Friday, November 13, 2015

The Things That Have Been Taking Up Brain Space...

(if there's 7 of 'em, we'll make it a 7QT - and that's a big IF. So we'll see...)

I just took a moment to reread my last post about how we're making our Catholic family more... um, Catholic-ey (Catholickey? Catholocist-like?). And I had to chuckle because just last night I was lamenting to my husband that I didn't think I was doing a good enough job. Re-reading the post, though, encouraged me that we *are* working on it and I must remember that if I'm seeking perfection then I'm entirely off-base.
Any advice you might have wanted to give me about learning to do something new has now
been usurped by this card. Sorry. (This woman gets me.)

Jesse Tree Update! Things are progressing along nicely I think!
I actually have more than just these 5 done... but the other pictures are hiding somewhere on my phone. These ones look the best though.

Just one piece of advice... do not craft, drink wine and listen to podcasts at the same time. Or *this* might happen:
Add this to my "Hall of Shame"

Where (contrary to what -1- says) I am failing as a Catholic: The Spiritual Works of Mercy
While a lot of these need work, it's that last one - praying for the dead that I've really been thinking about. The Catholic church specifically sets aside the month of November to pray for the dead - for which many of my friends will probably ask, "Why?" And to be honest, my friends, I was right there with you. And kinda still am... but kinda am not.
It has to do with that subject that I feel no one I know wants to talk about: purgatory (and on a related note, indulgences). Purgatory is the place where saved souls "go" before they are accepted into the presence of God. (This is not the same as Limbo - something which the Church has never taught as official doctrine - and for which I would encourage you to read this post (especially the quote at the end from St Bernard))
James Martin, SJ helped me understand the purpose of purgatory a little bit better when he posted on Facebook:
"Purgatory is a time of preparation for entrance into heaven. It comes from the same root as the word for "purgation," and in this case is a kind of ridding ourselves of our sinfulness. To put it in the most homey way, which of us here, should we, say suddenly get hit by a bus after coming from a daily Mass, feel completely ready to meet God? On the other hand, exiting church and going immediately to heaven is probably not such a bad way of presenting yourself to God! You say, “Hey look, I just came from Mass!”
But the point is that most of us are probably not completely prepared to meet our Creator, even after many years of prayer, penance and preparation. And for those of us who are guilty of great sins, and who have turned away from God in a serious way, the process of purgatory is probably even longer, or, to put more accurately--since there's no time in heaven--more complete. Sin is a complete turning away from God, and it may take some time for people who have lived sinful lives a while before they can admit their sinfulness, and accept God's forgiveness"
And this is why we pray for the dead: we all need grace to accept God's mercy. It's something I have heard in almost every bible study I've ever done (and something my experience bears witness to) God's mercy is radical and oftentimes hard to accept. We need His grace to accept his Gift. All of us, dead and alive. I'll be honest. It's still an odd thought to me. But if there's something I can do about it, then I want to do it.

Which brings me to the indulgences part. The week following All Souls Day (not to be confused with All Saints day) the Church grants special indulgences for those who specifically commit themselves to praying for All The Souls by going to a cemetery and praying for the departed.

This was a big "Woah. Woah WOAH. Hold up." moment for me. I had thought indulgences had been reformed out with the Reformation. But, to my surprise, they have not. They are still very much a part of church teaching (and not of the part that I can choose whether I want to believe it or not - cause guess what? There are actually some church teachings that the church says "You can believe this if you want to, but if you don't want to, no biggie."  Like you, I'm doubly surprised.)

But unlike purgatory, indulgences baffle me. Because I can't just say the prayer and call it good. There are stipulations before the indulgence can be granted (by who? and how? and for what, again? So many questions.) So I'm still doing my research. Really, I'm only bringing it up because the title of this post was "Things that have been taking up brain space" and this ranks right up there.

So, uhm... yeah. I'm just going to leave this right.... here.

My little ones are growing up right before my eyes. This week, both of my chilluns made huge (in my mind) milestones. First, the spitfire went to the doctor's office for her yearly checkup and she cooperated with the nurse and didn't cry! (Well, until she got her flu shot, but that's to be expected.) I was stunned, but was doing my absolute best to remain and cool and confident on the outside while inside I was jumping all around wanting to celebrate how my little girl was being so brave. We talked it up all the way home and to everyone we met that day though. I'm so proud of her.

And then a couple days later the little dude started for-reals-crawling! He's been army crawling since he was 6 months, but on Wednesday night he army crawled into his sister's room and then when I called for him, he right on proper crawled his way out. It was truly like a switch had flipped. Yet it didn't happen over night - it happened in a post-nap-pre-dinner moment. My eyes still bug out at the thought of it.

Facebook. It's been taking up far too much brain space. I turned off notifications on my phone for it, which helped a little, but still it's too big of a time sink.  I think I might need an intervention or something. Any help here friends?

Ok, I just gotta pull a 7th one out here because, I'm sooo close! Think think think! What else has been taking up space in my brain?

Oh... I know. *insert sly smile here*

And no, it's nothing like that! (Shame on you.)

It's just simply the best Chicken Pot Pie ever. Really. Fall's here everyone, so go ahead and give this one a try. You will love it. (and yes, it's 2 teaspoons sherry. and yes, it's completely necessary.)

Print Recipe

Chicken Pot Pie with Biscuit Topping

Course: Main Course
Serves: 6


  • For the filling
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large leek chopped
  • 1 cup onions chopped into small dice
  • 1 cup carrots chopped into small dice
  • 1 12 cups green beans cut into 3/4-inch pieces
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 12 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups chicken stock hot
  • 1 cup whole milk warmed
  • 2 teaspoons dry sherry
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 cups shredded chicken
  • 3 hard boiled eggs peeled and sliced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • For the topping
  • 1 12 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 12 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 12 teaspoons salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter melted
  • 12 cup whole milk or 2%


  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. For the filling, heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven or heavy pot on medium heat. Add the leeks, onions, and carrots and sauté until the vegetables are tender, about 10-15 minutes. Meanwhile, cook the green beans in a pot of salted boiling water until tender and bright green, about 5-7 minutes (see note). Drain the beans and set aside.Transfer the sautéed vegetables to the same bowl as the green beans, season with salt, and set aside.
  3. Melt the butter in the Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the flour and cook until a thick paste forms. Continue stirring for a minute or so. Add the chicken stock and milk and cook, whisking constantly until thickened, about 3-5 minutes. Stir in the sherry, sugar, and salt and pepper to taste. Fold in the vegetables and cooked chicken into the cream sauce. Season generously with salt and pepper. (Seriously, don't go light on the salt here, but taste as you go.) Pour the filling into a 2- to 3-quart greased casserole dish. Arrange the boiled egg slices over the top.
  4. For the topping, stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a mixing bowl. Add the milk and melted butter, and whisk until combined. (Just a warning, the batter will seem fairly runny. That's okay.) Pour the batter evenly over the casserole dish.
  5. Bake the pot pie for 45 minutes, until the biscuit topping is light golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving.
  6. Notes:
  7. • I poached 4 pounds of bone-in chicken thighs with aromatics--carrots, celery, onions--until cooked through. I shredded the chicken and used the stock for the pot pie. (I also added the remaining bones and extra chicken back to the pot with more water to make additional stock for using later.)
  8. • For extra flavor, blanch the green beans in the reserved stock from poaching the chicken instead of boiling water.

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So there it is! 7 Quick Takes. Kelly at This Ain't the Lyceum has more (and probably better ones) to read, so share the click-thru-love.