Quick and Tasty Tortilla Soup

Colorado weather is so strange. The kids were running around our yard in swimsuits and playing with the hoses earlier this week, and today it is COLD and snow is forecasted for the weekend. I love the addition of soups to our dinner menu as the weather turns chilly. Here is an easy tortilla soup recipe. I usually serve it with a salad and a muffin or blueberry cornbread. Make sure to add the fresh ingredients (cilantro, avocado, green onion) or a lot of flavor will be lost.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 boneless skinless chicken breast halves, cut into small pieces and seasoned with salt and pepper
1 (32 oz) box organic chicken broth
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp fresh lime juice
1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chilies
1 (15 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

crushed tortilla chips (we like blue corn chips)
sliced avocado

shredded Monterey jack cheese
chopped green onions

In a medium stock pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Saute onion and garlic with seasoned chicken until chicken is about cooked. Add remaining ingredients (minus the garnish items), bring to a boil then turn down and simmer 20 minutes. Serve and enjoy! Don’t forget the fixings!


Pasta With Tomatoes, Mushrooms, Asparagus and Ricotta Salata


We love this fresh pasta dish! We are so lucky to have such wonderful neighbors who live behind us— our kids are all the same ages and are the best of friends. They had us over for dinner one night and made this dish for us. Ever since then it’s been on my regular dinner rotation. It is quick, easy and light; I love the fresh ingredients.

You’ll need:

3 tablespoons olive oil

3 cloves of fresh garlic, crushed or finely chopped

2 pint size containers of grape tomatoes, take about a third of them and cut in half

1  8-ounce container of mushrooms, gently rubbed clean and sliced

1 bunch of asparagus— remove and discard tough portion on bottoms and slice remaining stalks into 1½-2 inch long pieces (plus a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt)

1 lb. box of penne pasta

1 block of Ricotta Salata cheese (this is different from the soft Ricotta that comes in a plastic container).

1 ½ cups grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (the Italian in me feels the need to stress that good Parmesan is very important! No Kraft here ladies!)

Salt and crushed red pepper flakes, to taste.


All at once:

  • Bring salted water to a boil. Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain (but do not {ever} rinse the noodles in cold water… take it from a true Italian!)
  • Preheat the oven to 400°. Place asparagus on a cookie sheet (I line mine with parchment paper for easy clean-up). Drizzle asparagus with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Roast in oven for 10 minutes. (As a side note, this makes a very easy and delicious side dish that we make often.)
  • Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic (and red pepper flakes if you want) and stir and saute for a minute. Turn heat down if needed so that garlic doesn’t burn. Add all tomatoes and the sliced mushrooms and stir. Salt to taste (I add somewhere around 3/4 tsp). Continue to cook over medium/medium-high heat, stirring often, until the whole tomatoes are about to pop and mushrooms are done.
While this is all cooking, chop Ricotta into small bite size pieces and put into a large serving bowl. As the asparagus and noodles finish cooking, add them to the bowl. Top with tomato/mushroom sauce and throw in the Parmigiano. Stir it all up well until all of the Parmigiano melts and everything is mixed together. Top with chopped fresh basil if you like it. Serve it up while it is hot. This makes enough for our family (2 adults/2 ½ kids) for two nights… or it will serve two families if you have a salad or fresh fruit on the side.





One of our Favorites: Pancakes (no buttermilk needed)

Pancakes have long been a favorite around here.


This recipe, from

Peter Rabbit’s Natural Foods Cookbook

by Arnold Dobrin, is our favorite.



    I have modified it a little to accommodate the Farmer. But they love it, even when I sneak in the whole wheat flour! This sweet book was given to me as a wedding present from a very dear caregiver and friend. It holds a special place in this house and I have made a number of the recipes for friends and family. They are simple and basic but easy to spice up and alter accordingly. Anyone who has a love for Beatrix Potter will love this sitting on their counter. Enjoy, from our Sunday to yours…



Samuel Whiskers’ Roly-Poly Pancakes (with my modifications)


1 cup unbleached white flour

1/4 cup whole-wheat flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp nutmeg (Little B’s favorite part)

1 egg

1 cup milk

2 TBS olive oil


Put the white flour, whole-wheat flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg into a mixing bowl and stir them lightly with a fork until they are throughly mixed.

