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

Negligence At Its Finest

Dear Grace,

How in the world do you do all that you do? It feels like I am constantly rushing to get things done; rushing through planning and grading, rushing to school, rushing to scouts, to church, to dance practice, etc. Due to aforementioned rushing, I have decided to compile a list of everything I have been neglecting lately just so you know my letters to you have not been the only things on the back-burner.

  1. The Food
    • I have never been the sort of person who could consciously or subconsciously skip meals. In fact, most of my thought processes seem to revolve around what I am planning to eat next. But if I am being completely, totally, unabashedly honest, I haven’t made Abe a home-cooked meal for a week. Mumsie would be shocked and dashed. I just can’t seem to pull myself together at the end of my long days to cook anything, so Abe will sweetly give in and order pizza or fetch breakfast burritos or let me heat up frozen corn dogs. My skin and wasitline are certainly paying for it.
  2. The Dishes
    • Despite the fact that we have not been eating real food lately, there is still a mountain of dishes to be done. How does that even happen?
  3. The Laundry
    • I might get the laundry into the washer and eventually into the dryer, but it has been sitting in mountainous piles in baskets waiting to be folded. When it comes down to it, I probably will just rewash everything because it is all a sad, wrinkled heap by now.
  4. The Exercise
    • Besides teaching my dance classes, I cannot think of the last time I purposefully exercised.
  5. The Hair & Makeup
    • Five out of five hairdos this week have been messy buns. Emphasis on messy. Abe’s teenage cousin has taken to calling my hair The Tumbleweave due to its sad resemblance in both color and texture to our beloved desert plant. I also ran out of face makeup about a month ago and have not made the time to go out and buy more. Given the fact that our diet of grease has been doing a number on my skin, I don’t look much better than the acne-infested students I teach.
  6. The Cleaning
    • Where does one even find the time to clean the bathrooms anyway?
  7. The Patience
    • I think Vanessa may have picked up her habit of eye-rolling from me because it feels like I have been doing this a lot. Or maybe I picked it up from her? I find myself rolling my eyes at my students, the teenage girl drama of my dance team, my scouts, even sometimes at Abe (Heaven forbid!). Most recently I found myself losing patience at a Cub Scout pack meeting. One of the leaders decided we needed to do a group cheer of sorts at the beginning of each meeting. The eight-year-olds started off with a steady beat befitting their age and abilities, the nine-year-olds added a beat slightly more complex, and then the ten-year-olds added theirs. I was actually slightly impressed and for a brief moment thought it was a good thing for the boys until the leader who started it all cried out, “And now I’ll add a cha-cha of my own!” She started flapping her arms about wildly, slapping her body in an inconceivable pattern, and stomping carelessly about the gym not caring for the steady beat set by the young boys. It was clearly an attempt at an impromptu Stomp performance, but we all sat there awkwardly patting our legs while she flailed about, literally to the beat of her own drum. I was so bewildered I couldn’t even roll my eyes, and I certainly neglected masking my impatience that night.

What this all boils down to is negligence. Not purposeful negligence, but negligence nevertheless. So I repeat: How do you have time for it all? Sometimes the thought of adding one more thing to my schedule actually brings me to tears. I keep reflecting on it all and asking, “How can I possibly think about adding a baby to this mess? How can I even think about adding more classes, more involvement, more reading, more cooking, or more anything?” I have always known life as an adult would be busy, but my word, does it never end? I surely can’t go on neglecting things forever.

Love always,

Millie

P.S. Tell the kids we miss them and talk about them all the time. I hope we can come visit you at least sometime this year! We will try our best not to neglect that.

Treat Day

Dear Millie,

I just got back from a high school choir Christmas concert!  I may go to another high schools’ tomorrow, because I need music.  I kind of wish I was on my way to Hometown and could stop off at the cathedral and sing with the choir.  I do think you and I should take them up on their invitation next time we’re in the area!

The concert tonight included a sing-along Hallelujah Chorus.  I didn’t go up and sing because someone had to be the audience, and I realized that while I’ve played it a bajillion times (and still love it), I only really know the violin part!  Maybe I should’ve gone up and proudly played air violin or something.

OH!  We started the tradition copying Mumsie’s Relief Society’s–(this being the Sunday before Christmas) we had a nice spread of treats/snacks for the women at church and it turned out great.  I was missing Mumsie while I made her recipes.  By the time I finished preparing her recipes, they didn’t taste anything like hers.  I decided that way, the women could also miss her!  Ha ha.  There were li’l smokies and fruit and veggie platters, and I made fudge, peanut butter fudge, dipped pretzel caramel thingies, cheeseballs, and Pops’ horse doovers.

(I also burned a batch of caramel that was supposed to be for my friend who doesn’t like chocolate [I KNOW] [I don’t think she really cares for food at all, to be honest, which makes me wonder how we’re even friends.  How can she know I love her if I can’t stuff her full of food?].  Oh, and I tried to make almond joy truffles which turned out tasting delicious but looked so terribly unappetizing, I “forgot” them at home.)

But!  The women were surprised and delighted and I was so delighted they were delighted!  I’m already scheming for next year (finger sandwiches?  Tortilla pinwheels?  It seemed we were short on food food) and I would love your input.  Better yet, I’d love for you to join me next year to help make it all!

This last week, I’ve been noticing little things that people do to help others.  It’s been amazing to see the goodness out there.  This week, I’m determined to focus my love, service, and attention on the ones who live with me.  I haven’t been doing so well including them in my #LIGHTtheWORLD doings, and while I love serving in my community, sometimes I need to remember that serving in my home lights the world too!

I’m off to make dinner!  Have a lovely evening and write me back sooooon!

Love,

Grace