Fiesta of Flavor: Chicken Tortilla Soup

January 12th, 2010

I’m a sincere lover of Mexican food – I crave it at least twice a month.  When I was in college, I would indulge at the local taquería in muy grande burritos and never gain a single ounce.  These days, if I so much as look at a burrito sideways, I gain five pounds.

Two years ago, Mr. CG and I were dining at our favorite local Mexican food restaurant.  He ordered the chicken tortilla soup.  I tried it for the first time, and fell in love.  All the flavor of a delicious taco, in a bowl, but healthier and lower in calories ?  Sign me up, señor.  Since the restaurant was reluctant to share their recipe, I spent over a year trying to capture the same flavor by tweaking my own recipe for sopa de tortilla de pollo.

On a cold winter day, there’s nothing I want more than a hot bowl of soup  And a nap.  But the latter is not happening.  Here’s my recipe for ‘taco in a bowl’.  It’s yummy yummy to your tummy.  Muy bueno.  Enjoy.

Homemade Chicken Tortilla Soup

chicken tortilla soup crop

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DIY Wrapping Paper and Ribbon Organizer

January 11th, 2010

Kids have a way of springing things on you – it just comes with motherhood territory.  Friday, my daughter announced to me that she was expected at the social event of the season.  Okay, it was just another invitation to yet another kid’s birthday party, but it happened to be taking place that very afternoon.  Need gift, need it wrapped, pronto !

In the past, whenever these kinds of social events had arisen, I always found myself scrambling for wrapping paper and ribbon.  It drove me crazy.  I had no place to store wrap in my office and I didn’t want to store it under the bed.  Then I thought, hey, I’ll use the space behind my laundry room door.  Yeah, that’s what I’ll do.  Genius, I tell ya.

I searched around online for a quality organizer, and even considered buying one like this, but most of the consumer reviews said it was junk.  Then I had a light bulb moment.  Light bulb said, “Gurl, what the heck are you thinkin’ ?  Git yer beehind on down to Lowe’s and build yerself yer own, dagnabbit !”  So I did, lickety split.

This project took about two hours total from start to finish over the course of two days, but now I have this great little wrapping paper organizer and I’ve maximized storage in a place I wasn’t using before- behind the laundry room door !   Yeee haw !

organizer for wrap and ribbon

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Snowed In? Get Your Clean On

January 8th, 2010

I read yesterday that somewhere in North Dakota the snow and wind chills registered at 52 below zero.  If you’re snowed in like half of North America, make the best of it, and get your deep clean on.  No need to brave the snow and sleet to go out and buy chemical cleaning products.  Got lemons, vegetable oil, white vinegar and baking soda ?  You’re in business. 

I’ve read a few books and done a lot of research online over the last few days on natural cleaning agents.  I am now a virtual Cliff Clavin on the use of household products for all natural cleaning.  Of course, this is spoken by someone who believes just about everything she reads online.  Like this internet shocker from Erin, did you hear ? Scrunchies are back

But come to think of it, if you’re snowed in, a scrunchie might make a great dusting tool, wrapped around the tip of a toothbrush.  Just close the blinds so your neighbors don’t catch you on camera holding such a relic of bad fashion.  Of course, that’s assuming anyone still owns a scrunchie.  I think some gals still do.  But if you ever leave your house wearing a scrunchie, do not admit this, because I might have to defriend you on Facebook.  

Lemons are not just for cocktails, my friends. Oil and vinegar are not just for salad dressing.  Baking soda is not just for making cakes and removing odor from the fridge.  These handy household kitchen staples work wonders as natural cleaning agents. 

country living lemons Lemons

Wipe half a sliced lemon onto cutting boards to freshen and clean. 

Toss peels in your garbage disposal and rinse with hot water to freshen up your kitchen sink in no time. 

Clean grout stains by mixing lemon juice with a few tablespoons of baking soda. 

Out of bleach ?  Need to whiten whites in the wash ?  Add a few tablespoons of lemon juice to your rinse cycle instead. 

Mix the squeeze of a lemon with a full spray bottle of water for a quick all purpose cleaner. 

Got ants?  Squeeze lemon juice at their entry point to repel them.  Read the rest of this entry »

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