Sunday, April 17, 2016

Soup Lines from guest author Connie Archer aka Connie DiMarco + book #giveaway

Please welcome guest Connie Archer, author of the Soup Lover's Mysteries and Connie DiMarco, author of the Zodiac Mysteries (one and the same person!), who gives us a soup recipe that's still right for our rather late spring.


AND A BOOK GIVEAWAY BELOW!!

Thanks to everyone at Mystery Lover’s Kitchen for inviting me over today! I love to scroll through this website and check out the recipes – rich pastries, fudge, casseroles heavy with cheese . . . yummm. I usually never get to blog about fancy desserts because I’ve been writing the Soup Lover’s Mysteries, so all my foodie posts inevitably revolve around soup.

And Julia, my new protagonist in the Zodiac Mysteries, is a San Francisco astrologer who doesn’t really have time to eat, or if she does, she eats on the run. She’s too busy solving crimes. Her idea of a gourmet meal is some lettuce and a chopped tomato wrapped up in a tortilla with tons of mayo and salt. If she wants to get fancy, she might add a few croutons to that wrap.



So, as I was musing over what to write for this post, I started thinking about soup, the American story of soup that’s embedded in our national consciousness -- the soup kitchens and soup lines of the Great Depression. The seeds of that economic failure had been planted years before in an era of prosperity that was unevenly distributed. Hmmm, sound familiar? Banks failed, factories locked their gates, shops were shuttered forever, and people lost their homes. Local governments couldn’t collect taxes to keep basic services going. There were no social nets in place, no Social Security, no food stamps, no nothing. Americans literally starved in the streets. 



As tough as times have been for some in recent years, most of us still have the luxury of worrying about our weight, our cholesterol, even our body mass index. I seriously doubt that anyone in that earlier era gave a hoot about any of that. They needed soup, that elixir of life, to keep body and soul together. In fact, soup has kept more people on the planet alive than any other food. A person can fill their stomach and be nourished with a bowl of hot water, bits of meat and spices and vegetables or leaves and berries and stay alive.

One popular Depression Era recipe, named after our President at the time was Hoover Stew. It was made with a 16 ounce package of some kind of pasta or macaroni, 2 cans of stewed tomatoes, undrained, 1 package of hot dogs, chopped in small pieces, and 1 can of corn or beans, undrained. Okay, the hotdogs aren’t really that appealing, but don’t turn your nose up. It was desperation recipes like this that kept body and soul together. If you’ve had family members who saved bits of string and reminded you that if you had grown up in the Depression, you’d never waste anything, you’ll understand.

As I left the supermarket the other day, pushing my cart with a few bags of groceries, I passed a woman pushing another cart. A cart that contained all her worldly possessions. I was still reeling from the shock of a $73 grocery bill for just a few items. When I got home, I checked my receipt, certain the clerk had made a mistake. Okay, the asparagus was $3.47 and the half and half was $3.79. The kitty litter was $5.99 but surprise, surprise, the little head of cabbage was only 56 cents!

I have no idea why I picked up that head of cabbage. It’s not something I usually buy on a regular basis, but it called to me. The afternoon was cool and foggy and the idea of soup seemed very appealing, so I decided to invent my own Depression era soup recipe. 




Depression Era Cabbage Soup
A spritz of cooking spray
1/2 onion, chopped and sauteed
1 head of cabbage, sliced and added to the pot.
4 cups of water
3 tbls. of dry chicken bouillon
1 peeled potato, cubed
(Optional ½ cup grated Cheddar cheese and crusty bread)

(Serves 4)

Sauté the onion and cabbage for 5 to 10 minutes, just enough to soften it. Add the water, chicken bouillon and potato. Cook on medium heat for 15-20 minutes, let the pot cool, then purée with an immersion blender and top each bowl with cheese and serve with crusty bakery bread. Okay, the cheese and bread aren’t exactly starvation fare, but no matter what, it was really delicious. Whole foods from the earth, loaded with vitamins, very few calories and really good. Believe it or not, this was one of the best soups I’ve made in a long time.

I thought about that woman with the shopping cart and I hoped she’d be able to find a bowl of nourishing soup somewhere. Maybe it’s time to bring back the American soup kitchen. What do you think?


