A Food Story & Tikka Masala Kabobs over Coconut Jasmine Rice

Early dinner = napping hubby + quiet kids.

This is not always the case, but it is today.

 So- I will enjoy the quiet time, sit here with basketball on in the background, a beer in my hand and write all about this yummy meal I just made.

Mommy time. Foodie time. 

It’s funny how much I love to cook actually…I never made a single meal before my husband and I moved into our first apartment together. In fact, the only meal I could muster up the confidence to make back then was Chinese pie…Sheppards pie. Hamburg, corn and mashed potatoes. How bad could it be? I thought…

My next thought- how the f*#% do you make mashed potatoes!!!??!

I lifelined a friend at the restaurant I worked at, at the time. 

Yes- I worked at a restaurant, I could afford my own apartment and I still didn’t have the slightest clue how to make mashed potatoes. 

Ironically, my dad was a great cook when I was growing up. I’m pretty sure my current cooking prowess happened completely through osmosis, because back then I was hardly interested in learning how to cook at all.

Anyway, my friend Suzy laughed and laughed when I called her at the restaurant to ask how to make mashed potatoes. I mean. I would laugh too! But being the good person she is, she eventually cleared her throat and politely walked me through the mashing of the potatoes. Wash, cut, boil, drain, butter, milk, season, mash. 

Duh….. I knew that!!! 

But for some reason I was so caught up in the fact that I didn’t “know how to cook” that my brain let out a huge fart and all common sense flew out with it. 

After all that, I was successful in the mashing of the potatoes and the entire Sheppards pie. At that point I decided I was a culinary master. 

Heh heh.. NOT!!

Back then, my idea of making an appetizer was to slice up a kielbasa, microwave the slices on a paper towel and decorate them with little dots of yellow mustard. 

Ghetto superstar. 

But as the years went on I got better. 

When our oldest was born, James and I sat alone in the hospital with our beautiful baby Gwenivere after all the visitors had finally gone home. We were ready to relax and clicked on MTV to watch the good old show “Wild n’ Out”.

As we watched, a nurse came in to check vitals as they always do. She took one look at the tv and had the nerve to say “you know… your baby is absorbing all that awful nonsense you are listening to right now!! You shouldn’t be watching that with her!”

I was mortified. James was pissed off. I mean-looking back it…how ridiculous?!

I should have requested a new nurse on the spot but I was a new mom and during the months to come her words stuck with me. 

After we had gone home from the hospital and had settled for a couple weeks, it was time for James to go back to work. 

My mom would come visit on her lunch breaks from time to time, but for the most part I kept to myself during the day. It’s what I wanted. 

We had kids very young and I was still learning how to deal with myself, never mind other people. 

So during the quiet hours of the day when I finally got Gwen to sleep on my chest, I would turn on the tv. 

It was then that I would hear the nurse’s voice scolding me for watching MTV. 

Hahaha! Makes me laugh just writing that! But it was true. 

Because of this- this is the point in my life when I discovered the Food Network.

Not my parents Food Network…the Emril years, as I like to call them- but a different era. Giada, Ina, Rachel’s 30 Minute Meals. IRON CHEF!!!

For hours and hours I would snuggle with baby Gwen and study the Food Network. 

People kept telling me- “you look so tired! Nap when the baby naps!” But I was hooked. So much so, that when I went back to working nights at the restaurant after James would get home from work, I spent my entire first pay check on food. 

I had copied down so many recipes from Everyday Italian. We couldn’t afford it at the time but all I wanted to do was make Giada de Laurentiis’ Orecchiette with Mini Chicken Meatballs and Mashed Potatoes with Parmesan. Or as my friend Bill would call it, mashed potatoes with grate parm fresh. 

I know, I know- again with the mashed potatoes… what can I say. I’m true to my roots. 

Anyway. I worked so hard on this meal. It didn’t come out perfect, but the process of cooking this, step by step from my notes (Yes. Notes. Pinterest wasn’t a thing back then. In fact, I believe I still had MySpace) was SO therapeutic. I felt like I was doing something meaningful. Something that at the end of a long day- consisting of only spit up, laundry, messy diapers and tears of hormones and fear of failing as a mother and girlfriend- THIS would comfort me. Something that I made. Just me, no one else, and I had succeeded at it.

I was hooked. To this day cooking is my thing. I may not be the best home cook in the world. I’m decent at best. I do come up with pretty delicious recipes and learning new ones is by far my most favorite hobby. 

My kitchen is my happy place. 

So even though my kids are “big” now, when they leave for an afternoon with James and I’m left to my own devices, you best believe that I’m cooking up something good!!

Today that was Cream Cheese and Chive Wontons with Tikka Masala Kabobs over Coconut Jasmine Rice.

