Ghost Hunting Diary Volume IV - T. M. Simmons, Author

12:56 PM Posted by Martha A Cheves




Simple Fried Green Tomatoes
(A T. M. Simmons Special)

In the south, we love our fried green tomatoes. There are several ways to enjoy this delicious dish. In fact, my husband and I each cook them differently. I like them prepared both ways, but here is mine:

1 egg
½ cup milk
Beat together by hand, then beat in:
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup cornmeal
This should make a batter that looks similar to pancake batter.

Select 3 firm green tomatoes, wash and core them, then slice into 1/3" slices. Put salt and pepper on them, to taste.

Heat ½ inch of canola oil to about 350 degrees in either an iron or electric skillet. Dip tomatoes into batter and fry until golden brown on each side. Serve while hot. Yum!

You can also cheat and get the Whistle Stop Fried Green Tomato Batter Mix to use for your coating. It's also delicious!

My husband eats his fried green tomatoes on bread, but I love mine with just a fork.




Ghost Hunting Diary Volume IV - Review by Martha A Cheves, Author Stir, Laugh, Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds; A Book and A Dish

St. James Jeepers Creepers - There are times during ghost hunts when I even scare myself silly...er...sillier.  In May, 1998, an occurrence at the captivating historical St. James Hotel, in Cimarron, New Mexico - a place with an extremely haunted reputation - turned into one of those incidents. Twenty-six deaths occurred in the St. James so when I saw a man that stood about 6 feet, with black hair and dressed in an 1800's style suit jacket the evening we checked into the hotel, I wasn't surprised.  I got the impression he was a gambler and I gaped when he winked at me.  This told me he was an intelligent haunting, one in which the entity can interact with our living dimension.  In other words, the recognition worked both ways.  Turns out he was one of the nice ones.  TJ is a different story.

Barney the Believer - Barney is my husband who doesn't believe in ghosts.  One day he came to my office, white as a ghost himself.  He wanted to know if we had a little girl ghost in our house.  We do so I ask how he knew.  His comment to me was "Because I've been watching TV and she just got up from the chair on the other side of the fireplace."  That was just the beginning of him becoming a believer.

These are just 2 of the stories in the author's diary and this is the 4th diary this author has published that I've had the pleasure of reading.  I've heard about ghosts and spirits my whole life.  I 'dreamed' one morning that my grandmother was standing at the foot of my bed telling me everything would be alright.  Apparently I was asleep with my eyes open because I could see her and the room I was in full color.  I once bought a house where I would get a glimmer of someone out of the corner of my eye and freeze when I sat in a certain area in my living room.  Turns out the previous owner, a woman who loved to cook, had passed in that special spot in the living room.  If we admit it, we've all probably had some kind of unexplained 'happenings' at some point in our lives and through reading T. M. Simmons' books, I truly believe that I've experienced a few ghosts of my own.

Oh yeah.  If you have a ghost/spirit in your home, this book will tell you what would be the best way to handle your type of ghost/spirit.  Yes there is more than one type and each is handled differently.  At this time, I have no ghosts/spirits in my home.  I have a friend who died in his home and the woman living there now has told me he comes back now and then to check on the items he left in the attic.  She has never removed anything from there so he seems ok, but she does hear him now and then rummaging around and many times he will forget to turn out the light.

This, like the others before it are extremely interesting.  I'm enjoying learning about the experiences the author and her Aunt Belle have gone through and can't wait to learn even more when I read Ghost Hunting Diary Volume V.

Louisiana Sunset - B. J. Robinson, Author

11:06 AM Posted by Martha A Cheves



Venison Roast
 (I used to cook one this way every New Year’s Day
    - B.J. Robinson)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Wash deer meat and cut deep slits to place the onion, garlic, and green onion.

1 deer roast
1 onion
1 pod garlic
½ bunch green onions
Chop small and place in cut slits of the roast.

You may use a baking bag or put the roast in a small amount of water in a deep pan and baste it. Cover pan with aluminum foil. In the water, place 1 tbs. soy sauce, 1tbs. Worcestershire sauce, 1 tbs. garlic salt or powder, black pepper and salt to taste, three beef bouillon cubes, and 1 tbs. Kitchen Bouquet.

