Repurpose items laying around.

A gloomy day today and waiting for the ice rain to start. 😦

I believe that I will also put some DIY ideas on my blog here. There is no better way to occupy one’s mind when the weather keeps us inside. Last Easter, I made a cake which was a big hit and also served as home therapy for my left arm and hand after a surgery to repair the Ulnar nerve went south two months after -leaving me with what they call Complex Regional Pain Syndrome.

In the midst of making the roses, I was getting really annoyed that I had no where to put the flower nail to rest while I was working on a different one or just so that it would not get contaminated. My hand kept getting icing and sticky from the residues. I went online to search for a flower nail holder and found that most of the items had to be bought online and the ones that were located in my area were a price I was not willing to cough up. Delima. I took a walk to clear my mind and to think. While I was walking, Flower nail holderI saw this cigarette pack that someone discarded. It looked like a 4″ X 2″ shape, then the lightbulb went off. I grabbed the empty box, cleaned it and grabbed a piece of aluminum foil. I wrapped it then made two holes spaced apart to accommodate my needs. Granted it does not look pretty but it got the job done. I also did not have to shell out $11.00 on ebay and wait for it to get here nor did I have to submit to shelling $16.00 for a Welton brand.

I still use this hand crafted device to this day. It allowed me to work more efficient and smoothly then clumsy trying to find a spot to house the flower nail. The end result well the pic is here.

Easter bunny cake
Easter 2014

Abondigas Soup AKA: Hamburger Soup

Simple hamburger soup
Finished product

I hope everyone had a good Saint Patrick”s Day. Past few nights have gotten cold once again and I decided to make a very simple Hamburger Soup. On the Internet, you’ll find ones with tomatoes, chillies, harsh spices that are hard for some to handle. I have even seen some versions of this dish with corn or squash and zucchinis.

My Dad taught my mother how to make this very simple Hamburger soup- so here we go.

You will need a pound of ground beef, 80 -93%, for this dish I used 80%. Long grain white rice and about two to four Russet potatoes depending on the size of the potato. Salt, cilantro and 1 14.5 oz to 16 oz can of beef stock. First, peel and wash the potatoes then cut into cubes/bite size quarters. Grab a soup pot, add beef stock and about three to four cans of water in soup pot. Next add the potatoes to the liquid, one to two shakes of salt and a pinch or two of cilantro. If you are allergic to cilantro, don’t care for it or out of at the present time, Parsley can be used as a substitute. Turn on burner to medium heat, cover and set timer for twenty minutes. Check in between, incase it starts to boil over, stir and replace cover.

Grab a small bowl and pour some rice in and set aside. Next, grab the hamburger and pinch off an amount that you would like your meatballs to be. Roll the hamburger in the bowl of rice then form into a ball and place on a plate. Keep doing this until all the hamburger is used. Retain the leftover rice that is in the bowl.Rice and meatballs

If the potatoes are fairly easy to cut with what utensil you are using then it’s time to add the meatballs. Place the meatballs in one at a time to avoid the hot water splashing up. Next add the leftover rice that is in the bowl. Reduce heat to med-low and cover. Set timer for thirty minutes.

Serve with flour tortillas and a soup spoon.

Note: For beef stock: One thing you can try is the next time you are cooking a beef roast in a slow cooker, add some brown gravy mix to the water. I did this once and I now prefer it that way. The broth comes out richer and deeper in color.

Mans best friend

Dogs, Wolf, Wolf mix
Nisha, circa 1995

Mans best friend most of the times do not get mentioned in obituaries nor is there anyway to really place them on a family tree.  In my opinion, there should be a platform to add our favorite animal friends, so that they are remembered for they do become part of our family. The photo is of Nisha a California Wolf and German Shepard mix. I used the keywords most of the times because some genius people would make up a last name for the animal so that the deceased best friend could be listed as a surviving relative. That is one way of getting your best friend mentioned in the obituaries. Nisha could become Nisha Rios in my case.

How did my friend get her name? While at Butte College, I studied martial arts with Patrick Haley, Michael Weldon and Larry Reynosa himself as my mentors and teachers, because of my fondness for martial arts and Ninja films, she was black and white and could sneak up on you in the shadows so, Ninja + Shadow = Nisha. I did not have to train her for she is the one that trained me. Five in the morning she would softly get on the bed and straddle her legs so not to hurt my arms as she silently crawled closer to my face. She would then softly lick my face in her effort to wake me and if that did not work she would bark letting me know it was time for her to use the facilities.

At the time when I living in Willows, Ca, I was outside with Nisha and my Mother came out to pet Nisha. There was a rather large deep hole in the yard and when Nisha saw my mother getting closer to whole, Nisha would adjust herself and cover the whole with her butt so that my Mother would not trip. Nisha was amazing and smart.

