Thursday, April 26, 2012

Sweet Potato Cinnamon Maple Quinoa

My little fella' chowing down on his sweet potato quinoa

I have no plans to start blogging again (though I suppose it isn't completely in the realm of impossibility). I am just using my old, lifeless blog as a place to post this recipe online so I can share it more easily. (If you look at my most recent blog post before this one, you will see how long it's been since I blogged. Compare the picture in this post to the one in that post. It's the same little guy.)
This was originally a recipe I thought I'd make for my son in a quest to find some healthy breakfast options for him since he's allergic to most typical breakfast foods/ingredients (dairy, egg, and, at the time, I thought possibly oats). Personally, I don't really care for sweet potatoes so I thought I wouldn't like this. Not only does DJ LOVE, love, love (!!) his "cereal" but, what a surprise, to find that I think this recipe is delicious, too! Now if I could just get the rest of the family to eat this wonderfully healthy and delicious hot breakfast "cereal."

 Sweet Potato Cinnamon-Maple Quinoa (Vegan)

1 cup cooked quinoa
approx 1 teaspoon oil of choice
1 cup mashed sweet potato (1-2 potatoes, depending on size)
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
1/3 cup coconut milk
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of salt

1.    Prepare quinoa according to directions on packaging and set aside until needed. (Usually I prepare more than I need for this recipe and keep it in the refrigerator to use over a period of 2-3 days, just like you might do for rice.)

2.    Prepare the mashed sweet potatoes the same way you would regular potatoes: Wash and peel the sweet potatoes. Slice them into approximately 1-inch wide pieces. There is no need to cut them into smaller chunks, just about 3-5 slices/per potato (depending on size) is sufficient. Place in pot and cover with water. Boil at a low boil for about 15 minutes or until the pieces are tender enough to poke with a fork with just slight resistance (the same way a baked potato would feel). Drain the water. Mash using potato masher to a consistency that you prefer. We like ours with a few small chunks in it still. 

3.  Heat a separate pot on low heat using a small amount of the cooking oil of your choice to coat the pan. Stir together about 1 cup of the mashed sweet potatoes, maple syrup, coconut milk, cinnamon, and salt. Stir in about 1 cup of the cooked quinoa and continue to cook over low heat for about 3 minutes, just long enough to heat entire mixture and let it thicken slightly.

NOTE: The original recipe (among several other differences) calls for additional maple syrup and nuts as garnish on finished hot “cereal.” We don’t feel that the recipe needs any additional sweetness and allergies prevent us from using nuts but you may enjoy it that way.

Some possible variations: Replace sweet potatoes with butternut squash or pumpkin. Let me know if you come up with any other ideas.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Introducing... Butternut!

With the excitement of Christmas behind us, this seems as good a time as any to announce our big news...
We are expecting a new baby!!
Since we don't yet know if it's a boy or a girl, we have lovingly nicknamed the baby "Butternut," though "Elly" enjoys coming up with new nicknames on an almost-daily basis.

It seems the biggest question I've had when telling people the news is, "Are you going to have the baby in Singapore?" The answer is, "Yes." I've found a doctor who I'm very happy with and I'm really impressed with the hospital. I hope it will be as easy a birth as "Elly" was.

That's all for now. I just wanted to make the announcement before the new year. I'll try to start blogging again so my friends and family can follow along on this new journey. Although, as of yet, there has been little to report. Let's pray it stays that way . . . that is, of course, until the peaceful, easy birth of a new little Arel.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Two Anniversaries, One Week

July 27, 1996
August 2, 2008

Can you guess the significance of these two dates? Both are anniversaries and both are dates that mark life changes for us. The anniversaries are within one week of each other (barely).

I'll start with the most recent, August 2, 2008. - - It was 1 year ago that we moved to Singapore. [Well, technically, we left the U.S. on July 31 but we didn't arrive in Singapore until August 2 so that's the date I'm using.]

It's been over a year, now, since we have been home. I call it "home" because I still don't feel entirely like this is home. It's where our home is for now. I'm very happy here and I'm not ready to leave yet, but I can't imagine that I wouldn't want to go back to Southern California to live again at some point. Sure... Singapore is great and there are definitely some advantages to being here rather than in the U.S. but that doesn't change how I feel in my heart.

Now, on to the other anniversary, July 27, 1996!

Thirteen years ago, "Gander" and I were married. As our officiating minister said during the ceremony... it is probably the best we would ever look in our entire lives. I won't comment on "Gander" but I will comment on myself simply by saying, "True, true."

If I had the energy and time, I'd take a photo of a photo from our wedding day to show you just how wonderful we looked. I know that sounds conceited but, if you saw the picture you'd agree. I know you would. :-D (And if you didn't agree, I know you'd be too polite to say so, right?) Unfortunately, it's past midnight and I just don't feel like messing with it so, sorry. You're just going to have to trust me when I say I was a beautiful, elegant (well, maybe not elegant) bride and "Gander" was a handsome, charming groom and we were clearly thrilled to be husband and wife.

