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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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!

 

 

PERFECT PARTNERS #ROASTED PUMPKIN RINGS/SALMON PATTIES

Needed the ideal partner for my salmon patties. Went with roasted pumpkin rings which turned out to be just the perfect pairing I was seeking.

CANNED WILD ALASKAN SALMON AND PUMPKIN FOR ROASTING
CANNED WILD ALASKAN SALMON AND PUMPKIN FOR ROASTING

Drizzled olive oil on pumpkin along with a pinch of salt, powdered ginger, and paprika. Then, roasted pumpkin rings on baking tray in oven at 405-degree Fahrenheit for approximately 35 to 40 minutes.

PUMPKIN RINGS FOR ROASTING
PUMPKIN RINGS FOR ROASTING
ROASTED PUMPKIN RINGS
ROASTED PUMPKIN RINGS

Rings were sweet, smooth and tender on the inside and crusty on the outside. Topped and paired with my salmon patties which yielded  a delicious contrast.

CREAMY POLENTA IN THE COMPANY OF SPICY GRILLED SHRIMP

The flavors, spices, and ingredients were ‘popping’ in my kitchen. Didn’t have to hop on a plane, bus or train to garner a Jamaican, Italian and Southern experience. With the aid of a few relatively inexpensive ingredients, I was able to turn out quite a mouth-watering dish.

My pantry yielded a pack of cornmeal for less than a $2.00. All I needed was a half of a cup to make a creamy polenta. Gave dish my Jamaican input of fresh coconut milk and added water with veggie bouillon, finely chopped onions, a pinch of nutmeg along with sprinkle of salt and black pepper.

After cornmeal slowly simmered in liquid to a thick consistency, I added a pat of butter and a little grated cheddar cheese to finish off the dish.

POLENTA SIMMERING
POLENTA SIMMERING

Decided to serve creamy polenta with grilled shrimp.

GRILLED SHRIMP WITH A SERVING OF SPICY SWEET PEPPERS
GRILLED SHRIMP WITH A SERVING OF SPICY SWEET PEPPERS

Topped grilled shrimp with serving of spicy sweet peppers which included, mini (assorted) peppers, finely chopped scotch bonnet pepper, vinegar, honey, and a pinch of salt/black pepper. A garlic spinach was also served.

I SEE BANANA/OATMEAL PANCAKES IN THE MAKING

Look ye here! Look ye here! I’ve the main ingredients for banana and oatmeal pancakes over here!  It’s nothing new; but for me, whenever I enjoy a dish, I’ve no qualms in a repeat performance.

To others, they may see a couple wilted bananas to be tossed. But, oh no! My taste buds and I are already salivating the sweetness and smooth taste of these potassium foods. I’ll mash them and sprinkle a generous amount of warm cinnamon to balance my glucose in my system.

MASHED BANANAS AND CINNAMON
MASHED BANANAS AND CINNAMON

I’ll add the sweet goodness to at the end after I assembly my wet ingredients of :

  • beaten egg
  • melted unsalted butter
  • splash of vanilla
  • couple tablespoons of honey

To my wet ingredients, I’ll add dry ingredients of:

  • whole-wheat flour
  • oatmeal
  • baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • powdered ginger
  • cinnamon (can’t have enough of this)

I’ll combine the wet and the dry ingredients and try not to overwork them. Then, I’ll gently fold in the mashed bananas sprinkled with the exotic cinnamon.

BANANA/OATMEAL BATTER FOR PANCAKES
BANANA/OATMEAL BATTER FOR PANCAKES

In a skillet, I’ll spray a little Pam and use a 1/4 measuring cup to input the batter. Then, I’ll top pancake with fresh blueberries and flip after bottom is set and cook.

PANCAKE TOPPED WITH FRESH BLUEBERRIES
PANCAKE TOPPED WITH FRESH BLUEBERRIES

When each pancake is all done and ready, I’ll ‘dig’ in to the succulent delights. I can’t wait to indulge. The roof of my palate will so excited to experience that pop of those tart and sweet blueberries. Oh, I’m salivating already; I can’t wait to indulge.

FINISHED BANANA AND OATMEAL PANCAKES TOPPED WITH FRESH STRAWBERRIES
FINISHED BANANA AND OATMEAL PANCAKES TOPPED WITH FRESH STRAWBERRIES

 

I SEE POSSIBILITIES!! ##CARROTS AND PUMPKIN WEDGES

Who knows where these wholesome foods will take me? In my culinary mind, I see roasted pumpkin wedges and carrot sprinkled with the warm and aromatic flavors of cinnamon and ginger spices. The result could be used as a great side dish. Or, maybe, a delicious mash.

From the looks of things, it’s another chilly Saturday. I do think I should scamper to my kitchen and make me a comforting and satisfying pot of pumpkin and carrot soup. If it’s Saturday, I’ve to go #SOUP! I can see clearly now.

RED BEANS(PEAS) SOUP WITH ROOT VEGGIES AND HAM BONES/PIG’S TAIL

The first day of 2016 found me quite naughty in the kitchen. You see, I blame my childhood friends, Dorna and Clova.

My childhood friend Dorna devouring Red Bean soup (pig's tail on spoon)
My childhood friend Dorna devouring Red Beans soup (pig’s tail on spoon)
ME AND FRIEND, CLOVA
ME AND FRIEND, CLOVA
ME AND MY CHILDHOOD FRIENDS
ME AND MY CHILDHOOD FRIENDS

They requested a Jamaican favorite, red beans (well, we call it ‘peas’ in Jamaica) soup with pig’s tail, left-over ham bone and a medley of root veggies. I’ve consumed this soup numerous time over the years. It’s such a rich and flavorful one. Moreover, it’s loaded with great fibers,proteins, vitamins and other beneficial nutrients that are great for the body.

I couldn’t help myself. As I  fetched my left-over ham bone, I smiled. I felt rather naughty.  After all, it’s still the festive season. I figured we should go out in a succulent ‘bang’. Thus, I also included a fresh squeeze of coconut milk for added flavors and richness.

Of course, no red bean soup is one without a medley of root vegetables (carrots, celery, sweet potatoes, onions, etc.) I also incorporated yellow yam (ground provision) along with boiled dumplings made with a combination of whole-wheat flour, cornmeal and all-purpose flour.

Red bean soup was also flavored and spiced with fresh thyme, all spices (pimento), fresh ginger, garlic, diced onions, scallion, scotch bonnet pepper and dried seasonings. With a packet of noodle soup and  veggie bouillon, my soup simmered on low and came to a beautiful consistency and finish.

Oh, we were on a roll. We chowed down on left-over Jamaican fruit cake served with strawberries and mint. Of course, we had to include a little spirit. And because I feel like every moment should be a celebration, I served chardonnay in champagne chutes. Those chutes are gifts from Dorna. Yeah….I was happy.

JAMAICAN FRUIT CAKE WITH STRAWBERRIES AND MINT
JAMAICAN FRUIT CAKE WITH STRAWBERRIES AND MINT

 

 

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!!