National Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Week reminds us to talk to our families about our decision to donate

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Please check this out and think about being an organ donor today. Remember you can donate a kidney or part of your liver while you are still alive.

THE REGION Reporter

Did you know you are six times more likely to need a transplant than you are to become an organ donor?

National Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Week, celebrated from April 17 to 24, is an opportunity to learn about the benefits and life-saving effects of organ and tissue donation.

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Empire Roast Chicken a la Jamie Oliver

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Picture courtesy of: The Spice of Pfeif

Jamie Oliver is one of my favorite T.V. chefs. I recently watched an episode of his show, Jamie’s Great Britain. He was exploring Indian food around the country and made a dish called Empire Chicken.  It looked so tasty I knew I had to make it too.  It’s basically a classic roast chicken that gets marinated in Indian spices and yogurt overnight, then roasted the next day. My only regret making this recipe was I totally forgot to photograph it before I served it so I had to borrow a picture from another blogger.

EMIPRE ROAST CHICKEN

Ingredients

  • 1.4 kg whole chicken
  • 1 heaped tablespoon garlic, finely grated
  • 1 heaped tablespoon fresh ginger, finely grated
  • 1 heaped tablespoon fresh red chilli, finely grated
  • 1 heaped tablespoon tomato puree
  • 1 heaped teaspoon fresh ground coriander
  • 1 heaped teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 heaped teaspoon garam masala ( a gift from my cousin Chris in Ottawa)
  • 1 heaped teaspoon fresh ground cumin
  • 2 heaped tablespoons plain yogurt
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice of
  • 2 level teaspoons sea salt

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Slash the chicken’s legs a few times right down to the bone. Mix all of the marinade ingredients together.  Put on a pair of clean rubber gloves, then massage those flavours over and inside the chicken so it’s smeared everywhere.  Put chicken in roasting pan and marinate overnight in the fridge.
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Preheat the oven to 400°F.  Stab the lemon a few times with a sharp knife and put it right into the chicken’s cavity.
Place the chicken onto the middle rack in your oven and cook uncovered for 1 hour 20 minutes.  Serve with basmati rice and steamed broccoli.
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I made it for supper when my Aunt and Uncle came over for a visit and it was a big hit with everyone.  It had a slightly spicy kick, hints of ginger, garlic and curry and was very moist and juicy.  The smell while it was cooking was divine too, that alone was worth trying this recipe out.  In my opinion the skin was the best part, all crispy and full of great flavour.  One drawback is the turmeric in the marinade did stain my fingers as I was eating the leg.  (Who eats a chicken leg with a knife and fork anyway? I like to get in there and experience my food!)  That is a small price to pay for such a great dish.  It’s a nice change from the regular roast chicken and I’m sure would make some awesome chicken sandwiches the next day.  I didn’t have any leftover though, so I didn’t get to do this.   Try this recipe out next time you want roast chicken and I’m sure you won’t be disappointed!

Oh Christmas Tree!

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I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas, I know I did!  We cut down our own tree again this year.  This one was about 20 feet from our house.  We originally planted it in our shrub bed, but over time it grew too big, so we had to cut it down.  Luckily it was so thick and nice looking we could use it as our Christmas tree.

Harvest Time

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Our garden has done really well this year.  As you read in a previous post we have lots of green beans, but plenty of other vegetables have had a great year as well.

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Here is one of my tomato plants. The variety is called Homeslice.  Their tomatoes are a nice size and have a really nice flavour.  I think we will plant them again next year.

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These are my Patty Pan squash.  They did so nice this year, I just love them.  They have very tender skins and can be used any way you would use a zucchini, plus IMG_2292they are more of a bush type plant so they don’t spread all over the garden like some squash do.  I grilled them on the BBQ one night for supper and they were delicious, I definitely will plant them again next year.

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These are my baby corn plants.  This is the first year I have ever planted them, but they sure don’t look baby to me.  They are not quite ready to harvest so the jury is still out on them.   Although they do add some nice contrast visually to the garden so they would be a decorative addition to the other plants.

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Our cucumbers did crazy well this year. We plant the same variety every year (Sweeter Yet), and for whatever reason all they seeds germinated this year and produced tons of cucumbers.  We have been giving them away for a month or more because we can only eat so many and lots of people we know had a bum crop of cucumbers this year.

