HAPPY NEW YEAR!! #2016!!

Once again, another year is  rapidly coming to a close. It makes you wonder where time has elapsed. But, ready or not, 2016 is almost here. With that being said, we (well, most of us) will be doing reflections on 2015. We will also be actively making resolutions for the new year.

We are humans, and we can’t help but to have a ‘mixed-bag’ to sort through. There will be sad memories of those loved ones who have passed. We will certainly ponder over unfinished business and goals. There will also be triumphs.

In spite of the aforesaid, I choose to be an optimist. I do consider myself a proud member of the ‘Optimist Club’. This gal chooses to view the glass half full in the different areas of her life. She chooses to dwell on the positives and learn from the negatives.

And, one of the areas that I’m proud of is my Food Blog “Justmeandmypot.com” which I started in the summer of 2014. I’m extremely thankful for all my family members, friends and followers on WordPress, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram and others who have taken a snippet of their precious time to view, read and comment on my blog posts.

Thank you for listening and reading about me babbling about one of my favorite passions, food. You made the preparation and cooking of a mundane dish exciting. I received euphoric feelings in my humble kitchen because I knew that you would be part of my dishes by peeking in my pot.

I enjoyed following hundreds of fellow bloggers in the area of food, travel, lifestyles, photography and other areas. I never got weary of the amazing photos of food, locales and other interests. I’ve certainly learned a lot.

2015 also had me embarking on another passion of mine, physical fitness. I love to eat. Therefore, I try my utmost best to move as well. We could always do with a little motivation; I know I do. Thus, in April 2015, I started a ‘Buddy System’ called ‘Move/s of the day’ which is linked to with my Facebook page.

I wish to thank you for your support and encouragement in this area. As someone famous once said “it takes a village”. We all need that little ‘shove’ to get up off the sofa and burst that sweat.

Despite the challenges, fears and deficiencies, I choose to be excited and positive about 2016. I’ve chosen to tackle and embark on new horizons that will serve others and empower myself.

I’ve also opted to continue with the positives of the old year (2015) and greatly improve on them. In doing same, I hope to inspire others and subsequently improve on a better version of me. I’m ready for 2016. Come join me and let’s embrace the new year with gusto.

By the way, there’s unlimited membership in the  ‘Optimist Club'(well, my club).

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

GOD BLESS!!

 

 

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A MAHI MAHI CATCH!! #PAN-SEARED FISH

My palate and I were in a seafood kind of mood for supper. It was quite a delightful change to place  a hold on the feathery one (chicken) and indulged in a light yet satisfying seafood meal.

On my last shopping trip I secured a couple Mahi mahi steaks. Mahi mahi are commonly known as dorado or dolphin fish; but, they’re no way related to dolphins. These are found in tropical and subtropical waters worldwide.

After seasoning with salt, black pepper and crushed garlic, I allowed them to sit for about half an hour. Remnants of garlic were removed and fish dried with paper towel. In a hot skillet, olive oil was added with a few sprigs of thyme. Steaks were pan-seared on both sides for approximately six minutes per side and set aside.

PAN-SEARED MAHI MAHI
PAN-SEARED MAHI MAHI

Chopped onions were then added to pan along with a pat of butter. Onions were softened and a splash of water and fresh squeeze of lemon to make up a butter/lemon sauce. Under low heat, steaks were added back to pan to soak up all the flavors. Steaks were topped with a few capers to finish.

I served pan-seared Mahi mahi with pan-roasted grape tomatoes, garlic-flavored asparagus spears, a slice of nature’s butter (avocado) and a herb rice.

CHICKEN THIGHS SMOTHERED IN HOME-MADE APPLE SAUCE

I felt like a mad scientist while I chopped, and diced ingredients for  my roasted chicken thighs and side dishes. You see, one can eat chicken a ‘million’ and one ways. But, without the input of certain spices and other ingredients, these dishes can leave a ‘blah’ taste to the taste buds.

I was seeking a chicken dish that would ‘knock’ off my socks in a good way. And, this one did. Thanks to one of fall’s favorites, apples, I was able to turn out a dish that was savory, a little sweet and tart and left my taste buds seeking more.

Overnight, I marinated my chicken thighs with crushed garlic,drizzle of olive oil, salt, black pepper, paprika, fresh thyme. On the day of cooking, I hauled my apples in the mix. After all, they were there perched in that red dish, waiting to be devoured. I surprised them and I made a quick home-made apple sauce out of them. With a few squeeze of honey, cinnamon,pinch of salt and a splash of water, I lowered the heat.

Apples simmered on low until they because softened. I  then used my fork to help them along by mashing them. After simmering to the to sauce like consistency, this was placed aside.

HOME-MADE APPLE SAUCE FOR CHICKEN THIGHS
HOME-MADE APPLE SAUCE FOR CHICKEN THIGHS

Chicken thighs were roasted for approximately 45 minutes at a temperature of 365 degrees fahrenheit turning once.

ROASTED CHICKEN THIGHS READY FOR APPLE SAUCE
ROASTED CHICKEN THIGHS READY FOR APPLE SAUCE

Home-made apple sauce was then smothered on each thigh and then placed back inside the oven for another 15 minutes at 410 degrees.

CHICKEN THIGHS SMOTHERED IN APPLE SAUCE
CHICKEN THIGHS SMOTHERED IN APPLE SAUCE

I served chicken thighs smothered in apple sauce with a serving of fall greens consisting of sautéed brussels sprouts and broccoli with dried cranberries.

