Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Turkey Pot Pie Bliss

When I was a little girl my Mom would occasionally make Swanson's chicken pot pies for dinner.

They were so good! At least as a child I thought they were good. It's been a long time since I've had one.

But Oh, chicken pot pie...mmm comfort food! All flaky crust and creamy sauce and tender chicken goodness! Oh yeah!

We would eat them off of TV trays while watching TV!

I'm joking! We didn't have TV trays. I'm not even old enough to remember TV trays.

Well, I remember my grandparents had TV trays.

Okay, so I am old enough to remember TV trays, but I'm not old enough for the cashier at the thrift store to ask me if I qualify for the store's 55 and older discount!! It happened yesterday. I'm still a little aghast! I'm only 41!!!

And moving on...

When I watched the hosts of The Chew making pot pies with leftovers from thanksgiving dinner, all of the warm, fuzzy feelings of eating those Swanson's pot pies came rushing back and I decided I had to try to make turkey pot pie with our leftover Thanksgiving turkey!

It was a very tasty turkey!

The poor Family! I didn't allowed them to eat any of the leftovers until I had made the pot pie. We didn't get a very large turkey for Thanksgiving.There were only six of us for dinner, and I didn't want too much turkey leftover. So, as not to run out of turkey before I made the pot pie, the Family had to wait. I think they felt a little tortured. It was worth the wait though!

I got the recipe from The Chew website. I used it for reference, but I didn't follow it completely. You can get the recipe by clicking here...The Chew's Turkey Pot Pie.

This is how I made my turkey pot pie.

Just like for apple pie, I used the Pillsbury ready made crust for my turkey pot pie. Easy and delicious!

I pressed one crust into the bottom of my pie plate and baked it at 375˚ for 15 minutes. I completely forgot to place a piece of parchment on the crust and fill the crust with rice or beans while it baked to prevent it from rising or bubbling. It turned out just fine, however, try to remember to do that when you bake your bottom crust!

While the crust was baking, I chopped one small onion and two large carrots.

I tossed them in a hot pot with a couple tablespoons of olive oil to saute. I then read The Chew recipe and realized that their recipe also added celery. I quickly chopped up two celery ribs and added them to the pot! I tossed in about a teaspoon of dried Thyme and a little dried Rosemary and sauteed the vegetables for about 10 minutes then I also tossed in some frozen peas to warm through.

Next time I will skip the celery. It tasted fine but I think I would prefer my pot pie without it.

Place the sauteed vegetables in a dish.

Using the same pot, I heated two jars of ready made gravy. You can make your own gravy! But when some one has already gone to the trouble to make it, and it's so good, and it was on sale for a really good price, why!?

Add some warm chicken stock to thin out the gravy and add salt and pepper to taste. The Chew recipe calls for adding heavy cream to the gravy. I intended to. I forgot! I wasn't really following the recipe that closely. I guess you could say I was kinda winging it! Pun intended! Ha ha!! 

Anyway, it was still good!

Add vegetable mixture and leftover turkey, cut into bite sized pieces, to gravy.

Pour the filling into baked pie crust. I had a little more filling than would fit in the crust.

Oh my goodness! It looked so good. It smelled so good!

Place your remaining, unbaked crust over filling. Crimp edges. Make a couple of slices in the top crust to allow steam to escape.

Bake the pot pie on a parchment lined baking sheet, in case it bubbles over, at 375˚ for 30 to 40 minutes. The crust should be golden and the filling should be bubbling.

Your crust will be nice and golden, if you remember the egg wash that is. I forgot that too! I couldn't figure out why my crust wasn't browning up very well. I kinda missed a gaggle of steps in this recipe. Sorry! I think that's the last pun I've got in me. Maybe.

However, it too didn't matter. The turkey pot pie was delicious even without a perfectly golden crust!

If you do want a perfectly golden crust, brush the top of your pot pie with a mixture of 1 egg and 2 tablespoons of milk prior to baking. Your pie will be golden and lovely!

Mmmmm turkey pot pie! Just as wonderful as I remember those Swanson's pot pies were! 

And clearly this recipe is very forgiving! You don't have to make it perfectly for it to taste really good! I'd say pretty much any turkey can make it! Nope! One more pun!!

We ate the last of the Thanksgiving mashed potatoes with this dish. So good! 

I think next time I make pot pie I will skip the bottom crust and use mashed potatoes instead.

The Family gave this dish three enthusiastic thumbs up and one it's okay. The okay came from the child who doesn't like the cooked celery and carrots. Pfft! Whatever!


Monday, November 28, 2011

Seeing red

We've decked the halls with Christmas red. 

