Wednesday, November 6, 2013


I moved to Houston because I fell in love with one of her native sons. Just 5 minutes before I wrote this, there existed a band around my chest with the stresses of my job, the past four hours of my work day and the like getting tighter, and tighter and then he walked in. Without him having to say a word or anything, all is right in the world and I can smile again. It's that simple.

I love him.

And I live in Houston because he is here.

And since I now live here, I'm happy to say that I'm falling for the city too.

Houston is an amazing city. It boasts a population of 2.16 million residents and is one of the fastest growing cities in America. It's also one of the most diverse. I mean EVERYONE is here. Out of the 3 large cities that I've explored in Texas - Houston, Dallas and Austin, I feel most at home in Houston. Dallas is too conservative, Austin too liberal, Houston feels just right.

And did I mention that Houston is one of the hottest food cities in the country??? Ding. Ding. Ding. Will travel for food lol.

I have yet to have a bad meal in Houston, and I’ve eaten A LOT! Just about everywhere I’ve gone, the customer service has been great, the food has been reasonably priced, and the portions big. And because Houston has become a patchwork quilt of cultures you can find good meals representative of each resident. Down home southern cooking, barbeque, some of the best Mexican food you can find, French, Vietnamese, Ethiopian, Jamaican you name it, you can find it here. I.AM.IN.FOOD.HEAVEN.

But there is a flip side to this; Houston is also the second fattest city in the country. Houstonians love to eat and they’re proud of it. Food, Family, sports... yup that about sums it up. And then, add to that a lack of a need to take public transportation or walk anywhere....OH BOY!!!! I relished in every bit of my new lifestyle and my new curves.

Did I mention that the men down here like their women thick? I’ve never felt sexier- until I saw THE photo. Haha. Here it is: Feel free to laugh I had a blast taking these. Really, Who doesn’t like playing dress up?

In 3 months, I managed to indulge myself to 220 lbs. That's 30 lbs heavier than I was in Mexia,TX... 45lbs heavier than I was in NYC. Do I regret it? Nope, I regret not a meal. Its all part of the ebb and flow of life, but I do know when enough is enough. And enough is enough! So how am I going to drop the weight? We’re going to do it together ☺.

Until then, here are a few photos of my favorite meals with some of my favorite people in Houston. Mmmmmm food, but now its time to preserve my health and the sexy, Happy Humpday people. Bang. Bang.

Danielle, Danielle and Sherrie at The Breakfast Klub.

With Nari at La Guadalupana Bakery and Cafe.

With Monet at Sparrow Bar and Cookshop.

And a friendly reminder from Massah..... :-) peace

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

SK in Texas Month 10 of ????

Who am I kidding? My little "adventure" to Texas has become a big ol' permanent move. If you would have asked me ten months ago when I got on that first plane to Dallas I would have said probably not. You see, I'm a nomad. A proud wanderer and although I would have been open to the idea of staying for a while, my next stop was going to be the Bay Area, probably Oakland so that I could hang in San Fran with my sister and her family. After that, I decided that I would probably knock around the country for a little while, working and saving some money before going abroad - I'd start in Australia ( they pay cooks pretty well in Australia and I could learn about the Aboriginal culture and history) and then go wherever the wind blew me until I decided to settle down and start a family.

Obviously the winds had other plans for me :-) While living in Mexia as an Occupational Therapist at a State funded Mental Hospital (bizarre I know). Mexia is a small town in central Texas with a population of about 7,000. Not exactly a booming town, but the friends I made there, Ms. Gloria, Karen, Sheila, Crissy, Heather, Genipher, Barbara, Admerle, Rhonda and Jay were great and life there for me was pretty simple. But the challenge of living in a small town was that most people my age (29) were married with children, so after work I had little to nothing to do. This gave me a lot of time to think.
Sure there was the library and Walmart, but that gets old quickly. So after work, I would often drive to and sit by the lake. In the video, I call Lake Mexia "my" lake but its not, but I loved it so much that I adopted it as my own. Kinda like how Christopher Columbus discovered America.... but I digress lol.

Mexia was so quiet and so far from my norm that when my father came to visit me, he asked me in a concerned voice what I was hiding from. I like to think that I was finding myself. After the past year and a half of a tough break up, a serious leg injury, no health insurance, moving to NY from DC, losing my job, having to put culinary school on hold, finding a new job, learning who my real friends were the hard way, pinching pennies to pay for culinary school, traveling across the country on a train, graduating culinary school and then finally moving to Texas, I needed the break. Mexia provided that, I was away from friends and family and was forced to figure out who I was and what I wanted in my life. And for that I will always be grateful to Mexia and the folks who befriended me out there. :-)

I realized that I really wanted to settle down.
It took me about 3 days to realize that and an additional 6 months to finally make the move south to Houston. And this my friends is where my story begins again :-) Houston.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

SK in Texas - Week 1 of ?????

