Friday, December 30, 2011

After Christmas, Really, this is my life?, Lala and more Holiday Randoms…

(Be warned.  This is long and filled with pictures)

Do you realize in two more days it will be 2012? This is mindboggling. This year has gone by so fast and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down. I guess when you are older time flies and when you are younger it goes too slow.

I was off from my main job on December 23, 2011, and I did absolutely nothing until it was time for me to go to my second job. It was sunny that day.

On Christmas Eve, I thought about staying in my pjs all day, but I just got real casual and lounged on the couch watching Law & Order: Criminal Intent most of the day.

Exchanged gifts with the guy on Christmas Eve. I gave him his gifts which included the infamous cheesecake. I forgot to take a picture, but it came out pretty good and it had no cracks. I also made a strawberry topping to go along with it.

It rained all day Christmas. When I tell you I had a minor meltdown because of the rain, I am not joking. It was a sad sight to see. It has been raining here like every other day and I don’t know about you but my mood can correspond with the weather, and rain depresses me so.

I got up early Christmas morning to bake the dinner rolls and cinnamon rolls. Besides the rain being frustrating, there wasn’t anything on television at 5 am. Man, was I frustrated. And that is why I took my azz back to bed when I finished baking.

Do you know how hard it is to pack a car with food when it is raining?
Gratuitous outfit picture.

Christmas dinner was a low key event this year. Just family. And that was really nice. Food was pretty good, but being in the company of family is absolutely priceless. At least being with most of the family. Remember from your etiquette lessons, if you are invited to dinner, always bring the host something and if you don’t, do not under any circumstances pack up plates to take home with you. Food ain’t free!
A few of the family waiting on dinner to be served.

We watched movies together after we were informed by one of the cousins there will be no talking during the movies. We watched The Help and Planet of the Apes. Let’s just say, we failed majorly during the Planet of the Apes. That movie is wonderful. I loved it. This coming from a fan of the original Charleston Heston versions. The quality and believability was amazing. “Caesar is home.” Watch it.
Wine Rack

Here’s what the guy got me for Christmas. I mean I really needed a wine rack and it fits perfectly on my entertainment center. I got him a pullover and fleece jacket. I also wrote him something that I put in a picture frame. For some reason, I have to make something to give to people because it gives that extra perspective in gift giving. He texted me when he ate some of his cheesecake saying, “It was hitting.” Thank goodness. Because on Christmas Eve, he was sick from some devil eggs and I knew if it tasted bad or he got sick, he was going to blame my azz.
My gifts to the Guy

The guy also got his son the MJ Experience. He has challenged me. What? I told him be prepared to get his azz whipped. But, I better get in some practice sessions. Quick!

I made it back home to go to bed at a reasonable time so I could take down my decorations on Monday. I got up about 7 am and was at the Dollar General to garner some plastic bins for my decorations by 8:04 am. I didn’t want to think about dealing with lizards next year. I started taking down the decorations about 9:45 am and by 10:15 am I was done. Containers in the storage shed and my back hurting, trying to put that damn heavy tree back on the top shelf in the storage room.

Skipping along to Dec. 27th, my sister texts me she thinks her water broke and she was at the hospital. I asked her if she was going to be tweeting the birth, I was kinda kidding. Um, but they sent her azz back home later that night.

My sister was mad as hell because she said she was so over this pregnancy. So Wednesday night she was cooking and cleaning trying to go into labor. Bless her heart. I mean she has been making some mean dishes I told her we should do a siblings cooking show since we are all cooking it up it seems.
Her stuffed chicken w/salad
Her herb roasted chicken
His beef and broccoli

On Thursday morning she texted me she went to labor and delivery again because her contractions were 3 to 6 mins apart and HARD. Well, Thursday afternoon they sent her azz back home and gave her two Ambien to take. Seriously, one is too much! So she was sending out drug-induced texts. I was like put the phone down and go to sleep! Last night, she calls me and says she is finally and really admitted this time.

As she is talking to me she gets a contraction and I am like, “Um, I ain’t about to listen to that damn groaning. Go do what you got to do and holla at me later.” You can tell I have never given birth or been around folks who have for real. My brother and I laughed about this for a good 10 minutes.

