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Cheesy Chicken and Ranch Potatoes

This is an easy meal that I love. It makes a great casserole but if you are pressed for time you can cook the whole meal on the stove top. I have taken to using a few major short cuts in the kitchen that save me soooo such time. Generally speaking, we get our chicken breasts from Sam’s Club in the freezer section 6 lbs. for just under 12 dollars. That’s cheaper than Aldi so it works for me. When I get them home I take 4-6 chicken breasts and wrap them in foil lightly sprinkled with adobo or whatever gluten-free season all I am using and bake them on 275 until cooked completely.
Yes I pop them in still frozen. The foil traps in the moisture and the low temp makes sure they cook completely, if slowly. Anyhoo doing this one short cut I almost always have cooked chicken breasts on hand and this saves a lot of time when cooking dinner. Another time saving measure? I keep ranch dressing mix dairy free, cashew sour cream and coconut milk cheese in my fridge. I don’t let them run out. They are wayyyyyy to useful in making quick meals to ever run out.
This is the whole ranch dressing recipe:
the part I keep handy all the time is the dry ingredients. I make big batches and use 2 ¼ tsp at a time added to ¼ c nondairy buttermilk as per the recipe and then stir the mix in to the cashew sour cream.
• 1/2 tsp. dried Parsley (or 1 tsp. fresh)
• 1/2 tsp dried Chives (or 1 tsp. fresh)
• 1/2 tsp. dried Dill (or 1 tsp. fresh)
• 1/4 tsp. Garlic Powder
• 1/4 tsp. Onion Powder
• 1/8 tsp. Sea Salt
• 1/8 tsp. Black Pepper

6 sliced potatoes
2 chopped chicken cooked breasts
8oz cashew sour cream w/ ranch dip stirred in
4-6 oz coconut milk cheese finely cubed or shredded
1/2 cup green onions chopped
¼ red onion diced
3 Tbs olive oil
Daiya cheddar shreds if desired
Adobo to taste

For stove top preparation
In a 5 qt pot (Dutch oven) on medium heat add olive oil, potatoes, red onion, and adobo. Cook until potatoes have softened about 15-20 min
Once the potatoes have begun to soften add ¼ cup green onion, cashew sour cream, coconut milk cheese.
Mixing well to ensure ‘cheese’ and sour cream are well mixed.
Add chicken, once again mixing well. When completely mixed simmer on lowest heat setting for 10-15 minutes stirring occasionally.
Garnish with additional green onions and Daiya if desired

To prepare as a casserole pour all ingredients except for green onions into a large casserole dish (9×13 or larger) stir well to evenly distribute seasonings and ingredients.
Bake @400 for 45 min or until potatoes are tender. Remove and garnish with green onions and extra daiya if desired then bake for an additional 5-10 minutes.
Remove from oven serve warm.


My family hasn’t had chicken and dumplings  in 2 years because I didn’t have a good sturdy gluten free dumpling recipe. We will be having this often this winter. Dumplings are generally just biscuits added to the stew in the last 10 minutes or so of cooking but none of the gluten free biscuits held together well until now. Nicole has several yummy gf biscuit recipes. If you cant do dairy you will need to make substitutions.
I used 4 TBS of brown rice protein powder instead of dry milk.

32 oz chicken broth Pus more as needed
3 Stalks of celery chopped
3 carrots sliced
7.5 Oz corn ( half a can)
1/2 a bell pepper finely diced
1/2 a small red onion very finely diced
1.5 cup Dairy free milk ( I use coconut)
1/3 cup Gluten free flour
1/4 tsp basil
1/8 tsp dried thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
about 1/2 tsp adobo sin pepper
2-3 cubed chicken breasts cooked

