ALL SET FOR THE ARCTIC BLAST! #CHICKEN/VEGGIE SOUP

Well, dear momma said there’ll be days like this. And she was correct. On this day, in my neck of the woods, (So. Florida) I’ll be prepping and cooking for the arctic blast. Yes, I know you must be saying, “Florida!?”. Already, we’re experiencing a mix-bag of rain, wind and of course, a nose-dive of temperatures.

Yep! Those cold digits have long legs and as I pen,  they are making their way here. In a couple of days, temperatures will plummet to the low forties and in some  northern regions, twenties and thirties. Forecasters said there could be SNOW.

So, what does a sun gal do with all that thinning blood pulsating through her veins? Well, other than reaching for her coat, mittens and boots, she’ll heading for the kitchen alright. And, that’s what I did. Decided to prep and cook for later. So, when that cold weather pattern enters my locale, I will have some form of culinary control.

Made me a big pot of chicken and veggie soup.  Have done so a ‘million and one’ times. Had all my ingredients on hand.  With all my root veggies and other ingredients, (diced carrots, onions, celery, pumpkin, corn on the cob, fresh thyme, scallion, chicken noodle mix, etc) the whole process went quite smoothly.

I know my stomach and my palate will be very much satiated during this arctic spell. As I feast on this mouth-watering dish with perhaps a few crispy crackers, I’ll reach for my throw and dress in my favorite sweater while I let my remote lead me to something entertaining on the tube. Arctic blast….bring it on!

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FALL HAS ARRIVED FOR QUITE SOMETIME

There is an English proverb that says, “It’s better to begin in the evening than not at all.” In my native country (Jamaica), we would say, “It never too late for a shower of rain.” How are these sayings relevant to Fall you might ask?

You see, I went on a little hiatus (sometime in March’17). Never expected to be away that long. Wanted to resume writing my blog, but, repeatedly procrastinated. Before I knew it, summer made it’s way and so did the very active work of Mother Nature.

My heart goes out to many victims of  hurricanes Irma and Harvey. Several lost their lives. The devastation from these storms destroyed and obliterated islands, towns and many structures.

People in Barbuda and other parts of the Leeward Islands, Puerto Rico, Key West, US Virgin Islands, Houston, Tx, USA are still without electric power and other amenities. It seemed like there is no ending to the devastation within our midst.

Sonoma and Napa Valley counties in California, USA went through tremendous lost of lives and properties caused by fires. Many wineries were completely destroyed by these gigantic fires. In addition, Mexico had its structures demolished in a huge way with a massive earthquake. Several lives were perished.

When devastation and tragedies occur, one can feel rather helpless and forlorn. You try to find ways to assist one another in your own way via donations, time and otherwise. You wish you could quiet the dispirited feelings within.

Despite all this, the seasons continue to change. Mother Nature is a mixed-bag. Autumn (Fall) is here(well, since Sept 1). I must confess, it’s one of my faves. I do think it is an incredible time to return to one of my passions which is sharing my cooking.

So, as some of you are fortunate to experience the leaves transform to their amazing reds, oranges, and other hues up north, I choose to follow suit in my own way. I do so by enjoying the wholesome products of nature. The marketplaces are abuzz. I’ll purchase, prepare and cook the seasonal foods in the form of:

  • Pumpkin
  • Squash
  • Sweet potatoes(yam)
  • Cauliflower
  • Beetroot
  • Eggplant
  • Brussels sprout
  • Cranberries
  • Leek
  • Okra
  • Pears

and a host of other seasonal foods. I do think it’s the best way to save and simultaneously enjoy nature’s bounties. I can’t wait to transform these wholesome produces hopefully into delectable dishes. My palate is anticipating those mouth-watering dishes.

So, as the temperatures plummet to comfortable digits, I’ll fling open my windows and doors and usher in the cool goodness. Okay, I know I don’t reside in the cold region. But, I’ll allow my imagination to take over.

I’ll pretend that I’m curled up by a crackling fireplace with the glowing embers popping. That’s when I will indulge in a comforting bowl of pumpkin or squash soup. Or a finger licking dish of stew. In my head, the green leaves are changing to their breath-taking hues of reds, oranges and others.

