Gail's Book Nook

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Looking Out the Window: Jennifer Hallmark Talks About Sweet Freedom A La Mode, A Collection of Stories to Bring Peace and Joy

A warm welcome to Jennifer Hallmark

Jennifer will give away a Kindle copy of Sweet Freedom A La Mode
To enter to win leave a comment and an email address below.

Jennifer shares a favorite Bible verse and a favorite recipe.

 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 NIV

Growing up, we always had a big garden. As I grumbled my way through hoeing weeds and picking produce, I never dreamed God would take those experiences and let me use them in stories. He certainly does have plans for our future, even when we don’t know it. 😊

We still have a good-sized garden. Our beets will be ready before you know it, so my family knows it’s time for me to cook borscht, a soup made with beets for the main ingredient. I’ve made a few changes in Grandma’s recipe such as adding potatoes, honey and substituting olive oil for butter. It’s still a wonderful recipe and freezes well also…

Grandma Lena’s Borscht

1 cup thinly sliced potatoes
2 cups thinly sliced beets
4 cups beef stock
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ cup chopped onions
2 teaspoons salt
1celery stalk, chopped
2 large carrot, sliced
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped red cabbage
Black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
Sour cream, for topping

Place sliced potatoes and beets in a medium saucepan over high heat; cover with stock, and boil until vegetables are tender. Remove potatoes and beets with a slotted spoon, and reserve stock.

Pour olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir in onions and salt; cook until onions become soft and translucent. Then stir in celery, carrots, and cabbage. Mix in reserved stock; cook, covered, until all vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.

Add potatoes and beets to the skillet. Season with black pepper. Stir in cider vinegar and honey. Cover, reduce heat to medium low, and simmer at least 30 minutes. Serve topped with sour cream, dill weed, or chopped fresh tomatoes.

Yield: Eight Servings


About Sweet Freedom A La Mode

 For some, the fourth of July is a celebration of freedom; for others it is a reminder of bondage. Of pain. Of fear. Of hopelessness. But there is a hope that is deeper, a love that is truer, and a freedom that no one can ever snatch away.

Freedom. Peace-saturated, joy-infusing freedom.

We pray our stories demonstrate what it looks like in the day-to-day…and provide a little insight into how one grabs hold of that treasured state of heart and mind.


Jennifer Hallmark has published articles, short stories and been part of four book compilations, A Dozen Apologies, Sweet Freedom A La Mode, Unlikely Merger, and Not Alone: A Literary and Spiritual Companion for Those Confronted with Infertility and Miscarriage. Jennifer’s website and the group blog she co-founded focus on her books, love of the South, and helping writers.

Connect with Jennifer

Author Facebook Page


Melissa Henderson said...

The recipe looks great! Looks like a great story, too. ahenderson312(at)gmail(dot)com

Connie said...

I must try this recipe! Thanks for sharing!

Sonja said...

The book looks really good. Cute cover. And I love Borscht so I am looking forward to trying this. I have a friend that made the best Borscht ever and would love to give it a try! sonja dot nishimoto at

Jennifer said...

Thanks, Melissa. It is a good recipe ☺

Jennifer said...

It's delicious ☺

Jennifer said...

They're heart-warming stories. And the soup is delicious.

Gail Johnson said...

Hi, Jennifer! I've never tried borscht. The recipe looks good. May have to give it a try. 😊 Enjoyed the post!