Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Sweet potatoes

Yay to autumn! So many vegetables and fruits in season.
Fire up the slow cooker and get some vegetables. Make it a side dish or a meal. I love it as a meal with Earth Balance buttery spread.

Slow cooked sweet potatoes

Scrub 4-5 sweet potatoes
Do not dry
Throw it in the slow cooker for 4-5 hours (or until done) on low.
Stick a fork in and if it sinks, it's done.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Miss Jessie's Curly Pudding

Please excuse this post since km doing it on the phone and typing as fast as i can. So you will find plenty of errors and probably grammar....
Living in a one income family is hard. More so if the one income is from a teacher. Living one income for a family of 4, I've had to do without and one of the big things I've had to cut out is my hair. I don't have "good" hair like my mom or my cousins from that side of my family. I have the Dominican hair. Hair that my mom was able to tame with lots and lots of product and hair relaxers. My hair after washing and left alone is very curl and scrunches. When my hair was past my shoulders, if left alone, was up to my ears. That's what I mean by scrunched. This past May we attended the mother and daughter soirée hosted by My Beauty Inc. in our swag bag was a hair product line called Miss Jessie. It's for those of us with curly, kinky or wavy hair. I decided why not. They do not test on animals so I was impressed by that. First tries the slippery shampoo. It was a different texture that I'm used to. It is great on dry and damaged hair. After towel drying my and putting a comb through it. I decided to try the curly pudding. It smelled so good I almost wanted to eat it! I decided to follow the guide book and applied the curly pudding all over my hair and comb through it again, separated my hair and did the 2 strand twist. I can do about 8 2 strand twists all around. Grabbed my cotton doo rag, handkerchief or whatever you want to call it and kept my hair in for the night. Next morning I took it off and undid the 2 strands and divided those into 4s. First off, my hair was not tangled. It seems like the curly pudding conditioned my hair. After all of undoing the 2 strands and make it to four I looked at myself and loved the result! I had no frizz. Had my natural hair length and my hair looked healthy. Many months later I still use only the curly pudding. When needed and between washing I just spray my hair with water and finger curl my hair with the curly pudding and I'm good to go.

What Hispanic Heritage Month Taught Me

Yesterday was the end of Hispanic Heritage Month.  
I've always tried to instill into my children where their grandparents came from.  
My husband is of Guatemalan descent and I am of Dominican and Puertorican descent.  I had an easier time instilling my ancestry with my children from a very early age but now that the kids are older and are doing so many things this year was a little challenging.  The books I picked up from various Dominican and Puertorican authors are still sitting in out library bookcase.  Untouched.  The music was a little challenging since the kids have their ear buds on or they are in their rooms with the door closed.  
They have to eat.
That was the most successful contribution I was able to make for my kids.  Platanos almost every day.  Rice and beans is always a staple in our home so it wasn't much of a big deal.  Without realizing it, I was already instilling that part of our heritage.  
Also another thing I realized is this.  We as Latinos are not including a variety of vegetables in our meals.  I used the cookbook, A Taste of Puerto Rico by Yvonne Ortiz for a few of our meals with a twist.  More vegetables.  Our dishes are tomato based and that is great but the lack of greens was astounding.  How are we to raise a family with such a lack of vegetables.  Growing up we didn't eat much in the vegetable department.  A lot of meals were cooked around meat.  It hasn't been easy doing this at home.  Right now my kids hate it but I am hoping that when they grow up they will remember what I have been trying to do and hopefully they will adopt this new way of eating as a norm.
This weekend I re-invented the Puertorican spaghetti sauce.  I added some ingredients and it was so very good.  This recipe will leave you with leftovers to freeze for another day.

Maria's Vegan Puertorican Spaghetti Sauce

2 tbsps olive oil
1 medium yellow onion chopped finely
2 minced garlic cloves 
1 red bell pepper seeded and chopped
4 mushrooms sliced
6 tbsps tomato paste
4 cups tomato sauce
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
5 cups water
1 tbsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp adobo
2 cups re hydrated TVP
1 tbsp Italian seasoning

Heat the oil in a skillet and saute vegetables until soft.
Transfer to a slow cooker and add the rest of the ingredients except the TVP. 
Cook on low for 6 hours.
One hour before serving add the re hydrated TVP w/Italian seasoning and stir.

Enjoy with crusty bread and your choice of pasta.

You can also just cook in a stockpot and let it simmer for 2 hours, stirring occasionally and adding water if it gets to dry.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

No Wii? No Cable? Boring life? Oh please!

Yesterday someone asked what did we do for fun since we didn't own the latest in video game consoles or subscribed to cable.
I simply said, "We go outside".

Let me explain.

