Monthly Archives: June 2014

Lemony Chicken Soup


Have you ever been to Greece?

Okay, well, then when was the last time you puckered up just a wee bit while sipping soup?

Can’t recall?

I don’t remember either, except for when I recently made this dreamy citrusy soup and nearly ate all of it by myself.

It’s Greek you know so it must be good.

I love Greek food, don’t you?

And soup is my favorite go-to-meal for quick dinners and using up leftovers.

It’s also healthy and great for the figure.

When I can’t zip up the jeans…

… eating lots of soup takes care of that for me.


I opted for rotisserie chicken, pre-shredded carrots, frozen peas and chopped spinach to save time.

P.S. — If you’ve never tried lemony soup before… don’t worry… it’s really smooth and delicious. So go ahead… pucker up and enjoy!

Lemony Chicken Soup

1 tsp olive oil
1 sm clove garlic, finely chopped
6 cups of chicken stock
1 rib celery, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 cup shredded carrots
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper or 1/8 tsp crushed red pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup orzo pasta
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup frozen chopped spinach
3 cups chopped cooked chicken (leftover or pulled from a rotisserie chicken)
2 large eggs
3-4 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice (from 1 large lemon)

1. HEAT oil in Dutch oven over medium heat. Add garlic and onion and cook until transparent, using a small amount of water if needed. Add stock, celery, onions, carrots, pepper, and salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Add orzo and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook until orzo is tender, about 8 minutes.

2. ADD green vegetables and chicken and simmer 2 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk together eggs and 3 tablespoons of the lemon juice in medium bowl. Warm egg mixture gently by whisking in about 1 cup hot stock in a thin stream.

3. WHISK egg mixture while slowly drizzling into soup and warm briefly over low heat 2 minutes. Do not boil or eggs will curdle. Adjust seasoning as needed with more lemon juice, salt, or pepper and serve.

5 Fast Rules For Debt-Free Living



5 Fast Rules for Debt-Free Living

1. Don’t spend more money than you earn. The key is sticking to it!  Set a budget and don’t veer off. Don’t use credit cards, but instead patiently save and pay cash for extras that you want. Also create a minimum $1,000 emergency fund to avoid the use of credit cards and borrowing money. 

2. Save 10% of your paycheck no matter what. Save at least 10% from every paycheck and put it away. Building your nest egg will free you from borrowing from other people and financial institutions when a crisis occurs — and one will!  Consistently saving your money will allow you to take care of what is necessary when needed, which is a big stress reliever. A strong savings account will allow you choices; like helping others who are in need, taking nice vacations, saving for the future, and enjoying the fruits of your labor in many other enjoyable ways.

3. Never lease or buy a brand new car.  This one rule will save you more money than you can  imagine.  Money you can use to pay other debt with, plan for retirement, or apply to your mortgage, etc. Purchasing a new vehicle, or leasing one, is like throwing cash out the window. And many people pay their car loans off then turn around and buy a new one and start all over again. The initial owner of a brand new car takes the biggest financial loss the moment they drive it off the car lot. You don’t want to be that owner! If you are not careful, consecutive vehicle loans will become a lifelong obligation and hinder your financial freedom.  Consider a nice, used vehicle in good condition, with low miles that you can afford to pay cash for. Then maintain it on schedule and as needed and drive it for as long as possible.  Maintenance and repairs will generally cost less per year than 12-monthly car installment payments do over a five year loan term.

4. Pay cash for your education. Pursuing a college degree often means carrying long-term debt, sometimes for up to 20 years after graduation. Paying for classes as you take them may extend the length of time it takes to get your education, but you will also graduate debt-free and avoid paying a large portion of your new earnings back to the bank. 

5. Pay cash for your home. This may seem impossible, but it can be done. In fact, I know several singles and couples who have lived frugally to save cash and buy their first house. Some lived with their parents and socked money away until they had enough to pay for their first home.  There are many creative ways to earn and save enough money to pay for your first home in full. 

I hope these 5 rules encourage you to begin taking steps toward living your life debt-free. They may seem extreme, and yes they will challenge you, but with patience and willpower they are attainable.

For more great tips on living a financially free life, read “The Total Money Makeover” written by Dave Ramsey. His book will guide you on how to begin paying off bills fast, save like never before, and invest in very simple and smart ways for your future. 



Roasted Salmon With Mustard-Dill Glaze



Good day friends! Wow, what a weekend!!  We were busy indeed with two more graduation parties to attend, a Father’s Day celebration in-between, and a youth event for about 30 teenagers in our backyard last night. Our calendar is full for June and July, but August looks like the month we will rest and just go with the flow. Have you been busy this month at gatherings with friends and family, also?

In the meantime, my son woke up to a persistent cough, which thankfully is due to allergies and nothing more serious. It is his last week of school and I am praying he feels up to going back tomorrow so he can take his final tests, and not only finish the year strong, but enjoy these last few days with his friends before summer break.

