Vegetable Pot Pie

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

This vegetable pot pie recipe is perfect for our current weather. 

I've dispensed with soups for the time being because any given day could be warmer than usual. But at the same time, we might have a cooler spring day that is decidedly not warm at all.

Such was the case this week when I thought that a homemade pot pie recipe would do the trick.

Harris Sisters GirlTalk: Veggie Pot Pie

Vegetable Pot Pie

  • 4 Tbsp butter, at room temperature
  • 4 Tbsp all purpose flour
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp heavy cream
  • 8 oz. mushrooms, chopped
  • 1/2 pound red-skinned potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 pound carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Approximately 1/2 pound frozen puff pastry, defrosted following package instructions
  • 1 large egg

  1. Chop all vegetables and set aside.
  2. Melt the butter in a large, tall saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and whisk to remove lumps. Add the vegetable stock. Cook this mixture for 5-10 minutes while continuously stirring. Mixture should be thickened. Continue to cook and stir the sauce over medium heat until you reach the correct consistency.
  3. Season with salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper (if using). Add the cream and stir to combine. 
  4. Add the chopped mushrooms, potatoes, carrots, onion, peas, and garlic to the sauce. Cook the vegetables in the sauce for three minutes. Transfer the filling into a clean bowl and chill in the refrigerator for one hour, or until cool.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  6. Flour your work surface (to ensure the puff pastry doesn’t stick). Roll out the puff pastry to slightly larger than your casserole dish. 
  7. Carefully spoon in your chilled filling into your casserole dish.
  8. Break the egg in a small dish and add a tablespoon of water. Whisk with a fork and brush this egg wash on the edges of your casserole dish. Lay your puff pastry over the top, being careful not to stretch it. Seal the edges of the puff pastry by lightly pushing it onto the rim of your casserole dish to make sure it is secure. Then brush the top and sides with more egg wash. 
  9. Bake your pot pie for 45-55 minutes. Bake until the puff pastry is evenly golden brown.
  10. Let cool for ten minutes before serving.

Your crust should be brown when the pot pie is finished cooking. If the edges brown before the center of the crust, you can wrap them in aluminum foil to prevent over-browning.

Harris Sisters GirlTalk: Veggie Pot Pie

This recipe is very versatile. If you'd rather substitute different vegetables, it will turn out just as delicious. And, if you'd prefer chicken pot pie, you can substitute 1 lb. cooked and shredded chicken for one of the vegetables.

Harris Sisters GirlTalk: Veggie Pot Pie


MAC's Gone But Not Forgotten Program

Friday, March 17, 2017

If you are a lover of MAC cosmetics as I am, then you may already be aware of this program. However, I was not.  I have honestly been so fortunate to have never needed to avail myself of the MAC Gone But Not Forgotten program.  Until now.  

So here's my story.  Have you ever found just the perfect shade of lip color?  And loved it and used it for years and years and years?  And then one day it suddenly and inexplicably disappears as though it was never there to begin with?  Alas, that happened to me recently.  And I was at a genuine loss. When I recently went online to reorder my favorite MAC lipstick, I couldn't find it anywhere.  I had previously saved it as one of my favorites for easy reordering, and it was even gone from my list of favorites.  It had simply disappeared. 

I was left scratching my head, and drawing the obvious conclusion - that my lipstick shade was no longer available.  No, that couldn't be right.  MAC would have checked with me on that first, right?  I just couldn't accept that as an answer.  So I called their customer service, and after a quick chat with a helpful representative, it was confirmed.  My lipstick was in fact gone.  (but not forgotten)  I will be mourning it's loss for a while. I can assure you.  However, the rep did fill me in on the MAC Gone But Not Forgotten program.  If you find yourself in a similar situation, then you can email that team at, and they will do the research for you.  If it turns out that your favorite item or color has been discontinued then they will provide you with instructions on how to hunt down and purchase any of the items that have been discontinued.  

Here are the specifics. 

It is a complimentary service to MAC consumers called Gone but Not Forgotten. This program offers you the opportunity to get up to six pieces (each) of a product that has been discontinued within the last 36 months. 

