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Today in My History

2001:  Singing and Driving in the Rain
2002:  It's Hard to Type with Frozen Fingers
2003:  What Would You Do with a Brain if You Had one?
2004:  Real Men DO Eat Quiche
2005:  More Tales from the Nursery
2006:  Ex Tech Day
2007:   Time for a Clean-Out

2008:  Marilyn Mantay

2009:  My Photo Safari
2010:  Wisdom of the Ages

Bitter Hack
Twelfth Night

Books Read in 2011
Updated: 1/16
"Listening to Van Gogh"

Recipes for Cousins Day Drinks
(updated 1/22/11)


Christmas 2010 (Part 1) from Bev Sykes on Vimeo.

and on YouTube

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Christmas 2010

Mirror Site for RSS Feed
Airy Persiflage

My Compassion Kids (new 1/23)

Postcrossing Postcards (new content)

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24 January 2011

Sometimes there is just serendipity in your life.

I recently made the decision to start using my slow cooker more.  I am so tired of cooking the same old thing...and of trying to decide what to cook at night anyway.  Even though I'm home all day and could do something exotic around, say, 4 p.m., I wait until Jeopardy is over (7 p.m.) and then decide what to cook for dinner.  I make "something with chicken in it" or heat something I've picked up at Trader Joe's or Costco.

[Aside...I found jalapeno mashed potatoes at Costco this week--my "new find."  I tasted it as a sample and bought some.  That stuff is goooood!!!!]

Anyway, I recently started following a blog called A Year of Slow Cooking by Stephanie O'Dea and even ordered her cookboook.  I also picked up a slow cooking magazine at the store and was amazed at how many things I wanted to cook from that magazine.

I thought that if I used the slow cooker, I would be making dinner in the morning when I felt more like cooking and when I was more excited about being inventive.

Then I followed a link on some other blog and found "Whip Up Something New!"  The idea is this:  Whip up something new! is a monthly challenge for the many of of us who promise ourselves that we'll try new recipes and yet we end up cooking the same old things. Although it was inspired by organising those ripped/cut out recipes, if you don't have such a pile of paper to sift through, feel free to make something from one of your cookbooks or from the hundreds of fabulous cooking blogs. The point is to try cooking new things!

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Each month, you are asked to make (at least) one dish from a recipe that is new to you and to blog about it, whether it was delicious or not-so-much.

Well, it just so happened that the night I found this challenge, I had just made something called African Peanut Stew from the Year of Slow Cooking blog lady's book.  I wouldn't say it was over the top delicious, but Walt liked it and I liked it too.  I had to adjust a bit so I'll copy the recipe the way I made it.


2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut in 1" chunks
1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped in 1" chunks (the recipe calls for 3)
3/4 cup all-natural creamy peanut butter (I used Trader Joe's)
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes, undrained (I used 2 14.5 oz cans)
1 1/2 cup chicken broth
(1 Tbsp dried minced onion flakes) - we were out, so I omitted this
1 tsp ground ginger
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp kosher salt
(2 limes, cut in wedges for garnish later) -- didn't have any, so omitted

Use a 6 quart slow cooker.  Put the chicken in the bottom.   Add the sweet potatoes.  Plop in the peanut butter, tomatoes and broth.   Add the dried onion and all the spices.  Don't worry about stirring now--the peanut butter will make it difficult.  Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hrs or on high for 4-5.  Stir well and serve with a squeeze of lime.

I checked it at about 4 hrs and the sweet potatoes were still rock hard, so I raised the heat to high and cooked for another two hours.  They were still not quite soft, but edible.  I think my crock pot, which is at least 20 years old, may not have the same temperature settings as what was used for the book (I've been trying to decide if I want to get a new one or not). 

Anyway, I served it as it was and the texture of the potatoes didn't bother me.  The stew had a strong, but not overpowering peanut taste and I thought the chicken was a bit overcooked.

I probably won't make this recipe again, though it was tasty.  I have tons of other exciting recipes that I want to try.



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