Summer Soup

VeggieSoupOne of the characters in my latest release, Annabelle’s Ruth ( Book 1, Kinsman Redeemer series), makes what she calls “Summer Soup.” It’s a healthy sampling of summer’s bounty, fresh from the garden. Grandma simmered her soups all day on the back of the stove, but her summer varieties, what she would’ve called “fresh soup,” took only a couple of hours, and were often bits and pieces of leftover veggies from her canning.

Today, we can chop these up and put them in a crockpot, add vegetable or chicken broth, cover it, set it on high or low (depending on how long you have) and walk away. When you get home from work or wherever you had to go, it smells wonderful. Dip it out into bowls and eat.

What makes a good summer soup? In the picture above, I started with minced garlic, diced onions, sliced carrots, chopped celery and summer squash. Instead of potatoes, I used something a little more flavorful–a turnip–but you can substitute potatoes. The herbs pictured are from my garden–thyme and sage. I start with a 32-oz. carton of organic chicken stock, then add about a cup each of the chunky vegetables, two or three cloves of garlic. I chop up the herbs and add them last. Then I usually add a 14.5 oz. can of chopped tomatoes, a dash of pepper and salt. All of this goes in the crockpot for 5 hours on high or 8-10 hours on low.

Don’t have a crockpot? Add all the ingredients to a Dutch oven or other soup pot, bring it to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer until the veggies are tender and the flavors are fully combined. This should take at least an hour, but longer is better. Add more broth if needed.

The beauty of this soup is, you can add or subtract. I may add a can of drained beans, fresh or frozen corn, a teaspoon of chili powder–whatever I’m in the mood for. The shorter, cooler days of fall are perfect for this yummy soup. And the best part is, the house smells wonderful.

What else do you need? I’m from the south, so I often make cornbread to go with soup. Annabelle Cross (Annabelle’s Ruth) makes really good cornbread. There’s nothing so satisfying on a cool fall evening as a hot, buttery wedge of skillet-baked cornbread alongside a bowl of steaming veggie soup.

I’ve started working on the second book in the Kinsman Redeemer series. A lot of the characters from the first book are showing up in the second story. One of them reminded me that he is a reader’s favorite. He’s my favorite, too. And he loves cornbread, as well.

If you’ve read Annabelle’s Ruth, you might guess who I’m talking about. If you haven’t read it, and would like to, you can find it at most online booksellers. I’ve left a couple of links below to make it easy to find. If you just really, really want an autographed, print copy of the book, I can mail you one for just about the same price as you’d pay online. I do have to charge shipping…use the contact tab above to email me. Thanks so much for stopping by–

Enjoy the bounty of summer!

Annabelle's Ruth FRONT final CoverAnnabelle’s Ruth — After their husbands perish in a fishing boat accident, Connie Cross determines to follow her mother-in-law, Annabelle, from Southern California to Tennessee. Her misgivings begin as they cross the bridge over the muddy Mississippi River. In their new town, where living conditions are far below their previous expectations, they must set up a household and hunt for work to survive. Thanks to the kindness of Annabelle’s handsome, young cousin, life begins to settle down. But Connie has a secret that could change everything once again.
Inspired by the Book of Ruth, Annabelle’s Ruth is a 1950’s era story, set in western Tennessee. How will Connie adapt to her new life amid the cotton farms, racial tension, and culture shock?
Buy it at Amazon ♥   Buy it at GoodReads ♥ Thank You!



Comfort Food is on the Menu

It’s raining leaves. 

At least that’s how it looks. Summer has officially ended. As the weather cools, my instincts kick in. Time for comfort food. Summer’s sandwiches and salads were nice, but there is nothing like a good, hot meal to chase away autumn’s first chill. 
What is your favorite comfort food? I posted this question on my Facebook page and got a variety of answers. Chili. A big pot of pinto beans with homemade cornbread. Anything my momma cooks. Okay, that one came from one of my sons. 
Homemade chicken and dumplings, roast beef and whipped potatoes with rich, dark gravy. Potato soup and crispy cornbread. White beans and turnip greens.
Hungry yet? One thing all of these have in common, besides being high in calories? Homemade. 
Nothing beats it. Just like Mom used to make (if Mom could cook). But I’m not going there. This kind of weather makes you want to settle in with a bowl of something hot and delicious. My favorite? Homemade chicken and dumplings. Do you have a favorite that I didn’t mention? Leave me a comment to cast your vote. Happy Fall!