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Soup Swap Party

September 13, 2016

Soup Swap header

Several years ago, during a long, cold New England winter, Kathy Gunst and her friend Hope Murphy came up with the idea of a Soup Swap.  They invited six other couples and asked everyone to bring a pot of soup to share with enough for everyone to take home leftovers.  That way, everyone had a fun night out and got to take home several different soups to enjoy during the week.  The get together was such a success, it’s still going strong – the Second Sunday Soup Swap Suppers meets monthly during the winter.

In her book Soup Swap, Gunst gives tips on hosting a Soup Swap and shares recipes for broths, soups, side dishes, and toppings.  There are over 50 soup recipes included in this book and, I have to tell you, almost all of them sound good to me!  I decided to make the Sopa de Lima since I’ve never made it.  It was easy and delicious.  In fact, we ate it so fast, I didn’t get a picture!

Sopa de Lima

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 jalapeño chile, cored, seeded, and finely chopped, plus more as needed
1 cup diced tomatoes, fresh or canned
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
4 cups roasted chicken stock or canned low-sodium broth
1 cup cooked shredded chicken
¼ cup fresh lime juice, plus more as needed

In a large stockpot over low heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, stir in the jalapeño, and cook for another 2 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and oregano and cook for 5 minutes more. Turn the heat to high, add the chicken stock, and bring to a boil. Turn the heat to low, cover, and cook for 30 minutes. Add the chicken and cook for another 5 minutes

Just before serving, add the lime juice to the soup. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more salt, pepper, jalapeno, or lime juice if needed.

Ladle the soup into mugs or bowls, top each with two or three tortilla strips, and serve. Other suggested garnishes include poblano chile, avocado, cilantro, cheese, and lime wedges.

I just love the idea of a Soup Swap and plan to host one this winter.  Hopefully it will catch on and become somewhat regular.  If you enjoy soup and/or creative entertaining ideas, be sure to check out Soup Swap!

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weekend cookingWeekend Cooking is hosted by Beth Fish Reads and is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend.

Review copy provided by Book Club Cookbook.  I am an Indiebound Affiliate.

Mailbox Monday

September 12, 2016


Welcome to Mailbox Monday, a meme started by Marcia and now hosted on its own blog.   I’m going to be out of town for two weeks and it’s been so long since I’ve been away that long, it feels a little unsettling.  First, I’ll be at the beach with Carl, then I’ll be attending the SIBA trade show, and then I’ll head back to the beach to meet my mom and sister.  I found these goodies in my mailbox last week:





What did you find in your mailbox last week?

Review: The Family Fletcher Takes Rock Island

September 9, 2016

The Family Fletcher Takes Rock Island

Summer’s here and the four Fletcher boys are excited about returning to their Papa’s family’s old home on Rock Island.  The house is a tight squeeze for their family but they don’t mind it since they get to explore the lighthouse next door.

When they arrive, they’re shocked to find the lighthouse surrounded by a giant chain link fence with a Keep Out sign prominently posted.  An artist is buying the lighthouse and was injured when he went to inspect it so the future of the lighthouse is in jeopardy.  Things don’t feel quite right to the Fletcher boys, though, and they set out to solve the mystery.

The Family Fletcher Takes Rock Island by Dana Alison Levy is the second book in the Family Fletcher series and it is a gem.  I haven’t read the first book and had no problem jumping right in with this one.  There is much to love about this terrific book, including:

  • The Fletcher boys have two fathers and the author approaches it very well.
  • The Fletcher boys are adopted and they’re diverse.  That diversity is reflected on the cover and race and prejudice are addressed in the book.
  • There are strong male and female characters so this book will appeal to both boys and girls.
  • There’s a fun mystery to solve!

I think young readers will love The Family Fletcher Takes Rock Island.  It’s a great tool to start a discussion about diversity and acceptance so I think it would be good for classroom use and should be in every library.  Be sure to check this book out!

