Sometimes this is real life:
Real life is planning to incur a library fine because the book you’re reading – the book you’ve been waiting 6 weeks for – is still on a waiting list and can’t be renewed, so therefore you’ve decided to just finish reading it and pay the fine rather than return it on its due date.
Real life is waking up at 3 a.m. and thinking about baby room paint colors and wondering if the baby’s going to come a month early, catching you and your house totally off guard.
Real life is high-fiving in Home Depot after finding welcome mats that actually fit under your door and are big enough to accommodate you AND your salt-laden boots.(Real life also includes hitting yourself in the face with the corner of a mat that you’re trying to put back on the highest shelf and having a small but noticeable rugburn on your cheek as a result).
Real life is wearing a pair of socks at least 3 times before washing it.
Real life is repeatedly poking your growing belly when you haven’t felt the baby in a long time and having your husband kindly but firmly ask you to stop punching his child.
Real life needs crockpots.
We probably use our crockpot once a week at least in the winter. Eric’s work schedule this past year has given him really flexible mornings, and he’s been a total champ at crockpot cooking. He even cooked a whole chicken in one last week; I was so impressed (whole birds still sort of intimidate me). Major crockpot cred. Probably our favorite crockpot meal is this coconut chicken curry. It comes together so easily and quickly…you cut up some chicken and (in our version) carrots; food process together a few other veggies, cans, and spices; mix it all together in the crockery (best word ever); and leave it to cook you an irresistible Indian meal all day. Seriously, when you come home, you will smell this from outside your house. It’s beautiful.
In the last hour, you add some cornstarch and water to thicken the sauce, which is a perfect time to cook up a batch of rice. We like to eat this with long grain brown rice (basmati if we’re splurging) and some of this garlic naan if we’ve been home all day, or just some toasted pita wedges if we’re coming home after a long day of work. It’s great with lots of chopped cilantro on it, which we went without since it is February, but I won’t tell if you indulge…
We’re always looking for great crockpot recipes. What’s your favorite?
(recipe adapted from the Tasty Kitchen Blog)
(yields 6-8 servings)
This recipe originally calls for about 2 lbs. of chicken, which is not only expensive but is also just a lot of meat. Instead, I use 1 lb. of chicken and 1 lb. of carrots. We don't really miss the meat and the carrots add a nice subtle sweetness to the dish. Making this in the winter, we use frozen bell peppers instead of fresh, and I either substitute frozen jalapenos or a tsp. of crushed red pepper flakes for the dry red chili peppers that the original recipe calls for.
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into large cubes
1 lb. (about 5 large) carrots, peeled and cut into similar-sized cubes as chicken
1 whole onion, peeled and quartered
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 bell pepper, seeded and quartered
1 small can (5 oz.) tomato paste
1 can (14 oz.) coconut milk
1-½ tsp. salt
1 tbsp. curry powder
1 tbsp. garam masala (Indian spice mix)
1 jalapeno, seeded and halved OR 1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes (optional for heat)
2 tbsp. water
1-½ tbsp. cornstarch
1 bunch cilantro (optional but so, so good)
naan bread or pitas (optional)
Grease the crockpot. I spray a little bit of Pam in there and spread it around with a paper towel.
Place the chicken and carrot cubes inside the crockpot.
Place the rest of the ingredients (except cornstarch and water) in a food processor and process together until the mix is mostly smooth. Pour sauce mix on top of the chicken and carrots. Mix well, then close the lid. Cook on low for 6 hours.
An hour before serving (so after 5-6 hours), mix together the water and cornstarch in a small bowl until the cornstarch is completely dissolved. Add to the crockpot and mix well. Place the lid back on for an additional hour. Turn crockpot to the warm setting when you feel the sauce is thick enough if you're not quite ready to serve it yet.
Serve on top of rice, topped with the cilantro if using, and with pieces of naan or pitas if you've got them around.