Tortilla Soup

by Caroline Hurley

Tortilla Soup - Loblollies Blog

I was first introduced to tortilla soup about two years ago when I was in Cabo and I have loved it ever since. My first tortilla soup was so authentic and delicious and it is safe to say that one of my life’s biggest regrets is not being “that person” and asking our chef for the recipe.

This recipe for tortilla soup is divine. The broth is so flavorful all by itself but the fix ins are what sends this soup over the edge and makes it a hearty meal.

Tortilla Soup - Loblollies Blog

You will need either cajun or taco seasoning. If you are using a store bought seasoning make sure you sample it to make sure you are aware of the salt content. I used a little of both seasonings.

The chicken is coated in the seasoning before being cooked in a large dutch oven.

Tortilla Soup 3


If you really want to be gourmet you can fry up your own tortilla strips.

Tortilla Soup - Loblollies Blog

The thin strips of corn tortilla crisp up in no time when fried. But if you use crushed store bought chips it’ll be 99% as good.

Tortilla Soup - Loblollies Blog


If you shred the chicken its easier to get a little in each bite. Two forks should do you just fine.


Tortilla Soup 5

The veggies are cooked in the same pot. Less dishes to wash is kinda my jam.

Tortilla Soup 6

Swapping out green peppers for poblanos is a great way to add some mild heat and traditional southwest flavor.

Tortilla Soup 7 Oh my. The hardest part is letting it simmer when all you want in life is to sit there and eat it by the ladle.

Tortilla Soup 8


Look at that color! This soup doesn’t skimp on flavor one bit.

Check the recipe below for details!

Tortilla Soup - Loblollies Blog

Tortilla Soup

Serves 8
This tortilla soup recipe is easy, authentic, and satisfying making it the perfect soup for any night of the week.


  • 1 Large Chicken Breast
  • Cajun and/or Taco Seasoning
  • Vegetable Oil
  • 2 Poblano Peppers (diced)
  • 1 Medium Yellow Onion (diced)
  • 2 cloves Garlic
  • 1 can Rotel
  • 1 heaped tablespoon Tomato Paste
  • 2 quarts Chicken Stock
  • 2 Medium Avocado
  • 1 bunch Cilantro (roughly chopped)
  • 2 limes juiced
  • salt


  • 2 tablespoons Corn Meal
  • 4oz Shredded Cheese (cheddar or jack)
  • Sour Cream
  • Crispy Tortilla Strips


Step 1
Coat the bottom of a large dutch oven with vegetable oil over medium heat. Slice chicken into smaller pieces for cooking and coat in seasoning mixture. Cook until done and blackened on each side. Remove chicken and shred.
Step 2
Add more vegetable oil if needed to the pot. Lightly coat pepper, onions, and garlic with seasoning and add to the pot. Cook on medium for several minutes stirring occasionally.
Step 3
Add Rotel to the vegetables and simmer for several minutes.
Step 4
Add the tomato paste and simmer for 5 minutes
Step 5
Add the two carts of chicken stock. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and let simmer for 20 minutes.
Step 6
Add the shredded chicken, cover, and let simmer for an additional 10 minutes. If a slightly thicker consistency and bolder corn flavor is desired you can add the corn meal at this step.
Step 7
Add the diced avocado, chopped cilantro, and juice of 2 limes. Taste the soup and salt as needed. My soup needed several pinches.
Step 8
Add the cheese, tortilla strips, and sour cream when ready to serve.
Step 9
If homemade tortilla strips are desired - Heat oil to 350 degrees in a heavy bottom pot and deep fry small batches of tortilla strips for about 30 seconds at a time.




Five Times You Should Apply Chapstick (but probably don’t!)

by Caroline Hurley

If you’ve read some of my blog posts before I have talked about my annoying dry skin. I go back and forth between trying to get silky smooth skin and just giving up and accepting it. With dry skin inevitably comes dry lips. I never noticed how prone I am to dry lips until I got a little older and occasionally wore lip color. Lip color and dry lips is a horrrrrrrrible combination. Hence why you don’t see me with lip color very often. I recently had the chance to try Bite Agave Lip Mask and I have loved it. Its worked some serious miracles I tell ya.

