• Archive for 2010


    Thursday, December 30, 2010

    Here is what I am working on today. Granola!

    This summer while I was busy having a baby my dear husband put our annual shipment together. He did a wonderful job running all around the city gathering enough dippers and baby food to last the year through. But I must say all the rest of our supplies were on the meagre side. Note to self: Don’t let a frugal engineer put a year’s worth of supplies and food together. We are steadily running out of essentials like cereal! And with a small box of cereal being about $10-20. Dollars here in Nigeria, I thought I would try my hand at granola.
    It turned out tasty and healthy and much cheaper then buying cereal or having it ‘care packaged’ in!


    10c. Whole Oats
    1-1/2c. Wheat germ or bran
    ½ Hemp seeds
    1c. Sunflower seeds
    1c. Honey
    1 ½c. Coconut oil
    2tsp Vanilla
    2tsp Salt
    2tsp Cinnamon
    2tsp Ginger powder

    Mix the dry ingredients together. Combine the honey, oil and spices, pour and mix into the dry ingredients. Bake at a low heat 250 for a two hours (or until golden brown). Stirring it every half-hour. After about 1 hour add – optional – 1c. Coconut 1c. Minced almonds (or any other nut) ½c. Dried cranberries. When your granola is finished baking and has cooled down, if wanted a little extra crunch add 1c. grape nuts.




    I will be taking little break from blogging this weekend. Roger and I (meaning Roger) will be ‘cleaning and organising’ this blog space. I am also working on something I am very excited about! It includes all of you! Thank you for your time and I am already excited about meeting back here in the New Year!

    Lachlan's Nursery in Africa

    Wednesday, December 29, 2010

    I thought you (or at least my Mom and sisters) might like a veiw of my baby-man's nursery here in Africa. It does not compare to his nursery back home.
    To tell you the truth I really like how it turned out. I used all the furniture and 'bones' from Davina's nursery. And just added a few dashes of Nigerian market supplies, like the brightly coloured beautifully woven baskets, also the beads that are strung above his crib and the shakers on top of his toy shelf. I made the paper name above his change table and switched out the pictures from Marion's room over to his room.

    Oh how I love nurseries!

    Oh how I love having a little man in the house, even while he is cutting teeth and trying to crawl!



    Heartfelt Wish

    Tuesday, December 28, 2010

    Dear Friends,

    I had a perfect plan of writing you Christmas blessings, greeting you on that Merry Day. But, all those words were turned into prayers as our internet has been down for days!

    May my late words warm you as this holiday fades.

    You dear friends have made this year wonderful. I have found friends and companions and wonderful people to journey my life with. Every day when I write, adding pages to my life story I think of you. I may not know your names or faces or where or who you are, but I cherish you dearly and seep your presence with my gratefulness in daily prayers. I desire to meet you, as a friend and serve you through the flurries and details of my life. Sweet friends how I wish to bless you! May you know I band with you as we journey this next year together.

    My thoughts are yours this season.

    May I humbly offer you a gift…

    A devotion of my heart…

    Daily prayers ushered…

    That your life may be fragrant with Peace, Hope, Joy and Love

    Sincerely your Friend


    Christmas Eve

    Christmas Eve was delightful! We opened our evening with the reading of love letters.

    Which flowed beautifully into pausing as a family to thoughtfully and reflectively write a family love letter to Jesus. It was a precious moment and touched us deeply.

    With souls filled we moved on filling our tastes and tummies with delicious foods!

    Once our hearts, souls and tummies were satisfied we opened a bountiful amount of treasures!

    Truly a lovely evening!

    Seven Months

    On that merry holiday I celebrated the growth of my boy. As our home was a flurry with festive and the focus was on the birth of another baby boy. I marveled and praised and cherished the grandest gift of this year. My baby, my boy!

    Tonights the Night

    Friday, December 24, 2010

    It is here! My kids are declaring it (while bouncing off the walls with excitement)! Today is gift opening in our home! In the night, when candles can beam, and lights twinkle, foods are laid, we open our gifts.

    I have (just in time) managed to make and write my love letters for my family...2nd annual! Next to advent, giving a love letter is my favorite tradition. This is a gift that is gathered from the deepest parts of my heart, given out off my thanks to my family. How I love them!

    Merry Christmas


    Tranquility of Silence

    Thursday, December 23, 2010

    I have managed to find a precious moment for myself this afternoon. All three children our resting in bed. The house is silent except for carols, oh the tranquility of silence! I think I am going take a deep breath, drink my tea and enjoy these few seconds of peace.

