Friday, January 4, 2013

Sit and Think

It's funny how being absolutely broke has shown me how much money I have wasted in the past. I can remember when I used to go recreational shopping. I thought that I was being a bargin hunter by shopping at places like Ross and Target (only ever buying anything on sale, of course) and in the end spending money on something that I didn't need or even use. I've got several important interviews coming up this week, and in the past I would of gone out and bought an outfit just for this purpose. Now, I've decided to go through all of my clothes, find items that I don't wear, and take them to a store that will give me credit to purchase new stuff. In the end, I suppose the lesson could be to not rush to decisions. Maybe, in a strange way, being made to ponder other options because you have no choice but to do so, is a blessing in and of itself.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Better The Devil You Know?

I've been confounded lately with the proposition of the "lessor known devil". That devil, namely, being Mitt Romney. I know of one particular Republican friend of mine who has a "devil may care" attitude about the impending election. As long as the Republican wins, so much the better. As long as that nice, big (R) is behind their names, we'll be better off, somehow. Why that (R) after the candidate's name means so much, I'm not sure. I, however, am not so easily swayed. What exactly *is* the difference between the two candidates, afterall? Obama has instituted a national healthcare program that was based on RomneyCare; a program that Romney endorsed and supported in Mass., and has stauchly stood behind to this very day. As someone who feels the downfall of America lays in it's healthcare system: Who can I back? Who is out there attempting to understand the downfalls of British-style healthcare? Why, between the two candidates in this (crucial) election, are both in general support of a Federal American HealthCare law? I looks like America loses all around, to me. No matter who is elected.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Symbols Really Are Important, Mr. President

Many out there perhaps do not recall that this is the third time Obama and family have spent the summer at Martha's Vineyard since he was elected. He went there in the summer of 2009, the summer of 2010, and now, the summer of 2011. Not exactly the most tactful thing to do as the president of a country of the verge of economic collapse.

That being said, he's spending his own money on this vacation. Though I'm admittedly not sure about transport, security, etc., the money that he IS spending, in my biased opinion, could be better spent in a region of the country that we all can see really needs an increase in tourism bucks, like say New Orleans for instance. And really, what better way to support and bring tourist dollars/interest somewhere than for the very President of the United States spend his vacation there?

Clearly, his concern does not lie with the people, it lies only with himself.

I personally don't have too much of a problem with Obama and family taking some time off. The more time off the better in my view. In a depressing pattern now witnessed over a period of years, every time Obama makes a speech, delivers an address or otherwise attempts to calm America's fears, the markets fall, unemployment numbers increase, the price of oil goes up, and general uncertainty rules the day. Everything is up in the air.

America's future is up in the air.

And while Obama and family spend their leisurely days in Martha's Vineyard, remember that for many people across the country, vacation was cancelled this year.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

How To Make Ice Cream

Here's a wonderfully adaptable recipe for making your own ice cream.
You'll of course need an ice cream maker.
I prefer to use an electric model, one that doesn't require using ice or rock salt.

You will need:
2 cups of heavy cream
1 cup of whole milk
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla
a pinch of salt
2 whole eggs and 1 egg yolk, beaten

Heat the cream mixture to almost a boil. Whisk a little bit of the hot cream mixture into your beaten eggs slowly, and then slowly add the heated egg mixture to your original cream mixture, in a slow stream, whisking the entire time.
Cook until slightly thickened. Do not let come to a boil.
Pour your custard mixture through a fine sieve and cool, stirring occasionally until cold. About 3 hours.
You can then pour this ice cream custard into your ice cream maker according to it's instructions.

Of course, this is a base recipe for making ice cream. You can add pretty much any flavor to this custard that you'd like.
Add a handful of chocolate chips or a few tablespoons of cocoa powder to the warm mixture for chocolate ice cream. Add a teaspoon of orange extract to that and you've got delicious chocolate-orange ice cream.

The possibilities of flavors are endless ~ from sweet to savory. Once you get the method of making the custard down, you can experiment with whatever you like.

Happy Ice Cream Making!

