Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Katye, Krispy Kreme & a Card

Katye and I were both Atlanta girls but we actually met while learning French in Quebec.  Katye has a special gift for telling stories so when she posted a storytelling event on facebook in which she was participating, I jumped at the chance to go and hear her in person again. 

Storytelling is a unique cultural event, one which is not as celebrated in our culture as it might have once been.  With that disclaimer, I asked my friend Jen if she wanted to go with me.  She agreed and then later confessed that since I had gone to the opera with her, she thought she could try something different with me.  I had kind of forgotten I was as cultured as the opera!  Do I have to confess my true feelings about the opera?  Let's just say that storytelling ranks higher up my list of enjoyable activities.  In fact, I would highly recommend a storytelling festival to anyone.  In a world where it is difficult to find books, tv shows or movies that are excellent and free of swearing, innuendo and violence, these storytellers stood out.  Their stories were clean, interesting and many made me laugh out loud!

Katye in mid-story. 
After the storytelling and a visit with Katye and her new husband at Chic-fil-A, Jen suggested a spontaneous trip to Krispy Kreme.  Using her handy dandy little Krispy Kreme phone app she could actually tell that the donuts were "Hot Now."  What is the world coming to?
Watching the donuts roll off the line...this one's for our friend Amy, a true donut enthusiast.
Last up in this little line up is a cheerful little card that one lucky reader will be receiving any day now to pass on to someone they know who needs a little encouragement.
And thus ends the post that was brought to you by the sound of /k/.


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Great Experiment Part Five: Hominy & Other Good Stuff

Homi whatey?  I've heard of hominy before but I honestly had no clue what it was so when I decided to make Chicken Tortilla Soup and follow this recipe which called for hominy I didn't know exactly where to look.  Hominy sounded like a bean to me so I stood in the bean section of the grocery store trying to locate it but eventually I found it next to the cans of corn.  You can't see it on the can but it really appeared to be on a in my mind, I thought hominy was white corn.  When I tasted it though, it bore no resemblance to corn in taste or appearance.  It was definitely weird but the good news is that in this soup it was really nothing more than a filler.  I'm not sure if it's possible to buy hominy in Niger but it would be easy to substitute something else in it's place.    

So without further ado, here's the recipe with the modifications I made based on one of the reviews on .

Chicken Tortilla Soup (8 servings)

In a medium stock pot, heat oil over medium heat. Saute onion, garlic and chicken in oil until cooked. Stir in lime juice, cumin, garlic, chili powder, tomatoes, broth, and water. Bring to a boil, and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes. Stir in corn, hominy, chiles, beans and cilantro. Simmer for 1 hour. Ladle soup into individual serving bowls, and top with crushed tortilla chips, cheese, and chopped green onion.
Next up is Chicken Fricassee.  I made this a couple of years ago when I was at my brother's house using his Better Homes & Garden cookbook and it was delicious but I didn't copy the recipe down thinking it would be in my Better Homes & Garden cookbook.  But it wasn't.  So now I'm recording it on the old blog and will have access to it any time (...the electricity & internet are working).  It's a Niger friendly recipe so let the cooking begin!
Chicken Fricassee
(Better Homes & Gardens Cookbook)

1/4 cup flour
1 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 to 2 1/2 pounds meaty chicken pieces (breasts, thighs, drumsticks)
1 Tbsp cooking oil
1 cup halved fresh mushrooms
1/3 cup chopped greeen or sweet red pepper or celery
1/3 cup sliced green onion
1 cup chicken broth
1/4 tsp dried basil, marjoram, oregano or thyme, crushed
1/4 cup light cream or milk
1 Tbsp flour
2 cups hot cooked noodles

In a plastic or paper bag combine the 1/4 up flour, paprika, salt & pepper.  Skin chicken if desired.  Rinse; pat dry.  Add chicken, two or three pieces at a time to the bag, shaking to coat well.

In a skillet cook chicken in oil about 15 minutes or till lightly browned, turning to brown evenly.  Remove chicken; set aside.

Add mushrooms, green or red pepper or celery and green onion to the skillet.  Cook and stir for 2 minutes.  Stir in chicken broth and basil, marjoram, oregano or thyme.

Bring to boiling, scraping up browned bits from the bottom of the skillet.  Return chicken to the skillet.  Bring to boiling; reduce heat.  Cover and simmer for 35 to 40 minutes or till chicken is tender and no longer pink.

Transfer chicken and veggies to a platter; keep warm.  Measure 3/4 cup of the pan juices an return to the skillet.  Stir cream or milk into the Tbsp of flour.  Stir into pan juices.  Cook and stir till thickened and bubbly.  Cook and stir for 1 more minute.

