Sunday, October 30, 2011

And Again

So shoot me. I'm still on a soup kick!

Hope you have a peaceful day. And give the soup a try--it's really good!

Veggie Soup

1 large onion
2 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
5 cups vegetable broth
2 stalks celery, diced
1 cup cut green beans
2 cups chopped spinach
1 chopped carrot
1 cup chopped sweet red pepper
1 tablespoon dill
1 cup corn kernels
1 15-oz. can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon black pepper
Parmesan cheese, if desired for sprinkling at serving

In a large stock pot, bring broth, onion and potatoes to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes. Add remaining ingredients, except for Parmesan cheese, and cook, uncovered for an additional 15-20 minutes, or until all vegetables are tender.

Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, if desired, at serving.

Thursday, October 27, 2011


Still loving the soup here...

Black Bean Soup

A great thing to make on a cold day. I love to eat this with tortilla chips warmed in the oven. Spice it up if you like things extra-hot. Or, use a light hand with the spices if you desire a milder taste.

Black Bean Soup

One pound dried black beans
6 cups water
3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 green bell pepper
1 red or orange bell pepper
1 onion
8 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons lime juice
½ cup orange juice
16-ounce can plum tomatoes
½ teaspoon thyme
½ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 cup cooked rice

Soak beans in cold water overnight.

Drain beans, rinse, and discard any stones. Place beans in a large stockpot with 6 cups water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 2 hours. When beans are easily pierced with a fork, proceed to next step.

Chop peppers, onion, and garlic. Saute vegetables in skillet with olive oil until vegetables are tender.

Combine vegetables and beans in stockpot. Add remaining ingredients and simmer for 30-40 minutes. Just before serving, add rice and heat through.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Kitchen Smells

Fall is such a great time for yummy kitchen smells and baking, don't you think?

Gingersnaps have always been one of my favorite cookies. They remind me of my childhood.


3/4 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg
3/4 cup dark molasses
3 cups sifted flour
1/4 t. salt
2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. cloves
1 t. ginger
1 t. cinnamon

Cream butter and sugar. Add egg and molasses and beat well.

Sift together remaining ingredients, then combine with the butter mixture. Chill at least 30 minutes.

Form dough into small balls. Roll balls in granulated sugar and place on greased cookie sheet.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes.

Saturday, October 22, 2011


What's on your reading list this week? Anything interesting?

I just finished a fabulous book. I have to tell you, I enjoyed every bit of it but that's no surprise. It was written by one of my favorite authors. And, just so you know, she's one of my favorite people, too.

If you've never read any of Kathleen O'Connor's stories you're really missing out. She portrays believable characters in pretty ordinary circumstances so well they feel like people you might know. Sometimes, Kathy's characters show bits of the readers' personalities, too. They're just human, and rise from the pages.

The Way It Happen In Novels is a story of contradictions and an unlikely match. I was intrigued from the first page by Cheryl and Richard's story. I've got to admit, he got on my nerves a time or two but I think he was supposed to do that. In any event, I was enchanted by their romance, and cheered them on every step of the way.

Thanks, Kathy, for bringing love and laughter to these gray October days!

The Way It Happens In Novels is available here.

So, what're you reading? I'm ready to fall into something new.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Loving Coffee Again

On the widow's path, it's mostly just a matter of survival. I just try to make the best of each day, looking to find some peace and a feeling of productivity. I learned early on that small things make survival less daunting, because every tiny victory helps make the big picture less painful.

I've learned effective coping strategies. Some, pretty obvious. Others? Probably only helpful in my life and utterly useless to others.

One thing I finally did was to take the plunge and spend money I received for my birthday on a Keurig coffee machine. I'd been drinking awful instant coffee for months. Why? The thought of brewing a pot of coffee without my sweet man to share it with me just sent me over the edge. Really, I cried every time I tried to do it, so I gave up and drank crappy instant mud. For a while, it worked. Then, as I said, I took the plunge.

It's not an earth-shattering thing, but it's wonderful to enjoy a cup of coffee again. In a special mug made just for me by an amazing young woman. And, I'm trying new flavors, which is easy with the variety of K-Cups available.

So, my latest step forward on this journey. I didn't know what to talk about this morning until I looked down at my mug of hazelnut coffee and smiled.

What's making you smile today? I hope it's something good. And, I wish you a peaceful day. Walk gently. Smile often. And, when the chance to calm your heart shows up, take it. Even if that chance comes in a coffee cup!

Thursday, October 20, 2011


Venturing to the movies! I love movies but it's been a real long time since I actually went to the theater. I went a few afternoons ago with my mom and step-dad, and we had a peaceful afternoon.

I saw ads for Real Steel and knew instantly I wanted to see it. So, that's what we saw and we all agreed it was well worth the price of admission. I loved this movie--it's filled with everything that I enjoy in films. Adventure. Innovation. Heart. And strength. The good guys triumphed. The creep got what he deserved. When I walked out, I was grinning. All good.

What about you? What kind of films do you enjoy most?