One Idea I have, although there are some minor league ones out there already, is for a platform similar to what Find A Grave use for our ancestors.  Just a thought.

obituaries, pets
Concept for pet obituary

Cerdo picado -Chopped Pork

Chopped prkWhat does food have to do with Genealogy you might ask, and I will say everything. Food is a gateway to our past, our heritage inspiring us to create new dishes obtained from the past. The photos, the stories, heirlooms handed down from generations is not that different from the foods we eat.  Most of us have recipes filed somewhere that came from our parents or grandparents and if not on file then is retained in our minds from our childhood. Walking into a house, a whiff of aroma that delights our olfactory nerve sending a fond memory to our brain; like the commercials we see of waking up and smelling coffee brewing producing a smile on the face. Food like a certain photo or heirloom, can take us back in time for a moment providing a break from our daily mundane routine of life making us feel better for the moment.

On Finding your roots Tom Colicchio was a guest on an episode that aired on October 21, 2014 and discovered a long line of descendants from Italy which provoked him wanting to book a flight and learn all that he could about the foods that were created during that time period to honor his ancestors. a clip of the show can be seen here.

http://video.pbs.org/video/2365346867/

Food has everything to do with Genealogy.

Line cookI have cooked for over twenty years in the restaurant industry starting out as a dishwasher while maintaining my studies with high school. I was thrown to the wolves one day when the line cook on duty walked out during dinner rush. The owner came to me, “you’re on the line”. I was promoted from dishwasher to line cook in a matter of two months. But, I had a knack for it and my parents started teaching me how to cook at the age of seven. The dish above is Carne de cerdo picada en salsa de tomate, translation Chopped pork in tomato sauce. It is a simple dish to make and only takes about fifteen to twenty minutes to make.

What you will need:

 

1 cup of long grain enriched rice

I used four small boneless pork chops and cubed them

1 cup of tomato sauce, I use Hunts brand

8 oz of water. Add a little more water if the tomato sauce seems to thick

About a tablespoon of butter

1 14.5 oz can of Chicken broth I used the 33% less sodium (the brand I used was Hy-vee similar to Great Value-Hey it was on sale) What I would suggest is that when you boil chicken the next time retain the stock and freeze it.

Canola oil spray to coat the pan to cook the pork in. (you can use vegetable oil as well)

Mild chilli powder

Dash of salt

Dash of garlic salt

Dash of black pepper

Let’s get cooking!

First, grab a pot to cook the rice in and place the tablespoon of butter in the pot.

Turn the burner on low to melt the butter slowly so that it will not burn. Once the butter is melted increase the heat to med low or medium if you feel confident. Next, add rice to pot. We want to brown the rice lightly be careful not to burn the rice. Once the rice is lightly brown then add the chicken broth, it should produce some steam from adding the broth. Next add the chilli powder. The chilli powder provides two benefits. One is to give it slight red color and a little zing. The adding of the chilli powder will be an eye judgement so be careful not to put too much in. Next, once it is boiling, reduce heat to the low setting and let simmer for fifteen minutes. I used to use Grandmas chilli powder so did all of my relatives and parents but when they discontinued it, I had to find a solution and that was using two different types of chilli powder. I used Tones mild chilli powder and Clover Valley chili powder to get the flavor and color I was looking for.

While the rice is on simmer, grab a teflon pan and spray with the canola oil then place the cubed pork in pan, add the dash of salt, dash of black pepper and the dash of garlic salt and cook thoroughly. Once the pork is cooked add the tomato sauce and the water and stir. Be sure to taste test to make sure the flavor is not overpowering. If over powered with salt or the tomato sauce to your liking add a little more water to it and stir and when I say little I do mean a little at a time. Once the pork is done set the temp to the low setting so it stays warm and stir from time to time.

Check the rice five minutes before the fifteen minutes are up and see if you might have to add a little more water to it. This is where the fifteen to twenty minutes comes into play.

Once the rice is done, dish up on plate and serve with banana wax peppers and warmed up corn tortillas.   A slice of heaven from my past and generations back. I hope you like this dish as much as I do.

Butter
Melt Butter
Red rice
Lightly Brown Rice
Chilli powder
Add chicken broth and chili powder, cover and reduce heat
Pork
Cubed pork
Pork chops
Cook pork and stir from to time
pork with tomato sauce
Add tomato sauce and water
Pork with tomato sauce
Done
Chopped prk
Bon appetit

 

Photo Restoration with photoshop and Gimp.

