Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Some hair and flower pictures...

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Sunday, May 29, 2011

Container Gardening 2011

My gardening this year has been quite the success, especially since I decided against planting tomatoes. The drama that ensues after last year’s disaster was the only reminder of how much I hate bugs and I am refuse to deal with them.

So as homage to my aunt, I planted some geranium plants and they are quite lovely now and filling up our planters quite nicely. Those suckers fair very well especially since two nights a week I do not get an opportunity to water them twice a day, which is my norm. And with Alabama temperatures the heat can wreck havoc with your plants and lawn. But everyone knows I don’t do outside and water grass ain’t gonna happen.

Geraniums 5/11

I also planted some roses. A hybrid red rose and a Queen Elizabeth pink rose. Initially, the few buds bloomed and then it looked like they died. Well I got some Rose plant food and followed some online information on pruning and now they are about to bloom again. I have always loved roses and nothing gives me more pleasure then knowing I am growing them myself.

Two types of roses Red & Pink 5/11 (I should have blooms in 2 wks)

As I said in my recent random, my niece Hunny Bunny was confused about why all my plants were in pots. Bless it, but I am not tilling and all that to do a garden in the back yard, lest you forget I plan to get a dog, one day. Container gardening is easier to maintain for me. Now when the plants get too big you have to upgrade to larger pots, but containers aren’t too expensive. This year my crop of cilantro, basil, mint, green onions and chives has far surpassed my expectations. My cilantro, mint and basil of last year don't compare to this year’s crop. Go me!

Sunflowers make the meanest of people smile. I grew these so I could smile when days seem a bit sad or I am having a particularly rough day. My sunflowers are huge and it hasn’t been easy to grow them either. One thing is I didn’t realize I had the HUGE plants so I should have used a bigger container. Next year I definitely will do that. And they take a lot of water. Them suckers, literally suck up water and when it is hot I have had to water 3 times a day instead of just twice. Geez!

Tell me you didn't just smile!
This is one of the biggest of the sunflower plants
My sister claims this type of thing especially my gardening makes me old, I don't care.  It gives me something to do because this time last year I was a caretaker and while both are rewarding emotionally and physically, gardening is easier.  I mean, who doesn't smile when they see a Sunflower?

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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Creative Cooking...Again

On the Gina's Skinny Taste site, she made a dish called “shaking beef”, which is an Vietnamese inspired dish. When I saw it, I figured hey I can try that and it doesn’t require too many ingredients. That’s what I like the most, because I am a lazy cook.

On Sunday, after washing my hair, I got to the business of preparing the dish. The night before, I prepped the beef by marinating it in light soy sauce, garlic (minced), fish sauce, oyster sauce and sugar. I cut the beef into chunks, next time I will cut into thin strips since I had it w/angel hair pasta.

Now you know I strayed away from the recipe. Disclaimer: I am not doing the WW diet, but I find the dishes on this site to be low in calories and actually have flavor. Nothing I despise more than tasteless food. No one has money to just throw away. Oh, the straying away from the recipe part I made a sauce to put over the beef after I cooked it.
                                                             Before thickening in a sauce pan.
2 Tbs of Rice Wine Vinegar

1 tsp of ground ginger

2 Tbs of Oyster sauce

1 Tbs of fish sauce

2 Tbs of sugar

To taste Sirachi chili sauce

Combined in a sauce pan to simmer and thicken. Once thicken place to the side.

Now it is time to do some other prep before you go to “shaking beef”. I cut up some roma tomatoes, cilantro & green onions from my own garden, and red onions.

With a screaming hot pan with canola oil I quickly cooked my beef, being sure not to overcook. Then in a change again in the recipe I sautéed some yellow onions and my tomatoes to add to the cook beef I sat aside. Once it was finished I stirred in the previously made sauce and tossed the beef and sautéed onions and tomatoes.

