Now that the "spring" semester is underway (spring semester seems to be quite the misnomer) I realized today that not only have I neglected this blog, but I have become a serious cold weather hermit. Almost directly after I finished teaching and collecting final papers, I lamented to my husband that we hadn't even had so much as a pristine dusting of snow in the Palouse since last winter (er, June actually--yes June) and it just didn't feel like winter. I spent my days in my office with some books and a few very warm fleece blankets, dreaming of sugar plums and finishing my dissertation....
Then the snow came. 30 inches in two weeks! You didn't read that incorrectly, I actually meant 30 inches. Suddenly my uphill gravel drive became a little less charming, and my insistence on owning a tiny rollerskate of a Ford Focus seemed downright insane. The dogs rolled around like fillets in flour and Johnny Cash meowed, probably thinking about his days as a wild feral cat, stalking bunnies and pheasant in the snow.
Hanukkah came and went, Christmas came and went, and still I was almost round the clock stuck in my little house with a bunch of rambunctious animals. Not that I'm complaining.
Sometime after the New Year, husband and I both came down with the kind of cold you fear--not the nose-blistering, throat-clearing kind, but the achy, fatigue-laden cold that leaves you absolutely exhausted after performing the day's most simple tasks.
Erin's "Feel Better and Go Back to Bed" Slow Cooker Chicken Soup
Note: Celery leaves aren't required, but they really are a wonderful addition to a soup that feels like home
4 Chicken thighs, cooked and shredded
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 bay leaf
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup water
5 baby carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 can low-sodium organic diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup orzo
Fresh ground black pepper
Celery leaves, optional
1. Combine all ingredients except orzo, chickpeas and black pepper. Cook on low for eight hours. Go back to bed.
2. One half hour before serving, add chickpeas and orzo. At serving time, ladle soup in bowl and season with black pepper. Chop optional celery leaves and add to soup.
Erin's "Still Sick and I Don't Feel Like Moving" Slow Cooker Sweet Potato Chicken Stew
1 1/2 lbs. chicken thighs
3 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. ground cumin
Sprinkle of allspice
1 cup water
2 chicken bouillon cubes (or 1 cup chicken stock minus the water)
1/2 cup prepared or homemade tomato salsa (I used homemade)
Chopped cilantro to taste
Lime wedges to taste
1. Coat a skillet with cooking spray and brown chicken thighs over medium high heat for three minutes each side.
2. Place chicken in slow cooker. Pile sweet potatoes and black beans on top. Add water and bouillon, and then spices and salsa. Cook over low heat for four hours.
3. Just before serving, add some fresh squeezed lime juice and chopped cilantro. Serve with tortillas.