Beef Blarney (Barley) Soup Recipe

Do you have a recipe from a friend that you asked for but have never made yourself? I have a stack of them I have begun to make and this barley soup recipe is one that I made on a rainy, drizzly afternoon. It was so hearty and delicious I had to share!

You know it’s called “Blarney” because of St. Patrick’s Day.


Beef Blarney Soup

ingredsonionServes: 4


1 Cup Pearl Barley (not the quick kind)

1.5 lbs. Stew Meat or any beef steak that is easy to cube

Olive Oil

1 Onion (at least) in big chunks or diced

3 Carrots, sliced,  but not too thin as you do not want them to cook to mush

Salt, Pepper, Garlic to taste

Bay Leaf

6 cups Homemade Vegetable or Beef Stock (or 2 cubes beef bullion and 6 cups of water)


ingredsmeat1. Brown the meat in olive oil in – I like my cast iron frying pan for this, but you can use whatever you have. When all the meat is browned there will be remains in the pan. Do not throw these away.

2. In the large pot that will cook the soup, pour in a couple tablespoons of olive oil and saute the onion with garlic and lots of ground pepper. The onion pieces will become translucent.

3. Add 6 cups of broth to pot or 2 cubes of bullion and 6 cups of water.

4. Add a little water to the remain and loosen them up. Add them to the soup. Heat to boiling.

ingredscar5. Add carrots and barley and the bay leaf. Simmer for 1 hour.

6. Salt to taste, but if you used bullion it may be salty enough already.

7. Remove bay leaf before serving.

Yummy with grilled cheese sandwiches or biscuits.

Lynn Haworth of Praying Monk Ranch gets credit for the original recipe in my assistant Carol’s cookbook that she made for her daughter.)

Tip: Lynn said she likes to cube her meat with kitchen shears. Great tips! I found it to be easier than slicing with a knife.


Serve Your Love a Heart-Shaped Meal on Valentine’s Day


Going shopping this weekend?

You may need to add to your list:





or you could make jam… here’s how I did it.

Two slices of bacon, 2 slices of bread, an egg, 2 big strawberries, jam and a heart-shaped cookie cutter are all you need to make this tasty, savory, and sweet breakfast plate for the one who makes your heart go thump-thump!

BACON: Lay a strip of bacon in the shape of a heart in your frying pan. Use a spatula to turn the slice over when it is done on one side.

STRAWBERRY ROSE: Use a sharp paring knife to slice small strawberry petals in several rows, starting from the base of a washed and dried strawberry. Use the knife to gently bend the petals outward.

EGG in TOAST: Use a cookie cutter to cut a heart out of the center of a slice of bread. Melt butter in a frying pan. Place your bread in the pan and toast lightly on one side. Turn it over. Crack an egg in the middle (or scramble the egg first before you pour) of the bread slice. Cook until done.

HEART with JAM: Spread your favorite berry  jam on the bread heart you cut out of the above.

Click here to craft your love a card to go with breakfast.


Brewed with Love – A Tea Across the Miles (or closer to home) Craft

tea-supersimplewith-TerriOTea blending is easy.

Go to your local health or whole foods store, find the jars of loose leaf teas, then let your eyes and nose get to crafting your perfect blends.

Chai blends well with citrus.

You might like the lovely scent of jasmine with green tea.

How about Rooibos and pomegranate with hints of apples and lemons?

Passionflower with chamomile is calming.

Oolong and white aid weightloss.

Black tea with ginger could make your breath smell sweet while getting rid of your headache.

Green tea with mint leaves and natural chocolate flavor might be just the thing for Valentine’s Day.

However you blend your tea, when you want to share it, here is a super simple way to wrap it up pretty like the photo above.

You’ll need: a tea bag filled loose leaf tea blend, cut about a 4 x 1 inch length of paper, a 1.5 x 1 inch piece of contrasting paper, and a piece of white paper to go inside the small rectangle.

1. Write a saying.

2. Glue the saying as pictured and tape the back.


Do you have a friend you miss? I think tea and a pretty antique cup might be a lovely gift to send. The two of you two can set a time and sip together over a Skype call as you chat.



Bake your own fortune cookies to celebrate Chinese New Year or Valentine’s Day

baked fortune cookiesI suspect these cookies would be simple to make the more practice one had at making them. The secret is how thin you can make the cookie and how fast you can shape it.

The best thing about them is that you can adjust the enclosed fortune for virtually any party or holiday theme.

