Paleo Update: Results!

Hey all!

Just a quick mid-week Paleo update here.

Today begins week 3 of Paleo. My anxiety is gone, I’m able to sleep through the night, and I have very little sugar cravings, besides a craving for a sweet potato every 3 days or so. I also haven’t experienced any of the side-effects from when I was almost hypoglycemic… I feel like a real human again!

Nothing yet on the disappearance of the hirituism, but some of the dark patches on my skin are already starting to clear up.

Oh, and I lost 12 pounds. ūüôā

Feeling amazing. I would recommend this route to anyone suffering from PCOS.

As I said on FB, here’s a little ditty to kick off my third week on Paleo.

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Don’t be a Jerk: This, and my other 5 Don’ts in how to deal with customer support.

I haven’t really gone into my line of work at all on this blog, and it’s for a reason.

I hate it.

I mean, I love my coworkers, my boss, and for a college dropout, I make enough money to get by…¬†But for the past 5 years, I’ve been cussed at, screamed at, cried at, and verbally abused over the phone….. all for trying to¬†help people with their issues.

This post will ultimately serve two purposes: to give myself an opportunity to vent, and to teach those of you who are working with customer service how to get what you need without gettin’ scrappy.

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Rule #1: Don’t be a Mush-Mouth.

I don’t care if in a normal conversation, you are either barely audible or can break the sound barrier. On the phone, for someone to be able to hear you, you need to speak at a normal decibel level, and speak clearly and relatively slowly.

There are so many people I talk to on a regular basis who are talking just fast enough for you to understand them, but not slow enough that there’s a lull in conversation. How am I supposed to help you if you won’t give me the opportunity to do so? Then, when they decide they’re done talking, you hear, “HELLOOOOOO? Is anybody THERE?!”

“Uhhh…. Mubish Moubith? With a ‘b’ or a ‘d’?”

Yes, person, I am here. I have manners, and don’t want to interrupt you. That’s what polite human beings do; they wait their turn. If you would’ve given me an opportunity during your monologue on how horrible tech support is to talk to you, I might have resolved your issue already, and you wouldn’t have to be on the phone with me any longer.

Oh, and don’t be mean to people from India. I have heard so many Indians speak with complete clarity, and waaaaay more Americans who have no sense of how to speak to another human on the phone.

(P.P.S: Don’t call tech support/phone support while you’re on speaker phone. You won’t be able to understand us, and there’s NO way we’ll be able to understand you.)

Rule #2: Don’t get nasty.

¬†Here’s a list of things I have never done to you:

-Pushed you into a puddle of mud.
-Snagged your cab.
-Cut in your line.
-Punched your face.
-Made your kid cry.
-Stole your lunch money.

Why are you so MEAN? What have I done to you in your lifetime besides attempt to assist you? Dude. Seriously. Quit being so mean to people who are just trying to help you, and make a living doing so.

I’m pretty well convinced that people who do this know that the person on the other side of the line can’t defend themselves, and need to feel powerful; they had a crappy day, so they want to make someone else feel crappy without any consequences.

“I HATE YOU, AND I HATE YOUR ASS FACE!!!”- CSC

Bad juju, mang. What goes around comes around. And what you do to someone who is essentially defenseless speaks volumes about your character.

Rule #3: Don’t make it personal.

I have lost count of how many people make their computer/tech/application issues into something I personally did as a vendetta against them.

Example:

Caller: “I logged into the application today, and EVERYTHING is different! YOU changed it ¬† overnight without telling me!!!!!”

This Moi: “No, sir, there were no system changes last night.”

Caller: “Don’t get that attitude with ME! I KNOW what I’m doing. Why did YOU change it?!”

“I need a break.”

I personally have very little to do with anything besides picking up the phone when it rings, and helping you with the basics. I highly doubt that I personally sneaked into the back end of the application last night, and wrote a bunch of new code…. JUST to screw up your day. Please stop blaming me for your lack of understanding.

Or…. try something new and inventive…. ASK FOR HELP.

Rule #4: Don’t make your lack of preparation into my emergency.

Oh, the classic story of procrastination.

Someone has to have something done at some sort of deadline, and they’ve waited until the last minute to complete it. Naturally, as Murphy’s Law has shown us time and again, what could go wrong, DOES go wrong.

