Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Chicken Pot Pie

Strangely, I've been cooking quite a bit lately. Cooking dinner isn't uncommon for me, but given my recent exhaustion and laziness, I find it strange that I'm spending my evening in the kitchen instead of taking the easy route. I wonder if it's because subconsciously I know that once Little Miss Baby Billy Sue comes it will be a long time before I homecook a meal from scratch. Mom...???  ;)

The other day I was driving home and I suddenly craved Chicken Pot Pie. The homemade variety. I remembered a recipe my sister, Brooke, tried and emailed me once upon a time, so I had her text me pictures of the recipe so I could grab the ingredients from the grocery. ZOMG was this Chicken Pot Pie good. You can find the original recipe on Allrecipe.com; I took some shortcuts with my pie.

Chicken Pot Pie

Ingredients:
1 rotisserie chicken (I used breast meat only)
1/3 cup butter
2 carrots, sliced
3 ribs of celery, sliced
1 cup frozen green peas
1/3 cup chopped onion
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon celery seed
1 3/4 cups chicken broth
1/3 cup all purpose flour
2/3 cup milk
2 (9 inch) unbaked pie crusts

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 425⁰ Fahrenheit

2. In a large saucepan, melt the butter and sauté carrots, celery, onions, and green peas until veggies are soft and onion is translucent.

3. Stir flour into the vegetable mixture and slowly add chicken broth and milk. Continue to stir until mixture is smooth. Add salt, pepper, and celery seed.

4. Simmer over medium-low heat until sauce thickens.

5. Place cubed chicken in bottom pie crust and pour the thickened sauce mixture on top of chicken. Be careful not to fill pie over the brim.

6. Cover the pie with top crust and seal the edges. Cut away and discard any excess dough. Cut several small slits into the top pie crust to allow steam to vent.

7. Bake uncovered for 30-35 minutes until the pie crust is golden brown and filling is bubbly. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving.


I mean seriously. Doesn't that look divine? Brooke adds a little potato (diced and boiled--see her note in the comments) to hers so I might try that next time. Maybe a bit of corn in addition to the peas? And perhaps some thyme or some other spice to give it a little more seasoning. But even still...deeeeeelicious.

Bon Appetite!




I tried this recipe as part of the Whip Up Something New Challenge, a challenge that encourages you to dig through your untried recipes and get cooking.  My cousin Elise is hosting the challenge this month so be sure to pop by and see all the participants. I hope you'll join us from month to month!

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Countdown Begins - One Month to Go

With only a month left (or 28 days) until my actual due date, I figured I had better get some of my more pleasant thoughts down in writing before the extreme uncomforts of pregnancy settle in and I start screaming to anyone and everyone "Get this baby out of me!!"

Of course, I type this at 3:30 on Monday morning because I couldn't sleep. Every time I turned in bed my hips crack and ache from the weight, but I probably would have been fine if my bladder hadn't gotten the best of me. Yesterday while brushing my teeth my entire cereal breakfast came back up, before that I had a complete meltdown after the original breakfast I cooked was a disaster, when I've been sitting down for a while and get up I do a combination of a crab shuffle and old woman walk until my back straightens out, my feet and hands (and face!) are suddenly swollen no thanks to our 80+ degree weather, I can't tie my shoes without gasping for air, every day chores are so exhausting I can't stand it, I'm frantically trying to work through my email at work in fear that things will fall through the cracks while I'm on leave, I've slept a few nights in the LaZBoy to alleviate my acid reflux, it's not physically possible to walk any slower and actually move forward, I have the most active baby in utero and fear what that means when she finally arrives, driving hurts especially when I have a rump or a heel under my ribs, but right now I just wish I were in bed sleeping as I know I'll pay all day at work today.

