Home ยป Tis better to give than to receive…

Tis better to give than to receive…

Waffle taste test day #1 went so well! I wanted to take pictures, but obviously HIPPA wouldn’t be down with that. And while the patients loved the waffles (staff, too!)…the waffles were not the highlight of my day.

With the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday we used a turkey giveaway reward to encourage patients to have their albumin and phosphorus labs at goal for October and November and not to miss any dialysis treatments during that time. Eight patients of our 97 at the clinic met the challenge and their names were posted on fliers around the clinic congratulating them.

One of the turkey winners came up to me during the taste test and asked that his turkey be given to a patient who does not always have money for food, much less healthy food. I tried to keep from tearing up and was happy to grant the patient’s wish. A little earlier than most years, the holiday bug bit me right then and there. It truly is better to give than it is to receive.


Tortilla Soup from An Edible Mosaic

1 Tbsp canola oil
2 medium onions, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 2 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
1 1/2 tsp chili powder
1 1/2 3 tsp cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 bay leaf
1 chicken bouillon cube
3 oz tomato paste
1 (28 oz) can petit diced tomatoes (with juices)
1 cup corn (frozen is fine)
3-4 cup cooked, shredded chicken or turkey (about 1 1/2 lbs)
1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
3 Tbsp cornstarch mixed with 3 Tbsp cold water (called a cornstarch slurry)
1/2 cup to 1 cup minced fresh cilantro (more or less to taste)
Salt and pepper

Crispy Tortilla Strips:
3 small (about 6-inch) soft corn tortillas, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp canola oil


For the soup: In a 5-quart pot with a lid, heat the oil on medium heat; add the onion and sauté until starting to soften (about 5-7 minutes), stirring occasionally.  Add the garlic and jalapeno pepper and cook until fragrant (about 1 minute), stirring constantly.  Add the chili powder, cumin, oregano, red pepper flakes, and bay leaf and cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly.  Add 5 cups water along with the bouillon cube, tomato paste, and diced tomatoes.  Bring the soup up to a boil, then add the corn, cover the pot, and simmer 15 minutes (stirring occasionally).

Preheat the oven to 425° F.  Toss the tortilla strips with the oil, arrange them in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake until golden (about 5-7 minutes), giving them a stir every couple minutes so they don’t burn.

To the soup, add the cooked chicken or turkey and the beans and cook 3 minutes.  Add the cornstarch slurry, bring it up to a boil, and let it boil for 2 minutes.  Turn off the heat, add the cilantro, and season with salt and pepper.  Serve garnished with toppings of your choice (lime, scallions, Greek yogurt, tortilla chips, cheese, avocado, etc.). Serves 8.

Nutrition Information (per serving): 272 calories; 5.3 g. fat; 41 mg. cholesterol; 377 mg. sodium; 36.6 g. carbohydrate; 5.9 g. fiber; 26.4 g. protein

Result: Simple and delicious…and super duper healthy! The ingredient list looks long, but it’s all ingredients most cooks have on hand. The only change I would make would be using low-sodium chicken broth in place of the 5 cups of water + 1 bouillon cube. The sodium content is nice and low, but I think a bit more flavor would help the base of the soup. Another jalapeno, too…we like spicy! I did add a bit more cumin…I just couldn’t stop at 1 1/2 teaspoons, cumin is a favorite spice of mine and it’s hard to use too much. Enjoy! 😀

Question: Do you like pecan pie? Or do you prefer pumpkin?

I am a pecan pie girl, which Cooking Light reminded me is one of the least healthy holiday pie selections. Oh well, Thanksgiving only comes once a year!

Tis the season,

Share With Your Friends!


  1. November 19, 2010 / 6:09 am

    That story was so sweet. I was tearing up just imagining it. Oh, no–here I go again. I need to get off your blog before I’m bawling at work!

  2. November 19, 2010 / 7:42 am

    Aww, what a sweet story!!

    Pumpkin vs. pecan: I love ’em BOTH!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. November 19, 2010 / 8:17 am

    Ummm…let’s go w/ apple pie or blueberry!! ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m getting into the holiday spirit as well and feel like giving back. So nice to hear of someone thinking of others. Hooray for your patients! ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. November 19, 2010 / 8:25 am

    how wonderful what your patient did…I love hearing stories like this, and it reminded me of how much giving to those in need really does make the world a better place.

