Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Mmmm, Soup

Mmmmm, noodle soup.  I mean soup!  I mean noodle soup!

Am I the only one who still quotes "Friends"?  Yes?  Never mind then.

In my quest to slim down and shape up, I pulled out a few of the many, many (many) diet books that I paid too much for acquired over the years.  I figured if I was going to eat healthy, I needed some recipes that didn't call for whole sticks of butter (Sorry, Pioneer Woman.  I love you, but you're killing my waistline.).

Bob Greene's The Best Life Diet has some fairly simple and appetizing recipes.  Over the weekend I made Mexican Tortilla Soup with Roasted Chicken.  It was divine. Anything made with fresh lime juice is divine in my book - salsa, guacamole, cosmopolitans, kamikazes, (I'm getting off track but can't stop), gimlets, margaritas, and apparently this drink.  Can you imagine going into a bar and asking for this?  What if there was a waxing place that served drinks and you asked for one of these?  Confusion all around.

Back to the point.  This soup kicked ass!  I highly recommend you try it soon.

Mexican Tortilla Soup with Roasted Chicken

2 T. olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, sliced thin
4 cloves garlic, chopped fine
1/4 tsp ground cumin
Salt and freshly ground pepper
4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/2 small roasted chicken, skin and bones discarded, meat shredded
One 14.5 ounce can fire-roasted diced tomatoes (regular diced tomatoes are fine)
2 T. fresh lime juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
6 small (6-inch) corn tortillas, cut in half, then into 1/4-inch strips
1/2 ripe avocado, cubed
1/4 cup shredded low-fat Monterey Jack cheese

In a large stockpot over medium-low flame, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Add the onions and saute them until they are soft, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic, cumin, salt, and pepper, and saute the mixture another minute.

Add the chicken broth, raise the flame to high, and bring it to a simmer. Add the shredded chicken, tomatoes, lime juice, and cilantro. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Remove the stockpot from the heat and cover.

Meanwhile, in a small skillet over medium flame, heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Add the tortilla strips and allow them to brown, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle them with salt.

To serve, ladle soup into bowls, top with cubed avocado, shredded cheese, and handful of tortilla strips.

Serves 4. Per serving, about: Calories: 264, Protein: 11g, Carbohydrate: 23g, Dietary Fiber: 4g, Total Fat: 14g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 21 mg, Calcium: 135mg, Sodium: 398 mg.

Note from me: I bagged the tortilla strips and just broke up some corn tortilla chips on top.  Tasted great, if you ask me. Also, if you can find low-fat Monterey Jack cheese, you rock.  I couldn't find it anywhere, so I just omitted it altogether. 

Saturday, November 14, 2009


I have been blessed with good "youth" genes.  The women in my family do not look their respective ages.  I don't know if it's the fair skin, but I have always been mistaken for someone much younger.  Well, not always.  Not now.  I think my age has finally caught up to me.  I look in the mirror and wonder what happened to the fresh-faced, non-wrinkled young woman I was just a few short years ago.   Now the woman I see in the mirror has crows feet, dark circles under her eyes, uneven skin tone, and an extra chin (or two).  The woman I see looks old.

In a few hours I will be 38.  Thirty-freakin-eight.  Two years shy of (God help me) FORTY.  That scares the bejesus out of me.  But it doesn't have to.

Up until a few years ago, I managed to spit in the eye of my good genes.  I treated myself like total crap by not exercising and eating gobs and gobs of unhealthy food.  And now it shows.  In the past 6 years I've gained 70 pounds.  Wow.  Seriously.  Wow.  Seeing this in print is giving me heart palpitations.   Regardless, it has to be said, because I don't know how else to wake myself up from the self-loathing I've been putting myself through.  

Why are so many of us, especially women, so unkind to ourselves?  Why do I stress about my children eating healthy foods and then I hit the McDonald's drive-thru?  Don't answer that.  I know why.

On the eve of my 38th birthday, I'm giving myself a present:
  • I vow to love myself.
  • I vow to be kind to myself.
  • I vow to make some life changes in order to be healthy.
I'll keep you posted.  Who knows?  Perhaps that fresh-faced girl will show up in my mirror again.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I know, I'm a bad mom

What is it about footed jammies that make toddlers look so adorable?  I love to watch M run around the house in her pj's - she looks so snuggly and comfy! And when she runs away from me, I just want to grab her little diaper-covered hiney.  Yes, I'm a hiney grabber.

This morning she is wearing a brown sleeper with pink hearts.  With her long torso and short little legs, I couldn't help but make this comparison:

What can I say?  I love that little monkey!  Curious George is cute, too.

Saturday, November 7, 2009


Having a contractor for a husband has its perks.  Having a meticulous contractor for a husband is a Godsend.  Our house was, for a lack of a better term, a real shit pit when we bought it 6 years ago. But it came with 3.1 beautiful acres and it was what we could afford at the time. Knowing that D could turn it into a comfortable home, we forged ahead.  Over the years we've tackled (ok, not me, just him) room by room and slowly it has transformed into something we're proud of.  

One of the biggest eyesores of this house was the bathroom, especially the bathtub.  Permanently stained and its paint peeling off, the bathtub has made me snarl for 6 long years.  Every time I cleaned it, and, I'll admit, it wasn't that often, I screamed and cursed at the disgustingness. 