Somewhere in between I boiled some whole wheat angel hair pasta al dente. So yeah, do that or you can serve it as  Gina Skinny Taste says with the salad, but I have eaten enough salads for the last few weeks and I need a break. I think it would be great with rice, if you like rice. I also made the dipping sauce of lime juice, kosher salt and cracked black pepper. Yummy!

I garnished the dish with the cilantro, red onions and green onions.

Shaking Beef with whole wheat Angel Hair pasta, garnished with cilantro, red and green onions w/lime, kosher salt and black pepper dipping sauce.

Verdict: Loves it. It is flavorful and easy enough a novice like me had no trouble making this tasty meal. Only thing I would do differently is to slice my beef thinly.

Side note: Why did the Asian store I normally go to not open on time Saturday? Geez, I had to get my fish sauce and oyster sauce from a grocery story. The horror!

Next was Fudge brownies with a pretzel and toffee topping. This is so easy all you need is a box of your favorite brownie mix or if you are ambitious, you can make your own brownies from scratch, I ain’t. What? Once you follow the directions on the box and in a lined muffin pan fill half way with mix and top with crushed pretzels and toffee and bake according to the box directions.

Verdict: Easy. Tasty. Rich. And evidently the book club members enjoyed them because I didn’t bring any home.

Now you know I was supposed to take the pineapple cupcakes to book club, but I got lazy and I had so much to do I just didn’t feel like working it out that icing issue I have with the recipe. This brownie recipe was inspired by Crepes of Wrath so check her out as well.

Technically, I wasn’t really bored this weekend to be doing all this cooking, but I really do find joy in preparing and sharing food with my friends and family.

A little closer view.  And yes, this is a saucer serving.

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Sunday, May 22, 2011

This Weekend’s Waiting on the Rapture Randoms…

So what time zone was this Rapture supposed to happen at 6:00 pm? I am so confused. Probably why I do not watch the news.

Thanks to Mrs. TDJ, who pointed out that if you weren’t a google account holder, you couldn’t comment on my blog. I never knew, but I have corrected it. Yeah! Now how long have I been blogging?...

I had big ideas of being an extreme couponer, but last Sunday my paper had absolutely no coupons.  Maybe I'll try again next week.

We had our book club meeting Saturday. It seems like just yesterday we had a meeting. We have some big things happening in the way of community service this year. Our book for June is Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones. I love her work. I am so excited to open the first page, because unlike the majority of my book club members, I do not have a Kindle or Book Nook. I am still in love with smelling the pages of a new book and touching and turning every page. Plus, damn it I need page numbers. I am anal like that.

We are having a Girls Night In Summer Cookout meeting at my house. They were asking were we going to be grilling that evening. Of course I was giving them the side-eye and WDTDTA? Because I grill early in the morning because I do not do heat, sun or mosquitoes.

I left the book club meeting upon finishing the benediction and this time I did have a date. LOL!

I sent my sister another cute picture of myself. She says I am over the top and she can’t deal. Is she jealous of my vanity?

You should see the full picture of the dress.  When I upload from my camera this week oh yeah!  I am so vain sometimes.

I made two new dishes this weekend and my sunflowers are blooming. Guess what, I will have some blog posts this week of my old lady antics.

I was so glad my yard guy finally cut my grass because the weeds were touching my legs and I am crazy enough to think it is a snake or lizard so I was getting a bit scared. We have had quite a bit of rain these last few weeks.

I washed my hair today. Why in all that is beautiful and glorious do I dread this process so much? But before I could even begin to wash I spent two hours retightening. Having Sisterlocks ain’t easy and don’t let nobody tell you different. You still have to do your hair.

I was told I needed to eat because I look as if I am about to disappear. I lost 6 pounds in the last two weeks, but um I had gained 10 during the winter and this go around I seem to be distributing the weightloss differently.

Ya’ll Beyoncé’s Run the World song will make you do extra laps on the track or treadmill. I did three extra laps yesterday so I could prance and walk to the song. I must have been a sight to see.

I still fool people on the phone with my work voice. I guess I shouldn’t use it at home when I answer the phone because some folks are totally confused.

