It's Cold = Chicken Pot Pie

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Holy cow, it's been cold! According to my iPhone, it's not just us either. Pregnant or not, if it's cold out, I prefer to really bundle up...scarf, gloves, layers, boots, etc. (You'll likely never catch me in ballet flats in the winter, my feet get too cold!) (I realize that cold for us here in Memphis is relative to other parts of the country...but we've had several days over the past week or so that have stayed in the low/mid thirties. That is objectively cold, I don't care where you are.)

All I've been craving (yes, craving) since the legit cold came has been chicken pot pie. I posted a shortcut-easy chicken pot pie recipe several years ago that tastes good too, but I daresay I liked this one even better (and it doesn't use any cream of ______ soups). I have a few friends who have sung the praises of Real Simple's chicken pot pie recipe for years.



Like any mom, I've been trying to sneak in more veggies, so I was drawn to trying their Chicken and Vegetable Pot Pie recipe. I adapted a few things (of course), so here's my version:

Ingredients
1 pound rotisserie chicken, de-boned, chicken chopped
1 tablespoon grapeseed or olive oil
2 onions chopped (or frozen chopped onions, if you're me. #sorrynotsorry)
10-ish oz. slightly defrosted/chopped "Normandy" blend veggies (mine are that organic bag from Costco) - includes broccoli, cauliflower, yellow and orange carrots - or you can just chop 4 carrots
3 T all-purpose flour (I used white-whole wheat)
1/2 cup dry white cooking wine (I used water)
2 cups whole milk (that's all we keep now)
1 10 oz package frozen peas
1 T thyme, scant
kosher salt & black pepper
1 store-bought 9" pie crust (found this brand in the organic section, tasted great)

  1. Heat oven to 400° F. De-bone rotisserie chicken and chop.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a saucepan (I used my dutch oven pot) over medium heat. Add the onions and "Normandy blend" veggies, stirring, until they begin to soften, 6 to 8 minutes (do not let them darken much). Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
  3. Add the wine (or water or chicken broth, whatever you have) and cook until evaporated, about 5 minutes. Add the milk and simmer until the sauce thickens, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the chicken, peas, thyme, ¾ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Transfer to a shallow 1½- to 2-quart baking dish.
  4. Lay the crust on top, pressing to seal. Cut several vents in the crust. Place the pot pie on a baking sheet (I forgot this and now I have to clean my oven! drats) and bake until bubbling and the crust is golden, 30-35 minutes.

I really thought this was a winner. Not too goopy or rich, the cauliflower kind of camouflaged as potatoes (so paleo of them), and I do like that thyme flavor. I should've used a cuter casserole dish but I am the worst at gauging how big of a container one needs for a container transfer.

I don't know if yall have heard of/seen this Mark Bittman Time Magazine article that published in October--basically exhorting Americans to get back to the kitchen, for health, family, sanity. But the basic premise of his argument is always close in my mind, no matter how bad I've been doing at cooking recently (I'll blame pregnancy, but I'm a perennial hot-and-cold cook). 

Want to know exactly what's in your food? Make it yourself. Besides the pie crust (which I tried to improve upon a little), the ingredients in recipes like this are in their intended form, simple and straightforward, and the recipe wasn't complicated. I like it.


In other news, how awesome is JT (again)? #Grizzlies

Predictable / Good News / October Report

Friday, November 07, 2014

(Editor's note: I started this post on 10/27...this is just how life has been.)

A whole month of no posts. I can't believe it. This blog is in the back of my mind daily, seriously. The weeks just evaporate with their own craziness, exhaustion and....

BABY! 


(Grainy mirror selfie at your service.)

Yes, that's right! We're expecting baby #3 in May of next year, and we're so excited.

This was taken at a mere 13 weeks. The baby definitely wants to make him/herself known, but they say that's what happens each subsequent time (?).

Something fun about this pregnancy is that we're not going to find out the gender this time. I'm so excited about the mystery of it all! The girls will move into Juliette's big girl room together, and then I'll get to neutralize the nursery a little bit (very ready for a change in there after two baby girls anyway). So excited.

Please accept my apologies for the ole predictable first-trimester-blog-break. We get the girls to bed at night (or I do), and I immediately crawl into mine!

What else has occurred? Hmm...

Halloween of course! Mary Poppins & Burt graced our porch & neighborhood this year.


I found Juliette's suit/dickie on eBay and spruced up the hat with some Michaels accoutrements, and Molly's chimney sweep get-up was a jacket and hat loan from my friend Anna (thank you, Anna!). They had fun, but were fine with trick or treating at about three houses. Gonna ride that train while we can.

The Mary Poppins costume was Juliette's idea (one of her favorite movies right now, thanks to my rigorous training). I figured we could still get away with Molly in whatever, so just went with the Burt accompaniment. So cute.

Also in October, the girls and I were in my friend Laura's wedding, in New Orleans. It was a very warm and sweltery weekend, but we made some great family memories and enjoyed seeing some famous New Orleans sights. I will say, it was a bit tough with morning sickness + Cajun food (which is usually my jam). Oh well. 

Look at my sweet flower girl.

Molly had sort of had enough of everything by this point in the day (she came down with something the day of the wedding, unfortunately), so we didn't get too many photos of her in her get-up. 

Before the wedding day, we went a few days early and got to take the girls to the Aquarium, walk the French Quarter/Jackson Square, and of course, eat some beignets (we of course walked by Cafe du Monde (just out of the shot of the below photo), but ate at Cafe Beignet this time. I think the ones we got were too hot or something because the girls just licked off the powdered sugar. Lovely :)



We had a couple of rough nights sleeping (Molly not feeling well and such), but overall, they did really well traveling and rolling with all the punches of the weekend. 