D is finally working on the bathroom remodel and I couldn't be happier. The old, nasty tub is gone!  It won't be long before I can camp out in the the new tub.  Thank you, honey, for helping to turn our house into a home!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

My place in this world

I am a SAHM.  That's "stay-at-home-mom" for you workin' folks out there.  Oops, there I go insinuating that I don't "work."  I work my tail off - laundry, dishes, cleaning, and most importantly, raising the the only two people for whom (who?) I would jump into a vat of hot lava.  Even though they don't look like me in the slightest (stupid dominant husband genes), R and M hold my heart in their little hands.  [insert more cliches about how much I love them]

Although my love for them is unconditional, there are times I look around my slightly really dirty house and think, "Is this it?"  Nothing ever really gets done.  I wash the clothes, I fold the clothes, I put the clothes away, and then POOF - there are more dirty clothes.  I load the dishwasher, I run the dishwasher, I empty the dishwasher.  I load the dishwasher, I run the dishwasher, I....oh, enough already.  You get it.  And then, when I'm feeling kind of down about the boringness of it all, I feel guilty, cause you know - I get to stay home.  I get to watch these two little persons grow and change and learn, and I get to play a part in that.  But still, I wonder if I'm "living my best life?" (Thanks, Oprah, for that - I don't like you most of the time, but every once in a while you come up with something good.)  This forlorn feeling only heightens on those days when I'm playing referee, or dealing with the crying, screaming, temper tantrums, not listening, and general misbehaving.

Lately I've been in a real funk, questioning what the heck my purpose is in this crazy life.

This past Sunday, like many Sundays, I went to church.  Pastor Bob's sermon was called A Life Worth Living. [insert Twilight Zone music] Can I tell you how many times there's something weighing on my heart, and then I go to church and the sermon is about EXACTLY what's been bugging me?  Scary, but comforting.

What I learned from PB's sermon (actually I already knew it, I just needed to be reminded) was that God has placed me right where I am for a purpose.  For His purpose.  This is no accident.  Understanding and accepting this brings much peace to my heart.  So when my life feels terribly mundane or I wonder how I fit into all of this, I will remember these words:

The will of God will never take you where the Grace of God will not protect you.

Ain't that the truth.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

I never win anything...

...but TODAY is my lucky day!  Thanks to lmstoehr, I am the recipient of this swanky award.

How fun!  And to think I've only been at this for one day.  Had I known I could/would be bestowed with such an accolade, I would have started this like last week!  [giggle]

So here's the deal.
1. Thank the person who gave it to you - Gracias, Leslie! :-)
2. Answer the questions below using only 1 word answers.
3. Pass it on to 6 other bloggers you think are Over The Top!

1. Where is your cell phone? car
2. Your hair? frizzy
3. Your mother? healthy
4. Your father? gone
5. Your favorite food? potatoes
6. Your dream last night? troubling
7. Your favorite drink? wine
8. Your dream/goal? stability
9. What room are you in? living
10. Your hobby? scrapbooking
11. Your fear? loss
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? content
13. Where were you last night? doctor
14. Something you aren’t? skinny
15. Muffins? absolutely
16. Wish list item? fitness
17. Where did you grow up? everywhere
18. Last thing you did? ate
19. What are you wearing? clothing
20. Your TV? on
21. Your pets? none
22. Your friends? blessings
23. Your life? good
24. Your mood? excited
25. Missing someone? always
26. Vehicle? minivan
27. Something you’re not wearing? glasses
28. Your favorite store? Target
29. Your favorite color? blue
30. When was the last time you laughed? today
31. Last time you cried? weekend
32. Your best friend? gift
33. One place that I go over and over? preschool
34. One person who emails me regularly? Michele
35. Favorite place to eat? Rick's

Here are 6 ladies I think are marvelously OVER THE TOP!
(OK, so I don't even follow 6 blogs. So how about these awesome women...)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Death to the Big Purple Dinosaur

I think it's awesome that Maddie likes stuffed animals.  Ryan wanted nothing to do with them.  I think M looks so darn cute when she sees one.  She picks it up, holds it at arms length for a moment while looking at it lovingly, and then she moves in for the a big wet kiss.  She shmooshes (hey, it's a word!) her face into it while babbling sweet nothings into its ear (if it has one).  It's pure bliss for all involved.

HOWEVER, her new love interest is this guy.

Oh sure, he looks innocent enough, all jolly and purple.  And sure, the one we have has a cute heart on his belly that says "I love you" and when you push his belly, he breaks out into song:
I love you.
You love me.
We're a happy family.
With a great big hug, and a kiss from me to you.
Won't you say you love me too?

Awww, how sweet, right?  Yeah, not really.  I guess it would be ok if she only pushed the thing like once a month, but she pushes it 83,247 times a freakin' day.  So to Barney, I want to say this - While I think it's very nice that you love me, I seriously don't love you.  So hell no, I won't tell you that I love you.  Besides, and maybe you don't realize this, but YOU HAVE NO EARS, so even if I wanted to tell you that I love you, you wouldn't hear me, you stupid purple freaked-out dinosaur! I want to shove a dirty sock into your permanently open mouth and watch you gag to death. OK?  XXOO