Friday, July 25, 2014

The BEST Summertime Soup :: Gazpacho

Y'all I have been loving this summer!  We have actually gone to the beach twice (this never happens in real life) and are going to rent a lake house for a weekend get-a-way for the whole family in a couple of weeks!  I am on cloud nine about that one - all the kids, and a friend if they want to bring one, under one roof for a couple of days - YAY!!!

Since we will be eating all of our meals at the lake house, I need to come up with some that will be easy to transport and that everyone would enjoy.  I know for sure I will be making one of my all-time favorite recipes for summer: an easy-to-make, cold tomato soup - Gazpacho.  There are probably many recipes out there on the web, but I like this one the best.  I found it in my Better Homes and Gardens magazine back in 1998 and have been making it ever since.

The page is soft and worn from the many years of taking it out of my recipe box, unfolding it and then re-folding it!  You see, I like easy.  I like recipes that you can make from regular things.. not too many fancy, hard-to-name ingredients.  And that's what this one is - super easy with things you can find easily at your grocery store :) It's so fresh tasting! Hope you like it as much as we do!

Gazpacho To Go
Better Homes and Garden Magazine
June 1998, pg. 219

1 15oz can chunky Italian- or salsa-style tomatoes (I use Italian stewed tomatoes and cut them up)
2 cups quartered yellow pear-shaped and/or halved cherry tomatoes (I never get the pear-shaped,
     they're too expensive - I use grape!)
1 15oz can of chickpeas (garbanzo beans)m drained
1-1/4 cups hot-style vegetable juice or regular vegetable juice (I use the hot)
1 cup beef broth
1/2 cup coarsely chopped, seeded cucumber
1/2 cup coarsely chopped yellow and/or red sweet [bell] pepper (I like the yellow for the color!)
1/4 cup coarsely chopped red onion
1/4 cup snipped fresh cilantro
3 Tbsp. lime juice or lemon juice (I always use fresh lime juice)
2 cloves garlic, minced (and I always just use the minced garlic that comes in a jar! easy!)
1/4 to 1/2 tsp. bottled hot pepper sauce (I never measure this, I just shake it in - we like spicy)

To Make:
In a large mixing bowl combine all ingredients - cover and chill for at least 2 hours.  I usually make it and chill overnight to serve the next day.

Serve it as a side to a meal instead of a salad, or make it the main course.  This makes about 7 cups or 6 side-dish servings.

It is seriously so yummy - and so. stinkin'. easy.  So, do you have a favorite dish that you make in the summer?  I'm always looking for new easy recipes so do share!  And let me know if you make the Gazpacho, too!

Sharing over at That DIY Show Off Party!


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Haven Conference :: The Recap

Haven Conference - "Because There's No Place Like Home"

What a great tag line.. and it couldn't be more true.  Haven is a conference that happens once a year, it's held in Atlanta (yay!), and it's for DIY and home decorating bloggers.  It. Is. Awesome.

I had been blogging for almost a year when I first heard about Haven.  I was really still trying to figure out what I even wanted to blog about - I just knew I really enjoyed it!  When I saw there was a conference in my town I was thrilled!  Well, then I realized it was during the same week that my day-job had their summer meeting and I would not be able to attend. womp woooomp.

I missed that first year but I was on the computer the first day that tickets went on sale for Haven 2013, and a few months later my dear friend, Mary Kay, decided to attend too!  Woo Hoo!  I didn't have to traverse uncharted territory alone!  What a relief!

We went and had a blast - we met some awesome bloggers (the very first night!) who live in the Atlanta area.  We could not believe how fortunate we were to meet this group of ladies - we all just happen to be standing next to each other in the line for the bar and started talking!  From left to right above: Jill Perloff - Weathered Pieces, Kim Banta - A Quirky Creative, Melanie Robinson - The Painted Chandelier, Robin Gay - All Things Heart & Home, me, and Mary Kay Thompson - NowWhatNow.

Since that first Haven, we have joined local blogging groups and had some good times with these ladies!  I would have never known them if it wasn't for Haven!  We got more swag than the law allows - seriously, I felt like a bandit!  I learned SO much from the sessions!  (I finally took the time to figure out how to put some ads on my blog, and that was a big deal for me.)  I really wish I had written a post about it last year so I would have something to compare it to this year...  All I can tell you is that I knew I would be back in 2014!

This year Mary Kay and I bought tickets the first day they went on sale (Jan 1!).  We couldn't wait to see our friends again, and meet new ones.  Fast-forward to July 10!  Yay! Now I will just bombard you with pictures - all from my cell phone or someone else's cell phone

Haven 2014 - Thursday evening!



I have lots more pictures, but I'm sure you get the idea!  This conference is so worth it - we went to 3-4 sessions each day, met tons of other bloggers and DIYers, learned a new skill or two, had great food, and (most importantly) laughed our butts off!  I only wish I had taken more pictures (with my camera) and talked to more people.  But there's always next year, right?

Many thanks to the women who put this together every year - click here to see the Haven Mavens and click here to see all of the sponsors (i.e. free swag givers!)   :)

Now, back to doing some projects at home - I hope to get started on my old dining room table make-over..  more to come...


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