by Sharon Ledwith
When you think of a small, northern tourist town, what emotional cord does it strike? Vacationing with the family when you were young? Visiting your grandparents at their cottage? Camping in the backwoods with your friends? Whatever vision you conjure, I’m sure you have plenty of happy memories of that special place. That’s the basis of my new series, Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls. I wanted to give this teen psychic mystery series a nostalgic feeling coupled with a sense of adventure and…wait for it…the supernatural. Welcome to Fairy Falls. Expected the unexpected.
One of the mainstays of cottage and camping life is soup on those rainy, damp days. Soup not only warms you through, but fills you up. So I thought I’d share a favorite family recipe with you, that will hopefully bring out those good-old-days feelings inside you again. This hearty, easy one dish meal cooks itself while you’re out and about. Prep time is approximately 30 minutes, with a cook time of 10 hours, this soup serves around 8-10 of your hungriest minions.
Best Beef-Barley Soup Ever
2 lbs beef round steak or 2 lbs beef chuck, diced
2 cups chopped carrots
1 stalk celery, diced
½ green pepper, diced (we prefer to use a red pepper)
1 large onion, chopped
1 (16 ounce) can of tomatoes, cut up (we prefer stewed tomatoes)
½ cup frozen corn
½ cup frozen green beans
⅔ cup barely
1 tbsp. dried parsley flakes
1 tbsp. beef bouillon granules or 2 beef bouillon cubes
2 tsp. salt
¾ tsp. dried basil
5 cups water
Brown beef in a skillet over medium heat.
Lay carrot, celery, green pepper, onion, corn, and green beans in crock pot.
Place meat on top.
Combine tomatoes, barley, parsley, bouillon, salt, and basil in a bowl. Pour over meat.
DO NOT STIR.
Cover and cook on LOW for 10-12 hours.
The secret to this soup is in the layering. Serve with salad and bread, and your favorite wine or beverage.
So while the soup is cooking, I’ll let you in on another secret from Lost and Found, Book #1 of Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls.
The Fairy Falls Animal Shelter is in trouble. Money trouble. It’s up to an old calico cat named Whiskey—a shelter cat who has mastered the skill of observation—to find a new human pack leader so that their home will be saved. With the help of Nobel, the leader of the shelter dogs, the animals set out to use the ancient skill of telepathy to contact any human who bothers to listen to them. Unfortunately for fifteen-year-old Meagan Walsh, she hears them, loud and clear.
Forced to live with her Aunt Izzy in the safe and quiet town of Fairy Falls, Meagan is caught stealing and is sentenced to do community hours at the animal shelter where her aunt works. Realizing Meagan can hear her, Whiskey realizes that Meagan just might have the pack leader qualities necessary to save the animals. Avoiding Whiskey and the rest of shelter animals becomes impossible for Meagan, so she finally gives in and promises to help them. Meagan, along with her newfound friends, Reid Robertson and Natalie Knight, discover that someone in Fairy Falls is not only out to destroy the shelter, but the animals as well. Can Meagan convince her aunt and co-workers that the animals are in danger? If she fails, then all the animals’ voices will be silenced forever.
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Sharon Ledwith is the author of the middle-grade/YA time travel series, THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS, and the teen psychic mystery series, MYSTERIOUS TALES FROM FAIRY FALLS. When not writing, researching, or revising, she enjoys reading, exercising, anything arcane, and an occasional dram of scotch. Sharon lives a serene, yet busy life in a southern tourist region of Ontario, Canada, with her hubby, one spoiled yellow Labrador and a moody calico cat.
Learn more about Sharon Ledwith on her website and blog. Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter, Google+, Goodreads, and Smashwords. Look up her Amazon Author page for a list of current books. Be sure to check out THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS TIME TRAVEL SERIES Facebook page.