Monday, 29 September 2014

12 Things I Wish I Knew Before 32...A Birthday Manifesto of Sorts



I have come across some truths in life - gleaned from the little bit of experience I have started to collect. 

1. Assessing someone based on one meeting, one moment or even a lifetime of moments, is not nearly enough information to pass judgement on...at least sit with them and have coffee first, truth of character is more easily ascertained over something hot and caffeinated. 

2. I am an introvert. It's not a disease, it's just a quieter form of existence. I accept it.

3. Experiencing love and laughter, grief and tears really does rub those rough edges off of the person I thought I was, and makes me the person that I was created to be.

4. Friendship isn't difficult to maintain when I only expect the other person to be who God created them to be.

5. My happiness depends on only one person: Me.

6. If, when I am standing up for myself, I demean the person I am standing up to, then I have only succeeded in diminishing my own character.

7. Forgiving people isn't just hard, it's necessary.

8. Focusing on ME ME ME, opens me up to diseases of the soul like anger, bitterness, pride, and unforgiveness.

9. Not wanting to do something doesn't negate the fact that I CAN do it - and feel better once it's done.

10. The number of "likes" I get on Facebook, though nice, do not determine my self worth.

11. Parenting is the greatest, amazing, most difficult journey, that I so desperately want to get right.

12. Change should actually be called growth - and growth is a slow, steady forward movement that may take days, months or years where successes are reached step by step.

For those of you who have just a few years on 32,  you may relate to an assessment made frequently by George R.R. Martin, "You know nothing, Jon Snow." I can only contend this, you are probably right.  As I consider these statements, I have come to realize that the only way I can operate my life in these truths is to have Christ at the very center and core of myself, and put my relationship with him first. Because when it is finally not about ME, and instead is about Christ, I can hope to bring his light and love into the world. It is only then I can hope to walk in the greatest love, shown to me in the lives of people like CS Lewis, Fred Rogers and Irena Sendler. That is my mandate, that is my goal, to listen to and love this world, and I am excited for the adventure!






Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Hot Jambalaya!

Delicious and Spicy Slow Cooker Jambalya

This recipe has been one of our long standing favorites.  I happen to love it for a few more reasons than just its delicious flavor.  The first, is that not all slow cooker recipes are created equal - this is one of the greats.  The simple way it comes together, it can be prepared hours ahead of time, and the delicious aroma that floats around our house, makes it irresistible - especially on a cold, snowy winter's day.  Well fortunately, today is not one of those days, and even though we've had a few adventures with this meal - it won't cook if you don't plug in the cooker, and mistakenly putting a tablespoon of cayenne into the pot, instead of a tablespoon of paprika will SIGNIFICANTLY increase the spicy - it is my pleasure to share it with you dear reader.
Adorable Kitchen Helper


Slow Cooker Jambalaya
(Adapted from Colleen's Slow Cooker Jambalaya on allrecipes.com)

2 Medium Onions Diced
4 Stalks of Celery Diced
2 Green Peppers Diced
2.5 Chorizo Sausages cut into rounds
8 Chicken Thighs cut into bite sized pieces
2 Cups of Water
2 Tbsp Chicken Better than Bullion
4 Tbsp Creole Seasoning*
1 32oz tin of Diced Tomato
1lb frozen Cooked Shrimp (optional)

*We use a home made Creole Seasoning, recipe below.


Creole Seasoning
(allrecipes.com)

1 1/4 tsp Onion Powder
1 1/4 tsp Garlic Powder
1 1/4 tsp Dried Oregano
1 1/4 tsp Dried Basil
1/2 tsp Dried Thyme
1/2 tsp Black Pepper
1/2 tsp White Pepper
1/2 tsp Cayenne
1 Tbsp Paprika
1 3/4 tsp Salt

1. Dice vegetables, chicken and sausage, combine in slow cooker.
2. Add Creole Seasoning, water and bullion (or chicken broth).
3. Cook on high for 4-6 hours. Stir occasionally.
4. Add 2 cups of minute rice, cook until well mixed in and ready.
5. Add shrimp (For those of you lucky ones who live in houses who eat shrimp...)

Another adorable helper.

Costco Chorizo Sausage


This recipe turns out delicious every single time we cook it, and it is very flexible as far as what can be added to it, or subtracted from it. Make it spicier - add extra cayenne, change the type of sausage, or add extra shrimp. If you don't like minute rice, cook rice on the side and serve!  Enjoy everyone! 


All ready to go!

It is exhausting work!



Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Adventures in Cooking: Indian Spiced Roasted Chicken

Ok, so I'm not a food blogger. I'm just someone who likes to blog (Is that a verb?). Anyway, there are times I find myself befuddled, with absolutely nothing profound to say, and yet, I have an insatiable desire to BLOG - about something, anything.  It seems that lately my life has been overwhelmed by being MOM, and so the only real thoughts I have about daily life are often wrapped up in mundane questions, like - when did the baby eat last? what time does the bus come? what on earth would make THAT stain? and most often -  what are we eating for dinner?

A snapshot of my daily life.


In answer to the last, pinterest has been a literal wealth of ideas and I am drawn to simple, unique recipes that my family might enjoy. Left up to my own dinner ideas, we would probably be eating a weekly rotating cycle of stirfrys, tacos, and pasta, so here's to something new. Since I like to use pinterest as more than just a place to organize pictures, I thought why not share some of these successes and failures? At least it gives me something to write about. 

My recipe is slightly different than the one in the link below, but I will detail what I used.


Adapted From: Indian Spiced Roasted Chicken (Originally found on simply-delcious-food.com) 

Serves 6 - 8
Cooking Time: 2 Hours

2 Whole Chickens
3 Tbsp Red Curry Paste
2 Cups Plain Yogurt
6 Tbsp Garam Masala
4 Tsp Salt
2-3 Tbsp Lime Juice

1. Preheat oven to 350'
2. In a bowl combine yogurt, curry paste, spices and lime juice.
3. Rub mixture over chicken, put extra marinade into cavity of chicken.
4. Place in oven at 350' for 45mins, increase heat to 425' cook for around an 1 hr 15mins, check regularly on chickens to be sure the spices aren't burning.
The sauce was messy but delicious!


*Refer to original recipe for more detailed instructions. 

As I mixed my chicken marinade, I found that the red curry paste was quite spicy, you may want to reduce the amount in your own version.   I paired this chicken with another Pinterest recipe called Kung Pao Cauliflower. I will detail that recipe another time - but it is the first time I have seen my kids literally GOBBLE down cauliflower and ask for more.

So, how did all of this spicy chicken go over with the kids, you may ask....

Surprisingly well. M told me he liked dinner so much he felt like he should thank me twice for it, and O ate without the usual amount of coercion.  S had formula, and she thought it was top notch. For myself, I thought the chicken had fabulous flavor, I think that it might be a recipe to try on something like wings in the future. I think the only other change I would make is to use a yogurt that's less thick, or thin it out with something so that it wasn't so much of a paste on the chicken - it will be about finding the balance between something that will stick to the chicken, but not cake itself on. I also found that where the recipe recommends a change in cooking temperature, the sauce on the top of the chicken burned far too quickly, and so I reduced heat and kept it at 350'.

Beautifully roasted, the meat was delicious and juicy!

And there you have it, my first attempt at celebrating my epicurious side.

To Eat and Enjoy. 

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