Luna’s Ultimate Baked Potato Soup

soupie.jpgHello,

I love potatoes, I like potatoes in salad, mashed, Au gratin, soup, baked, fried, scalloped…etc. They make great side dishes, main dishes…. you name it!

I would like to share with you my famous baked potato soup recipe, anyone who savored it loved it, it can be served as a main dish because its so filling and flavorful. It’s simple to make as well, try it:):

Ingredients:

If you’re cooking for two:

Potatoes (2 large potatoes)
Turkey or beef bacon(3-4 strips)
Garlic powder
Salt
Pepper
Half a stick of butter (or low fat margarine)
Veggie oil (I prefer Canola oil)-for frying the bacon
2/3 tablespoons of flour
Milk (full cream-2 cups)

Begin by dicing the potatoes into little ½ inch cubes and boiling it in water for 15-20 mins with a little salt
Slice the bacon into little squares, fry in a little oil and set aside
5 mins before draining the potatoes make your soupy sauce:
Melt the butter until it sizzles (do NOT let it
colour)
Add the flour and start to whisk- do that for about 2
minutes to ‘cook out’ the flour taste
Add milk a little at a time, until you get the smooth,
velvety texture that you want.
Keep whisking (DO NOT let it get chunky)
At this point, you can add a pinch of salt, pepper or powdered garlic
Drain potatoes and add to mixture
Keep stirring for about 3 mins
Serve soup and sprinkle bacon on top first, then add parsley and grated cheddar cheese, anything you can make it into!

PS. In case you haven’t noticed, the ingredients for the sauce is relatively similar to Alfredo sauce used for pasta and ravioli, I’ve always favoured Alfredo to Marinara (i.e people know them as white and red sauce), I figured it could work as a soup too, so I tried it out and came up with good results:)

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December 27, 2007 at 7:35 pm 3 comments

Ethics of Personality

Hello world!

I recently came out of my Management training course in Dubai which was FAN-tabulous! And being the geek that I am I thoroughly enjoyed the training courseJ We were trained by instructors who originally are psychologists but are practitioners in human resource development and training. The course invites a lot of people skills, group activities, presentations, and several tests, the one test that did stand out for me which I thought was enjoyable and interesting was the MBTI. The MBTI is a personality questionnaire designed to identify certain psychological differences according to the typological theories and bleh…Boring…basically it states that everyone is characterized into 16 types of personalities (Although we all agreed that Britney Spears is the 17th type hee heeJ) After taking the test, which consists of 80-something questions I found out that I am…are you ready….an ISTJ! Now you’re probably wondering what on earth that means….me gonna tell you! The MBTI provides a useful method for understanding people by looking at eight personality preferences that everyone uses at different times. These eight preferences are organized into four opposite pairs. When you take the Indicator, the four preferences (one from each pair you identify as being most like you) are combined into what is called a type. The four pairs of preferences, or dichotomies, describe four activities: 

  • Energizing-how a person is energized, either through Extraversion(E) or Introversion(I)
  • Perceiving-what a person pays attention to, either through sensing(S) or Intuition(N)
  • Deciding- How a person decides, either through thinking(T) or Feeling(F)
  • Living- the lifestyle of a person adopts, either through Judging(J) or Perceiving(P)

 We were a class of about 25 people and the results were as follows:   

So…why did we take this test, and what’s the point? This MBTI has been applied as a tool for many years by a variety of uses around the globe, including those in:

·        small businesses and large multinational corporations

·        Service industries and manufacturing concerns

·        Consulting and training services

·        Government at all levels

·         Established firms and new entrepreneurial ventures  

In general, the MBTI a functions as a tool that helps people in organizations understand themselves and behaviors, appreciate others in order to make constructive use of individual preferences, approach problems in different healthy ways and thus be more productive and so on.

