Monday, April 30, 2012

Life Past the Kitchen

Saturday was a day to remember.   I was inducted into the University of Kentucky's "Teachers Who Made a Difference".  This  touched me on so many different levels because this award was given to me through the nomination of a former student.  It is a reminder that every time we open our mouths, we can either build somebody up or tear them down.  Every day I become a memory for a child.  I am not only painting my canvas, but one for every student who walks into my classroom.

This award is really about how they shape me.  I know I am a better person due to my students.  They are the ones who are making a difference in my life.  I carry all them in my heart. 

Watching the other teachers in the room filled me with pride.  Young and old were joined together, sharing and rejoicing.  The applause was sincere, and we were united, raising our voices together in celebration.  In front of me, an elderly woman sat.  When they called her name, her steps were true, and her smile warmed the entire room.  I don't think I will ever forget her, and one day, I hope to like her.  I want to wake up every day with excitement for my chosen profession.  I want to feel a sense of accomplishment, as I enter my retirement years.  I want to say "job well done".

Friday, April 6, 2012

Very Easy Homemade Chicken and Dumplings

The Flatlander and I were kid free this week, and instead of playing around with exotic recipes, I stayed close to comfort foods and traditional meals.  Last night's dinner was proof of that.  I tried my hand at chicken and dumplings, and I am ashamed to say it took me 40 years to even try making the dish.  My family's history proves a legacy of failed dumplings and horrible dough accidents.  With that in mind, I entered dumpling territory with a sense of trepidation.  Come on, I am from the Appalachian Mountains.  I should have been born with the recipe already implanted in my head. 

Well, since that dumpling gene passed me by, I turned to Pinterest, which directed me to tastykitchen.com.  The recipe is beyond simple and everything turned out deliciously:

Ingredients:
2 cups of flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
2 tbs. butter
Less than 1 cup of milk and a pinch of salt
1 container of chicken broth
Cooked chicken

Mix the dry ingredients together and cut the butter into it with either a fork or pastry blender. 
Add milk and mix together forming a dough ball.   Put the dough onto a heavily floured surface, and roll out until it is thin, like a pie crust.
Cut dumplings out using a basket weave pattern.  You can use a pizza cutter, dough cutter, or regular knife.
Drop dumplings into boiling broth and stir gently, so not crush the dumplings.  Throw in the extra flour clinging to the dumplings to make the gravy. Simmer.
Add chicken and serve.

To make it taste like the church dinners at home, I added pepper.

The next time I fix this, I am going to add water to the simmering dumplings so the gravy isn't as thick.  I guess it is a matter of gravy taste.

Oh, and the Flatlander approves of this recipe, and he just ate all of the leftovers for lunch.  Sunday, for Easter dinner, I plan on making the dumplings only, without chicken.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Easy and Delicious Pulled Pork

This is a recipe that I have read about on several different sites and finally had to try.  It doesn't get much easier than this, and the results are perfect:

Ingredients:
Pork roast
salt, pepper, and garlic for a rub
1 can root beer
Your favorite barbecue sauce

The rubbed down roast needs to be placed in a crock pot and pierced several times.  Pour the can of root beer over it and cook on low for eight hours.  After this cooking time, the roast is ready to be shredded and should be melt-in-your-mouth tender.  Drain the soda and return the shredded pork to the crock pot.  Pour your favorite sauce over it and cook for an additional hour. 

I served the shredded pork with cole slaw and fried pickles, and it was a huge success.