{Recipe} Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup

Last winter I had a goal in the kitchen & that was to try more slow cooker soups.  I tried two recipes. WHAT AN ACHIEVEMENT. However, despite not making nearly as many recipes as I found, the two I did make were freaking awesome.  I shared one few months ago, the best chicken noodle soup & today, only 4 months later, I'm sharing the 2nd recipe I tried, Chicken Fajita Soup.  I gotta say...this soup was pretty freaking fantastic.  It requires minimal prep (the best!) & was SO easy to throw together.  It also only requires 4 hours of cooking, which is great when you forget you're supposed to have this for dinner & it's already 1:30pm in the afternoon.  Our house smelled SO good though while this cooked.  Only problem with this recipe? The photos just don't do it justice.  So ignore that the weather isn't cooling off yet like it should be, because if you make this soup, you won't regret it!

Serves: 6-8 depending on portion size
Cook time: 4 hours
How difficult was this for me? Easy peasy!

1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts (I used 2)
15 oz can sweet whole corn kernels, drained
15 oz can black beans, rinsed
15 oz can diced tomatoes, drained
3/4 cup onion, chopped
5 cups chicken stock
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp chili powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
8 oz Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
Seasoned tortilla chips (optional)


Spray slow cooker with cooking spray

Place chicken breasts on bottom of slow cooker

In a large mixing bowl, combine remainder of ingredients except cheese & tortilla strips. Mix well.

Pour mix over chicken. 

Cook on high for 3.5 hours or low for 8 hours. Mix occasionally.

Remove chicken from slow cooker & shred. It should shred REAL easily.  I also trim the chicken here & get rid of any fat pieces.

Place chicken back in slow cooker for an additional 30 mins & mix in well.


Serve & top with cheese & chips.


adapted from baked by rachel


2016 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge - COMPLETE

Ok for real, it's about fucking time I finished this challenge. To be fair, I didn't begin until March 2016 (because I was too busy trying to finish the 2015 challenge) so a bit of a late start but it still took me 18 months to read all 41 books. To be honest, I didn't enjoy this challenge as much as I did the 2015 challenge & I think part of that has to do with the categories. There were so many books I wanted to read, but wasn't able to fit them into the categories this time around.  So I'm pretty excited to take the next couple of months off & then I'll decide if I want to do the 2018 challenge.  I also just started a book club with a few coworkers, so I might sit out another challenge...we'll see.  In the meantime, here's the complete list of books I read!

Category: A book based on a fairy tale
Book Read: Cinder, by Marissa Meyer
Verdict: LOVED! I'd heard really good things about the Lunar series but was skeptical because cyborgs aren't generally my thing. However, I really loved this book & read it quickly. I even read the next two books in the series for another category in the challenge. 

Category: A National Book Award Winner
Book Read: The Round House Louise Edrich
Verdict: Good!  Ok so I was really intrigued by the plot & overall I did enjoy the book.  But it took me quite a while to get into & overall was a bit slower than I normally prefer.  But hey, it won the National Book Award, so wtf do I know?

Category: A YA best seller
Book Read: Me, Earl & The Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews
Verdict: GOOD.  I really liked this book. The premise was sad, but overall I enjoyed this book.

Category: A book you haven't read since high school
Book Read: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Verdict: LOVED! I forgot just how good this book was. I actually saw the movie as a kid before I ever read the book, but I just love this book & was excited to re-read it.

Category: A book set in your home state
Book Read: South of Superior by Ellen Airgood
Verdict:  Pretty good.  This book is of lighter fare, but nonetheless pretty sweet. For a light & easy read, I'd recommend it.

Category: A book translated to English
Book Read: My Brilliant Friend, by Elena Ferrante
Verdict: Good. For a book where not a lot happens, it was actually pretty good.  =

Category: A romance set in the future
Book Read: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Verdict: LOVED! This was a total surprise. I'm not much a gamer outside of Mario, but I really got into this book.  I'm a bit nervous about the movie, but I gotta have faith in Spielberg!

