Wednesday, December 30, 2015

{Recetas} Chicken Pot Pie

Oh, goodness gracious. I typically write the plan knowing that the meals may shuffle days. That happened this week, when I just wanted to indulge in some comfort food.

Chicken pot pie is much more of a comfort food than what was originally planned, so I went for it. Since we had a change of plans on Sunday, I had all of the ingredients ready to go.

Ho. Lee. Cow. Holy cow, holy cow.

It was freaking delicious. Yum, yum, yum.

The little lady gobbled it up. Kid was a little hesitant. I've noticed that he has a very difficult time with new foods that are mixed together. It seems to be a new phase of his. Hopefully it doesn't last long. Hubs devoured it, and I was rather impressed with myself.

What you need:
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/4 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 tsp. poultry seasoning
  • 1 bag frozen vegetables (mixed veggies, or whatever you'd like)
  • 3 cups cubed chicken, cooked (or, use a rotisserie chicken)
  • 2 pre-made pie crusts
  • 1 egg

What you do:
  • Check the directions on the pie crusts. Preheat your oven according to their directions. My refrigerated crusts called for the oven at 350 degrees.
  • Prepare your chicken. I took the easy route and purchased a rotisserie chicken from Costco. I used all of the breast meat, and all of the thigh meat for the pie. Set the chicken aside.
  • Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large sauce pan. Add the onion and cook until translucent. Then, add 2 teaspoons of poultry seasoning. Stir in the 1/2 cup of flour. Stir until combined and lower the heat.
  • Once combined, whisk in the chicken broth and milk. Stir FOREVER. Seriously, don't stop stirring. Bring it to a boil, while still stirring, and cook for a few minutes. Keep stirring until it thickens. What the what! You kinda just made cream of onion soup! No need for a can of the condensed stuff!
  • Remove the sauce pan from heat and add in the frozen vegetables and the diced chicken. Stir it all together and look at how delightful your yummy pot pie filling looks.
  • Put one crust down, fill it, add the other crust on top. Crack the egg into a bowl and whisk it all up. Brush it onto the top of the pie crust. Then, cut a few ventilation slits into the top crust and throw it in the oven.
  • Now the hard part: follow the directions on the package of your refrigerated pie crusts. Mine called for 15 to 20 minutes in the oven. I left it in for 18 minutes. And it was absolutely perfect.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Four Tips for Handling the Terrible Twos

My sweet son will be 3 in April. To say we have been hit with the terrible twos is an understatement. In fact, the terrible twos began around 19 months - the tantrums, the "no!," the whole kit and caboodle. My fear is that he will continue with this pattern and become a "threenager" as well. Will my son outgrow this phase of always having to be right? Of saying the sky is purple, just because I said it was blue? Will it ever end?

If you're in the same boat, here is my list on helpful parenting "tricks" for young children.

I am, by no means, a parenting expert. Sure, I am an expert at parenting my children, simply because I do it day in and day out. I can "diagnose" my child as a terrible-two, a threenager, or even spirited. I am simply writing from my own experience and sharing with you what works for me.

1. Time Reminders

It is so important to give kiddos a warning before changing activities, even if they are too young to truly grasp the concept of time. Kids soon realize that "three minutes" means it's almost time to clean up. We usually give a five minute and a two minute warning. Kid tends to get "lost" in his activities. Without reminders, he feels jolted from one thing to the next. A quick reminder allows him to break away from what he was doing, but also gives him enough time to continue and finish.

2. The Plan or "The Ked-ule" (because a two-year-old cannot say schedule)

I began to notice that Kid was having many-a-meltdown when changing activities, especially after a long day at daycare. I have always used the trusted method of giving warnings: "five more minutes to play," or "we're going to have dinner in three minutes." Those were helpful. But there were still plenty of meltdowns.

Our new normal is to devise a plan in the car on the way home from daycare. We give a very vague schedule, or plan, so Kid is prepared with what is coming. A sample plan is this: get home, play, eat dinner, gymnastics, home, books, brush teeth, bed. Throughout the night, we remind Kid of the plan, and ask him to help us remember it. Having him repeat the plan provides him with some ownership over the events of the evening. I continue to use time reminders with the schedule, letting him know that there are five minutes left to read books, then its time to brush teeth.

Is this method fool proof? No. It's not. Do we still have meltdowns? We sure do. But they have become fewer and farther between since we started using a schedule.

3. Remember Your Child's Age

Be sure to keep in mind the age of your child. I know, I know. This sounds silly. But all too often I see parents schlepping their 2 year old on far to many errands. It's no surprise that said two year old is crabby after running into three different stores. The poor kiddo is 2! He needs time to run and play more than anything else.

It sounds like I'm lecturing. I'm not. I am very guilty of bringing my kiddo on far too many errands. The shopping needs to get done, after all. In a perfect world, I wouldn't have to bring the toddler with for any errands. But that isn't the case. When I do have to bring him with, I try my best to be as fast as possible. I also bring things for him to do. We have a notepad and pen that he only gets to use while running errands. This keeps it new and exciting so he will stay interested.

