One of my absolute things about moving to a loft is the relationships that I have with all of my neighbors.
I have to admit that — after owning and living in a house for much of my twenties — I was a little worried that moving into a building would feel like regressing to college and dorm life. But I have discovered quite the opposite. I love living in a building with so many interesting, smart, thoughtful, generous and fun people!
From quick catch-ups when walking up and down the stairs each day, to fun “neighbor” dinners, to helping care for each other’s dogs, to impromptu late-night chats in the hallway, to borrowing ingredients constantly when I forget to grab something at the store (I repay in food and cookies!!), and everything in between — I have just completely enjoyed getting to know these new friends. Really makes this place feel like a home.
But one other perk of living in such a great place is that I love recruiting old friends to come live here. One of my newest neighbors is my friend, Amanda, who runs the orphanage in Africa that I went to visit last year. She recently moved in, and surprised me two nights ago by welcoming me home from a l-o-n-g day at work with a piping hot (and spicy hot!) bowl of Mexican soup and sangria. She lived in Mexico for a few years in college, and loves cooking up authentic food.
So although I already have a few tortilla soup-ish recipes on here, I figured one more couldn’t hurt. This one we decided to call Chipotle Chicken Soup with Rice. Amanda’s version was suuuuper spicy — the kind that will clear out your sinuses in a heartbeat! So we decided to tone it down just a bit in this recipe, but I have included a few suggestions for those of you who would like to kick up the heat factor. Basically it is a chicken and rice soup with a tomato, chipotle and salsa verde flavored broth. It’s light, flavorful, and really simple to throw together.
Big thanks to Amanda for a great recipe! And cheers to great neighbors everywhere!
‘I am only one, but I am still one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something I can do.’ ~Margaret Mead
I have to admit to you that probably the thing I most wrestle with as a food blogger is the thought of sitting here, day after day, creating and cooking and sharing hundreds of recipes with you, when there are so many in the world — even in our country – who do not have the luxury of having enough food to eat.
They are on my mind constantly. Especially the children who are hungry.
Currently, more than 16 million kids in America live in households that struggle to put food on the table. That’s 1 in 5 kids. And of those kids who receive free and reduced-price school lunches, only 1 in 7 receive receive summer meals. Study after study has proven that students who come to class having eaten breakfast perform better academically and can think clearly to make better decisions all-around. The effect in their lives is the better, of course, when that food is nutritious. But with 22% of our nation’s kids living in poverty, the reality is that so many of these kids aren’t given the opportunity to experience the potential of a well-fed life. Everything in my heart insists that this should not be so.
But while the issue of hunger is deep and complex, I love that hope and change are real. And happening right now. And every single one of us is born with a special part to play in making this world a better place for our children.
Yes, you! Me! All of us together!
I love it!
So my question to you today is — what role do you want to play?
Is there something about social justice and working through politics to achieve change that makes your heart beat faster? Is there a community service project with your church that you have been thinking about getting involved with? Are you a college student who might want to take an extra class or spend a summer volunteering with a local non-profit? Are you a parent who can find ways to teach and inspire your kids about child hunger and how they can make a difference? And for all of you foodies who love to cook — have you considered getting involved with a local community garden or food pantry?
Or even on a smaller everyday scale, have you considered trying to spend less and give more when it comes to food?
I have to admit that the issue of child hunger can seem so hopeless and overwhelming at times. But even sitting here writing this post tonight, I get really excited and encouraged when I think about what it would look like for all of us to spend even one hour in the next year doing some small thing to help this cause. Can you imagine??
I can tell you that — at least for myself — I have been praying a lot lately about how else I might be able to get involved in this season of my life, especially with some of the incredible local non-profs I love. But today I am also honored to be participating in an event called Food Bloggers Against Hunger, which is part of The Giving Table’s promotion of the documentary, A Place at the Table. I have yet to see it, but the film highlights our country’s issues with poverty and hunger. If you are looking for more resources for how to get involved, Share Our Strength’s is encouraging people to take one minute to send a letter to Congress so that they might continue to provide funding for school meals, and for two specific programs that feed many children and families that struggle to put food on the table.
But bottom line — however you want to get involved, I just encourage you to get involved. Do it in a way that is true to who you are, and I really believe that it will make us better, and it will definitely make the world a better place for our children.
Thank you so much for letting me talk about this today.
I also have a recipe to share with you for a simple, affordable, healthy and protein-packed breakfast that you can make to begin your day — these simple Black Bean & Avocado Breakfast Burritos. I hope you enjoy.
I always get a little pit in my stomach whenever one of those dramatic restaurant exposes comes up online or on the news. You know what I’m talking about. A picture of a beautiful green salad or light sandwich is shown, but then the announcer comes on with his dark and scary “mwahaha” voice and challenges, “Do you KNOW what you’re eating?” Dum..dum..DUM!!!!
Ok, by this point in life, I know that most of the healthier-seeming options in restaurants are often less than such. But every now and then I’m still blown away by the nutrition facts. And more often than not, big beautiful salads tend to win the awards for most fat and calories. I remember when I recently looked up the nutrition facts for one of my favorite Asian chicken salads from a large well-known restaurant chain, it scored in at a whopping 98 grams of fat. Nope, no typo there. 98, people!!!!
I have been wanting to do this post forever, and it’s finally here! That’s right folks. Today we are talking all things pour-over coffee!
About a year ago, I was introduced to pour-over at Intelligentsia when my friend Amy and I took a road trip to Chicago, and I fell in love. Then I couldn’t believe my luck when the same month that I moved to the River Market in Kansas City, a pour-over coffee shop opened up in the neighborhood and quickly became my home away from home. (Small world — one of the owners, Liz, became the writer for our style blog here at Gimme Some!)
Sweet and sour chicken has long been one of the most popular dishes at Chinese restaurants. But did you know that it often ranks at the top of the most unhealthy things you can order — by far?? Yikes, people!
Thankfully, the good news is that sweet and sour chicken is incredibly easy to make “lighter” at home. And in this food blogger’s humble opinion, I think it tastes just as good!! Granted, I’m not a huge fried food lover to begin with. But when you saute instead of deep-fry the chicken, add in tons of fresh vegetables, and then top it with the signature sweet and sour sauce, this colorful dish turns into a fabulously tasty and healthier treat that everyone will definitely satisfy your sweet and sour cravings. So good!!!
Yes, yes, I know I’m obsessed with chicken enchiladas. And wonton cup appetizers. But I couldn’t resist sharing one more easy appetizer recipe with you that combines my love of both — these Chicken Enchilada Cups!
That’s right! All of the goodness of chicken enchilada filling is baked inside these cute and crispy wonton cups, making the perfect quick appetizer that is guaranteed to disappear muy rapido at any party! I made this batch simply with chicken, cheese and my favorite homemade enchilada sauce. But you could also add in any additional beans, avocado, cilantro, or whatever else you may love with your chicken enchiladas. They are super quick and easy to make. And they are perfect for Cinco de Mayo, or game day, or a casual party, or even a bridal shower….like the one that a bunch of us are hosting “virtually” today for my friend Julie!