Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas from Cincy!

Merry Christmas everyone!!!

I'm sending you all greetings from beautiful Cincinnati Ohio where my brother and sister-in-law reside. This year the Mensah Jr's. hosted my parents, Marie's parents, my brother Kelly, Leroy and myself for a lovely Christmas celebration... Here are the highlights...

First off...Never... NEVER fly Delta out of JFK during the holidays. Delta SUCKS. Leroy and I waited in line for 2 hours to check in. I had to check in in person b/c I was traveling with a pet. They literally had 1 agent working the check in line for all domestic and international flights... and then that check in person left and ALL hell broke loose. People were yelling, fools were cutting in the line. It was nuts. My flight kept on being pushed back, so I didn't mind too too much, but yo... I really though someone was gonna get the ho ho ho beat out of them.. it was quite humerous all around. Unfortunately the BRILLIANT folks at Delta just forgot to pack half of the plane's luggage (about 10 people... the plane was tiny) and then I didn't get my luggage until Wednesday... oh well

Our holiday celebration started off with a trip to the Ballet to see the Cincinatti Ballet's presentation of the nutcracker. It was really cute. Little kids LOVE the Nutcracker and there were tons of little cuties in the audience. The play was good... but my favorite part was after the ballet they, for some reason, had a big ass statue of Bob's Big Boy (those of you from the Midwest know what I'm talking about) in the lobby of the ballet... so we took a picture with Bob... I think this would be the perfect picture for "Caption it" challenge :-p

Christmas Morning! Tons of presents and Leroy's by the tree! I got lots of good stuff for Christmas this year... actually most of the stuff I got was really for Leroy, but whatever. So... My brother and sis-in-law got me a Pug Snuggly for Leroy. Pug Snuggly's are special coats made for to fit pug's big chest. Leroy LOVES IT! And he looks so freaking cute... Don't mind that sad look on his face... just focus on the happy look on mine... heh heh...

They also got us an Outward Hound Dog sling so I can carry Leroy around all the time.... because that is exactly what needs to happen :-p He seemed a little dubious at first... but then I think he started to really enjoy himself and DOVE right in to the experience!

My brother seemed to enjoy his stocking stuffer.... I thought he would enjoy it since I get daily text message reports on his poop activities....

My father seemed very pleased with his Vietnam War Video... We saw it on TV back in October and I remembered he said he wanted it... So WA-LA Now everybody thinks I'm a great, listening, daughter :-p

My mom and I were ENTIRELY TOO pleased to receive Princess Tyra Chapter 3. For those of you who are not up on Ghanaian Cinema, Princess Tyra is the scintillating story of a caring maid by the name of Maafia who worked for the evil Princess Tyra, until Princess Tyra's fiance Kay knocked her up, causing her to leave her home in the Ilugbo Kingdom for the big city where she got slapped a LOT by a lot of people and found out her man decided to impregnate a chick who, other than her bad African weave, looked exactly like her... I don't want to give it all away, but Princess Tyra chapter 3 was JUST as great as Chapters 1 and 2.... You can see the excitement on our faces! Leroy watched Princess Tyra chapters 1 and 2 when he was only 3 months old! I think he totally remembers it. You can just see the excitement on his face when he sees what's in the box!

It was a FABULOUS Christmas morning! Thanks Ekow and Marie for your hospitality! You can see WAY more pictures of the whole Mensah/Robinson plan including pics of everyone enjoying the gift opening and my brother Kelly trying to look suave for the camera on my facebook page :-p

Merry Christmas All....

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Butternut Squash, Leeks and Apples... a story in pictures

I spent a lot (entirely too much) time photographically documenting the process of making my butternut squash and leeks last month, so I feel obligated to share the process with all of you. I am on a plane and I don’t really feel like typing, so this will be a description in pictures…. Here we go....

