Sunday, June 22, 2008


On our way home from church today, we swung by JD's Garden Centre. JD's is a very dangerous place for me since there is always so much that I would love to buy there! Hubby just dreads it when I go there! They have a wide variety of plants and flowers. They've got everything you can imagine, want or need to create your own private oasis in your backyard.

The purpose of our trip to JD's was not for plants (much to my dismay) because my uncle brought me LOTS of climbing plants for the two pergolas that he, my dad and my hubby are building for me. I'm anxious to see what my climbing hydrangea looks like in bloom!

Where was I? Oh, yes...the purpose of our trip to JD's. I'm telling you, I have been such a scatter-brain this past week! I just hope as my belly expands over the next seven months, my brain doesn't shrink!!! Right. JD's Garden was having a sale on strawberries. I thought they had strawberry plants for sale, but it was the fruit that they had. Fine by me! I have been craving strawberries like you would not believe!

We bought a flat of strawberries. How much exactly is in a flat? That would be six quarts of strawberries, my friends! SIX QUARTS!!! I paid $23 for the flat and am so pleased. The strawberries are succulent, mouthwatering, and deliciously sweet...and they are Ontario strawberries to boot!What to do with six quarts of strawberries (besides eat them)? I washed them all and then cut and froze two quarts of the berries. I also made four jars of strawberry freezer jam and I'm eating the rest of them! Just kidding (sort of). I am going to give whatever we have left to my mother-in-law and my mom and dad.There are so many things you can make with strawberries. Strawberry shortcake, strawberry cheesecake, strawberry jam, strawberry-rhubarb pie...The list goes on! However, I have a feeling I'll just be eating these yummy strawberries as is! Why mess with perfection? Plus, I'm not a pie crust/pastry kinda gal. I love to bake, but I just don't like anything too "bready". Yes, I just made that word up. If you absolutely need to know, bready refers to anything in the bread family! :) For me, that includes breads, pies, cakes, muffins, cupcakes...and yes, even pizza crust. I will on occasion indulge in some of the things I just mentioned, but as a general rule, I'm not a fan of "bready" things. *Note: I do not usually make words up for my ESL students, but I do like making up new words!!!*Oh, and if you think this post is over, I'm not quite done yet! My old friend, T from Toronto asked me for some quick and easy recipe ideas for supper. These are for you, girlfriend :)Thursday's supper was Mandarin Chicken Salad.
I don't like spending hours in the kitchen, but I do like a lot of flavour. This dish took less than 30 min to prep and cook. Yields two servings and a bit.

INGREDIENTS: Romaine lettuce (we love lettuce so I used a head and a half), mandarin oranges in segments (you can get fresh mandarins and peel and segment them yourself, or you can get them in the can or jar at your local grocery store), 1 boneless/skinless chicken breast (a little goes a long way!), sesame oil, sesame seeds, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, salt and black pepper to taste.

1. Wash and cut up lettuce.
2. Butterfly your chicken breast and season it with a little salt and black pepper.
3. In a hot skillet, drizzle a bit of EVOO and place chicken in skillet. Cook chicken until golden brown (make sure it has cooked through completely). I like to drizzle a bit of sesame oil on the chicken because I love the taste!
4. Remove cooked chicken from skillet and place on cutting board. While you let the chicken rest for a bit, arrange lettuce on your plates. I use shallow salad bowls for this dish.
5. Slice chicken into strips and place on top of salad. Add mandarin segments and arrange them around the dish.
6. Drizzle a bit of sesame oil over the salad and sprinkle some toasted sesame seeds on the salad.

I usually use some red onion slices in this dish, but didn't have any on hand. This is one of Hubby's favourites. It's super easy and really yummy.

Friday's supper was my Special Lentil Soup:
T, I'll make this recipe easy for you. I know you A) Do NOT like cooking and B) Don't have time to cook. Since you asked me for some easy and fast recipes, I won't make you soak the lentils and chick peas yourself or prepare the tomatoes from fresh! I don't normally use canned food because of all the sodium and additives in them, but for the sake of convenience, you can use them and they work really well with this dish.

