Bean Soup with Ham ~ Dad’s Favorite #Recipe

After enjoying a few 70 degree days here, we woke to discover that Spring had decided to chill us to the bone again. I thought a nice pot of soup was in order. While preparing the beans and chopping the vegetables, I thought a lot about my dad. This was his favorite meal. He really loved to enjoy a bowl of bean soup along with a wedge of moist corn bread slathered with butter. I know he was up there in heaven smiling down on me as I cooked.

Bean Soup with Ham

1 lb beans (see note below)
32 ounces chicken broth
2 cups water, more if needed (see note below)
1 large onion, chopped fine
3 stalks celery, leafy tops included, sliced thinly
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 carrots, sliced into rounds
2 cups smoked ham, cut into half inch cubes
2 cups mixed greens, chopped (optional)
1/4 cup fresh parsley, minced (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

Prepare beans. Soak them overnight in water, then drain off the soaking water. OR cover the beans with water and bring to a boil. Let sit for at least one hour and drain off the water.

Add the beans, chicken broth, water, onion, celery, and garlic to a pot and cook on a slow simmer, leaving the pot lid slightly ajar, for an hour. Stir every 15 minutes or so.  Add the carrots, ham, and mixed greens. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer for an additional hour. Before serving, stir in the parsley until well combined, taste and adjust seasoning. Enjoy!


About the beans: I used pinto (my dad’s favorite), but you can use any mild-flavored bean you like. Navy, Great Northern, or cannelloni would be good substitutes. 

About the water: You might need to add more water during the cooking. The beans should remain covered with liquid. I usually add another cup before the soup is finished.

#Rafflecopter #Giveaway! Gift cards, paperbacks, ebks! April 25-27! @DonnaFaz

Novels by #eNovAaW Bestselling authors up for Grabs!

Awesome Book Giveaway!

Giveaway begins April 25!

$10 Amazon Gift Card from Jackie Weger
No Perfect Fate by Jackie Weger (Print copy, US Only)
Setting Up House by Jackie Weger (eCopy, US Only)

No More Mulberries by Mary Smith (eCopy)
Drunk Chickens and Burnt Macaroni by Mary Smith (eCopy)

$10 Amazon Gift Card from R.P. Dahlke
Hurricane Hole by R.P. Dahlke (eCopy)
A Dangerous Harbor by R.P. Dahlke (eCopy)

$10 Amazon Gift Card from Bronwyn Elsmore
Every Five Minutes by Bronwyn Elsmore (eCopy via Amazon)
Seventeen Seas by Bronwyn Elsmore (eCopy via Amazon)
Special Prize - New Zealand Only:
Print copy of Every Five Minutes or Seventeen Seas by Bronwyn Elsmore

Mazie Baby by Julie Frayn (eCopy)
It Isn't Cheating If He's Dead by Julie Frayn (eCopy)

$10 Amazon Gift Card from Donna Fasano
Following His Heart by Donna Fasano (Print copy, US Only)
Any Back List Book by Donna Fasano (eCopy)

How To Make A Recycled T-Shirt Grocery Tote Bag

This “no sew” project is fun, easy, and will keep all those awful plastic grocery bags from ending up in your local landfill. Follow these three simple steps and in five minutes you can turn an old t-shirt into a reusable grocery tote bag, a beach bag, or a craft carry-all.

1. Cut the hem off the t-shirt. Save it! We’re going to use it in a minute.

2. Cut away the neck and the sleeves. These can be discarded.

3. Turn the t-shirt inside out, gather the bottom fabric together, and tie it off, using the bottom hem from step 1. Tie it tightly. I wrapped mine twice and double knotted it. Turn right-side out, and you’re done!

I love recycling/reusing. Share your ideas for how to recycle old t-shirts in the comments section. 

RECLAIM MY HEART ~ 224 Reviews, 4.5-Star Average @DonnaFaz #Montlake

A USA Today Bestselling Novel!
Almost a year and half ago (my, how time flies!) Montlake Romance published RECLAIM MY HEART. The book now has 224 reviews with a 4.5-star average. The book’s themes—racial prejudice, family relationships, teen pregnancy, coping with life’s difficulties, forgiveness, etc—are ones with which readers seem to identify. More times than not, life isn’t tied up in a nice, pretty bow and we are left to figure out how to deal with friends or family members whose character traits are, well, less than perfect. But none of us are perfect, are we? We’re all just humans… being. (Many of my books touch on this fact.) The best we can do is learn to live and let live, learn to love those who are unlovable, and most of all, we must find it in our hearts to forgive. I’m so proud that RECLAIM MY HEART has done well, and I thank all of you who have read, enjoyed, and taken the time to review the book.

Some of my favorite review clips:

“This book really hit home for me... I enjoyed the characters as I could relate to each of them. I love the story and I have to say that I wish there was a continuing story. I would love to know how everyone is doing since the reunion... Thank you for a good, heart-warming story.”

“Excellent … Hard to put down. Looking forward to reading more from this writer. Truly a memorable reading experience.”

“The best book I've read in a long time.”

“…the characters came alive. …addressed so many issues and left you with so much meaning, pride and joy.”

RECLAIM MY HEART is available in paperback, for Kindle , and also as an audio book.

Find other books I have written here.

I'm A Winner! @DonnaFaz @BooksAndPals

I am so excited to announce 
BigAl's Books And Pals Readers' Choice Award 
Best Romance of 2015
Thank you to everyone who voted for my book!

FOLLOWING HIS HEART Nominated for a Readers' Choice Award

I am delighted that my novel FOLLOWING HIS HEART has been nominated in the romance category of Books And Pals Readers' Choice Awards

Vote for your favorite books at Books And Pals and you could win an Amazon gift card worth $75. Details on all the nominations and how to vote and win can be found here. The winner can choose a gift card from either the US or UK Amazon Store.

This is a Readers' Choice Award, so I urge all my readers to hop over to Books And Pals to vote.

I wish the best of luck to all the authors who are up for an award!

Thank you for celebrating with me. 

Garlic for Colds and Flu ~ @DonnaFaz

I am away from home, visiting my aunt in sunny Florida. We’ve had a great week together. Yesterday, though, my aunt came down with a cold. Sneezing, coughing, wheezing—it came on fast and it came on strong. Then I, too, began to feel a tickle in my throat and I started coughing. I headed directly to the local grocery store and bought a head of fresh garlic. My aunt thought I was absolutely nuts when I minced up a clove of garlic and swallowed it with water. I minced and swallowed a second clove of garlic before going to bed. This morning I feel fine. The tickle is gone, no congestion, no cough, and I’m breathing easy.

There are many, many websites that recommend garlic for colds and flu. My aunt had never heard of taking garlic for medicinal purposes. (She remains skeptical, and I doubt I will be able to get her to try it.) But I started to wonder if garlic’s powerful healing qualities are widely known. is one website that touts garlic. Have you heard that garlic is good for colds and flu? Do you use it? Do you use other “natural” remedies for the common cold? Please leave your comments below and let’s share the information.