Reflection: 2013 – The Year That Was

Good-bye-bye-2013-wallpaper

We are on the eve of a new year, as we get prepared  to say goodbye to 2013 and say hello to 2014 , lets pause and take a look back at the year that was, the very difficult 2013. As they say the number thirteen is not a lucky number, and the year was not a lucky one either. It has been, personally speaking, one of the most challenging years of my life, it was filled with many lows and very few highs, but thank God I lived through it, I came out a stronger more grounded, experienced woman.  Things I experienced in 2013, I have never experienced before, it took a toll, and at the time I was heartbroken, depressed and sad, at the time I so wished it wasn’t happening, but they say your experiences and your struggles make you the person you are, whether stronger or weaker.  I can say that I am a better person for having gone through what I did in 2013.

The year that was, was a difficult one for many, some people lost loved ones, many suffered, many experienced and lived through natural disasters, many, like me lived through a bad economy. Many significant and life changing people said their goodbyes to us, Nelson Mandela, Paul Walker, Lee Thompson Young, Margaret Thatcher, three young students of the Holmwood Technical High School and Lou Myers among many others…death is certain for everyone, but saying goodbye to someone you love and have known all your life is not easy, to those who passed on, may your souls rest in peace…2013 is a year I hope will never be replicated.

2013 was a year where some, (however few) good things happened, unemployment rate has gone down by a 1% in my country (small but at lease its going down), Usain Bolt retained his 100 and 200 m title at the World Championships, Beyonce released her long awaited Album entitled “Beyonce”, ….Wow that is it, I can’t think of any other…as I said, not a lot of good things happened in 2013, from my vantage point at least…

The New Year is upon us, I so hope and pray that it is a good year filled with love, milestones reached, less people dying and an improvement in the lives of many, both spiritually and economically. The number fourteen is a significant number, biblically, it signifies a lot including the figure of the Christ immolated the fourteenth day of the moon, and at similar day the children of Israel had command to celebrate the Passover, that is to say the passage of the Red Sea and The fourteen generations of Abraham to David, just as of David to the deportation of Babylon, and the deportation of Babylon to the Christ, among many others. Generally speaking, the number 14 symbolizes goodness and charity.

From a numerological perspective, 2014 should be a good year…fingers crossed that it actually turns out to be good…

I have my resolution ready, I have my mind ready to accept even greater things and I am ready to take on the challenges of the New Year. Are you ready, are you ready to make 2014 better than 2013? Are you ready for 2014?….whether you are ready or not, it is coming,..So, brace yourselves and see you in 2014!

  God Speed 🙂

Song of the Week: All I Want For Christmas is You by Mariah Carey

So many of Mariah’s songs are classics. She has a classic voice and a classy, diva-like demeanor. She can make almost anything sound good. She has been in the music business since forever and has captured our hearts with almost all the songs she releases, “All I Want for Christmas” is no different.

This song was released in 1994, almost two decades ago and it is still a Christmas staple. I like this song because it is festive, but not too festive. It speaks about, not just the materialistic things that Christmas seems to be all about now, but it talks about a person, and how that person, (not gifts) would make the season complete.

You have to be hiding under a rock to not have heard to this song… So if by any chance you are under a rock or just need to hear it one more time, have a listen….Ms. Mariah Carey everyone!…Enjoy

Hope you Enjoyed 🙂

Jamaican Christmas Fruit Cake

There are many Jamaican Christmas traditions that I love, but one that I just can’t live without is the Jamaican Fruit Cake. This fruit cake is a dense cake filled with mixed fruits, currants and a lot of alcohol. I bake this fruit cake every year, when you smell this rich cake, you know it is Christmas.

This fruit cake is best served with Sorrel, it is a combination that is truly Jamaican. You however can serve it with Hot Cocoa, coffee, or any other beverage you desire.

This is a recipe is live and die by, it always produce excellent results. Go ahead, try it, it will become one of your Christmas traditions:

Ingredients

1 lb. Butter
3/4 lb. dark Sugar
10 Eggs
1 teaspoon Almond Essence
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1 teaspoon Rose Water (Optional)
1 lb. Flour
3 teaspoons Baking Powder
2 tablespoons Mixed Spice (NOT Allspice!)
2 tablespoons Cinnamon
Browning (Optional)
Sherry

Fruits

2 lbs. Raisins
1/2 lb. Prunes
1/2 lb. Dates
1 lb. Mixed Fruit
Red Wine to soak fruits
6 tablespoons Jamaican white rum

1/2 lb. Cherries – You can choose whether or not to soak the cherries. If you want the cherries to add color to your cake, do not soak, add at the time of baking.

