How to: Mini Chicken Pot Pies with Fall Veggies

Mini Chicken Pot Pies with Fall Veggies
Mini Chicken Pot Pies with Fall Veggies

I used to cook a lot when I was single and then when Joey and I first got married. I even had a whole section of this blog dedicated to what I dubbed my Kitchen Adventures.

But then around the time I was living on Long Island, I got a job back in the city and suddenly had a much longer commute to contend with. So Joey started taking over cooking duties. It started with a few nights a week, but it eventually became one of his primary responsibilities around the house.

What can I say? He’s good at it, and I’m a sucker for a man who can cook.

Over the last year or so, it has evened out a bit more as to who is wielding the spatula in our kitchen. But now that I’m home every day with the baby, I’ve tried to pick up more of the cooking slack. I mean, it’s not like I have tons of free time when I’m home, but I like to think that by taking one thing off Joey’s plate (by, you know, putting something on his plate) I’m giving him more time to spend with the Vivster when he gets home.

All of that is a long way of saying that I actually have a new recipe to post! My transition into total housewife is almost complete, you guys.

It all started with my book club. I’m in a club that meets about every two months. We try to read a variety of books in different genres and styles, and we do what we can to theme the food we eat to the book.

This month, we read Jane Austen’s Persuasion. After the necessary choices like tea and pastries had been covered by other book club members, someone suggested a meat pie of sorts to add some heartiness to the meal. I still hadn’t offered to bring anything yet, so I offered to make some kind of mini chicken pot pie. (Mostly because I had no idea what other kinds of meat pies exist, and I was scared to google it.)

After I made my offer, I decided it could be fun to create my own recipe using some of my favorite fall veggies. I’ve been cooking with a lot of fall produce lately, and I’ve never met a root vegetable I didn’t like. So the idea for my Mini Chicken Pot Pies with Fall Veggies was born.

The great thing about this recipe is that you could sub in basically any kind of vegetables you like, so get creative! Here’s what I used:

Mini Chicken Pot Pies with Fall Veggies

INGREDIENTS
1 chicken breast, baked and diced
1 cups kale, roughly chopped
1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped
1 large parsnip, peeled and chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 medium white onion, chopped
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried thyme
salt and pepper to taste
2 cans of Pillsbury Grands Biscuits

The most time consuming part of the recipe is chopping all of the veggies, but I promise it’s worth it.

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  • Once everything is chopped, combine the vegetables, chicken, cream of chicken soup, and spices in a large mixing bowl.
  • To assemble the pies, lightly spray a muffin tin with coconut oil or the cooking spray of your choice. Flatten one biscuit dough in each muffin cup, making sure it extends up the sides. This creates the crust for each pie.
  • Fill each crust with a heaping pile of the veggie mixture. Bake for 15 minutes. (Check it around 12 minutes. You might need to bake for longer depending on your definition of “heaping.”)
  • Let stand for a few minutes after cooking and enjoy!

When I made this, I accidentally made way too much of the veggie mixture, so I used the leftovers to make a bigger chicken pot pie for Joey and me the next day. Dontcha love a twofer? The result was pretty delicious, and also pretty, well, pretty. Autumn is totally the best season, folks.

I also recently made a stuffed acorn recipe and salmon with roasted root veggies, but I forgot to take photos. If I make it again soon (which I probably will), I’ll write posts for those too.

Mini Chicken Pot Pies with Fall Veggies

Mini Chicken Pot Pies with Fall Veggies

What are your favorite fall recipes? Do you love root veggies as much as I do?

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Being a new mom is…

Being covered in puke and not flinching.

Thinking you cleaned off the puke and noticing half an hour later there’s still some on your forearm.

Taking every toddler toy commercial personally. (Will my baby never walk if I don’t buy that?!)(Answer: Your baby will still walk, psycho.)

Spending most of the day with your nursing bra unhooked before finally hooking it again. Most likely in public. Because you don’t even care anymore.

Planning your DAY around a stubborn burp bubble.

Being either half an hour early or an hour late to everything.

Truly believing all is lost if we lose this dang binky.

A tiny bit of guilt at what a relief it is when someone else wants to hold the baby. (Yay! Five minutes where no one is touching/clawing at me!)

The rush of love (and secret relief) when she really just wants to come back to you.

Reveling in every nap that lasts longer than twenty minutes. (He-llo, brushed hair and a cup of coffee!)

Wondering at least twenty times a day if you’re doing it right.

Praying for the next stage of development.

Wishing she could stay this way forever.

Writing blog posts in the back of Uber cars because it’s one of the few places your baby sleeps soundly.


Guess where I am right now?

What’s it like to have a baby?