I know that technically "Watch She Eat" is a food blog, but while I’m away, I am going to use it as a way to keep folks in the loop about how I’m doing while I’m out here. Besides, it’s my blog and so I can write whatever I feel like writing. Oh the beauty of independent publishing :-) . Back to the Blog; Today marks a week that I’ve been in Texas. Not just any Texas but Smalltown, Texas. Population 7,000. That visual that popped into your head… yep that’s EXACACTLY what I’m talking about.

My move to Texas may seem random, because well it was. I wasn’t planning to move out here. To be honest, I didn’t have a plan set up for after graduating culinary school. But I did have a preliminary plan I guess. I was going to DC to visit my friends, perhaps score a restaurant job, and maybe pick up a few clients who needed occupational therapy services so that I could fill in the financial gap that working as a cook would leave. Prior to and during culinary school I worked as an occupational therapist (OT). It’s kinda been my thang for 6 years, and I like to think that I’m pretty good at it.

It was while waiting on the D6 bus in Georgetown that it hit me like a ton of bricks: my nest egg was starting to resemble a pebble and I was about to be up shit’s creek. AKA Sallie Mae called saying that she wanted her money. I reallllly didn’t want to, but it was obvious that I was going to have to explore all of my options and look into getting a job that pays more than the $10 an hour that I was making in the café that I was working at at the time. It was time for me to do the only other thing that I’m qualified to do: OT.

Once I got to the Lab School to visit my ex coworkers and friends, I hopped on a computer and put in an application for a travel OT job. 3 weeks later, I was sitting on my suitcase, praying that the weight of my lady curves would assist my zipper to get around it’s track. It did, and here I am – 2 weeks after that, sitting in a public library in the middle of central Texas, in a small town, population 7,000.

To say the first week was been challenging would be an understatement. Tears were shed, and many phone calls to the parentals and the siblings were made. I moved out here by myself and my closest friend lives over 200 miles away. I didn’t know anyone out here, have never been to the town and could barely pronounce its name.

Prior to my move I didn’t drive. I’m a New Yorker and although I have a driver’s license, I’ve relied on the public transportation system, my bike, taxis and my friends with cars to get to where I need to go my entire life. I actually prided myself on not driving. And then I moved to Texas. I flew into Dallas/ Fort Worth Airport – cool, but then I had to drive almost 2 hours to get to my new home. Yeah, I live almost 2 hours from the nearest airport.

It took me a full 45 minutes to relax my death grip on the wheel, but at some point I was comfortable enough to switch lanes – and even go into the fast lane. I was cruising :-). By the time I got to town, I was seriously proud of myself – I didn’t have to utilize my plan B: drive in the slow lane with the hazards on. That positive emotion was very short lived. Once I got to town my cell phone died and I had to find my way to my apartment by asking for directions and let me tell you, those jokes you heard about country folks giving directions are true. They are HORRIBLE at it! 10 minutes later I arrived. Alive but, tired and anxious to get to my apartment.

“Well…. I hope they turned the electricity and the water on for you. You know that was your company’s responsibility”

That was the property manager, and I guess that was her warning that the water and electricity were not turned on. Because they weren’t. And the furniture that was included in my “fully furnished apartment” ? Well…. There was a mattress and box spring sitting on the floor of my bedroom and the headboard leaning up against the wall. My T.V. was on the bar counter and there were 2 dead roaches on the kitchen floor.

“No… You can’t stay here like that”

No shit… I waved her away and walked out of the door. I’m sure that I looked like the walking dead. My mind was numb and had I surpassed my problem solving threshold about a half hour prior to that. I mumbled something about needing to charge my phone in her office for a second and she agreed begrudgingly. She was sorry to be short on time, but she had family visiting from out of town, and this was her day off. She was letting me into the apartment on a Saturday as a favor.

I was done. Without even looking up, I told her that I would meet her at the office. When she finally walked away, I took a few deep breaths to calm down and prepared to walk to my car. By this time, emotionally, I was on thin ice and then I heard the rustle to my left. I quickly turned to my left and I swear I wasn’t sure if I should laugh or cry. There were two horses staring at me. My neighbors to my left are horses. I got in the car and cried.

