Sooooo. Does it still count as an anniversary meal if you eat it two weeks before?
Because we did. I’m not sure. I think yes. You probably think no. But if there is one thing I’ve learned in four years of marriage, it’s that um… you should probably pick and choose your battles.
Almost four years ago today, err, okay – maybe four years plus one week ago today, I remember exactly where I was first thing in the morning. My husband walked into the room wrapped in two of these insanely fluffy towels that we had been gifted at our wedding shower, and well, for lack of a better word… I went apeshit.
I know. Towels, you ask? Yes… towels. I was already less than thrilled about moving into his serious bachelor pad that yesI’mnotkidding had framed pictures of WWF wrestlers hanging on the walls along with a whole slew of other collectibles that were way before my time, and the towels… well, the towels just made me lose my mind.
I knew that in a few weeks or months we would probably be moving to a new place, and I figured that we could save these gorgeous post-shower puffy clouds until then. So, you know… we’d use our NEW towels in our NEW place. It would just be fun! I mean, I had never bought nice towels before and I definitely was wary about using them in one of the scariest showers I’d ever seen along with some lovely mushed pea green carpet. They were just… so fluffy and soft. I figured they’d be perfect in a nice, bright, clean and female-dominant bathroom.
Welp. I guess I didn’t properly communicate my… ideas? Because when he walked into the room wrapped in those towels, I sort of hit the roof. In an OMG-I-can’t-believe-you-used-our-new-towels-you-seriously-don’t-even-love-me-and-how-can-I-realistically-cohabit-with-another-person-for-the-rest-of-my-life kind of way.
Yeah. Not crazy or anything. I can only imagine how thrilled he was that morning that he’d got himself into a mostly permanent situation. Lovely.
ANYWAY. Within 24 hours or less I came to my senses. It was a momentary lapse of sanity most likely brought on by the fact that I had just woken up a few minutes prior to a dresser covered in die cast cars to my left and a large and dusty stuffed turkey in front of me. Wouldn’t that make YOU crazy? Unless you’re like 14 years old and probably… a boy.
The thing is… he never used the nice towels again! I think I scarred the guy for life. And seriously, my flip out wasn’t THAT bad. It was more like ridiculous whiney tears. And to this day… he still won’t use the towels. He insists on using these super old towels that he bought years and years and years ago, and while I’m pretty sure it has nothing to do with my medusa moment and everything to do with his longtime grief of leaving his sweet man cave and having to live amongst flowered bedspreads and feminine products… it still drives me batty. So now, I constantly nag him for NOT using the towels.
Riddle me that.
In four years, that only scrapes the bottom of what has REALLY gone on is this relationship. While some are justified, most are just plain insane. A little over two years ago I could not for the LIFE of me figure out why he wasn’t talking to me one morning. And as I was shouting to him while he was in the shower, badgering the crap out of him as to WHY he could possibly be mad at me, he opened the door and screamed “can’t you just EVER turn the lights out in the garage? Like ever? I come home, they’re on. I wake up, they’re on. Why can’t you just TURN OUT THE LIGHTS?”
To which I immediately burst in to tears and wailed because I’m scared of the dark and there are bugs and most likely monsters in the basement!
That… is real life. In four years… even two years… heck, even ONE year, I can’t tell you how much we’ve grown and have learn to pick our battles and respect what makes each other tick. And now, when he asks for chicken for dinner, I don’t make chicken stuffed with peaches and bacon and goat cheese, covered in arugula and drizzled with garlic oil. Because clearly people, that isn’t “chicken.”
Instead I make chicken like this. Bowls of comfort, bowls that taste like home. This crockpot version is super easy with a few extra minutes taken to ensure everything is homemade. If you’re short on time, you can most likely use canned biscuits for the dumplings too. And then you can serve it as soup, or as I prefer… a big bowl of chicken and dumplings with just a little broth to float in. This… always wins a battle.
Crockpot Chicken and Dumplings
Yield: serves 4-6
Prep Time: 30 minuets
Cook Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 8.5 hours
1 sweet onion, diced
1 cup chopped carrots
2 garlic cloves, minced
2.5 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon flour
56 ounces low-sodium chicken stock
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup half and half
1 1/8 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup milk (whole, 2% or 1%)
In the bottom of your crockpot, layer onions, carrots and garlic. Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper then lay them on top.
Heat a small saucepan over medium heat and add butter. Once sizzling, whisk in flour and cook for 2-3 minutes to create a roux, until it's golden in color. Add in 2 cups of chicken stock and mix well, bringing to a boil. Cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring, then remove from heat and pour over the chicken and vegetables. Add remaining chicken stock, put the lid on and cook on low for 6 hours.
After 6 hours, turn the crockpot heat onto high. Using forks or kitchen tongs, lightly shred the chicken breasts. (This should be easy since they have cooked so long.) Stir half and half into the crockpot, then recover while you make the dumplings. In a bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and pepper. Crumble in butter with your fingers and rub into the flour until evenly dispersed and coarse crumbs form. Add in milk, stirring well just until a sticky dough forms. Use a tablespoon measure and add small scoops of the dough into the crockpot, starting by placing them around the outside first, then the inside. Cover and cook for another 1-1.5 hours, until dumplings are cooked but soft and not longer raw in the middle. Taste and season additionally if desired.
Yep. Totally counts.