Friday, December 11, 2009

Good Grief, Silent Night

-originally published on December 9, 2005

Last night was gorgeous. The snow started falling at about 9 and as the minutes went on, the flakes got bigger and it started to fall faster. We finished watching the Apprentice and Jeff went up to bed; I was a few mintues behind him, just tidying up the house so that it's done in the morning when I wake up. (I love getting up to a clean house!) I saw the spotlight on outside and when I went to turn it off, I noticed the snow. The light illuminated the snow in this picture-perfect Christmas-y way and I just had stop and enjoy it, to take it all in.

I turned off all of the lights in the house except the Christmas tree, and then I put on Mannheim Steamroller's Christmas CD, #11, Silent Night. What a song. Every year I play this song both on Christmas Eve and Christmas night to help me reflect about the year that's passed. It's the most beautiful Silent Night song I've ever heard and when I hear it, it slows my mind enough to sit and be. It's completely instrumental and at the very end, there is the sound of a wind swirling through the air, kind of signaling the change: the end of another year, the start of a new one and the wonder, fear and excitement of which that new year brings.

As I looked out my living room window, I noticed that the reflection in the window was that of our tree, glistening with white lights and ornaments. Outside the snow was falling and the air cold, but inside, there was peace and warmth. Then I saw myself in the reflection, with the tree to my left and the illuminated snow in front. Such beauty all round. It was sacred to me, all of it. As I stood there and thought about the time I've had at this address, in this house, I started to smile, and then to cry.

My first thought was to give praise to God for blessing me (and later Jeff) with this house. I can't even begin to count all of the blessings we've had here. Then my thoughts drifted to the memories that have been made here. So many wonderful memories, so many things to think about, including the awful moments I'm too ashamed to mention. "There's been so much here God, so much that You've ordained. Do I really have to go?"

I thought of how when I first found this house on my way to work, I had to sneak in to get a glimpse of it, it just seemed so perfect. The door was unlocked and the house was empty, and I ran through so fast with my heart beating in fear of someone finding me. I thought about it for two whole days, and so wished that it could be mine, that I could afford it and that they'd let me have my cat here. Once I finally got it, I came in (no longer sneaking in!) to pray in each and every room. It just seemed to normal to do that, since it was God who allowed me to have this dream. The main thing that I kept praying for was that this house would be a home, both for me and for those I love. I prayed that they'd feel welcome, comfortable as if it were their own home, and that the Lord's peace would forever flow here. God has answered that prayer. Every single person that's stepped foot in my home has felt at home. Every single one. God's presence rests here and I am so thankful that people can sense that and be comforted when they are here.

Then I thought about the various gatherings and get togethers I've hosted here. I thought about one of my best friends, Kim and how we were here the day before her wedding celebrating her and blessing her. I thought of my family celebrating Mother's Day here the day after that, and then I thought of the summer bible study we held here with young adult women from our church. We were bursting at the seams and I thought of the truth that was spoken during those 4 weeks into hearts that so desperately needed to hear it, perhaps mine needing to hear it the most. I thought of making dinners, chasing Jeff and being chased, painting rooms, sitting and watching election '04 coverage, babies who crawled on the floor, Justin the cat meowing and shedding everywhere. I thought of the fires we had in the pit and the friends who came to hang out. I thought of fights Jeff and I had and how I wished that I wasn't so stubborn. I thought of the way this house looked when I walked in last March and Jeff proposed. Candles were everywhere and he was beaming...I relieved every moment of that memory. Then my mind went to when I prepared for my own wedding, my closest friends coming here and blessing me with their advice, prayers and joy. I thought of mine and Jeff's first night here together as husband and wife, and how it was so not how I thought it would be! I laughed and grimaced and cried as my mind raced, thinking of things I thought I'd forgotten.