My lil cousin, Carson is still hanging in there. Keep on praying.

The book club is going to New Orleans in September and we will be doing some community services things upon our arrival because the debauchery will begin soon after. I hope we have a very good meeting since we are having a destination book club meeting. Plus, we have several members who have never been to New Orleans. Yeah, we are gonna have some fun.

Did you all see my sister commented on one of my posts?

Hunny Bunny likes my container garden, but she seems perplexed by why everything is growing in pots.

My sister likes to torture my older niece and have her literally in tears. Why must she be so cruel? I even felt kinda guilty and text the poor soul that her mom was tripping and it wasn’t true.

Have you ever met someone whose fear of something far outweighs your own, because you don’t have a similar reaction. Makes you think, hell I am good with this flying compared to other folks. Geez.

I am embarking on another week of no sugar. Pray for the little children at my 2nd job. And hope the espresso of my morning coffee compensates so I am not miserable on my full-time job.

My muse is itching to write something crazy and I guess I better get on it because he or she can really be off the chain when I do not respond in a timely manner to their gentle and persistent urgings.

Well, it is Sunday I am still here and either I missed the Rapture or Hell is right here on Earth, someone’s prediction was off yet again. I am just mad there were folks really believing some regular man.

Have a great upcoming week!

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Monday, May 16, 2011

Creative Cooking...

Yet, again I have been doing some cooking, because I have been bored.  As everyone keeps telling me, I am getting old or nesting.  Whateva.  I find peace and joy cooking and sharing food and the relaxation and feeling I get from gardening and watching something I nurture grow is truly priceless.  Yeah, yeah I am getting old.

I mentioned before the Skinny Gina site which has all these weight watcher meals on it and several I can't imagine not trying.  So on this lone Saturday after working out and running errands I baked some pineapple cupcakes and Cilantro Lime Shrimp.

The pineapple cupcakes I was trying out because they seem really simple and they would be easy to make each month to give to my book club members in celebration of their birthdays.  I mean the recipe is absolutely simple.

1 box of Yellow Cake Mix
1 20 oz can of Crushed Pineapples

The icing is a simple cream cheese frosting

1- 8 oz 1/3rd less fat Philadelphia Cream Cheese
1 - 20 oz can of Crushed Pineapples completely drained
1- cup of powdered sugar (variation from original recipe)
2- tablespoons of unsalted butter

The cake you combine the box cake and pineapples in your mixer and mix until smooth.  Then you place 2/3 of the batter into each cupcakes lined section.  Cook according to the directions on the box cake.

Now let me tell you about the damn icing.  I followed the original recipe for the icing, but it was so runny and was horrible looking to me.  It tasted ok, but if you fail to drain the pineapples completely it will break down the cream cheese badly.  So I resorted to powdered sugar and butter, although it may increase the calories it held up better.  Barely. 

                                      Simple as pie, almost.

                                                                   Into the Mixing bowl.

                                                       Well mixed.  Thanks Kitcheaid!


                                            Pineapple Cupcake w/ fresh mint from my garden!

                                                     Another yummy view

Verdict:  The cupcakes were flavorable and moist even without eggs, oil or butter.  The icing isn't as firm as I would like, it is tasty, but a bit too sweet for my taste.  My kids (employees) and the manager on my second job loved them!  I will make them next week for the book club members and see how well they like them.

Cilantro Lime Shrimp

I am not even gonna front these were some of the best tasting shrimp I have had in a long time and I recently made some of my barbecue chipotle shrimp and they were good too.  Want to see a picture that made my sister mad?

                                                These were scrumptious over a garden salad.

The recipe calls for 2 pounds of shrimp cleaned and deveined, 6 cloves of garlic, 1/2 cup of cilantro, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 lime and salt and pepper.  Well you know I don't follow directions right? 

