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 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.


Kalli said...


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.