SAUTEED BROCCOLI AND BRUSSELS SPROUT WITH DRIED CRANBERRIES
SAUTEED BROCCOLI AND BRUSSELS SPROUT WITH DRIED CRANBERRIES
FINAL DISH OF CHICKEN THIGHS SMOTHERED IN APPLE SAUCE AND FALL GREENS AND CRANBERRIES
FINAL DISH OF CHICKEN THIGHS SMOTHERED IN APPLE SAUCE AND FALL GREENS AND CRANBERRIES

A SIDE I COULDN’T RESIST #ROASTED PUMPKIN/SWEET POTATOES

For the fall, this dish has become one of my absolute favorites. I’ve traveled this fork of the road before and I liked same. Maybe, it’s the sweet/tart tastes along with the warm spices of ginger and cinnamon and the contrasting salty flavor of the bits of feta cheese.

Guys, I’m harping about my roasted pumpkin and sweet potatoes. I’ve always roasted sweet potatoes and pumpkin; however, I’ve never executed both simultaneously. I really don’t know how I’ve not done so before. However, the ‘mad-cap’ in me decided to do so during the fall. And I can’t seem to cease.

So once again, I retrieved my chopping board and knife and went to work with my specimens on hand. Both root vegetables were thoroughly rinsed with cold tap water. With skin-on, I chopped veggies in large wedges and placed on foil-covered baking sheet.

PUMPKIN AND SWEET POTATOES READY FOR ROASTING
PUMPKIN AND SWEET POTATOES READY FOR ROASTING

Wedges were drizzled with olive oil, sprinkle of salt, powdered ginger and cinnamon. These were roasted in a preheated oven at 420 degrees fahrenheit  for approximately 40 minutes. My abode was permeated  with all the warm and aromatic flavors and spices of fall. I was super-happy.

As warm golden wedges of sweet potatoes and pumpkin hit the plate, bits of crumbled feta cheese were strewn on. Each bite  (skin edible) tasted like a piece of ‘heaven’. Nature is amazing!

JAMAICAN CHRISTMAS FRUIT CAKE IN CUPCAKE SIZES

A miniature version of Jamaica’s traditional Christmas fruit cake. Decided to bake some in a cupcake format. This cake is made with candied fruits simmered/infused with spirits (alcohol): Wray/Nephew White Rum, Red Label Wine and Brandy. Molasses and food browning were added for a dark brown hue.

As usual, Santa will be delivering a few bigger versions to my loved ones.

JAMAICA'S CHRISTMAS FRUIT CAKES
JAMAICA’S CHRISTMAS FRUIT CAKES

Ho!!!Ho!! Merry Christmas!! Feliz Navidad!!

PUTTING IT BACK! #CORNMEAL PORRIDGE

Woke up to a long overdue autumn air (Florida-style).  With that cool and refreshing air banging on my doors, I decided to fling open the windows and doors.  I did a  few stretches and a jog.

PUTTING A LEG UP WITH A DOWNWARD DOG POSE
PUTTING A LEG UP WITH A DOWNWARD DOG POSE

After I completed my work out, something comforting was on my mind. Decided on an old favorite from my childhood (cornmeal porridge. It didn’t take me long to whip up same. In a stock pot, I added:

  • medium grain cornmeal, whole milk, water, cinnamon, nut meg, pinch of salt and vanilla.

I stirred all ingredients and simmered same on low to medium heat for approximately  20 to thirty minutes. After porridge thickened to the right consistency and grains cooked, this was sweetened with condensed milk. Porridge was sprinkled with additional cinnamon on top.

Each spoonful was warm, creamy, not overly sweet and satisfying. I felt that I had replenished what I had lost during my work out. I was super happy.

 

THE CRANBERRY WAY!! CRANBERRY-FILLED CREPES

On my last shopping trip, fuzzy-headed me forgot to replenish my oatmeal. I didn’t allow that omittance to dapper my breakfast. I went sweet and tart with my flavors. I decided to prepare some whole-wheat crepes filled with home-made cranberry sauce.

Because cranberries are very tart in taste  a generous squeeze of honey and sugar  were added. Ingredients were simmered at low to medium heat in a small stock pot for until they burst and created a sauce-like consistency.

Sweet and tart-like sauce was filled in each whole-wheat crepe and then wrapped.

CREPES READY FOR CRANBERRY SAUCE FILLING
CREPES READY FOR CRANBERRY SAUCE FILLING

With a drizzle of cranberry sauce my crepes were done. It felt like Christmas in my kitchen as I downed a shot of fresh cranberry juice. Salud!! Ho! Ho!!

ENCORE PERFORMANCE #BRAISED CURRIED GOAT

Supper was an easy decision. A few days ago, I cooked a braised curried goat infused with a touch of white rum. I enjoyed and decided to reserve a portion for another time. Fast forward to today.

Thus, it was with great delight that I went with the flow and partook of my lucky goat. Just like before, it was fork tender, full of amazing bold and mouth-watering flavors. I served my braised curried goat with:

  • Steamed Jasmine rice with a topping of avocado ball (mashed)
  • A steamed garlic-flavored serving of asparagus and broccoli
  • A serving of fried plantain
  • Grape tomatoes

My palate and I were very satisfied.