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Monday, April 29, 2013

A Nice Warm Bowl of White Chicken Chilli

A few years back I started to experiment with a recipe on the back of a Bush's Navy Bean can.  I adjusted their recipe and this is what we make quite frequently at our house now.  It is so very tasty and filling, just the right kind of food at the end of a stressful day.  It is very quickly pulled together, especially if you have some already cooked chicken in the freezer or have leftover chicken.  It freezes really well, so make a double-batch while you are at it.

1 Medium onion, chopped
3 TBSP olive oil
1 4oz can chopped green chilies, drained
3 TBSP flour (I use whole-wheat)
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin (you can use less if you are not that fond of cumin)
2 16oz cans white beans
2 cups chicken broth (low-sodium, a 14 1/2oz can plus some water added to make it 2 cups)
1 1/2 cups cooked, cubed chicken (we usually use breast meat)
1/2 tsp paprika
cream (or whole milk) and salt to taste

Heat oil on medium heat in a soup pot. Add onions and cook (about 5 minutes).  Add chilies, flour, cumin and cook for another 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently.  You are cooking out the flour taste and toasting the cumin.  Add beans and broth, stir well, and bring to a boil.  Reduced to a simmer, add chicken and remaining ingredients and simmer for another 10 minutes until done.

You may garnish with shredded cheese, salsa, green onions, cilantro and/or sour cream.


Thursday, April 4, 2013

Beautiful Mama Blog Award - My Three Favorite Things About Parenting

Beautiful Mama Blog Award

My friend Kendra was so very kind to me and awarded me this wonderful and totally unexpected award.  Head on over to Kenj and check out her awesome blog myorangerie.  Kenj is extraordinarily talented when it comes to writing and making all things beautiful.  She blogs about her everyday life with her family and can put simple and everyday in such wonderful words, that it just makes you admire her and the gift she's been given.   She also often inspires me with her parenting ideas.  She is a fantastic decorator and has great sense for making beautiful homes.  The list goes on and on....  :-)
Here is the where I believe the Beautiful Mama Blog Award started:

My Three Favorite Things About Parenting 
(after the obvious, three cutie-pies that so enrich my life)

1.  Getting Closer to God
Nothing in this world has made me understand more about God than being a parent.  Whether it is about God giving up his only begotten son for us or about aspects of parenting, such as patience and kindness.  There is much to be learned from and about God.  Parenting is a glorious experience for this reason alone.  In my humble opinion, God and parenting walk hand in hand.

“For God lovedh the world in this way:i He gave His One and Onlyj Son,k so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.l 17 For God did not send His Son into the world that He might condemnmthe worldbut that the world might be saved through Him18 Anyone who believes in Him is not condemnedbut anyone who does not believe is already condemned,n because he has not believed in the nameo of the One and Only Sonp of God."  John 3:16-18

2. Getting to Understand Myself More
Before I had kids, I was perfect.  Well, pretty close to it.  In my own mind of course.  (This may have been the reason for my lack of spiritual depth.)  I was a really good wife, a good housekeeper, successful at work and whatever I set my mind to, I did really well.  Motherhood seemed like just another step in the journey.  But nothing strips you more bare than parenting.  Man did I fail!  Big time!  Every day and multiple times!  I was by no means the mom I had pictured: All put together nicely, in shape, eating healthy foods, sewing beautiful clothes, making my own organic baby food which I had previously grown in my own garden, making all the right choices and having these adorable, well-behaved babies, while easily taking good care of my husband, constantly surprising him with my talented cooking of delicious foods on top of all sorts of extraordinary date nights, lovingly planned ahead for months.  Apparently babies don't care much about your plans and they remind you over and over that you are just a piece of clay in the potters hand that needs lots of work.  And although this may not seem like a good place to be, it truly is.   Really,  it's the perfect place to be.

"But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is perfected in weakness.'  Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may reside in me.  So I take pleasure in weaknesses, insults, catastrophes, persecutions, and in pressures, because of Christ.  For when I am weak, then I am strong."  2 Corinthians 12:9-10

3. Getting Closer to My Husband
We were really close before we had kids and had built a really good base to build our little family on.  But after we had kids, we became really close.  We are bonded for life.  We are one.  We know each other in our worst situations now.  Hey, if you can bear me when I wake up super stinky cranky in the morning and I'm that way alllllll dayyyyyy looonnnnggg, you get props.  If you put up with eating the same dinner and lunch three days in a row because of my poor planning, you are the man.  If you patiently wait until I finally get around to washing your socks, you deserve praise. If I can't handle the simple things in life and you still encourage me, you rock!  If I break over the little things in life (maybe because they have back-talked me all day) and you put me back together, you are my hero.  And if you still, after all these years of living with me each and every day, think I'm the best thing that has ever happened to you, well, that's just crazy grace.

"But grace yet abounds to the chief of sinners. Let them, without delay, flee to Christ, and all shall be well."  Matthew Henry Concise Bible Commentary, The Return of the Spies, Joshua 2:22-24

There were so many good and perfect choices to whom to pass this award on to.  I couldn't decide on just one, so I picked two!  :-)  In no particular order:

1. The one who inspires me weekly and is my companion on this rocky road of parenting is my dear friend Beth.  Her talents are spiritual maturity, parenting smarts, organization, fabulous homemaking and on top of it all, she is very, very intelligent.  She strives to be a great wife and mother and is also homeschooling her little band of four.  She's such a gigantic resource in all aspects of homemaking to me.  She makes a fantastic friend for anyone who should be so lucky.

2. My ever so talented and very kind sister-in-law, Megan.  Megan is crazy talented when it comes to everything crafty, whether it is knitting, scrapbooking, sewing, etc.  Her passion is photography (as you can tell from her amazing pictures).  Her blog chronicles their daily lives in a very real way and you can learn a lot from her.  She is also a great resource to me about all things nutritional.  Plus, she makes the cutest little nieces and best cousins to my kids.  :-)  I'm very blessed to have her in my life.