Friday, May 27, 2016

On the List of Things I'm NEVER Going to Eat

I've been really into food lately. I've even started watching Chopped and thinking about what I would make if I were in their position. Though I find that hard to do when they pull an ingredient out of the basket and I have no clue what it is. Take the rerun I watched the other day.

They pulled out huitlacoche. It's pronounced who-eet (rhyming with sweet)-la-coh-cheh. So of course I looked it up as soon as it appeared.

It's a black corn fungus. Ew. American farmers apparently think it is a disease and call it corn smut while the Aztecs considered it a delicacy as do the Mexicans now. Another ew.

It grows on the ears of corn, taking it over and turning it into this blackish-grey cob. Go ahead. Google it. I did.

In Mexico, it's eaten in quesadillas and used in other tortilla recipes. You can even buy it canned, though I'm not sure if it'll be available in your local Wal-Mart. Each of the baskets was based on Hispanic/ Mexican/ Latin cuisine which was why huitlacoche was in this episode of Chopped. But that ingredient threw me off completely. Normally I enjoy Hispanic cuisine though because I'm half-Dominican. But I doubt I'll ever willingly eat a corn fungus...

I enjoyed the episode though, even if the competitor I was rooting for lost in the final round. Chopped is one of the more interesting competitions on the Food Network because you never know what the competitors are going to get. At least they knew what to do with the huitlacoche.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Teavana Tea Review: Winterberry Green Tea!

So my wonderful husband bought me a beautiful cast iron cherry blossom tea pot from Teavana for my birthday! It's awesome!

I picked the pot though because each design represents something different. According to the Teavana website, cherry blossoms represent 'beauty, eternal love, and the emergence of Spring'! That's such a great representation in my opinion. Plus, I love cherry blossoms. :)

He also got me some Winterberry green tea in an adorable tin!

It smells like fruity gum! Looks pretty too!

I made myself a cup this morning. Since I can't heat up the pot on the stove, I heated some water in the microwave for three minutes and poured it over 3 teaspoons of tea. I wanted to have enough for another cup for later. My pot keeps the tea warm for at least an hour after it's steeped.
I don't have a thermometer so I had to guess at how hot the water was. I waited until it was steaming and there were a lot of small bubbles in the container. Then poured it into the teapot.
Before water. Looks good!

Just poured it in. Yum.

After it's steeped. See how the strawberries & oranges have soaked up the water?
I steeped it for about four minutes, just like it said. It turned into a beautifully rose colored tea. It tastes fruity too, though it's not as strong as how it smells. :) It's sweet without sugar and I drank the whole cup without it. I'd definitely recommend it for anyone who likes fruity drinks without all of the added sugar. I'd give it a four out of five stars!

Unfortunately, I don't think they sell it online anymore. My husband got it from our local store, so if this sounds like the tea for you, don't walk, RUN to your nearest Teavana store and buy you a batch!
So pretty! Smells good too!

Winterberry green tea:
A 'rejuvenating green tea infusion with bright notes of sweet strawberry, citrus and hibiscus' (according to Teavana)
  • Sweet without sugar
  • Beautiful & bright in color
  • Fruity smell & taste
  • 4/5 star rating
  • Definitely a tea to serve to guests
  • Different in a good way
  • Has less than 15 mg of both caffeine and antioxidants
Have you tried Winterberry or any of the other teas from Teavana? Which is your favorite? Let me know in the comment section below! :)

Monday, February 9, 2015

Homemade Cinnamon Raisin Bread!!

My Cinnamon Raisin Bread!
So I've been making bread for my hubby and I for a couple of months now, using the recipe found in this book (which I highly recommend!) There was one instance where we bought a loaf a few weeks ago, but that was only because of the horrible sinus infection that was kicking my butt!

Usually, I halve the recipe from the book and only make two loaves. About two weeks ago, I made all four loaves and made half of them into cinnamon raisin bread. They didn't turn out as well as I'd hoped and had very little cinnamon taste to them. This week, however, I made half of the recipe and made both loaves into cinnamon raisin bread! I think I may have the recipe down this time and let me tell you, it smells wonderful while it's baking!!

I followed the recipe in the book, for the most part. Here's what I added:
2/3 cup of raisins
2 Tbsp of cinnamon
About an 1/8 of a cup of water
All of that was for half of the recipe. You may want to double it if you intend to make the whole thing.
I added the cinnamon and raisins in after the first addition of flour (1 1/2 cups if you're following the full recipe, 3/4 of a cup if you halved it).

I didn't add the water until near the end when I noticed it was still too dry; not all of the whole wheat flour had mixed in properly. I say about because I was originally going to put it in about a 1/4 of a cup at a time but decided against dumping it all in there at once. I didn't want to ruin the batter by making it too liquid-y. So I just dribbled it in a little at a time until it looked like the previous batters I've made and ended up only using half of the water I measured out.

