Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Creative Cooking...Spicy Thai Ginger Lime Chicken

My version of Spicy Thai Ginger Lime Chicken

The Creole Contessa is a website I discovered while perusing Southern Girl, City Swirl blog. And not realizing she was new to blogging I read her entire blog in an afternoon. I was just really impressed with her gorgeous pictures and her twists to some really good recipes. The one that really caught my eye was her recipe for Spicy Thai Ginger Lime Chicken; man the pictures were so pretty. So over a few weeks I garnered the items I needed that I didn’t have on hand.

For the Ingredients check out her website at:
Marinating Chicken
The sauce

After washing and cutting and pat drying my chicken into nice chunks you marinate the chicken with the marinade leaving off the cornstarch, flour and extra virgin olive oil for 30 minutes. I watched the time religiously because you know limes will cook your meat if left too long. Drain and discard the marinade. Mix your flour and cornstarch and toss the chicken pieces in the mixture shaking off the excess. In a fry pan heat your oil on medium heat and fry your chicken in batches until golden. Then drain and set aside.

Golden Brown Chicken

I mixed together my soy sauce, oyster sauce, sweet and sour sauce and chicken broth in a small bowl. Then in a skillet with extra virgin olive oil on medium heat add your chili’s, jalapeno, ginger and green onion and let sauté for a minute then add your liquid and cook for a minute. Finally, add your chicken and coat.
Chili's, onions and ginger
I served mine over brown rice.

Verdict: My presentation was off. As beautiful as her dish looked, mine was the exact opposite. I was disappointed in the way it looked. However, I wasn’t disappointed in the way it tasted. I loved this dish and ate every bit of it for lunch the entire week. Yes I did! And the longer it sat the more heat it brought. I was in Asian dish heaven. I will be making this dish again. I just have to figure out a way to insure my breading doesn’t separate from the chicken during the coating part. Any suggestions? So don’t let my picture turn you off, go to the Creole Contessa’s website and see what it should look like, but know my version tasted better than it looked.

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About Last Weekend...

Walk of Life, April 20, 2013

I had a long weekend and it was quite welcome to say the least. I spent most of last week suffering from an aching back. I either need to stop sleeping contorted or invest in a new mattress, because this is a new week and my back is giving me fits again. This is so not the business, because it has me scrapping plans and such just so I can rest.

I had a pretty busy weekend planned because I volunteered for the Joy to Life walk on Saturday and I wanted to get my gardening started.

Last week our temperatures were ranging in the upper 80s until Friday. Then on Friday the temperatures dropped and you felt it immediately. So I am on my second job trying to figure out an alternative to my shorts I planned to wear on Saturday. I actually woke up on time Saturday at 5:30 am so I could take my time getting dressed, because I did go through 3 different outfits before I was satisfied. What was that all about? Geez. I thought leaving at 6:30 am would give me plenty of time to get parking and walk to the Train shed where we picked up our Volunteer shirts and gather to take the trolley to our posts. Well…I forgot they closed off streets so I ended up taking an extra 5 minutes to get to the parking area, but I was still there before 7 am. I met a lady in the parking deck, who followed me because she figured correctly I was a volunteer. We signed in and got coffee and donuts. Since they were free I shouldn’t complain, but I am going to be truthful. I do not like McD’s coffee and I am not a fan of Dunkin D’s donuts. I am a Krispy Kreme fan and I seriously think it is about ones’ taste, but I ate one donut because I didn’t want to get hungry if things take longer than expected.