To place a search for your product(s), call toll-free at 1 (855) 484-2840 between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. EST, Monday through Friday. To expedite your call please have your case number available for reference when speaking with one of the Consumer Care Representatives.
Here are some program details:

  • Limited quantities of product are available and search requests are performed as they are received. Please allow at least 10 business days to receive your product.
  • MAC requires credit or debit card payment up front and will charge your card only when the product is shipped.
  • Packages shipped to the contiguous United States are shipped via UPS and a physical street address is necessary. Tracking information will be sent via e-mail when they ship your order. A flat $5 fee will be included in your charge.
  • Packages shipped to Alaska and Hawaii are shipped via FedEx and a physical street address is necessary. Tracking information will be sent via e-mail when they ship your order. A $20 flat fee will be included in your charge.
  • If MAC cannot locate your products, they will notify you via e-mail and your credit card information will be deleted from their system.
  • All sales are final.
It won't bring your lip color back, but it is the next best thing.  If you can manage to find even a few tubes to tide you over, it will make your transition a lot easier while you are looking for your next perfect lip shade.  

Sinus Toothache?

Monday, February 27, 2017

Sinus headache?  Yeah sure, I've heard of that.  I'm sure I've even experienced that a time or two before.  Sinus pressure, pain, issues in general...  Check, check, and check.  When you are a seasonal allergy sufferer and everything is already starting to bloom, then sure, you know you are in for some (or all) of that too.   But a sinus toothache?  Well, I never.  That is, until now.  

So let me start at the beginning.  It actually started several weeks ago.  I noticed a sudden onset of sensitivity in my teeth.  I have never had sensitive teeth before, but suddenly they were extremely and inexplicably sensitive to cold.   And not just one tooth- all of them on my right side- top and bottom alike.  What in the world?  So I switched from my normal tooth whitening toothpaste to a sensitive toothpaste, thinking that perhaps that would help.  It didn't- not really- not even after a few weeks. How odd. 

Then one day I started having pain in my gums (again only on my right side) but on both the top and the bottom gums.  I couldn't isolate the pain to any one area.  It just radiated up and down my gum lines, pulsing and throbbing with incredible pain- the worst ever. One night, it was so bad I couldn't sleep at all.  I called my dentist for an emergency appointment the next day, thinking something was terribly wrong.  Could a cavity be causing all this pain?  An abscess?  Did I need a root canal?  A whole new set of teeth?  I would take anything at this point to help minimize the pain.

But when I got the dentist, they couldn't really find anything wrong.  They took x-rays, examined my mouth, teeth, and gums, poked and prodded, applied ice to individual teeth and areas of my mouth to try to replicate the awful pain and thus pinpoint the source of it.  After about an hour of searching, they eventually sent me on my way.  Apparently, my mouth was just fine.  Only it wasn't.  It definitely wasn't. 

The next several days brought some relief in bits and spurts.  Some days the pain was bearable, some days nonexistent, and then others it was back with full force.  And when it was hurting, it felt like the worst toothache known to man.  Every nerve ending in my face was all lit up all at once.  From my eye, down to my cheek, along my gum line, toward my ear, along my jaw, and even down into my neck.  But only on my right side.  It was so bad it brought me to tears.  I wasn't imagining this.  What was I going to do?  

I finally threw in the towel and went to see my regular doctor.  I didn't have a fever or any other sinus symptoms.  No drainage, no weird mucus, no congestion, nada.  But it turns out that the pain I was experiencing was a sinus infection that had settled into my right sinus cavity, which incidentally- when swollen with an infection impinges on the nerves in your teeth and gums, and causes the radiating and nauseating pain that I had been feeling. The solution?  An antibiotic, of course.  It has now been almost 4 days of antibiotics for me, and the pain is more manageable, but definitely not gone (yet).  It feels like things are moving now- draining perhaps.  But when I get congested, the pressure builds up and works on all those same old worn out nerves again.  I would not wish this discomfort pain on my worst enemy. 

