Thursday, May 6, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!

Got any big plans for this Mother's Day? I actually don't know at this point if I do or not. But, I've done a lot of thinking about Mother's Day in years past. Can I share with you my thoughts?

For many mothers, this Sunday will come and go with little to no distinction from any other Sunday. It can feel very discouraging to have a holiday set apart for you go unnoticed. (Although, prior to the 1900s women did not even celebrate Mother's Day; they were completely content, unaware they were missing anything... because they weren't.) No matter if your Mother's Day will feel full or empty, I want to encourage you...

Even if no one notices the passion and diligence with which you nurture your loved ones...
Even if your children do not realize the investment you are making in them...
Even if you grow tired, doing the same tasks over and over again...
Even if no one else around you knows it's hard work!
Or, even if you are duly thanked and appreciated...

Take joy in your mothering. Treasure in your heart the thought that you are accomplishing something monumentally worthwhile. Be glad for all the little things you are able to do for your dear ones, the everyday moments you are able to spend with your family. Shower them with love. Joyfully!

We all feel bolstered by affirmation. We feel validated when someone celebrates us. But I'd like to encourage you to take joy in what you do everyday.

When your days are long and you still have to prepare supper...
When you spend abundant time preparing food only to have to clean up again...
When you sacrifice what you would prefer to do in order to carefully plan nutritious food for your family...

In all these daily efforts, take joy. That is an odd combination of words... but there is joy in daily serving your family. Take it!

Health begins with mom. In the majority of families, I think it really does. It begins with mom's hard work and commitment. What we do is wonderfully meaningful. And there is deep joy in cherishing that thought.

Mother's Day will come and go... fully celebrated or not. But come the following Monday, approach your "duties" with joy. Joy in knowing that you are bestowing long term blessings upon your family.

 Happy Mother's Day to you,

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Yummy Taco Chicken plus Five Ways to Serve It

When I was recovering after the arrival of Superman right around the New Year, several friends brought our family supper. It was an unbelievable blessing. One friend (Thanks, Christie!) brought us fresh chicken tacos complete with avocados and whole grain tortillas from Whole Foods. The chicken she brought was shredded and seasoned with a recipe she found on Food Renegade. Our family loved it so much, I looked up the recipe and added it to my repertoire...

Only, as you well expected, I tweaked it a bit . :-) I never have onion powder on hand. And my chicken seemed dry if I didn't use some stock with the seasonings. So this is what I did...

I started by cooking a pastured chicken all day in a crock pot. I only added a cup of water and generous sprinklings of salt and pepper. (Sorry this is the only photo of the process! By the time I got home to finish the meal, I was desperately behind. There was not time to document in pictures.)


After cooking all day, I put the chicken to cool on a cutting board. Then I strained the cooking juices and let the fat rise to the top. After skimming most of the fat, I poured the liquid into a large skillet and set it on medium heat. I added the following (see Food Renegade for the original spices):

•1 Tbsp. Chili Powder
•1/2 tsp. Garlic Powder
•1/8 - 1/4 tsp. Cayenne Pepper 
•1/4 tsp. Dried Oregano
•1/2 tsp. Paprika
•1 1/2 tsp. Ground Cumin
•1 tsp. Sea Salt
•1/2 tsp. Black Pepper

I stirred up the seasoning and chicken stock until well blended, then let it simmer. While it was simmering, I pulled the chicken off the bones and added it to the skillet. With each addition I stirred to blend the seasonings into the meat. After all the meat was in the skillet with the seasonings, I used two forks to pull apart any clumps. I left it to simmer until most of the liquid was reduced.

And there you have it. Terrifically spiced Chicken Taco Meat.

We have used it for:
  1. Chicken Taco Salad... oh so perfect for these warm GA spring days!
  2. Chicken Enchiladas... I usually make my own enchilada sauce, but this time around I just used some tomato soup that I made way too spicy for the kids. It worked perfect as enchilada sauce!
  3. Chicken Quesidillas... using Sprouted Wheat tortillas and Cheddar Cheese
  4. Chicken Burritos... wrapping up the chicken with sauteed onions, peppers and cheese
  5. And, last but probably the best, Southwestern Chicken Noodle Soup... this was a last minute invention because second grade math lessons ate up my afternoon yesterday.

 (The soup was steaming when I snapped this picture, so the stock looks blurry... sorry again!)

This soup was so delicious. My husband even ate thirds! It's quite simple... Throw all of this in a large soup pot:

  • 2 quarts chicken stock (or a combination of water and stock)
  • 2 cans of petite diced tomatoes with the juice
  • 1 can of drained and rinsed kidney beans (it would be best if you had soaked and cooked these properly, but I made do with canned)
  • 1 cup of frozen corn
  • 1/2 of a chicken cooked in the taco seasonings above
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • A few generous dashes of Cayenne Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. to 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 bunch of kale or chard, finely chopped (or, if your children are not used to greens, less)

Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes.
Add about 8 ounces of whole grain pasta and continue to simmer until tender. Serve with a sprinkling of grated cheddar cheese.

I hope you enjoy these recipes!

Monday, May 3, 2010

The Winners!

Thanks to all my readers who entered the two giveaways on Health Begins With Mom last week! I really appreciate y'all. According to, the winners are...

Jonesey wins the Glasslock Storage Container Set from CSN stores! And, I might add, she won with her comment to tell me that she posted the giveaway on her blog... so it really paid to go for the second entry.

Renee (reneecordle@...) wins the Safe Home Value Pack from EcoSmart!

I will notify each winner by email. If for some reason you do not receive my email, please email me for prize instructions. (ae @ healthbeginswithmom . com)