    I choose cream pies. French Silk. Haven’t had a piece in probably two years! ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. November 19, 2010 / 8:34 am

    I’m pecan pie all the way. Not a huge fan of pumpkin- just a sliver of it is all I need the entire holiday season.

  6. November 19, 2010 / 8:47 am

    Aww great little story–it’s always refreshing to know there is still people with huge hearts in the world!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. November 19, 2010 / 9:33 am

    PECAN PIE IS MY FAVORITE!! I used to hate it, but now I love it. I think as a kid I had an aversion to anything with nuts/pecans/almonds, etc. Now I would easily choose the pecan pie over the pumpkin.

    I love your idea of a turkey giveaway, as an incentive to get labs checked. I bet that worked wonders. And what a great story about the patient who gave their turkey tom someone who needed it more. That truly is what the holidays are all about.

  8. November 19, 2010 / 10:25 am

    I prefer pumpkin, but sometimes a good piece of pecan can hit the spot. My favorite is apple though ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. November 19, 2010 / 10:29 am

    That’s a wonderful story. I’m going to suggest to my mom to donate the turkey this year (half our family doesn’t even eat meat…so it makes sense to me!). That tortilla soup looks great too. I love a good tortilla soup.

    I’m a fan of pumpkin, but sometimes I even prefer to make apple for Thanksgiving…or both.

  10. November 19, 2010 / 11:27 am

    What a remarkable man! If only more people were like him.

    And I’m a little nervous revealing this but I’ve actually never had pecan pie LOL

  11. November 19, 2010 / 11:47 am

    I hate pecans so I would say pumpkin pie any day. That is so awesome that your patient wanted to give the turkey to someone who needed it.

  12. November 19, 2010 / 11:57 am

    That is such a touching story. I LOVE hearing about things like that.

    If I had a choice, pecan pie – no contest. But no one in my family has ever made pecan pie. I’ve only ever eaten it once in my life.

  13. November 19, 2010 / 12:12 pm

    Awww, that is so touching, Nicole. Definitely what the season is all about. I’m so glad you liked the soup! I’m a pecan pie girl. ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. November 19, 2010 / 12:57 pm

    never knew tortilla can be used this way too,, very interesting, looks delicious too

  15. November 19, 2010 / 1:50 pm

    The soup sounds lovely. Great flavors & spices. As naughty as it is, I would have to say I love pecan pie more. yum!

  16. November 19, 2010 / 2:24 pm

    Oh my gosh that is the SWEETEST story EVER! You have the best patients I think.

    That taco soup looks deeelicious. And calories don’t count on thanksgiving. Isn’t that the rule?

  17. November 19, 2010 / 2:58 pm

    What a beautiful story! One thing I’ve learned about working with people in the community and in kitchens is that there are so many wonderful, generous people out there, and it seems like the less some people have, the more that they’re willing to give away. I’ve definitely teared up a few times during my rotations. ‘Tis truly better to give …

    I’m glad the protein waffle taste test went well! I can’t wait to hear the final results of your ingenious creation. As for pie – I’m definitely an apple pie girl. I know that wasn’t one of your choices, but … I don’t really like pecan OR pumpkin pie. *GASP* I know, I know, I’ll keep it quiet ๐Ÿ˜›

  18. November 19, 2010 / 3:04 pm

    I love pumpkin pie topped with whipped cream ๐Ÿ™‚

  19. November 19, 2010 / 3:40 pm

    That’s such a sweet story. Would make me tear up too! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    I love tortilla soup! I’ve actually been thinking about it the past couple days. Think it time to start warm “winter” food!

  20. November 19, 2010 / 4:28 pm

    I love when stuff like that happens to put the whole holiday season into perspective – love it!

    My hubs: pecan – Me: pumpkin – Daughter: apple ๐Ÿ˜€

    Have a great weekend Nicole!

  21. November 19, 2010 / 5:23 pm

    What a sweet story. I can only imagine how hard it would be to hold back a tear.
    Faith always comes up with such delicious meals – that soup included! Sounds comforting.

  22. November 19, 2010 / 8:38 pm

    That is such a nice story!

    I absolutely love tortilla soup! yum! This reminded me that I need to make it ASAP!

    I definitely a pumpkin pie gal! I can’t wait!

  23. November 21, 2010 / 4:58 pm

    Mmm, this looks like the perfect way to use leftover turkey after Thanksgiving! Such a sweet story too.

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