I have a confession. I’m scared of storms. Scared really isn’t the right term. Terrified might be the right word. I don’t remember a time in my life when the sound of thunder and sight of lightning did not accelerate my heart rate and send me running for the closest basement. I’ve tried to figure out how I arrived at this particular point of crazy but I can’t find any answers. My parents claim I was just born this way. (But these are also the same people who didn’t bother to give me a middle name so they may have very well left me outside alone during a storm but never wanted to admit it… just kidding mom.)
I always assumed that as I grew older my fear would subside and I could look back on my youth and laugh at how silly I had been to love the Weather Channel so much. Unfortunately, I’m still scared and I have accepted that isn’t going to change. So I arm myself with knowledge and the latest technology.
If there is even a hint of a storm watch or heaven forbid, a TORNADO watch, I’m all over the situation. I will know not only what is supposed to happen but when it is supposed to happen. I study TORCON values (look it up under Dr. Greg Forbes, you can thank me later) and I am never excited about a 70 degree day in January.
When I moved to this section of Kentucky I had heard about the tornado outbreak of 1974. I knew that it blew away Stephen’s grandparent’s home as they were going to their basement. Stephen’s dad showed me newspaper clippings for heavens sake!! (He had no idea at the time who he was dealing with). When we were looking for our own house I was pretty clear: if it doesn’t have a basement then we don’t need to see it. I always have a plan and my next door neighbors know (or are finding out while reading this) that I WILL call in the middle of the night if there is an actual tornado and tell them to get their butts over here because that “interior room” stuff just isn’t going to cut it.
Today I downloaded a weather radio app to my phone. My poor husband looked at me with a mix of humor and pity when I told him. His rule is “Don’t wake me up unless there is an actual tornado warning for our section of the county.” One night that happened so I tried to drag him out of bed. Apparently he has an addendum to that rule: “When I hear the patio furniture go across the back porch, I’ll join you in the basement.” I love this man and I will carry his children downstairs, but he is on his own.
Maybe this testimonial will help someone in need tonight. Maybe someone will read this and think, “You know, I’m not alone. There are other weather freaks out there!” Maybe this will lead to a huge surge in apps sold by NOAA weather radio.
I’m not apologizing for my brand of crazy. I’m just making it public. Now excuse me while I study the latest forecast.
Do you have a favorite food? Something that you can taste just by thinking about it? A dish that not only makes your stomach happy, but also your heart? This is how I feel about chicken and dumplings. I’m not ashamed either. Just wanted to get that out of the way. People have very strong opinions about how they like their dumplings and I’m no exception. It took many years for me to build up the courage to actually make this most delightful meal because my mom’s were so good. I knew how they should taste and I was pretty sure the only person who could do that was located in Hindman, KY. However, about a year ago I found a fabulous recipe that you can view here: http://eatathomecooks.com/2009/07/homemade-chicken-and-dumplings-its-easy-really.html
These are not exactly like my mom’s chicken and dumplings but they are very close and extremely delicious. Most importantly, this recipe is reasonable in terms of time and cooking ability. I took these instructions and a few tricks I learned from dear mother and came up with the following recipe. (Sorry, no pictures. I’m no Pioneer Woman. I can barely find time to blog much less take pictures, but maybe someday…)
Chicken N Dumplins’ (This is how it really sounds when I say it.)
- 2-3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cooked and diced or shredded
- 8 cups of chicken broth (2 boxes of broth)
- 2 cups of all purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons of butter, slightly softened to room temp or microwave for 15 seconds (Please use the real thing. Trust me on this one.)
- 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- Dash of salt
- Slightly less than 1 cup of buttermilk
Combine the flour, salt, and baking powder in a large bowl. Cut in the butter with your (very clean) hand. Just get in there and mash that butter right into the flour until it is slightly crumbly.
Stir in the buttermilk with a fork just until the dough forms a ball.
Turn the dough out onto a heavily floured work surface and roll out with a rolling pin until the dough is thin. Use a pizza cutter to cut the dough into squares about 2’’x2’’. They don’t need to match exactly but aim for a consistent thickness.
Pour broth into large pot and turn burner to high/medium high. Pick up dumplings with floured hands and layer on a plate. Just keep using flour to keep them from sticking to one another.
