The collective mood.

It's so interesting, this social media world.  Blogger... Twitter... Facebook... I've been connected to all three for over a year now, and one of things that I find most interesting is the 'collective mood' that is so transparent on any given day, week, month, season... even time of day.

I guarantee.  Monday's vibe is a mixture energy and lethargy.  Some folks rearing to go- refreshed and ready to take on the week.  Some lamenting the fact that Sunday is long gone... and Friday will not arrive for another 5 WHOLE DAYS.  Now, Friday on the other hand brings a slew of exclamation points, happy faces & "Likes"... a communal sigh of relief- far less bitterness, cynicism, and sarcasm.  And Saturday?  An all-around happy vibe.  People looooove their Saturdays.

...a general sense of peppiness in the mornin'... sluggishness in the midday... and by evening- an overall state of repose.  Fascinating how we all lead very different lives, but at the same time- we're all 'walking the same walk.'  

January is an interesting month.  Starts off with so much potential.  So many people to see.  Places to go.  Things to DO.  Posts & tweets galore of all of the above.  Yet, in a matter of weeks, the vibe changes.  Not for everyone.  Some are still in their euphoric New Year state of mind.  But for others {including myself, as well as many of my daily reads, twitter friends, FB pals...}, a bit of restlessness has set in.  Maybe it's just the winter blues- or a desire to make Big Changes (with not a clue as to where to start, or simply a lack of time & resources).  Lots of thinking, a little bit of wallowing (I'll admit), and unfortunately not enough doing.

Yep.  That's where I'm at this week.  As I work myself out of my pajamas the slump, and start tapping into all of that "early January potential"... I've armed myself with lots of cleaning supplies, a handful of books to read/films to view, and most importantly- a stack of really simple recipes.  And the one I'm about to share is actually on the cover of the current issue of REAL SIMPLE (a great one btw, & still in stores!) so it's simplicity goes without saying.  But better yet- it's hearty, delicious, and kid-friendly.  And who doesn't love a chicken pot pie... especially one that can be literally "thrown together" in a matter of minutes??  Without further ado~ this week's tried & true recipe... 

{slow cooker} creamy chicken and mushroom pot pie

serves 4

8 oz cremini mushrooms, stems trimmed and halved if large
4 carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 medium onion, chopped
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 8)
1 sheet puff pastry (half a 17.3 ounce package), thawed
1 cup frozen green beans
1/3 cup heavy cream
In a 4-6 quart slow cooker, mix together the mushrooms, carrots, onion, flour, thyme, bay leaf, and 1/2 cup water.  Pleace the chicken on top; season with 1 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper.
Cover and cook until the chicken and vegetables are tender, on low for 7-8 hours or on high for 4-5 hours.
Thirty minutes before serving, heat oven to 425.  Using a 4 1/2 inch cutter or other circular object, cut the pastry into 4 circles [no need to roll it out beforehand].  Place on a baking sheet and bake until golden, 8-10 minutes.
Ten minutes before serving, add the peas, green beans, cream, and 1/2 teaspoon salt to the chicken mixture and stir to combine.  Cover and cook on high or low until heated through, 5-10 minutes more.  To serve, place the chicken mixture in bowls and top with the pastry rounds.

  • I used only 3- which was plenty- bone-in chicken thighs, discarded the skin before I placed the chicken in, shredded the chicken after adding the green beans, and returned to pot as I added the peas.
  • I used fresh green beans and added them in about 45 minutes before serving (as opposed to 10).
  • I used milk instead of cream, since I had it on-hand.  Worked fine, but not as "creamy".  Imagine that.  :).
  • DO AHEAD: Pastry rounds can be made up to 1 day ahead.  Wrap airtight and store at room temperature.

Once again, Stephanie & I are on the same wavelength... in terms of "not wanting to get dressed" AND this week's recipe (mushroom cream sauce with garlic chicken cutlets~ with the cream sauce being the *star* of the show).  Thankfully I have chicken in the freezer... & this time, I most definitely will not omit the cream :).


  1. sparky loves his pot pie. going to need to put this in the rotation. =)

  2. Hello there! This recipe looks delicious Torrie. I have to admit with moving to a new city and home (and not having my full time job anymore) I am definitely in a refreshed mode and motivated to try recipes, work out regularly etc. And so far I have tried a few fun recipes. The one thing I have not been doing is catching up on blogs...need to get better about that esp with my favorites. I think I need to clean up my google reader so that i can easily access the blogs I want to yours. :)

  3. your insight is so fitting and right on...especially since I just turned on my slow cooker (xmas gift from mom) for the second time in two weeks this morning. AND, AND, I was going to tweet out to my besties today to ask for more slow cooker recipes to recommend since I am stuck on beef stew. Seriously, same page, ALWAYS!! some day, we will laugh about slow cooker recipes, my seasonal affective disorder, your january slump, and how we met on the internet, over coffee and wine, of course!

  4. I feel like I wasting no for 2 weeks and now have hit a wall. Need to re-motivate already....2 weeks in. I sad, I know! Can't wait to try the recipe...looks yummy.

  5. CHICKEN POT PIE, sorry somehow my caps turned themselves on without me doing it). Have to say - great looking recipe. Chicken pot pie is my fave. You have captured the start of the year fabulously....Potential.. I can't let that word just fade away.

  6. Great post, Torrie! This is all so true. And I am definitely at that state of January restlessness right now. This always happens to me at the end of January. It's not even the cold that bothers me, its the darkness. I'm ready for spring and longer days!

  7. This is so spot on. I love how you can capture a feeling with words.

  8. SO true my friend. Since I am on a slow cooker kick lately I will have to try this.


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