Posted by: popsgurl44 | March 28, 2009

Momentary Crave: A taste of Home.

Chicken Cacciatore

Translation from Italian Cacciatore means “hunter”  being that this dish is filled with easy accessible ingredients to a “huntsman”.  Today the only hunting I do is between the commissary, local produce stands and Okinawan markets.

I try to use fresh ingredients in most of my dishes. Here in Oki, well, that is slightly different. Many of the dishes I know by heart are Italian and German. They stem from a long line of old recipes passed down and newer faves picked up during each generation.  I absolutely LOVE Italian food. It is my top pick of my fave three: Italian, Japanese, and German.  German food here is a  bit hard to come by, but that’s okay because I definitely have more than enough options on the Japanese cuisine! 

I made Chicken Cacciatore the other night. From one dinner, I was flushed with memories of Jersey Diners, boardwalk food, and most of all Mom’s home-cookin’!

Food tastes completely different everywhere  I have lived. It can be take-out or my own recipe, flavors just vary. Using local fresh ingredients always tends to do that! Most of the time it’s good, just not the same. You will never taste better Italian food than Italy I am sure!

I grew a custom to the flavors and feelings of food growing  up in New Jersey. Packed with ethnic backgrounds from all over the world, Jersey has been my international cuisine hub. A hop to New York for almost any cuisine you can imagine from all around the world. A skip to Philly for of course “The BEST” cheesesteaks ever! A drive to the coast for seafood delights. Practically in my own backyard my best loved comfort food Jersey Diner delights. Open 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Not to mention all of the convienience stores open 24-7 as well to get your snack fix!

Yes, one dinner made me remember all that! I am a foodie by nature! So here, in this post and probably more posts likely to come, I will be sharing some of my favorite recipes. Some I will pull from the internet, as this one, in fact! Others, I will pull from my own collection.  As for this post I pulled from a site I can no longer find but will update if found 🙂 I do have the recipe still. I also have my variation. You, however, will only be able to savor my version by dinner invitation! Sorry- family secrets!

This recipe is quick and simple and a good variation to the traditional: bone-in chicken. It’s one of my quick faves. Although, on a side note, the quick version tends to be a bit bland here compared to back in the states. I used the commissary frozen chicken. I am going to try local chicken next time. Slow cooking is a great option too! I prefer the slow cooked version here 🙂

The Quick Version

The Quick Version

 Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour for coating
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 (4 pound) chicken, cut into pieces (I use cubed pieces of chicken breasts)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes ( I use the equivalant in fresh tomatoes)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 cup white wine (this can be omitted but I don’t recommend it)
  • 2 cups fresh mushrooms, quartered
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Combine the flour, salt and pepper in a plastic bag. Shake the chicken pieces in flour until coated. Heat the oil in a large skillet (one that has a cover/lid). Fry the chicken pieces until they are browned on both sides. Remove from skillet.
  2. Add the onion, garlic and bell pepper to the skillet and saute until the onion is slightly browned. Return the chicken to the skillet and add the tomatoes, oregano and wine. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes over medium low heat.
  3. Add the mushrooms and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 10 more minutes.

Tada! Again this is the quickest way. This is not my traditional. It’s a great quick fix for my busy life! Enjoy!

Posted by: popsgurl44 | March 26, 2009

Living in a Digital World..and I am..a Digital Girl!

this is my laptop and photo by me

this is my laptop and photo by me

These days more time is spent using online and internet based services then any other common thing we could possibly be doing.

We can hook to the net in so many various ways, leaving no room for our addictive personalities to stray. For many this is a good thing and we savor it. There are some who, well,  just don’t like where modern technology is taking us.

Over the past few months I have come to more conclusions and realizations on this subject.

I for one own a laptop, a PC, a cell, many game systems, a flat screen and much more that makes my life much easier during the day. I enjoy the comforts of this for soul-selfish purposes. 

If I could consider a non-speaking thing my best friend, it just may be my laptop. Granted I don’t take it to the nail salon. But if I wanted to I could. 🙂

I if you haven’t noticed yet, I enjoy writing/blogging. I am considered an introvert on many  a level.  I have and always will be the type to jot my thoughts down at random. I turn those into poetry, short stories and most likely blogs in the future.