    Until tomorrow, dear friends.



    Wednesday, December 22, 2010

    Advent, a tradition the stills this busy month. The words of the first advent read like poetry. Lighting the infant moments of God on earth, feeling the words burning, capturing me year and year over. I will remember and I will humbly cherish heaven's Holy Gift this Christ season.

    Advents Words

    I'm bursting with God-news;
    I'm dancing the song of my Savior God.
    What God has done for me will never be forgotten,
    the God whose very name is holy, set apart from all others.
    His mercy flows in wave after wave
    on those who are in awe before him.


    At once the angel was joined by a huge angelic choir singing God's praises:

    Glory to God in the heavenly heights,
    Peace to all men and women on earth who please him

    Oh my sweet friends that you will each be lulled and tenderly kissed by heaven's Peace, Joy, Hope and Love.



    Tuesday, December 21, 2010

    This year we found some sweet little treasures for our sweet treasures three. These adorable little cases are french down to every perfect little detail and brimming with charm! We chose the sewing case for Marion.

    The nature kit is allotted to Davina.

    The tool kit is for Lachlan...when he has developed a bit more coordination!

    The girls are also receiving a beautiful painting from a talented artist who has captured my girls attentions.

    I must admit the heart wrapping paper was the most expensive part for us (a splurge in a little Oxford street boutique!) The gifts were purchased with our home school money. I felt so blessed as I wrapped these gifts. I am thrilled to be able to give my children such lovely lasting gifts (free of charge!)

    They are all wrapped and beckoning under the tree. I just hope Marion does not visit this blog until after gift opening!

    Sweet friends, I hope you wrapping packages of love, joyfully fills your heart!



    Kindred Spirits

    Monday, December 20, 2010

    Our weekend over at the Chevron 'resort' was superb. It included swinging, swimming, jumpy castles, parks, sundresses, sun hats, heat, humidity and golden sunsets. Of course when you are falling in love with another family the ache of being away from loved ones is slightly soothed.

    As Anne Shirley said “kindred spirits are not as hard to find as I once thought”! Sleeping over with three little kids is the true test of a friendship! We definitely emerged from the weekend with this dear family imbedded in our hearts for life! Each person has a perfectly suited friend. Eric and Roger are a good-looking duo of intelligence, with a flare of western charm! Anna, and I have as many parallels of similarity as one could find in another person. She has a love for the same grand God, and as I do, admits to the constant need for generous amounts of grace, she beautifully mothers and I have found her mothering heart buried as dangerously deep as mine. We each have a 2004 baby, 2007 baby, 2010 baby! A match made in heaven founded on the soils of Africa!

    I pray your weekend was as warm as ours.



    Fast Snaps

    Friday, December 17, 2010

    I laid up some tasty candy cane brownies in my tin this Friday. Seeing as I blogged about the same treat at the same time last year I thought I would save you the repeat! I did manage to grab my new cam and snap a few shots of my roasting hot children. I am still navigation my way around the buttons and such, there is a art, and I am naturally clumsy!

    Our new friend Tunde joined us for the day. We got a kick out of his inquisitiveness over our lives. He was mesmerized by my washing machine. He played happily with Tomas the Train for an hour. And wanted to try Marion's bike something fierce. It was fun having him around and it seemed as if he enjoyed him self also. Though he never said much I could tell by his face. His parting words were wondering when he can return to play football(soccer) with Roger!

    We are going to spend the weekend with friends at their home. They live over at the coveted Chevron compound! I will let the pages of this blog rest over the next few days while I visit.

    I already look forward to meeting you back here for the final festives of the holiday season!

    Well dear friends I would appreciate you taking a long sweet sip of eggnog for me(year three without this saviour drink!) And please know I have prayed that each of you sweet friends will have a weekend filled to the brim of sweetness, peace and joy.



    Peter Rabit

    Thursday, December 16, 2010

    A while back my Mother sent me this adorable game. I instantly fell in love with it's simply and rustic details. It is spring in a box and every time the lid is lifted I can feel country charm filling my home. I will keep this game as a memory of my children's past, hopefully being able to see many generations of kidlings playing with it. My treasure! Would you believe me if I told you she got it for free at a garage sale? The generosity of this gift is not in the price my Mom paid but in her willingness to part with something so sweet just to bless her grandchildren (and daughter.)

    Thank you again Mother for coming up with treasures that touch our hearts and speak our language! I just wish you could be here watching the fun your grand~girls are having with Peter Rabbit today.