Add the egg, milk, and oil to the dry mixture. Beat with a wire whisk until it’s smooth and creamy. ( I generally don’t have too many lumps like some recipes call for.)

Meanwhile heat the griddle. When it’s hot… (throw a bit of water on it and see if it sizzles! I don’t grease our griddle but do what you would normally do.)

Pour the batter on the griddle, leaving space between each pancake so they don’t run together. Unless your family is the type who like the colossal pancake with broken bits on it from a failed flip! To each his own I say!

When the pancakes are bubbly on top, I use my spatula and take a little peek to see if they are nice and golden. If I have been multitasking they might end up being the “dark” golden that is always a little disappointing when you’re the one waiting for a new one! But if you’re the good mom, relishing the moment and waiting for the FLIP,  they should be golden!

Flip to cook just a minute more. We aren’t much for the crunchy pancakes so I try not to let them sit on the griddle too long after the flip… again to each his own.

We love to serve ours with real maple syrup. We do live in Canada for goodness sake! (No Aunt Jemima taste buds here!)

On special occasion I’ll surprise them with whipped cream, it’s little B’s favorite. My kids like to dip their pancakes; works for me— no cutting, leaving me more time for my coffee!

I can generally feed 1 Farmer, 2 girls and a growing toddler with one batch.

Mom sticks to oatmeal! Hope you enjoy! Let me know how you all liked them.

Original recipe as follows:

3/4 cup unbleached flour

1/4 cup whole-wheat flour

1/4 cup corn meal

2 tsp baking powder

2 tsp sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1 egg

1 cup milk

2 tablespoons vegetable oil, or dab of butter, shortening, or margarine

We are linking up here today:

Fiesta (Southwest) Salad

This is one of my favorite healthy (and easy!) meals to make… it’s so tasty I consider it company-worthy. It is a quick and delicious dinner to serve your family or perfect when you are having your girlfriends over for lunch. The recipe is not precise— I always end up making a slightly different version of it, but it never disappoints!


1-2 heads of romaine lettuce torn, mixed with a handful of both spinach and mixed greens

1/2 can of black beans, drained and rinsed

1 small can sliced black olives, drained

1 ear of corn on the cob. Cook in microwave for 3 minutes, remove and husk, then cut kernels off of cob into a bowl and let cool before adding to salad.

Handful of chopped or shredded carrots

Handful of cherry tomatoes, halved

1 avocado, cut into small chunks

2-3 boneless chicken breast halves, seasoned and cooked (we usually grill it), then sliced.

1 green onion, chopped

1 chopped red bell pepper (raw) or— my new favorite (thanks Alli for the idea!)— 2 sliced bell peppers (red and green), sautéed in a bit of olive oil, garlic and salt to taste. Let cool a bit before adding to salad.

Optional: top with some grated cheddar cheese (or I’ve been known to add crushed corn tortilla chips to mine!)

Serve with a southwest ranch, plain ranch, Catalina, or our favorite— Brianna’s Chipotle Cheddar dressing.


We are linking up here today:

Grandma’s Waffles

This recipe was passed down to me from my grandmother, and it is the best waffle recipe out there. It is our favorite weekend breakfast to enjoy as a family. We often eat ours topped with bananas, walnuts or pecans, and just a touch of syrup, but you can enjoy them however your heart {or mouth} desires. So gather your little helpers this weekend (if you have little helpers) and make these together…

Sour Cream Waffles
3 eggs, separated
¾ cup milk
½ cup butter, melted
¾ cup sour cream (or to make it healthier can substitute plain yogurt)
1 ½ cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Separate eggs. Beat yolks with milk, butter, vanilla and sour cream. Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, and sugar. Mix well. In a different mixing bowl, beat egg whites until stiff, then gently fold into batter to finish batter.


Linking up here: