Chicken, Cranberries, Yams, Etc

 

When my brother and I were growing up in a preacher’s home, many of our meals were made out of what was on hand and leftovers. Our parents had a knack for creating some interesting and tasty meals out of little bits of this and that.

A few weeks ago, my brother posted a delicious looking dish he created out of what he had on hand and it looked scrumptious. It looked so good that I wanted to make it myself, and promised him I’d let him know if it was as good as it looked.

So in honor of his birthday coming up this week, I give you my version of his dish.

I had a couple pieces of chicken breast I needed to cook up, and I always have cranberries on hand. I didn’t have barley and today, I didn’t have greens, either. What I did have was a yam and a package of wild rice mixed with Jasmine brown rice. I didn’t have his vegetable broth, but I did have fat-free chicken broth.

 

I sautéed the chicken in a little olive oil and added thinly sliced fresh ginger, the yam cut into pieces, cranberries, and about half a can of the chicken broth.

After it had been simmering a while, I cut up a cooking banana that I had on hand, too. As I sliced it up, I thought “Now, what in the world is this going to taste like?” One just never knows, does one?

 

When everything seemed “done” the way it should be, I dished it up. I thought about sprinkling a little fresh cilantro over the top for more color, but that would have made it more Mexican. As it was, the red cranberries and orange yam made for a lively color combination without the green.

 

I have to say, it wasn’t bad – not even half-bad! In fact, it was so good I went back for seconds! The fresh ginger gave it quite a kick, as well as the soy sauce and sriracha sauce I doused over it. The end result had something like a Caribbean flavor. Next time I happen to have these ingredients on hand, I might add a bit of coconut milk.

I’m not a trained chef; I’m just a mother who retired years ago from fixing three meals a day plus snacks for four children. I don’t like to see things go to waste and I’ve never been afraid to experiment. So try it yourself – just start putting things together in a pan and see what happens.

A hui hou!

Spring Has Arrived!

ELHARD'S DONKEYTAIL
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ELHARD’S DONKEYTAIL

 

Do you think my cuttings of donkey tail will ever look like the ones Bob Elhard grows above?

MY DONKEYTAIL CUTTINGS
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MY DONKEYTAIL CUTTINGS

 

Even though we don’t have as well-defined a change in season as most locations on the mainland and other parts of the world, there is a certain feel to this time of year. For me, it is a time when I simply have to pull up what has stopped producing and prepare the beds for new plantings. That time came for me this past week. Between the rain and the wind, I was able to do a little of that.

I was down to a few bug-eaten leaves on the mustards and collards, so those were pulled up and fed to the chickens. The same thing was true of my string beans, although I have new beans planted and they are already sticking up their heads.

STRING BEAN SEEDLINGS
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STRING BEAN SEEDLINGS

 

I was able to get my potted Bearss Lime into a larger pot. I need to trim this back a little bit, although you aren’t supposed to do a lot of pruning on citrus plants. I still haven’t decided if I’ll keep it in a large pot or if I’ll try to put it into the ground eventually.

BEARSS LIME
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BEARSS LIME

 

The four small beds I have by the driveway were cleared out. I thought I’d empty out the sweet potato bed because it didn’t look like anything was happening, and look what I found! So I replanted a few of the tiny ones.

FIRST SWEET POTATOES
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FIRST SWEET POTATOES

 

All that is left in the other three small beds is one pineapple that is slowly growing, the chives, and cilantro. You can see that I’ve put scrap pieces of lattice behind the back two beds. When I plant things like eggplant or bitter melon, they can grow up and over the lattice.

SMALL EMPTY BEDS
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SMALL EMPTY BEDS

 

You may remember where I wrote about my “pig dirt” in other posts. Here it is as I was hauling buckets of it into other areas of my plot. Unfortunately, it’s not easy to see how high this pile is because of the angle of the camera.

PILE OF PIG DIRT
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PILE OF PIG DIRT

 

I finally got down far enough that it wasn’t feasible to keep shoveling it up and into buckets. So I decided to put a border of lava stones around the outside. I thought I would make a large round bed for planting. Here is my meager beginning of that process. You can see the veggies still growing in the small beds.

PARTIAL ROUND BED
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PARTIAL ROUND BED

 

A friend commented that I wasn’t creating a round bed, but a square bed with rounded corners. It doesn’t matter what you call it, but with a little work, it’s starting to take shape. I still need to put more stones on the larger side to delineate the path where I’ll put black cinder.

ROUND BED TAKING SHAPE
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ROUND BED TAKING SHAPE

 

Here is a close up of the small crescent bed on the left. You can see where I’ve put small stones to divide it into patches. I’ve put in three kinds of basil and Greek oregano. Everything is starting to sprout.

CRESCENT BED
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CRESCENT BED

 

It feels like everything in my yard is without color, that it’s all just a shade of gray and an occasional touch of light green, but this is that “in between time” before things start to look lush again.

I have a few patches in all my beds that haven’t been planted yet. The seed packets are on my table, ready for sowing. This next week is Spring Break, so maybe I’ll be able to get around to a few gardening activities.

Have you started your compost pile yet?