I looked outside and wondered, "What have you for me in Maryland, Lord? I know You're in the midst of this but what have you there for me? Will there be a home that's cozy and peaceful and warm? Will people know how You've impacted our lives and see us living for You? Will my friends know me like my friends here know me? The real me?" I thought of Jen and Katie and Louise and Kim. Kim's been gone now for 6 months, Katie's been gone a whole lot longer than that, but what about Jen and Louise? I'm leaving and can't bring them with me. I can't just stop by on my way to my sister's house to see Jen, or sit on the couch for hours upon hours talking with Louise. I won't see their faces every Sunday in church and our 3 weeks left together isn't nearly enough to accomplish all we wanted to do together! "Why God? Jen and I were going to be pregnant together, remember? And Louise is the mentor-friend I've always wanted, honest and wise and silly too. Can't they come too, Lord?" No Kelly, this is for you, I heard. I continued, "Why should I leave my Mom now when she's just about to retire and we'd have lots more time together, and what about when I have children? I want her to be there with me. And my Dad, God, he doesn't know You yet, I have more work to do! Can't we wait?"

The song kept playing, the snow kept falling, and I finally let myself grieve the losses that are about to come. It felt so good to cry hard about these things. My heart was open to feeling the pain and hearing what God was whispering to me in our silence, but I just couldn't decipher it all. It was too much and all I could do was sob with the precious memories floating in my head, all mixed up with gratitude and loss.

"Silent night, holy night. All is calm, all is bright. Round yon Virgin Mother and Child, Holy Infant so tender and mild. Sleep in heavenly peace, Sleep in heavenly peace..."

I wrote this post a few years ago. Jeff and I were very newly married, preparing to pack up and move to Maryland 2 days after Christmas.

As I re-read it tonight, I am comforted that although there was much unknown then, as there is now, we serve a God who knows all things, and works for our good and His glory.

No matter how dark the nights may seem, joy comes in the morning.

Monday, November 9, 2009

If Children Could Talk...

…here is what they might say:

My hands are small; please don’t expect perfection whenever I make my bed, draw a picture, or throw a ball. My legs are short; please slow down so I can keep up with you.

My eyes have not seen the world as yours have; please let me explore safely. Don’t restrict me unnecessarily.

Housework will always be there. I’m only little for a short time-please take time to explain things to me abou tthis wonderful world, and do so willingly.

My feelings are tender; please be sensitive to my needs. Don’t nag me all day long…treat me as you would like to be treated.

I am a special gift from God; please treasure me as God intended you to do, by holding me accountable for my actions, giving me guidelines to live by, and disciplining me in a loving manner.

I need your encouragment to grow. Please go easy on the criticism; remember you can criticize the things I do without criticizing me.

Please give me the freedom to make decisions concerning myself. Permit me to fail, so that I can learn from my mistakes. Then someday I’ll be prepared to make the kind of decisions life requires of me.

Please don’t do things over for me. Somehow that makes me feel that my efforts didn’t quite measure up to your expectations. I know it’s hard, but please don’t try to compare me with my brother or my sister.

Please don’t be afraid to leave for a weekend together. Kids need vacations from parents, just as parents need vacations from kids. Besides, it’s a great way to show us kids that your marraige is very special.


Sunday, July 12, 2009

Michelle Frosino Cole

Yes, YOU!

Call me.

It seems you are pregnant!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Congratulations!!!

I also hear you have moved. How am I supposed to get a hold of you?? I need your #, girl!

I know you check my site a lot :) and am glad at least someone does, though I have not written in a while, so now that I've made you my Sunday post topic, you must call me!


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

A Glimpse Into a Normal Day with a 2 Year Old

I had to go to an Orthopedic Dr. for a problem I've been having with my knee.  Here is the conversation that I had with Jak soon after I returned home:

Mom:  "Jak, did you miss me?"

Jak:  "Yes, I miss you Mom!"

M:  "Where did I go?"

J:  "To da docktors!"

M:  "What did I go to the doctor for?"

J:  "Your knee huwts."

M:  "And what did the doctor say?"  (Not sure why I even asked this, but now love that I did!)

J:  "No more monkeys jumpin' on the BED, Mom!"

