Thursday, February 28, 2013

Chicken Tortilla Soup

March is almost here, which means the start of Spring, but over here we are still dealing with some wintery, cold weather.  What's better to end one of those days with a nice warm bowl of soup.  I have never made Chicken Tortilla Soup, but saw thought I would give it a try.  This recipe is great if you are short on time (about 45 minutes to make) and is one of the best Chicken Tortilla soups I have tasted (my husband agrees).  The best part are the garnishes at the end....avocado, tortilla strips, cheese...perfect!  

Chicken Tortilla Soup

8 servings


  • 1 lb, Skinless Chicken Breasts
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon Cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Chili Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup Red Bell Pepper
  • 3 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1 can (10 Oz. Can) Rotel Tomatoes And Green Chilies
  • 32 ounces, fluid Low Sodium Chicken Stock
  • 2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
  • 2 cups Hot Water
  • 1 cans (15 Oz. Can) Black Beans, drained and rinsed
  • Sour Cream
  • Diced Avocado
  • Diced Red Onion
  • Salsa
  • Grated Monterey Jack Cheese
  • Cilantro
  • Tortilla strips

Preparation Instructions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix cumin, chili pepper, garlic powder, and salt. Drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil on chicken breasts, then sprinkle a small amount of spice mix on both sides. Set aside the rest of the spice mix.
Place chicken breasts on a baking sheet. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until chicken is done. Use two forks to shred chicken. Set aside.
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a pot over medium high heat. Add onions, red pepper, and minced garlic. Stir and and cook 3-4 minutes or until pepper are tender.   Add the rest of the spice mix, stir to combine, then add shredded chicken and stir.
Pour in Rotel, chicken stock, tomato paste, water, and black beans. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and simmer 20 minutes.

Ladle into bowls, then top with tortilla strips, sour cream, diced red onion, diced avocado, salsa and grated cheese.   Enjoy!

adapted from Pioneer Woman's Chicken Tortilla Soup

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Enter to win over $600 in prizes!

Today I am happy to be a part of Sugar and Dots raffle and giveaway to help another blogger in need.  Every $1 entry gets you a free print from Sugar and Dots and go towards helping a blogger who lost everything in a home fire.  With each raffle ticket you will be entered to win over $600 in prizes including a $15 credit to my shop Smitten Image.

If you feel like doing something good today, go check it out.  Enjoy your Sunday.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

it's time...

We put off putting Jack in a big boy bed.  Part of the reason was that Jack never tried to climb out and he liked being in there.  It was his little safe place.  The biggest reason though, that we didn't switch was because everyone would tell us "Once you put them it the bed, they will never take naps!"  or "Once you switch they will be coming in your room every night!"

So we waited.  Well the time finally came we decided to switch.  Before we did I went over the rules for the new bed.  

1.  You can read/play/etc in your room, but no leaving your room.
2. If you want to leave or it's time to wake up let Mommy or Daddy know

I was praying that he would follow the rules and off to the big boy bed we went....

It has been a success...he is being such a good boy.  At night we watch him in the monitor (it's so funny!) and he gets his books, jumps around a little, and then turns off his light, turns on his star turtle and goes to sleep.  I can't believe it was this easy.  He still naps, and in the morning he yells "I'm ready to wake up!"

Let's hope this lasts. I think it will...I have to say, when given rules, Jack is very good about remembering them, and following them.

How was your transition?  Easy?  A nightmare?

Monday, February 18, 2013

Chocolate Sour Cream Bundt Cake

Chocolate is my downfall, I can't say no. So when I saw this Chocolate Sour Cream Bundt Cake on Two Peas blog, I knew I had to make it. I just needed a reason. So what better reason than a Sunday dinner with family.  This recipe was so easy (no mixer required!), and even though I was a bit scared, came out flawlessly from the bundt pan. 

It tastes...AMAZING.  It is now my go to cake and is for sure going to be a favorite in our family.  Now find a reason to make this cake. that it's a Tuesday in February!!! 

(Please excuse my cake's a bit messy...)

Chocolate Sour Cream Bundt Cake
Yield: Serves 10
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes


For the cake:
1 cup unsalted butter, plus more for the pan
1/3 cup cocoa powder (we use Dutch processed)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup water
2 cups all-purpose Gold Medal flour, plus more for the pan
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 large eggs
1/2 cup sour cream (or Greek yogurt)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the chocolate glaze:
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons corn syrup (or agave nectar)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar


1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a 10 or 12-cup Bundt pan and set aside.

2. In a small saucepan, combine the butter, cocoa powder, salt, and water and place over medium heat. Cook, stirring, just until melted and combined. Remove from the heat and set aside.

3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, and baking soda. Add half of the melted butter mixture and whisk until completely blended. The mixture will be thick. Add the remaining butter mixture and whisk until combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, whisking until completely blended. Whisk in the sour cream (or Greek yogurt) and the vanilla extract. Whisk until smooth.

4. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Let the cake cool in the pan for 15 minutes and then invert onto a rack. Let cool completely before glazing.

5. While the cake is cooling, make the chocolate glaze. Place the chopped chocolate and corn syrup (or agave) in a medium bowl and set aside. Combine the heavy cream and sugar in a small saucepan and put over medium heat. Stir until the cream is hot and the sugar is dissolved. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and whisk until smooth.

6. Generously drizzle the glaze over the cooled cake, allowing it to drip down the sides. Cut into pieces and serve.

Friday, February 15, 2013


So I have been into photography for years.  In high school I took a class and was really into it. I even won some district awards for some things I did.  For years after that I didn't do much with it, but when Jack was born I decided I needed to buy a nice camera and start at it again.  To me a good photo is essential when having kids.  Photos capture so much and I love looking back at all of them.  Since I got back into photography however, I have not taken any classes; I just sort of learned on my own..reading blogs, youtube, etc.  

Well finally I went ahead and signed up for an online course from Clickinmoms.  Shooting 101.  It is great.  I knew the basics of manual, but this really helps me break them down and see why my pictures were not like I want them to be. I am now addicted, and want to sign up for every class they have.  The only thing is Jack may get a bit tired of posing for me. ...BUT I did want to share a picture from my first week. It's not perfect, but I like it, and I love that little face.

Have a great weekend...Spring is not that far away!!!

Monday, February 11, 2013

snow day

I have been praying for snow.  Last year we had snow for about a day so we really didn't get out to enjoy it. I really thought this year we would have no snow but it finally came last week.  So Jack wanted to get right out and play.  He made his first snowman...with Dad's help.  I think they did a pretty good job.  Of course yesterday the weather warmed up a bit and "Frankie" the snowman is now just a memory.  Maybe we will get one more snow in before Spring.  

I hope you all have a wonderful work for me tomorrow!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Some sweets for my sweets....

Although Valentine's Day may be a Hallmark holiday, I think it's the perfect time to go out of our way to show our family/friends/etc. that we love and appreciate them.  What better way to do that then to bake something for them.  These beautiful treats below would be the perfect way to say "i love you" and I am sure they all taste unbelievable.  Have a wonderful Thursday!