Lemon Rosemary and Chicken Soup

Image

Last night I knew I wanted to come up with something that could take the chill out of the air. I also wanted something new and exciting, this soup did that for me! The lemon hinted at spring, the chicken and rosemary hinted at comfort and at the end of the meal everyone, including my cupkeiki, was satisfied and warmed.

Image

 

Image

Image

Image,

Image

Image

I added Brown Rice to each bowl before pouring in the soup, this made it more filling, and served on the side a dinner roll.

Ingredients:

2 chicken breasts

3 Carrots, chopped

1 Onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, chopped

8 cups water

1 large heaping spoonful of Chicken Base

Approx. 1/4 Cup fresh chopped parsley

2 Lemons, zested and juiced

1 Tbs. Rosemary

1 tsp. celery seed

1/4 tsp thyme

1 Bay Leaf

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Cook and shred chicken. While chicken is cooking add onion and carrot to large soup pot and saute until tender with olive oil. Add dry spices and garlic to onion and carrots, stir then add shredded chicken. Add water, chicken base and lemon zest and juice to the soup pot, cover and cook 1 hr. This is the time at which starting the brown rice is recommended, since it takes an hour to cook as well. 5 minutes before serving add parsley and salt and pepper to taste.

My cupkeiki, giving the soup its Two Spoons of Approval!

IMG_4863

Night Weaning.

So here’s a topic not new to any mother, weaning. Everyone experiences it whether you breastfeed or use a bottle. Well, I breastfeed my 16-soon to be 17- month old. Obviously I’ve done it since the day she was born so that’s about 517 days. It sounds like a lot but honestly doesn’t feel like that much; what with all the changes that happen everyday.

Where I am going with this? I went to the doctor last week with complaints of shortness of breath, being lightheaded, tightness in my chest, stomach pain, low energy. It’s all new to me, what is going on? She says, bluntly, “you are exhausted.” Right, sure, what mother isn’t?! But then she asks if I still nurse. I say yes, of course I do (I firmly believe in it and won’t take a ‘cut her off if she isn’t ready for it’ argument from anyone.) and she knows it because she sees my cupkeiki too. The trick to her question though, was night nursing, which I do and often find myself doing anywhere from 2 to 8 times a night. “Time to stop.” She says.

“Oh boy.”

So I started my weaning attempt on Friday, given that I’ve got a full house of avid sleepers, the weekend seems like a good time to make some noise, compared to a working weeknight. Did I mention I primarily co-sleep? Well, when you nurse all night it’s easier to have your little one right there, as opposed to in a crib or another room. Anyway, we laid down for the evening. Only this evening was a little different. I told my cupkeiki repeatedly before she fell asleep that, “tonight no nursing, just sleeping.” At 1:00 she woke up, after a solid four hours of sleep. I tried soothing her, reiterating the “no nursing.” idea. That’s where everything went wild. She started screaming, writhing around, tears were flowing. I had her father hold her, away from me. She reached and screamed and he held tight and talked calmly to her. He didn’t let go, it was my saving grace. The screams lasted for an hour and a half. It was emotional, and exhausting for us all. I wasn’t sure I would make it, but I stood my ground and waited. After the screaming stopped, I held her close and we rocked. She glared across the room for a half hour. Resisted with all her might at closing her eyes. She was mad, we were tired; it was a long two hours. But finally she fell asleep in my arms. I decided to try and lay her down. She immediately started to whine. I told her no milk, and she threw her arm around my neck and cuddled in. She accepted it, and we both fell asleep. Yesterday she woke up happy, big smiles, ready to play. It was nice. I researched all day long about night weaning. Panicked a little by the upcoming night, wanting advice, wanting to read other people’s tales. It was, to say the least, a little bit frustrating to read other people’s takes on weaning, and doctors feelings towards it. Then there were some great articles. Like this one, from Dr. Sears: http://www.askdrsears.com/topics/sleep-problems/night-weaning-12-alternatives-all-night-nurser, and this helpful moms blog: http://attachedtoparenting.com/2012/10/30/how-i-night-weaned-in-7-days/. I talked endlessly about it with my sister-in-law who had done this. I needed reassurance, from myself mostly, that I was able to do it.

So, as bedtime drew near last night, we began the “talk” with my cupkeiki. “Tonight no nursing, just sleeping. Mama is sleeping, Baby is sleeping, and boobies are sleeping. Everyone is sleeping.” We had one last nurse before the lights went out. We cuddled in, she fell asleep and I…I panicked. I didn’t want to repeat the previous nights scream-a-thon. I was afraid I would give in. I wondered if it was the right time, despite what my doc said. I checked the time like clockwork. When 1:00 rolled around I was gearing up for it, then nothing. 2:00, still nothing. Just a keiki doing some dreaming, and actually a little self-soothing. Was it really happening this quickly?! No, 3:00 came with the rooting, and then the frustration of not getting what she wanted. I told her no milk, no nursing just sleeping. I rubbed her back and let her cry it out for 10 minutes. And just like that she quieted down and went back to sleep. I told myself at 5:00, if she was wanting I would give. 5:30 came with the rooting and we nursed until she rolled off. I was doing a serious happy dance in my head. I couldn’t believe that the night went so well. I expected it to be the same, if not worse, than the night before. I’m hopeful today that tonight will go ok. I don’t want set-backs but I am also going to be realistic about this. I waited this long to do it, and in cupkeiki land 16 months is a long time and she’s got some set in ways about how nights should go. If I’m lucky tonight will be like last night and we will both be on our way to all night sleep. My fingers are crossed.  

