Thursday, 26 December 2013

If I Only Had an Oven...

We watched The Wizard of Oz on Christmas Eve and the song "If I Only Had  a Brain" got me to thinking about what I would have baked had I an oven this Christmas season.

So I thought I'd take a moment to round up some drool worthy recipes I saw on the web this year.

I would have made these cuties from Not Martha for My Dec 1st Christmas party:

How-To: Tiny Gingerbread House for your Mug from Not Martha - still a fan favorite! Love this one! :)
The weeks before Christmas I would bake up a storm making Hot Chocolate Sandwich Cookies from I heart eating

Hot Chocolate Sandwich Cookies
Along with these turtle thumbprints from Handle the Heat

turtle thumbprint cookies
And these chocolate peppermint babies from Bakerella

choc peppermint cookies
These coconut macaroon cupcakes for work:

Coconut Macaroon Cupcake -  Devil’s food cake with dark chocolate chips, coconut cream filling, topped with coconut cream cheese frosting and a coconut macaroon.
I would have made these Strawberry and Chocolate French Toast Rollups for breakfast Christmas Morning:

French Toast Roll-Ups
Cheddar Bacon Beer Bread from Texanerin to go with dinner:

100% Whole Grain Cheddar Bacon Beer Bread |

What was your favorite holiday treat this season?

Monday, 23 December 2013

Week 2:

Here is our menu for the upcoming week. It will probably be tweaked here and there, due to the upcoming holidays. I know we are going to a western style buffet Christmas day but as for New Year's I'm not sure of any food related plans yet:

Tuesday- Bacon, Eggs and Pancakes
Friday-Pork Chops with Rosemary Bacon Potato Hash (prep Saturday's chicken)
Saturday-Broccoli Carrot Chicken Ramen
Monday-Pork Chop with Bacon Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Tuesday-Chicken and Dumplings
Wednesday- Vegetarian Chili

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Homemade Chicken Stock

I made my own chicken stock for the first time. I made the stock on Monday night, froze it and used it Friday at lunchtime to make Duck Gumbo (link to follow!). The chicken I boiled to make the stock was used for tacos in Tuesday's lunch.

Makes 3 cups of stock. I made so little because we are very limited on storage containers and storage space. This recipe adjusts easily. You need to make sure you have enough water to keep the chicken covered throughout the cooking process.


1/2 lb chicken
1 onion, cut in half
2 stalks celery (including leaves), cut in half
1 Carrot cut in half
sprinkle of s&p (optional)
bay leaf (optional)

I had just over half a pound of skin on drumsticks so that is what I used. If you aren't using a whole chicken, I recommend using dark meat as it tends to be more flavorful. If you use more chicken adjust the veggies accordingly.

Bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer, covered, for 3 hours. If you use more chicken and it isn't cooked at this point, simmer until the chicken is done.

Be sure to discard the veggies and the bay leaf if you used on. I didn't actually use the bay leaf when I made the stock but used it when I made the gumbo. However, I saw several recipes called for the bay leaf in the stock.

Friday, 20 December 2013

My Daughter

Somewhere along the way, I developed the idea that I was less.

Less than beautiful.
Less than capable.
Less than desirable.
Less than.

I don't know exactly when the thoughts began to occur or where exactly they stem from. What I do know is that they were and are there.

I began to imagine that people only saw my acne scarred face, my greasy hair.
I began to imagine that when I walked, my movements were disgusting and awkward and that my running posture was nothing if not highly laughable.
I began to think that my speaking voice was annoyingly high pitched and my singing voice like nails on a chalkboard.
I began to think that I wasn't capable of successful completing everyday tasks, much less complicated endeavors.
I began to think that my needs, thoughts and  feelings didn't matter. That they imposed to much on others.

If I think about it I can try to pinpoint certain phrases I've heard, from people near and dear, and from people, who for one moment had more impact than they will ever realize. Maybe there were phrases I heard once in jest, and magnified in my head. Maybe there were phrases repeated to me-whether in jest or not.

Regardless, I began to try to change my body, my movements.
I began to feel less important than those around me and began to minimize the discomfort I thought I was causing others.

My speaking voice grew quieter and quieter. Some days it is barely audible and my husband frustratedly asks me to repeat myself.

My singing voice grew dim, a mere echo of the joy I used to  (harmoniously or not) release into the world.

My walk grew more stiff. My body stiffened, trying to stifle any movements that would cause laughter or disdain. My posture suffered and my eyes grew accustomed to the view of my feet.

I let others take over tasks for me, believing that I couldn't do them properly myself, or that I would take to long to complete them.

I began to refuse drink and food when offered, internally reasoning that to agree would be to much of a inconvenience for my host. When sharing food, I always chose the smallest pieces, thinking that someone else deserved the bigger portions.

 When being treated to dinner, I agonized over choosing the least expensive meal I would enjoy.

Only with my truest and dearest friends could I be my whole, genuine self. And even then, I struggled to come out of the shell I had become.

Today, it all changes. For sometime, I have been struggling (with the support of my husband) to overcome these beliefs. To be a strong woman, not just under the guise of one.

Today, at a church gathering I was prompted to pray and ask God how he sees me.And so I prayed.

And as always, God answered with the perfect response.

My daughter, echoed in my head

My daughter, my daughter, my daughter reverberated through out my body, and to the deepest parts of my soul.

I am His daughter.
He created me.
I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
I am beautiful and worthy, because of Him. Because of the blood shed by the only one who is the Holy One.

I have a place to stand, with all of God's other children. I can freely stand among them.


I am that me that He has made.

Monday, 16 December 2013

Upcoming Meals

I spent the weekend pouring over recipes trying to come up to add some variety to our diet.

I need roughly 4-5 unique meals a week. This week we'll have less because I wasn't able to grocery shop until Monday night. We usually eat these for lunch and then have leftovers or sandwiches for dinner. We also eat out Thursday lunch and during the weekend.

Tuesday-Chicken Tacos (leftover chicken to go to the freezer for chili)
Wednesday-Hot Fried Chicken with Fried Rice
Friday-Duck and Sausage Gumbo (using homemade chicken stock)
Sunday- Cheesy Tuna Cake with Broccoli

Successful recipes to follow!

Sunday, 15 December 2013

2 Easy Peasy Semi-Healthy Desserts

Not having an oven, I miss baking a lot. A super duper lot. A lot of the baked goods I purchase over here aren't half as good as what my taste buds desire.

To satisfy my sweet tooth, I've been playing around with ways to turn yogurt into a sweet dessert.

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Yogurt


  • 1 small container of strawberry yogurt
  • 1 small container of plain/Greek yogurt
  • 1 hot cocoa packet
Note: You can substitute the strawberry yogurt for another container of plain yogurt with diced strawberries, sweeten a little with honey. Strawberries are currently $5 for a small container here so, I went with the pre-flavored yogurt.

1. Pour the plain yogurt into a bowl. Mix in the hot cocoa.
2. Pour the strawberry yogurt into the center of the chocolate yogurt. Swirl gently.

Tropical Caramel Parfait

  • caramel sauce (store bought or homemade)
  • 1 small container of plain/Greek Yogurt
  • 1/2 cup fresh chopped pineapple
1. Layer yogurt, pineapple and caramel sauce in a small glass.