35.5 Weeks (last update at 30.5)

These are all small complaints, though, for a pregnancy that has been wonderful. The other day I was driving home from work on a particularly beautiful and warm day. I had the windows rolled down and was blasting and singing along to Amos Lee. I just started sobbing because my heart was so full of love and happiness. I think about all the pain and tears I experienced last year after the miscarriage and then the failure to get pregnant in the months afterwards and all of that pain has melted away. Even though I joke that this baby doesn't ever stop moving, I love feeling her wiggle around and know she'll be a spunky one. I simply cannot wait to meet her and get to know her outside of the womb. And I cannot wait for my husband to meet this baby girl that I already feel I've gotten to know a little bit and see him grow into the role of father.

The past couple of weeks have really slowed down for me. I sometimes feel guilty for being lazy as I sit on the couch catching up with my Real Simple magazine (December issue--if you must know how seldom I allow myself the lazy pleasure). For the first time in my life I've started to ignore some of the "shoulds" and just focused on being. It's strange and sometimes I feel a bit restless, but mostly I'm too exhausted to do much of anything anyway. I've been watching a ridiculous amount of TV with Scott, which I don't typically like, but then I remind myself that these days are becoming more and more limited. As are my days of it just being the two of us--something that is exciting and sad at the same time.

Scott and Trish - 32 weeks

When I'm not just being, I'm busy nesting. Trying to declutter my home, trying to get everything ready in the baby's room even though she won't sleep up there for at least several weeks, trying to get in as many homecooked meals as I can, trying to organize and simplify now while I still can. I think going through these motions has helped me avoid the big Freak Out that for some reason still hasn't happened to me. I know I should be anxious and a nervous wreck that this baby could come at any time, but the Freak Out just hasn't come yet. This pregnancy has made me strangely relaxed and I wonder if maybe the anxiety just won't come--until that baby girl arrives that is.

No, baby's name is not really Baby Billy Sue

Oh, I could keep tying and typing. Even though I knew this would happen I really regret not keeping a better journal of the pregnancy. The things you put off for another day...  But now it's 4:30 and Scott's alarm is bound to go off at any time. Will I even be able to get any more sleep before I'm supposed to wake up or will today be one of those days? I'm not ready yet, though, to wish away these days--the time before my life flips completely on its head and everything changes.

So...in closing, I'm asking you for your words of wisdom. Every pregnant woman complains about the unsolicited advice she receives, and I've received my share of sentiments that have caused me to raise my eyebrows, but now I'm soliciting. Go ahead...! Anything from the pratical (holy cow I don't even know how to bathe a baby!), to the emotional, to the time management of being a working mother, to life balance--to anything.

Before that clocks ticks down any further...goodnight! Er...or something.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Sunday Salon 40: Giving in to Audio


Happy Sunday! Since I've been kind of a lame reader this year the Sunday Salon topics seem to be evading me as of late. I've only finished three books so far this year but I've listened to six, which if added together doesn't make my total quite as pitiful. In many ways, though, I have a tough time treating audiobooks the same way that I do a book I've physically read. I don't keep track of the books I've listened to, I don't add them into the yearly count, and I don't typically post about them. Perhaps this is partly because of the way I process audiobooks so differently--more akin to watching a season of a TV show or a miniseries--but should I feel differently towards audiobooks than paperbooks?

Going to jump the gun with my questions before continuing.

Sunday's Questions:
Do you listen to audiobooks the same way you read a book? Do you review these media in the same way? What differences do you see in your reaction or process or perception? If you do review audiobooks differently than regular books, what are the differences and do you have any tips on how to write about audio (aside from the obvious discussion of reader)?

Back to this analogy of listening to an audiobook like watching a TV series. A TV series typically has more than a dozen episodes over the course of several months. Sure there are underlying themes to the season and things that continue to carry through, but let me use the TV show Chuck as an example. Chuck is an ordinary geeky guy who has a special quirk called the "Intercept" that makes him a kick-ass spy. At the beginning of the season he lost the intercept and struggled to be that kick-ass spy. Now he has the intercept back and is the kick-ass spy again, but trying to remember what Chuck struggled through at the beginning of the season seems like eons ago. Maybe Chuck is a bad example because it's fairly predictable within each episode what will happen, but the point I'm trying to make is that an overarching theme throughout the whole season of a TV show isn't always evident.

