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Archive for November, 2008

Mother's chicken pie - III

November 28th, 2008 at 07:38 pm

It was a HUGE success!!!... there weren't even crumbs left! (they picked at the pastry!)...

sis said: "You know I almost never compliment you on your cooking, but, this time, you outdid yourself! this is superb!"...

Yesterday we had 1 and today we had the other one (which turned out even better, because yesterday I left the pie in the oven for 45 minutes, but the pastry was not fully done... so we had to put it, we left it in for 1 hour, and it was perfect!)

Princess Perky asked for the recipe...

Puff pastry
2 1/2 cups cold flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup cold margarine, sliced
3/4 cup ice water

sift the cold flour and salt in a bowl. Add the margarine and mix with a wooden or plastic spoon. Little by little, add the ice water until forming a dough. (I did this with my quickly as possible, so as not to warm the dough!... they say this is part of the secret of the flakiness!) Place it on a floured work surface and roll out with a rolling pin. Fold in 3, turn over and roll out again. Fold again, turn over, and roll out again, fold again and chill for 30 minutes. (you'll roll out 3x)
Take out the dough, roll out 3 times as described above, chill again for another 30 minutes.
Take out, roll out... it's ready to use! (Mom used to say the secret for flakiness is in the folding and refolding!)

Olive oil
3 garlic cloves- chopped
1 medium sized onion- chopped
1 medium sized cooking tomato- chopped
1 small sized green or red pepper- chopped
2 celery stalks, peeled and chopped
3 chicken breasts - boiled and diced/ make sure to save the broth!!!(used breasts just because that's what my family likes...)
1 medium sized carrot
canned peas - drained
canned mushrooms- sliced- drained
dry white wine (about 1/2 a cup?)

Fry the garlic, onions, peppers, celery and tomatoes in the olive oil until tender, add the chicken. Then add the broth and the wine (sorry, I don't have exact measures, I just keep adding until it seems right!).
Let simmer for a while and add the carrots... again, let simmer for a while and add the peas and the mushrooms... let simmer until most of the liquid evaporates and the mix feels "mushy"... season with salt and pepper to taste.

Oh, we all agreed I need to make at least 3 pies for next time!!
Nanny told me she was always curious when Mom and Dora (she was mom's cook/maid) used to make pies, but was always hesitant to ask... so, with that, I let her watch the final stages... so I promised her next time I have a weekday off (she's off on weekends) we'll make one together, so she can learn!

Mom's chicken pie - II

November 27th, 2008 at 11:35 pm

Well, so far, so good...

the filling tastes good
...although, I think there's something missing, but I really couldn't figure what it was!... we'll see what the family thinks about it!

The dough turned out great... very good elasticity....
here are some pictures...

the pies DO look like mother's let's see if they still do after coming out of the oven! (will try to take a picture before it's cut, and maybe one of a see how it turns out... (although mom never took a picture of anything she cooked, she insisted that food HAD to look good to be appetizing!)

Mother's chicken pie

November 26th, 2008 at 05:53 pm

was to die for... sis was always a much bigger fan than I was (I was always a VERY picky eater!... )... over the past 4 years (since Mom passed away) we've had a couple good chicken pies... all bought...since I have the day off tomorrow (it being Thanksgiving in the US), and since we don't really celebrate it, but DO have a lot to be thankful for, I decided I will try to re-create the dish (re-create is the right did not, to our knowledge, leave a written recipe!)... Our logic is: it's not REALLY a celebration for us, so if I mess up, it'll only be a bad dish, not a ruined celebration!!

Over the past few years, I've done this a lot...attempt to recreate mother's dishes... I must say I've had a good rate of success (with dishes almost always being declared: "almost there"...and mom was such an amazing cook, you have no idea... she could go to a restaurant and try a new dish and then go back home and she could recreate the dish... such amazing tastebuds... her cousins HATED that... they didn't like sharing their recipes... and mom sooo loved to torture them, she'd invite them over and cook THEIR dishes, eventhough they hadn't given her the recipe!)
Anyway...wish me luck!

new pants

November 23rd, 2008 at 11:16 pm

went to some thrift stores accompanying sis and nephew (he got a job, but it's business casual...don't think his rocker t-shirts and tennis shoes would be appropriate)... she bought him 2 pairs of pants, 3 shirts and a pair of shoes... which he'll reimburse with his first salary in 21 days (send prayers!)... she spent $50 in it's not bad.
Browsing through the store while they argued over a pair of pants (sis said the chocolate brown ones were better, nephew hated them, and wanted to get blue ones... it was a weird kind of blue, though cannot even describe it...I, personally, found both pairs ugly... I would have gone with the pair of tan ones they got and a pair of grey ones none of them liked, but, hey, ultimately, HE's going to wear them and SHE was going to pay for them, so I said nothing and went away!)... well, I found 2 pairs of pants for myself...1 pair tan ones and 1 pair dark grey... total cost was $12.50! yay!... I did need the tan ones, as the ones I have are so old (bought in 2001) that they are already looking HORRIBLE...and worn so thin, you don't have to guess what I'm wearing underneath, because you can practically see it!!
I do need/want to lose some weight, but, let's face it, I haven't lost 1 oz in the past 6 months...I might as well get the pants and then, if I DO manage to lose enough weight that they don't fit anymore, I can have them fixed!