First make the biscuits but do not bake. place the rounds on a cookie sheet and cut the raw biscuits in to 6 or 8. these are now your dumplings. place in the fridge while making stew.
next cook the chicken breasts in a skillet and season with the adobo. set aside.
Then place chicken broth vegetables, herbs and seasonings in a Dutch oven. Bring to a boil.
In a separate small bowl mix flour and dairy free milk.
Add chicken mixture to Dutch oven.
Add milk and flour mixture to Dutch oven.
Cook until thickened stirring constantly, on high heat for appx 3 min
Lower temp to lowest setting and allow to simmer until veggies are tender.
Add additional broth to thin soup base if desired
One veggies are tender bring stew to a boil again and add dumplings all at once stirring constantly.
Allow dumpling to cook on high heat for 5-10 minutes or until toothpick inserted in dumplings comes out clean

When I almost Lost them

where's the back door where's the front door where's the battery where's the impact

I am having a slow-mo melt down right now. Mom is badly injured but, barring infection, with surgery will make a very good recovery. It will be painful and slow but she will be okay. Lillian is fine, a little clingy and an abrasion near her neck, but really A-Okay. Now that the crisis is over, insurance called, contingency plans up and running I can freak out. My mom and daughter could have died today.

I got a call at 10:15 this morning that started like this “Ms. Townsend? This is Lori the Social worker for Cooke Children’s blah blah blah blah blah blah” My brain had stopped processing after the words “social worker from Cooke’s.”  At that moment I had 3 kids in three locations and could not process that one of them was so bad off that the social worker was the one who called me. Scenario after scenario ran through my mind, Alex my wanderer had wandered and been found hurt, my Pie had a peanut exposure at school, Mom and Lillian were in an accident……. In those few seconds I played over sooooo many worst case scenarios my mind literally froze. I could not process.

Only the most basic thing came to me. I was at my desk on a cell; I had to get the phone away from the customer data. The walk to the lobby took less than a minute but allowed time to give the appearance of “having pulled it together”.  There was only one more break in the calm after she told me one of my worst fears, that Mom and Lilly were in an accident and Mom might have been seriously injured. The singular break came when I had to tell my boss why I was leaving. There was no debate just a directive to go take care of my family. It took a few minutes to get the overriding, all-consuming emotions of desperation, hysteria and undiluted terror under control again.

From that moment I moved forward with the end goal insight. Get to my baby, ensure her safety and well-being, get to my mom, assess evaluate and find the game plan to care for her. Gather my 2 big kids, make sure they stay safe. Now, once all of the practicalities have been worked out, kiddos safe, mom care plan under way, transportation arranged for pie; now I can finally feel what was too overwhelming to feel. I can panic and worry and be terrified at the realization for how close I came to losing my mom and baby. I can shake and cry and vomit and blubber.

The Crisis is over and we are in the long haul of recovery but the feelings of schok dismay anger worry disbelief panic terror and helplessness are left over to be dealt with. And slowly but surely they will be dealt with. One day I won’t check Lillian’s harness 3 times to be sure she’s safe. I won’t check all of my mirrors repeatedly and my heart won’t race if I’m over the speed limit just the tiniest fraction. I won’t freeze at the sight of an unrecognized number on my caller ID. I know I will recover because of all of the people who showed up and stepped up to the plate. I know they won’t allow me to be a fearful parent. They will make sure I am able to again be brave and courageous for myself and my family. They won’t abandon us when it gets hard; they have shown when it gets hard they will cling tighter.  They will pray, and talk, and joke, and help until we are all okay.

Names, they are an integral part of our identity. They are one of the first impressions a person receives. It can tell of our culture, of our home. Our names can have weight and meaning. They set us up for various stereotyping both positive and negative.  There are numerous studies on names. For instance people with names beginning with the letter “A” tend to receive more “A’s” in school. Conversely people with names beginning with the letters “c and D” tend to receive lower grades than average.
A child’s name on a class roster is the first meeting that teacher has with their soon to be student. It is the first impression of their family. The spelling and structure give and idea of the parents level of education at the time the child was born….and let the teacher know how much support or struggle they may have from that parent.

Resume’s with ethnic names get fewer call back’s and interviews than mainstream names with traditional spellings.
Of course these are not hard and fast rules I know several very successful and well educated Shaniqua’s and Jamarion’s (with a variety of spellings) and other equally highly ethnic names.