Here is a quick recipe for baked or grilled salmon that is super easy and tasty, too. If you choose to grill the fillets first, try adding the glaze after they have been cooked to avoid burning the fish and losing the mustard-dill sauce on the hot grates.

Roasted Salmon With Mustard-Dill Glaze

4 – 4 oz center-cut salmon fillets
grainy mustard
chopped dill
dark brown sugar
lemon juice
black pepper
garlic powder
onion powder

Heat oven to 400 degrees. In a small dish, combine 3 tablespoons mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon each grainy mustard and chopped dill. 1-1/2 teaspoons dark brown sugar, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, and a pinch of black pepper, garlic powder and onion powder to taste. Put four 4-ounce, center-cut salmon fillets on a foil-lined baking sheet. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper and spread mayonnaise mixture over top of fillets. Roast until just cooked through, 12 to 15 minutes.



Fresh Homemade Blueberry Pie

Picture 5

The ultimate fresh blueberry pie. I have been making this special fruit pie for my family for about 8 years now. It’s so easy to make. This recipe calls for 3 pints of fresh blueberries; half are cooked in a saucepan on the stovetop, for just a few minutes, and the rest of the whole berries Continue reading

Fresh Greens & Herbs For Easy Container Gardening


Do you garden? I grew up with grandparents who worked hard in their gardens and my mother has a small garden she tends to every growing season. Back then bowls of freshly picked vegetables sat on our kitchen counter for anyone to help themselves to.  My sisters and I snacked on raw vegetables just like we ate our apples — whole and with the peel on.

We have a good size backyard with plenty of room for a garden, but it faces south towards the hot sun and has proven difficult to keep the grass watered and green, as you can see from this photo. We also get four legged visitors, like hungry rabbits and other small critters, I don’t care to know about slithering running around doing their business back there.


All the hard work necessary for a thriving garden overwhelms me, so I’m going to try container gardening.  Just simple herbs and  a mix of lettuce leafs. I’ll visit my local farmer’s market for tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers.


Right outside the backdoor I have planted mixed, red and lettuce leaf varieties. The peppermint plants will go in with them and the pretty lavender will go into a large antique bowl of Hens and Chicks on the front porch. I’m not sure how I will use the lavender just yet, but I do hope to catch their sweet scent when I’m nearby.


I tucked cilantro, basil, rosemary and dill herbs into a large flower pot. There’s a lot going on in that container but I do like how it looks and it saves space and watering time. I also have a small terra cotta pot of sweet basil near the kitchen window that is doing well. I pinch leaves from it almost daily for cooking, topping sandwiches and flavoring iced tea.  I especially like fresh basil with sliced strawberries.




I’ve already made my first salad with clippings from the lower leaves of the plants, and tossed in a few of the herbs, diced tomatoes, cucumbers, Kalamata olives, and green onions. It was so fresh and delicious!


I’m looking forward to more mature greens and lots of summer salads this season. It’s not too late to start your own easy container garden. Check with your local farmer’s market, grocery store or greenhouse for starter plants.

How about you, do you container garden and what do you grow in yours? How do  you use fresh lavender? I would love to hear from you.


10 Lovely Reading Nooks

Oh, how I relish a cozy reading spot, don’t you? A few weeks ago I shared my appreciation for outdoor spaces in 10 Lovely Porches and I feel the same way about quaint reading nooks — every home needs at least one.

Almost any quiet place can be turned into the perfect nook. Requirements are a cozy seat, cushy pillow, soft blanket, good lighting, and a side table big enough to stack a few books and a hot or cold beverage.



How would you like to walk up your staircase to this inviting landing? We have a small area at the top of our steps that gets very little attention right now. This photo inspires me to turn it into something special and really enjoy it.



Morning coffee anyone? I think it would be hard to wake up on the wrong side of the bed with this mix of cheerful colors waiting in the next room.



Farmhouse flair — my favorite style to chill out in.  I love this combination with spindled antique table, black and white barn art and the unexpected pink honeycomb bench.  The updated wing chair and small pops of red add a fun, updated vibe.




My grandmother had a sumptuous lounger similar in size to this one when I was growing up. I couldn’t wait until evening when I would crawl into it with a blanket and a good book. Spending time there with Grandma felt really special and cozy.

In the photo below, the billowy chaise makes for an inviting corner in this master bedroom. The beveled mirrors are a sophisticated update to the older style mirrored closet doors we all remember. Isn’t it lovely?



What a window seat, eh? Nearly any family could easily relax, snack and play board games in this room. It is so fun and seems like a peaceful place to hang out.



This eye-catching, bright and airy place with rustic oval table beckons visitors. It may be beige but it’s far from boring.



Check out this pink chair in a surprising spot with mini library and lots of natural light streaming in. The white urn and books serves as a table to rest a cup of tea.

Isn’t it inspiring to see how other people carve out niches in their home? Do you have a favorite cozy reading spot in yours — a place to rest, read or take a nap?




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