One Word 365: Carpe

Yes, you read that right. Carpe. Not to be confused with carp (the fish) or crap (the random blah-blahs on my Project Life calendar), or carpal tunnel (that thang you get when you type too much).

Carpe = seize. Just seize.

As in “Seize the day, eat and drink today because tomorrow you may die.” (Some random guy quoting the Bible).

See also “Carpe, carpe diem, seize the day boys, make your lives extraordinary.” (John Keating, Deat Poet’s Society, just about the best movie ever).

And from the Good Book: “…Let us eat and drink,” you say, “for tomorrow we die!”  Isaiah 22:13

It sounds like such a crunchy word for the tastefully refined One Word 365 project, but then I’m all about crunch. It’s not just the day that I’m ‘carpe-ing.’ It’s moments. It’s sunrises. It’s friendships. It’s family. It’s anything that God has put in my path that I have taken for granted, taken advantage of, loved, and even ignored. It’s food in my fridge and the clothes on my back. It’s the cows and chickens along my countryside and the tender baby kale in my garden. My intent is to seize these things, hold them close, let them go when it’s time (there will be a time), and in the end be ever so grateful they were in my life.

But it’s not just the good things. The hard things like grief and loss and sadness are something to seize in their own weird way. As much as people tell you “Don’t drag up the past” and “Just put the bad things behind you,” I can rarely do that. To me, the past, good or bad, is always a picture of God’s faithfulness. I can’t let that go. My faith depends on it.

Oh no. Never let go.

That eat or drink part? That’s just a given.

Carpe, friends. Carpe well.

IMG_4364

Functional Foodie Friday: Brown Rice Risotto with Asparagus and Langostinos

Wait, what blog? Oh yeah. This one. {heavy sigh}

Farmer’s market fare and cleaning out my Trader Joe’s freezer stash brought this dinner together. The asparagus around here is simply beautiful this time of year.

I love fresh asparagus, and of course those langostinos….oh Lordy, I ADORE TINY FOOD!! They look and taste like sweet, teeny lobsters but are about the size of shrimp and they’re really yummy. Very low in calories, high in protein, and they’re LOCAL! Well, if you live in Chile, but still…. We’re a bit landlocked here, so crappie is about the only local fish we have.

Mostly this is what we consider local seafood around these parts. Moo. (Left her bike there to grab a quick drink).

Anyway, this dish takes some time and you have to really like to stir. Brown rice does eventually get starchy (I used a medium grain) but not quite as creamy as Arborio. All I have here is brown rice. It’s the law. The cheese added some creaminess and another layer of flavor, but I really love the healthy chew of brown rice.

Eat up. It passed the Ron Burgundy taste test. (Note to self: take pictures while there’s still daylight).

Brown Rice Risotto with Asparagus and Langostinos

Yields: Serves 4, less than 300 calories/serving

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 2 cups fresh asparagus, 1/2 inch pieces
  • 12 oz frozen langostinos (pre-cooked) or you could use shrimp
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmigiano reggiano cheese
  • Fresh ground black pepper

Directions:

  1. Bring water and broth to a boil in a sauce pan; keep hot on stove.
  2. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add oil and butter. Sweat onion until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in rice and garlic and cook for about a minute.
  3. Add one ladle of hot broth mixture to the rice and stir until most of the liquid is absorbed. Add one ladle of broth at a time, stirring continuously while rice bubbles, adding another ladle as each one is absorbed. It will take about 40 minutes for the rice to absorb all of the liquid. Just keep stirring. For all that is good and holy, do not abandon the pan! Toward the end, the texture will become more creamy.
  4. When the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender, add asparagus and langostinos. Cook and stir for about 5 minutes. Stir in lemon juice, dill, and cheese, top with a few grinds of black pepper, and serve immediately.
Tea today: Organic China Green

Functional Foodie Friday: Bean and Veggie Tacos

These tacos were actually my Meatless Monday tweet (read: I’m lazy), which is my favorite day next to Tofu Tuesday, Wasabi Wednesday, Seafood Saturday and oh wait, those are all meatless. If I only had my way….

But hey, at least I made somebody’s day.

