Monday, October 21, 2013

{Soup's On} Chicken Tortilla Soup

Fall is my absolute favorite season. While I do prefer warm weather, there's a beauty in the changing leaves that makes me feel like I too can shed myself and come out on the other side of winter renewed and reinvented. I take to making lists and goals during this season whereas most people wait until December 31. That is probably why my blog has many more posts in the fall than any other time, something I'm hoping to remedy. Fall is my buckle-down season--where I try to fit in everything I've wanted to do all year because time is running out. And there is so much to do this year.

Well, I actually came here to write a post about soup. I eat soup all year round, but I understand most other humans, especially here in the South, prefer to eat it only in the fall and winter months. I hope to share some of the tastiest recipes during this soup season, and I'll begin with my favorite.

This is the first meal I ever just threw together without paying attention to exact measurements or following a "recipe." That is one of the great things about soups, you can usually just throw together what's leftover from the week along with some items from the pantry and come out with a great meal in the end. Every time I make this soup for guests I end up giving out the recipe. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Chicken Tortilla Soup

2 Tbsp grapeseed oil
1 small onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 cups shredded chicken (I use poached chicken I've made ahead of time or rotisserie chicken in a pinch)
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tsp cumin
1 Tsp coriander
1/2 Tsp cayenne (optional)
4 cups chicken broth
1 can stewed tomatoes
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can chopped green chilies
1-2 bunches fresh cilantro, chopped
1 avocado, sliced
1 lime, cut into wedges
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
Tortilla strips or chips

In a large saucepan heat the grapeseed oil over medium-high. Add the onions and cook for 2 minutes. Once the onions have softened add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the chicken, chili powder, cumin, coriander and cayenne. Cook for 5 minutes. Pour the chicken broth, tomatoes and chopped green chiles into the pot and bring to a boil. Once at a boil lower heat to simmer and cook 10 minutes. Add fresh cilantro to the pot. In individual serving bowls top with a lime wedge, tortilla strips, avocado slices and cheese.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The journey home {a farewell}

Traveling home from laying my papaw to rest, I lifted my head up from behind the car seat where I'd spent most of the drive alternately entertaining and lulling to sleep our 3-month-old. "Are we about to leave Texas?" My husband casually confirmed our impending border crossing and without warning, I burst into tears.

"What's wrong? Are you upset because we didn't stop at Whataburger?"

And while it is sad to leave Texas without having a Whataburger, that wasn't it. It wasn't even the prospect of driving on Oklahoma roads for the next 200 miles. Nor was it the fact that the speed limit was now 70mph instead of 75mph for the remainder of our trip.

"I wasn't ready. I don't want to leave Texas." Jeremy, only half understanding, told me that we could always come back. I immediately thought, "But papaw won't be there."

Ah. I thought I was crying because I wasn't ready to leave Texas, but really, I wasn't ready to say goodbye to papaw. Coming back to Texas will never be the same. Sure, I still have family and people I love to see in that state, and to me it will always be home; but until now, papaw was always the reason to come. It feels like losing a part of my identity.

Someone recently told me, "You're not a Texan." True, I haven't lived in Texas for 7 years, but in my heart I truly feel it is home. If I clicked my heels 3 times that's where I would find myself. As for papaw, his home is now a place where there is no more pain or sorrow. I grieve his absence and miss that dear, sweet man so much that I feel used up and nauseated, but at the same time, I'm hopeful. Because of Christ, I know that I'll see him again one day. In this happiest of thoughts, my heartache gives way to rejoicing.