I tend to view audiobooks in this same episodic way--some more so than others of course--but perhaps because I usually take two weeks to listen to a book all the way through, audiobooks feel more to me like watching an entire season of a TV show where the events are stretched out and cannot be summarized in a simple plot summary. Does this make sense to anyone else? Ha! Basically, the struggles that I have with audiobooks--particularly when I've finished listening--is that it doesn't feel like I've read a cohesive compact book.

I keep thinking that one day I'll magically be able to talk about the books that I've listened to. My biggest struggle is not being able to really put my finger on what the book is about. I can tell you what happened (although probably not concisely), but I have a tougher time with the more textural and thematic things or even just how a book made me feel. And maybe one day I'll figure it out, but until then...I feel stuck. I don't know where to start. And maybe it's as simple as trying to stop thinking about audiobooks in the same way I think about regular books?

What do you think? Am I alone? I know many of you have expressed here and there that you don't listen to audiobooks or that you also think about them very differently--perhaps because you're usually not giving the audio 100% of your attention like a physical book or because you're a more visual learner rather than auditory learner, but as I continue to listen to twice as many books as I read, something's gotta give!

Wow...didn't mean to write so much. So much for sitting down without anything to say. :P

No plans for this week. Maybe a rambly post or Wordless Wednesday for Wednesday. I read and loved Looking for Alaska but don't know how to write about it without spoilers (have I just forgotten how to write about books completely?!?).  We'll see how the days go. I'm hoping today, at least, will be a relaxing day!

Happy Sunday to you all!!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Oh Hi There!

I woke up at 2 am this morning and had a sudden desire to blog. I sat down to the computer but was afraid my clanking (I am an exceptionally loud typer) would wake Scott so I just ate two bowls of Fruit Loops and crawled back into bed. Turns out the sugar gave baby girl a sudden jolt of energy, but we eventually both made it back to sleep in time for the alarm clocks to start sounding.

There are about 10 million reasons why I haven’t been blogging lately.

Part of it is because I’m afraid that if I don’t keep up my bookish balance you’ll abandon me.

Part of it is because I haven’t had the energy to bloghop and don’t feel right about writing posts but not read them.

Part of it is because someone at work is watching my blog but I don’t know who. I do have a few coworkers who read, and I’m totally OK with that because I know who they are. But this unknown is really bugging me. I feel like Big Brother is peering over my shoulder and it’s unnerving (and because this person won’t fess up I can only assume it is Big Brother).

Part of it is because I have lots of things I want to say but I fear none of them are particularly interesting. And none of them are really big enough to warrant its own post. And I’m afraid you’ll tire of Trish’s Rambles.

Part of it is because I love responding to the comments you leave but haven’t had the energy. As a result I’ve completely ignored my gmail account and it’s overwhelmingly out of control now.

Part of it is because I’ve been spending my mornings and lunches reading fabulous books and don’t want to give up that momentum.

Part of it is because I’m afraid I’ll become that person who only talks about her pregnancy and/or baby.

There are lots of other parts as well but those are the most significant. And I’m afraid I’ll sound whiny!

Huh. I got so distracted by thinking up all the reasons why I haven’t been blogging that I forgot what I wanted to blog about today! I think mostly I want to say hi.

33 weeks (two weeks ago)

Things have been going well. I’ve had the baby showers so I’ve been spending most of my evenings when I get home nesting. It’s surprising how exhausting this is! Even the act of writing thank you notes has exhausted me, but I really wanted to pay attention to what’s what and put everything in its rightful place. We’re still a long way from being ready but we’re getting there.

I’m actually trying not to have the Big Freak Out. I’m just about 35 weeks which means that technically this baby could make her way into the world at any time. I’m hoping she’ll take it easy for a few more weeks, but I’m starting to realize how underprepared I am. Is one ever fully prepared? I’m guessing not, but I’ve been so relaxed throughout the entire pregnancy (Seriously—it’s amazing for how high strung I typically am), that I’m starting to have those “OMG I don’t know anything” moments.