I was in the number 15 post there were 21 positions for volunteers along the course. I was dropped off a little after 7:30 am and man it was cold, I was standing in the sun as much as possible. I texted The Guy and my Sister and told them I am not a good candidate for selling azz on the corner, because it is lonely on the corner. LOL! So I had to stand for an hour or so before the 5k began. During this moment of quiet, I was a bit thoughtful but I was running through my errands in my head, ugh I am such a Virgo. Anyway, these two guys jogged by me twice I guess getting in their morning run before the race starts and the course is truly blocked off. Little did I know they were doing a trial run. I found out later because one of the guys had a personal police escort since he was going to be the first person to finish. He ran pass me and it was literally 5 minutes before the other guy doing the trial run came by me. I was so excited to see the runners because they were doing the dang thang. When the first female ran by me I was like, you go girl! You are setting the pace for the women and you are the first female to run pass me. Black girls do run because there were several running. And then there was a lull and finally the walkers started coming through. I greeted them all with a hearty and heartfelt good morning and good jobs. I thought I would be quite awkward, but I was comfortable.

Yet, as the time seemed to drag along I finally saw the Trolley behind the last walker on the first down street. By now the some of the walker were ready for it to be over. They kept asking me how far? Hell if I knew. I said not much further and you have come this far you can do it! Trying to be encouraging. But some folks cheated and took a short cut. SMH!
Don't laugh at me being creative...Me on the corner, with my flag, ready to assist...

There was a moment where I felt a bit overwhelmed because so many folks thanked me for volunteering. I really didn’t think much of what I was doing it was simply wave a flag, cheer the folks on and give directions if needed. I thanked them in returned because we were both helping.

The last walker was a woman using a walker who had an ambulance escort and the trolley behind her. Let me tell you, I cheered her on and said I was proud of her because she walked with her walker the entire course. No shortcuts for her and if she can do it anyone can. When she crossed the finished line she got the biggest cheer. Perseverance.

My volunteer work was finished before 10 am, so I ran my errands and was in my bed by noon. I had the intentions of getting up before 4 pm to work on my garden. And I did get up, but I dragged until it was time to get the raised garden put together. But I did it and was quite proud of myself. Although, I am too old to be sickened by slugs and shit I was still hollering and carrying on. I think I did a good job with the first part. I did get a new raised garden, which is a mixture of recycled wood and plastic, I feel like it will last more than one season because last’s year’s garden, didn’t.
Smaller bed, but better materials and because I already had the area set aside, it was leveled from last year.

Sunday morning I dragged yet again, but got up and planted my tomato plants and my seeds for flowers and vegetables. I was glad I was able to do such a good job. You know there was some drama right? Why was there a green frog on one of my planters? I almost had a forget it moment! I got the water hose and sprayed him away from my planters only to look under my planters and find wasps and the beginnings of wasps’ nests? Got rid of them too! I even managed to fix a new dish for my Creative Cooking posts. Go me!
Grape tomatoes, cucumbers and zucchini and Marigolds in the far left corner.
Basil, lettuce, spinach, cilantro, green onions, Marigolds, Zinnias, Portulaca (Moss Roses).  I also planted Sunflowers and Cone flowers.

I had a pretty busy weekend for me, but it felt good to do something for others and still find time to do something that makes me happy as well.

My poor roses suffered this fall and winter and I only had 2 buds, but I took some time a few weeks ago to prune, treat and prepare it for the spring/summer and I got this gift, my first bloom.  And as you can see it is set to bloom for a while.

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Saturday, April 13, 2013

Happy Saturday Randoms...

I have a wonderful smile...I know I amVain

I don’t really have any excuses on why I haven’t really blog this past week, but the truth of the matter is I have been busy this week at work. And when I have a moment to think, I become busy again. Geez, I clean my desk off only for it to be covered in files, questions, answers and frustration. However, it makes for a quick week. So I really can’t complain.

And you know when I take too long to do some randoms these posts are filled with pictures.

