Lilybeaner Does it All!

my thoughts, my reviews, my life

Comforting Chicken and Rice Soup

chicken soup

Yield: 6 servings


  • 3/4 cup basmati rice, rinsed
  • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup diced leek (white and green part only)
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 3 cups diced carrot
  • 2 cups diced parsnip
  • 8 cups Master Chicken Stock
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
  • 3 cups shredded cooked chicken
  • 2 Tbsp chopped parsley
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tst pepper


  1. Combine 1 1/4 cups water and rice in a small pot over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, turn heat to low, cover and cook for 15 min or until rice is cooked. Remove from burner.
  2. Heat butter and oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion, leek and celery and saute for 4 min or until softened. Add carrot and parsnip and saute for 4 min or until beginning to soften. Add chicken stock and thyme and bring to a boil.
  3. Simmer 15 min or until vegetables are tender. Add chicken, cooked rice and parsley. Season with sale and pepper, and simmer 2 min longer.

Source: Today’s Parent Magazine


Mater Chicken Stock ~ Recipe

chicken stock

Yields: about 12 cups stock


  • 3 lb chicken backs, wings or a whole chicken
  • 4L cold water
  • 2 onions, unpeeled, quartered
  • 2 carrots, cut into chunks
  • 1 stick celery, cut into chunks
  • 1 leek top (or 3 green onions)
  • 2 large sprigs parsley
  • 1/2 tsp black peppercorns


  1. Combine chicken, water, onion, carrot, celery, leek, parsley, and peppercorns in a large pot over high heat.
  2. Bring to a boil, then turn heat to low and simmer gently for 3 hours (or in a large slow cooker on high for 4 hours), until stock is flavourful, Skim any foam that forms. Strain, discarding solids.
  3. Chill, then skim any fat that solidifies on the top. Continue on with any recipe requiring sotck, or freeze in portions to use another day.


If using a whole chicken, remove carcass after 45 min to 1 hour of cooking on the stove (3 hours on low in slow cooker) or when meat has cooked through. Let cool enough to handle. Remove meat you wish to eat and return bones to pot to simmer for another 2 hours and 15 minutes or until stock is flavourful.

Source: Today’s Parent Magazine

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Staples Canada Back to School Deals


It’s almost back to school time and there are many deals to be had. Whether you have children in school, children too young too attend school, or no children at all, back to school is a great time to stock up on any stationary supplies you may need throughout the next year. This is a great way to avoid having to pay full price for any of these items later in the year.

Although we still have 2 years before Nicole is off to kindergarten, I still decided to stop in to our local Staples Canada to see what deals we could find on supplies. We were able to find some great deals, and also splurged on a few items as well. The total we spent on our Staples Canada school supply trip was $35.15 which included all of the following:

6 x 150 sheets Staples lined paper @ $0.10 each
5 x 4 pack of 32 page exercise books @ $0.20 each
11 x duo tang covers @ $0.05 each
6 x 24 pack Crayola crayons @ $0.25 each
3 x 24 pack Crayola pencil crayons with pencil sharpener @ $0.94 each
1 x 10 pack Wopex Eco pencils with eraser @ $3.99
1 x 8 pack Crayola dry erase pencil crayons with sharpener @ $3.92
1 x 12 pack Bic softfeel retractable blue pens @ $4.00
2 x Elmer’s washable glue stick @ $2.16 each
2 x Elmer’s washable school glue @ $0.99 each
3 x Enduraglide fine tipped white board markers @ $1.89 each

This year, I picked up supplies to start on some preschool skills for Nicole. I will be using the duo tang covers and lined paper to start some tracing activity books including, upper and lower case letters, numbers, and basic words. Once she gets the hang of tracing, the duo tangs can be repurposed into activity books for Nicole to do the same activities freehand.

I may do another school supply run just before school is about to start, to see if there are any other items I can stock up on for the coming year.

What great deals were you able to find this year?

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Book Review: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (Oz, #1)The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

One of my all time favourites. I do love the original over any of the shorter versions of the story. So many details and a great read for all ages.

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Book Review: Blood Prophecy Two

Blood Prophecy Two: : Queen's EnemyBlood Prophecy Two: : Queen’s Enemy by Barb Jones

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book from Goodreads First Reads.

I must admit this is a very difficult read. Not because of the writing but because it jumps around so often. Chapters are broken down into 1 or 2 page segments that jump between many different characters and eras within the same chapter. In some of the sections you get the viewpoint of more than one character which can make it very difficult to follow. Overall, the plot has potential, but to me it seems more of an outline to a book than a book on it’s own. Each of the segments within a book could potentially be their own chapter and each era could be a book in the series if developed correctly. This is not a series I will continue with and I will not be reading the first book in the series either if book 2 is any indication of the writing in the series.

****This book does contain some adult content****

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Book Review – Alphie the Baby Elephant

Alfie the Baby Elephant (Children's Books Collection)Alfie the Baby Elephant by Yael Aharoni

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I enjoyed the book. The book shows you that you do not all need to be the same to be friends and that sometimes the best friends are the unexpected ones.

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Book Review: Learn about Animals A to Z

Learn about Animals A to Z (Children's Books Collection)Learn about Animals A to Z by Yael Aharoni

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I enjoyed the facts that accompany each of the animals from A-Z. It’s nice to see that it is not only common animals. I think my daughter will enjoy this book very much.

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Geraldo the Giraffe (The Diaries of Robin’s Toys) by Ken and Angie Lake

Geraldo the Giraffe (The Diaries of Robin's Toys)Geraldo the Giraffe by Ken Lake

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I received a free copy of this book through goodreads first reads.

This is a great book for younger school aged children. It has a great message about bullying, friendship and being healthy. A book I will be getting my daughter to read when she gets a little bit older. Interested to see what the rest of Robin’s Toys have to say.

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Banana Nut Blueberry Oat Bread


I had some bananas that needed to be used up and it’s blueberry season so I decided to make some bread. Here is my recipe. Makes 2 loaves or 12 individual square loaves and 1 9×9 loaf.

3 1/4 cups flour
1 cup oats
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup pecans
1 1/2 cups blueberries
2 cups sugar
1 cup shortening
2 tsp vanilla
4 eggs
4 ripe bananas

In medium bowl, gently mix flour, salt, baking soda, oats, pecans and blueberries.
In a large bowl, cream shortening and sugar. Add vanilla and mix. Add eggs one at a time and mix well. Add bananas and mix well.
Add flour mixture to banana mixture. Mix until everything is moistened.
Pour into greased pans. Bake at 350F for 50 min or until toothpick comes clean. Bake for approx. 20 min for muffins or individual brownie pan.

Notes: substitute pecans for walnuts or another nut you prefer. Substitute blueberries for chopped strawberries or your favourite berry.
If your bananas are ripe enough there is no need to pre-mash them. The mixer or your spoon will do it for you when you are mixing them with the wet ingredients.


Unbeatable Chocolate Cupcakes

unbeatable chocolate cupcakes

Yield: 24

Kitchen time:  1 hour, 30 min

Total time: 3 hours



  1. Apply single layer of ganache over each cupcake.  Ice with buttercream.  If desired, garnish with chocolate curls


Source: Woman’s World magazine April 28, 2014 issue

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