Until I realize how exhausting that is and give it up for another day. ;)

I wish I could say I’ve been quilting but I haven’t been doing much of that lately. Scott did take me to the quilt show in Dallas last Saturday where I ogled over beautiful quilts and his jaw dropped at the prices of sewing machines. He was such a great sport to take me (his idea!!) and all those blue-haireds totally gushed over him and his future baby girl.

I have been reading, though, and it’s been glorious. I’m halfway through The Help and finally had to slow down so that my mom and sister could catch up (can’t remember the last time I read 60 pages in a day until this week!), so I’m also slowly going through Muslim Women Reformers. It’s a fascinating book but certainly not fast reading. I just finished listening to The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks and loved it. I just can’t seem to figure out how to write about audiobooks. Well, for that matter I’ve seemed to have forgotten how to write about all books!

Other than that, life has been quiet. And part of me feels a little bit guilty for sitting my butt on the couch every night and most of last weekend to watch TV, but then I remember that few are the days left when I will have such lazy luxury. This weekend will be a busy busy one with various company in town and an all day child birthing seminar at the hospital. I’d love to get in some sewing time and maybe even catch up with you all on Sunday morning with my cup of coffee.

Guess that’s it. A post about nothing. But I’m OK with that. I’m guessing the next few months will bring even more sporadic posting, but I’m alive and doing great.

Now off to spend the remainder of my lunch break reading unless I fall asleep!!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Sunday Salon 39: Confessions of a Grumpy Reader


Oh hi! I missed you!

I'm still living in "Overwhelmed" World, but since we're in a new month I thought I'd pop in and say hi.

A note about the title of this post. I'm not grumpy. Maybe a little tired, but not grumpy. Really I could have used any adjective, but since I'm about to make a slew of confessions, Grumpy seemed to fit the bill.

Another note--these are just my thoughts. Surely you won't take offense to anything I say? If you do, I'll just pull the pregnancy card.

Confessions of a [Fill in Adjective Here] Reader

I've only finished three books in 2011. Two of those books were Young Adult and two of them were under 250 pages.

Sometimes I stare at my bookshelf and try to figure out a way I could read multiple books at one time.

I buy books with no intention of reading them right now. Not even next week or next month. Sometimes not even next year. But I still have to have them right now.

I never read dust jackets or the backs of books. Oftentimes not even when I've finished the book.

I go days without reading a single page.

Sometimes I could go weeks without reading a single page but force myself through a dozen or so.

I've had a few literary crushes. Edward from Twilight is one of them.

I used to be annoyed when people would ask how I found the time to read so much. Now I'm annoyed by the people who do find the time to read so much.

I almost always finish a book once I've started it, even if I hate it.

Big books take too long to read so I typically opt for shorter ones.

Sometimes I read my book in the morning while sitting in my car in the parking garage at work.

One time I finished a particularly sad book in the car in the parking garage at work and balled my eyes out.

I've cried while reading at the gym, on the plane, at work, in my bedroom, in a Walmart parking lot.

Sometimes a book is so moving I literally hug it to my chest and audibly sigh. Probably with my eyes closed.

There are SO many books I want to read right now. Until I'm without a book to read and then none of them sound appealing.

The most I've ever read in a year is 73 books. I have no desire to repeat that number. Not even close.

Sometimes I wonder if people who read a lot have a life. I'm sure people have wondered the same about me as well.

I hide at lunch to read. Sometimes this is the only time of the day I can read. If I don't get a personal lunch then I might go days without reading.

Without reading challenge I don't really know how to pick my next book. I finished a book on Friday night and still haven't settled on a new one.

I will never read all the books I own unless I stop acquiring new ones or get rid of old ones.

There are several books on my shelf I have absolutely no desire to read but can't get rid of them because I bought them.

I could get rid of all my husband's books without batting an eye but don't because they're his books. Even if he'll never read them and would never know if they were missing.