Interesting: Fortune cookies are often equated with Chinese food, but according to the Smithsonian the cookies originated in Japan.


3 egg whites

3/4 cup white sugar

1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons water

Fortunes, printed or written and cut

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
Grease cookie sheets, or line with parchment paper.
Have fortunes ready to go on small strips of paper.
In a large glass or metal bowl, whip egg whites and sugar on high speed of an electric mixer until frothy, about 2 minutes.
Reduce speed to low, and stir in melted butter, vanilla, almond extract, water and flour one at a time, mixing well after each.
Consistency should resemble pancake batter. Spoon the batter into 3 inch circles on the prepared baking sheets. Leave room between for spreading.
Bake for 5 to 7 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the edges begin to brown slightly.
QUICKLY remove one at a time, QUICKLY place a message in the center, and fold in half.
Fold the ends of the half together into a horse shoe shape. Hang over cup to dry. If they spring open, place them in a muffin tin to cool until set. (I skipped the hanging over a cup and just put them in the tin.)
Although these cookies are not malleable if overbaked, you need to bake them long enough until they are golden around the edges or they will be too under baked and remain soft, spongy and pancake-like.

Don’t you think these would be fabulous dipped in chocolate on one end and then dipped in sprinkles?

Want to put your Fortune Cookies in a TAKE-OUT BOX?

You can find templates on the web—you may need to re-size depending on the size of paper your printer can take and how many cookies you want to box—grab some pretty scrapbook paper, cut and fold.



supersimple-chinesenewyear-terrioWant to make paper fortune cookies instead? Here’s the link!


Terri’s Stuffed Strawberries


Deliciousness for your 4th!

8 oz. softened cream cheese

1/4 cup powdered sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

20 medium size strawberries

Pkg. of fresh blueberries

Mix together the cheese, sugar and vanilla and put into a pastry bag. If you don’t have a pastry bag just cut off the tip of a large zip lock bag.

Clean strawberries. Slice off the top to remove leaves and leave a flat surface. Turn the berry upside down then from the tip make two crisscross slices.

Open the strawberry and insert a blueberry. That helps prop it open so you can fill it with the cream cheese mixture.

Top with a blueberry and enjoy!



Colorful Gluten-Free Birthday Tray with Wheat Grass

Super Simple with Terri OOur Sonoran Living producer Margo is a gluten & sugar free vegan. So when her birthday rolled around we did not know what we could do to celebrate it with the staff and honor her wishes at the same time. I came up with this idea and just loved it so much I wanted to share it with you.

First purchase a tray of wheat grass from the store. I found mine at Whole Foods for about $10. I kept it cool and fresh by placing it on top of a wet towel that I laid on cookie sheet. I spritzed the grass often with a water bottle to keep it fresh. Make sure you ask them for the newest tray. You want the grass to be short as possible. Most people want the grass to be longer so they can cut it and juice it so be sure to specify.

wheat grass veggie tray Terri ONext pick fruits and vegetables you like as well as based on color. I used things like purple kale and radicchio for the outside of the flowers and yellow and red bell peppers for the inside. I also used carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, strawberries, grapefruit and oranges. You can use anything you like.

You want to make your tray as close to the event as possible because it’s important to keep it cool. I made mine the day before, covered it with wet paper towels and kept it outside where the temperature was cool, around 50 degrees. You will have to be creative if it’s hot outside and it won’t fit into your refrigerator.

Wrap the outside with saran wrap. It keeps everything in place while transporting.


Tips for Sexy Drinks to Share with the One You Love

Oh la la! It is Valentine’s Day! Are you making a special meal for your sweetheart this evening?  Here is a ménage à trois of drink ideas to enhance the party!

sexy valentine's drinksWine and Chocolate

Box of chocolates

Decorative icing in variety of colors


Something to decorate the skewer with

1.       It’s best to put the box of candy in the refrigerator before piercing with the skewer.

2.       2. Decorate the candy after you skewered it.

3.       Lay across your wine glass and give it to your sweetheart.

Champagne and Strawberries

Cut out heart shapes from your strawberries and freeze them. Add them to your sparkling cider or champagne before serving.

Strawberry Roses

Candy Melts in pink: follow directions for melting

Sparkle gel in red



Something to hold them so they can set, I used a Styrofoam block

1.       Clean and dry strawberries. It is important to make sure they are not wet otherwise the candy will not stick or it will look clumpy.

2.       Insert a skewer into the strawberry so the leaves are at the bottom and dip the berry into the melted candy.

3.       Let set then decorate with red sparkle gel.

I am making these drinks to impress a sweetheart on Sonoran Living.

