The musings of ME:
SAH mother of 3 kids, spouse of a doctor-in-residency, caretaker and teacher of random children.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Cilantro Lime Chicken and Black Bean Burritos

I found this recipe on one of the blogs I follow and I adapted it a little to suit my family's tastes.  It calls for canned black beans, but we love my recipe for black beans (that I actually got from a friends' blog many years ago) and the flavors meld really well in the burritos or even just in a bowl with the rice and chicken and extras at the end, so I make my own homemade black beans with it.  Unfortunately, I just add things to taste on the beans, but here goes...

Black Beans:
Beans take a while, so before you do anything, start the beans.  I just use plain ol' Great Value dry black beans in a bag.  I use about half a bag.  You can do a quick soak to soften them, following the directions on the back of the bag, or you can soak the beans overnight, which is what I usually do.  Then rinse them the next day.

After you rinse your beans, set them to boiling in about 6 cups of chicken broth (or 6 cups of water and 6 tsp of chicken bouillon).  Then saute green onion, bell pepper, and carrots all diced up in a little oil.  Sprinkle with cumin, cayenne pepper, black pepper, and garlic salt.  I just pretty much do this to taste and add more as it cooks when I feel it needs it.  I have no idea how much of everything I actually put in.  I also add a splash of OJ to give it a little citrus flavor (start with a small splash, you can add more later if you need to.)

Bring to a boil for about 10 minutes, then cover, and reduce heat to a simmer for about 3 hours or until desired tenderness of the beans.  My advice is to keep an eye on your beans.  Many times I have forgotten about them and too much liquid boiled off and we were left with nasty burned beans that we could not eat.  Sometimes you have to add a bit more chicken broth or another splash of OJ to keep enough liquid on your beans.

Cilantro Lime Chicken:
4 medium chicken breasts
3 tsp olive oil
3 tsp cilantro (I used dried, but it probably would be even better with fresh, I just didn't have any.)
3 tsp lime juice from concentrate (or freshly squeezed, but again I didn't have any.)

I just put the chicken breasts in my crockpot with about a cup of water and a tsp of chicken bouillon and let it cook a couple of hours on high until till tender.  Then I pulled out the chicken, shredded it, added the above ingredients, tossed it, and let the flavors meld for a few minutes.

Cilantro Lime Rice:
1 cup uncooked rice
1 tsp chicken bouillon
1 Tbsp cilantro
1 1/2 tsp lime juice from concentrate

Boil rice in water with chicken bouillon, when it is ready mix in the other ingredients.

For the kids, I made burritos on a flour tortilla with a little rice, a little chicken mix, a spoonful of black beans, sour cream to taste, shredded cheese, and lettuce.

Ben doesn't care for rice so he just mixed chicken and black beans with lettuce, sour cream, cheese and salsa.

You could also do guacamole, but I hate it and it just adds more calories, so I never make it.

Enjoy!!  :)

Friday, May 18, 2012

Guilt and Sadness

I still haven't blogged about my mother's passing.  I just can't do it.  I'm doing okay on a day-to-day basis.  I stay busy and get engrossed in life and don't really miss her till the kids go to bed, and I'm recapping the day in my mind and all my mixed feelings about my life and my family are coming to the forefront.  Things I would share with her.  And I can't. 

There are many people I could call and talk to.  And I do.  I have great, wonderful, amazing friends.  They have really been here for me when I need to vent or cry at 2 am or some such nonsense, but there just isn't anyone like your mom. 

In summary, I guess I just don't want to rehash the emotional week it was the week I had to write her obituary and pick out pictures for her memorial and read old letters I wrote her as a kid and find old love poems she and my dad wrote back and forth.  It just hurts.  It just makes it too real.

