Sunday, January 30, 2011

Ok Ok I give already....

I have been trying to figure out how to use my new(ish) camera now for a bit. I don't really like to read to learn things, so I have been using youtube and just messing with it. But thats starting to get time consuming so I gave up and thanks to OnlineFreePDF I was able to find my operating instructions for my camera and I'm going to read it. Mark this down in history people! I, Angela, am READING the instructions!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Getting Wordpress on a Mac for Newbies.

1. Download Wordpress and unzip it.

2. Download MAMP.  Don't need MAMP pro from what I can tell so far...but you do have the option to upgrade later. Leave the Apache port at 8888 and the MySQL at 8889 (some instructions will tell you to change them...DON'T listen!).
3. Once you have your MAMP installed on your computer (placed in the app section). Open your Wordpress folder and copy and drag everything in it to the folder in your MAMP folder called htdocs and drop in there.
4. Next you will rename a file in that folder (so your still in the htdocs folder where all your wp stuff should be at). Rename file wp-config-sample.php to wp-config.php  Pretty simple step there!

5. Now open your wp-config.php file. Scroll down a little and you will find the below wording...the four things in BOLD and Red are the things you need to it will say something else there but you need to replace it EXACTLY like it is here:

// ** MySQL settings - You can get this info from your web host ** //
/** The name of the database for WordPress */
define('DB_NAME', 'WordPress');

/** MySQL database username */
define('DB_USER', 'root');

/** MySQL database password */
define('DB_PASSWORD', 'root');

/** MySQL hostname */
define('DB_HOST', 'localhost');

/** Database Charset to use in creating database tables. */
define('DB_CHARSET', 'utf8');

/** The Database Collate type. Don't change this if in doubt. */
define('DB_COLLATE', '');

6. Then follow this link's section of "using phpMyAdmin", ONLY follow this section of the page! To open the page of the MAMP they are refering to you need to open your MAMP app and click on the "open start page" on the front of the pop up.  This goes over how to set up your MAMP database. Use "wordpress" for your phpMyAdmin "create new database name". (this HAS to match your DB_NAME that is in your wp-config.php file!)

7. Finally click on THIS link:  http://localhost:8888/  (this is your local host setting you entered above and since you listened to me and didn't change you MAMP port it is still 8888) and it should take you the the enter user name/email/sign up for wordpress!

Now how to use Wordpress itself.....not even close to understanding that yet. Just this step took me days sine I couldn't find one location for the entire step by step process in terms a newbie could understand. But I feel very accomplished just figuring this out!

Friday, January 21, 2011

I have a name.

Well I have a domain name that is! After asking around it seemed like everyone likes GoDaddy. Then I also noticed that my uPromise account has Godaddy on it for 8% towards college...that was a no-brainer for me.
So I went with that and got myself my first domain name. A domain name is the So once I figure out hosting/template stuff and move everything over I will share, but not till then. I have a feeling this will be a bit though so don't hold your breath. And this blog will be moved into the new website, so don't worry you will not lose this oh so valuable info! Also if your annoyed with how many blogs I have...don't worry they are all going to be one nice pretty package when I'm all done.

How to Cook Black Beans (or Turtle Beans)

Raw bean, Soaked bean, Cooked bean.
 Here are the step by steps to cooking black beans (also known as Turtle beans):
 First step is to soak your beans over night. Rinse off your beans in cold water, picking out anything that isn't a black bean) and put in a medium size container. Your going to add 3 times the water as you do beans. So I added one cup of black beans to 3 cups of cold water...keep in fridge overnight (6-8hrs minimum, I couldn't find a maximum).
In the morning take all the beans that floated to the top and discard them, rinse the rest of the beans well.
Get a pot and bring the beans to boil, then reduce the heat and simmer. Check periodically and make sure you always have 1/4 inch of water above your beans. Since you did the overnight soak the cooking will be much "faster"....and by that I mean it took me only 1.5 hrs to get them soft. I threw in some garlic for extra flavor because I just love garlic on everything.