Tikka Masala Kabobs over Coconut Jasmine Rice|

Serves 4

Prep time-15 minutes

Cook time-30 minutes 

  • 1.5 lbs chicken breast tenders
  • 8 skewers
  • 1 c tikka Masala simmer sauce
  • Salt and pepper

For the rice:

  • 1 c jasmine rice
  • 1.5 c water
  • 1/2 c Coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce 
  • 1 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1 tbsp freshly chopped parsley 

Avocado and lime to garnish (optional)

If using wooden or bamboo skewers, soak them in water for a few minutes before preheating your oven to 375. This way they won’t flame up in the oven!

Start by slicing your chicken into small bite size pieces. Skewer them and place them onto a parchment paper lined baking dish.

Season with salt and pepper.

Next take half of the tikka Masala sauce and brush both sides of your Kabobs. 

Bake at 375 for 30 min.

Meanwhile, bring your water and coconut milk to a boil. Add your rice, stir and reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until the rice is creamy and fluffy. Depending on which brand of rice you buy, you may need to add a bit more liquid along the way. 

When the rice is done. Remove from the heat and stir in the parsley, lime, and soy sauce. 

Turn the rice onto a serving platter and place your Kabobs and garnishes on top. 

Heat the remaining tikka Masala sauce and drizzle over the top of the dish. 

A squeeze of fresh lime juice over the top of this dish is the perfect way to highlight all of the tikka Masala flavor. It has a hint of spices but is NOT spicy. 

The four of us devoured this meal!! And ALL of the Cream Cheese wontons I made with it! But I’ll save that recipe for another day!

Spring finds… and Pickle Tuna Pasta Salad! Yum!

Ah, what a beautifully freezing cold, crazy windy spring day. NOT!

Luckily today was my “day off” and when all was said and done, I was able to get in a little retail therapy and cook a delicious spring meal. 

Although temps are in the low 20’s today and the winds are whistling over 30 mph, I still had lots of chores to do outside today. 

The chickens and goats are completely stir crazy at this point. The temps vary day to day. 50 one day and 5 the next… I think it’s safe to say I’m not the only one dreaming of warmer sunny days. Collecting sap in high winds and below freezing temps just isn’t fun. It’s heavy, it’s cold. It’s booooo!!

Anyway- we have well over 50 gallons of sap and for our little Homestead, that is a great start!!!!

We should start to boil in a week or two! Bottles and yearly supplies came in today!

Michaels was EXTREMELY kind to me today. Crazy sales and I was able to forget about the winter warlock and mosey my way though the store and take advantage of killer spring sales. 
My house is now Easter ready. Score!! 

Can’t wait to cook Easter dinner again this year! 

Anyway- after spending my fair share of time on Pinterest the other night I decided to make summer rolls or spring rolls-whatever you like to call them- and the most delicious pickle and tuna pasta salad. 

I had seen a photo of tuna casserole and I immediately thought!!!! Tuna! Pasta Salad! Summer! Pickles! 

Boom. 

This stuff is so light and yummy and I finally got to use up more of my homemade pickles and sweet relish from our garden last year. 

Here’s how I did it- 


Pickle Tuna Pasta Salad|

serves a crowd

35 minute cook time—1 hour (more is better) chill time

  • 1-2 ribs of celery, finely chopped
  • 1/2 a red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1/2 c dill pickles, chopped
  • 1/4 white onion, grated 
  • 2 tbsp fresh dill, chopped
  • 2 cans, white albacore tuna, in water-drained
  • A pinch of garlic powder 
  • 3-4 c mini penne pasta, cooked drained and rinsed with cold water

Sauce-

  • 3/4 c plain Greek yogurt
  • 3/4 c mayo
  • 2 tbsp dill pickle juice
  • 1/4 c sweet pickle relish 
  • A few dashes of worchesteshire sauce 
  • 1 tsp of Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp of sugar
  • A good pinch of salt and pepper 
  • 2 tbsp Parmesan cheese

First get your pasta cooking and then make your sauce–

Next- chop up the veggies and dill. Drain the tuna and add all of it to your mixing bowl.

Toss in the cooked and cooled pasta and the dressing. Stir it completely and refrigerate for at least two hours! Over night is best. 

I love this stuff and could probably eat it everyday!

This Pickle Tuna Salad was perfect with yummy crab and avocado rolls. 

Come on summer. My kitchen is ready for you!!

Life Insurance Exercise| James Christie

Please click here!!
While this page is to promote our small Homestead and share family recipes and stories, this post is to say simply say that living this lifestyle takes two. 
While I’m the primary caregiver to our animals, our gardens and the dreamer behind this homesteading adventure, my husband James wears many hats. He has been incredible in bringing this dream to fruition, building almost anything I ask for. 