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Here is a look at what we picked from the garden one day last week.  The carrots are Nantes Coreless and are they variety we plant every year.  They don’t have too pointy a tip to them so they don’t break off when you are digging them up and they store well too.

Living with a chronic illness 

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I just discovered this blog today and thought this post was so good. I can relate to a lot of it and just wanted to share it.

Chronically Ill

Found this lovely article that I thought I would share. All credit to the author:
Living through your teens and your 20s can be a particularly difficult experience when you’re chronically ill. There are so many things that you want to be able to do and experience, but your body simply won’t cooperate. I know this only too well. My body and I have been in a constant struggle for supremacy for as long as I can remember.
I’ve written a lot about my experiences on my blog, and I’m still very much working things out. That being said I have found that in addition to working on myself, having people around you that really understand and support you is so incredibly important.
When you have illnesses that mean you don’t look sick, people generally disregard you and think that you’re at least making some of it up. I have…

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Green Bean Mania

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Today we picked, blanched, and froze 22 meal sized bags of green beans from our garden.  The plants started off very slowly, but they just boomed recently.  It is a lot of work, but there is nothing as nice as vegetables from the garden that you grew yourself in the middle of winter.  They have such a fresh, verdant flavour and are a nice reminder of summer every time you enjoy some for a meal.

Baby Kitties and Cherries

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My mother cat Marie had babies last month.  Right now they are so cute.  They love running around and playing in the straw together.  I know it won’t be long before they make it to the deck and we will hear them all hours of the day and night running after each other and racing.

 

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This year our sour cherry tree finally had cherries on it.  I believe it is a Juliet variety, but am not positive.  We had two pickings and in total we had a little over 2 kilograms.  I think we will try making some cherry jam with them and a cherry pie for sure.

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We also had some berries on our domestic Saskatoon berry bush.  We probably got to them a little late, but they were very plentiful and huge.  When I first saw them hanging there on the bush they reminded me of grapes, and of course my dog had to get in on the picking too.  Whenever she is with us outside in the garden or by the fruit trees she is always right by our side mooching or picking the fruit on her own.

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Nosh Fest

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Last week I went to a local food festival held in a beautiful park on the banks of the river, called Taste of Saskatchewan. It was the 20th anniversary of the event and was better than ever.  There were 31 restaurants each showcasing three of their best dishes.  This year they had Chefs competing every night at their own local version of Chopped, and you could buy the dishes created after with a donation to the food bank.  I went during the day though, so I didn’t get a chance to see any of the competitions.  This year I went with two of my Aunts and my Mom.  Once again the food was so delicious and we had pretty nice weather too.

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The first dish we tried was the Crawfish Boil.  It had crawfish, baby potatoes, corn on the cob and shrimp flavoured with a spicy Cajun seasoning.  My favorite part of this dish was a tie between the shrimp and corn on the cob.  The corn was very sweet, but soaked up a lot of the great Cajun seasoning giving it a spicy hit too.  The shrimp was very tender and fresh tasting which complimented the Cajun spices. The crawfish weren’t great, but that is due to operator/taster error.  I didn’t know how to eat them correctly.  I probably should have Googled it before we ordered so I could enjoy them to their fullest which was my own fault and therefore meant I missed most of the meat.

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These are the Chicken Thai Bites.  One of my Aunts got this dish.  They were pretty good.  Imagine nuggets of chicken breast lightly battered and fried, then coated in a sweet and spicy sauce.  The meat was tender and the batter was still slightly crispy which was a nice foil to the sticky sauce that slathered them.

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Here is the savory crepe which was one of my highlights of the day.  This crepe was filled with a gooey gruyere sauce that was studded with bacon, balsamic caramelized onions and topped with fresh arugula.  The gruyere cheese was a nice choice and it didn’t over take the dish and went well with the other ingredients.  The bacon added a nice smoky taste without being too strong and the arugula and onions added some brightness to the dish.  This dish would make a great brunch with a spinach salad.  This restaurant also had a sweet crepe, but nine times out of ten I will go for a savory version of something over a sweet.