That’s why SMART people get things done with plenty of time to spare.

So when Murphy’s Law takes action, it’s suddenly MY fault.

“I HAVE to get this done by the end of the day, and the website is not WORKING! Are you going to fix it? Tell me when it’s going to be done, because this is an EMERGENCY.”

What this person will be doing 5 minutes after this phone call.

Really? An EMERGENCY?! I’d hate to think of your “emergency” going up against a TRUE emergency, and your issue getting dealt with long before theirs because you said so.

Can I teach you something today? Emergency¬†‚Ȇ Inconvenience, just like Building Explosion¬†‚Ȇ Getting a 1st Degree burn.

I wish I could give each caller four opportunities for an “emergency” for the duration of their employment. They would be much more picky about when they throw out that word.

And lastly…..

Rule # 5: Don’t get emotional.

There was once a woman who couldn’t view her personal medical results in an application I dealt with. This was because her doctors at her clinic hadn’t uploaded them yet.

She screamed. She cussed. She called me a “Good Little Nazi”, doing whatever the “system” told me to do.

And then she burst into tears, and hung up the phone.

I totally understand her being upset, particularly if they were the results of a serious nature. I am a sympathetic individual, and I will put up with a lot. ¬†But hearing a grown woman OR man(which is significantly weirder…. coming from experience….) cry over the phone is the single most awkward situation in which I’ve ever found myself.

That’s only because I’ve never tried *this* before.

Please, for all parties involved…. don’t cry into the phone, unless it’s your relative, your best friend, or your psychic. Both you AND I will feel awkward afterwards, and it won’t help me to resolve your issue any faster. However, it WILL increase the chances of me sitting there, uncomfortably silent, waiting for you to blow your nose and get it together.

But the worst is when people get “emotional”…. and swing the other direction.

Cynicism, name-calling, fury, sadness, despair…. they are all ways to make the person on the other line feel horrible. When someone goes off on a tangent regarding deep emotional issues, there’s only one thing to do: sit there, uncomfortably silent, waiting for you to get it together.

So whether or not you decide to be angry, sad, furious, or you’re just a sociopath, please remember that I’m trying to remain a professional on the other line. I’m NOT your bff, your counselor, or your psychic…. I’m here to help you with your computer. Please don’t make this weird for the both of us.

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So! You are now well equipped to call tech support. Congratulations! And please…. at least be nice to whoever is on the line when you call. They probably have taken a dump truckload of crap already today; they def don’t need it from someone else.

Oh Happy Day: Moms, Day 7 of Paleo, and Dr. L’s musings.

First of all… let’s kick out the Mother’s Day jam!

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!

She’s kinda purty, ain’t she?

My mother has been supportive, loving, and strong ever since I was young. She knows what she wants, and goes for it. She has been a CrossFitter for almost a year now, and looks and feels great! She’s a phenomenal nurse, and is just shy of getting her Nurse Practitioner’s license. This time next year, we’ll have so much to celebrate!

Love you, Mama. Thank you for being you! (And I’ll be there tomorrow to celebrate in person! Surprise!)

Also, in the same vein….. My husband is phenomenal. Since I’m not *technically* a mother yet, he still wanted me to feel special…. and so I walked into work this morning to find this:

Precious.

Soon after, I received a text from my husband, with a gift he made for me:

Sweetest. Husband. Ever.

Life is good, and keeps getting better.

For a lot of us who struggle with infertility, Mother’s Day can feel like a slap in the face. I’ve seen a lot of posts in that vein lately, and while I definitely understand those sentiments, I see it as an opportunity to remember all the Moms in my life….

Beautiful girls.

I’m so proud of my sister. She is an amazing mother, and my niece is happy, healthy, and growing like a weed. This time next year, she’ll have another bouncing baby girl, who will inevitably also be happy, healthy, and loved. Thank you for showing me how fun motherhood will be, Mandy! Happy Mother’s Day!

Gorgeous.

And a dear friend.

Michelle, I haven’t seen much of you in this last year, which is horrible. But I love your blog, your warmth, and how clear it is that you love your son with all that you have. Your mothering is intentional. Anyone who reads your blog or knows you knows how much thought you put into how you’re raising your son, and I have no doubt that he will be an amazing man. Happy Mother’s Day, Michelle!