All three times my sister went to the hospital, her best friend was right there. Thank goodness. And bless her heart.

I get a call at 5:51 am this morning from my brother saying the baby was here. I was like good and I am about to go back to sleep. I did look at the picture she sent me and forwarded it to my cousins. One said, ‘where is the other baby?’ She just knew my sister was having twins because she was so big. The other cousin said she looks just like you. I responded, “You reaching now.”
Meet Layla Ann, 7 lbs 2 oz born December 30, 2011 born 6:30 am eastern time zone

And as soon as I rolled back over and fell right back to sleep, my damn doorbell rang. Are you serious? I looked out my window and it is the police. Oh shyte! I grab my housecoat but because I am so sleepy I cannot get it together so I wrap it around me and answer the door. They said they got a 911 call from my house and a hang up and they needed to make sure I was okay. I looked like I rolled out of bed and I know I didn’t call 911 and the other phone line is unplugged because I got tired of the stupid phone calls. I don’t know what happen, but sometimes that particular line will get crossed up. At this point I got up, because someone was telling me to get my azz up, now! If I wasn’t actually living this life, I wouldn’t believe this happened.

I am addicted to my morning mocha from my local coffee shop. Well, today I had my last cup from them. They are officially closing their doors. They told me on Wednesday and I have dreaded this day all week. I was a loyal customer, but a person who understands that you can’t keep a business going on a few loyal customers. So I am sad to see Regina and Ralph of Stop and Sip, go. We will keep in touch! My co-workers are going to miss them too, when the espresso withdrawal kicks in. And they wouldn’t even let me pay for my coffee today. Man, it was all I could do to keep from crying. Yeah, it is just that serious.

My house is almost completely cleaned for New Years. In fact, when I get home tonight I will mop and wax floors. Tomorrow I will wash, change linens and vacuum and I will be done.

I have no plans for New Years Day. No one is cooking, because none of us want to see much food right now. I am working New Year’s Eve, but I should be back home no later than 9:30 pm. I am planning Martinelli’s as my toasting drink and I plan to go to sleep and rest. Low-key and laid back.

2011 has been an incredible year. I have gone through a gamut of emotions this year. I have experience much happiness. I relish the peace I feel all around me. I am so blessed and so thankful! My family has been wonderful. Wishing you and yours, A Happy New Year! See you on the 2012 side.

You know I wouldn't leave you without a hair picture.  December 25, 2011

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Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas Randoms…

I do not like blogger right now because I can’t do any slideshows, which is so aggravating.

Last week I was so busy with my meeting I barely ate. Not good at all.

I told my sister this will be the last time I mail gifts to Virginia. It is ridiculously expensive now.

I finally found The Guy his Christmas gift. Lawd, I am so obsessive and anal at times it is crazy. Maybe because I am a little crazy.

I have had great parking at work all week. I guess because most people took off. Not me. I rather be at work than at home bored and eating.

My niece, Hunny Bunny, got her cookies on Wednesday and she told my sister I should have put icing on them. I told her I do not do Royal icing because of the eggs and she said, she should have just bought icing and did them that way. Negative. She needs to just enjoy the damn things because it will be a long while before I make cookies.

And my niece Three 6’s wanted to know why she didn’t have all the different kinds of cookies her mother had. Because you are allergic to every damn thing. If I was her, I would try not get in any more trouble, because her mama may be pregnant, but I heard she is still giving out azz whippings.

My sister called me crunching in my ear talking about her cookies. Then later she called me with a stomach ache. Really?

One of book club members said she laid in bed and ate her cookies, but didn’t eat dinner. The calories were all three meals together. Geez!

In my last post I stated I did two types of cupcakes. Um, the Coconut pineapple cupcakes were nasty. They tasted like cornbread. I do not like cornbread. They were dry and just awful. I couldn’t make myself take a picture of them.

I took all the left over candy from the meeting to my second job. Unlike last year there were a few pieces left when I left Sunday night.

I am taking my tree down Monday. What? I got to work all week and I do not play about the tree being down before January 1.

I need to take some days off next month. Seriously, I do.

It has been raining all week here. Makes me sad.

