Creamy Chicken Tortilla Soup

This is probably my most asked for recipe. It is definitely not my own recipe…but it’s amazing. I make this roughly once a week and I am STILL not tired of it. My soccer moms love it and I get asked almost weekly for the details! There are so many crockpot recipes for tortilla soup, or easy methods. If you want EASY, this is not for you. I mean it’s easy…it’s just not fast. It is time consuming and has lots of steps. BUT that’s what makes it my favorite thing ever. That’s what makes it drool worthy. So if you have a free afternoon or evening to dedicate a half hour/45 minutes to it….Here you go!

Vibrantly Living- Creamy Chicken Tortilla Soup

(Pictures are not mine either- they are from Pinterest)

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1 1/2 cup chopped yellow onion (1 medium)
  • 1 Tbsp finely minced garlic (3 cloves)
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and chopped (1/4 cup) — Only if you want it spicy
  • 1 (32 oz) carton low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tsp of each chili powder, cumin, and paprika– For less spicy use half the chili powder
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 1/4 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts*
  • 1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes with green chilies
  • 1 1/3 cups milk
  • 1/3 cup corn meal
  • 1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15 oz) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15 oz) can corn
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup sour cream

Toppings: Cilantro, Shredded Mexican cheese, Avocado, and Tortilla chips (Juanita’s are the best)

Directions

  • Heat canola oil in a large pot over medium heat. Once hot, add onion and jalapeño and saute 3 minutes, adding garlic during last 30 seconds of sauteing. Add chicken broth, chili powder, cumin, paprika and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add chicken breasts and bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to medium, cover pot with lid and gently boil until chicken has cooked through, about 15 minutes.
  • Remove chicken and allow to rest 5 minutes. Meanwhile, add diced tomatoes with green chilies to pot. Then, in the 2-cup liquid measuring cup used to measure milk (or a bowl), whisk together milk and masa harina until well blended. Pour mixture into pot and cook, stirring frequently, until mixture boils and thickens slightly (it won’t thicken much). Dice chicken and add to pot, then add black beans, pinto beans and corn. Then stir in cream and sour cream and cook until heated through.
  • Serve warm topped with cheese, sour cream, avocados, cilantro, limes and tortilla chips.
  • *If chicken breasts are fairly thick, slices them horizontally through the thickness to create two portions. They will cook faster this way and be more tender as they’ll cook more evenly.

Vibrantly Living- Creamy Chicken Tortilla Soup

Share with your friends, family and definitely your soccer mom group!

*recipe and photo source: Cooking Classy

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Donut Holes-Do not Blame me for your weight gain….

10 minute Cinnamon Sugar Donut Holes

Who Doesn’t love donuts, right? Well maybe some people, but that’s dumb. I personally love maple bars, and donut holes. I “Pinterest-ed” the other day and found an awesome recipe for flawless maple bars. I did not take pictures because honestly they were gone before I could find my phone.

I would love to sit here and tell you that I did take pictures of the donut holes I made, but sadly..I did not. Again, they were gone faster than my husband leaves the room when I talk makeup. BUT i will attach a lovely stock photo of a pinterest version of these bad boys just to entice you.

ingredients:

  • Pillsbury Biscuits- in refrigerated aisle–not croissants
  • Vegetable Oil/Canola Oil
  • Mixture of cinammon and sugar in a bowl
  • Your self dignity after you eat everything you just made

how to:

  • open the biscuits and separate them
  • cut them into 4 little pizza looking slices
  • separate them again and roll into small balls
  • pour oil into a saucepan about 3 inches deep, turn on medium heat until hot
  • put about 4 balls in the oil at a time and rotate occasionally till they are an even deep golden brown
  • use tongs to get the donut holes from the sauce pan
  • lay out on plate or paper towel to cool off for about 5 minutes
  • roll each donut hole in the sugar/cinnamon mixture until fully coated
  • try to leave some for your kids…only if you want to

For realzzzz these are addicting. You should even try the Maple Bar Recipe…basically the same but you home make the maple glaze…which is amazing.

