What’s Cooking: Veggie Pot Pie

I had every intention of sharing this recipe yesterday, to fit with my old weekly post What’s Cooking Wednesday. But… I was in an 8 hour meeting at work and by the time I got home, my brain was dunzo. So you’re getting the first ever What’s Cooking Thursday instead. Which works out because I don’t have any Awkward/Awesomes to share this week anyways.

I made this pot pie last weekend, on a rainy, cloudy day when Derek was studying and I was relaxing. It was a perfect meal for that sort of day. And it also worked out to be perfect leftovers for after-Easter brunch. I started with this recipe here and then tweaked according to what I already had and/or my preferences.

Shopping List:

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
A few pinches of garlic powder – minced garlic would be better, but I didn’t find out until I started cooking that the garlic I had was dried out
Two or three handfuls of baby carrots, chopped
2 potatoes, peeled and diced
2 stalks celery, sliced 1/4 inch wide
1 cup frozen broccoli
1 can of sweet peas
3 cups vegetable broth
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons cornstarch
A few dashes of Bragg’s liquid amino -instead of soy sauce which I don’t like and didn’t have
Pre-made pie crust

Do this:

Preheat your oven to 425.

Heat oil in a large skillet or saucepan and cook onions for 3 to 5 minutes. I also added my garlic powder. If you use minced garlic, you’ll probably want to cook it a bit with the onions.

Then, stir in all the rest of the veggies. At this point, I realized that I didn’t have a pot big enough for all this stuff. After a few moments of irritation/frustration, Derek helped me separate everything equally into the two biggest pots I had. It worked. But use the biggest pot you got to save yourself that hassle.

Add veggie broth and bring to a boil, then turn heat down to a simmer. Cook until vegetables are barely tender, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

While the veggies cook, mix the cornstarch, Bragg’s and 1/4 cup water until cornstarch is completely dissolved. Another tip- the cornstarch gets harder quickly if you don’t mix right away. I poured this stuff together and then did something else for a minute and it was kinda a mess to stir up. So probably right after adding the cornstarch so you don’t have the same problem.

Stir into vegetables and cook until sauce thickens, about 3 minutes.

Lay one pre-made crust on the bottom of your dish (I used a 9×9 because it was the biggest I had and it worked out great).

Pour the filling into the pastry lined dish.

Cover with remaining dough, seal and flute the edges.

Bake in preheated oven for 20ish minutes–until the crust is brown and it smells so good that you just can’t wait to eat it.

I topped my slice with some cheddar because I love cheese. But I only had a little block so left-overs were eaten cheese-less and it tasted delish both ways. Mmm… I wish I still had some to eat tonight.

Over the (Easter) Weekend

I wish that I would have taken Friday off as a floating holiday–like 1/2 my office did. But I didn’t. Instead, I watched the minutes tick by until the weekend finally came. When I got home from work, Derek was already at my apartment. We did a little shopping (I needed an Easter dress) and then had Chinese food for dinner. I watched Greek on Netflix while he worked on a paper that he has to turn in today.

Saturday morning I went to a 90 minute hot yoga session. I think the only yoga class I’ve been to was during my junior year at Western, but since I’ve done a lot of yoga at home, I thought I’d be able to handle it. And I guess I did ok for my first time, although it was not fun or easy. I had to sit down a few times because I was feeling dizzy and/or nauseous, but I think that’s pretty normal (unfortunately). I have a year to use the remaining 9 classes I bought, and I’ll definitely be able to do that. In fact, I’m going to try to go once  a week.

It started raining on my drive home, so I stopped at the grocery store on my way back and then spend the rest of the day inside. Derek was still working on his paper, so I watched some TV, napped, read, cooked a veggie pot pie for dinner and made guacamole rice salad to bring to Easter brunch (per my Gma’s request). I was a little cranky because the hot yoga kicked my butt, but after eating some of the delicious pot pie, I calmed down. It ended up being a really relaxing afternoon and evening.

