March 11, 2024

Nutritious Chicken and Bacon Noodle Soup



    Hello, strangers!  

    When we are feeling under the weather, it can really mess us up in other parts of life.  We want to rest, but we have so much to do, we are hungry, but our appetites do change a bit when we are sick, and life frankly feels weird during these times.  That's why I say just listen to your body and go with the flow of it all.  It is important to rest if we really feel awful, and make sure we are drinking enough water to stay hydrated throughout our day.  It can also be hard to want to order food out, or just snack all day long, because again, sickness messes with our routines.

This is normal, though, so please don't be hard on yourself! I do recommend if you are going to cook something, or even reheat leftovers, at some point, you must make some homemade chicken noodle soup!  And while you're at it, add some cooked bacon to it because why not!  Sure, there's a little more fat in this dish, but fat provides flavor, and chicken and bacon together?!  Best combination!

This soup is so easy to put together and most of the ingredients are already in your pantry.  If not, go out and buy double of everything so you have it on hand!  My daughter woke up feeling under the weather for the second time in two months, but she loves chicken and bacon, and brothy soup, so this recipe is perfect when someone in the family is sick!  I hope you'll try it because it's truly delicious and every Winter I plan on making this

Chicken and Bacon Noodle Soup


1 cup diced onion

1 cup diced celery

1 medium bag baby carrots, or four whole carrots, diced/chopped in thicker chunks

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp minced garlic; fresh garlic is fine using a garlic press or can buy the minced garlic in a tube/jar

1lb or lb and a half of boneless chicken tenders or breast, cubed.

1 pkg turkey bacon or pork bacon-* I cooked mine in my air fryer until crispy, cooled then chopped up. Cook however you like first, then add to the pot.  I had a pkg of turkey maple bacon so that's what I used.

4 cups water

2 cups bone broth *this provides more nutritional benefits like more protein, collagen for joint health and hydration properties like electrolytes.

2 cups low-sodium chicken broth

generous amount of salt and pepper to taste

1 tbsp smoked paprika

1 tbsp dried parsley 

2 tbsp nutritional yeast * this provides more nutrition such as antioxidants, protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals.

2 tbsp lemon juice 

*Choice of noodles



 1. Add oil to your stock pot and once hot, cook down onions, celery and garlic over medium-high heat. About ten minutes.

2. Add spices to the mix, carrots and all of your liquid, as well as the lemon juice. Cook over medium high heat, occasionally stirring.

3. Cook your bacon as desired, and cut up the chicken in cubes. Be sure to season both sides of the chicken.  Add gently into the soup pot.

4. Cook on medium-high heat until everything comes to a boil and the chicken is cooked through.  Keep stirring occasionally, and allow the soup to slowly cook over very low heat.

5.  Once ready to eat, cook your favorite pasta according to the package then add to the soup.

6. Enjoy!

* This soup freezes well, but do not add the noodles to the soup.  Noodles do not freeze well.  Save the noodles in the fridge and add whenever you want to eat this soup!


Stay well, friends!



October 26, 2023

Busy, Fast Work

So far, there are things I like about my part time job at the high school and being in a kitchen setting.  School nutrition, the protocols, regulations, schedules, basically how the entire kitchen system operates is pretty eye-opening.  I have to say, it’s a busy, non-stop and repetitive job but you’re finished by 1pm, everything is cleaned up, prepped, and ready to go for the next day.  The high school I am at does seem to have a pretty seamless process ,things are where they should be, everyone has their own specific task, and it this type of work definitely screams teamwork.  It’s literally from soup to nuts from I what I do between 9am and 1pm.  The day just flies, but I love that aspect of it.

There are cookies to be baked, prepped for next day, taken out of oven, bagged, stored for the students for purchase at .75 a cookie, window boxes to be made.  These boxes I believe are for popcorn chicken or fries, I could be wrong, but I know we can never have too many window boxes.  Dishes, cleaning, wiping, drying, and school breakfast prep for the next day, as well as  pre-made items for specific events occurring within the next week or so.   It can be loud, there’s music, but I like that.  I need music when I do any kind of busy work, doesn’t matter where I am, music helps.  And sometimes it can feel too chaotic, like there’s too many cooks in the kitchen- pun intended.  But it happens in that kind of environment. So far, I’ve learned a good tip, and that’s to focus on the task at hand and finish that task before moving onto the next task.  I struggle with this because I enjoy multi-tasking.  But sometimes that’s a bad thing because I’ll start one thing, and then notice something else that needs to get done, and I’ll shift my focus to that task instead, neglecting the first task I started.  No good.  One thing at a time.