Category: A book set in Europe
Book Read: After You by JoJo Moyes
Verdict: Good. I liked Me Before You better. I did find myself really missing Will in this book, but I enjoyed where they took the story line. If you read Me Before You, I'd definitely read this.

Category: A NY Times bestseller
Book Read: To All The Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han
Verdict: Good! I really liked this book, more than I expected. It's a sweet story & I found myself really liking the characters. I don't read a ton of YA, but this was one book I got into. So much that I read the sequel for another category. Now I'm waiting for the 3rd book to come out in paperback so my trilogy will be complete.

Category: A book becoming a movie this year
Book Read: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
Verdict: GOOD! I really enjoyed this book.  I enjoyed this book so much I don't want to see the movie because the movie looks way cheesier than the book actually was. A unique story that held my attention the entire time.

Category: A book recommended by someone you just met
Book Read: The One We Fell in Love With by Paige Toon
Verdict: Good!  This was a real easy read & could be considered "chick lit" thought I really hate that term.  I bought this book while in the airport in Dubai, so my choices were limited. But the salesclerk recommended it & I finished the book before we landed back in LA.

Category: A self-improvement book
Book Read: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson
Verdict: Meh.  I had really high expectations for this book, but everything the author suggested just seemed kind of meh. I didn't find it that groundbreaking or full of new ideas. 

Category: A book you can finish in a day
Book Read: The Stranger by Albert Camus
Verdict: Ehhh.  This was an odd book, in my opinion.  I'm sure there was some greater story or theme that just went straight over my head. But ehhhhh is my verdict.

Category: A book written by a celebrity
Book Read: This Fight is Our Fight; The Battle to Save Our Middle Class by Elizabeth Warren
Verdict: Good.  While I don't think this book was super groundbreaking in terms of all that is Elizabeth Warren, the fact that I got this book while listening to her speak makes this book extra special. Reading this book was a reminder that there is SOME hope for those in D.C.

Category: A political memoir
Book Read: Margaret Sanger: A Life of Passion by Jean H. Baker
Verdict: Ok.  I had higher hopes for this book but it was often slow & full of repetitive details. It did paint an interesting picture of Margaret Sanger

Category: A book at least 100 years older than you
Book Read: Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
Verdict: THE BEST!  It's been a really long time since I've read this book so I decided to re-read it. I just love Anne Shirley SO much. So so good.

Category: A book more than 600 pages
Book Read: Somerset, by Leila Meacham
Verdict: LOVED! This was a total surprise for me.  I've never really read a ton of historical fiction for fun & I could not put this book down.  I began it while on our honeymoon & finished it SO quickly. I'm anxious to read the rest of the series!

Category: A book from Oprah's Bookclub
Book to read: She's Come Undone, by Wally Lamb
Verdict: Loved. I've wanted to read this book for so long but never got around to it.  I really really enjoyed it.  There were times I wanted to hit the main character, Dolores, but overall I couldn't put it down.

Category: A science-fiction novel (this one is a slight stretch)
Book Read: Harry Potter & the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling
Verdict: Pretty good! I know the books get way better as the series goes on, so I'm ready to continue reading!

Category: A book recommended by a family member
Book Read: All The Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr
Verdict: Loved!  I really loved this book. Another historical fiction book that sucked me in.  I've heard some of my fellow book nerds didn't love this book like I did, but I found myself unable to put it down.  

Category: A graphic novel
Book Read: Hot Dog Taste Test, by Lisa Hanawalt
Verdict: Meh.  This book was silly. I'm sure there is more to it than I got out of it, but for me, it wasn't anything special.

Category: A book published in 2016
Book Read: The Nest by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney
Verdict: Good! I enjoyed this book. It's a bit lighter but still an interesting story. An easy but delightful read!

Category: A book with a protagonist who has your occupation
Book Read: Oh! You Pretty Things by Shanna Mahin
Verdict: Good! Working in production, there was a lot I could relate to in this book & I think some of it was based off of real life events, so it made the book more fun.