On the whole its taught me that not everyone is the same, and not everyone fits the MBTI profile 100%, its only said to be 70% accurate, but its definitely opened my eyes to the fact that some people are more feeling than thinking , and more do-think-do than think-do-think. Diversity is what we need to make a team work, if we were all ISTJ’s for example, there won’t be a chance for advancement or new ideas, we’d all be in the same frame of mind J

So as ISTJ’s we are considered to be “life’s natural organizers”:-serious, quiet, we find concentration and thoroughness crucial, logical, realistic, dependable and work steadily (regardless of distraction) . 

PS. This test is NOT for choosing a partner, one guy liked 2 women and is considering marrying one of them so he asked our instructor if he could have a few copies of the test lol. Relationships work because you want them to, and as long there is a communication and compromise between the two of you, you’re good to go:)    

December 24, 2007 at 10:07 am 7 comments

empty promises cake

img_0923.jpg

I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with the kitchen in the past, but over the past year I have found the kitchen a place of true serenity. This recipe was born from my recent awareness that everything is not what it seems at first, at a glance, this cake looks like a chocolate treat at first, but the deception lies within… it’s really vanilla in disguise!

Ingredients
3 cups sifted cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
6 tablespoons butter
1-1/2 cups sugar
1 cup milk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
6 egg whites

Instructions
Preheat oven to 325. Grease and line 2 9-inch cake pans with parchment.

Sift together flour and baking powder. Set aside.

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

With a mixer on slow speed, add flour mixture to the butter mixture,
alternately with milk. Beat after each addition. Beat in vanilla.

Whip the egg whites until stiff but not dry. Fold them into the cake batter gently, making sure not to over mix. Pour into prepared pans.

Bake for 25 – 30 minutes or until a tester comes out clean. Place cake pans on cooling rack and allow to cool completely before removing from pans.

This is mummys home-made topping:

2 tbsp pure cocoa powder (adjust to taste)
1 stick butter(or you can use low fat margarine)
1 cup of double cream (qish6a)
1 x 400ml can sweetened condensed milk

In a pan on low heat, mix in all 4 ingredients, the cocoa butter depending on how dark/bitter you want the icing to be, use a whisk and continuously whisk until smooth but not too runny, the consistency on the above cake was acheived by boiling the mixture for 2 minutes, keeping the whisk going ALL the time! Otherwise you’ll end up with a mixture of spoilt icing and a pan full of burnt milk!

Ice the cake after it has cooled completely… and dig in!

img_0925.jpg

 I, on the other hand, am what I seem on the outside.. I’m not a chocolate covered vanilla cake.I’m a  fruit jelly:)

December 21, 2007 at 8:47 pm Leave a comment

did i mention that my cat has a new love interest?

mousealfie.jpg

Looks to me that Mouse has taken a liking to my lil sisters’ tortoise Alfie, wont leave her room lol! Its a good thing Alfies tank is closed from the top otherwise I’m pretty sure he’d fall in:)

December 20, 2007 at 11:33 pm Leave a comment

how to keep lettuce fresh

lettuce.jpg

 Hello:)

Don’t know if any of your face this problem but I do and I found a solution for it! I love my greens, I have them everyday, I could probably consume a head of lettuce in the duration of 5 days…if only it lasts that long, by the 3rd day its all soggy and bleh. I found some tips online on how to keep them nice and crisp:

1. Get Fresh – Buy the freshest lettuce you can from a farmer’s market or a grocery store you know that typically has good produce.
2. Keep it cool – Set your refrigerator and produce drawer temperature and humidity controls correctly. You don’t want your refrigerator temperature set low and the humdity high or your lettuce will “sweat” and get soggy, especially if there is water from the leaves already pooling in the produce bag. Likewise, if you have the fridge set to the coldest setting, and the humidity set too high or the leaves are wet, your lettuce will frost (which is equally as tragic!).