Connie Archer was born and grew up in New England, ice skating on neighborhood ponds, clamming on the beach at Cape Cod and skiing in Vermont. As a schoolgirl, she spent several years wading through Caesar’s Gallic War journals and the twelve books of the Aeneid. During her summers she performed in a children’s theater troupe that traveled the suburbs of Boston, mounting productions in parks and children’s hospitals. After majoring in biology in college, she did an about face and earned a degree in English literature. Since then she’s worked at many different jobs — laboratory technician, cocktail waitress, medical secretary, and dinner theatre actress, to name just a few. Connie lives in Los Angeles with her family and a constantly talking cat named Basil.

You can reach Connie at: 

www.conniearchermysteries.comFacebook.com/ConnieArcherMysteriesTwitter: @SnowflakeVT

TODAY'S GIVEAWAY.  


Connie has agreed to give away one of her books. Leave a comment with your email!  
She'll be picking a winner tomorrow.

A Clue in the Stew

The village of Snowflake, Vermont is buzzing with excitement. Hilary Stone, the famous author of Murder Comes Calling, is planning a visit. Even the discovery of the body of an unidentified woman strangled in the woods hasn’t dampened the spirits of Snowflake’s avid mystery fans -- that is, until the villagers learn the murder mimics the popular novel. Could the killer be a deranged fan hoping for attention? Or is a copycat killer on the loose?










The Madness of Mercury

Astrologer Julia Bonatti never thought her chosen profession would bring danger into her life, but her outspoken advice in her newspaper column, AskZodia, makes her the target of San Francisco’s recently-arrived cult leader, Reverend Roy of the Prophet’s Tabernacle. The followers of the power hungry preacher will stop at nothing to quell the voices of those who would stand in his way and Julia’s at the top of his list. She’s willing to bet the charismatic Reverend is a Mercury-ruled individual, and she knows all too well that Mercury wasn’t just the messenger of the gods, he was a trickster and a liar as well.



95 comments:

  1. Connie, thanks for a blog that reminds us just how good we have it. I think there still are soup kitchens but now they call them other things and serve a wider variety of foods. But you're so right. Cabbage and potatoes got people through a lot of famines. And they're good for us! Good luck with your new series. I love that cover!

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    1. Thanks, Krista - I agree, there's nothing like whole foods for vitamins and minerals. I'm glad you like that cover, it's almost psychedelic, isn't it?

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  2. I really enjoyed this article! I love soup and I will give this one a try! Good luck on your book this is a great series! I love the cover!

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    1. Hi Terri, thank you! It's been so much fun coming up with new soup recipes for every book. I hope you enjoy my cabbage invention!

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  3. Pat (patdupuy@yahoo.com)April 17, 2016 at 1:36 PM

    After reading your post I think I'll throw together some kind of soup for lunch. Wonder what's in the fridge. . .

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    1. Hi Pat - I love to make soup from whatever's lying around in the vegetable drawer! I've come up with some inspired soups that way!

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  4. Thank you for the recipe and this wonderful opportunity to win! areewekidding@yahoo.com

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    1. Hi Robyn - thanks for stopping by today! This was a really simple soup but turned out great. Best of luck!

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  5. Hi Connie - We grow alot of cabbage and during the off season we buy alot of cabbage so this recipe is perfect thank you so much for post. I think to go with it a loaf of french sour dough from the wharf in SF would be a perfect pairing. Before I was disabled when i visited family we used to go down to the wharf all the time as I love the feel of all the tourists and the crab is so fresh and so good back here in Iowa when hubby goes to town to get me a dungeness crab it so expensive and has been sitting there for days. Not so good but I love to read and review books about my old stomping grounds!

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    1. I hope Madness of Mercury will be like a visit to San Francisco for you. I miss it too, it's a place of so many different moods, and so much atmosphere. And, yes, sourdough bread is perfect! Enjoy the recipe and good luck!

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  6. oops forgot email ptclayton2@aol.com

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  7. What a perfect day for your post - wet & rainy in our area of Texas. I was thinking of a bowl of soup for lunch, today, too. I am really enjoying your Soup Lovers Mysteries, thanks for the chance to win one! book__wyrm(at)sbcglobal(dot)net. Keep 'em coming! 😀

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    1. Hi Anne - thanks so much! I'm so glad to hear you're enjoying the adventures in Snowflake! Best of luck today, I hope you like the soup too!

