Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Where did i go?

Simple answer, to live Life. It's been a whirlwind of things going on but I have not forgotten my blog fans. Some people would love to blame it on my romantic relationship but that's very presumptuous. Others may say cause I don't care anymore.

I'm here to say, I need inspiration. Sadly to say, last week I wondered if I am actually a writer. Maybe my two books were it. That's all I have in me. But then I also thought about the girl who had such a thrill in making this world of people. I liked writing about them, more than I liked watching TV sometimes. As I posted on Facebook a week ago, I miss those times I was grounded and all I had was a pen and notebook. But oh have times changed.

Today I am going to work and then getting some teeth extracted. I will be drugged up and miserable for the night. Or at least I assume I will. Life is to be lived and I have been living mine. Have you?

Next week I return to the continent that helped me develop a better relationship with myself. Also where I wrote some of my best pieces. I found my love for psychology, sociology and communications as well. I'm going back and looking at life in a whole new way.

The theme here is life... So lets talk about it. I'll see you in Europe. 

Monday, July 20, 2015

Chef Anissa: Angry Bird

I call this the angry bird because once I took it out of the roasted pan it looked a bit angry. It didn’t look like other chickens I’ve roasted, all pretty and golden.

THIS CHICKEN. It may have the worst name in recipe-naming history (I'm renaming it Slow-Roasted Chicken), but that doesn't even matter, not one bit because OMG THIS CHICKEN. (Yes, I know with the all-caps, but this chicken deserves them, plus several exclamation point and a lot of underlining and four-letter words, too.) 

I saw this recipe in a cooking magazine. The picture of the bird was soooo beautiful and perfect. That’s what caught my eye. I am a chef, how many roasted chicken recipes am I really supposed to jump for joy over? Even if you think that a new recipe for roasted chicken is snoozeworthy, you need to know about this. Like, REALLY. (People, I have feelings about this chicken and they are not equivocal!)

Instead of roasting your bird at a high heat or slathered with butter, here you put together a little herb-spice rub (fennel, hot pepper, marjoram, thyme and salt), add some olive oil and then rub the bird all over with that mixture, sort of as if you were giving it a relaxing salt scrub. You stuff the bird with a whole head of garlic cut in half, a lemon cut into quarters and more marjoram and thyme. Then you put the bird on top of some thyme sprigs on a baking sheet, surround it with potatoes (I added carrots and celery) and put it in a low oven, 300° F, for two to three hours.

When the chicken is done (I put my oven just a little higher - at 160° C instead of 150° C - so it was done a little after two hours - but I had to take the vegetables out earlier, so definitely pay attention to what's going on in your oven around the 90-minute mark if you're going with the original temperature), it is meltingly tender and the joints have practically dissolved. The skin is irresistibly crisp, but you have none of the crazy chicken-fat smoking out of the oven that crispy skin usually requires. The roasted vegetables have shrunk and sweetened and are infused with herby, savory chicken fat. It's pretty much the greatest Sunday dinner ever.
But I'm not even done yet!
Because, believe it or not, this roast chicken, is  as delicious and perfect as it is freshly roasted, goes straight into the leftover hall of fame. I mean, cold roast chicken of any kind is tough to beat - it's just one of those home-run foods that everyone loves (right? RIGHT?) - but this cold roast chicken is unparalleled. A day or two of sitting in the fridge and it's pretty much the best thing ever.
Bonus proof-that-this-chicken-is-the-chicken-to-end-all-chickens story: This evening, while I was pulling the remaining meat off the carcass to recycle into a BLT chicken salad, Lil Rob  literally grabbed the entire breast that I had just lifted off the bones out of my hands (I'd already put some shredded meat on his plate!) and proceeded to devour it, with his hands, like a very cute and yet slightly terrifying and hungry little caveman.

