Thursday, March 10, 2011

let's talk about food

I'm feeling a little sad today. I think a little bit of it stems from knowing my baby brother, the one whose birth I witnessed when I was almost 16, should be receiving the letter today that will tell him where he will be for the next two years of his life. My dad went to Vienna, Austria; my other brother went to Geneva, Switzerland; Joel's brother and Dad both went to Taiwan; Joel's other brother went to Texas; Joel went to the Amazon in Brazil; I know people who have gone to almost every country on the planet. It's something my baby brother has always aspired to, but another reality altogether to see that he is actually going.

And my own first baby is turning 9 at the end of this month. She just looks so dang big, what with her talk about bras and Taylor Swift and the way she'll roll her eyes at me. She tries to reassure me that she is NOT, in fact, big since she is only taller than one other person in her class. I hugged her this morning as she prepared to leave for school and a tear rolled down my cheek. Gemma, ever vigilant, said, "You sad, Mommy?" A little, I told her. "Sometimes Mommy is sad about how fast her kids are growing up. It's because I'm so crazy proud of them and love them so much and I'm afraid that one day I'll wake up and you'll all be gone."

Note to self: contain emotion until after Ainsleigh leaves for school. She's a sensitive one, that girl. When she pulled back from my arms, she had tears in her eyes as well. But also a smile. "It's a good thing to love something so much you're sad when they leave, right?" I asked. We laughed together as she nodded and said, "Yeah. A REALLY good thing."

Argh. Maybe it's my brother and Ainsleigh and my growing kids. Maybe it's a speaking assignment I received that I'm not particularly comfortable with. Maybe I'm hormonal. Yeah - that's what I'm going with. So what do I do in this situation? I cook. (ok yeah right - I cook for just about any situation... but still)

With that in mind, let me introduce you to perhaps the greatest white chili on the planet (as far as I'm concerned), courtesy of the fabulous Janine:

1 T oil
1 onion, chopped
4-5 stalks celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb chicken in bite-size pieces (prefer shredding a Costco rotisserie chicken - for various delicious reasons)
3 C chicken broth (but sometimes I add a 4th)
2-15oz cans Northern Beans (or pinto)
8 oz diced green chilis
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp cumin
handful fresh cilantro, chopped
salt/pepper to taste
lime juice

Heat oil in a large pot. Add onion, celery, garlic (and chicken if it isn't already cooked) and cook until softened (or chicken is done). Add remaining ingredients (except for cilantro) and boil for 20 minutes to 1 hour. Stir in chopped cilantro and a teaspoon or two of lime juice.

Crush a few fritos in the bottom of a bowl, stop with shredded cheese and a dollop of sour cream. Ladle soup over all. If you're feeling really crazy, top with diced avocado. Of course, this last part is completely optional, but you'll be glad you did it.

Gemma loves this. There are two meals she repeatedly asks for as I begin making dinner, "We having fish tacos?" or "We having chip soup?"

Make it tonight. Get a little person to help you. It will help you forget that your babies will grow up. Well, for a little while, at least.


Becca said...

Has she had a sleepover yet?? That's truly when you are BIG. And then at the sleepover you think you'll be really cool by putting guacamole on your face as a cleansing face mask and then realize that it is spicy guac and BURNS the living daylights out of your face. Ya. Many things to look forward to for her.

janine said...

mmm....good call! by the way, i just came up with a wonderful idea for a girls night/afternoon....we'll have to chat!

laura said...

Hahahahaha. I was going to make a comment but now I can't stop laughing at Becca. Classic.

TheKunks said...

Super cute pics of Gemma. Sorry life goes by so fast.

celeste said...

well...???? where's he going?

sweet pictures. and thumbs-up on the chicken chili. is there any other kind?

Annie said...

Gemma is adorable!