May 29, 2014

One pot chicken pot pie

Chicken pot pie is one of my favorite go-to dinners. Its pretty easy, very tasty, and the best part is that I always seem to have the ingredients on hand. And another plus is that I can cook it up in just one pot! I was just congratulating myself on my cleverness and efficiency in having such a wonderful one-pot wonder in my recipe arsenal when the thought occurred to me that perhaps the fact that chicken pot pie is cooked and baked in a pot is the reason that it is called chicken pot pie in the first place... Alas, I'm still pleased with my cleverness. And happy to be sharing my first recipe on the blog!

I've developed my own recipe over the years and I'm quite happy with it. It has to be said that this isn't Scott's favorite meal, but I'm fairly certain that's because its chock full of veggies. So lets not let his opinion tarnish this dish's lovely reputation in our house.

The first step is to dice up an onion and a few cloves of garlic, then saute them in some olive oil and butter over medium heat.

Next add about 1/4 c of flour to the mix and stir it around for 3-4 minutes. Then slowly stir in 15 oz of chicken broth. Once the broth is fully incorporated and there are no lumps of flour left, add your veggies, chicken, and herbs.  And don't forget to season with salt and pepper as well!

Keep the pot cooking over medium heat and stir occasionally until the gravy is nice and thick and the carrots have started to soften. In the meantime, make your crust. (this is my favorite pie crust recipe)

To make sure that your pie crust is the right size, I like to roll it out and then use my pot lid as a guide.  Another tip is to roll out your pie crust on top of some plastic wrap- that way you can pick it up more easily and then just peel away the wrap after you've placed the crust.

Place the crust over your chicken/gravy/veggie goodness and cut a few slats.  I also like to brush some beaten egg on top to give the final product a nice golden sheen.

Now you bake your pie at 350 for about 30 minutes, until the sauce is bubbly and the crust looks like a Hollywood sunset (golden).

One Pot Chicken Pot Pie
by Honey Loves Grizzly

1 medium onion, diced (sometimes I use leeks in addition to onion)
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
2 T olive oil
2 T butter
1/4 cup flour
15 oz. chicken broth
3 cups shredded chicken
5 carrots, diced
1/2 bag frozen peas
1-2 T herbs (I love to use oregano, basil, thyme, and parsley- usually dry, but fresh if I can get it!)
One pie crust
1 egg whisked with 1 T of water

Heat olive oil and butter over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, 3-4 minutes. Add flour, stir, cook 3-4 minutes. Add broth slowly in a stead stream while stirring constantly.  Cook and stir until slightly thickened and no lumps remain- 1-2 minutes. Add veggies, chicken, and seasonings. Keep over medium heat and stir occasionally, until thick and veggies are tender. Prepare crust and place over the top of your thickened chicken and veggie combination. Brush crust with egg wash and then cut slats into the top to vent. Bake at 350 until sauce is bubbly and crust is golden brown.

May 22, 2014

Schools out for the SUMMER

Ellie had her very last day of preschool this week. Time has FLOWN by and before we know it we're going to have a full-fledged kindergartner on our hands around here!

I can't even believe it was a full 2 years ago that Ellie started preschool at CHUP. We've really enjoyed our time there, and while I can't say I'll miss doing taxes every 3 months (I volunteered as the treasurer for CHUP the past two years), we will always look fondly on our time there and the great friends that we've made. 

May 19, 2014

Models day 1

I'm so excited to be opening my etsy shop again! I've decided to try my hand at selling little girl dresses and today was my first photo shoot with my models- it was too fun. I hope to have the dresses up for sale by the end of this week, so be sure to check that out!

May 15, 2014

Sometimes I pretend I have twins

I don't think its a secret that I reallly want to have twins. Yes, yes, I know you think I'm crazy. But I still wish it.