    Wednesday, December 15, 2010

    Spicy aromas of ginger and molasses fill our senses on this balmy African day. Today our Gingerbread treats got artistically put together (including the non-Christmas mayhem in the above right photo...aka Davina and her inner Van Gogh.)

    Delightful treats for neighbours and friends.

    Wish I could send some ginger love your way!



    Accessory of the Finest

    Tuesday, December 14, 2010

    I am not the type of girl who sighs wishfully at a Tiffany window, dazzling jewels have never called my name.

    But I have had one wish for a luxurious accessory. One that captures light perfectly, I can wear it with any outfit during any season or on any occasion. I wished and hoped and held my breath as Roger googled the weeks before my birthday…

    Oh and all the anticipation came to a happy end on Monday morning when my package arrived from a distant land! With trembles of excitement I hold my new gift.

    I will sign off now to go spend some gazing at my 'sweet bling'.




    Monday, December 13, 2010

    The lovely dusty season is upon us! Which basically means insanity! I can taste, smell and feel dust all around me! These pictures were taken this morning and are completely unedited. The haze in the pictures is dust. Because of the thickness of the dust it blocks sun light... everything is rather miserable!

    For those of you new to the seasons of West Africa we get dust blown from the Sahara, it sweeps over Nigeria for a few months. To manage the gritty feeling I wipe down my counters and furniture twice a day, wash my hair and feet daily and I still have grit on everything!

    For those of you blanketed by crisp white snow, think of me and COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS!




    Saturday, December 11, 2010

    This is my friend. He, Motherless, Fatherless, without a family. He runs errands, washes clothing, carries loads in exchange for a place to sleep and a bit of food.

    He is always the first to greet me. My young shadow. His eyes follow me. I know he is watching, watching and wondering. As we walk he asks me the question, why? Why do I come to visit him? I wait on my words to come, echoing heaven, I turn my eyes to his, and I say the words “because I love you. Because I have a God that loves me so much he led me to you and that same God he loves you more then you will ever know” He waits for more, more balm, more love. I turn him to face the ocean’s roar, I lower my voice near his ears and ask him to feel the wind, the greatness of the ocean, do you feel the power? “Gods love for you is as fierce as the ocean, it is as powerful, and it as grand, I will not always be here, but God will, always, just as this water will always be here.”

    He moves on and the moment is lost, and I am lost. Did he get it, did he feel my heartache, my humble love trying to mirror heaven?

    Together we hand out food. He helps, tells me his neighbours stories, “she has no husband, three kids,” “she had a stroke,” “these, they have no family” and the stories go on and on and faces and names are placed beside the un-comprehensible statistics. The storyteller has chapter after chapter of horrors, I barely breath when he tells me that after the dark business of night, and the thugs and prostitutes have retired, hundreds of children come and make beds in the sand. I ask another and another for confirmation. The truth rumbles, hurts, I am sick with the thought. And feel powerless. Demobilising powerlessness.

    I weep in Roger’s arms. I weep with Heaven.

    Is there a way to change all these horrors?

    Maybe, but it will take a revolution, a solid resolve, each and every one of us, to fill a place in the barrier against this winning storm.

    This Christ Season as you unwrap wealth, will you please, please remember one who is lost. Will you hold your gift tight to your heart and feel its privilege? Will you shed a tear of prayer for one of the numbers in the growing mountain of poverty?

    Will you do it for our World? For that Child lost in the shadows of darkness?

    Friday's Tin

    Friday, December 10, 2010

    Today the tin was filled with candy cane cookies. A favorite holiday treat merges with a favorite holiday tradition. The girls love the time spent together in the kitchen.
    Warm cookies are placed on a plate, we curl together and read of the Legend.

    A small delight, memories built, treasured for life.



    Christmas Corners

    Wednesday, December 8, 2010

    Christmas is sweetly showing up in the corners of my home. This family eagerly waits for winter's season declaring a cherished time of cozy atmosphere, candle light, festive anticipation and many memory building moments.

    Wishing you a dazzled with festive Day.



    Sweet Slumber

    Tuesday, December 7, 2010

    This past week my girls got moved into the same room. I was reluctant to move Davina as her nursery was so cute. Lachlan is now using the 'bones' of her old room. I hope to take some photos of his room shortly. It is rather bare at the moment. I need to go to the market one of these days and pick up some bright West African baskets, to fill in the blanks of his room.
    Alas, my sweet ladies are glad as giggles to be sharing slumber again! Though I must admit today I am missing my home in Canada terribly. There are days! It seems wrong to be putting in efforts to make my home in Africa comfortable and appealing. When my dream home is already in existence. Ohhh well… I guess I will keep dreaming of real decorating and permanent roots!




