Cherylcan's Blog

Life and Literature

Peanut Chicken and Vegetables

So I tried a new slow cooker recipe today. I had to modify so much it is not even close to the original now, but it smells amazing.

I love slow cooker recipes because you can chop everything the night before. Chill overnight in separate bowls then mix it up quickly the day you plan to serve it.

1 TBSP olive oil
1/2 package of frozen diced chicken (approx 2 lbs.)

3 medium onions (approx. 1.5 cups) thinly sliced

1 tsp garlic plus (did not have garlic cloves)
2 tsp curry powder
1 tsp crushed red pepper

3/4 cup chicken broth

1 TBSP cornstarch
1/4 tsp. salt (I just ground some pink rock salt into it)

2 TBSP warm water
1/3 cup smooth peanut butter (almond butter if you prefer)

Chopped and cooked to desired hardness:
3 lbs. potatoes
2 heads broccoli

1/4 cup grated zucchini
2 TBSP chopped unsalted peanuts (optional use almonds if use almond butter)
1 TBSP chopped fresh cilantro or parsley (or 3/4 tsp., 4 mL, dried), optional)

Heat cooking oil in large frying pan on medium heat. Add diced chick. Cook until browned. Transfer to slow cooker.

Add onion to same large frying pan. Cook for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring often until softened.

Add next three ingredients (garlic, curry, crushed pepper). Heat and stir for one minute until fragrant.

Mix 1/4 cup broth with cornstarch, mix until smooth. Add all broth, and salt. Stir well. Pour over chicken. Cover. Cook on low for 8 to 9 hours or on High for 4 to 4.5 hours.

Stir warm water into peanut butter in small cup until smooth. Add to chicken mixture. Stir. Add potatoes and broccoli. Stir well. Cover cook on high for about 5 minutes. Remove to serving bowl.

Scatter zucchini, peanuts and cilantro over top.

Mom’s Bean Salad

1 20 oz can green beans
1 20 oz can yellow beans
1 14 oz can lima beans
1 15 oz can kidney beans
1/4 cup onions, coarsely chopped

Rinse kidney beans under water to remove sauce. Drain beans well in colander.

Mix together:

3/4 cup white sugar
1 cup mazola oil (do not use olive oil when storing in fridge)
1/2 cup vinegar (flavour you prefer just plain works)
1 tsp. salt
pepper to taste

Place ingredients in a bottled and shake well to blend. Pour over the beans in a large bowl with a tight cover. Let stand in fridge for 12 to 14 hours.

Strawberry Spinach Salad

1/4 cup sugar
1 TBSP poppy seeds
1/4 tsp worchestershire sauce
2 TBSP sesame seeds
1 1/2 tsp chopped chives or minced onions
1/4 tsp paprika

Combine above ingredients in a glass jar. Add:

1/2 cup vegetable oil (do not use olive oil as it will congeal in fridge)
1/4 cup vinegar

Shake very well. Let sit 2-4 hrs at room temperature.

Wash

8 cups spinach

Tear into bite sized pieces. If you cut it, the the spinach will wilt faster. Shake dressing to taste, over spinach and lightly mix. (I always have lots of extra dressing)

Add

2 pints fresh strawberries
1/2 cup slivered almonds (optional, but I like to toast mine)

Toss gently and serve.

Recipes to add iron…

Canoe Corner asked about recipes that could add iron to a diet. One of my favorites follows:

Boston Baked Beans modified for Canada

  • 2 cups beans
  • 1/2 kg fresh pork
  • 1 large onion
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar (optional)
  • 1 TBSP dry mustard
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup (or molasses for traditional Boston Baked Beans)
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 2 TBSP ketchup (optional)

Simmer beans for two hours in excess of water, until soft. Cut pork into 3 cm squares and line bottom of your crock pot (or whatever pot you use). Cut onion into large slices and layer on top of bacon. Drain water off beans and pour over onions (If you are using a slow cooker the beans will not get any softer than when you put them in the pot. Make sure they are the desired softness before draining off the water.) In a bowl mix dry mustard (and brown sugar if using it) until all lumps are gone and well blended if blending. Add water (and molasses and ketchup if desired). Pour over top of beans. Place cover on crock and cook on low all day, for 6-8 hrs, or on high for 4 hours. (If cooking in oven use 225 F for 6 to 8 hrs).