I have also encountered a host of Arabic and Hebrew names that people think of as “ghetto” but are not. These names are full of history, meaning and beauty. But, our culture has placed a judgment  upon them. made them second class, taboo even.

What do you do? simply being aware of the power of a name is the first place to start.

I am overwhelmed. Drowning in the autism, ADHD, giftedness, exuberance, love, joy laundry, dishes, sleeplessness. Dinner. It’s all on this lady’s rather broad shoulders. And buddy it’s a big heavy load. I am however lucky I have help a mom who retired and moved in to care for her grand babies so no more daycare is needed. Who cooks meals when i am not here. Who loves them as much as I do.
Never the less, I am overwhelmed. sigh.


%ow so much on my mind, lets stick with I am being driven insane. Slowly but surely I am being driven bat-shit crazy. People I am really loosing a grip here. I have to  interact with someone so stupid I wonder daily why their autonomic nervous system doesn’t shut down. Seriously evolution how could you let this happen??!!?!?!?! I have decided to simply write down some of the stupid and present it to all. Someone convince me it is not just me. Please!!!!!!

Anyone who has met me knows stupid is not something that sits easily with me. That is because true stupidity is absolutely willful. We live in the freakin’ information age. Anything you want to know is just a Google search away. No home internet? Go to the local library. Er My Gosh!! What shocking revelations!! In order to remain stupid one my fight for this. disavowing all research and written media. Fighting valiantly against new knowledge or wisdom entering their life.

Now Willful stupidity is not to be in anyway confused with ignorance. Ignorance is simply a lack of knowledge and can be educated away. Most people have many subjects they are ignorant about either due to a lack of interest or lack of exposure. Most people are ignorant of the intricacies of neurosurgery, but most of us could with hard work, study, and acceptance in to a medical school and following internships learn. That is ignorance. Stupidity is refusing to understand that we humans use more than 10% (most) of our brain every day. People who still utter this little gem are willfully stupid. Just think about it for a minute. When was the last time a neurosurgeon said “Thank God She was shot in the 90% of her brain she wasn’t using!”

And that is not to say we don’t all have stupid moments. I’ve had some real zingers haven’t you?

Yet there are moments we encounter such needy stupidity one much wonder is God personally testing you? Is this a cosmic joke n the universe? Does evolution apply to everyone but this shockingly stupid individual? Am I becoming unhinged, unbalanced and imagining this crap because surely no one can survive this level of idiocy?

We received an email clearly stating that no prior year insurance elections would roll over. You must re-enroll. If you do not re-enroll you will be uninsured.

then after reading this email I was asked, “But don’t our insurance just roll over?”

the f@*#$ing email clearly said no election would roll over. Why are you speaking. Why are you still breathing?

On small talk and movies

“Hey you now that guy that plays Thor’s unadopted ( is that even a word?) magic brother?” asks Mororn.

“Uh yes” me

“I’m the same age as him!” said with a vacuous grin that was somehow full of excitement

“And the guy who plays superman?” moron says again

” You mean Henry Cavill?” I ask

” No it’s some British guy, ” (Wtf does this mean? Does this negate Henry Cavill as being a British name?)”I’m the same age as him too” again with the vacuous grin.

Everyone  we work with is from mid twenty’s to mid thirties. the same age as the actors in these films. Duh you are going to share birth years with a few other people in the world. Er My Gosh. more brilliance tomorrow

Where have I been?

Playing on Facebook as Kendra and not flying mom. LOL

In truth I needed a LOA from the kitchen. But as the Holidays approach, I am returning to the kitchen but finding my Joie de vivre in the kitchen diminished. I’ve kind of been in a funk. Not depressed just e

I branched out on many creative projects this summer. refinishing a dining room table, re-finishing my desk I still have to do the hutch and find a lateral file that I like.  Hair, Hair, and more Hair. Got a promotion of sorts at the JOB. And my work schedule did more backflips than I can name. I still have to reupholster 2 wingback chairs; but I haven’t found the fabric of my dreams for them yet. Oh and I started writing my book.