I had a pound of Jumbo shrimp cleaned and deveined
2 tablespoons of minced garlic
Cilantro from my garden for taste
1 lime and some lime juice
Seasoned with Tony Chachere's

I seasoned my shrimp w/Tony's and let it marinate for an hour.  Then I heated my caste iron skillet w/the olive oil and when the pan was hot I added my shrimp and when I turned it over after 2 minutes, I added the garlic and some black pepper.  Cook until done, do not overcook your shrimp.  When the shrimp was done I added the juice from the lime and lime juice and tossed in my cilantro.  OMG! 

                                  (I had to cook the shrimp in two batches b/c I was too lazy to get a larger pan.)

                                            Lime and my fresh from my garden cilantro
                                                               Finished product!

                                              This is how I ate the finished product.  Yes this is a cup saucer. Portion control.

Verdict:  It is easy and absolutely delicious.  I would make it again and definitely a quick week day meal.  The flavor is unbelievable.

So this is what happens when I am bored.  Oh well, good food, good eats and frankly it ain't fattening.

Enjoy the rest of your week!

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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Happy Mother Day...To Me?

Over the weekend, I was wished Happy Mother’s Day several times. My kids on my second job did, and they all know there is no way in Hell I have or will have any children, but they said I was their work mom. Aw…Then I commenced to cuss them out for sending out undercooked fries. What? Don’t all mamas do that?

At my local grocery store, one of the guys in the meat department wished me Happy Mother’s day and believe me I never get all up in arms I usually reply casually, “Thank you. Although, I don’t have any I appreciate the sentiment.” He was like, “What? Wow? Why not?” No one really wants to hear the real reason because seriously it is not some long or dramatic story.

When I was younger, I was always a little thinker. I mean I was an only child until I was 4 years old and my sister came along and prior to that time I was being raised by my grandmother. You know how much she played with me, so I learned to entertain myself. Even at 4 years old, I said I didn’t want to get married and I wasn’t having children. This has been my mantra for as long as I can remember. In my little, immature brain the thought of being married and being a mother wasn’t something I aspired to do. Don’t get me wrong there have been moments in my life that the mantra got a little shaky, but it has always lived in the recesses of my mind.

I was my sister and brother’s little mama when my mother was working, so my raising kids began when I was quite young. I have been around my young cousins since they were babies and frankly, those are my children. They still call me to talk and hang out. And that was enough of the maternal instinct for me. I love when a new baby comes into the family, but you will not see me running to hold them. Not me. I don’t do that, because I actually am thinking about germs and such. Little boy babies seem to like me the best. Why do the little girls act funny? Don’t ask me. I love my nieces but I pray my sister remains healthy and is around until their adults. Now, I would take over if need be, but um, I ain’t trying to see that happen right now.

In my mind, I have always felt that my purpose wasn’t to bear children, but to be an influence in some child or kids’ life. I have contemplated adoption and fostering kids, but they would not be the babies. I ain’t got the patience. However, my sister scared the bejeezus out of me about fostering or adopting an older child. Seriously, she did put some doubts in my head. So that is out. So I keep my second job and try to be a positive role model on these young kids. And you know what makes me smile? When they come back years later just to say hi to Ms. Cashana.

So it is fine that I don’t have kids and I can’t have any now anyway, but I feel like an amazing woman nonetheless because you don’t have to have children to mother them. 

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Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Randoms on the fly and because I have been busy...

My book club has been together 12 years. And to think last year I was about to disband and now I couldn’t be prouder of our accomplishment. Sisterhood bonding over books can’t beat that.

I could have cared less about William and Kate. I hated her dress and the only reason I saw it because the media thought everyone was interested and thought this was newsworthy. I loved her sister’s dress though.

Easter came and went and I was off two days. Easter was nice and quiet. I am now reminded why I am not a fan of Ruby Tue.sdays. Being with family is priceless, however.

I enjoyed my second day off, immensely.

My muse has been on fire lately and she or he is a mess. Too bad I can’t post all the stuff he or she has me writing on here.

One of my book club members asked why I don’t talk about the other blog. I told her, “If I knew they were reading it, I would censor myself.” It is my private space that allows me to write without repercussions.

