Life in this Choas

Hey guys, I know its been a while since I’ve posted anything. I’ve been a little preoccupied with attempting to start my garden. A lot is going on right now  in America and worldwide. The Coronavirus’s threat knocks on our doorstep, and then there’s the issue of Civil rights and people fighting for justice.
I’ve found that With everything going on, it has been easy for me to get caught up in it all. Over the past several months, there have been many situations where my anxiety had gotten the best of me. There have been days when I’ve been in tears due to how society treats people of color.
There have been days I find myself overthinking the pandemic and freaking out, thinking that I may have to stock up on supplies and food.
With everything I’ve come to realize that To be the best mother and wife I need to be on my A game mentally. Some people may not agree, but the woman of the house sets the tone for how everything and everyone in the home reacts to things. Over the past several months, I’ve had to figure out ways to stay sane and provide comfort to my family even when I’ve been panicking inside. So I began trying to find my own hobbies and things that would allow me to get a break from all of the chaos.
 In the past 4 months, I’ve started a blog, I’ve begun cooking more, I’ve worked on trying to learn more and not watch as much meaningless tv shows. Don’t get me wrong I love pointless TV like Family feud and reality tv shows but, I’ve found that it doesn’t help me mentally. Recently I even started a garden.
In times like now, we need to be able to refocus on meaningful things in life. We need to take this time to learn and grow. At first, it was difficult for me to wrap my head around it all and even now. I’d never in a million years imagine being at home with my kids and husband all day. I’d never imagined applying for unemployment or homeschooling or having to go places with Masks on. This whole thing is a new way of life.
I say all of this to say that no matter what’s going on around us, we still need to find time for ourselves, and we need to make sure we are healthy to be the best we can for our families.

A Classic CINNABON

The Classic Cinnabon

My favorite dessert recreated at Home.
Prep Time2 hrs
Active Time30 mins
Total Time2 hrs 30 mins
Course: Dessert
Keyword: Sweets
Yield: 10 Rolls

Equipment

  • Kitchen Aid Mixer

Materials

Dough

  • 2 1/4 Tsp Rapid/Instant yeast
  • 1 Cup Milk (Lukewarm) (100F-115F)
  • 1/2 cup Sugar
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 eggs Large
  • 1 Tsp Salt
  • 6 Tbsp Butter (softened) Room temperature
  • 4 Cups All-purpose Flour

Filling

  • 1 Cup Dark Brown sugar
  • 3 Tbsp Cinnamon
  • 6 Tbsp Softened Margarine

Cream Cheese Icing

  • 1/2 cup Softened Butter
  • 1 1/2 cup Powdered sugar
  • 1/2 Pack Philadelphia cream cheese (Room temperature)
  • 1/2 Tsp Vanilla extract
  • 1/8 Tsp Salt (Pinch)

Instructions

  • Dissolve the yeast in the warm milk(110f-115F) with a tbsp of sugar in a small bowl. Let it sit for about 5 minutes. If the yeast is good, it will start to froth up.
  • In the mixer add the sugar, butter, salt, eggs, and flour and mix until well incorporated.
  • Next, pour the milk/yeast mixture over the flour mixture and using the dough hook, mix well until well incorporated and the dough comes clean from the side of the bowl. Do not over mix the dough. Remove as soon as it begins to form a ball of dough and is no longer sticking to the sides.
  • Place the dough into an oiled bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place about 1 hour or until the dough has doubled in size.
  • While the dough is rising. You can begin working on the filling Combine the brown sugar and cinnamon in a bowl.
  • Grease a 9×13 inch baking dish with cooking spray.
  • Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface, until it is approximately 16 inches long by 12 inches wide. It should be approximately 1/4 inch in thickness.
  • Spread the margarine evenly over the dough, then sprinkle with the sugar evenly over the surface of the dough. Working carefully, from the long edge, roll the dough down to the bottom edge. (Do not use Real butter for the filling or else your rolls will be dry.) By using Margarine in the filling it has a higher melting temperature which allows it to create a cinnamon-sugar glaze whereas real butter begins to carmelize when it's baked with the cinnamon and sugar due to its lower melting temperature and how it reacts to the dough.
  • Using a piece of Thread or Dental floss slide under the rolled Cinnabon dough, cross the ends and pull apart to make clean Cut. Cut the dough into 1 1/2 inch slices, and place in the greased baking pan. Cover with plastic wrap and let them rise for another 30 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
  • Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cooking time will vary depending on the type of Oven.
  • While the cinnamon rolls are in the oven, make the icing by mixing all the icing ingredients in the kitchen aid mixer. When the Cinnamon rolls are done spread generously and they are ready to serve.