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  8. I am in Colorado where Mother Nature is dumping lots of snow on us, and a nice bowl of soup sounds particularly appealing right now (stomach growls). I love cabbage, so I know this soup will be delicious. I had a wonderful bowl of tomato-chipotle soup from Whole Foods the other day, and it was awesome too. Thanks for the giveaway! bobandcelia@sbcglobal.net

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    1. Hi Celia - I love soup all year round, but there's nothing more comforting than soup in cold weather. Stay warm and enjoy the recipe! Best of luck!

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  9. I know my parents and grandparents lived on soup as well as beans or if they were lucky ham and beans. I will have to make this soup in honor of them. Thanks for the recipe and great post.
    lhxp73@yahoo.com

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    1. Hi Deb - what a lovely thought! Send them your blessings as you enjoy the soup! Best of luck!

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  10. I know my parents and grandparents lived on soup as well as beans or if they were lucky ham and beans. I will have to make this soup in honor of them. Thanks for the recipe and great post.
    lhxp73@yahoo.com

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  11. Churches around here serve lunches. In our smaller communities they take turns and it's not everyday like in bigger cities.
    It sounds like a good book.

    pmettert@yahoo.com

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    1. Hi Ann. - here's hoping you get to enjoy the latest adventures in Snowflake and San Francisco! Best of luck!

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  12. I love soup and this one sounds really good. Perfect for a cold fall evening! Both of these books sound great and can't wait to check out the series. anajs95 at gmail dot com

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    1. Good luck to you! I hope you'll visit both locations and enjoy the mysteries there!

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  13. I enjoyed reading your blog. I remember the stories my parents used to tell me about the depression. Nothing was wasted. It made me appreciative of everything I have. Thank you for the giveaway! crossxjo@hotmail.com

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  14. Soup is one of our favorite meals, along with nice crusty bread and shaved cheese over most of the types of soup. In the city in which we lived before we retired, we went to many functions at a nearby venue who boasted about their minestrone soup. Everyone tried to duplicate it, and sometimes it came out tasting just as good (to me) and it was a fun time deciding which of the MANY ingredients to use. It was one of those, EVERYTHING BUT THE KITCHEN SINK recipes and I still have fun with making it years later. Other readers from the Somerset/Swansea/Taunton, MA area will remember the Venus DiMilo soup I am sure. Thank you for reminding me to make a pot before the summer heat hits us one of these days!!!! :) Cynthia I truly enjoy your writing, Connie. Continued success.
    ceblain(AT)tmlponline(DOT)net

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    1. Thanks so much, Cynthia! There's a chicken tortilla soup in a little lunch place I know that I just love. In fact, I think a wrote about begging for the recipe about a year ago right here at Mystery Lover's Kitchen. I've tried to recreate it, but it still isn't quite the same. Now the Venus di Milo soup sounds intriguing! Good luck today!

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  15. We eat a lot of soup during the fall and winter. It's easy to make a big pot for dinner one night and then we have leftover for lunches.
    sgiden at verizon(.)net

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    1. I'm getting so hungry, Sandy! That's the best part of making soup, knowing it's still there and just needs to be reheated! Enjoy and good luck!

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  16. This exciteshould me! Thank you so much for you generosity! nelson_ee@yahoo.com Erin

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    1. You're so welcome, Erin! Very best of luck!

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  17. Thank you for the giveaway opportunity! Jillian.lauder@yahoo.com

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    1. Hi Jillian - thanks for stopping by today! I hope you enjoy the recipe and the stories! Best of luck!

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  18. Thanks for the recipes and giveaway. bjbiskey@msn.com

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    1. Hi Barbara - lots of luck today. Glad you could visit!

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  19. I do think soup kitchens should be in every town.nothing more filling than a bowl of soup. Love this series mama2bulls@gmail.com

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    1. I agree, my heart always drops when I see a homeless person. Definitely bringing back soup kitchens is a great idea!

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  20. That would be great especially in the colder climates. I love making soup. Never use a receipt but just keep adding until my pot is filled to the brim. catslady5(at)aol.com

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    1. I do the very same thing! The hard part is remembering how I made a favorite soup! Good luck today!

