Food Journal

Chicken Pot Pies

Chicken Pot Pies

I recently purchased a photo cookbook titled Cook Visualize the Perfect Plate. It has now become my favorite cookbook-slash-coffee table book in the house. What I like about the book is it gives you step-by-step photographs of each recipe, guiding your cooking experience to near perfection of what to expect in each step. It’s a dilemma I encounter sometimes with photo-absent recipes when you have no idea of you are doing the steps correctly.

This is the first recipe I tried from the book. It came out perfect and delicious. The only non-perfect aspect of my chicken pot pie were my dough crimps. Have to practice on that. But oh, I was just so happy to successfully cook anything with pie crust from scratch. 😀

Serves 2.


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups sliced white button mushrooms
  • 1/2 large onion, finely chopped
  • 3 carrots, sliced
  • 2 celery stalks, sliced
  • 2 cups cold chicken stock
  • 3 tbsps butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 pound skinless, boness chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 1/2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 sheet of store-bought rolled dough pie crusts
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • salt and pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 400° F.
  2. Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the mushrooms and onion and cook over medium heat. Stir frequently for 8 minutes until golden.
  3. Add the carrots, celery, and half the stock into the pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 12-15 minutes until the vegetables are almost tender.
  4. While the pot is simmering, melt the butter in another large saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 4 minutes. Gradually whisk in the remaining stock. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring, until thick.
  5. Stir the flour mixture into the vegetable mixture. Add the chicken peas, and thyme.
  6. Simmer everything continuously for 5 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding salt and pepper, if needed. Divide the mixture among large ramekins (individual ceramic dishes). For this recipe, we used 2 ramekins.
  7. Roll out the dough on a floured surface and cut out 2 circles, each 1 inch larger than the diameter of the ramekins.
  8. Place the pie dough circles on top of the filling, then crimp the edges. Cut a small cross in the center of each circle.
  9. Put the ramekins on a baking sheet and brush the tops with beaten egg.
  10. Bake in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes, until golden brown and bubbling.
  11. Let stand for 15 minutes before serving.

How about you, what is your Chicken Pot Pie recipe? Do share!

Food Journal

Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot Experience

mongolian hotpot, our orders

This morning had been full of errands, consisting of cashing a cheque, grocery shopping in two supermarkets, dropping hubby’s coat at Stich It for some tailoring and dry cleaning, hubby getting a haircut, and me going gaga over some live crabs at T&T Asian supermarket.

It is no problem for us to have so many errands. The killer was the chilly wind blasts that stung our faces. It hurt really bad!

To reward our productive day, by lunchtime, hubby and I went to Mongolian Hotpot in Pacific place. It was a first for us to dine in a Hotpot (or “shabu-shabu”, as what we call it in our homeland) restaurant during winter here in Calgary. What better way to beat the cold but with flavorful broth and myriad of food choices.

Mongolian Hotpot Interiors
It was warm, spacious, and cozy. A perfect refuge against the winter cold.

Hubby and I found the interiors to be inviting and warm. The minimalistic structure is accentuated tastefully with geometric decorations on the wall, abstract paintings, and some framed photos. The place isn’t a grand pose of some high-class luxury by any means, but the comfort of its atmosphere makes it feel like it is one. We felt very sorry leaving the premises after our meal when we felt the blast of cold air mercilessly hitting our faces on our way back to the car. “Back to reality”, hubby says. Bahumbug.

And may I say their washroom is divine. It is very clean and fresh-smelling when we used it. And we want to say thank you to our asian server (I forgot to get her name, drats!), who was very helpful with giving us intructions how to go about doing our first order in the restaurant. Without her help, we might have ordered more than we could eat.

Mongolian Hotpot's secret special broth
Mongolian Hotpot’s secret special broth

Little Sheep Mongolian Hotpot boasts of its soup bases from their own secret recipe consisting of freshest ingredients featuring up to 36 different herbs and spices. The broth is aromatic and flavorful and is decorated with ingredients such as goji berries, jujubes, black cardamon pods, ginseng, garlic, and herbs. This is a broth that works with anything you put in it, may it be meat, vegetables, dimsum, and sauces.

There is a spicy variant for their broth for those who wants some kick into their meal. You can order both broth variants, which will be served in a metal bowl divided in the middle. A cheaper way to do this is to order the house broth, then get as many chili oil or sauce from the sauce bar to mix your own spicy broth in your own serving bowl.

Mongolian Hotpot Guide
They even provide suggestions at your table. Perfect for new customers like us.

The best thing about hot pots is the freedom of creating your own meal. You can order anything ala carte, but we chose the other route, which is you have to pay $20+/adult for an eat-all-you-can-eat hotpot choices. That way, we didn’t have to conscious of the number of items we order and just enjoy the experience.

our mongolian hotpot orders
We took something from each category of their menu. Appetizer, Meat, Seafood, Side Dish, Meat Ball, Dumpling & Wonton, Vegetables, Noodle, and Drinks. Oh, we didn’t order any Tofu. Too bad.

Here are what we ordered together with our broth:

– 2 orders Szechuan Style Kimchi
– 10 pcs of Lamb Shoulder Slices
– 10 pcs Fatty Beef Slices
– 4 Luncheon Pork Pieces
– 4 Mussel Pieces
– 2 Pork Livers
– 4 Quail Eggs
– 8 Shrimp Ball Pieces
– 8 Veggie & Pork Dumpling Pieces
– Spinach Leaves
– Green Leaf Lettuce
– 4 Orders of Rice Vermicelli
– 1 Bowl of Steamed Rice
– 2 Iced Lemon Tea (Free Refills)

Mongolian Hotpot Sauces
(Clockwise, starting from the yellow sauce at top left: Garlic Oil, Soy Sauce, Chili Oil, Cilantro, and Chili Paste.