Notes


Summer Adventures with my boys

San Diego 2020

This year was so different than all the previous family vacations for many different things. We went from a family of 3 kids to a family of 4 kids. We also went from living normal daily life to going on vacation in the middle of a pandemic.
Overall, I think my kids loved the vacation and although we weren’t able to plan a lot of things we somehow managed to make the best of it and enjoy each other’s company. While On vacation, my kids were able to go to the beach, the strawberry patch visit with friends, see the Hollywood sign, go to the alley, and have a pool party.
In my eyes, I thought they weren’t going to enjoy all of that but, I think it was a long-needed break from being in the house the past several months.
It was also really cool because our children got to see real-life history in the making from witnessing protesters to seeing all the signs that read Black lives Matter written on the street as well as by the staples center. My children had a lot of questions, and it allowed us to have an appropriate kid conversation about what’s going on in the world. I still feel like there’s so much more to discuss, but I want to continue to explain a little at a time. Also, my children had never seen the Hollywood sign so they were extremely excited to see it and take pictures. My boys loved walking along the beach and even experienced one of our favorite cookie places we used to go to in college.
During our trip, we stayed out late and allowed our kids to see and experience new places. Of course, we had to have multiple diaper changing sessions and outfit changes depending on the weather, but we all pitched in and enjoyed it. I’ve noticed that this pandemic allowed our lives to slow down in a way to where we haven’t really noticed that things we are missing but; Instead, we have been able to come up with new games, projects and have been able to enjoy the simple things we used to take for granted. I hope to make many more memories with my children during the rest of this summer.


Vacation during a pandemic

Okay, so I know I’ve been MIA for the last couple of weeks. I’m still getting the hang of this blogging thing, besides that its a little difficult blogging while on vacation.

 In the past several weeks, there have been a million things going on but, we still managed to take a break and get out of town. We usually go to San Diego every summer in June but, this year was completely different. First, we didn’t have one baby; we had two, and then on top of that, we are in the middle of a pandemic. 

  Due to all of the unknowns, there were many things we had to consider. I would recommend that if you’re planning a vacation soon to do your research as well. 

  1. What precautions and procedures are in place at the hotel
  2. what are the rules in the state or country you’re going to visit
  3. what restaurants/businesses are open that you may want to visit.

Before we left on our trip, I contacted the hotel to see what rules may have changed and how they handled Covid-19 in the hotel. Our particular hotel was not providing room service/ housekeeping until day 3 of our stay. Therefore I had to prepare for small things like cleaning the bathroom. Also, our hotel specifically required a mask to be worn when we were not in our room. Second, I looked up the places we wanted to visit and contacted them. For example, we wanted to go to Seaworld but found out it was still not open. I then contacted the Bellmount park in San Diego to see if the rides and beach were open. Last, I looked up the change in hours at certain restaurants and contacted them about what they do for bigger parties.

Now for the packing, we have two kids under three, so there was a lot to consider when packing. How will we carry them? How will we protect them from being exposed to COVID-19, where will they sleep, and what foods to pack. Here was our packing list.

  1. Graco Pack N play
  2. Baby carriers (ErgoBaby 360 & Infantino)
  3. Stroller (Contour Options Ellite)
  4. Blankets (2 linen, 4 receiving, 2 soft blankets)
  5. Four warm outfits (depending on Wheather)
  6.  2 outfits for everyday traveling (For accidents)
  7. Life jackets/swimming diapers/Swim trunks
  8. Diapers (we took an entire box for 5 days)
  9. Wipes (3 packs)
  10. Formula (12oz can and 30oz can)
  11. Baby food pouches (25 for 5 days)
  12. Thermos (for hot foods) (Chicken noodle soup)
  13. Snacks finger foods (gummies, goldfish, pretzels)
  14. Shoes
  15. Mask/face coverings

For our bigger kids, it was so much more relaxed we matched up their outfits and packed. Of course, we had to make sure we had masks and mask filers but, other than that, the big kids were easy to pack for. 