Okay, taxes are due on Monday. You have done your taxes right? Well, everyone knows I wait until at least Easter to even look at my taxes. I use a program and punch in the numbers and Viola! I owe folks. Well this year I decided to wait until April 6th to do my taxes. I was having a pretty shitty day on Saturday so I decided let’s just make it worse since I am already in a funk. Well, I don’t owe anybody. Praise God! And I am so glad He heard my prayers. So, I wait until Thursday to print out the taxes and do a final review. Why oh why did my printer act a fool? I was so mad because I couldn’t save the info to a flash drive and print on another printer. I had to bring my entire laptop with me and find the forms online and punch in the numbers. I was so mad. Seriously, it was like doing my taxes all over again. They were finished. I refused to buy cartridges for my printers. I buy cheap ones, because I rarely print at home. Seriously, the cartridges cost $50 to 60 dollars. I can buy a printer for $30. You do the math. A printer and its cartridges last me at least 2 years. Seriously, do the math. My taxes are ready to mail. On Sunday night, because I am ratchet like that.

I know a new Creative Cooking posted this week. But just for the record I had 2 Creative Cooking fails. No real pictures. Just know they failed. I tried to make a Strawberry Cake, that thing was so heavy and dense and the icing I wasted butter on that thing and it was awful. I threw the whole thing in the garbage, well except the slice I tasted, which incidentally tasted like grass. And I tried to make soft pretzel bites. Failed. The things were so nasty I just was like ugh! Tasted like grass too. Seriously, I thought they tasted a bit like parsley and I do not like the taste of parsley.
Strawberry Cake Failed!

I am still making smoothies. They help when I am feeling a little hungry. However, I have been trying to eat every 2 or three hours, nothing big, just light meals to increase my metabolism.
Strawberry, blueberry, pineapple, yogurt smootie

This week I worked the 2nd job Tuesday and Wednesday and was off Friday night. I didn’t know what to do with myself. Friday I went to the grocery store then went home and washed, moisturized, dried, braided and styled my hair all before 8 pm. Then I was sitting there like, what the hell do people do on Friday nights? I have to work on Friday night or I am out of town, I was bored. I mean I painted my toenails, waxed and shaved. And it still wasn’t bedtime. And nothing and I mean absolutely nothing was on TV after SVU went off at 8 pm. I watched, Why The Hell They Got Married Two. I know that isn’t the title I just call it what I want to.

For Easter, the owner’s mom and sister gave me and the other manager a plant. I was thankful for the plant, but ya’ll I do not seem to keep houseplants growing. The last peace lily from my aunt’s funeral is on its last legs. The other manager assures me I can maintain it. Wish me luck.
My new Easter plant...

Well I have gotten most of the items I need for gardening. Got up early this morning to head to Home Depot to get stuff. Ya’ll if they didn’t have seeds for my Moss Roses; I was going to leave my buggy in the middle of the aisle and leave. I really didn’t care they didn’t have the particular raise garden I wanted and I forgot to get garden hose, I wanted my flower seeds. I love those flowers. Lucky for everyone, I found them when I found the racks on top of racks of seeds. I almost started turning around in excitement and I remembered I ain’t got time to do all that damn planting. I am traveling this summer.
My seeds...I also got two Grape tomato plants

I wrote this wonderful Editor’s note for my book club’s newsletter about Acts of Kindness and Paying it Forward and Sunday night I watched Joel Osteen and his message was about the same thing. How wonderful was that? I still get goose bumps thinking about it. I should have the site updated on Thursday so you can check it out. Especially since Scandal will not be on.

**Spoiler Alert***Okay, did you see the last episode? Why was I so piss with Olivia? I get she is a flawed woman. I get her personal life is flawed. But can she have some standards? I was so not happy she was in bed with Jake I was mad, actually. My texts to my sister went like this:

Shonda is on my nerves. I can’t deal man.
I am mad with her dumb ass.
I am scared.
Bullshyte…3 weeks.

Since I didn’t have Scandal to watch on Thursday, I decided to watch the premiere episode of Hannibal. OMG! That show is amazing. It really is good. But, if you are opposed to violence and a lot of blood, this may not be for you.