Xmas shopping... Part 2

November 18th, 2008 at 11:08 pm

I bought an indigo-dye shirt for sis... and another one for me (couldn't resist it! I told you those fairs are dangerous for me!)... different styles!
I bought a present for a friend (a beautiful table runner). I bought a table runner for myself (bright red, beautiful!!! I know, another item NOT on the list)
I bought a ring for myself (beautiful 3 strings of colorful beads...cost me $1!)
I'm happy with my purchases... I'm missing niece's present, though... and nephew's I won't buy until the week before Xmas...just in case he decides to leave before then! (if he leaves, he's going back on the way I will buy him something he can sell!)
I saw a couple of paintings I'd like to buy (I also saw the most amazing hamper, wicker and fabric... BEAUTIFUL...I'd love to have one in pink for the girls' bedroom and one in blue for mine... but... well, NO. Not at the moment... )
I'm seriously thinking about the paintings, though...
Another plus, which I forgot to mention, is that all this stuff is bought directly from the crafters...
Ah, oh, and I saw the most amazing notecards made with a mixed technique of drawing + dried flowers... some were soooo beautiful, you'd rather frame them than give them away! LOL!... they will be selling at the Pottery Barn!!! you can take a peek here>

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buying food at work

November 18th, 2008 at 06:33 pm

Ugh. I hate it. I have been buying lunch, mainly because there haven't been any leftovers lately (nephew is living with us, and I guess Nanny still hasn't learned to adjust portions properly... or maybe she hasn't at all, eventhough the last time I repackaged everything when I came from the grocery store-- 5 chicken breasts instead of 3, etc)
Not only is it expensive, it's also not that good (at least, not as good as home cooked!)... If I have to eat another sandwich this week, I'll cry! (sometimes the food doesn't look too appetizing and I end up buying a sandwich)

Xmas shopping!

November 16th, 2008 at 03:34 pm

This year I have found a couple of things that I liked for my family, but, unfortunately, didn't have the $$$ at the time to be able to buy (to curb the temptation of spending the "extra" money, I pay it towards debt as soon as it comes in!)...
So far, I only have Ale's gift (it was expensive, but am sure she'll love it!)...
I have decided all others will get gifts from the craft fair that will be held next week at the office (that's where I saw the stuff I loved for them, at the last 2 or 3 they held, and it's always the same artisans, so I know I may not find THE things I liked, but I can find similar ones... This is so convenient...1. they come to the office, 2. I have a very wide selection in one place. 3. NO CROWDS!!!! 4. They don't take cc's!!!! (for some, this might be a setback, for me, it's an advantage: I cannot spend more than what I have allocated, and I cannot put a purchase on a cc!!!)
So.... I will only have to hit the stores if I DON'T find something for everyone...

You can't please everybody....

November 13th, 2008 at 10:53 pm

but, in my family, it seems I can't please anybody!!!... they don't like the color scheme I picked for the living room!... well, it's done now, and if they don't like it, they can go out and buy more paint and repaint...2 coats, please! ugh!

I'm telling them: the color will NOT look the same once the pictures are back up!!! (right now I have a peppery red wall and an oh-so-faint-mint green wall...which is the one they don't like! But it makes the red look even brighter!!!)...and, people, there are A LOT of element on that wall...big and small, so in the end, they will NOT be looking at a big splash of green... ugh! I give up! (I like it, and that's all I'll care about for now!)

New car for sis??