So happy for George & Laura, the wedding was so lovely! Happiest of wishes to my dear friend "Eve." 

If you're traveling to New Orleans with kids, I definitely appreciate this post from Love Taza--we ended up breakfasting at Elizabeth's as a result, which was my favorite meal of the whole trip. Definitely recommend!

October, you were good to us! Though I'm happy to be speeding into the second trimester and (hopefully) feeling a little bit better.


I promise I'll be back here more soon. I made a good soup this week that deserves to be on the internet.

One Year Ago

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

As it turns out, a year really isn't very long.

The hurt still stings when I remember the new reality, this new world order...tears can spring to my eyes instantly when it registers, yet again, that this is how things are now.

The person who taught me how the word "charisma" could be embodied, my best friend from high school is gone from this world too soon.

There have been so many times in this year I wanted to come here and write about this grief. 2013 was such a strange year; we welcomed Molly into the world and our family. We lost my precious Granny, after 93 full years. Then suddenly, bona fide tragedy, losing this friend also.

The juxtaposition of the two different griefs, along with the new life--it was too stark to bear sometimes. I missed (still miss) my Granny... but I can think about the last time I laid eyes on her, asleep forever, peacefully in her bed, after almost a century of life on this earth, and I can grieve with a peaceful heart. With thankfulness.

With the other...it has just simply taken my breath away. At thirty years old, my childhood has (obviously) been completed, with plenty of time for reflection, and thus the Important Memories have risen to the surface to possess always. For a bulk of my formative teenage years, in those memories that have risen to the top, so.freaking.many of them are with her, around her. Being such a magnet of a personality, she was a party in and of herself.

We took years of French together (and even made a summer trip, just the two of us, to Nice, France to study and live with a family there). My French classroom name was Lise, her Juliette. Yes, my firecracker/shining star of a friend sparked my love of the name. A namesake for my firstborn, in a way.

Adulthood led us in different daily directions. But the weight of her impact on my life supersedes how often we were getting together for lunch at the time of her death. I simply miss her, and think of her in a state of disbelief that the world no longer has her in it.

They say time heals all wounds. But this...for all of us who knew her, we will likely carry these scars of grief always. I've learned more about grief over the past year than the in the 29 years preceding. But I do remain enormously thankful for the myriad happy memories that go along with that electric smile.


miss you, kelly
xo

Anything and Nothing

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Juliette doesn't know the word "nothing" or "no one" - she thinks it's "anything" / "anybody." I can't bring myself to tell her the difference.

Leslie: What did you do at school today?
JTJ: Anything.
Leslie: Who did you play with?
JTJ: Anybody. 

(Do I have a sullen teenager in my house already, or a 3-year-old? Are they secretly the same thing?)

Leslie: What would you like to eat for a snack?
JTJ: Anything. I'm not hungry. 

Leslie: What did you just do to Molly? (Following lots of ruckus and or a little wrestling/gnashing of teeth)
JTJ: Anything. She did it to herself.

You get the picture.

The thing is, this logic sort of makes sense to me sometimes. Anything and nothing, somehow the same thing. That's what I feel like I've been doing lately--anything and nothing. Raising kids, going to work, holding down the fort, spending time with loved ones, going places, doing things...so much of it is the same week after week. But yet every week is different, every week brings a new challenge or developmental milestone for the kiddos, the seasons change, budgets may ebb and flow, and there's always more - "anything" - to learn. I don't guess any of that made sense.

My bachelors degree is in English--a degree I used to call the "anything and nothing" degree. Devoid of a teacher education-focused track, I graduated qualified to do anything and also nothing. Obviously, I found my way (being able to craft a sensible, appropriate business email can go a long way).


My dear husband had the day off yesterday (the first in a while), and we spent the afternoon as we like to do, pretending it's Saturday. We took the gals to this old old drug store here in Memphis, for milkshakes. They sat at the counter, feeling like big girls, enjoying every bit of the sweet sugary nectar.



Anything and nothing... I like it.

Books We Love Right Now (kiddies)

Monday, September 01, 2014

I'm not the first one to blog about books my kids have been loving, but I figured I'm always looking for new recs, so here this goes out into the universe and maybe we'll get something back our way?



(clockwise from top left) A Sister More Like Me | Girl of Mine | Read Aloud Bible Stories: Vol. 3 | The Bunny Hop | The Day the Crayons Quit

1. I read about the Frozen book on another blog, and I'm SO glad we bought it. The story of two sisters with different personalities is of course apropos to having two girls of my own (as any sister - or even sibling - duo would be). The illustrations are simply incredible and darling. Here's the post from the personal blog of the illustrator, about the book if you're inclined to read.

2. Girl of Mine was gifted to us by my dear Jesse when we were expecting Juliette, and it has been one of our favorites since we started reading it to her. The story/rhyme is so sweet, and illustrations are so pretty. Molly reaches for it regularly now.

3. Read-Aloud Bible Stories are a favorite of Jules. They read these books regularly at their school, so it works great in tandem with reading them at home too. I love the illustrations, and the way the stories are phrased make them easy for her to remember. We have volumes 1, 2, and 4. There are a few families who gift this to every new baby, and we've been so glad to have our own copies.

4. I don't exactly remember where we picked up this little copy of The Bunny Hop, but it's Molly's absolute favorite book right now. I don't hate reading it either, since it's a long rhyme (easy to animate), and the illustrations are pretty cute. Molly loves what she knows of Elmo (of course), and is also a fan of Big Bird. It's a cute one.

5. We're definitely not the only ones to love The Day the Crayons Quit, but oh boy. Such a fun book to read (I enjoy it!), and the illustrations by Oliver Jeffers are so clever. Definitely a crowd-pleaser for both boys and girls.


So hit me back--what have you been reading with your kids?

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