Happy Friday the 13th and #whatchareadingthisweekend?

Are you a bit Friday the 13th phobic?

Not me. Half the time I don’t know what day of the week it is until I’m forced to look at my weekly planner.

Last year, I decided to make this day a promotion angle. I can’t remember if it worked. LOL. But why let a good meme go to waste? Grab it here: BABY.

Friday 13th FREE

 I hate to be bearer of bad news, but I live in California and the sad fact is our sky is a gray haze of smoke because there’s a disaster going on a hundred or so miles to the north. Everyone I know has some connection to this area—my FedEx driver this morning told me his uncle was awoken at 4 AM by a sheriff’s deputy pounding on the door. He was told to evacuate right that moment. By the time the husband and wife got into the car with just the clothes on their back, the fire had hopped the back fence and was racing toward their home. The house was destroyed. Luckily, the man had the foresight to store all of his important papers at the bank, so only the copies were lost…along with all of their possessions. I guess that’s the bright side, but still…the loss is almost unfathomable, even after witnessing such devastation first hand.

I know there are many reputable charities and GoFundMe pages available if you’re looking for a way to help those impacted by the NorCal fires. I donated to this woman because her story broke my heart and actually made me sob.

Patti lost it all

Here’s the article: http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/12-Bernese-mountain-dogs-two-dachshunds-lost-in-12274310.php#photo-14338385. This poor woman was awakened by a sheriff and forced to leave her home, even as she cried, “My dogs! My dogs are inside.” By the time the deputy returned, the house was engulfed and her eight Bernese Mountain dogs, four Bernese puppies and two dachshunds were dead.

 I researched the Bernese breed when I wrote BLACK HILLS BILLIONAIRE and fell in love with these gentle giants. If you’re a dog lover, you can probably relate to Patti’s anguish. Donate to Patti here: Patti lost it all


 So…I don’t know about you, but I need a little escape. I just bought the 2nd book in Patricia McLinn’s Caught Dead in Wyoming series. I loved the first one—smart, intriguing, a fish-out-water story with a lot of twists—and can’t wait to dive into this one. Click on the cover to learn more and buy from your favorite retailer. Left-Hanging-screen

Have a great weekend.

Deb

 

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.