November 12th, 2008 at 10:57 pm

Well, the company says it will not buy a new car. However, they are offering to give her a loan so she can buy one, and they will pay for her gas and give her X amount for depreciation (this gas + depreciation scheme is the same one they proposed 7 years ago... sis went ahead and bought a car... 6 months later they decided it was not convenient for them, cancelled it, bought her a company car, and she had to sell her car because she could no longer make payments!!)...
Now, she really has next to no option, because she can't work without a worry is that history will repeat itself, but... what can we really do? (or, rather, what can she really do?)... she's debating brand new vs used car (for sales, and if she's going to use the depreciation money to pay for the car, it needs to be something that will give her next to no problems!)... Her coworker suggested looking at cars that people drove for 1 year and are now trading in for new ones... my suggestion is look for repossessed cars that people drove about 6 months then had taken away from them! (I once found one like that...only 5,000 Kilometers on it....almost half price of a "new" one!)... it's a good time to look, because the new 2009 models are coming in, which means the 2008 ones are on sale, and also a lot of people are buying the 2009 ones so there should be a good selection on used ones... not to mention that most car dealerships had one of their "6 month interest free" deals back in February.... so there might be a few ones from people that can't afford to pay "full" payments...
We'll see...
Ah, incidentally, the company said this has nothing to do with her salary increase (you know, the one she asked for when she accepted about 30% more accounts, and that they promised to give her an answer no later than July??... the one for which they STILL haven't made a decision?? (they said they'd have an answer on Tuesday of this week)

painting the house

November 12th, 2008 at 08:06 pm

My house was starting to look like it could rival the Munster's, so I set aside some money to buy paint and hire painters (we've tried DIY in the past, and we are just TERRIBLE!...not to mention the fumes give us all headaches and then we end up painting only 1 coat!!)...Also, that is X amount of hours of my already overbooked day... did I mention on top of the 8-5 job and the translations (read 8-11pm) job, I am trying to make the ballet bag for Ale? Oh, and a fish blanket... Oh, and I also want to try and see if I can make a chicken pie like the ones Mom made?? (I'm good, whenever I try things like that they are ALMOST...almost, but not quite... as good as hers)...
Back to house painting: that type of work is not really awfully expensive here, so I just made sure to wait until they had the paint special they ALWAYS have at the end of the year (buy 5 gallons, get 1 free) and bought 12 gallons of paint (paid only for 10!)
That is just to paint the outside of the house, fron and back, and the living room... I will wait a couple of months before doing the bedrooms...although, they are having 'Shopping nights' this week and everything will be 35% off... I could get the paint and keep it stored for a month or two... If only I could be assured that mischievious hands will NOT attempt the DIY thing!!

What I get for buying cheap shoes!!

November 10th, 2008 at 11:13 pm

I don't remember WHEN I bought them, but I DO know it was 2008, so they couldn't possibly be more than 11 months old, and one of them broke today... they are not unusable, I can walk in them, but they ripped and even if repaired, would probably look awful, so I can no longer wear them to work... Frown

I will have to hit the outlet tomorrow to find a suitable replacement ("las 3 B: Bueno, Bonito, Barato!" - should be good quality, look nice and be cheap... or, at least, NOT expensive!)
Oh, well...

Shelly as an Island

November 7th, 2008 at 11:09 pm

Our turtle won the pet costume contest!! Isn't he handsome??

December 6th...

November 7th, 2008 at 03:48 pm

Well... on December 6th Ale has her dance recital (still don't know at what time, though)...
Her school has a carnival, and there's the office's Xmas party...
I can deal with that, but....
Sis and I have been all excited about going to the Juan Luis Guerra concert (advertised since Sept, but they hadn't published the date until today: December 6!!!)... Now, I love his music, and he won all those grammies, but, if it interferes with Ale's recital....I'm going to have to pass... what bums me is that right now they have a special 50% off if you buy with your citi cc, so sis and I could actually buy slightly better seats (I have the cc... I also have the cash, so I would just pay it off right away...), but, not knowing wheter I can go or not, I really wouldn't want to buy the tickets... I guess I can try to find out tomorrow at the ballet studio if they've decided on a venue/time for the recital.... (or, if we buy the numbered seats, then it wouldn't matter if we arrived around 9pm, which is about the time HE would start....there's no way the recital would go on past 7, I think, seeing that there are some 4 and 5 year olds participating....)

Less translations this month, but could be a good thing...

November 6th, 2008 at 03:13 am

See, they have been sending me about 10-15 scripts per month, and, if you take into consideration it takes me anywhere between 2 and 4 days to translate each one... well... my month is full... and, remember, this translations actually pay very little (below local market prices), so that meant I wasn't even looking for new (more profitable) work, because I didn't have the time for it... Now they've hired another translator...this month, they'll give her 3 scripts, and I get 8... so, yes, I'll make less money, but I'll actually have more free time to prospect for customers (or just enjoy the Holidays and start looking in January, when I imagine the new translator will get half the scripts), getting less work from them might actually be a good thing!

paid off the car!

November 3rd, 2008 at 04:47 pm

woo-hoo! finally, the car is really, truly, honestly MINE!!!...I finished the last payment on it!!!