Sunday morning D and I got up early (for a weekend) and headed to my Grandma’s for Easter brunch. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that my Grandpa and Uncle were able to pick up my great Grandma from her assisted living home so that she could spend the afternoon with us. It was a relatively quiet, but tasty, meal. The company was great, as always. Unlike Easter’s past, there were no Easter baskets, egg hunts or pudding shots. But I didn’t really mind.

We got back to my apartment around 4 and promptly took a nap to sleep off the food comas. And then we woke up so that we could move to the couch and cuddle while we watched TV. At Rebecca’s recommendation, we started watching Better Off Ted. That show is hilarious! You should watch it.

Like every Monday morning, this one came too soon. But I had a lovely weekend with D and my family. And in just 4 and 1/2 days, it’ll be the weekend again. How was your Easter? Mego- I heard that you hosted your family, how did that go?

Love,

Arikka

Another Awkward and Awesome Thursday

Happy Thursday! I’ve done another (shorter) Awkward/Awesome post and I could use your opinion: do you like this as weekly post? Should I keep at it? Or do you wanna hear about something else? Suggestions would be helpful.

No photos this time. It’s hard to post photos without a camera–every picture you see is either old or taken with my phone. I think I’m officially putting one of these on my wish-list. But until then, you’ll have to deal with word-only posts. Hope you’re ok with that.

Awkward:

-Those few moments I’m standing in the dark in the work bathroom before the light sensor realizes I’m there.

-Noticing how model-esque my hair looks as it blows in the wind, only to have dirt blow right in my eyeball. I don’t look so model-like with teary, red eyes.

-Sneezing after applying mascara.

Awesome:

-Today’s sunshine. Maybe spring has finally found New England.

-A new haircut. A great new haircut, actually. My new stylist (I can call her that because already booked my next appointment) did a great job. It’s nothing drastic, in fact most people probably won’t even notice the difference, but the strange layers have been blended and she evened out the length (embarrassingly, the left side was an inch longer than the right).

-Spending my lunch hour out-of-the-office browsing the sale racks at Kohl’s. I was good though; I didn’t try on or buy a single thing.

Fish, Fish, I Got My Wish!

Meet my new roommate, Jerry.

Isn’t he handsome? I think so. He seems to love his new home as much as any Beta could. I’ve had the fish tank for about two months, so it’s nice to have a little fish friend living it.

I suppose I should also introduce Derek’s fish- Ben.

Get it? Ben & Jerry. Yeah, I love ice cream that much.

D’s had Ben for several weeks but I never got around to posting. The two fish will never meet since Beta’s like to fight each other but I’m going to consider them brothers in my mind.

In addition to the fish-getting on Saturday, I saw a ballet with a work friend (friend might be a stretch, but acquaintance seemed weird to write) on Sunday. We saw A Midsummer Night’s Dream and it was really good–and funny. I’m so glad I went and that she was able to come along too.

Aside from those two events, my weekend was laid-back and relaxing. And now I’m back at work counting down the days til Friday. What did you do over the weekend?

Awkward and Awesome Thursday

One of my favorite style blogs does a weekly Awkward/Awesome post on Thursdays. I have plenty of awkward and awesome moments throughout my week, so I’m gonna try it out. No promises that I’ll do it every week but here goes:

Awkward:


-Forgetting that I plugged my earbuds into the computer, not my iPod, and yanking them out of ears and the computer simultaneously when I stand up.

-Another earbud awkward: putting them in with the intent to starting listening to music. Getting distracted by another project and realizing thirty minutes (or more) later that I still haven’t turned on Pandora yet and I have my earbuds in for no reason.

-Hearing my office mate’s phone ring and almost answering my (not ringing) phone.

-Returning a DVD to the library. Then getting a call saying that the disc was missing. Yep, it was still in my computer.

-The fish bowl I’ve been displaying by my front door for weeks without a fish in it. Should be getting my little friend this weekend though.


Awesome:

-My boyfriend.

-Loving my new bedroom furniture so much that sometimes I walk in and turn on the light just to admire it one more time.

-The show Greek. It’s my latest Netflix guilty-pleasure.

-Getting a compliment on a new hairstyle I tried out. A new hairstyle that takes considerably less time to do in the morning than straightening my hair which means I can sleep later and look nicer. Winning.

