Christmas Wishes

This Christmas is a little tight.  Santa’s bringing the kids store-bought presents but we’re giving everyone else goody bags with homemade yummies and stuff.

I made my Grandmother’s Fruit Cake.  I know what you’re thinking: “Fruit cake?  Does it work as a door stop?”  And in most cases, you’d be right.  But this is Ice Box Fruit Cake.

Sorry, you won’t be getting that recipe.  My grandmother gave it to me and made me promise not to share.  I think my cousins have the recipe too, so go ask them.

Santa2011-PhoebeandGriffinThe kids saw the really good Santa this year.  This particular Santa is so popular that he is by appointment only AND you have to pay a $15 sitting fee.  $10 is applied to your photo order.

Phoebe, of course, clammed right up.  Griffin lost his ever-lovin’ mind.

As seems to be usual now, Christmas is kind of a bummer.  I’m working really hard to be happy.  But this is the time of year that I miss my parents the most.  I also find myself missing a lot of other folks too. 

When I was a kid, Christmas was a huge 2 day deal.  Christmas Eve, we’d get together with my mom’s brother and his family and open a few presents and my parents would make steak sandwiches.  Christmas day would start at our house with Santa and then either we’d host or my aunt would host the big meal and we’d have tons of food and the booze would be free-flowing.  There was almost always a fight or argument. 

I get sad because almost all those people are gone now and the rest have scattered.  John says that we need to build our own traditions and he is right. 

So I am going to spend the next year deciding how I can keep Christmas in my heart.  Santa and I had a conversation about some fun stuff and I think Phoebe will love her Christmas morning.

Meanwhile, I hope you have a magical Christmas.

Slow Cooker Tortilla Soup

soupThis is seriously good soup.  So good that every time I make it, I am amazed that I can make something this good.  It tastes at least as good as any restaurant’s Tortilla soup (I’m looking at you Barrel of the Cracker). 

This was born of curiosity and the beginnings of another recipe.  It started as a recipe on A Year of Slow Cooking and I was curious about how such a simple recipe could taste so good.  But John said, “I think this would be better as soup”.  So I added some chicken broth.  And then I decided it didn’t have quite the right flavor, so I added the chili powder and garlic salt.  Those three ingredients add a richness and depth that is wonderful!


  • 2-3 Chicken Breasts
  • 2 Jars Salsa
  • 2 Cans Black Beans (rinsed, drained)
  • 16 oz Frozen Corn
  • 32 oz chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp Garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp Chili powder
  • Sour Cream (optional)
  • Tortilla Chips (optional)
  • Shredded cheese (optional)


  1. Spray crock pot with nonstick spray.
  2. Trim fat off the chicken breast.
  3. Place chicken breast at the bottom of the crock pot.
  4. Pour salsa, black beans, and corn on top of the chicken breast.
  5. Sprinkle with garlic powder and chili powder.
  6. Pour chicken broth over all of it.
  7. Cover and cook on high for 6-8 hours.
  8. Take chicken out of the bottom of the crock pot and shred with a fork.
  9. Mix chicken back into the beans/corn/salsa/ mixture.
  10. Serve with sour cream and tortilla chips and cheese.

I served this the first time by crumbling chips into the bottom of the bowl, pouring soup over, then topping with sour cream and cheese.  Now I let everyone put their own bowls together.  I personally like to sprinkle the broken chips in a`little at a time so they stay crispy as I eat.  John doesn’t use the sour cream or cheese.

I also have to note that I cook this in a 5.5 quart slow cooker and it is “lippin’ full” so you might want to use a larger pot.  Additionally, I always use 3 chicken breasts because we eat this two nights.  It makes a LOT of soup.

And no, Phoebe doesn’t like this.  She loves the chips and salsa I put out though.