My niece posted a video on FB of her singing this song. Love her voice. But I had to tell her, “Sweetie, you know your Aunt Nana loves you right? I love the song, but what is going on with your hair? We don’t appear anywhere with our heads looking rough.” She assured me she had a hair appointment. See the results below.
Lawd, she is growing up.  She goes to college this fall.  Damn, her mama is old.

Easter was spent at my cousins, very low key. Good dinner and then nice quiet night.

The Guy is under the weather right now. I keep asking him if he is allergic to gluten because this has been an issue for him since the holidays. So he was in the ER all last night until this morning. Sighing…I had no idea. He left his phone at work and couldn’t call me. Shoot, I would have had something to do on Friday night.

Lala has made it abundantly clear she does not want to come to Alabama to stay with me. And she is walking up a storm and talking gibberish up a storm. The other morning when her dad was getting ready for work, she called out, “Daddy!” He responded and she said, “Um, I want my breakfast.” Quite clear. My sister was like at least she knows her mama doesn’t cook breakfast. LOL! She is also banned from the movie theater.
Enough said!

Carson has a serious side-eye.
Carson side-eyeing his dad.  Side-eye proper!

I also got sick the week before Easter. The damn carpet on my 2nd job. I woke up on Monday feeling ugh so I called in saying I would be late. I woke up an hour later feeling worse than before. However, I made it to work on Tuesday, but I knew I was getting a sinus infection. Well, Wednesday I called and check my account balances and went to the Primed. I got my antibiotics and Mucinex and although I felt like crap I still made it to my eye appointment. You know I haven’t had a sinus infection since before we went to Myrtle Beach in 2011? I know my eye doctor hates to see me coming because what happened last year. However, things went magnificently. In fact, the vision in my left eye improved a little bit and the prescription changed slightly to a lower number and my right eye looks good. Only thing is I have to have pictures taken of both my eyes every year for now on.

Rick Ross’ lyric to whatever the damn song is should have been changed before it was ever recorded. Date rape is not to be taking lightly.

I love how Dallas is going this season. Even though I miss JR, the storylines are truly captivating.

Okay, I watched the last 10 minutes or so of Southland this week. And my nerves were so tore up I was in tears. I had no idea what lead to the scene I was watching but the violence was just too much. I mean I was crying ya’ll. I love Southland and the grittiness of the show, but this week’s episode affected my core. Really. The season finale is next week. I don’t even know if I can watch it.

I am going to try to enjoy the rest of the weekend, because next week is going to be quite busy. I have to volunteer for the Joy to Life walk. Nope not walking again. They are still doing the same route and I refuse to do the route again. However, I will be there to volunteer.

I am currently reading Leslie by Omar Tyree. I have had the book since it came out in 2001, but just now getting to it. I finished our book club read; Sinners and Saints can’t discuss the book with you all here because I have to for our meeting in two weeks.

Happy Saturday!

Carson's school Picture
Ya'll ain't ready
This is the same little girl who is banned from the movie theater
Yep, the same little girl...

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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Creative Cooking...Granola Bars

Granola Bars

Yeah, I am typing this about a month after fixing these gems.  I refused to do a random post until I got these cooking segments done.  This last month has been quite interesting, but not having the time to blog surely hurts.  Because I have so many damn pictures it just messes with my disposition.  But enough of that lets get down to these Granola bars.

I had a idea that I needed to make my own granola bars and not spend the the excess money buying them in the store.  Since I had most everything I would need, this was a good thing to do.  Problem was I didn't realize how much I was going to enjoy them.  Nor did I realize my family would love them as well.  They really didn't last long...

I used the base of Pioneer Woman's recipe to make my own. 


6 cups of Old Fashioned Rolled Oats
4 tbs of butter
1/4 cup of Canola oil
1 tsp of salt
1 cup of brown sugar
1/2 cup of honey
1/4 cup of Molasses
1 tsp of Vanilla Extract
Sunflower seeds
Raisins (Regular and Golden)
Dried Cranberries

* The last 4 ingredients are to your taste.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Oats with butter, canola oil and salt

Mix your oats, canola oil, melted butter and salt.  Mixing them very well and place on a lined cookie sheet in the oven for about 15 mins.  Stirring them as they cook so they brown evenly.  Remove from the oven and set aside.