When the broth begins to boil, drop dumplings in one at a time. You will need to do this quickly and make sure each is dropped into an “empty” spot. Get someone to help you the first time. When all the dumplings are in the broth, turn heat down a bit but make sure it is still boiling. Cover and cook for 12 minutes. Add chicken and cook 5-8 more minutes uncovered. Salt and pepper each individual serving.
Check out the link I posted above for tips on freezing dumplings. Eat at Home Cooks is an awesome site. I hope you have time to make some chicken and dumplings soon. When you do, let me know how it turned out or better yet, invite me over for dinner.
My middle child is a bit of a celebrity on my Facebook page. I post the hilarious things she says because well, they are hilarious. I don’t put everything on there because certain comments are mine to treasure. I occasionally share silly things my youngest says as well but I don’t mention my oldest daughter, Riley, as much. She is more reserved in what she says. There is a lot going on in her little mind but she doesn’t always put it out there like her sisters. However, this post is about Riley entirely because yesterday she did something that I’ve always hoped one of my kids would do….play basketball.
Riley’s team is comprised of third and fourth graders and is called the Suns. I think that is appropriate. I could go on and on with great analogies to the sun but I won’t subject anyone to that… yet. There are three girls and six boys. Some have played organized basketball and others, like Riley, have not. The first game will be interesting. They get to play in a newly renovated gym that has hosted many recreation and church league games. It has history and that is really important. Kids need to spend some time in a gym with stories in its walls and gum under its bleachers.
Riley’s dad is going to help when he can and he is so excited. I love that they will have time together building memories and I love that he will find coaching eight and nine year olds so much more challenging than coaching fifteen and sixteen year old boys.
But I have saved my favorite part of this upcoming season for last. Riley’s head coach is her Pa. The Mayor of Cynthiana and grandfather of my girls is stepping out of a long retirement from coaching to guide nine willful, hyper, and eager kids through the ups and downs of basketball. Two times a week he and Riley will be on a team together. They will have a connection and specific time that is just for them. She will not understand how special this time is right now but I know someday it will mean the world to her. It certainly means the world to me. I like to think that my dad will be in that gym for every game and practice too. I know in life he would have moved heaven and earth to see Riley play basketball. Looks like his job now is to simply help move the Suns toward the goal.
The Moses crew survived Christmas. Here are a few highlights… 1. I bought my mother in law a new pair of pajamas but forgot to order the pants. (So I guess there technically not a pair of anything). 2. Lily opened all of her gifts and said in the most pitiful voice, “Well I didn’t get anything on my list this year.” Sorry Lils. It’s hard to fulfill the wishes of a six year old when her list includes a trumpet, pomeranian, parrot, a mind control game, and a set of wings. Keep dreaming big though. 3.Bailey got way too much stuff. Her favorite gift is a glowing wand that may have cost her aunt and uncle $5. They also sent her a lovely memory game but the wand is by far the thing she plays with most. (Stephen said next year Bailey will just get a box full of Halloween clearance glow wands and necklaces). 4. Riley, despite my best efforts to deny it, is not a little girl anymore. She was so excited to receive some “hang down” earrings and her own iPod shuffle. Maybe I can borrow both someday…
I turned 36 a few days before Christmas. I celebrated by going to Walmart with all three children, taking my baby for her allergy shots, and wrapped up the day by cooking dinner. But don’t feel sorry for me. The next day I ditched my whole crew for some fried pickles and fun girl time at Windy Corner. Stephen took me out to dinner a week later. Sometimes you just have to wait for your husband to NOT be on call and it helped that my mom was in town to babysit.
Now the new year is here. I don’t really make resolutions because I would just break them. I’ve decided instead to make a list of things I don’t want to do anymore. First off, I don’t want to be such an awesome housekeeper. Did you like my joke?? I definitely don’t want to focus on the negatives in life so much. I’d like to stop drinking Pepsi but the thought of that makes me feel negative so… Finally, I don’t want 2013 to be as terrible as 2012. I realize I have no control and I can’t predict the future, but I can do my best to appreciate what I have. I hope this blog will grow and I can find a way to make someone laugh or have a better day because of what I shared. Thank you for helping me find a way to express myself and for putting up with my stories. Here’s to a new year and new possibilities!