Gotta love that kid.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

You Are My Dream Come True

To My Precious Children, 

There was never a time in my entire life that I did not want to be a Mother.  As a little girl, I would daydream with my dolls, or even my first nieces, about being their Mommy, dressing them up and snuggling them close to me.  As a teen, people would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up, and my answer was without fail, a Mom.  Knowing that I needed a fallback, I went off to college to become a teacher, until of course, I became a Mother.  As a young woman, my heart wondered when my dream of marriage and babies would come true.  Many other people would scoff at the notion that I wanted to be a Mom.  Surely there was more to life than being just a Mom.  Didn't I care about my degree, wealth, a big house, vacations, nights on the town, livin' it up?


Nothing mattered more to me than getting married and having children, because I always believed that God made me for that purpose.  I never once doubted my desires.  And still, at 31 years of age, I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that I was right.  My life has meaning and purpose beyond my titles as Wife and Mother, but this calling, to be your Mother, tops them all.

The day I found out about each of you was a day filled with unquenchable joy.  That God would choose me to be your Mother was entirely humbling.  That He would trust me with your life, both in and outside of the womb, was a bit scary, but again humbling and joyful nonetheless.  

I couldn't (and didn't!) wait to tell everyone about your upcoming arrival.  I couldn't wait until I could hear your heartbeat, feel your fluttery movements, and touch a round belly, knowing you were just on the other side, being formed and growing strong and healthy.

The moment I first laid eyes on you, after the long, hard work of labor was completed, I knew love like I had never known before.  As I held each one of you and caressed your tiny body, as I hushed your crying and brought you to my breast, in me arose such a fierce love...that if ever, ever your life was in jeopardy, for any reason, I would fight to the death to defend you, even if it meant the death of me.  And I would do it without thinking twice.

Because I am your Mother.

Day in and day out, we go about playing, eating, sleeping, laughing, crying, and learning together about how this Mother-Child relationship works.  Some days we nail it!  But, there are other days, days that are long and draining and I wish them to end so that I can rest my weary soul. Even then, on those difficult days, my love for you never fails.  I push forward, I press on, even when it feels like there is nothing left to give.

Because I am your Mother.

As I have the privilege of watching you grow, I want you to know that I can hardly look at you while you're doing what you do, without my eyes getting wet.  I wish that I could stop time in it's tracks, and stay in these moments forever.  

Jak, I watch how you look at the world and wonder what you're thinking about.  You are so intense and full of passion, yet are so sweet that my heart melts on a daily basis when you tell me that you "lub" me.  I stare at you while you stare out the window, taking everything in, not missing a beat.  I watch you while you play, with your long, slender fingers gently putting puzzle pieces together, or while you run your laps with such wonder around the garage, as if every lap is a new one, worthy of the hearty giggle you give when we lock eyes as you round the corner.  As I tuck you in at night and find the "cags" on each of your teddies, I marvel at how much like your Daddy you are.  Everything has to be done like it's always been done, no matter what.  No finding the "cags" before you're "cucked in", I have to wait until all the covers are on before teddies and prayers, otherwise we have to start all over again from the beginning.  And this, I'm now learning, is how you are wired.  And I'm also learning to appreciate it.

John, I think that I underestimated your sweetness when you arrived.  Every day with you brings out more sweetness than I thought possible, and at the same time you are clearly showing me you are all boy with each new discovery you master!  Your round cheeks and toothy grin send me reeling, and I love to run my fingers through your baby-fine, floppy hair.  I can't get enough of your snuggles and your giggles whenever I do something silly.  You truly are the easiest baby around.  I feel as if I didn't savor the precious time with you early on, but instead just tried to survive the days as best I could.  I'm sorry for that.  I wish that I could go back to those days, but I know I can't.  So,  I savor today.  I savor your soft skin and your baby breath and the fact that you still want me more than anything else, except maybe your bottle or Daddy if he's around.  All too soon, you will be taking those first few steps, steps of independence, steps away from me.

