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4 Kids, Life and Dinner (Recipe: Corn and Veggie Chowder with Chicken)

Someone who was expecting their fourth child asked me the other day how going from three kids to four kids has been. I feel sorry for the poor lady because she asked me on one of those days when I was feeling quite overwhelmed, and I was bluntly honest with her!

I love my family and I love my kids more than anything. I am so proud to be their mom, but yes… going from 3 to 4 kids has totally kicked my butt. Leah, the baby, is about as easy of a baby as one can ask for. She is happy 99% of the time, is laid back and totally melts my heart with every smile she gives me. Ella, the 3 year old, is still challenging, but she can go from making me want to pull my hair out to making me want to pick her up and hold her all day in the matter of a few minutes. She is “spirited” as her teacher says, hilarious and full of spunk. Kelly, who just turned 6, is a mini-mom. She is so helpful and honestly sometimes I feel has a better handle on everyone than I do. Jacob, my 7 year old, is growing up to be such a kind and funny young man. We can have real conversations now… meaningful conversations. It is so interesting to see how his brain works! With Nick’s travel schedule, Jacob has really jumped in to help out when Daddy is gone.

I want to say, I would not give up being the mom of 4 kids for anything. I am so in love with my family and could not imagine my life without any of them in it!

The hard part about having 4 kids is not the kids themselves. It is the things I don’t feel like I can do anymore. I do not go to the store with all four of them… I just don’t. So, that has cut into my normal errand running time and half the time our milk is all gone before I can make it to the store for more. I had to realize that it is no longer possible for me to be head room mom, playdate mom, enroll my kids in whatever activity they want to be in mom. It was the hardest for me to admit that I now have to say no to things that I once freely did with them. I gave up some work opportunities, stopped writing some of the articles I was writing, simply because there aren’t enough hours in the day. I used to be on the extreme end of organized with my house and routines, and well… let’s just say, that is sooooo not the case with me these days, unfortunately! I’m not very good at adjusting to change, but I am trying… really, truly trying.

So, life has changed and I am making an attempt to get into a comfortable routine, but it just hasn’t happened yet. I know Dine & Dish has been sporadic lately… (not to mention poor Culinary Snapshot… I promise, it WILL come back!). I appreciate your patience and friendship and your willingness to keep coming back even though I am not giving a whole lot back in return.

Even though I don’t have much to blog about, I had to share this Corn and Veggie Chowder with Chicken recipe with you ASAP. It reminded me of another difficult thing about having the size of family I have. It is hard to find a meal that everyone likes to eat, so when I find it, you can bet I’m holding on to it to repeat time and time again. This Corn and Veggie Chowder with Chicken recipe is one such dish. Inspired by the Corn Chowder over at Simply Recipes, it is meals like this that make life seem easy again!

Corn and Veggie Chowder with Chicken (Adapted and Inspired from Simply Recipes)

2 Tablespoons butter (not margarine)
1 strip of bacon
1/2 large yellow onion, chopped
2 large carrots, chopped
1/2 celery stalk, chopped
2 cans of whole kernel sweet corn, drained OR if in season, 3 ears of fresh sweet corn, cut off the cob
2 bay leaves
2 cups milk
2 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 medium Yukon Gold potatoes
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cooked and cut into bite sized pieces
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
Shredded cheddar cheese and cooked crumbled bacon bits for garnish
In a stockpot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the bacon strip and fry until the bacon renders its fat, but doesn’t begin to brown. Add the onion and saute until soft. Add the carrot and celery and cook for 5 minutes until they begin to turn tender.

1.   In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the bacon strip (skip this step for vegetarian option, just add more butter) and fry until the bacon renders its fat, but doesn’t begin to brown, 3 or 4 minutes. Add the onion and sauté for 4 to 5 minutes, until soft. Add the carrot and celery and cook for 4 or 5 more minutes.

2.   Pour the corn into the stockpot. Add the milk, chicken broth, bay leaves and potatoes. Bring to a boil, stirring continuously for 5 minutes. Reduce heat to simmer, cover the pot and cook for 20 minutes.

3.   Discard the bay leaves. Add the cooked chicken and increase the heat. Add 1 teaspoon of salt, fresh ground pepper to taste, bring to a simmer and reduce the heat to maintain a simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and serve. Garnish with shredded cheddar cheese and bacon crumbles.

(For a thicker chowder, melt 3 Tbs butter in the microwave. As soon as you remove the butter, whisk in 2 Tbs all purpose flour until smooth. Pour butter/flour mixture into the pot and stir well. Bring to a boil for 3 minutes or until mixture thickens. Remove from heat and serve.)

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Comments

  1. It’s so hard isn’t it? To be everything to everyone…including yourself? I know you love your kids/family and agree with the need to put them & your husband first, but as you can tell from the comments, you are also loved for sharing your life (and dinners) with your readers too! We’ll take you any way we can get you, even if it’s with an occasional post—still nice to catch up! :)
    .-= Sandie (Inn Cuisine)´s last blog ..Holiday Celebration Pies (Recipe: Sweet Potato Pie with Pecan Streusel) =-.

  2. This looks delicious!! 4 kids! Wow! Family first is the way to go! I love your site though.
    .-= The Teacher Cooks´s last blog ..Chocolate Pound Cake =-.