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  21. I live in Florida, and most folks don't think soup in the summer. I make it in the slow cooker year round. Eat it once or twice and freeze the rest in batches. When I don't feel like cooking, I pop it in the microwave. Can't wait to read your new book. Thanks for the chance to win a copy.

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    1. Hi Kay - I've come up with several chilled soups and some that can be served hot or cold. Check out A Broth of Betrayal, which takes place in a very hot summer. I needed to add some hot weather soups in that book. Good luck today!

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  22. I love soup. You can make it has hardy as you want or simple for just a light introduction to a meal. Thanks for this opportunity. robeader53@yahoo.com

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    1. Hi Robin.- great to see you here! Best of luck today!

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  23. I love a wide variety of soups... Thanks for the chance to win!

    salvatoresmom71@yahoo.com

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    1. Hi Amy - needless to say, I love soups too! Good luck today!

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  24. The Book Title "A Clue in the Stew", stopped me immediately from scrolling through Facebook. I Had to check it out. Can not wait to read it. Thank you for offering to give a copy of the book to someone. Win or lose, this is one
    book I will be checking out. Elaine Neel elaineneel@aol.com

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    1. Thank you, Elaine! It's a great title, isn't it? I can thank my publisher for that one. I wanted to call it Parsley Sage Rosemary and Crime. Good luck today!

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  25. Looks interesting! Biszemom@gmail.com

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    1. Thanks for stopping by today. Best of luck!

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  26. Both sound great. Count me in. elainehroberson@gmail.com

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    1. Hi Elaine, glad you could join in. .Lots of luck!

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  27. I've read the Snowflake, VT ones but didn't know about the zodiac. Will have to pick one up.
    pattymarsh31@gmail.com

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    1. Hi Patty - the Zodiac Mysteries are brand new. The first one will be out on June 8th, but you can read more on Amazon. Today I wanted to give the new series a little advance plug. Best of luck!

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  28. I love a good soup, but am happy we can eat it because we want to. The generation that went through the depression were made of strong stock. I'm afraid we couldn't do it today. Haven't read any of your books, but I certainly want to. jawdance@yahoo.com

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    1. Hi Judy - Thank you. I hope you get to visit Snowflake and San Francisco soon! Best of luck!

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  29. I have spent a luxurious afternoon reading A Clue in the Stew. Love love the series!!!! Better get back to reading!

    ejbs3s@yahoo.com

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    1. Oh how cool, Jody! Thanks for letting me know! I'm so glad you're enjoying the mystery!!!

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  30. Soup is the ultimate comfort food and it can make things feel better. Bring them back

    gibsonbk at hiwaay dot net

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    1. It is such comfort food, isn't it? Nothing like soup to fill a tummy! Best of luck today and thanks for stopping by!

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  31. Such a good reminder of how blessed we truly are today. Thank you for the contest, lilflynracer at msn.com.

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    1. Oh, you're welcome, Amy! Thanks for visiting today and best of luck!

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  32. Love the cover of both books. I love soup and every pot turns out different depending on the meat I use and usually always add beans of some kind. Raised in Napa so the new series really caught my eye. My first sighting of the CITY was the Worlds Fair in 1938. Yes I remember hard times and the stories of even harder times but my mom never turned down anyone who was hungry. Good luck with the new book , I know the Soup Lovers books are a hit. RUTH NIXON ruthenixon@sbcglobal.net

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    1. Hi Ruth, so nice to see you here! Thanks for stopping by. San Francisco must have been so intriguing in the 30s and 40s! And wasn't that the year that the Golden Gate Bridge opened? I'll have to check. I've learned more about the city researching for the Zodiac Mysteries than I ever learned when I lived there! Good luck today!

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  33. We love soup here. My daughter is finishing off the last of the clam chowder right now. pwtish171@gmail.com

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    1. Hi Trish - it's so great to connect with so many soup lovers! Clam chowder sounds great right about now! Best of luck!

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  34. Connie I loved reading your post! My mother and grandmother saved everything! Sometimes I had to open three containers before I found the butter! Your books sound particularly interesting and I'm off to Amazon to look them over. I love the cover on both of them, but the kitty cover is really reeling me in! Hope I'm a lucky winner!

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    1. Hi Stephanie - I know what you mean. I always heard, "if you had grown up in the depression, you'd never throw anything away!" It marked people for life, the fear of never having enough. Glad you could stop by today and happy you like the cover too. Good luck!

