Cucumber Crap & Chicken Pies

Dear Grace,

Lucy! What a little mischief-maker! But she is just so cute, how can you even get mad at her?

I am sure I mention this frequently, but Abe and I are trying to get healthier. I think we would be doing better if I found any joy whatsoever from cooking healthy food. One week we ate nothing but chicken and rice. I wanted to die. Then I baked some cookies and all was right with the world. Then I gained back the five pounds I had lost. I am in a constant battle with the same five pounds. Go me!

The other day, Abe brought home some exotic healthy juices that sneak vegetables into the concoction. This particular brand was “It Tastes Raaw” and Abe selected the pineapple cucumber variety. I was doing things around the house when Abe called me to the living room to try this amazing juice. It smelled like cucumbers and dirty socks and tasted worse. It certainly did taste raaaaaaaaaaaaaawwwwwrrrrrr. We immediately threw both bottles away.

That weekend, Netflix acquired two new seasons of my favorite show: The Great British Bake Off. Abe and I spent our weekend watching delightfully polite British people bake amazing breads and pastries. Naturally I was inspired, and decided (at Abe’s request) to try a chicken pie recipe and make puff pastry from scratch. Despite my poor photography and amateur baking skills, they turned out AMAZING. I was just tickled with myself. The pastry had this amazing flakiness and it was just so darn delicious. All that butter just made a world of difference between these and an American chicken pot pie. Hearing the sound of the pastry flaking was even more enjoyable than eating them. I used this Mini Creamy and Cheesy Chicken Pie recipe from The Flavor Blender, and I also used her puff pastry recipe. 

 

 

 

 

 

The recipe took some time to make (mainly because of the pastry), and I wish I had a larger dough cutter (mine is about 2″ in diameter), but they were amazing nevertheless. I will probably make them again, but will most likely keep them as a special occasion food.

It all boils down to this: Healthy food is terrible and butter makes everything better.

Love Always,

Millie

Our Halloween (Because I Am Avoiding Thinking About the Election)

Dear Millie,

Abe’s leg is worrisome!  I hope they can figure out what’s going on.  Maybe he just needs a vacation to the Midwest?  You know it’s hunting season and if nothing else, it’d soothe his soul!

How did your meeting with the head honchos go?  You should have your students decorate your classroom.  In high school choir, we were divided up in groups and given different color posterboard and had to come up with something to put on them–inspirational quotes, pictures, etc.  It was a lot of fun and it turned out great!  There’s the time I decided we needed to decorate the dilapidated music classroom I had…that’s a fun story for another time!  It was me doing it though, so we can just skip to the end and know that it was a disaster.  😉

Did you know there’s such a thing as Election Cake?  And that the elections used to include a lot more food, parties, bonfires, etc.?  I think that needs to happen.  If only for the food!  Ha ha!  Danelle over at Let’s Dish Recipes posted a recipe for Old Fashioned Election Cake and included a little history of it.  Fun!

Other election-type fun: when the kids had some friends over and they put together this White House Cookie Kit from Trader Joe’s!

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I know it looks like I put it together.  The kids come by their talent naturally!  🙂  Shout out to the faboo missionary (you know who you are!) who picked this up for us.  That was a great time!

The boys had Thursday and Friday off from school before Halloween, so their classroom “Fall Celebrations” were held on Wednesday.  Kyle had decided to be Link from The Legend of Zelda.  One of our nephews had dressed up as Link a few years ago, so I tried to get our sister to send me the costume she’d made for him.  No dice.  “It’s so easy!  Just sew this and this and two triangles for the hat and add a belt and bam!”  My sewing skills are exactly nada.  Amazon to the rescue!  We ordered the week before the class party, and it said it’d be here Tuesday.  Perfect!

Tuesday came and no package.  I checked the account and YAY the package was on its way!