Note: Replacing the molasses with maple syrup makes for much lighter beans. You can add brown sugar to darken but I find they are too sweet that way. I usually omit the brown sugar and ketchup when I make the maple syrup ones.

Baked beans are great on a cool rainy day. For the summer weather, I do have some great salad recipes too. I will have to remember to upload my recipes for my Strawberry Spinach Salad, and Bean Salad, at a later date.

“Bird Box” a Novel by Josh Malerman

9780062259653Thrillers that allow readers to conceive the terror are enthralling. In the novel Bird Box, Malerman gives readers free rein to imagine what is out there. One look at this terrifying creature drives people crazy culminating in deadly violence.

The story begins five years after terrible things started to occur. Unfolding through present day and flashbacks. Creating narrative tension that pulls you swiftly through the box and into a world where vision can be fatal. Malorie lives alone with her two four year old children, but dreams of a better place. Malorie’s strength through potentially paralyzing fear is awe inspiring. I cannot fathom giving birth in an attic with an unseen terror and no chance of medical assistance. Presently, she must escape her family’s lonely subsistence, but are the children trained well enough to make the journey 20 miles down river in a rowboat blindfolded without peeking?

Initially the flashes from present to past were confusing. I was not sure where, or more specifically when I was in the story. As the characters emerged, the time periods resolved. The social implications of living in confined spaces and with people you can find are absorbing. Many hands make light work, but what if one is alienating others. How do you protect yourself? The psychological and supernatural aspects combined to create a riveting read. It is the first book in a long time that I bought and read in the same day. I loved that the creatures where never “shown” but left to my imagination.

Even weeks after reading, I am still visualizing the terror of either living in a darkened house or going outside blindfolded. Imagining how I might have resolved issues like child-rearing in a world where your eyes can be your enemy, or navigate down a river without looking. What would you do? Read the book and feel the gripping terror.

 

“Reluctant Dective” by Finley Martin

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One of my favorite high school teachers, Finley Martin, wrote a detective novel, so of course I read it as soon as possible. Although I read the story a when it came out a couple of years ago, I only now noticed that I did not publish the review I drafted at the time.

Wilhelmina Anne Brown lives in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island with her 14-year-old daughter and works as an office manager for her uncle, Bill Darby. Just as she is settling back into island life, yes it did take her six years, Bill dies leaving her his Private Investigation Business and a small amount of cash. The story follows her struggle to protect her daughter while serving her new clients.

I loved reading a book set where I live. It is so much fun watching Wilhelmina dash around familiar terrain. I found the pacing of the book was good. The short chapters really made me feel like I was racing through the adventure. Wihelmina is a strong character but with enough flaws to make her lovable and the story engaging. The back story of each character really allows readers to delve into them to understand where they are coming from. I especially enjoyed the conflict between mother and daughter as I have a teenage daughter. Martin gets the complexity and angst of the relationship just right.

St. Patrick’s Day – Family, Fun, & Fellowship

Since it is her school break, this year my daughter came to breakfast with me to support a local charity. She also enjoyed the music and loved the food, except for the blood pudding which she gave to me. Lucky me… will bring her again. Processed puddin’ does not compare to what Grammie and Grandad used to make. I cannot seem to find anything like it today. I may actually have to learn to make my own.

Right after we went to visit my family in Launching Place, PEI. We had a good chat on the way out and another over coffee at my parents. She stayed out for the night. Tim&CherylI enjoyed the rural winter scenery as I meandered back to Charlottetown.

Every year a core  group of friends gets together at a local pub to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. I love this day. Even though we may only see each other in passing or not at all for the rest of the year. It is so fun to touch base and see where everyone is at. Just relaxing in a very accepting environment with some great local music makes for a mini-vacation.

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