To all Moms…. Rejoice in what you have, and know that we all support your endeavors, and appreciate you for what you do!

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On to Paleo!

I am currently on Day 7 of going Paleo/Primal. And I’ve lost a total of 7 pounds in 7 days.

This is not normal weight loss, mind you, and I’m pretty big…. so I have a lot to lose.

As far as how I’m feeling, the first few days were really tough. All I could think about were carbs of any kind, and SUGAR. I wanted donuts, cupcakes, brownies, and twizzlers. I wanted to bake to my heart’s content. And after a couple days of that, I sort of just transcended the sugar addiction.

Today? It looks like my tummy has deflated a bit. I’m getting more and more used to eating meals that don’t involve carbs, and I’ve been getting a bit more adventurous and creative in the kitchen!

My new favorite meal is something I created called the “Paleo Taco”, which is an egg, fried in coconut oil, covered in spicy ground bison. This is also something the sweet husband¬†loves as well, so it’s a win-win situation for me! I’ve also loved the fact that Wendy’s now offers a sweet potato as one of its sides, and while it comes with a little cup of “cinnamon butter”, my refreshed taste buds rejoice as if I’m eating a friggin’ Snickers bar just from eating the potato alone. I don’t NEED that sugar stuff!

That is something I really love about this new way of eating. It’s like my taste buds have really awakened to the subtleties of foods, so I get to eat them in a different way. I had no idea that almonds were sweet! I didn’t realize that sweet potatoes didn’t NEED 3/4 cup of sugar and marshmallows to be deliciously sweet on their own as well. And more often than not, I find myself craving some sort of protein at each meal, not carbs or sweets.

I’ll keep you guys updated as time goes on, but my body feels *healthy*. I haven’t had any dizzy spells, sugar highs or crashes, and I feel very alert, even when I wake up early in the morning.

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And lastly…. I had another appointment with Dr. L this past week.

He decided to go ahead and put me on a drug called Femara, which is used as an Estrogen-blocker for patients who have breast cancer. (He thinks it might help with my over abundance of Estrogen, which could help me ovulate.)

But he offered a caveat: “Time to go lo-carb on your diet. You need to get serious. Your insulin levels are *screaming*, and our ultimate goal here is not to see a positive pregnancy test, but a healthy baby on its way home from the hospital, carried by a healthy Mom who will be there for the baby until she’s old and gray.”

Yes. Finally, a doctor I agree with.

The Plethora: The new Doc, Sugar, and why I haven’t gone Paleo yet.

I realized recently that I hadn’t posted about my visit with my specialist. It was certainly a defining moment in my infertility battle, and for those who are also struggling, I think it’s important to share what our doctors are saying, and what we’re saying right back.

The drive down to south Nashville seemed short, since I had my sweet husband in tow, and as always, he was excellent company. When we arrived, we were told by our registrar that is was *very* rare that insurance companies covered such things, but that we were extremely lucky, and my copay was only $10, and that my insurance covered virtually all of the services they provided. (WHAT?!?! Jump for joy!)

The receptionist at his actual office across the hall was very friendly, and took my history almost immediately when I came in. She let me know that she’d made calls to both my primary physician, and my OB/GYN, and had gotten faxes of all of my tests that I’d had performed, as well as all blood work, so the Doc would know my history before we even sat down together.

(For those of you who have been working with MD’s for a long time, you probably know how phenomenal this is.)

Then….. there was Dr. L.

He’s a little old man with a warm handshake, a friendly smile, and a “let’s get down to business” attitude.

Reminded me a little of this guy.

He let me know that he agreed with my OB’s initial assessment and diagnosis of PCOS. He let me know that there was one more medication option before going to injectable meds, and that it was a medication frequently given to breast cancer patients which blocked the over-production of Estrogen.

I nodded, but my main questions were regarding the findings¬†I’d come across in the last few months about Paleo/Primal, and its affects in combating PCOS.

This Moi: “So, Dr. L, if it’s okay, I’d like to talk to you a little bit about diet and exercise for a moment.”

Dr. L: “Whoa whoa whoa.”

This Moi: “…………”

Dr. L: “This is the most important thing we can possibly talk about right now.”

He’d won me over.