Angry Bird Herbed Chicken Serves 5
1 teaspoon ground fennel
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh marjoram; plus 4 sprigs, divided (I used dried and skipped the sprigs)
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh thyme; plus 4 sprigs, divided
1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more
6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 3½–4 pound chicken
1 lemon, quartered
1 head of garlic, halved crosswise
2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, scrubbed, halved, or quartered if large
1. Preheat oven to 300°F (150 C°). Mix the fennel, red pepper, chopped or dried marjoram, chopped thyme, 1 tablespoon salt, ½ teaspoon pepper, and 3 tablespoons oil in a small bowl. Rub chicken inside and out with spice mixture. Stuff chicken with lemon, garlic, 2 marjoram sprigs, and 2 thyme sprigs. Tie legs together with kitchen twine.
2. Toss potatoes with remaining oil on a rimmed baking sheet; season with salt and pepper. Push potatoes to edges of baking sheet and scatter remaining 2 marjoram and 2 thyme sprigs in center; place chicken on herbs. Roast, turning potatoes and basting chicken every hour, until skin is browned, meat is extremely tender, and potatoes are golden brown and very soft, 2-3 hours. Let chicken rest at least 10 minutes before carving. ( hint..hint: the reason we let the bird  rest for 10 minutes is because we want all the juices will settle evenly through the bird and it also helps with the carving process. Juice won't squirt out all over you.)
By: Chef Anissa

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The Truth about 3 Day Cleanse

The fad of cleanses and detoxes. They are almost as popular as Brunches on the weekend. But unlike brunch, cleanses are not as fun.The results are eye opening though.

Day 1- Instead of juicing, I blended all the ingredients. Therefore I had less of my fruits and veggies than in the recipe. It was very experimental the first day. Some drinks had too much of some ingredients, some had too little. I didn't peel all of them, in result, there were some remnants inside the smoothie.

There was a lot of peeing throughout the day. I was hungry... or my stomach growled a bit throughout the day but usually it was time for the next smoothie. I even went to the mall and watched a friend eat a delicious veggie burger. In that moment, I decided that even though dinner was supposed to be just fruits and veggies, falafels were okay. And veggie burgers for the next night and vegan Chipotle salad for the last night.

Advice: I suggest you definitely make a decision before it's dinner time. No flip flopping. I didn't have any rice, pasta, or any grains. Just vegetarian/vegan ingredients that consisted of veggies mostly.

Day 2- This day was easier to have all the smoothies but I felt too bloated or slightly backed up (TMI?). Then finally I had a big "bathroom break" and felt better.I looked forward to my water with ginger and lemon every morning. Not so much the tea before bed. Some nights I really yearned for it, others I did without.

During the day, I almost forgot I was hungry most times. I got so caught up in everything else, I didn't care much if I needed my next drink. I work remotely so I also had to be creative about the way I kept my bottles cool. Unfortunately that meant my bookbag got weighed down. Not fun.

Dinner always tasted so delicious. My taste buds were definitely heightened. Things were sweeter, tasted even more lively. It was a big difference. I had an apple that wasn't on the schedule. It was the best apple I had ever tasted.

Day 3- I was so excited I was almost done. It felt like we had just begun, but it had been long enough. I started to wonder how I would ever do a 2 week one like Joe Cross suggests in Fat, Sick, and nearly Dead. That would be a toughy. I mean, I guess the main difference was that we would have to use a juicer. Speaking of juicers, a lot of people usually mention the clean up during a cleanse or detox. It is worth mentioning. My boyfriend helped somewhat with the cleaning up after making our smoothies, but it definitely took a toll. I didn't want to clean or keep blending. We were irritable. I'd clean up our fresh fruit and veggie scraps. It was annoying. The cost of eating healthy.

Drinking nothing but juice was a breeze this day. The pee breaks were getting really annoying. Early mornings, it was hard to find isolated bathrooms I could use with no embarrassment. If you get my whiff. The last day I skipped having the last smoothie. Mainly cause I felt so backed up from Day 1 and 2, I didn't want to do that again.

AfterI was so happy to be done, I wanted to eat dessert. Haha. I didn't but I went to bed happier than ever. The next day I had toast and my lemon ginger water. I felt really good but craved a snack mid morning. I had granola. Then my coworkers had pizza, but I waited to get Just Salad instead. I didn't have meat for a while after the cleanse, maybe a week and a half. Minimal dairy. Your body does amazing things while not eating those things.