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What.  “On time,” it says.  The day AFTER the party!  Lame.  I didn’t know what to tell Kyle, so I employed Step 2 of your recommended steps to dealing with unfortunate situations and waited for Gordon to break the news.  He was late coming home because he was attending a Gamer Club thingie for Workplace.  They gave out free t-shirts and he came home with a red one with bright neon green lettering all over the front.  I told him about the costume situation and he approached Kyle, who was understandably disappointed, and then Gordon said, “But look!  You could go as a gamer!”  The shirt was pretty ghastly and I tried to smile encouragingly as I said, “That’d be cool!”  Kyle snatched the shirt and said that’d be the best thing ever!  If I’d known I could’ve gotten away with a free t-shirt for a costume, well…things might’ve been cheaper!

Paul and Truman really, really wanted to be their Mii characters.  I was so stressed about how to make that happen.  They both happened to need pants, so I was out shopping, and whaddya know, they had pants in the exact same color as their Mii characters!  I realized that I had a long-sleeve black shirt in Truman’s size that I bought last year for super cheap.  I went looking for a blue one in Paul’s size, and they had one for $2!  I couldn’t figure out how to get their Mii faces from the Nintendo to the computer to the printer, so that’s where Gordon’s genius came in.  I don’t know what he did, but anyway, we just printed out the faces on card stock.  Brilliant!  I cut out the eye holes with my eyebrow razor because I’m so crafty with tools and everything.  😉

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I’m also really good at getting pictures set up nicely on here.  Ha!  But isn’t that fun?  They had a Halloween thing at a senior care center on Saturday, and we just used duct tape to keep the cutouts on their faces.  Ha!  On Halloween, I used yarn to tie them around their heads so they could pull them up while wandering around and then back on their faces when approaching a door.  I have yarn!  And I used it to craft a Halloween costume!

People are awesome.  Besides the general feel-goodness of Halloween and people doing such nice things for children, two specific examples:

  1. The senior care center was such a fun experience.  The residents were just delighted to see all the children come in and the kids were so cute relishing the attention.
  2. The first house we went to for trick-or-treating didn’t have candy.  The guy’s fiancée pulled in just as we were heading out.  They’d miscommunicated who was supposed to pick it up (he’d also pulled in a minute or two before we showed up) and they felt so bad!  We laughed and wished them a good night, then went on our merry way.  We’d been going about a half hour and the fiancee’s car came around a corner from a few streets over and drove right up to us.  They’d obviously been driving around trying to track us down.  The guy jumped out of the car and had the kids take handfuls of candy!  He apologized for having not been ready when we came by, and we parents just stood there getting teary-eyed.

We got probably five trick-or-treaters, which is probably five more than last year.  Gordon let the kids who came take handfuls of candy.  I don’t think he was too disappointed to have a giant bowlful leftover.  The girls too.  Vanessa fell in some mud just after we’d run back into the couple from the first house and she was not going to knock on a single door with mud on her Doc McStuffins costume (thank you to friends with massive dress-up bins!), and thusly had much fewer pieces of candy (not even half!) than the boys.  Lucy was having none of this dressing up business, so she stayed home and ate candy with Gordon.

I told you about the butternut squash quandary…lots of squash and not knowing what to do with it?  I made something the kids even LIKED last night!  We don’t have a Trader Joe’s close by, so I can’t say whether this copycat version of their Harvest Pasta Sauce is close, but it IS good!  Check it out at melskitchencafe.com.  We added a little salt and pepper to our individual liking and of course added parmesan.  I even forgot to set the pressure cooker seal on, so it was halfway through cooking while the vent was open when I realized.  It was nearly 8:00 as it was and I thought it’d probably end up being a cold cereal night.  I reset the seal and turned it on for half the cook time, and it still turned out great!  Thank goodness for forgiving recipes.  Kyle said he wished he could eat eight plates of it, so there’s a pretty good endorsement.  The kids thought it was just an oranger (is that a word?  It should be!) pasta sauce, and never caught on that the flavors included butternut squash and pumpkin.  Win!

You should send me your pizza dough recipe!  What kind of pizza did you end up making last night?  I was surprised to hear Abe is such a pizza lover.  I guess I just don’t picture him enjoying a margherita pizza (and maybe he doesn’t!  Maybe he just likes it piled high with meat!).  At any rate, I’d love your recipe!

Love,

Grace