Tuesday, November 29, 2005

this just in...

so thats why my office had no water for about 6 hours today...wow

Water Main Break in Chicago

Monday, November 28, 2005

today was a good day...part duece

Today was the third set of interviews for my dream job- of which I had to meet with 7 people consecutively. Supringly, it wasn't as difficult as I thought it would be. A majority of them I got along with right from the start. Some treated me as if I already got the job and that this process was just preliminary - just so everyone could get a look at me. Others - such as the Assistant Dean of Administration - were brisk and hard core in asking me "What if" questions. That man was sooo intimidating lemme tell you!!! Overall, I think I did well & left the buldling with a smile on my face -sure of myself and eager for next week to come so I can hear the good news that I got the job. Everyone keep your fingers crossed for me!!!

In other news, I am just emerging from my turkey induced comatose and am preparing to get back on my diet and exercise routine. I hope everyone had a wonderful and relaxing weekend!! As for me, I dragged myself out of bed on Black Friday at 5:00 in the morning just in time to catch some really good deals for people on my x-mas list. Over 1/2 of my x-mas shopping is already done, thank GOD!!

The crazy Chicago weather is doing a number on my knee -it's swollen and hurts. One day its cold as all hell, the next day its 55 degrees outside. What gives ?!!!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

recipe swap time

Hey all. I have got googled a hell of a lot the last two days by people looking for a good flan recipe. While my aunt would kill me for broadcasting the family recipe on here, I really don't give a care. Its the season of sharing, and that's what I intend to do. Here is the THE BEST flan de leche recipe you will ever try. Trust me, try it! It's sooo easy to make and people will be knocking on your door for more guaranteed!!

Figueroa Flan (flan de leche)

You will need:
1/2 a cup of granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1 tbsp vanilla extract (not imitation extract either!!!)
1 can of evaporated milk
1 can of sweetened condensed milk
8"-9" inch pie pan

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

In a pot, melt the sugar until it becomes liquefied. Once melted, pour the sugar evenly into the bottom of the cake pan. Be very careful it will be very HOT!! Then, in a bowl take your eggs and beat the hell out of them until there are lots and lots of bubbles (I'm talking big bubbles). You can use a blender to do this, but I think it tastes better when its mixed by hand. Add the tablespon of vanilla extract to the eggs and beat them again really well. After that, add the carnation sweetened and evaporated milk to the bowl. Mix very well for the last time. Once finished place the mixture in the 8" round cake pan. It is ready to be cooked.

Now, you will be indirectly cooking the flan in a double boiler type fashion. Place the 8"-9" round cake pan into a larger pan with a few inches of water in it (I use a roasting pan). NOTE: They are separate - the flan is in the 8" round cake and there should be just enough water in the larger pan to cook the flan indirectly - just a few inches will do. Bake the flan in the oven for about 45 minutes at 375 degrees.

It will be ready when the masa lightly yields to the touch without feeling overly sticky. When done, let cool for about an hour, then refrigerate with a cover over it. Please note to cook your flan about 12-24 hours in advance so it has time to set perfectly...When ready to serve, invert the pan onto a plate and viola!! Flan de Figueroa

There it is ladies and gentleman...ENJOY!! (but shh don't tell my aunt -she'd kill me!!)

2 down - 1 more to go

Wish me luck! My 3RD INTERVIEW is on Monday morning. It will be an astounding 4 hours long. auurrghhh. The nervous excitement is killing me!!

UPDATE: I just got my interview schedule (yes schedule) for Monday. It looks like I will be meeting with a whopping 7 people. OH MY GOD!!! OH MY GOD!!! Excuse me while I faint...

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

turkey day with a latino twist

I have a simple question: How do you and your family celebrate and give thanks on Thanksgiving? We all know historically the family and/or friends gather around the bird and get their grub on. But nowadays: what does that food consist of ? And how does that food represent you? I have come to realize that each culture and furthermore, each family's celebration is as unique as the food they eat.

For example: my family (on my moms side) is 100% Boriqua. I am not lying when I say I have 12 aunts and uncles and about 30 cousins JUST ON HER SIDE. Needless to say, it's a madhouse: children playing and running around the house, people sitting at every available crevice trying to get a glimpse of the tv, others deep in conversation and/or playing a good hand of casino (an addictive card game I think my family actually made up) or dominos...all rimmed over with Marc Anthony playing in the background. Not only that, the food has a definite ethnic flavor to it. We have our turkey, yes - But season it with garlic, sazon, adobo, and sofrito. But, we also serve honey ham, pernir (roasted pork & my personal favorite), pasteles (PR tamales if you will --> see below for a recipe), arroz con gandules, stuffing, sweet potatoes, and loaf upon loaf of HOT FRENCH BREAD drenched in butter (if you didn't know, now you do - puerto ricans LOVE their bread.) And that doesn't even include dessert, rich in cakes, pies, and my personal favorite: FLAN.

On my dads side (the side of my mexican heritage), Thanksgiving is not just only a day. They celebrate with food for about 3-4 days straight, with each consecutive day afterwards an extension of Thanksgiving. It was crazy: Everyday there was another menu to choose from (and I think I gained about 10 pounds afterward). They served everything from turkey to home made pozole (pork & hominy soup..yummy), to carnitas and barbacoa, flautas, and pollo con mole. Unfortunately, I never really spend much time with this side, as they are scattered throughout California and I live in Chicago. The memories I do have, however, are lace with food and laughter.

