chicken tortilla soup

I’m a big fan of soups. If there was any type of food that I could probably live off of, that would be it. There are so many different kinds and every country has their own “specialty.” One of my personal favorites: the chicken tortilla soup.

All of my favorite things come together in a pot and the result is what I like to call edible euphoria*. This particular recipe is adapted from My Kitchen Moovement’s recipe.

The one thing I love about this particular recipe, is that it has it’s very own stock. (expect a blog in the near future about homemade stocks)

Stock:


  • 3-4 lb chicken thighs

  • Two large carrots, sliced

  • 1 large onion, quartered and studded with just a few cloves

  • 1/2 head of garlic sliced lengthwise

  • 1 jalapeño, sliced lengthwise

  • 1 dried bay leave

  • pepper, to taste

  • tbsp. or so of thyme

  • tbsp. or so of parsley

1. Preheat oven to 425.

2. Place chicken, onion, carrots, and garlic into a baking pan and coat with olive oil. Thighs don’t take too long to cook, so just keep an eye on them. Go ahead and take them out when they are almost done. For me, this was around the 45 minute mark. It’s ok if the chicken isn’t fully cooked.

3. Take the contents of the baking pan and throw them into a pot. Add a bay leaf, your pepper, thyme,

parsley, and your jalapeño into the pot along with 12 cups of water. Allow it to come to a boil, and then bring the stock down to a simmer.

4. Remove the chicken pieces from the stock, and remove the chicken from the bones. Then, return the bones, skin, and cartilage to the pot. Shred the chicken or cut it up into chunks. I also removed the

carrots at this point so they didn’t get too mushy.

5. Let the stock simmer for another 45 minutes or so.

6. Remove the remaining bones, skin, cartilage, and the large pieces of onion from the liquid.

You can also let it sit for a little bit, and skim the top of the stock with a spoon to remove the fat. Another option is to make the stock the night before, and refrigerate it. The fat will all float and solidify at the top, making it easy to remove. You’ll have around 10 cups of stock when complete.


Soup:

First, prepare the seasoning:

  • 4 teaspoons salt
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • Now onto the actual soup part…

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 head of  garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, minced
  • 1 medium cups onion, diced
  • 2 cups zucchini, sliced
  • 1 large green bell pepper, diced
  • 2 cups frozen corn kernels
  • 10-11 cups chicken stock
  • 28 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 15 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup sliced black olives
  • 1/2 cup canned roasted green chilis
  • 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lime juice (2-3 limes)
  • 1. Heat your olive oil and your butter up in a small pot, and throw in 1/3 of your minced/diced garlic and onion along with the dry seasoning mix. Sweat for a few minutes, and then throw in another third. Again, sweat for a few minutes and throw in the last third of your mix.  After 5 minutes or so, add your bell pepper to this and stir it occasionally.

    2. Add the contents of the pot into your stock, along with your canned tomatoes and tomato sauce. Let this cook for 15-20 minutes over a medium heat.

    3. Put the corn, shredded chicken, zucchini, carrots, black olives, and green chile into your pot and stir until the zucchini is cooked through. You can also add in your lime juice at this point. Continue to cook the soup.


    4. If you didn’t already add in your lime juice, do so now, stir it up and serve!

    We ate ours with avocado, cilantro, lime slices, and crushed tortilla shops (you could do tortilla strips as well). It would also be good with shredded cheese. If you want it to be more spicy, as I did, I would add some red pepper flakes or hot sauce to it.

    Enjoy!

    This picture is actually from the next day, because I forgot to take one the day I made it!

    -jess

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    “Demolishing Strongholds”

    I was going through my journal the other day, and I found notes from one of my favorite sermons I heard last semester.  It’s amazing what happens when you go through old journals and notes.  I’ve learned so much by rereading things from my past that I thought I had already learned.  I felt like I should share this sermon with you all!  There is a link at the bottom if you want to listen to the whole thing.  What follows are my notes and comments. :)

    1 Corinthians 10:13
    “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”

    So what is a stronghold? A stronghold is, “the internal barrier that prevents us from fully embracing the blessings and freedom of our relationship with Christ.” This could be regret, addiction, compulsion, and even deceit. Little to big things that are creating something in us that makes it hard for us to accept the grace and forgiveness of God in our lives.