Anyway, we have some great friends here in MI that have a daughter only 5 days younger than Ron and of course I coerced her mom, Julie, into letting me throw a little birthday party for the two of them. The cake decorating that I attempted turned into one of my most devastating pinterest fails, but life goes on and hey, I'm even posting pictures of them on the internet so that must mean I'm growing as a person right? Anyway, if I never get the twins I'm hoping for I guess I'll just have to keep talking Julie into letting me pretend.

May 14, 2014

Ron's birthday hooplah

I just loved Ron's birthday this year. Scott ever so kindly took the day off from work so he could escort Ellie on her class field trip to the real life farm, and he even took Ev along too! As most of you know, I'm soooo allergic to farm animals and taking Ellie on that field trip may have killed me. While Scott and the girls were gone I got to hang out one on one with Ron, which happens almost never. It was fabulous. He is such an easy-going kid, happy to follow me around while I do chores around the house and he also naps a LOT. He seriously sleeps about 16 hours a day. When the rest of the family got home we headed out to Whole Foods in Detroit which we had discovered when Michelle and co. were in town in April. We had a nice little dinner and headed home for dessert. It has become a tradition to have store-bought cupcakes for each of our babies first birthdays, which may seem shocking given my interest in baking, but I will grudgingly admit that store-bought isn't always terrible. Anyway, Ron opened some presents and had some cake and then the kids had their nightly wrestling match. At least one of them will probably take up MMA at some point because they are so ruthless with each other! And they love it! weirdos. Anyway, we sure do love having Ron around- he's a great addition to our family and we had a great time celebrating him.

May 2, 2014

A Ron is born!

Ron was my earliest baby- only 3 days past due. My sister/doula arrived on May 1 and we were both expecting to spend a lot of our time eating spicy food and walking and trying to find my pressure points somewhere beneath the blubber of my swollen ankles. Thankfully Ron is a gentleman and decided to put me out of my misery the very first morning Michelle was in town (we’ll not mention that he also caused me 3 unnecessary trips to the hospital with fake labor and heart burn bad enough I thought I was having a heart attack). So anyway, I had Ellie play hookie from preschool on May 2 and we went to the Detroit zoo. It was a beautiful day! I started having contractions at the polar bear exhibit, but that was old news to me so I ignored them. By the time we stopped for a snack I was super uncomfortable, but again, nothing new to me. At the grizzly bear exhibit, around noon, I decided that this might actually be the real thing and we decided to go home. I booked it to the parking garage and by the time we got to the car I couldn’t really talk through the contractions anymore so Michelle drove us all home. Of course we hit standing traffic on the freeway, but eventually we made it home. I called the fabulous Lindsay to come watch the girls and informed the midwife that I was coming in soon. Then I did the smartest thing I’d done all day and asked Michelle to make me some homemade guacamole and taquitos. They were sooo good. Then Lindsay arrived and I promptly dropped some kitchen scissors on my foot and started bleeding everywhere. Lucky for me Lindsay can always be counted upon to have some extra bandaids in her back pocket. So anyway, we left for the hospital around 2:30 pm I believe. I called Scott on the way to tell him to book it out of work and that if this wasn’t the real thing to be prepared for a full on melt down. So Michelle drove me to the hospital with instructions to tell me about the weirdest names she has ever encountered at the school she teaches at (Portland Waldorf- a wonderful school but they’re not known for their conformity to top 100 baby names). Once we got to the birthing center I was soooo happy to hear that I was at 5cm! No way were they sending me home. I happily changed into my yoga pants and plopped down on a birthing ball to play cribbage with Michelle and wait for Scott. After about 30 minutes Scott arrived and by that point I couldn’t really concentrate on cards anymore. Distraction is key for me during labor so I intermittently give prompts to Michelle and Scott to talk about. Its really kind of funny because while Scott is a certified chatty Cathy, Michelle is not. And my prompts center on either Harry Potter or Disnelyland 95% of the time, and while I may never grow tired of it… Anyway, turns out the midwife was fairly adept at creating distractions for me herself in the form of awkward questioning. Among her varied discussion points she made while I was in labor are my husband’s underwear, my sister’s biological heritage, our religion and her own abhorrance of pop culture (you can imagine my horror at the last point). I tend to shy away from talking about personal matters (like my husband’s underwear) with strangers so I wasn’t too thrilled by the subject matter, although it was distracting. So distracting in fact that I actually faked a contraction at one point to avoid the midwife’s questions…. I also spent some time in the jacuzzi which is just sooo nice. You have to convince somebody to get the nurse out of the room while you’re in there though because its so much more comfortable to lean back in a jacuzzi and for some reason the nurses at the ABC are convinced that your baby will turn breech if you lean back too much. I don’t buy it.

