Author Archives: awsyoung

Tilapia with Escarole and Lemon-Pepper Sauce


Tilapia final

“Mmmmmm!  I love this dinner! It’s so easy and tasty.  Wait, I should post this on the blog!  Rats, I don’t have a picture!”  Those were my thoughts this evening, in the middle of dinner, after most everyone had finished.  So, yeah, that’s my excuse for the terrible picture.  You’ll notice though that my 4 year old has already finished her fish.  It’s that good!  Don’t worry, I’ll post a better photo when I make this dish again, in about a month.  In the meantime, you can visit the original recipe at Food Network and see their lovely picture.

There are so many reasons I love this dish.  It’s healthy, it’s easy, it takes only one dish, and it’s delicious!  The fish turns out so tender and flakey and the lemon-pepper oil adds just the right finishing touch.  I have made a few changes to the original recipe, mostly because I don’t like a lot of oil in my food and because I have a hungry 12 year old to feed!  Here it is with my changes.  I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

Click below to open a printable pdf of the recipe

Tilapia with Escarole


I heart the Library!

HK Tuen Mun Public Library new books

Image via Wikipedia

I feel like I hit the jackpot at the library last time we visited. Chasing a 3-year-old around the stacks doesn’t leave me much time to be really choosy about the books I pick for her. I usually grab what looks interesting from the displays the librarians set out. They did a grand job this last time! So I thought I’d share the gems I (they) found. Read the rest of this entry

Reverse Lent


I’m not Catholic, but I have ‘participated’ in Lent a few times, in a non-religious way. I’ve given up evening TV watching, chocolate, buying new, and other things. Trouble is I tend to binge on those things after Lent is over. Don’t get me wrong, I do think self-denial and fasting can be good things, they just haven’t worked for me in this instance.  And it doesn’t fit in well with my personal improvement philosophy.  For example, I don’t believe in deprivation dieting, banning certain ‘bad’ foods like fat, carbs, chocolate, etc. If I feel my diet needs improving I’d much rather add things; more whole grains, more legumes, more water. These healthy additions tend to push out the less desirable foods I might be inclined to indulge in. So I thought maybe the same approach would work for my self-refining/development.

With that in mind, this year I’m trying something a little different for Lent. Rather than giving something up, I’m resuming something I’d given up, namely the flute.

Believe me, I’m not taking the easy way out.  I haven’t played for three years now!   And some days are so packed for me it’s all I can do to do the things that need to be done that day (feeding kids, running various errands, blog posts).  I don’t expect that I’ll be able to play my flute every day of Lent, but I can fit it in most days.  It has been so long since I played, all my finger and embouchure muscles have to be rebuilt.  It will take a lot of work and effort not to get discouraged (I used to be better!)  So in addition to reclaiming a skill I once had, I’ll be developing self-discipline and perseverance.   And, in a way, I’m sacrificing some of my time for something better.  Which fits in nicely with the spirit of Lent as I understand it.  Right now I only plan on practicing like this for the duration of Lent, but who knows, maybe by the end it will become a habit I won’t want to give up.

DIY Window Clings


More fun decorations you can make with your kids

Make your own custom designed window clings!  This project is suitable for older kids. We made hearts for Valentine’s Day but you could make them in any shape you like. You are only limited by your imagination! Read the rest of this entry

Valentine’s Day decorations you can make with your kids


Tissue Paper ‘Stained Glass’ Hearts

So easy, my 3-year-old could help!

You will need:

  • Scissors
  • Clear, repositionable Con-Tact paper (I got mine years ago at Bed, Bath and Beyond.)
  • Tissue paper in shades of red, pink, and purple torn into small pieces
  • Blue painters tape
  • Hole punch
  • Yarn, ribbon, etc. Read the rest of this entry

DIY Ribbon Wands


I made these easy to make wands to use while teaching music in the nursery class at church. They are fun to wave and watch flutter through the air which entices kids (and adults) to move to music. Make a few, put on some fun music, and DANCE! Read the rest of this entry

Rooting Herbs

Rooting Herbs


I have a confession to make. I kill potted plants. If it is in my house and in a pot, it will die. I have no trouble growing things in the ground. In fact, I think I’m pretty good at gardening. But potted plants, watch out!  It’s frustrating, especially since I love to cook with fresh herbs and hate paying the exorbitant prices at the grocery store.  Alas, indoor herbs live in pots….. or so I thought.

Read the rest of this entry

Quinoa for Breakfast

Quinoa is not a grass, but its seeds have been...

Image via Wikipedia

Ever had it?  It’s quite good.  I like it with chopped dates, shredded coconut, and almonds but you could add just about anything.

1.  Cook the desired amount of quinoa according to package directions.  If you want, any kind of milk may be substituted for some of the water.  I used a can (1 1/2 cups) of coconut milk.  You can also leave the liquid 1/2 cup short and add 1/2 cup of evaporated milk (or cream) after the quinoa has cooked if you like your hot cereal more creamy.

2.  As for sweeteners, you can add sugar to taste with the liquid.  If you prefer something more natural you can replace some of the liquid with an equal amount of honey, agave nectar, molasses, or maple syrup.  I prefer to add this at the end because the quinoa seems to cook more quickly without it, but I can’t prove that scientifically. 😉

3.  Add any dried fruit with the liquid.  Dates, dried cranberries, raisins, dried apricots, dried figs, crystalized ginger….  You are only limited by your imagination! (and whatever you have in your pantry.)

4.  Serve hot with milk and additional toppings, if desired.  I used shredded coconut, almonds and plain greek yogurt.  You could also use walnuts, pecans, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, pistachios, chocolate, whipped cream,…..

Viola!  Not the prettiest hot breakfast, but darn tasty!  If you prefer a beautiful breakfast, try red quinoa.  Either way it’s a welcome change from oatmeal.

Breakfast, don’t leave home without it!

Symbols of Christmas


“All things bear record of me.” *

Every Christmas we have the tradition of reading a version of “Teach the Children” and setting up a small tree with ornaments to illustrate the story.  My kids love to do this and I love that it helps them remember what Christmas is all about.  I got the small tree and ornaments at my local craft store, and I sewed the bag myself.  Of course you could use almost anything to illustrate the story: a tree and ornaments made of felt, pictures or drawings of the tree and ornaments, or decorate your large tree with the ornaments.  The key is to make it interactive.  This would also make a great gift for a family with children.

Here’s my version of the story.  I found several versions on the internet but none of them fit exactly the way I wanted to tell it (and the ornaments I could find!) so I cut and pasted different parts together and added sections for the ornaments I could find.  What I’m saying is feel free to edit my version to suit your needs!

Christmas symbols with meanings:

  • Red – the blood of Christ
  • Green – eternal life
  • White – repentance and forgiveness
  • Evergreen tree – eternal life
  • Wreath – circle shows eternity
  • Bow – unity
  • Gifts – gifts of the magi, gift of Christ (John 3:16)
  • Star – Star of Bethlehem
  • Santa – anonymous charitable giving
  • Candy cane – shepherd’s crook, ‘J’ for Jesus, more!
  • Bells – proclaiming the good news, seeking lost sheep
  • Candles/Lights – individual testimony, good works *

Slow Cooker Apple Butter Part 2: Canning


And now the exciting conclusion to “Slow Cooker Apple Butter”! 

(From the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving.) 

You can try to use all that butter at once or you can preserve it to use later.  Here’s how…. Read the rest of this entry