Fast-forward 13 years - - -

We celebrated our anniversary in Langkawi, Malaysia. We stayed at The Andaman for a family vacation (a different post) and had a babysitter from the hotel watch the girls while we enjoyed an amazing, beautiful, and romantic private dinner on the beach.

I know we don't look as "amazing" as we did on our wedding day. That's ok. What's important is we are still thrilled to be husband and wife.

Monday, July 20, 2009

My Baby Is Now 6 Years Old

I'm trying to come up with something more original to say then "It's hard to believe..." but I have no other words. It's just that simple -- it's hard to believe my baby is already 6 years old. Lately Elly has been telling me she wants me to have another baby so that she won't be the youngest in the family. She doesn't like to be the "baby." But she is. She'll always be, no matter how old she gets. But, of course, that's not an original statement either, I know. I suppose a commonly experienced motherly emotion calls for a common phrase to express it.

About 10 days ago Elly turned 6 years old. I took Elly and GG to the water park "Wild Wild Wet" to celebrate (just us girls). We went on all the rides/attractions Elly was big enough for. We had a blast floating down the "Shiok River," riding the waves in the "Tsunami," playing on the playground and slides, and "white water rafting" on the Ular-Lah. The next day, we headed back for more with Daddy this time for Elly's birthday party. Because many of Elly's friends are away for the summer, the group of kids was small. Even so, we had a nice group of kids and parents and a great time celebrating Elly's special day. She had cupcakes with cocktail umbrellas on top (Elly's idea for an added decorational touch).

All these photos are from my friend, Jane. Thanks for being our photographer, Jane!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Just her luck!

Have you ever been locked inside the stall of a restroom?

It's never once happened to me. You? Maybe only once or twice in a lifetime, right?

Ask GG how many times it's happened to her. Nevermind. You don't need to ask her. I'll save you the trouble and just tell you.

GG has been locked/stuck inside a toilet stall 4 times. Yes, 4! And it has all been within the last 3 1/2 months.

It happened again today (the fourth time). I couldn't help laughing (pretty hard) when I realized what was taking her so long in the toilet. I did have the common sense, though, to leave earshot before laughing.

Today was the first time GG had company. Elly was in the stall with her. I hope that doesn't mean GG's luck will rub off on Elly.

This wouldn't be such a big deal except that, for some reason, the doors to the stalls in most of the restrooms in Singapore are made so there is only about a 4 inch clearance from the door to the floor. There is no way to slip in/out under the stall door, even if you are really skinny. The only thing to do is wait for someone to come rescue you. GG's rescue has come in the form of:

1. 2 maintenance men working together with a hammer and a screwdriver (used as a wedge); this was after a string of about 5 other people tried to get the door to open

2. a key to the bathroom that had to be obtained from the management office

3. a storekeeper's skillful use of her finger to turn the lock from the outside (it looked like it wasn't the first time she'd done that)


4. a 20-cent coin used to turn the lock from the outside

The good news is... with each "imprisonment" GG faces, the method of "release" is becoming easier and easier.

I'm wondering if any of you can beat the record for being locked in a restroom 4 times in 3 1/2 months?

Monday, July 13, 2009

Summer Vacation... It's Not Just for Kids

I hear parents complain about summer vacation. They get sick of the kids being around. They want some peace and quiet. They look forward to the day that school starts up again and they no longer have to listen to the chorus of "I'm bored" or "Can't we do something fun today?"

I can relate to a certain extent but, to be honest, I am loving summer vacation with the kids. I, actually, may be enjoying it more than they are. Sure, there are times I'd rather have more time to myself and less noise and mess to deal with. Like today when we I had to take them grocery shopping with me and the checker told me I looked "really stressed." (Yeah, I don't enjoy grocery shopping with my kids at ALL!) However, there are some definite advantages to being on break from school.

I think top on my list of reasons to love summer vacation is probably sleeping in. I'll probably regret it come August 11 (first day of school) but we've been sleeping in until between 8-9 AM most mornings. I haven't decided if we'll keep this up as long as possible or if I'll start easing us into an earlier morning schedule about 2 weeks before school starts. The thought of waking up early unnecessarily makes me sad (and tired) but, then again, the thought of dealing with kids that won't/can't wake up on time to catch the school bus isn't too attractive either.

Another perk to summer vacation is the freedom to "fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants." I don't like the feeling of being too scheduled. I like to have loose plans and vague ideas of what's going to happen during a day/week. Waking up in the morning to a variety of options for the day's activities is fun for me. Yes, we still have commitments throughout the week but the majority of our time is spent relaxing and doing what we feel like doing. I'm enjoying the playdates with friends, spontaneous outings, and hours spent beside the pool watching the girls play together. Most the kids in the condo are in school right now (local schools follow a different holiday schedule) and most the girls' friends from international school are either out of Singapore for the summer or not close enough to meet up with every day. That means the girls mostly just swim and play with each other most days.