-The book Sh*t My Dad Says. So funny- I couldn’t stop interrupting Derek’s studying last weekend to read him parts of it.

-Finding out that the April print ads I designed pulled in 4 hot prospects just days after running. And then referring to myself as Super Marketing Woman (actually, that might be more awkward than awesome.)

-Arnold Palmer’s (1/2 lemonade, 1/2 iced tea). Yum.

-Helping my little sis rock her mock interview with my resume revamping skills. Love you Jessie.

Fancy Digs

Well furnished digs at least. Fancy might be a stretch.

Two and a half months ago I posted some photos of my bedroom. Yep, pretty bare and sad looking. And it stayed that way until last night. My Uncle was trying to get rid of some furniture in preparation for an international move this summer. I happily received any and all cast off pieces with open arms. Look at the changes:

Before

 

After

Notice my clothes no longer live in side-by-side pink suitcases and most importantly- I have a bed! With a frame and a boxspring! The air mattress treated me well but I was ready for an upgrade.

I displayed my jewelry and some photos of your sweet faces on the giant and beautiful dresser. I’m really happy with how it came out- makes choosing accessories fun (and easy since I don’t have to untangle whatever necklace I want to wear while I brush my teeth and try to leave for work on time). And the lamp on the dresser actually works with the switch. Before the only thing plugged into the outlet controlled by the switch was my internet–so it had to be left on all the time. But with the rearranging, I hooked it up so that a light comes on when you flip the switch. I know, I know, crazy right?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The mirror next to the bed attaches to the dresser. Since I was pretty sure I wanted other things on the wall above it, I kept it separate. I unscrewed the brackets and found that it works perfectly as an outfit mirror just by leaning it against the wall. I may hang it in the future, but I think it’s pretty as is for now.

That little nightstand was $20 at the Christmas Tree Shops. And even though the instructions said two people were required, I put it together all by myself. The only problem is that the drawer doesn’t really work. The sides are off a little bit; I got frustrated and forcefully pushed the drawer into the opening and that’s where it will stay. Now it’s a just-for-decoration drawer and I’m ok with that. I also got the lamp on top at the Christmas Tree Shops and I love it. I think it’s simple and perfect.

I need some stuff up on the blank walls. I’m thinking about making a colorful headboard and I have some other ideas for wall art. But for now, I’m really really happy with it. Whatcha think? Anyone want to paint me something awesome to hang?

Hope you had a wonderful weekend!

No Coat Friday

Last week, I had to brush eight inches of snow off my car. Today, it’s sunshiny and warm(er). I didn’t even wear a coat to work. And it’s forecasted to be in the 80s on Monday. I think I’m fairly adjusted to living on the East coast (I mean, I drove around in Manhattan, navigated the subway system in Boston and I own a snow brush, a snow shovel and rain boots) but this weather is just nutty. At least in Seattle, I knew what to expect: rain.

I don’t know what your weather is like today, but I hope you all have a great weekend planned. A few things I’m looking forward to this weekend:

  • Calling my mom. It’s been a little while since we talked last.
  • Cuddling with Derek- I’m driving to NH after work tonight. Woohoo!
  • Getting a real mattress/boxspring/frame bed of my own! Two and a half months of sleeping on an air mattress is plenty.

Much Love,

A

p.s. We just had a fire alarm go off at work. That was fun.

She’s Gone

I dropped Rebecca off at the airport this afternoon after just 4 short days together. We packed a lot into the visit, so I’ll try to share the details without making this post too long.

I picked her up later than expected on Saturday because of a delayed flight. Now that I’m trying to write what we did, I can’t remember. So I think we just talked until we fell asleep.

Sunday morning we woke up 40 minutes later than we intended and got a bit of a late start. We were on the road, headed to Newport, Rhode Island sometime during the 11 o’clock hour (I think). The drive was about an hour and half and we had beautiful weather. Sunny and a little windy. Rebecca picked a historic mansion to tour from some travel guides I found before her visit and that’s where we headed first. I didn’t think I’d be into it, but I’m really glad we went. The home we visited was owned by the Vanderbilts and built in 1893. The mansion is still gorgeous, well-maintained and lavish. We couldn’t take any pictures inside, but here’s a few of the exterior and the lawn:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After the tour, we walked a little bit of the Cliff Walk. It’s a 3.5 mile trail along the ocean. The sunshine made for a lovely views.