1 can of diced tomatoes
1 can of chick peas
1 can of lentils
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cups baby spinach
1 or 2 cups water
*optional* 4 or 5 slices of bacon cut into small pieces

1. In a large soup pot, cook bacon pieces.
2. Sautee onions with the bacon once bacon has started to turn golden brown (if you are making this a vegetarian meal or do not eat bacon, omit the bacon and use a bit of extra virgin olive oil).
3. Add tomatoes.
4. Drain and rinse lentils and chick peas and then add them to the pot.
5. Add a bit of water (depending on how chunky or how 'liquidy' (another made up word!) you like it.
6. Let cook for 30-40 min. Add spinach at last minute.

This is another one of Hubby's favourite meals. It's chock full of vitamins and protein. There are plenty of veggies and legumes...and without the bacon, it's even better for you! Hubby likes the bacon though. I make this dish when I am really hard-pressed for time and most people think I've spent hours making the soup!

Tonight's supper was Maple Sweet Potatoes, Chicken and Mixed Veggies:
This is another dish that takes less than 30 min to prepare.
1 boneless-skinless chicken breast, butterflied (we get our chicken breasts in packages of two and two chicken breasts can be stretched into making two meals or more. Yeah, I'm pretty frugal)
2 sweet potatoes, cubed/diced
a pat of butter (or whatever else you'd like to use to replace the butter)
1/4 c. maple syrup (Yeah, Hubby's homemade maple syrup!!)
2 cups mixed veggies

1. In a hot skillet, add pat of butter. Add cubed sweet potatoes and cook until golden and tender. As soon as sweet potatoes look done, add 1/2 of your maple syrup and cook until caramelized.
2. Coat chicken in maple syrup and grill (if you have an indoor cooking grill, that's perfect! If not, you can just cook it in a skillet) until completely cooked.
3. Boil (or steam) veggies.
4. Once chicken is cooked, remove and let rest. Cut into strips.
5. Place sweet potatoes in center of plate and add veggies around. Arrange chicken on top of the maple sweet potatoes.

Last but not least, this is for Jeanna. Thank you, my lovely amiga from good 'ol Cheese Country!

Jeanna sent me a box of goodies in the winter. Jeanna, you will be proud to know that I have managed to hold off on eating everything!!! The Baraboo Candy Company Cow Pies, Udder Fingers, and Moo Chews are long gone, but we did manage to save the Badger Claws...until now.
Hubby and I just split a Badger Claw and oh, my goodness! Was it ever good!!!
Picture this...
Sinking your teeth into a rich white chocolate covered layer of chewy, gooey, creamy caramel covered cashews! It's the perfect combination of sweet and salty. Being as decadent as this, these make the perfect "once in a while" treats. All I can say is THANK GOODNESS I don't live near the Baraboo Candy Company!!! Actually, thank goodness I don't live near Jeanna! I can only imagine the kind of trouble the two of us could get into! ;) Thanks for everything, Jeanna! You're the best! Luv ya! XOXO


Jeanna said...

Nice photos , C. I might have to pop over to the gas station and get a Badger Claw. I have been craving strawberries myself. Today I went grazing on the free samples at Brennan's and along with the wheel of cheese I consumed, ended up walking out with a bag and crate of fruit.
Freezer jam eh? What kind of container do you use?
You must be one great cook.

t said...

I wish you had posted the recipes sooner; I ended up going for some Mc D's. Not the best choice; I would have gone to Swiss Chalet or to the Sushi place near me but I was hungry for something fast and easy. I copied the recipies and saved them- they look easy enough for even me to make! Thanks Chris!

Feathers said...

Wow! Those strawberries look delishious! I have bought them a couple times this year and they just didn't have that taste that their suppose to have.
Freezer Jam? We need to know how you do

Autumn's Mom said...

I had some real good strawberries yesterday! I want to make some sweet potatoes now, yum. I "borrowed" your 6 questions meme ;)

hotmommy said...

that bager claw looks like a giant turtle only its white chocolate and has red stripes and has cashews. ok its comepletely different from a turtle but you know what i mean right?

jan said...

The chicken looks so goooood and I just happen to have all the ingredients and several hungry people. Thanks for posting.