Here are some times that you might not think of applying chapstick or a moisturizing product but should because it can make a big difference!


Five times you should be applying chapstick (but probably aren't!)

1. Before Working Out

We all become total mouth breathers when we work out unless you’re that freak of nature marathon runner who has got that breathe through your nose crap down. Mouth breathing is extremely drying on your lips so before you go for a run or a cardio session layer on some lip balm.

2. Before Bed

Gosh, having a fan is such a luxury isn’t it? But having a fan blow air on your face all night can really dry you out. Night time is a great time to bring out the big guns. Go for an ultra moisturizing product that doesn’t double as make up. These products may not contain SPF because they are meant to wear while you sleep!

3. In the Car

In fact you should probably keep a whole slew of moisturizing products in the car if you’re prone to dryness. Both the AC and heat are concentrated at your face and hands and will dry you out in no time. Just be careful your favorite chapstick doesn’t have a meltdown in your car in the summer!

4. Before the Shower

If you enjoy hot showers this is a quick way to lose moisture. Lock in moisture by applying lip balm before you step in.

5. Before Applying Make up

Get in the habit of applying lip balm as your first step in your make up routine. This will moisturize your lips and condition them for any product you may be putting on that day. 

Here’s to soft lips!


Best EVER Cheese Pizza

by Caroline Hurley

Best Ever Cheese Pizza - Loblollies Blog

In case you didn’t get it from the title this is the BEST EVER cheese pizza.

Patrick and I have been doing this thing where we don’t eat out except for on the weekends. It was easy for us to get in the habit of stopping on the way home to pick up dinner and it can add  a little extra stress to the wallet and waistline.

One night last week I had the plan to make cheese pizza. Cheap. Easy. Delicious. I did a quick google search for pizza dough and Pioneer Woman’s pizza crust came up. We all no P-Dub is my homegirl but she failed me for the first time with the pizza dough. It was awful. I knew something was wrong when it didn’t call for any sugar…especially honey. I used to make hundreds of pizzas a night so I actually get to have some say on this. Oh it was so sad. Since it was too late to start something else Patrick and I broke our cooking streak and went to Cook Out. God wanted us to have Cook Out.

The next day I tried again with my favorite dough recipe. Don’t ask me why I didn’t do this the first time.

Best Ever Cheese Pizza - Loblollies Blog

Best EVER Cheese Pizza Recipe

For the dough you will need:

-2 TSP active dry yeast
-1 TBSP Honey
-1 Cup Warm Water
– 1 TSP Salt
– 2 TBSP Olive Oil
– 3 Cups All Purpose Flour

Combine the yeast, honey and water in a mixer bowl and let sit until the top is foamy. Around 10 minutes is a safe bet. Make sure to use warm (not hot) water! Yeast are kinda picky about that..

Add the salt, olive oil, and about half of the flour and combine. Start the mixer on low and incorporate the rest of the flour in batches. Then turn the mixer to medium-high for 5 minutes. The dough will be a bit sticky but that will get better as it rises. Cover it with a tea towel for at least an hour. The more it rises the easier it will be to toss or roll into your desired size. I typically use this whole recipe to make one very large pizza. If not I will use the extra to make bread sticks. (Roll into stick, brush on olive oil, season). 

While the dough is rising now comes the sauce!

- 1 yellow onion
– 2 cloves garlic
– 1 TBSP butter
– 16 oz tomato sauce
– 6 oz tomato paste
-1 TBSP Italian seasoning
– 1 TBSP dried oregano
– pinch of sugar
– 1/2 TSP salt

Sweat the onion and garlic in the butter until translucent. Add the rest of the ingredients, bring to a boil, and then reduce heat and let simmer for about an hour with a lid. Once its done, blend it until smooth and store in the fridge.

When the dough is ready go ahead and shape it to the desired size. I have never had as good of results as I have with this pizza pan. As far as I’m concerned don’t even bother with a stone! It never cooks evenly in a traditional oven.

Use a 1/3 cup measuring cup to add the sauce. Dump the sauce in the center and then use the flat bottom of the meaursing cup to spread out the sauce in a spiral pattern. Get almost to the edges!