In a sauce pan, combine your brown sugar, honey, molasses until all combine.  I liked the thickness without the use of some other liquid.  Stir in your vanilla.  (I never remembered to do this for some reason.)

Mix the sauce and oats together with your nuts, raisins and berries.  It will be sticky.  No I didn't use my hands because that would have sent me over the edge.  On a lined and sprayed cookie sheet press your mixture into your pan evenly.  Bake in the oven for 25 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let them cool.  Using a good sharp knife, cut them into your desired squares. 
Pressed firmly on a greased/sprayed lined cookie sheet

Yummy goodness!

Verdict:  I already told you.  I couldn't keep them on hand, they were so good.  Folks sneaking them out of the house and such was something else.  They were rich in flavor, crunchy and chewy but just really good.  I will be making these again for sure!

Closer look...

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Friday, April 05, 2013

Tales from the Second Job...

As I have mentioned a few times on this blog, I have a second job working at a family own fast-casual restaurant. Since I have worked there I have received 3 degrees and although I could have moved on years ago, my loyalty to the family and the need to impart a little wisdom to young folks have kept me there long after I said I would leave when the original owner died. Refreshing your memory, one of my duties besides supervising a group of young folks is to interview, hire and do orientation with the new hires.

Although besides the owner there are two other managers, I am the only one who interviews and have been doing so for almost 20 years. Yeah, a long time. In all my years I have noticed a change in the mentality of the youth who apply and actually get hired. For most, this job will be their first. I always tell first time workers the same thing. Your first job sets up your work ethic. If you maintain a hardworking and wonderful work ethic here, you will take that ethic to the next job you get because this job is meant to be your stepping stone to bigger and better things. Yet, I am seeing something totally different from new hires. These kids are spoiled, lazy and seriously have no idea there are ramifications and consequences for bad behavior.

I will give you a few examples. I make the work schedule every week. I normally finish it on the Sunday before the schedule is posted and give workers until Tuesday at 5 pm to ask for days off, because when I leave Tuesday night the schedule is done. I cannot tell you how many will post a requested day off on Wednesday and are surprised on Thursday they didn’t get their day off. Mind you on the schedule request sheet, it has the disclaimer about Tuesday at 5 pm. Yeah. The rule is if you need a day off after the schedule is posted, you must find someone to cover you, not management. You. They will call the day before or the day of and say they can’t work because they have a paper due, their dog’s sick or something equally ridiculous. The manager just tells them okay and writes it up in our manager’s book. Do it on my shift. My response is you have three choices: find someone to work for you, I will see you in a few or you quit. They come to work. It is easier that way.

I recently hired a young lady who was vibrant, personable, friendly and experienced to work for us. She had one of those memorable personalities. She also had great references. Seriously, amazing references. So when I called hire her she was excited and ready to work. So we schedule orientation and I always tell them to bring in picture ID and their social security cards and dress prepared to work. Although they will not work a whole shift, they will be shown the restaurant and the ins and outs of their position. Sighing…She shows up for the orientation one minute before time. And she is in wedges. With a big ole tattoo on her forearm. We do not hire folks with visible tattoos. If it is found you have one you have to cover it at all times when working. When I saw it, in my heart I knew this girl wasn’t going to make it. As soon as I saw it, I told her I didn’t realize she had a visible tattoo and she must cover it. She was all amicable about covering and saying at her previous job she covered it with makeup. Cool. Right? We made it through orientation and discussed the rules and regulations and I even made an adjustment so she could come in 30 minutes later to work during the week. Copacetic right? Sighing. After her first night working she was given rave reviews. Good. However, I worked with her that Friday. I hadn’t even clocked in when I saw the tattoo. I immediately told her to cover it up or go home. She asked for band-aids and covered it, but it made me upset because we discussed this thoroughly during orientation. And I find out later the cashiers on duty told her she needed to cover it up before Ms. Cashana gets in because she doesn’t play about tattoos. She responded, “I am just going to see if she says anything.” Sighing. During the shift, I realized this personable young lady from her interview and orientation, was not so friendly and she had a slight attitude. Sighing. We made it through Friday and she worked with the owner one during that weekend and he saw the band aid on her arm and was not impressed. What happened to the make up? After she had been there a week, at our Tuesday meeting the other manager said she wasn’t going to work out. My first thought was have we told her about her deficiencies? If not, that is our first course of action and goes from there and if we do not see immediate improvement, then we let her go.