Monday, May 10, 2010

How to make the perfect boiled egg

It's really quite simple to make a perfectly boiled egg.
1. Place however many eggs you are cooking into a pot and fill with cold water.
2. Place the pot, uncovered, on a high heat burner.
3. When the water comes to a full, rolling boil, take off the heat and cover.
4. Set a timer for 10 minutes.
5. When timer goes off, place eggs into an ice bath, or run cold water over them.
The egg whites will be firm while the yolks will be set at an almost-soft stage. If you wish, time the eggs for 12 minutes instead, for a more cooked yolk
Perfect atop a nicoise salad...

Monday, March 29, 2010

How to Roast a Chicken...seriously

Wash your chicken with cold water and pat it dry with paper towels.

Before we get to cooking the bird, you'll want to make a compound butter.
It's very simple. Soften some butter. Don't try to cheat and melt it, it won't work the same way. You've got to plan ahead and leave the butter out to get to room temperature. This will take a few hours. I do about a half pound at a time. (2 sticks) You can freeze whatever you have left over. (If any) Mix your softened butter with whatever herbs and spices you have handy. Basically, whatever you like the flavor of, even dried herbs and spices, mix it in. I like to use minced garlic and tarragon, maybe some lemon zest, and always salt and pepper...

I always stuff my roast chickens with something. Usually, an unpeeled and quartered onion, a quartered lemon, same with an apple, garlic cloves, some fresh herbs...really, whatever you have laying around that you like...

Carefully run your hand, sometimes I use the handle of a wooden spoon, under the skin on the breast of the bird to loosen the membrane underneath. Then, take your compound butter and slather it it in there, under the skin. Take your time so that you don't tear the skin, you want to keep the butter as sealed in as you can to impart the maximum amount of flavor. Rub some butter over the outside of the bird as well, and remember the drumsticks!

In order for the bird to cook evenly, there are a few tricks. First, tuck it's wings behind themselves so that it's forearms are popped in the back. Second, you can 'truss' a chicken without using any string at all. Make an incision into one of the lower arms of the drumsticks, where there is a space between two smaller bones, and tuck the end of the opposite drumstick through that hole. Otherwise, use some foil and twist it around the ends of the drumsticks to bring them together.

I like to use sliced potatoes as my base in a roasting pan with some carrots and onion slices. Place the chicken on top of the base, and roast at 450 for about 50-60 minutes (for a 2-3 pound chicken)
After checking that the chicken is done, let it rest for 20 minutes before slicing.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

My Experiences With Socialized Medicine Part III

After seeing the Head Doctor, I was ushered down to the Heart Trauma Ward within a matter of hours.
Again, it was the same set-up. A big room with 6 curtained 'private rooms' within. I was taken to the one remaining unoccupied bed. I had been wheeled down in a gurney with a non-English speaking Sister, so I wasn't able to ascertain where I was going, or why.
By this point, I hadn't been in contact with any of my family or friends in the US. I was so totally unprepared for this kind of event that I didn't have any pocket change with me to use with the pay phone.
Which, I was soon to discover, was like something out of the early 1900's. It was crazy. They wheeled it over to your bed, a great big wooden monstrosity that seemed as heavy as lead. But, it worked, and through the effort of my new roommates, God bless them, I was able to call my father in America.
Of course, there was really nothing that he or anyone could do for me, but I felt better knowing that someone knew where I was, at least.
I found out after talking to the other women that I was indeed in the Heart Trauma Ward, and that the Doctors would be coming around pretty soon so not to worry, I'd find out what was going on.

The first time I went to use the restroom in this new ward, I hadn't realized that it was actually a Co-Ed bathroom, and that guess what? The doors wouldn't lock! It was a struggle to get in there with an IV pole and all, but I did finally accomplish my 'goal' so to speak, when the stall door swung open and I was literally exposed for all to see. The old guy who had opened the door, just stood there staring. I screamed for him to shut the f-ing door and he scurried off.
All of this and I haven't even mentioned how filthy everything was.
That bathroom was like something you'd find in a gas station, for crying out loud.
I was in that Welsh Hospital for another 3 days. In the end, I had to actually check myself out by refusing any more treatment. I was informed that, by doing so, I would no longer be welcome at that Hospital - even in the case of an Emergency.
A few months later, I'm wandering around the City Centre, doing my shopping, etc. and I run into one of the Jr. Doctors that treated me in the Hospital. He actually went out his way to apologize to me for the awful treatment that I had received there.
As you can imagine, I do not have a very complimentary view of Socialized Medicine. Partly, but not only, because of my experience in that Welsh Hospital.