Home cooking, Kale and quinoa soup

A chill in the air signals the perfect time for hot home-made soup. There’s something about a chilly day that awakens the nesting instinct and calls for comfort food. Making home-made soup is easy,  just start with a flavorful base. You can use canned broth or make your own from a chicken carcass or vegetables if you like.

For this soup I used my crockpot. I first cooked chicken breast in the crockpot then added canned broth, and in my ongoing efforts to eat healthy foods, I added quinoa and kale. After the quinoa was cooked I added the kale that we grew this year, black beans and a can of Rotel  tomatoes. Rotel tomatoes are canned tomatoes with a kick of green chilies.

kale quinoa soup

I seasoned it with salt and cumin. The taste of cumin with the spiciness of the Rotel tomatoes was delish!


If you aren’t sure about quinoa, just try it! It’s classified as a grain like barley or rice but is actually a seed and has it’s own unique earthy taste. You can use it just like rice.

I could have used rice and added carrots or used oregano and basil instead of cumin. With home-made soup you can flavor it as you like. Some of the tastiest soups are made from  vegetables and whatever you have on hand. A good time to experiment is with Thanksgiving leftovers.

There’s nothing better than hot soup, add a piece of crusty bread and you’re all set.


Thanks for visiting! Debra (((xx)))

Free Herbs, a drive-by story

On a side street in town is the Real Foods Emporium. They sell organic foods, raw milk, whole grains and whatever is considered a real food, as in nothing processed.

While running some errands, I spotted the Free Herbs sign. What? When did they put up that sign? I almost slammed on the brakes, but realized that I’d have to come back later.  Bumper sticker, I brake for free herbs should be on my car.


When I had a chance to go back, I was a tad disappointed. The herb garden was very untidy, well, it was just a plain mess.


But the herbs were free, so why let a bunch of weeds bother me, right?


Look at all that basil! And there was lots more basil growing! All over the place.


Everything you need for clipping herbs is in this mailbox, including bags for your clippings. There was even a hoe and that little seat thing to save your back from all that bending over.

finished collage1


I saw the herbs pictured above and mint, tarragon and others that I didn’t recognize. Despite my first impression, the plants were abundant and healthy looking, but I took only what I needed for one of my most favorite Fall recipes.



I gathered a handful of lovely, fragrant sage. The picture is a little hint to the recipe. Can you guess what it is?

I’ll be posting the recipe real soon and I have to tell you, it’s so good!

I’m planning on going back to get more, especially some of that beautiful basil to make basil ice cubes for soups and sauces. Here’s how to do it.

Fall’s been great so far, but I have to get back there before the frost if I want to clip more. Wilted rose

Happy Fall!

Debbie (((xx)))

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, gardening


We plant a garden every year and I have to admit, this year, our garden is a mess. Between too much rain, no rain, pesky insects and rabbits, it’s looking pretty bad.

Despite all that, we are still getting some vegetables. Not as much as we have in past years, but still plenty for us. Our neighbors must be wondering why they aren’t getting many tomatoes or zucchini from us this year.

The GOOD.     We got some absolutely delicious cantaloupe, there were plenty of zucchini for making relish and my husband got plenty of his beloved chili peppers. And I had a burst of energy and actually put up some peach preserves. Put up means canned around these parts.


The BAD.  Cracked and split is how almost all the tomatoes look and an insect is eating them up right on the vine. It has to be insects or birds because rabbits can’t reach that high. Next year I guess we’ll spray them.  We never have before and always got nice looking tomatoes.


The UGLY. This year I tried a new tomato, Black Krim. The pictures don’t show just how ugly they are. When cut open, the edges are black and I thought rotten, but boy are they loaded with a rich tomato flavor and not rotten at all…..just ugly.


We planted a couple rows of green beans and  harvested about…….four! That’s four beans. I saw that the plants didn’t have many blooms on them and sure enough it was rabbits. Our garden is completely surrounded by wire fencing but baby rabbits still get in and had a grand smorgasbord. We didn’t see them because they hid in the zucchini plants.Bunny

Next year a new fence will be the first project on the list………unless Clint Eastwood shows up.



