Slow Cooker Deconstructed Chicken Pot Pie with Biscuits

IMG_0949Chilly Friday night soccer practice calls for a warm, comfort food dinner to be ready when we finally arrive home tired, cold, and sometimes wet from the Seattle rain.  This was a fun meal to prepareas I am always trying to think up new ways to use the slow cooker. It certainly appealed to everyone's tastes.  I think I would have liked it to be a bit more spicy, so perhaps using a spicier poultry seasoning or adding a bit of cayenne pepper would be a nice addition if you like spice, but it is yummy as it is too.IMG_0948

Slow Cooker Deconstructed Chicken Pot Pie with Biscuits

adapted from Real Simple

Ingredients:

4 carrots, cut into coins 2 stalks celery, thinly sliced 1 small onion, chopped 1/4 cup all-purpose flour 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs 1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning kosher salt and black pepper 1cup low-sodium chicken broth 6 biscuits 1 cup frozen peas 1/2 cup heavy cream

Preparation:

In a slow cooker, toss together the carrots, celery, onion, and flour.  Place the chicken on top and season with the poultry seasoning, 1 teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Add the broth. Cover and cook until the chicken and vegetables are tender, on low for 5 to 6 hours. Thirty minutes before serving, cook the biscuits (I just used store bought ones). Ten minutes before serving, add the peas, cream, and ½ teaspoon salt to the chicken and stir to combine. Cover and cook until heated through, 5 to 10 minutes more. To serve, place the bottom halves of the biscuits in shallow bowls, then top with the chicken mixture and the remaining biscuit halves.

Meal Planning Mondays with Recipe for Japanese Noodle Salad with Scallion-Chile Oil

Dinner Menu, Week of March 9th:(Currently, we have a standing Friday night pizza dinner while Jack plays soccer and on Saturdays we get take-out or go out, so these days will be skipped in the dinner planning.)

Monday: Rotisserie chicken; maccaroni and cheese; arugala salad

Tuesday: Black bean and kale quesadillas

Wednesday: Cheese raviloi with olive oil and parmesan; sauteed zucchini

Thursday: Scrambled eggs with scallions; pancakes; citrus slices 

Sunday: Japanese Noodle Salad with Scallion-Chile Oil

Japanese Noodle Salad with Scallion-Chile Oil

Ingredients

Chile-Scallion Oil

2 scallions, thinly sliced

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons crushed red pepper flakes

1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger

½ cup vegetable oil

Noodles and Assembly

10 oz. Japanese udon wheat noodles 

tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce

tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar

2 teaspoons sugar

teaspoons toasted sesame oil

2 cups shredded cooked chicken

2 scallions, thinly sliced

1 large cucumber, halved lengthwise, thinly sliced

radishes, trimmed, thinly sliced

 Preparation

Chile-scallion oil
Cook all ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat, swirling pan occasionally, until scallions and garlic are just golden brown, about 2-3 minutes. Let cool; transfer oil to a jar with lid.
May store oil in refrigerator for several days, which works nice for leftovers.
 
Noodles and assembly
Cook noodles in a large pot of boiling water according to package directions; drain. Rinse noodles under cold water, then shake off as much water as possible.
 
Whisk soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, and oil in a medium bowl until sugar dissolves. Add noodles, chicken, and scallions; toss to coat.
 
Toss with cucumber and radishes and drizzle with chile oil just before serving.
 
recipe adapted from Bon Appetite

Thirsty Thursdays: Carrot Cake Smoothie

This is a delicious smoothie and It really tastes like carrot cake! In fact, it reminds me, slightly, of the best frozen yogurt mix-in from Angora that we used to order in Boston to be delivered to our front door. Yes, free delivery of frozen yogurt of which I very rarely strayed from the carrot cake mix-in, although cinnamon and blueberries was a close second choice. Oh, those were the days of late nights and delivery service! Anyway, back to this healthy carrot cake smoothie. I can't wait for you to try it and tell me what you think! One note, if your banana isn’t frozen, add a handful of ice.

IMG_2184 Makes 3 Good-Size Smoothies 2 large frozen or non- frozen bananas

2 cups vanilla unsweetened almond milk

1 cup organic carrot juice

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 cup raw almonds

4 pitted medjool dates

Combine all ingredients in a blender and purée until smooth.

Recipe adapted from Goop

Meal Planning Mondays with Recipe for Ginger Tofu Stir Fry

Dinner Menu, Week of February 9th:(Currently, we have a standing Friday night pizza dinner while Jack plays soccer and on Saturdays we get take-out or go out, so these days will be skipped in the dinner planning.)

Monday: Garlic and herb fettuccine with sage butter and topped with crispy prosciutto; green garbanzo beans with lentils, tomatoes, and olive oil Tuesday: Egg scramble with Boursin herb cheese and scallions; biscuits Wednesday: Pan-seared polenta cakes topped with marinara; sautéed eggplant and zucchini Thursday: Pulled pork BBQ sandwiches; baked fries; sautéed greens Sunday: Ginger tofu stir fry with Brussels sprouts, green onions, and mushrooms; roasted broccoli

Truth be told, I don't have much of a system in place when it comes to stir-frying. I add whatever vegetables we have on hand and tend not to really measure the spices or sauces. I will attempt the recipe here, but know a bit of interpretation is fair game.