4. Be Consistent

This one doesn't really need an explanation, If you don't want your child to yell at you, don't let him get away with it. Ever. Do not hesitate to toss your kiddo into a time out at your sister's house, the library, the grocery store, anywhere. I truly believe that, if they get away with it once, they will try to get away with it again, and again, and again.

Consistency is key.

What is your tried and true method of dealing with the "terrible twos" or a "threenager?"

Sunday, December 27, 2015

::Dinner Plans #23::

Oh, goodness did the holidays treat you as well as they treated me? I can tell by the more snugly fitting clothes. Oof. The chocolate. The cookies. The drinks. The pure yumminess that comes with family events.

And now, now we are back. It's time to get back on track. Back to healthy (well, healthier) foods.

Sunday: Chicken Pot Pie
Monday: Chicken Fried Rice
Tuesday: Lasagna Soup
Wednesday: Family Dinner
Thursday: Shepherd's Pie
Friday: Venison Tacos
Saturday: Italian Meatball Sandwiches

Thursday, December 17, 2015

::Dinner Plans #22::

Whoops, it's Thursday. I normally post my dinner plans on Sunday - my shopping and prepping day.

It's amazing how busy the days and weeks before Christmas get! Better late than never, right?

Sunday: Rotisserie Chicken & Roasted Broccoli, Cauliflower, and Brussels Sprouts
Monday: Spaghetti
Tuesday: Tater-Tot Hot Dish
Wednesday: Homemade Pizzas
Thursday: Chicken Enchiladas
Friday: Pesto Chicken with Mushrooms
Saturday: Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls

Now that it's Thursday, I can tell you that the Tater Tot Hot Dish & Homemade Pizzas were a huge hit! We make our pizza dough in the bread maker, and it is so delicious! I break the dough up into smaller chunks so everyone can top their pizzas. Kid was super excited about "popper-oni." I always top mine with grilled chicken, mushrooms, broccoli, and spinach. The husband goes for an "everything" pizza, without fail.

Eventually, I will write a post about how I prep for my week of meals. For now, I will leave you with this tip: group similar recipes together. Enchiladas, pesto chicken & mushrooms, and unstuffed cabbage rolls all call for rice. So, I am making a triple batch of rice tonight in order to cut the prep time for tomorrow and Saturday. I did the same thing on Monday: both recipes called for ground beef. I browned it all at once, then split it into 2 different portions. One went into the spaghetti sauce, and the other portion went into the fridge for tater tot hot dish.

What tips do you have for meal planning and prep?

Friday, December 11, 2015

Christmas Traditions

Ever since I became a mom I have been thinking about Christmas traditions. Everyone grows up with the traditions of their own families. Then marriage happens and traditions tend to bend and meld a little bit.

I had plenty of traditions growing up.

The season started with a visit to what is now Macy's 8th Floor Santa Land. As a kid, it was Dayton's 8th Floor Auditorium, and it was fantastic. Every year there was a new theme, Cinderella being my favorite. Dayton's became Marshall Fields, became Macy's and now, it is the 8th Floor Santa Land. The 8th Floor auditorium at Macy's in Minneapolis is converted into Santa's workshop. You can see the elves waking up for breakfast, feeding the reindeer. Some elves are the teachers at flight school, teaching reindeer to fly using hot air balloons. After getting through the entire story, there was a place to take a picture with Santa, and then the bakery. Oh, the bakery was so delicious.

Another favorite tradition we had was packing some treats and driving around looking at the Christmas lights. There are more than a few houses around my area that go all out with the Christmas lights. It's such a treat!

My husband also had traditions growing up. Now, we get to make memories with our own children and build traditions. Kid is old enough now, to get excited about Christmas and the Christmas season. He has been wearing Christmas jammies since Black Friday.

I'm excited to start traditions with my little man (and lady, too). Again, Kid is old enough to "get it."

I am holding on to the Macy's 8th Floor Santa Land tradition. Our plan is go early on Black Friday. So many people are busy shopping that the lines are nearly non-existent.

Cookie decorating. This year, we met at my parents house to decorate sugar cookies and have some lunch. It was so fun to get all of the cousins together. Kid has a cousin that is a few weeks younger-oh, goodness, watching those two "decorate" cookies was quite the sight.

Cookie making: this tradition comes from my husband's family. Each year, they all get together for a baking day. We make lefse, sugar cookies, spritz cookies, chocolate dipped pretzels, among many, many others. Kid (and the little chica) will probably enjoy snacking on all of those sweets on baking day!

Tree decorating/movie night. I love decorating the tree. We typically make appetizers and watch a Disney movie while decorating. Unfortunately, Disney movies are still a little too scary for the little ones, so we had to watch the Curious George Christmas movie this year. Eventually, we will watch the Disney movies again, but for now the toddler-friendly movies it is. But, oh. the joy on my sweet boy's face when we brought out our tree (yep, a fake one!). The next day, he asked if we could pack the tree in his backpack for daycare.

Oh, my heart.

What holiday traditions do you have in your family?