I generally just been a mom. A busy woman. Overworked and underpaid but God has seen me through everything. All that my family needs has been met. We have but to ask and the Lord has provided. While I have been away from my blog I have been blessed.

In spite of my funk I have decided to be grateful in ALL that I have been blessed. Will I blog more recipes, who knows? I have got a yummy enchilada and refried bean recipe I may share. If not, know that I am enjoying the people, times, things, and life that are my heaven sent blessings.


I should probably mention  my hair is natural. By that I mean unrelaxed, un dyed basically no permanant chemical alterations. I do flat iron my hair no more the twice a month and it usually last for 1-2 weeks when i do flat iron it.
For my daughter’s hair i recetly got back into researching natural hair care, new products, old product, theories on hair care etc. We are back to our staple oil/moisturizer and sealant Raw Shea butter. I bought it in a 5 lb tin from Soul Shea. This makes the basis for almost every hair or skin care concoction I make. I have an excellent deep conditioner the just makes my hair so so soft.


1 eggs

3 tbs melted shea butter

2 tbs extra virgin oilve oil

2 tbs coconut oil.

mix well and allow mixture to cool. It will be a little liquidy. After washing our hair we soak, completely super saturate the hair with this mixture. Put on a processing cap and sit under a hair dryer on low for 15 min. Make sure you have a towel around your neck as it will melt.  To avoid heat altogether wrap a towel around your processing cap and wear for 45 mi  to an hour.

Rinse out with warm water. Then Wash your hair with a sulfate free shampoo again.  Condition, leave in condition, then proceed with styling as normal. My hair and my daughters hair are soo00000 soft and easy to manage now.

Currently my Fave Sulfate free shampoo is Shea Moisture Moisture Retention Shampoo. Best conditioner Shea Moisture Restorative Conditioner.  I Love the pink line which is for curly hair bbut due to the extreme dyrness my daughter and I faced we are fosucing on moisturizing, sealing and protectiong for the next few weeks the I will go back to the curly hair shampoo and conditioner. But from the pink line I have become quite the fan of the curling smothie, and curling souffle combo with the Hold and shine spray. The hold and shine spray is not a stand alone spritx or curl definer it works best if you have used the smothie and souffle to define your curls and the next day need a spritz to refresh your hair. The name on that one is a little deceptive but the ingredients will tell you before you buy it that it has no holding power.

But I still want t make most of our hair and body products really uder the assumption that if you can’t eat it it sholdnt do on your hair and skin. I will always keep exceptions to the hair protecants I use when straightening my hair. I really wan to make sure It doe not get heat damaged. But when wearing a natural, or twist out or any of the many styles that do not require heat, the end goal is to make most at home.

On that note I am in the process of making a curl souffle tye product, I’ll let you know how it goes.

Salvaging a BIG mistake

Here I was being all supermom (da-da-da-da!!!) and making pancake muffins for my daughter to have as breakfast on her all day field trip. (6am-7:30pm) When making pancake muffins I usually  put sausage in them by fully cooking the sausage patties, cutting them into fourths, then putting 2 tiny sausage pieces into each muffin tin full of batter. I was thinking i am fabulous. Got the pancake muffins baking, w/ apple slices, and almond milk she will have a rock star breakfast. Go family!!!

Then I realized I put NO sugar, not one single drop, into the pancake batter. NOOOOOOOOOOO!

How can I salvage them? I can’s send her with syrup, they are eating on the bus. I don’t want to inject  them with syrup or some such. What is a forgetful mom to do? Treat them like doughnuts. Put about 1 cup of powdered sugar in a gallon sized ziplock ( or other plastic) baggie. Drop your finished pancake  muffins in the baggie. Shake vigorously ensuring each muffin is covered well. Ta-Da! You too have just Saved Breakfast.

Curious what pancake muffins are? Just what they sound like. Make up some pancake batter and bake it in a Muffin( Cupcake) Pan


Preheat your oven to 350

Grease and flour 2 muffin tins ( cupcake pans) doubles this pancake recipe makes 18-19 muffins

or place cupcake papers in your muffin tin and spray with non-stick cooking spray so the liners do not stick to the muffins. I personally prefer just greasing the pan.