    Monday, December 6, 2010

    I think I am now officially old enough to live my life.

    From here on in I will confidently announce that I have had twenty-seven full years of maturing! No more embellishing my age!

    I had delights to relish all day. Mr.Hubs took all three kids out of my bed in the morning allowing my to sleep (solid) until 10 a.m., when I woke all the dishes from our dinner party the night before had been cleaned (pots and all!) I was honoured with original masterpiece cards from my children. A friend made me a meal. My four-year-old nephew said he would gift me a necklace or a picture of his hunting knife, my three-year-old nephew said he would let me pet his moose (which he caught just for me!) I received birthday notes in my inbox and mailbox. My Christmas tree got decorated. My family still had a birthday bash (though the guest of honour was thousand of miles away) See pictures above! I ate a ton of calories because we all know they never count on birthdays. Mr. Hubs completed the day perfectly by rubbing my feet and talking about the sweet bling he got me as a gift. Which was meant to arrive on my B-day! I am (sorta) patiently awaiting its arrival… Can not wait to share what it is… but until it is in my hands…

    Needless to say I felt grandly cherished!

    Here is to twenty-seven years down!




    Saturday, December 4, 2010

    I have this brother who's life is a constant adventure. He is Caribou Cowboy. Just recently he earned his trapper license. And so his life takes on a new thrill. Just this week he trapped two wolves. Wolves in his area have become over populated and are now a local menace, the government has a bounty on wolves. As all things in Bradley's life he is incredibly successful. I have heard that wolves are hard to trap and Bradley has caught two in his first few weeks!

    As I look at these photos I long for home and the adventures of wilderness living. My week has been as polar opposite of catching wolves as can be... I mucked out my over cluttered storage room and while my house was in the chaos of organizing I decided to move Davina into Marion's room and give Lachlan his own room. Things got a little out of hand as pulling three rooms apart while mothering three kids is pure craziness, and though I have no wolves to show for my week, for the moment I have a few clutter free area's!

    The cabin in the above picture is where the cowboy in the above picture lives. Picturesque ~ picturesque!




    Wednesday, December 1, 2010

    I warmly greet you this December’s First.

    Has November slipped into her hush, lying beneath winters welcome? Is the trill of Advent here? A gentle leading to the coming day wrapped with treasures. I open my doors and feel the rush of December curl and cool around the heralds of this season. Faith, Peace, Joy and Love. I slow my pace, linger on theses fragrant words, suturing Advent's lace into December's memories.

    Faith for you my Friends


    Striking Sweetness

    Tuesday, November 30, 2010

    Today Roger is working from my pretty desk. There seems to be a dishevel barricading his way to the office. I have had a little peek into what he does all day. Basically he talks on the phone sounding all smart.
    Ahhh, so hot, I have always had a thing for a guy with a tie (and pink-stripped socks!)

    On another note of sweetness…. After bath my girls came down wearing their daddies t-shirts.
    Latter that evening before us parents retired we check in on our darlings. Davina had left her bed and was found sleeping sweetly with her older sister. There they snugly slept the night through.

    Tuesdays are so much better then Mondays!



    Stimulant Mothering

    Monday, November 29, 2010

    My feathers are ruffled my nerves on end. Hour after hour my baby’s tears have dropped. All he wants is I to curl with him under covers, soothe him with my time. But I hear the hark of duty, Marion pleading to finish science lesson and Davina needs assistance in the bathroom and my washer is making frightful noises and Roger is expected to return for lunch any minute. And it is Monday! And I wonder at the saints who have raised babies into adulthood. How did they manage the Mondays, steep hills of laundry and the seemingly always empty bellies, those merry-go-rounds of tears, and the list of never ending needs? And I feel like a broken record, meeting on Monday to admit my humanness and the admission that I have resort to a less then ideal aid. Seeped black Java accompanied by a deep breath and a humble pray. Jolted, I gather my force, tie my hair in a pony and face today’s next round of jostling motherhood.

    Friends, maybe just maybe I will come through my day unscathed and be able to meet you here tomorrow.




