Nurture Life

Stroller Baby

Stroller baby image

Written by Blaire Peters

In the first few weeks of having my new daughter, life seemed impossibly perfect.  Friends and family frequently stopped by to offer congratulations, my husband was home from work to share in the joy, and I was happily learning the needs of my new, precious baby.  But within a few months, the newness and excitement began to dim.  Our doorbell rang less often, my husband was back to work, and my daughter and I were left alone at home.  Each day began to look much like the one before it, laden with naps, feedings, diaper changes, and daytime television shows.  Before long, the lengthy and predictable days left me feeling dismal and lonely.  So, I reached out to my physician for some advice.  She encouraged me to spend some time outside every day, ideally in the form of exercise.  At first, I was resistant to her suggestion, after all, it was the middle of winter and I would have to take my daughter outside with me, but ultimately I decided it was in the best interest of my family and myself.

And so, during my daughter’s morning nap time, I bundled her up, strapped her in the jogging stroller, loaded up the dogs, and hit the trails in the nearby foothills.  Surrounded by nature, rolling hills, and meandering trails, I immediately felt the bleakness lift.  As my daughter slept, I walked, letting the winter sun warm my face and my soul.  I felt invigorated and inspired, like I was nurturing myself from the inside out.  After that, we went every day, no matter the weather, and to this day hikes continue to be a daily awakening ritual.

I could have made a million excuses as to why taking a new baby on winter hikes would be too difficult, but I chose not to.  My hikes have taught me that as much as my daughters happiness matters, so too does mine, they have taught me that by taking care of myself, I am better equipped to care for my family, and they have taught me the powerful impact a date with nature can have on my sense of well being.

Cooking Mama

Blaire Blog Image 1st Post

Written by Blaire Peters

When I first got married, I didn’t know how to cook.  My husband considered himself lucky if I poured him a bowl of Fruit Loops.  After a year or so, I felt a little guilty (and a little inadequate) that my cooking repertoire was limited to Kraft Macaroni and Cheese and Hot Pockets, so I began perusing cooking magazines and foodie websites.  The trial period of my cooking quest was a daunting time for my husband, but he did his best to retain a smile when I served him burnt casseroles and gooey eggs.  Eventually, I got the hang of it, and before long, I loved it.  For me, cooking has become a passion which soothes the burdens and confusion a given day can bring.  The smells, the warmth, the peacefulness, the familiarity, and the sense that I have created something which nurtures my family, all help to keep the kitchen the anchor of my home.  But, as much as I love to cook, there are days when a mom just can’t find the time.  For days like this, I rely on my favorite one-pot recipes which are wonderfully tasty, but require little time.  One of my favorites for winter days robed in cold, blustery winds is White Bean and Chicken Chili.  This is one of my very favorite soup recipes, and it is sure to satisfy the taste buds!  I love to top it with a dollop of sour cream and strips of baked tortilla.

 

White Bean and Chicken Chili

Ingredients:

2 tsp. olive oil

2 yellow onions, diced

1 ¾ T. chili powder

1 T. granulated garlic

1 ¾ tsp. cumin

1 tsp. each salt and pepper

2 tsp. adobo sauce from can of chipotle peppers (you may want to leave this extra heat out for the kiddos, but man its good!)

1 ½ tsp. oregano

2 cans cannellini beans, drained

4 cups chicken broth

½ c. salsa

3 cups chopped, cooked chicken (I use pre-cooked rotisserie chicken from the market)

¼ c. cilantro, chopped

1 ½ T. fresh lime juice

Cook onion in olive oil over medium-high heat in a large pot.  Once the onion has browned, add the chili powder through the beans.  Stir well and sauté for a few minutes.  Add broth and salsa.  Allow to simmer for 10 minutes.  Remove 2 cups of the chili and puree in a food processor.  Return the mixture to the pot, along with the chicken, cilantro and the lime juice.  Serve with sour cream and strips of baked tortilla if desired.

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