So anyway, around 6pm I started to feel like pushing. I got out of the tub and onto the bed on hands and knees like I did with Ev (ps those hot compresses that they use at the ABC while pushing are the most amazing things ever. Seriously, it makes the whole process of pushing a baby out of your body almost feel good). I just kind of pushed during contractions a little bit, but I didn’t feel a huge need to try super hard. Plus my contractions were still like 3 minutes apart (they never got closer together, weird I know, but verrry nice). The midwife suggested that I should try squatting through one contraction and I agreed very hesitantly. Nothing against squatting if that’s your thing, but for me its just not my fave- I feel very awkward in that position, plus it hurts my knees. But I agreed to do it for just one contraction so the midwife would stop asking. Well, during that contraction my water broke and splattered all over the ground (and Scott’s feet- he was so grossed out). And it turns out that Ron’s over-active bowels (he seriously has had the most blow-outs of any kid I have ever met ever) started early on- the water was very dark with meconium. So at this point the midwife was concerned that we needed to get Ron out quickly so they could keep him from breathing in the meconium. She told me I had to get him out on the next contraction and that I needed to stay squatting. I didn’t really understand what was going on and I was still trying to convince her I wanted to stand up when the next contraction hit. All I can remember about that is everyone in the room telling me to push as hard as I could- the nurse told me not to breath even. So I grabbed the midwife by the scruff of her top and screamed into her face and Ron was born! 6:45pm on May 2.

Scott helped me onto the bed while the nurse cleared out Ron’s nose and then all of the sudden I was holding him- a beautiful baby boy. I was smitten, which is really saying something because that boy smelled reallll bad. Like a farm animal. I got to cuddle with my stinky little cub for about 5 hours before the nurses were able to help me take a shower. At first it was because I had trouble clotting after Ron was born (minor freakout occurred when the midwife mentioned I might need to go to the OR- but thankfully she got it figured out- unfortunately that involved pitocin for me without any pain killers for a while). Anyway, Ron was a dream but my first night after he was born was not ideal. The drugs the midwife gave me to stop the bleeding kind of messed with my system and I started shaking uncontrollably sometime during the night. Then I had a little panic attack and the nurse gave me some pain killers (seriously, you should not be allowed to have pitocin without painkillers) and I finally got to sleep for a little while. The next day Michelle came back with the girls so they could meet their baby brother. They were both extremely cute holding him- very sweet moment for us. Michelle stayed at the hospital and Scott took the girls to oiur fantastic friend Lorissa’s house so Scott could go take a nap (he was up with me all night calming me down from my panic attack and taking care of Ron). Turns out Scott spent the time gardening- silly man. Michelle was great because she held Ron and introduced us both to Once Upon a Time- a wonderful show and distraction from the pain of afterpains (if I could get an epidural after giving birth, I totally would- afterpains are no joke). Scott and I took Ron home around 7:30 in the evening. When we got home we put the kids to bed and ate more taquitos and guac and watched Happy Gilmore. It was pretty fantastic.

And the rest is history! Ron is the sweetest- a very easy baby. From early on its been clear that Ron has an laid-back personality; as long as his pants are dry and his stomach is full, that boy is content with life. I just love him to pieces- a complete joy in my life.

Happy Birthday Ron!