Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Chicken & Black Bean Casserole

Cheese necessary. More cheese optional.

Chicken & Black Bean Casserole

2/3 cup wild rice
1 cup chicken broth*
1 T olive oil
1/3 cup diced onion
2 medium zuchinni, thinly sliced
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms (optional) 
1/2 teaspoon cumin
salt to taste
1 (15oz) can of black beans, rinsed
1 (4oz) can green chilies
1-2 cups cheddar cheese

*you may need to adjust according to the type of rice you use. I use bullion paste to make broth so I ended up with roughly one cup of broth and a half cup of water to cook the 2/3 cup of rice in. 

** I also had a can of chipotle & sweet corn that I used so I omitted the chilies and cumin since the corn blend had spices in it already. The beauty of recipes is that they're typically "suggestions" and you can make as many changes as you want! 

Mix the rice and broth in a pot and bring to a boil . Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 45 minutes or until rice is tender. (Or follow your rice's packaged directions, I only needed to simmer mine for about 15 minutes.)

Preheat over to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9 x 13" casserole dish. 

Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and cook the chicken until cooked through. Add onion, mushrooms and zucchini (I also added bell pepper because why not)and cook until tender. Season with cumin and salt.

In a large bowl, mix cooked rice, onion, zucchini, chicken, mushrooms, beans, chilies and half of the cheese. Transfer to casserole dish. 

Cover casserole loosely with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and add remaining cheese. Continue baking for 10 minutes. 


Saturday, June 4, 2016

Running and Flying

I knew something was changing. I could feel it. It first felt like something trying to escape. And my life was a whirlwind of change so I couldn't afford the effort to peer into myself and investigate what was happening. My depression and insecurities also took hold and held me frozen in place.

I wrote my last post on my way out of the pit, as I called it. I was recovering, catching my breath again, and it was on the way out that I could feel it. All the change around me wasn't just around me-it was within. That was new. I have always taken the backseat, or the sidecar, or the support beam and held tight to enforce the change around me.  And that's where I wanted to be, I don't regret that at all. But when was the last time it was me that took the step into the unknown? On my own? I suppose it was when I went to college and spent a lot of money so I could explore who I was and fail all of my classes in the meantime (except English because I embraced any chance I had to write). 10 years since then has held a lot of hills and valleys and growth and even wisdom (the kind that comes from realizing you were never grown up and not right about everything).

So, a few weeks ago I stood at the edge of the pit, glanced behind me and charged forward. I looked into jobs, I made a list of volunteer opportunities in my community and necessary childcare. In meditation I went over everything I wanted to do. I needed to do. I picked apart who I am and where I've been and where I want to be and where I need to be.

"Run toward broken heartedness, not away. Run towards the things that break your heart." - G

I mentioned this in my last post, but back in February I saw Glennon Doyle Melton speak and that has played on a loop since she said it. It took a few months for me to find what that meant for me. On a "me" level, broken heartedness is risking my safety ("safety" as in the safety and comfort of solitude) and connecting with people. It's also risking my anxiety and placing myself around people who I can and need to connect with.
On a level outside of "me", it's those that can't help themselves in a situation where they need help. Specifically children, animals and the environment.

Run toward the things that break my heart. Here we go.

I began reaching out to friends for help pointing me in a direction for out of state volunteer work. That led to me researching overseas volunteer opportunities. In my heart on the back burner was not only traveling but taking part in the world around me. And then I found it.

Next month, on July 18th, I will be traveling to India to help an organization teach children in the slums of Delhi. 

I see a therapist, who I love, and I pick apart my mind and feelings and functions with her. I spent almost the entire hour talking about this decision. In talking about it, I told her how I felt inside my metaphorical pit and then how I found myself far away from myself, in a place and world unlike anything I have ever experienced. India. A place I've dreamed of visiting, a culture I've been infatuated with and it's people those I feel a pull to.
I hadn't even processed my reasons that led me to my decision until I said them out loud to her. As I finished my thought, I sat there contemplating it, smiling. Her eyes beamed back at me. I knew all the reasons why, and I knew why now, but the fact that it was my subconscious response to my depression (middle finger, depression!) was fascinating.

That night I had my first dream where I was flying. Palmer has dreams where he's flying ALL THE DING DANG DONG TIME and I'm always so jealous. The way he describes it sounds incredible. And that night I got to fly.

Only a few people know about my going to India, and some of them have asked with much enthusiasm, "Are you excited?!"
Excited is definitely not the word. I'm thankful I have this opportunity. I'm grateful for my husband who is helping me make it financially possible. I'm preparing emotionally for a journey that will break my heart. I'm becoming increasingly anxious over whether I can really afford to do this (I can't, but like I said, we'll make it happen somehow). I'm embracing this moment to rise to, to fly, and I think I will come back forever changed. I hope to.

"They are no longer the same because I myself am no longer the same. India always changes people and I have been no exception." - Ruth Prawler Jhabvala