Much credit is given to their sauce bar. You can take as much as you want to season your hotpot orders with. I was surprised to find Peanut Butter there too, but I wasn’t too keen to trying it. I do eat Peanut Butter. I just don’t go gaga over it like others.

The Verdict

Hubby continuously says he wants to go back. I’m glad to hear that since it isn’t always he says that after eating at a restaurant. He has this principle that once he tries a new place, he’d rather go to a new one than return to a restaurant. I’m the opposite. So hearing him being adamant about returning to Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot placed a smile on my face. That means I don’t have to work much on persuading him to return to this restaurant. Haha.

Our meal was so good I forgot one important thing… dessert. I always have dessert at the end of each meal. Good thing I bought some ensaymada from the Asian supermarket. Thus, I made it an entry to my #1000papercranes challenge. I forgot to have a crane with our Hotpot because I was to hungry and excited to remember.

Espesyal Mamon

When I saw the word Mamon and the brand Jackn’Jill, I remembered home. <3 Cheers to Asian and Mongolian flavors!

Little Sheep Mongolian Hotpot

Calgary, AB
999 36 Street NE Unit 100A
Calgary, AB T2A 7X6
(403) 475-6889

Hours: Mon-Sun: 11:00am-11.00pm

Life Notes

Hubby Organizes!

The Crane Wants to Read

It isn’t always my hubby organizes things around the house. So when he suddenly took the initiative to organize our bookshelf, I was really happy. 😀

Looking at our bookshelf, I realized how my husband and my interests intermingle on those shelves. His books relate more about business, entrepreneurship, travel, and superhero related coffee table books. My books, on the other hand, are about cooking, design, adult coloring books, and some novels.

Those intermingling of interests is fascinating. The books aren’t arranged in any specific order. One shelf even just consists of my artsy stuff, inclusive of my sketchbooks, colored pencils, origami papers, etc. Yet, those disorganized pieces of knowledge, stories, and intellectual modules are a culmination of the eccentric (and may I see sometimes nerdy) creativity of my husband and I are happy to acknowledge is the reason we are together.

Great minds think alike right?

Food Journal

Slow Cooked Pot Roast for Dinner

Slow Cooker Pot Roast

Just because I work from home doesn’t mean I don’t get busy. Whenever I foresee myself being too busy the whole day to cook, I rely on my slow cooker for a scrumptious dinner. This way I don’t have to monitor the meat while it’s cooking the whole day. As an added bonus, the house smells like Thanksgiving. Who doesn’t love that smell right?

So for dinner, here is a recipe for a Slow Cooker Pot Roast.


  • 1 (5-6 lbs) boneless pork loin roast
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, slivered
  • 2 medium onions, sliced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 whole clove
  • 1/2 cup water or chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce


  1. Rub pork roast with salt and pepper.
  2. Make tiny slits in meat and insert slivers of garlic.
  3. Put 1 sliced onion in bottom of stoneware.
  4. Add pot roast, remaining onion, and other ingredients.
  5. Cook and cover on Low 10-12 hours (5-6 hours if cooking on High).


  • For additional browning, broil pork loin before slow cooker. Place roast in broiler pan, then broil for 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned. Drain. Place in stoneware and continue as recipe directs. Or you can just brown all sides of mean in frying pan for a couple of minutes.
  • To make the sauce (Optional)
    1. When done transferring pork roast to a serving plate, get leftover sauce from crock pot.
    2. Mince some cremini mushrooms.
    3. In a small sauce pan, combine sauce and mushrooms over low heat.
    4. Dissolve 1 tbsp of cornstarch with 2 tbsp water (or more if necessary).
    5. Slowly add dissolved cornstarch into sauce. Continue stirring until sauce thickens.
    6. Once sauce thickens, continue stirring for a few seconds. Turn off the stove, and serve the sauce beside the pork roast.

If anyone has any other recipe variation of a slow cooked pork roast, don’t hesitate to share!

Life Notes

Shopping for the Hubby

Light snow accumulated in our lawn.
The thick snow in our backyard.

0005. Feature Photo above: Winter Wonderland

It took some persuasion for me to push my husband to get up and drive us to the Market Mall for his yearly wardrobe shopping. The snow piled up so much from yesterday’s light snow I almost didn’t want to go out. But you know what? The snow is pretty. I detest the cold, but when I see snow sparkling in the sunlight, it made me forget for a bit of my hatred for winter. Mustering up the courage and layering on many clothes for warmth, we were able to spend a few hours at the mall for what I call a couple “date”. No errands, no appointments, no work waiting at home. Just leisure strolling and shopping for his clothes.

0006. Coat fetish

Shopping in Market Mall, Calgary
Choosing a coat for the hubby.

I didn’t realize I like looking at men’s clothes. I’m not sure if I I have the eye for men’s fashion but I did enjoy seeing my husband trying one coat after another until we were handed one we both liked on him. Kudos to the Asian assistant, who assisted us patiently going from one end of the store to the other, just to find the right coat for us. By the end of the day, my husband got a Vince Camuto coat, 2 Old Navy shirts, a couple of Jockey shirts, and a Bucketlist journal.

I, on the other hand, got a simple 2017 planner, a panda bookmark, and a cute orange stress ball.

Life Notes

Victory in DnD!

Dungeons and Dragons boardgame
First "Descent" boardgame Victory.

0004. We Have Descent to Victory

It’s our first board game (and victory of the year). Yay! We lost the same campaign before from not being used to the app mechanics.

I wasn’t a Dungeons and Dragons player before. Playing “Descent” made me practice how to manage competitiveness in an immersive fantasy game widely different from playing video games. It’s a religion of its own once you get the hang of it.

Here’s to more board games for 2017! Any board game recommendations for me?