I proceeded to talk to him a bit about how sugar is said to affect those with PCOS, and if he’d heard anything about the Paleo/Primal diet, and whether he’d recommend it or not. He listened intently while I described the video I watched by the Doc in FL, who put all of his PCOS patients on a low-carb diets, and he had an 80% success rate. I asked his opinion on this, and what he thought about both my husband and I going on such a diet, as the Hubs has had high cholesterol in the past.

After considering for a moment, he said that the basic ideas I’d come across are essentially proven to be true. The insulin receptors on peeps with PCOS are messed up for some reason, and cutting out carbs from your diet essentially makes that a non-issue. If your bod doesn’t have sugars to process, it will start using fat as energy instead of sugars. He recommended a couple authors whose concepts would help; Mark Hyman (Blood Sugar Solution), Francine R. Kaufman (Diabesity) and then he also recommended the Anti-Inflammatory Diet as something I should look into.

He also refused to hold the government party line of 6-11 “whole grains” a day. He said that this type of mindset is making people sick, which is the essence of what “Diabesity” was trying to get across.

So, with Dr. L’s blessing, I decided to march onward with my Paleo/Primal diet!

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Except I didn’t.

I had every intention of doing so. I went to the store, and stocked up on gorgeous leafy greens, pounds and pounds of grass-fed bison, Omega-3 enriched free-range eggs, and berries out the wazoo. I was bound and determined to start getting my body in the shape it deserved to be in, and I was ready for my hormones to finally get themselves back to normal.

Except…. I was scared.

My cupboard was filled with pasta, rice, Hawaiian bread, cereal, and all the ingredients needed for a plethora of baked goods.

I told myself that it was only responsible for me to cook using what I had left in the cupboard. After all, there were starving kids in Africa who would kill for some Chicken Cordon Bleu pasta! I needed to make Cheesecake for my neighbor bachelor for his birthday, because I’m a good friend! I need to eat SUGAR CEREAL BECAUSE I’M ADDICTED TO SUGAR!!!!!!!

Sigh.

So here I stand, knowing what needs to be done, and desperately afraid of failure.

This is not me, friends. I am a go-getter. I love to succeed. I love going to work and kicking ass, and knowing that I did the best I could. There’s nothing in this world like seeing that number go down on the scale. And most of all, there’s nothing like beating someone at Gin Rummy.

Approximate facial expression after playing Rummy with Aubs.

But there’s something about sugar….

I love to bake. I love sugary confections, whether they be chocolate cupcakes, peanut brittle, cheesecake, or just plain chocolate chip cookies. I love the challenge of mixing the different elements, and getting that perfect product.

Baking and cooking have become part of my identity. I feel almost lost without delicious meals to plan, using sumptuous ingredients that would make even Paula Deen and The Pioneer Woman blush. But why is this the case? Why is my identity wrapped up in food?

When I finally started to contemplate this question, I felt this heavy sadness come over me.

Because food is my comfort. 

Then I started to think about what, besides food, has offered me this comfort in the past.

Music. 

My piano had been my best friend since I was probably 14. My parents bought me a piano when I “graduated” 8th grade, and whenever I was sad, frustrated, elated, or unsure, I would retreat to my piano to mull things over, and would leave energized and refreshed. When I went to college, I was a vocal performance major, and enjoyed my piano assignments even more than my vocal ones. I always retreated to a practice room or a friend’s piano whenever I felt lost, and needed to be found again.

I haven’t had a piano at my fingertips for almost two years.

Nature.

There’s this super cheesy country song called “Take a Back Road”. It came on the radio, and my sister said, “This song always reminds me of you!”

My retort? “Yeah, it always reminds me of me, too.”

I need to get out of the city sometimes. The “city”, of course, is a loose term, as I live in Kentucky, and it’s very grassy and green, even in the middle of town. But whenever I have an hour or so to kill between work and an appointment, or my heart is heavy and confused, ¬†I always drive out to the country. The beautiful, rolling hills of Kentucky have stolen my heart, and if I had my way, I’d snag 3 acres of those hills out in the country with only cows as my neighbors.

I’ve lived out in the country before, and let me tell you, it was probably my favorite time in my life. I had a country drive on my way to and from work every day, anytime I had to run to the grocery store, and anytime I felt like going anywhere…. there was always a beautiful drive ahead of me.

