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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Dinner in all her glory....

I have been experimenting with recipes for quite a few years but have gotten more diligent with it in the past couple of years. In the whole spirit of Keeping my Home and taking care of my family, I have seen more and more that nourishing my family is a huge responsibility that we, as mother's have been given by God (Proverbs 31). It should be looked at, as such. I recently watched the documentary, The Family Meal Table by Nancy Campbell of Above Rubies, and it just confirmed what I had already thought but to a greater degree. Oh, and Gloria, I will be ordering the manual sometime soon. I thought I would share a staple on our menu with you today.

This post all started with my girls going to Cracker Barrel with their grandmother this past weekend and afterwards my oldest daughter called to tell me that their Chicken and Dumplings could not touch mine. Now let me tell you, here in the South, Cracker Barrel is quite the connoisseur of Southern cuisine. So needless to say this was quite the compliment.

It all starts with opening this: I started this conglomeration of our family favorites a few years ago. I hope to pass it on to the coming generations. I thaw one of these the night before. I hope one day to have all free range, pasture fed, chickens, that we raise ourselves with no hormones or antibiotics but until then, this will suffice.

I boil this little guy for about 1 and 1/2 with chopped carrots, onion, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Usually until he falls apart.

After the chicken is done, I put the chicken in a bowl to cool. Then I strain the broth through a colander lined with an old almost see through (clean) dish towel. You can also use cheese cloth. After the chicken is cooled I debone it and shred the meat. The meat from this one chicken made chicken and dumplings last night and will make chicken and dressing tonight (my trial run). This process makes about 8-10 cups of shredded chicken and 16 cups of broth. Here is the broth.

I then make my dough, roll it out to about 1/8 inch thick and cut it into little squares.

I bring 8 cups of broth to a boil and boil a portion of the dumplings at a time. I put them in a bowl to the side while cooking the rest.

I melt the butter for the dumpling sauce in a cast iron skillet.

This is the final product. A plate full of chicken and dumplings with glazed carrots and green beans on the side.Here is the recipe:
Chicken and Dumplings
2 c. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
4 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 tsp. baking powder
1 c. whole milk ( I used 2%)
Mix above ingredients. Knead 4 or 5 times. I divide the dough into 4 parts and roll out to 1/8 inch thick on a floured surface. I cut this into little squares and boil for about 3 minutes in 8 cups of chicken broth. I cook them 1 portion at a time. Putting each portion in a bowl to the side, at a time.
While the dumplings are cooking you can start the sauce:
Dumpling Sauce
3 Tbsp. butter
1/4 tsp. salt
4 Tbsp. flour
1 c. whole milk
1 -2 c. chicken broth
Place butter in pan and melt add salt and flour, stir until thick (like making gravy). Mix in milk. I put this to the side until my dumplings are finished. Then I pour out that broth I boiled the dumplings in and add the 1-2 c.(depending on how thick you want your chicken and dumplings) of broth and gravy mixture to this same sauce pan or dutch oven that I had previously cooked the dumplings in (saves on clean up). I then add my dumplings back in and about 4 cups of shredded chicken. I also add salt and pepper to taste periodically. I let this all simmer for about 20-30 minutes and it is done.
This is not an easy recipe but it is sooo good.

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

So much to say and so little time to say it.....

Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1

Good Morning, friends.

I want to start out telling you about our Veteran's Day. My husband, of course, is a veteran. He was in the first Gulf War in 1990-1991 and then he served 18 months in 2004-2005 of this Iraqi Freedom war. Now he is scheduled to go back in May or July of 2009. However, he had the privilege of doing the color guard at the unveiling of a monument for this man Colonel Van T. Barfoot yesterday. Colonel Barfoot received the Congressional Medal of Honor for his heroism during WWII. He not only battled hard and saved his regiment but he also saved lives of his soldiers. When he got up to except the monument, he said I didn't do anything, nothing more than any of you would do. I know for a fact that is not true. They just don't make them like this man any more. He is the only living recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor in Mississippi and one of only 98 in the nation. They are a dwindling breed.

You can watch a clip of the ceremony here, if you are interested:

Well, instead of working on this place and making it more homey.......

We have been working on putting this in the woods.

This is one of the shooting houses that my honey and children have been working on. It's a 6 X 6 monster. We had to load it onto a trailer and drive it at 10 MPH and set it out in the woods. I was floored at how smoothly the whole process went. Deer Season opens up Saturday for my crew. They are so excited.

My honey used the scrap lumber that he got from tearing down this old smoke house to build his newest shooting house. I just love that old rusty tin and now want him to find more to go on the side of my garden shed. I think that rust patina is so beautiful.

This has been the other project. We got my garden spot all disked up. It will measure about 50X30. So, Lord willing, this spring I will have about 1500 sq. ft. of glorious garden. We just finished the last jar of homemade pickles that I put up 2 years ago and I am truly anticipating next years bounty.

This is my little mini 5X5 garden that I have now. Of which, I am very thankful for it. It holds some lettuce, cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower. It is growing strong and I am so excited. We have eaten some lettuce and it was scrumptious. We have little baby broccoli on the stems, so they shouldn't be too much longer.

This one just blows my mind. We have had at least two frosty cold snaps here in Central Mississippi but these beauties are still going strong. I hope to move them this winter when they go dormant to a nice sunny spot. I can't imagine what they will do with a little more sun.

And then of course, I have to add in my clown children pictures. Don't you just love this ensemble? You've got the typical Carhart jacket with shorts and crocs. Is there any other way to dress in Mississippi? It just cracks me up what these kids will go out in.

I just had to share this one with you. My daughter, last year around Resurrection Sunday time, found this little guy. We were at a Seed and Feed store where we get our chickens every year. They had this little guy and he was very sickly with only one eye. The lady said if you can nurse him back to health take him. So my daughter did and we got some medicine for his eye. (our vet loves us) She really nursed him to good health for months and he is now a 25lb. big boy. He still only has the one eye because, it was just too far infected when we got him, but he gets around perfect. I thought this picture of him sleeping half out of his box really depicts his very lazy, happy life.
In closing this post out, I want to share what my family has been studying and looking at. We have been looking for a church home here for over a year and it has been tough to say the least. We are a little different in the aspect that we don't want to do things because the "church building" has done it that way for 100 years. We wont to see it in the Word of God and then do it. Here are a couple of verses that we have just found that are so prophetic:
"Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men." He was also saying to them, " You are experts at setting aside the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition. Mark 7:8-9
That sounds so familiar to me. So many things we do in church on Sunday morning are just traditions of men.
I also want to share this clip. This guy is so powerful.
I could not get the clip to embed so here is the URL.
I hope you all have a great day.

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