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I wanted to wait a few weeks until I wrote this post. Partly because I realized pretty early on that there’s not an easy answer to the question I pose in the title (and even if there was, it changes pretty much every hour). But also because, for the first two weeks of Vivi’s life, my mom was staying with us, so I didn’t really feel like I was experiencing “real life” with a baby until this past week.

So, you’re wondering, how has it been?

In some ways, it’s a lot how I expected. A newborn is really time-consuming. (SHOCKER.) Mine wants to be held as often as possible. She’s hungry a lot. She doesn’t really do that much besides eat, sleep, and poop. I don’t have any time to myself except for a few moments stolen while she naps or when Joey comes home and can spend some time with Vivian. I’m usually not as well rested as I could be. (Hahahaha understatements!)

In other ways, it’s not at all how I expected. And not always in a good way.

For example, I was really worried about breastfeeding. It was something I felt very strongly about and really wanted to do, but I had heard so many stories of women who had trouble — babies that couldn’t latch, milk that dried up or never came in, intense pain or discomfort that deterred them from sticking it out. It seemed like this supposedly natural process was a minefield of potential parental disappointment.

But I was fortunate. Vivi starting nursing literally moments after she was born, and we never had any issues while in the hospital or the first few days at home.

And then the real milk came in. And (apparently) with gusto. Suddenly, I had a baby that was getting too much milk and who would promptly spit up everything she had just eaten after every feeding. There were days I literally changed both of our outfits upwards of three times, and I regularly found myself near tears that this one thing I thought I had down was suddenly (and literally) backfiring on me.

Thanks to some advice from our pediatrician, though, we got through it. Sure, I still get doused in vomit occasionally (the creed of new parents everywhere), but it doesn’t really faze me at all anymore. (Remember this post? It’s so much worse after you actually have the baby.)

My voracious little eater aside, though, most of the surprises of motherhood have been positive for me.

For one thing, I was always kind of worried I wouldn’t be that into the newborn phase. They really can’t do that much yet, and a lot of their (extremely limited) awake time is spent fussing because they’re hungry or tired. We usually get 20-45 minutes of happy, fully alert baby at a time. I was worried I would be bored or, even worse, mildly irritated most of the first three months. But I’m really happy to say that I’ve been enjoying it a lot more than I expected. It helps that I just love this little girl so much, even just staring at her while she sleeps feels like a fun activity for the day. But I also just really appreciate getting to be with her every day and watching her change nearly every hour. She’s extremely curious, and I love watching her slowly discover the world around her. She’s also so strong, and it kills me seeing this tiny person hold her head up for the first time or scoot her body around on her play mat.

You know you’re a new parent when: watching a veritable slug of a person kick on their tummy for five minutes thrills you.

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Basically, the whole experience has been even more fulfilling than I ever imagined. And now that she recognizes me on sight and can make prolonged eye contact? Well, I’d be lying if I said the first few times she looked at me — really looked at me — didn’t draw a few tears from this new momma. (Though we can probably blame some of the weepies on the hormones and sleep deprivation, right?)

Speaking of sleep-deprivation (because I know you really just want the gory details, not any of this “gosh I love my baby” mush), I’m happy to report that Vivi sleeps decently well. She usually sleeps from 6:30-8ish out in the living room with us (either in someone’s arms or in her swing chair), but I try to have both of us in bed (me in my actual bed, her in her bassinet) by 10/10:30. After that, she typically wakes up about three, sometimes four times, but we usually get two 3- to 4-hour stretches of sleep between the wake-ups. Vivian also takes a short morning nap (about an hour) around 10/11 a.m., and a longer nap (2ish hours) around 2:30 p.m (I try to join her for that one). The rest of the evening is a mix of wakefulness and sleep until the process starts all over again.

If it sounds like not at all a real schedule, it’s because it isn’t. It’s just the life of a newborn — they sleep a lot, but rarely for all that long. In fact, there is typically at least one night a week that she throws the whole thing out the window and just wakes up every hour and a half the whole night through.

Fun fact: That’s also how they torture prisoners of war.

True Life: My baby could be an evil dictator.

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{still cute, though.}

But you know what’s kind of funny? Even though I feel like I should be a zombie, I don’t really feel more tired than I usually did pre-baby. These crazy bodies of ours are capable of adapting to just about anything, apparently.

So, yes, I’m tired a lot. And regularly covered in someone else’s bodily fluids. And sometimes (often?) smell. As in, I literally stink. (Post-pregnancy hormones make you sweat a lot.)(GLAMOUR!)