Now that you are roughly 5 pounds heavier, your welcome!

All you need is LOVE.

Well another holiday has come. It feels like only yesterday I was putting up my Christmas stuff!! The really scary part…My favorite Easter candy is already hit the shelves. Cadbury mini eggs..AMAZING if you haven’t a;ready discovered these amazing balls of delight.

Every year I go over this debate in my head. This contradicts my post about being a “good mom” by standards. My mom sat with my for countless hours making my very own personal DIY Valentines every single year..probably until I was in high school honestly. From ribbon sewed doilies to puffy penned canvas’s, I always had home made valentines to pass out. Of course I hated doing them. I think it was more for my mom’s pleasure (sorry mom). Well since my little ones have been in school..or pre-school..I have dedicated the time and effort into making sure they have THE COOLESt home made valentines in the class. (I lied. There was this ONE year I didn’t do it. I went to Walgreen’s let them pick out The Hulk and Princess store bought, cheap ones….and I felt horrible). BUT..mostly every year I have done them 🙂

This year..being my first official SAHM year..I HAD to find something amazing. Everyone knew I stayed home, the teacher’s knew, the kids knew, my friends knew…I couldn’t be a let down to everyone expecting something amazing! SO of course I go to Pinterest first. There was tons of print-it-out on your home computer stuff but honestly I was too cheap to buy new ink 🙂 I ended up finding both of the kids’ ideas from this month’s Oprah magazine! Thanks Oprah! (or her staff who makes all that junk up).  Henley decided on book marks for her classmates. This deemed very appropriate for her since she is 5 and they were just getting started on reading. Liam chose a very cool (boy style valentine) of Tic-Tac-Toe cards with M&M’s. I was pleased with the choices so off I went on the adventure of—finding everything to make them!

For all you moms who have only a couple days left before the annual “Valentines day party” in your kids’ class..don’t fret! I will list all the materials I used and where I found them..the actual labor time was about 1 hour per kid..

Valentine Book Marks:

Materials-

  • Paint Sample strips- of whatever color your child wants. We picked different shades of Pink..well because it’s her favorite. (I found all mine at Home Depot)–and it’s FREE
  • a Heart shaped hole puncher (This was hard to find..but ended up finding one at JoANNE Fabrics for $4.99)
  • 2 different colors of thin ribbon. (Found a purple and pink one at WalMart for $0.49 cents each)
  • a Black Sharpie
  • some sort of Lollipop or whatever candy you want to attach to the back of the book mark (we used heart shaped ones from Target $2.00)
  • Tape (clear or colored doesn’t matter)

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How To-

The paint samples I got were very wide..so I cut them in half making skinny long book marks. Once I cut them I had Henley use the heart shaped punch out on every sample of color (see picture). I used the top hole to thread my two strands of ribbon through. I cut the ribbon about 6″ each. I tied them in a knot on the book mark. I used a pencil to write all the kids’ names in her class along the front of the bookmark and let Henley trace them with black sharpie. That way it was in her own hand writing…but everything was spelled correctly. We flipped them over and attached the lollipop with a thin strip of tape to the back. Henley wrote her name on the back as well so everyone would know it was from her 🙂 VOILA… fin.

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Tic-Tac-Toe Boards:

Materials-

  • 2 different colors of card stock paper cut to 4X6″ pieces (we chose hot pink for the girls and lime green for the boys- found a large pack of card stock for $5.00 at Walmart)
  • Black Sharpie
  • Large bag of M&M’s
  • 4X9″ clear plastic bags (found at Ben Franklin or any craft store $2.00)
  • Tape

How To-

The cardstock was a full sheet of paper when we first bought them so I cut them into 4X6″ pieces. He had 27 kids in his class so I made enough for the girls and boys in their own colors. We took the black sharpie and made tic-tac-toe boards on every one in the middle of the paper. Then I wrote a cute note above each board “Tic-Tac-Toe Happy Valentines.”  Once this was complete I had Liam stuff each card stock paper into a clear plastic bag..should fit perfectly along the sides and leave about half of the bag to fold over at the top. Liam took the M&M’s (5 of one color and of another) to use for the X’s and O’s in the game. Place them in the plastic bag so they pool at the bottom. Fold the top of the bag over and use duct tape (we used red) to write the classmates name and your child’s name on and to tape the bag shut. VOILA...fin.