This brings up something else I love about summer (or at least, our experience for this summer). GG and Elly have been getting along so much better. They still disagree and bicker (and, yes, even fight) but spending more time together has made them closer. I'm really enjoying watching them play together so well.

Since this post is rather long already, I'll limit myself to one more reason why I love summer vacation. There has been a sharp decrease in the cost of medical care. I happened to walk by the kids' doctor's office today (it's in the same shopping center as Grace's gymnastics class, different level) and it hit me... we haven't been to the doctor since before school was out. It's probably been almost 2 months since we've been to the doctor. I'll just say this - having contact with fewer children has sure helped on the health-front.

To wrap it up, I just want to mention how thankful I am to be in a position where I can enjoy summer vacation. I know many people don't have it so easy and I recognize that. I feel incredibly blessed!!

Now tell me... what do you love (or hate) about summer vacation, assuming you experience it in some way, shape, or form?

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

See what happens????

I warned you this may happen. Well, kind of. Maybe I didn't say it in so many words but you could have read between the lines and figured this might happen.

Remember this post? -- My New Year's Resolutions

I made a new year's resolution to blog more. Since then, it was a steady and quick decline into a world of complete blog silence. It's been almost 4 months since I've blogged anything at all. It's been longer if you don't count the last couple posts as *real posts,* which I don't.

Now you see why I almost never make new year's resolutions? It's a nearly surefire plan for failure. I have about as much resolve as a ..............
uh...... hmmm.....
Well, I don't know what that would be. Any suggestions?

Don't be too harsh. After all, I managed to squeak out this post, didn't I? I'll refrain from any predictions about future success or failure, though, and just stick with my good intentions for now.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Fun with Photo Booth

In lieu of a "real" post, here's a photo showing you what GG and I were having fun with the other night.

Tell me how my 8 year old daughter knew how to use the program "Photo Booth" on my (er... our) Mac. Not only that... she was able to find this program (that I didn't even know existed) and open it with no help whatsoever. [My guess is maybe they've used the program at school during I.T. class. ~It's a Mac school. ~ Even so, I'm still impressed.]

Gander added the background and the comment at the bottom. You can click on the picture to enlarge it.

Yes, I know it's been more than a month since I've blogged. I'll fill you all in soon, hopefully.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Something I won't be trying

I won't say there is a shortage of sweets/desserts in Singapore, at least in the areas that I frequent. That would be far from the truth. I haven't had any trouble finding sweets to sample. Some are pretty good, some aren't worth eating again, and very few are the stuff that dreams are made of.

To my dismay, I've found that there are quite a lot of vile creations masquerading as sweets. Apparently, some Asian cultures have a thing for beans in their desserts. All I can say is, "Huh?" I know, I know... to each his own, right? Well, thank you very much but I will stick to my own beloved favorites that do NOT includes beans, that is unless they are of the espresso bean or cocoa bean variety.

Speaking of beans, you guys all know of that happy little place called "The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf?" It's the home of the "Original Ice Blended" line of drinks. Back in the U.S. I'd sometimes treat myself to a "black forest ice blended" - iced mocha with espresso beans and maraschino cherries all blended together. I've tried it at The Coffee Bean here. I can't put my finger on it but it just doesn't taste the same. Last time I went to The Coffee Bean, I was presented with a new variety to consider. I think I'll stick with a latte but would any of you care for a
Red Bean Ice Blended Drink?

Monday, February 9, 2009

Only 10 more years...

'Til our baby turns 18, Lord willing. (How's that for looking to the future?)

GG will be 8 years old in about 18 hours from now. I know I sound just like any other mom when I say this but: "I don't know where the time has gone. How can she possibly be this old already?"

If you post a comment to tell GG happy birthday, I'll be sure to pass along the message. :-)

In celebration of GG's birthday, I will take homemade cupcakes to school tomorrow for her class. Her birthday party won't be until the 21st of February. She decided she wanted to have a "make your own pizza" party at our favorite Italian restaurant/pizzeria. Gander will still, most likely, be in Australia at that point so I'm a little stressed about having to handle the party all on my own but I'm thankful we are having it at Madrina Pizzaria. The people that work there know us well, considering we eat there every Sunday after church, and they are wonderful, kind, and helpful people so, in reality, I won't be all alone handling the party.

I may end up baking the birthday cake for her party because:
(A) I have not been able to find anywhere in Singapore that makes cakes that taste like and have the texture of what we're used to. The cakes that I've tasted in Singapore are more "spongy" than we like and taste different. I can't even remember seeing a chocolate cake except for the ones I've seen at restaurants that would rival the Claimjumper's Chocolate Motherlode cake in regards to decadence. That's not exactly the type of cake I'd use as birthday cake for an 8 year old, no matter how special and wonderful she is.
(B) From prices I've seen thus far, it would cost *at least* S$100 for a birthday cake. Thank you, but I'll pass. Where's the Albertson's bakery or Costco when I need one?!?!

I still haven't decided on a gift to give GG for her birthday. I'll, obviously, be shopping while the girls are at school. Wish me luck! :-)