Friday, January 17, 2014

Too Many Tabs...and Tortilla Soup

There I the zone.
The kids were asleep, the washing machine was working overtime,
the pup was incessantly licking his favorite paw.
I was cozied up in my cushiony arm chair,  MacBook fully charged, 
steaming cup of earl grey to my side.
It had been six months since I had sat down to write a Mangiabella post.
As thoughts and expressions formed words in my mind and began to flow through my fingertips,
The door burst open.

My husband came home spilling over from a sublime encounter.
There was a distinct thrill in his voice as he began vividly recalling the fascinating details.
Without breaking eye contact, I slowly lowered my screen to closing position.
He had my undivided attention.

Each word that fell from his lips manifested in palpable exhilaration,
and I breathed it in until I could literally feel 
the texture, weight and thickness of each morsel as though it were my own.
I was completely intrigued & invested, hanging on every tidbit of the play by play.

Three quarters of the way into this gripping narrative,
I felt compelled to document what he was saying. 
I suppose that’s the writer in me, but I didn’t want to risk either one of us
forgetting such a captivating occurrence. 

As I lifted my laptop screen, and began to chronicle the events, 
something happened…

I was picturing in mind’s eye what he was telling me with precision,
vigorously typing shorthand phrases & notes to reflect on later,
while simultaneously reminding myself of what I had to get at the store the next day,
while opening another draft to put down a few phrases for that post I intended to write,
while making a mental note not to forget to put my daughter’s library book in her backpack,
while silently telling myself to switch the clothing from washer to dryer before bedtime... 
until he said “Babe! Are you still listening to me?”

I totally was!
But I was subconsciously multi-tasking at the same time.

Sigh. Too many tabs open.

I’m guilty of this more often than I’d like to admit, 
but I AM learning that another part of tasting the beauty of life
is reprogramming myself to slow down enough 
to savor ONE moment at a time by
mentally and emotionally committing to the experience at hand.

While I can laugh at the humorous e-card above,
I do believe we have control over our multi-tasking abilities.
And while I believe that without question, 
there’s a legitimate time & purpose for multi-tasking, 
there’s also a time for hitting the pause (or stop) button & switching gears.

Whenever I make a conscious effort to close down the other “tabs”
when the people in my life are front and center stage,
(however valiant, noble or important those tabs may be),
my "operating system" undoubtedly functions at optimal level,
and I find myself drawing more satisfaction out of these fleeting moments.

So does this mean I will resist the urge to Pinterest while watching tv with the hubs?
Baby steps, Bellas. Baby steps. haha.
But seriously, I acknowledge that people do feel disconnected
 when you’re only half present with divided interests,
so yes, I plan to be much more discerning 
as to when and where I get my Pinterest fix.

On a separate note, my husband has been known to be a picky eater have a selective palate.
However, this year, he has declared to be more adventurous and try anything I cook.


Did he say anything?
Indeed he did.
And an adventure it shall be.

To infinity and beyond!

Yesterday I made Tortilla Soup. 
I know, doesn’t seem like much of a leap from what he might normally eat. 
Baby steps, Bellas. Baby steps.
While he might eat what’s on top of the broth without hesitation,
what’s below the broth is not his usual cup of tea.
I’ve only had Tortilla Soup once, and it’s been years.
I didn’t want to search for any recipes,
I just wanted to throw together flavors that I imagined would bring this dish to life.
I made just enough for one serving size to experiment. 
We both shared one bowl and agreed it was superb!
Definitely one to keep for the repertoire.
Tortilla Soup
Ingredients for single serving:
2 Tbsp oil (I used safflower, but can use olive, canola, etc)
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 of one green onion, chopped, starting with the white part
pinch of salt
1/4 of small yellow squash, diced
1/4 of small zucchini, diced
1 Roma Tomato, diced
1/4 of  Orange Bell Pepper, diced
1/4 cup of frozen corn
1 1/2 cup of chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon cumin
2 oz. of shredded chicken, cooked
1 corn tortilla, crisped in oil, cut into slivers
1/2 an avocado, sliced
1/4 cup sharp cheddar, shredded
pinch of fresh cilantro, chopped
dash of pepper
dollop of sour cream (if desired)