I know what gives me comfort.

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I guess my post today has taught me something valuable. I need to stop relying on food as my comfort. While food is such an integral part of life, and ultimately sustains it, it can also make you sick, fat, and infertile. I need to start looking as food as sustenance, and not as a  comfort.

Music¬†is a comfort. Nature¬†is a comfort. My beloved is a comfort, as is my wonderful, gorgeous, and supportive sister. These are things that have historically restored my soul when it’s felt broken, and food has never done anything but numb those pains; it never helps me cure them. In fact, it’s proven to have broken more than it’s fixed.

Friends? Will you help to remind me, when I need it, to look to remember where my comfort lies?

Chicken and Dumplings: Too good not to share.

So…. I’mma start posting some of my own recipes here.

I may not always be eating what I’m making, as the whole fertility thing affects what I should/shouldn’t be eating. But that’s not going to stop me from making/baking all the most delicious things I can possibly concoct in my kitchen.

(I’m very lucky to have 3 bachelor coworker friends who live in the same apartment complex…. and let’s just say, for bachelors, they eat pretty well.)

Anyway! On to the first recipe…. Chicken and Dumplings. Oohhhhhh Chicken and Dumplings. It is such a southern staple, and one that I’ve been trying to perfect ever since I married my beloved. There’s something so sumptuous, so comforting about the right recipe, and that’s why I felt such triumph when I finally perfected the recipe.

Here’s what you’ll start with.

I forgot a couple things. But these are the basics.

The first thing you want to do is pull all that delicious meat off the bones of that chicken. The one I bought was lemon pepper flavored, but most anything will work.

Omnom.

(I’d highly recommend keeping the carcass and making homemade stock. I’ll include that recipe at the end of this post!)

(Oh, and guess who came to join me while pulling that luscious chicken off the bones? Jerks.)

“MOM!!! Can’t you *accidentally* drop some of that smell-goody-stuffs?!”

Once that’s done, dice up your half an onion, as well as your two cloves of garlic.

My cutting board is a dandy little chick. He’s peepin’ you.

How much do I love my green cast iron french oven? It’s the best. If you don’t have a cast iron Dutch or French oven, any stock pot will do.

I love my green pot.

In the pot, add 3 ¬†tablespoons butter, and 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and turn the heat to medium-high. ¬†Once the butter is melted, throw in the onions, and sweat ’em out until they’re nice and translucent. Then throw that garlic in there, and mix with the onions. Cook ’em down for 30 seconds.

Green pan ‚̧

Browning, yummy, onion and garlic.

Pour in the chicken broth, and add the bay leaves, pepper, and salt. Bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat to med-low.

Depending on how much chicken you put in the pot, the broth may be a little on the thin side at the moment. Go ahead and grab about a third of a cup of the broth, and pour it in a coffee cup. Then, scoop 2 heaping tablespoons of corn starch into the cup with the broth, and stir it up with a fork until it’s smooth. Pour it back in the pot, and stir.¬†Cover, and let it simmer while we make those dumplings, or for at least 10 minutes.

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Now… the Dumplings. In our house, we call this recipe “Chicks and Dumps”. That probably sounds incredibly inappropriate to you…. and it does to us, too, so you’re not crazy.

For the dumplings, whip out that trusty Southern necessity…. Bisquick. Pour 2 1/4 cups Bisquick in a glass bowl, and make a well in the middle. Measure out your milk, and pour about half in the well, and stir around the edges. Keep adding the milk, bit by bit, until the dough is good and saturated, but still tough.

Once the Bisquick is incorporated with the milk, dust your counter with more Bisquick or Self-Rising Flour, and turn the mixture onto it.

Knead it about 5 times, and then roll the dough into 1/4 inch thickness into a square shape.

Pretty! Now you’re gonna do something that would make me SO proud….. Pepper the heck out of those dumplin’s.

Trust me. It seems weird, but they’re going to taste SO good. Just shake that pepper shaker all over the dough until it looks nice and spotty.

My pepper shaker is gross. Don't judge me.

Then, you’re gonna cut small rectangles out of the dough, like so.

Before you add the dumplings to your pot, add the half and half and the chicken pieces to the broth. Bring the broth mixture to a boil, and then…..

WHOA. Who is that sneaking up on us from the side of the pot?!!?