Ginger tofu stir fry with Brussels sprouts, green onions, and mushrooms IMG_2223 Ingredients 1 tablespoon olive oil

1 package firm tofu

1 pound Brussels sprouts, shaved or cut into very thin slices

1 package crimini mushrooms, sliced

About 1 inch of fresh ginger, peeled and grated

Low sodium soy sauce

4 green onions, chopped

Sesame oil

Salt and pepper

Preparation Heat olive oil in a large skillet or wok over medium high heat. Meanwhile, cut tofu into small pieces and add to skillet. Cook until starting to brown.

Add Brussels sprouts, mushrooms, grated ginger, and a healthy drizzle of soy sauce. Stir fry, turning with spatula every few minutes to prevent sticking and to ensure even cooking.

When the vegetables are tender, add the green onions and a light drizzle of sesame oil.

Salt and pepper to taste.

We usually eat this by itself, but it's also good and more hearty served over brown rice or barley.

Meal Planning Mondays with Recipe for Cauliflower Fried "Rice"

Happy last week of January, y'all! 2015/01/img_2151.jpg *picture of snowy evergreens at Steven's Pass I know people have mixed, and sometimes strong, emotions about the month of January. Some people fall into the camp of having the January blues...post holiday let-down, short days, cold, and snow/rain. In other words, not much excitement to follow the long Halloween/Thanksgiving/Christmas/New Year's Eve run. I actually think it's the lack of excitement that draws me into this month. I love the quiet following all of the festivity. I love the expanse of a clear and open set of 12 new months on the calendar. I love feeling alright about retreating inward, about staying home a little more often. I will admit that I think January might be one of my favorite months. I'm not sure if this is a new feeling or if this feeling has just surfaced with the passage of another trip around the sun. Sometimes age can make you look at things differently. As we move out of this month and into the next, I hope the feelings of serenity and quiet remain. I hope I can keep finding some time to write and to be reflective. I think this feels especially important to me this year as I sense the change about to descend upon our lives. A change we are thrilled beyond belief to welcome, but a change nonetheless (and one that is sure to bring a little chaos and a little less time for writing and inward reflection). Wishing you all a peace filled week as we close out January 2015.

Dinner Menu, Week of January 26th: (Currently, we have a standing Friday night pizza dinner while Jack plays soccer and on Saturdays we get take-out or go out, so these days will be skipped in the dinner planning.)

Monday: Roasted Vegetable Lasagna; simple arugula salad Tuesday: Veggie burgers; baked fries Wednesday: Egg and cheese wraps; roasted potatoes with green beans and mushrooms Thursday: Gnocchi with marinara sauce; roasted Brussels sprouts Sunday: Cauliflower fried "rice"; edamame 2015/01/img_2179.jpg Cauliflower Fried "Rice"

Admittedly, this dish did not really taste like fried rice, so I would be wrong in claiming that it's a fair substitution. But it is really quite tasty and feels so light and healthy. You could add whatever vegetables you have on hand, or add an additional protein like tofu or chicken.

Ingredients 1 medium head of cauliflower, cleaned and broken into large florets large glob of olive oil 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil 1 cup diced zucchini, about 3 small zucchini 2 teaspoons finely chopped ginger 2 garlic cloves, minced 2 sliced green onions 2 large handfuls of cleaned and chopped kale 2 large eggs 1 spoonful coconut oil

Preparation To make cauliflower "rice", finely chop the cauliflower florets by hand or in a food processor. You want the cauliflower to look like fairly uniform pieces of couscous or quinoa.

In a large sauté pan, heat olive oil and toasted sesame oil over medium high heat. Add garlic, zucchini, green onions, ginger, and a pinch of salt, and cook until beginning to brown. Next, add kale.

Once kale has wilted a bit, add cauliflower and sauté for another 3 minutes. Meanwhile, scramble eggs in a separate skillet. Once the eggs are cooked, add to the vegetable skillet along with the coconut oil. Sauté another few minutes until all flavors have had a chance to mingle.

Recipe adapted from Goop

Thirsty Thursdays: Green Tropical Smoothie

2015/01/img_2140-0.jpg It's hard for me to proclaim any smoothie as my favorite, since they are a favorite breakfast of mine and each one I make tastes so different and so uniquely different making the morning a happy surprise. But, I might just be caught saying that this smoothie is at the top of my favorites list, in fact, it might just sit right smack on top of the list. It's seriously so good. It's creamy from the banana, but not thick. It's sweet from the fruit and honey, but not overly sweet. And, the coconut oil adds such a nice depth, giving it a tropical flavor, which adds some sense of warmth to a winter morning. I think this would also taste yummy with a squeeze of lime and with mangos or pineapple instead of pear.2015/01/img_2139.jpg Green Tropical Smoothie 2 large handfuls of spinach leaves 2 ripe bananas 1 pear, cut into large chunks small piece (about 1 inch) of ginger, peeled 2 spoonfuls of hemp hearts glob of honey large spoonful of coconut oil several ice cubes 1 1/2 cups of unsweetened almond milk

Blend all together. 2015/01/img_2143.jpg This was the first smoothie Jack drank in one sitting (he usually puts half of it in the refrigerator for later on the day). Not only did he drink it in one sitting, he drank it in about 1 minute and then drank some of mine!

