Chicken Tortilla Soup (my version of Cafe Rio‚Äôs)


Here’s a dinner idea you can add to your fall/winter menu-however I still ordered this in the dead of summer when we lived in Arizona so maybe it can be a year-round favorite?? I guess it depends on how much you like to sweat ūüė¨? The recipe originated from this chicken recipe I got from a friend. It’s supposed to be shredded and used for chicken nachos so if you have any non-soup eaters you can customize (yea-just what you wanted-to be a short order cookūüėĒ). But it’s pretty simple, I almost always have the ingredients kickin around AND it’s very flavorful! Here ya go-lmk what you think!

Chicken Tortilla Soup:

2 lbs chicken breast- cut into tenders sized pieces and heavily seasoned with chili powder, salt, pepper and garlic and herb Mrs. Dash

2 onions- thinly sliced

A couple carrots- diced

2 tbsp olive oil

2 cloves of garlic- minced

2 quarts chicken stock


1. Sauté the sliced onions in the olive oil for around 5 minutes.

2. Push all the onions to the side of the pot and then brown the chicken on each side.

3. Once all the chicken is browned add it all back into the pot with the minced garlic and the chopped carrots. Pour the chicken stock on top, cover and simmer on low for 45 minutes-1 hour.

4. Check to see if the chicken is tender. It should fall apart very easily (I usually pull it all out and kinda chop it up on a cutting board and then put it back in the Soup.

5. Top with your favorite salsa, spicy quac, a few crushed chips, shredded cheese, whatever you like!

Dear Anna and Katie,

Do you gals ever go help out in your kids’ class?¬† Anytime I do, I have a slight headache for¬†a few hours.¬† Kuddos to all the teachers out there. Katie, I don’t know where you can muster up the patience to withstand dozens of grade schoolers and actually impart knowledge. I knew when we did that co-op preschool with Calvin and Ian, back in the day,¬†that I was not cut out to ever be a homeschooler.¬† I still wonder if I laid a rocky foundation for his educational experience.¬† However, one thing I have managed to do was teach my children to read.¬† Back when blogspot was hot and everyone had a blog, I came across a friend’s¬†site and she wrote about an instructional book on how to teach your child to read.¬† I bought the book and have used the same pages to teach 4 of my 5 children to read.¬† I know both of you have heard me sing its praises.¬† The book is ‘How to teach your child to read in 100 easy lessons’.¬† Each chapter is broken down to a 5-15 min lesson.¬† No prep work at all.¬† It tells you exactly what you need to say to your child.¬† I love the one on one with my kid and can feel good about giving them a good anchor on their reading skills.¬† If you want to teach your kid to read but are too lazy or overwhelmed to do the research or the work, put your amazon prime account to work and order yourselves the book and force some quality time with your fartknocker.

Hasta Luego!



Freakin’ Dinner Recipes

Susie and Anna,

Here are those dinner ideas that I was yakking about on Instastories. ¬†Thankfully I had a few people take pity on me and my pathetic plea for dinner ideas. ¬†Honestly though, I’m so sick of cooking dinner. ¬†I feel like I’m in Groundhog Day. ¬†Everyday at 5:00, I’m like, “This again???? They’re hungry AGAIN?”

Dinner for us lately has been (and if you ever tell anyone this, I will deny it) lunchables. ¬†And not even the homemade ones. ¬†I’m talking straight up, name brand, lunchables.

For continuity sake (read: I’m just as lazy in a blog post as I am making dinner), I’m not going to write out these recipes or even link them (other than just listing the site you can search for them at). ¬†But if you can’t google these or figure out the shorthand, just give up. ¬†That’s what I do. ¬†I literally just retyped the exact message that they sent me. ¬†I guess you would call that a direct quote?? Or whatever. ¬†***Also, I added a brief, witty bio about my friends who contributed to put a face on this miserable battle that every Mom seems to be fighting.


Grilled Cheese, but add thinly sliced pears and/or ham OR used shredded cheddar and mix it with a bit of mayo, garlic salt, and italian seasoning. ¬†Use fancy bread, butter outsides with mayo and butter (Ummmmmm……yes, please!) Serve with a side of apples, carrots, soup, chips, potato or chocolate. ¬†(Corrie – My sister-in-law (Cally’s) sister. ¬†She has curly hair and good advice.)

Homemade pesto with pasta, add fresh chunks of mozzerlla cheese and cherry tomato halves. ¬†(Kim – Old roommates sister, but so much more! I would say she’s a sassy, running music teacher with a great laugh.)

Fridge Clean Out Dinner: sliced italian sausage or kielbasa, sweet potato, any other white potato, squash, onions, garlic, celery, carrots, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, any vegetable really. ¬†Dice them up, toss with salt and oil. ¬†Roast at 425 until everything is tender and browning. ¬†Throw it in a bowl. ¬†Some peeps add BBQ sauce. ¬†(Elizabeth – An amazing woman with the meanest kitchen skills I’ve ever seen. ¬†Did I mention she has an awesome clothing store. ¬†Check it out on FB – pink pear boutique.)

