years, during the Christmas holidays when the marketplace is loaded with cranberries, I often purchase extra and store them  in the freezer. They come in handy throughout the new year for quite an extended time. The last holiday was no different.

Not only are cranberries refreshing, but based on studies these berries are loaded with health properties that prevent urinary tract infections and oral diseases. In addition, they provide an enormous amount vitamins and minerals that are beneficial for the body. Of course, I can’t say enough about root ginger. It aids with nausea, joint pains, indigestion and is excellent for flavoring dishes.

So, this morn, I paid a much-needed visit to my freezer and retrieved a bag of these antioxidant and fiber rich berries. Of course, it’s easy to purchase a store-bought version of cranberry drink at my neighborhood store. But, why should I when I can do my home-made concoction? And, the beautiful thing is that it only takes a couple of ingredients (cranberries and ginger. There are no preservatives.

Cranberries and finely chopped ginger along with water were placed in a stock pot. These were brought to a boil and simmered on low heat for approximately 12 minutes. After cooling, mixture was added to blender and pureed to a smooth consistency.  No sugar was added; however, any sweetener can be added for your taste preference.

I served my refreshing cranberry and ginger drink after chilling inside the refrigerator. It was tart and for me, just sweet enough.

WENT FISHING!! #SCORED SNAPPER SLICES IN HOISIN SAUCE

I’m a huge lover of fish. It seems like I’ve consumed same a ‘million’ and one ways in various styles. I love it in the fillet form as well as  the whole fish with the beautiful head and its bones. That’s how many islanders, specifically Jamaicans love to consume their fish. We’re pros to this. And when I do devour it with the bones and head, I’ve to give undivided attention. If not careful, this could be risky ‘business’ (well, consumption).

UNCOOKED SNAPPER SLICES FOR PAN-FRYING AND INPUT IN HOISIN SAUCE
SEASONED SNAPPER SLICES FOR PAN-FRYING AND INPUT IN HOISIN SAUCE

Anyway guys, so I decided on cooking fish for supper. I made sure to score my fish slices so as to allow  the penetration of seasonings/spices within. Escoveitched fish was on my mind. What do you know? At the last moment I ‘flipped flopped’ and decided to go a tad oriental-style. I had some hoisin sauce left back from a few weeks ago when I cooked a chicken dish. I had not used it since, so It had been just perching there inside the refrigerator door as if to say, “pick me!” And I did.

The main ingredients in hoisin sauce are plum puree, soy, vinegar, sugar, miso (paste made from soybean) and others. It’s dark in color and possesses a combination of sweet and salty taste. This pungent and bold sauce is popularly used as a dipping sauce in many oriental eateries and kitchens.

First, I lightly dredged my fish slices and pan-fried them in a hot skillet with a combination of coconut and canola oil. After draining oil, julienned veggies were added to skillet. These were softened making sure to remove bits at the bottom of pan which only provided more enhancement to dish.

VEGGIES SIMMERING IN HOISIN SAUCE
VEGGIES SIMMERING IN HOISIN SAUCE

At this point, I added three teaspoons of hoisin sauce (a little goes a long way). Also, added to that were crushed pimento (all spice), drizzle of vinegar, thyme and a splash of water. Snapper slices were then placed back in skillet on low heat. This was allowed to simmer for approximately five minutes. Sauce was spooned on each pieces for even more absorption of sauce.

I served my hoisin fish with a warm cabbage and carrot slaw along with rice and red beans(not in pic). All the flavors and spices complimented each other. Moreover, the right amount of hoisin sauce was administered to dish so as to yield a succulent and delicious taste to fish.

WARM CABBAGE AND CARROT SLAW
WARM CABBAGE AND CARROT SLAW

THE SIBERIAN EXPRESS DIDN’T KEEP ME IN A SOUPY MOOD##SPINACH/TOMATO PASTA/GRILLED SALMON

GRILLED CITRUS SALMON WITH SPINACH/ROASTED TOMATO LINGUINE PASTA
GRILLED CITRUS SALMON WITH SPINACH/ROASTED TOMATO LINGUINE PASTA

Guys, it’s deja vu all over again. Once more, it seems like the whole world is under a cold spell. Yes, the Siberian Express, which is basically an extremely cold mass of air of the Arctic has affected approximately one hundred million people over most of the United States and elsewhere. Well, so say the meteorologists. Oh, those meteorologists are having a ‘field day’.

Anyway guys, I wasn’t going to allow this cold spell to have me chopping veggies for a soup or a stew. By the way, love them! Instead, I decided to think and usher in the warm days of summer. What did I do? Naturally, my thermostat took a leap, pretty close to the 80’s. I pretended it was summertime in my abode. As a matter a fact, I got adorned in my shorts and tee-shirt. After all, in my mind’s eye, it’s summertime.

As you can observe, I reached for my grill pan. I made yours truly a citrus (orange/lemon) grilled salmon. On the side, I made a hearty whole grain linguine pasta. In a hot skillet with a drizzle of olive oil, I sautéed half of an onion and crushed garlic on low to medium heat. I tossed in my drained pasta and further folded in some left-over spinach from the previous night. To that, I also tossed in some roasted grape tomatoes.

I served up yours truly a generous portion of the meal. As I sat and swirled my linguine with my fork and puckered up to the taste of the delicious grilled citrus salmon, I felt tremendously satisfied and happy.

Now, I can face those Arctic wind chills. I had to remind myself that the blue skies and brilliant sunshine didn’t mean warmth on the outskirts. Oh, I didn’t miss that soup!

