Tomato Basil Soup – Garden Fresh!


I love soup and I love to make soup. Tomato Basil Soup is one of my summer time favorites, especially when I can use fresh tomatoes from the garden!

tomatoes, any kind. I used about 10 beef steak
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 medium baking potato, finely chopped
1.25 cup broth
12 or so basil leaves. I prefer sweet basil
1 clove of garlic
heavy cream or sour cream (optional)
splash of extra virgin olive oil
salt & pepper to taste

Start out by pouring a splash of olive oil into a big soup pot.

Chop up the potato and onion and throw them in the pot once the oil is hot. The potato is the unsung hero in this soup – don’t leave it out; it’s essential for the right texture/thickness.

Cook the onion and potato for 10-15 minutes but don’t let it brown.

Meanwhile cut up the tomatoes. Cut the tops off and then cut the rest into quarters.

My favorite thing about this recipe – no need to remove the skin or seeds!

Dump the tomatoes in with the onion and potato in the pot.

Add 1 clove of chopped garlic.

Pour the broth over top. (I use chicken boullion cubes & water.)

Cover and let simmer for about 25 minutes.

At this point, let the soup cool a little and then carefully blend it in small batches. Or … if you have the greatest kitchen invention ever (no, not a Kitchenaid Mixer …) a Braun multi-purpose blender … use the handheld blender to blend the soup up right in the pot. Wear an oven mitt and you don’t even need to let it cool!

Pick and wash 12 or so fresh basil leaves. I started with 6 and realized that wasn’t enough for my taste.

Chop them up and set aside a few pinches for garnish. Mix the rest into the soup.

Depending on the flavor strength of your broth and the sweetness of your tomatoes, add salt and pepper to your liking.

Serve with a dallop of cream (or a drizzle of half & half if it’s all you have …) and a bit of chopped basil. A piece of toast is nice compliment.

If you make this, let me know how it goes!


Phone Photo Friday


Treats from Scandinavia & the Faroes


Because he is a thoughtful sweet husband, Jason brought back some presents from his travels! In Sweden he went to H&M and bought me this lovely dress:

Sidenote: Whose husband buys her dresses? Mine does! Jason has a great eye for fashion and he always picks out really pretty things for me that I’m not brave enough to choose for myself – but I always end up getting lots of compliments on his selections! (Skirts, dresses, shirts, sweaters … even a bikini, once!)

I love hats, especially warm hats in the winter. This one Jason got me is more of an ear-warmer or headband I guess but it’s really wide, almost like a topless stocking cap. It’s hand knit with local wool from the Faroe Islands, where sheep out number people 4 to 1.

And CHOCOLATE! I loooove European chocolate. (I only eat Hersheys chocolate under desperate circumstances. I think it tastes waxy.)

Hazelnut chocolate bars are my favorite and I was informed that this one from Sweden is all for me. 🙂

Jason also got himself a few things. Several shirts from H&M, not pictured, and some new kicks from the Faroes.

Hooray for functional souvenirs!

Where’s Jason?


Last Wednesday Jason returned home from a 3 week trip to Sweden, Norway, Amsterdam and Faroe Islands. You wouldn’t know by these pictures but he was actually there as a guitarist with a country band. They had a good amount of time off to explore which is a rare treat on this kind of tour.

A few days into the trip Jason started channeling some Where’s Waldo? every time his buddy Jonathan’s camera was pointed at him.

I thought it was sweet – like he was waving to me! I missed him a lot so I would stalk Jonathan’s facebook everyday waiting for the almost-daily photo uploads which meant they were back to their hotel and Jason would be on Skype soon.

It is SO good to have my husband back!

I’ve said this before but it proved even truer after 3 weeks. Without times of separation we would never experience the immeasurable joy of being reunited—one of the greatest feelings God created.

I made a hat!


One of my favorite kiddos just turned 1 a few weeks ago and I decided to dust off my sewing skills and make this little cap with the pattern from Leila & Ben.

It came out pretty well. I haven’t sewn with a pattern in years and I had a few boo-boos but that’s what the seam ripper was made for!

The first time I turned this right side out the brim was on the inside, between the liner and outer fabric. Oops! Next time it’ll be a lot easier.

And that’s the great thing about buying a pattern – I can remake this as many times as I want with different fabrics. For $6 that seems like a pretty good deal.

I just realized as I was posting this that I bought myself a similar shaped hat a few months ago at Target. I wonder if I could adapt this pattern for adult size …

(Top photo is from Leila & Ben. The rest are mine.)

Phone Photo Friday


Calculating the time difference between me and my heart. (Now, we’re back in the same time zone, thank God!)

No Luck, part 2


Because I don’t believe in luck or fortuity or superstition, I decided that it was important for me to cut it out of my vocabulary. I’m not trying to make doctorine out of this or say that you should do it. I feel that God convicted me about it so I am responding.

If you are interested in cutting superstitious language out of your speech, here are some replacements I’ve come up with. If you have other suggestions, I’d love to hear them in the comment section below.

lucky = blessed
luckily = thankfully
fortunately = thankfully
unfortunately = sadly
any luck? = any success?
good luck! = blessings! or God bless you!
cross your fingers = pray or hope
not in the cards = just don’t be pessimistic all together … or at least say God is in control, God knows what he’s doing
I have bad luck = I feel stuck in a rut
fingers crossed = hopeful

No Luck, part 1


Luck is a funny thing. Wikipedia defines Luck or fortuity is a belief in good or bad fortune in life caused by accident or chance, and attributed by some to reasons of faith or superstition, which happens beyond a person’s control. I firmly DO NOT believe in luck or fortuity or superstition. I believe in a Holy God who is in control of everything in the universe and everything that happens does so because He allows it or prevents it or causes it. God’s sovereignty is bigger than chance. (See Proverbs 16:33)

I’m kind of disgusted with how often I hear Christians say “good luck,” “fingers crossed” or “knock on wood.” Once I even saw a friend say, “I guess it’s not in the cards.” What?! I know it’s such a common part of our language that people are saying these things without realizing what they mean. But seriously people, think about what is coming out of your mouth.

Wise Words


“Many people have a crisis-based relationship with God. They only speak to Him when they’re in trouble. They try to muster their faith when it’s too weak to move God. Then they get mad to God as if it was His fault.” — Lindell Cooley

No Bake Oatmeal Cookies


Some people call them No Bakes. I always called them Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies. Whatever you call them, they’re quick and easy and tasty and I’m not sure why in my adult life I have never made them. Jason had a few made by my mom a few months ago and has since requested that I make them.

Last night I finally went hunting for the recipe card over at mom’s. Here they’re called No Bake Oatmeal Cookies. I love old handwritten recipe cards, don’t you? I love how it’s all dirty and worn and has penciled-in notes for halfing the recipe.

I pulled together all the ingredients. Thankfully, I had everything on hand except oatmeal. Dang, what’s a lot of sugar. These are basically candy … Also, I had to ask a friend what oleo is. (Butter) I use salted butter so I skip the pinch of salt in the recipe.

I made these as a surprise for Jason so hopefully he’s not reading this. (Are you, babe?) They came out pretty freaking good. I hope he likes! 🙂

Here’s the recipe/directions if you want to make some of your own:

Pour 2 cups sugar, 2 tbsp cocoa, 1/2 cup milk and 1 stick of butter into a saucepan. Heat to a boil and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in 4 tbsp peanut butter, 1 tsp vanilla and 3-3.5 cups of oatmeal. Drop spoonfuls onto a wax paper or foil and allow to cool. Enjoy!