Weekly Photo Challenge: Illumination

Image

I know it’s last minute, but I have to admit, I was a little bit conflicted in my photos for illumination. I was taking pictures of plants, animals, stuff in the kitchen. Trying to find that one thing that fit the word just right. And then this afternoon it happened; unfortunately all I had to capture my illuminating moment was my phone, but it works and actually gave the pictures a great effect I wouldn’t have expected. I should have known my cupkeiki would somehow play a part in the whole thing….she is my muse.

IMG_4674e

Image

In this last image, she was dancing and I noticed the dust in the air, it was brilliant and even though she looks serious she was twirling and giggling and enjoying her time in the sun.

Image

Take a trip to Morocco via dinner in your home

Image

Last night was yet again one of those, Holy Amazing Food nights. Once forks hit mouths compliments rolled out. Which was nice, because while I was preparing dinner for everyone, I wasn’t sure about how it would turn out. I can’t say that the smell of dinner excited me. Usually, as with probably most people, if it doesn’t capture all five senses…well you are not as intrigued by it. Nonetheless, dinner was a hit, and so here I am ready to share some amazingness with you all! It seems like a lot of stuff, but I promise it comes together quickly and easily. I served the “stew” over the couscous, and had on the side a shredded beef roast from the night before (clever way to use leftovers), but I imagine that one could use chicken, pork, fish or tofu as a meat side as well. Have fun with this recipe and enjoy!

Moroccan Butternut Squash over Couscous

Serves, 6

Ingredients:

Half and onion diced

2 cloves garlic, diced

1 28 ounce can Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes (I used Muir’s)

2 Cups butternut squash peeled and cut into cubes

2 Cups Carrots, cubed

1 Braeburn Apple, peeled, cored and cubed

1/4 cup currants

1/2 tsp of the following spices: Ground Cumin, Ground Corriander, Ground Ginger, Ground Tumeric, Cayenne Pepper, Ground Black Pepper

2 tsp of Smoked Paprika

1 tsp of salt

1 cup of water

Fresh Cilantro as garnish

Directions:

Heat canola oil, approx. 2 tbs, in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion; saute until soft. Add garlic; saute a minute. Mix in all spices. Add tomatoes and water, and bring to a boil. Add squash, carrots, apples, and currants. Cover pan and simmer on medium-low heat until vegetables are tender (20-30 minutes). Serve stew over couscous and garnish with fresh, chopped, cilantro.

For Couscous: 1 1/2 cups water, 1 Cup couscous and 1 Tbs Chicken Base.

Bring water to boil, add chicken base and stir until dissolved, then add couscous. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook 5 minutes.

Where do the days go?!

It’s been a while, apparently, since my last post…how this happens I don’t know. I guess I’ve been busy, too busy to stop and write; which may be a good thing! 

This last week we had a couple of nice days out, and I took advantage of that and busted out the bike and trailer! My cupkeiki and I had our first day long adventure starting with a trip to the tot-gym at Northside Aztlan Community Center in the morning. I have to say that I am so so so thankful for that little outlet for my cupkeiki to get out tons of energy during the winter time! Two hours is plenty of time, and with all the other tiny tots running around, screaming, laughing, building and exploring it’s fun. After that we biked across the street to the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery! Which was surprisingly, and pleasantly, empty! I don’t know that there isn’t something new to do there, or explore, every time we go. This was our third time in the last month! The great thing about it being empty was that there were no long lines around exhibits, we pretty much got to hang out and try everything we wanted without holding others up! 

We headed out the following day, for another go at the tot gym, but it was slow, there weren’t many keiki’s running around or even there, and we wound up leaving a little earlier than in the past. My keiki wasn’t in to playing and just sort of sat and stared off into nowhereville. I’ve found that for me it’s a little intimidating to work up the nerve to talk to other moms. Don’t ask me why, but I just can’t do it. Maybe I will get there someday, I’m sure I’ll have to eventually! Until then, my keiki does just fine playing with others without needing to hold my hand the whole time!

I’ve also found this last week that I want to be creative, but I can’t figure out what I want to create. That is a little unnerving when I get about an hour a day to just let loose and do whatever (besides doing the dishes or cleaning…). I’ve got a million ideas in my head, but I can’t seem to just sit down and start doing just one thing. Oh well, it’ll happen in good time. 

I’m excited about this weeks photo challenge, Illumination. I’m really looking forward to doing something creative and getting some pictures up. I’ve also got a great new recipe to share that uses Spaghetti Squash. It was an exciting and easy meal, so I’m looking forward to getting that written up in it’s own post. 

Until then, I’ll leave you all with this picture of my cupkeiki. Just because I’ve run into a creative crossroads certainly doesn’t mean she has.