Friday, November 25, 2011

Thanksgiving Week, Part 3/3. Overall, a successful dinner!

Appetizer - slash - Lunch

Dough that's becoming rolls...

Chicken with minced onion & garlic, pre-cooked

Rolls in the oven, for the dough's third rising

Sigh, all your hard work is making me tired...

Halfway done! :-)

All the way done, and half-way gone

My salad, roll, and chicken breast. Yum!

With butternut squash soup!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving Week, Part Two

Wednesday: Make Pumpkin Pie! Boil potatoes, defrost chicken.

Sigh, the infamous pumpkin pie. I got everything out before I realized I didn't have a rolling pin. Blurg! Or a shortening cutter. Double blurg! I made twice the amount of pie crust that I needed, making plenty of room for error.

Tried the white/green plastic plate as a rolling pin, but no cigar...

... But the potato masher was an incredible shortening cutter!

Here is my invention of a rolling pin: off-brand Pam wrapped in plastic wrap.   

Success! Thank you Alton Brown for the plastic wrap idea!

Lots of drama to get to this point. I'm glad I made lot-sa crust!

Almost done! Looks... okay.

After a long time of trying that cool finger-pinching thing my mom does to her pie crusts, I forked it! Ugh, now it looks like a trashy diner's chicken pot pie. Oh well.

Don't tell me nutmeg isn't in the recipe for the pumpkin part! I will not have it! It will be freshly grated in the batter regardless!

My moment of anxiety: Did I halve this recipe? Will all this batter fit in my pie crust?

Oh good! Yes it will!

Pie in the oven, chopped potatoes in the water...

Ugh, here's my non-Moonshine yam. It's supposed to be orange! Blurg.

Finished pie product! I hope it's good tomorrow!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thanksgiving Week! Part One of... lots more posts


I decided to make Thanksgiving Dinner for Ryan and me--ALL BY MYSELF! On account of being far away from family, friends, and Momma's stuffing. This is a rare time when a 25-year-old Mormon granddaughter can learn everything and won't be discouraged from participating in the large extended family pot-luck.

And my rule for this series is: I will not proofread-slash-edit-slash-filter my experiences. It will be difficult. I am a Public Relations undergraduate, notwithstanding. Even though this is a fabulous opportunity for me to display to you all how glorious-slash-talented I am in the kitchen. (Oops, that was filtered, I guess.) This series will show my bumps in the Caribbean Road to Thanksgiving.

I figured this can't be too intense: I have an unlimited supply of free time, knowledge of my kitchen  equipment's limits, an easy-going husband, and a neurotic, finish-WELL-in-advance personality.

The Menu:

  • Chicken 
    • (settle down! A small turkey costs $60-100 EC here. A chicken the same size costs $21)
  • Rolls
    • Must be part or mostly wheat, requires no bread maker in recipe equipment
  • Butternut Squash Soup
    • Should be problem-free... I've made it before...
  • Candied Yams for me, Mashed Potatoes for Ryan
    • Ryan's a potato tramp, so I'm an expert. I've candied yams once, two years ago... yikes!
  • Spinach Salad
    • a foodie's wet dream: Poppy Seeds in the dressing, and bacon!!
  • Stuffing
    • Ick. Pillar of Salt. I'm gonna make one serving, then throw it away. If it's not Mom's stuffing, I'm not eating it.
  • Pumpkin Pie
    • Pie crust from scratch. Never been done before by me. I'm partially terrified. And I have no pastry cutter!
  • Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread
    • Strictly for friends. I have no self-control with things like this. Meaning, I think I could eat an entire loaf in 1 hour, and not feel that bad about it.

Monday: Organization Day, Splurge Day.  (85% successful)
    Tuesday: Prepare salad dressing, butternut squash soup, & pumpkin bread.

    Before shaken: looks like Chewey's sick.
    After shaken: yummy dressing, permeating in opium.

    Squash cooking in oven!

    Squash (taken out of the microwave to finish cooking) to be mashed and blended.
    Finished product, ready to be stored away! Hopefully letting it sit for so long will increase the spices.

    Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread in oven....

    Oh, this picture's much better

    My yam! There was also a brand of yam called Moon Shine.
    Maybe I should've bought one of those just in case the dinner went for the worst.... ?

    Whew! Now off to bed and have visions of pie crusts dancing in my head...

    Tuesday, November 15, 2011

    The Mystery of Junk Mail...

    I have much time on my hands here in Grenada.

    (I know this the first time all of you have learned this.)

    With this time, I've tried to master areas of fitness, yoga-teaching, nutrition, and homemaking. There is also plenty of time for long, drawn-out conversations about ethics, philosophy, politics, law, and religion with spouse, friends, and acquaintances.

    But right now, my pondering turn to my Spam or Junk Mail.

    There is something, I wonder, about my Internet identity. I seem to be recieving mail from:
    • Wen Hair Care: "What Wen formula are you?"
    • Local Hookup: "You have been invited to hook up for sex"
    • The Scooter Store: "Looking for a Power Chair or scooter?"
    • Men's Health: "Get 6-pack Abs by December!"
    I'm 25 and healthy, so I don't need aid in mobility. I don't even know what Wen is; and admittedly, I love Men's Health magazine, so getting spam from them is not horrible. I am indeed invited every day to hook up for sex, but the invitations are from someone whose underwear I wash and enjoys fireworks.

