Tortilla Soup

I am wishfully thinking that it was fall here in Arizona. The high is about 105 F today, so it's a pretty big wish!
Today I am sharing this delicious recipe for tortilla soup. My friend Kelli, made this years ago and I just had to have the recipe. Please don't be intimidated by the number of ingredients. It is 100% worth it!


Tortilla Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 corn tortillas 
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste 
  • 1 large(28 oz) and 1 small(14.5 oz) can tomatoes 
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin 
  • 1 onion, quartered 
  • 6 cups chicken stock 
  • ½ bunch of cilantro, rinsed well 
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed 
  • 1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed 
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic 
  • 1 serrano pepper, seeded and chopped (I substituted with a jalapeno because my grocery store was out)
  • salt and pepper, to taste 
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil 
  • 3 cups chicken, cooked and cubed 

 Directions: 

  1. Place tortillas, tomatoes, onion, cilantro, garlic and Serrano pepper in a food processor and blend into mush. 
  2.  Heat oil in a stockpot over medium high heat and add mush from step 1 and cumin. Cook for 5 minutes stirring occasionally. 
  3. Pour in stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour. 
  4. Stir in beans and chicken and cook until they are warmed through. 
  5. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with any or all of the following: diced avocados, grated cheddar cheese, sour cream, cilantro, or chopped tortilla chips


Ashley

Healthy Breakfast Cookie

Hello all! Today I have a very interesting recipe for you. It is a healthy breakfast cookie. One of my good friends posted a pin on Pinterest that didn't link to a recipe, it just had a picture and a rough recipe right on the pin. I've made it a few times to get it just right.
The best part of this recipe is that it is very good for you. It contains no flour, or sugar. This is a great way to start off your day or a nice after school snack for the kids. Not to mention it only has 5 ingredients and they are so simple to throw together.

Cauliflower Pizza Crust

I am not specifically on a low carb diet, but I am always looking for healthier ways to make my favorite foods. One time I tried making cauliflower 'mashed potatoes' and it was a gigantic fail. I think it was cook error, but it was inedible. For this reason, I was a little hesitant to try cauliflower pizza crust at first. However, it was so delicious! For the most part I didn't even really taste the cauliflower. My husband missed the bread, but I would be happy to eat a cauliflower pizza crust anytime.
Before you decide to give it a try keep in mind that this isn't going to be a pizza that you can pick up and eat with your hands. It would just fall completely apart. It is definitely a fork and knife kind of pizza.

Cauliflower Pizza Crust

Ingredients

  • 1 head of cauliflower, grated
  • 1 cup shredded mozzerella cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp. Italian Seasoning
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • dash of salt or salt to taste
  • olive oil for brushing the crust
  • Pizza fixings: sauce, cheese, toppings
Directions:

  1.  Preheat the oven  to 450 degrees F.
  2. Wash the cauliflower and remove the stem and leaves. Grate with a cheese grater.
  3. Microwave the cauliflower on high for 4 minutes. Stir. Return to microwave for another 4 minutes. 
  4. Beat the egg. Add the cheese, egg, Italian seasoning, garlic, and salt to the cauliflower. Mix well. 
  5. Spray your cooking sheet with cooking spray to avoid sticking. Turn out the cauliflower mixture and use your hands to form a large thin circle. 
  6. Brush olive oil over the top of the crust . 
  7. Cook the cauliflower crust for 15 minutes.
  8. Remove from oven and add the sauce, cheese, and toppings. 
  9. Cook under the broil until the cheese is melted. Keep a close eye, as this can happen fast and you don't want to burn your pizza.
I don't think I can stress enough how delicious this was. My half was the tomatoes and green peppers. I can't wait to make it again, I know some people that are on low carb diets and I can't wait to have them try it too!
What are your must have pizza toppings? Share in the comments!

Ashley

Back to School Teacher Questionnaire

My kids started back to school this week. It's been an adjustment for both them and me. My kids have been extra cranky with me and each other. I remember this happening last year too, so hopefully once we back in the swing of things, they will settle down.
 Today I am sharing a fun printable with you. The whole purpose is to get yourself a cheat sheet of sorts when it comes to giving teacher gifts. I have heard more and more that teachers would prefer gifts not necessarily related to teaching. The #1 teacher mug just isn't cutting it these days.


I can't think of a better way to give a teacher what they want, than by asking them. I wanted to just call it a get to know you sheet, so they don't feel uncomfortable. I've gotten two sheets back so far, and I am excited that I have learned a lot about my children's teachers, plus gift giving will be a snap for the whole year long! Here is what it looks like:

Don't worry, the printable one doesn't have a watermark on it.
Here is the Google doc where you can print it for yourself: Google Doc Printable
This is the first time I have used a google doc to share on the blog, so please let me know if you have any problems or quality issues. Thanks and I hope you enjoy!

Update: A nice reader pointed out that I needed some grammar work. The printable has been updated to reflect the changes. You don't want to bring something to the teacher with poor grammar. Thanks!

Ashley

Weight Loss Update Month 4

It's the start of a new month, which means it is time for another weight loss update. If you remember the update at the beginning of July, I was stuck in a bit of a plateau. Thankfully the plateau only lasted 10 days and then the weight loss really took off again. I know the suspense must be killing you, so I'll get to it already.

Weight loss in July 2012: -21.2 lbs 
Total weight loss since April 1, 2012: 78.8 lbs 

I am very excited that I have been able to continue losing at this rate. I am feeling great and while I still have a long way to go, I am becoming happier with the way I look. You may not have noticed, but I snuck in a picture of me last week at the DownEast Basics event. Previously I hated having my picture taken and I would never post one on the blog unless I had to. It's something I still struggle with a bit, but I'm working on it. At the 6 month mark I may post a few 'before' pictures, if I feel brave enough. No promises, but that's my goal.

Last night I went to a T-Mobile blogger mixer and I had so much fun. I worked really hard to get around and meet new people and found a few photo opps.
This is me and Kristyn from 'Lil Luna. Team PHX rocks!


This is Wendy, Heather, Kristyn, and me.

Okay, there is one con to the weight loss, which was very unexpected. My hair is thinning like crazy. Saying it is thinning is the polite way of saying that is is falling out practically by the fist full. From what I have read online it is very common among people that loss a lot of weight. I recently started taking some vitamins and supplements, hopefully that will combat the problem. Otherwise I will head to the doctor and make sure everything is going okay with my hormones.

One last thing. I wanted to share the website I am using to track my weight. It is called PhysicsDiet.com. It is free and I pretty much only use it to keep track of my weight. They have a whole philosophy, which to be honest I haven't read much about. I just like the tracking and graphs. The website puts emphasis on your average weight. Your weight can fluctuate a lot from day to day, so as long as your average weight is decreasing, you are in good shape. Currently my average weight is about 6 lbs higher than my actual weight, so I don't pay much attention to it. However, I think it will be useful when I make it into maintenance mode.

Oh and if you want a little background on my weight loss journey, you can check out my first weight loss post HERE.
Thanks for letting me share this with all of you. I think these updates are probably more for me, than anyone, but I have felt to loved and blessed by the out pouring of support I have received from you guys. It really helps on days when I am feeling down or discouraged.

Until next month...
Ashley