Ikid konnection new will link this up to Booking Mama’s Saturday feature, Kid Konnection. If you’d like to participate in Kid Konnection and share a post about anything related to children’s books (picture, middle grade, or young adult) from the past week, leave a comment as well as a link on her site.

Review copy provided by Penguin Random House.  I am an Indiebound Affliate.

Review: Library of Luminaries

September 8, 2016

Chronicle Books has a fabulous new Library of Luminaries series that celebrates famous women.  These small (about 6¼ x 6¼) books are beautifully illustrated and pack a lot into a few pages.

I am not a heroine.  But I have chosen the person I wanted to be.  — Coco Chanel, 1946

Coco chanelLibrary of Luminaries: Coco Chanel follows the famous French designer from birth to death.  Of course, her life is simplified, but author Zena Alkayat doesn’t shy away from the controversial parts of her life.  Except for two incidents that were reported (and not confirmed) the book is an accurate account of Chanel’s life.  There is a lot of attention to detail – from the gorgeous cover and end papers to the embossed title.  You’ll want to pick this book up over and over again.

It is strength to laugh and to abandon oneself, to be light. — Frida Kahlo

Frida KahloLibrary of Luminaries: Frida Kahlo is just as beautiful as Coco Chanel.  I knew little about this wonderful artist going in, so I found this book particularly fascinating.  Author Zena Alkayat is faithful to the author’s life and, once again, there is much attention to detail.  Nina Cosford’s wonderful illustrations enhance this gem of a book.  I found myself Googling Kahlo after reading this book and would like to learn more about her.

Even though these books are small, they’re intended for a more mature audience and I recommend them to teens on up.  Be sure to check out the Library of Luminaries for you or someone you know who’s interested in strong women.  You won’t be disappointed!

Review copy provided by Chronicle Books.  I am an Indiebound Affiliate.


Wondrous Words Wednesday

September 7, 2016

Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme where you can share new words that you’ve encountered or spotlight words you love.  Feel free to get creative!   If you want to play along, grab the button, write a post and come back and add your link to Mr. Linky!

I had to turn to my Word-a-Day calendar again this week.

1. luculent – “‘I have expressed my feelings in luculent terms,’ he wrote, ‘and since there can be no question about what I mean, I simply await her response.'”

Luculent is an adjective that means clear in thought or expression.


2. septentrional – “When he tired of the long, septentrional winters of New England, Grandfather retired to Florida.”

Septentrional is an adjective that means northern.  I don’t think I’ll be adopting this word since it’s a mouthful.


3. vaporware – “Experts in the computer industry suspected that the vaporware being pushed by the software company was still full of bugs and would never hit the market.”

Vaporware is a computer-related product that has been widely advertised but has not and may never become available.


What words do you want to celebrate today?

At the Movies: Florence Foster Jenkins

September 6, 2016


Florence Foster Jenkins is the story of an heiress in New York City in the early part of the twentieth century who was a true patron of the arts.  She formed the Verdi club and did much to encourage music.  She loved performing and arranged many private and public concerts but there was one small problem – she couldn’t sing.

Based on a true story, I thought this movie starring Meryl Streep and Hugh Grant was terrific!  Jenkins had a love for music and a flair for life.  Her husband, St. Clair Bayfield, supported and encouraged her and did everything he could to make her life happy.  Streep did a wonderful job playing Jenkins – you couldn’t help but like her, even while you disliked her singing.  Grant was great as her kind and caring husband as well.

This movie is well suited for pre-teens on up so it’s one you can see with your family.  There was a good crowd in the theater when I saw it and everyone seemed to enjoy it.

Mailbox Monday

September 5, 2016

Mailbox Monday September 5

Welcome to Mailbox Monday, a meme started by Marcia and now hosted on its own blog.    Happy Labor Day! Like everyone else, I’m surprised that it’s September already.  I’m sad to see summer end but I’m happy about college football (Go Hokies!)  I found these goodies in my mailbox last week:



What did you find in your mailbox last week?