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SO another year has come and will go tomorrow–both the kid have their parties tomorrow due to having no school on Valentines day. Their school dance is tomorrow as well and we plan on dancing our socks off 🙂

Have a very LOVE FILLED day on Friday with whoever you have in your life to love! ❤

<3 Valentines Delight <3

OH my gosh people. I just made possibly the most amazing cookies of my life. This may or may not have to do with the growing little boy inside my stomach..but regardless they are amazing. I have always been a big fan of the cake batter cookies…I may have even posted about them before. SUPER easy and SUPER good. BUT I took it to a whole new level today…where I have not gone before.

To add to today’s post I must update you on the new “pregnancy cravings” of recent. Strawberry cheesecake anything, strawberries, blueberries and fruit in general. Sooooo we have been pretty regular at Menchies lately…don’t judge…This week they have the flavors: Cheese cake and their always best seller- Cake Batter. Mix the two together…add some white chocolate chips, fresh strawberries, fresh blueberries, and cheese cake bites..HEAVEN!!! This is all leading me into the most amazing cookies ever…no worries.

TODAY. I am not feeling too good. Baby’s head is wedged in between my pelvic bone (where he has pretty much been camping out since 16 weeks). It is impossible to walk, stand, or even sit. Thanks kid. But I made it to the store, and I made it to the baking aisle, and I just happened to make it home to prepare for myself these delicious cookies 🙂

If you don’t already know how to make Cake Batter cookies I will explain here:

Ingredients:

  • 1 box Funfettit cake mix (or any flavor you like, doesn’t matter the brand) I used Pillsbury Funfetti
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil

That’s it, seriously. Preheat your oven to 375°. mix those three ingredients together in a large bowl, and on a NON-GREASED cookie sheet plop little 1″ balls on to your sheet. Put in over for roughly 8 minutes (or until you see golden brown along the edges of the cookies). My tip top secret?? Even though they look gooey still..or may not be cooked enough…they are. Leave them to cool for about 5 minutes and they firm right up..but just the right amount! Most people put them back in and then they aren’t as moist and soft 🙂

OK so yes that is all wonderful and all but where is the AMAZING part? Well I picked up two frosting’s this time. I usually go for the strawberry one (always tastes wonderful on the cookies) and this time I picked up a cream cheese one. I did half & half (OK Henley did) with the flavors once the cookies were cooled enough to frost. Guess what I did next. I got out my fresh strawberries…cut them into small quarters..and yes I did. I placed those little suckers on the cookies. I took ONE bite out of the cream cheese cookie with strawberries and melted. This may be an over dramatization due to my pregnancy but I kid you not they were probably the best thing ever.

So not only do I have scrumptious cookies in my house but they look pretty darn Valentines Day-ie and I love them 🙂 This is a great lazy day, wanting something sweet to make recipe.

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Hope you all have a lovely Vday and maybe you can make these for a kids class party or someone you love! 

Hot Diggity-Dog

I don’t know about you but my children seem to be going through a “I don’t want to eat anything” stage. It is getting rather frustrating trying to cook a nice meal that EVERYONE can enjoy. To be honest, I was a HUGE picky eater growing up, it wasn’t until I met my husband that I started eating fish…and most vegetables. I give them credit where it is deserved, like the fact my 5 year old daughter will sit and devour an entire TREE of broccoli by herself and my son will eat Asparagus like it is going out of style. But normal kid food…like let’s say Cheesy mashed potatoes. Good heavens you’d think I was trying to poison them. It’s so absolutely ridiculous. Or maybe the typical all american kid meal- grilled cheese sandwiches. Henley look at it for ten minutes and then finally after her first bite said “But mommy, do I HAVE to?” SERIOUSLY CHILD????? What kid doesn’t love grilled cheese? Mine I guess.

