Thursday, February 25, 2010

Turkey and Vegetable Chili

First, allow me to give credit where credit is due:  This recipe is originally by Curtis Stone for The Biggest Loser but I made a few changes based on what I had in my kitchen.  I also didn't follow the method quite right and added the spinach and tomatoes earlier in the process.  I think, though, that it worked quite well for me that way so the recipe below reflects my changes. (You can view the original recipe here or by clicking on the recipe title below.)  We enjoyed our chili as a topping on small baked potatoes (as a meal) but it was also delicious on it's own the next day.  (Please forgive me - I forgot to take a picture of this yummy concoction before we dug in.)

Turkey and Vegetable Chili

INGREDIENTS
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, medium diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 small red chili, seeded and small diced (I had a jalepeno and left the seeds in)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and small diced (I didn't have this on hand so just skipped it)
  • 1 large celery stalk, medium diced (Also didn't have)
  • 1 small yellow bell pepper, seeded and medium dice I used a combo of red and green peppers because that's what I had (and they were frozen/diced)
  • 12 ounces 1% lean ground turkey
  • 4 medium size ripe tomatoes, medium diced I didn't have tomatoes so i used a can of diced with mild green chilis and a can of original stewed (which i cut up a bit in the pan with my spatula)
  • 8 oz cooked white or black beans  (I used half a can because hubby doesn't like beans; I would have enjoyed more though)
  • 4 cups baby spinach (I had frozen chopped spinach on hand)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup plain fat free Greek style yogurt
  • Micro cilantro to garnish, (can substitute with chopped chives or chopped cilantro)
METHOD
  • Place a large saute pan over medium high heat, then drizzle with the oil.
  • Add the onion, garlic, and red chili and sautĂ© for 2 minutes, or until tender.
  • Sprinkle the cumin, and a dash of cilantro, over the onion mix and stir well, then add the carrot, celery, spinach and bell pepper and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the vegetables begin to get tender.
  • Add the tomatoes and the beans and cook for a further 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the tomatoes have broken down and most of the liquid has evaporated.
  • In a separate saute pan, brown the turkey in the remaining oil over medium high heat (drain), then transfer to the vegetable mix.
  • Season the chili to taste with freshly ground black pepper
  • Spoon the chili into serving dishes or use to top a baked potato
  • Spoon a tablespoon of the yogurt onto each garnish and serve.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Oh! and I almost forgot....

I have a new Facebook page!  Won't you be my fan?

Catching up?

I know, I know, I know... I keep telling you that I'm going to get caught up on my regular blog posting. I have good intentions, I really do.  I most definitely appreciate all of you hanging in there and continuing to follow me.  As much as I'd love to post more often, I also know that my number one priority is taking care of my family.  So please don't think I've forgotten about all my bloggy friends; I haven't.  I think about you often.  So, if you don't mind, please stick it out and I promise I'll keep doing my best to get "caught up."  Although, I wonder: is there really such a thing as getting caught up?  But I digress...

Given my list of chores for the day, I thought (in lieu of being original) I'd just pass along a couple new (to me) blogs that I've been forunate enough to discover.  I'm also awarding them the Best Blog Award:

Musings, Musings, Musings - The Muser shares her experiences with perinatal and postpartum depression, motherhood and more.  She is also starting a weekly round up of other blogs that discuss perinatal mood disorders (and I thank her for including me on the list).

Housewife Bliss - What a fun blog!  Her recent posts have included Sexy New Girlfriend - the experiment and Looking at my home with fresh eyes.

{P.S. - If anyone can tell me where the spell check feature is in the new Blogger post editor, I would be forever greatful. (Or is it grateful?  If I could spellcheck, I'd know.) }

{P.P.S. - Juicebox Jungle tells me that 118 people clicked on my Jungle box last month - does that mean I have more than the 18 followers I know about?  I'd love to meet you! :)  }

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A Mom With a New Baby Needs Your Help! | Best for Babes

And speaking of catering a little more to postpartum moms, check out this great resource for moms to be:
A Mom With a New Baby Needs Your Help! | Best for Babes

Posted using ShareThis

Postpartum Depression Research in WNY

I was very pleased to see this article in this issue of  the Buffalo State College magazine 1300 Elmwood. 

It is still amazing to me that the United States, certainly thought to be a progressive country by most, is still one of the few that doesn't do more to help new mothers.  I think we've created a sterotype for ourselves of the perfect soccer mom - the mom who can be all, do all, and still look fabulous.  All while thoroughly enjoying every minute of it.  I'm not saying this mom doesn't exist but I'm certainly learning that this is not the norm.  Anyway... take a look at the article (it's not long):  After Baby: Now What?  Research examines access to health care for postpartum depression.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Madly in Love with Me (and a Giveaway)

Madly In Love With Me Day is Feb 13!