Taco Bowls: Spanish rice, taco meat or chicken, avocado, salsa, sour cream, grated cheese yadda…yadda. ¬†No idea why doing a bowl is so exciting but they friggin’ love it. (Elizabeth ¬†– Same Elizabeth as before. Did I mention that she is hilarious?)

And have I told you about the best salsa ever?? Drain a few cans of rotel, add them, a bunch of cilantro fresh squeezed lemon juice and salt. ¬†Rip it in the blender, and it’s the most fresh tasting, restaurant yummy salsa. (Elizabeth – same one)

Pasta carbonara, shepherd’s pie, chicken taquitos, swedish meatballs, beef stroganoff (the real stuff!) or POPCORN! A friend introduced us to doing popcorn for dinner, and my kids love it. ¬†Or better yet, ditch the kids and you and Noah go on a date then you don’t have to cook. ¬†(Steph – College roommate with a beautiful singing voice. ¬†She would do anything for anyone—the best).

Pillsbury crescent egg quiche, sweet n sour meatballs over rice, baked ziti, bean burritos, protein punched crepes, monte cristo sandwiches. ¬†I dunno. ¬†Dinners can kiss it. (Susie – that’s you. ¬†I could say how much I admire your discipline, style, and heart, but that would be too mushy. ¬†Plus, I’m sure you’re afraid that this is already revealing too much personal information online. )

Mac and Cheese (basic) but then add bacon bits and boom it’s gourmet. (Jake – My photogenic and full of life nephew. Son of Cally)

California sushi roll in a bowl. Easy awesome yummy. ¬†Google it. (Kelly – One of the funniest people I know. Also, she’s got that motherhood thing done. ¬†Honestly, she should write a book.)

Idian fry bread and green chili stew, garlic lime chicken, fettuccini alfredo, sausage bean soup, sloppy joes (Tracy – I don’t anyone that is as good at Zumba as this tough as nails mama. Also, she loves Tilamook cheese, so that speaks for itself.)

So-Cal street tacos with carne piccata (simple, Korean beef bowl (, philly cheesesteaks (, spaghetti carbonara (, slow cooker teriyaki chicken (, Mrs. T’s Classic pierogies 48 count bag (found in Walmart freezer section), mini italian meatball subs (, one pot taco spaghetti (, Sonic frito chili cheese wrap ( (Cally – sister-in-law.She’s the kind of gal you want to chat with in her kitchen, leaning against her bar. Always something soulful to talk about.)

Kale Quinoa Salad (google it on, Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup (again, google this at  (Kiera Proud, my new, funny friend.  She has a wicked sense of humor.  Also, she is my favorite vegetarian.)

Okay, there you have it. ¬†I’m exhausted from all of this typing. ¬†Good luck! Let me know that you try and what you like. ¬†I gotta go, my kids will be off the bus in 30 minutes, and I have 34 minutes left on this Friday Night Lights episode.





Walk with me

K & S-

Remember that time when Monroe was born with a heart defect? The outpouring of love and support from our family and friends was so edifying that once the dust settled after her surgery I was so inspiried to help other children with heart defects.   And remember that time Susan that we raised money via Facebook pleadings ( I became one of THOSE people) and held a lemonade stand with the kids to donate to the American Heart Association?  I will never ever forget how you guys walked that ridiculously painful and scary road of unknowns with us when Monroe was born.  You showed up for us, big time.


me & moe at walk

Monroe at 5 months-heart all healed and apparently bewildered about something.


And then you showed up again with the whole family to the Heart Walk to help us raise awareness and show continued support.

me and susan

Anyway it has me thinking how I can show up for the people around me?  And how I can make it mean something to my kids?family at heart walk

I want my children to understand it’s their job to lift others when they can. ¬†I’m not sure if you guys have heard of these 3 incredible projects but they are inspiring and I’m hoping you have a few you can share with me??

  1. ¬†Redfredproject: this dude takes kids who wouldn’t otherwise have a voice and helps them create a book just for them (and us…to buy…so he can keep up the good work).
  2. Lifting Hand International: This incredible non-profit helps lift the absolute helpless-refugees.  Incredible work here (donations thru Amazon are so easy!)
  3. Hope Heals: This husband and wife team will make you laugh and cry your eyes out. ¬†I can’t recommend their book enough (Katherine had a brainstem stroke and was left nearly dead and paralyzed) and many of the experiences shared in their book paralleled the same thoughts and feelings I had while staying with Monroe in the hospital. ¬†They hold occasional camps for children with disabilities and it’s a really worthy use of donations.

Alright- spill the beans…how do you get your kids excited about serving?



p.s. here’s a little video my cousin, Tiffany made of the walk. ¬†I wish I had her to follow me around and document my life. ¬†I am the worst at taking pictures.