`The biggest thing to be concerned about is making sure you have enough stuff to keep your family, especially the kids, safe in a different environment. I went over and above to make sure we all had masks and Mask filters. I packed extra blankets for when we took the babies outside versus when we were in the hotel. Also, when the kids were in the stroller or carriers, we made sure they were facing towards us to prevent weirdos from getting too close or trying to touch the babies. As far as food, I decided to make sure we had easily accessible things; therefore, we had uncrustables, bread, sandwich meat, pop tarts, instant oatmeal, and several snacks. 

  As far as keeping the hotel room clean, I requested new towels every day, and I took my cleaning supplies and small trash bags that we would empty before we left every morning. We cleaned our room every day before we left and then would request new towels.

Overall, Vaccationing during a pandemic can still be enjoyable; you just have to take a few more precautions and wear a mask to prevent exposure as much as possible.

 Mask


Have you Ever wanted to have homemade sweet rolls like the ones at the store? I finally found the perfect recipe.

Hawaiian Rolls

Sweet Pineapple Hawaiian Rolls

I've always wanted to know How to make my own dinner rolls. So much so that I've attempted making multiple recipes with different ratios of the main ingredients until I finally realized that this one works the best. This recipe accomplishes my goal of a sweet and savory pull-apart bread.
Prep Time30 mins
Active Time40 mins
Rising time2 hrs
Total Time3 hrs 10 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Bread, Dinner rolls, Hawaiian Rolls
Yield: 16 rolls
Cost: $10

Materials

Ingredients for Yeast Ball

  • 1/4 Cup All-purpose Flour
  • 1 Tbsp Instant (Quick Rise) Yeast Approxomently 1 pack and a half.
  • 2.5 Tbsp Warm water between 115-117 degrees

Ingredients for Dough

  • 2 3/4 cup All-purpose Flour
  • 2 Tbsp Cornstarch
  • 1 1/4 Tsp Salt
  • 1/3 Cup Light brown sugar
  • 1/2 Cup Pineapple Juice
  • 1 egg Yolk
  • 1 egg White (set aside for egg wash)
  • 4-5 Tbsp unsalted Butter (approximately 1/4 cup) (Room temperature)
  • 1 Tsp Vanilla extract

Instructions

  • In a big bowl start By mixing the 1/4 cup flour, 1 tbsp quick-rising yeast, and the water. Make sure that the water temperature does not exceed 117 degrees. I typically use a thermometer to make sure my temperature is exact. The purpose of this is so that you can create a yeast ball so that when other ingredients are added your bread will rise properly. Let this sit for about 10 minutes.
  • After sitting for 10 minutes it won't look any different it will just look like a crusty ball of dough. Don't worry it will all come together soon. Now mix in the 1/3 cup of brown sugar, 1/2 cup pineapple juice, 2 eggs, 1 yolk, the Vanilla, and the softened butter. Mix and mash everything together. This mixture will look yellow and lumpy. At this point, you should have lumps of dough and lumps of butter in this mixture.
  • In a separate bowl mix together the flour 2 3/4 cups, salt 1 1/4 tsp, and the cornstarch 2 tbsp. Then add about a cup of this mixture into the mixture with the eggs and dough ball mixture and mix until its incorporated. You can do this with a kitchen aid mixer or by hand in a bowl with a sturdy spoon. Once that is mixed add the remaining flour mixture to it. By hand, you will mix until it becomes too hard to mix with a spoon, and then you will take it out and began kneading the dough for 8-12 minutes. In a mixer with a dough hook you will knead on low and continue to scrape the sides down until all flour is incorporated and then speed up the mixer to about 5-6 speed and knead for 8-10 minutes.
  • After roughly 8-12 minutes your dough should be tacky but, not sticking to your fingers. you should be able to poke it and it springs back into shape and if you used a mixer with a dough hook it should be smooth. If you made it by hand it will not be as smooth but, as long as it springs back and is not sticking to the countertop then its good to go. The dough should feel tight and no longer falling all over the place. The Purpose of Kneading is to strengthen the gluten bond so do not be alarmed that the dough is not easily moveable. Once it rests it will be soft like a pillow.
  • Now place the dough in a greased bowl for about 2 hours or until its doubled in size.
    (I usually place mine in the oven to rest/rise)
  • After the 2 hours are up your dough should be significantly puffier. You will take the dough out and it should feel extremely soft and plush like the skin of a newborn. Now you will take the dough form it into a ball and with a dough scraper or a knife cut it into halves and continue to cut into halves until you have 16 equal-sized pieces. Now you're going to shape each piece into a ball by pinching the sides and all to the bottom. While shaping the rolls make sure the dough pieces you are not working with remained covered by the plastic wrap to prevent the top layer from getting dry.
  • Now place the 16 balls of dough into a greased round cake pan. You can put parchment paper down in the bottom of the pan but, Honestly, it makes no difference. Cover with plastic wrap, place in a warm area and let it rise for about a 1 hour.
  • At about 15 minutes before your rolls are done rising preheat the oven to 375. (if your rolls are rising in the oven, of course, take them out before preheating the oven) Once they are done rising remove the plastic wrap and brush a small amount of egg wash on each roll. To make the egg wash take the egg white that you set aside and 1tsp of water. The place them in the oven on the middle rack for approximately 20-25 mins. For my own personal preference I cook mine for 15 mins and then to prevent the top from browning anymore I take them out and place foil on top to act as a barrier and cook for the remaining 10 mins. The rolls should be at the internal temperature of 190 when they are completely done
  • Rub or brush with butter and serve.