    2 Corinthians 10:3-5
    “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

    What causes a stronghold?
    1. First of all there is culture. There are influences in our surroundings that intentionally or unintentionally cultivate the creation of strongholds (barriers).
    2. Second-there are moments of crisis in which we choose immediate relief versus long-term resolution.
    3. Then there are compromises. Concessions that create foundations for strongholds.

    Some verses…

    Philippians 4:6
    “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”

    1 Peter 5:7
    “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”

    1 Corinthians 16:13
    “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.”

    How to break a stronghold.
    1. Discernment. Discerning strongholds require spiritual warfare. No matter what, God has a plan. Even though Satan is powerful and we are susceptible, God is the Lord of our lives and has more than enough strength to break down Satan’s clutches.

    Jeremiah 29:11
    “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
    1 Peter 5:8-9
    “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.”
    Ephesians 6:12
    “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
    1 John 4:4
    “Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”
    James 1:13-15
    “Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.”

    Along with discernment comes some questions we can ask ourselves: what do we do without thinking, what are things we don’t want to do, and what are things you can’t control. Give all of these to God!!

    2. Demolish. The things you have discerned must be demolished. Step 1: Strategize. Step 2: Select firepower. (Armor of God, Ephesians 6:10-18) Step 3: Determine objectives. (Colossians 2:4-8) Step 4: Demolish the stronghold. (Colossians 3) Step 5: Occupy and take captive.

    3. Deliverance. Discerning how to stay delivered. First of all, you need to see the finish line as a starting line. 2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” Secondly, you need to accept forgiveness over guilt. Romans 8:1 “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Third, you need to embrace a new stronghold! This stronghold is Christ!

    Psalm 144:1-2 “Blessed be the LORD, my rock,
    who trains my hands for war,
    and my fingers for battle;
    he is my steadfast love and my fortress,
    my stronghold and my deliverer,
    my shield and he in whom I take refuge,
    who subdues peoples under me.”

    I think my favorite part of the whole sermon is when he said, “Make the strongman your stronghold.” Such a beautiful thing. Giving everything to Christ and just holding onto Him with everything! I do recommend listening to the actual sermon-just because these are only my notes and God might have something for you in the sermon that I didn’t write down.

    My prayer is that we as women, can break away from the things that are holding us back from Christ’s love for us. I’m praying for freedom in Christ!

    Woodman Valley Chapel “Demolishing Strongholds”

    -bri

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    Our Beautiful Creator, His Beautiful Creation

    “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” – Genesis 1:27

    There are a lot of beautiful things in this world, but nothing compares to the beauty of God, and I think there is something beautiful in knowing that God created everything we see, and even everything we don’t see.
    I read something in A.W. Tozer’s book “And He Dwelt Among Us” a while ago, and it is something that has stuck with me and something that I have thought about often ever since.
    First he says this,

    “Got created everything, and everything has its purpose. If you examine creation around us, everything is dependent on everything else. Nothing stands on its own. Only God stands on His own. Everything is interrelated and subject to everything around it.”

    We all know this to be true. There is not a single thing created that does not have a purpose, and that includes those pesky mosquitoes.  Tozer goes on to say that

    “there is not anything in creation that is not necessary.”

    I believe this extends to you and me as well.
    We, as women, have a purpose. More importantly, we, as daughters of God, have a purpose. And not only do we have a purpose, we are also beautiful.

    “In creation, God could have made a straight, plain, ugly looking thing and called it a river. It would have worked, fed the fish, done all the things a river could do. But God in His gracious wisdom took His finger and traced the path of the river and allowed it to run around the tree and around the hills and down through a valley. He then surrounded it with beautiful trees, bushes and flowers. He also permitted it to catch the blue of the sky and reflect it as a beautiful mirror. Utility is one thing and beauty is another, but God is able to make things both useful and beautiful.”

    I know plenty of people, both men and women, young and old, who at times feel useless and anything but beautiful. I know this because it is something I, as a human, struggle with. But I also believe that God created me, as it is written in the Bible. I believe the scriptures that I read to be true, and if the same God that created the beautiful things in this world created me, well than I too, must be beautiful. Maybe not in the world’s eyes, but who do I find my identity in? The world or God?
    So next time you’re feeling, well, less than beautiful and very useless, remember you were created by God.  I cannot in my heart believe that God created us to be unusable, and inadequate. The simple fact that He has softened our hearts, captured us in His arms, and claimed us as His daughters is reason enough to believe this is untrue.

