Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Tonight's dinner

I usually don't put more than one carb in a meal but tonight I just had a taste for them. So I made Korean Barbecued Beef and pasta salad.
Here is the recipe for the Korean Barbecued Beef, modified and made healthier by me of course:
1 pound of beef boneless top or sirloin steak (I used sirloin)
1/4 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
1 T of sugar
1 T of sesame or vegetable oil
1/4 tsp pepper
1 green pepper chopped
3/4 tsp of crushed garlic in a jar or 2 cloves of garlic

Trim fat from steak and cut in 1/8 inch slices or cubes. Mix remaining ingredients, and stir in beef until well coated. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes. The original says to drain the beef but I like to cook it in the marinade. Heat wok (what I used) or 10 inch skillet over medium heat until hot. Add beef and green pepper and stir fry 2-3 minutes until brown.

This recipe also works well with chicken!!! Q

Monday, April 28, 2008

Sour Cream Pound Cake

I fell in love with this cake years ago when my aunt used to make it. I got the recipe from her one day and I almost fell out. It had a bunch of sugar and a pound of butter. Even though I don't make it that often, I still wanted to make it a little healthier. After experimenting, I came up with a recipe that works great. You can substitute the vanilla extract for any flavor to give the cake a different taste. If you don't have or forget the sour cream, you can use a cup of buttermilk. I make my own buttermilk by adding 1-2 T of lemon juice or white vinegar to a cup of whole or 2 % milk. The one in the pic above is lemon flavored with lemon frosting. Enjoy. Q

3/4 pound (3 sticks of butter)
2 cups sugar
1 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3 cups all-purpose flour
6 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar together. Add the sour cream and mix until incorporated. Sift the baking soda and flour together. Add to the creamed mixture alternating with eggs, beating each egg 1 at a time. Add the vanilla and pour the mixture into a greased and floured 10-inch tube pan. Bake for 1 hour 20 minutes.

Someone asked me for the recipe for the lemon icing I used on the Sour Cream Pound Cake . It is real simple and I sometimes add food coloring to make it bright yellow.
2 cups of confectioner's sugar
4-6 T of lemon juice (amount depends on consistency)
Whisk until smooth.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

No more babies!!!!

The other night we received a call from a friend of ours. She had to go into work early on Saturday and wanted to know if Thomas would watch her kids for her. She has 2 girls. One is about 2 years old the other is a couple of months old probably about 4 or 5.

Whenever people see me out with the girls, I always hear, "wow you have 3 girls!" In my mind I am thinking, "yes genius." Then about 90% of the time, that is followed by, "so are you going to try for a boy?" See those are fighting words for real. It annoys me even more when it's someone who doesn't have kids or only has one. I usually say something smart like, "well when you get up to 3, let me know and then maybe we can try for the 4th together."

Seriously people think we are really pressed about not having a boy. Listen would having a boy be great? Yes I would love to not have to worry about doing a bunch of hair, buying dresses, shoes, sandals, sneakers, skirts, tops, pants, jean, barettes and the list of 50-11 things I have to get for a girl. But you know that wasn't in God's plan. Just like baseball, 3 strikes and your out so our baby making days are over.

My youngest is 5 and will be attending Kindergarten this year. Although she can be a brat, I am loving where we are right now. She knows how to put her clothes on, brush her teeth, tie her shoes, wash her face, take a bath etc. There is very little I have to do for her. Why would I want to go back and start over with diapers, wipes, diaper bags, bottles, late night feedings, dressing them, bathing etc? No way no how.

So this morning I decided to go into work later so I could help Thomas get settled with the 2 kids of my friend. It was so weird making a bottle and shuffling through that diaper bag. The baby is teething too so she was a little irritable as well. As cute as she is, I don't have baby fever. I am happy for anyone who is a new mom, expecting, trying to get pregnant and all but as for me and mine, we don't want anymore babies!!! Besides, yall know I don't like kids. Q

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Lemon Cream Squares

I got this recipe from the food network and decided to make it for dessert tonight. The recipe calls for a box cake and those of you who know me, know I don't do box cakes. I used my basic cake recipe instead. I will post both in case you prefer to use the box.

For Lemon Layer:
1 (18.25 oz) box lemon cake mix
1 stick of butter, softened
1 egg
In a large mixing bowl, beat on lo speed mix, butter, and egg until combined and smooth. Press evenly into prepared pan.