I had to take the boxes to the post office for our Book club community service project through The Sister Soldier Project. I followed the directions I received from the agency, but of course nothing ever goes perfectly. First of all, it was raining Tuesday, so I decided to go that morning instead at my lunch break so I wouldn’t be caught in a deluge of rain. Well, I got sprinkled on as I went into one of the few small branches still open. Luckily, folks were coming out so they could hold the door. Then the clerk saw me standing and struggling so she let me give her the boxes and then she and her cohort decided to joke on me and send me back out into the lobby to fill out my labels. I thought the declaration forms were the labels. Then back to the counter to get everything mailed. I had to sign and date forms and they laughed because I listed the feminine products and one was listed first. What? I did what the agency told me to do. Geez! The ladies at that branch are hella funny and what could have had me pulling my hair out ended up being a pleasant experience. Next time I take someone with me.

Saturday I will be in my pajamas all day. That. Is. All.

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and hopefully I will be back with some holiday foolery from Christmas before the New Year!

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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Book Club Meeting 2011...

Now I am breathing a sigh of relief because I can look forward to Christmas and the New Year, because I can finally relax. Hosting my usual and annual book club/holiday meeting takes a lot of my time leading up to the big day. And I am realizing I am not 30, but 42 so I have to really organize myself or I will end up sitting in my living room crying, hoping my book club members don’t notice my puffy eyes and the obvious signs of strain.

I try to get the member’s gifts ordered and done well before the meeting as well as getting all the book club stuff ready as well. This year we decided to participate in the Sister Soldier Project, where we send personal and hair care products to African-American soldiers deployed. So I had my hands full. So from the weekend before Thanksgiving, I am working towards preparing for my December meeting.

I like to host December’s meeting because of my love of Christmas, so with the decorations in place things come together in a chaotic fashion. Since I host alone, it is imperative that I have all my ducks in a row or like I said above it isn’t a pretty picture.

My meeting was this past Saturday, so I really kicked things into high gear on last Monday. I started baking the cookies for the individual members and my sister, who you know lives in Virginia. To prepare for the baking I had containers already set up with the flour, baking soda and salt. I also had my Chocolate Candy mint cookies already mixed up and I just had to get them to room temperature to bake. I did all that on Sunday, as well as baked a batch of sugar cookies for the nieces. I also, seasoned and boiled my chicken breast for chicken salad and made my ham salad all on Monday as I was making the cookies. So using 3 cookie sheets and mixing the batches of cookies I was able to bake 3 different types of cookies in less than 3 hours. Normally, I would have been at it for 6 or more hours, so pre-planning helped. Tuesday, I came home from my second job and did some dusting and setting up for my batch of Oatmeal Chocolate Chip raisin nut cookies. Wednesday, I baked those cookies and managed to wrap all the book club member gifts. Thursday was my day to go and get the fresh veggies and fruit as well as shrimp. So I left work about 4 and was home and ready to start making my Asian wings and honey barbecue wings. I also marinated my jerk wings to grill the following morning. Then I set up my dry ingredients for two different batches of cookies and for my two different cupcakes. I gave my kids on my second job cookies for Christmas. So you know I will not be baking anymore cookies anytime soon.

I got up early Friday morning and got to mixing up cookie dough and getting my coals ready for grilling. This was also the time to get my heating dishes from the storage room, which meant they had to sit outside to insure I wasn’t bringing in any lizards. I baked cookies and made cupcakes all before I had to go to my second job, because I only took off from my day job. When I go home that night, I set up trays, iced cupcakes, marinated shrimp, cleaned my den, put down carpet fresh and was in the bed by 1 am, and then I was up by 5 am. This is when I made my chicken and ham salad sandwiches, meatballs, broccoli crunch salad and vacuumed and mopped and waxed the kitchen and foyer. And after running errands and picking up my punch, I came home took a long bath, ate lunch and slept for two hours. I was TIRED.

Everything came together well before time. I learned to stop microwaving my wings, and put them in my roaster, which heats them properly, so that saved time. Frankly, I over organized myself because by 5:45 pm, everything was done and I was turning around in circles thinking I had forgotten something. But alas, everything went smoothly, and I was able to enjoy the meeting. My organization even helped to make clean up easy. I was so proud of myself. I finally got to taste my food after 9 pm, and I did a good job.