One of the many things I've learned (and am still learning) from my battle with postpartum depression is that I have to make time for myself.  I need to change my thinking, in many cases, and learn to believe that I am a good mother and wife.  But how can I believe that if I regularly criticize myself? 

Last night, driving home from work, I was flipping radio stations and happened to catch an interview with Christine Arylo discussing her book Choosing ME before WE, Every Woman's Guide to Life and LoveIt occurred to me that her ideas make so much sense not only from the standpoint of a romantic relationship but in other aspects of life as well.  After all, how can my son learn to love himself if I don't teach by example?  So, I made a mental note to look up her website to see what else I could find out.

Ms. Arylo's premis is simple:  self-love is essential and women need to learn to fall in love with themselves.  It really makes sense, doesn't it?  It's not about superiority or narcissim; it's about learning to love you.  ALL of you - your best qualities and your not so best.  Instead of looking in the mirror and criticizing your weight, size, shape (fill in the blank), look in the mirror and compliment yourself. Change your thinking.

In keeping with her theme, she declared February 13 as Self Love Day. As part of Self Love Day it's time to fall madly in love with me by creating my own Manifesta:

I vow. . .
to give myself the respect I deserve.
to learn to love me for who I am (not who I think I should be).
to realize that while it's ok to become better, it doesn't mean there's anything wrong with who I am.
to take care of myself the way I deserve to be taken care of.
to compliment myself daily.
to remember that learning to love my self is a process that will continue to evolve.

It's time to realize that my flaws make me who I am and that's ok.  It's ok to want to change them or improve upon myself.  It's not ok to continually knock myself down for them.  Life is about moving forward and there's no time to dwell on the negative.

I encourage you to visit the Madly in Love with Me website and make your own manifesta.  You can download a free Madly in Love with Me Guidebook here.  Start falling in love today. (With you!)

Wait... there's more! 

Like this necklace?

One lucky reader could win one of her very own!  Here's what you need to do:

  • Download the FREE Me Love Kit by clicking here.

  • Leave a comment on this blog post telling me either 1. The self-love dare you took and why? or 2. The self-love vow you took and why?
(Both the dare and the vows are found in the Me-Love Kit .  You must download the kit and take/share a vow or dare to be a part of this contest.)

Winner will be chosen with a random number generator on March 12, 2009.

*I am working with Christine Arylo as part of this blog campaign.  The necklace is being offered by her as a giveaway on this blog. 

You may also visit Facebook for chances to win other prizes.


Madly In Love With Me Day is Feb 13!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

I Don't Love Being a Mom

And that bothers me.  Don't get me wrong - I love my son more than words can possibly express.  Being a mom, however, is not turning out the way I envisioned it.  I don't know what, exactly, I envisioned.  Probably the "perfect mom" who bakes cookies, does crafts and colors with her child; who is always put together and full of highly creative daily activites.  You know - the Donna Reed type.  Not that I don't ever do these things but they certainly don't come easily.  At all.  Whenever I read an article, status update, tweet, etc. that says, "I love being a mom,"  it hurts.  Because I can't honestly say that.  I am convinced, though, that someday I will. 

I have a difficult child: a speech delayed, strong willed, quick tempered, impatient two year old (yeah, I know: what two year old isn't impatient?).  It's not his fault, of course, that I don't enjoy motherhood but his temperment tests my patience (of which I had little to begin with).  Add that to my dangerous habit of idealizing everything - imagining too perfect scenarios about motherhood, holidays, life - and it's a recipe for disaster.  Oh, and did I mention that I compare myself, as a mother, to everyone?  Not healthy.

Is it remnants of postpartum depression?   Probably.  I take comfort in realizing that things ARE better.  Every now and then I do have that "perfect" day where, for at least a while, I can say "I enjoy being a mom today."

I don't think this makes me a bad mother.  (Ok, some days I do think that but overall I know that's not true.)  I know that the most important thing is that I love my son unconditionally and I do everything I am capable of to make him happy.  No one ever said motherhood was easy.  In fact, I think we've all heard the phrase, "the toughest job you'll ever love."  Sometimes it takes a while to get into the groove of a new job.  I have a lifetime to figure it out.

And yet . . . .

I think I want to do this again.

Call me crazy.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Ways to Beat the Blues

I was flipping through one of my many magazines this afternoon and came across an ad for Peperidge Farm's Fishful Thinking campaign which featured a tip designed to promote optimism and positive thinking in kids.  I decided I just might have to steal the idea for myself.

The idea is a "Smile Box."  Take a small box or recipe card box and decorate it in a bright and cheery way.  Put your box in the kitchen, living room, bedroom - wherever you're likely to see it when you need a quick pick me up.  Keep a stack of index cards and colorful markers with your box and during your day when you think of something you did that made you happy, write it down on one of the cards.  Then, next time you're feeling blue, reach into your smile box for a happy thought. You could even take it a step further and add some favorite photos. (Here's Fishful Thinking's version of the project.)

