Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Challenge: Clean this Recipe!

I must admit that I've been waiting for the temperatures to dip a bit, just to have an excuse to make this recipe. It's my absolute favorite fall/winter stick-to-your-bones recipe. It's reminiscent of a dish my mom used to make, although I'm quite certain she didn't use canned rolls or cream-of-anything soup.

Now, if you don't mind the occasional cream-of soup, or using canned rolls, then I urge you to try this recipe as is. We made it tonight and I'm still thinking about it.

However, in light of my recent pledge to eat healthier and cleaner, I want to try to make this recipe better. I'm pretty sure that with a little digging I could find a recipe for home-made dumplings, but if you have one you'd like to share, please do!

My real challenge lies in replacing the cream of chicken & mushroom soup. Tonight I used just that; an actual combination of both soups in one can. That just screams healthy, no? (wink,wink)

Still, it was delicious, and I fear it may be hard to replace the soup and still achieve the same level of deliciousness. Which is why I'm turning it over to you, the reader. Come up with a suitable replacement, and I'll try it out and report back. Let's see if we can clean this one up.

Crock-Pot Chicken & Dumplings



  • 2 organic boneless chicken breasts or thighs, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 can condensed cream of chicken (or cream of mushroom) soup
  • 1 cup low-sodium organic chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 1 small-medium onion, diced
  • 1/2 bag of baby carrots (or approximately 1 cup of chopped carrot)
  • 1 can of organic sweet peas (or a bag of frozen peas)
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, sliced (or 1-2 tsp of garlic powder)
  • Salt, pepper & paprika to taste
  • 1 tube of Pillsbury Reduced Fat Crescent Rolls


  • Cut chicken into bite site pieces; season with salt, pepper & paprika to taste.
  • Combine soup, chicken broth, and water in crock pot, stirring well to mix.
  • Add chicken, onion, carrots, peas, and garlic.
  • Cook 4-5 hours on high (or 7-8 hours on low)  *Note that mixture will still be soupy at this point.
  • Tear crescent rolls into pieces, ball the dough and add to crock pot.
  • Cook for an additional 30-45 minutes on high.
  • Enjoy!

Monday, September 17, 2012

What IS this Blog, Anyway?

What IS this blog anyway? That, my friends, is the question I've been asking myself a lot lately. When I first started the blog, I thought I would post about the fun things my daughter and I do together around town. That worked, for like a week. Then I realized that I'm actually quite boring, and outside of our usual classes and activities, we don't actually do a whole lot of "around town" kind of stuff. Just one more area I've been fooling myself guys. I mean that whole "Where Bear" thing? Yeah... it lasted two weeks, and then I gave Princess Crabigail her pacifier back. I lost, and I'm over it.

After that megaflop, the blog took a "let's cook!" turn, in a very amateurish, "I'm going to use your recipe, but change three things because I'm so smart" kind of way. Which is fun, don't get me wrong, and tasty at that. It just hasn't been enough. Enough to bring me back to writing every week, which is my first goal for this blog. Enough to satisfy that need to do something productive, my second goal.  And not enough to hold anyone captive, even for a second, while they try to get over their laughter that I thought I could replace a pacifier with an adventurous stuffed animal.

Then something interesting happened last week. I got into this sort-of half argument, half discussion here on my Facebook page. I found myself engaged in what was being said, not just for the sake of the debate (which I love), but because this truly is something I'm interested in. "This" being the concept and practice of "natural" eating, paired with some "going-green" kind of household and lifestyle stuff. Not necessarily in the same way as some of the other blogs on these topics though, like 100 Days of Real Food or The Food Babe (both favorites of mine). No, not like them in the sense that I don't necessary want to dive that deep. What I want to do is figure out a real (to me) balance between going completely natural in all aspects of my life, and, well, keeping my sanity. 

Where is the balance between making sure my kid doesn't ingest enough preservatives to pickle her, and still being able to enjoy my coveted Pumpkin Spice Latte? (See guys, I'm truly not a Starbucks-hater, I swear!) I just want to find ways to stay as healthy as possible, for as cheap as possible, all while keeping off the baby weight that took me two years to lose, and making sure my daughter is getting the best life that I can reasonably give her.

Those are realistic ideals, right?

Up until this point in the blog, my favorite posts haven been the ones like this, where I found a really good substitute for taco seasoning packets, with a DIY mix. It seems like every other Pinterest recipe these days calls for either seasoning packs or canned cream of (insert variety here) soup, so why not try to make it at least a little healthier?

And that is where I landed today, and what I think the focus of my blog needs to be. More stories of our attempts at this natural living stuff, and less complaining that I don't have a fancy camera to take pictures of my mediocre looking recipes. We'll see how this goes.