 Sneaky Bastard!

TABASCO.

Again, you’ll just have to trust me, here. It seems weird. Seems like something you wouldn’t want to add to this recipe. But, like I used to do with my childhood bestie, I pinkie swear that you will not regret this decision.

Add about 5 shakes of Tabasco to the broth. Stir. Yum.

Now, you should have a peppy, tasty, delicious chicken and broth base for your dumplings.  Reduce the heat to medium, and drop the dumplings into the pot.

Make sure your dumplings aren’t touching, but put as many in the pot as you can. I like to make a game of it…. like it’s a puzzle to see how many I can fit on the surface without them touching.

Okay, maybe they can be a little closer together.

(If they touch a little, the world will not end.)

Now, you’re going to do something that’s a little on the tricky side.

(I’m good at tricky…. like a ninja.)

Using the tip of your spoon, scoop some of the hot broth on the top of each dumpling. This is going to help it cook, and will also help the dumplings not to stick.

Once you’re done with that, let them sit and cook for 4 minutes.

See how they’re just covered? Nicey.

After 4 minutes, flip each dumpling over; when they’re all flippin’ flipped, cover your pot, and reduce your heat to med-low. Cook, covered, for 10 more minutes.

Now. Pop that top off.

Behold the beauty. The bounty. The DELISH in this pot.

Go ahead and gently stir the pot. The chicken may be a little stuck to the bottom of the pan, so loosen it up.

Something my Asian Wifey¬†taught me? It’s totally okay if a couple of the dumplings break up at this point. It’s going to thicken the sauce over time, and we’re not perfectionists around here. They’re still gonna taste AWESOME.

That’s it! You must know how much I love you…. I love you enough to give you my prized Chicks and Dumps recipe. And that is monumental.

Full recipe below:

Chicken and Dumplings

1 5lb rotisserie chicken
1/2 white onion
2 large cloves garlic
3 tbsp butter
2 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 quarts chicken broth
1 tsp bay leaves
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup half and half
2 heaping tbsp corn starch
2 1/4 cup Bisquick
2/3 cup milk
5 shakes Tabasco sauce

1. Pull the meat off of the rotisserie chicken. Discard carcass, or cover and refrigerate for stock.

2. Dice the onion and mince the garlic. Melt butter, and add olive oil over med-high heat.  Add the onion, and cook for 3 minutes. Add the garlic, and cook for 30 seconds.

3. Add broth and bay leaves, pepper, and salt to the pot. Bring to a boil. ¬†Measure out about 1/3 cup of your broth and pour it in a coffee cup. Then, scoop 2 heaping tablespoons of corn starch into the cup with the broth, and stir it up until it’s smooth. Pour it back in the pot, and stir. Cover the pot and simmer for 10 minutes, or until you finish the dumplings.

4. To make the dumplings, combine 2 1/4 cups Bisquick with approximately 2/3 cup milk. Add milk slowly to ensure you’re not adding too much. Turn the dough onto a Bisquick’ed surface, and knead 5-10 times until smooth. Roll into 1/4 inch thickness, and pepper the dough. Cut into small squares.

5. Before ¬†adding the dumplings to the pot, add 1/3 cup half and half, and the chicken pieces, and 5 shakes of Tabasco. Stir, and bring to a soft boil. Add dumplings, one by one, to the pot, making sure they don’t overlap. Spoon the broth over each dumpling, and cook uncovered for 4 minutes.

6. Flip the dumplings. Cover, reduce heat to med-low, and simmer for 10 minutes.  Once done, stir the dumplings into the chicken and broth, making sure to loosen any chicken from the bottom of the pot. Serve warm.

Homemade Chicken Broth

1 chicken carcass
2 onions, cut in half
4 cloves garlic, mashed
3 carrots, cut in half
2 ribs celery, diced
6 peppercorns
1 tsp salt
1 tsp bay leaves
Enough water to cover the carcass
Cut vegetables, and smash the garlic. Place the carcass in a dutch oven, and dump the veggies in with the carcass. Fill the pot with water until it’s just over the chicken carcass.

Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and cover. Simmer for three hours.

Pour the contents of the pot through a fine mesh sieve. Let cool to room temperature, and store in airtight containers in fridge for a week, or freeze.