Friday, December 14, 2012


Whew! Is anybody else running on fumes right now? What a week it has been.

A week ago (last Friday) I was getting ready to visit Natalie for a very girly weekend. I had THE LOVELIEST time with her...lots of girly things like baking, chick movies, brunch shopping :) :) :)

By the way -- why am I just now discovering the WONDERFUL-ness of BRUNCH? It's actually very close to being my favorite meal...Usually early in the mornings before work I don't have the appetite (or time) to eat a big meal, so sleeping late + eating a hearty breakfast-type meal on the weekend is something I'm totally down for.

After a casual Friday night of PJs and girl movies, Natalie and I got up on Saturday morning to head to her church's cookie swap. I left my phone in car but I wish SO BADLY that I would have kept it with me during the party so that I could have taken pictures of all of the deliciousness surrounding us. We kicked everything off with brunch -- monkey bread, breakfast casseroles, muffins, fruit, juice, coffee -- you name, it was there. I could barely contain my excitement. Sitting in a beautiful country home, surrounded by good food and exquisite Christmas did my heart GOOD.

Monkey Bread via
Then the cookie swapping ensued....There were so many women at this party, each carrying a tray of the sweetest of sweets. I'm talking cookies, brownies, cake balls, candy, things-I'm-not-even-sure-what-they-were, fudge, and {of course} Natalie's famous MAGIC BARS...the party was ON. Three tables' worth of goods...there are no words to describe the love I now have for cookie swaps! HA!

Fast forward to last night. My friend Lauren from our grad schools days (she's actually working on her PhD now -- WHAAAT??) was passing through town and needed a couch to sleep on. Lauren is one of my closest friends, so to have her visit was EXACTLY what I needed to lift my spirits after a crazy week!


Let me PAUSE for a moment to say that Lauren seriously knows how to have fun. Without this girl I never would have run two half-marathons (and training for #3!), or really ANY of the crazy races we have done. She's the most adventurous person I've ever known and we always have a blast...I LOVE it when she comes around!

Warrior Dash, 2012
We were the 3 Little Pigs, and the gray shirt in the back is the Big Bad Wolf!
Scariest race EVER -- we were bruised for WEEKS -- but SO. MUCH. FUN.

Last obstacle of the Dash...JUMPING THE FIRE!
I almost chickened out of this one -- Fire is one of my greatest fears. Right before this picture was taken, Lauren grabbed my hand (that's us on the left!) and said something to the effect of...

"If you don't jump, we all DIE."

...Motivating enough for me!

But back to last night!

Lauren showed up last night and we had some MAJOR catch-up time whilst I wrapped Christmas presents and made a nice pot of warm chicken tortilla soup (YESSS). This is by far one of my favorite soups to make!!!!

Later the Boy joined us for dinner and we had BLACKBERRY CRISP for dessert!!! While I've made the soup dozens of times, the crisp was purely an experiment. Thankfully, it was delicious :) If you want a warm comforting dessert that's still on the lighter side and cheap, I have a feeling you'll love it as much as we did** :)

This recipe uses very practical ingredients that I usually have on hand already, but you can add your own spin to it if you so choose. Hope everyone stays warm and safe :)

Cold Weather Blues Chicken Tortilla Soup
(adapted from a random Mexican cookbook I've had for years!)


Chicken (I used 2 cooked chicken breasts), chopped
Chicken Broth (either 1 jar or what is left from cooking your chicken, about 2 cups)
~ 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
garlic, to taste (I used about half a teaspoon of garlic salt)
1 jar salsa
1 can corn, undrained
Juice of 1 lime (optional)
Hot sauce, to taste
Cilantro, to taste
Cheese, for topping
Sour Cream, for topping
Tortilla chips, on the side
Loudly-colored FIESTA! bowl, for serving (optional)

Cook and chop your pollo*. In a separate saucepan or pot, heat your olive oil and add your garlic. Let this saute for 2-3 minutes. Add your chicken broth (I used what was left from cooking my chicken), chicken pieces, salsa and corn, one at a time. Give your soup a good stir and let the flavors get acquainted :) If the soup looks too watery, add a bit of chicken bouillon.

Add the hot sauce (if you like it) - I used about a tablespoon - the cilantro, and the lime juice. I LOVE cilantro so I usually add a good bit, but you can leave it out altogether if you prefer; I've done that before and the soup still tastes great.

Let the soup simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. You'll know when it's done. Top it with sour cream and a sprinkle of cheese and serve with chips on the side.

Now put on your sombrero, grab your maracas and eat this soup while it's warm!


*See what I did there? Yeah you did! ;)
**Recipe is best friend- and Boy-approved :)
***Please excuse my excessive use of !!!!s and :)s. I love them. :)

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