You might also use a crockpot and slow cook it all day. If you use the oven, the roast should be done in appropriately two to three hours.  Brown a tbs. of flour in an iron skillet in a small amount of oil and use the water from the roast to make a brown gravy. If you do not wish to make your own brown gravy, you can use three or four gravy packets instead.

This was one part of our annual New Year’s dinner as described in the book. We also had cabbage cooked with pork chops, green beans and potatoes, potato salad, and rice for the gravy.


You may leave out ingredients per taste or add others. This is how my mother-in-law taught me to cook venison roast when my husband brought home the deer. He cleaned it, and I cooked it. 

Louisiana Sunset - Review by Martha A Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds; A Book and A Dish

Lilly Mae's life is making a complete circle.  She left Louisiana to get away from her abusive boyfriend, but after losing her job in the city she has decided to return and live in the river cabin her grandfather left her.  And of course the circle wouldn't be complete without agreeing to meet her long lost love Timber.

How could she even think of meeting him at the river again?  That time was gone and for the best.  She'd moved on, had her life together until she'd lost the job that meant the most to her, and she didn't need to let Timber rip her world apart again.  She signed.  What was she thinking?  Every ounce of her very being screamed.  Leave before he shows.  Forget him.  He's bad news.  Yet, she stood rooted to the spot.  Would he appear?  She had to know.  Had to see him one last time and put it and him behind her for good.  She was strong.  She could do this.

Even so, Lilly Mae had agreed to meet him and the old feelings resurfaced... for both of them.  Timber vowed that he had changed.  He would never hurt her again.  His temper was under control.  Lilly Mae refused to believe him.  But he refuses to give up.  He pops up everywhere, even at her home.  Then she meets Levi... the perfect man.  Levi was the total opposite of Timber.  He believed in God and went to church.  Timber actually only wanted to go if the preacher was funny.  He respected her.  Timber didn't even respect himself.  Levi thought of the other person first.  Timber only thought of himself - first and last.  But Timber still won't give up.

Levi does keep Timber in line for a while, that is until war broke out and with him being a pilot he is one of the first to head for what would be called Desert Storm.  Timber continues to keep up with his stalking.

So, will Timber separate Lilly Mae and Levi while he's thousands of miles away?  Will Lilly Mae be able to stay true to Levi, the man she loves and plans to marry or will she give in to her old love Timber?

This is one of the most beautiful stories I've read in a long time.  I found myself laughing at times, feeling sorry at times and even wanting to cry at times.  This book is a true love story that has a few twists.  And now that I've finished it, I'm looking forward to see what happens in the story that follows Louisiana Sundown - book 2 in the series.

Dead Game - Jennifer Chase, Author

2:02 PM Posted by Martha A Cheves



California Style Mango Guacamole

3 medium ripe avocados
1 ripe mango, peeled and diced
2 limes, juiced
2 tbsp. minced red onion
¼ cup red bell pepper, diced
½ small habanero pepper (with or without spicy seeds), minced
1 clove garlic, finely minced or grated
¼ cup fresh cilantro, minced
Pinch of salt and pepper to taste
 
Cut and scoop avocado flesh into a bowl. Mash the avocados with salt, pepper, and lime juice. Stir in cilantro, onions, garlic, habanero, mango, and red bell pepper. Taste and adjust the seasoning to taste.
 
Serve as a dip with chips, crackers, or French bread. It’s a fantastic accompaniment for chicken or fish.
 
Note: You can adjust the heat of the habanero by taking out the seeds, or omit habanero all together.



Dead Game - Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds; A Book and A Dish

Five flat screen computers sat on a table in a semicircle configuration, each with a video playing.  Upon closer inspection, all computers had the same video performing only at different moments in the action sequence.  They kept playing through on an endless loop.  The sound was muted, but the violence was clearly evident.  It was a man being methodically strangled to death earlier in the evening.  Every detail of his extreme anguish, facial muscle twitches, and lack of oxygen was forever imprinted on the video to relive over and over again.  The intense satisfaction of watching the five videos made every nerve tingle with delicious gratification for the man that watched.  He was captivated by his clever use of direction as he savored every moment of the performance.  He was the most ingenious movie director of all time.  No one could compare to him.... It was death.  It was death by his direction.  He was the future.