I did lose a few pounds but nothing significant, it was probably water weight.

There's my experience with a 3 Day Cleanse!

Monday, June 1, 2015

News: Transgender Developments

adjective: transgender; adjective: transgendered
  1. denoting or relating to a person whose self-identity does not conform unambiguously to conventional notions of male or female gender.
    "a transgender activist and author"

When I was in High School, the Oprah show was the first to explain to me what being transgender was. Then a guy, that was transgender, lived on my floor Freshmen year in college. Ever since then my view on that community was and is, this group of people are just people. It's such a spectacle for everyone else. I am actually quite protective of this group. One of my personal beliefs is that they should not be grouped with the LGBT community. BUT I do understand why and how it became so. I see it as, all the people who are different "sexually" are grouped together and I don't agree it should be that way but it is. Transgender individuals can often  go from being a homosexual relationship and turn into a heterosexual one as well. This too is difficult for their friends or even family to understand. No person in this world is like the other. Therefore stop trying to make every transgender person the same another.

Update June 1st 2015: Bruce Jenner is now
known as Caitlyn Jenner. Beautiful picture. 
A lot of people are discussing the recent official announcement about Bruce Jenner transitioning into a woman. I think it is funny that some people are so outraged and disgusted that he's made his transition so public. Come on! Someone had to. In America especially, no one really pays attention unless it's on television. You sit there and watch women pimp themselves out on the Bachelor, but you're disgusted that a man is smart enough to understand the influence his family has on the WORLD and is using it to inform/educate others? You my friend are foolish. Even if this family is trying to make money off of this transition, at least there will be a community to gain from it. Well hopefully.

Once I had a discussion with my mother about my potential future children. I often think about, "what if my child was gay or transgender or just not 'normal' enough for the world to accept?" I would love them no matter what but I could not handle sending my child to the wolves. My mother said, "I would try knocking some sense into your kid if you sent them to my house." "I guess they won't be coming to your house then." I replied without any hesitation. It is difficult to understand but it really isn't. During the Oscars, someone can say "Selma is now" but neglect to realize how far we have come since Civil Rights. Under the same breath you can say, black people have progressed way more than the other silenced. There are people among us who have a squeak as a voice. "It sucks to be me" as they sing in Avenue Q. Every minority sings this tune. Blacks, hispanics, women, homosexuals, pets, children and anyone else you can think of. Even the majority does. But those people are still racist, sexist, and abusers. I remember a woman in Harlem two ago was beaten and killed while walking down the street. The mom cried on the television and I felt so bad. Her child was killed. Child which has no gender. I'm sure this woman may or may not have been okay with her child being transgender, but now it doesn't matter because her child is dead.

Human Rights is an ongoing problem in this country. In my opinion, the world. And don't be fooled into thinking that only one type of people are being isolated. Therefore we should support one another rather than tearing each other down. We're all different in our own ways. Lets rejoice in that. How boring would it be if we were all the same?

Friday, May 8, 2015

Own your life

Slowly I am coming back to life, in my creative world. I have been watching the show "Younger" and find it hilarious. What is not too funny is how the main character chose family life over her career. Yes, the ongoing middle aged woman cliche. She gives up her publishing career for a husband and child. Then years or decades later, she is divorced and broke, looking to get back into her field of work.

I do not want to be that girl.

For months... or about a year, I have written less and less material. I am not sure why, but it has happened. Maybe I am enjoying my life in relationship bliss too much? Focusing on my family? Day job? Whatever it is, it needs to come to a halt. I love writing and managing businesses. However I now understand the constant struggle of balancing work and home life. I don't want to neglect my family or significant other to go to networking events. At the same time, I don't want to deny myself that thrill of a first Image Session with a new client.