Enjoy! And, bottoms up!

Thirsty Thursdays: Strawberry Gingersnap Smoothie

2015/01/img_2093.jpg This smoothie is delicious! It's fruity but not so sweet since it gets a kick from the lemon and ginger. And, the almonds add a great texture. It's been on repeat in our house for the past few weeks. 2015/01/img_2092.jpg Ingredients 2 cups frozen strawberries 2 bananas 3-4 inch piece of fresh ginger root grated 1/2 cup raw almonds 1/2 lemon juice 1 apple, cored 2 cups vanilla unsweetened almond milk

Preparation Blend all ingredients in a blender. Makes a full pitcher of smoothie- enough for a family of 3.

Recipe adapted from Goop

Bottoms up to a healthy start to your day!

Thirsty Thursdays: Pineapple Rosemary Crush Cocktails

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/fee/3313971/files/2014/12/img_1933.jpgA delicious recipe for both a boozy refreshing winter cocktail and a satisfying, flavor- filled mocktail. Sometimes hard to achieve both a tasty virgin and boozy version with a single recipe.

Ingredients: Fresh pineapple chunks A few sprigs of rosemary Ice Vodka Ginger beer (it's worth it to splurge on a very gingery, somewhat spicy good quality version; we used Rachel's Ginger Beer made here in Seattle, but we also love Barritt's made in Bermuda)

For each cocktail, muddle a few chunks of pineapple with one sprig of rosemary in the bottom of a cocktail glass until juicy and fragrant. Fill the glass with ice, and then pour over a shot of vodka and top off with ginger beer. If you are making this a mocktail, just skip the vodka shot and fill your glass with ginger beer. Cheers!

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/fee/3313971/files/2014/12/img_1934.jpg

A Photo of Jack: 29/52

Too many cute ones from this week...Too hard to limit myself to only one.

20140804-130246-46966428.jpgBlue eyes staring at the blue sky from Dada's lap.

20140804-130247-46967299.jpgCatching a Silly Jack moment at Carillon Point in Kirkland.

20140804-130248-46968325.jpgSeattle hipster.

20140804-130249-46969138.jpgStaring in awe into the inside of the Mariners dugout! It was so cool to be able to walk out onto the field and to run the bases!

A Photo of Jack: 24/52

Still catching up on our weekly photo series...20140720-210936-76176317.jpg Four weeks ago, we were at Green Lake with some of our best friends, The Gallardos, who were visiting from Florida. The kids were stopping to explore as we walked around the lake and this particular moment of exploration, that we happened to even catch on camera, turned from fun to terrifying really quickly when Jack fell off of the dock edge into the water. (See him in the above photo starting to lose his balance?) It all happened so quickly, thank goodness, but it was still horrifying thinking about all of the "what ifs...". Jack was brave, but it also hit him like a wave as his shock wore off and he processed his own fear. 20140720-210937-76177264.jpg 20140720-210938-76178139.jpg A few hours after the incident when we were alone, he said to me, "Mama, do you know what I was thinking about when I was in the water? I was thinking I might not ever see my house again...". Oh, you can believe that I had trouble choking down my emotions with that comment.

This little boy...I love him more than all else. And, sometimes it feels like I can't possibly keep him close enough.

A Photo of Jack: 22/52

20140629-201556-72956388.jpgThis photo was taken the day we received our "Red Balloons for Ryan" shirt in the mail, Jack added his own Spider-Man flair to it. Indie Nook, along with many other amazing companies, designed products in support of the family of Ryan Cruz, a little boy who lost his life after running into the road to get his frisbee and being hit by a car. The story touched my heart and sparked many tough conservations around here about being safe near cars. We hold hands almost always now when taking walks and in parking lots. I can't lie and say that I mind...

(Always working to get caught up...I really need to find my groove with photo organization. I'm hoping if I can find a way to make it simple, then I will start to organize them from my phone weekly...in my dreams!)

A Photo of Jack: 20/52

20140527-204809-74889469.jpgI'm a little behind posting the weekly photo, so I'm playing catch up this week. Thank you Aunt Laura for this incredible picture of Jack! She took it at Seattle Center and sent it to us while we were spending the weekend away (We did a date weekend at a winery...with a pool! More to come on that...). This picture made us smile big!

A Photo of Jack: 19/52

<a href="https://20140512-151112.jpgAt the park on Sunday, Jack requested that we practice t-ball instead of playing on the playground! This was after we spent much of our time at the Saturday UW baseball game throwing the ball back and forth and teaching him how to throw "by his ear". I love watching new interests blossom! And, I think he rocks a baseball hat!