As we all know, nothing is built for free…

While our ultimate goal is to be as self sufficient as possible, we are not there yet. Not even close. 

While I’m home with our kids and the farm, James is working, traveling and creating…. He works for Lincoln Financial Group and I am so proud to share his latest project here! 

If you’re reading this, give him views, shares and subscribe to his YouTube page. 

I could not be more proud of him, his message and all that he does for our family. 

Click on the link below and SHARE!!

Life Insurance Exercise| James Christie

Why Life Insurance?

The Best Crab Cakes-EVER

So these are amazing! Seriously. Everyone should make this recipe. Everyone. Period. Exclamation Point.

We’ve been battling a late winter storm here in New England. Wind gusts over 50 mph and 18″ of snow. 

We went from 50 degree weather and hardly any snow left to speak of to this…

Gross. Not my cup of tea. 

We have plans to breed our goats this spring and are looking at a late summer kidding. Piglets will be born soon and a good number of our seedlings have sprouted! I’m ready to plant the next few batches. 

Needless to say the snow and winds can stop any time now and I once again can’t help but cook foods that remind me of summer.

It gets me thru. 

I need my fresh and light foods. And maybe a margarita or two.

That helps too. 

I should preface the rest of this post by saying that there are a lot of ingredients in these decadent crab cakes, but the mixture is so delicious I’ve used it for crab cakes one night, and in crab melts the day after AND in cheesy crab stuffed mushrooms. Depending on how many you’re serving this recipe does make enough to do double or even triple duty. 

In my book that’s a total money and time saver and completely worth the effort!!

The Best Crab Cakes-Ever|

  • 1 small yellow onion, minced
  • 1/2 a red bell pepper, minced
  • 1 stalk of celery, minced
  • 2 cups of oyster crackers, crushed
  • 8 oz, lump crab meat (fresh no imitation meat)
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 tsp old bay seasoning 
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp mayo
  • 1-2 sunflower oil, or canola oil
  • A good pinch of salt and pepper 
  • 1/2 of a good cheese blend. I used asiago, Parmesan and cheddar. (Use your favorite)

Start by mincing your veggies! Sauté them in butter over medium high heat until the onions are translucent. 

Stir in the garlic powder, old bay and salt  and pepper, cooking for a minute longer.

Transfer the veggies into a mixing bowl and refrigerate for a few minutes to cool down before adding your other ingredients. 

Next crush up your crackers!

When your veggies have cooled, stir in your egg, crab, crackers and cheese. 

At this point you could make stuffed mushrooms OR add in your mayo!!

In a non stick skillet heat your sunflower oil. 

Form your Crab Cakes in 1/4 c measurements. Form them into balls and place in the hot oil, flattening the tops with your spatula to your desired thickness. 

Cook for 1-2 minutes per side until each side is dark golden brown and the center is warm but still creamy. 

I like to top these with a siracha mayo– just a tbsp or two of mayo mixed well with a tsp of hot sauce. 

Serve immediately!! They are seriously the Best Crab cakes I’ve ever had!

Eat these with a delicious Chicken Saltimbocca (I’ll post that recipe later)


Or be sure and try this delicious crab mixture in Cheesy Crab Stuffed Mushrooms!

Gwenivere’s Favorite Couscous 

Our oldest baby- Gwenivere Elizabeth, Gwen, G$- will be 11 in 6 weeks. I can’t believe how quickly time passes when I can still remember her as my little baby so clearly. 

Please notice her younger sister, Victoria, throwing a tantrum in the background. How dare I make her wear shoes on Easter Sunday?! 

They are complete opposites. Only 16 months apart but completely opposite. 

Tori is our comedian, a sweet old soul and cute as a button. A music lover like me…And she has daddy wrapped around her little finger. We love our Tori Tor. 

Gwen. My almost 11 year old, also an old soul takes things a little more seriously. She’s like a little mom. Always recognizing when help is needed. She’s been mature since the day she was born. 

I can recall the nurses at the hospital commenting on how alert she was. She always looked like she knew something you didn’t. 

She’s responsible. Eager to help me around the Homestead and man… has she grown up this past year. 

What is it that happens between age 10 and 11? She’s still my baby, but I can feel her slipping further and further into her own self. Not that, that’s a bad thing. 

It’s inevitable. Friends become MOST important, constant sports and dance classes. Band, school, studying (real studying too! Her homework is most often over my head) and some days, I feel like I’m just along for the ride. 

I try and remind my self to take mental pictures each day. I don’t want to ever forget this ride. I never want it to end. 

Birthdays have always been hard for me. Another year has gone by. 

Time. 

Time keeps me ever optimistic for the future but also reminds me that nothing lasts forever. And as a parent, that is the most important lesson my kids have taught me. Take nothing and no one for granted. The calendar is there to remind us of that. And my kids…their ever growing and changing minds and bodies are constant reminders of that. 