    Sunday, November 28, 2010

    I can hear them; the urgent passing of news down the clapboards of slums. I was unprepared for the desperation. Women with babes tied to their backs, children skeletons protruding, hope weary men. They crowed around as we hand out a one-week supply of rice, beans, garry and canned tomatoes. In five minutes everything is gone, a staggering number left wanting. I was awash in this sea of clamouring poverty. Being tossed by the need. I turn my hands to signal ‘empty’ and tears flow down a young women’s face, a baby clings to her hip. She came seconds to late. I cup her face in my hand, I dry her tears and promise her next week. Fear darts through my thoughts. Can I do this? Can I supply enough? People are still running, to catch the gleaning. We feed 42 and left hundreds. My body lurching with the weight of my soul. How can this be real? How can hundreds be turned away. Where will they go?

    Who’s field will they glean from?

    A familiar boy approaches, I laugh lightly “I have already given you food” “and there is none left”. “No madam, I come to thank you”. We walk the distance to the car together. I ask him where his parents are? He slows his pace, “Gone”! I slow my pace, “Are you alone”? “Yes”. I ask where he sleeps, afraid of his answer. He looks to his feet hiding his shame and I look to mine hiding my tears. I gather him in my arms folding our brokenness. I see him now, I sum him up as a mother, he is sharp and handsome and oh so young, he wears tattered clothing and no shoes, his eyes pierce with pain and his smile melts me. He tells me he will watch for me, that he will walk me to my car. I laugh and tell him he is a gentleman, he likes this. With a wave he runs off. My eyes linger on his disappearing form. Where does he run? Not to a mother or home not to warmth or comfort or hope. Will I find him here next week? Or will the fingers of poverty claim him?

    As always the driving away crushes me. Privileged enough to drive away. I leave my neighbours, my friends, and my family! I face the fear of feeding tomorrow’s needs. Hundreds will come. Do I have enough? Will my loaves feed the thousands? Will this meal fend the dark of night, the hollows of hunger, will this food fill the body with life? Will humble heads bow to Jesus’ yearning for his touch to turn their loaves into miracles, for the one ~ for the many?

    (The above photo was taken of a home that houses five ladies. This is in the parking lot near the slums.)

    Friday Tin

    Saturday, November 27, 2010

    I promise I will be done with food after this post, or at least until next Friday! My tin is filled with glorified cupcakes: Cranberry Poppy seed Muffins!

    I enjoyed this week interacting with you and feel blessed to be friends with so many lovely women! Mrs.Christine Jane(also known as my best friends mother)sent some delightful pictures from the Shire. It stirred up sweet nostalgia from my childhood. Please join her for a Barn Banquet . While I am on the topic of C.J's kitchen I am still wishing and hopping you will some day share your peach cobbler!

    Dear friends have a sweet and savoury Saturday.



    Menu: Friday

    Thursday, November 25, 2010

    Well Friends this is the end of my cooking week. In this house we celebrate the weekend with ‘Friday Night Pizza’ (a staple Milner tradition.) We also watch a movie together as a family and enjoy what ever ended up in my ‘Friday Tin’. We enjoy greeting the weekend in this way. I generally avoid cooking on weekends either by preparing foods ahead of time or eating leftovers. It is a nice little break for me.

    I make my dough out of whole-wheat flour. It is the same recipe I make my bread from. Fridays I whip up a double batch. Which makes three loaves and one deep-dish pizza crust. I will give you the single recipe; it makes two loaves of bread or two-pizza crust.


    4 ½ tsp. yeast
    2 cups warm water
    2 tbsp. sugar (I use honey)
    ½ cup olive oil
    1 tsp. Salt
    5-6 cups flour

    1) Dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Make sure your yeast gets foamy.
    2) Add the sugar, oil and salt to your mixing bowl. Pour in the dissolved yeast.
    3) Mix one cup at a time of the flour. Because I use whole-wheat flour I add less flour. When replacing whole-wheat for all-purpose flour, reduce the amount slightly. This will help in not having such heavy bread. It will make for stickier dough so be prepared. Oil up you hands and surface well!
    4) Let the dough rise until double. Punch down and let rise again. Punch down again. Cut the dough into two equal parts. Shape into loaves and let rise until double. If you are making a pizza crust oil a cookie sheet spread the dough out and put your toppings on. I often make extra crust and freeze them. It is handy having pizza crust in the freezer to whip out when ever a quicke meal is needed.
    5) I put tomato sauce, some pre-made marinade chicken, red onions, tomatoes and basil or anything else I may be fancying. I top with a white cheese.
    6) Let the crust puff up. Bakes at 350 until the sides are golden brown, about 20-30 minutes.
    7) If you have made bread, bake your bread until the tops are golden brown, to test if the bread is done gently knock on the top, if it sounds like a door. It is done.