Oh, and since I've never had experience with this before, it has taken me forever to figure out what seems to trigger the pain.  For me, it has been any time I try to lay back or lay down or recline my head even to the slightest degree.  Those movements seem to send me right back into a whirlwind of pain.  So as long as I don't try to do anything senseless like rest or sleep or recline my zombie-like head, then I ought to be ok for the foreseeable future- at least until those antibiotics finish working their magic.  

And no, pain relievers don't touch it.  I've tried them all, and I don't care what anyone says, OTC pain meds don't alleviate tooth pain. In any case, I am on the road to recovery.  I think.  I hope.  I just thought I would share in case you ever encounter a toothache that you cannot trace to a dental issue. Yes, Virginia, there is such a thing as a sinus toothache.  And it's no fun, dearhearts.  But it is very much a real thing. 

How to Clean Kids' Bath Toys

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

It almost seems like an oxymoron to have to wash bath toys, right?  But bath toys get icky fast.  They spend a lot of time submerged in water and need a regular cleaning from time to time- just like everything else.   And it's actually really easy to do.  Read on for more. 

  1. Make sure you start with dry bath toys that you have squeezed all the extra water out of.  
  2. Then mix up this simple solution: 3/4 cup bleach per gallon of warm water.  We have a lot of bath toys and I like to get them all done at one time, so I often double this formula just so I don't have to go back more than once. 
  3. Submerge toys in the solution.  If they are squeeze toys, then squeeze some of the solution into the toy and shake well.  
  4. Let toys sit in the cleaning solution for a while.  Some say that 5 minutes will do the trick. Others let it go for hours.  The last time I cleaned our bath toys, I let them sit about 30-45 minutes while I was busy doing other things.  
  5. Rinse well with warm water and pat dry.  Make sure to squeeze all the solution back out of those squeeze toys.  
  6. Bonus points to the mama who figured out that you can fill in the hole of squeeze toys with a bead of hot glue to prevent water from getting back in.  It's a super quick and easy step that might be worth a try next time you take on this task. 
Once your bath toys are rinsed and dried, they are all ready to go again!  That was easy- and so worth it!

O Valentine Tree! O Valentine Tree!

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

This little project was super quick and easy and came together in just one morning with a little help from my toddler girl.  We always assemble an old fashioned tinsel tree in her bedroom for Christmas, and as we were taking down all the other Christmas decorations and storing them until next year, I held out on her tree.  Even after all the ornaments were packed away, I still lit her color wheel each night at bedtime and shone it onto the (bare) tree because our baby girl loves it so much.  Then one night, my husband said "why don't you make it into a Valentine's Tree?"  And that's all it took!  The seed was planted and we ran with it.

For this project, I simply hunted down a couple of packs of vintage Valentine cards featuring her favorite cartoon characters, and they became our ornaments.  Lexi loves Scrooge McDuck and the Mickey Mouse gang, so I knew where to start.  A quick eBay search turned up an unused pack of old Ducktales Valentines and a second pack featuring Mickey and Minnie Mouse.

Of course, I started with her all time favorite- Scrooge McDuck, and put him in a red heart cut out, and affixed it to the very front and center of the tree.  

Here are a few other of the sweet little Ducktales cards that we transformed into ornaments.  I used colored paper to make little cut outs, and Lexi helped paste the Valentine card to each one.  We used ribbons to make bows on many of them, and then just attached a wire hanger to hang it on the tree.

And then as we neared the end of our project (and my tot's attention span) some of our ornaments became decidedly more simple in nature.  But I just sprinkled them all around the tree, and the effect was every bit as charming. 

The package of Mickey and Minnie Mouse cards were all "Hollywood" themed, which I thought was adorable too.  Lexi also really liked these sweet cards, and we had a big time decorating her tree with them. 

So there you have it!  A super fun and simple project that added a ton of sweet Valentine charm to Lexi's bedroom for this season.  And as her tastes change, we can certainly make new ornaments in the future, although I can't see myself getting rid of these.  They are just so sweet, and will always remind me of her 2 year old preferences.  :)

And we are still running her color wheel every night- just now on her Valentine's tree! Happy Valentine's Day with love from our house to yours!

Granny Square Scrap Afghan

Sunday, January 29, 2017

I've been diligently working on this granny scrapghan since before Christmas, and I'm so happy to share it with you today!

