I love making this soup during the fall and winter months because pumpkin is in season!  But it’s equally good substituting the pumpkin for another type of squash.  I’ve tried butternut squash in place of pumpkin and it’s still delicious.    I also love that this is all done in the crockpot so it’s pretty easy to prepare!

Here’s what you need and what to do:

3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 packet of your favorite taco seasoning
1 cup water
2 cups chicken broth
1.5 cups diced pumpkin (or favorite squash)
1 zucchini cut into bite sized pieces
salt & fresh ground pepper to taste
Fresh squeezed lime juice (from one lime)
1 can black beans
crushed corn tortilla chips
shredded cheddar cheese for topping
green onions sliced for topping
avocado diced for topping

Add chicken, pumpkin, taco seasoning, water, and chicken broth to the crockpot set to high.  Cook for about 3 hours until chicken is tender and shreds easily with a fork.   Before shredding, remove chicken breast and use an emulsion blender to blend pumpkin into broth.   Shred chicken and return to crockpot.    Add zucchini and black beans and cook for another hour or until zucchini is tender.  Squeeze lime juice into soup and stir.     To serve,  place a handful of crushed tortilla chips in bowl first and then spoon soup into bowl.   Top with cheese, avocado, and green onions.

Buen provecho!



I’m party planning again, which is always fun (check out a few ideas from an anniversary party earlier this year).  I put together these matchstick holders to give away as party favors!   I love the monogrammed version of the holder made by Sugar & Cloth, but since I had to put 80 of these together, I decided to forego the etched letter.

I used Martha Stewart’s etching cream (which I’ve used on other projects here and here) to etch the bottom of the bottles.  The etching cream results in a roughed up surface to strike the match.  Still, the key to this project is strike anywhere matches!  Strike them on the etched bottom of the glass and they ignite just fine.  (The regular strike on box matches will not work).

I used Avery string labels as tags wrapped around the bottles. The labels were a little too big as is and dwarfed the bottles,  so I modified them by cutting them down to a smaller size.  One side of the label says:  a perfect match and the other side says:  strike on bottom!

These bottles from Amazon were $50 for 96.  I found the matches at Ace Hardware for $1.50/box (2 boxes of 300 each).  The total cost came to just $0.68/per favor and they are so cute!  I love how they are useful too, especially for people like me who burn candles frequently and appreciate having matches nearby!


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