In a small saucepan, sautee garlic & onion in oil with salt over medium/low heat
As soon as the garlic is fragrant, add squash, zucchini, 1/2 of the roma tomato, and bell pepper.
Cook for just a minute, add corn. Cook veggies down for just a few minutes
Add crushed red pepper and cumin and another generous pinch of salt, stir well. 
Add chicken broth cooked chicken
Cook for a few minutes.
Meanwhile, crisp your corn tortilla by using a tablespoon of oil,
letting the oil saturate both sides by flipping, allow tortilla to bubble, flip sides again. 
Allow tortilla to crisp to desired crispness.
set aside, cut into slivers (I used a pizza cutter).
You also could pre-slice tortilla before crisping, whatever is easiest for you.
Remove soup from heat, pour into bowl.
Garnish with sliced avocado, the rest of the roma tomato, cilantro, cheddar cheese, tortilla strips, and sour cream (if desired).
And as always…Keep Shining Sweet Bellas!


  1. Yes, we have so many tabs open! That's why I so appreciate my husband; he calms the waves of my heart crashing with my mind! Thanks for the tortilla soup recipe. I may just have to give it a try!

  2. I love that about soup, it lends itself perfectly to whatever comes its way. It is hard isn't it to get all those tabs closed, I'm working on it too. Wishing you the most beautiful week.

  3. Your tortilla soup looks delicious! I'm glad your husband is being more adventurous this year in his food choices! :)

    Also, I hear you on the multitasking thing. In fact, it's my goal that when someone is talking to me that I set everything else down (book, laptop, phone, etc) and just focus on what that person is saying. But I should probably be better about not multitasking at other times too. For example, it has taken me far too long to write this comment because I'm caught up in watching the show Nashville right now, haha! I keep coming back to write during the commercials (like right now), but my oh my, I would get things done so much more quickly and better if I weren't always multitasking!

  4. Bella, your Tortilla Soup is like a 'glorious summer day'...full of beautifully arranged bright, colorful, and neatly arranged vegetables. An amazing soup that would brighten my day...warm my heart and soul (and mostly tummy)...on this dreary dingy, gray and rainy day! Such a different 'a day makes'...actually, make it 2. Been like this since the last couple days.

    I loved reading your post about multi-tasking...literally too many tabs open...not just on the computer, but the 'tabs' in my life for sure. Trying to accomplish too many things at one time...making promises that I cannot always keep...holding too many things 'on the back burner'...even appts. that I keep cancelling; the list goes on! If I was like some of my blogger friends, I would be posting foods, and various things every-other day like they do...just wonder about how they possible make the time to post so often, photos, and all!

    BTW-your photos are magnificent, pinned the first one. Love the background of the rustic patio furniture, and the 'ray of shunshine-kissed' bowl of your Tortilla Soup!
    Have a wonderful weekend dear Bella...sending much love your way! xoxo

  5. Bella, you nailed it! LOL I have ALL the tabs open...All. The. Time!!! ;) I remember a marriage conference Greg and I went to in the beginning of our marriage and one of the topics was about how we are wired up as women to multi-task (and we can do it....some of it is a necessity) and how men need to focus. As we were leaving the conference, Greg was trying to find our way back to the expressway toward home and I was talking my head off about the conference...when I suddenly noticed the intense look on his face....concentration! I said "Oh, I'll wait until we're on the're a need to focus" disrespect intended....and he was glad to know that I hung onto a valuable fact from the conference! :) I was also glad to know that I was not being ignored. Once on the road, we had a great conversation. It really is important to be fully present. A great way to show our love.

    Bella, your recipe looks soooo good! I love the combination of flavors. Love the photos relaxing and comforting!

  6. Yes, yes and YES. It has been far too long since I've sat at my laptop. My phone is too convenient and the laptop is slow. Here I sit.....reading your words....nodding my head and saying Yes. I get it. This is my life. Right now at the laptop, I have three actual tabs open and I have at least four totally unrelated things on my mind. Your post is a breath of fresh air and confirmation of what has been stirring in my heart. A post written some time ago and yet, I read it today when it is so very relevant to my life. Providence. My love to you and yours. Thank you once again for blessing my life. I'm going to find dinner. Your soup looks amazing. :)



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