Add a heaping cup of mozzarella cheese and spread it out. If you’ve made about a 15-18 inch pizza this should be enough to melt and cover the whole pizza. You should still be able to see a lot of sauce through the shredded cheese!

Heat your oven to 475 and bake for about ten minutes. This will differ depending on your oven so keep a good eye on it. If you see big bubbles forming while its cooking just open the oven and poke the bubbles with a knife. Unless you like the bubble pieces that is. Use a spatula to check the bottom of the pizza before you pull it out. This is the easiest way to check for doneness.  It should be a golden brown and crispy.

When its done top it with some basil and serve!


Summer Empty Products

by Caroline Hurley

Im back!

It’s been a solid four months since my last post. Hear me out. I would much rather blog than study and work. True story. So since I was doing both this summer I had to put blogging on the back burner so I could exhibit some self control and ya know…graduate college. But now that my classes are over I have a little extra time on my hands to play with so I’m getting back to blogging. Not sure how often I’ll post since I’m still transitioning with some things but hey…whatevs.

I’ve been able to try a lot of different products while I’ve been absent and some favorites have stacked up and I thought I’d share them with you.

Summer Empty Products Review  (none of the links below are affiliate)


1. Gilchrist & Soames London Collection Body Lotion – Oh my goodness. I got to try two large samples of this lotion this summer and boy am I smitten. My favorite product of the whole summer was body lotion…who would have thought. The smell is my favorite part. It has a subtle cologne like smell that makes you wonder why all lotions don’t smell like this. I also love that it is non-greasy. You should have seen Patrick’s face when I was debating whether it was worth it to buy it buy the gallon.

2. Folle de Joie eau de parfum – Is there anything Joie makes that I don’t love? Nope. So it’s no surprise they nailed their perfume . Those who know me best know that I’ve worn Light Blue for years but this is a close competitor. I’ve been savoring my Birchbox sample.

3. Benefit They’re Real! Mascara – My mom and I are still mourning our favorite mascara’s discontinuation. This mascara is impressive and you’ve probably heard that already. Here’s my opinion. Can you get the same result with drugstore mascaras? Sure… BUT you will probably need multiple coats it will take five times as long. You can get huge lashes in about 30 seconds with this mascara. Beware though…if you wear this product at say the gym or a wedding…it will drip down your face and NOT come off. Save this for occasions where sweat, tears, and humidity are not likely.

4. OGX Hydration KuKui Oil  : I pretty much curl my hair every other day. I can wear my hair straight but its always a challenge in the middle of summer humidity. Enter OGX Kukui Oil. I tried this product and it has been a life saver for my frizz-prone hair. I spray a little on my hands and rub through my hair pre-blowdry and then I repeat after straightening as a finishing products.

5. COOLA Tinted Matte SPF 30 : This was a wonderful addition to one of my Birchboxes. It truly went on like a BB cream but held its own when it came to sun protection. I probably wouldn’t use this as your face SPF for a beach day if you are fair skinned but it’s perfect to apply and use as a BB cream for light coverage or use as an SPF for a jog or other activities in the sun.

Hope you’ve had a relaxing summer!


Carrot and Cucumber Ginger Slaw

by Caroline Hurley

Cucumber carrot ginger slaw


Hi friends! Have you ever been to a Japanese steak house and had a ginger salad dressing? And have you ever tried to buy the same thing at the store with no luck? Okay…brace yourself…Harris Teeter sells a dressing that tastes exactly like it!

I have been living off this stuff ever since I discovered it for the first time. The brand is called Naturally Fresh and you can find it with the refrigerated salad dressings near the produce. They have other great dressings too. It comes in a glass jar with a green lid. (I haven’t been asked to review this product I just love it so darn much!)

So other than using the ginger dressing as a typical salad dressing I recently made this carrot and cucumber ginger slaw and it was divine.


-Shavings of six large carrots (cut into smaller pieces if necessary)
-1/2 English cucumber diced
-1 palm full of cilantro chopped
-1/4 cup of Ginger dressing
-1/2 teaspoon of Sriracha if desired

Mix it all together and serve it up. This served as my entire dinner but it would be a great side for 4 people.