Soul Deserts, Food Deserts and Chicken & Dumplings

Different things feed the souls of different people.   For me, that food comes in the form of relationships and cooking and sharing.  And lately, I’ve been without the outlet to feed my soul.  After 2 months in a hotel room with a microwave and three boys, I’m exhausted and feel like a shell of a person.  Like the real part of me is hibernating just waiting to emerge.  In Florida, summer is the barren season and I’m feeling that in every bone in my body.  But fall is coming.  Fall, a time when the literal fruits of Florida begin to emerge and, hopefully, I will to.  Hopefully there will be an outlet to express myself, the opportunity to connect and the knowledge that I made it through the drought, better, stronger, sweeter.  I look forward to making friends, building relationships and cooking.  Oh how I look forward to cooking.  I look forward to finding someone here to share my love of food, my passion for the beauty of a fresh harvest.  I look forward to having a kitchen.

Today I start my new position at Disney.  Similar job – different resort.  It doesn’t really matter to me as they’re all much the same.  I’m paying my dues and I’m totally okay with that.  My goal was to get an ID with no expiration date and I did that.  Now my goal is to hunker down and collect my six months of seniority so I can figure out how to do what I really want to do.

In the meantime, I want to connect with the Foodie crowd here, if there is one.  I’ve seen very little evidence.  Farming is tough in Florida, outside of the ubiquitous citrus and winter berries.  The Farm to Table movement struggles and that is disappointing.  Since I’ll only be working part time for the near future, I have opportunity to plug in – I’ve just yet to figure out where.  I never thought as Florida as a food desert, but by my standards, it seems that this part of it is.

And then there’s the issue of finding a more stable place to live.  We’re working on it.  We’re looking.  But it’s not been all smooth sailing.  With the start of school rapidly approaching, the pressure is mounting.  We’re both working and the money is coming in but we’re spending so much on the hotel, convenience food, eating out… that it’s been nearly impossible to save anything. But we’ll get there.  I know we will.

So yesterday, in a step to make things a bit more normal (and give us a bit of tasty comfort), I bought a slow cooker.  I know I’ve raved about these things before.  I have a nice one in Texas that I had hoped would make the trip in June but there just wasn’t room in the car.  Today I have a 4-hour orientation at my new hotel but before I go, I’m making Chicken & Dumplings.  Ultimate comfort food and it is so needed.  Ty and the boys are spending the day on the apartment search and will no doubt need some comfort when they return as well.  I honestly don’t know why we think of slow cookers as winter appliances.  They don’t heat up your house, they’re so easy to use and the food is almost always amazing.  In the next few weeks, I’ll be researching a variety of recipes that go beyond Pot Roast and let you know what good ones I find.  Here’s what I’m doing tonight:

The “before”. I’ll post an after pic once it’s done cooking.

Slow Cooker Chicken & Dumplings

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 can cream of mushroom soup

1 can cream of chicken soup

2 cans mixed vegetables, drained (not normally a fan but they’re good in here)

3/4 can chicken broth

Seasoning salt, pepper, poultry seasoning, cumin, parsley (use at your discretion.  I don’t measure)

Red onion, finely chopped

1 can biscuit dough, torn into pieces

Put everything except the biscuit dough into your crockpot and cook on high for 6 hours.  About halfway through the cooking time, put the biscuit dough on top.



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