Saturday, January 29, 2011

Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup

This is a girl's best friend.  A one pot wonder.  A night off.  This is the thing you use to make everyone believe you have slaved all day over a hot stove.  The universal sign of an easy meal ahead.  The Crockpot.  Today, in MY crockpot, I made Chicken Tortilla Soup.  

Now let me tell you, briefly, about my love affair with Chicken Tortilla Soup at Garcia's Restaurant in Phoenix, AZ (and Pollo Fundido but that is for another post).  Me and my friends used to go to Garcia's all the time for Happy Hour.  My ex hubby and I used to eat there all the time and I blame Garcia's as a main contributor to our fatness.  Yes my friends, we were F.A.T. and it was all Garcia's fault.  Ok.  Probably not so true BUT I had to try.  

This soup was SO incredibly easy.  I got the recipe off of and tweaked it to get as close to the restaurant version as possible.  I was leery about some of the ingredients but it was BOMB DIGGITY!  Have I ever let you down?  It was easy..did I say that? Easy! Quick! I already had all the ingredients on hand except black beans and cilantro.  I used whatever chicken I had in my freezer.  I literally added two thawed, skinless thighs on the bone and a frozen skinless, boneless, chicken breast lol The result was a nice mixture of dark and white meat, a mild warmth that coats your mouth but does not burn.  You can tweak it to your spicy-meter any way you want.  I imagine this will freeze well too (I have some cooling for the freezer now).  It mad A LOT too.  

(Lord Jesus forgive me for using my broken cell phone camera AGAIN)

(and again AMEN!)

The home fried tortilla strips are an absolute MUST I tell you. Please if you love me DO NOT CHEAT!  Oh and a dollop of sour cream would be divine :)

Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup

  • 1 pound shredded, cooked chicken (I used 2 skinless thighs and one chicken breast that was frozen lol)
  • 1 (15 ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, mashed (I used fire roasted but you could use Rotel also)
  • 1 (10 ounce) can enchilada sauce
  • 1 medium onion, chopped (I used dried minced onion)
  • 1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chile peppers
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups water (I used 1.5 cans water using the tomato can)
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder (ok I didn't have any so I used cayenne pepper about 1/4 tsp)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf (don't forget to remove when done cooking)
  • 1 (10 ounce) package frozen corn (I used 1 small can niblets corn)
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
  • 7 corn tortillas
  • 1 Avocado
  • Colby Jack Cheese (or cheese of your choice) cut into small cubes
  • vegetable oil

  1. Place chicken, tomatoes, enchilada sauce, onion, green chiles, and garlic into a slow cooker. Pour in water and chicken broth, and season with cumin, chili powder, salt, pepper, and bay leaf. Stir in cilantro. Cover, and cook on Low setting for 6 to 8 hours or on High setting for 3 to 4 hours.  Half way through, add black beans and corn.  
  2. Heat oil in a skillet.  
  3. Cut tortillas into strips, then spread in single layer in hot oil.  
  4. Fry until crisp.  Drain on paper towel, lightly salt.
  5. Put avocado and cheese cubes into bowl, spoon soup over the top, add tortilla strips and a couple cilantro leaves and serve immediately.  

Monday, January 24, 2011

Well, it's a doosie

I have been absent for a minute now and thought it may be a tad therapeutic to blog.  I did, after all, start this blog for a journal of sorts.  A way to get all my antics on paper (or screen if you will), share my recipes with perceived secret admirers and a brag box about my baby.  And lets face it, it's a whole lot less expensive than a therapist.

So, today is Monday.  I just got home from National Jewish Hospital on Saturday.  I've had a whole two days to let it sink in that I have a lung disease.  A very rare, life threatening lung disease.  I could go on living my life as if I had never been told this news.  That is what I would normally do, honestly.  Ahhh, but one thing.  This:

My dorky lil sassafrass.  Ok ok this picture isn't exactly NEW but look at her face! How can I go on living life, not protecting myself when I have this every day?  So now the question do I change our lives drastically, yet live like we are normals? Normals would be ya'll with no health issues :)

I was told in Colorado that I cannot get sick.  I cannot be around sick people.  Period.  If I get the flu and it goes to my lungs, it could be life threatening.  Any illness that decides to move to my lungs, could be life threatening.  Crazy huh? So I have a malfunctioning immune system already due to the Common Variable Immune Deficiency and you tell me not to get sick? Ok.  Then you tell me I can no longer help out in my childs classroom...ever.  I've already had a couple people tell me it's no big deal, it's not the end of the world. They are right.  But it was a big deal to Jalen and I.  When you are a single parent, those moments are HUGE to a child.  Obviously my daughter doesn't know the whole story.  Just that mama cannot get sick and I need her to do her job and use hand sanitizer and sneeze in her elbow.

