Mini Chicken Pot Pies
Abbi @ Onceamonthmom.com, adapted from Handle the Heat
In a large pan, add cooked chicken, onion and chicken broth, bring to a simmer. Add peas and carrots, salt, pepper and thyme. Once heated through, remove from heat and stir in cheese. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, mix together baking mix, milk, and eggs. Spray muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray. Spoon 1 Tablespoon of crust mixture into each muffin cup. Top with 1/4 cup of the chicken mixture. Top each with 1 more Tablespoon of the crust mixture. Bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes. Allow to cool 5 minutes before removing from pan.
Remove from pan. Flash freeze. Once frozen, divide among gallon size freezer bags. To serve: Thaw and reheat in the microwave or bake, covered at 350 for 20-30 minutes until heated through.
Pasted from <http://onceamonthmom.com/mini-chicken-pot-pies/>
I know I am supposed to be writing really entertaining blog posts about our exciting, funny and glamorous life here in China. Which is probably why I have been so quiet. Most days I don't do anything all that exciting, the funniest part of our lives usually revolves around cooking crises and plumbing and glamour...well, no.
What's easy to write about is what I am passionate about, and that's kids. THE kids, MY KIDS. Usually that means the Eagles Wings kids, but this isn't really supposed to be a blog about them so I want to talk about other kids like them. Orphaned kids, special needs kids, kids who are really just kids who need families. But hey, why do I need to talk when Amy Eldridge has done a better job already? (Search and re-apply...thank you FPL!) So please take a few minutes to read this post from Love Without Boundaries and then take a look at this page. There are seven eaglets RIGHT NOW, THIS MINUTE who are available for adoption. They are WAITING. (And yes, five of the seven are boys. The analyst in me feels compelled to point out the statistics in the LWB post that about 1 in 4 China adoptions last year were boys but that 3 in 4 children on the shared list are boys. I will also plead guilty to adopting girls, but if I had known then what I know now I would have absolutely adopted a boy.)
So here it is...it isn't exciting, funny or glamorous either, but it's important. Yeah, maybe that's what I should blog about, what's important. Why International Adoption Still Matters
We made it back to China safe and reasonably sound. All our luggage made it as well, so we are thankful on all fronts.
It's cold! Well, that shouldn't be a surprise, it is January, and our latitude makes the weather fairly comparable to Kansas City and St. Louis. What is <still> surprising is how ccccccold it is INSIDE. The days have actually been fairly pleasant outdoors but the concrete buildings just trap the coldest air and won't let go. We have been running our room heaters nearly non-stop and have about got most rooms livable. We don't mind wearing sweatpants and sweaters indoors but I draw the line at parkas -- at that point I just stay in bed buried under layer after layer of blankets and quilts!
It is taking a bit to get reoriented and also to get the house back in order. We were gone for two months and for half of that time there were 8 people living here, so things got a little out of place, and we are certainly out of our routines. The kitchen needed to be scrubbed from top to bottom and all of our US treasures (boxes, packets and mixes) put away.
Stocking the refrigerator is the next priority, but first the freezer needed to be defrosted and that was an all day challenged tackled mostly by HongWei. I have to clean the refrigerator and shelves today and then I'll make a shopping trip. I have great hopes of doing some freezer cooking to *try* to get ahead of the cooking monkey that is always on my back. I will let you know how that goes. I brought quart size freezer bags but wish I had also brought gallon size with me. And while I mentioned it, let me detour for a moment and let you know I have started a "wish list" page in case anyone is coming this way and wants to throw something in for us, or if someone gets the urge to send us a package. (I will warn you shipping is expensive, so we don't expect it.)
We also had our "mini" Christmas this weekend so we could give HongWei all the Christmas gifts we brought from the US. He is well stocked on clothes and a new backpack which should not fall apart the first week. As much as we enjoyed (and we did!) having Christmas in the US with a real Christmas tree, carols, decorations and especially the Christmas services at church, we missed celebrating with HongWei. We are thankful that he had lots of visitors to celebrate with here in China, but it's not the same as your family.
Well, it will take a few more days to finish getting everything back to "normal", but we started back to homeschool today so that's a step in the right direction. Jetlag is still a factor...yesterday I slept for 10 hours, just not in sequence. :)
Ok, moving on past denial. That's a good thing, right? Kicked the packing and shopping into high gear today and boy oh boy howdy are we in trouble. Bought a new suitcase, cheap but big. As in BIG. We will have to really watch how we pack to make sure the weight stays in line. And have I mentioned that I am the queen of hitting 49.5 pounds? Oh yes, it's really a skill I am quite proud of. If the airlines are only going to allow us 200 pounds of checked luggage, we are going to get our due. The carry ons are another issue and do please pray that we don't get an overenthusiastic check in agent who feels the need to weigh those puppies. That happened to us once, and it was not pretty. The downside of course is traveling across the globe with approximate 600 pounds of luggage (4 checked bags, 4 carry ons and 4 backpacks, um, "personal items"). The compensation, however, is putting away a huge pile of seasonings and little boxes of magic labeled "jambalaya" and "cheese and macaroni" that are rare as can be where we live.
We ended the day on a very high note with dinner at Ryan and Laura's (son and dil for those new to our family), made by Marissa. It was Pepper Jack Chicken, probably one of my favorite home made meals and one not likely to be made anytime soon in China (liquid smoke and jalapeno jelly are two main components). Yum yum. Ryan made a Culver's run for frozen custard, and we all watched the King's Speech. The girls were not so impressed by the movie but I really enjoyed it, and Colin Firth is easy on the eyes even if he does stutter. ;)
The good but hard part of the day was our last morning at church. I cried, and not happy tears. It is definitely one of those things you can't truly appreciate until you don't have it. I know what it's like to not have it, and I don't like it. I miss it. I wish I could have told my younger self that during the years when church was hit or miss.
Well, heat is out in our apartment (good preparation for what's ahead!) so I need to climb into bed and stay warm. More packing, packing, packing tomorrow. And we have a whole lineup of final restaurants to hit -- first stop will be waffles for breakfast. Ya gotta do what ya gotta do.
So let's start this blog off on a high note -- honestly, I am in denial. We leave for China in 3 days, but I am not operating as if I have accepted that fact. We have made a first pass at packing and I think I have done 95% of the shopping I wanted to. I still need a good calendar and a final run through the grocery store for spices and boxes. We really need another set of sheets for each bed, but there is no room. (Since our last trip 16 months ago, United has reduced the free checked luggage allowance from 2 to 1. This seriously impacts us as we try to restock for the next 15 months). We were incredibly blessed by a Walmart gift card which paid for all the otc meds and misc baby supplies that I needed to take back. (Still haven't found good old fashioned nesting cups and blocks...time is running out) But that is just the physical aspect of the return. I am struggling more with the emotional return. Living where we do is hard, it's a lot of work just to keep a home and family going and it's hard to live in almost complete isolation from others who share a common language, common heritage, common way of thinking and a common faith. It's hard. every. day. The work is challenging, some days overwhelming, but mostly it is a blessing. It's the life that I am struggling with returning to. It's a hard life for the girls as well, but thankfully they are ready to go; they won't admit it, but China is now more home than the US. I am glad for them. And in the end it's not about me, but I wish I could look forward to Tuesday with more joy than dread.
About This Blog
Part documentary, part family chronicle and part personal reflection as I try to sort through the ups and downs, the joys, heartaches and surprises of our life and work as we follow the path that God has set for us here in China!
Kristen to continue to adjust to college life and find good friends.
Donna to have wisdom in planning and implementing new programs for the youth and for financial provision to cover our expenses.