This project is the ultimate stash-buster and, truth be told, that was my main objective with this crochet afghan.

Take a look at how it came out!

Colorful Granny Scrapghan

Multicolor Granny Scrapghan

The afghan is a simple crochet granny square that I completed with worsted weight yarn and a size I hook. The finished size of the piece is 72" (that's six feet!) square, and it is a generous size for snuggling.

Colorful Granny Square Afghan Free Pattern

Colorful Granny Square Afghan Free Pattern

I'm especially proud of the border, so I will share the free pattern for that below so that you can try it on your next afghan!

Crochet Afghan Border Free Pattern

Crochet Afghan Border Free Pattern

Scrap Crochet Afghan Border

For the eight color crochet border shown:

Row 1: With final color from afghan (white shown), SC in each stitch around, placing 2SC, 2CH, 2SC in each corner space. Join with a slip stitch to first stitch. Finish off.
Row 2: With color 2 (lime green shown), repeat row 1. Finish off.
Row 3: With color 3 (royal blue shown), SC, CH, SC around, placing SC, CH, SC in each corner space. Join with a slip stitch to first stitch. Finish off.
Row 4: With color 4 (turquoise shown), SC into previous row (row 2) in each CH space, CH around, placing SC, CH, SC in each corner space. Join with a slip stitch to first stitch. Finish off.
Row 5: With color 5 (pink shown), repeat row 4, SCing into row 3. Finish off.
Row 6: With color 6 (lavender shown), SC in each SC and CH around, placing SC, CH, SC in each corner space. Join with a slip stitch to first stitch. Finish off.
Row 7: With color 7 (yellow shown), DC, CH, DC (V stitch made), CH, V stitch in each corner space. *Skip two stitches, V stitch* Repeat from * to * around, completing other corners as the first corner. Join with a slip stitch to first stitch. Do not finish off.
Row 8: With color 7 (yellow shown), SC in first V stitch of corner space, 5 DC in CH stitch between V stitches in corner space, SC in next V stitch of corner space (corner made). Repeat 5 DC in V stitch, 1 SC in next V stitch around, completing other corners as the first corner. Join with a slip stitch to first stitch. Finish off.
Row 9: With color 8 (purple shown), *SC in first three stitches of V stitch, CH 3 in same space, join with slip stitch to first CH stitch (picot made), SC in same space and in remaining two stitches of V stitch* Repeat from * to * around. Join with a slip stitch to first stitch. Finish off.

Long-time readers of the blog might recognize some of these colors from past projects that I've featured. I've linked the projects to the colors below. The colors I used in this project were as follows with two rows of white between each color change:

You can make one of these today with the leftover yarn you already have! Scrapbusting at its finest!

Colorful Granny Square Afghan Free Pattern

Colorful Granny Square Afghan Free Pattern

Product Review: Hay Max

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

You might remember that I recently discovered yet another thing I seem to be allergic to- Christmas! Well, it seems that just about everything has my "seasonal" allergies going bonkers lately.  And I hate to just keep popping allergy meds, especially since so few of them seem to do much for me anyway. So it was recently that I started looking into alternative forms of allergy relief.  And in doing so I stumbled onto a new-to-me product that I am really liking.  It's called Hay Max and it's not a medicine at all.  

It's more of a balm that you just literally rub at the base of your nostrils (or just inside) and it traps minuscule allergens from making their way into your nasal passages.  If you aren't breathing them in, they can't bother you, right?  Simple concept, and yet surprisingly effective! 

I have been using the "Pure" version of Hay Max.  It has no color and no scent.  There are also "Lavender" and "Aloe Vera" versions too.  Of course, when you blow your nose or sneeze, you should reapply the product.  It's a small package and fits easily in my purse so I just carry it with me, and it's easy to have on hand. 

I found mine online and honestly have never looked for it in stores.  I'm not sure how widely available it is at local retailers.  When I initially discovered Hay Max, it was a British fellow who was blogging about it and singing it's praises.   

It sure it worth a try, and I promise it works!

This post contains affiliate links.