    For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do Ephesians 2:10

    -Jess

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    Some Encouragement in the form of Joy.

    Joy.

    Psalm 51: 10-12
    “Create in me a pure heart, O God,
    and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
    Do not cast me from your presence
    or take your Holy Spirit from me.
    Restore to me the joy of your salvation
    and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.”

    Joy is a choice!  Be joyful always!

    Psalm 81:1
    “Sing for joy to God our strength;
    shout aloud to the God of Jacob!”

    God’s strength is what sustains our Joy!

    Colossians 1:9-14
    “…We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”

    Thank God for all this and giving you joy in your life!

    -bri

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    Fearing the Lord

    Fearing the Lord-What does that look like?

    Last semester I had the privilege of being in a Bible study based on Proverbs 31:10-31.  These verses are all about what it looks like to be a wife of nobel character.  Yet, I was discovering that God wants us as women to always be nobel-throughout our life-not just when we get married.  What about the women who never get married?  Are they not allowed to strive after a life of nobility just because their relationship status isn’t that of: married?  I strongly believe that ALL women should.  In a sense, as a Christian woman, you are kind of in a relationship.  A relationship with your creator!!  There is something so beautiful about that.

    One of my favorite things about the English Bible is that it has been translated from an original language into one we can comprehend.  Along with that comes different types of translations.  So here is Proverbs 31:30 in a couple of different translations.

    NIV: “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.”

    NLT: “Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised.”

    KJV: “Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.”

    ESV: “Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.”

    With this verse, the translations are all very similar.  I’m NOT saying our goal as women is to be praised.  I’m saying there is something important in that of fearing the Lord.

    So what does it look like?  Women, we need to be in conversation with God.  Not just when you’re struggling or when you want something.  We need to daily be talking with God, listening for Him, and pursuing a relationship with Him.  We also need to respect God by being obedient to His will for our life.  More importantly, we need to be pursuing holiness by seeking Christ in all things.  I think one of the girls in my study said this, “If you really fear the Lord, you will turn around and hug him, clinging to his neck for dear life.”  Our Bible study leaders were Johanna and Becca.  They are wonderful, wonderful women.  Johanna actually wrote a book on Proverbs 31-which I’m currently letting my sister borrow.  During our study one of them pointed out this quote from a sermon by John Piper, given on Mother’s Day in 1981.  I love this quote.

    “First of all, a woman who fears the Lord is not anxious about the future. Look at verse 25 [Proverbs 31:25] . I love this line, and I praise all you women who are like this: “Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come.” Satan dangles in front of her the specter of tomorrow’s troubles, but she glances up at the almighty God at her right hand (her magnificent German Shepherd!) and laughs at Satan’s folly. She fulfills in her own life Proverbs 14:26, “In the fear of the Lord one has strong confidence, and his children will have a refuge.” -John Piper

    I seriously love this.  Being a strong and confident woman.  Along with all this, a woman who fears the Lord will do the following: she will wait on the Lord, she will find her hope in Christ, she won’t run away, and she will stay close to the heart of God and trust in His promises.  Check out these other verses about fearing the Lord.

    Psalm 31: 19  “How abundant are the good things
    that you have stored up for those who fear you,
    that you bestow in the sight of all,
    on those who take refuge in you.”

    Psalm 103:11  “For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
    so great is his love for those who fear him…”

    I’ll be honest in saying that I have had a really hard time fearing the Lord in the past.  There were times where I just completely questioned His will for my life and kind of just pushed aside everything that should have been important.  My love for God is growing and along with that my fear for Him.  I’m not scared of God.  I’m completely terrified of life without God.  I’m clinging to God’s neck.

    As a recap of sorts, what does this woman look like?

