Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Fiesta Chicken Soup

Soup season is upon us, well technically not today since it is 73 degrees outside.  I enjoy quick, easy, and delicious food and the following recipe is one that 75% of my family will eat. The food critic of the family is not a fan of beans.  The soup can be prepared using leftover chicken or rotisserie chicken, which makes it even simpler.  It is also a great crock pot recipe, you can just add everything to the crock pot and cook on low for 8 hours and have a delicious meal to come home to in the evening. This recipe makes 8 generous servings.

Fiesta Chicken Soup
2 cups cooked chicken, shredded
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 t garlic powder
1/2 salt
1 T olive oil
1 cup diced onion
1/2  green pepper, diced
1/2  red pepper, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 can (10 oz.) diced tomatoes and green chilies
32 ounces, chicken stock or broth
3 T tomato paste
4 cups water
1 cup of frozen corn
1 can (15 oz.) black beans, drained and rinsed
3 T cornmeal (stirred into a paste with 1 T water)

Sour Cream
Diced Avocado
Diced Red Onion
Grated Monterey Jack Cheese
Tortilla Chips or Strips

Heat oil in a pot over medium heat.  Add onions, peppers and garlic.  Stir and begin cooking, then add spices.  Stir to combine, then add shredded chicken and stir.

Add tomatoes, broth, tomato pate water, corn, and beans.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer.  Simmer 45 minutes uncovered. 

Mix cornmeal with water.  Pour into the soup, then simmer for an additional 30 minutes.  Check seasonings, adding more if needed.  Turn off heat and let sit for 15 minutes before serving.  Ladle into bowls and garnish.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Another Use For Baking Soda and Vinegar

As you may know, I love finding other uses for everyday products.  Nothing makes me happier than being able to fix a problem, without a trip to the store.  It's not that I hate going to the store, it's just that I have to make a special trip because I forgot to put something I need on the list. I know you have probably had this happen to you, and if it has never happened to you, it will eventually happen.  I'm showering and to my surprise the water gradually builds up to bath level. I noticed the drain was running slow weeks ago, but somehow the problem escapes my memory until my next shower. Slow running drains can be a problem caused by soap and shampoo residue.  My remedy will not unclog a drain, but it will clear a slow moving drain. 
  1. Pour 1/2 cup of baking soda into the drain, try to sweep as much of it down the drain as you can.

2.   Pour 1/2 cup of white vinegar into the drain and let it foam.

3.  After the foaming stops, pour a pot of boiling water down the drain. 

This is a quick inexpensive fix that is environmentally friendly.  If it still seems slow try this a second time.  It has never let me down.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Costumes of Halloween Past

Let me start by saying that I own a sewing a machine, but I do not know how to thread it. I can do some hand stitching, if absolutely necessary.  I just do not have the desire to actually sew.  The costumes you are about to see are held together with hot glue, iron-on tape, safety pins or a hand stitch or two. These costumes are simple. I found these  easy costume ideas online, it is amazing what you can find.  Many of the ideas came from or  I probably saw them while waiting in a dentist or pediatrician's office.

Just because I made these costumes does not mean I saved money.  It probably would have been more cost effective to buy the "Made in China" costume that everyone else was wearing, but we were making memories and you can not put a price on that.  Can you? These are some of my favorite costumes that I  have made.

It looks like we had a bird flu theme in 2005 with the chicken costume.  This was a white hoodie, a white feather boa and orange fleece pants.

We have had a jelly fish.  This was made with a child's sombrero from the dollar store, fabric to cover, ribbon and sweats. Ice cream cones made with a sweatshirt, nylon tights stuffed with fiber fill, vinyl, foam and straws for sprinkles.

A bag of groceries made from a leaf bag and some of our recyclables and a plastic apple.

Get those creative juice flowing.  It really is fun to make your costume or your child's costume.  I'm going to be working on mine soon.  I can't wait to see your costumes this year.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Jet Pack

The birthday season is officially over at our house.  I can officially sit down, breathe and finish the open bottle of wine from the birthday party and enjoy some leftover cake.  The house is still clean, but the washer continues to operate 24 hours a day. I decided to find out why I could not post photos to my blog and to my surprise, the problem had fixed itself. 

I did want to share something I created. My niece had a Jet Pack on her birthday list.  A real jet pack was a little out of my budget, so I decided to look on Pinterest to see what I could find.  I found one and decided to give it a try.  It was very simple.  You need two empty 2-liter bottles, plastic spray primer in gray, cardboard, ribbon and a hot glue gun.

  1. Spray the bottles and cardboard with the primer.
  2. When the bottles and cardboard are dry, attach the bottles next to each other on the cardboard to secure. 
  3. Attach ribbon to the cardboard (like a back pack)
  4. Fold together strips of red, orange and yellow ribbon and secure inside the bottle opening with glue. 
  5. Strap on your Jet Pack and enjoy the ride.
This should provide hours of fun.  It may also be helpful for a Halloween costume.  That reminds me that I need to get to work on developing some costumes.