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  35. I love the soup recipe. Thank you for the recipe and for an opportunity to win..

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    1. Hi Yvonne, thanks for joining in today. Best of luck in the giveaway!

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  36. Both of these books sound good. I'm interested to read her astrology based book to see if she deals with how astrologers are handling Pluto being declassified as a planet. I've been wondering how that affects charts. octhome@aol.com

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    1. Hi Mary, funny you should ask. My very first blog on my website is about that very thing. It's called, I Miss Pluto. (www.conniedimarco.com/blog). I don't take Pluto lightly, believe me! Good luck today!

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  37. Welcome to the kitchen Connie! When I was a child, back in the early 50's, my mom would make this cabbage soup fairly often. I love it with carrots added. Thank you for the chance to win one of your books! sxygrndma48{at}yahoo{dot}com

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    1. Ooo carrots would be a good addition! Cabbage is so often overlooked, but it's great in lots of recipes, coleslaw too. Best of luck!

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  38. Thank you for the recipe and this wonderful opportunity to win! kckendler@gmail (dot) com.

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    1. Best of luck! I hope you get to read all about Lucky's and Julia's adventures!

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  39. I think I'd add a couple more veggies to that soup---I always have some leftovers in the fridge.
    suefarrell.farrell@gmail.com

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    1. You certainly could, Sue. The more the merrier! Great to see you here today! Good luck!

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  40. What a wonderful recipe. I grew up with my mother telling me to always have sugar, flour, milk and water on hand. My mother grew up in war torn Germany. She knows what it is to have little or nothing and my oma kept them all alive. I loved your latest soup book by the way. It was my first of yours.

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    1. Hi Kay ~ checking back today. Thanks so much for visiting! I can't even imagine the desperation in Germany during the war. I'm so glad you enjoyed Clue! Hope you get to visit the village of Snowflake again!

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  41. My husband recently made a fabulous soup with onion, butternut squash, cauliflower and shredded chicken. It was a spur of the moment thing and absolutely delicious. Happy to make your acquaintance Connie!
    Dblaser(at)windstream(dot)net

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    1. Hi Diane ~ sorry I missed your comment yesterday! That soup sounds fantastic, I'll have to remember that. My husband hates any kind of squash, but when it's in a soup, I never tell him!

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  42. Very interesting post on the soup lines and the depression. That had to be a really hard time to live thru. The cabbage soup recipe looks interesting, will have to give it a try when the weather gets colder again. Can't wait to read your latest book.
    diannekc8(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. Hi Dianne ~ I hope you like the latest adventure in the village!

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  43. Very interesting post on the soup lines and the depression. That had to be a really hard time to live thru. The cabbage soup recipe looks interesting, will have to give it a try when the weather gets colder again. Can't wait to read your latest book.
    diannekc8(at)gmail(dot)com

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  44. Thanks for sharing! Looking forward to reading one of your books! Zeta@iwon.com

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    1. Oh, I hope you get to meet everyone in the village soon!

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  45. Thanks for sharing the recipe and the giveaway. Congratulations on the new series.
    doward1952@yahoo.com

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    1. Hi Doward ~ Thank you! I hope everyone really enjoys Julia and her world when the first book comes out!

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  46. All of these books sound so good! Thanks for a chance to win!
    Digicats {at} Sbcglobal {dot} Net

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    1. Hi Carolsue ~ Best of luck, Mystery Lover's Kitchen should be letting me know the winner soon!

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  47. Great contest. I would love to read the Book thank you very much. What a lovely cover...
    Marilyn ewatvess@yahoo.com

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    1. I love this cover, they even made sure the yellow gingham curtains were on it! Thanks for visiting Marilyn!

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  48. Thanks for sharing this recipe and have added these books to my TBR list. Can't wait to buy/win them. brichardson0056@yahoo.com

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    1. Hi Becky ~ Best of luck in the giveaway. Hope you have a great time in Snowflake,VT when you get there!

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  49. I've heard of the new series but didn't know it was by you. I mostly eat soup from a can, like chicken and dumplings or sometimes a Chunky soup.
    catbooks72(at)gmail(dot)com

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  50. I love to make soup and I love your recipes! I ordered your newest book yesterday.

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