Meanwhile, I have come back to my life to find that although I thought I was keeping up with my responsibilities as a mom myself, I have done just that.  And only that.  In the time I have been preoccupied with MY mom, my children have continued to grow.  I feel as though I have missed the first 7 months of Ally's life.  I fed her, diapered her, rocked her, loved her, and all that, but I didn't SEE her or document her.  Now she has two teeth and she crawls and has this adorable personality and I have somehow missed how that came to be.  It makes me so sad.  I realized I have NO professional pictures of her.  Ever.  I have taken a few, and even took some that turned out passably professional, but monthly?  nope.  milestones?  nope.  And I can't get that time back.  I feel such immense guilt.  What will I say to her when she is older and asks about what she was like as a baby?  I may not remember much.  I was going through other stuff.  That is so not fair to Ally.  Especially for someone she won't even remember.  (Okay, that last thought really hurt me to type.)

And Sam.  His 3rd birthday is next week and I just don't have it in me to throw a party for him.  I'm still healing.  I'm still focusing on keeping my head above water.  But then I think about how I have thown two full-fledged parties for Jackson and have yet to throw anything other than a family party for Sam.  He wants a Mickey Mouse Clubhouse birthday party.  And I have been compiling a list of ideas, but the execution is just not happening.  I haven't sent out any invitations or anything.  Today is Friday and his birthday is next Tuesday.  Would it be totally horrible if I just did a little birthday cake on his birthday and then waited like 3 weeks for his actual party?  Until we get home from our annual family camping trip to Woody Woods and until his good friend gets home from vacation in mid-June?  I think I am going to.  Meanwhile, I may be able to scrape up some energy and motivation and stop this silly pity-party.

I'm not always sad.  Yesterday I felt her all day.  She kept telling me to call my sister over and over and I was doing other things, avoiding calling Meg because I have her daughter Ella, and so I have been talking to her a lot lately. I think she is getting sick of seeing my name on her phone.  Finally I got this overwhelming kick-in-the-pants heart swelling and I HAD to call Meg.  Turns out she had had a rough day yesterday and five minutes before I called, she had picked up mom's cancer blanket, took a deep breath, and said aloud, "I love you, Mom."  For the first time, she felt my Mom there with her and heard her say, "I love you, too, Meg."  Hearing that story made me cry.  She still watches over us.  She still wants us to look out for each other.  We are trying to. Wwe are all trying to keep it together. 

Mother's Day was hard.  A little.  Not as bad as I thought it would be.  Ben was really good to me, and did a lot for me all day.  Plus, he took me out last Friday to see a movie I have been wanting to see for some time.  That was fun.  We almost never get to go on dates just us anymore.  On actual Mother's Day, Sam had strep throat (and so did Ally and I, but we never had many symptoms), so we had to keep a close eye on him because Sat night he had spiked a fever of 103.5.  Ally sat up in her crib completely on her own for the first time and has been doing that ever since.  It was adorable to see her turn around and see me come in and break out in this huge smile with her little head up above the crib railing.  (But we will be moving that crib mattress down now...)  On a sidenote, just this week she also has been trying to crawl on her toes in down dog position.  She can't really move like that, so she just resembles a baby trying to do yoga.  It makes me giggle every time.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

I Miss You, Third Grade!

It dawned on me this evening that I have lived in this house for 5 years next month.  That means it has been FIVE YEARS since I taught public school.  I really miss it sometimes.  I really loved my third graders, and I REALLY loved my co-workers.  I miss HAVING co-workers.  There are days I really would love to sit in a teacher's lounge and VENT!  I guess that's why I am such an avid fb-er.

I did love my preschoolers, too, (Well, honestly, there were a couple last year that REALLY stressed me out...), but I LOVED LOVED LOVED teaching third grade.  It is the perfect age in my opinion.  Still excited about school, but old enough to tie their own shoes and button their own jackets (among other things) but not yet too old to still be intimidated by my stern voice and teacher death-look.

And darn it, I was a good teacher!  I connected with it!  I lived for it!  I was consumed by it!  I thought about kids individually and what might work for them all the time.  I thought up fun activities that might work to teach certain parts of our curriculum all the time.  I still do, and those ideas just get wasted...*sigh*  One day, I will get back in the classroom. 

I love teaching my own kids, of course, and preschool playgroup, but it just isn't the same as that full-class dynamic of third graders.