It's only been two and a half years since I became a Mother, so I'm still pretty new at this.  Some day, I'll be much older and you'll be adults too, and the majority of my Mothering will be behind me.  You will no longer come to me and ask "Why?", no longer need a kiss on a boo-boo, not need a bottle or to simply ask me for some fishies. There will be no tiny arms squeezing my neck or tired boys sitting on my lap at the end of a day to read books.  I cry even now, writing this, but I know this is the plan.  It's always been the plan.  You are not mine.  You are only on loan.  I have to keep reminding myself this.  

But I, I am your Mother.  And will always be.

Thank You for making me what I've always wanted to be:  
Your Mother.

"Where did I come from?" the baby asked its mother. She answered, half-crying, half-laughing, and clasping the baby to her breast, "You were hidden in my heart as its desire, my darling. You were in the dolls of my childhood games. In all my hopes and my loves, in my life, in the life of my mother, and in her mother before her, you have lived. In the lap of the eternal spirit you have been nursed and nurtured for ages."
-Indian philosopher and poet, Rabindrandth Tagore

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

"Hoewee Moewee!"

Yes, that is how we pronounce "Holy Moly!" around here.

It has been far too long since I've written, and really, I have missed it.  I'm not sure if I had blogger's block, or was busy trying to be a really good Mom, or tired, (maybe all 3?) but I'm back and I'm excited about it!

I have a tendency to get real excited about something and then gear up for it in all sorts of ways, and then I become too preoccupied with the excitement itself that the great plan I had just flops.  Perhaps that's what happened here.  I have so many great ideas about my blog, and thoughts or stories to post, and then it fizzles.  Or, maybe I fizzle.

So, I can't promise that I won't be busy or tired or stumped about what to write about again, but I can say that I'll try to not go so long without posting if the above, does in fact, happen again.  :)

..........................Onto more exciting things..............................

Spring is here in WNY, and it is B-U-TEE-FUL!  I remember disliking Spring when I was younger, because it was always so rainy and muddy.  It seemed very dreary.  I wanted to skip past the season, because it really didn't matter much to have this yuck and muck for weeks on end.  Summer needed to come, fast!  

But oh, now I'm older.  And wiser.  I'm 31 now, you know.  And let me tell you, I really enjoy Spring!

It started while I lived in Maryland.  The warm weather, the fresh rains that washed away all of the winter grime, the crisp air that blew the winter stink off of you and out of your house, the cherry blossoms, the buds as they turned into beautiful springtime flowers, full of hope and promise.  Yes, this is when I learned to love Spring.  

Now that I'm back in upstate NY, I don't feel quite as lovingly towards Spring as I did for the past 3 years, since the weather can't make up its' mind and the season starts much later than in the South, but I'll still take it!  I don't love it, but I do like it.  

There is a sense of hope, of promise, in this new season, don't you think?  

We are emerging from the winter season.  A time of rest.  Everything turns inward during winter, to rest for the season.  Days are shorter and nights are longer, the trees are barren, flowers die and recede back into the ground to protect themselves from the cold, animals hibernate, people cuddle up with sweaters and blankets and comfort food, and life seems to march a bit more slowly.

A few long months later, the thaw comes, and we can see the tiniest speck of new life surfacing. Those first few days of warmer air is like a heat wave, and winter coats are shed and windows crack open, just to get a fresh air scent in the house.  For me, when the birds start to sing, is when my excitement comes.  I love waking to their songs, and love seeing robins pecking the ground for worms.  (When my Grandfather died, we found a notebook that he used to jot quick, daily thoughts on.  One of the last things he noted was seeing a large, red-breasted robin in the yard, and he wrote that Spring was 'round the corner.  I can't help but remember my wonderful Grandpa every single time I see a robin.)

Each year, I look around at all of the trees as I drive by, and there is always one specific day where they seem to POP!  A fresh, lime green seems to have colored the tree scape and it is then that I know Spring is officially here.  The old has gone, the new has come!