... and for those of you who are more word inclined...
1. Take a lovely butternut squash and strip it of its modesty and chop it up into bits
2. Take 4-5 big leeks, clean and decapitate
3. Soften up the mixture in a skillet with some olive oil…
4. Get a Granny smith Apple. Chop granny up and add her to the pot.
5. Get out some sweet wine. I used a lovely cranberry wine… Pour some wine… into a glass and drink it. Pour some more wine into the glass and drink it too. Pour some wine into the Buttnut squash mixture.
6. Let it all stew and simmer and whatnot until the buttnutt is nice and tender.
7. Bake up a piece of tilapia with some salt, pepper, and thyme.
8. Put it all on the plate and bring the plate to the couch
9. Ignore the sad, begging look on Leroy’s face
10. Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Braising pork at 7:00am...

Hey Ya'll...

Next new recipe... I bought about a pound of boneless country style pork ribs a couple weekends ago.... just because they were there.... I have never made ribs, boneless or otherwise, so I thought it would be something fun to try.

Braising basically means cooking something in a little bit of liquid in a covered pot. I just checked with Wiki and it said that Braising is actually a 2 part method including dry and wet.... that I did not know. You always learn something new when you're braising country style pork at 7 in the morning.... Next time I will have to sear the pork before throwing it in the oven.

Anywhoo, basically all I did was throw the slab'o'pork in a little roaster pan, with about 2 cups of chicken broth and salt and pepper and seasoning. The recipe called for bay leaf, but I left my bay leaves at Juan's house on Thanksgiving so I threw some allspice and thyme in there.... we'll see...

The meat is supposed to be paired with a Cuban influenced sauced called Mojo sauce. It's basically a sauce of orange, lime, garlic, cilantro and some other stuff. I'll make that when I get home today.

It's been in the oven for about 40 min and it smells great! I'll keep ya'll posted on the Mojo sauce


Tuesday, December 9, 2008


So.... I fulfilled another one of my goals tonight! I got a Bikini Wax. I had never gotten a bikini wax before b/c honestly I didn't really see the point. When I went to the beach I would just do a little at home bikiniscaping, and go... and the rest of the time... It was just au natural... I'm an au natural gal. :-p

My friend Alex had been talking about how I need to get a bikini wax for years an that her "provider" is excellent. She goes to Bliss Spa for her bikini waxes and she said that I might as well not get a bikini wax if I didn't go to Bliss b/c it was BY FAR the best place. She said that it didn't really hurt at all... uh-huh.... and that her "provider" was very "thorough" Alex's experience with bikini wax seemed so different than my other friend's experience (ie leaving the "spa" with blood spotted undies, unsightly bumps and walking funny...). I damn sure wasn't going to go to her place after witnessing all that, so I was off to Bliss with Alex.

First of all Bliss is a really pretty spa. It's connected to the W hotel in midtown on the east side. I felt very swank going there. They had little finger foods and snackies all laid out, it was very plush. Alex had gone ahead of me and apprently told the woman all my business (being my first time and all) so she had a lot of encouraging words for me before she started.

All in all the actual experience of the wax was surprisingly painless and not nearly as embarrasing as I thought. Homegirl was VERY efficient and the special wax they use really does seem to work. They use some sort of wax that is dark blue (not the yellow wax most places use) and they put the wax on and wait for it to dry/harden before the start ripping. Apparently this wax doesn't stick to the skin and really just adheres to the hair, so it's far less painful. Yo... I gotta give it to her... that mess really didn't hurt that much. I was expecting to be tearing up, holding my breath and silently cursing Alex, but honestly I just chatted with the waxer the whole time. After the wax I walked out of the place and felt NOTHING. No irritation, no bumps, DEFINITELY no blood drawn or anything like that. It was like someone hadn't just been ripping hair out of my nether region. Good stuff!

So for all of you out there in major cities.... run, don't walk, to Bliss Spa next time you have to get a bikini wax especially those of you who are experienced in waxing. I promise you'll have a better experience.

Yay 1 more goal down!

p.s. the title is from "The 40 Year Old Virgin... in case ya'll were confused."

