Lake Atitlan, Panajachel, Guatemala

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Houston, we have a theme

First let me say that I LOVE Houston! I want my husband and me to just up and move there. Maybe someday we can. There's something about that city that just called to me and made me feel at home. And yes, I did come up with my A to Z Challenge theme!

It will be The Making and Selling of Books. Big surprise, ha! I am so predictable. The biggest problem I'll have with that is keeping the posts short since it's a topic I think about practically all the time. There's just so much to say about the making and selling of books.

Seriously, I could post about that topic every day for the rest of the year and not touch on all the words I have in my head about the subject.

And now it's time to unpack my suitcase, do laundry and eat soup. Because that's what I do when going from 78 degree Texas springtime to a 40 degree Utah March.

Beef and Barley Soup

One lb of ground beef, browned with fat drained
Large onion, chopped fine
6 carrots, peeled and cut in small chunks
3 stalks celery, chopped
Quarter-head of cabbage, chopped fine
Other vegetables you might have in your fridge or freezer,
such as frozen peas, zucchini or summer squash, green beans, etc.
2  16 oz. cans tomato sauce
10 cups water, more as needed
1 cup barley
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. thyme
3 beef boullion cubes
2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper

Brown ground beef in large stock pan. Drain off fat. Add vegetables, water and seasonings. Water should just cover the meat and vegetables. Bring to a boil, then turn to low and simmer until vegetables are tender, about thirty minutes. Add barley, more water if needed, and simmer another hour or two. This soup can cook all day on low and be ready whenever you are.


  1. Knew you'd come up with a good theme! Time to start writing blog posts.

  2. Your theme sounds great! I can't wait to read your posts.
    And your soup sounds yummy too :)

  3. Hi Karen .. that zupa sounds delicious .. if I hadn't had supper - I'd be very hungry ..

    So glad you had a lovely time and your theme sounds excellent for where we're all at ..

    See you soon .. cheers Hilary

  4. Everyone's so organised with their themes, I wish I was that organised. I'll be up late every night desperately trying to think of what to write for tomorrow!

  5. Welcome back from Houston!!

    I love barley! Pearl barley - one of my favourite grains!

    Hooorah for your A-Z theme!!

    Take care

  6. You should come to Chicago for the warm weather right now (haha, kind of ironic that I would say that, right?). It's eighty degrees, and it feels so good to walk around without a heavy winter coat and gloves. But soup (especially your recipe for soup) would taste good right now. I like soup even when it's warm, and I like ice cream better when it's cold.

  7. Your recipe sounds delicious. Congrats on figuring out your theme for the challenge. This is my first year. I was a little nervous until I figured out what I wanted to do. Now I already have about half my post written. :)

  8. Read your previous post too. I love a theme, last year mine was canyon living and this year it is called Swedish Rhapsody. I think a theme makes it a real challenge. I have pondered the letters U and X for a long time now. I don't think X is much used in Swedish. But I have some ideas. Thanks for introducing me to this challenge last year, I am really looking forward to it.

  9. The nice thing about Houston is that it is a big enough city to find everything your heart could possibly want. Better yet, Galveston and the beach is right down the road.

    There is so much to see and do in Houston. And, if you tire of city life, a 30-minute ride north gets you into the countryside.

    It's a great area and I am sure you will enjoy once you do relocate there.

  10. I love when cities call to you. I've had two that have called my name a few different times in my life. Sounds like an adventure in the making.

    I'm looking forward to your blogs during the challenge since this is a topic that I am just starting to learn about. Good luck.

  11. You won't go wrong with a theme that's close to your heart. Hard to call it a theme- it's you sharing thoughts about what you're thinking.
    And you do it well. From Utah or Huston.

  12. Nice theme! I know what you mean by cities call to you. I got the idea for my novel Divination while on a Cruise in Cali :) Yea I wasted some of my Cruise time at night but hey, it was worth it because it's going to turn out great :)

    Good luck with A-Z :D

  13. I've got my bowl and spoon all ready for dinner . .


  14. I'd say you've come up with a souper theme. I think.

  15. Mmmmm, the soup sounds great!

    I have never been to Houston. My sister lives not too far away, I may have to make a surprise visit. ;)

  16. :) I have something for you!

  17. Well be anxiously following your A-Z posts Karen. The soup sounds delicious by the way. Unnaturally warm March weather here. Soup is off for the moment.

  18. Glad you had a great time in Houston. Looking forward to your A to Z posts. Promises to be a great theme and that Beef and Barley Soup looks just the sort of meal that Mr A would love. If you lived closer he'd be round with a begging bowl!

  19. Hello Karen!
    I gave you an award on my blog. You can retrieve it at


  20. Loved the title of your post. Fits perfectly. Well done and much luck and fun to all you AtoZHeads.

    Cheers and boogie boogie.

  21. Looking forward to reading your A to Z Challenge posts!


  22. Yes Houston is lovely. I have found a couple of places that really inspire my writing and I visit often. Arizona, Destin Fl. and of course N.Y.

    Great post, wonderful theme and luscious soup.

  23. That theme is perfect and so is the soup. Anything I can do ahead and let simmer works for this writer. Thanks.

  24. Isn't it funny how some places just speak to us? Santa Fe did, and I love it, but I'm ready to move on. Really, it's the ocean that calls to me ... Yummy recipe!

  25. Love the theme and you soup sounds very tasty!

  26. I love Beef and Barley soup. I haven't had it in ages.

    It's hard when a place fits, but you can't live there at the moment.

  27. Sounds like a great A-Z theme. I'm looking forward to reading your posts.

    Thanks for the soup recipe! :)