This recipe calls for a doubled batch of my pancake batter. The recipe for a single batch can be found here

Doubled is as follows:

2 c gluten-free all-purpose flour
4 TBS sugar
1 tsp salt
2 TBS baking powder
2 TBS cinnamon ( optional)
2c non dairy milk
4 TBS oil
4 large eggs.
Whisk dry ingredients together in a medium mixing bowl.
In a separate bowl whisk together wet ingredients. Once well mixed, pour wet into dry ingredients and whisk together.

Place 3 tablespoons of batter in each well. Get Away from the measuring spoons. I mean tablespoons from your cutlery set.

At this point once all the muffin wells are full add sausage, fruit or anything you want to your muffins, I push the meat all the way down so you can’t see the sausage but like to leave blueberries near the top.

Bake for 20-25 minutes at 350.

Allow to cool in the pans for 5 min then place on a cooling rack to finnish cooling.

These freeze very well and can be microwaved

I love making this recipe. It is a simple one dish wonder meal and it brings back lovely memories of my Best friend. She was half Peurto Rican and her Fiancee was Mexican. Hence, the ambiguous origin of theis reicpe. She died in July of 2010. Suddenly, with no warning leaving 2 little girls ages 10 and 11. Her youngest’s birthday had been the week before.

Before we get to the recipe let me talk about taking care of ourselves as moms and women. We rush around taking care of kids, job home, volunteering, cleaning, church,  afterschool events, field trips you name it. We make the world operate and Mommas we tend to let it slip when it comes to ourselves. I am the number one offender in this category. I bake, cook, sometimes grind my own flours to make sure my kids have great food that will not make them sick. Yet, I am often to busy or too rushed to prepare my own lunches and end up grabbing fast food. Gluten filled fast food. And I pay. My skin breaks out in blotches, I itch all over, there is bloating, lethargy, abdominal pain, and just feeling gross.

Candice Kingsboro, the best, biggest hearted woman I’ve ever known is dead because she didn’t take care of herself. She took care of everyone else. She had diabetes and got the flu.  For the unfamiliar; when a person with poor insulin regulation gets ill it becomes a huge problem because part of being ill means fluctuating blood sugars. She took some over the counter cold and flu medicine. Her blood sugar sky rocketed in her sleep and she never woke up. The lady who held me together when I found myself newly single. Whose mother I helped care for whose kids were like family. Who welcomed anyone who needed friendship but took no crap; is gone because she didn’t check her blood sugar. She was too tired.

Ladies we have to do better. No more motherless children because we failed to take care of ourselves.

Though I go on about her being gone, the memories of cooking with her hanging out and having fun are enduring. They lift my heart. Candy is and will always be with us. Now she will be with you too.


1 1/2 cups white rice

1 15 oz can of golden corn

1lb package of chorizo or 1 lb smoked sausage, make sure it’s gluten free*

30-32 oz water

2 packages sodium free sazon

low sodium adobo to taste

It is important to use no sodium and no sodium seasonings in this recipe as chorizo can be very salty.

Stove top preparation

I use a dutch oven ( 5 qt pot) when making this and i some times double it.

Slice the meat in to small disks. Slice the whole pound up in this manner, set aside.

pour the dry rice into your pot.

add the corn and water

add the Sazon

lastly add the sausage stir well

Turn the meat to medium cook for 15 minutes. don’t stir.

Turn down to low or medium low check to see if more water is needed, continue cooking until rice is tender.


Rice cooker preparation

Lately I have been making this in the rice cooker because my rice cooker is always on. If there isn’t rice available in this house dinner take twice as long.

Prepare meat as above

Add rice, corn, and water to rice pot. You may need more water depending on your rice cookers instructions.

Add seasonings. let the rice cooker cook for 10 minutes then add the meat.**

**You may need to microwave the meat for a bit before adding it to the rice cooker**

Now just add a veggie and you’re done. Dinner in 30 min flat.