Category: A book that takes place in the summer
Book Read: Glitter & Glue by Kelly Corrigan
Verdict:  Good.  This was a really sweet book that kept my attention throughout the entire thing. My boss recommended it & I'm glad she did.

Category: A book & its prequel
Books Read: Scarlett & Cress by Marissa Meyer
Verdict: Loved!  These two books are also part of the Lunar chronicles. I love these books because the story lines are creative & so different than what I'd normally be drawn to. I mean, CYBORGS.

Category: A murder mystery
Book Read: The Melody Lingers On by Mary Higgins Clark
Verdict: Ok. Mary Higgins Clark is my girl. Her books are the reason I started reading for fun. However, I have to say, her books are becoming a bit predictable & there is always a damsel in distress. Just once I'd like the female to be the one to save a male! But as always, her books are fun & I enjoy the plots.

Category: A book written by a comedian
Book Read: Let's Pretend This Never Happened, by Jenny Lawson
Verdict: Ehh Ok. So I may be out on a limb by myself with this one, but it felt like Jenny Lawson was trying too hard to be funny.  I don't know, the humor just didn't seem as natural as other authors of similar memoirs. I look at Jen Lancaster who writes similar books, yet hers seem so much funnier than this one. I was disappointed.

Category: A dystopian novel
Book Read: Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
Verdict: What did I read??  Yeah, this is one of those books that definitely has a deeper meaning & the meaning went straight over my head.  I think I need to read it again to know fully what I read.

Category: A book with a blue cover
Book Read: The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
Verdict: Good!  I'm always down to read stories revolving around the relationship between man & dog.  This book did not disappoint. It was sweet, captivating & overall an enjoyable read.

Category: A book of poetry
Book to read: Milk & Honey by Rupi Kaur
Verdict: LOVED.  I absolutely loved this book. Poetry & I don't always mix, though I am working on it.  I really loved this book & found it incredibly insightful & raw.

Category: The first book you see in a bookstore
Book Read: A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
Verdict: Good!  I began reading this book on the plane & found it was a bit slow in the beginning. But once I got further into it, I really enjoyed the story & gained an expected love for Ove.

Category: A classic from the 20th century
Book to Read: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
Verdict: Good!  This was another book I haven't read in maybe 20 years so it was fun to re-read it.

Category: A book from the library
Book Read: P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han
Verdict: Good! This was a pretty good follow-up to her first book (see above). A sweet story with lovable characters...for the most part.

Category: An autobiography
Book Read: I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
Verdict: LOVED.  I cannot believe I waited until now to read this book. In our current times, it's an important book to read. Maya Angelou is a beautiful writer & I need to read more of her books.

Category: A book about a road trip
Book Read: Mosquitoland by David Arnold
Verdict: Good! I really liked this book. I had zero expectations going into it, but really enjoyed the story. An easy yet intriguing read.

Category: A book about a culture you're unfamiliar with
Book Read: I Am Malala by Malala Yousaifzai & Christina Lamb
Verdict: GOOD! I've wanted to read this book for a while & I figured now would be a good a time. Malala is something else. She's incredible & reading her story brought me to tears more than once.

Category: A book that takes place on an island
Book Read: Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift
Verdict: Good!  I was warned this book was a little out there & it did not disappoint.  I purposely didn't read any synopses before reading this book & well, it definitely entertained.  There were parts that were a bit hard for me to understand, but a quick re-read did help. Don't read this book when you're tired.

Category: A book that's guaranteed to bring you joy
Book Read: She's Not There: A Life in Two Genders by Jennifer Finney Boylan
Verdict: LOVED! I absolutely adored this book. I first learned about Jennifer Boylan when she appeared on I Am Cait...yes, the story of Bruce transitioning to Caitlyn. What I loved about Jennifer on the show was her realness & willingness to call out Cait when she needed to be put in her place. Not gonna lie, I developed a little bit of a girl crush on her while watching the show, so reading her book about her transition was so enjoyable & educational.

That's all she wrote folks. Goodbye reading challenges...for now.