I’ve had a great week off. It was nice to be able to spend time with Mark and the kids, and be there for Ben’s PT and OT sessions. The weather was very nice for the most part, except that for some reason whenever we had a nice, hot day, it seemed to be followed by a thunderstorm. Jonny has been very worried by this lately, and keeps asking me, “Mommy, is it going to rain today?” He hates thunderstorms.
On Thursday we visited the home of some dear friends of ours. They have a beautiful backyard complete with a swimming pool. Isaac had a wonderful time swimming with his floaties. He enjoyed himself so much that the very next day I signed him up for swim classes at our local YMCA.
We put Ben in the Pack & Play out in the yard for his tube feed, and he was so happy watching the wind blowing the trees and the kids swimming.
Jonny was a little spooked by either the pool or the approaching rainclouds, and couldn’t wait to go back inside. There was a little thunderstorm shortly after these photos were taken, but he never really saw much of it since he was safely tucked away in the basement with the other kids watching a movie.
We’ve had the dinner pictured below twice in the last month or so. I love it because it is (relatively) easy to prepare, not too heavy, and very flavorful. Even my picky older boys will eat it. Click “More” for recipe.
Tortilla Soup (adapted from “The Complete Mexican, South American and Caribbean Cookbook by Milton, Fleetwood and Filippelli)
1 package corn tortillas
1 tbsp oil (plus more for frying tortillas)
1 small onion, finely chopped
3-4 garlic cloves, crushed
Large (28 oz) can whole plum tomatoes (chop tomatoes and reserve the liquid)
4 cups/1 carton chicken broth
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1 bay leaf
Fresh cilantro, finely chopped. I like LOTS of this.
Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
You may also need about a tablespoon of sugar depending on how acidic your tomatoes are.
1. Cut 2-3 tortillas vertically into strips about 3/4 inch wide.
2. Pour oil into skillet to about a depth of 1/4 inch. Heat oil, fry tortilla strips in oil, turning once, until light golden brown. Remove from oil and drain on paper towels. Set aside.
[At this point, I usually cut the rest of the tortillas into six triangular wedges each and fry those up too. No point in wasting them!]
3. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a soup pot. Add onion, cook until soft and translucent. Add garlic, cumin and chili powder.
4. Add tomatoes to onion mixture, cook for a minute or two.
5. Add chicken broth, and reserved tomato liquid. Bring to boil, reduce heat and allow to simmer for about 10-15 minutes until liquid has reduced slightly. Taste the soup. If it is too acidic, add a little sugar. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
6. Remove from heat. At this point I strain the soup because the boys don’t like chunks of tomato and onion in their soup. I add back some of the chunks for Mark and myself. I also add cilantro to Mark’s and my soup, but not the boys’ because they don’t like “greens” floating in their soup.
7. Arrange two or three crisp tortilla strips to the bottom of the bowl. Ladle the soup on top, can garnish with more cilantro if you like.
Grilled Chicken Sandwiches
2-3 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
Lawry’s garlic salt
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Cheese (we used mozzarella, but you can use whatever you like)
Sandwich buns/hoagie rolls
Sandwich toppings (e.g. lettuce, tomato, salsa, onions – whatever you have on hand)
1. Season chicken with garlic salt and lemon juice, coat surface with olive oil to prevent sticking.
2. Cook chicken on grill (or can cook indoors using a skillet, but it takes longer)
3. Place cheese on bottom half of rolls and gently toast in oven until cheese is melted.
4. Slice chicken, put on top of bread and melted cheese. Top as desired, and put top half of bread on top. Our boys just like ketchup on theirs and I call them “pizza chicken sandwiches.” They LOVE them.
5. Serve with homemade corn tortilla chips and fresh salsa.
[mixture of finely chopped tomatoes, finely chopped red onion, finely chopped cilantro, lime juice, salt and pepper and sliced hot jalapeno or serrano peppers to taste. I don’t really have a formal recipe for this!]