View from my front door:

And that wasn’t the last time that day. I went to McDonalds beyond hungry at this point hoping to eat something familiar like a fish fillet and the told me that they were all out. I wanted to cry. I went to the Best Western in hopes of finding somewhere to sleep that night- it was completely booked. I went back to the car and I cried. I tried to go to the nicer hotel up the street and my card was declined. I cried. By this time, I decided that I was going to go to Walmart and buy a cheap pair of sheets and a few candles and make it work on the mattress and box spring on the floor until I figured things out in the morning. I had just enough money in cash for food and gas until my first paycheck – something that I neglected to tell my family before I left, so I was out of options. And then my sister called.

Up until this point, I was sending vague texts to my family about how I was doing so that they wouldn’t get worried. I’m a grown ass woman and I can handle this myself right???? Wrong. Once I started talking to my sister, I started to bawl. She was not happy. Immediately, she put me up in that nice hotel for a couple of nights and didn’t even chastise me for being irresponsible, impulsive…. the list could go on and on. Danielle to the rescue :-) . The next day, I finally got in contact with my company and they paid for the hotel and squared everything away with my apartment. I made it to work on Monday and started my 2 week training. That has been a trip in and of itself haha…. But I’ll tell you guys about it later.

Have a great weekend! I saw this poster at the library. I'm taking it as a good sign for the week to come :-)

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Quinoa Porridge

Quinoa Porridge has pretty much been my go to breakfast meal since I was introduced to the amazing grain about a year ago at The Natural Gourmet Institute. For those of you who didn't know, it also happens to be where I attend culinary school. It's also the dopest culinary school ever btw.... I'm learning how to burn just as I would at any other culinary school, but the difference is that I'm learning how to cook healthy foods in a gourmet fashion. Health supportive food that tastes good???? Yep.

Anyway, quinoa was one of the "grains" that I was introduced to back in the beginning of the program. I put grain in quotations, because it's actually a seed that is cooked like a grain. It can be eaten in savory meals and cooked like rice ( I like to do quinoa stir-frys) or in sweeter meals like porridge. Regardless of how it's eaten, it's full of protein, amino acids, calcium, phosphorus, and iron. But most importantly it's delicious, and requires like 6 ingredients, most of which you already have in your kitchen. So for that recipe... here it goes..

Steph Kang's seriously simple Quinoa porridge

Makes 4, 1/2 cup servings of quinoa.

1 cup of quinoa

1 tsp of cinnamon

2 cups of water

A pinch of salt

To taste:

Vanilla extract ( 1/4 tsp per bowl of quinoa)

Coconut milk or almond milk or rice milk (1/4 cup)

Butter ( 1 pat) ( can be omitted or substituted for coconut oil)

Pure Maple Syrup (1 teaspoon)


1. Combine quinoa and cinnamon into a small pot over low/medium heat and stir until you smell the cinnamon and quinoa being toasted (about 3 minutes).

2. Add water and salt.

3. Bring quinoa, water, and salt mixture to a boil, once at a boil reduce heat and simmer covered for about 20 minutes. The quinoa is done once the seeds/ grains are tender.

4. Portion out a 1/2 cup of quinoa into a bowl and add your "To taste" ingredients, well to taste haha.

5. Enjoy!!!

OK - A future Chef's ( who happens to work and go to school and has a social life) tip:

I add my "to taste" ingredients once I'm ready to eat because I'm a busy woman and I don't always have time to cook up quinoa. I portion out what I want for breakfast and season in the bowl because later that night it's very likely that I'll be coming home ravenous and use that same quinoa to stir fry with kale, garlic, corn and sweet potatoes.

The next morning I'll use what's left over from the previous night to make quinoa porridge again, but this time with blueberries and apples. I always try to think in advance and have food ready for the next meal so that I don't make too many crazy, impulsive food choices.

Quinoa Porridge to go:

Let me know if you have any questions.

Happy Eating :-)


Friday, September 7, 2012

The "Hows" behind my trip.

I’ve been back for about 2 weeks and it amazes me how quickly one can return back to “normal” life whatever that is. Before I ‘m once again inundated with work and school I want to share with you all exactly how I managed to make it work in hopes that a few of you all will consider taking that trip.

Without a doubt, I'm a rich woman in my mind, but in reality it really didn't take much money to go traipsing around the country. What it really took was a few really good friends, a desire for a little bit of adventure, an insatiable appetite and a Amtrak Rail pass. All of this was funded by my income tax return btw. I figured that I could either pay off a mere portion of my credit card bill or gather memories that I would cherish for the rest of my life. I chose the latter.