I hold on to books I didn't like because I think that maybe I'll read them again and like them better.

Holy Cow--just scrolled up and realized how many confessions I was up to. I could keep going. And going. And going.

So tell me, what are YOUR confessions?

I wish I could say that I'll have some posts this week but we started mandatory overtime at work and since I'm exhausted as it is I'll work my overtime in the mornings and at lunch--time usually spent reading or blogging--instead of working late. Overtime is only supposed to last for two weeks but unfortunately we're coming into a busy time and I see it lasting until that baby comes. I'm also still working on my continuing education.  PS--if you work with me and read my blog, I'd love it if you said hi. Maybe you can just send me an email telling me your favorite ice cream? Ha!

Anyway, in the meantime I'll do the best I can do--but another confession: part of the reason why I haven't been blogging is because I haven't had time to bloghop or return comments. I need to let that guilt go.

Hope you have a lovely Sunday. My plan is to finally settle in on a new book and enjoy!

OOOOOH, BY THE WAY. Sign-ups for Dewey's 24-Hour Readathon are up! Have you signed up yet? I'll be 38 weeks by then and in no condition to do the 24 hours, but you bet your ass I'm signed up.  I'm willing that baby to not come early. Stay put Little Baby Billy Sue!

Ok, now Happy Sunday,

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Whip Up Something New February Round-Up


We had a great turn-out for February's Whip Up Something New edition. Some of you got very busy and there were lots of great sounding recipes. As someone pointed out--this challenge really isn't doing any favors for shrinking our recipe stacks, but...!  ;)

February's Participants and Recipes:

My friend Stephanie shared a recipe for Bruschetta with Sauteed Mushrooms, which in the comments she noted she made into a brunchy meal with tomatoes and spinach.

Elise got busy with several recipes: Cinnamon-Buttermilk Muffins, White Chili, Baked Potato Soup, and Spicy Lemon Garlic Shrimp.

Gnoe at Graasland shared a variety of different recipes: Pumpkin-Coconut Soup, Indian dinner, Quinoa Chili with Kale and Cashews, Marvellous Mayonnaise, Yaki-Gyoza, and Japanese Sesame-crusted Rice Patties.

Bev from Funny the World shared a delicious sounding Italian Wedding Soup recipe.

Cutest Lil Bookworm from Kisha's Masala whipped up a Mayan Omelet with Chorizo Sausage.

Uniflame at She Likes Bento shared several Japanese inspired dishes: Japanese Potato-Macaroni Salad, Inside out Salmon Onigiri, Teriyaki Burgers, Tomato-Tortellini Soup, and Pesto Muffins.

Margot at Joyfully Retired made some Bacon Cheddar Pinwheels that smell delicious (I could smell them through the computer, I swear).

Michelle from My Favorite Time of Day tried her husband's grandmother's Sugar Cookies.

Joanna from It's All About Me tested out a traditional Polish Carnival tradition: a Faworki recipe with a bonus tip for making meringue.

Kristina from Kristina's Favorites made a very yummy looking Garbage Plate.

JoAnn from Lakeside Kitchen shared a recipe for Stuffed Flank Steak with Apple, Feta, and Almonds.

Kristi from Kristi Loves Books tried out a new Macaroni and Cheese recipe.

Christina from Reading Thru the Night whipped up a new Chicken Cacciatore recipe with pasta.

And I made a delicious Turkish Beef Stew recipe that's been sitting in my stash for over three years.

Prize Giveaway:
This month I noted I'd be giving away a small prize to one of the participants. Out of the thirteen participants (not including myself), Random.org selected Kristi as the winner!  Just a few little things for the kitchen--ladybug kitchen timer, cookie scoop, cookie cutters, and a recipe organizer.


Next month my cousin Elise will be hosting the link-ups, so be sure to pop over once you have a new recipe! Be sure to bookmark Joanna's Introductory Post to see past months' participants/recipes as well as current hosting.

Happy Reciping!

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