We can make so many excuses about why we aren't doing the things we "want" to do, but have we asked ourselves, "Do we actually want these things?' For myself, I know I am passionate about writing. My distraction has been excelling at my day job and starting my own family. Therefore writing has taken a serious back burner. Do I want to write? Yes. I also want to travel and thoroughly enjoy my life. This is not negotiable.

Lets all take a few minutes and think about what is it that we want. Not make excuses why we aren't doing things and blaming it on external distractions. Take ownership of the direction your life takes.

Are you with me?

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Chef Anissa: Cooking For Bae

As a young woman and even a little girl I was always  told the way to a man's heart is through his stomach. You will see in my next blog if that's true or not but right now we're talking about cooking for babe. I'm not that big on Instagram  I have an account I even have pictures on it and I love those Meemee post but there was something that caught my eye that was horrifying. It is the #cookingforbae page. I know as a woman when I prepare a dish for my significant other I'm very proud of my work and I would love for him to be just as proud of it and sometimes I do display on my social media pages. I also get a lot of inbox messages from various women and some men asking me what do I think about their dish or their presentation. Some I'm pretty damn good I must admit but then there are some that just really make me say WTF. In my reply to the the person I am never going to insult someone's creativity or down their efforts but in the back of my mind I am begging the person who this dish was prepared for to run and run fast. I have been a witness to some of the dishes that look like glorified dog food or vomit on warm plate. I know I am NOT the only one that thinks this way. Sometimes I even get tempted to ask the person WTF is this or if they tell me what it is i am tempted to ask how the hell did you get that out of this? But being a professional and also a person that has to work on her presentation skills I digress but I'm still confused sometimes. I know there are alot of Grandma and Nanas that are rolling around in the grave trying to claw their way out beat them with a rolling pin. My suggestion is before you post the picture or even send the picture take a good look at the picture really analyze the picture and ask yourself would I really eat this myself or is this fit for human consumption. Then ask do I really wanna keep my man or woman or do I want to scare them to death. Because if some of this was put it in front of me and someone ask me to eat it  i would be very offended and think they were trying to poison me, that's just me. But I will always give it an A for effort, while shaking my head.

Chef Anissa YouTube

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

#PROJECTMOVEOUT : Are we too good or not good enough?

"This IS about empowering the Millennials to be amazing in every aspect of their lives and not just business. We are making ground-breaking stats as a generation... creating Facebook, breaking records in the NBA, and so much more. Granted we aren't all making millions or billions like those people, but we all have that potential in us. So why settle for living with mom and dad when we could be living with friends and struggling together? Or making ourselves SO uncomfortable that we strive and push to find solutions to regain comfort? I'm just putting a voice to our potential as a generation."

I wrote this March 22, 2012 and believe in them just as much as I did then. 

An hour ago, I called a best friend to vent about my current 9 to 5 job predicament. No matter how much a excel or show my worth, my butt has stayed in the same position for three years. Many could say that this is still no one's fault but my own, and I could agree with them. However, there seems to be a trend. My best friend went on to say that he's been doing work worth $10,000 more than he actually gets paid. No recognition, well maybe enough to make him think that he's an asset to the team. Sounds familiar? 

We asked ourselves, is it our ages? "I don't think that can hold true anymore because we're literally pushing 30" He said. And I agree. I'm not getting younger and in fact have worked in administrative, fast paced, decision making and supervising positions for about 12 years now. My resume starts at 2005, which makes it 10 years. And I'm still someone's pawn at work. As a teammate of mine said once, Where's our recognition from the CEO? He has personally called people (from another department) and thanked them. That's all she's asking for. And that's not really asking for much when you think about it. 

These supervisors, managers, directors and CEOs see millennials as assets. Most definitely. However, they see us as tools they can use to guarantee a job well done and rely on. That's not a bad thing, its actually complimenting. With that said, you have to make you take care of your tools.

So I ask, what is your work story? Is it just myself and my associates that have experienced this? Do you want more tangible praise? I know I do. "Don't just speak about it, be about it." 

Food for thought: At 26 years old, Hugh Hefner's request to get a $5 raise was denied by his employer Esquire. He then left the magazine and decided to start a magazine called Playboy