Soak fruits in advance for as long as possible (up to a year) to give the cake more texture and body. But if you need it quickly, you can still get a nice cake the same day that it is soaked!

 Method

Preheat oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • Line the sides and bottom of two 9″ baking pans with a double layer of greaseproof paper and set aside.
  • Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Add eggs 2 at the time creaming after each addition. After adding the eggs, you will have to move the butter, sugar and egg mixture to a larger bowl and prepare to manually do the balance of the recipe by hand.
  • Add vanilla and almond essence to the butter and sugar mixture.
  • If you use browning, pour a very small amount in mixture and stir. Note: Be very careful with browning! It makes your cake too dark!
  • Add baking powder, mixed spice and cinnamon to the flour.
  • Pour butter and egg mixture in a larger bowl.
  • Add flour mixture to butter mixture by folding it in.
  • Continuously add flour mixture to butter mixture.
  • Grind soaked fruits with a blender or food processor, add to flour/egg mixture and thoroughly fold it in.
  • Add cut-up cherries to mixture. Leave a few cherries for decorating top of cake.
  • Pour mixture in the 2 lined 9″ baking pans.
  • Bake in pre-heated oven until done. Use a knife to test readiness, etc. The knife should come out clean.
  • Stick cakes all over with a toothpick. Sprinkle sherry or wine over hot baked cakes.

This cake is very versatile, it can be iced with a simple vanilla icing, cream cheese icing or any other icing you desire.

 Hope you enjoyed  🙂

Song of the Week: Here Comes Trouble by Chronixx

I Love me some Reggae! …I guess that should be expected seeing that I am a Jamaican! 🙂 …Nevertheless, Reggae is a universal genre that speaks to humanity, human suffering, social issues and many others. We have many Reggae greats, Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Jimmy Cliff, Lucianno, Sizzla among many others, and a new addition, Chronixx.

Chronixx is a much needed fresh young face added to the long list of Reggae greats, he is new and still has a far way to go but judging by where is so far, I can see nothing but good things from him.

Here Comes Trouble is an amazing cool, laid back tune that calls for nothing but head nodding. It is an easy listen with a great message. It reminds me of a lazy summer day when all you want to do is chill and do nothing. The lyrics are inspiring and its rhythm is catchy and reminds me of old time Jamaica when things were simple and easy.

…Want to experience the kool, cool Chronixx? …Listen up…You can thank me later! 🙂

Hope you Enjoyed! 🙂

 

 

Tis Beginning to Look a lot like Christmas!

It is officially December, so that means, no work for some days, fruit cake, Christmas decorations, merry making, wine drinking and family loving! I love this season, it is by far, the best season of the year. I am not a serial merry maker, you know like those people who start playing carols from October (Oneka!) and go over the top with decorations and gift giving etc… I can’t stand those people, like chill already, we all love Christmas…relax!….

When the season begins, you feel it in the air, the time just changes, it looks prettier and for some reason, you feel happier with a heightened sense of community and kindness. People start painting their houses, bushes and shrubs get fresh pruning, commercial buildings become overrun with lights and garlands, it’s like they went to the store, bought all the decorations they had and hung all of them at once!…it’s ridiculous!…People become overzealous and start shopping like crazy, stores become cunning and hike their prices, people suddenly realize that they must buy everything they lay their eyes on!

In Jamaica, Christmas is the best. We make Sorrel, the most delicious drink you could have; fruit cake that is laced with wine, one slice equates to a glass of wine (at least my fruit cake 🙂 ); Grand Market which is the day before Christmas. Grand Market is a big shopping, wears pedaling, and fun-having day. Town centers are blocked off to all traffic, people dress to the nine, stay out till wee hours of the morning, walk up and down buying food and trinkets for kids. It’s a day to chill and have fun with your friends and family.

…As crazy and over the top as is all sounds, without the fuss and overindulgence, Christmas would be just as lame as Easter (not taking away from the meaning), it wouldn’t  be as magical, special and exciting as it is…

…So what are your plans for Christmas?

😀