Diesel said...

Wait, are you saying "bready" isn't a word?! Noooooooo!!!!

Jeanna said...

Yikes, I thought you meant the package I sent last week. Maybe you should freeze it before opening, ha, ha.

louann said...

Strawberries! I like them as they are but sometimes I mix brown sugar with whipped cream. Yummy! Or mash them and mix them with fresh milk and put it in the freezer. Yummier! My grandfather's family used to have a strawberry farm.

How is the pregnancy going C?

BeachMama said...

First you get me with the strawberries then you have to post yummy dinner, then the Badger Claw's! I gained 5lbs just reading this post :) But, ohhh it looks soooo yummy!

Curiosity Killer said...

Oh jeez, you're making me salivate on my computer again. Do you have any idea how hard it is remove saliva between keys?

Calfkeeper said...

Congratulations on the pregnancy! I am SOOOO excited for you and your family! This will be so much fun to read about in your blog...if you have time to do much blogging. Ha.

The Maple Sweet taters sound awesome. I will have to wait for fall when we harvest our sweet taters, but I've saved the recipe.

Good for you for being able to eat fruit while preggers. I couldn't. Any raw fruit gave me stomach cramps. It was awful.

I'll shut up now.

Congrats again!

C said...

OMG...Just the mention of the word "Badger Claw" makes me excited! LOL!

You can use special containers for freezer jam, although there has been much debate against putting plastic in the freezer. The freezer jam containers are plastic. Hubby's aunt uses tupperware containers for her freezer jam. I've even used glass mason jars, though everyone advises against it because the glass can break. I haven't had any break on me yet though.

Oh, sorry!!! Why didn't you just call me? I could have e-mailed you some recipes right away. Anyway, I have a bunch more that are super easy and quick to make. Also, click on my recipe archives. You might find some easy recipes there.

C said...

I'm going to post the freezer jam recipe just for you on my blog sometime within the next week or so :)

YAY! So happy you did the meme!! :) I checked it out the other day. Interesting answers! :)

LOL! Yes, I know exactly what you mean! :)

C said...

You'll have to let me know how the recipe turned out. Often, I don't really measure things. I just kind of throw things together. It's something I learned from watching my Dad cook when I was a kid. It really bugs people when I say I don't know exactly how much of whatever goes into a dish I'm cooking. I made this Thai green chili chicken recipe that my friend absolutely LOVED and she thought I was hoarding the recipe and didn't want to share it with her, when I really didn't know what exactly I put in there! LOL! Too funny!

Well, if you use the word "bready" too, then I guess it may very well be a real word!! :) I use the word "bready" and people seem to know what I mean! LOL! Then again, they probably think I'm nuts for using made-up words!

C said...

I got the package in the mail today! Thank you! You just made my day!!! :)

P.S. There wasn't any problem with things being 'melty'!

Mmmmmmmmmm! Strawberries and milk! YUM!!! That sounds nice on a hot day!

This is going to sound crazy, because I know that 6 quarts of strawberries is A LOT...but I think I'm going back to JD's tomorrow so I can buy another flat of strawberries! LOL! That's how much I am craving strawberries!!!

C said...

How have you been doing, girlfriend??? I miss you! When are you getting your blog up and running again? I miss catching up with you on there. Oh, well. There's always FB for the meantime.

Calf Keeper:
Thank you!!! :)
What did you find helpful for morning sickness when you were pregnant with Ellen?

Anonymous said...

the badger claw is WI's candy... Minnesota's candy is the nut goodie.......... it's not a bar.. it's a blob of nuggout (sp?), peanuts, chocolate.. maybe something else.. but it's shaped like the badgerclaw and in a square wrapper....

i like your new blog look!

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City girl moves to the country, falls in love, and marries a farmer. She tries to incorporate her city ways with her new country lifestyle and blogs to keep in touch with friends, family & students who live far, far away :) Can this city girl go country? Watch as she learns all sorts of exciting things about life on the farm and in a small rural community. *UPDATE* We are now parents! Our baby girl was born on Nov. 11, 2008 (at 28 weeks gestation- 12 weeks premature, but she's quite the trooper)!!!
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