Notes


Seafood Lasagna

Easy Seafood Lasagna

Cheesy Seafood Lasagna

I've always wondered what two of my favorite foods would taste like together. I was able to take My love for pasta as well as seafood to create this dish. I tried it years ago and it wasn't that great but, I honestly think I've perfected it now.
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Course Main Course
Servings 6

Ingredients
  

  • 12 Noodles 1 (Package) Lasagna
  • 4 Tbsp Salted Butter
  • 1/2 Cup Finely Chopped Sweet Onion
  • 3 Tbsp Flour (For Thickening)
  • 2 1/2 Cups Half and half
  • 1 Cup Grated Romano Cheese
  • 1 Cup Grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1.5 Cup Shredded Mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 Tsp Salt (To taste)
  • 1/4 Tsp Paper (To taste)
  • 10 oz Sauteed spinach
  • 1/2 Cup Finely Chopped Red bell pepper (For Color Optional)
  • 2-3 Cloves Minced garlic

Seafood

  • 8 oz Bay (Small) Scallops
  • 12 oz Uncooked, Peeled, and deveined Shimp (Medium)
  • 8 oz Wild-caught Crabmeat (Not Imitation) You can buy it already cooked in a can or Jar.
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp minced Garlic

Instructions
 

  • Preheat Oven to 375 and spray a down 13 by 10-inch glass casserole dish or aluminum foil pan with Cooking spray.
  • In a large pot begin boiling water with a little salt to prevent Noodles from sticking together. Once the water comes to a boil place noodles carefully into the pot but, place them all around the pot not all in the same spot. Do not worry the majority of the noodles will be sticking out of the top of the pot but, as they cook they will become softer, and you will be able to push them down into the pot. Cook the noodles for approximately 8-9 mins do not overcook because they will break when placing into the lasagna. You want them to be done but, not broken or soggy. Once done drain water and set to the side. I take them apart and place them on a paper towels because they begin to stick together if they are not separated.
  • Now for the sauce melt the butter into a large Skillet. I prefer nonstick because you don't want to burn the cheese sauce. In the skillet add in the onion, bell pepper (optional), Spinach (Optional), and the minced garlic and cook on medium until they are soft and translucent. This takes roughly 4-5 mins. Do not burn your butter or garlic.
  • On medium heat add in the flour and begin using a whisk, gradually add in the Half-and-half, allow the sauce to thicken slightly before adding in any more ingredients. When the sauce has thickened more to about the consistency of Heavy whipping cream then begin adding in the cheeses and whisk continually to prevent sticking. You're going to add all of the grated Romano cheese and about half of the parmesan cheese. Make sure to Stir stir stir with the Whisk until all cheese and other ingredients form a sauce. While doing this you will need to use seasonings to your preferred taste. I used Salt, pepper, Slap yo mama. Remember Cheese already has salt in it so always taste it before adding and after adding any seasonings with salt. Turn to Low heat or Off until ready to use again.
  • Now Preparing the seafood. You will want to make sure all seafood has been thawed in Coldwater Do not use hot water it will cook the fish. After all of the fish is thawed out you need to make sure all of the fish is dry and that you get out as much water as possible. You can start by taking the shells off of the shrimp and placing the shrimp onto paper towels. Do the same with the scallops and then as paper towels get wet remove them and place onto dry paper towels. It's important to get out all of the water to prevent watery soggy lasagna. The crab meat should come in a container or can I recommended rinsing the crab meat and doing the same process. Then take paper towels place on top and push down slightly to make sure to get out any extra water. Place meat into separate bowls.