Not really the DIY type?  Check out Julie Green's shop, UpUp Creative, and purchase a set of her printable Feelgood Cards (she also offers an already assembled set) or customized Feelgood List.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

How Cancer Has Touched My Life

When I was nine, my mother became ill.  It seemed sudden to me that she was in the hospital - a few times in a manner of months.  I knew during one of those visits that she had surgery.  I didn't know why.  I think my parents were trying to protect me.  It wasn't until her cancer returned, three years later, that I would learn she had colon cancer.  From that point on, she endured a lot - she was in and out of the hospital for several surgeries, a colostomy, removal of the colostomy, return of the colostomy, radiation...  Eventually the cancer spread to her lungs and other parts of her body.  She gave chemo a try at the end; a sort of last attempt at warding off the inevitable.  Finally, Hospice was called and she died in our home when I was sixteen years old and she was just 53.  I will never forget that night.  It was the night I realized she wouldn't be here to see me get married or to become a mother myself. 

I will also never forget how strong she remained throughout her lengthy battle.  The doctors didn't think she would live as long as she did.  She was a true fighter.  Any pain she may have been showing was hidden by a smile the minute I entered the room.  She didn't want me to see her suffer.  I was a teenager throught most of this - I'm sure I made things difficult on more than one ocassion (isn't that what teenagers do?) but through it all she stayed strong for me. No matter what.

I began getting colonoscopies when I turned 30.

On May 31, my 24th birthday, I came home from a river vacation to Laughlin with my friends to find my father home from work ill.  He looked worse than I'd ever seen him.  The next day his doctor sent him for chest xrays and I thought he was going to fall over on the way to the car.  I don't think I've ever been so scared. 

The chest xray showed fluid.  A surgical attempt to remove the fluid a few days later would show that it was actually a type of tumor.  He had mesothelioma. He tried chemo and several experimental drugs.  His battle would not go on as long as my mother's.  I know it pained him deeply that he would be leaving me an orphan.  I know he tried hard to fight.  Just three short months later he died at Hospice; two weeks shy of his 62nd birthday.  I had to convince him that it was ok to go and I would be alright.  He, too, always tried to put on a smile when I came in the room.

After he died I was angry.  Very angry.  You see, one of our constant battles was that he never went to the doctor.  He didn't have health insurance and didn't think he could spend the money.

There are, sadly, so many more friends and family members affected by this horibble disease:

  • My dear friend died of prostate cancer when he was just 22.
  • My mother's best friend, my sort of surrogate mother, died of colon cancer 3 years ago.
  • Another dear friend fought a battle with cervical cancer 2 years ago and is a survivor!
  • I had pre-cancerous cells removed from my cervix in 2003.
  • My best friend's grandfather has had numerous skin cancer surgeries.
  • Yet another dear friend is currently battling colon cancer.
  • A friend's dad is in remission from prostate cancer.
  • Another friend's dad has been battling pancreatic cancer for six months.
  • Numerous women in my mom's group have/had family members affected by cancer.
My extended family has been affected by colon cancer, Leukemia, breast cancer...  Too much.

So today, World Cancer Day 2010, I strongly encourage you to do your best to stay healthy.  Maintain regular doctor visits, maintain a healthy weight, stop smoking, wear sunscreen, stop tanning.  Pay attention to your body!  Encourage your friends and family to lead a healthy life and give up those bad habits.

Maybe some day they will find a cure.  I pray they do.

The following information is courtesy of the UICC World Cancer Campaign:
  • Each year, 12 million people receive a cancer diagnosis and 7.6 million people die of cancer. If no action is taken, the worldwide cancer burden is projected to reach 26 million[1] new diagnoses in the year 2030 and 17 million[2] deaths, with the most rapid increases occurring in low- and middle-income countries.
  • The good news is that experts estimate that approximately 40% of cancers are potentially preventable. You can significantly reduce the risk of you or your family developing cancers related to tobacco use, heavy alcohol consumption, excessive sun exposure and obesity by avoiding these risk factors and encouraging healthy behaviour such as regular exercise and eating healthily.
  • In addition, some cancers such as cervical, liver and stomach cancers are known to be caused by chronic infections. Prevention of these infections is possible through interventions such as vaccination, antibiotics, improved sanitation and learning simple avoidance strategies.
  • World Cancer Day, under the campaign slogan “Cancer can be prevented too”, is led by the International Union Against Cancer (UICC), the leading international NGO which unites over 300 member organisations in more than 100 countries in the global fight against cancer through the implementation of the World Cancer Declaration.
Support World Cancer Day 2010 - February 4th. Visit http://www.uicc.org/