This guest post is from our favorite ladies, Natalie and Holly, over at The Modern Proper. Their mission is to reinvent proper for the modern homemaker, one delicious meal at a time. Check out more of their delicious recipes here.
It’s been a little over five years since I had my first child. Upon his arrival I was overwhelmed with love for this new life that was cradled in my arms. It was a love no one could ever prepare me for, and it took my breath away on regular basis. In that time I was fortunate enough to be surrounded by a loving community that stopped by with gifts, flowers and best of all, food.
Fast forward 9 months later, my husband and I found out we were having another baby. That was a shock, to put it mildly. Just as I was caught off guard by this second pregnancy, I was unprepared when he arrived an entire week early, with a delivery so fast I struggled to wrap my brain around what had just happened. My then 17 month old had a nasty cough and cold, it was snowing in March, and our unfinished bathroom remodel left us without a shower. Unlike with the birth of our first born, my husband had to return to work quickly, and in those first few days I experienced emotions I didn’t even know existed within me. The crying went from the typical post pregnancy hormone tears to straight up ugly crying real quick. I knew I needed help, but I had no clue where to even begin to ask. I did this once, I should be able to do it again, right?
That first year of our second born’s life was extremely eye opening and raw for me. It wasn’t until he was 18 months old that my husband and I were even able to talk about some of the feelings we were experiencing, and things we had gone through. It was in that conversation that I was finally able to express that my greatest desire was for someone to just take care of me. I wanted someone to feel sorry for me and to genuinely ask how I was doing, because in that time, I was not okay. Like most hard things in life, we survive. We find it in ourselves to draw from an unseen strength and rise to meet the needs of our families. And I did just that, survived. Where I found that I failed miserably was meeting my own needs. I was exhausted, underweight, unhappy, and overwhelmed. When I was finally able to look in the mirror and see myself again, I made a vow to offer nurture to the other mom’s I knew who were in the throws of adjusting to life with a newborn, because I knew just how tough it could be, and I knew what I had needed so desperately.
Part of preparing myself for this cause was creating an arsenal of recipes that were delicious, home-cooked, protein-packed, healthy, comforting and great for leftovers: the perfect meals to bring new moms in the midst of the struggle. Tortilla soup is at the top of my ever-growing list. While food is an obvious physical provision for new moms, I like to think of it simply as an offering that opens the door to ask the question “how are you really doing?” and offer reassurance that she is in fact doing a great job and yes, she will survive.
Chicken Tortilla Soup
1 rotisserie chicken
1 (15 oz) can diced fire roasted tomatoes
1 (10 oz) can red enchilada sauce
1 small onion, chopped
1 zucchini, large chopped
1 (4 oz) can chopped green chilies
4 cloves of garlic, minced
3 (14.5 oz) cans chicken broth
1 (14.5 oz) can creamed or sweet corn
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 bay leaves
4 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
fresh lime juice
cheddar cheese, shredded
corn chips, crushed
While rotisserie chicken is still warm, pick all meat of the bones. Place chicken meat in a large soup pot. Discard bones, or save if you like to make homemade stock. Place all ingredients from roasted tomatoes through bay leaves in the same pot as the chicken. Turn heat to high. As soon as soup begins to boil, turn to medium-low heat and continue to cook until onions as translucent and zucchini is tender. About 30 minutes.
Serve soup with chopped cilantro, fresh lime juice, sour cream, cheddar cheese, avocado and corn chips.