Read This!

I am not a sappy person at all, and usually I shy away from posting/forwarding inspirational stories - but I found this really touching. I found this link over on Dooce, one of the blogs I frequent. Worth a read, and make sure you have some tissues handy.


Soup Weather

Today is cool and drizzly - perfect for a big pot of soup simmering on the stove. Throw leftovers in freezer bags for quick lunches and dinners. Here are a couple of my favorites.

Easiest Chili Ever

1 lb ground beef
1 yellow onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1 jalapeno, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 15 oz cans diced tomatoes
2 15 oz can of chili beans (they come with spices)
1 15 oz can of kidney beans (black beans or pinto beans work too)
palmful of cumin
palmful of chili powder (NOT CAYENNE. That would be painful)
salt to taste

In a deep pot or dutch oven, brown the ground beef, drain extra fat. Add onion, peppers and garlic and saute with beef till soft. Dump all the cans (tomatoes and beans) into the pot, mix well. Stir in cumin and salt. Simmer on stove as long as you want - on a low heat you can let it go for a few hours. It needs at least an hour for all the flavors to come together.
Serve with warm cornbread and honey butter! This is an order!

Poblano, White Bean & Chicken Chili (or Soup, my friend Jenny takes issue with chicken chili...she's a purist)

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch cubes
3 poblano peppers, de-seeded and diced
1 large white onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 15 oz cans of great northern beans, rinsed
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 tablespoon (or more if you really like it) cumin
1 tablespoon chipotle powder
1/2 tablespoon dried oregano
fresh cilantro, torn
sour cream
shredded pepper jack cheese
avocado, diced
warm tortillas

In a large pot or dutch oven, saute the chicken in oil until cooked through, about 15 minutes. Add the peppers, onion, garlic and one can of beans - cook about 15 minutes, stirring often, till beans start to break apart. Add the rest of the beans, broth, cumin, oregano and cilantro. Simmer till warm throughout. Ladle into bowls. Sprinkle (or douse!) with shredded cheese and avacado, and add a dollop of sour cream. Serve with warm tortillas.



This really takes the cake - or should I say ice cream.
Just thinking about Ben & Jerry's using human breast milk in my Cherries Garcia...well, it makes me throw up a bit in my mouth.
I'm pretty open about breast milk. Heck, I've donated it to a baby besides my own. But I tell you I'd freak out if my donated breast milk ended up in some adults dairy dessert. Call me old fashioned, but ewwww!

Coping...Kind of.

I can't believe how long I've gone without posting.
Actually, I CAN believe it. My motivation level these days is pretty low. I really got to thinking about it the other day and realized that deep down, I kind of feel like I'm doing a half-ass job at everything, but not doing anything really well. And it's got me down.
It's times like these when I'd really love the opportunity to be a stay at home mom. Not that moms that stay at home have infinite amounts of time, but what could I do with those 40+ hours a week I put into my job and commuting?
Some weeks it's all I can do to cook some meals, slog through the laundry and keep the house in some semblance of order. Believe me, none of those things are getting done well.
And getting the maintenance type things done, well what happens to things like playing with my son? This is the part that makes me the most upset. I'm not even doing a good job running the household and even that mediocrity is cutting into me taking care of the most important things.
As you can imagine, the family, the house and my job leave me no time for myself. Which I expected, but I feel like I can't even take care of myself. I'm eating terribly, getting zero exercise and you can imagine what that's doing to my self-esteem. Not good.
I have no answers. I don't know if I should consider hiring someone to come in and clean once a week (or every two weeks). It feels like a cop out. And I don't know if I can justify the money. I do my best to cook and freeze meals, but that only goes so far.
This is a vent, more or less. I'm pretty resourceful so hopefully I'll figure something out. But suggestions are good. And writing this down feels better too. Whew.
Okay, rant over. Back to work.


Great Food Friday Catch-Up: Sandwiches & Favorite Mix

Sheesh. Been a while since I've done this blog thing. First things first, I need to catch up on my Great Food Friday entries. I'm been very negligent!

1st: Sandwiches

I bought a kick butt panini press from Costco a few months ago and I am in lurve! Here's my favorite:

Caprese Panini

Bread of your choice (I recommend thickly sliced French or Ciabatta rolls)
Really good tomato, sliced
Buffalo Mozzarella, sliced
Fresh Basil Leaves
Olive Oil
Balsamic Vinegar

Heat the press. Drizzle the olive oil on the outside of the bread (that will touch the press). Between the bread, layer the tomato, mozzarella and basil. Drizzle a little vinegar on top before closing the bread. Be sure not to overfill your panini, it will just end up squishing out during grilling. Place the panini in the press, grill till crisp on the outside and the cheese is melted. Yum! you could totally do this as a grilled sandwich in a regular pan (but I think it's better as a panini).

Other panini ideas:
Tuna and cheddar (tuna melt!)
Roast beef, swiss and horseradish
Nutella & strawberry or banana (dust with some powdered sugar)

2nd: Favorite Mix

I love cake mix. It's very difficult to really tell the difference between scratch and mix, especially with this recipe. It's from Jessica Seinfeld's 'Deceptively Delicious'.

Yellow Cake

1 18oz box of yellow cake (any kind)
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1/4 cup water
2 T vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 egg white
6 oz nonfat vanilla, lemon or banana yogurt

Preheat oven to 350F. Coat a nine inch cake pan with cooking spray and flour lightly. In a large bowl, combine cake mix, pumpkin, water, oil eggs, egg white and yogurt. Beat till smooth - 1 or 2 minutes. Pour the batter into the cake pan and bake until toothpick comes out clean, about 20 minutes.

You can also do this as chocolate cake, just use chocolate cake mix and stick with the vanilla yogurt.

My sister in law does this recipe as cupcakes for all the kids birthday parties. They're so good, even better than the bad for you cupcakes. The kids LOVE them. We're still looking for a healthy frosting!