What we have here is the result of a fridge cleanout, but they were so tasty. I had the shells in the freezer from the last time the kids were here and forced me to make MEAT tacos, used leftover pinto beans from a burrito bowl I fixed for Ron Burgundy last week (mixed with a little Rotel) and just dug in the vegetable bin for the rest. They were awesome, and since I STILL had leftovers, RB got to have them again and I got another lunch out of them, mixed with some leftover brown rice. Seriously, we’ve eaten about $5 worth of food this week, and it’s all been goo000d  (insert Jim Carrey voice here). Beans go a long way in the fill-you-up protein department.

Thank you, bulk food bins and Ball jars. You complete my protein primed pantry.

I have a theory in cooking that if you take your favorite pan and twirl a little olive oil in it, the inspiration will come. And it did – zucchini, onion, yellow squash, all sprinkled with a bit of taco seasoning. Please, don’t by the packaged stuff. Make your own. Then you can actually pronounce the ingredients in it. Keep it in a little tiny Ball jar. Those are so cute. They are the reason I make taco seasoning. Kind of.

Can't you just smell this??

I added the leftover beans/Rotel mixture, and in an effort to give you an actual recipe, here you go. Use your regular taco toppings like lettuce, cheese, avocado, plain Greek yogurt (which is much tastier and healthier than sour cream).

Olé! Or something like that

Bean and Veggie Tacos

Makes about 8 tacos

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 small yellow squash, diced
1 small zucchini, diced
1-2 tablespoons taco seasoning, to taste
10 ounces Rotel, any flavor, or use diced tomatoes
1 3/4 cups cooked pinto beans (or use 1 can, drained & rinsed)
2 cups mixed baby greens
8 taco shells
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
4 tablespoons Greek yogurt
hot sauce (duh)
chopped tomato

Heat oil in large sauté pan. Chop onion, zucchini, and squash into 1/2 inch pieces. Sprinkle with taco seasoning. Sauté in olive oil until edges have browned. Mash about half of the beans with a fork. Add beans and Rotel to pan and heat through.

Place a handful of greens in taco shell, add bean mixture, top with cheese, Greek yogurt, hot sauce, tomato, and any other toppings you like. Then make yourself another one because they’re only about 184 calories each.

Tea today: Sencha
beautiful pictures

Resurrection

Easter is always an emotional season for me. Now that He’s risen (indeed) it’s time to get off this roller coaster and settle into the contentment of budding perennials, blooming trees and be a seed that blooms. At 4 bells this morning, I had some random thoughts.

  • That whole being in control (or not) thing – I get that. I know Who’s the Boss of me. What I have chosen to give up are a few things I could have control over but I’ve made the decision that I don’t want to die on that hill. The cost is too great. Que Sera, Sera.
  • This was the first Easter without all of the kids at home. It was also the first Easter we ate dinner out at a restaurant. Though I was spared the horrors of ham, it just was not the same. I missed my 3 girls, my eldest, and my son-in-law terribly. My pity pot was trumped by my gratitude for simply having them in my life and seeing what God has done in theirs.
  • Sometimes your faith is tested and your hope is shaky at best. Then something happens that makes you slap yourself upside the head and tell yourself what a fool you’ve been to ever doubt. I shredded a whole hanging folder of someone’s tearful, shaky doubt this weekend. Literally. I probably should have kept it as a reminder in those dark times, lest I forget.
  • Several things have thrown me into physical/nutritional reboot mode (see also: Easter restaurant food above). More exercise, more kale (etc), more lifting. I was a slacker last week, and I’m feeling it. Ron Burgundy got my bike all ready for the season, and I can’t wait to hit the trails. Even have my homemade power granola bars ready for the rides. Never underestimate the power of the properly fueled endorphin on your body, mind, and spirit. If I could package those little buggers in a pill, I’d be a gazillionaire. Sorry, folks. You have to work for those but they are totally worth it.
  • I absolutely refused to see/read The Hunger Games until I read the posts by Katdish and then Amy Sorrells. (Yes, I still do read blogs on occasion. Rarely.) Now I’m intrigued. I’m taking the “absolutely” out of that equation and rethinking that whole stubborn R word. I won’t be that old lady who is inflexible and doesn’t listen to other peoples reasoning, especially when I haven’t read the book or seen the movie to make an informed decision about whether or not something is good, bad, or has redemptive qualities. If I hate it, I’ll bury that regret. If I don’t, I’ll be better for it.
  • Sometimes people let you know that you don’t know squat. Praise God for real friends who are encouraging and edifying and keep your ego from being trampled by a herd of buffalo that are too big for their grumpy pants or who have the Cleopatra syndrome. They, my friends, are the Queen of Denial. I have so many IRL and online (i.e. “imaginary,” but not) friends, and they have blessed me many times over. You know who you are. Thank you.
  • Sometimes dreaming about vacations you’ll never take can be pretty darn refreshing. And you get to skip airport security. Dream on.
  • Continuing to live Alive. After all, when you are, why not live that way? Dying doesn’t mean you can’t still live. Thank you, Sara.
Tea today: Dragonwell