    Bon appetite


    Six Months

    I thought I would slip a little savoury in among the other tasteful delights. It must be said this guy is much more scrumptious then any food and so much more satisfying!

    Sweet boy you have flavoured our life grandly!

    Disclaimer: I can not believe I am posting this today, he turned six months yesterday! I guess my brain is in over gear, this morning when I was saying happy six months it slowly started to register that I am a whole day out. Oh My!


    Wednesday, November 24, 2010

    Dal and Tabbouleh Salad

    Dal is a traditional Indian food. An exotic blend of spice and colour. I was first introduced to this meal while living in Malaysia. Though the dal I could buy there was much to spicy for a nursing mother. My Indian stewardess set out to ‘tone done’ the heat, but still capture the flavours of the spices. She came up with this recipe, a variation of her families heritage recipe. It is easy and packed with health.

    1 diced Onion
    1-3 cloves Garlic, crushed
    4 tbsp. Coconut oil (or any other cooking oil)
    Salt and pepper
    2 tsp. Turmeric
    ½ tsp. Mustard seeds
    1 tsp. Cumin
    1 tsp. Fresh grated ginger or ½ tsp. Dried
    1 tsp. Coriander
    ½-1 tsp. Curry powder
    2 cups Red lentils
    4 cups water
    1 16 oz can of diced tomatoes

    Gently cook the onion, garlic, salt and pepper with the oil. Then add the red lentils and spice, sauté for a few minutes then add the water and bring to a gentle boil. Boil until the lentils have become soft. Then add the tomatoes. Taste. Add more spice/salt if wanted.

    Tabbouleh Salad

    ½ cup bulgur wheat
    4 tomatoes finely chopped
    1 cucumber finely chopped
    2-3 cups parsley finely chopped
    7 spring onions, whites finely chopped
    ½ tsp. mixed spice (like spike)
    1 tsp. Cumin
    2 tbsp. Lemon juice (fresh is best)
    4 tbsp. Olive oil

    1) Boil 1 cup of water. Place the bulgur wheat in a bowl with a lid add 1 tsp. Salt. When the water has boiled pour over the bulgur wheat. Cover with the lid and let stand until the bulgur has softened. About 30 minutes. When the bulgur is soft drain out the extra water. I pour the bulgur onto a towel and pat dry. I return the bulgur to the bowl and place it in the fridge until ready to serve.
    2) Chop the vegetables and place in a serving bowl.
    3) Mix the oil, lemon juice and spices.
    4) When ready to serve toss all the ingredients together. Garnish with fresh mint leaves or sliced avocado.

    I call this my fat burning salad. The combination of parsley, cucumber, lemon and garlic along with the nutrients in the bulgur all add up to be a awsome fat burner. This salad is filling and full of nutrients. We can not get good green leafy vegetables in Nigeria but parsley has come to my rescue. I feed this salad all the time and know my family is getting a nutrient packed salad.

    This meal is meant to be served with Naan bread. I substitute the Naan for pita bread as pita is more available in Nigeria then naan. And tonight I will use the left over foccocia bread. Just to merge a few polar opposite cultures together. Indian stew, Italian bread, Middle Eastern salad, a Canadian eater in West Africa.
    But hey it tastes great!

    Bon appetite


    Menu: Wednesday

    Foccacia Bread Sandwiches

    If any of you have ever been a guest of the Hardie’s kitchen (Rogers best friends parents) then you probably have had foccacia bread sandwiches. They are seriously the best! The taste people! Now when I moved abroad and realised foccacia bread could not be found in many corners of the world I hit up my favourite cookbook and made the bread my self. One word: Amazing! It is really worth making the investment of time; your taste buds will be rewarded.

    This meal may seem a little time consuming. There are a few ways to shave down the time you are in the kitchen. You could buy a foccacia loaf at the store. Or if you are a bread maker, set aside a loaf size piece of dough. Generously oil the pan with olive oil. Take that dough and spread it out on the oiled cookie sheet. Top the dough with the garlic oil (recipe bellow). Let it rise slightly, until you can see it puffing up, bake until the sides of bread are turning brown.