The idea of taking this trip was heavily influenced by my brother. After graduating from college in May, he decided to chase his own dream and visit Seattle. There he stayed in a youth hostel, made friends and then took the 20+ hour train ride to San Francisco. He had a blast and I was intrigued.

For $429 you can take 8 train rides anywhere in the country within 15 days. Check out the details here. I'd been plugging away at work and in culinary school for over a year and to say that I needed a little bit of excitement in my life would have been a gross understatement. I was ready to go!!!!

The route I chose to take was from NY -> DC ->Charlotte -> Atlanta -> New Orleans -> Memphis ->Chicago -> San Antonio -> Austin -> Los Angeles -> San Francisco then I flew home. I rode the train by myself, but I knew someone in each city that I visited. In the cities where my friends had families I stayed in hostels and hotels, so in total I spent $312 on housing. $150 of the $312 was spent at Le Pavilion in New Orleans where I HAD to have the Hot Coco and PB and J sandwich, so my housing costs could have been a lot lower if I weren't such a foodie.

My flight back to NY was about $120 on sale and I actually flew from LA to San Fran for $98 because by then my rail pass ran out and after over 120 hours on the train... I had had enough :-) In a good way.

I'd be lying if I didn't mention that I was a bit nervous right before I started, but I planned in advance that I would move outside of my comfort zone whenever possible, and to really observe and experience all that I could within the time frame that I had. As my brother once told me "Safe has no wonderful memories", I ran with that and made sure to rack up my share of wonderful memories :-)

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Burn Update

My forehead healed beautifully ( THANK GOD!!!!). Because I didn't and still don't have health insurance, I opted to go the natural route and consulted my father about treating the burn: Here's what he prescribed.
Day 1: Aloe vera gel ( straight from the plant)

Day 2: The blisters started to ooze a bit of pus so he had me put Golden Seal powder on it. Once the infection went way I went back to Aloe Vera Gel for a little while.

Day 3 - 12: I put therapeutic grade lavender oil on the wound. I used Young Living's lavender oil, you can find it on my Dad's website.

Day 12- 14: I used Raw Honey to continue the healing process ( It's full of active enzymes)

Here's my Dad's website... check it out>

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Shit Happens....

Today, I took a pressure cooker top and hot garlic to the face, marking it by far the worst day of my culinary career. I remember telling my friend Roxanne's homegirl that I wanted to go to culinary school, and she flat out looked at me like I was crazy and asked me why I would want to do such a thing. She then proceed to roll up her sleeves and show me the scars that lined her once smooth arms. I remember being impressed. After she pulled her sleeves down, she told me stories of being verbally abused by chefs and the long hours with shitty pay. After like 5 years in the field she was just beginning to get the respect she deserved (yikes). At that time, I was making a very decent salary, living in a sweet studio in DC, going out to eat several times a week, vacationing several times a year, well respected at my job and in a loving relationship with the guy I liked since college ( all of which has since disappeared haha), but for some reason I felt like I wanted more... I wanted to make a difference in my world, I wanted to go to culinary school! I felt like there had to be more to life and with my interest in food and healthy eating I just knew that culinary school would be the door that would lead me into the great and exciting unknown that was my true potential, and perhaps even allow me to make my mark on the world. She probably laughed at my naïveté. Not so ironically, almost a year later I find myself icing down my face, praying that the swelling on my nose goes down, the second degree burns on my forehead wouldn't leave a permanent scar and that the chef that I'm interning for doesn't think that I'm a complete fuck up. I was warned.
Truth be told, at times I am a complete fuck up in the kitchen. Don't let the pretty pictures that I post on Facebook fool you. Cooking does not come naturally for me. It's hard and to some point actually stresses me out. On top of potentially scaring myself for life, I also almost ruined a pot of stock because I didn't read the recipe directions - big no no. I saw the chef get upset, and in that moment I wished that I could disappear. Mind you this was after she came back to her kitchen seeing me sitting on a stool, crying like a bitch with bits of garlic strewn all over the stove top - not a good look. So why do I keep doing this? Because I've also never been so happy in my life. Even after days like today, I don't for a minute regret my decision to chase this dream. I don't even know what dream I'm chasing anymore, all I know is that everyday I show up, and everyday I try my best and even after making mistake after mistake (everyday) they keep letting me back in the kitchen. They keep letting me back in the kitchen because, they know that it's part of the process. In conclusion, when chasing your own ridiculous dream, shit will happen.. Expect it. And when it does, wipe the garlic off your face, take a deep breath and keep it moving. You ( and hopefully the chef) will laugh about it later... I mean really who else would make garlic explode out of a pressure cooker????? :-P