This is what I used instead:
1 stick of butter, softened
1 cup of sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups of sifted self-rising flour
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon of lemon extract
Cream butter until fluffy. Add sugar and cream well for 6-8 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour and milk alternately to creamed mixture, beginning and ending with flour. Add lemon extract and continue to beat until just mixed. Pour into 9 by 13-inch foil pan that has been sprayed with Baker's Joy. I picked up the pan and let it drop on the counter a couple of times to even it out and get out any air pockets.

For Top Layer:
16 oz of cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 (3- ounce) box lemon gelatin
2 eggs
In a medium mixing bowl, beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until creamy. Add eggs and beat until smooth.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Spread cream cheese mix over cake layer. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until cake barely starts to pull away from sides. Cool completely before cutting into squares.

As you can see, some of the cake layer came up and around the cream cheese layer. It was crispy on top and moist on the inside. Don't worry I am limiting myself to only one piece because I am focused on eating right. I just wanted to treat my family to something different. Enjoy!!! Q

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Apple crisp

I very rarely cook this but I love it because it is quick, easy, and delicious. Plus I always have the ingredients on hand. My mom used to make this all the time when I was growing up so eating it always reminds me of her. It is extra delish with a side of ice cream. Sometimes I kick it up with my cream cheese frosting mixed in but most of the time, I stick to the basic recipe. Here it is. Enjoy!!! Q

4 medium tart cooking apples or whatever you have. Sliced about 4 cups. (You can even use peaches.)
2/3 cup of packed brown sugar
1/2 cup of all purpose or self rising flour
1/2 cup quick-cooking or old-fashioned oats
1/3 cup stick margarin or butter, softened. (I use smart balance spread.)
3/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg.

Heat over to 375.
Grease bottom and sides of square pan.
Arrange apples in pan. (I use a potato peeling to peel my apples then a corer that use just push down on and the cut the individual slices from there.)
Mix remaining ingredients well and sprinkle over the apple. Make sure to fill in any spots.
Bake about 30 minutes or until top is golden brown and apples are tender. Serve warm and if you like, with ice cream.

My macaroni and cheese tutorial

I realized I've been slacking on adding my food recipes and tutorials on this site so I decided to get on my job. Thank you Chardai for bringing it to my attention. Oh and I don't use butter in mine. I do use 2% velveeta and low fat cheese and milk. It still tastes great but is low in fat.
1 16 box of macaroni noodles
2 oz of sharp cheddar shredded
2 oz of mozarella shredded
2 oz of mild cheddar
2 oz of colby and monterey jack cheese
Some extra shredded cheese for top
8 oz of velveeta cut into cubes
16 oz of milk
2 eggs beaten
1 T of salt
1 tsp of pepper
Some seasoned salt for the top
A greased pan

Here is a pic of everything shredded, measured and set aside.

Boil and drain macaroni and return to pan on low heat.

Add milk, eggs, all of the cheese except the extra, salt, and pepper. Mix until the velveeta chunks are almost melted about 3-5 mins.

Set oven to 350 degrees. Pour mix in greased pan and place in oven. Sprinkle top with extra shredded cheese and seasoned salt.

Bake for 30 minutes or until it bubbles. Here is the final result. Q

Hair update

Since my 12 week mission includes my hair, I decided to post a little update.

This first pic was taken in January and is my starting point. As you can see, my hair is about 8-8.5 inches on the shirt.

These 2 pics was taken last week. My hair is about 9-9.5 inches on the shirt. My goal for the next 12 weeks is to gain at least 3 or more inches. I plan on doing it by daily or every other day washing, scalp massages, and growth aids. I hope to get cornrow extenstions next week to make care for it easier. I will update monthly. Q

Until then, you only know what you think you know

"Until you know my joy, know my pain, and know my struggle...."
That quote and the title of this post is from a song titled "Until" by Raheem Devaughn. I remember the first time I heard that song. I was on my way home from work and was stuck in traffic. It moved me so much that I was in tears driving home. I can relate to it on so many levels.

A lot of the people who know me now, think I am blessed. They are right. Thomas is a wonderful husband, friend, and father. The girls are smart, beautiful, and absolute joys. We have a great house, great jobs, a wonderful church family and all the things one could ever ask for. But all of this came with a cost.