Pay the Farmer Now or Pay the Doctor Later

We’ve been in what I would call a “season” in our family. Kind of a sick season.

My mom was diagnosed with lung cancer in January, went through a round of chemo and radiation, and is really none the worse for the wear. Well, she’s tired. A little anemic, but then she’s almost 87. The ole bone marrow ain’t what it used to be. We find out the outcome of her treatments in a few weeks. I guess we should be asking her what she did to stay healthy for so long (I’m sure she’d answer “The glass of André every Saturday night.”)

The past two weeks have been what Ron Burgundy called an “out of body experience” as he got pummeled by a nasty norovirus, an unrelenting kidney stone (probably angered by said virus and subsequent dehydration) and then complete loss of his voice. So practically every pipe in that guys body was stopped up, re-opened, or worn out. That freaked him out. “I’d rather lose a kidney than my voice.” Yep, almost did both.

Once he gets the hospital bills, he’s going to have an out of billfold experience to complete the scenario.

I nagged primed him with fluids and tons of fruits and veggies and did everything I could to counteract his dehydration, the effects of two general anesthetics, and prolonged bedrest. He has this thing about not wanting to drink very much “because it makes me have to go to the bathroom.” Therein lies the problem.

In the meantime, I, too, contracted the nasty GI virus but recovered in about 12 hours. (That was a bad 12 hours – HOW DARE HE BREATHE ON ME)! Lots of fluids, healthy grains, veggies – you know the drill. I still think I can kill germs with phytochemicals, though I may be delusional. But I was well enough to sign some consent forms for my debilitated and drugged husband.

So we’re back on the health train again, RB’s voice came back with the help of some steroids, and once again I’m singing the same old tune of “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.” So much of what we eat can not be considered real food. Labels are scary.

I’ve always believed you are what you eat. I’ve seen too often how we’ve processed and GMO’d ourselves into disease. Let’s go back to how our bodies were meant to be nourished. I’m not saying you won’t get sick, but as for me, I’d like to do everything I can to reduce my risk, feel well, and pop back quickly when I do get struck down by something.

“Pay the farmer now, or pay the doctor later,” the saying goes. For a little more unsolicited advice, visit my “Be Well” Pinterest board. Just some food for thought. And gut.

Oh, and watch this video. It says it all, and it might even convince me to go out to eat at Chipotle, even though I’d probably just get rice and beans and veggies.

Tea today: Sencha
The worst thing about this dish is the wait. Find some laundry to do or something.

Functional Foodie Friday: Butternut Squash and Brown Rice Risotto (leftovers)

Too crazy, busy around here and we’ve been freezer-eating (praise God for the person who invented batch cooking). RB is still trying to recover from the kidney stone of 2012, which started with the norovirus of 2012, and has resulted into prolonged bedrest of 2012. (Read: our deductible has been met). Other than the produce aisle and cranberry juice, I haven’t ventured into grocery shopping in two weeks. It’s pantry staples, and frozen (albeit homemade) food for us lately.

Hence, leftovers from a 2010 post today. I grabbed a squash, and the remainder of this dish I had on hand. The well-stocked pantry can be a lifesaver.