    Because I have done my bread making for the week I made the dough from the foccacia bread recipe in the Rebar Cookbook. I made a slight change and substituted half the white flour for whole-wheat flour. I whipped this up before I started school, let it rise, punched it down half way through school, by the time school was over it was ready for the oil topping and to be baked. It then had the afternoon to cool. And was perfect to slice for sandwiches by evening.

    O.K so here we go

    Foccacia Bread

    1 ¾ cup warm water
    1 tbsp. traditional baking yeast
    ½ tsp. sugar
    2 tsp. salt
    ¼ cup olive oil
    4 cups flour (I used half unbleached white and half whole-wheat)


    4-6 cloves garlic (you know I added more, like way more, lets try 6-12!)
    4 tbsp. olive oil
    2 tsp. course salt (I am all out regular salt works fine)
    2 tbsp. fresh or dried rosemary
    Cracked black pepper

    1) In a large mixing bowl, combine the warm water yeast and sugar. Let the mixture sit until it foams. Stir in salt and olive oil, then start adding the flour, one cup at a time, beating well. It is going to get sticky but you want it to be sticky to touch. Knead the dough (by hand or mixer) until smooth.
    2) Foam the dough into ball and place in a large lightly oiled bowl. Cover with a clean, damp cloth. Let rise until double in bulk (1-1 ½ hours.) Punch the dough down and let rise again until double.
    3) Pre-heat the oven to 350 F. Place the dough on a well-oiled baking sheet. Gently stretch the dough to roughly fir the pan. Drizzle the garlic oil (above recipe) over the top of the dough. With your fingers make indents so the oil can pool into them. Let rise again for 15 minutes or until the dough puffs up.
    4) Bake for 20 minutes The garlic should be golden and the sides of dough browning.

    I let the bread cool and then slice through the middle. I pile the bread with thinly sliced tomatoes, cucumbers, yellow peppers, grated carrots, avocado, red onion, white cheese, and some sliced chicken (that I had pre-pared and froze.) I serve this meal with a salad of diced tomatoes, cucumber, yellow pepper, red onion, toss with olive oil and salt and pepper. You can also mix some olive oil and balsamic vinegar in a jar and dip your foccacia bread in the mix.

    Bon appetite


    Menu: Tuesday

    Tuesday, November 23, 2010

    Roasted Chicken with Rosemary and Garlic and Tomato Basil Salad.

    Chop and cube enough white potatoes, sweet (orange) potatoes and carrots to cover the bottom of a roasting pan. Put a fresh roasting chicken in the middle of the dish on top of vegetables. Pour two - four cups broth (I use organic vegetable bouillon from the natural food store. I used one block for two cups of hot water. Make sure the bouillon has dissolved in the water) pour the broth over the chicken. The broth will fill the bottom of the pan coming to about half the height of the vegetable layer. I then garnish the chicken with rosemary and sage, I put whole garlic cloves on the chicken and on top of the vegetables, I also add large onion chunks. I remove the garlic cloves and onions before serving as they are used for flavouring the food as it cooks. Give a good shake of salt and pepper over the entire dish. Cook for three hours at 300 degrees. Or until the chicken is cooked. The best way to check if a roasting chicken is cooked through is by pricking through the skin on the side. If clear juice flows out it is probably done, if it is pink it still needs time roasting!

    Tomato Basil Salad

    2 Cucumbers; slice half the skin of, hen slice the cucumber into thin rounds.
    4 medium tomatoes; sliced into moon shapes.
    1 small red onion; cut into large strips.
    3 tbsp. red wine vinegar
    3 tbsp. olive oil
    Salt and pepper
    ¼ cup fresh basil for

    Slice the cucumbers, tomatoes and put in your salad bowl. Chop the onion and place in a small bowl pour the vinegar over the onions and cover for thirty minutes with a plate. The vinegar is going to neutralise the onion and release the red onion sweetness. Toss the oil over the vegetables, when ready add the onion and vinegar to the vegetables. Mix in the salt and pepper. Place the fresh basil leaves over the salad when ready to serve. Do not add the basil too early, as the vinegar will turn the basil brown.

    I often have this meal on Monday as it only needs one pot and I can slip it into the oven and let it cook during the busy afternoon hours. And if you are a ‘savvy saver’ boil down the bones to make a soup stock, when the bones have turned the water a yellowish colour remove the bones. Add the left over chicken meat, potatoes and carrots, add a few fresh diced carrots, a diced onion, some crushed garlic, a handful of kumut noodles or brown rice, add a bouillon cube. Boil until the noodles and carrots are soft. Now you have some chicken noodle soup.