3. Wrap it Up – If you buy iceberg lettuce (which I don’t really advocate since it is has zero nutritional value), simply wrap it in a moistened paper towel as soon as you get home from the store and place it back in the plastic bag before storing it in the drawer. The really absorbent kind of paper towel works best.
With leafy lettuce greens like romaine, red leaf or green leaf lettuce, you can follow the same process. I have found though that it is better to remove leafy greens from their plastic bag and pat the leaves dry with a paper towel before storing them if they are wet from the produce sprayer at the store. Squeeze the water out from the paper towel and wrap the head of lettuce up. Place the wrapped head of lettuce back in the bag and in the produce drawer.

4. Room to Breathe – Store your lettuce in your produce drawer with plenty of breathing room. Leaves can be easily bruised if you have lots of other vegetables crammed in with the lettuce.

5. Water in the Bag? – As soon as you see water pooling up in your the produce bag of lettuce, drain it out if you your going to only use part of the lettuce and storing the rest for later use. Water pooling in the bag can be a sign that your humidity setting is too high, so just keep an eye one it and make adjustments if you notice this happens often.

6. Storing Leftover Salad? – Lay a damp paper towel over the top of the salad and cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a tight fitting lid.

Kitchen Tip: To save time in the kitchen, wash and tear your greens and make a big salad “base” that you and pick off for a few days during the week. Since you’ve already made a salad base, changing up the basic salad with different vegetables, chicken, tuna, fresh herbs, etc. is a snap!

December 20, 2007 at 11:25 pm 2 comments

cat bathing is a martial art

A. Know that although the cat has the advantage of quickness and lack of concern for human life, you have the advantage of strength. Capitalize on that advantage by selecting the battlefield. Don’t try to bathe him in an open area where he can force you to chase him. Pick a very small bathroom. If your bathroom is more than four feet square, I recommend that you get in the tub with the cat and close the sliding -glass doors as if you were about to take a shower. (A simple shower curtain will not do. A berserk cat can shred a three-ply rubber shower curtain quicker than a politician can shift positions.)
B. Know that a cat has claws and will not hesitate to remove all the skin from your body. Your advantage here is that you are smart and know how to dress to protect yourself. I recommend canvas overalls tucked into high-top construction boots, a pair of steel-mesh gloves, an army helmet, a hockey face-mask, and a long-sleeved flak jacket.
C. Use the element of surprise. Pick up your cat nonchalantly, as if to simply carry him to his supper dish. (Cats will not usually notice your strange attire. They have little or no interest in fashion as a rule.)
D. Once you are inside the bathroom, speed is essential to survival. In a single liquid motion, shut the bathroom door, step into the tub enclosure, slide the glass door shut, dip the cat in the water and squirt him with shampoo. You have begun one of the wildest 45 seconds of your life.
E. Cats have no handles. Add the fact that he now has soapy fur, and the problem is radically compounded. Do not expect to hold on to him for more than two or three seconds at a time. When you have him, however, you must remember to give him another squirt of shampoo and rub like crazy.He’ll then spring free and fall back into the water, thereby rinsing himself off. (The national record for cats is three latherings, so don’t expect too much.)
F. Next, the cat must be dried. Novice cat bathers always assume this part will be the most difficult, for humans generally are worn out at this point and the cat is just getting really determined. In fact, the drying is simple compared with what you have just been through. That’s because by now the cat is semi-permanently affixed to your right leg. You simply pop the drain plug with your foot, reach for your towel and wait. (Occasionally, however, the cat will end up clinging to the top of your army helmet. If this happens, the best thing you can do is to shake him loose and to encourage him toward your leg.) After all the water is drained from the tub, it is a simple matter to just reach down and dry the cat.
In a few days the cat will relax enough to be removed from your leg. He will usually have nothing to say for about three weeks and will spend a lot of time sitting with his back to you. He might even become psychoceramic and develop the fixed stare of a plaster figurine. You will be tempted to assume he is angry. This isn’t usually the case. As a rule he is simply plotting ways to get through your defenses and injure you for life the next time you decide to give him a bath.
But at least now he smells a lot better:)

December 20, 2007 at 11:21 pm 1 comment

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