Anyway, I just want to send a happy turkey day wish to everyone. No matter who your with or what you eat, I hope this weekend is full of laughter, love, and lots and lots of FOOD!!! Care to share some grub with me? C'mon!!!!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

i gotta say it was a good day...

Today was my second interview at my dream job, AND might I add, I totally rocked! I had the Director of the department eating out of my hands. He said, (and I quote) , " Your background is impeccable and I really like your personality. I definitely think you would be a great fit for the school". A smile has been plastered on my face all day. I still have another interview to go to with the dean and 4 product managers which I will be working with as well. What sucks is now I play the waiting game: unfortunately, the third round of interviews won't take place until the first or second week of December.

In the meanwhile, I will keep myself busy with work, my house, and my family. Being the Harry Potter geek I am, I have a hot date with the bf this weekend to see it. Also, a few of us are getting together to make over 200 pasteles for Thanksgiving and Christmas for the family. For those who have no idea what pasteles are: imagine a puerto rican version of a tamale. See here for a generic picture and recipe to make pasteles. Needless to say preparing such a large amount is very time intensive. Our recipe, which has been passed down for generations, is top secret. Muy deliciouso!! I can't wait. I got dibs on the first one out the pot!!!

Peace and love everyone!!

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

tis the season...

I know its not even Thanksgiving yet, but I already have Christmas on the mental. Despite the COLD weather it brings, I love every aspect of xmas. An overindulgence of family, food, and to top it off - no work. How kick ass is that ? But most of all, I love spreading the joy of sharing.

Most of you know by now that every year I "adopt" a needy child or two- sometimes more depending on how much money I have to donate. It has been a long standing tradition that I've employed since I got my first job. I usually do it through local programs like The Chicago Sun-Times Season of Sharing or through non profits like Direct Effects Charities. I think this year I would like to do the same for Children which were affected by Hurricane Katrina. Preferably those children forced to relocate to the Chicagoland area. Does anyone know a LOCAL charity which I can participate in (the overhyped red Cross or FEMA are not getting a penny of my hard earned cash!!!)?

Last night I also had the bright idea to donate a few hours to feed the hungry this season too. I always have thought about doing it on Thanksgiving or Christmas, but never went through with it. I mean, I can leave my moms house a few hours early or get there a little late to help out the less fortunate right ?

hmmm...I wonder if I can persuade the bf to come along for the ride. HAH! Just getting him off the couch will be mission impossible!!!

Monday, November 14, 2005

monday blues 2.0

My head is pounding due to nonstop phone calls from irate customers and staring at Quickbooks all day.

My eyes are red and tired due to late night cooking both in and out of the bed last night ;) wink wink

My desk AND house are a pigsty -partly because I have been lazy but also because I never seem to be home long enough to clean (mostly due to laziness though).

My skin is breaking out mere days before my interview with the Department Director of my dream job!! I swear I have hindu dot pimple on my forehead. ugh...

soy viejita...

It's starting to get pretty cold here in Chicago. Until this past week, it has been surprisingly mild, but alas, there will be no more last minute Indian days of summer for us. And the cold weather is just beginning: I can feel it in my bones.

When huge temperature shifts come around, suddenly my knees, ankles and hands start swelling and throbbing. I have a helluva arthritis problem lemme tell you. Last year it was so bad that I was actually in bed for 2 days in pain - everytime I tried walking I thought my right knee was going to pop out of its socket. I kid you not. While I may only be 27 years young, my body somehow thinks I'm in my 50's. Damn...I knew I should have drank more milk as a child.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

random thought (in denial)

Today while trying not to collapse on the treadmill before I hit my goal of 2.5 miles I thought:

"Because I have short legs does that mean I am burning more calories than this stinking treadmill says? I mean, I know I am running the same distance as a person with legs up to my waist; but theoretically, my legs are so much shorter - making me run twice as fast as people with longer legs just to keep up. Because of this I have to put forth more energy into the movement, making me burning more calories than this damn treadmill says I am! Hell yeah!!! (gasp,ouch,gasp)"

I am CONVINCED that I am burning more calories than that stinking machine says I am!!! Am I crazy or what ?

and all the stars were in alignment...

SCORE!!! I got a second interview scheduled for next week. This calls for some tequila! Keep your fingers crossed for me...

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

its been a while...

I know, I know, I have been a bad blogger, but honestly, you haven't missed much over the past week & a half.

My week in a nutshell:

I recently had the biggest interview of my life at one of the most prestigious universities in the country!! With a little positive thinking, I could have the job of my dreams and a FREE RIDE for my Masters. Keep your fingers crossed for me

I have been steadily building up my stamina on the treadmill. I have gotten to 2 miles in 25 minutes. Meager, I know, but don't hate. At least I am making that effort, right?!!

I WAS excited to start reading another new book: "Is Bill Cosby Right: Or Has The Black Middle Class Lost It's Mind?" Sadly, I find myself disappointed: It kinda sucks. Big words do NOT equate to intelligence, I tell you!!!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

i will survive!!

After only 2 days of being unemployed, I am back in the swing of things working at my brothers work. Thankfully the office manager there quit just in time for me to score a temporary gig. YEY!!! While the job is not glamorous in the least bit, its going to pay the bills. It's the strangest experience to actually work a job where everyone heads home at 5 p.m. - considering I used to work 60+ hours per week at the hell-hole I call Platform Learning.

Already I feel like I have triple the amount of free time. So much free time I do not know what to do with myself. I find myself singing in the shower again & dancing with my dog in the living room while listening to my ipod. I sleep better and awake refreshed. Life has truly been restored into my body.