I had real nice captions to show these pictures as a slideshow, but after hours of aggravation I said F-it! 

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Thursday, December 15, 2011

Creative Cooking… Easy Plain Cheesecake

I must preface this particular segment with the fact that I do not eat cheesecake. I don’t like it. I have eaten one Key Lime cheesecake that I could tolerate, but the ability to really taste that cheese, um doesn’t work for me. Because remember, I do not like cheese.

The guy doesn’t eat many sweets and he doesn’t eat any of the desserts that I make except a few cookies. I tease him that he doesn’t like my cooking, but it is all right. The less I actually have to do. Anyway, his favorite dessert is a plain cheese cake with fresh strawberries.

My sister calls me the Internet crawler because I will find anything I need to know on the web by just goo.gling it. So that is exactly what I did. I googled, Easy Plain Cheesecake Recipe and this was the easiest to follow, plus it had pictures. Who doesn’t love pretty pictures? I got this recipe from

I did this Plain Cheesecake exactly as the recipe on the site except I didn’t use fresh lemon juice. I used the concentrate from the bottle. What? They do a better job of giving step by step instructions than I would ever do so go on over there and get the full step by step directions with the pretty pictures.


2 cups graham cracker crumbs

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided

1/2 cup butter (1 stick) melted and cooled

3 (8-ounce) packages of cream cheese softened to room temperature

3 eggs, room temperature

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 tablespoon fresh-squeezed lemon juice

1 cup heavy cream room temperature

If you follow the directions as listed on the site, I pretty much can guarantee you will get a great result. It isn’t difficult but from the directions I figured it was best I followed them accordingly.   Yes, I crushed my own graham crackers, I do have a chopper so it didn't take too long to crush up 2 cups, my problem with forming the crust, but I did okay with it.  And I did let it sit in the oven until I could cool and then on the wire rack for further cooling.  Yep, lots of steps, but the results were worth it.
My crushed and formed graham cracker crust

All mixed and ready for the oven

The cooling in the oven process!

Cooling in the pan on a wire rack

Verdict: Per family members, it was delicious. I macerated some strawberries to go on top, but it was according to family, really good even without the fruit. The cracks you see on the top of the cake were not done by the cooking process or the cooling process. It was done as I tried to shift the cake from my springform pan to the cake pan. Um, my cousin does not return dishes and I would hate to have to stop talking to her about the bottom of my springform pan. I can’t wait until the guy gets a chance to taste it.

See the cracks, so impatient.  And yes that is parchment paper.

The finished product doesn't look too bad.  And according to my cousin, he was surprised it tasted so good.  He don't sugarcoat nothing, hurt feelings or not.

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Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Creative Cooking…General Tso's Chicken

I seemed to have found a true liking to cooking and eating Asian type dishes, that I would normally only get from the Chinese restaurants. However, making them yourself is quite fun. I was perusing the internets and found a recipe for General Tso’s Chicken from Sweet Pea’s Kitchen.

Ingredients: as adapted from Sweet Pea’s Kitchen:

 1/2 cup garlic hoisin sauce

 1/4 cup white vinegar

 3 tablespoons soy sauce

 3 tablespoons sugar

 2 tablespoons cornstarch

 1 1/2 cups water

 1 1/2 pounds (about 4) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces

 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

 2 tablespoons of minced garlic

 1 tablespoons powdered ginger

 1/2 teaspoons red pepper flakes

For Frying:

 1 1/2 cups cornstarch

 1/2 cup all purpose flour

 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

 4 cups vegetable oil

 1-2 green onions, thinly sliced

 1 teaspoon white sesame seeds

Combine your hoisin sauce, vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, cornstarch and water. Salt and Pepper your chicken pieces and allow it to sit in the fridge for an hour or overnight. Then in a saucepan combine your sauce and add your garlic and ginger until fragrant. You sauce will thicken.

To fry your chicken, I veered away from Sweet Pea’s recipe by only coating my chicken with the cornstarch, flour and soda. I fried them until golden brown and drained on a paper towel.

Once frying is completed I used my warm sauce to coat the pieces thoroughly and served with brown rice, garnished with sesame seeds and green onions.

Verdict: Amazing. It looked and tasted fantastic. The flavor was superb.

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Saturday, December 03, 2011


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.