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Mom's Challenge: Sick Family, Slim Cupboards

In this ongoing blog series, Christine, a budget-minded first-time Mom and Team Member, explores ways to create healthy, organic foods that appeal to both toddler and husband. Read the other posts in her ongoing series.

When one member of my family gets sick, inevitably another one seems to catch it. On Sunday morning, my husband and son both woke up with colds and as the only one not sick, I had to be on top of my game. I started by perusing the kitchen cupboards, and I let my imagination go to work. Breakfast was easy. I served oatmeal, washed down with a green smoothie to start the day off right. When lunch time rolled around, I whipped up a quick soup and served it with whole wheat toast.

Lunch Time Soup

2 cups chicken or veggie broth

1 handful fresh parsley

2 organic yellow summer squash

1 ½ cups organic baby carrots

2 TB butter

First, I poured the broth into a pot and added the parsley. While heating the broth, I chopped the squash into circles that were about ¼-inch thick. In a separate pan, I melted the butter, then added the squash and carrots and cooked until softened (about 7-9 minutes). If you don’t have squash or carrots on hand, I bet other vegetables would taste nice in this simple soup.

Once the broth was warm and the vegetables were soft, I placed everything into my blender. I blended the mixture for about one minute until I had a nice smooth, puree.

Then I served the soup to my sick boys. It was cute to see my runny-nosed son, happily eating his soup. But my husband, on the other hand, was acting a little cranky and he called my soup bland. Hmmmm...it looked like I needed to come up with a comfort food solution for dinner to help soothe the grumpy guy. Throughout the day, I encourage the boys to drink plenty of fluids and as a special treat in the afternoon, they slurpped on sugar-free homemade popsicles. For dinner, I went with an old stand-by, chicken soup. I love making soup, so I hoped that my son and hubby would enjoy this pot of chicken and vegetable goodness, as much as I enjoyed making it.

Chicken Soup

2 cups chicken broth

2 cups water

1 pound organic chicken

1 TB olive oil

½ large organic onion

1 cup organic baby carrots

2 stalks organic celery

2 large organic potatoes

Salt and pepper to taste

Place the chicken broth and water into a large soup pot and heat on high until boiling. To prepare the chicken, I cut off any noticeable fat and chopped the chicken into four chunks. I placed the chicken into the boiling liquid for one minute. Then I turned the heat down low and let the chicken simmer for 15 minutes with the lid on. After the chicken was cooked, I placed it on a cutting board to cool.

Chop the onion, carrots and celery into small pieces — whatever size is appropriate for your young children. Heat the oil in a sauté pan and then add the veggies.( Other vegetables that you might consider adding are bok choy, corn and spinach.) Cook the vegetables for about 7-9 minutes until they are soft and then add them to the broth.

I recommend simmering the vegetables and broth for about 15 minutes together. It brings out the flavor and makes the vegetables extra soft for your toddler to be able to chew. The smell is wonderful!

I know the standard soup is chicken noodle, but I like to add as many vegetables to my soup as possible and potatoes are a nice alternative to noodles. Luckily, I already had cooked potatoes in my fridge that I chopped and placed in the pot. But if your potatoes are still raw, just dice, add to the broth and simmer until tender.

At this point you can add a little salt and pepper for flavor. And, finally, the chicken. I like to pull the chicken apart into small enough pieces for my toddler to handle. Then everything goes into the pot and simmers for another five minutes and it’s done!

My toddler and formerly-cranky husband LOVED THE SOUP! And I went to bed knowing that I provided my sick family with healthy, comforting food. I want to be prepared for the next round of colds that sweep our house. Do any of you out there have some ideas?