The world is my oyster. I sure am eating it up.

I have not always been so willing to share or even voice my opinions.  Especially, to an audience of people I barely know.

This is how blogging helped me:

Blogging seemed such the taboo thing for me. I have read so many weird journals and didn’t really like them. I dislike confrontation, but need be I will stand up for my rights. I was seeming to find most blogs where latent with complaints in one form or another. I don’t like complaining. Of course, I am human and do it myself. So I may be slightly hypocritical in that aspect.

In this world today, however,  I have found it more bearable to deal with those complaints. It’s easier to read a written/emailed complaint over a nagging voice or harsh tone. It gives me more time to decipher the situation. Assess calmly and less destruction comes from it. Well from my stand point that is. Others may prefer the other way or take  the tone in  a complete opposite direction. Words are meant not to hurt but teach and educate.  Often words are misconstrued, be it through word of mouth or written text. Each personality will take one single line and have a different feeling all together. For me, I personally, believe it is just another form of art. No matter how well written or not it shows inside a person.

Technology may seem impersonal to most. When it comes to my life, I prefer it this way. Granted I enjoy face to face human interaction. Life has been easier and more bearable because of technology that I use, such as my blogs.

I have broken out of my shell, shared my thoughts with more then my close net of friends. Accepted criticism and critiques.  I relish, in the fact that I am far more advanced as a public speaker due to my practice through blogs.

I prefer having my alone time. I also value my friends and family time. With my computer I get the right dosages at the right time.

My writing has made me more aware of myself. Thus, in turn, making it easier for me to go out into this digital world with a renewed sense of self-worth.

I blog for me. Selfish purposes.  Guilty, yes!  Readers, are my added bonus and dose of reality.  Sometimes I receive votes of confidence, emails of thanks. Everyone likes a good pat on the back now and again. I for one do.  Other times I have been thrown hate mail and criticisms.  Again, I am not perfect. I take that as my dose of reality. I enjoy seeing what people point out as my flaws. It amazes me to see what different minds pick and choose to comment on.

I am very opinionated. No one is forced to agree or even finish reading my blog.

There are no disclosures stating you will have to fully abide by my rules or else serious consequences. Ahem…Although I may have to add that disclaimer a bit later. Sorry sidetrack of sarcasm was much needed this was getting too serious.

I will always keep writing and enjoying my great comments, and crazy hate mail. In the end someone took time from their day to notice the little things. I made you think. I made you ponder. A laugh. A snarl. Either way I affected you and made a change.

The world is in such a new place, we will forever be catching up. I found my niche , so far, in this consistent change of technology.

I for one am for the upgrade. Not many people can enjoy the comfort of home and family, while working in their pj’s. Nor can they take a sick day and still get on a conference call from bed.

I love what I have in life and where this Digital world has brought me.

Posted by: popsgurl44 | March 16, 2009

There is a difference…

The Difference

by retired Lt. Gen. Edward J. Heinz

Over the years, I’ve talked a lot about military spouses … how special they are and the price they pay for freedom, too. The funny thing about it is most military spouses don’t consider themselves different from other spouses. They do what they have to do, bound together not by blood or merely friendship, but with a shared spirit whose origin is in the very essence of what love truly is. Is there truly a difference? I think there is. You have to decide for yourself.

Other spouses get married and look forward to building equity in a home and putting down family roots. Military spouses get married and know they’ll live in base housing or rent, and their roots must be short so they can be transplanted frequently. Other spouses decorate a home with flair and personality that will last a lifetime. Military spouses decorate a home with flair tempered with the knowledge that no two base houses have the same size windows or same size rooms. Curtains have to be flexible and multiple sets are a plus. Furniture must fit like puzzle pieces. Other spouses have living rooms that are immaculate and seldom used. Military spouses have immaculate living room-dining room combos. The coffee table got a scratch or two moving from Germany, but it still looks pretty good.

Other spouses say goodbye to their spouse for a business trip and know they won’t see them for a week. They are lonely, but can survive. Military spouses say goodbye to their deploying spouse and know they won’t see them for months, or for a remote, a year and pray God will bring them back safely. They are lonely, but will survive. Other spouses, when a washer hose blows off, call Maytag and then write a check out for getting the hose reconnected. Military spouses have learned to cut the water off and fix it themselves.