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

{Airstream Rehab} Cleaning

We've jumped right in to Airstream rehab. So far it has been a delight! Keep in mind this rehab project is of a 1973 camper. It's been sitting in a field for the last number of years, and unused for a good 10 years before that. Needless to say, the projects are numerous.

Take a few minutes to catch up:

Here and here.

First things first, a tour of the before. And, can I please give a warning? The after will be a long time coming.

Look at that beauty of a couch! Hello, 1970s. I wish we could have salvaged some of the fabric, but the condition was not up to snub. We plan to get rid of everything fabric. The curtains will stick around for awhile, as I will be using them as a template for new curtains. But everything else fabric related: gone, gone, gone. The couch sits at the front of the camper, with a little bit of storage underneath. With the cushions gone, the couch looks to be in fairly decent condition. Although the condition is good, we intend to get rid of it.

I suppose it's time for another disclaimer or warning: we will not be restoring this Airstream to its original state.

To the side of the couch sits the fold-away table, which I've learned is quite typical of the Airstream. Do you see the carpet!? Whoa! Ugly, FYI, and super tattered and worn.

 And the carpet is GONE! Woo hoo! I know the plywood will not be our final flooring choice, but I kind of like the way it looks. Can you picture it with a white couch and table? Freshly painted walls, and bright curtains? Oh, this camper will be so beautiful.

And here is the view to the back of the camper. Our kitchen, complete with stove, oven, and fridge. I have to admit that I love the orange counter tops. Again, they won't stay orange, but it's just so perfect (orange = one of my favorite colors). Just beyond the kitchen is the bathroom (honestly, I don't even want to show you pictures of the bathroom (gross!)) and an enormous closet/wardrobe. We've been throwing around the idea of changing the closet/wardrobe to some bunks, but then we would be completely out of storage.

Seasoned Airstream people: how is the storage?

And there, my friends, is a beautiful view of our first load of garbage. I know that this is only the beginning, and that there will be plenty more to come. Thus far, we've enjoyed the ride!

Monday, December 7, 2015

{Airstream Rehab} The Ride Home

If you're new to the series, my great aunt and great uncle owned a 1973 Airstream Land Yacht. As they aged and used the camper less and less, their hoarding took over. The camper was filled to the brim with junk. When my great uncle Bob passed away, my aunt purchased the Airstream from his wife, Marge. My aunt had the hopes of restoring it to its original state. When quote after quote came in far too high, she gave up and had the camper stored out in a field.

My husband and I enjoy camping and have lived out of a pop-up camper the last few years. Now that Kid is getting to the age of potty training, we thought it'd be nice to have a camper with a bathroom. So we asked my aunt about the old Airstream.

And she gave it to us.

Check in here for our first adventure - checking out the Airstream.

Now you're all caught up.

As mentioned, the Airstream had been sitting in a field year after year. Previous to that, it had been hanging out in a driveway, unused. It was finally time to bring her home (where she will sit in our driveway). She won't yet be used for camping, but the rehab process will soon begin.

We woke up early to get ready for our adventure. This meant borrowing a big (huge!) truck and gathering all of the tools we may have needed. The condition of the tires was unknown, so we had air compressors, jacks, a whole range of hand tools. I packed snacks for the kid and promised a stop at the "donut store" (read: gas station).

The ride up was uneventful. Hubs drove the big truck, I followed in our Explorer. The kids were with me. Little Miss slept the whole way, Kid and I chatted about getting the camper and where we should take it first. He thinks we should go to "Cola-ado."

We pulled up to the storage facility - some guy's house - and headed to his back field. There sat our camper, untouched form a few weeks ago. She was still dry inside, luckily for us because we had gotten a ton of rain!

I checked the tires for flats (looked good!), we hooked her up to the truck. And by we, I mean that the hubs did it. I did back the truck up a few times.

It sounds like it took 2 minutes to get her ready to go, but we were there for a good hour. And then, we were off. 

I had strict instructions to follow closely. To not let any cars between us.

Our ride home was slow. We were concerned with the age of the tires - how long would they last!?

It took us a good hour to get home, and it was uneventful. The tires held the entire way. The back panel didn't fall off. Our camper made it home in once piece - hooray!

And so begins the amazing (-ly slow) process of rehab-ing our vintage Airstream.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

::Dinner Plans #21::

It's been awhile since I have posted any sort of meal plan or menu. Life has just been a little bit too crazy. So crazy, our two year old was our alarm clock this morning. Whoops! I must have turned the alarm off without realizing it, and then slept for another hour. Thank goodness the little Kid woke up and started yelling, "MOM!"

I've been a little bit disorganized, and that has transferred into my meal planning and cooking as well. There have been too many nights where a frozen pizza or fish sticks have been thrown on the table. So here I am. Holding myself accountable by posting a meal plan on the ol' blog.

And then I realized that I need to update the image. Hello, old Dinner Plans image!

Sunday: Chicken & Roasted Veggies
Monday: Chicken Fried Rice
Tuesday: Cashew Chicken
Wednesday: Family Dinner
Thursday: Italian Zucchini Boats
Friday: Taco Salad
Saturday: Wild Rice Soup