Butternut Squash and Brown Rice Risotto

2 Tbs. olive oil, divided
2 cloves garlic
½ butternut squash (you’ll need about 1 lb)
1 tablespoon butter/canola blend
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon cumin seed (don’t leave these out)
2 shallots, finely diced
1 cup brown rice
5 cups chicken broth (or you could use vegetable broth)
1/2 tsp. fresh thyme
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 cup shredded parmigiano reggiano

Cut squash in half, place seeds and strings in a sauce pan. Add broth to sauce pan and bring to a very low simmer.

Reserve half the squash for another use. Trim and skin the remaining half and cut into half inch cubes. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat, add garlic and cook for 30 seconds, then add squash cubes and a ladle-full of broth from your pan. (Strain the seeds and strings out of your pan first).

Turn heat down to medium and cook (covered) until just soft. While squash is cooking, heat remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and the butter. Add cumin seeds and red pepper flakes and let cook for about a minute.  Add shallots and cook until translucent. Add the rice and cook until rice begins to whiten.

Add broth to cover the rice (1-3 ladles full). Simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally. When the squash is ready, add 1/3 of the cubes to the rice. Let rice cook until it absorbs almost all the broth, then add 1-2 ladles of broth until rice is just covered. Continue this way, simmering, adding broth, stirring occasionally until the rice is almost to your desired texture. Since you’re using brown rice, this could take about an hour, but you don’t need to stir constantly like you do when using arborio rice in risotto. While rice is cooking, chop thyme and grate lemon zest.

Add remaining broth. Add in the remaining squash cubes, cheese, thyme, and zest. Stir until the risotto reaches your desired consistency. It will be creamy and the rice will have a chewy bite.

Tea today: Trader Joe’s Green
cnicholl photography

Joy, without reservation

Despite sharing the angst of death with friends/family and witnessing Mom’s finally relenting pain last week (clarification: the two are not related; she is alive and doing well) … I was overcome with the pure, unadulterated love and joy of a child. Babies can heal just about any heartbreak.

Well, not just any baby.

Harper’s deep gratitude for people and life go far beyond her years months. Inherently, the love I feel for her is inexpressible, but after spending a couple of days with her this week, she set my heart soaring by how she radiates love for everyone and everything she meets. Without reservation.

Her love is unconditional and she doesn’t even know it.

At nine months she has no idea how joy absolutely pours from her heart, and that’s the beauty of it. Innocence. Wonder. Not a spit of  judgment coming from that quirky little mouth or those deep-ocean eyes. No fear. It’s enough to allow you to cast your cares and exhaustion  to the wind and welcome a mighty stab of adrenaline to the soul.

Wide-eyed, she follows shadows from a tree branch and erupts into giggles. The sun peeks through the clouds, she squints, then eyes open wide to look for more. More sparkles. She sees her own shadow on a stroller ride and fixes her eyes in fascination, wondering when that “thing” will come into her line of sight again, arms and legs practically doing “The Freddie” with excitement. I make her a snowball and she touches it gingerly, then gasps with delight, her eyes connecting with mine in intense amazement.

We gaze at the school of bright goldfish at the top of the winter-murky pond and she reaches, literally bouncing in my arms with delight.

She sneezes,  and her “achoo” is followed by a throaty chuckle. She loves that, too. Boogers, be damned. That was fun.

She’s done with her breakfast, but rather than fussing or squirming, she clamps her mouth shut and gives me a sideways glance. Grinning, showing off her dimple filled with steel-cut oats. She hates nothing. Kindness is so natural for her.

Last week I brought her to the hospital when Mom had surgery, because that’s the way the logistics happened. Some of  the people we met in passing looked disheveled and even scary. I hustled past many, pushing the stroller, with a vague pleasant smile, the nurse/mom/grandma in me wanting nobody to touch her if I haven’t seen them use the antiseptic gel dispensers. They made eye contact with her and she smiled big. (Real big). Her legs kicked non-stop and her arms flailed with joy and her upper body did a 180 to keep following them. Everyone is her friend. She knows no color, no class, no creed. All are loved, even the abstract ballerina with the distorted face in a wall sculpture that towers above both of us. That “art” always creeped me out.

Not Harper – she’s met another friend. I want to be like her when I grow up.

I pray her faith is as authentic and strong as her beautiful infant spirit.

I bumped into this on Pinterest the other day, and immediately thought of her. 