I wish you a peaceful day. Filled with adventure. Innovation. Strength. And, most importantly, heart.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Tons of Soup

I made this a few days ago. I cut the ingredient list in half, and there's still tons of soup. Thank goodness, it's so yummy! I love soup weather, don't you?

Roasted Squash Soup

1 acorn squash
1 butternut squash
2 sweet potatoes
2 large onions
6 garlic cloves
½ T. cinnamon
1 Tbsp onion powder
2 T. garlic powder
1 T. pumpkin pie spice
1 T. cumin
2 T. oregano
2 T. paprika
2 T. chili pepper
1 T. salt
1 T. black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup canned pumpkin
4 cups vegetable stock
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup small pasta

Cut squashes in half and remove seeds. Cut sweet potatoes and onions in half. Put all the pieces in a roasting pan, flesh side up. Sprinkle with spice mixture and drizzle with olive oil. Turn flesh side down, placing garlic cloves under cavity of the squash. Roast in a 350 degree oven for 40 minutes or until fork tender.

Cool, then scoop flesh into a pot. Add pumpkin and blend with an immersion mixer. Still blending, slowly add stock. Add heavy cream. Bring to a boil, then add pasta.

Cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


I love fall. Love, love, love watching the leaves turn from green to gorgeous. It's always a surprise, seeing just what shade of color shows up on each tree.

I can't say I have a "favorite" season--I like them all. But fall definitely makes me smile.

What about you? Enjoying the fall beauty?

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Coloring Outside the Lines

Every day there's more color to the hills. I just love it!

Saturday, October 15, 2011


It's a perfect fall day here! Blustery. Chilly. Leaves flying through the air. I love days like this.

My plan? To get a small fire burning in the wood stove so the house gets nice and cozy. Then, I'm heading outdoors. It's a great day for planting mums and bulbs. Buttoning up the barns and checking the greenhouse. Securing the stuff near the pond. I'll drive the mower over the leaves, crunching them up as soon as they hit the ground.

It doesn't take much to entertain me, does it?

Then, I'll pull together some more winter squash soup(yeah, I'm hooked on the stuff!), warm some apple cider and settle in to work on a new crafty project. What am I making? I can't say just yet(it's a surprise for someone who reads this blog)but it involves some pretty colors and long needles. And, when it's done it'll hopefully keep someone special toasty warm. Got it figured out? I thought so.

Well, what's on your schedule for this pretty fall day? Whatever you do, I hope you have a peaceful day!

Friday, October 14, 2011

A Lark!

Today's my day on The Lark Journals. Won't you stop by and visit? I've got something sweet and loving to share with you.

Wishing you a peaceful Friday!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Bubble, Bubble...

A little of this. Some of that. And how about those?

Yeah, it's a recipe. Last night's dinner, actually.

It was late. I was tired. And hungry.

I'd just brought in a big basket of stuff from the yard. Good stuff.

Acorn squash. Butternut squash. Apples. Carrots.

You get it, don't you? I peeled. Cubed. Dumped it all into a pot. Added some vegetable broth. Salt. Pepper. And--the kicker!--pumpkin pie spice.

Cooked it all until it was soft. Then, the food processor.

Oh. My. Goodness. Yummy doesn't begin to describe this soup. And there was enough to freeze two pint jars, so in the very near future I won't have to cook. Just defrost. Nuke. And eat!

So, now you know what I was doing at ten last night. What were you up to?

Wishing you a peaceful day!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Release Day!

Color me happy. Today the large print edition of my latest novel, A Christmas Bargain, releases! I wrote this book during a peaceful time in my life so it's got a special place in my heart.

Seeing it in large print, and knowing it will reach a bigger audience because it's more user-friendly to those with sight problems really makes me smile. It is really just a good thing, and I'm happy this morning.

It's available here. I can't help myself--I think I'll go and look at it again...

Wishing you a peaceful day!

Monday, October 10, 2011


Armchair traveling. That's what I've been doing lately. And you know what? It's pretty darn comfortable!

No worries I'll stay in the armchair forever, but for now I'm having a great time browsing travel deals. Researching faraway places. Exploring different cultures.

I know where I'd go if money weren't a concern. What about you? Any destination catch your attention?

Wishing you a peaceful day!

Friday, October 07, 2011

Just a Thought

"Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary." ~Steve Jobs

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Full Heart

You know how some people fill your heart--without even trying? Just the thought of them brings a smile and really makes your heart swell? You've got people in your life who have that magical ability, don't you?

I'm blessed with many people who make my heart sing. Yesterday was Vito's sister Josie's birthday. I can't say "sister in law" because the woman is a sister in my heart. Full-on, no-doubt-about-it sister. Just thinking of her makes me smile, brings warmth to my heart and makes my world a happier place.

Happy Birthday, Jo. I love you.

What about you? Fast--name a person who makes you smile.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

A Reminder

There's a chill in the air this morning. It reminds me that this isn't that far away.

Wow. That's all I can say. Just wow.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Monkey-ing Around

Now in my Etsy shop!