Boiled Chicken {and other lessons in life}

I have to laugh when people assume I’ve always known how to cook. Or that I really enjoy it. I’m not sure it’s appropriate to snicker when a well meaning mama says , “I wish I enjoyed cooking like you!”… or even better when I say something about making something from scratch and a friend rolls their eyes jokingly and says ” Of course you do!”

Oh dear friends, if you only knew.

If.you.only.knew.

You see, as much as I love my mother and my Didit { that’s my Grandma. When I was little my mom was jealous of my affection for my grandma, and being the feisty chicks they are, my mother thought it funny that every time I got hurt or something, she would say ‘Grandma made you do it, Grandma did it’ . Alas, Didit stuck and that’s been the only name she’s gone by for me since childhood. Anyhoo…as I was saying…}

As much as I love them, they weren’t exactly cook-from-scratch types. My beloved childhood memory of my Didit’s cooking involves those little red boxes of Lipton’s little noodle soup served straight from the microwave in clear brown mugs. My mom’s specialties were ham hock and beans and deep fried burritos. Apart from that I grew up on white bread, frozen pizza and the like.

So when I got married to my hunk of a hubby at the tender-but-not-always-smart age of 19, I was determined we were going to eat ‘healthier’.  I was working at a health club and figured it couldn’t be that hard to cook healthily.

Bring on the boiled chicken.

You all, my husband is a saint. If we were Catholic I’d write to the Pope to make it all official -like.  I proudly served up every night of the week, a frozen chicken breast that had been boiled in water. You know how they get all gelatinousy and the fat bubbles? ewww. That’s what I served him. But wait…it gets better.

Some kind soul had gifted us a spice assortment for our wedding. So after I removed the boiled frozen chicken breast from the pot, I would pick up a random herb, from which I didn’t know the difference between coriander or rosemary or anise, and I’d generously season those bad boys with dry spices or herbs. That’s it. Wa-la.

Serve that baby up with some ultra healthy rice a roni { gag} and a can of corn and I was the goddess of domesticity.

You can all pause right here to laugh heartily or cry for my dear husband as you imagine sinking your teeth into a previously frozen boiled chicken breast, sans even butter, generously doused with dried basil chunks.

Sweet baby Jesus.

I finally added enchiladas {made with…you guessed it! Boiled shredded chicken} and the hubs started asking for them every single night. I thought I must have been one amazing enchilada chef. Then it slowly dawned on me that maybe the enchiladas actually had some flavor. It was simply a respite from the daily bland meals I put before him. From that year on, I ever so slowly learned. I added recipes to my repitoire. I learned what words like roux  and chiffonade and dredge meant. I departed from the recipes and made them my own. I experimented, I burned, I had one particular creation that my husband said only someone smoking pot might consider. But overall I grew as a cook. It didn’t happen quickly or without flops. I still don’t claim to be a phenomenal cook, but these days the husband just might. I have my shining moments.

Now let me tell you secret.

I still don’t love to cook. I have my days when I am anxious to experiment or make some great feast. But do I love cooking? No, I don’t.

What I do love is honoring the man I love who works his tail off for our family. I love him satisfied from something I created with my own two hands. I like to nourish the bodies of these 4 kiddos my Saviour entrusted to my care. I also love to eat good food *eh hm*

All that said to remind you, we are all on a journey. I have soooooo much still to learn. I still despise baking cakes and making pie crust from scratch.  I am not doing all the things, let alone doing them all well.  I am honored when people ask for recipes or home remedies { I still love herbs, but now I actually know what they are. And I figured out my hubby hates basil. Oops.} Yes, I homeschool and can point you to cool history books etc, but I stink at science experiments and if I’m reading good book I will make it a light day.  We’re embarking on this homesteading thing with pretty much zero knowledge but big dreams. My point is this…we all start somewhere. We all have gifts. Don’t compare yours to mine or anyone’s!  Just figure out what area you want to grow in and start! Baby steps.

Step 1: No more boiled chicken.

Blessings,

Mandy

Easy Crock Pot Applesauce…

A few friends asked me last year how I make applesauce.

It’s so easy, I felt a little ridiculous telling them.

A new friend here in Idaho shared her apple bounty with me and I whipped up a batch.

It’s SO easy.

#1}  Get a crock pot.

#2}  take some apples {preferably organic, and I’ve used whatever kinds I can get my hands on!}, peel them mostly and roughly chop.  You may need to cut out/around wormholes, don’t let that scare you!  It’s still good!

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check out these gorgeous, HUGE, unsprayed apples!

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I am NOT good at uniform chopping.

3#} toss them in the crock pot with enough water to cover about an inch or so on the bottom.   Sprinkle with cinnamon.

This is the brand I like, I order from Amazon.  Make sure to get organic as nonorganic is often irradiated!  And I use Ceylon, rather than your run of the mill Cassia.  You can read more about why Here .oct.2015 001

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If your apples are super tart, or just kind of blah, you can add a bit of maple syrup and vanilla at this point.  I usually don’t, but every once in awhile I get a fairly tasteless batch of apples and it is better with the additions.   I didn’t do it this time.

#4} cover and slow cook on low for a few hours.

#5} get a potato masher and mash up the apples to your liking {I like chunky applesauce}

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#6} Let cook down for another hour or so.

#7}  You’re done!  Just get a bowl and eat up!  Yum!

Blessings,

Mandy