Comfort Food 102

pumpkin-soup-for-blog IMG_0200

Winter storms are headed for the Eastern coast of the U.S. Two feet of snow are predicted. I hope my good author friend, Tara Fox Hall, is making her favorite comfort food recipe in preparation for the bad weather!

Salt-Rising Bread, Tara-Fox-Hall-style

Step 1:

  • Cook 12-20 potatoes in a large pot in unsalted water until tender. Use the potatoes to make something else, like potato salad or mashed potatoes. What you want is the potato water.
  • Measure out how much you have into measuring cups. Don’t worry about potato-y remnants floating in the water – that’s a good thing. For each recipe of bread you will make, you will need 5 cups of potato water, total. You can add some plain water to make additional recipes (like adding two cups if you have only eight, so you can do a double recipe). You can also freeze this water if you need the potatoes now but don’t have time to make the bread.

Ingredient list:

5 C potato water (see Step #1 above)

2 packages active dry yeast or equivalent                              2 Tb + 1/2 C sugar

7-8 ½ C flour                                                                                  ¼ cup cooking oil

2 tsp salt

Step 2:

  • Combine 1 C of the potato water, the yeast, the 2Tb sugar, and ½ cup flour in a bowl and let stand covered. Within a half hour, the mixture should be bubbly and have a nice “head” on it, like a mug of beer. This step depends on how many potatoes you use.*
  • Stir in the rest of the potato water (4 C) and ½ C sugar. Let stand again for another half hour, until the same thing happens – a nice head of foamy yeastiness.
  • Mix oil, flour, and salt ingredients together with yeast mixture to make a moderately stiff dough.
  • Let rise until double, but be careful it does not spill over the edges!.
  • Punch dough down. Pour into bread loaf pans or a cake pan, or whatever is handy (original recipe says to use a large 12 x 5 ½” metal dishpan. I have tried all ways, including making rolls, and it does not affect the taste – its up to you how you intend to serve it!)
  • Bake 50-55 min. at 375 deg. or until done (this is for normal bread pans – please adjust depending on what container you are using. Rolls will be more like 20 min, and a huge pan more like 6-70 min.) .
  • 1 recipe will make 4-5 med. loaves. This bread will freeze well, also.

*This is a variation on the original recipe, as I neither like to wait 24 hrs. for the dough’s initial rise, nor feel the need to keep starter in the fridge J But this bread can be made with only 4 potatoes, just bear in mind that the resulting potato water will be much less rich, and need to rise with the yeast overnight, minimum.

tarafoxhall Tara Fox Hall’s writing credits include nonfiction, erotica, horror, suspense, action-adventure, children’s stories, and contemporary and historical paranormal romance. She is the author of the paranormal fantasy Lash series and the paranormal romantic drama Promise Me series. Tara divides her free time unequally between writing novels and short stories, chainsawing firewood, caring for stray animals, sewing cat and dog beds for donation to animal shelters, and target practice. All of her published children’s stories to date are free reads on

Find Tara here – Melange Books

And here new short story – AmazonThe Oath - Caroline

I thought Tara’s bread would go great with my “Light” Pumpkin Soup recipe.

Gingered Pumpkin Soup

Yield: 8 servings
Recipe adapted from Midwest Living


  • 1 Tbsp light butter
  • 2 (15 oz) cans pumpkin
  • 2 (14 oz) cans low sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup fat-free milk
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Pepitas and brown sugar, as garnish


  1. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat and stir in pumpkin, chicken broth, milk, maple syrup and ginger.
  2. Bring pumpkin mixture just to a boil and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Garnish with pepitas (pumpkin seeds) and a sprinkling of brown sugar, enjoy!


Serving Size: 1 cup • Calories: 85 • Fat: 0.9 g • Carbs: 16.6 g • Fiber: 3.5 g • Protein: 1.9 g • WW Points+: 2 pts


Love historical romance? This stand alone Waiting for Dusk novel is soon to be released.

Release day – January 29. Preorder now!


Fire and Ice

Comfort Food 101


Tired of the same old recipes? Welcome to Comfort Food 101! We will warm you up and share new dishes.

I chatted with my author friend, Joanne Rawson, and she suggested we team up to do something together. She has a food blog so it was a no brainer. I said, “Let’s do comfort food.” She immediately was on board.

Most of us are enjoying winter weather. It’s a great time to try our new recipes. Starting today, Jo and I will share comfort food recipes from fellow authors on our blogs. Our friends are near and far so hopefully we’ll have a variety of recipes.

First author up is Joanne Rawson. Jo spends her time between England, Goa and Malaysia. She’s definitely had food experiences. Let me turn the blog over to her.

When Nancy asked me to take part in the Comfort Food blog, I found myself stuck for a choice.

