Monday, February 26, 2018

Souper Blog Hop! Mmm Mmm Good.

Good Monday Morning, Everyone! Today, the amazing Chrys Fey is hosting a very special blog hop to introduce her mom's book, Pea Soup Disaster, A Gregory Green Adventure. In honor of this debut, we are celebrating our favorite soups. 

I don't know about you, but I love soup, especially in the winter. Here is the soup I've been chowing down on this winter:

It is sooo good, especially with crumbles of Tostitos corn chips thrown in. It's spicy, but not enough to cause one to breath fire, full of beans and rice to keep you full, plus nice, huge cubes of chicken. (The rectangular cubes are a little odd. I'm not sure what kind of chicken they're using. Must be some special breed of geometrically perfect bird. ;)

I do make several soups from scratch. My favorite is probably a variety of chicken vegetable soup. (No cubed chicken needed.)

First I saute 3 or so heaping tablespoons of minced garlic in a large soup pot. Then I toss in chopped celery and carrots (about a cup each). I like my vegetables a little crunchy, so I don't saute them too long before adding chicken broth (two 14.5 ounce cans of Swanson's reduced salt or one 32 ounce box).

Now for the yummy part. For spices, I like to add basil, thyme, and dill. Since I sprinkle from the spice containers directly, I'm not 100% sure of the amounts, but if you held a hot soup ladle to my head, I'd guess around a 1/2 teaspoon of basil, and maybe a 1/4 teaspoon each of thyme and dill. Basil you can go overboard with and nothing bad will happen. Thyme and dill make the soup something special, but you don't want to go crazy. 

Spice rack
Image: trollhare

I let this simmer for at least thirty minutes. Before serving, I add chopped beefsteak tomatoes (1 and a half cups) and 1/4 cup of chopped green onion-also known as chives. You don't want these two to simmer with the other ingredients because they'll turn to mush. 

I'll admit, vegetables and broth alone don't make the most hearty of soups. I used to add leftover pieces of chicken from whenever we had a roast chicken, but since the soup amount is large, if you don't eat it or freeze it, the chicken would go bad after a week. Eventually I realized I wasn't a huge fan of the chicken anyway and left it out. I tried adding pasta instead, but it gets mushy and kinda gross after a few days. A better option is a can of great northern (white) beans. No mush and they won't spoil. 

And now, here's Elaine Kaye's new book:

BLURB: Gregory Green loves his mom’s pea soup, but when he eats it at school, all of his friends make fun of how it looks. He doesn’t think it looks like bugs, and it tastes good! Then at recess, his friends run from him, screaming, “He’s a monster!” Gregory doesn’t know why his friends are being mean until he sees his skin is green. The teasing gets worse until an unlikely friend comes to the rescue—his teddy bear, Sammy. Sammy usually only comes to life for Gregory and his family, but Sammy has an important lesson to teach Gregory and his classmates.

Available in Print:

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Elaine Kaye got the idea for Pea Soup Disaster from her son who loved to eat her homemade pea soup. Pea Soup Disaster is the first of many fun stories featuring Gregory Green and his teddy bear, Sammy, as part of the Gregory Green Adventure series.

Kaye has worked as a library assistant and teacher's assistant in elementary schools in the Sunshine State. She currently lives in Florida, but she has called Michigan; Honolulu, Hawaii; and Okinawa, Japan home. She is a grandmother of three boys.

Find Elaine:
Website / Instagram / Litsy - @ElaineKaye
Goodreads / Amazon

Do you eat a lot of soup? Have a favorite?

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

IWSG and Celebrate the Small Things

Good Morning, Insecure Writers! Are you ready to spread the joy and/or anguish of our craft? Thank you always to our leader, Ninja Captain Alex. J. Cavanaugh and his merry cohosts: are Stephen Tremp, Pat Garcia, Angela Wooldridge, Victoria Marie Lees, and Madeline Mora-Summonte.

Today's question: What do you love about the genre you write in most often?

Well, that's the thing. I don't have a genre I write in most often. I started with a paranormal thriller, followed by several short stories that were speculative, sci-fi, and/or suspense. Then I wrote a historical novel. And now I'm trying to write something contemporary. I don't think about the genre as much as the character. Maybe I'm edging into literary territory. Call me an up-market gal. That's what I'm aiming for anyway.

Regardless of the genre, there is one thing I love about all of them: the research. Back in my school days, I was a diligent student, but not a joyful one. I was a grade grubber, stuffing facts into my head like a kid cramming down their Brussels sprouts in order to get dessert. But now, knowledge has a purpose. 

brussels sprouts
Image: Mallory Dash

To write that historical novel, I dove into huge textbooks detailing everything that lead up to the American Civil War and couldn't get enough. For one of my sci-fi shorts, I scanned scientific papers on functional MRIs to mesh what was real with what might be possible in some not-too-distant future. And it was fun. Maybe we should turn all students into writers so learning isn't so dreary. 

622 pages of yummy historical goodness


I did not mean to take another long break between posts, but it's completely my husband's fault. But first, let me thank our hostLexa Cain, and her co-hosts: L.G. Keltner and Tonja Drecker.

While I was taking care of our children, house, pets, and every critter within a 5-mile radius who might want something to nibble on in this frozen wasteland lovely Rochester winter, my husband tootled off to sunny San Diego for five days of sightseeing and visiting with his folks a math conference. He came back with a bucket of pens and the cold from hell a virus.

Thanks bunches! Achoo. Cough. Cough. Cough. Cough. Cough. Cough. Cough. Cough. Cough. Cough. Cough. Cough. Cough. Cough. Cough. Cough. Cough. Cough. Cough. Cough. Cough. Cough. Cough. Cough. Cough. Cough. Cough. Cough. Cough. Cough. Cough. Cough. Cough. Cough. Cough. Cough. Cough. Cough. Cough. Cough. Cough. Cough. Cough. Cough. Cough. Cough. Cough. Cough. Cough. Cough. Cough. Cough. Cough. Cough. 

So I've been busy coughing my brains out and filling Kleenex with snot. Good times. While I've been moaning and groaning, my kids have been up to some amazing stuff.

1. My daughter, the famous artist.

Like many teens, my older daughter enjoys posting on Instagram and getting likes and comments. Recently, she's been using drawing apps to make fan art of the pets of well-known "Youtubers" and other social media sensations. One of these pets was named Eddie the Lilac Lion, a senior rescued cat who had lost his ears, teeth, and was half-blind. After Eddie passed away, Sedona sent the above artwork to Eddie's owner, who loved the image and even posted it on their Instagram account. So far, this image has received 7851 likes and over 250 comments. You can check out more of Sedona's art at @creativecat_444.

2. I'm related to an outstanding violinist.

Image: Collapse the Light

My kids also caught my husband's horrible cold and missed some days of school right before dancing and singing in their school's production of Peter Pan. Talk about horrible timing! In the midst of all this insanity, my younger daughter, a violin player, had a solofest which involves playing a prepared piece before a judge along with scales and sight reading. Talk about pressure. 

Nothing was going right before this solofest. Micada had missed several practice sessions with her orchestra teacher. Her nose was completely stuffed up. Her performance time was at 7:10 p.m. after a long day of school followed by two hours of rehearsal for Peter Pan. 

I felt that if she played anything for that judge, even one note, I would be impressed. Instead, she came out after playing with a smile on her face. 

These performances are graded on a scale that runs from "needs work" to "good" to "excellent" to "outstanding". When we got Micada's score later that night, she had scored "outstanding"! Unbelievable. 


Do you write in one genre or several? Do you have an Instagram account? Play a musical instrument?