Actually we've decked the Christmas tree in red!

It has become our tradition.

I love the warm glow that fills the room when the Christmas lights are on.

I also love how the ornaments we have collected over the years look in that same warm, red glow!

How sweet are this angel and Santa we found years ago in an antique shop?

Remembering where or when we got some of our Christmas ornaments is half of the fun of decorating the tree.

These ornaments were purchased at one of my favorite little shops, Rose Mille! Rose Mille always has some of the most unique and lovely ornaments most of which are handmade.

I always enjoy hanging this Santa and sleigh on our tree. My Mom made it along with a collection of similar decoupaged ornaments that hung on our Christmas tree when I was a little girl.

A few years ago I asked Mom about them and she still had them in storage. She gave the ornaments to me. I'm so glad I get to share them with my little, okay not so little, girls! 

Speaking of my girls, they have begun to add to the memories with decorations of their own. 

These bead candy canes they made are very cute!

And how darling are these snowmen they made in school? Way darling!

My preference is definitely toward antique or at least antique looking ornaments. I have had to make a concession on one ornament though.

The Husband and the girls love this Marvin the Martian ornament!

Me, not so much!

But, the Husband allows me to hang all of the old ornaments my Mom gave to me, I guess I can allow him to hang the ornament my Mom gave to him. 

Yes! My Mother gave the Husband the Marvin the Martian ornament!

So Marvin may have a place on our Christmas tree. A very special place! A place in the waaay back of the tree!


P.S. Please continue to vote for Unexpected Daisies on the Picket Fence blog by clicking on the Picket Fence button! Please and Thank you!!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Leaving a black mark

From apple pie 

to pepper spray in the eye?

I do not understand how we go from a day that is specifically set aside to give thanks for all we have been blessed with, and we are a nation that has been blessed with much, to, only hours later, being willing push, shove, knock each other down and spray a crowd of people with pepper spray to get a "deal" on something we probably don't even need.

I cannot imagine giving a gift on Christmas morning, the morning we celebrate the birth of our Savior, knowing I got that gift for a loved one by causing harm to another to get it!

I used to wonder why it was that people in other countries thought people in the United States are just plain greedy when I am often overwhelmed by the generosity of the people of our nation. So many are more than willing to freely give to meet the needs of others, yet when it comes to Black Friday, selfishness seems to rule the day. Sadly that one day can make a huge impression. A very bad impression!

It makes me sad that our attitude of thanksgiving is so fleeting and becomes overshadowed by Black Friday's it's all about me attitude! 

We should be ashamed!

Thankfully this greedy behavior is not exhibited by the majority of people, but it only takes a few bad apples to spoil the pie!


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

When a thankful heart takes effort

I have enjoyed all of the recent blog posts and facebook posts people have written that are full of the things they are thankful for. They are heart warming and encouraging.

I know from experience that thankfulness is not always easy to come by.

There are times in life when tears flow more freely that gratitude.

There are times when sorrow, sickness, suffering and grief seem to block the well worn path to thanksgiving.

Several years ago I struggled with anxiety. At the time it took a toll on my health. Anxiety clouded my view of the blessings in my life. It led me to think that I was not living out my faith well. How could I be if anxiety could have such a hold on me?

My perspective changed when I read Psalm 6:6 in which David wrote, "I am weary with my groaning; all night I make my bed swim; I drench my couch with my tears." At the time that was exactly how I felt! It occurred to me when I read that Psalm that if David, who was called a man after God's own heart in the scriptures, could be so troubled that he like me was brought to tears by those troubles and yet was still considered to be a man after God's own heart, that I too could struggle with anxiety and continue to be a woman after God's own heart. 

A friend recently shared with me the saying, "It is not happy people who are thankful. It is thankful people who are happy!"

I don't think anyone ever shared this saying with David and yet I believe he knew it. I believe he knew it because in the same Psalms where David cried out to God with his groaning, he also consistently declares his trust in the Lord. Psalm 7:1a "O Lord my God, in Thee do I put my trust!" And David faithfully thanked the Lord throughout the Psalms. Psalm 9:1-2 "I will praise You, O Lord, with my whole heart; I will tell of Your marvelous works. I will be glad and rejoice in You; I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High." It was David's being a man after God's own heart that caused him to continue to be thankful even when he was suffering and full of sorrow.

During the volleyball season I would tell the girls to focus on where they wanted their serve to land because the ball would follow their focus. It is important to remember that our hearts too will follow our focus!

David knew God could handle his outcries of sorrow and frustration and David kept his focus on God's goodness and blessings because David knew that is where joy and peace are found.