    Bon Appetite


    Menu: Monday

    Sunday, November 21, 2010

    Salmon topped with Mango Salsa on a bed of Millet.


    Place the salmon fillets in a baking pan. Add 1 tbsp soya sauce; 2 tbsp white wine; top with celtic sea salt and crushed fresh black pepper. Bake at 350 degrees until white protein is coming out of the meat. About twenty minutes.

    Mango Salsa

    2 cups diced mango
    1/2 cup diced red onion
    1/2 cup diced tomato
    2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
    2 cloves garlic
    2 tbsp fresh squeezed lime juice
    1/2 tsp celtic sea salt
    fresh or dried chilies as desired

    garnish with cilantro.

    Gently cook a small diced onion; 2 cloves garlic; 1/2 tsp cumin; sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper with a dash of desired cooking oil, then add 1-2 cups millet cook about 3-5 minutes add double the amount of water. Cook just like rice.

    To serve:

    Place a bed of millet on plate, top with salmon fillet then garnish with mango salsa.
    I recommend serving this meal with a pale ~ tropical fruit (preferably France or Italian) white wine.

    Bon appetite


    My menu has this meal down as Tuesday's meal. I decided I would post it today as we had it for dinner over the weekend. It will be easier for me to post the meal we had the day before. I have just finished making the Rosemary Garlic Chicken. It is now roasting away. Looking forward to sharing it with you tomorrow.



    Food: An essential part of life, a never ending job, a source of frustration or grand joy? I must admit my reaction to food swings as a pendulum. As head chef for a monstrously hungry family, I often feel burnt out in the area of supplying my family with nutrition. But then I walk the isles of my mother’s garden and wonder in amazement at the miracle of food. I am always looking for ways to add inspiration into the area of our eating. Serving vibrant foods, setting the table beautifully, enjoy meals by candlelight, eating un-rushed, connecting as a family around the table all bring a deeper purpose into feeding my family.

    I have spent the majority of my life researching food and nutrition. The one and only solid food theory I have excepted as truth is that God has created an abundance of tantalising foods for us to enjoy, fuel our bodies, and create peace and harmony between every function of our intricate bodies. I believe the closer you can get your ingredients to their natural growing environment (organic, grown in your region, non-genetically modified) the healthier and more nutritious your food will be. I strive to live beyond the limitations of diets, rules or fears of food. But rather live a life of praise for the beautiful foods God has created for us. Balance is key, chocolate, coffee, wine, sugars (honey, agave, maple syrup, and coconut) grains, fats and meats all have incredible health benefits if consumed in small balanced portions.

    When I bow my head before a meal, I desire for the foods on my plate to honestly lift my heart in awe and thanksgiving for the incredible goodness of God. If you ever sit with a meal before you and the food you are about to fuel your body with is undesirable, uninspiring, void of colour and your heart does not leap with the thought of God’s goodness, Chuck that food out! There are so many beautiful, healthy and SPECTACULAR foods for your body to be eating! Food that has been created as a gift for you from a ever caring and loving God.

    One of the main conversations that come up with other mothers is the topic of food. How to get well balanced, healthy and enjoyable foods on the table is a constant need. Often frustrating and never ending. I hope this week I can share a few of my staples. And in return please share yours with me. I was hoping that we could wrap up the week with a few of your family meals. If you have a moment, please send me your (healthy and vibrant) recipes (pictures would be a lovely addition).

    Please come and join me in my kitchen…

    Just a few little tidbits.

    I will be adding the recipes.

    If a word is highlighted it means I have linked it to a nutritional outline for that food.

    For me the worst part of cooking is the dishes! If I can I try reducing the dishes by preparing larger quantities and storing the foods. Such as garlic and chicken in the above pictures.

    We use a lot of Garlic…I mean a lot! I always make a week or twos worth by chopping the cloves in a food processor. I then store it in a container in the fridge. Easy!

    Another way to reduce dishes is by marinading a bunch of chicken at once. Cook it, chop it into different sizes(small cubes for pizza, thin sliced for sandwiches and sides, and just about anything else) I then bag them into meal sizes and freeze, ready to use when ever needed. This is also a great way to save on the expenses of buying meat, if a good sale comes up on chicken breasts buy a ton, marinade, cook, chop and store! My favorite marinade is

    Honey Garlic Marinade

    1/2 cup apple cidar vinegar
    4 tbsp honey
    2 tbsp soya sauce
    8 cloves garlic

    Marinade for 12-24 hours. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.

    Bon appetit