Some tips I read online but didn't try:
Don't add salt till they are cooked.
There are some spices that help decrease gas issues with the beans.
Also the fresher the beans the faster they cook, but I couldn't find a "born on" date with mine :)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Breakfast for dinner

My normal fried potatoes involved me getting a 1/4 a stick of butter and melting it down with a whole small-medium onion.....sauteed, then add a can of sliced potatoes. When all warmed and brown I dump a ton of garlic salt and Lawry's on it. Here I have no garlic salt, Lawry's and no canned sliced potatoes. So I have to go old school and learn how to make good old fashion fried potatoes. I followed this recipe for breakfast potatoes. Well I used it for a base that is.
I boiled 5 potatoes (I think they were white or brown, not red) then cut them up....wondering if next time I could cut them THEN boil them...seems it would be easier than cutting a hot potato and maybe faster cooking time. Then I used some bacon grease and some oil and threw in my onion and since I had no garlic salt I threw in some minced garlic cloves. Got the onions and garlic nice and light brown before adding my cut up potatoes. Next time I think I need to let them set longer or try the flour trick she mentions because they were cooked but they didn't get that crispy I like. I would have loved some Lawyr's on there but ...again I'm in Brazil where they just don't like any flavor but salt, so I added salt. :)
I made some scrambled eggs and the for mentioned bacon....and TADA! breakfast for dinner! At first when I made the potatoes we thought it would be to much...turns out we really like potatoes and had NO problems finishing them all.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen

Book #1 (goal is 5) for the year was "Water for Elephants" by Sara Gruen. I got the book on loan (love that kindle lets us share now!) from a friend. I heard that Reese Witherspoon is going to be staring in the movie version of this book and its due out in April '11. Since I love Reese and I try to see all her movies I wanted to read the book, because I can't read a book after I see the movie. One good thing about the kindle loaning program is that once you accept the book you have 14 days to read it. At first I thought this was a horrible idea....however it motivated me to keep reading at times this pregnant girl would rather have been napping.
The book was very well written and I'm excited to see how the movie does it. I usually think the movies drop the ball but this is a pretty basic plot and I can't see how they couldn't do the whole thing in 2hrs. The book being a very solid story so I was never really bored reading it.... I found predictable and lacking any real suspense to get that 5/5 star rating from me. I gave it 4/5 stars on my goodreads page though.
If you don't know goodreads is a great little website that helps you keep track of what you have read and want to read. If your like me you end up buying books only to realize you have already read them. Plus once you get a few like minded friends you can get great book reviews from them, which helps me pick what I should read next.

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

My entire life I was always so impressed by people who made their own noodles. I thought for sure this was a couple day process! LOL Also my mom makes a pretty good chicken noodle soup, so I thought I would try doing both.
I followed this recipe for the noodles. I found making noodles was way easier than I thought. Ok my arms hurt a touch but that could be because of my t-rex stature. The only thing I wondered about was when to tell your dough is smooth.... I did some searching and found pics and went by those. Turns out about 7 min of kneading got me the smooth dough I needed. I was unable to find a rolling pin so instead I cleaned off a red wine bottle, because everyone has one of those at home. :) It worked really well actually. I also had no pizza cutter and so I had to use a knife to cut the noodles with....the knife isn't very sharp and so this took longer than I'm sure it takes most people. But the final results were great!

For the soup I asked my mom what she did, and her response was:
1. Boil a whole chicken in a pot for 45 min.
2. Pull out chicken and shreed the meat off of it.
3. Fill up pot with water and add a CAN OF BOUILLON (yeah I'm not kidding, I felt my heart throb when she said that!)
4. Bring it to a boil and then add a bag of egg noodles.
5. Once noodles are done add chicken.

Well since Troy had highblood pressure and the idea of enough sodium to kill a horse didn't sound that appealing to me I changed it up a little. This may be the first time I didn't follow a recipe and kind of winged it!
 Here is what I ended up doing:
1. Got a big pot and threw in a whole chicken with water and brought it to a boil. I boiled it till the juice was no longer pink. Took about an hour.
2. During that hour I made the noodles using the above recipe I linked.
3. Cut up 2 carrots and 1 medium yellow onion.
4. Pulled the chicken out of the pot and filled up the pot with more water to make it 3/4 full. And added 6 chicken bouillon cubes.
5. Shredded the chicken and added it to the pot while waiting for the water to boil again.
6. Once boiling I threw in the homemade noodles and let them cook.