Osama bin Laden is dead. I didn’t celebrate and I like the quote posted on Ladylee’s blog. I didn’t mourn either. I was proud of the way our President handle it and they buried him properly.  And no pictures will be released. 

President Obama is gangsta. And his jokes for Trump were funny. While folks were questioning his birth certificate and education, he was handling business.

I was so mad last week about all the hoopla over the birther mess, I was just too angry to put words to paper because it wasn’t going to be nice.

My second cousin welcomed the birth of his son, Carson on the Monday after Easter. He was born 3 months prematurely. He is a beautiful baby and he is a fighter. I told his mama this side of the family is considered fighters and that is where he gets it from. She told me nope, he got it from me. Ya’ll I laughed because I fight for what’s right. All the time. I can’t wait until I can steal him. Please keep him and the family in your prayers because as you can imagine it is stressful and each day is a miracle.

My sister threatened to send my nieces to me Sunday. My youngest, Hunny Bunny called her cheap because the comb she was using to do her hair broke and underneath her breathe she kept saying, ‘cheap, cheap, cheap’ and she told her the braids she had done were different sizes. Sometimes adults just can't handle the truth.  LOL! And the oldest one spilled gas on herself and in the words of my sister she spilled $10.00 worth of gas on the ground and that made my sister livid. However, when she said someone needed to show her how to pump gas, my sister was prepared to send her on a one way bus trip to Alabama. No one taught us how to pump gas, no one! You know I was going to send them right back right?

Book club meeting was this past Saturday and when we finished I left. Although I had taken a brief nap, I was still tired. Why were those still there asking where I was and did I have a date? I hardly ever stay late after meetings anymore because half the time I trying to get to some place before it closes if it is on that particular side of town. I will have them know I went home alone. That. Is. All.

Continue to pray for those who went through the tornados of last week. Montgomery was spared, but I was nervous nonetheless. I prayed and let go and let God handle his business.

I was sick Thursday evening after work I was in the bed by 8, which is almost impossible for me.

One of my 2nd job cashiers asked me when I was baking some more cookies. I said I don’t know because I am not eating sugar right now. She gave me the most serious side-eye I have ever seen in person.

There is so much drama on the 2nd job it is making me tired. Looks like my next weekend break will be sooner rather than later.

My niece officially has a job. I am so proud. When her mother told her to not give away free food to her friends she responded, “No way. I am too much like my Aunt Nana, I follow the rules.” Did I mention how proud I am?

One of my cousins going on the family trip is making this his official honeymoon. He and his wife were married not long after my mother passed in 1983. Yeah, you do the math. I wouldn’t call it a honeymoon, maybe I am over this marriage honey so let’s go on vacation? But when the other cousin mention the freedom they would have to stir cocoa (Black n Bougie), I threw up in my mouth a little.

My garden is looking good and as soon as the sunflowers bloom, I am going to be posting that bad boy picture. I have been diligent and loving to my plants. You just wait.

I finally got the gift certificate for a new radio. I ain’t in the mood for Wally World right now.

In music I love Kelly Rowland’s Motivation, Jill Scott and Anthony Hamilton’s So In Love and Chris Brown’s video to She Ain’t You. Have you heard Beyonce’s new one? I have only heard it twice here, so that means it hasn’t caught on here in the south. It sounds like something I can work out to and really get it in while listening to it, but it is going to have to grow on me.

And for vanity sake here is a fresh, finished retightened hair picture…

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Disclosure: Just so we are all clear any opinions or thoughts made on this blog or site are my own. Comments and statements from third parties may or may not be the opinion of Cashana Musings. I do not get paid to write book reviews or reviews of products or services. All reviews are based solely off my opinion as Cashana of Cashana's Musings. While I may receive review copies of books and even products or services they in no way influence my writing. All items that were received by me for review are disclosed as such. All advertising is in the form of advertisements generated by a third party ad network. Currently, we do not do advertisements.