It’s no wonder she is such a joy to be around; her attitude is magnetic. Her heart is open. I spent the remainder of my week just trying to see things with her eyes. Clearly I had been schooled.

Maybe I’ll even get up the nerve to do The Freddie in public – I need just a bit more practice.

Praise the Lord.
Blessed are those who fear the Lord,
who find great delight in his commands.
Their children will be mighty in the land;
the generation of the upright will be blessed.

~Psalm 112:1-2

Tea today: Sencha
Sweet Corn and Quinoa Chowder

Functional Foodie Friday: Sweet Corn and Quinoa Chowder (leftovers)

Original post here.

A lovely light soup from last summer is making an appearance as leftovers, since all I’ve eaten is leftovers this week and this one really hit the spot. Plus, in the midst of our biggest snow storm of the year (whoa – 4 inches!) I thought it appropriate to bring some sunshiny sweet corn, not to mention I’ve had kale in abundance around here.

I can’t get enough of the stuff. Massaged kale salad. Kale chips dusted with parm and sprinkled with sriracha. Sautéed kale with shallots, mushrooms, and garlic. It’s one of my favorite superfoods.

Gold, pure gold.

Sadly, I had to use frozen corn in this recipe since all of my fresh stuff was used by Christmas. Still? Tasty. Loaded with protein and laced with bacon. Three of my favorite players – kale, quinoa, and beans. What a team.

Sweet Corn and Quinoa Chowder
Inspiration from here.

1 bunch sliced green onions
2 slices cooked bacon, chopped
3 cups fresh corn kernels (about 5 ears)
2 -15 oz cans great northern beans, rinsed and drained
2 – 4 1/2 oz cans chopped green chiles with liquid
3/4 cup cooked quinoa
30 oz chicken (or vegetable) stock (approximately)*
3 cups chopped fresh kale
Fresh ground pepper to taste (I may have thrown in a palm full of hot pepper flakes)

*I keep a jar of chicken base in the frig, whisk in water what ever amount you need for a recipe. I tend to use less than the 1 tsp:1 cup base to water ratio, as it’s pretty high in sodium. You can alternately use low-sodium chicken broth, or of you’re Martha Stewart, stew yourself some some chickens.

I usually have cooked quinoa on hand. If you don’t, cook yourself up a batch while you’re stripping the corn. Cut corn off the cob and then mop down your kitchen. If you must, you can use frozen corn, or as we say in Iowa, “frozen regret.”

Slice onions and chop bacon. Sauté over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add corn, beans, chiles, and quinoa and mix well. Add chicken stock. Soup will thicken as it cooks so use more or less to desired thickness.

Let soup come to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Add kale (you could also use spinach) and cook until it wilts.

Tea today: Genmaicha
20120208_IMG_0003

Functional Foodie Friday: Cauliflower Crust Pizza (my take)

You can only look at something that’s been Pinned a bazillion times before you HAVE to try it. The cauliflower crust pizza was haunting me for weeks. I had a teeny bite of it at a gathering and thought “hmmm” and knew I had to make it. I really needed a few more bites to decide if I liked it. One bite of anything is never enough for me, unless it’s meat (then it’s sometimes too much).

Warning, if your dream is to be a tidy cook, this recipe is not for you. I had riced cauliflower everywhere, including my hair. Not sure what I did wrong there, other than peek into the chute of the food processor…

So is it good? Yes, it’s sort of like a cheesy bread. It even puffs up nice like bread. It doesn’t taste cauliflowery, but it’s definitely not chewy-doughy-firm like pizza crust either, so the name is rather misleading. I suppose “pizza crust” is easier to say than “a healthy gluten-free delivery mechanism for some awesome pizza toppings” and the result was more of a casserole. But it was delicious and I will make it again. It could also be a sort of flat bread – I’ll have to try that one.

I loved how the edges got crispy-crunchy and a bit burned. Sort of matched the over-caramelized onion I had on top of it. I have a penchant for near-burned food. Stay away from heavy toppings if you want to pick it up like a piece of pizza. I ate this with a fork. Those artichokes are heavy, and I used an entire onion.

This would have photographed better if I had some daylight. It’s Iowa. In winter. And my camera isn’t exactly stellar for low-light shots.