And then it was lunchtime. We moved the car to the downtown area and walked until we found a suitable restaurant. We happened upon a place called The Red Parrot and they were having a special for Newport Restaurant Week that included three courses for $16. It was perfect, especially since the first course had a martini option (which we both chose). I had pasta, Rebecca had a tuna wrap with a side of clam chowder and then we both had dessert. Mmm, it was so good.

That left us a little time for shopping before we had to meet up with my Aunt, Uncle and Grandparents for dinner in Connecticut at 6:30. Dinner was fabulous. The food was great and the company was better. We were definitely the obnoxious group in the restaurant that were laughing and talking ridiculously loud. After the meal, I took Rebecca to my Aunt’s house so she could see my old room. We chatted with my Aunt & Uncle for a bit, got some advice and directions for New York City the next day and then left for my grandparent’s house where we slept.

Monday morning we were running late again. But this time for a better reason. We were up on time, but enjoyed breakfast with my grandparents too much to leave when planned. By 10am we were into our 2.5 hour drive to NYC. Following my Aunt’s directions was a breeze until we got right into the heart of Manhattan. After spending an hour circling the blocks and having no luck finding the hotel we wanted to park at, Rebecca called Luke and we got the cross streets of the hotel. Turns out I had mixed up the street address and we were 20 blocks from where we needed to be. Eventually, around 1, we pulled in and parked the car.

We had reserved spots on a Sex and the City tour at 3 so that gave us about an hour and half to check out Central Park before meeting the tour group. We got some food from a street vendor and it was awful. Rebecca’s empanada was cold and he gave her spinach instead of chicken. My pretzel was burnt and dry because he didn’t have cheese. But whatever- we were in the City.

The S&TC tour was a lot of fun. It was just over 3 hours and took us through several New York neighborhoods. We saw a ton of places where the show was filmed. I think it’ll be really cool to re-watch the series and know that I’ve seen so many of the spots. After the tour, we did some shopping in and around Times Square and picked up the car around 8. Somehow I managed to stay awake for the almost 4 hour drive home and we were very tired girls as we crawled into our beds.

Yesterday was Boston day. Rebecca wanted to see the aquarium, so after picking up discount tickets at the library, we were on our way. It took a bit to find parking and then we took the bus/subway to the aquarium. Since we weren’t on any kind of a schedule, we shopped and ate at Quincy Market first, which was a lot of fun. Rebecca had a lobster roll and I had pad thai. You could eat anything you wanted at that place–they have every sort of vendor imaginable.

Next up: the aquarium. It was smaller than we though it’d be, but we had a great time. The penguins were super cute and so was the giant turtle. And there were a lot of fish.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was pouring when we left the aquarium–which we expected at some point during the day–and the weather confirmed our decision to go shopping at a mall near my apartment rather than the shops in Boston. We got drenched running through the rain to the subway, but the rain stopped shortly after, and we were dry and ready to spend money by the time we got the mall.

I’d been saving money and scouting clothes online for a few months before Rebecca’s visit so I knew what I was looking for and had the money I needed to buy it. And, for me, that usually means I’ll have a hard time finding things I like once I’m shopping. It was a slow start, but I ended up buying several pieces that I’m very happy with. Rebecca didn’t buy as much because she didn’t have a lot space in her suitcase. But we both counted the shopping trip a success.

We ended the night we with an array of appetizers for dinner, wine and a romantic comedy. It was like we were roomies again. And I loved it.

This morning we woke up when we were ready, watched a little S&TC and then hit Old Navy (40% off sale = super good deals) before I took her the airport. It was a quick goodbye and I miss her already. It’s hard having your best friend live more than 3,000 miles away. But I’m so thankful she was able to make the trip out here to see me. I had a such a great time with her and I can’t wait to see her again (hopefully this summer).

Rebecca, I love you. Thanks for everything dollface. Miss you bunches!

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