We are a busy family.
During the day as I send my husband and oldest daughter to work and school I am home with my youngest.  Our school day starts at about 8am until 3ish.  We get ready and head out to our local YMCA where my daughters are taking a variety of dance classes, an art class or an acting class.  We are there for a good 2 hours a day.

My husband picks us up on the way home.  Sometimes we go to the library first and pick up books and videos.  We read A LOT.  You will always find a book in our bags.  Depending on our schedule for the weekend, we go food shopping.
Once we are home, we start our evening routine which consists of dinner, shower, grading, math tutoring and homework.
After all is done, we do watch an hour or two of TV.  It might be in a form of a video from the library (we watched Cars 2 last week) or a show on TV.
Once the weekend comes around we are not home much.
Our Saturdays are filled with the teen interning and the tween going to girl scouts and acting/theatre class.
Sometimes they have a gig which is usually an all day event.  They love their job.  Sundays is our day of rest.  If they don't have a gig you will find us at home watching movies (again the library has tons of free movies.  My husband and I watched In the Land of Blood and Honey last week) and resting.  Sometimes my husband wants a day of fun because of a stressful week and we go to Disneyland.

You see?

Why have the latest in gaming or shell out all that money for cable if we can enjoy what is all around us?  The library lends us so many wonderful books (and if you have an e-reader you can borrow from there) and videos.  Why do I want to shell out hundreds of dollars a year to let it go to waste?  We enjoy doing things as a family.  Yes, Disneyland is starting to get expensive because of ticket prices but where else can a family hang out and go on rides, dance, and just enjoy your surroundings with the added security measures they put into place?
Maybe they idea of sitting around all day long is something I sometimes long for but the truth of the matter is

(I wanted to post more pics but my DSL/WIFI is extremely slow at the moment)

Thursday, October 4, 2012

In the wake of Romney wanting to shutdown PBS, I pray everyone steps up and consider donating to this non-profit.
It's because of their programs like Electric Company and Sesame Street, many 1st generation Americans learned the English language.
Children have learned to be a little gentler watching shows like Mister Rogers and Barney.
PBS also educates the adults through their programming like History Detectives, NOVA, and Secrets of the Dead.

If you can give to your local cable or satellite company to further watch the antics of kid who calls herself a boo boo or housewives who have cameras following them around to show the people of America how gangsta they are.  Watching their salaries go up per episode while you're scrounging to find an extra dollar for that classy coffee you like to drink. Certainly you can can donate a few dollars to keep this non-profit on air and watch your mind be blown.

Here are other PBS sites:
Cooking Shows
What's on Tonight!
Educational FUN Games
Parents Get the Heads Up on Helping Their Child
Teachers! PBS Loves You Too!
Help Support PBS
Join Me in Supporting PBS

I am not associated with the non-profit, Public Broadcasting Service (PBS).
All links are theirs.
All words are mine.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Calendar Overload

This month is the busiest time of the year.
Right now my middle child is already rehearsing for the Laramie Project at her school.  Rehearsals are several times a week and when they get closer to the date, it will be daily.  She is also a leader at the local AWANA club.  Her Saturday acting class is on hold until she finishes her weekly internship at a local parks and rec.
My youngest is learning 3 different choreography for an upcoming show with our local YMCA.  She also has girl scouts and acting classes on Saturday and a couple of projects she will be filming this month.

I think I just tired myself from writing that down.

Some people wonder why I do it.  I certainly didn't grow up with any of these opportunities when I was growing up.
My oldest was interested for less than a month on taekwondo and wasn't interesting in anything else but hanging with his friends and playing video games. So I let him because that is what he wanted to do.

I do this because my kids want to do this.  I have said no (if you can believe it) on other activities.

Most importantly, it is a girl thing.  I have nothing against boys.  I had one and he is and always will be the love of my life.
Girls have been taught, since an early age, that boys are dominant in everything.  Sports, business, and entertainment.
When my daughters decided they wanted to enter the entertainment business as actresses I was a bit hesitant, at first.  Then it became a big deal for me when I started getting breakdowns.  I choose roles they audition for very carefully.  They are just getting there foot in the door but I am still very careful what they do.  I would rather my daughters do small roles instead of big roles that are violent or come across as some hoochie.  Believe me when I tell you that I have across roles when they are looking for hot 8-12 year olds or roles where the 13 and over is in a scene where sex is implied.  Implied or not there minds are too young and can't really understand it.
I want my daughters to be positive role models and play them on film.

I also want them to be the best at what they do now and what they will do later on in their lives.

Let your children follow their dreams.
Even if it will take up your space on your calendar.
You will still have a life.  I promise you.
And if that's not enough, remember, they won't live with you forever.
If you're lucky.

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