Sunday, August 25, 2013

Chicken and Cucumber Crepes with Plum Sauce

Friday night is usually pizza night in our house. I normally find pizza to be a good way to use up the random vegetables in the refrigerator before I gather more Saturday morning.

This week, when I went into use-it-or-lose-it mode, pizza was not going to work. There was grilled chicken from the night before. Sure, that could go on pizza. There were quite a lot of cucumbers. OK, we could have a salad with the pizza. There was Chinese plum sauce. Ummm ... Need a different plan.

I made and canned the plum sauce two summers ago using a recipe from Pickles & Relishes by Andrea Chesman. You're really not supposed to keep your canned condiments for more than a year. But, I find that most things keep about two years, and I was on the verge of losing that sauce. It was quite tasty, but for some reason, I hadn't found a lot of uses for it. I don't think I tried hard enough.

I stumbled upon the sauce while searching for some kind of barbecue sauce for my grilled chicken. It worked quite well for the chicken, and that used up one half-pint. With the leftover chicken, I figured I could use another half-pint, and I was considering just putting it on the table for dipping.

Perhaps there was a more interesting use, I wasn't thinking of. I googled "recipes using Chinese plum sauce." Somewhere in that search -- I think it was on -- I came across the suggestion to use it with crepes.

Aha! Things were settled. Sounded good to me and sounded like something the boys would like too.

To my surprise, my pancake loving boy resisted the crepes, but I really never know what will please him. All three of us enjoyed the chicken and cukes with the plum sauce. Now that I have a use for it, I need to decide whether I should make another batch this year.

Chicken & Cucumber Crepes with Plum Sauce

  • 1 batch of crepes (I used Alton Brown's recipe on and swapped gluten free flour for the wheat flour, but use whatever recipe works for you)
  • 2 cups shredded chicken
  • 1 cup diced cucumber
  • 1/2 cup Chinese plum sauce
Mix up your crepe batter first. It should chill in the refrigerator for about an hour before cooking. (I neglected to do this and managed to get a few decent crepes, but I'm sure I would have had fewer tears if I'd followed this step.)

Shred the chicken and dice the cucumber before you start cooking the crepes. 

Cook the crepes according to your recipes instructions.

Lay a crepe on a large plate. Layer about a 1/3 cup of chicken and a couple tablespoons of cucumber down the middle of the crepe, then top with a tablespoon or so of sauce. Roll it up. Repeat until all the crepes are used. 

Serve with extra sauce for dipping.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


It's hard to believe I hadn't been camping in six years.

That means for six years I haven't spent more than half a day disconnected from the Internet. I've been at this point where I'm almost afraid to be away from the World Wide Web. I worry, something is going to happen and I'm going to miss it; it will be too hard to catch up. Yet, as I write this I already feel it's all wrong.

My fear of being disconnected has waned. In fact, I now want to spend more time away.

Camping meant something different for each of us.

For the boy, it was his very first time. We asked him what he liked the best, and he didn't have an answer. But, he did like it.

I'm pretty sure his favorite part of the weekend was the 4-wheeler rides. Not exactly my idea of what camping is about, but I happen to be a bit of a thrill seeker, so I won't complain about the experience. And, the boy was thrilled.

He also loved the big mud puddle with the frogs. He almost lost his favorite Phineas & Ferb Crocs trying to catch one of the slippery critters.

As I watched the boy, and now reflect on his experience, I am most happy for his time outside. For two days, he was allowed inside only to sleep. He had no TV, no computer, no tablet. He seemed at times like he might be bored and he had to just accept it. Not a bad thing for him to learn. And, he fell asleep in front of the fire.

Camping was a special time for the dog. Our mutt, who will normally bolt the second she sees freedom, stuck around our camp unleashed without issue. If she wandered too far, she came when we called her back. I loved spending time with her that way. It makes we want to spend more time working with her at home so that we can enjoy her in the same way in our backyard.

I can't exactly say what camping meant for Papa Bear. He is his own grown up person. I know he, too, enjoys being away. He talked about wanting to join the club where we were invited to stay, so surely it was a weekend he would like to repeat.

Camping for me means PEACE.

The time in the canoe was the best. My boys were in the back uncomfortably shifting and worried they would fall out. No, I didn't like that they were uncomfortable. But, I was in front taking in the quiet sounds of nature. The feeling of drifting on the water, the gentle rocking of the canoe soothes my being even over the griping of the uncomfortable boys. I happily fell into the job of keeping the canoe on course as we drifted along the shoreline. Every now in then I put down the paddle and picked up the camera. I could have spent the entire day -- days even -- drifting in the canoe.

To be honest, even the 4-wheeler rides were peaceful in a way. Riding through the woods with the wind in my air, watching the scenery and very few other people for miles around. It was a bit of a thrill and felt like freedom.

And, of course, nights by the campfire will always help to bring me peace.

Perhaps, tomorrow, I will tell you about one last highlight, Spring Pond Bog.

For now, it is time for me to bring the peace I found camping into my productive life and get my day going.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Fresh Beginnings

I'm setting new goals.

Fall -- back-to-school season -- has always seemed to me like an exciting time. Even for the many years I wasn't in school, and didn't have a child in school, it has seemed like a good time for fresh beginnings.

This year, with the boy headed to Kindergarten and with my work life changing, the fresh beginnings vibe is as strong as ever. It might be right there at the same level is was as I headed off to college. Choosing what I will do with my time, is like choosing new classes and then buying books.

The possibilities seem endless for me. There are so many things I want to do and could do. I need to make some decisions and stick to them. That is goal No. 1: Decide what my goals are.

I'm working through some and have settled on a few:




I realize the write more goal has come up about 50 times before. And, here it is again. It won't always be good writing, but I'll write something every day.

Packing awesome lunches can be for the whole family. I'm focused on the boy, but there's no reason hubby can't get awesome homemade lunches, too. I want both of them to WANT the lunches I pack over what they can get at school and work.

So, I'm a little obsessed lately with food blogs that focus on kids. Weelicious and Red, Round and Green are two of my favorites, but I'm finding many others.

I need to make sure this goal is fun. There's no reason it shouldn't be. I love feeding people, and these are the people I love. As long as I leave myself enough time and have enough fresh ideas, it will continue being fun. I'm sure I will write more about lunches very soon.

Waking up earlier is just so I can get a jump start on my goals before anyone else gets in my way. If I feel I've been productive before anyone throws me off course, I'll have a good day no matter what else happens.