There is a serial killer stalking the Santa Clare area with no indication of it stopping anytime soon.  The police haven't a clue.  Each victim is found with a device that slowly tightens around their neck ending in a painful death by strangulation.  Santa Clair Detective Duncan is heading up the investigation with very little to go on.  That is until the death of a retired policeman is classified as an accident.  After a bit of investigating on his part he finds a connection between the victims.  They all subscribe to a computer spy game called EagleEye which the dead officer has connections to.

Emily and Rick are still on the hunt for those who prey on children.  After their last rescue Rick talked Emily into taking a break to give her body and mind to mend.  Then the nephew of a friend came to him announcing the death of his uncle who was also Rick's friend.  Rick and Emily both agreed to jump right into the case and find the killer.  They didn't know the dangers they were stepping into.  They would soon find themselves right in the middle of the Dead Game Serial Killer.

I allowed myself a week to read this book.  Didn't take half that time.  I simply couldn't put it down.  The tension of the chase, the pain felt by the victims, the fear of loss that went between Emily and Rick kept me on the edge throughout the whole book.  This book could easily go to Criminal Minds for a show or become a movie of its own.

The Deepest Dark - Joan Hall Hovey, Author

6:08 AM Posted by Martha A Cheves



Joan Hall Hovey's Dark and Stormy
  Date Squares

1 pkg. pitted dates
1 1/2 cups of orange juice
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 cups of rolled oats
1/3 cup water

In a pan, cook dates together with orange juice, 1/3 cup brown sugar and water.  Set aside.
Cream butter with remaining 2/3 cup of brown sugar.  Stir in flour, and add oats.  Mix until crumbly.  (It's easiest if you use your fingers.)  Press half of the mixture into the bottom of a lightly buttered 9" glass dish.  Spread date filling over crust.  Lightly press remaining mixture on top.  Bake in a 350 degree oven 25-30 minutes ( until light brown).  Makes 64 1" squares.



The Deepest Dark - Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds; A Book and A Dish - (I couldn't put this book down!)

She had started for the kitchen when she stopped in the doorway between the living room and kitchen, thinking she'd heard a noise outside.  She listened.  Heard it again.  A squeaking of the porch swing chain?...Hearing nothing further, but still wearing the same uneasy frown on her face, she continued on to the kitchen.  She was reaching into the drawer for a knife to cut the pie with when she heard the noise again.  She looked in the direction of the sound and that's when she saw the grinning face in the window.  Her heart lurched painfully but before she could cry out, something crashed against the back door.  It burst open and three men strode into her kitchen, big as life.  Three men she had never seen before.

Ethel and Hartley have raised their daughter and still lived in their country home where neighbors were not a walk away but a drive away.  In their 80's they had grown use to their solitude so when their uninvited visitors bust through their door they are at a total loss.

Abby used the facilities, washed her hands and splashed warm water on her face, patting it dry with rough brown paper.  When she came back out of the washroom, the woman was behind the counter. "Help yourself to the coffee, dear," she said.  "Freshly made."... "Thanks.  I needed that."  "You're welcome.  Don't know about you, but this rain is getting me down.  Awful about those three escapees, isn't it?"

Abby is on her way to the lake cabin her husband had bought for their secret get-away.  After the disasters she had faced just a few months earlier she wasn't sure of her real reason for going there.  She needed time away from everyone but with the bottle of pills in her purse, along with her depression, she just might make this her final resting place.

This book is one for the movies.  As the author brings the Ethel and Hartley, Abby, and the three men together it becomes a book that I had hard time putting down.  I actually read it in just three nights.  I hurt for Abby and her previous problems.  I felt for Ethel and Hartley as they are subdued by the three men.  I feared the three men as they prompted fear on everyone that came into contact with them.  But I learn something from reading this book.  There have been times that I go to the mountains alone just for the quiet.  As with Abby's lake cabin, my favorite place had no telephones and no TV... just peace and quiet.  Never again will I visit my favorite cabin without a phone!