Then I followed the baking directions and ta-da! Yummy homemade cinnamon raisin bread!! :) I got 12 slices out of the first loaf and 11 out of the second, though those are a little thicker.
My first loaf sat a tiny bit too long in the oven. ;) 
My second one. Not as dark but a bit lopsided. 
I've yet to have this bread go bad, so I'm not sure how long it'll keep in the fridge, because it doesn't last! After about a week, it does get a little dry but popping a slice or two in the microwave for a few seconds usually does the trick! I also do that for my breakfasts during the work week. Depending on the size of the slice, I eat 1 1/2 to 2 pieces with my Breakfast Essentials shake and Greek yogurt.

I store them in reused plastic ice cream cartons. I think the thing I hate the most though, is slicing up the bread. Since I don't have an electric knife like the book recommends, I just use a bread slicer and they never come out even and they crumble on the edges. But I think it just takes practice because nearly every slice would crumble at the edges and now maybe half do. ;) At least the loaves are coming out a little more even. You should have seen the short fat ends I used to make! Haha!

I let the bread cool before putting it away to reduce/ prevent moisture from the condensation.

So if you try my delicious cinnamon raisin bread recipe, please let me know what you think!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Tropical Mix Smoothie! Yum...

This is a smoothie I created last week. I kept meaning to post it but with work and a lovely sinus infection, I haven't had a chance. It's very good and thick, but not too sweet. Hubby liked it a lot too! Definitely something I will be making more often. :)
It makes two medium sized smoothies or one very large one.

On to the recipe!

Tropical Mix Smoothie
 2/3 cup Campoverde Tropical Mix frozen fruit (from Wal-Mart)
3-4 ice cubes
1/2 cup Fit & Active Vanilla Grade A Nonfat Yogurt (From Aldi-love that store!)
water or juice-optional. Use only if you want a thinner smoothie.

1) Since this was for breakfast, I didn't have a lot of time to wait for the fruit to defrost so I popped 2/3 of a cup into the microwave for about a minute. It will depend on your microwave and how powerful your blender is. You may not need to warm it up. My Oster blender is a few years old and not strong enough to blend frozen fruit (I tried. It does not like it!)
2) Scoop out 1/2 cup of the yogurt and put it in the blender. I tried the fruit first, but it blended better with the yogurt going in first.

3) Drop in the fruit next along with the ice.

4) Blend it up! I pulsed it slowly, mixing it up with a spoon in between so as not to kill my blender. :) It should look like this:

5) If you want to add the water or a bit of juice, go ahead and do it now. I don't know what it tastes like with juice but it's fantastic just as it is. So portion out and drink up!

I had mine with a slice of bread covered in peanut butter. It was delicious! :)

Did you try out the recipe? Let me know what you thought of this quick and easy breakfast smoothie in the comments!


Sunday, January 4, 2015

My New Story!

I wrote a story during the summer and I'm currently in the editing process of it. Editing and NaNo have been why I haven't posted much lately. Things have been really crazy here lately but I'm hoping to get back into the swing of things. Here is the synopsis for the story I wrote during the summer, for those of you that are interested:

Falling: Book 1 of the Torian Trilogy
I don’t think I’ll ever forget the sensation of falling.
Feathers. Silver feathers littered the ground, but everyone just walked past them. Ari stopped and bent to pick one up but it slipped through her fingers on the wind. A red stain was left and she wondered what kind of bird would have been large enough to have feathers that size. They were almost as long as her hand and several of them had spots of blood. Ari followed the trail of feathers into the bushes off the path. Behind some of the larger, unpruned bushes and trees was a beaten and bruised body. But the only thing Ari could focus on were his long silver wings.
Ariadne Matthews is on a normal training run when things go wrong. A trail of feathers leads her off the sidewalk path into a small grove of trees and bushes to a man half dead in the grove. If that isn’t strange enough, he has nine foot ebony wings and speaks through telepathy. She goes with him to the hospital in the ambulance and learns that he’s not a human in a costume.

Kaderon is an alien king sent adrift in a spaceship to escape the Usurper, Heten, from killing him. Ari volunteers to hide him while he fixes his communicator so he can return home to a planet named Tora. Things go from bad to worse when Heten finds the remains of his spaceship strewn across the atmosphere and threatens Earth with annihilation unless they give up Kade. Can Ari and her friends protect Kade and help him return to Tora to reclaim his throne? Or is Earth doomed?

I'm pretty excited about it. I even have the next two books outlined, though I'm not sure when I'll get to them since I still have The Sickness to edit and Falling to publish. I'll definitely post about it when it is on sale though!

Off to edit!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Fruit of the Spirit-Self-Control

“For the Spirit that God has given us does not make us timid; instead, his Spirit fills us with power, love, and self-control.” 2 Timothy 1:7

This week is the final devotion on my Fruit of the Spirit Series! It has been a fun, yet sometimes hard, journey doing my first blog series and I hope to do many more! Now on to this week’s subject, self-control!

