Thursday, January 6, 2011

En mis sueños soy Halle Berry...and then I wake up!

So as of late I have been doing alot of fantasizing. In my flights of the imagination I wake up naturally, in a large bed, the room smells of peonies. I've got a body like Halle Berry and my hair is already perfectly coiffed. Next to my bed there is wet cappuccino waiting and when I walk out to my connecting balcony overlooking the ocean, a spread of smoked salmon, fresh fruit and Mimosas await me.
Then reality (a.k.a Isaac's fist) smacks me back into the real world. I've got seven inches of bed on a California King, while my husband has the other sixty five and sharing that seven inches with me are a dog on top of my legs and a three year old, sleeping on my face. I lay there in agony feeling my body turn blue from human and animal tourniquets. My body looks more like giant kiwi and my hair...two words...Don King. Yea I went there.
I did unknowingly sign up for this nine years ago when Ian in his locs and cigarette hanging from his lips asked, "Yo baby, what's yo name?" and then asked if he could take me on a first date to Napa. He had his A-game on that day, so I should have known that it would end in marriage, two kids a dog and plan.
So since I can't throw the Calgone in the tub and whisk away to Big Sur on tough parenting days, I'll settle for some dreamy food that gives me the same feeling. My fav that I just fall in love with over and over again are Spanish Tapas. There are only two places in Sacramento to get them and one is overpriced and the other only hires women that are made out of piss and vinegar. Sorry I know that was mean, but these broads are the most angry, impatient, rude employees on the planet. I've never had good service there and niether have any of my friends, but we tolerate it because it's the only place that we know of. The places that I desire are Zuzu in Napa and Cha Cha Cha in San Fransisco. This recipe is for Cha Cha Cha's Cajun Shrimp via Epicurious. One of my favorite dishes that they have made over the years. I hope that you enjoy it too!

1 1/2 cup Cajun Spice Mix
12 oz dark beer
2 cups heavy cream
1 lb peeled shrimp, medium
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

1/2 cup sweet paprika
2 1/2 Tbs cayenne pepper
2 1/2 Tbs garlic powder
1 1/2 Tbs ground black pepper
1 1/2 Tbs ground white pepper
1 Tbs dried thyme
1 Tbs dried oregano
1 Tbs salt

Combine all ingredients and mix well. Store in an airtight container.

In a heavy saucepan, mix cajun spice mix and beer. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a whisk to make a thick paste. Don’t let it burn.
Gradually stir in cream to make a smooth sauce. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally for 8 to 10 minutes or until sauce becomes thick and turns a rich rusty color.
Add shrimp and red pepper flakes. Reduce heat and cook shrimp over low heat for 2-3 minutes or until shrimp are opaque. Serve with fresh baguettes.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

A Better Life through PBS?

So yesterday was the first day of the new year and the hippie, spiritual, Stevie Nicks side of me thought that the day would be filled with inspiration and relaxation. I was wrong. It was one of the most trying days that I have had in a while. The son was in "hella crazy" mode, the dog refused to go outside to the bathroom, except to jump in the damn compost bin and eat out of it like it was a Chinese buffet and the husband was gone rafting all day so I was on my own. Eight and a half months pregnant, short on patience and long on irritation.
I walked by the opened bottles of Napa Station Cabernet and Scaia Corvina on the kitchen counter like ten times. I felt like one of the crackheads on Celebrity Rehab jonesin' for a sip. After getting everyone that was irritating me down for a nap, I settled for a hot chocolate and some PBS; and sat there on the couch watching Wayne Dryer tell me how to materialize the life that I want through visualization. I have heard this about a gazillion times; I watched "The Secret" and read "The Answer" and even realized going through my library that I have a Wayne Dryer book. But something that he said stuck with me as I thought about the events of the past year.
2010 was a year of feeling that Ian and I were doing "big thangs" in terms of getting this restaurant off the ground. In six months, we secured two separate investors, found our dream property for the restaurant, had the greenlight from the city of Sacramento to create a super "green" establishment and in the matter of a week lost it all. Deposit gone, property gone, investors adios and just as we were dusting ourselves off and getting ready to start over again, two blue lines on a pregnancy test put the kibosh on all of that. I think I cried for about a week straight. Visualize your wants my ass.

Dryer talked about when things don't happen according to your visualization it's for a reason, and after the fact Ian and I realized that. This pregnancy has been wrought with complications and if we had tried to open our first restaurant during that time I can't say that me or this baby would be here today. But that's not the thing that stuck with me. It was about living in that life that you want and staying positive. On my Facebook profile I have a statement that says, "I only hangout with people that make me laugh". For some reason I didn't do that alot the later half of the year. Things got serious, friends lives around me got complicated and as a result I got mentally weaker which manifested itself into poor health. Now I'm not saying that I didn't want to be there for my friends that needed me, but like any athlete you can't overexert yourself and not refuel. I didn't make sure to continually refuel myself with the people in my life that make me laugh so hard that I make that wheezing sound and tear up.

So my New Year's resolution is that I will make an effort to surround myself with positivity this year. I will take inventory of how much sadness, pain and antagonism that I take in and make sure to combat that with equal if not greater amounts of their antonyms. I always say to my sister who LOVES horror movies, "I can't watch the "Grudge 3" without watching "The Carebear Movie" after it." Those are words to live by friend! So remember, negativity can come in many forms, people that you interact with, the evening news reporting about murders and a weak economy, commercials for antidepressants and even Facebook post from people that have nothing better to do than complain EVERYTIME they post. If all you read and listen to is how the world sucks, then guess what... your world will.