Welcome back my family, friends, fellow bloggers, and followers. It’s nice to return. Despite life’s pitfalls, it’s also wonderful. It’s time to start making some beautiful noise with those pots, skillets and pans. Let’s start chopping!

And as per usual, I thank you for joining me at “Justmeandmypot”, where I try to keep a fine mouth-watering balance. Have an awesome Fall season.

 

 

 

 

ENDLESS #SEEDS/GRAINS

Choices! Choices! So many choices. We all have been there….shopping for a loaf of bread. Thought it would’ve been a quick errand. Figured I could dip into my morning work-out session and replenish a loaf of bread. Like a ‘grab/run’ and to the cash register. Oh, no! On a recent trip to the  grocery store for that one item, it turned out to be quite a marathon.

All I wanted was a hearty wholegrain loaf. But instead, I was surrounded by a million loaves ogling me. After viewing a few, my focus became compromised and what do you know? I started sweating. Clearly, my work-out had begun.

Knew precisely what I needed; but, couldn’t locate as the store’s personnel had re-shuffled my wholegrain. I hate when that happens. Decided to hop out of the Pepperidge Farm box and tried something else. Oh, so many grains and seeds with nutritious description from A to Z.

While viewing a 7 grain loaf, my peripheral vision brought up Ezekiel’s loaves. Seemed like an answer from above….a god-send of sort. This particular loaf had low sodium/sprouted wholegrain and another had sesame sprouted grains. But then adjacent to same was Arnold wholegrain 100%. Without a doubt, competition was in the house! Well, on the bread aisle.

Out of no where, I spotted ‘Eureka!’ which was on sale. And, it was organic too. But then, the work continued and low and behold Eureka had a quite a few choices. There was one with 13 grains and seeds and another with even 17. All I could think of was ‘FIBER!’

Made up my mind and settled for the 17 grains/seeds. Why not? Figured, the more seeds and grains, the better. That loaf was a great choice as it was hearty and quite filling. After all that I had been through, it had to be. So guys, when next you go shopping for bread, make sure you’ve a little extra time for the bread aisle.

 

 

OH, THOSE LAZY DAYS OF SUMMER!

Where has time gone? Since I’ve been on a hiatus, summer made it’s way within my midst. June 21 is officially the first day of summer which is said to the longest day of the year. And boy! It’s scorching!

In my neck of the woods, the sunshine state, Florida, the sun is shining at its brightest and the humidity makes it feel like triple digits. But, I’m not complaining, pretty soon the summer thunderstorms may arrive and plummet those temperatures a few digits.

With these long and warm days ahead, no one wishes to sweat over a hot range. I say it’s time to dust off those grills and grill from A to Z. So whether it’s an indoor/outdoor grill or barbeque pit, it’s time to chop those fruits and vegetables and secure those awesome and attractive grill marks. The rustic and mouthwatering tastes will entice all your loved ones to the tables.

And, when it comes to grilling or barbequing  protein like fish, meat or chicken, one rule of thumb that could be incorporated in marinating same is to add a drizzle of acid in the form of vinegar, lime or alcohol. This will aid in the shelf life of the cooked protein dish. After all, no one wishes to visit the emergency room with a food related illness.

Remember as the sizzling temperatures rise on the outskirts, so is the temperature in the refrigerator and freezer. If you haven’t done so as yet, now is the perfect time to lower those digits in order to prevent and reduce food spoilage. Keep freezer zero degrees and refrigerator at forty degrees.

When it comes to hydration, water is always your friend. Freeze water bottles over night and you’ll have cool water to tote along during the day. Of course, take advantage of all the summer fruits around by making smoothies and popsicles. Berries (blue/black) are excellent for freezing as healthy snacks.

So, as you flip-flop around this summer, remember it doesn’t have to cost a thing to be in close proximity to water. Grab your cooler with home-made goodies and hit the public beach, lake, river, pool or just go splash by that fire hydrant(well, they do open same in some neighborhoods during the hot months).