The Bible wants us to control ourselves, our human desires and to do as the Spirit inside us wants us to do so that we can glorify God. We have to ‘let the Spirit direct [our] lives’ (Gal. 5:16) so we will do only the good things that God wants us to do. It’s difficult to do this, however, without the help of God’s Spirit. We must use His help to control our fleshly desires because our flesh and God’s Spirit are always going to be against each other. ‘For what our human nature wants is opposed to what the Spirit wants, and what the Spirit wants is opposed to what our human nature wants. These two are enemies, and this means that you cannot do what you want to do.’-Gal. 5:17. Since Jesus is our Savior, we must allow His Spirit to control our lives. (Gal. 5:25)
We must ‘keep [ourselves] in training for a godly life’ (1 Tim. 4:7). Titus 2:2-6 tells both older and younger men and women to be self-controlled. Because of God’s grace, we should ‘give up ungodly living and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in this world’ (Titus 2:11-12) to show that we are God’s children through Jesus’ death on the cross and our belief and salvation in Him. We must let ‘God transform [us] inwardly by a complete change’ (Rom. 12:2) so that our flesh cannot rule over us. We need to let God’s Spirit rule over us and every decision we make is to be made on the wisdom of God’s Spirit in us, not on the desires of our human nature. Our minds and thoughts should always be filled ‘with those things that are good and that deserve praise: things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and honorable.’ (Phil. 4:8) 1 Corinthians 6:18 tells us to ‘avoid immorality’ because it is a sin ‘against [our] own bod[ies]’
Paul tells the Corinthians in his first letter that we should be like athletes and runners who strive for the prize. They keep their bodies and desires in check so that they can compete and win the prize. ‘I harden my body with blows and bring it under complete control, to keep myself from being disqualified after having called others to the contest.’ (1 Cor. 9:24-27) If we don’t keep our flesh in line with the Spirit, all of our work here on earth for the Kingdom of God may come to nothing because we didn’t listen to God when He told us to ‘let the Spirit direct’ us. We need to listen to God and His will, which ‘is good and is pleasing to him and is perfect’ (Rom. 12:2). ‘Run, then, in such a way as to win the prize.’ (1 Cor. 9:24) The greatest prize of them all: entering the Kingdom of God, having eternal life with our Father, and being crowned with ‘the glorious crown which will never lose its brightness.’ (1 Peter 4:5)
“The end of all things is near. You must be self-controlled and alert, to be able to pray.” 1 Peter 4:7
P.S. Did you enjoy this series? Did it help you in your journey with the Lord? Let me know what you think in the comments!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Fruit of the Spirit-Gentleness

“Happy are those who are humble; they will receive what God has promised!” Matthew 5:5
Gentleness is also translated as humility and meekness in the GNT version and the AMP version respectively. Gentleness is not only a trait that women should work towards (1 Peter 3:4) but also a virtue that men should possess and it’s mentioned twice in one book-1 Tim. 3:3 and 6:11.
I believe being humble also means to be submissive to others, especially those in authority that God has put over us. Titus 3:1-2 says ‘Remind your people to submit to rulers and authorities, to obey them, and to be ready to do good in every way. Tell them not to speak evil of anyone, but to be peaceful and friendly, and always to show a gentle attitude toward everyone.’ This is repeated again in Philippians 4:5, word for word: ‘Show a gentle attitude toward everyone.’
God wants us to be gentle when we answer others or help them. 1 Peter 3:15-16: ‘But have reverence for Christ in your hearts, and honor him as Lord. Be ready at all times to answer anyone who asks you to explain the hope you have in you, but do it with gentleness and respect. Keep your conscience clear so that when you are insulted, those who speak evil of your good conduct as followers of Christ will become ashamed of what they say.’ When we help others or correct them when they are doing wrong, it should be done ‘in a gentle way’ (Gal. 6:1). 1 Timothy 2:24b-25 says ‘You must be kind toward all, a good and patient teacher, who is gentle as you correct your opponents, for it may be that God will give them the opportunity to repent and come to know the truth.’ All should know we are God’s children by the way we act and talk to others. If someone finds out you’re a Christian and they’re surprised by that, then you need to change your ways!
Jesus tells us in Matthew 11:29 that He is ‘gentle and humble in spirit’ and since we should emulate Him, we should be humble and gentle in our spirits as well. ‘Because he was humble and devoted, God heard him.’(Heb. 5:7) If we are humble and devoted to God, willing to follow Him wherever He wants to lead us, then He will hear us when we cry out to Him and ‘will lift [us] up’. (James 4:10; 1 Peter 5:6) We will be the ‘greatest in the Kingdom of heaven’ when we humble ourselves like children or servants (Matt. 18:4, 20:26-28, 23:12). So we should ‘submit to God and accept the word that he plants in [our] hearts’ for our own salvation (James 1:21).
God wants us to be humble, never proud or boastful. James 4:6 and 16 tells us that ‘God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble’ (also says that in 1 Peter 5:5) and that ‘boasting is wrong.’ Romans 12:16 tells us ‘not to be proud but accept humble duties.’ So we shouldn’t be proud in our spirits or in our daily lives or jobs. We shouldn’t think of ourselves ‘more highly’ than we really are and should always judge ourselves on the ‘amount of faith that God has given’ to each of us (Romans 12:3).
“So then, submit yourselves to God. Resist the Devil, and he will run away from you.” James 4:7