I’ve spent a lot of time living on my own…since I love food (I’m sure you’re surprised) I’ve had to figure out how to make my favorites in smaller servings. One of the first things I made when I moved into my first apartment was chicken and dumplings. It’s one of my favorites and it’s so incredibly easy!
Side note : I blame my brother for this random craving…He requested chicken and dumplings for Christmas dinner. His request was promptly vetoed by our mother.
I should probably call this chicken broth and dumplings…because there is no chicken involved. You could easily add in some leftover or canned chicken if you want, I just don’t like chunks of chicken floating in my soup.
For the soup, I use canned chicken broth if I have it. If not, water and a couple of chicken bullion cubes will work just fine. So you want to get some liquid cooking on the stove while you cut up a few baby carrots, some celery and some onion. I also like to add garlic and onion powder, a little black pepper and sometimes a little cajun seasoning. You can put whatever you like in the broth… Sometimes I like to add a little frozen corn or green beans…I’ve put broccoli in it… I tend to just throw stuff in when I cook.
For the dumplings, I mixed up about 3/4 cup flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, about a teaspoon of salt, and some parsley with about a teaspoon of butter. Once I had it all combined (it’ll look a little crumbly) I mixed in enough milk to get it to a doughy consistency.
When your soup is boiling, drop the dumplings in using a teaspoon. Reduce the heat, cover and let simmer for about 15 minutes or so. Be careful that it doesn’t boil over! I usually end up pouring some of the liquid into the soup bowl I’m going to use while the dumplings cook so I don’t have a huge mess. A cup full or so will probably work, just make sure there’s enough liquid left in the pot for the dumplings to float in.
So after about 15 minutes of prep and 15 minutes of cooking you end up with this:
Ok, this isn’t the prettiest picture in the world, but it’s not like this is a pretty food.
In other news, for my Christmas present The Boyfriend took me to the Colts Vs. Titans game yesterday:
I’m still smiling like an idiot due to the fact that
a. I got to be there for the first Colts win this season.
b. I watched my boy Angerer have an awesome game.
c. I was there for Donald Brown’s awesome touchdown run.
My boyfriend is seriously the best guy ever. Today my throat hurts and The BF probably can’t hear out of his right ear (there might have been a lot of screaming) but it was worth it.
Every year around this time, I suddenly realize that, OH! Christmas is coming! I really don’t know how it sneaks up on my like this because it’s kind of on the same date every single year. Still, time gets away from me and suddenly I’m driving myself crazy trying to figure out the perfect presents for people I love.
It’s like trying to buy someone a birthday present times 100.
This year, I had a genius idea. I adore StumbleUpon…why not let it come up with Christmas ideas for me? I set it to stumble through the shopping category and, lo and behold I got some fantastic ideas. If you haven’t tried it yet, please do. It’s free to sign up and it might just save you some frustration.
If you don’t so much dig the StumbleUpon idea, here are some websites I love for Christmas present ideas that a hundred other people didn’t think of:
Think Geek (For the nerd in your life)
Perpetual Kid (Probably the best stocking stuffers on the web)
Joseph Joseph (Seriously cool kitchen stuff)
6 Dollar Shirts (Hilarious shirts for 6.00 each!)
Red Envelope (Thoughtful but a little more expensive gifts)
Diamond Candles (Super cool idea…a ring in every candle)
Sur la Table (Full of cooking stuff and gourmet foods)
I’m asking for Amazon gift cards this year… I desperately need a Kindle Fire and I’m hoping that I’ll get enough gift cards to make the 200.00 price tag a little more reasonable for my budget (which is practically nothing…).
If you’re more of the hands-on crafty type, you can always make presents… I’ve also used StumbleUpon to look for things I can make myself. I’ve found a couple of ideas that are pretty awesome. I really want to share those links with you but there are certain people that may be reading this and I don’t want to give anything away.
One thing I love to do around this time of year is make toffee and assorted cookies. That way, if I find myself going to a Christmas party I can put them in a pretty box or bag for a nice little hostess gift. That sort of thing works well for just about any kind of holiday get-together.
Did I miss any great Christmas gift ideas? Did you find something awesome by following one of the links above? Let me know how your Christmas shopping is coming along in the comments. I love hearing from my readers!
Earlier today I was trying to have a nice conversation on the phone when Rooty started going all apeshit. I opened the front door, intending to let him out so he could go bark at a cat or squirrel, and staring at me through the screen door was this random black lab. Of course Rooty was freaking the hell out trying to attack this dog through the door so I had to close it and try to calm him down. Eventually he did, so when he acted like he wanted to go out again I looked around and, not seeing the other dog, let him out on his rope. I went outside with him, just in case, and thank God I did. Black dog comes out of nowhere, looking all dopey and wagging his tail like “Gee, I want to make a new friend” but Rooty was like “WHAT THE HELL IS THAT THING DOING IN MY YARD?!” The next thing I know, I’m hanging up on my friend and throwing myself in between the two dogs because Rooty thinks he’s going to be Billy Badass and kick the ever-loving shit out of the other for having the nerve to pee on things he’s clearly already marked as his.
Rooty is territorial as hell.
So in my pajamas, fuzzy socks and flip flops I was trying to get a hold of my dog and keep a much larger dog away, cursing violently and loudly the whole time while Rooty’s rope kept getting wound around my ankles.
Because, you know, I woke up this morning thinking I’d like to have a Jerry Springer (pet special!) -worthy white trash episode in my mom and dad’s front yard.
