Plunging: Stock markets hit 11-year lows.

Plummeting: US home prices fell at record pace in December.

Citywide Hiring Freeze Proposed
: Because that worked so well the last time.

Under Pressure: Banks, insurers and automakers want US to add billions in bailout money.

Crazy AND Anti-Choice: Octuplets' mom said she "had" to carry all eight embryos to term, because otherwise she'd have had to destroy some.

False Alarm: Microsoft says workers can keep excess severance pay.

Bernanke: Recession may last until 2010.

Eat, Drink, and Be Merry: It's Mardi Gras!

Approved: Sixty-eight percent like Obama's job performance so far.

States Refusing Stimulus Money: Hope prayers will work.

As Promised: Cap and trade included in Obama's budget.

Not Worth It: Would-be beauty queen dies on stage after radical weight-loss regime.

Faith Crisis: Billy Graham to lay off 10 percent of staff.

While You're Waiting for This Week's LOST: Check out The Ack Attack's hilarious recaps.

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Recipe of the Day: Quick Chipotle Tortilla Soup (Recipe and Photo via Pithy and Cleaver)

Quick Chipotle Tortilla Soup
serves four

2 small onions, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, smashed and sliced
1 tablespoon paprika
2 tsp ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
dash red pepper flakes (optional)
1 qt low-salt stock or broth
3 chipotle chiles in adobo (about half a can), chopped
2 14-oz or 1 28-oz cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes, including liquid
1/4 cup water (I just add this to the empty tomato cans to clean out the remains)
1 can cannelini beans, rinsed and drained
10 oz frozen corn kernels (one package)
3 tomatillos, chopped
1/2 red pepper, chopped
juice of two small limes
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

for serving:
1 avocado
handful cilantro, chopped
several handfuls tortilla chips
queso fresco (if unavailable, use mild feta or jack cheese)
lime wedges

In a large dutch oven or heavy soup pot, saute chopped onion in olive oil until translucent. Add garlic, paprika, cumin, coriander, chili powder, oregano, and pepper flakes if using. Stir and saute until fragrant, about one minute. Add stock, chipotles, tomatoes, water, and beans. Simmer ten minutes to let flavor mingle. Add corn, tomatillos, red pepper, and lime juice, simmer an additional 15 minutes. Stir in cilantro and taste. Go light on the salt, since the tortilla chips will add a bunch. Slice avocado and divide between bowls, saving a little for a garnish. Put a handful of crumbled tortilla chips in each bowl. Ladle soup on top, and top with additional cilantro, avocado, chips, and crumbled queso fresco. Serve with lime wedges.