Saturday, July 28, 2012

Gazpacho Soup


I love all things tomato!  Add in some fresh cucumbers, bell peppers, onions, and garlic and you have  the makings for a great cold soup.

This is the perfect time to use all those wonderful vegetables you are harvesting from the garden or finding at the farmer's market.


1 lb. red tomatoes, soft
1 onion
1 green bell pepper, large
1 cucumber
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
5 soup spoons vegetable oil
5 soup spoons vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
1-2 glasses of water to desired consistency


1)  Cut up all ingredients into a large bowl.

2)  Blend in blender, adding water as needed.

3)  Chill in refrigerator for at least 2 hours to combine flavors.

4)  Enjoy!


As you can tell, I used 1 yellow and 1 orange bell pepper for this batch.  It still turned out well, but not as spicy as it would have using green ones.  Also, I prefer red wine vinegar, but others will do.  To add a little more kick, I tossed in a couple jalapeno peppers.  Yum!

My gazpacho isn't deep red in color like many restaurants.  I choose to keep it as real and healthy as possible.  Many restaurants add either tomato juice or V-8 to their recipe to supposedly make it more appealing.

Cook Family Recipes by Chef Ellen

This recipe may be linked to these wonderful recipe hops!



Saturday, July 14, 2012

Vegetables: Fajita-style


I don't know about you, but I love a great fajita!  In an attempt to to find new ways to use the produce from my garden, I came up with the following recipe.  It is not only good for fajitas, but the vegetables are great on their own!


Extra Virgin Olive Oil (dressing / marinade for a lighter taste)
Fajita Seasoning Mix
2 medium carrots
1 green bell pepper
1 red bell pepper
broccoli florets
1 medium onion
1-2 small / medium zucchini


1)  Julienne or dice the vegetables you wish to use.
2)  Lightly coat bottom of frying pan with olive oil and heat on Med-High.  Add vegetables.
3)  Cover and cook for 5 minutes stirring occasionally.
4)  Add 1 packet of Fajita Seasoning Mix and mix well.
5)  Continue cooking until vegetables are crispy al dente.
6)  Serve with warm tortillas or eat right out of the pan!
7)  Enjoy!


1)  This is one of those recipes that is almost better the second time around!

2)  Use whatever vegetables you have on hand.  I have added diced tomatoes after the vegetables are done.

3)  Adjust the seasonings to your taste.  Add more cayenne pepper or even red pepper flakes to increase the heat!

4)  For this batch, I used 2 packets of Fajita Seasoning Mix.  I had a large mixing bowl of veggies to stir-fry!

This recipe may be linked to the following great food hops.

Cook Family Recipes by Chef Ellen



Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Tidewater Inn... a book review


ISBN: 9781595547811
Available: ebook 7/17/12, paperback 7/29/12
The Hope Beach Series #1
by Colleen Coble
Christian fiction / Romantic Suspense

Welcome to Hope Beach. A place of intoxicating beauty . . . where trouble hits with the force of a hurricane.

Inheriting a beautiful old hotel on the Outer Banks could be a dream come true for Libby. The inn cries out for her restorer's talent and love of history. She's delighted to learn of the family she never knew she had. And the handsome Coast Guard lieutenant she's met there on the island could definitely be the man of her dreams.

But Libby soon realizes that the only way she can afford the upkeep on the inn is to sell it to developers who are stalking the island. The father who willed her the inn has died before she could meet him, and her newfound brother and sister are convinced she's there to steal their birthright. Worst of all, her best friend and business partner has been kidnapped before her eyes, and Libby's under suspicion for the crime.

Libby's dream come true is becoming a nightmare. Her only option is to find her friend and prove her innocence, or lose everything on the shores of Hope Island.               (Publisher's Description)

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

a kidnapped friend

a father's last wish

a cave keeping secrets

a family she never knew

What would you do if you witnessed your best friend and business partner kidnapped via a beach webcam?  How hard would you work to find her knowing that the police feel you are the prime suspect?  Who would you trust to look out for your best interests when many feel you don't belong there?  How do you extend grace and mercy to siblings you have never met and who don't want to know you?

Colleen Coble has an award-winning book on her hands.  She has brought Libby, Nicole, Vanessa, Brent, Aunt Pearl, and more to life!  The relationships among the characters is well written... stressing both the positive and negative feelings.  The emotional ups-and-downs keep the reader involved along with the many twists and turns in the plot.  The Christian faith of the characters is woven in so easily... from a simple WWJD necklace to a simple prayer of faith to receive Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior.  Great story!  One that will stay with me for a long time!

I look forward to reading the second book in The Hope Beach series, Rosemary Cottage, available July 2013!

I received a complimentary ebook of Tidewater Inn from Thomas Nelson and their BookSneeze program for my honest review.



Thursday, July 5, 2012

Travelers Rest... a book review


Great book… very timely with all the wounded warriors coming home
and needing rest, recuperation, and rehabilitation! 

~ Ellen

Available May 1, 2012
Bethany House Publishing
Contemporary Christian Fiction
ISBN: 978-0-7642-0810-2
My Rating: A

determined to honor her commitment...

convinced life is no longer worth living...

certain it's too late to be forgiven...

Jane Morrow has a dilemma, and love alone may not solve it. Her faith has never been strong, yet somehow she hopes God will answer her prayers and tell her what to do. The answer she finds may not be at all what she expected...            (from the back cover)

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

How does life go on when your fiance returns home from fighting in Iraq as a quadraplegic?  Do you stand by your man no matter what... uphold your wedding vows not yet taken?  Where is the silver lining?

Ann Tatlock has beautifully written a heartwarming story of love, loss, forgiveness, and hope for the future.  Each of the characters is well-developed so that they easily become your friends throughout the book.  Many of their character traits are ones I could easily identify with - questioning God, understanding your past, desire to uphold commitments, and more.

With all the wounded soldiers returning from the Middle East, this wonderful story gives us an insight into the problems faced by the veterans.  Their slow and steady recuperation does not always mean a whole body... the one they had before defending our blessings.  Travelers Rest has challenged me as to how I can help our returning veterans and their families.

I received a complimentary copy of Travelers Rest from Bethany House Publishers for my honest review.



God and America in the words of Ronald Reagan


This tribute was put together by Ronald Reagan's church to honor his birthday.

Great man

Great words



Monday, July 2, 2012

Gardening Question....


I need HELP!  My tomato plant is turning yellow and is appearing to die.  I keep finding mixed answers online for this.  Please leave a comment with a way to save this plant!  It is full of tomatoes that are healthy, but not ripening.  When I think about it, none of my tomatoes are ripening on the vine... even the plants to the left of the yellowing plant.



This post is linked to:
Tuesday Garden Party
Bloomin' Tuesday
Garden Life
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