Communication is also a big deal in this environment.  When the oven is being used, you must shout out , literally, that “the oven is HOT and open”, so that someone doesn’t get hurt walking in the direction of the oven coming from around the corner.  If you hear the oven, go off, it’s happening for a reason.  Someone is cooking something. Turn it off !  If you’re walking behind someone and they don’t see you, you must say “behind you”, just in case.  Better safe than sorry.  I have no issue being loud in front of new people, or strangers, however, I still feel a little weird shouting out that the oven is hot and it’s open, be careful!  I’m getting used to it though.  Asking questions is so important too.  If you don’t know something or are simply unsure, just ask.  Speak up- as hard as it can seem sometimes.  If you’re confused or didn’t understand an instruction, speak up.  It’ll only help you more.  I do that all the time, because I have no shame in saying that I don’t understand something.  I’m only there 2 weeks so far, but I do like it . Any kind of experience is an experience. So for now, let's see what this is about. 

October 21, 2023

Life Is What You Make It

Why, hello there.  It's been too long.  Where do I begin?  I honestly don't know how to begin. Story of my life.  Well, I think a good update is worth noting here, as well as a check-in or touching-base if you will, of my life a week away from turning 41. 

I'm currently pursuing a master's degree in applied nutrition, which for me, is very out of place since I never was, nor still am a studious/college "person,"  Everyone knows at least one person who is that type. I decided to do this thing called,  “ go back to school”  because for the last five years, I was searching for something to fulfill my life, other than finding love and becoming a mother.  Something was missing, and sometimes I think there might still be something missing.  Do we ever really find that "thing" that instantly perks us up in life? Maybe some do, although, we have to remember that the meaning of happiness is very subjective. However, this really has nothing to do with happiness, that is, the thing I have been "searching" for to "complete" me.  But at some point, during my day, I do feel happy with something.  It's usually the mundane, tiny things, yet, they are important to me.  Like having a kick-ass workout, hearing a song that reminds me of my mom or grandmom, my daughter saying something in her own unique way and I laugh so hard.  These small things are vital to a "happy" life, whatever that means, though it’s worth mentioning.

 That thing for me that I think was missing wasn’t nutrition, though that is something that I became increasingly interested in, more so since 2019, and started researching the topic, the jobs, the careers, different aspects of nutrition and reaching out to folks working in that field via LinkedIn.  And also, thank goodness for LinkedIn.  It’s been the only spot where I can message someone, connect and follow a company with the click of a mouse and all in under 60 seconds. But that thing that I was searching for, and still am, was trying to be a professional in something.  I always had “career” at the forefront of my mind.  But I didn’t have a career or specialized in anything.  I always worked dead-end jobs and wasted time. I have always felt completely useless, hopeless, unsuccessful, and yeah, a failure. I promise this isn’t me having a pity party.  I do not believe getting a master’s in nutrition will give me success-far from it.  But my opinions and tangents on the education system will have to be saved for another time. I decided that I was indeed passionate about health, food and fitness; it’s all I thought about for at least four years.  I loved watching people cook, sharing what they ate in a day, watching dietitian’s debunk really bad myths about nutrition and what influencers today keep posting about to the younger youth and it’s just bloody awful!

Anyway, I say all of that because at this point in my life, if I have found my passion, it would definitely be nutrition and health. I still don’t believe I was living my life the way I wanted it.  I initially thought that going back to school is at least something important to do and it would keep me busy.  I wanted to gain control of my life again, and school helped. For a while, I was an accidental stay at home mom when I got laid off from my dead-end corporate job back in 2017.  Since then, I have stayed busy with doing things that made me busy and so that I didn’t become a total depressed zombie.  I began a daily exercise routine, cleaned the house a lot, learned how to knit,  helped out at my kid’s school when I could, walked the dog a lot, blogged ( clearly not enough though), read a ton of books, ( mostly in 2020- I think I read 7 books that year-that’s a lot for me). In a typical year, I *might* read 2 books. But still, that thing was missing.  When I decided to study nutrition and pursue a master’s program, I felt incredible imposter syndrome take over. It still doesn’t seem right and I only have about ten months left to go.

I have learned a lot about the field so far in the past year, and I have also had a great part time job at a rehab hospital in the diet office, and I am currently working part time at a local high school working in the kitchen.  I would like to work within a school district and work in the field of school nutrition.  I am just trying to get any experience I can right now. If I am being totally honest, both jobs have been awesome learning experiences.  It’s honest, busy work and I am here for it.  I also plan on volunteering for a food bank next month doing cooking demos in schools.  My anxiety creeps in every day to remind me that I probably should have done the part time jobs and volunteer five years ago. This is called self-talk, if you weren’t aware, but not in a good way. Or one could call it, “telling myself a story.”  But, it’s partially true.  I could have more experience under my belt in these fields by now. The thing is, I didn’t know I wanted to get into nutrition back then.  Hindsight can be a real bitch. The past is the past, but pretty much every day I am forced to shut down those thoughts of “should haves” and “could haves,” and just live in the now.  Live today.  Live in the present.  What’s done is done.  Look forward to tomorrow and to the future. Ha!  It’s easier said than done, though.