Last night, I had my photos selected-my ducks were in a row. I was about to start to record when I get a call. ” Hey, the wifi is out can you fix it?” I started to ask a question then, ” I tried that three times already, wait a second, I’ll call you back.” So I am waiting for a call back. The call comes in, ” No its out I tried three time unplugging the router. I replied, I can fix it but I have to wait for when Deb gets off work. He replied, ” Explorative, I’ll pick you up be there in a second.”

So, I crawl into his tiny car and where off. I get there and the wifi is working fine I told him. he replied, ” no explorative way!”  What the young lad  did not know is that his grandfather already got it going by what I had told them before, unplug both the router and the modem, then plug the router back in wait for it come on completely then plug the modem back in. The young lad forgot to unplug the modem.  Youth and being impatient.

So here is the video, I do hope you enjoy this second video. Please like or leave feedback for me.

Family dynamics -A candid look into my Mother’s life Part II

I will be adding another video today on how to restore old photos but, I also wanted to finish up on an earlier post. I believe I left off with the year of 1951 so lets begin there.

Year 1951, my Mothers Father recently died on September 21, 1951. During my research to locate records, I found a marriage index showing my Mother married this man in May 10, 1952. My Mother was born in 1939 which would make her thirteen years old. The record shows the estimated birth to be 1936 adding three years to her age which was the legal age to marry with adult consent and the partner had to be at least eighteen or older. Prior to this marriage my mother was living with a family by the name of Dixon. I got two different stories. One from my Mother saying she was pawned off to the Dixons who basically raised her so to speak, yet had to show up once a month for the Welfare headcount check so that her biological mother could get her monthly check. One of my Aunts with  brief conversation on the subject basically confirmed what my Mother had told years ago. Yet, another Aunt informed that all siblings got along. The one Aunt stating that everyone got along good was the youngest of all the eleven children, she was only around five years old when the adoption so to speak transpired.

Name: Virginia L Dixon
Gender: Female
Estimated Birth Year: abt 1936
Age: 16
Marriage Date: 10 Mar 1952
Marriage Place: San Francisco, California, USA
Spouse: Prentice R Sircy
Spouse Age: 20

Source Information

Ancestry.com. California, Marriage Index, 1949-1959 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2013.

The record also shows a last name of Dixon. The marriage was not a good one from my understanding from the stories passed down to me. During her marriage, her husband allegedly kidnapped her son and took of out of state. I imagine with the aid of the Dixons, retained a lawyer to help my Mother at the age of fourteen recover her son. My Mother was put on a plan and flown to the state where her son was. She ended up in a court building and asked many questions which I can only guess what they were. The Judge ordered the child to handed over to my Mother. Her son comes in wearing coveralls, no shoes and no shirt just the coveralls. The child my brother was head to toe covered in dirt from what I have been told. I can only imagine what most parents would go through in there mind let alone at a very young age. The rumor is that they divorced or the marriage was annulled however I have found no records showing this as proof.

Fast forward to 1958, My mother would have been nineteen years old, she showed up to her mothers house, had a brief visit and her mother gave a hairbrush as a keepsake I suppose. My mother intentions as to live at the house with a boyfriend of hers. The last name of Silva comes up but no proof of that either. I am not sure what conversations took place that day but my Mother ended up leaving. My mother told me that she lived in Oregon when she was nineteen, perhaps due to the conversation my Mother had with her mother caused her to move to Oregon. I do not know but the information gathered supports the theory. During her stay in Oregon, my Mother was almost strangled to death by a man perhaps the person by the last name of Silva, I do not know. From that day forward, my mother could not stand to have anything around her neck -even on a cold day.

There are still missing pieces of this puzzle, yet with information gathered one can make a good case as to why she had become a nervous person. The slapping incident, small living arrangements for a family of that size and the new information of grandfather going on drinking binges and telling stories to scare his children and the park exposure incident, marrying at a tender age and having her son kidnapped, almost being strangled to death, some male siblings abusing her and one trying to molest her. My brothers and I may not have grew up rich, but I am grateful that we did not have the childhood that my Mother had.

Photo restoration -Preserving family history.

While I am still busy working on the second part of Family dynamics -A candid look into my Mother’s life, I thought I would do a video of how to restore a photo, This will be one of many to come so be sure to check back often.

Is it time consuming? Yes, it is but there is no better way to preserve our family history. Most of us, have some old photos that collected dust, rips and tears and I will be showing you how I fixed several of my photos and some I did for my family. Some people charge anywhere from twenty-five dollars to seventy-five dollars and some charge per hour. Granted, there are some photos that no matter how hard we try to fix it, are lost. We could try a professional then we run the chance of a high bill and the photo not looking what we would have hoped for…..

I do hope you enjoy this first video. The video can bee seen here: Please like or leave feedback for me.