Sighing. As adults, if your supervisor sits you down with a correction memo with items that need to be improved upon, don’t we realize shyte is real and we need to get ourselves together? With these kids, sometimes they do and sometimes they don’t. I wrote the memo and outlined the deficiencies and what needed to be done. Well, the other manager presented it to her and she said she saw a little improvement. However, the young lady told the other cashier, “I am going to tell Ms. Cashana about herself.” I am still waiting on that sit down. I worked with her a few days after the memo and after I cut her days. She asked everyone in the store why her hours were cut but me. Remember I make the schedule. Sighing. I saw some improvement, but by the end of the night I was counting to ten because of her.

Then the other cashiers requested not to work with her. Why? Because she is lazy, rude and has an attitude. Wow! Then the manager told me she did her work for her one night and I told her if she isn’t going to do her job, why is she here? Then this young lady whose hours were cut for a reason started begging the other cashiers for their days. I was livid. I told one cashier you have to work your shift so call and tell her that is a no-go. Then I put in the manager’s book it is not okay for the cashier to garner more hours when I cut them. I need to see marked improvement. I do not reward bad behavior.

She was recently fired for voiding orders under a manager’s employee number and lying about them.

Moral to this story when you get that intuition shyte gonna be bad, believe it.

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Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Black Water Rising...A Book Review

I am almost, but not really shame to say I have had this book since 2010. I purchased it the last time I ventured to the National Book Club Conference in Atlanta. It took me a while to get to the book because I forgot I had it because I have a huge TBR (To Be Read pile) and it took me a while to realize I was in need of something different and instead of ordering something new, I decided to shop my TBR pile. And I came up with this gem.

Black Water Rising by Attica Locke is a suspense mystery set in Houston, Texas during the early 80s. We have this African-American attorney who is struggling in his practice and he knows his family needs money because his wife is pregnant with their first child. At first glance, Jay Porter seems like a meek man who is just pushing through life and taking the knocks as they come, but we soon realize Jay has a history which during the riotous and black power days of the 70s he was very much part of the college protests of the times. He also has a felony arrest record. To celebrate his wife’s birthday he plans, albeit a cheap surprise for her to take a boat ride and enjoy some food and each other’s company. What started as a good faith effort ends up with the couple rescuing a young woman from the murky waters and from here Jay’s life gets crazy. He relies on his former days as an activist to help him figure out who the woman is and what does it all have to do with him. This is a whodunit which has you questioning quite a few folks all the while dealing with a labor crisis in Houston, Jay trying to protect his family and what big oil is doing to America.

I enjoyed every minute of this story. When I like a book and I see myself reading it too fast, I will slow my pace down because I want to savor every word and portion of the book. There are quite a few characters in this novel, but essential for the tale and mystery to unfold. Locke does a good job of creating a flawed, but believable character who is dealing with unusual circumstances. The meshing of the time periods was seamless and important in the development of Jay’s character. She describes the time period and era with great honesty. This was an attention grabber from the opening pages and I was sad to read the last few pages. A well-written, complicated and thoughtfully done suspenseful tale with an engaging cast of characters. Well worth reading.


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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.