So the trek for home cooked, some what healthy meals that my kids will eat began. I have numerous friends I stay connected with that have larger families as well and you betchya I badgered them with questions and their secrets. Tonight however, was another Pinterest inspiration. Now, normally I would link the fellow bloggers recipe with my own post however I don’t feel the did the best job at explaining–well…anything.  The one thing about these adventures in cooking is that I get to try it out first and then post what I would change or what should be changed for the next person to try. This recipe definitely needed some more explanation and some tweaks to it. So I guess we will dive right in.

Ingredients: ( I have a family of 4 and a husband who eats a lot, and kids who eat little..so change the amount depending on you’re own family)

  • 6 hot dogs, cut in half the horizontal way
  • wooden sticks (we used ones that we had used for Kabob’s previously and they worked great– and cheap. Can be found at any grocery store)
  • 3/4 cup cornbread mix
  • 4 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 6 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 cup all purpose, unbleached flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup whole milk ( I used 2% and it didn’t make a difference)
  • 1 raw egg

Directions:

I first got a large pot and poured canola oil in it…enough to be able to dip the hot dogs in and cover them. (This recipe was a fried corn dog style..more like the fair but I am sure it can be done baked for a healthier style). Turn the heat on to Med-High. Next start your batter. Mix all of the ingredients (minus the hot dogs) in a medium mixing bowl. Stir them all together until it creates a nice smooth, creamy mixture. Take your halved hot dogs and poke your sticks in to them 3/4 of the way. Dip the hot dogs into your batter so that it fully covers the dog. Don’t get it too thick otherwise it won’t cook all the way. Once you have completed this your oil should be hot enough to start frying. Take one at a time and lower the dog with batter into the oil. (We have a netted frying utensil we use for this which makes it easier and less dangerous). Leave the hot dog under the oil for about 2 minutes or until a medium brown color. This is where we messed up. I had coated the hot dogs too thick with batter and the oil was too hot. You want the oil at 375 degrees though I am not sure how you would measure that? Med-High heat should be good. When you bring them out set them aside on a plate with a paper towel to soak up the excess oil.

Once we sat down to eat they looked, and smelled delicious. Kids were SO very excited to eat which was a huge plus. When i bit into my first one the batter was not fully done on the inside….and we noticed the ones that had thicker breading where the ones that did not get fully cooked on the inside. The lighter colored breading seemed to be more thin and fully done…just as delicious 🙂 Hope all of this helps the next one to try the recipe!!!

Have a Hot diggity dog day/night wherever you are 

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Mexi-yes-i-CAN!

My cravings have not changed from one child to the next..I still am obsessed with Mexican food and Red Robin? I am convinced that my cravings are then passed to my child for further more. Liam’s favorite restaurant in the whole world is Mazatlan or any chicken enchilada he can find, and Henley’s favorite  is..well, Red Robin.

Aside from those cravings it has been a little different this time..and I will not complain about these. Artichokes. Dear lord. Back a pick up truck full of artichokes and I will devour them. I have no clue why but I have been eating them almost daily. The next one is cucumbers. Yes, raw cucumbers. I probably go through one a day as well, though my kids steal them from me..not going to complain there either. Last weird but not aweful craving…crisp, cold as can be honey crisp apples. I will even wake in the middle of the night craving one of those 🙂

ANYWAYS…The point of this post was to let you know that my recent re-pin of the chimichangas was DELISH. It turned out amazing. I tried out one earlier of the chicken enchilada’s, but this one takes the cake. Here is what I did…

Ingredients:

