Monday, January 26, 2015

Chicken Pot Pie

I had a craving today for chicken pot pie, I have never made chicken pot pie but I decided to give it a try.

2 medium red potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

2 medium carrots, cut into small cubes

bag of frozen corn

1/4 cup butter, cubed

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 cups chicken stock

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

2 cups cubed cooked chicken

1 small onion, chopped

Pastry for single-crust pie 

To cook the chicken
I put 2 chicken breast on to boil 

I then cut up the carrots and potatoes and put them on the stove to cook just long enough to soften.

I then cut up the onions

and sautéed them with garlic powder, pepper and salt to taste.

while I was waiting for that the chicken was done so I cut it up into bit size pieces and set it aside.

When the onions were done I added the chicken stock and mixed in 1/4 cup of flour to thicken.

after it has thickened I added the carrots and potatoes.

they didn't look like enough so I added some frozen corn 

and the chicken

and mixed it all in.

I made a homemade crust but didn't take any pictures of that so here it is. I haven't made a crust in a long time but I think it looks pretty good, don't you?

I filled the pie crust with the filling

and put the top on.

here it is all ready for the oven. I think it looks so good.
Cover it with foil for the first 30 minutes.
Bake at 425° for 30 minutes. 

here it is after 30 mins
Reduce heat to 375°; remove foil. Bake 55-60 minutes longer or until golden brown. Let stand for 10 minutes before cutting.

All done!

Mmmmm Yummy!


Tuesday, January 6, 2015

My New Dehydrator

The first addition of 2015 to my quest to save money, my new dehydrator.

I spent a lot of time thinking about this purchase, I never buy anything right off. I always toy with the idea for a long time, do I need it, do I have something else that will work instead, is it on sale, can it wait until another time, what features do I really want and need, ext. I did this so long when I wanted a new refrigerator that the one I wanted they stopped making and I was very sad. I do have a nice new refrigerator that I do love but it does not have all of the features I had originally wanted.

Ok back to my new dehydrator.

I wanted one that heated from the back because they seem to distribute heat better and the ones that heat from the bottom have issues with stuff dripping on the heater and causing problems. All of the ones that heated from the back were out of my price range so I decided on the next best thing, one that heats from the top. That solves the dripping problem now I had to look for one that will solve the  heat distribution issue in my price range. I went to to look at the top rated models and brands. There were only 2 brands in the top 10 (Excalibur and Nesco) so that narrowed it down a bit for me. The Excalibur models were the ones that heated from the back and out of my price range. So Nesco it is, then I needed to find the model I wanted. I was looking for one that had different temp settings, a timer, expandable, and included some accessories (fruit roll trays and the clean-a-screen). The wattage was not as important but not to low so I settled on mid range.

Here is what I chose.
It has Converga-Flow air flow to solve the airflow concern, heats from the top, is expandable, has 6 temp settings, and comes with 2 fruit roll trays and 2 clean-a-screens.
It does not have a timer but it gives me everything else that I wanted so I compromised. It only cost me $75 with free shipping from, right in my price range. 
All of the parts except the heater is top rack dishwasher safe, another plus (I hate washing dished).
Did I mention its BPA free?

I was so excited when it came I could not wait to try it. I had left over strawberries from a holiday party, not wanting to waste them I put them in the blender and spread them out on one of the fruit roll trays and turned it on.

And voila 

I can't wait until I can use it on goodies from the garden!


Thursday, January 1, 2015

Welcoming 2015

As we say goodbye to 2014 I'd like to have a little look back. My first summer as a conscious home gardener and urban homesteader has been an eye opener. I have learned a lot and yet still have so much left to learn.
  • The Mini Orchard - I cleaned up my back yard and planted phase one of the mini orchard. It currently has 2 pear trees (1 bartlett and 1 moonglow). The moonglow is doing very well, the bartlett not so much. There are 2 more spots to plant apple trees in the spring.
  • The compost area - I built (my hubby built) a 2 bin compost bin with recycled vinyl shutters. It seems to be working well but should have been bigger. May redesign it in the spring.
  • The Pallet Shed - Now the pallet shed worked out very well, just big enough for my garden supplies. It is holding up well and looks good and cost me almost nothing.
  • The Garden area - Still needing a lot of work. I did plant some veggies this summer, tomatoes, peppers, cucumber, and a few others. 
I had the best crop of tomatoes and peppers I've ever had thanks to a sheep farmer friend that gave me the best pile of sheep poop. I mixed it into the raised beds and hoped for the best. Well the best happened! I canned a batch of tomato sauce and put 6 gallon bags in the freezer for another batch later. I had enough peppers to make a batch of sweet pepper relish (first time ever) that turned out to be very tasty. I ate cucumber tomato salad all summer, it was the best cucumber tomato salad I have ever had. My zucchini did good as well. I froze several bags of shredded zucchini for bread this winter. 
I've learned that no matter how hard I try I can't get anymore hours out of a day. 24 hours is all we get! Time management is the key, I have to get better at that in 2015.
I have also learned that working with others is very important. I can not have chickens or any other farm animals where I live so I have to find someone that does and hopefully buy or trade for what I need.
So many things, to many to remember so I'll stop here and just say

Thank you 2014 for all of your lessons!

2015 I hope you turn out to be a great year!