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Name: La Nina
  New Jersey

I'm a Jersey girl without the big hair or the accent (well, most of the time anyway), but with all of the bad driving and the penchant for weekly manicures.
Oh, and I'm an interior design student. That's how all of the weird terminology comes into play.

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Tuesday, April 05, 2005
Cooking Center
COOKING CENTER - The kitchen area where the cooktop, oven(s), and food preparation surfaces, appliances, and utensils are grouped. (from the Creative Homeowner's Glossary)

I got up early this morning to go to the supermarket when I was there at 10 o'clock last night. Is that weird?

The lack of enforcement concerning child labor laws is really starting to concern me...

So the situation is that I am positively infatuated with my new slow cooker. I am enamored with the notion that dinner will be ready when I get home from work and that I don't have to yell at some woman to do it. (Ah, liberation) I am enraptured by the warm aroma that permeates my living room as it works its wonders, giving me something to look forward to that evening.

The first meal I made in my slow cooker was chicken and dumplings. I adore chicken and dumplings, and these chicken and dumplings were the best chicken and dumplings I'd ever tasted. I wouldn't shut up about it for nearly two weeks. My boyfriend resorted to calling me "Dumpling" in order to tease me. That to me was of little consequence. I was in love.

Now that I've got the kitchen in order perhaps my look could use an update....

So why the extra shopping journey, you ask? Well, today I'd planned to create a meal based the simplest recipe ever...

Crockpot Italian Chicken

4 Whole Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast Halves
16 ounces Tomatoes -- (or 2-3 fresh tomatoes)
1 Whole onion -- sliced
1 Teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 Whole Green Bell Pepper -- seeded and chopped
Salt And Pepper -- to taste

Throw it all in the crock pot and cook on low 8-10 hours.

Per serving: 171 Calories; 2g Total Fat; 29g Protein; 9g Carbohydrate; 68mg Cholesterol; 88mg Sodium

... and I realized when I got home last night that I had somehow bought chicken thighs rather than chicken breasts. Slightly irritating. In my defense, the price tag was covering the part of the packaging in which that would have been made abundantly clear. No big deal. I just froze the thighs for the next time I make (you guessed it) chicken and dumplings.

I can't understand for the life of me where this sudden turnaround came from. Throughout my twenties I was pretty much the takeout queen. And now that I'm 30 I find myself looking forward to going home, sautéing broccoli and garlic, and marinating beef tenderloin. Bizarre.

While I have not yet resorted to yelling "Honey, I'm home!" to my kitchen appliances just yet but at the rapid rate to which I am rushing toward domesticity, I expect to wake up in the middle of the night to find that I'm hugging a fondue pot. If that happens, please do not have me committed. I don't think they let you cook in the nuthouse.

    posted by La Nina @ 1:11 PM  


Anonymous Pink Sun Drops said...

Hehe. I love this post. It's adorable. Ah, the simplicity of a crockpot. I need to dig mine out. This recipe looks fabulous! Could you also share the 'Dumpling' recipe? Or I just may have to resort to a little teasing myself :) .

3:58 PM  
Blogger La Nina said...

Hey Ms. Sun Drops!

The recipe can be found at

I'm trying to find a way in which bones don't have to be involved. It's been a trial and error process. Picking out the bones (since the meat was so tender it just fell off, making serving it in pieces highly difficult) was a minor blip in what can only be categorized as a dreamy culinary experience. :)

Catching up on your blog now... sorry I've been amiss.

4:12 PM  
Blogger Alyssa said...

My husband and I got a crockpot as a wedding gift, but I never really knew the extent of its coolness... actually, the only time I've used it is to make a soup. Now that I know that I could put it on in the morning, go to work, and come home to a lovely cooked meal, I am SO keen to try it. That is so very awesome!

And thanks for the recipes! My first real crockpot attempt will definitely be the Italian chicken. Yummo!

8:28 PM  
Blogger Nuclear Beaver said...

I have looked wistfully at crockpots for some time now and not ever gotten one because ... well, apparently I have a limited imagination when it comes to crockpots. I too, loathed being in my kitchen but in the last year, some internal switch got flipped, and now I'm doing red curried shrimp on rice noodles and other types of things. Lemons. It freaks me out that I always have lemons in my fridge. The idea of coming home to a meal is really awesome though, so maybe I will have myself a crockpot adventure and surf up some crockpot recipes.

10:28 PM  
Blogger Zinnia Cyclamen said...

Ah, real food. Nothing beats it. I used to have a crockpot, but I've graduated to an oven with a timer, so I can put food in there and set it to cook anytime to be ready for when I want it. And I love that!

5:05 AM  
Blogger Janet said...

Come on by, you're the guest of honor!:)

10:00 PM  
Anonymous Pink Sun Drops said...

I thought and thought and thought on it all day and finally it came to me as I was taking out my contacts - sweet simplicity. I love coming here - like a morning cup of coffee. Here is your image.

Check out this amazing inn/spa I found while on the hunt for it.

Thanks for the recipe, yum! I shall add it to my must makes.

11:02 PM  
Blogger blaze said...

I really enjoyed you cooking italian website. I also have a site about cooking italian Please take a look. I hope you will find it interesting

1:36 AM  

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