Anyway, I managed to wrangle Rooty away from Black Dog and successfully get him into the house but (of course) he had somehow managed to get poop smeared down his side. I made the mistake of saying the word bath so I spent the next 15-20 minutes trying to get him into the bathroom before he got poop all over the house or on me. See, Rooty hates baths and as soon as he think he might get one he sneaks away to hide. I had to trick him by opening the front door and acting like he was going to go outside. Once he was within reach I scooped him up and hauled him into the bathroom.
I outsmarted a Jack Russel Terrier and I’m proud of it.
Once I had Rooty bathed I was ready to sit down and relax. I looked outside just in time to see that damn black dog tearing apart a trash bag at the end of the driveway. Fantastic.
If the episode with the dog fight wasn’t enough to make my mom and dad’s neighbors think I’m crazy, me walking down the front yard in my pajamas (but this time with sneakers on) carrying a trash bag and cursing under my breath probably did the job. And if it weren’t bad enough that I had to go pick trash out of the ditch, I stepped in a giant steaming pile of fresh poop the black dog was kind enough to leave for me.
That dog is still hanging around here, leaving occasionally to terrorize other yards but always coming back. I haven’t been able to let Rooty out in quite some time…so I finally had to do something about the situation.
I called animal control…The guy on the phone was super nice and after taking down the address and a description of the dog he assured me they’d try to get out here tonight but they close at 5:00.
Well it’s now 5:10 and they haven’t been out here yet. Mr. Rooty’s going to need to go outside eventually and that dog seems hell bent on making friends, so it looks like I might get to throw myself into the middle of another dog fight before this day is over.
We ended up with approximately a ton of apples somehow and, as much as we all enjoy them, we couldn’t possibly eat them all before they went bad.
I made apple cake today. Problem solved!
I should mention that baking while watching football could be a little messy… There were a couple of times that a cup full of flour almost went flying through the air but I somehow managed to keep the mess to a minimum.
The recipe I used was given to my mom a while ago. I don’t know who Darlene is, but her name is on the top of the recipe. Thank you Darlene, wherever you are, because this is a damn good apple cake.
For the cake, you need:
3 tbsp butter
1 c sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 c flour
3 c diced apples
1/4 c nuts (I used chopped walnuts)
1 tsp vanilla
Preheat your oven to 350. Cream together butter, sugar and egg. Add cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, soda and flour to the creamed mixture. Add in apples, nuts and vanilla. Pour into a pan (I greased mine with a little Baker’s Secret but I don’t know that it’s necessary) and bake for 40 minutes.
Once the cake is out of the oven make the topping:
1 c brown sugar
1 c water
1 stick margarine
2 tbsp flour
1 tsp vanilla
Put brown sugar, flour, margarine and water in a saucepan. Cook and stir until thickened, then add the vanilla and pour over the cake.
It may be necessary at some point to chase your mother away from the topping…
Luckily she waited ’til I had already poured it over the cake before she started getting all grabby.
The recipe makes a LOT of topping…I kind of wish I halved it because it’s extremely sweet. Depending on your taste you might want to make less topping. Or more. Do whatever feels right to you.
Now I know what you’re thinking…that picture is missing something. Well, you’re right. This would be delicious warm with vanilla ice cream but guess what…We still have no ice cream.
I don’t know how I live in these conditions.
Still, that’s a damn good apple cake.
Rooty has a lot of toys… Most of them are actually pieces of toys now, long ago demolished and forgotten. He always gets new toys for Christmas but those tend to get shredded before the day is over. Lucky for us, we don’t have to worry about going out and buying him expensive toys to keep him entertained.
He loves plastic bottles. Or maybe he actually hates them…either way, he loves to destroy them.
Once he finally got a hold of that Sprite bottle he carried it around for a little while, stopping occasionally to attack it and let it know who was boss. Once he gets the cap and plastic ring off he pretty much considers it dead.
Maybe Rooty is a bit of an environmentalist…recycling plastic bottles into toys because he cares about the polar bears.
I don’t know what his motives are.
On a completely unrelated note…
I was at a Chinese restaurant for lunch one day (back when I was employed). The sweet lady that ran the place brought a takeout box to another customer, then said “Would you rike a parastaric bag?”
I think of that whenever I hear the word plastic.
So last night I had a sudden desire for some kind of snack… I really wanted some of the pumpkin roll The Boyfriend gave me a piece of a few nights ago but I didn’t feel like driving to his house. I figured I had everything to make a chocolate mug cake, though, so I set to mixing one up.
Here’s a recipe for one, if you want to make one for yourself.
So I got the flour, sugar and egg mixed up and realized I had no cocoa. For real. It was too late to turn back, so I improvised and threw chocolate chips in.
Uh, not the same.
All of the chocolate chips settled at the bottom and left a layer of dense, spongy (not in a good way) cake on top. Nothing a little ice cream wouldn’t fix, right?
But there wasn’t any ice cream.
So I had chocolate chips and marshmallows… I melted a little butter and stirred in the marshmallows and chocolate chips and ended up with a pretty good chocolate saucy-type stuff. It made the cake edible.
This evening, I once again decided I wanted a snack. While digging through the pantry I noticed some Nesquick…Which would have been helpful last night. Also? I found some Cool Whip hiding in the fridge.
I was tempted to give the ol’ mug cake another go but laziness won.
It’s Friday night and I’m sitting on the couch eating Cool Whip out of the container.
No, I don’t own a cat…why do you ask?