Birthdays, Smoothies, Low-Fat Chicken Soup, and Venison Meatballs

First of all, happy birthday to my cousin today! She is 19! It is also my Dad’s birthday, so a bittersweet day for me. We always got to celebrate our birthdays together, as mine is tomorrow. He has been gone 9 years this March, and though it has gotten easier to get through the days, I miss him just as much as I did when he passed away. My kids love to dance around the living room like maniacs, and last night we were having our ‘dance party’ and the song What A Wonderful World came on. I remember being in the car with my dad once, and it played on the radio. He told me it was one of his favorites, so every time I hear it I stop what I am doing and listen to the words and remember riding in my Dad’s big white Ford. I told Hadley and Truett that this was one of their Papa’s favorite songs, and we sang and danced and for a second it felt like he was there. It was just a feeling, warmth of the moment I guess, but it was nice.

Lately I have been in the mood for a breakfast smoothie, I have no idea why. The temperature here is around 20 degrees when I wake up, so I honestly couldn’t tell you what makes me want a smoothie. I usually have two cups of coffee before I do anything else, and then the last few days I’ve been making these yummy smoothies in our Magic Bullet. Wait, that’s probably it. Brent came home with a Magic Bullet last week and we have used it every day for something. Even the little blender cups with the handles, they just scream “make a margarita smoothie in me!”. So that must be it. Anyway, I’ve been using my very favorite Greek yogurt that they just started selling at our Walmart (before, I had to drive across town to Target for it), it is the Greek Gods Vanilla Honey yogurt. Seriously the best flavor out there. I use a half a cup of that, a half cup of Almond milk, and then frozen fruit. I don’t like to put ice in mine, I like the fruit to make it thick. Lately I have been using frozen peaches, and my smoothies taste just like homemade peach ice cream. Let me tell you something about homemade peach ice cream. I am from the south, Texas to be exact, and peach ice cream in Texas is really the only kind you want from your ice cream maker. Growing up we had peach trees all over our farm, so my family would make vanilla ice cream with fresh peaches in it. You will never have better ice cream. The first time I made this smoothie last week, it was like an instant flashback, sitting in our kitchen waiting for the ice cream to be done. Today I used frozen peaches and fresh blueberries – YUM! I will be picking up some more vanilla protein powder at the store today to add to this, for an extra boost.

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You might notice that we use a lot of green chile in our recipes. My hubby is from New Mexico, and he grew up on it. I hadn’t ever had it before my first visit to New Mexico, and it has such good flavor. We usually buy enough fresh chiles in September to last us a whole year, or at least we think they will. Buy them fresh, roast them on your grill, and then store them (3 or 4 per) in freezer bags in the freezer to use throughout the year. When I run out I used the canned ones that you can buy in the store. We try to make a lot of variations of Green Chile Stew, which is probably my favorite thing to eat when it’s cold. But it is pretty high in calories, and there are definitely ways to make it better for you. Brent might have found the perfect combo on Sunday night. Plus it is about 100 calories per bowl full! I could have eaten 5 it was so good, but I saved some to have today for lunch.

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Ingredients
(This makes about 4 servings)
3-4 chicken breasts, cut in chunks
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 1/2 cloves of garlic, minced
1-2 tomatoes, diced
1 cup diced green chile
3 cups of chicken broth
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/8 teaspoon oregano

Cook the onions in your Dutch oven for a few minutes in a splash or two of the chicken broth. Then add the garlic and cook for another couple of minutes. Add chicken broth as needed so it doesn’t scorch. When the onions and garlic are soft, add the rest of the broth, the chicken, and salt and pepper to taste.

Bring it to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat and let it simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Remove the chicken and set it aside to cool. Stir in the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil over high heat. Shred the chicken with two forks and add it back to the pot. Stir to combine. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally to keep from sticking to the bottom of the pot.

I also made some homemade salsa and put a spoonful of it on top of mine. Along with a pinch of shredded cheese and a dollop of sour cream. This is a favorite for sure. Amazing flavor.

Last night was nothing special, really just a throw together meal because Hadley wasn’t feeling well and didn’t want me to do anything but snuggle her all day, and who am I to say no if it makes her feel better? We had some ground venison thawed, so I made some quick meatballs and baked them in the oven, made egg noodles for the kids and voila! They had “wiggly noodles with meatballs and sauce” as Hadley said, and it was her first meal in two days. She loved it. Truett ate a couple of meatballs and threw one on the floor, much to the delight of our dog, and he ate most of his noodles. He really like the black olives that Brent put on his plate the most, though. Instead of noodles for me, I sautéed up a couple of zucchini and put some meatballs and sauce on top. Delicious! Brent made a meatball sandwich with provolone. Venison is so good for you, organic and lean, a serving has about 175 calories in it. So with my zucchini and sauce, my plate was about 300 calories, and I was so full.

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This morning I think I’ll have a protein shake on the way to the gym, after I finish my coffee of course, and for lunch, Chicken and Green Chile Soup. For dinner I am making Chicken Fajitas, and my plate will be without tortillas or rice, and some extra veggies.

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3 thoughts on “Birthdays, Smoothies, Low-Fat Chicken Soup, and Venison Meatballs

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