{I'm probably unwashed here. But Vivi manages to make it look good.}
{I’m probably unwashed here. But Vivi manages to make it look good.}

But I really wouldn’t trade a second of it. Because while I’m sure I’m making a million “mistakes” along the way, I feel like I’m good at this. Or, rather, that I can be. I feel like, slowly, I’m figuring this little girl out. And, maybe in spite of everything, having a lot of fun along the way. Because just when I think I’ve hit my limit and might be the worst mom ever, she does this:

{I promptly died of cuteness overload after taking this photo.}
{I promptly died of cuteness overload after taking this photo.}

And suddenly everything feels like it’s going to be all right again.

So what’s it like to have a baby? It’s overwhelming and incredibly trying. And it’s also completely wonderful.

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Carried Away: My Beluga Baby Wrap Review

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When you have a baby, you quickly realize that despite being an average of 7-8 pounds, the little darlings take a lot of stuff.

If you’ve read this blog for a while (or stumbled across any of my MANY “lists of things to organize and clean”), then you have probably gathered that I am not a fan of superfluous stuff. In fact, I spend a great deal of time and energy trying to remove as much unnecessary clutter from my life as possible.

So I viewed the whole “babies take a lot of stuff” mantra as more of a challenge than anything and set out trying to be as efficient with my purchases and baby registries as possible.

Did some stuff still make it into our apartment? Of course. (I’m only human.) But, for the most part, I’m pretty sure everything we have will be used if it hasn’t been already. And as a result, I’ve learned to really appreciate any baby item that can either solve multiple problems (like my swing/baby seat that allows me to put the baby somewhere safe and soothing while I get dressed in the morning AND keeps her entertained with multiple swing settings and a built-in white noise machine) or is a product that I know I will get tons and tons of use out of. Something that fits that description? My Beluga Baby Wrap.

My friend Haley started Beluga Baby when she had her (adorable) daughter, Sawyer. Haley wanted a business she could run from home while raising her newborn (I know, she’s basically Super Woman), selling a product that moms really need and would really use. Haley came up with the concept of her wrap because she loved the idea of baby wearing but wasn’t able to find a wrap that had everything she wanted. The other brands she tried were either too thick and hot or didn’t have the right amount of stretch to be comfortable for both mom and babe. After deciding to just make her own, she also knew she wanted to make it a sustainable product that was good for everyone, including the environment. That’s when she discovered the sustainable bamboo cotton blend that all Beluga Baby products are made from, as well as a supplier local to her Vancouver home. You can read more about the story behind Beluga Baby (and some of the benefits of baby wearing) on her website.

I had secretly been stalking Haley’s company for months (I love a gal with the gumption to start her own company!), so I was thrilled when she offered me a wrap to review in exchange for being a brand ambassador.

The first thing I noticed when it arrived is that this thing is so. Dang. Soft. I wanted to wrap myself in it. (Haley, business idea: Bamboo cotton onesies for grown-ups. Think about it. ;)) I couldn’t wait for my little girl to arrive so I could start wearing her around.

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From the first time we used it, I was impressed. This thing must be some kind of magic because — and I swear I’m not exaggerating — within minutes of getting situated in the wrap, Vivian always falls fast asleep. Every time! Regardless of how fussy or cranky she was previously, there’s something about being snuggled against me and hearing my heartbeat again that must remind her of the womb because she can’t resist curling up and taking an instant nap. I’ve worn her around Astoria during rush hour, and not even honking cars, loud music, or screaming pedestrians could disturb her slumber.

Plus? She looks pretty stinking cute in it.

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I’ve started wearing Vivi when I need to get work done on the computer and she’s feeling particularly needy, as well as whenever I need to run a quick errand in town. I was a pretty colicky baby, so if Vivi is too, I’m sure this wrap will be incredibly helpful in being able to get things done while simultaneously soothing a fussy baby.

Case in point: It took about 45 minutes of running around my block to take all these pictures, and Vivian slept the entire time. Didn’t even make a peep. My photographer/sister even commented that her newborn shoots rarely went this smoothly. Gotta love that.

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Basically, this wrap is super comfortable for me and my baby AND is something I will use over and over again. (Plus, it folds up into a tiny little square, meaning this is one bit of baby stuff that hardly takes up any space.) And for me, that’s a win in the war against unnecessary baby stuff.

Want to get your own wrap? Head to BelugaBaby.ca and get your order in — they sell out fast! Haley’s even offering my readers 15% off with the code STOPME, so get on it! (And follow Beluga Baby on Instagram here for other news on new products, discounts, and special offers.)

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Other mommas: What are your favorite bits of baby stuff that you can’t imagine going without? Do you wear your babies? Do you love it as much as I do?

{All photos by Figment Art & Photo Co.}