09 September

St. Mary’s Chicken

September 12: Feast Day of the Most Holy Name of the Blessed Virgin Mary

In honor of Mother Mary, we have made a Stella Maris (Star of the Sea) and Mystical Rosette Ombre cakes in the past. Instead of something sweet, we tried something savory this time to cook on the Feast Day of the Most Holy Name of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

We found a recipe online called St. Mary’s Chicken created by nutritionist Scott Baptie who was doing his master’s degree in Applied Sports Nutrition at St. Mary’s University in Scotland at the time. It is a coincidence that his St. Mary’s University is the same name as the one where Islander’s brother had worked in Texas (when we lived in San Antonio, we made the Stella Maris and Mystical Rosette cakes for the students of his prayer group to celebrate this feast day). 

Mother Mary’s name is the inspiration for Mr. Baptie’s chicken recipe. It is very quick and easy to make, packed with protein and has a rich and tasty gravy. 

We adapted the original recipe and used bacon strips instead of lower fat bacon medallions because we could not find it at our grocery store. Thus, this dish is not as nutritious as the original but common bacon does add a nice flavor to the dish. Either way, this is a good savory recipe to make on any busy weeknight and on a Marian feast day like today!

Adapted from “High Protein Handbook” by Scott Baptie


  • 4-6 strips of bacon, chopped (the original uses lower fat bacon medallions)
  • 4 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless (we used chicken tenderloins)
  • ¾ cup chicken stock
  • ½ – 1 tablespoon whole grain mustard (we did not have this ingredient)
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Ground black pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • ½ cup crème fraiche
  • 1 ¼ tablespoon cornstarch
  • Fresh thyme sprigs (optional garnish)


In a skillet over medium high heat, fry up the chopped bacon. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towel to drain the grease. Optional step: In the same skillet, brown the chicken in the bacon grease to lock in the flavor. Transfer the chicken to a baking dish.

In a bowl or cup, mix the chicken stock with mustard, thyme leaves, garlic, pepper, honey, crème fraiche and cornstarch. 

Pour the sauce over the chicken and bacon. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce has thickened. Stir the gravy and serve the chicken on a plate with a garnish of fresh thyme sprigs (optional).


  • Check out Scott Baptie’s websites and social media for other free recipes online. He also authored several health cookbooks and developed exercise and training programs for fat and weight loss.
  • The original recipe calls from bacon medallions, which we did not have on hand. They are basically back bacon rashers trimmed of fat. If using bacon medallions, there is no need to fry it up. Just place it in the baking pan with the chicken, pour the sauce mixture over everything and bake. Super simple!

Pulut Hitam

(Black Glutinous Rice Dessert)

September: National Rice Month

Islander’s college study buddy, AAW, from Singapore, introduced her to an exotic dish from Southeast Asia: pulut hitam. This black glutinous rice dessert is simple, easy and affordable to make, especially for hungry out-of-state and international students like them who pay more than in-state tuition. Its dark hue (which is actually a deep purple) looks so dramatic when served with sliced colorful tropical fruits. Pulut hitam also makes for a curious conversation starter with those who are unfamiliar with this dessert. Offer them to taste it, just like AAW did to Islander during a study break, and they will feel like they have experienced something sweetly unique. Pulut hitam is an especially good recipe to make during National Rice Month.

(Adapted from AAW)


  • 1 cup black glutinous rice
  • 5 cups water
  • 1/3 – ½ cup sugar or to taste (white, turbinado, rock or palm sugar)
  • Canned coconut milk
  • Unsweetened coconut flakes


Rinse the rice several times until the water becomes lighter. In a covered metal or glass container, soak the rice in water overnight. Drain the water and rinse several times again. Boil 5 cups of water in a large pot. Carefully add the rice. Cover the pot and lower the heat to simmer, stirring occasionally. 

Half an hour later, stir in sugar. Cover and simmer for 15 more minutes. Stir and check that the rice has not stuck to the bottom of the pot or becomes burned. Cover and cook 15 more minutes. Most of the water will be evaporated but the rice will still be soupy. May be served warm or cold. To serve, ladle rice in dessert bowls. Spoon 2-3 tablespoons of coconut over the rice and stir lightly. Garnish with unsweetened coconut flakes.


  • Pulut hitam is of Malaysian origin but the dessert is popular in the region. It is known as bubur ketan in Indonesian and bee ko moy in Hokkien.
  • Search our blog for more rice recipes.

Cocada Amarela

(Angola Coconut Dessert)

September 2: World Coconut Day

We go nuts for coconuts, especially since Islander grew up eating a lot of it in Hawaii. The tropical fruit is grown in warm climates around the world and it has made its way into African recipes as well, such as cocada amarela. This shredded coconut dessert from Angola was influenced by the cuisine of Portugal. Cocada amarela blends the best of both countries, making this a sweet treat and global goody on World Coconut Day!


(Adapted from Whats4Eats)


  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cloves
  • 2 cups coconut, unsweetened, grated
  • 6 egg yolks, beaten
  • Salt, pinch
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)


In a large pot, boil together the water, sugar and cloves. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for another 15-20 minutes until it becomes like a syrup (or the temperature reaches 230 degrees F on a candy thermometer).

Remove from heat and discard the cloves. Reduce to low heat. Stir in the coconut, being careful not to burn the bottom of the pan. In a small bowl, beat the egg yolks with a pinch of salt.

Add a spoonful of the hot coconut mixture into the egg yolk to temper it. Gradually add the rest of the beaten egg yolks and coat it until the dessert turns yellow.

Return everything to the pot and cook over very low heat for another five minutes, stirring constantly so the yolks do not curdle. Scoop into dessert plates and sprinkle with ground cinnamon (optional).


  • Search our blog for other recipes containing coconut.

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