When our hearts are heavy as David's was, thankfulness may not come easy. A thankful heart may take effort. It may take great effort! 

One may have to start with the little things.

A smile given from a passing stranger. Thank you!

The perfect bloom of a summer flower. Thank you!

Snow covered pumpkins. Thank you!

When we begin to focus on our blessings it can be surprising how quickly the list of blessings will grow!

When we begin to be purposeful in giving God thanks it can be surprising how quickly our joy will grow!

My heart spills over with joy if a thankful heart comes easy for you!

If a thankful heart is not so easy for you to come by, I encourage you to give thankfulness all of your effort. It may not be easy, but it will be so worth it!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thank you for being here and reading Unexpected Daisies!

God Bless you!


Monday, November 21, 2011

My birthday

Saturday was my birthday.

It's tradition for the Family to hang a happy birthday banner for birthdays.

Our banner may be a little too springlike for a November birthday! Especially for a November birthday that gets the first real snow of the season!

We were forecasted to get a light dusting of snow on Saturday.

We actually piled up 4 inches of the fluffy, white stuff!

Snow! Wonderful snow!

I asked the Husband if he would please cancel our plans to go out for dinner!

All I really wanted for my birthday was to have dinner at home, the Husband made french bread pizzas. Delicious!

And I wanted to be cozy around a warm fire and play games with the Family!

It was a perfect birthday!

Sometimes the simple things are more than enough! Especially when you add cake!

And it didn't hurt that my parents brought a Starbucks mocha to me first thing Saturday morning! Oh yeah! Perfect birthday!


Friday, November 18, 2011

Apple Pie

The Husband was disappointed when he arrived home the other day and found there was no apple pie.

The Husband was upset that the photo in Wednesday's blog was not of a pie I made that day while he was at work, but a photo of the pie I made last Thanksgiving.

In order to appease the Husband, who has been waiting since last Thanksgiving for some of his favorite pie, that's right I have not made apple pie since last Thanksgiving, (FOR SHAME) I made apple pie yesterday!

It also helped that I was given a small truck load of apples from my friend whose family owns a small orchard!

And ba da pie!

I will tell you straight up I do not usually make my own pie crust. I know, pie crust makers everywhere just gasped in unison. But here's the thing...I don't especially like pie crust. In fact I do not eat the edge of the crust. There's no pie filling there! Drat! Another gasp. 

In my opinion, mine only, pie crust is only necessary to keep the pie filling from spilling all over. And I might be lazy. Therefore I use a store bought pie crust.

Thank you Pillsbury for an easy to use, ready made pie crust. Unroll and place in pie dish. Easy as pie!

And thank you for keeping all of my pie filling from spilling all over!

I will also tell you that when I confess to people that I use a store bought crust they are surprised. I'm just sayin'!

For the pie filling whisk together 1 cup of sugar, 1/3 cup of flour, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and a dash of salt in a large bowl.

I slice the apples with my handy dandy apple slicer.

Then using a paring knife I remove the apple peal and cut each apple slice in half or even thirds.

I slice my apples this way because it's easy.

I drop the apple slices into the bowl with the sugar and flour mixture.

Making sure each slice is coated with the sugar and flour mixture, pile the apples into the store bought crust lined pie plate.

My recipe calls for 8 cups of apples. I don't measure. I keep piling up apple slices until I decide I have enough!

Top apples with 2 tablespoons of butter cut into cubes,

and the zest of 1/2 a lemon.

I almost forgot! Pour the remaining sugar and flour mixture over the apples!

Using clean kitchen shears, make decorative cuts in the top crust.


Place top crust over apples and crimp edges. I am not very good at crimping the pie edge, but no matter how the edge looks the pie still tastes good!

Finally brush an egg wash (1 egg mixed with 2 tablespoons milk) over the crust. You can bake the pie without an egg wash. An egg wash sure makes it look nice and golden and shiny though.

I place my pie on a baking sheet before I bake it. The baking sheet will catch any drips if your pie bubbles up and over the pie plate.

Wrap the edges of the pie crust in foil to protect the edge from overcooking and place pie in 425˚ oven for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes remove foil from pie edge and return pie to oven for 15 to 20 minutes longer. Apples will be soft and pie filling should be bubbling when done.

Hello gorgeous!

Looks good!

That's all I have to say!!


P.S. The Husband really is an easy going man. He has however been asking me to make an apple pie for a few weeks now and I haven't gotten around to it.

The Husband also has a very good sense of humor. He suggested I use the goofy photo of him.

This blog is Husband approved! I love that man!!