Cauliflower Crust Pizza adapted from Eat, Drink, Smile

1 cup cooked, riced cauliflower
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (fresh shred from block, please. Bagged cheese should be illegal)
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp crushed garlic
1/2 tsp garlic salt olive oil

Preheat oven to 450°.  Take about 1/2 head of fresh cauliflower, and cut into florets. Place into food processor and pulse until it’s about the texture of rice. You’ll want approximately 1 1/2 cups raw because it cooks down. Place in a microwave safe dish and cook for about 6 minutes (no water needed). Keep an eye on it as it will start to scorch and stick together if it gets too done.

Brush a pizza stone with olive oil. In a medium sized mixing bowl, stir together the cooked cauliflower, cheese, egg, oregano, garlic, and garlic salt. Place on the pizza stone and pat into about a 9 inch circle with your hands. Brush the top with olive oil and bake for 15 minutes.

While the crust is baking, prepare your toppings as you will only be reheating them under the broiler. I sauteed a yellow onion until well carmelized, added some mushrooms and cooked until they were tender. I topped the pizza with some left-over marina I had in the fridge, freshly shredded mozarella, the onions, mushrooms, black olives, and chopped artichoke hearts. I topped with another light layer of the mozarella and put under the broiler for about 5 minutes.

Any favorite toppings will do – you’ll just probably need to eat it with a fork if they get really heavy like mine did.

I can’t believe I ate the whole thing….

Tea today: Trader Joe’s Green
IMG_4128

Functional Foodie Friday: Crockpot Black Bean and Chicken Tacos

There’s a vague migration toward chicken thighs going on here, and I’m not talking body image. It’s totally out of character for me, but I’ve taken to liking the thighs more than chicken breast in certain dishes, despite the fact I still need to pick and pick and pick to get all the “stuff” off of them. They’re more tender and they almost melt into tiny pieces so you barely know they’re there. They don’t dry out (especially in the crockpot), and from a nutritional standpoint, they have more iron and zinc. Cutting off the fat and skin can be left unsaid, but there, I said it.

I’ve made this taco filling several times, and change it every time. Next pass? Half of the chicken and a can of pinto beans, perhaps replace the salsa with a can of hot Rotel. Then I think it will be perfect. If you decide to use chicken breast, I’ve found that if you coat them generously with some kosher salt the night before, then rinse before putting in the crock, it’s more tender and has a better texture. It plumps the chicken up and it behaves  like it was brined. We all like well-behaved chicken. And it won’t be too salty. I used a combination of thighs and breast in this version.

Ron Burgundy must really like this, because I had a bowl of it in the frig, along with taco shells, chopped tomato, chopped romaine, and some shredded cheese and he only ate the filling. For three days. Boy really doesn’t like to stray toward variety much, does he?

This filling would also be great in a burrito bowl with chewy brown rice and a boatload of cilantro. Or on nachos. Or in a wrap. Or as a base for some chicken tortilla soup. The possibilities are endless. I like to double this because it freezes well.

Crockpot Black Bean and Chicken Tacos
adapted from dinnertool.com

1 large onion
4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of fat, or combination of breast and thighs
1 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup frozen sweet corn (I had plenty on hand)
1 cup salsa, any kind you have on hand
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
1/4 teaspoon hot smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or to taste)
1 tablespoon olive oil
8 corn tortillas

Use a 4 or 5 quart slow cooker. Slice the onion thinly and place in the bottom of the crock.

Rub the chicken with salt and pepper and place on top of the onions. Add beans, corn, and salsa on top of the chicken, then sprinkle the cumin and paprika over the top. Drizzle olive oil over mixture. Cover and cook on low for 4 – 5 hours. Remove the chicken and shred with a fork, then return to crock and mix all ingredients together.

Fill each corn tortilla with the chicken and black bean filling. Serve tacos with desired toppings.

Topping ideas:
shredded romaine lettuce (please, no iceberg)
plain Greek yogurt
shredded cheese (shredded from brick, no bagged stuff)
salsa
diced tomatoes
black olives
jalapeno peppers
cilantro

Tea today: Maa Feng (sadly, the last of the bag)