Friday, December 5, 2008

More than just Beyonce...

November was a good month for music… I discovered a new “genre” of music, a couple new artists, and am slowly working on my Beyonce annoyance issues… (Although this “scientific evidence” still cracks me up). So let’s get to the music shall we…

New discovery this month: Grime. I was scrambling to find a couple new songs to download on October 31 when I saw my friend from high school’s status update on Facebook talking about the new “Dizzee Rascal” album. I’d never heard of Dizzee Rascal, but the fact that he had an album would indicate that he’s music of some sort, so I looked him up… and discovered a whole new subset of rap/hip-hop; Grime! If you want to learn more about the “genre” then feel free to check out Wiki, but essentially it seems like electronic based underground hip-hop that also draws from reggae and other world music… the beats are “choppy” and it’s not particularly danceable… but it’s interesting which, to me, makes it great ipod walking music.

I downloaded 2 songs from artist Dizzee Rascal…. Hmm Dizzee is an interesting fella.. I don’t know what area of London he’s from, but his accent is horrendous. He sounds like he has a big wad of fish and chips stuffed in his yap… and a really big swollen tongue. I guess his delivery is part of what makes him popular, and I would agree that it’s interesting, but I’m really glad that he made it in music, because I don’t know what he could have done with his life with that accent…

Anywhoo… I downloaded 2 songs from his 2003 debut CD “Boy in Da Corner”- “

I Luv U”

“Fix Up, Look Sharp”

I likes them! Great walking music. Interesting lyrics (from what I can hear)…. Obviously not anything of substance, and I’m not sure if I’ll be downloading any more, but trying to discern Dizzee’s mushmouth definintely kept me occupied for at least a few train rides to work… and for that he gets a solid B

The other song I downloaded this month was Greenlight from John Legend… another singer who I generally don’t have positive words for…. His “crooning” just works my nerves… “Weee’re just ordinary peeepollll-raaa! We don’t know which waaay to Goooo-rra!” No Johnny. Just stop it. But I have liked a couple of the songs he’s done with other artists as of late. He has a nice duet with Estelle on her album “Shine” called “You Are”. I happened to catch the video to his new song “Green Light” on Thanksgiving (in between the 65 and 66th replay of Beyonce’s Single Ladies video) and I loved that song. I had kind of heard it a few times in passing, but I dismissed it because it was John Legend BUT the song was featuring Andre 3000 who I LOVE. And the song is pretty hot. It’s not Johnny’s usual rat pack wanna-be crooning and honestly Andre 3000 is so charismatic it’s hard not to like anything that he does. (I even loved that ridiculous Fonsworth Bentley video with him and a very uncomfortable looking Kanye West). Anywhoo great song. Great beat. Very danceable… Perfect song to put on when you’re drinking Grey Goose and getting ready to go out for the night! Take a listen- Green Light - John Legend feat Andre 3000 I give this song a solid A-

Oh I also downloaded Beyonce’s entire CD…. Yeah…. I can’t say that I love it… I do like a few of the songs, and she’s always good for up-beat gym songs.

November anyone.....

Well given that I did my October wrap up on November 20th, there’s not too much to write about for November, so this is going to be short…

I didn’t accomplish too much in November, but I’m trekking along with a couple of my easier goals.

New Recipes: I tried 2 new recipes in November: Spicy Chicken Stew with Lemongrass and Butternut squash with Apples and Leeks. I put in a lot of effort taking pictures to document my Butt nut squash preparation… I should really blog about that…..

New songs: My 2 new songs per month goal had to re-start in November, because I didn’t download my “October” songs until November 1. Oh well… 2 new songs this month and I’m back on track.
Eating new foods: I had 1 new food in November; Kobe Beef. I love Kobe beef….. and I love Tao restaurant… Shout out to Keith for opening my eyes to both, and actually sharing his Kobe beef with me. :-p

Um yeah… I’m not going to go into all of the things I didn’t do. I don’t want to dwell on the negative…