  • In a pan on medium heat take about 2 tbsp butter and 1tsp(1 clove) garlic and place shrimp and scallops into the pan. Season to your taste. I used Cajun seasoning, Cayenne, pepper, a small amount of old bay, and a small amount of lemon pepper. Cook until pink this should take about 1-2 mins to turn them overcook for about another 30 seconds and remove. You do not want them raw but, you do not want them overcooked either. You want them cooked to the point where the small amount of heat from the oven will do the rest of the cooking. Put the Shrimp, scallops, and the juices (if you like the taste) into your sauce. Then add in the crab meat into the sauce and stir it all up.
  • To Layer the pasta you will need to put a small amount of sauce in the bottom of the pan then place 3-4 noodles depending on the pan size, then some sauce with the spinach and everything and spread it around making sure you meat and ingredients are not just in one area and then more noodles. Make sure to save some sauce without meat or spinach for the top. The very top layer should be sauce and cheese. You can place some of the Mozzerella cheese throughout but, the majority of the mozzarella and the remaining parmesan cheese are for the top.
  • Bake in the oven for about 20-25 mins. The top of the lasagna will not look pretty. Then turn on the broiler and broil the lasagna for about 3 mins to get the top cheese nice and golden and crispy. Be careful, do not leave the lasagna in the oven on Broil for more than 4 mins or your lasagna will be burnt. Your only using the broiler to make the top look pretty.

Notes

The Very first time I attempted this recipe I did not make sure to dry out my seafood ingredients and it came out watery. In addition I did not cook my noodles long enough and they got stuck together. To ensure this doesn't happen make sure to remove water with paper towels. Make sure to mix noodles while cooking and make sure not to place noodles into the pot until the water is boiling. In addition if you like more sauce double the sauce. Get creative and add more vegatables or more types of seafood. This is based On the types of seafood I enjoy. 
Keyword dinner, Itallian, Pasta, Seafood


Easy 20-Minute Chili

Easy 20-Minute Chili

My mom and grandma have been making this chili my whole life and it now has become my goto for a fast family meal.
Prep Time5 mins
Active Time25 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: dinner, easy, Fast
Yield: 8 Servings
Cost: $20

Equipment

  • Pot

Materials

  • 2 pounds Ground Beef or ground turkey
  • 2 Cans Tomato sauce (Hunts)
  • 2 Cans Red Kidney Beans
  • 2 Cans Stewed Tomatoes (Hunts)
  • 1 Diced Onion Yellow
  • 3 Cloves Garlic
  • 2 packets McCormick Chili Seasoning
  • Lawrys Seasoning Salt
  • Garlic powder

Instructions

  • Place Ground beef in a pan with the diced up onion, and minced garlic and began cooking on medium to high heat.
  • For the seasoning I use Lawry's seasoning salt and garlic powder. When seasoning the meat you want to make sure all of the meat has some sort of seasoning on it. It's all about preference.
  • While the meat is cooking drain all of the beans. If you've ever used canned beans you'll notice that there is like a slimy juice in the can so you will want to make sure to drain all of the juices out of the beans and set them aside for later.
  • Once the meat is all done cooking you will want to drain all of the greases out in a strainer and then place the meat into a pot and began adding in the other ingredients. Add the tomato sauce, The kidney beans, the stewed tomatoes and the seasoning packets.
  • Once the meat, seasoning, and all of the other ingredients are incorporated and heated up its time to eat.

Notes

This is my Cheat to making chili While most recipes will have you measuring out cumin and chili powder I perfer a seasoning packet,Its fast and efficient. This chili is not spicy nor sweet so to make it how you want it you may have to add more seasonings. To make it spicy you can use a spicy seasoning (McCormick) packet or add 1/4 tsp cayenne and or 1/2 tsp Chipolte seasoning. I perfer Mine sweet so I usually add butter and a sugar to my own bowl of chili.  Enjoy!