  1. 2/3 cup Picantae or your favorite salsa
  2. 1 tspn ground cumin
  3. 1/2 tspn dried oregano, leaves crushed
  4. 1 1/2 cup cooked chicken chopped
  5. 1 cup cheddar cheese shredded
  6. 2 green onion, chopped, with some tops (about 1/4 cup)
  7. 6, 8 inch flour tortillas
  8. 2 tbs margarine melted
  9. 1 more cup cheddar cheese for serving

Directions:

  1. Mix cooked chicken, salsa or picante, oregano, cumin, cheese and onion together
  2. Place about 1/4 of the mixture in the middle of the tortilla
  3. Fold in top and bottom ends, then sides and place seam side down on a baking dish
  4. Brush the top and sides of each rolled tortilla with melted butter
  5. Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes or until golden brown
  6. Pull from over, garnish with more chopped green onion, sour cream, guacamole, cheese and enjoy!!!

I also made home made mexican rice along with cheesy refried beans.. ( my kids love american mexican food so I tried to imitate) To make the rice you just make regular white rice and add a can of enchilada sauce and about 1/2 cup of salsa…I added a touch of cumin just for taste as well.

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F r e e F a l l i n g

Welp..My update the blog every day idea sure went Kaput. I just don’t think I can be that EVERY DAY/BLOG MY LIFE kind of mom. Oh well. On to the next topic…

FALL!!!!! I am so in love with fall. But today…oh today was extraordinary. Today was sun beaming, orange and yellow leaf falling, crisp breeze, caramel apple kind of day. It was beautiful. I am starting to think my love for autumn is very superficial however. I love the change in colors, Halloween, and all the fun house decorating..although I do not like the constant rain. Washington has probably one of the top ten most beautiful fall scenery in the world..but it usually rains every day. Today though…it was like a California Fall. Maybe that’s where I need to be.. Spring is also a favorite because everyone is coming out the of winter depression…It’s like everyone is saying “I’M ALIVE” in their best Frankenstein voices.

I have not won the lotto since my last post, unfortunately, so this post is going to target my FREE AND THRIFTY audience. I have not been on Pinterest that much lately, good thing, but I have been on Facebook. I am not quit sure which is more frustrating. I think Pinterest has rubbed off on just about everyone on my news feed..and I’m over here like…wait for me! Sadly enough we forgot a couple Halloween decor boxes during the move last year so we literally have like 2 things to decorate with this year. I did make a stop at Goodwill in September (before all the good decorations were gone) and scored a scare crow for $2 and a Pumpkin wreath for $2. (If you haven’t tried thrift stores yet for ANY holiday decor..DO! They have amazing stuff for super cheap and they even get department store over stock).  One of the fall highlights I wanted to incorporate in  our home was the cute burlap fireplace pendant sign. Now I know they are probably not hard to make…but I just don’t want to. Sorry. I saw some at an antique store already done for the amazing price of…$35. NO.

<<Again, I repeat, I did NOT win the lotto. >>

The sun was blaring in the window, I had just made Henley lunch and was feeling crafty. I thought to myself “Why can’t I just find stuff around the house and make my own fireplace piece?” Soooooo I did. I went and grabbed some orange and brown craft/project paper in the kids play room, some scissors and a black sharpie. I cut out triangle shaped pendants and wrote letters on them with sharpie. Easy enough….

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Then I had to get a little creative. WHAT was I going to hang this up by, and HOW was I going to get it to stay? I knew I needed to find some sort of yarn, twine etc to place on the fireplace to hang from, but a good ‘ol glue stick was NOT going to keep it on the twine. And I am not the mom who has a glue stick in the cupboard. I literally walked around my house for 15 minutes. I went into every room looking for inspiration or something to use. I found 2 pieces of already cut up twine…previously used. This would have to work. I then remembered I had cute wooden clothing pins (again from a previous project) that I could use to hang from the twine. I had no idea how cheesy and tacky this was going to look but I thought why the heck not.

I think…for 100% free….It turned out pretty DARN good– insert big happy/proud smiley face.

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H A P P Y   F A L L    Y ‘ A L L