It was even better than mom's! (sorry mom). 

**Things I would do different next time...

I would add a couple more carrots and I would skimmed the fat off the top of the water once taking out the chicken.
Edited to add: this makes about 12 bowls of soup.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Stove Top Oatmeal

I'm sure many of you are laughing that so many of my firsts this month are cooking things on a stove top! :) But growing up we always used the microwave for everything (popcorn, instant oatmeal, warming beans--which came precooked in a can). I rarely get a microwave now a days. Before having a child that wasn't a problem because good old McDonalds is everywhere (well NOT Trinidad--weird country). But since I would like London to eat well that is no longer an option for us. And unlike me, London likes to eat more than one meal a day. He is kind of forcing me to make better food choices for the family---which is never a bad thing. The cooking part without a microwave or common pre-cooked items has become a challenge for this girl. Growing up I really didn't have anyone to teach me how to cook, let alone cook without a microwave. My father owned a restaurant and we ate there a ton. Heck I worked there and could make side salads (in sizes to feed 100 people though). Luckily it was good food so I didn't have a WAY horrible diet growing up, ok it was bad but I have seen worse! My mom could cook a few things but only about a dozen...and I can cook all of those! :) I have been hitting my Grandma Betty up for cooking help over the last couple month I think I'm going to try her fried chicken and gravy on bread!
So oatmeal is another staple food that most Americans use the microwave for. I wonder how many of my friends actually buy the non-instant stuff?! Oatmeal is also one of those things pretty much all countries have so I can find it easily. So it is making my new things list (and completion for Jan! resolution).
Good old internet searching taught me that you should do a 2:1 ratio with the oatmeal (rolled not steel, 4:1 for steel). Then bring to a boil and cook. I should have paid more attention to how long to cook once boiling. Also it seems you either use water or milk and that either works.
So I made 1/2 cup rolled oats to 1 cup box shelf milk. Brought to a boil and then let it boil (stirring the whole time) until it looked like the instant stuff I ate...i'm thinking this was about 3 min. I didn't look at a clock. The outcome.... Not bad. Its very boring on its own. But I wanted it plain for my first time so I knew what my base was. I think maybe I could have boiled it a touch longer but overall its good. Next time i'm going to find some apples, raisins and either cinnamon or maple syrup. I don't think it tastes any better than the instant stuff, but the texture is a touch better. However it took me maybe 5 min to make the rolled oats and it takes about 3 min for the instant....and the instant has added salt and sugar and is more processed. For the nutritional value I will still with old fashion rolled oats! Now I hear the steel oats are even better for you but take about 30 min to cook....they didn't look THAT much better than the rolled oats so unless there is a big texture/taste difference I don't see the value in it. But I will of course give them a try....first I need to finish off this box of rolled though. :)

Carambola (aka Starfruit)

I'm always lost when I get into the produce section of a store.... I rarely know what anything is. And I even less of the time know how to prepare it. Well today I tried a Carambola (starfruit).
According to the website if unripe it should taste like a green apple. The description as says that mine is ripe. I can see the green apple flavor...but its also citrus citrus apple would be my best description. I took out the seeds, but some people just eat them. They are about like the white seeds in a watermelon for size/shape/crunchy-ness.  I first tried it after brushing my teeth---NOT a good idea. LOL I waited a bit then tried again...much better. I would buy it again and eat them. Not my favorite but not bad...and for me anything healthy thats not bad is worth buying! LOL
London wasn't a fan of it plain, he doesn't like citrus flavor much. However when I put it in yogurt he ate almost the whole thing! So he can't hate it that much.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Stove Top Popcorn

I have always thought that making popcorn on the stove was a very difficult thing to do.... you can thank my mother who ruined a good pot by burning the oil/popcorn so bad on the bottom it was black for years....and it was one of those old thick pots with the yellow outside! Our house smelled like burnt popcorn for weeks... I can remember it as if it was yesterday.
Well we have no microwave here in Brazil so I decided I needed to learn how to do this. It would be so much easier while traveling. I don't ever recall actually eating stove top popcorn in my life!
So I did some searching and read a few "recipes" for doing this. After some talking with friends (yes it takes a village to raise this cook!), I decided to go with plain old butter and yellow corn.
What I did:
1/4 cup butter
1 cup yellow popcorn