Other spouses get used to saying hello to friends they see all the time. Military spouses get used to saying goodbye to friends made the last few years. Other spouses worry about whether their child will be class president next year. Military spouses worry about whether their child will be accepted in yet another new school next year.

Other spouses can count on their spouse participation in special events … birthdays, anniversaries, concerts, football games, graduation, and even the birth of a child. Military spouses only count on each other; because they realize that the Flag has to come first if freedom is to survive. It has to be that way. Other spouses put up yellow ribbons when the troops are imperiled across the globe and take them down when the troops come home. Military spouses wear yellow ribbons around their hearts and they never go away.

Other spouses worry about being late for mom’s Thanksgiving dinner. Military spouses worry about getting back from Japan in time for dad’s funeral. And the television program showing an elderly lady putting a card down in front of a long, black wall that has names on it touches other spouses. The card simply says ‘Happy Birthday, Sweetheart. You would have been 60 today.’ A military spouse is the one with the card. And the wall is the Vietnam Memorial.

I would never say military spouses are better or worse than other spouses are. But I will say there is a difference. And I will say that our country asks more of military spouses than is asked of other spouses. And I will say, without hesitation, that military spouses pay just as high a price for freedom as do their active duty husbands or wives. Perhaps the price they pay is even higher. Dying in service to our country isn’t near as hard as loving someone who has died in service to our country, and having to live without them.

God bless our military spouses for all they freely give. And God bless America.

Posted by: popsgurl44 | March 1, 2009

To the East Coast : Winter Doldrums

It’s getting to be towards springtime. The time of the year when on the East Coast it get’s warmer but not normally warm enough to walk outside without a sweatshirt. Time when it’s less likely to snow and more likely to rain. Time when it’s windy and cool with just a hint of extra sunshine to the day. A time where in New Jersey the grass is starting to poke out from the mush that became our lawns throughout winter “slush showers.”  A time where in North Carolina I would see those hideous bushes in my front yard start to bloom, yet another year after I had chopped them down to roots.  Oh!,  how I don’t miss those bushes. Nor, do I miss, the slushie front door mat that is semi frozen to the front stoop.  Just frozen enough that the mat becomes a slender sheet of death on ice. Oh, too dramatic you say. What I meant to say is: the mat becomes extra hazardous to my already clumsy feet. Therefore, inducing a sudden rush of  iced over concrete on my all ready non-cushioned bum. (Yes I suffer from no-assatall disease–chronic, it is but I get by none-the-less).  Either way, it is quite the site to see I’m sure! So is the bruising afterwards, yum! You’d think I’d learn, but no, I am a clone to history.
As I was saying before I rudely decided to add my embarrASSment of bum meets concrete to your already fantastic day.
The weather is changing day by day around the world. We wake and emerge hoping for the chance to catch the sunrise or the birds sing. Well most of us do. However I’d rather knock them off with an airsoft gun so I can get the 5 more minutes of sleep. Plus the added bonus of telling my husband I shot another bird today! But you catch my drift about the emergence of  Spring.  Blah, blah, birds, bees, flowers and trees. Melting snow time to go.

EXCEPT, here, yes here in Okinawa it is completely NOT the same. No snow, no slush or mush, no Death Mat of Icy goodness. There is always something here in bloom. There is always something green. I have yet to even imagine ice here. It’s been quite a change living here. Things are blooming yes and beautiful. Then why the winter “doldrums?”  Why am feeling like I do every year around this time? I have nothing to complain about. I have no ice. No snow. Again no chance meetings with frozen concrete.

 Nothing.  

And still …I sulk as though  winter froze my soul to the East Coast.

Ah, Revelation! My soul to the East Coast.

That’s it ! I miss the East Coast.

Wow, there I said it!

What the heck is wrong with me?

Ha!

I miss all of it.  Snow, mush, shoveling, yard work, preparing for spring. However, ahem, However I do not miss that dang ice or the BELOW zero temperature that is included with the pre-spring months.

Now that I got that out I feel much better.

I am over it.

Hell it’s 70 degrees and beautiful here.   I told you, you didn’t miss me THAT much! (What a gentle reminder of how much you hate that I am right and are wishing that I was freezing my bum off with you!)

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