    1.  She is not anxious about the future.

    2.  She has practical wisdom. (This includes hope in the Lord.)

    3.  She is STRONG. (Morally, intellectually, physically.  She challenges herself.)

    4.  She won’t live for herself alone, but for God.

    My prayer is this: As women of God, we will fall more in love with our Creator, glorifying Him in all that we do, say, think or feel.  It doesn’t matter what your relationship status is.  If you are seeking after God’s will for your life, clinging to Him with all that you are, then you are fearing the Lord.  I pray that by living our lives like this, we can be examples to the women around us, with them wanting to live their lives in similar ways.

    Here’s the link to John Piper’s sermon.  Click here.  I just downloaded the sermon to listen to sometime this week!  I’m excited about that.  I’m sure he is more wise than I in this area so I challenge you to along with me, read/listen to the sermon and see what you find.  I love different perspectives.  Ask God to show you His will for your life! :)

    -bri

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    Self-Discipline, Jewelry, and a Happy New Year

    It has certainly been far too long since this site has seen a post. Oops! School and the holidays got a hold of both of us, and any free time was spent with family and friends, leaving little time to make updates in the blogging world. The lack of discipline didn’t help sitting down and writing much easier either. So, 24 days late, we are wishing you all a Happy New Year and hope that the holidays treated you as well as they treated us.

    Lesson learned from this years holidays? No matter how little you do each day, on the days leading up to Christmas, do SOMETHING if you are planning on going homemade for a lot of your gifts. I am kicking myself in the butt for the amount of sleep I lost over the holidays because of procrastinating and letting school and work get in the way of household chores/creations. Needless to say, I plan on being done with Christmas shopping by November this year. We will see how that goes.

    I’m not a big fan of jewelry usually. I tend to never remember to put any on as I am rushing out the door because I overslept, but I finally found a piece easy enough to remember to put on daily. It adds just enough sparkle to any outfit, makes me feel pretty on my most “blah” kind of days, and reminds me that in less than a year, I will be married to the most incredible man in my life.

    Of course, this means that I am also planning a wedding, which means the term Miss to Mrs has never been quite so relevant to me as it is now. Elated doesn’t begin to explain how I feel about this journey, but I can already see the mountain of work piling up higher and higher, and the light at the end of the tunnel looks like the eye of a needle right now, but I am sure it will come faster than I think.

    Hence, the self-discipline. Never have I had more of a reason to discipline myself in almost all areas of my life. I feel as though my organizing, budgeting, and exercise routines are more important than ever, and to be honest, they seem like more work than ever too. However, I plan on disciplining myself more than ever now, especially since I don’t want any of these things to overtake my relationship and time spent with God. So, my motto? None other than 2 Timothy 1:7

    For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.

    God did not make me to be lazy and to give into any of my selfish wants. I want to live my life the way that He wants me to, and that means taking care of my body, being a good steward of my money, organizing so that I do not fall into the trap of procrastination, and above all else, living in a way that lets others see His love, which means I have to be disciplined with my words as well.

    So here’s to a year of self-discipline, counting my blessings, and falling even more in love with God.

    -jess

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    A higher calling

    I have a hard time blocking out the noises of the world as they tell me the type of women that I need to be in order to be successful. The truth is, success and fame are tempting. Having a career where I earn a lot of money would be really nice. Women today who chase careers are unbelievably respected by the world, but is that what God would want? I have a hard time believing that God would lead me to chase a passion that puts me and my accomplishments before anything else in my life.

    I think that people easily get caught up in the extremes. They see the words submit and cringe, but think how beautiful the picture of a Godly marriage truly is. You have a man, who loves his wife, and a woman, who loves her husband. They build each other up, they encourage each other. The wife is willing to submit to the husband, because she trusts in his guidance. The husband does not wish harm on his wife and family, so he looks to the Lord for guidance.

    Look at this passage in Ephesians:

    22Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 23For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.25Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26to make her holy, cleansing[a] her by the washing with water through the word, 27and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church— 30for we are members of his body. 31“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”[b]32This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

    Here is the thing, though. If you want to be a Godly wife, you’re going to have to be willing to submit to your husband. The hope being that your husband is submitting to God. God created man and women to be together as a constant reminder of the unity between Christ and His church. Chances are, you won’t find yourself in this type of marriage by living according to worldly standards. God holds us to much higher standards than that of the world. Consider yourself blessed, because God knows that you are capable of so much more than what the world says.

    –Jessica

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