SOMETIMES, ONE HAS TO BACKPEDAL ##OPEN-FACED PARSLEY/GRAPE CHICKEN SALAD ON RYE

Had a perfect plan. You see, in my mind’s eye, I had the ideal lunch. It was basically some left-overs from the week-end. I had previously roasted a couple of chicken breasts bone-in with a delicious grape sauce.

ONE OF THE ROASTED CHICKEN BREAST BONE-IN ON GRAPE SAUCE
ONE OF THE ROASTED CHICKEN BREAST BONE-IN ON GRAPE SAUCE

I devoured one  and saved the other. So, I decided to have same this afternoon. However, there went my palate. You see, the weather in my neck of the woods (South Florida) has been all over the place. A couple of days of ago, it was in the 40’s (now, that’s winter for us here). Now, on this day, this beautiful day, it feels like summer; temperatures are close to eighty.

Like the weather, I couldn’t help myself I felt the urge to scrap my original plan and transformed my meal to a summer-like chicken salad. Thus, I grabbed my handy food processor and removed the flesh from the chicken bone. Then, I tossed same inside the processor and pulsed my way.

In a bowl, I combined parsley, a few grapes that were going ‘south’,but still had life. I also incorporated a dollop of sour cream along with a little light mayonnaise. Chopped chicken was added to bowl with a pinch of cracked black pepper and salt and a fresh squeeze of lime.

PREPPING FOR OPEN-FACED PARSLEY/GRAPE CHICKEN SALAD
PREPPING FOR OPEN-FACED PARSLEY/GRAPE CHICKEN SALAD

All ingredients were combined and served on toasted rye bread. In addition, I had some super sweet grape tomatoes on skewers. By the way, they were excellent buys. Got a bunch of them on sale for $1.50.  For drink, I chugged down some home-made cranberry and ginger drink with a garnish of fresh mint. Oh, I was tempted to put a splash of vodka, but, changed my mind. Enough of the backpedaling.

FINISHED DISH.....READY FOR ACTION!
FINISHED DISH…..READY FOR ACTION!

Guys, as always, be kind to your loved ones as well as your beautiful palates.

A ‘STICK TO THE RIBS’ BREAKFAST#OVERSTUFFED OMELET WITH GRILLED VEGGIES/PROVOLONE CHEESE

GRILLED TOMATO SLICES AND YELLOW SQUASH,SAUTEED ONIONS AND PROVOLONE CHEESE FOR FILLING IN OMELET
GRILLED TOMATO SLICES AND YELLOW SQUASH,SAUTEED ONIONS AND PROVOLONE CHEESE FOR FILLING IN OMELET

I yearned for something quite filling and nutritious. I wasn’t in the mood for oatmeal and berries. And for sometime I’ve taken a break from Cheerios and other dried cereals; much too sugary for me.

Grabbed hold of my grill pan and let it slowly come to warmth under low heat. I made sure to spray it with Pam. Yellow squash and a sweet tomato had my name written all over them. Did a quick slicing of them, brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper. In just a few minutes my grilled veggies were ready for filling action.

I wasn’t quite finished; so, I decided to saute a few slices of onions with a pinch of salt and pepper. In no time they became oh, so sweet and set them aside with a couple of slices of provolone cheese.

On a separate burner, a hot skillet with a drizzle of olive oil was waiting for me (well, for my egg batter). Beforehand, I made sure to season with a pinch of salt and cracked black pepper along with a few pieces finely chopped parsley. I didn’t add milk; instead I added a splash of cold water to batter and whisked it with a fork.

In no time my egg batter was ready for its fillings. I laid my provolone cheese first. All this was on low heat. Then came my the veggies and then I did my flip. I knew it; there would be a little oozing. That was quite okay.

OOZING/OVERSTUFFED OMELET
OOZING/OVERSTUFFED OMELET

Guys, my grilled veggie and cheesy omelet was just what I needed. I never had to do it; however, I toasted a very small whole wheat bagel with a smear of strawberry spread. It hit the right spot. Hmmm, to say I was happy is such an understatement. I was over the moon!

LEFT-OVER BRAISED GOAT MEAT BECOMES NEW WITH THE AID OF STEAMED RICE/MINT

STEAMED WHOLEGRAIN RICE WITH REFRESHING MINT
STEAMED WHOLEGRAIN RICE WITH FRESH MINT

It’s amazing how a left-over dish can be transformed into new. I was a bit tired/lazy to cook another protein from scratch. Had some left-over braised goat meat (mutton) in my freezer. Did a little defrosting and simmered anew  on stove top. So, with the help of a fresh bunch of mint and whole-grain rice, I created a brand new dish.

With one cup of rice and three cups of water (chicken broth would be fine), I added a sprig of thyme for more flavor along with a pat of butter and olive oil and a pinch of salt. After rice was simmered on low to completion, I finely chopped fresh mint and added to steaming rice. A fresh sprig of mint was used to garnish.

A week ago I blanched some green beans I had on hand. These were stored in the freezer. What do you know? These came in quite handy as I retrieved a serving and defrosted. I was very elated to see that they still had their brilliant green hue. Moreover, they were still crispy. I dried the excess fluid from them on paper towel and immersed them in a drizzle of olive oil and a clove of crushed garlic. With a sprinkle of cracked black pepper my green beans came alive on a low heat.

I served my transformed dish of braised goat meat with a serving of fried plantains; such a fantastic and sweet contrast. In addition, I added a healthy slice of ‘nature’s butter’, avocado after I squeezed fresh lime on same.

Guys, though the flavors were different; however together, they worked quite united. By the way, the braised mutton was even more succulent and loaded with amazing spices and flavors. My taste buds were very happy and so was I.