Or, if you’re not a water person, summer is the perfect time to catch on the shows and movies you didn’t  watch. Turn the thermostat down and binge-watch on Netflix or On-Demand while you indulge in your favorite foods.

Summer is here! Keep cool and have loads of fun. Happy Summer!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE ABSTINENCE OF CERTAIN FOODS #LENTEN SEASON

The Lenten season is rapidly coming to a close. This date on the calendar changes each year. For 2017, it started on March 1 which is considered Ash Wednesday. And, it ends on Saturday, April 15.

This period in the Christian faith is to reflect on the journey of Christ when he fasted forty days and nights. Also, it’s commemorate the forty years of isolation in the wilderness of the Israelites. During this time, millions of Christians over the years use this time to work on self-control in different areas of their lives.

One of the main areas that they tend to address is in the area of food indulgence. Some use the time to fast. Many will abstain from alcohol as well as meat and other food items. For instance, some households will abstain from consuming meat on Good Friday and prefer to include seafood.

Come Easter Sunday, the celebrations begin. After church worship and celebration of the risen Lord, the festivities continues in the form of food consumption. The Easter ham or meat of choice and eggs become the stars of the meal.

Happy Easter to all.

 

DAIRY QUEEN SPRING GIVEAWAY

Just in time for the first day of spring. And, it has sprung in a sweet and refreshing way. Dairy Queen is offering a #free cone to its customers. It’s called “Free Cone Day” in its 3rd year.

Dairy Queen has over 6,700 locations worldwide. However, only the stores in the United States excluding the mall locations will be doling out this sweet delight in the vanilla flavor as long as supplies last.

This gesture is to kick-off the 1st day of spring and to raise funds for the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. Last year was a great success in they were able to raise over $200,000 healthcare needs for children.

So guys, while you lick and indulge in that sweet and delicious treat, remember to donate to this worthwhile cause. Do take time to enjoy that crisp and refreshing spring day.

And by the way, they say it’s the #International Day of Happiness(2017). But, that’s another story. I’m happy! It’s #1st day of spring! And, it’s #Free  Cone Day!

 

 

DOMINO’S PIZZA IS TAKING A BITE IN THE NUPTIAL BUS.

The popular pizza chain, Domino’s has expanded its brand by creating a niche in the wedding line. No longer will wedding guests be limited to household and fine China as gifts to newly weds. When you think about it, how many pots and pans does a couple need. Thanks to a wedding registry offered by Domino’s, guests can choose the cheesy dough for their blissful couple who enjoys pizza.

Having a Bachelorette or Bachelor party? Domino’s promises to cater to your party guests. I think on wedding night, a couple should also have the pizza retailer on speed dial. You never know when catered food will run out. After all, you have to feed drunk and hungry guests.

When you think about it, it’s a nifty idea especially for young couples and their friends who have limited amount of resources on the onset of their lives.  Why not? Go ahead, choose those toppings. Go for your favorite toppings of pepperoni, onions, sausage, etc.

If the pizza industry can crave out a niche in the wedding area, maybe, the fitness industry should follow suit. After all, statistics have revealed that newly weds generally gain a few ‘lbs’ during those blissful years.

I say take advantage of those cheesy delights in moderation. Redeem those gift certificates and have fun with loved ones. Then, make it a habit to frequently sweat it out and pump those irons. It’s all about a fine balance.

 

 

NATIONAL BAGEL/PIZZA DAY #FREEBIES!

If you are not watching your carbs intake, today is one to celebrate. It’s National Bagel and National Pizza Day! Grab your iPhones and smartphones and retrieve a digital coupon. Make your way to your nearest eatery for a delicious slice of pizza and bagel.

Some of the selected establishments where you can redeem your coupons are:

  • Einstein Bros. Bagels
  • Kum/Go
  • Manhattan Bagel

It’s all about balance. And what better way to have same than to claim a freebie on this day (Feb.9). Honor the day and indulge in a slice of thin or deep crust pizza. Or, slather on some cream cheese on a warm bagel while you sip on your favorite morning brew.

Bon appetit!

 

 

 

 

 

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.