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Taco Soup

(But first…have you entered week one of the “Bariatric Foodie Season of Giving” to win some Click Espresso protein? If not, go do it! I’ll wait…)

…and a lesson about self-care.
Since I realize I don’t put date stamps on my blog posts, for
future reference this is being posted on December 5, 2013, the day after my 37th birthday.
I know many of you wonder what to do on your birthday. In a
former life there was cake and ice cream and overly indulgent meals. But what
do you do now that you’re trying to live differently.
Well, the answer isn’t the same for everyone. As a
longer-term post-op I can say that I know some people who do cake and ice
cream, just in smaller quantities or sugar-free. I know others who abstain.
I personally ditched the cake/ice cream paradigm right off
the bat after surgery. Firstly, sweets just don’t captivate me the way they did
before surgery but also I wanted to start a new tradition. For the first few
years post-op I’d treat myself to a HARD workout (with a trainer even!) and I’d
go out to sushi with my mother.
Then in 2012 things changed. Mama Foodie passed away in
March 2012 and with her went my birthday tradition.
Last year I reacted to that by cancelling my birthday. I forbade
folks from planning celebrations. Many folks were bummed about that because
they wanted to make me feel special because they knew I was in pain. But in the
end, I did what I needed to do emotionally and I’m proud to say I did not respond to my grief by overeating!
This year was my second birthday post-Mama. I didn’t cancel
my birthday but I also didn’t make a big fuss out of it. Truth be told, I have
no idea if I’ll ever feel the same about my birthday again.
So what did I do? I tried to reach outside myself a little.
I volunteered to help wrap Christmas presents donated to homeless women and
children. I went to work (true fact: Nik has a day job for an organization
working to end poverty, injustice and human suffering). I came home and cooked
dinner for my divas and we prepped the house for Christmas deco. And guess
what? It was just what I needed!
The lesson here: some things in life can be overwhelming
after WLS. And then some things in life can just plain be overwhelming. Don’t
be afraid to ask for what you need from people. Self-care is important to this
process.

S’anyway, for dinner I made a simple and yummy taco soup. I
thought I’d share the recipe! It was warm and comforting! I did indulge in a
mini-corn muffin with some butter and Hot Pepper Jelly (the photo is actually
of La Petite Diva’s corn muffing but mine looked similar).
Nik’s Taco Soup
Ingredients:

  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 small green pepper, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 lb. lean ground meat (whatever kind you use)
  • 1 packet of taco seasoning (I used extra spicy!) OR
  • 1 heaping teaspoon each: ground cumin, ground coriander and
    onion powder + a pinch of cayenne pepper, salt and pepper.
  • 1 can tomatoes & chiles (whatever heat you like),
    drained of canning liquid
  • 1 c. prepared salsa (whatever kind you like)
  • 1 can black beans (I used spicy black beans), drained of
    canning liquid and rinsed
  • 2 c. water or low-sodium broth (matching whatever kind of
    meat you used)
Garnishments (optional)

  • Shredded Mexican blend cheese
  • Unflavored Greek yogurt (to use as sour cream)
  • Sliced Jalapeno Peppers
Directions:
Spray a pot generously with non-stick cooking spray and set
it over medium heat and allow it to get HOT.
Add onion and green pepper and sautee until soft, about
3-ish minutes. Add garlic and sautee another minute or two.
Add ground meat and brown, mixing onions, peppers and garlic
into the meat mixture. Drain meat meat mixture if necessary (although if you
use lean ground meat, the excess liquid should pretty much evaporate in the
process). Add taco seasoning or spices (not both) and stir well.
Add tomatoes & chiles, salsa and black beans and mix
well.  Add broth or water until desired amount
of liquid is achieved (NOTE: for you this may not require the whole two cups
called for in the ingredients. You want soup but you don’t want to dilute your spices
too much!).

Drop the heat down to medium-low, cover and let it come to a
boil. Turn off the heat and allow it to sit covered for a few moments before
serving in bowls with desired toppings!

This was low-stress and allowed me and my girls to sit down to dinner together which is what I really wanted for my birthday. Over the course of the rest of my life, I’m sure I’ll develop a new birthday tradition, but for this year, this suited me just fine!

Taco Soup
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    Taco Soup
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      3 comments

      1. Maureen Robb Hirschfeld

        I know how you feel Nik. I too find it hard to celebrate my birthday now that my mom is gone. She was admitted to the hospital the day before my birthday and was still in there when she passed away 19 days later. My family tries to make my day extra fun, but I wish they'd let it pass without notice. So proud of you, how you didn't turn to food for comfort but stuck with and stayed in control of healthy comforting food!

      2. I lost my mom several years ago around Christmas/birthday time too. Its a hard time of year. Bless you and your family. Thanks for all that you do… I'm 3 months post op and I really appreciate your blog and recipes!

      3. Hi and happy birthday to you! I understand what you're going through with your Mama, as I lost mine close to Christmas and my birthday some years ago. Its hard around the holidays. I just wanted to let you know that you are doing a great job with your blog and wanted to thank you so much for your hard work! I am 3 months post op and am still struggling to find my way through the new process of cooking and eating a whole new way. You have already helped me tremendously. Again, thanks!

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