The sense of newness in Spring doesn't stop with nature.  I sense a newness in me, every season, and I'm pretty sure God intended it to be that way.  Ecclesiastes 3 states:

3:1 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
3:2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
3:3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
3:4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
3:5 A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
3:6 A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
3:7 A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
3:8 A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

There is a time for everything!  I'm thankful that with every season, God refreshes and renews me.  I need it.  Don't we all...

All of this new life is so exciting, but the most exciting thing about Spring for me is that I get to worship the risen Christ on Easter Sunday!  You can't get any more renewed than that!  Talk about newness, about beauty, about hope.  There is no hope greater than Him.  And every year, I get to praise Him not only for who He is and what He did, but for what He has done in and through me.  What a privilege.  

As this Spring season rounds out and makes way for Summer, I am excited about so many things.  

It feels like I have been in winter for far too long, figuratively speaking.  There is only so much transition that one can take before it begins to take its' toll on a person.  I am that person. Having felt like I lost my self on so many levels the past few years, I am finally feeling like I am found again, and found as an entirely new person, at that!  Scary, exciting and wonderful all at the same time.  Yay for the promise of a new season, for the promise of new beginnings!

More to come...

Monday, April 27, 2009

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Boys

Just wanted to give a brief update of our lives, since I've been slacking on their stats lately!

We'll start with John this time.

John is still a sweet little bundle of joy most all the time. He cries when his big brother messes with him, or when he's hungry and I'm taking too long to get his food to his mouth. That's about it. Well, that, and the occasional fall backwards will set him off. He's generally a happy little guy. He still loves to snuggle and cuddle, which makes many a heart happy here in WNY. Most little guys at 8 months old want to do anything BUT cuddle, so he gets scooped up a lot for a quick snuggle from random people. We don't mind.

Those random people usually give him back after a few minutes because this little snuggler is also a little chunker! I weighed him randomly on my scale yesterday and it read 25 pounds! My scale is also very accurate, mind you. So, he snuggles and I get some serious arm workouts. Not a bad deal.

John has weaned from the breast, which is sad for me. Sad because I know that had I kept up with my fluid intake, he'd still be nursing. This kid loves to suck. He'll take a bottle over food any day. I love to nurse, and don't mind nursing my babies for as long as they want. I had hoped to go longer with John than I did with Jak, and I met that goal by one month. 8 months is not bad, but I just know how beneficial it is for both he and I, and I love the time with just him and I alone. I wrestle a bit with guilt about not drinking enough and therefore not having enough milk for him right now, but then God (gently) slaps me in the face and tells me to move on, in so many words. So I do. Until the next twinge of guilt rears its' ugly head. It's showing up less and less these days, so I must be making some progress.

As far as food goes, he is eating most things except the famed Chicken & Stars jarred dinner. He HATES that stuff. I don't blame him. His favorite things are, aside from milk, fruits and chicken. He seems to be a more picky eater than his bro, but I do think in time he'll round himself out. He's just started to chew well, so he's getting some puffs and cereal bits here and there, along with bread and whatever else is soft that we're eating around here. I love to cook for my family, and making baby food is no exception. In fact, next week I'll have a short tutorial for WFMW, so stay tuned!

Because John wasn't doing so well with textures, I haven't made him anything other than applesauce, until this week. Yesterday, I made some peaches, pears and will do some chicken in the next day or two. I'm eager to see how he likes the chicken. Jak loved it and so I'd usually put it in most of his fruits or veggies to get some protein in him. I'm hoping to do the same for John.

My boy isn't so fond of the sippy cup, and you can see why in a few paragraphs before this. He just loves to suck. Sipping just isn't the same. We're working on it.

At 8 months, John-boy is just about ready to crawl. He desperately tries to pull himself up on things, but has yet to be successful in that regard. He is so heavy, and I think it'll be a while before he can support his weight on his arms alone (as he pulls up to standing). He is scootching backwards and we end up finding him in lots of weird places because of this. He'll scootch under the table or in between chair legs, or under the chairs, and then whines because he can't move and doesn't know how to get out! He'll rock on all fours but hasn't figured out yet how to move those arms and legs at the same time. It'll come. We aren't worried, and we certainly aren't in a rush. We know the work that lies ahead, once they become mobile!!!

