First Soup of the Season & #WHATCHAREADINGTHISWEEKEND?

The weather definitely has changed around here—thank heavens! Our very long, very hot, dry and smoky summer is officially in our rear view mirror. That means it’s time to think about comfort foods. For me, that means soup.

 Cooked legumes and vegetables in a bowl

I am an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink kind of soup enthusiast. Last night’s meal was inspired by finding a great deal on smoked ham hocks and a package of dried beans in the cupboard—the sixteen-variety-soup-mix type. (Cool thing about this kind of dried beans is you don’t have to soak overnight.)

Here’s the recipe. It’s super simple, not super fast. I didn’t start early enough in the day to use the slow cooker, but the smell of this simmering on the stove all afternoon was definitely a plus.

  1. Start the beans. Follow the directions on the bag: add beans to 6-8 cups hot water. Heat, boil for five minutes, then set aside and let soak for 1 hour.

  2. Start the body of the soup. Chop 2 medium onions and peel four cloves of garlic. Add ham hocks to pot. Cover with water and set on medium heat to boil for several hours.

  3. Squish the soften garlic cloves with the back of a spoon. Add the beans when they are done soaking.

  4. An hour or two before serving, pull out the ham hocks and cut the meat to bite-size pieces. Discard bones and return meat to the soup.

  5. Add chopped carrots, celery, or anything you need to use up. (In my case, leftover green beans, leftover sweet potato, and a bit of chard from my garden.)

  6. Add beef or chicken broth or water for desired consistency. Simmer until ready to serve.

  7. Given the salty flavor of the ham hocks, the only seasoning I added was pepper.

  8. Serve with bread, crackers or cornbread.

 How’s that for simple? Do you have a favorite soup? I’m always looking for new recipes. Feel free to share on my DebraSalonenAuthor Facebook page.

Have a great weekend!

Deb

PS: #WHATCHAREADINGTHISWEEKEND?

I’m reading the first book in this awesome boxed set by C.J. Carmichael. I’m so hooked! The heroine’s father! What’s up with this man? Grr.

Welcome back, Storybroads! It’s good to be home.

Thanks to Tara Taylor Quinn for getting this valued blog back up and running. I don’t know what went on behind the scenes, but I’m sure Tara got in a good punch or two because here we are. ;-)

I’m currently working on a new series while enjoying a much needed break in the weather. This has been a rough summer for my part of California: hot, dry and way too many fires. To kind of bring you up to date, I’ll share a bit from my most recent newsletter.

Welcome, Autumn header

We just celebrated my daughter’s “Fabulous & Forty” birthday with a big party and dancing under the stars. The weather finally has a touch of chill in the evenings, and we couldn’t be happier. The photo below is of Kelly with two great friends from high school. (Kendra, left, Jenni, middle, and Kelly, right.) I’m so proud of these awesome women, who are kind, generous, supportive of each other, involved in their community, and great role models for their children.

Kelly and pals

The day after the party, my hubby and I made a 50-mile drive to view some of the more remote burn areas of the Detwiler Fire. We were amazed by how huge the scope of this fire was, but you can’t help but be impressed by how many homes were saved. Kudos to CALFIRE and all of the fabulous First Responders. Every day, we see huge trucks on the highway carting away debris from the fifty-plus destroyed homes, but Mother Nature has already begun the work reclaiming her hold at the base of so many of the skeleton trees.

after the fire

Next week, I’ll share a couple of fun autumnal recipes and other timely news, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t share the latest–and final–book in our Love at the Chocolate Shop series.

Sweet Dreams, Baby

by C.J. Carmichael

Carmichael-SweetDreamsBaby

Three weeks ago, Portia Bishop mailed a letter to the father of her baby, Saddle Bronc rider Austin Bradshaw. It’s a letter she should have written a long time ago—like when she first found out she was pregnant, shortly after she ended things with Austin, dropped out of college, and went running to her family in Marietta, Montana.Austin has loved Portia since he first laid his eyes on her in college. A year ago, he convinced her to do something impulsive and very romantic. Now, as he opens her letter, Austin has two reasons to return to Marietta–win back the heart of the woman he still loves and convince her he’s a good bet for a forever man and father.
Purchase SWEET DREAMS, BABY
          

Twelve months, twelve sweet romances, six authors. If you like chocolate and romance, you can’t go wrong. #whatlovetasteslike

All 12 covers

 ~~~

I hope you’re enjoying the last few days of September. See you next week! It really is good to be back.

Deb

Where in the world is Deb Salonen?

Remember last Friday when I said I was going to South Dakota for a taste of Autumn?

Got it. And brrr…it’s colder than I remember. ;-)

We arrived in Sioux Falls on a warm, beautiful night of a full moon.

deb-salonen-spooky-sky-in-south-dakota

The next morning, we stopped in my old hometown of Brookings for a trip down memory lane. The place has really changed. Even my beloved Carnegie library where I spent every Saturday morning as a child has evolved into a home for art.

deb-salonen-trip-down-memory-lane-to-the-library Then we headed north on the Interstate, which provided an author-type all sorts of interesting images like giant wind generator propeller blades (I don’t get out much remember). It’s good to know somebody is benefitting from all this wind. ;-)

deb-salonen-the-things-you-see-on-the-highway I thought this photo would make a good “Where In The World Is Deb Salonen?” image. Eastern South Dakota isn’t as flat you thought, I bet.

where-in-thw-world-is-deb-salonen My new office faces Lake Poinsett. The views are everchanging—just like the weather. So far, I’ve seen the water as smooth as glass, pink sunsets, puffy white clouds, fog and mist that obscured the other side of the lake and whitecaps that remind me of the Central Coast of California. (Just hoping it doesn’t snow before I leave.)

twilight-in-sd-is-inspiringand-then-the-clouds-moved-in But for a girl from parched California, here is a sound that is music to my ears.

Happy Friday, my friends, wherever you are. If you haven’t signed up for my NEWSLETTER, I have more pics PLUS a new giveaway coming out on Sunday.

Signing off from South Dakota,

Deb

PS: I’ve gotten tons of writing done, too. CALEB’S CHRISTMAS WISH is uploaded and ready to go when I get back home!