Cooking

Taco Soup, and Welcoming Spring–maybe?

Finally! I have a Friday Morning free to type up a post. It seems as thought Spring has finally come to Central New York! I think farther upstate there is still some light snow, but it seems like the flowers can finally peek out from their hiding spots under the dead leaves.  I’ve seen quite a few robins over the past week, even with all the rain we’ve had over the past week.

Just before I went on vacation I was given a recipe for a delicious soup called Chicken Taco Soup – super healthy and full of protein! After coming home from vacation I remade the soup and left out of the chicken to see what the difference would be – I actually prefer it that way!

I’m a bit of an tea lover. An addict.  I could easily drink it constantly throughout the day.  I know I’ve discussed my addiction to Chai.  Be Proud readers! I’ve weaned myself to only ordering a small when I go to First Cup now! My other love is Green Tea, especially the SuperFruit one from Good Earth. My favorite tea however is usually from Loose Leaf tea.  I adore Teavana for their tea.  It’s been a while since I’ve ventured in so I was beyond ready to stock up today.  Peachberry Jasmine Green Tea, Superfruit Unity Green Tea, Pomegranate Cranberry Herbal Tea and I even got a free Jade Dragon Mao Feng blend because I’d bought so much.  Qualified for 10% off and had my lovely little $10 coupon and I got at least a years worth of tea for just under $45.

On to the recipe, I forgot to snap a picture of this.  But trust me, it’s better that way.  You might end up with your face plastered to the screen and hunger pangs in your tummy.
Taco Soup for the Crock Pot!

Cooking

Comfort

Whether it’s snuggling in a comforter, wearing your favorite sweater and worn in pair of jeans, or just eating a bowl of warm homemade food everybody at some point craves comfort.  Lately here in Upstate New York, the weather has been cold, damp and miserable.  Don’t get me wrong, for a couple hours every other day there’s been some sun but since the beginning of May it’s been grey and rainy just about every day.

Sydney, my loving but huge Chesapeake Bay Retriever

Now, I’m pretty lucky – I have a giant beast of a dog who loves nothing more than curling up next to me on my bed and creating a nice heating pad.  However some days, even my Sydney is not enough to keep the chill out of my bones.  This past week I’ve experimented with a couple recipes that are perfect for those days when you just want to feel warm and cozy.

First Up:
Chicken and Dumplings from the Pioneer Woman who adapted this amazing recipe from Gourmet Magazine.  I altered two things with this recipe.  I didn’t use a whole chopped chicken – though if doubling the recipe I might just to save money – I used boneless skinless chicken breasts, sliced thin.  I also added 1/2 teaspoon of tarragon – it gives it a new depth of flavor.  I adore tarragon and chicken.    My dumplings didn’t come out so much like big round dumplings but little bits here and there – which I actually prefer.  I also added a whole cup of Heavy Cream so my outcome was much thicker.  This dish served over mashed potatoes or even just by itself is delicious and I cannot recommend it enough!

Second Dish:
Chicken Pot Pie Biscuits These are amazing little pockets of deliciousness.  I wasn’t sure how they’d turn out but I can’t wait to make these again! I eyeballed the amount of pearl onions and again added tarragon.  The biscuits I used were the flakey kind, I might try buttermilk biscuits next time and see if there’s any big difference.  I ended up with way more filling after only using one package of 8 biscuits so I might suggest trying two for a total of 16 and just going a little easy on the filling.

Today I’ll be making two batches of Wookiee Cookies for an upcoming trip to Boston, MA next week.  I’m trying one batch using Crisco Baking sticks – butter flavor and one batch using unsalted butter.  Hopefully I don’t eat too many of those after they come out of the oven!  I found the recipe in a Star Wars Cookbook but it can be found online here.  They are almost like a combination of a snickerdoodle and a chocolate chip cookie with two different types of chips.

Last week we had almost 5 straight days of constant rain, so it’s amazing out now that we finally get some sun.  All the trees and fields are this deep shade of green and the air smells fresh and crisp.  While it’s a little annoying to have to deal with the April Showers as late as May it’s nice to finally wash away the stale air of winter.

~Nem