I’m nervous for what’s to come after I am finished my degree.  I am nervous that I won’t find a full-time job shortly after. On the same token, I do have connections thanks to LinkedIn and from my jobs and hopefully from volunteering.  I job search everyday when I get a chance just to see what is out there.  Nutrition education is so important, especially for low-income individuals and for people who are in certain nutrition supplement programs or need help with cooking nutritious meals and understanding nutrition education materials.   MyPlate can help, which was developed by the UDSA in 2010, but that’s a small slice of it.  I want to help others understand nutrition and how they can utilize different foods to feel better mentally, physically and emotionally.  I am not sure if this will bring me that “thing” I’ve been searching for to feel a sense of satisfaction,  but what I do know is that I feel energized anytime I come across a post about nutrition, regardless of the topic.  I love discussing food, macro and micronutrients, different diseases and conditions, different diets, intolerance's, allergies, I could go on and on.  I think that’s something worth mentioning here because until now, I was not experiencing this feeling for a long, long time.  A feeling of something that I understand , I have knowledge about, and excites me when I hear or see it.  Could this possibly be a feeling of satisfaction?  I’m not sure yet, but each day I am still working on myself to be the best version of me that I can be, and I am learning so much in such a short amount of time.

When I bit the bullet and decided to go back to school, I felt compelled to do so.  I figured I had nothing to lose because there was nothing else going on in my life that was of importance or that filled many voids for me at the time.  I felt like I needed to do this for myself.  And I was initially scared to begin again with school because as previously mentioned, I am not studious or a fan of school/college.  What I like about it this time around , is that with a master’s degree, the courses, all of them, are catered to a specific field of interest.  That’s how it should be from the get go in school.  Please don’t get me started on undergraduate work.  English majors are still required to take three math courses and three science courses. I’m guesstimating here, but it’s similar to that. We have really just lost our minds. Waste of time, energy and money. But I’ll stop there. And so, this time around,  I have been enjoying at least one aspect of each course, as each of them relate to a concept involving the topic of nutrition.  I took a required Research Methods course, my least favorite so far, but I can still see why that was required.  Although, I’m still not at all partial to the bell curve.  Doing research, looking at the literature, citing references to support claims, that’s important to understand and it’s necessary, especially when it comes to the field of health care and science-based information.

And so, to sum up,  today I am living, thriving, busy, pre-occupied, still anxious, and happy.  I’m not happy all day, every day, but there are moments in my every day, when I feel happy.  I am not sure if I’ll ever feel 100% satisfied with my life, and this is simply because I feel we are always evolving.  We are not staying still, we can’t.  We are always on the move in some form. But also, do we ever really reach a point in our lives where we end up figuring it all out?  Do we actually feel 100% fulfilled every day?  I think we can get there, but I think that’ll happen if and when most of us eventually just let our guard down and stop being so hard on ourselves. It’ll take work and planning.  I know I am still so hard on myself, especially when it comes to finding my purpose and feeling satiated. I have gotten good at resting when I feel I need it, listening to my body, and not caring about what others think. And at almost 41 years of age, I can confidently say that I don’t care about others opinions.  I just don’t have the space in my brain to give any F’s about what Susan or Karen thinks.  I think I drew that line at age 37.   But that doesn’t mean that I don’t get upset sometimes when I am not being productive and think I should be.  Again, pressure. It’s always there. If you are a human being who wants to live some type of busy, fulfilled, fun, important and stressful life, then expect to plan.  Expect anxiety and pressure and routines and habits and exhaustion.  I can’t picture a life where this stuff isn’t present, but unless you want to sit on the couch all day with no one to worry about but yourself and not do anything of meaning, then this is your life.  All the things are there and you must accept them.   I  am finally good at managing myself and my time, and over the years, I have built healthy habits that help with my mental health, but I still have my moments.  Does anyone else talk to themselves every day?  Because I do.  I need to. I am either talking myself in or out of things constantly, and it can be draining, but again, this is who I am.  One thing at a time. One day at a time.  Life is not always pretty and we must manage it in ways that work for us.

As I soon reach another trip around the sun, 41 times to be exact, I can tell you that in this moment, right now, I am feeling physically tired and sore, but happy.  And grateful.  I feel loved and relaxed.  I have things to look forward to and where I know I can try my best in all the things I’ll  be doing starting on Monday which will bring another busy, stressful, fun, chaotic pressure-filled week.  But in this moment,  I am grateful to be alive and I am looking forward to the future.

I hope to see you real soon, friends.

Thanks for reading.