So, if you want a real page turning, grip the edge of the chair and leave the lights burning read, you will surely have it with The Deepest Dark.




After Armageddon - Brian L. Porter, Author

11:39 AM Posted by Martha A Cheves


Conglomerate Salad
(Due to the mixture of stories this salad is perfect for this book)

1 bag boil in the bag brown rice
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 cup light Caesar salad dressing
1 can (15 oz.) black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup chicken, cooked and diced
1 can (11 oz.) Mexican-style corn, drained
4 green onions, thinly sliced
Spinach leaves (optional)

Prepare rice according to package.  In a large bowl, combine Dijon mustard and Caesar salad dressing.  Toss in rice, beans, chicken, corn and green onions.  Chill or serve at room temperature.  Garnish with spinach leaves, if desired. 


Suggestion - Serve in large tomato with pulp and seeds removed.

After Armageddon - Book Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds; A Book and A Dish

Imagine a world devastated by the unthinkable, a global war enveloping almost every nation on Earth.  Imagine the death, the disease and the wholesale slaughter of million upon million of our fellow beings.  This, then, is the post-apocalyptic setting for After Armageddon, as one solitary scribe attempts to set out in words, for posterity, the results of the terrible religious wars which rose from the intolerance and ignorance of fanatics from all sides of the religious spectrum, at some time in a future we have yet to meet.  Is this a portent of what may be yet to come, or a timely warning for mankind?

After Armageddon is just one of the short stories included in this book but I must say that due to the world as it is today it was one that hit home most.  It scared the heck out of me because it is so possibly true.  So if you don't read any of the other stories within this book's pages, make sure you read the 2nd story in the book titled After Armageddon.

The other stories within this book are at times dark as well as entertaining.  I found that I had to read at least one each night and when time permitted two.  The story 'The Devil You Know' takes place in Mexico after the death of a priest.  It will take you into the depths of crime as well as archaeological events in history.  You will follow a young lady as she is kidnapped  where the kidnapper finds out he made a really big mistake.  And then there is the story of a woman and her husband as they attend the 'festival'.  Will they enjoy it or will they find themselves lost forever?  You'll also go back in time to the year 1816 where you'll meet James who loves dead things.

So, if you enjoy a good scary story, this book is for you but be careful when you read them at night or you might be like me... hearing noises that I know aren't there.

And Don't Bring Jeremy - Marilyn Levinson

6:08 AM Posted by Martha A Cheves


Cauliflower Casserole
(A Marilyn Levinson Special)

1 medium head of cauliflower
1 red pepper
1/2 large onion
4 mushrooms
4 eggs
1/4 cup of milk or yogurt
2/3 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
3 tablespoons of slivered almonds
1/4 cup of bread crumbs
to taste:
salt
pepper
fresh cilantro, cut up
fresh parsley cut up
red pepper flakes
nutmeg
cinnamon
1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese

Cut the cauliflower into small pieces. Discard core. Cook in microwave until still firm. (Shall we say al dente?) If done the day before, refrigerate cauliflower.  Spray a deep casserole with oil. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Cut up and sauté the red pepper, onion, and mushrooms in olive oil, and set aside.  Beat eggs In mixing bowl. Add milk or yogurt, the cheese, breadcrumbs.   Mix together, then add the sautéed veggies and cauliflower.   Mix together, then add slivered almonds, fresh herbs, salt, pepper, and pepper flakes.   Mix and cover with Parm. cheese, a 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg and cinnamon.   Bake covered 40-50 minutes.


Be creative! Use broccoli instead of cauliflower, basil instead of cilantro, or a different kind of cheese. 