Casseroles are my favourite food, especially when cooked in a slow cooker.  The log cooking brings out all the flavours, and the meat so tender it almost melts in your mouth. I also think casseroles are brilliant for entertaining, quick and easy to make and now messing around in the kitchen when the hostess needs to be entertaining her guests.

Jo’s Slow cooked Beef and Aubergine Stew

This is an ideal casserole to cook for a dinner party served with pan-fried rosemary vegetables.  (If you want to make the serving size smaller for 3-4 then half the quantities given)

Serves 6-8

2lbs/ 900g lean stewing beef

2 medium onion thinly sliced

2 clove garlic crushed or 1/2 teaspoon garlic puree

¼ cup olive oil

2 large aubergine (eggplant) or 8 Japanese eggplants

1 cup beef stock

1lb/ 450g tin or carton of tomato puree

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

3/4 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon allspice

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

¼ cup minced parsley

  1. Wash the aubergines, and with their skins on cut into 1 inch thick cubes
  2. In a large frying pan or skillet, heat the oil and brown the beef, onions, garlic and aubergines.
  3. Remove with a slotted spoon and put into the slow cooker, leaving the meat juices behind.
  4. In the pan with the meat juices add the beef stock, puree, wine vinegar and the rest of the ingredients bring to boil then pour over the meat and aubergines, giving a gently stir.
  5. Cover and cook on low for 8- 10 hours. You can cook on high for 4-5 hours but the meat is not as tender and the flavour is not the same.

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A little plug for Jo. If you love light-hearted romance her book, Zoe North, is for you! Read my review of her novella here: Goodreads zoenorth

Word of the Day: Binge


Binge-watching, a new way of watching shows. This activity wasn’t available in the “old days” unless a TV station ran a marathon. And if they did, it was called exactly that—a marathon.

I looked up the word and there are a few meanings. In this case, it’s used as a verb so I’ll give you the two main definitions of the verb form.

  1. Eat too much.
  2. Be self-indulgent with something. Example given: Stay in all day and binge on old movies.
    The dictionary is already behind the times!

Netflix is feeding the binge-watching addiction. They release a whole series on the first day. A person can watch one episode or devour them all in one sitting. If you have the time. Or you’re part of the younger generation.  I understand it’s the new way to watch a series. Trust me, I have firsthand knowledge. My son has binged-watched many a series.

Not too long ago the family went to New York City for vacation. Little did I know, Netflix was releasing Arrested Development while we were there. Somehow he managed to squeeze in 14 episodes in two days. Don’t ask me how.

Well, actually do ask me how. It’s really not that hard. Just start with the first show and immediately go on to the next. When that one’s over, start up the next. Pretty simple. You may pause for snack and bathroom breaks when needed. And if on vacation, set your phone aside to look at the sights.

I wouldn’t mind binge watching a series I liked. I have no idea how far I’d get, but it would be fun to try. In this family, there’s only one master binge-watcher. It’d take a lot to dethrone him, as you will see in the conversation below. Recently this took place in my kitchen.

Husband to son: We’ve been binge watching Mad Men and The Newsroom.
Me to son (Smiling and maybe an eye roll thrown in):Two in a row.
Son: Dad, that’s not binge watching, that’s just watching television.

I’d like to start a new movement. How about binge reading? I remember coming home from the library with a pile of books. When I finished one, I reached for the next one on the stack. And books can go everywhere you go, too. It’s an amazing concept.

Do we really need to binge on anything? In this fast paced world I think it would be nice to slow down once in awhile. Instant gratification is becoming common place.

Next time you’re set to hit the play button, stop and think.  Is there something else I could do? Read a book, write a poem, kick a ball around the backyard, go for a walk, call a friend?

It might be fun to binge every now and then.  I’m not against it. Just take time to smell the roses. You may find you like the slower pace of the real world.

The Little Blog that Could


I want to start the new year out, not with a resolution, but with a thank you. I want to thank all of you who take the time out of your busy day to read my blog. I am grateful for my 198 readers, each and every one of you.

When I started the blog, I had no idea what would happen. I begged friends and family to read and follow the blog so it didn’t look so forlorn–the little blog with no friends. Then it became the little blog that could. Each week I gained a follower or two, sometimes even more than that. People I didn’t know now followed the blog.

When the number of followers went over 100, I was thrilled, even impressed. I know there are blogs out there with thousands of readers. They get likes and comments galore. I’m happy for five likes and one comment. Is that wrong? Am I striving too low?

The answer is “no”. I’m not an expert at blogging. I don’t know the ins and outs of getting followers. I learned to tag and use categories, so I’m pretty proud of myself. I am grateful to anyone who decides to click that Follow button.

If and when I finally go over 200, I will be happy, thrilled in fact. So thanks for sticking with me. Happy New Year.