How does your garden grow this year?

Debbie (((xx)))

Girl party on the patio

Recently I hosted a  jewelry party on the patio.  I invited a few girlfriends over to a Premier Designs party. It turned out to be a perfect evening for outdoor entertaining.collage
Snacks are expected. So what do you serve a bunch of women on a warm evening? Some snacks that aren’t too heavy, because no one is going to do more than nibble, but you want to have a nice colorful selection and a great cool drink.
Since it was a Premier Designs party, I dubbed the drink a ‘P D tini.’  Non alcoholic. Blue elixir, fizz, over ice, garnished with cherry and lime. 1
This simple drink was such a hit. I think because of the way it was presented, it was festive and fun. The chalkboard was just a piece of old paneling sprayed with chalkboard paint. (Edited to add this post to the Chalkboard party at Beth’s blog, The Stories of A to Z. She’s a talented PA gal who has a fun and fabulous blog! Having a portable chalkboard like this one has so many uses, everyone should have their own. Think yardsales, picnics, cookouts, lemonade stands and lots more!)
To make it mysterious, I didn’t share the ingredients until the end of the party.
Blue elixir=white grape juice and food coloring.
Fizz=ginger ale.
Simple as can be!

My large white pitchers handled this job prettily! The chalkboard labels came from etsy and I can think of hundreds of ways to use them!
I served 2 cheeses, and green and purple grapes on a double white pedestal,  strawberries and fruit dip (recipe follows) on a big white platter and for something crunchy, I mixed pretzel sticks and goldfish crackers and served them in a large round lidded, clear glass canister. It was a pretty spread but I was too busy to get any pictures so these pictures are a mini re-creation!
Something sweet, inspired by Paula Deen was frozen margarita dessert. I skipped the tequila.
(Take from Paula Deen’s best Desserts magazine.)
Here’s my fruit dip recipe.
Mix up equal parts of softened cream cheese, marshmallow creme and cool whip. That’s it! Have you ever made this? It is some seriously good stuff. It’s fluffy, heavenly, yummy!pdtini

Mary Kay, Tastefully Simple, Pampered chef, Longaberger, Arbonne, Southern Living at Home…I think these are still around. Are you into home parties, like 31 Purses, Miche Bags or tupperware? Is tupperware still sold at home parties? I’m going to a Miche bags party on Saturday and am looking forward to some girl time.
Home parties, love em or leave em…I’m somewhere in the middle. The only other home party I hosted was Mary Kay, how about you?
I’ll be showing you all my goodies on Thursday! Come on back to see all the bling!

Another chalkboard project HERE.

~Award~ Acai, what is it?

Thank you for the award Meggie from Meggie’ stuff,
and Erin from the Classy Rabbit!
The rules are:
By accepting this Excellent Blog Award, you agree to award it to 10 more people whose blogs you find Excellent Award worthy. Please award at least 10.
Feel free to recognize blogs that have already received this award.

Getting awards is so much fun but I have a terrible time passing them on…I guess I have to play this time…LOL… here goes,

Donna, The Decorated House
Des, Peeking thru the Sunflowers
KJ, eye dyllic
Manuela, The Feathered Nest
Rhoda, Southern Hospitality
Kat, Just a Beach Kat
Sheila, Gim’ me Memories
SuzieQ, Rabbit Run Cottage
JennR, Sanctuary Arts
Cindy, My Romantic Home

That was difficult! I love reading so many blogs & am continually finding new ones, each is different and excellent in it’s own unique way…….picking 10 was not easy.

Acai, what the heck is it? I’ve recently become aware of this super antioxidant berry,
harvested in the rain forest of Brazil. Today I saw some at the grocery store & decided to give it a try. It’s very good & so dark in color it just has to be a health food.

Imagine all those deep dark antioxidants swirling through your veins clearing out all the bad stuff, then working their magic removing rust & oxidation from your organs better than CLR & steel wool.

It’s a bit on the expensive side, $3.00 for this 10 oz. bottle, but most likely I’ll buy it again. Give it a try…it can’t hurt! Now do you eat quinoa, another super food? I’d like to learn about that one too.

Have a great day