Every once in awhile I get off track. It usually happens slowly . . . subtly. Sometimes there doesn’t seem to be a reason for it. I simply step out of my rhythm for a few days until I realize I need to wander back. Sometimes though it’s bigger. You know, when there’s just too many busy days in a row or life stresses pile up . . . . and it takes a little longer to get your groove back.
Life here in Cary has been cold. Then warm. Then cold, windy and icy. Typical Chicago weather that makes it challenging for a runner to get out every day. Despite the beautiful snow tipped evergreens that tempt me, I’ve found it’s wise to exercise caution when deciding to head out! One day a few weeks ago I went down on the ice . . . slipped on what I thought was just a wet sidewalk and landed on my backside. Ok, my butt!! I’m good though. But that was just one more reason to NOT get my runs in.
So that’s when I decided it was time to dig out my yoga matt. Again. During the holiday rush my matt had found it’s way back to our storage room. How did that happen!? But I found my matt (under all the wrapping paper) and the yoga schedule and took my achy (ice-fallen) body to class. And the very first thing I noticed when I walked in the door (beside the fact that I was already breathing easier) was a rock, with the word practice on it. hmmm . . . .I left the studio committed to at least one yoga class a week.
On the food front I’ve been stirring up pots of comfort food like chicken chili, stew and spaghetti sauce. That’s how it seems to go for us in the Winter when we’re hibernating!
PK loves a good casserole – the cheesy, creamy (not a lot of vegetable) kind. So I decided one day that I’d better find a few healthier options that would satisfy us all! We were a bit off track with eating too . . . . missing the usual amount of fresh produce. Easy to do in Winter (in the midwest). So I found this recipe for Chicken Pot Pie at eatingwell.com, and it was perfect! A much healthier version of the traditional creamier, loaded with fat kind we’re all used to! But more on that in a moment cuz I really want to share this idea with you.
One day right in the middle of all this, while we were at Mick’s violin lesson, I had an aha moment. Mick was working on a new song, and for the first time he needed to learn a 4-note slur. It’s tricky. With one sweep of the bow (either up or down) you play 4 notes. It’s beautiful, but it takes practice. So during this particular lesson, Miss Karen said, “Mick, let’s put in the stops.” So over and over Mick played one note at a time, with a stop between each one. And then he played them faster and closer together, until finally . . . . he was ready to play them as a slur. And I smiled this really big smile, because that’s how I feel it is for me sometimes too! I need to put in the stops. To pause and go back to the tools that work for me. Especially, when I’m off track.
So I started making lots of salads (to go with all the comfort food) as this is one of the best-tasting things I know to do when I’m craving something fresh – And great tasting greens are always available! I started playing with spinach, mustard greens, arugula and spring greens. And then I added the toppings. Here are a few of my favorites these past few weeks:
Roasted Beets – Golden and Red
Broccoli Slaw (shredded broccoli, carrots & cabbage)
Citrus – Vinaigrette’s & Navel Orange Slices
Sweet Potatoes (Roasted)
Then I found this quote that said, As long as you live, keep learning how to live. I love that! So I put it all together . . . . the life stresses, the fall on the ice, the chicken pot pie, and the rock at the yoga studio – and made peace with getting off track. Because life is really all about practice isn’t it . . . . and finding what works for us. My love for yoga and fresh food are tools that work for me. They keep me in balance. So every once in awhile, when I lose my rhythm, I just need to remember to put in the stops . . . . and go back to what I know.
Here’s the Chicken Pot Pie out of the oven. It’s topped off with these wonderful buttermilk biscuits made with whole wheat pastry flour !
And ready to enjoy!
Happy March to Everyone!
Chicken Pot Pie
- 3 teaspoons canola oil
- 1/2 medium onion, finely diced
- 1 cup baby carrots
- 2 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 2 1/2 cups diced cooked chicken (or turkey)
- 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
- 1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 3/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small pieces
- 1 cup nonfat buttermilk
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a 2-quart baking dish with non-stick spray and set aside.
- Heat canola oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add carrots and allow to soften, stirring occasionally, for about 4 minutes. Then add the onions and saute for another 3-4 minutes.
- Add 2 cups broth and bring to a boil; reduce heat to a simmer. Mix cornstarch with the remaining 1/2 cup broth; add to the pan and cook, stirring, until the sauce thickens. Stir in chicken (or turkey), peas, sour cream, salt and pepper. Transfer the filling to the baking dish and set aside.
- Next, wisk whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Using your fingertips or 2 knives, cut butter into the dry ingredients until crumbly. Make a well in the center and add buttermilk and oil; stir until just combined. Drop the dough onto the filling in 6 even portions. Set the baking dish on a baking sheet.
- Bake the pot pie until the topping is golden and the filling is bubbling, 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.
Recipe Adapted From: www.eatingwell.com
Prep Notes: I’ve adapted the original recipe a bit in order to accommodate preferences in our house. The recipe originally called for pearl onions and mushrooms in the pot pie and thyme in the biscuits, not PK’s favorites, so I left them out – but you can find this recipe at the above link.
Also – I roasted a chicken the night before and had leftovers so this is what I used. For simplicity, a store-bought rotisserie chicken always works well!