I do think that he'd be moving all over the place by now if we'd have let him down on the floor more. Jak is not always aware of John's presence, let alone nice when he is aware, so we've kept the baby up more often than not. And speaking of Jak...well, he and John are best friends. Just ask him! It's the cutest thing when he says, "Gon-boy is my best friennn!!! And once Jak stops squeezing John's cheeks (wonder where he learned that from?!), I'm sure John will agree.

Overall, my baby boy is just a happy little guy. Very content. Very consistent. Very, very cute.

On to Jak:

The little conversationalist that I spend my days with is quite a cheeky little guy. Each day brings something new, and it usually starts with jumping. As he screams for us to come and get him (he refuses to just ASK for Mom or Dad rather than scream), I open the door, and the screaming stops. He says, "Hi Mom. I all done seepin'." I proceed to kiss him, smooth over his silky hair, turn off the sound machine and open the shade, all while he jumps away in his crib. Then, we head to John's room to say Good Morning, and change diapers. Jak usually jumps his way there.

Once diaper duty is done, Jak jumps to the kitchen or living room to start his day. While I make breakfast, the jumping continues on either the couch or the bed, and after a scolding, the jumping resumes on the living room floor, complete with a "I JUMPIN' MOM!" from my little man. Yes, buddy, you are jumpin'...

He loves to eat lately, and will pound away the same size portion that I have, if not more. Growth spurt? Maybe he's trying to ensure that his little brother doesn't surpass him any time soon. His favorites remain: corn, peas, couscous, steak, pretzels and hummus. Let's not forget water. Unlike his Momma, but much like his DaDa, The boy can drink.

We are working on potty training these days and though it's one of those parts of parenting that I thoroughly dislike, I know the end result is coming soon so I keep pressing on. One in diapers will be really nice!

My Jak-man amazes me each day with the words he says and things that he talks about. I wish that I could video each moment with him, to remember it all...he is just so precious. I love every stage and am especially keen on the baby stages, but I'll tell ya, this 2 year old gig is great, except for the tantrums and not listening part, of course.

Jak is so full of wonder and excitement for every little thing, and it's contagious. I never before got so excited to throw laundry down the chute, or throw a ball into a basket!

My heart is truly walking around in the form of a two year old boy, not to mention another chubby-bubby rolling around leaving drool puddles everywhere, and I'm certain that I'll never get it back. And that's OK. I wouldn't want it any. other. way.

Here are the brothers playing with a bowl. Or a hat. Depending on which way you look at it. ;)

Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

FB Anonymous, Anyone?

Oh my.  It's been a long time.  A very long time.

Each time I sit down to write a new post, I find myself tapping the keys only to press backspace all the way to the beginning of the page.  Hmph.  Maybe I have a case of Writer's Block?  Or maybe it's called Blogger's Block?  BB?

OR, maybe it's because all of my brain cells are wasting away with each waking minute I spend on Facebook?

Don't get me wrong, Facebook is a marvelous thing.  I have found "friends" on there that I haven't spoken to in years, which is why I added quotations to the word friend.  I wish they'd have a better, less friend-y word for FB "friends" who are actually non-friends in real life.  Acquaintances sounds too distant for someone whose status you read daily.  I digress.  

So, I have a lot of FB "friends" and I love reading about their daily lives, looking at the pictures that get posted, and communicating with people through a venue with a little more life to it than just plain 'ol email.

However, it's addicting.  Very addicting.  To the point that I check FB more than I check my email.  Strange.  Why email when you can FB?  Why FB when you can email?  Still figuring this one out, though I'm pretty sure that it has something to do with the "more life to it" aspect that I mentioned above.  

I even feel a little guilt about introducing the addiction that is FB to poor, unsuspecting souls like my husband whose plate is already full enough, and my sister who takes her computer with her into the bathroom while her 4 kids chase after her (just kidding, Trace!).  Let's not forget my dear Mom, who is gaining strength in numbers under her "Friend" list as well.  I'm convinced that she'll end up connecting with her long lost first love via this fabulous, addicting tool.  