3 DIY gifts, all under $20 bucks!

Here are three projects for DIY gift giving that are really super simple and fun to make.

All under 20 bucks!

Make ’em, wrap ’em and put them under the tree or bring a smile to the face of your favorite holiday party thrower.


DIY Coasters Terri O
I used a kids craft product to make coasters. They are called Pearler Beads and you can find them at the craft store.
Here is a link to other bead projects on You Tube:


DIY Gifts Terri O

DIY Gifts Terri O

I made a cheese tray out of a leftover piece of marble tile.

This DIY project is so super simple yet very elegant. In no time at all you can have a handy serving tray to use or give as a gift. The best part is that you can make it as a holiday gift for less than $10.00!

Watch me and my husband make this awesome tray.

Supplies and Instructions:

  • Drill
  • Glass & tile drill bit
  • Marble 12×12
  • Measuring tape
  • Water
  • Drawer handles
  • Shorter screws for handle
  • Bumpers
  1. Place some painters tape on the tile where you want your handles to go, approximately one inch from the edge. Find the center of the tile and mark it with a pencil on the tape.
  2. Measure the distance of the holes in your drawer handle, divide that by two. Measure that distance from the center on each side and mark it. (In other words the distance to the holes in your handle should be equal on both sides from the center).
  3. Place your tile on a surface that has some give. We set ours on a pizza box.
  4. Drill your hole on a lower speed. Add water to keep your drill bit cool. Keep adding water as the dust from the drill turns to paste.
  5. You may need shorter screws to attach the handles. We replaced the screws in the package with 5/8” long screws.
  6. Attach handles to the tile and add a bumper to each corner.

Here is the video How To!


DIY Gifts Terri O
I embellished store bought candles using upholstery studs.
· Candles
· Upholstery nails in various sizes
· Pattern
1. Make your own pattern using a ruler for spacing. Be sure to space the holes far enough apart so that the nails will fit.
2. Lay your pattern over the candle and poke holes in the candle for your pattern. I unfolded a large paper clip as a tool.
3. Push the nails into the candle.
4. Be sure to never leave your candles unattended.

Keeping Life Simple – tips from me and Susan Casper

I just adore working with my witty and smart Sonoran Living Co-Host Susan Casper!

As two very busy working moms, we are always looking for ways to save a little time and make life just a bit easier.

Here are a few tips that we found you might find useful in your everyday busy life:

Terri_and_Susan_simplify_your_life_with__885420000_20130903092610_320_240Water bottle time stamp:
Mark your daily water intake by time on your water jug.

Soda can hanger:
Detach the tab from a soda can and put in on a hanger. Use the other hole to hang another hanger. It saves you space in your closet.

Soda straw holder:
After pulling up the tap on your soda can, rotate the tab around and use the hole to hold your straw. That way it won’t keep floating to the top.

Wrapping paper holder:
Use empty toilet rolls or paper towel rolls to secure wrapping paper. Simply cut from one end to the other length wise. Separate slightly and place your paper inside. It keeps it from unrolling.

Hulling strawberries:
To remove the stem from strawberries, simply insert a straw from the bottom up. The straw will push out the stem.

Keep keys in order:
Color code your keys with fingernail polish. Now no more fussing at the door.

Spaghetti noodle lighter:
Don’t burn yourself lighting those hard to reach candles. Light a spaghetti noodle stick to use as a match.

Cassette cell stand:
Flip an old cassette tape case open and use as a cell phone stand.

Sponge ice pack:
Put a frozen saturated sponge in a plastic sandwich bag to make an ice pack that won’t drip all over when it melts.

Borrow buddy photo:
Take a photo of friends holding items you’ve lent them with your cell phone so you will remember down the road.


Monkey Cookies

monkey-cookiesHere’s a healthy treat you can feed your little monkeys after school.

Quick and simple to make and your little ones can help, mix and drop the dough onto a cookie sheet.


3 ripe bananas (I’d previously frozen my ripe bananas so they were super sweet.)

2 cups oats (I used quick)

¼ cup peanut butter

¼ cup cocoa powder

1 tsp vanilla

pinch salt

Cinnamon and nutmeg (for sprinkling on top)

Mix together and bake in preheated 350F oven for 10 to 15 minutes.

Tip:  I like to bake cookies on parchment paper—simple clean-up!

Tip: If these cookies are too healthy and chewy for your taste, try adding equal part chocolate chip cookie dough.