Spoon sauce over the chicken.  Serve with hot noodles.

And last but not least I finally tried one of the very first recipes I pinned - Buffalo Chicken Garbage Bread but instead of buying store bought dough I made my own using this recipe.  If you love buffalo chicken wings you'll enjoy this and I have to say that the leftovers might just have been tastier than the first time around. 

Here's hoping you feel inspired to get into that kitchen and try something new!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Step It Up!

Do you remember these incredible feats of floating that came out of the minds and work of missionaries during the Sahel Academy Flood?

I think we may have to STEP IT UP a bit.
Just saying!

Friday, January 11, 2013

The Great Experiment Part 4: Christmas Cookies

Not since October have I posted any new recipes in my ongoing experiment which began here.  That was due in part to my trip to Toronto and the busyness of Christmas. But never fear, I have been experimenting!

I had so many delightful Christmas treats pinned but there really is a limit to how many Christmas Cookies one can make and consume.  Not to mention, whipping up seven different kinds of cookies can wear you out.  So without further ado, I present the four Christmas treats that were a part of the experiment.

First up, Christmas BallsKaren and I made these little puppies together.  It was our first foray into the world of cake balls.  Boy do we have a lot to learn!  

This was definitely a time intensive process here.  As Karen is demonstrating, we had our moments!  And the final result...

...yep, they look a little more like Christmas bombs than Christmas ornaments.  At least they tasted good!

Then we tried Candy Cane Blossoms.  However, rather than following the recipe we just used leftover sugar cookie dough and rolled it in green and red sugar and called it done.  It was perfect as the kids had lost interest in rolling and cutting out cookies!

Those were so yummy I decided to try a different version called Cherry Chocolate Kisses.

And last but not least, I made these holiday pretzels.  I was introduced to them about five years ago around Thanksgiving time.  They are simple and quick, not to mention the perfect combination of sweet and salty.
Should you choose to try any one of these recipes next Christmas, you won't be disappointed.  They are all perfectly delicious even if they aren't all equally beautiful! 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Remembering 2012

I'm ringing in the new year here on the blog with a little reflection on 2012 and some of the things for which I am incredibly thankful.  So in no particular order here are some of the blessings of 2012.

I had an amazing first half of 2012 hanging out in my classroom at Sahel Academy with some sweet kids.  There were giggles, there was fun, there was celebration and we even managed to squeeze in some learning too.  Those days were full of joy!

Peace was a blessing that came in the midst of the flood at Sahel Academy.  In March or so of last year, I had been asked to consider staying on another year because of the staffing crisis at Sahel.  I prayed about it but really felt like God was directing me home.  Having received that clear direction from God, there was peace in my heart during the flood because I knew somehow that God wanted me at home and not in the middle of it.  I was thankful for that assurance because it was difficult to watch my colleagues and friends wading through those waters and not be able to do anything but pray.

Not everyone would get excited about driving straight across the country and back but I sure did!  It was fun to see the land, marvel at its vastness and see the creativity of God in it all.  I am thankful for the opportunity I had in 2012 to travel.

One of the surprise blessings of 2012 was finding that I actually enjoyed the speaking opportunities that came my way.  Speaking in public was one of the things that struck fear in my heart when I began this journey of being a missionary. Imagine my surprise when I found that I was actually enjoying the opportunities that God sent my way to share the ministry of Sahel Academy and some of the things that God has taught me in these last few years.  Sharing at Wesley Christian Academy was a special blessing because I was reminded of how much I love teaching.

Friendship could no doubt appear on my list of blessings every year.  But this year I'm particularly thankful to have been able to connect with friends that I haven't seen in awhile.  (Note to self:  Don't forget to take pictures of your friends in Toronto!)

My Dad has been a blessing in my life for the last 36 years -loving me, caring for me, laughing with me, encouraging me and challenging me spiritually.  It was wonderful to be here to celebrate his 80th birthday with him on December 13th when we went to Outback as a family and then a couple of days later when we surprised him with a party in his honor.

Create a birthday video at Animoto

And that brings me to the last blessing I want to mention - that of being with my family.  I'm not going to lie, I do miss having my own place to call home but it's been an incredible blessing to be with my family for both Thanksgiving and Christmas.  There is just something so comfortable about being home for the holidays.  Home where you are accepted.  Home where you are understood.  Home where your humour is appreciated.  Home where you are forgiven for a grumpy day.  Home where you are given grace you don't deserve.  Home where you are loved and accepted.  I'm thankful for the blessing of being home!
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