Thursday, February 17, 2011

Pseudo Mexican Chicken Vegetable Soup: I am unstylish

Right before the holidays, I suddenly found myself in a bizarre situation - after ordering the children at our church  not to wear jeans to their Christmas performance (one that I was directing), it became obvious that I had a problem.

I had nothing to wear. (since I couldn't wear jeans after forbidding the children.)

I had a closet full of jeans, fuddy-duddy pants from 10 years ago, and nothing seemingly appropriate to wear when I directed the kids during their song.  And I thought to myself, "How hard will it be to find something to wear?"

With girlfriend JJ by my side, my kids at church being baby sat by the singles, I set out to shop.  And it became blatantly obvious to me...I can no longer dress. Girlfriend and I looked around at all the shops, trying to find something, anything, ANYTHING for me to wear that didn't involve jeans, and for the life of me (and her) I couldn't find anything that I even WANTED to buy.  Money was burning a hole in my pocket and I just couldn't find anything remotely appealing.  Fashion, it seemed, had completely passed me by in my years of being pregnant and breastfeeding and now clothing no longer suited me.

Don't get me wrong - I do have clothes.  But my clothes are based around 4 key components - black short sleeve t-shirts and khaki shorts in the summer (I have 5 pairs) and black long sleeve tshirts and jeans in the winter.  That is the extent of my wardrobe.  And even with all my effort to TRY and find something new to wear I can not. 

I wish I could be like the young lady of Pearls and Green Tea.  (check her out here.)  She takes care in her dress, accessorizes, and even manages to change her shoes every day.  (I favor the same pair of flip flops.)  She clearly finds things that she wants to wear, puts them together in ever cute ways and walks out of the house looking polished and put together.  I ram my hair in a pony tail, grab whatever work out clothing is on the top (and I favor not cute stuff, but more functional stuff) and run out the door.  We are on completely polar ends of the fashion spectrum and I realize how far the deep end I've gone in terms of fashion.  (and we're talking the bad deep end.)

Before I turn 40, I think I'd like to crawl myself out of the deep pit I've gone into and work on my fashion and styling for a bit.  I'm not sure what it will look like, but I'd like to care, even a little bit.  I haven't got any sense any more of what to wear, how to wear it, or what even looks cute, but I'm going to at least think about it.  When I have time that is.  When I actually have time to go shopping that is.  Well...when I have some time.

Now where I might not have any fashion sense or how to tweak things in my closet to make them fresh and new, I can do it to food.  I found myself craving something slightly "ethnic" (but not necessarily trendy) and wanted to use up cilantro in my fridge.  I decided on a Mexican flavored vegetable soup and it was a hit with the kids and me.  It was easy to get it all together, throw it into a pot and have something vaguely familiar in technique and preparation, but totally different in look and flavor.

Now if only dressing were that easy for me.

Pseudo-Mexican Chicken Vegetable Soup
serves 6

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 cups diced carrots
2 cups diced celery
1 yellow, red, or orange bell pepper, diced
2 teaspoons cumin
4 cloves of garlic finely chopped
6 cups chicken stock
1 14oz can tomatoes (pureed if you want)
1 chicken breast on the bone, skin removed
1 bunch cilantro finely chopped
salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, carrots, celery and cook until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add bell peppers, garlic and cumin and continue to saute until bell pepper begins to soften. Add all the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add chicken breast and reduce heat to simmer. Cover pot and cook for 20 minutes, until chicken is cooked through and vegetables are tender. Remove chicken from soup and allow to cool. Shred chicken and add shredded chicken back to soup. Season with salt and pepper. Finish by sprinkling fresh cilantro on top of each bowl.

Printable recipe

2 comments:

PearlsAndGreenTea said...

Thanks for linking to me and your sweet words!

If you ever have any style questions, I'd love to help with whatever little knowledge I have of it. :)

jiye
pearlsandgreentea.blogspot.com

MsJess said...

I feel the same way about clothing. I want to look fashionable but I always feel confused by clothing when I shop. Last time I went shopping with a friend I shopped for 4 hours and found....nothing that appealed to me enough to buy.

Sometimes I wish I could just clone cute outfits that I see other women wearing!

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