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This year I tried African food for the first time and really enjoyed it.  The dish was Alcha and Alcha Birsen served with Injera.  Alcha is a traditional vegetable stew that includes potatoes, carrots, onions, cabbage and celery that is spiced with cumin, turmeric and some other spices I couldn’t identify.  It is very mild tasting and a nice introduction to the cuisine.  The Alcha Birsen is a split pea stew that is mildly spiced.  This dish was so satisfying and tasty, I think I will definatly try to make it at home some time as I really loved the flavors and textures of it.  The last part of this plate was the Injera which is a flatbread bread made with teff flour that had been fermented which gave it the spongy texture.  This bread has a slight sour taste to it like a sourdough bread thanks to the fermentation which takes place before cooking.  It worked great to sop up all of the lovely flavours from the two stews.  All in all a great introduction to African food.

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This is the Greek plate which included Chicken Souvlaki, Tzatziki, Pita Bread and Greek Salad.  I did not try any of this as it was someone else’s dish, but it looked really tasty.

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Here is a cold and icy drink we got called the “Meloncholy”.  It was very refreshing and made with watermelon juice, lime juice, grapefruit juice and mint.  I couldn’t really taste the lime or grapefruit, mostly just the watermelon and the mint which really made this drink.  I love mint it is such a fresh and invigorating herb. Every summer we always have a big pot of mint growing on our deck that I always break off a piece of it to smell or use in drinks.  My Aunt also gave me a simple recipe for a mint drink which is great after supper.  In the evening you fill a pitcher with water, half of a cut up cucumber, a whole lemon chopped, along with a big handful of mint and chill in the fridge.  Let it sit overnight and remove the mint, lemon and cucumber in the morning.  Yumm!

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These are the Stuffed Mushrooms.  I tried these last year and they were ok, but this year they were way better.  Last year they were called Cajun Stuffed Mushrooms, but had no Cajun flavour at all.  This year the Cajun label missing from the name, but they had a slight spice to the cream cheese filling which was a nice surprise and improvement from last year.  As you can tell by the time I took the picture two mushrooms went missing ??

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Here is a dish of strawberries with cream, sprinkled with cinnamon.  This was not my dish but my Aunts.  She really enjoyed it and said it was a nice dessert without being too heavy.

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These are the French Macaroons.  I had some for the first time last year and loved them, so when I saw they were back this year I knew I had to get them again.  This year the flavours were Vanilla, Salted Toffee and Pistachio.  They were all so rich and tasty with a buttery filling and a crisp and light cookie on the outside.  You could tell that this restaurant really cares about their products as these were so delicate and beautiful, like a little piece of edible art.

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This is an Iced Coffee I bought to help cool me off and give me a little boost of energy during the afternoon.  It was just what I needed, not too sweet with a nice jolt of caffeine.

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Lastly here is the Fried Bananas with Vanilla Ice Cream and Chocolate Sauce.  These three components make such a tasty and simple dessert.  I had it last year and had to get it again this year.  The Fried Bananas are rolled in some type of dough to give them a crispy crust on the outside which pairs nicely with the cool Vanilla Ice Cream and the sweet and rich Chocolate Sauce drizzled over it.  What a wonderful dish to finish off a great afternoon of noshing by the river bank.  I will definitely be back next year!

Smokey Summer Days

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I thought I’d do a little update today about what is going on out here.  Right now is Saskatchewan we are experiencing lots of forest fires.  There are over 100 fires burning in the northern area of the province causing more than 13,000 people to be evacuated from their homes.  They have been staying in other parts of the province and some even in an emergency shelter in Cold Lake Alberta.  The closest fire to my community is 400km north, but the strong winds are blowing plenty of smoke down which has been causing air quality advisories.  Below is a picture down the road from my farm in the middle of the day.  It looks very misty and dark and it smells like a giant camp fire all day long.  I can hardly imagine what it is like farther north.

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 All of the smoke is causing the sun to look red too.

My flowers are doing well for the most part.  The lilies are just starting to bloom and it looks as if my clematis will start blooming any day now as well.

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Spring 2015 (before forest fires started)

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Summer 2015 (during forest fires)

  The chick peas I planted look really interesting and remind me of mini caragana bushes.  The corn is about 6 inches high and is doing well I think, considering I haven’t  planted corn in more than 10 years and this is the mini kind.

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And finally here is our harvest from the garden so far.  No sign of cut worms at all this year which is a nice change.

Here is our harvest from the garden so far, a bouquet of radishes. No sign of cut worms at all this year which is a nice change.

And lastly here is Hines sleeping on one of the chairs on the deck. She thinks she’s people.