I started up my gas stove top on high . This alone still freaks me out... I really need to by one of those point and click lighters because I feel I'm going to burn myself every time I use the match...and the fire extinguisher is on the first floor- we are on the 15th! Got a 2 qt pot and put my 1/4 cup of butter in it and 3 kernels and just kind of moved the pot over the flame. I watched my butter get a little brown and wondered if I was already screwing up. But then one of my kernels popped...and I might add scared the crap out of me! Then I added the 1 cup corn, put on the lid and continued to shake pot. I was so excited when it started popping. I'm such a little kid. After a couple moments I realized my 2 qt pan wasn't big enough because popcorn started pouring out (and then starting on fire since the flame was still going). I quickly dumped some on to a near by cookie sheet and continued to pop. I have no idea how your suppose to tell when the kernels are all done. I had plenty of popcorn so I decided that was good. After eating most of it I realized I had about 1/4 cup of kernels still at the bottom  of the pot but the bottom was also dry. So if your reading I need to put more butter in next time and keep the bottom with butter to get that last bit to pop? Or do I need to just pop longer? I was nervous of burning it. I think my 3/4 cups of kernels that did pop probably made about 8 cups of popcorn. Next time I need to only do 1/2 cup of kernels. Luckily London LOVES plain he got a little pot of it. I love I heated up some more butter and then covered mine in salt. Oh yummy goodness! I don't think I can go back to microwave ever again.

Monday, January 3, 2011

The old iPod

After 5 yrs of having my product {red} iPod and a couple computers later.... I figured out today how to get the music OFF my iPod and into my iTunes so I could use it with my new iPods!!!! Old red has been on her way out since she feel in the tub in the Philippines. I was practicing hypnobabies in the tub and she got pulled in....shows true character that she was able to still play though!
I got online and did a search and found this site- Once I had the program downloaded I found I had to do things a touch different. Once I got the music on to my desktop I wasn't able to do the normal "add to library" function in iTunes. Instead I had to copy and paste the music into my iTunes music folder. But even after I did that it wouldn't show up IN my iTunes....then I found out I had to click on each song (4GB worth) and it then saved it properly. Took a long time and there is probably an easier way to do it.....however I got to listen to my wedding music again!
"Some Where Over the Rainbow" by IZ and "I'm a Believer" by Smash Mouth has been listened to most of the night <3

Sunday, January 2, 2011


Acai is a local fruit that is pronounced a-sigh-EE, emphasis on the EE not the sigh (so I have been saying it wrong!). I have heard TONS about this fruit from people in the USA on all its amazing health properties. And I know the juice is CRAZY expensive state-side. Since its dirt cheap here I thought I would give it a try. I'm not 100% sure what the fruit itself tastes like because I haven't found that yet. What I did find was Acai na tigel. This seems to be how most of the Brazilians eat the fruit. They take the pulp of the Acai and then mix it with a touch of soy milk or syrup and ice then blend. This makes it into a sorbet texture. They then add sliced banana and sprinkle with granola. To make this little dessert there are a variety of ways apparently.
If you add orange juice to the pulp that seems to be the popular way to drink it. We tried both ways. Not bad, not wonderful either. But i'm told that the location we went to was just ok and that we needed to try more places because its amazing. So I will keep trying.
I forgot my camera in the car when we hit up this stand so here is a picture thanks to Wiki-
And a video thanks to youtube!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

My new years resolutions for 2011

1. To do 5 new things (or more) every month of 2011.
2. Two days a month wireless....well no internet or tv that is. Music is ok.
3. Read 5 books by end of the year.

There you have it. Sounds pretty easy I think. I'm going to use this blog to track my progress and show what I did new, on my wireless days and what books I read. :) After all my life of nothing but traveling has changed up some, so if this blog is going to continue it needs to follow the life I have. Don't worry my plan is to keep traveling so there will be fun travel posts still!