    This garbage must be very easy to send. And it must be profitable.

    Weird. I guess "there's a sucker born every minute."

    Monday, November 14, 2011

    Pills? Or No Pills? That is the Question...

    It is an averse thing to experience one's body secrete its own life source in response to a minor infection.

    It is a doubly averse thing that this response is also occurring during the specific secretion process in which one's body possibly rejects another human soul.

    I am quite incredulous towards this offensive and cruel irony of extreme counter-productivity and weakness. To endure the pain of the body is honey compared to enduring the pain of weakness and an insufficient defense.

    I'm told these small, white pills will temper the minor infection into nothing. However, it will enhance the many premature and explosive effects of such said latter rejection process.

    Honey is easily hidden, but unleashing the angry swarm of bees will surely expose all.

    Now I ask:

    Is it better to entertain one's hubris of staying face and not bring to pass the End of the World before humanity's time, than to succumb to the authority of hundreds of years of research and medical practice?

    To take the pills, or not take the pills, that is the question:
    Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
    The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
    Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
    And by opposing end them?

    These secretions are definitely a sea of troubles.

    Saturday, November 5, 2011


    The thing about me and my embarrassing stories, is that my brain is way to snooty to hold onto any such memory, thus it quietly files it away like some blackmailing office assistant.

    I remembered one today, however...

    Krystal (BF in Grenada) and I went grocery shopping one afternoon. I was excited; today is the day that the store's staff restocks the new shipments of food! And it's just like Grenada--instead of waiting til wee hours of the morning to re-stock when they'd be out of people's way, they begin at 3:30 in the afternoon when the store is already a mob house.

    We weave our way into the produce section--finally! Lettuce! :-)  There's an older gentleman blocking my way to the lettuce, but the cart behind him is totally full of bags of it. Well, I won't get in his way, and I'll help him out by taking a bag so there's one less thing he'd need to restock. Oh, I'm such an angel!

    La la la, havin' a happy day in the grocery store! I finish getting all of my items and head for the check out lines, which are just as chaotic as the aisles. I'm looking for the shortest line, naturally, when I notice the older gentleman I grabbed lettuce from paying for his groceries...?


    Gasp!! He wasn't an employee! He was a customer! And I blatantly snatched one of his bags of lettuce right in front of his face! I stole produce from somebody's grandpa! I wasn't doing a good deed like I thought, I was being a snotty and entitled white girl.

    Oh crap.

    Krystal laughed at my expression; she said she saw and understood the entire thing while it was happening, and he hardly reacted, she made a judgement call and didn't say anything, don't worry Jess, it's not a big deal...

    Moan. He was out the door before I had decided if I was going to go after him...

    Friday, November 4, 2011

    Interesting "Begging" Moments in Grenada

    My parents took me to South America several times during my adolescence where I saw atrocious poverty. The trips were very positive experiences, even tho I'd seen starving children and a 12-year-old girl jailed for prostitution. Impoverished people don't look you in the eye; they've aged 50 years; they stink; their teeth are wretched. It's unbelievable, heart-breaking, shocking, unjustified, and confusing.

    Then I moved to Grenada, where there is a different stage of the lack of human dignity. I'll call this form Self-Entitled Demands:
    • I've been demanded a dollar from a man who is wearing a Ralph Lauren polo shirt.
    • I've been asked for a dollar from a man, who, after I rejected him, then asked for my phone number and which hotel I was staying in.
    • I've seen about a dozen kids running around, laughing, having a fabulous childhood... Stop when they see me, try to self-induce tears, and ask for my leftover food in my hand. Or a dollar.
    • I've had a heavily-muscled guy holler at me from across the street to give him a dollar.
    • I've seen an older woman dump out the same sob-story, while wearing a different outfit every day. 
    • My friend has been approached by the same guy ("Please miss! I'm blind!") several times until she finally had the opportunity to call him out. Once he got frustrated with her: "Take your headphones out! Stop ignoring me!" To which she replied, "If you're blind, how do you know I have headphones in?" She got a stunned silence in reply.
    I've been told by our local security guards, Gary & Dwayne, who by the way are fabulous guys, that most of these people are fakes. Why else do they ask for money from white strangers? Because the folks who live here know they're liars. For example, those particular "begging" kids go to a private school and are kissed good-night by their parents. The older woman goes home to her wealthy son's house to sleep and eat every night. And I'm sorry, but if you're wearing a high-end brand of shirt that is clean and smells nice, you're not starving.

    What makes me the most crazy about these bull-sh*t beggars is that they make things worse for real beggars. Plus, they don't even have the decency to try to con me! They think I'm that stupid! At least in Salt Lake City, the con artists have the decency to dress the part.

    Now, before you get too offended by my indignation, I know that these entitled behaviors are human, not limited by culture or race. I do see a few people who are struggling. There are two really old guys, an old lady, and a 30-year-old guy who I thinks must have schizophrenia. And I get the feeling that the community keeps its eye on these individuals. I think even one of the old men and the old lady goes home to a family.

    I'd want to grow old and senile here. That's a nice thing about living on an island where everyone knows each other and it never gets below 65 degrees Fahrenheit. You get to wander around, do what you want, probably leave when you want, and it's highly likely that you're being observed by another human being is who knows you.

    So to rationalize and feel better about all of this, I've donated a little bit of cash to Grenada's "Feed the Homeless" program. I'm definitely not a saint, but I'm not heartless!