  3. I have the utmost respect for moms, especially when you’re raising 4 kids under 7 years old! Whew! And congratulations on your 3rd blogiversary, Kristen. You continue to put forth excellent recipes and stories. Here’s wishing you many more. -Susan

  4. I’m in my final weeks of pregnancy with #5…I understand what you mean about having to reprioritize your life as your family has grown. We homeschool and your comment about the things you feel like you can’t do anymore really resonated with me. This soup recipe looks great; I look forward to trying it a try to see how many in my brood give it “keeper” status.

  5. Delicious! Loved the detailed instructions..It is a must and soon to be on my table.
    .-= Cookeaze´s last blog ..Tasty Vegetable Pulav =-.

  6. I have had to say no to many things too and have become quite good at it. If it is something I would rather not do because it takes time from the family then I say no! It will all get better soon and time will go so fast. My youngest is 7 and we are having so much fun with them all. I buy three gallons of milk at a time sometimes so that I don’t run out. I still do anyway!
    .-= RobinSue´s last blog ..Super Fast: Pofosen =-.

  7. Take all the time you need!! With the holidays, work, and only one, incredibly easy daughter, I’m still strapped.
    .-= Tiffany´s last blog ..Wherein I attempt to make a gingerbread house =-.

  8. When you feel down just think about how much your kids are going to look back on this one day and appreciate everything that you do. If it makes you feel better, I wish I’d had more siblings growing up – my parents and brother were great but I always would have loved more.
    .-= maris´s last blog ..Tis the Season: 10 Cocktails that Taste Better than Gluhwein =-.

  9. We all go through these transition phases in life- I totally know where you are coming from on this one! Take all the time that you need, your family is the most important thing, always.
    .-= Aimee´s last blog ..Aimee’s Canadian Mincemeat =-.

  10. Kristen, you will get your groove back; it just takes time and I’m sure it sometimes feels as though it will never happen. But it will.
    Your chowder looks delicious, and what a blessing that everyone enjoys it! That was a rare thing in our family too.
    .-= Lynda´s last blog ..Peanut Butter Fudge ( and a reminder for December’s "Family Recipes: Memories of Family, Food and Fun") =-.

  11. So . . . sometimes letting go is the only way to hold on. Your kids and your family are a work in progress, just like you. Your head and heart will find the rhythm that works for all of you. And we will be here with you the whole time.
    .-= Cora´s last blog ..Season’s Eatings – Cookbooks Make Perfect Gifts =-.

  12. Oh, this looks so good. It snowing like crazy here today and this would warm my belly. I wish I could make it to the store for the ingredients. :( Will save this recipe for another time. Happy holidays!

  13. Re: running out of milk – here in Kuching, fresh milk is exceedingly expensive. Most people drink Ultra Heat Treated (UHT) milk which you can keep boxed, unrefrigerated, for months. We found a place that we could buy UHT milk in bulk, so we have a month’s supply of milk on hand. We’re not gonna run out of milk!
    .-= Nate´s last blog ..Chinese Almond Cookie Recipe =-.

  14. I sometimes feel overwhelmed with one, so I admire anyone with 4!! This soup looks divine.
    .-= Deborah´s last blog ..Countdown to Christmas – Day 7 – Chocolate Cinnamon Bread =-.

  15. love addition of corn and chicken :) oh m soo loving this post!! :) happy holidays and merry Christmas!
    .-= nora@ffr´s last blog ..Caramelize fruits =-.

  16. Looks great! So good to see a post from you. Merry Christmas to you and your family!
    .-= Angela @ Hello Dahrlin’´s last blog ..The Christmas Dinner Menu =-.

  17. Lovely hearty meal u have here..love corn and chicken in a soup!!!
    MErry Christams and happy holidays!!!!

  18. Happy Holidays!
    .-= Cynthia´s last blog ..The Best Gift =-.

  19. Boy, if this doesn’t look like my Rocky Mountain Potato Chowder! I got the recipe from a friend years ago and my husband loves it. You can find the recipe here:

    http://lesleyskitchen.blogspot.com/2008/01/rocky-mountain-potato-chowder.html

    And, you said, “I used to be on the extreme end of organized with my house and routines, and well… let’s just say, that is sooooo not the case with me these days,”

    That sounds so much like me and I’m an empty-nester! I guess working full-time in a bookstore is almost as exhausting as raising a family. I get to be on my feet all day, deal with crisis, clean up messes, and answer inane questions. ;) Try not to worry about “doing it all.” We’ll be here whenever you stop by with a new post. Speaking of which, I tried your cheeseburger soup tonight. One word. YUM!!!!! My husband and I LOVED it! My only wish is that I could use real cheese instead of Velveeta. Have you ever tried substituting with cheddar? Does it get too stringy? I’m thinking of adding some bacon crumbles to the leftovers tomorrow night. Oh, and I used a full pound of meat and it didn’t seem like too much. I might even throw a few sauteed mushrooms in next time around. Delicious recipe, Kristen!!
    .-= Les in NE´s last blog ..Torch =-.

  20. Hey Kristen! Wish you and your family a wonderful 2010! I love reading your family stories. :) Also very happy to hear that Culinart Snapshot will be back soon *wink wink*
    .-= The Purple Foodie´s last blog ..Best of 2009: Books =-.

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