Then, my guilt will be gone!

But my blog will still be overdue for a new post.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Get Your Tissues Out

Read this:

Then, count your blessings. 

Finally, remember that this life is not the end, but just the beginning.  The Goodness is coming.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

WFMW -- THE BEST Chicken Pot Pie Recipe EVER!

This is by far, the best Chicken Pot Pie I have ever tasted.  Please, please try it.  It is outstanding.  And the best part is (other than the taste, of course), is that it makes 2 or 3 pies!!  The recipe says to make individual pies in small dishes but since it was just Jeff and I with the kids, I skipped that part and made it in a pie dish.  Had I made it smaller, then I would've had 3 pies out of this one recipe, but I still think I made out pretty good.

Please don't be scared away by the steps involved.  It's really not hard.  I promise.  I made it with 2 babies under foot and a husband who tends to hover while I cook, and it still turned out perfect.  Enjoy!  

Chicken Pot Pie

Barefoot Contessa


3 whole (6 split) chicken breasts, bone-in, skin-on

3 tablespoons olive oil

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

5 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade

2 chicken bouillon cubes

12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter

2 cups yellow onions, chopped (2 onions)

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup heavy cream

2 cups medium-diced carrots, blanched for 2 minutes

1 (10-ounce) package frozen peas (2 cups)

1 1/2 cups frozen small whole onions

1/2 cup minced fresh parsley leaves

For The Pastry:

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon baking  powder

1/2 cup vegetable shortening

1/4 pound cold unsalted butter, diced

1/2 to 2/3 cup ice water

1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash

Flaked sea salt and cracked black pepper


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the chicken breasts on a baking sheet and rub them with olive oil. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, or until cooked through. Set aside until cool enough to handle, then remove the meat from the bones and discard the skin. Cut the chicken into large dice. You will have 4 to 6 cups of cubed chicken.

In a small saucepan, heat the chicken stock and dissolve the bouillon cubes in the stock. In a large pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter and saute the onions over medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until translucent. Add the flour and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Add the hot chicken stock to the sauce. Simmer over low heat for 1 more minute, stirring, until thick. Add 2 teaspoons salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and heavy cream. Add the cubed chicken, carrots, peas, onions and parsley. Mix well.

For the pastry, mix the flour, salt, and baking powder in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Add the shortening and butter and mix quickly with your fingers until each piece is coated with flour. Pulse 10 times, or until the fat is the size of peas. With the motor running, add the ice water; process only enough to moisten the dough and have it just come together. Dump the dough out onto a floured board and knead quickly into a ball. Wrap the dough in plastic and allow it to rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Divide the filling equally among 4 ovenproof bowls. Divide the dough into quarters and roll each piece into an 8-inch circle. Brush the outside edges of each bowl with the egg wash, then place the dough on top. Trim the circle to 1/2-inch larger than the top of the bowl. Crimp the dough to fold over the side, pressing it to make it stick. Brush the dough with egg wash and make 3 slits in the top. Sprinkle with sea salt and cracked pepper. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 1 hour, or until the top is golden brown and the filling is bubbling hot.

Ok, a few things...I used skinless, boneless chicken breasts because that's all I had.  I just cooked them in the oven without seasoning them like she says to.  And, because I use the Better Than Boullion that I wrote about here, I don't think I missed out on any flavor with using the boneless breasts.  I also didn't add small whole onions, but instead added diced potatoes with the peels still on them (more nutrients, people!).  I'm certain that you could add any veggie you like, and it would still taste delicious!  It's just that good!  But--don't go looking at the fat content!  ;)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Too Late

I just got my WFMW all set and ready to go.  Then I published it.  Then I tried to link it to Shannon's site and realized that Wednesday already happened.  It was today.  Hmph.  So, I'm saving it for next week's WFMW.  

I have a bunch of things I've been sitting on, so check back soon, and hopefully I'll have written!  :)

Happy Thursday!