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A Legacy of Love and Cooking and Handwritten Recipes

Hamburger Soup from The Best Cook Who Ever Lived


My mom was an amazing cook...all who knew her praised her for her skills in the kitchen. She was known far and wide as a gracious hostess who set a fine table and served superb meals, dessert included! That was her gift. And she lived it well.

She died much too young, my mom did. After being diagnosed with a rare blood disorder in 1992, she lived for another 11 years with the aid of blood thinners, monthly trips to the hospital to have fluid drained from her abdomen and the knowledge that there was no cure for her disease.

She got to see the birth of her first four grandchildren and to cuddle and spoil them with love and special treats from her kitchen.

The whole family enjoyed Christmas together at mom and dad's home in 2004, not knowing it would be the last time we would ever be together as a family.


Mom pulled out all the stops and made all our favorites - everything completely from scratch. She set a beautiful table and used her special china. It was a Christmas full of laughs, lots of hugs and many memories made; a Christmas to be remembered!


My mom passed away not long after that special Christmas. It's been 8 years and I still miss her everyday!!

I'm so grateful for the legacy she left me - a legacy of love; the love of cooking a homemade meal for my family that I love, of setting a nice table, of having friends over and sharing a meal and laughs around the dinner table. And the legacy of writing down recipes by hand.


In today's age of computers and technology, I am grateful to have my mom's handwritten recipes. What a gift they are! A gift that I am passing on to my children. Little Diy has already starting collecting her favorite recipes and compiling them in a book.

Handwritten recipes are like love letters. I look at some of my mom's recipes and they bring tears to my eyes. Why? Because I know she was thinking of me when she took the time to write that recipe out, lovingly putting down all the details so her newly married daughter (who didn't have a clue about cooking at the time) would have an easier time of it. She would often add a little note just for me, an "I love you sweetie" or "Love mom".


I look at those precious pieces of paper now, splattered with effects from my kitchen from the many, many, many times they've been used, and they are so much more than just paper to me. They are a piece of my mom. A piece that she shared with me. A piece of her heart; her love of cooking and hospitality and showing love to her family through sharing that gift.


I've learned a thing or two in the kitchen in the past few years, and I'm a pretty good cook now. Mr. Diy even brags about my "skills" in the kitchen :) I don't think I'll ever be as good as my mom (she's the standard I strive to measure up to), but I like to think that she's looking down from heaven with a smile on her face at my efforts.

And the legacy that I'm passing on to her grandchildren.

I'm sharing my mom's famous Hamburger Soup recipe with you today. Famous because all who try it love it. I hope you do too :)
P.S. It's filled with a lot of love from a wonderful mom.


Mom's Hamburger Soup Recipe
1-1/2 lbs ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
1 14 oz can diced tomatoes
3 cups water
3 cans beef broth (I like the 'Better than Bouillon' soup base you buy in a jar and mix with water; gives a richer flavor - I measure enough for 3 cups)
1 can tomato soup
4 carrots, chopped
3 celery sticks, chopped
8 Tbs pearl barley (not the quick cook)
1 bay leaf
2 Tbs fresh parsley, chopped or 1 Tbs dried
1 Tsp fresh Thyme, chopped or 1/2 tsp dried
pepper and salt to taste

Brown meat and onions. Drain off grease.
Combine all ingredients in large soup pot or Dutch oven. Stir well to combine.
Simmer with lid on and slightly tilted for at least 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
Enjoy!                                                                                      
Makes about 18 soup ladles and freezes well too
Recipe can easily be doubled
Serve with fresh homemade buns (if you're cool like my mom that way and can crank out homemade buns with a snap of your fingers) or crusty bread fresh from Publix :)


Oh, and leftovers are even better the next day so maybe make a double batch!


I hope you still hand write at least some of your recipes. I know I have to work at it.

Thanks for letting me share from the heart today :)


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