Ridiculously easy rotisserie chicken soup

I love rotisserie chickens, especially from Costco because they’re so cheap and are generally larger than those you find in the regular grocery store. But we never finish ours, and it drives me crazy that I can’t pick every piece of meat off the bones. That’s why I use the leftover carcass to make either broth or soup. It’s ridiculously easy to do, and it turns out a decent meal with minimal effort. Seriously minimal effort. If you’re uber lazy or pressed for time, buy pre-cut veggies and cut your prep time down to nothing.

Step 1: Buy a rotisserie chicken, cut it up, and use it for lunch/dinner.

Step 2: Cut the carcass in half and place it, any leftover meat, and all the juices and gelatin at the bottom of the container in the slow cooker. We had both wings, both drumsticks, and one thigh left on our chicken. In terms of flavor, the more chicken the merrier, so if you have several carcasses, throw them in.

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Step 3: Chop 1 large onion, 4 carrots, and 3 celery stalks. Cut 1 clove of garlic in half. Add to slow cooker. Notice I didn’t peel the garlic. So easy.

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Step 4: Add 1 TBSP dried thyme, 1 bay leaf, 2 tsp ground ginger, 1 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp ground pepper to slow cooker. Fill to the top with water. (My grandmother always added lots of ginger to food when we were sick. She said it heats the body up and is good for the lungs.)

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Step 5: Cover and cook on high for 4.5 hours or on low for 8-10 hours. (I’ve also just left it on overnight if I’m just doing broth. The vegetables turn to mush if you do this.)

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Step 6: Taste the broth for seasoning. Since we didn’t have that much chicken in our broth, I added about 2 tsp of chicken bouillon granules to put it over the edge from good to oh my goodness, I’m so happy.

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Step 7: Now, if you just want broth, all you have to do is strain the liquid into a container and toss the rest of the ingredients. But why do that when you’ve practically got chicken noodle soup right in front of you? So instead, pull the chicken bones out and use either a fork or chopsticks to pull the meat off the bones and put it back in the slow cooker. I also pulled the garlic halves out and squeezed the now roasted garlic back into the broth. (Look at how clean those bones are! Flavor, baby.)

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Step 8: Add precooked noodles and enjoy chicken noodle soup. Or, if you’re like my daughter, just enjoy it as-is.

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Ridiculously Easy Slow Cooker Soup or Broth

Ingredients:
1-2 rotisserie chicken carcasses (including juice and gelatin at the bottom) cut in half
1 large onion, diced
4 carrots, diced
3 celery stalks, diced
1 bay leaf
1 head of garlic, cut in half
1 TBSP dried thyme
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
water

Directions:
Add all ingredients to slow cooker and fill to the top with water. Cook on high for 4.5 hours or on low for 8-10 hours. Taste for flavoring. If not “chickeny” enough, add up to 2 tsp of chicken bouillon and stir.

For broth only:
Strain liquid into another container and use in something else.

For chicken noodle soup:
Pull the chicken bones out of the broth and peel the remaining meat from them with either a fork or chopsticks. Using tongs, squeeze the garlic head halves and put the now roasted garlic back into the soup.

Cook your choice of noodles in salted water until al dente. Drain and add desired amount to serving bowl. Top with soup and enjoy.

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Dealing with eczema flares

I hate winter.

And not because of the dreariness or the drab or the weather. I hate winter because of this:

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I hate winter because of eczema. My daughter’s skin gets dry. It gets itchy. To hear it from the dermatologist, it’s an itch unlike any you or I have encountered. It’s relentless. Imagine the worst itch you ever had, then multiply it by 1,000 times. That’s what it’s like to have eczema. So its no wonder that my daughter wakes up with trails of blood across her chest and back from scratching. And to make matters worse, once they scratch or rub, the skin develops a rash. The skin puffs up, turns red and blotchy. It itches more. And then the skin breaks. I’m not talking simple scratches. The skin shreds. Pulls apart. Like tissue paper.

IMG_1246Her hands are usually the worst. But this year, she had a full-body flare.

IMG_1247This is the area where her pants and underwear touch her body.  The splotches continued both up and down her torso. Her shoulders and upper back were gouged by nail marks and puffy skin.

IMG_1249And for the first time, her face was affected: One eye puffed up, her cheeks got blotchy, and her upper lip was bright red and scaly.

We went to the dermatologist the next morning. I pulled out my entire arsenal of tricks to battle this flare:

Wet wrapping: What you need: water, 100% cotton fabric, and tube socks and/or ACE bandages.
What to do: Fill a bowl with lukewarm water and submerge the fabric until they’re soaked. (I use old onesies that I’ve cut into strips.) Pull the strips out of the water and squeeze until they are still very wet but not dripping. Wrap the affected area loosely with the fabric and secure with tube socks (for hands or feet) or with the ACE bandages for other areas, such as the torso. Leave on for 20-40 minutes. When you remove the bandages, do one area at a time, for example: unwrap a hand, apply medicines, apply lotion, and finally apply an emollient such as Vaseline or Aquaphor. For hands, then apply a clean 100% cotton glove or another dry tube sock and leave on overnight.

Therapy baths:
What you need: Option 1: 1 package Aveeno oatmeal bath; option 2: 2 cups milk and 1/2 cup mineral oil; option 3: 1 cup olive oil; option 4: 1/4 cup baking powder.
What to do: Fill a tub halfway with warm water and add one of the four options. Soak for 10 minutes, then lightly pat the skin until it is mostly dry, then apply medicines, lotion, and an emollient.

Burn pads:
You can find these in the first-aid section of your local drug store. Essentially, they’re gel pads soaked in sterile water. I usually put these on her wrists during the day and wrap them in rolled gauze to secure. Leave them on for 30-40 minutes, then remove and apply medicines, lotion, and emollient to the affected area. Don’t use on open cuts, just on areas that are incredibly dry and need some serious hydration.

A metric ton of prescriptions:See your doctor or dermatologist. For this flare, we received a higher-dose of ProTopic (0.3%), and were told to use our steroid ointment for 2 weeks straight, 2x a day, and then wean her off of it. We continued to give her 1 tsp of Zyrtec daily and 1 tsp of Benadryl at night to help her sleep. We also tried  CeraVe cream (blue colored label/tub) and it seems to be helping a lot.

IMG_1252She’s doing better, but is still itchy. Keep that skin hydrated!