Work is still the unknown...I decided to make an appointment with my family doctor for tomorrow.  I trust him.  He will tell me if I should or should not go back to work, how long, etc.  He has known me the longest, been with me since before the CVID diagnosis.  Here's the thing...who am I without a job? I used to think I had a good portfolio.  I had a banging job, own my own home, independent, strong, blah blah blah.  Now? I feel....sort of worthless.  More burdensome than having a single thing to offer another human being.  Sad isn't it? But, today that is how I feel.  I am just a mom. Thats it.  And not even doing that well now.  I even told my ex boyfriend when he called to check on me, I am on effin oxygen, I am going to be single the rest of my life!  Sitting here typing this and re-reading it...I can't breathe.  The thought of losing it all is taking my breath away.  I worked so dam hard to get where I am today, to be told in the blink of an eye, everything I worked for is going to go away.  My good credit, because I will likely have to file bankruptcy.  My good reputation because now I am likely going to be on disability.  My "look what I have to offer" because I am chronically ill, who would want me.

You know what it boils down to? P.R.I.D.E.  It's true.  God gave me these things and is now allowing them to be taken away.  I have no idea why but I do realize it is a pride issue right? I mean, I will still have a home and still wake up every day, God what else could it be besides pride? Man either that or I am being punished, tested, something.  I haven't figured it ALL out yet.  Maybe its a little of all of them.  Pride, punished, tested...they all suck really.  I WILL figure it out.  I have to.  I have something in this world way more important than me and she is only 7.  I won't go on acting like nothing is wrong.  I will be safe, stay out of crowds and try my hardest to not get sick.  I will figure out a way to make this new diagnosis..workable.  I'm just not sure how yet.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Lovely Little Liar

I sit here this morning with a heavy heart.  My beautiful little girl who is 7, lied to my face today.....again.  I feel betrayed as if it was a personal attack on me. On my moral compass.  In addition to the act of lying, then I have the horrid guilt of her having to start her school day off with yelling and a lecture AND a warning that I will have to spank her butt when she gets home.

Let's back up a little.  I am overly moral.  I know you all are shaking your head saying "oh this is a good thing.  One can't be too moral".  Yes they can trust me.  I don't know WHY I am this way but I am.  It is extreme.  One of my ex boyfriends loves to call me the moral police.  Now, couple this with a hot temper and the uncanny ability of being able to argue well.  Now, wanna rethink being overly moral is ok?  Fine here is an example:  my ex boyfriend had some pain medication.  He also had a roommate who helped herself to it and finished off several bottles of it without 1.  needing it and 2. ever asking permission.  So what do I do? I started an argument with him about how she was a THIEF.  I mean we argued about it.  I argued my case in multiple ways.  I believed she should have been banished from his house.  How dare her take advantage of him, he needed those pain meds (surgery).  Needless to say we didn't speak for awhile.

Now fast forward.  I do not lie...ever.  Not to save my butt, get out of a tough situation, avoid an argument.  Never.  Well ok I will tell a WHITE lie when it comes to someones cooking.  I cannot stand to hurt someones feelings on PURPOSE gees!  I try to avoid it by saying something positive like "oh I loved that you used garlic in this dish" haha!  So when the child I was in labor with for 24 hours lies to my face....when I catch her red handed after she dumped her chocolate soy milk with her medicine down the drain and she tried to wipe up the evidence...when this pretty little girl whom I would jump in front of a bus for lies to my face...I tend to take it a little hard.  What have I done wrong?  Is it too late? Where did she get this from? I thought kids learned by example damit! Who told me that? They. Were. Wrong.

I have tried everything to help my child see that lying will bring no good to the human race.  I have yelled.  I have lectured.  I have calmly explained that lying will only cause her friends to not like her nor trust her.  I have punished, taken away prized babies, grounded.  NOTHING IS WORKING!  Today, I told my child I was ashamed of her.  My heart sunk when I said those words.  I could literally feel my heart in my stomach.  Then I told her no ipod for one week, no tv for two days and she will get a spanking when she gets home.  The worst part of all of this?  The utter GUILT I felt for my baby having to start her day off like this.  Kills me even as I am writing this.  Of course I told her how much mommy still loves her no matter what as she left the car.

Another very important factor in all of this - I HATE spanking.  Despise it.  Swore I would never do it unless it was something extreme like playing with matches.  I was spanked with everything you can think of as a child:  wooden spoons, fly swatters, shoes, brushes, boy you name it.  At my age, I think we all got spanked with things back then huh? Go get a switch off the tree type of thing lol.  I, however, swore that I never would unless absolutely necessary.  I would not continue the pattern of whacking my child for every minor offense in life.  And for the most part I have lived up to that.  I have had to spank her when all other things have failed.  I must admit I spanked out of anger twice I believe.  I try extremely hard to not ever spank out of anger.  99% of the time I spank, I explain why and swat only on the butt and only 2 or 3 swats.  NOW my little girl will start crying and telling me "mama don't do it you know you hate spanking me and it will only break your heart and make you cry".  Clever little thing huh?  She is right.  She has seen me cry after spanking her.  I told you I hated it and rarely do it.  All my friends think I should be spanking all the time.  No.  No no.

If anyone out there has any ideas on the whole lying thing, please let me know.  I've read her books on this as well.  Nothing is sticking people. She see's a counselor as well for the stress of me being sick. This is obviously top priority so the whole lying thing hasn't really been addressed with him.  I need some real life suggestions. I know kids lie but I am failing.  I am obviously not teaching her to not lie.