And Don't Bring Jeremy - Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds; A Book and A Dish

"Adam?”  
I turned around to see what Eddie wanted.  
“We— Mark and Danny and me—well, we were thinking of going out for pizza before the game tomorrow.  At Gino's.  Want to come?”  
"Sure, why not?  I'll check with my mom and let you know."  I shrugged my shoulders, trying to shake the uneasy feeling that just took hold of me.  What was wrong?  
"Great.  Meet us there at twelve.  Bring your bicycle. Then we'll ride over to the field early and practice before the rest of the team comes”  
I suddenly knew.  “All right."  In spite of myself, Mom's drilling me to try to include Jeremy whenever I could won out.  "But is it alright if I— “ 
"And Adam—“
“Hmm?”  
His voice cut across my question. "And don't bring Jeremy. Okay?"

Sixth grader Adam and his older brother Jeremy are new to the neighborhood, and Adam is finding it hard to make friends. When Adam joins a Little League baseball team, his mother sees to it that Jeremy, who has disabilities and no interest in baseball, is placed on the same team. Because Jeremy is awkward and always doing something to embarrass Adam, Adam is ashamed to have people know that Jeremy is his brother. When Eddie Gordon, the coach’s son, befriends Adam, he makes it very clear that he wants no part of Jeremy. 

Adam and Eddie spend more time together, and Adam finds himself saying nothing when Eddie calls Jeremy names and picks on him. Jeremy tells Adam that Eddie has done some bad things, but Adam defends Eddie. And then Eddie accuses Jeremy of ruining the sets for the sixth grade’s play. Adam learns a few home truths about Eddie Gordon and just how strong the bond between brothers can be.

When I started reading this book I felt the pain that Adam and Jeremy both felt. This book brings to light the emotions and difficulties children who have siblings like Jeremy must face.  Even though this is a book written for children/young adults, to me it is one that needs to be read by all young people who have a slower sibling. It needs to be read by all parents that have a child with any kind of handicap. It needs to be read by every teacher.  Actually... this book needs to be a #1 seller and read by everyone, young and old, whether you do or don't have dealings with a disabled or challenged child OR adult. I really feel it will help you to see that person in a totally different light. This isn't a hard book to read. I read it in 2 nights but learned a life's worth of knowledge.



Nightmares Can Be Murder - Mary Kennedy, Author

10:27 AM Posted by Martha A Cheves

(Pre-order now for this September 2 release!)

Strawberry Cream Cheese Bread
(One of Ali's favorite)

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 cups strawberries, rinse, dried and chopped


1. Grease and flour a 9x5 inch loaf pan. I use "Pam for Baking."
2. Use an electric mixer to cream butter, sugar and cream cheese until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time. Mix in vanilla.
3. In separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
4. Blend flour mixture with butter mixture just until blended. Add buttermilk and only stir until just combined; do not over mix.
5 Carefully fold in strawberries. Dough mixture will be thick.
6. Bake in a 350°F oven for 50 to 60 minutes

Nightmares Can Be Murder - Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds; A Book and A Dish

I felt a little chill go through me, but I tried to keep my tone neutral and plastered a bland expression on my face.  "Bad dreams happen for a reason, Taylor," she said carefully.  Her voice was now barely a whisper, her eyes were full of shadows.  "They have something to tell us, and the message becomes apparent soon enough.  You know what they say, the truth always comes out in the end."  She paused.  "Oh, and tell Barney he can find that little catnip mouse - the blue one with the orange tail - under the refrigerator.  He lost it a week ago, and I finally had a dream about it last night."

When Taylor Blake left Chicago to help her sister Ali get her candy store business in Savannah, GA up and running, she finds herself involved in more than chocolate.  It doesn't take long to learn that Ali not only has a slow running vintage candy business but also a Dream Club that meets at the store.  It also doesn't take her long to realize that these people are actually serious about their dreams as well as their meanings.  So when one of the members tells of a dream she had where a man is murdered while Latino music is playing in the background, she suddenly becomes a bit skeptical when the dream comes true.  Could the dreamer be the one who actually killed him?  No matter what, Taylor will find out!

I thought I had this book pegged within the first 50 pages.  Then I decided I was wrong but after about 100 pages I knew who committed the murder.  Wrong again.  At about 150 pages I simply couldn't be wrong and knew who it was and why.  Finally I'm at page 260 and know who the killer is but not the why.  That I didn't learn until the last 10 pages.  This book turns with every page!  I loved it!