Soup and more soup

We went from 70-80 degree afternoons to highs of 45-50 overnight a few weeks ago...The last few weeks it has held steady and the kids have coughs, doug and i have runny / stuffy noses and i've noticed that lack of energy in your body that comes when it is time for drastic weather changes. This year I have had a hard time adjusting, I think my allergies have been a bit worse than usual and my joints ache a little more than last year!

I always try to be optimistic about winter and secretly enjoy it a bit...I tend to be someone who needs to 'hibernate' in the winter. After a long and busy summer I usually feel exhausted and socially drained and need to recharge my batteries so to speak. I look forward to relaxing and watching a few tv shows, having more time to spend in my home studio sewing and crafting, and at our house we usually do more comfort cooking in the winter. I start pulling out recipes for meatloaf / chili / chicken and noodles / lots of homemade appetizers and dips / and a lot of crock-pot recipes. I am so excited because i have 2 new soup recipes to try this year! I must say 2 out of 4 of us is pretty picky...so I think I may only be able to get away with 1 of these recipes for the whole family. It is also done in the crock-pot so I am anxious to try it (so easy!)

Chicken Tortilla Soup
1 onion, chopped
1 (1.25 oz) package taco seasoning
1 (16oz) can chili beans
1 (15 oz) can black beans
1 (15 oz) can whole kernel corn, drained
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1 (12 oz) can / bottle beer
2 (10 oz) cans diced tomatoes w/ green chilies (undrained)
3 whole skinless, boneless chicken breasts
shredded cheddar (optional)
sour cream (optional)
crushed tortilla chips (optional)
1. Place the onion, chili beans, black beans, corn, tomato sauce, beer, and diced tomatoes in a slow cooker. Add taco seasoning, and stir to blend. Lay chicken breasts on top of the mixture, pressing down slightly until just covered by the other ingredients. Set slow cooker for low heat, cover, and cook for 5 hours. (on low heat)
2. Remove chicken breasts from the soup, and allow to cool long enough to be handled. Stir the shredded chicken back into the soup, and continue cooking for 2 hours. Serve topped with shredded Cheddar cheese, a dollop (such a funny word!) of sour cream, and crushed tortilla chips, if desired.

We have a busy, cold weekend ahead with trick-or-treating tomorrow night and then the fall work party at the sailing club on Saturday 'winterizing' the boats / docks so I plan on making the Chicken Tortilla soup this weekend and having something good to warm up with. The second soup recipe is for a delicious sounding Pumpkin, Mushroom soup that I think would be to die for....but I'll have to sneak it by my family....I may have that one all to myself! I have a weekly playdate and we do homemade soups and bread for lunch each week during the winter - so i may try it out there too! These 2 recipes are compliments of my sister/law Jenn.
Tonight is our fall party at school so we will be dressing up for that! These pictures are from our Pirates Ball party last weekend at the club. Austin wore his pirate costume from last year and we had fun drawing his face (I told doug he looked like keith richards after a long night!) but we found a batman costume for tonight and tomorrow night. Tyler was Austin's old bumblebee costume (this is a perk of having same sex children!) and this picture is a classic example of where you can find this child anytime he isn't getting his way!
If you have a great soup recipe that I can add to my list to try, please post a comment and leave it...I would love to try something new!!

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