Sunday, December 30, 2012

Chicken Tortilla Soup - and taking care of myself

Every once in awhile, I sit and think about my life.  I say every once in awhile, because with two kids (one a baby), a husband and a job, I don't have much time to sit and think.  (Hey, last night I came home early from a 7 year old's birthday party, put the baby to bed, and had time to READ.  First book I cracked since 2 days before the baby was born.  I'm a voracious reader, so it was a long dry spell.)

I was thinking about how my life's approach to health has changed with this second baby.  With my first, I worked out a lot more.  I was going to do it all.  Sure, I wanted to lose weight (but it took 2 years, so I wasn't going nuts at it), but most of the exercise I was doing was for my sanity.  I was working full time, nursing, pumping, exercising 5 days a week.  And I was exhausted.  From November through March, I was sick with one cold or flu after another.  I was healthy for about 30 days out of the 5 months, only a few days at a stretch.

This time around, I was smarter...or I'd like to think so.  I mean, I'm over 40 this time, so that's a factor.  For one thing, I made it clear to my workplace that I was going back part time (80%).  They were remarkably fine with it.  Although truth be told, they responded by increasing my workload when I got back from maternity leave.  This means...that I'm not getting everything done (80% of the time, 120% of the workload...do THAT math.)  I have also not been so into the exercise this time.  I still do it - it keeps me sane - but it's on the order of 2-4 days a week, for 30 minutes at a time.  Yes, at this rate, it will take a LOT longer to lose the weight.  I was going hardcore on the Fit Yummy Mummy program (that sucker WORKS), but as soon as I went back to work, I got sick (week one!).  So I've continued with the exercise part of the program (weights and intervals), but have not been counting calories since then.  So I haven't lost any more weight.

I am also VERY MUCH prioritizing sleep.  Americans, on the whole, do not get enough sleep.  I was incredibly sleep deprived during my pregnancy.  I had insomnia for a couple of hours every night, and got about 6 hours of broken sleep each night.  Only when I started going to acupuncture was I able to get better sleep at least a few days a week.  Sure, it was great practice for the newborn phase.  But I cannot tell you how nice it has been that baby #2 started sleeping 9-11 hours at a stretch at 12 weeks.  (Except for last night. He was up a lot.  I was hurting.)  I generally get 7 hours straight these days.

The baby caught a cold just before Christmas and has had a runny nose and cough.  His cough last night had me up three times between 9 and 1.  Added to that - he has a new skill - he is learning to "talk" (babble), and he was talking too.  In his SLEEP.  (It's so freaking adorable I can't STAND it!!)  I have been trying to avoid catching his cold - but babies, they sneeze in your face.  My "regimen" for preventing colds - lots of fluids, Emergen-C, Zicam tablets a few times a day, hot tea, soup, and lots of sleep.  Things that I avoid - any kind of hard exercise (heavy weights, any cardio harder than walking), and alcohol.  These, along with sleep deprivation, weaken my immune system and make it much more likely that I will get sick.  This is a big reason why I haven't gotten back into running yet, and probably won't until I stop nursing.  Or at least until after cold and flu season ends.

So today, I made soup for dinner.  With the sick baby, I've been home a lot and hadn't planned a dinner. I know it's weird - I'm home, so I tend to not plan as much and "wing it".  This stresses me out and makes it hard to fall asleep, my brain is constantly running.  When I got up this morning, I decided on crockpot chicken tortilla soup.  I found about three recipes on the internet and used them all as a jumping off point because I wasn't going to go shopping.  The best thing is that you can use a bunch of frozen stuff in the soup.  We also had kale chips - greens are probably really good for fighting off illness.


Crockpot chicken tortilla soup
1 lb 4 oz chicken (this happened to be the size of the 2 breasts I had): $2.49
1 onion, diced (Biz, you can leave that out): 0.20
1/4 of a 1-lb bag of frozen tri-color peppers, diced: 0.50
3 cloves garlic: 0.15
4 cups chicken stock: free (I make my own from carcasses)
1 14-oz can diced tomatoes: 0.60 (I am going to puree these next time so 6yo doesn't complain)
1/2 bag frozen corn: 0.60
1 pint home canned salsa: 0.60
1 tsp cumin: 0.10
1/2 tsp chili powder: 0.05
2 Tbsp diced hot pepper (from my freezer stash): 0.15
1 to 2 cups cooked beans: 0.50
1 cup water
a few Tbsp commercial salsa
1 tsp salt

Cheddar cheese and broken tortilla chips for serving.

Cook everything on high for several hours.  I think I had it in there for 7 hours.  I threw the chicken in frozen.  The chicken stock was frozen too - that didn't work too well, so I had to heat that on the stove eventually.  If I start with frozen meat, I prefer to start it on high so that the meat doesn't sit in any temperature "danger zone".  Shred the chicken with a fork before you serve it.

Total: $5.94 for...12 cups maybe? enough soup for probably four meals for the 3 of us.  Less than 50 cents a cup, not counting the cheese and tortilla chips (we used the crumbs).

I was going to leave out the beans, because I didn't have any cooked or canned beans.  But then I saw this bag of little green shelled beans from the CSA.  Man, it took 20 mins to clean them...they were DIRTY, not to mention the bug or two I had to get out of there.  But they cooked up in about 40 min.

We ate this with store bought taquitos and homemade guacamole...and the kale chips, of course.

2 comments:

Kalli said...

marcia,

i am so glad you are scaling back on trying to do it all. this is so refreshing to hear. sometimes more is less. i love that you are taking care of you xoxoxox

Marcia said...

Yes, it's funny I read one of your blog posts right after I wrote this.