Luckily though. Their spirit remains the same and that is what makes my heart overflow each day. 

To my almost 11 year old. I love you. More than you’ll ever know. 


So as I’m crying in my kitchen over coffee, I’ll get to the point of this post and that is Gwenivere’s favorite meal! 

Mediterranean Couscous. Every year when the weather turns warmer, her birthday gets closer and this is the meal she asks for. The whole family loves it and I’ve been making it for years. 

In kindergarten, at a parent teacher conference, I had noticed a brightly colored board in Gwen’s class room. It listed all of the students names and their favorite foods. As I went down the list I saw only, pizza, chicken nuggets, mac and cheese… and then I got to Gwen.

Gwen- favorite food: Couscous and salmon. 

Yep! That’s my girl!!!

It’s also one of those perfect dishes to bring to a gathering, cook out, baby/bridal shower…I’ve brought this to all of the above and people are always asking for the recipe after they try it. 

So without any more gushing and reminiscing– I give you,

Gwenivere’s Favorite Couscous|

Serves a crowd, or is great for leftovers the next day!

45 min cook time

2 hours chill time 

  • 1 box, quick cooking Couscous
  • 1 1/4 c chicken broth
  • 1 pound of boneless skinless chicken breast or thighs 
  • 1 medium size cucumber, seeded and chopped 
  • 2 Roma tomatoes
  • 1/4 c chopped black olives
  • 1/2 c feta cheese, crumbled 
  • 1/2-1 c of store bought or homemade pesto 
  • Salt and pepper to taste 


Start by baking your chicken, seasoned with salt, pepper and a little paprika or whatever you’d like, at 375 for 35 minutes or until completely cooked thru. Then let it cool. Rotisserie chicken is absolutely fine here too and is a real time saver!

Meanwhile, cook your couscous according to the package directions in the chicken broth. Chicken broth gives it so much more flavor than just the water the box calls for. 

Fluff it with a fork and let it cool slightly before tossing it with a tablespoon or two of the prepared pesto. The oil in the pesto will keep the Couscous from clumping. Put the Couscous in a large bowl.

Next chop your veggies and add them to the Couscous. No need to stir yet.

Next, chop up your chicken! In a smaller bowl toss it with the remaining pesto. Don’t be shy here! Add as much as you’d like! It will only make the dish better!


Now it’s time to add the chicken to the Couscous and veggies, and then the feta!

Mix it all up and chill for at least two hours before serving! And then… enjoy 

Creamed Corn-A family favorite

This is one yummy side dish! And a super easy one too!

James will eat corn with every meal if I let him. It’s one of his favorites. Give him corn and mashed potatoes and you’ll be the apple of his eye. That’s how I won him over. Corn and mash. 

Kidding. But his affinity for corn is a real thing. 

So naturally…being the foodie that I am, I try and find new ways to doctor up said corn. 

Whether it’s fresh or straight out the can, this recipe is a delicious one! 

We do grow corn here on the Homestead but truth be told, the raccoons usually get to it before I do. 

One of these years I’ll pick it all as soon as it’s ready. Rather than doing what I always do and say… hmmm if I wait a couple more days to pick the corn, they’ll only get bigger!

Nope.

They’ll only get eaten. And not by me.

Anyway, if you are using fresh corn- I find that the corn tastes better if you fire roast it first. Either over a gas burner, a grill or a grill pan. 

Next, invert a small bowl into a larger bowl. This will create a flat surface to cut the kernels off the cob and the larger bowl will catch all of the kernels. 

After that the rest is easy!

Creamed Corn|

Serves 6

Cook time- 45min

  • Fresh corn on the cob, or 3 cans of fire roasted corn, drained
  • 8 oz of cream cheese 
  • 1 stick of salted butter, divided
  • 1 c of milk
  • 1 sweet, yellow pepper, diced small
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped 
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Parmesan for garnish 

Place your corn and sweet yellow pepper in a casserole dish. I like using yellow because it adds a fresh sweet flavor, but because of its color, people usually can’t tell where the flavor is coming from. It looks just like the corn! A little chopped fresh parsley is great here too.

Next, in a sauce pan melt  4 tbsp of butter, cream cheese and milk together, stirring frequently and being careful not to scorch. 

Add a pinch of and pepper and pour all over your corn and sweet pepper, then stir.

Next place the remaining butter on top of the creamed corn. 

Add a heaping tbsp of Parmesan cheese and some more parsley for flavor and garnish. 

Bake at 375 for 30 minutes. 

This was perfect along side classic pork pie!

The creamed corn will come out hot, bubbly, sweet and creamy!

Money! #winnerwinnercornfordinner #corny

The whole family loves this recipe!! I hope you give it a try. Whoever you are out there.