Thomas and I were raised by single mothers. We saw them work their behinds off and struggle. I grew up in one of the toughest places in New York. I saw and experienced things most people older than me could never imagine. But we made a conscious decision to move beyond that. We worked and struggled and fought so our kids can have a better life. So they won't go through the things we went through. To make sure history didn't repeat itself and to be a blessing to others.

When I hear songs like "Until" for a moment I am sad, have a good cry, and reflect on the past. Now I don't believe in dwelling in the past and having an eternal pity party. The past is the past. It's already happen. All the tears, all the screams, all the anger in the world won't change a darn thing that already happened. I could have either continued to feel sorry for myself and do nothing with my life, or dig myself out of the dirt, wash myself off and strive to and eventually do better. I chose the latter. I know I have succeeded when I look at my husband, when I see my kids, when I walk around cleaning up and picking up toys in this beautiful 2100 sf house. I know all the things in my past that was done to stifle me, to kill me, to destroy me, only made me more determined.

All of what I have came with a cost. Anything worth having does. Eternal salvation through Jesus cost Him His life. I said all of this to say, don't just look on the surface and make assumptions about a person's life. Don't be so quick to dismiss someone because it appears as if they have it all. You don't know what they've overcome. You don't know the struggles they've dealt with. You don't know about the nights they may have cried and wanted to give up but didn't. You don't know what it took, what it cost them to be where they are. Until you know what a person has been through, "you only know what you think you know." Q

April 13, 2008 to July 5, 2008

I am on a 12 week mission. At first I wasn't going to put it out there but doing so makes me accountable. For 12 weeks I am committed to making lasting changes in my life. There are a lot of things I have been putting off, and I've decided to stop making excuses and to start making things happen. July 5th, the end of the 12 weeks is 4 days before our 10 year anniversary.

Here are my goals for the next 12 weeks:
1) I plan on for the last time doing Body for Life in order to get to my goal size of 8.
2) I want to finish my training for a 5K and be registered to run one before the year is out.
3) I plan on taking the steps necessary to move forward with being ordained.
4) The family and I will take family pictures finally.
5) I want to finally make waist length with my hair.

There is more involved in those 4 things that are a little personal but just pray for me. I have so much going on but like my Pastor always says, "it's not going to get easier, I am going to have to get stronger." Q

Friday, April 18, 2008

A Change is in the air

The other morning I woke up and I immediately thought of a lot of the folks I come in contact with via the internet and in real life. I knew that a change was in the air. So many of you have a lot of hopes, dreams and aspirations. You've been waiting, planning, and praying. I just want you to know, it is on the way.

Anything worth having is worth working for. It won't be easy. You will have to work harder, pray harder, try harder, do more, sleep a little less, study a little more, cry a little but it is YOURS. Do all you can to make your dreams come true, to be who you want to be, and meet all of your goals. This is your year. Grab hold of your destiny, stay focused, and know that failure is not an option.

God is already opening doors for dh and I and we are about to do big things!!! I know He is no respector of persons so what He does for us, He will do for you too. The number 8 signifies change. My birthday happens to fall on 08/08/08 this year. I have already begun to take some major steps to making my dreams come true. It is going to be a long and hard road but it will be worth it. This year will be the turning point in my life and the life of so many people. The world and the people in it are starting to open their eyes and grab hold of what God has in store.

Change is in the air people. Embrace it, enjoy it, master it, use it to your advantage. I look forward to hearing great things!!!! Q

Phrases I hate

Today I was visiting the wedding registry page of a friend of mine. I began to look at some other pages and just got irked. *WARNING* I'm about to say some stuff that you may not agree with which is cool. Just understand these are MY thoughts and MY opinions, AIGHT!!!

Now I understand that I am reading way too much into things but I believe words have power. That is why I am careful about what I say. Actually I will elaborate more on my next post. So anyway here are some phrases that really bother me:

1. "I am nothing without him/her"- Oh really. So you mean you were just a blob sitting around until this person came along and molded you and made you. I don't think so. I was a wonderful person before I met dh and I am a wonderful person now. I am a child of the most high so not only am I something already, I am royalty.

2. "If I were to ever lose him/her, I think I would die"- Sigh. Well just die then because tomorrow is not promised to anyone. In the blink of an eye, someone you love can be gone and you will be left behind. You will still have a life to live. Don't get me wrong, I will be hurt if God forbid I lose Thomas but I still have 3 little people and a life of my own that I need to continue to give my all to.

