Even though it's still reaching triple digits most days here, I have dreams that it is really, truly autumn. In my dreams, there are beautiful leaves turning colors, falling to the ground, and the air has a wonderful chill, requiring jeans and sweaters. In my dreams, a nice warm cup of apple cider sounds inviting, rather than uncomfortably hot...which is reality. I suppose that since our summer was rather mild, we are now being tortured by having no autumn.
As a cruel joke, it gets quite cool at night...even down in the 40's some nights...making it quite chilly in the house first thing in the morning. When I wake, I am excited to don some cozy flannel pajama pants and fuzzy socks to make my way downstairs and brew my coffee. And every day, I am sorely disappointed when, about mid-day, I am sweating and have to turn on the air conditioning, as the outside temperatures climb well above 90. When, oh when, will summer be over????
In the meantime, I am still cooking and baking as though it really is fall. Saturday afternoon, our friends Dan and Gloria came over to spend some time and have dinner with us. I had prepared chicken and dumplings in the slow cooker, and my mom's delicious pumpkin bars for dessert...it was a super yummy, comforting meal!!
Slow Cooker Chicken & Dumplings
2 large, frozen, boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 large, frozen, boneless, skinless chicken thighs
2 stalks celery, sliced
1 C. baby carrots, cut into big chunks
1 med. onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
1 T. fresh thyme, chopped
1 T. fresh rosemary, chopped
1/2 C. flour
Juice of 1 lemon
1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup
8 C. chicken stock
Salt and pepper to taste
Put the chicken in the slow cooker. Sprinkle the flour over it, then add the remaining ingredients. Cook on "low" for 8-10 hours. About an hour before serving, shred the chicken in the soup. Turn cooker to "high" to bring soup to a simmer.
2 C. flour
3/4 to 1 C. buttermilk
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
In a bowl, combine the above ingredient. Gently fold just until dough comes together - do not over-mix. The batter should be thick. Let sit for about 15 minutes.
Once soup is simmering well - little bubbles around the edges - use 2 teaspoons to carefully drop heaping tablespoonfuls of the dumpling batter into the soup. Do not put so many that they are overly crowded, but they should pretty much cover the entire top of your soup. Put the lid on the soup, and let the dumplings cook for about 15 minutes until they are puffy and firm.
Serve the soup with chopped fresh parsley (optional) and freshly ground pepper.
2 C. sugar
2 C. pumpkin
1 C. oil (or 1/2 C. oil and 1/2 C. plain yogurt)
2 C. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Stir together dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, beat sugar, eggs, pumpkin and oil (and yogurt). Add dry ingredients and mix well at slow speed. Pour into greased/floured jelly roll pan. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes until toothpick comes out clean. Let cool completely, then frost with cream cheese frosting.
Cream Cheese Frosting
8 oz cream cheese (room temp)
2 1/4 tsp. margarine
2 1/2 tsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
5 1/4 C. powdered sugar
Blend ingredients well, adding powdered sugar a little at a time, until creamy and there are no lumps, then spread on pumpkin bars.
Hope you enjoy!! I know we did!!