3. "He/she completes me"- So were you a half person, 1/4 or 3/4 of a person before they came along. So if they leave does a part of you leave also. Will just walk around as part of a person until someone else comes along. When you die, will your obituary say "here lies part of so and so"?

There are a couple more like, "you are my world, my sun, my everything. I am who I am because you came into my life." Blah, blah, blah!!!! Seriously, I know I am being a little over the top but there are folks who believe this deep down inside. Their world revolves around someone, finding someone, trying to keep that someone, worrying about that someone when God should be the center. God is the only person who will never leave you or forsake you. He made you. He loves you unconditionally. For all of those who are thinking about getting married, start it off right by making sure God is the head. If you do that, you will be blessed. Q

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Getting some stuff off my chest

Before I began, let me just say this is my blog. I am going to post MY opinions, and MY views on subjects. You don't have to like it, you don't have to agree, you don't have to read it. Please don't go there with me, I am not in the mood!!!

Yesterday I was cooking and watching Oprah. Salma Hayek was on and she was talking about her life. The subject switched to marriage and suddenly I added her to the list of dumb celebrities in my book. I am sick and tired of people simply saying marriage is a piece of paper. I am pissed when I hear them say they are more committed in their relationship than they are in a marriage. I am sick of hearing folks say they were married x amount of times before and it didn't work so they don't feel the need to anymore.

Marriage is not just a peice of paper.
Marriage is deeper than just being in a relationship.
Marriage is ordained by GOD.
There are blessings you receive from being married that you won't get while just shacking up.
There is favor that is place upon your life when you decide to get married.
Marriage is not a walk in the park.
It takes two people to make it work.
It takes dealing with the good and bad and knowing because of the legal and spiritual ramifications, you can't just walk away so easily like you can when you are just in a relationship.
Marriage is about two souls coming together as one.
A marriage is on a whole nother level (yeah I said it like that) than a regular relationship. There is no comparison, EVER!!!!

Please stop putting marriage on the level of just a piece of paper because it is more than that. Anyone can be in a relationship for 10 years but it takes more to stay married for that amount of time. If you were married before and it didn't work, then maybe it was just you. Maybe you picked the wrong person to marry. Maybe you gave up too easily. Maybe you didn't put enough into it. A marriage is what you make it. You can be married and have passion. You can be married and still be in love with your spouse. You can be married and do all the exciting things you did as a couple. You will get out of it, what you put into it. Just man up and woman up and say you are not ready for marriage. Leave the lame azz excuses for someone else because I am sick of hearing it!!! Q

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Road tripping

I remember being a little girl living in New York. My family would load up the station wagon and head to South Carolina every summer. After awhile, I knew the stops and sites and knew when we were getting closer to our destination. Once we got older, the trips stopped and we took the plane instead.

In 1997 a friend named Fabien asked if I wanted to ride with him and a friend of his to New York. Fabien was from New Jersey and his friend was going home with him for Christmas. At the time we were all stationed at Robins Air Force Base in Georgia. I went along because I wanted to see my family and because Fabien and I were cool. Surprisingly, his friend was really cool too. We talked the entire drive there and back and really got to know each other. That trip changed my life and we are still close to this day.

When Thomas and I first got married, we would take the plane everywhere. I loved and hated it. It was great to get to places quickly but we had an unfortunate incident with being delayed when Bria was just a baby. We stuck it out a few years later when Destiny was born. Then one day we decided to go visit my mom 3 hours away in South Carolina and drove. It was on from there.

Most people assume we drive because it is cheaper. Although that plays a small part in it, that isn't the real reason. Thomas and I are extremely blessed. We have the means to fly anywhere at anytime. But for us, the road trips was a time for us to bond as a family. When the kids are sleep and it is just us and the road, we get to talk and just be. You can't do that on a plane because there are too many other people and distractions.

I remember one of my recent trips with my friend Veronica. We went to a concert in Arizona, about 7 hours away. Although the show was great, it was the time we spent talking and sharing during that drive that really shaped our friendship. Those hours allowed us to be open and honest and our friendship grew because of it.

Now that the kids are older, we have decided to cut back on the road trips. This year will probably be the last year of us being on the road like we usually do. From now on we are going to fly and just rent a vehicle at our destination. This year will also mark the first time Thomas and I will celebrate our anniversary away from the kids. Just like when I was younger, I hope my kids have fond memories of visiting the various states we've seen road tripping.

Oh and that friend I got to know in 1997 is still with me. His name is Thomas!!! Q